Life's Sweet Journey: Me
Showing posts with label Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Me. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hello July

How is it already July?! 
I can not believe that we are halfway through 2017. 
I took a week off between jobs (find out more in my last post), but am now back at it. Taking a vacation is great, but I always feel like there is so much to catch up on after. I am really working on trying to take it slower though and not feel so rushed to get the 'to-do list' completed. It's a glorious feeling to give yourself space to determine your own pace! So, I am not going to jump back in with a full-length travel post just yet; instead I am joining Anne for a July Currently post. 

July Currently

Here is what is happening in my life right now... 
~Documenting~ All the adventures! We spent the last week traveling between Tennessee and North Carolina, visiting friends and family. I have done so much documenting that my phone is filled to the brim and I had to start deleting apps so that I could take more pictures of all the fun. Looks like it might be time for a new phone (boo), because I am in desperate need of more storage space! 

~Accomplishing~ My 'to-do list'; slowly, but surely! I actually stink (real bad!) at being organized with my time. This is the first year I have actually even utilized a planner and, while it is still a huge learning process, I feel like it has made a huge difference. So I am spending the morning filling in my planner for the next two weeks and then it will be time to tackle the things I said I would do! If you are a newbie to the planner world, this one has been super helpful. 

~Enjoying~ A quite morning on the porch, with my coffee and a beautiful view, to ease back into the work grind! I am still away for the next two weeks, but will be working remotely. I am loving being able to set up anywhere and enjoy a gorgeous view and fresh mountain air while I work! 

~Reading~ All the things!! We road tripped up, and will be doing the same to get back home, which I love because it means I stock up on books and read to my hearts content. My current list includes the two books we are reading for book club (Small Great Things and The Orphan Keeper) and In a Dark, Dark Wood. After I finish Small Great Things my plan is to read In a Dark, Dark Wood, because it's been a quick minute since I have read a spookier book and I think it will break up some of the heart-heavy content that is in Small Great Things and The Orphan Keeper. What are you reading? Anything I need to add to my list?  

~Spending~ Too much money!! I just had to buy a new computer, as I had been using my work computer for personal use as well. Leaving my old job meant leaving that computer behind. I am loving my new one, but will be trying to NOT spend very much this next month, because computers are just dang expensive!! Here's to seeing if I can keep myself from eating out in July! Have you ever tried a 'no-spend' month?! I am so curious! Any tips?! 

Hope your July is off to a wonderful start!! 
What's going on in your world currently?! 



Friday, May 19, 2017

DC Planning and a FriYAY Giveaway!

Happy FriYAY!
We made it! In just a few short hours the weekend will officially begin! 
I figured I would kick off the celebrating with some 5 on Friday fun! 


* Why not start it all off with some GIVEAWAY happiness! There is one day left to enter the 'Adventure Fuel' Giveaway that I am hosting, over on Instagram. Head over and share your upcoming adventure plans with me to be entered to win this mug and a $10 Dunkin gift card! 

* We are planning a trip to DC the first weekend of June. Babe has to go for work and this is the first time that I will be getting to tack on the weekend before and go with! He has gone just about once a year for the last 7 years, so to say I'm excited is an understatement. We have a few things on our list of "to-dos": brunch at the W, strolling the National Mall, maybe a trip to see the pandas, a visit to the post office museum aka "hello PostSecret exhibit", but that's about it so far. We haven't really begun planning, those are just on my list. Anything we need to add when we sit down to really talk it through?! Any favorite spots for lunch or coffee stops we need to hit to keep us fueled?! We will be there less than 48 hours so we will be trying to pack in a lot! 

* I recently started a new job, teaching English to kids in China, through VIPKID. I am still working at the church currently and also nannying, but this is a huge step to maybe getting us on the road. The great thing is, I can work anywhere there is wifi! I can also set my own schedule (for the most part- because of the time difference I can only work mornings and evenings) and work as little, or as much, as I want. I have been having a lot of fun with it!! If you enjoy working with kids and are interested in finding a legitimate work from home opportunity, VIPKID is currently hiring. It is 30 minute classes, one-on-one with a student, and the curriculum is all preset and provided. If you use my referral link you will get a sign-on bonus if you get hired. I do have an education background, but it is not required. If you do have one it will just help you to start at a higher hourly rate, but I am pretty sure that the least you will start out at is $15/hr. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me! 

* This weekend is going to be cray! Seriously, our weekend is jam-packed starting tonight and going forward through Sunday. It's all good things, but I am sure by Sunday night my feet are going to be praying for reprieve. We are heading to St. Cloud tonight for some time with my bro/sis-in-law, tomorrow we have my nieces dress rehearsal, tomorrow night we have a fundraiser event for Agua Viva Serves (want to big on auction items? Check them out here), I work Sunday morning (not typical), then have a meeting for a team I am leading to Kenya at the end of the Summer (YAY KENYA), then it's back to work again for our evening services! Around 9pm Sunday I will be able to kick my piggies up again. It will be a whirlwind of a weekend, but I am not sad about it in the least! So many good things, with so many great people!! 

* I am still loving Chasing Slow as my morning devotional! Seriously, this girl speaks right to my soul! It may be that it's also been a really long time since I have done any kind of morning quiet-time routine and just needed it, or that I typically have a hard time with anything non-fiction, but I am just completely engrossed! Any books you are loving lately?! 

That's about it for my Friday! 
What's going on in your world?! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#TravelTuesday 14// A Day of Disneyland Magic

Happy #TravelTuesday friends!!
I am excited for another link up and to see where all you have been! 
I am actually taking a stroll down memory lane today and sharing a trip that we took back in 2013, because my little Mickey-ear-shaped-heart has really been longing for some Disney lately!!  

Back in May of 2013 Babe surprised me with a trip to California to visit Disneyland. As Orlando natives, we had been to Disney World many a time, but never Disneyland. So it was a trip of many firsts; first trip to Disneyland, first time sticking my feet in the Pacific Ocean, first time paying $20 for guacamole (Cali is expensive yo)! 
I could tell you that my favorite part was all the gorgeous Cali-coast views, but that might be a lie. While I did LOVE them (I mean just look at all these non-Disney pictures), my Disney loving heart could have spent every second wrapped up in Disneyland. Thankfully, Babe pulled me away so I could enjoy all the California beauty, but the Disney moments were magical. I mean Disney really is a dreamers paradise. So I figured I would share what a day in the life of a Disney dreamer looks like. 

Every true dreamer's story starts out...
At 11 o'clock I was Sally driving through Radiator Springs (probably my favorite spot since we don't have Radiator Springs at Disney World) and by noon I was a mermaid swimming alongside Ariel as she she wished for more...
At 2 o' clock I was inside the Beast's library discovering my true character from a magic book...

*This was awesome by the way.  I love that I got Belle because, while I am not a huge Disney Princess fan, she was always my favorite one because, well, she did not just lie around waiting.  She explored, she read, she discovered and she protected those she cared for above all else.
I also thought Babe's description and character were pretty dead on. He would be Marlin and is truly all of those things.  One night, when we were watching the movie The Impossible (awesome movie by the way), I was a little surprised by a choice the father had made when he went in search of his missing wife and son.  I asked Babe if he would make the same decision (you will have to watch to see what it is) and look for me. His response had no hesitation, he didn't even turn his face from the screen to look at me, and said "I would never stop." He really would swim the seas for the people he loves.


By 3 o' clock I was Princess Dot in A Bugs Life, living in a world much bigger than myself...
 and as the sun was starting to set I had the pleasure of visiting with the dreamer himself and the mouse that started the magic. 


After nightfall I was back in Radiator Springs to see the street light up in all it's glory and honk wave a final farewell to Mater as he cruised down Main Street! The lighting of the Radiator Springs strip was one of my favorite things. It wasn't crowded, as basically anywhere on the street is a great place to stand, and it was so fun to have all the lights come on to the tune of the music, just like in Cars! Times changes depending on the time of year, so be sure to ask a Disney Cast Member when you first get to the park. You can always see the street lit up once evening falls, but you really should try to make it for the actual lighting if you can!! 



And, as with any good dreaming day, it all ended with a "happily ever after." At least our version of it anyways.



And then the dreaming day started all over again the next morning as we ventured into Disneyland (the first day took place at Disney's California Adventure park)! 

I thought I would end with a note from Captain Jack because I do quite love me some Pirates of the Caribbean and was excited to be "stuck" in the skull and bones cage.  

"Better to not know what moment may be your last. Every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all."



"Did everyone see that? Because I will NOT be doing it again!" 

Except I would love to do it again please!! And soon!! Now that we no longer have our Disney World passes my little Disney-loving soul is in need of some of that magic! 


Pin It for Later

Have you ever been to a Disney park? What's your magic moment?
Any fun trips of your own recently? 

Share your link below and let's travel together! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring!
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest account. 
~Please leave a little love on the post directly before yours and then anywhere else you like! That way we can all grow this community together :) 
~Not many other rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
~I will also be sharing my favorite post from the month before. February's fave was from House Blend, because her trip to the Keys had me all kinds of reminiscing about when Babe and I went for my Senior Spring Break (many a moons ago)! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March Currently// Beach Bound Happiness

Linking for another currently edition with Anne and Jenna

Wishing// 
For a beautiful, sunshiny weekend! I am heading to the beach to celebrate a friends birthday. Our Florida weather has been stunning lately, but it seems that every time I prepare to head for a weekend at the beach the rain decides to head this way. So I am wishing for the weather to stay just as it has been all week: sunny with just enough of a breeze to keep you from getting hot, but without making you feel cold! 

Craving// 
Some yummy oysters by the beach!! Gimme all the oysters!! 

Going//
To the beach!! Yay for New Smyrna Beach and all the comes with it! The Garlic, JB's... oh my food loving heart will be in heaven!! I am also currently planning our next Flo adventure! I am thinking Myakka River State Park, for a walk among the treetops! 

Wearing//
My new shop happiness very soon!! Tomorrow is the last day to grab my new "you keep me safe & I'll keep you wild" beauties at my cost; the price will go up after they hit the shop! Plus, there will be fewer styles and colors to choose from, so take a peek here and here and grab a pretty for yourself! Also, which colors are your favorite? I am trying to nail down the final choices that will make it to the shop and would love to know what people like!

Learning//
About how all this small business owner stuff works! I have taken a few courses to try to learn the ins and outs of small shopness (totally a word), read through dozens of how-to and what-not-to-dos, and played around with all kinds of ideas. I'm still not sure about how it all really works, but I think that's half the fun. So I am taking it one day at a time and am excited to see how my little shop will grow! I am learning a lot about myself and about stepping out of my comfort zone this month, in more ways than one! This part is the part I can share for now and I am excited to share more in the near future! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Things 2016 Linkup// February Happies!

Happy Monday Y'all!
It's the last Monday of the month, and the only Monday February 29th for the next 4 years, which means it's time for another Happy Things 2016 linkup! 
So here's to big things for Monday!

My happy things included lots of time outdoors this month and I couldn't be happier! 
Here are 5 of my happiest highlights... 
~Weekend Camping Sunsets~ We had our first true Florida boon-docking experience and enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets while we were camping at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. We had one wildly, beautiful time and I can't wait to share all the adventurous details with you in a later post! 

~Geek Moment Happiness~ My Harry Potter Illustrated Edition finally came! Or more like, I finally bought a copy! I had added it to my Christmas wish list, but a copy could not be found. So I used a gift card to treat myself to this joyous, wonderful book. If you are a Harry Potter fan and don't have a copy, you need one! If you are not a fan, now is the perfect time to discover the amazing world you are missing! What better way to enjoy Harry Potter than with stunning illustrations! Even better news, it's currently on sale for under $25 over on Amazon


~New Shop Giddiness~ I am pretty stoked about the new item that will be coming to my little, growing shop! I love the "you keep me safe & I'll keep you wild" quote and can't wait to wear one of these new goodies on our next hiking adventure! While I grow my shop, I thought it would be fun to share in the love with all of you and offer my prices to you while I grow. Not only are prices low, but there are more color and style options to choose from now than there will be once they hit the shop. You can look through these links here (flowy tee, tank, long sleeved, tshirt) to grab one at the discounted rate or help me decide what should make it's way over to the shop. I am trying to decide which color options I should get and I would love to hear your thoughts. I am leaning mostly to the white and coral tank and the gray and teal flowy tee, but would love to hear from you! What color/ style option would you most like to see? 

~Afternoon Day Hiking~ Babe and I spent this past Friday afternoon hiking nearby at a place called Isle of Pine. It's only about 20 or so minutes from our house and makes for a nice, short afternoon hike. We ate lunch at home and then got there right around 1 o'clock. There are two separate trail head locations located near each other (we are hoping that they are working to connect them). The first spot (off of Lacebark Pine Rd) is less shaded and took us about an hour to complete. It runs alongside an orange grove, which made for a yummy mid-hike treat. The second spot (where Lake Mary Jane Rd. dead ends into Fresno Dr.) is more shaded with views of the lake. We did both and were gone by 3:30. For any Orlando hike lovers looking for a good, quick afternoon hike adventure, Isle of Pine is a great spot to check out! 

~Flo's First Bath~ Flo got her first bath this past weekend and it was pretty exciting! Her adventures make her pretty dirty, as they should, and we had yet to have time to give her a good scrub. So with beautiful, sunny weather and a bucket of suds, we set to work! With Babe's no-nonsense cleaning instructions, she was shining like new in no time!! She is so excited to be all pretty and sparkly for her next big adventure!! Where should we go next?! I am hoping to check Myakka River State Park or Devil's Den off my Florida bucket list really soon!! 

Other happies: best friends with babies visits, seeing musicals with my man, honeymoon memories, beach days with cousins, ice cream treats and soccer days

What happiness went on in your world this month?
Linkup and let's spread some cheer! 
Link Up Rules: 
- Share a post (up to 2) about anything happy; it can be 5 happy things, 1 happy thing, really just anything for the month that has made your heart smile! 
- Feel free to share the image above so that others can link up their happy things too!
- Leave a happy comment on at least one other post
- I will interact with all posts in some way (comments, pinning to Happy Things 2016 board...)
- Share your happy things on Instagram using #happythings2016
- Come back on the last Monday of each month to share your happy things for that month and start a community of people who are adding a bit of cheer to Mondays! 
- Link up will be run through Friday of the same week


Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Fun Facts for Friday!

Happy Friday Y'all!! 
I hope today is going beautifully for you! 
I thought today we would do a fun little "get to know you" post for any new faces around here! 
1.) I'm Melanie and that's Babe (or Andrew if you must!)! This may not be the best picture for really getting a feel for what I look like, but this is a great "us" picture! My Likes: selfies with him, trying to get him to like selfies, trying to get him to smile for selfies// His Greatest Like: hating pictures in general... so therefore, meet us! Me finally turning to mean mug him for not smiling & that's when he decides to flash some teeth!
*****
2.) I LOVE adventures!! We bought an RV about 6 months ago and named her Flo (it's short for FloRida Reva) and we are thrilled to have her as part of the family. We spend as many weekends as possible traveling Florida and chasing solitude and the great outdoors. In fact, we are heading out for a mini-venture (that stands for sans Flo) to do some hiking once he gets back from the gym. Him: such a gym person// Me: probably should be, but so totally NOT! 
*****
3.) I may love adventures, but I am also perfectly content with a good book! I believe that reading is one of the greatest adventures you can take and you don't even have to leave your chair (or the tub) to be able to go on one! Give me all the books!! Currently reading Red Queen and I am hooked!
*****
4.)I'm all about the !!!!! (sorry, but not really, for their serious overuse)!
*****
5.) I discovered this week that I can drink coffee black AND actually like it; I am neither excited or unexcited by this realization. Sure it's good I can drink it when I don't have the added fluff (honey & cream), but in my mind it means I am a true adult, gah!!! How did that happen?! I'm not even thirty yet! Seriously, I'm only 29 and 1/4! Other Adulthood Signs: the wrinkles, the need to hit the gym, the fact that my parents have started letting me pay when we go to dinner together// Kid Forever Facts: Disney lover always, my popcorn dance (there's one for tacos too), I get giddy over really cool playgrounds and tree houses


Also, 1 fun added happy! 
My giveaway, for the new shop happy that's coming soon, ends today. Head back one post to find out how you can enter to win one (or even snag it at my price) before it hits the shop!

Well, there's a few get to know me facts! 
What about you? 
Adulthood come knocking for you yet?! Any fun likes, dislikes?!
Share some "you" things, because I would love to know you better!

Have a wonderful weekend friends!! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas-ed! Our 2015 Christmas Recap

Hoping each of you had the most wonderful of Christmas days, filled with friends and family and sweet moments that made you pause and give thanks for the sweet gift of Jesus! Our day was filled with wonder and joy and coffee, a few moments that were so very bittersweet and memories that will be cherished forever.


 Favorite Tradition~ I worked all day on Christmas Eve, welcoming children into our children's facilities at church. I was walking babies, I was dancing and swaying to Away in a Manager and I was helping little hands make birthday cards for baby Jesus! It was a sweet time, watching their little hearts get so excited at the birth of our Savior! It was also a very loud time; a very fast-paced, on-the-go, 3-services-on-your-feet time. So when our services offering children's church were over and it was my turn to take a moment to sit in the quiet of a sanctuary listening to the greatest Love story ever told, I relished in it. The seat felt that much more cozy, the worship shot straight to my heart and the sermon deeply enveloped me. And then, my most favorite moment of all Christmas Eve was upon us. The entire church goes pitch black and one by one the candles that the congregation are holding get lit, as the flame is passed from one person to the next. And the sanctuary isn't so dark anymore; it is lit with the glow of hundreds of candles, while the band, and each voice in the seats, sing along to Silent Night! That tradition gets my heart each year. It is one that I can't ever remember NOT doing, as both the church my husband and I attend now and the church I grew up in do this same thing. I love singing along with a whole room full of people who are so thankful for the Light of the World that came to earth that Holy and silent night.

Christmas Morning Meal~ Waffles!! Always waffles!! One year my sweet mom tried to make a french toast casserole. And it was good- it really, really was- but somethings must stay the same. So my dad made his waffles and we sat down to a yummy breakfast before we began the opening spree.

Favorite Moment~ This moment was probably the one I will most remember from this Christmas. There was a tone to this Christmas that has been different then the last two. We will always miss my brother and we did shed a few tears, but (speaking for myself at least) the joy was closer at hand. The ache of missing him was still there, but the happy moments didn't feel as forced. The laughter came more easily and even the hardest of moments were enjoyed with a sweetness that only time can bring. Watching my niece open the gift that included memories of her daddy was by far the sweetest of moments on our Christmas morning. 
My niece, Makaylin, and her mom spend Christmas morning at my parents and I am so thankful for that and for the relationship we have. We all got to my parents around 9:30 and Makaylin was anxious to get started, but we told her she would need to be patient and wait until after breakfast. She just kept standing by the tree, waiting so patiently, that I told her she and I could go ahead and play Santa and pass out gifts while Surf Daddy was finishing breakfast. So we distributed the presents to their respective piles so that they were ready for each person as soon as breakfast was over. While getting ready to sit down at the table to eat she asked the most innocent of questions, not knowing how it would pull at each of the heart strings around her. "But what about presents for my daddy?," and we each sat speechless for a minute, because it's sad for our hearts. But then, I got to happily tell her that her daddy has better gifts than any of us because he gets to spend Jesus' birthday right by His side! And then her Surf Daddy (my dad's grandpa name) tells her that there is one gift for her and her mommy and her daddy all-in-one. She smiled and we commenced eating, but when it was her turn to open a gift it was the first one she wanted to open. She was so excited, it brought a sweet tear to this Aunt Mel's eye. She pointed at the portrait, looking at her daddy and her mommy and then herself as a baby, saying each name with such devotion in her voice. She loved it and said she wants to hang it in her room right above her play kitchen where she can always see it! I am so thankful for these two girls; for a sister-in-love that gets to forever be part of our family, for a beautiful hearted niece and for the sweet memories like this one, of my brother. This was a moment I will always cherish! 

Favorite Gift Received~ My mom had a custom made push pin map designed for us and Flo and all our travel adventures! We are pretty smitten with it!! Thanks Mom (and Dad)!! We are also pretty excited about the new travel grill that my parents got Babe! Flo was definitely spoiled along with the rest of us! 

Favorite Gift Given~ There were actually quite a few. My niece got so excited about all her gifts (I have never seen a child so excited about a new package of underoos)! I love the joy on the faces of my loved ones as they open something picked just for them. I guess one of the funnest gifts given would be for my mom, and though I wasn't the actual giver, I am considering it a gift by proxy since Babe gave it to her. He got her a cow calendar from Chick-fil-a and she was in hysterics. Literally she would read each months motto on the calendar and could not get through the description without cracking up, which in turn cracked us up. That gift got quite a lot of attention before the next person could open their gift (we go around 1-by-1, taking turns oldest to youngest so that everyone can see the others open their gift).

Favorite New Ornament~ Each year I try to make it to one of the paint your own pottery places and make an ornament signifying something special about that particular year. Well, that didn't happen this time around. So then, I had big plans of turning some of our adventure treasures into ornaments; that also didn't happen. Instead I used a Kohl's coupon to buy picture frame ornament and then had plans to fill it with a picture of Flo's first Christmas with us. I did manage to get that done... on Christmas Eve! However, you can't read what it says (Flo's First Christmas), or even see Flo for that matter, but I love it just the same. I mean hey, it beats the picture frame ornament that still has a piece of paper sitting in it that reads "Place in picture Mel and Babe Christmas 2007". We still hang that one every year and chuckle to ourselves! 

It really was a beautiful day and one that will stick in our heart, until we are all together to celebrate again next year!


What did your celebrations look like this year? 
Any favorite gifts or well-loved traditions? 
I would love to see how your holiday went, feel free to link-up any Christmas Recap posts, or use these prompts and join in on the fun! 


Monday, December 14, 2015

2015: A Year in Review

2015 is almost gone, so I figured a little trip down memory lane couldn't hurt! Join me? 

~January, February, March~
I choose a word for the year this year and while I didn't do as well with it as I should have, I have learned a lot about what surrender looks like and it has found it's way to show up in the most unlikely of places. 

We spent some time on the ski slops in West Virginia and boy did SNOW Shoe live up to its name for that trip!! 

And we bid ado to our Disney passes after a wonderful year of all things Disney. We closed it out with my favorite Flower and Garden yummy...
Watermelon Salad!! 


~April, May, June~
Maybe it was finally writing about our trip on the Carnival Breeze, but it was about this time that my thirst for adventure, and seeing the great unknown, really began to grow. So a lot of this chunk of time was spent dreaming about far off places and life on the open road. 

We soothed the wanderlust a little with a trip to Costa Rica to work with Agua Viva Serves, drilling wells in communities needing access to fresh water. Every trip I take with them is so eye opening and humbling. 

I also got to check a big item off the bucket list and be a beekeeper for the day! Oh, my honey loving heart was happy!!


~July, August, September~
Flo!! This was the big moment! We purchased our sweet little travel trailer and named her FloRida ReVa. Someday I will share with you her theme song, but for now here she is again!
This was her first moment as part of our family. Unfortunately, we had to leave her behind, but we were back a few weeks later to pick her up and bring her home!

This was our first full weekend all together, getting to know each other! 

She took her maiden voyage to Fort De Soto State Park and loved every minute!

We also took our annual niece and nephew adventure to Georgia, packed so much more than a backpack, welcomed the newest little nephew love, and I finally got to meet one of my best friend's sweet little baby boy when I went to visit them in Birmingham!

Other Favorite posts: Beautifully YOU!, On Grief and Glory, Orlando Tankful Adventures, An Ode to 17 Year Old Me


~October, November, December~
We kicked it in high gear with a little Tennessee road trip to see my cousin get married! And took what may be our Christmas card picture for this year. We have never sent them in all our 5 years of marriage and Babe wants to do them this year, but he also wants me to handle doing them (hence why we haven't before), so consider this your web version because this is probably as close as we will get...

We ran for recovery in a run hosted by my dad and the other men of the Mind, Body and Soul Surf Co. There was a great turn out and it was so heartwarming to see all the people who came out to support our family, be around so many people who loved my brother and to hear stories of those active in recovery and to meet the families who are helping them continue on in their battle against addiction.
I am so proud to call him Dad!

Flo took another adventure and we got to swim with sea cows!
We celebrated all we have to be thankful for and now we are hanging our stocking on the chimney with care and preparing for the birth of the best Gift we could have ever received!


Other Favorite posts: Thankful Things, Wish list things, The Ache of the Wait

And that's about it for the year so far! Slowly waving 2015 goodbye.
We will be closing the year out with Flo's first trip out of state and spending New Year's in/near Savannah. We have at least two full days in the city and have never really been (he never, me on a class trip in 6th grade). Any pointers for Savannah 1st timers? I would love to know where to eat!! We are doing Lady and Sons per Babe's request, but I would love to know some of your other favorites (I love fresh and flair!).

Thanks for following along with my year in review.
What did your year look like?!
Leave a comment (or link) below and let me know! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ode to 17 Year Old Me Then and Now

I am excited to finally be jumping on the Blogtember train! I knew I wasn't going to try to blog my way all the way through, but there were certain prompts that caught my eye. Today's was the first one that really jumped out at me, mainly because I had actually done something similar when I first started this blog. I thought it would be neat to go to the beginning of it all, see where I started, where I was at during that time in my life and where things have come. 

Today's prompt asked us to write a letter to our 16 year old self and while my original letter was to my 17 year old self I figured it was close enough that I could break the rules a little (I have been known to do that from time to time, just ask 17 year old me). I figured I would share my original post and then build on the letter with what I have learned in the 2.5 years since it was written. The original letter (or ode really) read as follows... 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Then
Ode to my 17 year old self
You think life is only going to exponentially get better and you think adulthood is some fairytale; Ha! Try again; life ain't no joke kid.  

You think that you will go off to college, be wild and crazy for awhile and then settle down; Ha again! You stay in your hometown for college (something you swore you would never do) by choice, you will get married as soon as college is over, after having spent the majority almost all of your college life acting as if you already were. 

You think that after getting married you will start a family right away and all will even out and be as it should; Ha ha!! You actually partake in some of that crazy college-like life that you didn't have about a year after getting married and realized that while fun, life happened as it should, you personally didn't miss out on much and had you actually done said "full-blown-crazy-college-life" you would not be where you are (God knew what He was doing).  You will also realize that as much as you assumed jumping right into having said baby would be a wonderful idea you had to learn to be a good wife first. Good wives set good examples for children down the road (or so you are now assuming). And you now know to think, "Life as it should be? What does that even mean?"

You will not even think about the things you will have lost along the road to where you are; please make sure you have told the people you love how much they truly mean. 
You will find comfort in the fact that you think she knew how much you loved her, but it will not make missing her all the time any easier. 
You think that things have gotten as bad as they can get with issues involving your brother; I am really sorry (for him and you and everyone) that that is just not true.  There is grace thrown in there though. You will learn how to play your part and when it is time to just bow out and realize that the best help you can give is to not try to fix everything.  You will learn to focus more on yourself and the things in you that need fixing. 

You assume that because you have stayed on a pretty good path you won't be tempted by anything "bad"; Oh contrare.  You just realize that temptation takes on different faces and while at 17 you would have never considered certain things "bad" they can still be just as damaging to your world if you let them be. 

You think that there may be the possibility of marrying the man in the picture next to you; yay for you! This one actually worked out for you (though there were times, due to your own ignorant head, that you could have wrecked everything).  Thank heavens the person next to you was already well on his way to being a stable, level-headed man and not some dumb boy who would have actually let you let yourself just walk away. 

You never think about how much said man in the picture will teach you; Oh my dear young soul; things; profound things (and not just laundry).  Remember to be thankful for him and not to take him for granted.  You do it far more often than you should; stop!


Oh the list of things I could continue to tell you about yourself and who you were and who we have become.  We are still changing.  We do not like change by the way (at least for right now), though I think I remember you did (does that mean that 26 year old you is scared of 17 year old you? Oh help us, maybe it does).  So I guess for now that is all I will leave you with, but please remember to be grateful always.  You have never had it all that terrible (and that is an immense understatement). 
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Now
Oh the feels I get when reading that now. There is so much that has changed and at the same time so much that hasn't. I think the biggest things I would add are... 

At 17 you don't know how broken the world can be, you had glimpses, but nothing to prepare you for the utter destruction that can hit a heart this side of Heaven. But you also don't know strength. Not yet. But you learn it, you watch it. You watch yourself and others pick up pieces that can't fully even mend on this Earth, but you pick it up at carry it. You carry yours, you carry others, and others help you lighten the load. You learn that this world is full of things that can trip you and take you under, but you learn that is also so very full (full to the brim) of Grace and Love and a community of people who understand that we need to have one another's backs in order to make life work well. It's the same community of people who supported you and shielded you as you grew. But now you are old enough to help them with that burden, a burden that becomes lighter as you work together. 

At 17 you don't know what losing a sibling can do to the inner workings of someone. But unfortunately you learned. You know that it can shift so many things inside your soul, but that you can still stay the same person all at the same time. You know that it can take you to the darkest of places, but that through that darkness there is a Light that only grows stronger in weakness and that shines in a different way now. 

You still take that boy next to you for granted too much, but there's a deeper appreciation for the man he is and the way he helps you follow your dreams! Praise the Lord you are learning to get a few things right in your old age. The man God gave you as a partner is so much better than you could have ever dared dream for, you've learned that along the way and you are still reminded of it all the time. He has taken the turns of life with you, the changes to your heart, and loved you solidly through it all. He has supported new dreams and held your hand as you worked through letting go of old ones. He, and your day-to-day life together, is your biggest adventure to date, don't ever forget that! 
Oh and guess what?! You have learned to embrace change! In fact, in some ways you have returned to your 17 year old adventurous soul. When your whole world changes in an instant you kind of have to roll with it. And you literally are. As in you bought an RV and plan to take the open roads by storm. You are dreaming of crazy things now, of changing the path your adult self had planned for your life. It's doubtful that you will really change it completely, but you aren't afraid to anymore. It's freeing really. You aren't as afraid of risks and change (part of you still thinks you should be), but instead the idea just incredibly excites you. 

And on that note I guess we will check back in in another 2.5 years. As which point this blog post will need to be written into a novel because it has just gotten way too long...