Monday, April 30, 2012

young & ...married?

"You're engaged?!" She was staring at the obvious ring on my left hand.
I didn't know this girl-didn't even know her name.
"I'm married, actually." I said-thinking the conversation was over.
"You're married?!" Ok.. so the conversation wasn't over.
And then the question-always with the question; "How old are you??"
"How old do you think I am?" which is most always my swift response. I usually get 23, 24, even 26 one time.
"21?" She asked. Dang-this girl was good. She nailed it.
I didn't have a swift response for that one, so I just said; "..Yeah."
"You're 21 and you're married?"..yep, thought we'd just covered this.
"How long have you been married?" 
"It will be 3 years this Summer." I replied. I see her doing the math in her head, so I help her out. "Yeah, I got married when I was 18."
At this point her eyes get as big as softballs. "Eight-teen?!" She drags the word into 2 long parts.
At this point I'm more than a little annoyed. "Yep." I say. She then asks me something about what my parents thought..but by then the conversation is over. She's written me off as a teenage bride freak, and theres nothing more I can say. So this is the story of my life; awkward moments with complete strangers who know nothing about me. I'm not sure why they think they can get away with pelting me with personal questions that most others don't have the nerve to ask.

Did I plan on getting married at 18? Heck no. But sometimes God has plans for us that we don't fully understand until we are in the thick of them. I am so happy this was God's plan for my life; and that I've been able to live it out. But there's still these conversations I have with others which are upsetting, and apparently I deal with them by writing about it on my blog ;)

But really, I used to care way too much about what other people thought of me. I think many people (girls especially) deal with this. I was always scared of what people thought. What they thought about my clothes, my hair, my family, my hobbies, my grades. Anything and everything! And it was quite exhausting, living this way.

Finally when I got a bit older I began to realize how little others opinions really matter. As long as I was living for God, and was happy with myself, I felt satisfied. I often hear the quote "Comparison is the thief of joy." That applied perfectly to my life. It wasn't until I stopped caring, and stopped comparing, that I finally made peace with myself and who God created me to be.

 People will not always understand. In my situation, I find it rare when people do understand. (Obviously the girl the other day was totally perplexed) Why is a 21 year old married and continuously talking about moving to Africa? I don't know. I can't explain it, other than that's the way God made me. And I'm still learning to embrace it everyday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

big picture item

Do you ever have a week were it seems like theres one thing that keeps popping up over and over again? For me, this week God has been reminding me in my heart about adoption. A passion for adoption is one of the things that first drew to me Kevin (besides his adorable face & wicked sense of humor, that is!). Kevin's Mom is adopted, so this issue has always been close to his heart. When I lived at an orphanage for 4 weeks in East Africa, adoption became close to my heart as well.
Adoption is not some new thing. Yeah, we see a lot of celebrities getting into it, but God has called us to adoption since the beginning of time! Kevin's favorite verse in the Bible says; Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.(James 1:27)
 So I've always known that Kevin and I will adopt one day. When, from where, how and how many children-I have no idea. My friends in high school used to joke that one day I would run a baby farm with hundreds of foreign children all running around. Doesn't sound too bad to me ;)
Anyhow, I think know its often easy to get caught up in mundane life and forget about the bigger picture. Right now, we are nowhere near ready to start the adoption process; but I think its still good to be conscience about it. God reminded me again of this calling today when I read this--The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15. This verse states that we are all orphans, but God has adopted us as His sons & daughters. What a beautiful reminder!
And yet another reason adoption has been on my heart lately; at work we are helping fund a local familiy's adoption! They are currently going through the process and should meet their son, Max, soon. (from Ethiopia!) I am so blessed to even be a itty bitty piece of this process for them. You can check out their blog here.
And I will leave you this this video, filmed at the orphanage I volunteered at. The thing about orphans which I think people often forget is that they are children. They have names, they have little personalities. They like to play and run & dance.
It's important to remember that behind every statistic is a human being.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

aquatics

Ok, prepare youself to see an extreme amount of adorable sea creatures! Like I mentioned before, Kevin and I went with some friends to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta last weekend. It was thebomb.com (And I don't use that phrase lightly.) Seriously; If you are south of NYC, and east of Vegas you should make a trip to Atlanta for this aquarium ASAP! If you live in Maine or California, thats a really long trip, but you should still at least consider it.
The aquarium wasn't only fun; it was also educational! I learned that Jelly fish are not actually fish, so the correct terminology is to call them "jellies" (which is such a cuter name anyway!) I also saw an expectant beluga whale! I can safely say that I never thought I'd encounter a prego beluga whale in all my life..and it looked a lot less like Snooki than you might imagine. (burrrrn)
We also got front row seats to the dolphin show. It was sooo awesome. I don't mean to call her out- but my friend Jess loved it so much that she actually cried during the show. In her defense; the dolphins were super adorable, and she only shed a few tears out of pure joy :)
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We didn't get to touch any of the real life dolphins, but this painted statue outside sufficed. Kevin is already talking about how he can get his Phd. in marine biology and then we can move to the Caribbean! Seriously though, I'd be totally fine with that.. just let me have my own dolphin that I can ride from island to island. 
Thats not too much to ask for, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

weekend in ATL!

This weekend we went with friends of ours to Atlanta for the weekend. Kevin and I had never been to Atlanta- except through the airport-so it was so fun to see a new city. On Saturday we went to 6 flags for the day, & it was such a great day for it. I'm not really a huge fan of amusement parks- but I enjoyed 6 flags so much! The park itself was so beautiful and clean. And even though I didn't get on all of the crazy roller coasters- I did get on a few & am still here to write about it :)
Seriously, anywhere you can purchase dip n' dots is a great place to be. Also, I uploaded all of these photos from a new app I downloaded on my iphone called  Pixlromatic. It's an app you can use to put filters on your pictures and cool light settings. I really don't know anything about photography- but this app is really easy to use. I spent the majority of the ride home yesterday messing around with it.
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Yesterday before coming home we went to the Georgia Aquarium. Dare I say-it was even better than 6 flags! I seriously need to pursue my calling of being a dolphin trainer. I'll put up pictures of all the pretty fish soon!
Happy Monday!
xox

Friday, April 20, 2012

sponsor

Thank you.
Whoever you are, where ever you are reading this; thank you!
I started this blog last August with no expectations whatsoever. My biggest hope was that maybe my Mom and Grandparents would read along...and thats it! I am so happy that my blog has grown to reach many people; including people I don't even know. So I want to thank you, my reader, for sticking with me on this and for caring about what I have to say :)
The next step on my blogging journey brings me to this point; accepting sponsors.This has always intimidated me a bit. The word "Sponsor" in itself seems very official. Over here on this blog, I'm not official at all.. I just make things up as I go. Which seems to be working ok for me so far :)
Anywho, you may have noticed I added a nice, official 'sponsor' tab at the top of this page. Click on that guy if you're a blogger yourself and even the tinsiest bit interested in partnering up with me!
Basically, I have a button, you have a button & we swap! It's that simple.
So get at me!
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Now, I'm off to do some seriously needed crunches. Because, well-- there were cake pops at work today...


..and I definitely had more than one.
xox

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

presently

I'm feeling like I need to get back to the basics. I love to write on this blog; and share our everyday lives with others who are far away. Its a great way to keep connected & stay in touch with far off friends & family.
But what I love the most, & the reason I started this blog in the first place, is to have a place where I can write out my feelings. Today; if I'm being completely honest was not a very good day. I woke up to my cell phone buzzing; my Mom was calling. My younger sister and her fiance got in a bad car accident this morning on their way to class. She was broadsided and her car is totaled. I am so thankful that everyone involved in the accident is alright. But its a very unsettling way to start the day, knowing your sister is being taken to a hospital 1,000 miles away and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
I think because I wanted to be home so much today, I wasn't all here. Its as if my heart, my mind, & all my emotions were tied up in that situation & I couldn't be in my current state of mind. I was just going through the motions.
Now that I'm sitting on my couch looking back on the day, its easy to realize this. Hindsight is 20/20, right? But I think I'm doing this in many aspects of my life, other than just today.
Kevin and I know that we will live here in Mississippi for approximately 8 more months. After that, Kevin will graduate and the plan is for us to move back to Pennsylvania. I think because I know that, I'm constantly looking forward, and not living in the moment. I'm already trying to plan our lives 8 months from now. Where will we live? Where will I work? What classes will I take? Will Kevin find a job? Where will we go to church? etc, etc, etc!
I think because my heart lives in PA with my family, and my home, it's hard for me to be completely here in my everyday life.
I think this realization jolted me a bit; kind of like my sister in that car. I want to live in the present; not the past & not the future. Because I know the day we pack up that moving van and drive north;back home- will be a very sad day. & I will have wanted to count each day for what it is; a blessing. Something never to be wished away.
xox

Monday, April 16, 2012

life lately-according to my iphone


1. Important questions in life; is Kate Middleton pregnant?! For those of you not low enough to purchase the current issue of People Magazine- like I am, I will inform you that no, there is no royal baby on the way..yet! Of course I will be the first to let you know when theres a bun the the Princess' oven. Royal Baby Watch 2012!!
2.I dressed that mannequin at work and was particularly proud :) Isn't she cute?
3. My co-workers bring all kinds of goodies to work. It's starting to become a problem..
4.Encouraging little nugget I read this week.
5. Coldstone! It was nearly $12 for both Kevin and I, but oh so worth it.
6. Chesapeake loves Kevin
7. But apparently she was not having it when I tried to get a cute picture :(
8. My sister and I facetimed this week. It was obviously very intense.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend, friends!
xox

Friday, April 13, 2012

sister summary

Because yesterday was national siblings day, and I did nothing to commemorate the occasion; I thought I'd do a post all about my sisters. I have 3 younger, beautiful sisters living in PA, who I miss very much! Growing up people used to think we were twins/triples/freaks because we looked so much alike. I used to be annoyed by that, but now if someone tells me I look like my any of my sisters I am absolutely flattered because they are gorgeous!
Growing up, they were my best friends and my worst enemies. There is only a span of 6 years between all four of us. Yes; my Mom is either absolutely crazy or a saint (maybe both..)
We fought all the time. Over clothes, over dolls, even over food. Morgan is the one who would lock herself in the bathroom chowing down on all the cookies she didn't want us to have! You'll meet her in a minute.
But I am so thankful for each of them, and the joy they are in my life. Each of my sisters are beautifully unique and different in their own way, & we share an unbreakable bond.
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Let me tell you a bit about them :)
This is Morgan (the cookie thief!), she is the second oldest, only 14 moths younger than me. She was my best friend growing up, & still is!
 
Morgan loves animals. She has had innumerable amounts of pets during her life. From hamsters, to lizards, to frogs, to kittens to the giant great-dane mix she has today. Growing up, we shared a room until we were about 13 or 14. This did not always turn out well for me when Morgan had a creepy crawler in a fish tank on top of our dresser. I remember one time; she took her pet gecko out of its little home and put it on top of my Britney Spears Hit me Baby One More Time poster!! Not OK!
But I chose to forgive her, & we've been good ever since.

Meet Ally. She is 4 years younger than me and the typical middle child. I vividly remember riding in the car with my mom (I couldn't have been more than 5, making Ally an infant) and telling her that I knew Ally was going to be the 'wild child.' I guess it was apparent, even then :)
Ally is a free spirit. It has astounded me over the years by how she can literally make friends with anyone. She is an extreme extrovert- and the worst thing you could do is take her Iphone away. She is loud & obnoxious, but kind hearted and adorable all rolled into one!
& this is Erica- the baby! Growing up, she learned that if she wasn't loud-then she wasn't going to be heard in our house. She has carried the skill of being blunt and speaking her mind with her in life :)
Erica is the only one in our family to have blonde hair. I think God just wanted to throw a curve ball at my parents :) Erica is and always has been super athletic. She is so incredible at any sport she plays. She has been on basketball, volleyball, soccer teams..you name it-she's played it. I think she often intimidates boys because she can beat them in any sport!
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Well, I hope you've enjoyed meeting my sisters- they are pretty cool :) & Happy (be-lated) Siblings day! Go give your sister or brother a squeeze!
xox

Thursday, April 12, 2012

beautiful morning

Kevin has turned our back deck into a bird sanctuary of sorts. He's strung up multiple bird feeders & even a hummingbird feeder with nectar that I gave him for Easter. Birds of all sizes and colors are flocking to the feeders, and I love looking out our window to see what birds are chirping out there. Kevin's brain is filled with lots of information about all things nature related. He has recently gotten really into bird watching, and I think it's wearing off on me a bit!
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Nutella on wheat toast is my go-to breakfast lately. Except when I burn the toast..which happened yesterday.
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I love seeing real flowers in my house! I have always been a fake flower girl, because I can't keep the real ones alive. But a few weekend ago we picked up a little flower & I potted it for our windowsill. Because it's right by my kitchen sink, its easy to remember to water. Its only been about 2 weeks-but it's not dead yet! (& that's saying something)
xox

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a very eno easter


Our Easter weather was so gorgeous yesterday; we spent most of the afternoon soaking up the sunshine in our hammocks :) Our sweet friends had us over for an Easter lunch, followed by way too much candy.
& did you like the card I gave Kevin? I thought it was too cute to pass up :)
Hope your day was just as beautiful & relaxing!
xox

Sunday, April 8, 2012

easter circa 1997

Ahh, the Easters of my childhood.
They usually consisted of my Mom taking 3.5 hours to do me and each of my sisters hair in some magical Dr. Suess-ish way (evidence above.) Seriously; Mom, that thing on my head looks like a growth!
We'd go to my Grandparents house after church for the most thought-out and well planned Easter egg hunt ever! The grand prize was a $10 bill hidden in a particularly tricky spot. My cousins and siblings and I would all vie for the egg-and whoever eventually found it was celebrated and envied a bit :)
Years later, I'm thankful the hair bows area thing of the past! I'm looking forward to celebrating the holiday with Kevin tomorrow and some friends here. I am so gracious when I take a step back and think on why we celebrate this day of the year. 
Wishing you all a beautiful & memorable Easter Sunday!
xox

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm no fashion blogger, but..

I thought it'd be fun to partake in a popular blogger post of 'What I wore Wednesday.'
romper & belt-thrifted, cardigan & shoes-DSP, leaf necklace-Forever 21, PA necklace-truche on etsy
Ok so there you have it!
Also, I realized the down fall of rompers today; going to the bathroom is extremely inconvenient. & I have the bladder of a 2 year old which makes this whole romper thing doubly inconvenient.
Yep- that was my day!
xox

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

dont'cha know?!

I am homesick this morning for my family because of something rather silly. Every morning as I'm getting ready for work I watch the Today Show. I don't know how this got started-but for some reason if I don't have it on in the background my whole day feels off. Weird- I know.
So anyway, this morning the Today Show had Sarah Palin on as a guest host. I didn't even watch the entire show, only a few snippets here and there. But watching Sarah Palin on the Today show made me miss my family a lot this morning- especially my mom.
Why?-you might ask.
Only because my mom is practically fraternal twins with the ex-Alaskan Governor.
I kid you not..
Here's a picture of my mom and I when I was home a few months ago.
 & here she is, even dressed a bit like Mrs. Palin. Unfortunately my Dad is lacking a bit more in the hair department than Mr. Palin is, so there's no resemblance there. (But my dad does drive a Harley-which is a lot cooler than hair in my book)
 Numerous people from family members to strangers have told my mom she resembles the outspoken Governor..and my mom, quite frankly, is very flattered!
She even got to meet Sarah last year when she was touring around my hometown of Gettysburg PA- & this picture was put in the newspaper!
Can you tell who is who?
 (I can- but only because I know my mom doesn't wear visors)
So there you have it. I see Sarah Palin=I miss my Mom.
All I know is one of these ladies needs to come to Mississippi ASAP! Preferably the one without the visor ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012

sweet saturday

 Yesterday was my sweet husbands birthday. I had off work, so we had the day all to ourselves. We explored a bit in the next town over from us; West Point. Honestly, theres not much there, but we had a good day digging through old treasures in a few antique shops. I even walked away with a pretty good find! (dessert plates we used later that night-$8!)
 I am so blessed with Kevin, and can't wait to see everything he will accomplish this year. By his next birthday he'll have a completed Masters degree under his belt!
xox