Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, August 28, 2015

5 Things for Friday: Loving Lately

Yay, it's Friday!! You get a Friday and you get a Friday, everybody gets a Friday!
I love hanging out with the ladies from the 5 on Friday! Here are 5 things I am loving lately! 

First 5 App
I love my new First 5 app. It is an App, run by Proverbs 31 Ministries, that has a small devotional devoted to the first 5 minutes of each day. As a quote lover, I also love that each day starts out with a quote like the one above. You can set your alarm through the app so that, upon waking up, there is a reminder to open the devotion of the day. It's purpose is to devote the first 5 minutes of each day to God. I had been looking for something that would hold me accountable of that. So often I would wake up and lay in bed for who knows how long and the first thing I would do is pop open Instagram or Facebook. I wanted something to do that would put my focus on a moment with Jesus before I did anything else. I tried it on my own, to just spend a moment in pray before my feet got out of bed, but there were many days I wouldn't. So far I am 4 for 4 with the First 5 app and I hope it stays that way. Not only does it help me focus my mind and heart on Jesus, but it has also helped get me out of bed and going quicker. I feel refreshed and ready to start the day, have a little breakfast and then sit down for more intentional devotion time and a less early morning brained mind. I love it! And it's free! So you should try it!

Trader Joe's Asparagus Risotto
I finally introduced Babe to Trader Joe's! And we finally decided to try the whole freezer, stove-top meal thing instead of constantly eating out or picking something up (or eating cookies for dinner, who am I kidding?!). We LOVE the asparagus risotto! We ate it alone this time (so that we could have cookies after dinner; I think my cookie obsession is getting out of hand) but next time plan to pair it with some chicken breast. If you haven't tried it yet, you should! It is delicious!

I feel like I can't do a post these days without mentioning how much I love Flo! I am so excited for our first big journey this weekend! We have our 'things to do' planned for our time in St. Pete, but we could use a little help with the 'where to eats'. Anyone know of any good lunch restaurants in the St. Pete/ Clearwater beach area? Think local, fresh flair. 

NOT going to the Apple Store! 
So, my new phone decided to just randomly quit on me. Just like that! Nothing wrong, just went dead. For over 6 hours!! I figured I was done for. I went to Verizon, but they couldn't do anything because it was past the 14 days. They said my best bet was to go to the Apple store and hope they could fix it, but that if not the Apple store could give me a new phone on the spot. I was actually thinking about going all weekend without one; horror of horrors, I know, but I didn't want anything taking time away from Flo's maiden voyage. Actually, a day without a phone was really nice and I was almost looking forward to a whole weekend without it. But then, I got home last night, tried the button one more time and voila, it was working. I don't know. I am just hoping it doesn't happen again. 

I love freebies and I love my oils. I have been using Young Living oils for almost 6 months now and love them. I use them everyday. I don't talk about them on here often because this space isn't really for that. But, in honor of Flo's first weekend leaving from home and her excitement about her new "no bugs" oil, she wanted to offer up a sale and figured I should share with you what I am sharing with my friends and family at home. So, if you have ever thought about trying essential oils now is the time. The starter kit is already on sale and I am offering one of my favorite summer oils for free (deal goes through Sunday)! Choose from either Citronella (to keep all those 'squitos away) or Grapefruit (tastes delicious in water and helps curb cravings/ kick up metabolism). Feel free to email me with any questions or if you want to jump right in you can order here (member number 9759174).

And with that I am off!! We are pulling out of the driveway in 5 minutes to embark upon Flo's first big adventure! Fort DeSoto here we come!!
Have a fabulous weekend y'all!! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Words for Wednesday: A Battle We Can't Lose

I was running late, I debated skipping service. I am glad I didn't. On Sunday at church we wrapped up Romans chapter 7. And it started with these questions...

What names do you try to live up to? 
What names do you carry around like a weight you can't throw off?

As the sister of an addict I took on a lot of them for a very long time. I was the "older brother" before I really realized what that meant. And I carried it around with me like it was something I had to live up to, like it was something I should live up to; at times even something I felt I should be proud. Growing up with an addict, or even just a sibling who causes trouble a lot, there can be that sibling who feels like they have to be the "good kid". That was me. You feel like you have to make up for all the issues that happen along the way. But it only causes more; more issue for you, more issues for everyone. It causes you to walk in a way that is not only unrealistic, but damaging.

When I was growing up I viewed Christianity in the same way I viewed being the sibling of an addict. I viewed it in a "I need to be better and do better, because that is what you are supposed to do" way. And it left me feeling resentful, it left me without relationship... it left me on the outside of my relationship with Jesus and it left me on the outside of my relationship with my brother. It wasn't until I was older, as I really began to actually pour into and explore my walk with God, that I realized that the weight of what I was asking of myself was not only too heavy, but that it was impossible and served no purpose. God didn't want me to act out of a need to please, God wanted me to simply be. To come to Him as I am, to admit to Him the brokenness that hurt my soul and to ask Him to fill in where I couldn't. He wanted me to adore Him as someone who wanted my trust and love more than he wanted my blind "rule-following."

It doesn't mean that I have really changed my ways. I still ultimately try to do good and make the right choices, but for a different reason. For the same reason that loving someone and being loved in return makes us want to be the best version of ourselves. For the reason that when we know we are so deeply Loved and cherished, we want to show our love in return not only with words but with actions.

When I realized the plight of the "older brother" and how lost he was, I broke. And that moment, though I didn't realize it then, was freeing. I was free to let go of the weight of having to be the "good kid" and I was free to build relationships instead of walls. And as my relationship with Jesus (and understanding of what Grace truly means) grew into a personal one, my relationship with my brother did too. Does that mean it was perfect? Does that mean I didn't struggle and grapple with my anger at the choices he made? No, I still did. All the time. But it did mean forgiveness had room to seep in (me for him and him for me). And it meant that I now have moments to be so thankful for after my brother ultimately had his struggle be one that took him from us here. And it also means that I can be so thankful that his struggle didn't truly win. That even though addiction is a horrible, ugly thing, that kills bodies and splits families wide open, it doesn't have the ultimate victory. It isn't the ultimate victory! My brother, with his brokenness and addiction and also his zest for life and huge heart, believed that Jesus came to save him. And Jesus did come to save him. And because of that, Jesus won! My brother's struggle didn't win. My own struggles won't win.

Today would have been my brother's birthday. Today IS my brother's birthday. I hadn't realized that when I first wrote the majority of this piece after Sunday's church sermon with plans to post it today. But I find it to be so ultimately fitting. Today John Wayne is celebrating with Jesus. Today is he having the best birthday party any of us could ever hope to have. Today he is winning at life!!  

The battle won't be easy, it was never promised that it would be. 

But you can approach a battle differently when you know it is one that you can NOT lose. 

And for that, I am thankful. Thankful beyond measure, beyond name, and beyond any need to be anything other than myself.
Photo credit from Summit Church; listen to the whole sermon by Zach Van Dyke here. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Funday! Fun with Flo!!

Happy Monday Friends! I hope your weekend was full of all things wonderful!
Don't ask why I am standing like a flamingo, my answer would be just as unsure as yours! We just go with it! 
Today is a day of firsts for this little space and I am nervous as all get out! I have never posted videos before (at least not ones of me), but I figured video documenting would be the best (and in my opinion funnest - maybe make that funniest) way to share our new travel trailer journey with you! 

My dream to get a travel trailer evolved into the little beauty that you will see in these videos. Her name is Flo (short for FloRida Reva) and I am so excited for you to meet her. She is quite excited too! Who may not be as excited is sweet Babe. He has learned to embrace this space I call a blog, but he doesn't like to appear on it, or be mentioned, much. You see his love and my love for social media are about as different as our dispositions (which is to say they are very much opposites). And he had refused any videos be taken of himself. However, he also had denied the idea of any sort of travel trailer at first, and well, we see where that got us. But he loves Flo already and is just almost as in love with her as I am. And I am also in love with sneaking him into my videos. I hope you enjoy these little snippets of our time testing out the waters! *Side note- the place we purchased her asks you to stay over at least one night so that they can help walk you through how to use everything and fix anything that may be an issue. It was so great, we stayed two nights!

Hello Flo!! Her Initial Hello (and goodbye)... 

I was smitten from the first moment I met her. We had been looking and searching, hitting up multiple RV dealerships and never feeling "right". If I feel pressured in anyway I will most likely walk away. Lazy Days made us feel right at home and then our sweet dealer stayed until way past closing time, helping us find just the right fit for us. Flo was the final model we looked at (after already having mostly picked another one out) and she was hidden "behind the scenes" in the incoming sell-back bay (her previous owners had already traded her in for a bigger model, after only 6 months). She was just waiting there, especially for us! Yay for the right timing and fit! Our first weekend with her couldn't have been any sweeter! 

 The Mechanics of It All... 
So learning the ins and outs of travel trailer life mostly boiled down to one thing for us, the toilet. Mostly everything else ran pretty self-explanatory, but the toilet, or to be more precise the emptying of it, got somewhat of the best of us. 
*Note- Don't do what we did and think you don't need gloves. We figured we would get some eventually, when we could didn't have to pay the uncharge for buying them from the RV store. "It won't be a big deal the first go round, right?" Just get them! It's not the prettiest of business. I would recommend getting some before you ever even get to the dealership. That was one thing we unfortunately left off the Target stock-up list. Not videoed: The obsessive hand washing that followed. 
**On another note- While I was quite impressed with my idea of flushing out the toilet with clear water in hopes that the tank meter would read correctly, Babe just decided to remind me of the actual flush valve located on the outside of the RV for just that purpose. Of course he decides to tell me that now that the video is done and I am all proud of my ideas (or really my use of Pinterest). 

Don't Forget the Bloopers... 
Oh bless this sweet video! I am somewhat partial to it, mainly because sometimes you just need a good laugh at yourself! This was suppose to entail all the things that went wrong with learning to use FloRida for the first time, however, I think it simply became a montage of things I just couldn't seem to get right. And God love my sweet husband, for a man who doesn't really want any video limelight he sure looks pretty sweet to me; not that I am biased or anything. 

Things I've learned from taking videos for sharing:
*Turn the camera sideways!! Sorry folks!! 
*Be super thankful for sweet workers who are super patient with your excitement and put up with you having your camera out the whole time they are walking you through everything. 
*Be super thankful for your husband who puts up with this same problem many days of his life; it's something were working on! I promise! It goes away a lot more than it used to. 
*Learn more about quality and use your nice camera! Again sorry!! 
I can not wait for all the exciting adventures to come!! First stop, Fort DeSoto and St. Pete! Friday here we come!! 

I loved getting to share these moments with you and I hope you enjoyed them! I hope you can forgive the poor quality! It's all a learning process. I am far more comfortable with still life than movie videos, but it sure was fun! 

And in honor of all the fun and Flo's first videos, I thought it would be fun to link-up together to beat some of the Monday blues. So join me by adding any post that you deem fun enough for "Monday Funday"! Peek around to enjoy the fun with everyone, but otherwise there are no rules, I'm not really huge on those around these parts! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sunday Currently

I am linking up for the Sunday Currently with Lauren over at Siddathornton. I haven't done a Sunday Currently in a while so I figure it was a good way to catch up! And then, in writing this post, realized that this entire edition of my Sunday Currently is brought to you in part by Flo, our newest addition to the family and that sweet little thing you see in the about picture. 

Happy Sunday, y'all!! 

reading: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. I love all her books and this one does not disappoint. I don't typically like period pieces, but this one is really keeping my interest! 
writing: This post and a post for Monday all about Flo. I am including my first blog video along with it and I am nervous! But Flo's excited! 
listening: to Jerrod Niemann's new song, Blue Bandana. That and Wild Child by Kenny Chesney have become some of my newest faves because I feel like they are such a perfect reflection of how my soul feels when I am riding with Flo! 
thinking: about all the new adventures we will be having soon and about our first big Flo-venture that we will be taking this weekend to St. Pete and Fort DeSoto. Any Florida (or even Georgia) friends out there with great ideas for adventures to be had?!
smelling: the hair product that is still lingering from dying my hair last night and dreading the fact that there is just more to come. Folks, I have dyed my hair from a box before many a time and have never had an issue but last night it didn't take. I used a different box than I usually do because it was a on sale (Garnier Nutrisse) and let's just say this time being a girl who always goes for a deal didn't pan out. I even did it twice thinking maybe I had missed spots by accident and ended up with the same results. (note: It has since been redone with Clairol and no more spots!) 
wishing: That it was Friday and that we could already be en route with Flo. I am noticing a trend... Just have adventure on the brain! 
hoping: For the grandest of adventures and less Florida rain for this upcoming weekend!! 
wearing: My cleaning clothes; I had tried to get some cleaning done and let's just say I hopped on here and... 
loving: FloRida Reva! I just don't know what else to go with, I am quite smitten with our new "baby." 
wanting: A warm cup of coffee! But I am trying not to drink caffeine after 3:30 (note: this post was written yesterday around 5pm). Maybe decaf? The fact that I even consider it is crazy! I swore I only drank coffee for the energy, I would never just drink it for the taste. But oh, how that sweet goodness of yummy has grown on me! 
needing: A good burst of energy so that I can actually be the productive person I planned to be today! Alas, I think the rainy afternoon blues have hit me, so I think the clean house will have to wait. 
feeling: tired; tired and excited!! We got 14 days of free camping with our purchase of Flo (thank you Lazy Days) and I am calling to book our very first campground once I am done writing this! Can't wait!! Fingers crossed that there is a corner unit that backs up to the woods! 
clicking: Through some other Sunday currently posts soon! But also trying to learn how to use this iMovie thing. Definitely a lot of clicking involved for sure! Anyone who has it down? I am happy to hear pointers! 

Hoping everyone has a beautiful end to the weekend and a great start to their weeks!! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Words for Wednesday: The Silent Pull

I found this gem a few months ago and I loved it the moment I saw it. At that point in time my dream of Flo (our new RV) was just that, a pull that was silently drawing me further. I had never pictured myself ever wanting an RV, but with a new found thirst for adventure mixed with the chance for quiet moments, where we could pull away from the world for a bit, a dream started to grow. It grew slowly at first, silently, and then with more passion and voice. And now that dream has become a reality and Flo is currently sitting in my driveway. I leave her each morning with a smile, thinking about all the places we will go and the moments Babe and I will share together. And then when I come home, especially after a long day, she gives me an afternoon burst of excitement and I remember the dream and the journey to make it real. 

Today my hope for you is that you let yourself take a moment to be pulled by what you really love, by the things that bring you joy and renewal. I pray that that silent draw can grow and that you share it with someone and let it tug you onward and that soon you find yourself dreaming of where that love will take you! 

Our first morning with Flo, waiting for her to be serviced at the dealership. 
So what's pulling you currently?