Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 26th | Part 1

This story is written like fiction, but it is very true. It happened in October of 2012, so some of the details may be a little hazy to me but the story is as accurate as I recall. I wanted to have an account of the craziest thing that happened to me in my life thus far & thought it would be fun to write it in story form. Enjoy!


It is going to be such a rushed morning, I thought as I brushed my teeth and picked out an outfit for the day. 

I am in my last semester of college and taking classes I have pushed off - Computer Information Systems and Concepts of Chemistry. Yuck. Computers and science aren't really my thing, I am an accounting major after all! I scheduled the classes back to back in order to get them out of the way. Then a college student's worst nightmare happened - both classes scheduled a test for the same day. Today, in fact, October 26, 2012.

The reason this morning is rushed is because I have a doctors appointment scheduled first thing - at the same time as my Chemistry test. I'm actually glad that I scheduled my appointment for this day, even though it made the morning rushed because it allowed me to push off my Chemistry test until Monday. This way, I will have all weekend to study for it, which means I can put off the studying also! Nothing gives you senioritis quite as bad as having classes you don't care about in your last semester. Right after my appointment, I have to head back to school to make it in time for my Computer Systems test.

I should be thinking of what's on my computer test right now, but I am actually thinking about how I have been engaged for almost two months. The wedding is quickly approaching! Just last weekend I found my wedding dress, and everything is coming together nicely! The wedding is only 6 1/2 months away, and at the moment I feel like the only thing standing in my way is this doctors appointment & graduation. In a few hours, however, I will realize just how wrong I am.


I walk through the door of the doctor's office, sign my name on the clipboard, and sit down to fill out all of the fun paperwork. While I wait for my name to be called, I glance at the other women in the waiting room. I wonder what their stories are, if they're pregnant, or just here for routine visits. I wonder what a yearly check up involves, how long it takes, and think about how much I dread going to doctors.

My name is called and now I am about to find out all about it. The check up is relatively quick and in 15 minutes we are all done and the doctor asks me if I have any questions. I do, I have one question. My stomach has felt like there is pressure in it for the past few months. I worked full time at a desk job over the summer and I am wondering if I gained weight being so inactive? I don't notice it unless I'm laying on my stomach or I push a finger into my stomach.

The doctor says now that I mention it, she thought she felt pressure also. Most women get nervous at these kinds of check ups, so she thought it was due to nerves since this is my first appointment. But maybe she ought to do another check right quick.

I definitely feel something in there. Great, why couldn't it have just been a bladder issue? I'm going to have you come in for an ultrasound next week. Let me make the appointment and I'll be right back.

The door closes, and my mind starts racing. I did not expect to come in here and leave with an ultrasound appointment. I'm not even pregnant, why am I having an ultrasound done? What is it that she feels exactly? Maybe it's small since she didn't feel it until the second time. 

The doctor comes back in and the sound in her voice makes me uneasy. On second thought, better have that ultrasound today. I don't think we need to wait until next week.


[to be continued]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

real talk | the big picture

i posted about vulnerability earlier this month. i used this picture in that post because it is one of the pictures that comes to my mind when i think "vulnerable". any picture taken straight on makes me feel exposed and awkward.

i have always disliked this picture, but Thomas tells me that he loves it because it looks natural. no one else had seen the picture until i put it in that blog post. then sweet Stephanie posted a comment on that post that kinda slapped me in the face. her comment said "robyn. that first picture of you…. is so beautiful…. and the way thomas is looking at you!! oh gosh! ♥"

the reason her comment struck me is because she saw something that i couldn't. everytime i looked at this picture, all i saw was me and all i thought was that i looked awkward. i was so blinded and focused on that, that i didn't notice anything else about the picture. i didn't notice how Thomas is looking at me like i am his most favorite person in the world.

isn't it the same with life in general? we get so focused on ourselves & what's going on in our small circle that we don't see the big picture(ha!). we miss out on beauty because we're focused on what we see as our flaws. we miss out on joy because we are unsatisfied with our part. we miss out on huge blessings because we are focused on a very small piece of the puzzle.

that's why we need other people in our lives. we need them to see things differently & to share it with us. we need others to help us zoom out and see another perspective. if we are constantly laser focused on one thing, we miss out on a lot!

how do you keep your eyes on the big picture?
what photos of yourself make you feel vulnerable?

Monday, October 27, 2014

renew retreat

the weekend before last, i went on the Renew Blog Retreat which consisted of 15 bloggers hanging out in the Tennessee mountains. it was something way out of my comfort zone for this introvert, but it was so much fun! i had put "do something out of my comfort zone" on my 30x30 list so i have crossed another one off! 

there were a few bloggers coming from South Carolina, so i was able to drive with Kaitlin to the retreat! we definitely had an interesting road trip to the cabin & it was a lot of fun getting to know her better! we had delicious lasagna friday night & then spent some time introducing ourselves and playing games! they also gave everyone a swag bag full of awesome Etsy goodies! (i've put links to each Etsy shop under the picture below so you should definitely check them out!)

Saturday morning we had biscuits from the biscuit shop Rachel works at & they were so amazing! then we headed into Gatlinburg for some shopping & lunch. a few of us went to a winery where they let you taste 8 different wines for free, including a wine slushie! the tasting was a lot of fun!

once we got back to the cabin, we all went out into a field and took pictures - because that is just what bloggers do. it was awesome that there were 5 photographers on the retreat & they took some really great pictures of everyone! you can see some of Amy's pictures here & Madison's pictures here

we had dinner Saturday night and some great conversations about the Lord, blogging, and stories. it is so neat how everyone has different perspectives & everyone has something to contribute. God made all of us so unique yet we compliment each other in community. it's awesome to see in action! 

Sunday a lot of girls left early because they had long drives back home. Kaitlin, Madison, and i grabbed breakfast at a local cafe before hitting the road. the weekend was so refreshing - just to be away from the normal hustle & bustle of life. it was so fun to meet all of these bloggers in real life & just hang out and learn from each other! 

hymn print - Riley Writes Scout | headband - LavenderandLinen | coffee cozy - KnotaDream 
felt garland - Steph Loves Ben | cup - Mollie and Lou | towel - Vintage Home Studio 
burlap welcome print - Gingerly Styled | hair ties - Shop Jessa Olson 
scripture bunting - December Caravan | Renew bag - Oh Simple Joys

check out the other ladies & read their recaps of the retreat!
Madison | Wetherills Say I Do | recap 
Jenna | Dearest Love 
Kaitlin | Sew My Soul | recap
Kristen | Couple of Cloyds

have you ever gone on a bloggers retreat?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 random things

last month, i did my first 5 random things post & had a lot of fun coming up with what i wanted to share! i love reading random facts about other bloggers - things that wouldn't come up in a normal blog post! coming up with these posts actually help me learn more about myself in the process! so i may do these posts every so often from now on!

o1 the only makeup i wear is mascara, blush, & chapstick. sometimes, i will wear eyeliner but that is reserved for special occasions. i stopped wearing foundation years ago & i don't think i will ever go back! i don't have perfect skin by any means, but my skin has cleared up so much since i stopped wearing foundation! (plus my budget really likes the extra money!)

o2 Thomas & i don't have cable. he didn't have it while we were dating & we haven't had it since we've been married. that is probably one of the best decisions we made going into marriage!

o3 i prefer paper towels over automatic hand dryers any day of the week.

o4 i work in the same office as my dad. when i first started working here i was known as "Steve's daughter" - but now that i'm married and have a different last name, not many newer people know that we're related. we work in different departments so we don't really see each other that often.

o5 i have fun writing a blog & sharing my life through this place... but i much prefer reading blogs. in fact, if you're wondering which blogs i read frequently, click here!

tell me something random about you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

real talk | you are lovely

this was originally a guest post on Taking Steps Home as part of Amy's you are lovely series. i am re-posting it here because i still need the reminder each and every day!

i remember reading an article in a magazine when i was younger, around 6th grade. the basic premise of the article was that it didn't matter if you had a few extra pounds, some guys prefer a lovely personality over a lovely figure. i remember reading that and being so happy because that meant i could possibly have a boyfriend at some point in my life. because even if i couldn't shed enough pounds, i could work on my personality.

how sad is that?! i think that sheds a lot of light on how our world views what it means to be lovely. we try to find loveliness in magazines, clothes, and makeup. we consult the world on what it really means to be beautiful. when all the while God has told us what it means to be beautiful in His word. but often that is the last place we look for our definition of beauty.

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Song of Solomon 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

i could talk about so many things when it comes to viewing myself as lovely. my weight has gone up & down throughout my life. i have struggled with learning to love my body for years and years. i have fought with my hair for so long - straightened it every day for years, then finally leaving it curly and learning to love it in it's natural state. tanning because i am so pale, and finally learning to embrace my light skin tone. there are so many things i have learned about God and myself through these struggles. but today, i wanted to dig a little bit deeper.

because the thing that makes me feel most lovely isn't straight hair, tanned skin, or being my "ideal" weight. the thing that makes me feel lovely is when i am in deep relationship with Jesus. He sees me as lovely, and the closer i get to Him the more i can see it too. the thing that makes me feel lovely is doing what i was created to do - live intentionally and live vulnerably.

any picture of me taken straight on makes me feel vulnerable

susceptible to being wounded or hurt
open to criticism

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means not wearing any makeup, letting the world see what you really look like behind the mask.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means wearing your heart on your sleeve, and leaving yourself open to be hurt by others.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is weak, ugly, even childish.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is unattractive and not desirable.

pictures at flattering angles make me feel lovely

having a beauty that appeals to the heart as well as to the eye
of a great spiritual beauty

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable is to be lovely.

the Lord would tell us that He created our outward appearance and to Him we are all beautiful. we are not beautiful because of what we look like necessarily, but we are beautiful because we are a reflection of Him. we were made in His image & He is lovely.

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable has little to do with appearance and much more to do with letting people into our lives. after all, letting people see us without makeup isn't all that vulnerable at all. true vulnerability is allowing people to see our sin, our struggles, our doubts, and our fears. true vulnerability is opening up the darkest parts of us and allowing people to speak into it. true vulnerability is doing life with other people & pushing each other on towards Christ. there is nothing more lovely than that.

the Lord would tell us that being vulnerable is the strongest thing we can do. because when we are vulnerable, when we share those deep parts of us with others, we give them permission to be vulnerable too. and when everyone is being vulnerable & sharing their lives & spurring each other on through sin - that is the beauty of community. that is how we were created to be. that is lovely.

that is what i want to focus on in my life. i want true vulnerability & true beauty. i want to see people for who they truly are - i want to look past outward appearances and get to know someone's soul. i want to see loveliness the way that God sees it. and i want my life, my actions, my heart to be lovely because they are so close to the Lord. i want to be seen as lovely because Jesus can be seen through me. 

some of the loveliest sunrises are after the darkest of nights. some of the most beautiful flowers grow through the ugliest of thorns. and even though being vulnerable can be painful, it is so worth it. even though being vulnerable can hurt, it is lovely.

what does "lovely" mean to you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

passport to fun | Athens, Greece

our September passport to fun date ended up being an early October passport to fun date! this time we went to Athens, Greece! i am not a huge Greek food fan, but Thomas loves it! so we picked up dinner from one of our favorite Greek/Italian eateries. 

Thomas got Chicken Souvlaki for his dinner & i tried a little bit of it. it is probably one of the Greek dishes that i would enjoy! i just can't get into the Tzatziki sauce but Thomas absolutely loves it! if i could replace the Tzatziki sauce with hummus that would be my perfect meal!

we were a little short on time, so we took the food home & watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding while we ate! i had big plans for a toga party for 2, but Thomas wasn't exactly thrilled about it! ha! we didn't have any white sheets, so we forwent the togas & just enjoyed a low key date at home, family style. only, a lot smaller than a traditional Greek family! 

do you like Greek food? what's your favorite dish?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY type

i love handmaking stuff, but i am not that great at lettering. i'm a perfectionist & can never seem to get the letters to look right. i will write a letter, it will end up looking funky, i will try to thicken it to look better & it just turns out so horrible. so i am all about stencils! the thing i love about stencils is that they give you a good starting point, but the options are endless for how you can customize each project! 

i recently got a great stencil set called DIY Type by Dana Tanamachi. included in the book is a large alphabet set, a small alphabet set, and a few design stencils. the first few pages of the book are ideas of how to use these stencils including card making, clothes design, cake & banner decor, wall decor, etc. there are so many things you can use stencils for that i never would have thought about! 

i have some fun ideas of how to use these stencils for Christmas wrapping this year, but i also wanted to try these out before then! writing with chalk is so difficult, so i tried out the stencils on a chalkboard & i love the way it came out! i will be using this chalkboard for our Christmas decor this year! i also customized a journal, a few gift tags, and a coffee mug i am giving as a gift!  

how do you use stencils?

i received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for review purposes. regardless, all opinions are my own.

Monday, October 13, 2014

week recap

- at the start of the week, it got cold enough to wear scarves in the morning & have the fire on at night! although i am not ready for winter at all, the chill is welcome for now!

- one of my favorite things about coming home after a long day of work or adventure, is having pets around the house! there is something so wonderful about coming home to a little animal that has nothing but love to give you! (although 3 pets is a little much at times!)

- we do our Christmas shopping all year round so it doesn't hit the bank all at once. we got a lot of gifts in September, and ended up finishing all of our shopping this weekend! we hit the jackpot on great deals & i love that we have all of our Christmas shopping done already!

- on Saturday we went to a pumpkin festival in a little town nearby. it's basically food, games, and crafts. this is our second year going & we love finding little unique crafts!

- cold mornings
- nights by the fire
- new books
- pumpkin festival
- slow saturday mornings
- thrifting

- Samantha's analogy about hiking & taking one step at a time in life is so great!
- you are loved. you are enough. you are worth something.
- with the holidays coming up, these DIY washi tape tags are the perfect little addition to gifts!
- be careful with your words. great thought to remember!


how was your week?!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

autumn | hay ride & corn maze

last weekend, Thomas and i went to a local farm to have an autumn filled saturday afternoon! we were originally supposed to meet his family there, but the plans got changed. we decided to go by ourselves anyways because i had never been! we did the hay ride & corn maze combo and it was so much fun!

the hay ride took us around the farm & down the pumpkin trail. there are scarecrows hanging from the trees that we had to push out of the way & duck out of the way of as they are swinging. then we were given some cow treats & were able to feed the cows that came up to the hay ride. the way cows get food from humans is to open their mouths wide & stick their huge tongue out. it is a talent to feed a cow without getting licked! 

the hay ride stopped & let us off at the pumpkin patch. there were baby cows that we could pet as they were being fed. there was also a "pig chase" that the little kids could participate in. i'm not a little kid, but i really wanted to get in there & hold a pig! there is also a playground at the pumpkin patch with tire swings, football throws, etc. so that was fun! 

included in the cost of admission, is a pumpkin from the patch for each person! so Thomas & i got to both pick our favorite pumpkin & take home! after the hay ride, we beasted the corn maze! it's a 10 acre corn maze & we completed it in 33 minutes! we were eating boiled peanuts while walking through it, so we think we can do it faster. we may go back again this year to see if we can do it in under 30!

there is a cafe on the property where you can eat lunch or get a sweet treat from the ice cream shop! there is also a produce barn where they sell fruits & vegetables from their farm. they still had some peaches so we got a basket of them! also, they had squash BOGO so we got 2 baskets of it for $2! #shoplocal 

what fall adventures have you been on this year?