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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be Encouraged - Love Your Neighbor As Yourself


Sometimes the world feels like this to me.  A mass of identical people who are all pushing and pulling to get the best and newest things.  It consistently overwhelms me.  Faces in a grocery store, driving past me, and pushing around me in the office, seem to be a sea of all the same face over and over again.  It is hard to remember they are all people, when they are pushing me out of the way and taking the last apple at the store.


However, I often times have the opposite problem as well.  I see an elderly person alone and want to share a meal with them.  I see a girl crying and I want to hug her and find out if she is ok.  I see a man looking stressed and I want to see if there is anything I can do to remove the stress from his life.  I cannot remove these images of these people from my head even when we have parted ways.  Total strangers linger in my mind.  I hope they worked out what was wrong.


How can I find the balance of these 2?  The world where people are aggressive and the world where people appear hopeless... I can only think of the Bible and it's words of wisdom.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself."  The only thing I can think is to focus on people as individuals, offer up a prayer on their behalf if they touch my heart, and trust that their life is in God's hands.


I want to encourage you to not just go through your day to day and let the people around you fade into the background.  I struggle with whether this is a blessing or a curse, but concentrate on letting people effect you.  See them as people, not objects in your way to getting your groceries.  Pray when you pass a car accident.  Pray when you see someone crying.  Offer to carry someone's groceries, don't just watch them struggle.  Open your eyes in your day to day.


Be encouraged - Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.  



Monday, January 30, 2012

Vegas Never Fails Me

Any time I head for a weekend in Las Vegas I am excited the whole way there.  While I may hide it well, I just can't wait to walk into the hotels and play on the slot machines and breathe it all in.  It is seriously such a great place to just escape for a weekend.  Not everyone has love for Vegas, but I definitely do.


This particular weekend (two weeks ago) we headed to Las Vegas to hang out with some of our very best friends, Ashley and Kyle; who came into town just for this trip.  It was so fantastic.  We played and drank and ate and laughed.  I wish I had money to do that every weekend.  We had a blast, I learned to play roulette, Bill and I split a foot-long hot dog (you guys know about my hot dog love), and we had amazing quality time.

These two are such a natural fit for us.  There is something about hanging out with them that is such a blessing to all of us, and you can feel it in the air.  We love being around each other.  Bill and I were in Ashley and Kyle's wedding a few years back, and it was such an honor to be a part of their special day.  They are such a wonderful couple, and we know they will be a couple we travel with for the rest of our lives.  They are fun and funny, but can also shed light on serious situations and have a lot of wisdom to offer.  I love transitional friends, that can be what you need when you need it.


I thank God for bringing Ashley into my life every day, because without her I would have never stayed in California and without that I would not have met Bill.  She is also has such a huge heart and is learning to be open about it.  She started her own blog recently, and I am so proud of her.  Check it out here! I thank God individually for Kyle and the friendship he and Bill share.  I know Bill values him so much and he is one of the best friends he will ever have.

They are a huge part of our story, and we love them dearly.  
What a wonderful weekend with great friends.  

We miss you Kyle and Ashley.  Looking forward to the next trip :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Food I Ate Friday - Cooking with The Rogers


I cannot tell you enough how much I love my future mother and father in law.  I cannot believe I get to marry into their family.  It is such a wonderful thing to really be excited about your in-laws.  Bill was cut straight from his parents wonderful molds.  They are generous, loving people who have welcomed me with open arms.  It is a privilege to be a part of their life.

There is something about the cooking in this family… Absolutely delicious food, really well thought out and different every time.  I love that they care about quality.  I love that they love making things from scratch.  I love that they always ask me if I need anything.  Bill and I aspire to be like them in so many ways.  We hope to be as good of cooks as they are one day!! 

We had a wonderful time this Thanksgiving learning how to cook a few traditional items for Bill’s gigantic family.  We got to his grandma’s house early, drank coffee, spent time talking and got hands on while learning a lot!  I never mind showing up early or staying up late for these wonderful people.  We can never get enough time to be around each other.  I really love spending time with them, even if I fall asleep on their couch while every laughs and talks around me.

Also pictured are some fabulous dinners they have cooked for us, including Bill's dad's (also named Bill :) Famous home made pizza.  You haven't lived yet if you haven't had it!  It's out of this world.   

Everyone should be so lucky as me.  I am blessed beyond measure.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Patio Lovin'

I want a cute patio SO badly lately!  Right now, Mikaela and I have a teeny tiny patio that does not get any attention... Well a little attention, but def not enough! 

I hope my love for patios shows in this collection of pictures.  One day, I hope to have a quaint backyard to hang out in where my puppy will run around and I will relax in the mornings with my tea. 
Hey, a girl can dream right?



This one is my favorite...

  




The backyard is my favorite area of a home. 

What is your favorite part of a home?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Season Of Reading - Redeeming Love



As you faithful readers know, I rarely finish books, but I am taking this new season of reading VERY seriously.  In the last two weeks I completed Redeeming love.  Trust me, it’s a big deal for me to finish a book that quickly!  Especially a 500 pager J

This book took me by surprise, and really swept me up.  It is essentially the story of Hosea, which feels like a blip in the Bible.  God calls a man of God to marry a prostitute and devote his life to teaching her the rightful place of sex in a relationship and how it changes when it is for love, amoung many other things about life and hard work and devotion and honesty and openness. 

This book is gripping because it gets inside the head of a woman who truly believes she is not good enough for such a wonderful man.  And inside the head of a man who does all he can to address her insecurities, but he must learn to let God be the one she worships and the one who saves her.   Some of it was hard for me to read, but this industry of prostitution and overtly repulsive behavior exists and takes captive thousands of women and girls every year.  It is something that is harshly addressed and difficult to get past, but in order to see the redemption in the story you must press through it all.

It is impossible not to fall in love with Michael.  He really exudes a man of God and takes everything to Him first, without faltering.  What a beautiful story of love and redemption and wrapping your heart up in God.  I would highly recommend this book for men and women alike.  While I think it caters to women, it may help men understand the intricate thought process behind women’s decisions and the complete and utter confusion we feel when it comes to the facets we consider in everything.  Women should read to understand that they are worth it all and they need to break down their walls and see themselves are the bride of Christ.  Both viewpoints are extremely important for both genders to understand.  This book will help my relationship with Bill tremendously, and I do not have a sotyr anything like this.

Read it. 
Learn from it. 
Soak up other things and let me know what you think. 
I would LOVE to hear everyone’s thoughts on this beautiful story. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Lately I have been really loving: 

1) Acting like a child.  Mikaela suggested jumping on the beds when we were staying at a nice hotel a few weeks back, and it was just what I needed at the time!  We laughed so hard and collapsed into the soft pillows.  We played games on the same night, and I really love playing cards.  It really gets my minds of things going on and takes away my stress.  Being Bill's partner in Nertz is my favorite.

2) Cooking and Baking.  I have been experimenting a lot with different types of cooking that I have never done before.  Soup is my personal favorite right now.  It is so simple and you can just throw a bunch of stuff in one pot and its good to go!  A loaf of banana bread this week also made me happy.  Every time I take a bite of it I breathe a little easier.  If you have recipes for me to try, PLEASE forward them along.  I love love love trying new things.

3) Finding Wedding Details.  The picture below is these lovely paper flowers I found for my bridesmaids in a shop while I was at home over Christmas.  Honestly, the big details of a wedding overwhelm me.  I have a much easier time finding sweet little details.  They make me smile and get me excited.  I love picturing the little touches. So much.


Monday, January 23, 2012

New York, New York

I spent the day in New York City with my beautiful sisters and two of my best friends while I was home over my Christmas Holiday in Maryland.  We walked a lot, enjoyed Time Square, ate at a fun diner where the waiters and waitresses sing on the tables, strolled through the Met, and got to know the Subway system.


It was freezing when we arrived, and our bundled up selves could not help but shiver.  Once we boarded the subway, we reached a new level of confusion.  Everyone else seemed to know the system, and while it seems self explanatory, at times it got very frustrating! We finally found the stop for Time Square and emerged to them testing the confetti for New Years Eve.  What a wonderful surprise!

We loved taking pictures together and were continuously stopping to pose.  

The cities bustle felt alive and refreshing to someone who lives by the beach :)

While none of us were natives by the end of the day, we could not have enjoyed each other's company any more than we did.  I love each of these women so much, and it was perfect to have a whole day exploring!  We tried new things, and stuck with old faithfuls; but in the end it didn't matter what we did as long as we were together.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Food I Ate Fridays - Midnite Confectioners Cupcakery



My little brother’s girlfriend, Nikki has been raving about this place.  I love cupcakes, so it felt like a natural choice for her to take me there while I was home!  Sometimes people hype up places and when you finally get there you do not understand what all the fuss was about, but that was NOT the case with this place.  It lived up the hype and then some!  The flavor combinations were spot on, the presentation was fantastic, and the cupcakes were absolutely delicious.

We tried 1) Black Velvet, 2) Gingerbread, 3) Brownie Sundae, and 4) Butter Pecan – They were moist and dense.  They melted in your mouth and made every calorie worth it.  Honestly, it was the best cupcake I have ever eaten!  I haven’t stopped thinking about it, and it has been a month.

The place was quaint with a small counter with high top chairs you can sit at to eat.  The black and silver d├ęcor was subtle and really showcased the cupcakes as all that got attention in the entire place.  The smells in the bakery were to die for - soft and homey.  Everything was so fresh, and I loved that there was no bakery case of pre-made cupcakes.  They are made to order.  What a wonderful business model.  High quality products with family friendly service.

I wish I could afford to cater cupcakes from them for my wedding!  Maybe I'll splurge! You should check them out, and if you are ever in the Baltimore area, head over and try one. 

You will not regret it :)



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wishful Thinking Becoming Reality

Today is such a big day for me.  Today I am published. 


I cannot stress enough how much it would mean to me if you popped over to womensmemoirs.com and commented on my published post.   The story is vulnerable and open, and lets you into a time in my life where I had to realize I did not have all the answers.  I feel as though I am constantly realizing that, and that it is the theme of this blog in general; but I absolutely lay it all out there in this story.  I was crushed, and hitting rock bottom brought me back to some really amazing realities about need versus wants.  

To be published is something I have always wanted.  To be published is something I am SO excited about.  Today I made steps forward to becoming the person I want to be. 

I still can’t believe it!

While my post is short today, I am asking you to do a few things...

In order of importance…

1.      Read my published work
2.      Comment on it
3.      Follow this blog
4.      Spread the word. 

I want as many people reading this as possible! I am so excited to share my vulnerability with the world, and my prayer is that it encourages people to be open and vulnerable in their own writing.

Thanks friends. 
What a lovely day it is!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh Nikki You So Fine, You So Fine You Blow My Mind :)


I haven't ever devoted a post to my little brother and his wonderful girlfriend, and I think it is time for you to hear about how wonderful they are!  The four of us (them and Bill & I) are headed to Seattle over President’s Day weekend in February, and I am so excited to spend time with them for a few days straight and really sink into it.

Stephen is such a good man.  He has learned a lot about himself over the past few years and the waves of change keep on coming.  I see him growing up in so many ways and it makes me so proud to be his sister.   Everything in his life has been flipped upside down over the past year or two, and he continues to work hard towards being the best man he can be for Nikki and the best man he can be for our family.  It is not an easy calling thath e has on his life to be a pastor or in some type of ministry, and he has been hurt in the past, but he is learning to focus his eyes on the future with his girl and his life and his God.  I can’t believe Stephen now versus Stephen four years ago; it is night and day.  I pray for him often and while we are not really phone talkers, I know he is making me proud!  I also know he will keep aiming for bigger and better goals, and I pray he finds his niche in the world with his heart being fully exposed and filled up. 


Nikki is such a kindred spirit for me.  While I have not had a lot of time with her, she truly understands my brain and my heart.  I rarely have a hard time putting things into words, but I can’t seem to find the right ones to explain our relationship!  I just love her. :)  Spending time with her over Christmas was not just nice; it was necessary for us.  The more I was around her the more I knew she was a good fit for Stephen.  They are best friends and a wonderful match.  I sat and listened to her pour out her heart about a lot of different things, and I love her frame of mind.  She wants to help people and work with kids and live a life of love.  I am so happy Stephen has her and I’m so happy to one day be able to call her a sister! :)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Be Encouraged - Shine Among them Like Stars


“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

Philippians 2:14-16 NIV

This was the verse of the day on Bible Gateway, and for some reason it really spoke to me. I have heard it hundreds of times before (my mom used to throw it in our faces about chores haha), but this time it hit home. Hard.

I have a lot of parts of my life that I complain about in my heart, even if it never comes out of my mouth. It isn't any better to keep it to myself! I really dislike whiny people, but I find myself whining about them… That makes me just as bad. We DO live in a warped and crooked generation. I do want to shine among them like a star in the sky. Is it really that easy to not complain and make that happen? When I think of people I know that do not complain alot, I realize how wonderful it is to be around them. Easily agreeable people are so relaxing, and I aim to be one of them!

I want to encourage you today to check your whine-o-meter. How often do you complain? Keep in mind that this is not something discouraged in the Bible, it is commanded. Do EVERYTHING without grumbling or complaining. That is a tough cross to bear. You can be honest without being whiny!! Take a moment to re-phrase things. Ladies (specifically), we have a bad reputation for complaining! Check yourself.

Be encouraged today. God loves a cheerful worker. Work to shine!



Friday, January 13, 2012

A Path of Blessing Before Me

I am headed to Las Vegas this weekend for the long weekend and I could not be more excited!! Kyle and Ashley, some dear friends who live on the East Coast while he completes medical school, are flying out and spending some time with us.  Bill and I desperately miss them and we can’t wait for it all to begin.  Drinks, walking, sunshine, and great quality time.  It’s going to be so great to spend time with just these two for 2 days straight!!

Next week holds a huge milestone for me, and I will officially be published as discussed awhile back on this post.  A women’s memoir’s blog picked up my story that I entered in a 4th of July contest, and they are finally posting it.  I am so honored and can’t wait for the 19th to get here so I can share with my family and friends in this accomplishment!  I am hoping it brings more readership here and I can reach a larger audience - I want to encourage and empower as many people as possible.  Being chosen has definitely inspired me to write more, and I am loving a new refreshed spirit for words.  This post may contradict that, because I am not feeling very eloquent today; but generally speaking, I am ready to take my writing seriously again.

I have such a huge year ahead, and while finances loom over my head, I am so excited for what is to come!  A trip to Seattle in February – including an anniversary celebration for me and a birthday celebration for my little brother Stephen, my parents visiting at the end of February, Bill & My (and obviously Christian’s) birthday in March, an East and West Coast wedding shower, and my wedding in September, followed by my honeymoon in Italy and London.  What an amazing year ahead! 

It’s so great to be able to see God laying out a path of blessing for me.

In the midst of my excitement, I feel disjointed.  My brain is all over the place.  I just am happy and ready to charge the year ahead.  I am not going to worry about anything, because it won’t add a moment to my life (we all know I will worry a little, but I’m making an effort to change it up!).  I am going to count my blessings and keep things in perspective.  Sorry to leave you with this mash of thoughts on a Friday, but I am just thinking through my year ahead and processing it all. 

Thank you for following me this last year, and please keep walking through this journey with me as the years go on.  I appreciate it every time someone tells me they are reading what I write. 

I try to be an encouragement in a sometimes tough life. 
I try to be relatable. 
I hope I am succeeding! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Time at Home is Always Priceless


This is my beautiful family. 

They constantly blow me away.  

My time in Baltimore for Christmas is hard to put into words.  It was just what I needed and wanted.  I got to spend time with every member of my family, including Nikki (who was not with us for this picture), and I got to see how everyone is growing and changing and learning and adjusting to their new separate lives.  As the family grows and we each choose who we want to spend our lives with, I cannot help but smile.  I feel our family growing in an incredible way.  I obviously love Bill, but Cristina and Nikki and Josh are such fantastic additions.  Bill and my wedding will be the first time everyone will be in one place at the same time. 

That is INCREDIBLE. 

It will be a day to remember.

I am so proud of each of these individuals (including my parents).  Everyone is making huge strides to be healthier in spiritual, mental, and physical ways.  Each person is learning to relate with others and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Every person is taking their time when confrontation arises and treating others with more respect.  We have to remember what it is like to be a family apart, as well as together.  They look different!

To my family, I love you all.  I think of you constantly – more than you know.  I cannot believe your love for each other and the depths of your hearts.  Fighting for our relationships from a distance will be necessary, but we can all do it.  Never doubt my selfless and unconditional love for you all.  I miss you every day we are apart and cherish every day we are together.

Cherish your family friends!  Be open with them and love them unconditionally.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Love is Sweet


Sometimes I feel like all I do is write about how much I love Bill.  I know people probably do not want to read about that all the time, but being engaged has been such an amazing season for me already.  I feel like I can’t contain it!.  The other day I even said to my roommate, “Bill and a white dress.  Those are the only details about the wedding I care about.” 

Well, I bought a dress last night, and when the girl asked me if it would be the dress I was wearing when I was walking down the aisle I started crying.  I know most girls dream of the perfect dress and this ideal wedding, but all I ever dreamed about was the perfect boy for me.  And I found him.  So in the middle of a Bridal Store with random people all around me I was crying as I realized how overwhelming it was to have a man who loves me and as trivial as a dress feels, it was the step I needed for it to begin to settle in.  They gave me a bell to ring in the store and I made a wish for our marriage.  It’s really starting to sink in.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Be Encouraged - Take Your Time

I have been feeling really convicted as of late to take my time in all I do.  To breathe in every moment and enjoy the people around me and the things I take for granted. 

This extends to so many unique areas that you may not consider. 

Taking your time means being fully present where you are.  Do not be in a rush to get somewhere else or spend time with someone else.  Keep your phone away from you and look the person talking to you in the eyes.  Don’t let technology distract!  How hard is it to feel like someone is present when they are staring at their phone the whole time? Invest in someone, even if only for five minutes.  Stop being in such a hurry to get to the next person and next thing. 

Take your time.

Taking your time means to enjoy little moments.  Think about how blessed you are to have shampoo and conditioner in the shower, how lucky you are to brush your teeth every day, how amazing it is to have blankets and pillows and not be sleeping on the floor, how we have endless supplies of drinking water, how I am typing these words to share with others,  and how your daily routine is a luxury. 

Take your time.

Taking your time means when you are in your car not zipping in and out of traffic, or listening to blaring music, but rather checking yourself and praying to the God who listens. Be in silence sometimes.  Turn off the radio and focus on the road.  Cars are such a privilege!  Breathe it in.  Get comfortable with it.   

Take your time.

Taking your time above all means spending time with your creator.  He wants to be in constant conversation with you.  A wise friend once told me, “If you give God His time, he will give you your time,” and I have found that to be true. Spending time with God feels as though it increases your love and awareness of time with others. 

Thanks for reading today friends.  Please be encouraged today.  You are blessed beyond measure. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheering and Freezing - Ravens Football!


What a day this was!  Bill and I spent the day with some dear friends cheering on the Ravens in San Diego.  While it was not a victorious day for our beloved team, it was definitely a wonderful time spent with these people.  We got there early and ate some snacks and threw a football around before heading into the stadium.  Tailgating is one of my favorite parts about attending sporting events.  I love that it is an entire day with people :)


As the night went on it got colder and colder from our "very last row of the statdium" seats.  However, it didn't phase me.  I danced and cheered and jumped and yelled.  The defeat was tough, but here we go into the playoffs!  Running into Eddie and Michelle (Bill's Cousin and wife) was such a plesant surprise, because they ended up being in the same section we were! What are the chances?!?


This is one of my favorite things to do with Bill.  We love going to new stadiums and learning what is unique to each one.  This year we hit Fenway and Qualcom.  It's just better when he is around!

What is your favorite part of sporting events? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Season Of Reading - The Blue Sweater


As I have mentioned previously, I often start books, but rarely finish them.  I have bookmarks in dozens of books that get half read then put back on the shelf.  The interesting part, is that it is not for lack of interest, just for lack of attention.  What is humerous, is that Bill has an identical problem.  We both love reading, but are distracted by TV and other things.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, we have decided to not watch tv together (an occasional movie is ok), and to focus on reading.  On January 1st, I finished reading The Blue Sweater and felt a sense of accomplishment wash over me.  I want to report books as I finish them on here, because accomplishing a task you are held accountable for brings tons of esteem along with it.  So hold me accountable.  I Love Accomplishing Goals! I need to push through this and get back into my love for reading. 

The Blue Sweater was such a fantastic book, and validated some feelings in my heart and head.  It is the story of Jacqueline Novogratz and her journey through many a project leading her to becoming a trusted international force and follows her as she founds the Acumen Fund.  The author is a woman I relate with, and her heart's calling resonates with mine.  However, as I read I realized how much she sacrificed to do what she did.  While I want to say I can do it and I will one day, there is a part of me that wants to support people like her!  She has found her niche in what she did and is doing.  I would love to get involved in an organization like Acumen Fund, but if that is not the plan God has for me, I need to accept that. 

Whenever I read a journey of a woman like her, I am a little jealous deep down.  However, the reality is that that is her life, and she may be jealous of my wonderful family or fantastic fiance.  I have to remind myself that what I have is golden to others, and that the grass is always greener.  God has our best interests worked into the paths we take, and I feel as though I am in the right place.

Here's to a new season of reading and learning from other people's stories.  Who knows, maybe I will feel the opposite after the next book I read.  For now, I am going to be thankful for the life God gave me and the experiences he has brought me through.  I thought I would read this book and come out with a different perspective.  It's funny how that works...


Any suggestions on Books for me to read?!?

Leave me a comment :)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

C'est la Vie - The Art of Neil Slorance

I ran across this artist awhile ago, and have recently begun following his blog.  The innocence of some of his art is extremely refreshing.  I love this collection of images directly copied from his site, which I encourage you to take a look at.  While some of his work does not speak to me, here and there I found pictures that cut straight to my heart. 

I hope you enjoy these sketches as much as I do. 

There is something about them that just brings a smile to my face!




Smile today friends!  "That's Life" :)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spending Time With James

While this happened awhile ago, I wanted to write a little bit about spending time with one of Bill's best friends, James :)

Over Thanksgiving James came to visit his family, and while he was here we were blessed to spend tons of time with him.  He came and helped us cook Thanksgiving with Bill's parents, we spent some time in Huntington on the pier, toasted our engagement, and we went to a local pub and ate breakfast and watched soccer. 


There is something about James that is relaxing.  He has a gentle spirit and you can tell he really listens to everything you are saying.  Genuine doesn't even begin to describe him.  He is really a pleasure to be around, and no words would do him justice.  He is a man trying to figure out life, and is not afraid to discuss his thoughts with you. 


I love that I am learning about who Bill is through his friendships, and this one definitely shed some light.  James lives up in Portland, so our time with him is very few and far between.  We will always treasure him, and were so thrilled to have so much time to be around him.

Bill's parents joined us for the pub breakfast and soccer :)

Thanks for a lovely visit James :)  Here's to the next one being as soon as possible!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jet Lag and Bliss

Isn't it funny how Jet Lag can steal so much time from us?

Why do we feel tired from a time differene? Why does it feel like we are dragging out bodies around like zombies when we travel for long periods of time?

I am completely exhausted right now. But I cannot help but keep thinking about how I had the most wonderful time with my family. They surprised me with so many wonderful moments, and it was (as always) a trip to remember. We spent time wedding dress shopping, eating home cooked meals, sleeping in, staying up late, laughing, drinking wine, sitting by the fire, dreaming of the future, and spending time in each other's presence. It always feels like no time has passed and tons of time has passed all at once. I can't believe this time next year, I will be married to my best friend and that most of my siblings have also found that special someone. We are each on such separate journeys, yet we will always cross paths. How many people in life do you know that will always be there... my family is a unit made up of separate pieces. I have to work to remember that we are all living life the best way we can and striving to remember the others as we live.

I loved spending time with my grand parents and hearing their wisdom and laughter. I loved getting hugs from people I do not get to see often (especially my family). I loved spending a day in New York City. I loved the cold weather. I loved the warmth of the fire place on my face. I loved our crazy house that is constantly full of people (you wouldn't believe it). I loved oysters in Baltimore. I loved seeing my dad's new restaurant and eating an unbelievable meal at another one of his restaurants. I loved the home made eggnog my mom made me and my siblings. I loved dressing our tree together. I loved it all.

I also loved that when I got on a plane to leave I was sad to leave my family and home, and happy because I got to see my boy at the other end of the journey. Just giving him a hug and seeing his face made my sadness fade a little. I will always miss my family, but it is so wonderful to have a man who will take care of me and love me always. It is impossible to know which way to turn and where life is going to take us, but I feel so privileged to be able to do it together.

This may sound like my mindless exhaustion talking, and it probably is. I cannot begin to describe it to you. It is like being in a constant daze and never knowing what time it is. I have to start work again tomorrow... we will see how that goes! All I can say is I would not trade a second of exhaustion for missing anything. It is sublime exhaustion. It is pure bliss to stretch yourself too thin sometimes for the sake of spending every waking moment with the people you love. Maybe I'm crazy, but this tiredness makes me happy.

Goodnight dear friends. Sorry for taking some time away from here! I needed to be fully present while I was gone, and I hope you understand. Lots of pictures and thoughts to come this week :)