Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back home.

The trip around my home state has come to a close. It was so good to get together and share all of the love and happiness on Christmas with my family.

There is something so inevitably wonderful about coming home, though. It's good to be back.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have cookies, chocolate, and candy canes to eat while I try and clean/organize my house so that it resembles something similar to tidy.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A quick peek.

I promised a few pictures of our Christmas decorations, so here they are :)

As predicted, hubster did most of the leg work while I sat back and played dictator (kidding!). I love decorating, but I despise trying to put lights on the tree, so he graciously took care of that task for me! So sweet, that man of mine. 

Here's our little card and trinket center. We have received a few more cards since this picture, so it's filled out a bit! :)

Our stockings are hung on the (wall) with care!

This is one of my favorite decoration items. It's a snowman candle and looks like a normal, cute snowman:

But when you light him, it takes a nasty turn to the dark side.

Sort of sad, right? Haha, cracks me up!

We have lots of other things set up around the house, making our little home feel super festive and cozy.
Also, please excuse the poor quality of my camera phone pictures, I am working on getting a nicer camera- the one I want is only $700. All I need is 699 more dollars and that camera is mine, baby!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and are able to spend it with good friends, family, and delicious food!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Season of giving.

     Today I finally got around to something I had been putting off for ages and ages. I somehow worked up the "energy" to take all of our many bags of items to donate and drove them over to the Salvation Army. I'm not sure what took me so long to do this. The trip literally took me 15 minutes total. We have had these trash bags filled with various household items just sitting in the house for months now, and I could never seem to muster up the energy to actually take and donate them. I am so glad that I took the time to do this today (you know what they say, better late than never... right?). While we are going through an especially frugal time in our household, I know there are so many others out there who can use these items that we no longer need. It felt great to donate all of these things so that others may benefit from their use. While I unloaded six (yes, I said six) trash bags filled with clothes, kitchen appliances, dishes, pots/pans, etc. I could feel the holiday spirit making it's big season premiere. I have had trouble truly getting into the "holiday mood" this year, and I think that is mostly due to pure exhaustion. By giving all of our unused items to charity it reminded me that this is what Christmas is all about. Giving. And let me tell you something,  it feels good! Yeah, bay-bay! Yes, I just used the term bay-bay, and yes- I realize it was awkward. What are you going to do?

Tune in soon for Christmas decorating 1.0 with the newlyweds. Should be fun! I think I will force him to allow cheesy Christmas music to be played at a superbly loud volume, while he decorates the tree. I will probably take on the vital (and truly challenging) role of kicking up my feet, taking too big bites of sugar cookies, and dictating what ornaments should be placed where- after all, the most important point of view is from the couch, am I right?

I kid, I kid.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The times they are a-changin'.

 I mentioned earlier that the reason for the start of the new blog had to do with the many life changes that have taken place. Changes are inevitable, and they always surround our daily lives- whether we recognize them or not. We are always getting older, always learning, always needing or wanting something different/new/more. I am the type of person that has a hard time taking advantage of the quiet times. My life has recently felt like it is constantly on the move and I haven't really had a chance to slow things down and take a good look at my surroundings. I know that this is due in part to school, work, and my recent wedding, but these reasons are not totally to blame. It is so important to take a moment, heck even a few seconds, to just breathe deeply and think about all I am blessed with in this life. I find myself getting caught up in the stresses and difficulties and don't take the time to recognize all that I truly have. Gratitude. This is what I need to focus on. Instead of worrying about finances (which, like so many others, are tough right now), or trying to jam pack everything I can into the too short day, I need to be more cognizant of the wonderful gifts that have already been given to me.
     I overheard my uncle talking to my Dad while at my Nana's funeral almost two years ago and he said something that truly stuck with me. During the grief of losing their Mother, when everyone looked and felt overwhelmed, he said, "God will never give us more than we can handle". I'm not sure if he even knows that I heard him, and I am fairly positive he doesn't realize just how much it stayed with me. It was, in fact, the most comforting thing he could have said at that moment. During future stressful times I have gone back to those words on many occasions. They were there, whispering in my ear, when I was lost with what to do with my future after graduating college. They were there when my family made the huge move to Raleigh after my Dad was provided with an incredible job opportunity. They were there when I decided to quit working at the bank and move to be closer to my fiance'. They were there when I entered into graduate school and quickly felt overloaded by the immense amount of work I was facing. They were there when Matt and I got married in the middle of the semester. They were there when I was in a car accident. And, they are there with me now. Among other words of wisdom, these words have suffered and stressed with me, helping me get through whatever has been thrown my way. I have trust in God, and trust in the future, and I know that whatever else the world may have hidden up their sleeve, I will not be left alone.
     I am so blessed to have such a loving family, husband, and friends to help support me through tough times, no matter when or where they strike. Changes may come, but I will always be grateful for such an abundant amount of love and support from people that mean so much to me.
     I can't speak for everyone, but the importance of phrases like this in my life are immense. I'll leave with another phrase that I have gone back to, perhaps more than the previous statement. This one is from the Bible, but has been ingrained in my brain by my Mother ever since I was old enough to understand.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13
    This was not written to offend or contradict any one's beliefs- it's simply a personal statement. I am not someone who is typically very vocally open regarding my faith, but I felt it necessary to write about what has helped me through tough times. I believe it is good for the soul to write it all down when something is begging to be let out. I know that times are difficult for everyone right now. It is so easy to get down and depressed, especially surrounding the holiday season. It's important to take a moment to really stop and think about all you have to be grateful for, rather than what you have to be upset or stressed over. Doing this really helps me put everything into perspective, and helps me realize that things could be infinitely more difficult or challenging.

New beginnings.

     If you are reading this, then you probably already know of my previous blog, and may be thinking something along the lines of "What gives with the switch?". Well, friends, I decided it was time for a fresh start. So much has changed in my life since I started my first blog and I felt that I needed a new outlet to share all of my thoughts with you fine people.  So, let's get started!

     I recently got married to my best friend on October 8th (cheesy, I know, but so true!). It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I couldn't be happier! It was so wonderful to have all of our family and friends surrounding us with their love and support on such an amazing day!

     I also recently completed what was, by far, the hardest semester of school I have ever experienced. I wrote on my previous blog of how happy I am to be in school for something I feel so passionate about, something that will allow me to help so many people throughout my life. While this all remains true, I could not be more excited that this term is over! I wasn't sure that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel there for a while, but I just kept working, praying, stressing, panicking, working, working, working...... I think you get the point :) Next semester will also be a bear, but I am excited and ready for the challenge.

    I have also received the opportunity to teach at a well-known summer camp for the blind and visually impaired this summer! It is going to be in Brockport, NY and I will be teaching gymnastics and beep-baseball (think softball for the blind, only... not exactly- clear as mud?). I am so excited because physical activity is definitely a niche I have carved out within my passion for Orientation and Mobility. This will be an amazing opportunity!

    I'm thinking that this is enough in the update category for now, but rest assured- I'll be back for more. Wouldn't want to overwhelm anyone on the first post! So for the rest of the day I will be writing our thank you notes (I promise, they are coming!), making homemade pimento cheese, and possibly some homemade bread to go with it! Matthew and I will be decorating the house for Christmas tomorrow- more on that later!

(Shout-out to my wonderful Dad on his Birthday!! You're the best Dad a girl could ask for! Love you!)