A Small Frame Of The Big Picture

Out the window of Starbucks, I see a child playing on the sidewalk. Cheeks rosy-red from the cold, he runs across the concrete, stick in hand and hits every tree that he passes. His blonde hair is blowing every which way and the fact that he wears dirt stains on his white cable knit sweater doesn’t phase him. With every step, his smile grows larger and the little green monster inside of me grows more envious of the joy that overfills his tiny body.

With every day that passes, our bodies grow more fragile, our brains become more aware of the world around us and it gets harder and harder to find that carefree, over-the-top type of joy. The combination of planners, alarms, and deadlines, makes precious, savory moments impossible to find…or notice.

This past Thursday, I met my favorite person. I met someone that changed my perspective, showed me the meaning of unconditional love, and strengthened my relationship with God. I met someone that I thought I would make smile but he has given me so much joy that a simple smile would be incomparable.

For those of you reading this sentence and hanging onto the hopes that I will tell you the man that I met is my future husband, I hate to crush your dreams but this isn’t him. (God’s not ready for me to meet him yet.)

I met Thomas.

He’s 49, he’s homeless and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.


As I made my way to class, I asked the homeless man on the corner if I could buy him some coffee. One cup of coffee and five sugars later, I found myself sitting with him in the cold air. We exchanged names, talked about the weather and other non-heavy subjects to keep the conversation going.

I’m not sure what the turning point of our conversation was but Thomas began telling me his story at ease. The words flowing from his mouth became tears flowing from his eyes. The more that Thomas cried, the more that I cried.

So, there I was having a good sob-session with a homeless man that I had just met. I might have looked crazy. The longer I sat with him on the cold concrete, the less affected I was by the frigid air penetrating the seams of my jacket.

Although, Thomas’ tears had begun to dry, mine were still freely flowing. Thomas took a death breath, looked at me, smiled and said “I live for the Lord and I know that this is just a small frame of the big picture.”

Eventually Thomas’ hands moved from his warm coffee cup and into mine as he prayed for me and thanked God for his new friend.

Since meeting him, I’ve been unable to write. I didn’t know how I could even write about him. I knew that no matter how long I sat at the computer turning letters into words and words into sentences, I could never encapsulate the beauty of that morning.

As I watch this child running back and forth on the opposing side of the Starbucks window, it all makes sense to me. Thomas may be the only person I’ve ever met that has as much joy as the toe-headed child carelessly rolling in the dirt outside of this window.

Aside from being joyous, I’ve never met anyone that was as grateful as Thomas.

This morning, I woke up and had breakfast with my awesome roommate and handsome neighbor. I put on clothes, and drove my car to Starbucks where I spent the day studying with a friend. I’m heading to dinner shortly and plan to meet friends tonight. I’m beyond blessed. However, I can 100% guarantee you that wherever Thomas is right now, whatever he is doing, regardless of what he is lacking, he is more grateful than I.

So often, I catch myself doubting God’s plan for me. I wonder why certain things have happened to me and why certain things haven’t. More often than not, I wrestle with God as he tries to lead me down the path he designed for me before I was ever created. Thomas taught me that life is about praising God in the small frames, regardless of the circumstance. Each individual frame compiles into a big picture- a picture that the most amazing artist painted with his two holy hands.

I once believed in luck. I once believed that the world was on my side. However, now that I have God on my side, I realize that there is no such thing as luck. Everything that happens to me, everything that happens to you, is God’s doing. God knew exactly what he was doing when he caused me to cross paths with Thomas.

What I thought would be a simple gesture turned into a change in vantage point.

Enjoy the small frames,


28 Things, 5 Boxes, 120 Hours

On this dreary day in Athens, I am doing one of my least favorite things- going through my class schedules and penciling due dates, meetings and tests into my planner. Despite how cute Lilly Pullitzer makes her agendas, the stickers and bubbly fonts don’t make the spiral notebook in front of me any more fun.

Behind sips of iced coffee and the squealing sounds of machines steaming milk, I’m impatiently waiting for the “expected” snow to fall as I sit staring out the window at Starbucks. Someone opens the door and allows the frigid air to push through, hit me in the face and snap me back to reality. Glancing back down at the patterned planner, I notice that next week is so full of things I have to do that I may not have time to go to the bathroom.

I could feel it- the feeling in my chest, the tightening in my stomach, and the wave of anxiety that crashes over me. All because of a week that is still two days of peaceful rest away.

God has led me to many things here in this classic city. Wonderful friends, opportunities, organizations, an amazing education, and many other things that I could type but would most likely lose your attention.

One thing that I’m beyond thankful for is my job. I have been blessed with nannying three beautiful little boys- three little boys who know how to make my heart sing more than anything else.

Yesterday, I went to pick up the oldest child from school. Stepping out of my car, I shivered as the cold air touched my skin. I walked through the glass doors to get him from the playground when I saw him running carelessly on the grass. Despite the chilly wind, I stood for a moment and watched him play, dirt stains on his knees, wild hair, unaffected by the same cold that was making me wish I had worn two jackets.

Pressed for time to get him to basketball practice, I called his name and we made our way back to the car. After the buckling of seatbelts and his music choice, “T-swift,” we made our way across town.

Between instrumental breaks of Swift’s “Shake It Off,” I asked him about his day. Enthusiastically, he told me every single thing he did at school- friends he played with, pictures he drew, books he read, snacks he ate. “Shake It Off” fades out and the car is filled with silence and the repetitive click of my blinker.

“What did you do at school today, Miss Ansley?” I hear from the booster seat in the back.

I take a deep breath reflecting on my long day of classes, schoolwork, stress and irritation.

“Well, it was really long and boring. I had to listen to a guest speaker in one of my classes,” I respond.

“What did he talk about?” he asks from the back.

I notice the excitement in his sweet voice, genuinely intrigued by my response to his question and I caught myself wishing that I were as excited about things as he was.

That’s when it hit me. When did life become boring?

When did everything that I have to look forward to simply become a penciled mark in a dated box on a calendar?

A lot of things have happened to me in the past year. I’ve committed to the fact that my hair is curly, I’ve finally decided what I wanted to do with my life, I’ve formed new relationships and rekindled old ones, and best of all, I’ve found my way back to the one who started it all – Jesus.

During my bible study this morning, I realized the text that I was dissecting in front of me was exactly what I needed on this cold and rainy morning.

“What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short… For this world in its present form is passing away.” 1 Corinthians 7:29, 31

The words soak into me. This Earth is passing away.

Why are we so fixated on making things perfect? Why do we dwell on the past and plan the future as if it’s in our hands and not God’s?

Looking back down at my planner, I count the number of things I have scribbled into the boxes. 28 things all crammed into 5 boxes and 120 hours.

The numbers get into my head and I can feel it in my chest again- the pressure of time.

I glance down at the watch on my wrist; filled with numbers marking the hours and minutes, and tick marks defining the individual seconds. The minute hand passes the 12 on my silver watch, beginning a new hour.

I often forget that God has a different watch than I do.

God’s watch isn’t filled with numbers breaking down hours, minutes and seconds. God’s watch is infinite.

With God, every time that the second hand ticks, our time increases. With God, we live an eternal life.

I look at my planner one last time and recount the things I have to do in the upcoming week, hoping that I counted wrong the first time. The recount doesn’t change anything. The number is still 28 and I realize that I still have to get those things done by certain times according to my watch. I take a deep breath and rejoice in the fact that God has a different watch than I do – a watch where he makes things happen at the right time in our lives and not just because the hour and the minute hands lay on certain numbers.

With that realization, my worries melt away much like the ice in my transparent Starbucks cup. The feeling in my chest dissipates; the wave of anxiety flattens out and those 28 things, 5 days and 120 hours that had my stomach in knots simply become another week to praise God.

Rain, Coffee, Jesus

It’s a yucky day here in Athens. It’s the type of day where every college student wakes up for class, looks out the window and decides that they aren’t going. Thankfully, my teachers felt the same way and cancelled class before I had to struggle with the decision myself.


Curled up under my heated blanket, I sipped my coffee, grabbed the Bible and dove into my devotion. I began journaling on the pages, underlining important sentences, and reading the scripture that was paired with the daily lesson.

New York Times Best Seller, Ann Voscamp wrote an awesome devotional titled “One Thousand Gifts”  – a book reflecting on finding everyday graces. The 250-page book, filled with sixty devotions and a journal fortunately ended up in my hands Christmas morning when my Dad gave it to me as a gift.

What a gift it is…Not only because of her amazing skills to write about God’s love, but because of the amazing way that God spoke to me about His love through her words.

Voscamp began her journey with a dare to count one thousand things that she loved. One thousand things became one thousand graces and one thousand graces became “One Thousand Gifts.”

Her love for the Lord is evident in every word that was carefully structured into the book. Today’s lesson began with the thought provoking question, “What initially sparks God’s anger?”



Thanklessness leads to the fall – sin.

Eve’s thanklessness led to her eating the one fruit He doesn’t give to her. Voscamp refers to this thanklessness as the “catalyst of the fall.”

I grew up in a Christian household. I prayed before every meal and went to church on Sundays. Through the repetitive singing of  “Jesus Loves Me,” I’ve known from a young age that I was loved by the Lord. From every blade of grass, to every mountain, I recognized His presence in the world.

Although I could see God in everything, I often forgot to thank Him.

After each devotion, I add a few of my own graces to the list provided in the back.

It’s amazing how many blessings God gives us- so many blessings that stretch far beyond the confines of the numbered list that is provided in the book. What is even more amazing is how much we should be thanking Him. From every breathe we can take, to every person we love, to every ability we have in this life, He deserves praise for it.

So to end this short post for the day, I want to quote something that Voscamp wrote in today’s lesson.

“Turn in thanks and everything turns- and God doesn’t turn away.”

Stay thankful,


God Sends Us Angels


As my first blog, I did not intend to be so sentimental. However, it is the holidays and I am filled with Christmas cheer (and tons of food). The holidays are such a blessing. They are a time for our bodies to relax and recoup with a cup of hot chocolate, glass of wine or even a bottle of beer for some. Whatever your “cup of cheer” is, the holidays are a time to spend with the people that you love. Whether they are spent with tons of presents under the tree or no tree at all, it is a time to step back from our busy lives and observe what the good Lord has blessed us with.

Thankfully, the Lord has blessed me with more than I need. I have more presents under the tree than I need, more food than my tummy can handle and more clothes than I can wear. Best of all, I have more family than my house can hold. I am tremendously blessed with the gift of family. Every person in my great, big family brings something unique to the table. Whether it is my Aunt’s loud humor or my Uncle’s need to argue, I love them all the same. However, the holidays would not be the “Most Wonderful Time of Year” without one specific person.


Jay Kesler once said “Young people need something stable to hang on to – a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.” Unlike many people today, I can gratefully say that I have grown up with and still have all of my Grandparents. While they are all special to me, my maternal Grandfather, “Papa” is a one of a kind. From his need to always love on someone to his urge to witness to others, my Papa is the epitome of someone that is special.


Edward Blount, a sibling of three boys grew up in Waycross, Georgia (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere). He served in the Marines and, shortly after that, he graduated from the University of Georgia. He married his wife Katie and had three Daughters: Susan (my mother), Sarah and Katherine. No worries! I’m not writing this to give you my Papa’s biography. I am writing this to explain to those reading how to be the best person that you can truly be. In order to do that, I believe that you should take after my Papa.


My Papa is a big man. No, I do not mean rotund. I mean that he is 6’3 with long arms, long legs and large hands. In my opinion, he is the record holder of the world’s best hugs and, if you are around him for 10 seconds or more, you will find out. My Papa feels the need to love on people. Not in a creepy predator way like I am sure that some of you are thinking. My Papa is loving in a tender, caring, and affectionate way that unfortunately, many people in this world don’t experience. Whether he is scratching your back while you are sitting near him or he is kissing your best friend’s hand that is meeting him for the first time, my Papa is a loving man.


My Papa is a giver. Think of the most generous person that you could imagine- someone that could give you a present on your darkest day, on your darkest hour in order to cheer you up. That person that you have created in your mind is my Papa. Because our world is so fast and busy, many of us resort to the dollar amount of a gift to determine how important someone is to you. My Papa is not the type of person that will spend a hundred dollars on a gift for you. He is the type of person who will spend so much thought and so much time on a present that nothing will ever compare. Whether he made it with his own two hands or he fixed something that you broke years ago, my Papa is the best gift giver that you will ever find.


My Papa likes to quote. However, because he has said these two phrases constantly since the day I was born, I tend to believe that he coined the two phrases. If you ever hear a cute, old man with white hair saying “I love you to the moon and back” or “Have I told you lately that I love you?” then you have been lucky enough to cross paths with my Papa.

My Papa is a reminder. The introduction of the cell phone to him was probably the best thing that we have done. Because my Papa has now figured out a way to text with his abnormally large fingers, we are constantly reminded of how much he loves us. Whether it is a picture of us or one of his favorite quotes, my Papa is constantly wanting to share with his family that they are loved by him.

My Papa is an angel. If you are thinking of someone in white light with wings, then you are thinking correctly. He is an Angel of God. How do I know this? I know this because of the words of wisdom that the Lord shares via my Papa. If you go to Meme and Papa’s before lunch time, you will get there in time to witness my Papa’s study time. My Papa is a deacon of his church and Christ follower in private and in public. Speaking of angels…Have you ever found a drawing of an angel on your car? Dinner table? If so, God led you to one of his angels.

My Papa is not just my Papa. Although I am lucky enough to share some of his DNA, my Papa is everyone’s Papa. As a child, when my younger brother’s friend said he didn’t have a “Papa”, my brother’s response was “You don’t have a Papa? Everyone needs a Papa! You need to get a Papa”. I think the words of that little boy were wise beyond his years. If I have learned anything in my short 18 years of life, it is that I am lucky to have lived 18 years. Also, if you are lucky enough to be breathing, you should spend the time that you have on Earth with people that you love. And who better to spend it with than one of God’s angels?