Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, February 6, 2015

5 Things for Friday

5 fun things this week in this crazy household! 
Snow! Beautiful Snow! 
Babe and I just got back from Snowshoe in West Virginia and we could not have been blessed with the most perfect ski weather! We typically ski Snowshoe in March in years prior, but had booked for earlier this year and we are glad we did. We have never seen so much snow. The big northeast snow storm didn't hurt us either. It was piled high!! If you are planning a ski vacation soon and can't spend the big bucks to fly out West I totally recommend Snowshoe. It's a wonderful resort and it is also a great place to learn to ski if you have never been. There is a great mix of runs and enough variety that you can work your way up, but the runs aren't so long to where you feel like you are wearing yourself out too quickly. We really find it to be the best resort to ski on the east coast unless you are able to make it up higher into Vermont. We drive it so it's the perfect destination to be able to reach it without feeling like you are spending more time in the car than on the slopes. 

Thrifty Cold Weather Shopping 
If you are anything like me, you love a good vacation! You love it even more when you save money on it. While Snowshoe has gone up in price just a bit since we originally started going almost 10 years ago, we still find it to be very reasonably priced. And with gas rates at their new glorious low driving there was our best option (I am also a lover of road trip time so that was a perk in my book! As long as the drive is under 12 hours I would much prefer the car to a plane). However, trying to make sure you are prepared for cold weather can get pricey. Best way to save some dollars is to plan ahead. We bought our ski clothes at an outlet during the summer and prices were super low. I also typically stock up on Hothands hand and foot warmers when they are in the dollar spot at Target (plus you can't beat getting super cute Disney ones). You can get double packs in many cases and if you wait until you get to the slopes to buy them they will be upwards of $3. Same thing with waters and Gatorades. We make sure to grab those at a Walmart before going up the mountain. Prices skyrocket once you reach the smaller towns/ ski resort, plus the selection is a lot smaller. 

The Maze Runner Series
I have been making my way through The Maze Runner series and have been loving it! I devoured the second one in two days (though the road trip home definitely played a large part in that). I highly recommend it if you are a fellow book lover! 

Getting Excited for Birmingham
Making me miss the long dark hair! Excited for time with these sweet ladies! 
A few years ago my mom and I and a girlfriends mom flew out to Birmingham to visit my childhood friend who moved there when she got married. We had a great time eating our way through little cafes, hiking and window shopping. We are doing it again for Valentine's Day weekend. I am excited for a little girlie R&R!! My girlfriend always has some of the best little adventures planned and I can't wait to see a little taste of how she spends her days now that she is a wedding planner. You can check out her sweet site at Kalee Baker Events.

Valentine's Day Prep 
I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, so me being gone it not that big of a deal for us as a couple. We will probably do a Disney night one night before I leave. However, being in the classroom this year I have found it fun to watch the kiddos get excited about Valentine's Day. I have been having fun pinning Valentine's Day crafts and coming up with ideas for their little goodies. If anyone would like to use it I have created a Valentine that can be used to go along with Extra gum. It is free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.   

Hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend!! 
Any Valentine ideas for a wifey who's never been huge on the day in the first place? Feeling like trying to leave a festive gift for while I'm away. 

Linking up with Christina and the other wonderful 5 on Friday ladies! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Words for Wednesday: Choosing Him

I have never heard of The Chaos of Stars, I am not sure what kind of book it even is. But these words speak to me. The word chaos itself has always spoken to me, it was such a part of my life for so long. But then, the stillness came. The unmoving, calm of stillness that came in the form of a 5 ft 11 inch man. God knew I needed him. God knew that my lifetime, my wild soul, my wandering spirit needed him. It hasn't been easy; we were two kids (well more so me than him, I don't think he has every really been a kid) trying to navigate life as we morphed into adults while trying to also learn to work as a team. I won't lie, there were times when I asked myself "is this right? is this the place I am supposed to be?" But I know what those questions were, they were my own doubts of being able to make it through the tough stuff. I had always been one who liked to use the easy exit. When life gets tough I tend to revert into a world of my own, to fill my mind with outlandish fantasies in order to pull my head out of reality. I do what needs to get done to keep up the world around me, but inside I am somewhere else. And he is not much of a talker, not one to contemplate over crazy dreams. What he is is sturdy. He's the wall you lean your back against when you would otherwise just fall over. He is exactly the quiet peace I need. 

I am a fire. 
He is the fireplace containing my path of destruction. 
I am the waves, pulled by the unseen force of the moon to the shore. 
He is the shore, steady and unmoving,
Always catching me at my breaking point 
and letting me beat against him when the storms kick in. 

And so this marriage makes no hard and fast exits. It looks for no ramps off the interstate and even if it sees one in its peripheral vision, while driving through a bumpy patch, it keeps its eyes straight ahead. It heads toward the goal of a life long and well lived (God willing) until it can hold one weathered, wrinkled hand in another. It chooses to love life at its best and at it's worst, because that is exactly what marriage is. It is choosing someone not despite their faults, but because of them. It means choosing to love the messy counter tops because someone didn't put away their breakfast cereal (sorry Babe! I try). It means choosing to laugh when ones wife gets miffed that part of the salad ingredients are missing and so she storms out of the house to go get them rather than just eat the salad without them. It is the choice we make to try to be the best version of ourselves all the while knowing that when we fall short we will be loved anyway. He teaches me what choosing means. He teaches me that growing together as one, but also as individuals, can be a beautiful ride. He shows me that choosing to do even the most messy parts of life together is what this world is all about. For that I will always choose him. 

This quote, from Eclipse, hung on the wall at our wedding. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Words for Wednesday: A Winged Soul Favorite RM Drake Quotes

RM Drake Quotes
Today's Words for Wednesday quotes are just some of my favorites (a very small portion really) from R.M. Drake. Though I know he has intended them about someone other than himself, there is something in them that speak to me on a personal level about my own soul. I have always been a head in the clouds, fly-away, dreamer. It is that part of my soul that will always be forever grateful that God chose a man like Babe to be my husband; a man that knew that part of my soul needed to stay wild and so he nurtures it, loves it and lets it fly, because he knows that is the way to keep it flying home...   
RM Drake QuotesRM Drake Quotes

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Words with Friends

Friends, the welcome to adulthood version!
So, after the first week back at school, and back to a realistic schedule, I came home and took to the couch where I then proceeded to not move. For the entirety of the afternoon. Did you know that the all 10 seasons of Friends are now on Netflix? Well, they are. I had planned to simply watch the final three episodes, which I did. I laughed, I clapped, I awwed!! I loved it as much now as I did in 2003 (yup, 2003!) And now I am well into the middle of season 1. So much for just a few episodes, right?

Watching Friends as an adult, you pick up on things you didn't as someone coming of age. You still watch the story, you watch it unfold for characters you fell in love with so many years ago, but somehow the words mean something different now. Or else you just hear parts you chose to ignore before.

5 Things I Reheard (with adult ears) while watching Friends
"Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gunna love it."
- Sure 'nuf! As a teen I know exactly what I heard "real world (ie adult world), you're gunna love it!" That whole it sucks part? Went in one ear and out the other. Adulthood was this glorious thing, that I was going to enter into, fully knowing myself, my place in the world and how it was all supposed to fit together. Adults sometimes forget to mention that to children, you know the fact that it doesn't all fit together right. Or did I just fail to hear them? Probably. But I do love it. It sucks. Somedays it sucks real bad. But then there are those days, or even those little moments that shine inside the really sucky days, that make me remember I love it. It's real, it can be real sucky, but I love it.

"When did it all get so complicated?" 
- Somewhere, at some point along the way it got way complicated. But that's ok. It's supposed to be complicated, if it wasn't we wouldn't be here, we would be in Heaven.

"What if we dont get magic beans? What if all we have is beans?"
- There are days where I feel like I have no beans. No beans anywhere. And then somedays? They feel like days full of copious amounts of magic beans. Days where I have beans to share with the world. "You get a magic bean! And you get a magic bean!"

"Do you have a plan? I don't even have a pl."
- I thought for sure I would have this amazingly, wonderful, glorious plan for my life by the time I hit the age of 25 tops and then by the time I hit 28 I would have it nicely tied up, with a beautiful bow sitting atop. Well, I have had many of those said plans. And then reality set in and God said, "that was really sweet, but that's not your life." And now here I am with a job I LOVE and a community of people I am blessed to have in my life. And yet, I would tell you that I just have a pl at this point. I am still trying to figure out what the rest of my life is going to look like when I "grow up" and that's ok. It's all a journey.

"I've got magic beans."
- The scene ends, the episode is winding down and the questions we all ponder as adults have been thrown around. "How do we find the magic in it all?" And the answer is, we really never have to find it. It is always there. It is in the little moments, it's in the friends we hold close to our hearts- you know, the ones that never leave you even especially when life starts to pour- it's in the small blessings that fill each day. We all have a pocket full of magic beans, we just simply have to see them for what they are.

Monday, January 12, 2015

One Little Word: Surrender

Halfway through 2014 I heard about this idea of 'One Word', of choosing a single word to help focus and change you through the year. I have never been good with resolutions. One, because I am a horrible long-term, follow-througher and two, because I feel like if you really want to change something or start something new, why not just do it, why wait? So the idea of one word to help me work with, to fit into my life, instead of a goal to work towards was appealing. I have also felt this yearning for something to help me focus during my devotional time and I think 'One Word' will help do the trick.

But that still left the task of finding the right word. What should I focus on for a year? What should my heart strive to, reflect on, build from?

To be honest I think God has been morphing this into my word for 2015 since I first heard of the idea. He has been planting seeds, watching how I water them and waiting for me to start tending them. Or really to start letting Him tend them for me.

He has been asking me to surrender.

And in typical fashion I tried my hardest to work around that. To keep surrender from being my word for this year. So it is only fitting that in order to choose my word, I had to surrender to it. Surrender to God. To let Him win the battle I had been waging over my idea of the "perfect" word. My original thought: "Surrender? Really? Why not create or joy? I would like a little bit more of either in my life."

Yet, so many times this year I have found myself saying, "Let it go. Let it be..."
After a year of nothing, of numbness and trying to walk through the darkest parts of my story without losing myself, I came to a new understanding of who I was. Of the way I worked around my life, constantly running on an invisible hamster wheel, turning things just so and at just the right speed to keep everything going. As if I had ever had any control. And when it all came crashing down I realized the truth; that there had never been any wheel at all. And so, in trying to figure out where to go without one, how to move forward without spinning wheels that weren't going nowhere, I heard this small little voice persistently calling me to just "surrender, to lay it all down." 

It was as if I could hear God telling me,
"Surrender. Let go and let Me. Surrender to me so that you can embrace more of me, embrace more of what I have for you. Know that it will be good. It may be hard, but it will be good. It will be by My plans, not by yours, but it will still be good. Remember, I work for the good of those who love me. So love me. Love me without plans and control, just let go and love me and it will be good. See where I take it."

And so I shall do just that. This year I will surrender.