Tuesday, March 29

Road trip...Yes, please!

There is nothing that I love more than a good adventure. 

Well, this past weekend Jake and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Yay! My gift was a random road trip. Two big thumbs up!

Our destination was unknown, but I was given 5 envelopes each with a map in it. My random selection resulted in a trip to...WEST VIRGINIA. Yes, random location, but there is nothing better than an open road, no schedule or no actual destination. 

It began in Indiana. We started with the GPS but turned it off once we got on I-74 East. We used maps for the majority of the trip. Old school I know. It was awesome. It was so fun navigating our own way. Something about the simplicity of it all was refreshing. 

First stop... Warm Glow Candle Outlet. Any significance? No but every time I drive on this road I see this giant candle and since there was time to stop. We did. And its exactly what you'd think; a lot of candles, home decor, and knickknacks. It was cute.

Hit traffic about half way to Columbus. Semi slid off the road. This is what it looked like.

 The joys of a I-74 traffic jam. We ended up doing the same thing as the red truck. It was tough for the little Elantra, but she handled the off roading pretty well. And we were on our way again.

 Lunch time in Columbus, OH. Our original destination ended up being closed. So we resorted to our second choice. The Thurman Cafe. However, the lunch wait was an hour and a half. Apparently this is a bigger deal than we realized. And as much as we would have loved to wait over an hour for a burger, we opted out. Then came our third option. It only became an option after we UrbanSpoon'ed it. So, we ate at Lindey's. Not what we thought. Food was good. But, we definitely felt a bit out of place. Oh well, we ate.

 It was a German area. Cute and quaint. All brick streets. My favorite type.

This is where there is a break in pictures. I didn't take the camera out during the next leg of the trip. A few hours and hills later, we landed in Charleston, West Virginia. Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and also its largest city. It was green there, and there were hills. I call them mountains, but am corrected, as they are merely hills. Very different than Indiana. We shopped, drove around, ate some awesome fish tacos and listened to a DJ spin records at an authentic Charleston restaurant called Tricky Fish. Delicious and so fun.

 Jumped back in the car after a big breakfast and then headed west toward Kentucky, where we saw cows right next to the gas station. We then got to stop in Morehead to see one of my best friends (and soon to be sisiter-in-law) Kayli, which was a great surprise addition to the trip.

A few hundred mile later we found, ourselves in Cincinnati eating really delicious ribs at Montgomery Inn Restaurant. If you even remotely like bbq or ribs...do yourself a favor and drive to Cincy to eat some ribs. You won't be sorry. They're incredible. Finished off with some Graeters ice cream and jumped in the car for the final hours. Three tanks of gas later, we were back home in Indiana. After an incredible random celebration with my best buddy, it was great to enjoy the simplicity of home.

Because like Dorthy says 
"There is no place like home, there is no place like home."

Friday, March 25

Friday, Friday, Friday

So it's Friday. Yay! I think I have been ready for Friday since Monday at 8:30 a.m. But that's ok. It's here now and that's what important!

But really...what a busy week it's been. Sometimes it amazes me how much time it takes to get things done. I used to never understand what working individuals meant by "there just aren't enough hours in the day." I never really could have imaged that there was really that much work to do in one day...welp...I have now learned. I understand that fully and I often live in the phrase.

My challenge has been to learn how to stay simplified when work gets crazy. Never, do I want to become someone who runs all day at work and doesn't enjoy a single bit of it. Because the reality is...you're going to get up the next morning and do the exact same thing. There has to be time to enjoy what you're doing...or at least not be stressed out by it all the time.

We live in a culture that disagrees with that statement. We live in a culture that tells us the more productive we are, the more valuable we are. True to some degree. But what about your quality of life? When does that come into play? When we retire?

Sorry, but I refuse to wait until I'm 65 to enjoy my life. Life was created to be enjoyed...not survived.

A part of last Sunday's sermon stated..."Rest is a gift. God wants us to experience rest."

Well...I'm sold...I'm not saying I'm good at it...finding time to rest...but everyday I try a little harder.

So for your Friday...enjoy and get some rest. And imagine you are here...in the mountains

Or here...

the beach with friends or...

My personal favorite espresso in Paris

Monday, March 21

Monday Top 10's

Fact: I love lists.

I love making lists, I love it when things are in list format, I love checking things off of my lists. There is just something about it that helps simply my thought and my to do's. But I also really love making top 10 lists. These usually consist of just randomness. So for your lovely spring time Monday, here are a couple lists to enjoy!

Top 10 reasons I love spring
10. The smell of freshly cut grass
9. Fresh flowers
8. You can open the windows and not freeze
7. The sun comes back out
6. The birds start singing
5. It stays light longer
4. Baseball season
3. Going barefoot is deemed more appropriate
2. No more winter jackets

Top 10 Things I plan/hope to do this spring
10. Go on at least one bike ride a week
9. Go camping
8. Bonfires. Lots of them.
7. Go to the Bahama's (only two and a half weeks...woo hoo)
6. Bake more.
5. Plant something...flowers maybe?
4. Make a bird house and then watch the birds that come. I'm thinking hummingbirds.
3. Start making aprons.
2. Sit on our balcony, drink coffee and read
1. Road trip

Now let's just hope I do them.

Spring is here, spring is here!!

Sunday, March 13

There's something beautiful

Despite the chaos going around us in the world...it is so important to realize the beauty and joy that happens all around but we often don't hear about it.

Warning: It could get sappy....sorry (kind of)

This past weekend we were in Cincinnati celebrating the marriage of two friends. And what a beautiful weekend it was. There is truly something beautiful about marriage and love. It is really wonderful to spend time in the presence of it and celebrating what God has created it to be.

This weekend marks not only a significant event in the lives of our friends, but also in my own life. It is a weekend that changed my life in a way I never could imagine.

The most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen

One year ago, this week, I went on my "official" first date with Jake. I had no idea at that time that that date would be so life changing. Now, before I say much more, let me say that I realize the future is in the hands of God and that is where it all stands. But I trust His faithfulness.

My relationship is truly a gift from God, because it if was up to me I wouldn't have taken the chance. But, I am so incredibly grateful that God is faithful in His promise that He has a plan for our lives and that He will provide in His timing. However, I am just in awe of how good He is and how He brings people into our lives.

One year ago today, my life changed in such a way that I could have never prepared for and its been the most incredibly beautiful ride. Its been a challenging year with a lot of changes; finishing grad school, moving, starting a new job, moving again, becoming a "big kid", immense life changes have all happened and those were just my life...not to mention Jake moving three times, two major certification tests, working in three different locations. It's been a lot of change.

But through it all, I've been challenged and grown and never been so in love as I am now. I have learned so much that I cannot even begin to explain. I am better than I was and I continue to grown not only in my relationship with Jake but also what it means to experience unconditional love from the God of the universe.

Love is a beautiful thing and it is to be celebrated. I'm just so glad that we were created to share in this life because it makes the journey so much more enjoyable.

My ridiculous and awesome family
Friends til the end
They have my heart.
They're something extra special
I have been truly blessed with an incredible family, amazing friends and now I am in love with a man who is far greater than I could have ever imagined and who has the most beautiful, genuine heart. Life is not usually easy, it is full of challenges and tough times. But when we're in the presence of love, it makes life beautiful.

He's even a Colts fan.
So, enjoy and keep life simple by just loving. It's one risk work taking and it is beautiful.

Saturday, March 5

The gift

In my opinion, there is nothing better than a late night deep conversation about life. I thrive on moments like this. I am truly blessed that God has brought someone into my life who also loves these kinds of conversations, or at least has them with me.

And what is even better, although it doesn't seem like it at the time, is being challenged in those moments. Having someone look you square in the eye and ask something that you don't know the answer to. I recently had one of these conversations/challenge moments.

The question at hand..."What do you believe is the gift that God gave you to use in your life?"

"Well, humph...I'm not sure"- Me

"Then pray about it to figure it out."

Even though, I know this, sometimes its hard. Sometimes its hard to pray to figure it out instead of just standing on...I don't know, but I'm sure it'll come to me some day.

So, today as I sit down to read my Bible. I turn to 1 Peter and it reads...

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothing. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
~1 Peter 3:3-6

Problem solved? Ok, not exactly but it is the cracking open of an insight. This verse alone has shed some light into what it is that God has given me to use in this life. I'm not going to begin diving into it all, but I feel like there has been some light shed on this darkness. The doubting that I just couldn't figure it out. Or that it had to be something completely grand and extravagant. But the beautiful thing about it is that it doesn't have to be. It doesn't have to be something that we struggle to do, it's a gift. God created us all to do something different. And it just opened my eyes and my heart to the joy that this is what God created me for. That this is my gift to the world to help spread the Kingdom. Sweet...it's always so great to realize that we are who we are because we were created that way and there was a purpose in that creation.

And in this realized, I began to reflect on two of the most influential people throughout my life...and they have the same name. Grandma.

This is my Grandma Janice. If you don't know her, I wish you did. She is one of the most Godly, loving, sacrificial, generous, and precious souls that I've ever known. If I can be half the woman she is, I will consider it an accomplishment.

Sadly, my Grandma Norma passed away nearly 8 years ago. But she too, lived a life of love and caring for others. She always had an open door policy and taking care of her family was of the utmost importance. She is so dearly missed, but a great woman to have known.

These two women have significantly shaped my existence, desire and helped me to see my purpose through their gentle and quiet spirits. All you can do is to say Thank you Lord, for my gift to this life and for those who have gone before me and modeled it so well.

Thursday, March 3

If you could do anything...

If I could do anything...I would write.

Yes, indeed, I would to be a writer. I would write whatever I wanted to, without the constraints of staying within a specific writing style. I would write, for the love of writing.

I went through a phase where I though writing was dumb. This was the time where the only thing I was writing was when someone told me to. But once I began writing because  I wanted to, it completely changed my life.

I fell in love. I fell in love with words.

I love the way words work. Think about it. There is a significant amount of power in words both written and spoken. A poorly written sentence can have a huge impact. Wrong spelling, wrong word choice. Although they may seem like minimal details, they actually play a big role. Especially for people like me because as much as I love to write I also love to edit. I love to go back through what I have written or what others have written and make it better...ok maybe not better but try to figure out exactly the right word to use. 

Its kind of like solving a math problem. You have a set of data and you want to figure it out to provide an answer. So you go trying to find the right combination of steps that will give you the right answer. Writing is just the same. You have an group of words, and you try to put them together to give you the exact combination of what you are trying to articulate. It's important.

With all of that said, the reason I love to write is not because I am fond of math. It is because I have a lot of thoughts that run through my head, all the time. I am honestly not sure yet why God created me that way but I am sure I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out. But writing allows me to release those thoughts. Pen to paper...or in this case, fingers to keys. Once the thought is written down, it is saved forever and I can release it from my mind and move on to the next thought.

For me, there is just something truly amazing about the freedom that comes with just a pen and some paper. So simple, so wonderful.

Maybe someday I'll get paid to write. But for now, I write for the love of words.

If you could do anything, what would you do?