Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MoTD: 14th Birthday

Since today is my birthday (woohoo), I'm looking back on my birthday ten years ago.
It feels weird saying "ten years ago." I'm getting old.
Anyway, on my 14th birthday, I woke up and put on a pink, green, and burgundy striped turtleneck, jeans, brown Skechers, and a lime green bead bracelet.  Before I left for school, I watched some of Princess Diaries with Ashley and my mom gave me one of my birthday presents - a stuffed "Marie" (from Aristocats) from the Disney store.  Its collar said "October" and it had a pink stone around its neck.
At Southwest Middle School, we had some kind of testing that day, so it was a chill day - the day before report cards.  I remember watching a movie about Vietnam in Mr. Hairston's language arts class and wanting to go to Asia.  I ate lunch with my friends.  Lunch time was the best.  We had sooo much fun laughing til we cried every single day at the simplest things.
After school, my mom picked me up and when we got home, I watched Princess Diaries with Ashley (She was three years old and on a Princess Diaries kick. She used to watch the same movie over and over all day. Usually 4x a day). Then we went to Carter Brothers (me, Mama, Ashley, Granny, and Michael. Daddy was out of town). SO YUMMY. Carter Brothers has always been one of my favorite restaurants.
When we got home, I opened my gifts. I got a silver heart charm bracelet and other great things, but the very best thing was my very first Elvis cd!!!!
The cd was "Elvis Number Ones." I had wanted it for one reason - to find a song I'd heard on the radio and fell in love with (but didn't know the name) two months before. I wasn't an Elvis fan by any means...........yet.
But that night I became an Elvis fan. I found my mystery song - #29 on the cd. BURNING LOVE. I listened to it over and over and over in my room that night and decided it was my favorite song. It has been my favorite song ever since. And I have loved Elvis ever since.

My 14th birthday was definitely one of the best birthdays I've had. When I think back on that birthday, I think about simplicity and happiness. I've always wanted my birthday to be like that - filled with the people I love and enjoying the things I love. It was a VERY special day :)
Do you have a particular birthday that stands out to you??

Monday, October 29, 2012

Picking Pumpkins

Picking pumpkins with Zach is so much fun!
We both like to act like kids.
I just LOVE this time of year.
I love how the pictures turn out
with the orange pumpkins
against the amazing blue sky.
I love having free weekdays so that we can do stuff like this.
We picked two awesome pumpkins to carve.
I love the Farmer's Market
and seeing everything that's been harvested.
I love the air
and the colors
and the laughter
and Zach
and fall.





Sunday, October 28, 2012

This Morning

I've just felt kinda lonely lately.  And it's dumb.  Because I'm surrounded by lots of wonderful people.

But that's just how it is.  I'm kinda going through a rough patch right now, and I think for some reason everything seems a lot worse than it really is.  In any case, I've been feeling down, due to some things that are going on right now.  Nothing too terrible, just things.  Just life.  Life is hard sometimes.  Life is hard a lot of the time.  That's just how life is.

So anyway, I was gonna go to my church this morning like usual, but instead I asked Zach last night at like 11:30 if I could go to church with him and his family.  So that's what I did.  I went to Sunday school at my church, and then rode with Zach to his church.

God had a plan.  He knew how I've been feeling and heard my prayers.  It gives me chills to think about how amazing it all turned out.  This morning Zach's pastor had planned to speak on finance as the third part of a series he had been doing on Sunday mornings.  But he said that at about 1 am, he kept thinking that maybe he should talk about something else that had been laid on his heart.  I was amazed at the lesson that followed.

The pastor talked about trials and how life is full of curves being thrown at us and how we have to learn to be happy even in the bad times.  He talked about how his first marriage failed and how that was a hard time in his life, and I thought about how he's married now and has a daughter and a grandchild and how God blessed him after he went through that rough patch in his life.

He stressed the fact that humans will fail you.  He said not to expect anyone to be perfect.  That is something I am struggling with right now.  I asked God just yesterday, "Why isn't 'so-and-so' there for me during this hard time? Why aren't these people acting like they care? What have I done to deserve this??" I couldn't see that the answer was clear all along, and I was blind.  All the time, I was asking God why people around me weren't comforting me, when the One who IS The Great Comforter was the One that I was talking to! He is the only one I need, He is right there, and I was still asking for more - for human support, not thinking about the fact that God is enough.  God is ALL we need. 

The pastor said that we cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we respond to them.  He said, "we can't choose our river of life, but we can choose the way we stand."  It was there, right in my face.  The answer to all of the questions I've been asking over the past few weeks. 

He also said that trials don't take a vacation.  Trials will be there always.  God will never ever give us more than He knows we can handle, but trials don't take time off.  Lately, I've been saying, "This is such a bad time for all of this to happen.  My birthday is coming up, and October is my favorite month, and I just can't handle all this." But what I heard this morning is right.  Trials don't say, "we'll give her a break because it's her birthday month."  God knows I'm strong and He knows I need to grow spiritually and He knows that I need to learn to fully rely on Him.  He knows these trials will make me stronger, and most of all, He knows what's best for me.

I'm going through trials for a reason, and one day (sooner or later), I will see exactly why everything has happened the way it has and I will be so grateful and thank God for the way things turned out.  I will continue to have trials, but I hope I will look back at this and remember the sermon this morning.

Finally, we need to remember that God can do anything.  He can end our pain and bring happiness like nothing else can.  And we just have to be patient and learn to listen to Him and accept His guidance and know that whatever is going on, there WILL be a better tomorrow.

I was almost in tears this morning listening to the message because I just KNEW that God had spoken to me through that pastor.  I knew that God had worked it out so that I would be there this morning and so that the pastor would change his sermon and that I would hear that and feel so much better.  I am so humbled and feel so close to God.  He cares about each and every one of us so very much. 

God is so good!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

BeautiFALL October Days

Just to highlight some of the fun things I've done in the past week, I'll start with Thursday.
Last Thursday I had to work but class was cancelled, so I got home early and went to see Pitch Perfect with Rebecca and Sarah in the afternoon.  I'm used to going to movies at night, so an afternoon movie was a nice change.  Pitch Perfect was hilarious and the company was great!
Afterward, we ate at Chili's and had some much needed (for me at least) girl talk.
After dinner, I went and got my sister and we headed to Party City to try on costumes for my party.  I tried on almost all of the Disney princess costumes and the ones I really wanted didn't fit right :/ But Ashley really liked the ones she tried on and had to decide between Hello Kitty and Superwoman.  It was a whole lot of fun - I love going to Party City at Halloween and looking at all the costumes - I've always loved to dress up and Halloween is the best excuse to.  It was a really fun girls' night!
On Friday I worked out at HPU (one of my favorite things to do) and then Ashley and I went with Brooke, her sister, and their mom to Burlington to shop.  We went to Target (Alamance Crossing in Burlington has a great Target).  I got a couple of cute tops and Ashley got some tank tops for dance (for like $3 each!). 
Afterward, we ate at McDonald's.  We didn't hang out for very long, but it was such a fun afternoon all the same.  It was one of those October Friday afternoons that makes you so glad you're alive because everything all around you just seems magical.  I swear there's something in the air.  I was so happy I didn't even care that I had to go to work (actually I never really care, because it's extra money and I like working, but you know what I mean).
On Saturday, my brother and his friends and I went to a friend's wedding.  It was the cutest little country wedding ever.  It was so sweet.  I'm really happy for Ryan and Katie!

Adorable idea they got from Pinterest - each guest leaves a fingerprint on the tree!

Taylor, the groom (Ryan), my brother (Michael), and Morgan

Also on Saturday, Sarah, my sister, and I went to Scarowinds (the scary version of Carowinds, the amusement park).  This was the sky on the way there:

I absolutely love Carowinds and I LOVE riding roller coasters at night.  I will always say it is one of the very best feelings in the world.  Something about it seems to clear my head and make life make sense.  It is such a liberating feeling.  Maybe I'm crazy!
waiting in line for a ride!
selfies in our Sunday clothes

On Sunday, we had church and it was great as always.  Then my family went to lunch as usual.  Then Zach and I went to the mall and the whole family (and Morgan) went over to my grandma's to get stuff ready for the estate auction we're having on Saturday.  I'm having a REALLY hard time with this because it seems like everything in the house has so much sentimental value to me, and it's really hard to see all her stuff go.  I know she's in a better place and her stuff doesn't mean anything and we don't need it , but it still breaks my heart.
But Zach and I took Honeygirl over there and we walked her through the neighborhood.  Then after Zach left I walked Honeygirl again, this time all over the whole neighborhood.  It was nice.  It was cool outside and Honeygirl had SO much energy so we walked and walked.  It was pretty special.
Afterward, me and Ashley went to get Chinese food and took it home for everyone.  YUMMY!


And here are a couple of beautiful fall views that I've captured this week - the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to Appalachian, and the gorgeous backyard of my grandma's house:

I just love this time of year!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

MoTD: New York City!

"I wanna wake up in the city that never sleeps..."

- Two years ago yesterday and today!
My first visit to NYC was amazing.  It was very cheap, too.  Zach and I rode the Sky Bus (?) "China Bus" from Greensboro to NYC for $40.  Sounds sketchy (and it was - verrry sketchy), but it was so worth it! We went to stay with Chanelle because she was in college at New York University. 
When we got there, we couldn't even catch a cab (Southern tourists-typical).  I had to call Chanelle and she told us how to be aggressive and flag one down.  Once we got in a cab (finally) and got to Chanelle's, we went out and spent the next two days touring NYC with the best tour guide ever - Chanelle! I got to see EVERYTHING I had always wanted to see since I was a little kid because Chanelle had been a great BFF and made an itenerary before we got there.  I had told her what all I wanted to see. 
Seeing everything I had seen in movies and on television was AWESOME.  It was surreal.  I was such a tourist.  Seeing the Statue of Liberty was crazy.  Macy's was fantastic - especially the Christmas floor.  

I also got to meet Chanelle's friends that I had heard so much about, and went to Campus Crusades with them.  It was a truly amazing two days.  I can't wait to go back!


Rockefeller Center

A cathedral

Juicy Couture

F.A.O. Schwarz

I was THRILLED to see the Plaza Hotel - Home Alone 2 is one of my favorite movies!

We signed our names on a rock in Central Park

Brooklyn Bridge

So windy!

Everything was pink in this store!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Little Things

I've gotten some little, cute things over the past few weeks.  I just love finding great deals, and after spending a little too much money (UGH) on stuff lately, it's nice to find little things that don't cost much.  The little things in life are what make us happiest, after all (even though the BEST things are completely FREE!)
Anyway, I got this adorable jack-o-lantern rug for my bathroom for $2.50 at Target...

And Belk's had a great sale, so my sister and I got Kim Rogers watches - BUY ONE GET ONE FREE! They look expensive, but we got both for $30. I got a white one and Ashley got rose gold.

This morning, my friend Shannon showed me these REALLY cool indie/vintage/trash-to-treasure stores in downtown Kernersville, and I found these amazing guitar pick earrings I just had to have for $9.

And best of all, yesterday at Barnes & Noble, I found this awesome bookmark.  I was feeling down, and it immediately made me feel better when I saw it, and I needed a bookmark anyway. $4. I love it!

What little things have you found lately?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Day at the Farmer's Market

The Friday before last (I'm SO behind), Ashley, Mama, Granny, and I went to the Farmer's Market to get pumpkins! Before we picked our pumpkins though, we ate at the Moose Cafe at the Farmer's Market (where I used to work for a couple years), and the food was tasty as always! We got 10% off our meal for wearing pink for breast cancer awareness too.  Can't beat that.
We had so much fun walking around and looking at everything afterward. We got pumpkins, gourds, yellow and white mums, and some corn. It was so special and fun! I loved the colors and the company.
Going to the Market every year to get pumpkins was a tradition that me and my grandma kinda had before she passed away - that was our thing.  So of course I think of her every time I go now, and it makes me kinda sad. But I'm SO grateful that I still have special people to go with!