Saturday, January 23, 2016

"The Girls are Back in Town" Holiday Weekend

Well, the Blizzard of 2016 has pretty much wiped out my weekend this weekend, but thankfully last weekend was so great that it doesn't matter too much.

Last weekend was stellar. Not only was it a long holiday weekend, but a few of my best friends that live out of town came in for the weekend. 

On Friday evening, Grace came in from the coast to spend the weekend in Gboro for a conference. I got to spend some quality time having coffee with her in her peaceful hotel lobby as we caught up and just had a precious, wonderful time talking about the future and The Lord and sharing bits of fears and encouragement and faith. I cherished the time so much, especially since Grace is going to be studying abroad in Australia for the next few months and I won't get to see her!

On Saturday, Leanna (bride-to-be) came from VA and Elyse (bridesmaid) from Charlotte. We had a wonderful lunch at Olive Garden, followed by a trip to the mall to try on bridesmaid dresses and shoes. Maxie B's was next in order of business (one of the best bakeries in the area) for cake and more catching up and heart-to-hearts. We had Potbelly's for dinner (my first time experiencing what I later learned is a popular sandwich chain up north). It was a lovely day and made me feel so grateful.
I'm SO stoked to be such a huge part of Leanna's big day and so happy that she found a wonderful guy to spend the rest of her life with. 

That evening, my sister, Sarah, Grace, and I had coffee at Caribou and more hotel lobby/heart-to-heart time (I was blessed with so much of that this weekend!). It was so relaxing and I soaked it all in with gratitude. 

Sunday was January 17th. 
(January 17th is always a pretty hard day. On January 17th, 2010, my brother's best friend passed away. They were seniors in high school. Some of the darkest days of our lives followed. And on January 17th of 2014, the little beagle that we had loved and cherished for 13 years passed away, leaving us distraught. It was like the day was cursed, and I decided I hated January 17th forever.)

But this January 17th was good.
I spent quality time cuddling Emery and snapping pictures of her in the light dusting of snow that fell that morning. 
I was a part of the TLC show My Big Fat Fabulous Life as an extra for the first time, at the dance studio I went to as a kid - Greensboro Dance Theatre. That's all I'm gonna say about that for now, but when I say I'm "excited" about this new opportunity, that's a huge understatement.
(Stay tuned!)

Monday consisted of a lot of good food (including discounted doughnuts from KK) and a good gym session.

Last weekend was JUST what I needed before life gets super crazy. :)



Falling in Love (Ten Years Ago)

Ten years ago this week, I started falling in love. I was seventeen years old, starting my second semester of my junior year at Southwest High School. My first class of that second semester was English 11 and that's where everything began. The spring semester of 2006 is one of the major pivotal times in my life thus far. 

(As I am now 27 and about to start my second semester of my first year teaching at Southwest High School, in the same classroom where I had English 11 and everything began, I can't help but look back and reflect. It's actually really cool. I'm so glad I've been given this opportunity.)

So I was seventeen. Still had braces, but was getting them off that week (SO excited). Had a nice Jeep. Made good grades. Was in a ton of clubs. Extracurricular activities included dance class and cotillion and eating McDonalds double cheeseburgers every day after school. I wasn't expecting the growth and change that 2006 would bring (and I hope I can look back on 2016 and say the exact same). I wasn't expecting to fall in love...

I fell in love with country music. It was on this week ten years ago that I fell for Rascal Flatts after resisting country music for years. I had been forced to listen to Alan Jackson and George Strait and bluegrass in the car with my dad since I could remember and watch the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights growing up. I always thought the Rascal Flatts were cheesy... until I was watching the American Idol auditions on this week in 2006 and one of the contenders was singing "Bless the Broken Road" and the show had a flashback to Carrie Underwood singing the same song for her American Idol audition. I fell in love with "Bless the Broken Road," and a few weeks later with Rascal Flatts. ...and then, like a domino effect, with all of country music.

I fell in love with English class. I had always enjoyed English, but everything about this class just made me see things differently. Mrs. Nix made English come to life in a way that I had never experienced. She talked to us as if we were all adults and treated us in a way that made us feel respected, and shared her funny life stories with us. Her passion for the literature was something I'd never seen (and try to emulate every single day). 
I fell in love with American literature and The Color Purple and The Crucible and The Catcher in the Rye and analyzing literature and inferring meanings in texts and trying to imagine what the writer was thinking when he wrote this or that. 

I fell in love with the idea of college. It was becoming closer and there were so many options. I hadn't thought much about college before (the plan was to become a movie star, and they don't need college!!!), but Mrs. Nix was so enthusiastic about her experience at NCState - it was inspiring!  She made us to a college project that simulated applying for college and scholarships so that when it came time to actually do those things in a few months, it would be really familiar and not half as overwhelming. Like a practice run. I became excited about college (might as well be - my parents were going to make me go anyway, of course)!!

And yes, I did fall "in love" with a boy in that class. As in love as a seventeen-year-old with the whole world ahead of her can be. We were great friends, but it pretty much stayed that way, and I was plagued with feelings for the next couple of years, and this "love" earned me a great grade on a college paper in my first writing class at HPU (because Mrs. Nix had inspired me to major in English, of course!) as I poured my heart out in an open letter to the guy, and my professor was both moved and impressed. 
Which caused me to fall deeper in love with writing.

Ten years later, I can only HOPE that I can inspire at least one kid in the way that I was inspired in the spring of 2006. In that same magical classroom. THIS IS WHY IT MEANS SO MUCH TO ME! This post explains it all!! It's no coincidence that I landed back in the same spot ten years later; this is all the Lord.

I am teaching creative writing this semester, which provides so much flexibility and opportunity. I hope my passion for writing changes someone's life for the better. I hope someone is inspired to take a college writing class. I hope someone is inspired to pour their heart out on paper and realize how therapeutic it is and how even if the writing doesn't change the heart of another person, it can provide relief or closure (or a good grade :)). I hope someone is inspired to try something new and realize they love it. 

Just like I did.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

December's Best 'Fits

Ever since middle school, I've been pretty serious about dressing festively in the month of December. To me, it just doesn't feel right if I'm not wearing red or green. Here's a look into this past Christmas season's wardrobe choices, with the staple pieces being:

A plaid blanket scarf from Target
A plaid blanket scarf from Walmart
Emerald pants
A good red vest
Some Fair Isle
Black tutu
Red cardigan 
Red/green jewelry
Sequin bow shirt, a la Walmart


Church / house hunting

Work / Christmas play

Holiday stroll in Uptown


Work / Jr. League party

The sparkly shoes make any outfit instantly fabulous.

Fair Isle and flannel for a day in the mountains.

Tacky Sweater Day at work


A day in Southport

Would you guess that these dresses are from Target?! 
(above & below)

Christmas Eve was my favorite <3

Until next holiday season.....


Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 #GOALS (not resolutions)

Goals for 2016:

1. Complete the first three books of Emery's series and send to possible publishers.

2. Go to four states I haven't been to (flying through doesn't count).

3. Meet Tim Tebow (duh).

4. Stay in constant prayer. "Deepen my prayer life" will be "prayer is my life."

5. Keep my gym attendance up - 4x a week average.

6. Keep my Boone streak up - I've been to Boone at least once every single month since I moved back home.

7. Don't sweat the small stuff.

8. Read ten books (outside of high school novels I teach).

9. At least 10 blog entries every month.

10. Five random acts of kindness each month.



13. Enjoy and savor each moment.

14. Keep my car clean.