Wednesday, June 27, 2018

passport to the park

we bought a state park passport at the beginning of the month & we have been enjoying all the free entrances to the state parks around us! there are over 40 in the state, and a lot of those are around us because we live towards the mountains. we realized we would be going to one on Father's Day weekend, a beach trip this summer, and a beach trip in the fall... so we figured we might as well get the passport and go as many times as we want during the year! we love hanging out in the woods and hiking when we have free time, so we have definitely already gotten our money's worth out of the pass!

a few weeks ago we decided to head to a park near us after church just because we could! we wanted to take our basset with us because she hasn't gotten to get out on an adventure in a while! we took her for a walk on the easy trail around the lake and let her stop and watch the canoes and paddle boats for a bit. it had already started getting really hot around these parts, so we were glad the lake trail had tons of shade! but it was still a pretty hot walk, so we stopped for shaved ice afterwards! I think that was hound dog's favorite part of the trip!

Monday, June 25, 2018

the strength of a woman

my grandmothers are some of the strongest women I know
one day, I hope to have the kind of strength they do

the strength to love again
after losing the one you thought would be your forever

the strength to carry on
after losing a second husband

the strength to keep on smiling
after losing two precious children

the strength to keep on trying for a baby
after ten years have passed without one

the strength to hold onto the gospel
after being paralyzed from a stroke

the strength to keep up with
the many great-great-great-grandchildren your legacy has bore

the strength to get through PT rehab
the third time in a year

the strength to fight for lucidity
when dementia takes hold

the strength to love so many people
after seeing the darkest parts of this world

yeah, they're pretty amazing

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Charleston Tea Plantation

on our way back from the beach a few weeks ago, Thomas took me to the Charleston Tea Plantation! it is cool because it's the only tea plantation in North America! the next closest tea plantation is in Argentina! you can see the fields of the tea plants & take a factory tour to see how it is processed! they explained the differences of how black tea, green tea, and oolong tea is made and it was interesting! 

you can also have unlimited samples of different hot teas & iced teas in the gift shop! so that was yummy! the plantation itself is also gorgeous because of the massive oak trees and moss! we had a fun time looking around the gift shop, tasting the tea, and walking around the plantation! we also got to visit the world's largest sweet tea! haha! and I love the sign showing the next closest tea plantations around the world! so neat! it is also right down the road from the Angel Oak which is a 60 foot tree that is estimated to be about 400-500 years old! so, we had to stop by there while we were so close!

Monday, June 18, 2018

chocolate chip pound cake

when I was younger, my mom had a friend that made us a chocolate chip pound cake one day. I forget the occasion because all I remember is how delicious it was! it is called a pound cake but it's really not like pound cake consistency at all. it's made in a bundt cake pan and is super moist! I made it when we had people over for our Memorial Day hike & grill out and it was a big hit! I like it because it's chocolate, but it's not too sweet because there's no icing! it's best when it's hot and the chocolate chips are melted!

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3.9oz) box chocolate instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
8oz sour cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar

o1; combine the first 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk to remove large lumps. 
o2; add oil, water, eggs, and sour cream. beat until smooth
o3; stir in chocolate chips, then pour into a greased and floured 12 cup bundt pan
o4; bake at 350 degrees for one hour (or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean)
o5; cool cake for 10 minutes and remove from bundt pan
o6; when cake is completely cool, sift powdered sugar over cake
o7; enjoy the yummiest chocolate cake!

what is your favorite type of cake?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Botany Bay, South Carolina

on our beach trip a few weeks ago, we drove an hour and a half to visit Botany Bay Plantation. we have seen photos that people take of the natural beach and have wanted to go visit ever since! it is a natural beach and people aren't allowed to take shells, so they leave all the pretty ones around for others to see! there are also a lot of trees overturned laying in the water, and it is such a fun place to take photos!

the beach is part of a plantation, so you can see parts of the plantation as you are driving to and from the beach. the beach is a half mile walk from where you park, but it is a pretty easy walk! the beach has a ton of shells on it, so walking barefoot isn't the best plan! but it is still fun to explore and we got a lot of great photo ops! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

twenty seconds

when I originally decided to pursue a career change & graduate school, I didn't write much on the blog about it because it couldn't be public knowledge. we needed to figure out how things were going to work with selling our house, moving to a new city, and me quitting my job. the last thing I wanted was for it to somehow get back to my manager before I could tell him that I was leaving. so, I realized there are parts of the story that I don't have recorded, which I would like to remember when my hairs have all turned gray. (which may be sooner than we think cause those grays are popping up like crazy lately!) 

Thomas and I started seriously talking about grad school in October 2015. we went to an open house to find out more about the program towards the end of November 2015. (which you can sneakily see was our day trip to Columbia on November 20 in this post!) we met with a lady in admissions for my program and I left the meeting thinking that there would be no way I could do the program. she was trying to make us think about the realistic picture (which some of that is needed) but it was almost 100% discouragement. I almost started to cry as we left her office because she had convinced me it wouldn't be possible. 

BUT Thomas said "if we have to move here for two years for you to do the program, we will make it work" and "you can quit your job, we will make it work" and "if I have to make the 4 hour round trip commute every day to work, I will" and that was that. then we started praying hard about it, and I got my application and references completed, and all along the way we got confirmation that this was the step we needed to take. there was so many unknowns and we basically said "Lord, if this is supposed to happen, make it happen." and He did. 

originally I was wanting to continue working full time during the first year of the program, since we had just paid off my undergrad student loans. however, to work full time during the first year I would've had to do the 3 year part-time program since there is 2 years of internship. but I really didn't want to do 3 years and it would have cost more money in the long run. I knew I wanted to do the 2 year full time program, but at the time we understood I couldn't do it from where we currently lived. so, we knew we would have to move and I would have to quit my job. and we had no idea what we would do about Thomas's job. he said he would find another job in Columbia, but thankfully his manager brought up letting him transfer to the Columbia office before he had to ask. 

I completed my application, essay, and references in January which was 2 months prior to the application due date. then I waited for weeeeeeeks and we got our house ready to sell and talked about all the unknowns we still had about how this would all work. I got my acceptance from the College of Social Work at the end of February and the acceptance from the graduate school the first week of March, almost back to back. we started really planning, put our house on the market, and it sold within 9 days. I had interviews for my internship in early April and I broke the news to my manager.

from March to June everything moved really fast. I got accepted, got an internship, we sold our house, we moved in with the in-laws, I went to orientation, and then at the end of June we moved. recently I saw the quote "sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage" and it stuck with me. I keep thinking we had so many 20 seconds of insane courage over the course of the last 3 years to make it through this journey. (and I say we because even though I was the one doing the career change and grad school... Thomas sacrificed a lot to make my dreams come true. he transferred to an office where he didn't know anyone so he could work in the same city as we lived. he moved two hours away from our families to a city where we didn't know anyone. he helped cook dinner and clean the apartment when I was swamped with work. and he was understanding when I couldn't go do fun things on the weekends because I had so much schoolwork.)

20 seconds of courage to discuss a career change. 20 seconds of courage to go to the open house and talk to the admissions counselor. 20 seconds of courage to say "no matter what, we can make this happen." 20 seconds of courage to tell 3 people about the change and ask them to write a reference for me. 20 seconds of courage to hit submit on the application. 20 seconds of courage to tell our families our decision. 20 seconds of courage to put our house on the market not knowing if it would sell in time. 20 seconds of courage to tell our jobs we were moving.

20 seconds of courage to walk blindly into interviews for an internship in a new field. 20 seconds of courage to move to a city where we didn't know anyone. 20 seconds of courage to walk into class that first day as a graduate student. 20 seconds of courage to meet with my first client. 20 seconds of courage to start a job at a new office. 20 seconds of courage to inquire about my dream internship back home.

20 seconds of courage to discuss finishing classes long distance. 20 seconds of courage to sign up for a year of weekend classes. 20 seconds of courage to apply for the board exam. 20 seconds of courage to walk into the board exam. 20 seconds of courage to hit submit on the board exam. ;) 20 seconds of courage to apply for a job. 20 seconds of courage to walk into the first job interview. 

we definitely covered this decision in prayer during the beginning days, but we kept praying throughout the journey because there were so many things we needed His guidance on throughout the process. the last 3 years have been 3 years of the unknown. and we are entering into an upcoming season of unknown as we save for a house and begin looking to buy one. so I wanted to reflect back on how He has guided us throughout the past few years. and how He has given us those 20 seconds of courage again and again. 

p.s. today I started my job and used 20 seconds of courage to walk into orientation without knowing a soul!


I love taking photos in the same spots during different times of a journey, and I realized I have so many photos at different points in this grad school journey at the sign in front of the social work building at my school. so I wanted to share these here to see the true before, during, and after photos of this entire journey! I'm so glad I took these photos and can see all the steps along the way!

November 2015 
(open house to find out more about the program) 

February 2016 
(the month I got the COSW acceptance)

March 2016
(the month I got the final acceptance from the graduate school)

May 2018 
(end of my last semester)

May 2018
(graduation day)