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Pensacola Weekend & Friendship

Over the long weekend, I went to Pensacola to visit one of my best friends and her sweet daughter. There’s something so precious about friendships that stand the test of time, distance and various life stages. Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said, “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” I can’t think of a better way to sum up friendship and the joys it brings.

Enjoy a few photos of our time together! Also, how pretty are these Florida beaches!? My home state sure is a pretty one. Surprisingly, this was my first real trip to Pensacola and I thought it was a really cute town. I liked the diversity, things to do and pretty Florida scenes everywhere we looked. IMG_7432 Continue reading

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2017, let’s do this!

I love the excitement and hope that a new year always seems to bring. We are very much looking forward to this 2017 year and all of the possibilities it brings. Like a lot of people, I always try to start out my new year with a set of goals rather than resolutions. Oftentimes, these goals build off of previous goals I’ve had, because I truly believe that we should never stop seeking to become better people. I read this the other day and thought it was a good mantra for me this year: “The proper response to the grace you experienced in the past is thankfulness, and the proper response to grace promised to you in the future is faith. We are thankful for the past grace of the last year, and we are confident in the future grace for the new year.” (Full quote can be found here.)

Annual New Year's hike had to be moved to New Year's Eve. We got snow flurries, mini hail and rain on our hike! So exciting!

Love the Sawnee Mountain hike! It never gets old. Last year’s New Year’s hike photos here.

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What I’ve learned from 2016

Okay, I think we all say this every single year…but really, where did this year go? We’re in the last month of 2016. Wasn’t it just 2009 and I was graduating high school? And then college flew by and now I’ve been married for almost two years. But, here we are celebrating the end of a really exciting year. Oh my goodness, we had so many sweet memories this year (see my 2016 travel diary here). 2016 has been full of lessons (as is every year), but I think this year was especially challenging, exciting and beautiful for me. Our world has seen so many hardships, really scary things, political divides and challenges of getting through to a stressed out “microwave generation.” Over and over again this year, I was reminded that this place is not our home and it is well with my soul despite what the world around me tries to say. That’s ultimately the only true hope we have and the entire reason we celebrate this season.

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I always said one of the best gifts my parents could’ve ever given me was the gift of siblings. And man, these guys are the jackpot rockstars of siblings. :)

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Life Lately

The month of October has been a much needed change of pace from the rest of the year. It was filled with evenings with friends, visits from family, a cooking class, farmer’s market mornings and antique shop finds. We’ve been able to work on our house a lot lately and find a bit more time for “staycations.” Also, I finally got to bring out my fall sweaters and it felt so good. :) Here are a few photos of life lately.

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One of our favorite parts about our city is Main Street and how much our town is investing in this area. It’s given us a few really awesome restaurants and some great memories with friends.

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Summertime lately!

It’s been a busy summer, which is why I haven’t written in a while. We bought a house, didn’t have internet for a month (thanks Comcast), went to Hungary on a mission trip and now we’re back dealing with the challenges of home ownership. Somewhere in between all of that, we went to Blue Ridge with family and had a couple of local adventures. We’ve also had a lot of water damage. We had to move out of our apartment early because pipes kept breaking upstairs. So, we had to move into our new home a month early and less than a week before we left for Hungary. After we got back from Hungary, we had some water damage in our new house. Thankfully, things seem to be getting sorted out and I’m looking forward to the beginning of the school year.

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5 Things I’ve Learned From Teaching

Earlier this week, I finished another school year and this one was one of my favorites. Sometimes there are just classes that will forever hold a special place in your heart because of the collective personalities of the kids, their sense of humor and the way that they love each other. This was definitely one of those classes. I will genuinely miss these guys, which made their graduation bittersweet. I also really love the school I work at and the people I work with, so the end of the school year leaves me feeling grateful and genuinely excited for next year. Next year, I’ll be taking on a different age group, K4, and I can’t wait! I have learned over the last three years that early childhood education is an area of education that I thoroughly enjoy, because it’s challenging and rewarding. I love how much of an impact you can have when you’re helping the kids grasp new concepts, encouraging manners, teaching them how to be good citizens and helping them have more successful school careers.

Working in education these last three years has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. There’s patience, organization, diplomacy, and a slew of other skills you have to polish while educating children. I love how this career path has forced me to think outside of myself and find ways to help others. I like that I can be creative and literally get paid to do just that. I wanted to share 5 things I’ve learned and been reminded of as I work with kids. The more I work with this age group, the more I realize that pretty much all of the basic concepts adults need to be successful in life can be learned in these early years of education. Continue reading

And these too. :)

A long weekend & thoughts on friendship

I just got back from an amazing long weekend back home with my family and friends, celebrating Mother’s Day and one of my best friend’s gender reveal parties (she’s having a girl and I couldn’t be more excited!!!). Some of my favorite things in life are getting to celebrate my friends’ big moments in life. Like having babies, new jobs, getting married, graduating from grad school and living out their dreams. I really can’t imagine life without friends who put so much meaning into your life and help show you pieces of your own heart. And this past weekend just left me feeling so grateful. Continue reading

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Our 1st Anniversary

This past Monday, Matt and I celebrated our first year of marriage. I just can’t even believe we’ve been married for an entire year already. It’s been the sweetest year with lots of challenges, laughter, joy, growing and learning. There’s no one I would rather have by my side as I try to figure out life. Here’s a look back on our wedding day and what I had to say about being married for 6 months! Also, here’s a video of our wedding day. It still makes me cry a bit 😉

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My Quarter Life & Lessons Learned

This weekend marks my 25th birthday. How do I feel about turning 25? Well, since you asked…honestly…I’ve been a little nervous about it. Twenty-five is a big deal. It’s a quarter of a century, it’s officially old in the eyes of kindergartners and it’s a little too close to thirty. But, then I remember that age is just a number and it’s all about making each day count. When I was a teenager, I really thought I’d have it together at 20 or 22 or 25. But, the older I get, the more I realize you actually never truly get it all together. And that’s kind of a relief. I do know that you never stop learning new lessons and you never stop needing God’s grace.

So, in honor of this very big birthday of mine, here’s a look at what I’ve been learning over the past year and how God’s been working in my life. I promise, it’s worth reading. 😉 Continue reading