Wednesday, September 30, 2015

this man

this man who encourages me to chase my dreams.
this man who shares my passion for adopting.
this man who prays for me often.

this man who re-directs me when i'm off course.
this man who gives me grace when i make mistakes.
this man who apologizes when he makes mistakes.

this man who reminds me how much i'm loved on days when i don't like myself.
this man who encourages me to turn to Jesus.
this man who gives me grace freely.

this man who makes me laugh on a daily basis.
this man who brings me coffee & a smile on crappy work days.
this man who will carry my purse around DC when i get tired.

this man who takes trips to see animals because i love them so much.
this man who makes plans with me in mind.
this man who is patient, laid back, and spontaneous.

this man who provides strength when mine has run out.
this man who is my anchor.
this man, he's pretty great. ;)

Monday, September 28, 2015

apple picking | a family affair

the last weekend in August, my family went apple picking at an orchard in NC. it's on top of a mountain, so it's aptly named Skytop Orchard. :) visiting an orchard is fun anyways, but have you ever noticed that everything is more fun when you bring a 3 year old along?! 

we spent time walking through the apple trees while Jonah showed us which apples to choose. his toys helped to pick the apples off the tree too, so thoughtful. we were pleasantly surprised to see peach trees in the orchard as well. i'm not a huge apple fan, so i mainly filled my basket with peaches! 

we got apple donuts, and apple cider while we were there. Thomas, Jonah, and i all got apple cider in an apple cup, so naturally we had to get a picture of our apple cups together! :) after apple picking, we spent time feeding the animals. after watching the joy Jonah expressed when he fed the goats, i have no doubt in my mind that he is related to me! we also got to see baby peacocks! i have never seen baby peacocks before but be still my heart they were so cute! 

are there any fun public orchards where you live?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

the first date | year five

4 years ago on September 22, a girl who had just returned from Alaska sat across the table from the most handsome man in all the land & a cup of coffee started it all.

no matter how far we go & how much we grow, it's good to look back and remember how you started. it's good every once in a while to remember your roots. 

one way we personally do that is by recreating our first date each year. i'm kind of sentimental so i come up with ideas like this a lot. but i'm really glad that we have this as a tradition. 

honestly, i am more nostalgic thinking about our first date than our wedding day. i guess it's because the first date was the very, very beginning. so new, in fact, that we weren't really sure if this was an official date or not back then. 

i remember the subtle transition of just being casual friends to spending time together to dating. and it's just fun to look back and see how we have evolved from that very first unofficially official date. 

now here we are 4 years later, well into our third year of marriage. in some ways our first date seems like it was just yesterday. and in some ways it seems like a very distant memory. so much has happened in these four years that has caused us to be challenged and grow, yet at the same time everything still feels new. 

maybe that's just the way marriage is. i hope so. i hope to never lose the excitement and anticipation that is falling in love. yet i want to continue growing in the comfort that is old and mature love. the stability and the sureness. 

pumpkin decorations, the changing of the leaves, and the chill in the air are all signs of fall, and signs that i love. but i would have to say my favorite sign of the arrival of fall is recreating our first date! :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

matron of honor diaries | the wedding

in May 2014 one of my best friends got engaged. in August 2014 i helped throw a bridal shower for her. and in September 2015 she finally became Mrs. Crumpton! Jenna is one of my first friends to get married, so this was my first time being in a wedding since my sister's. only this time i was the Matron of Honor and it literally was such an honor to help her get ready for her wedding! 

they had a really long engagement, so it was a long time coming but everything went off without a hitch. i love all of the fall colors that she used & all of the simple but beautiful decorations. the week of the wedding was super busy with last minute stuff being put together, and i was definitely exhausted after everything was said and done, but it was completely worth it.

after the rehearsal on friday, we all went to dinner at this cajun voodoo kind of restaurant. the food was really, really good! we ended up sitting with another bridesmaid and her husband and had such fun time hanging out with them. especially when she told me that she does a Harry Potter camp during the summer & Hogwarts becomes real for those few days. i'm trying to figure out a way to get out of work and help at the camp next year! :)

Saturday morning we all went to the salon with the bride and got our hair and makeup done. it was really fun to just hang out and do girly things because that's definitely not my scene on the regular. the wedding went super smooth & the reception was a lot of fun also! including the selfie photo booth they had set up which Thomas and i definitely took advantage of! after the reception, Thomas and i took some pictures on this old train in the middle of town which was a lot of fun & i love the pictures we ended up with! 

after over a year, it seems kind of weird that the wedding is over and done with now. but it's really cool to see your friends that you've known for years get married & start a new chapter in life!

Monday, September 14, 2015

the number one way to change your life

is it dramatic to say that feeding ducks can change your life? maybe it is. maybe i'm dramatic. i've been making frequent visits to the ducks downtown since my work moved me there in April. i have a favorite spot where i go & always find this same group of ducks hanging out. i've met a few different people while i'm hanging out with the ducks. 

a couple from out of town asking about the area, a man exclaiming he loves this city as he watches the goslings & ducklings waddle about, a man happily exclaiming that he feeds these ducks every day and that they remember him. 

taking time to feed the ducks has kinda changed my life. it's shown me more about the world and the people around me. it's made me more aware of the details in life. it's shaken my perspective and it's been good for my soul. 

of course there's nothing magic about feeding ducks in itself. it's just the simple joy in my life that has exposed me to a better part of this world. it forces me to be quiet and rest in the moment. i really escape everything when i'm with the ducks. (do i sound like a crazy animal person? cause i am.)

it's just me, the rustle of the leaves, the stillness of the water, the ducks, and sometimes other people that i would probably never cross paths with otherwise. 

i walk out to the ducks one day during lunch break and i see him. a man dressed in everyday clothes. pretty nondescript. he would blend in with the crowd except that i see him. and i recognize him. he's the man who came up to me and Thomas a few days ago and asked us for money. 

he's homeless and he spends his time downtown asking for money or food. i don't know the story of how he got here, but i know this is his reality. the other day as he walked away, a passing thought had me wondering what, if anything, we have in common (other than being human). i wanted to know more about his story.

and here he is feeding the ducks. my ducks. (they're not really mine but i feel like they are because i see them everyday.) i watch him as he freely gives food to these ducks. it's beautiful because i know he doesn't have much, yet here he is giving away. i find myself smiling at him.

a thought hits me in this moment. as i smile at the way his laughter and joy are all consuming. a thought hits me that i may be the only person who smiles at him on this particular day. it's a sad thought, but it's mostly sad because it could very well be reality. 

does he have friends on the streets? or does he stay to himself and sleep alone each night? are the only conversations he has during the day with people who avoid him, laugh in his face, or turn him down? is he used to people being afraid of him or turning their eyes away?

maybe that's why he likes the ducks. they don't care where you're from or what you look like - they are just thankful you brought them bread. 

how does feeding ducks change your life exactly? it's so special because you make a connection in that moment. you share the joy that feeding ducks brings (or whatever that simple joy may be in your life) and you realize there's someone out there that shares this with you. you realize you're not alone. and the world becomes smaller for just a little bit. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

a cozy mountain getaway

for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. we don't really do a lot in the gift department. instead, we gift each other with experiences & memories. we prefer this because we would rather spend money on something we can experience, instead of something else to sit around and collect dust. of course, we both have so much stuff already so there isn't often something that we just want or have to have. and going on little adventures are good for the soul & the marriage!

so, for my birthday this year, Thomas planned a surprise mountain getaway for us! he found a really good deal on a cabin for 2 in Gatlinburg and it was the perfect cozy weekend! even though it was August, we did (briefly) enjoy the hot tub once the sun went down! we have also been to Gatlinburg a lot in the past year, so we didn't feel like there was anything we had to do which was nice. 

we just hung out around town, played some mini-golf, and explored places we hadn't been to yet. we got to feed bears at one of the general stores in Pigeon Forge so that was a neat experience! they have this huge enclosure with 3 bears just hanging out. you can get a cup of apples & grapes to throw down at them and they just love it. 

then on our way out of town we drove down a nature trail Thomas had found with old wood houses. we were at an overlook when we turned around to see a black bear about to cross the road towards our car. she was closer to our car at that point than we were, so we had a frantic moment of trying to figure out how to get to our car before her. luckily another car drove up at that point and scared her off into the woods in the opposite direction. she had 2 cubs with her so it was neat to see but maybe a little too close for comfort at one point! :)

what's your favorite getaway destination?