Spring Fever

Spring has finally graced us with her presence and has touched every plant and tree in sight. My spring fever has hit hard this year and I have been spending every second that I can outdoors, deeply breathing in the delicious aromas of blossoms in the air and soaking in every ray of sunshine and moon beam that I possibly can.

I have spent quite a few days at my parents’ house over the past few weeks while Brendan is away and traveling for work and it has brought me back to the sweet spring days of my childhood. My parents live in the farmhouse that my grandmother grew up in and there is no shortage of rolling fields, strong protective mountains, and eternal sunshine on that old hill.

Being able to wake up to the sound of birds chirping and sunbeams streaming in on your face is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but oh how it is good for the soul. When I visit my family I spend my days in a creative mindset – dreaming up all kinds of beautiful ideas that I want to put into action and stories that I can never seem to get down on paper.

Mother Dear and I usually share sweet conversation over mugs of coffee in the morning while everyone else is asleep or at work. Then we spend our afternoons and evenings bathing in the sun reading, drawing, and talking about anything and everything. Nights are usually spent outdoors around the fire pit or inside watching an old re-run of some worn out TV show.

For me, time stops when I am on that old hill. The stress of work melts away and I forget that I have adult responsibilities to tend to. I always believed that when you grew up and moved away from home that things changed and that the place you used to live in would never feel like home again. But I was greatly mistaken with that thought. While I know that my parent’s house is no longer where I live and I know that I have a little nest of my own with my husband and my kitty elsewhere, I feel that the word “home” will always slip gently from my lips when I think of my parents’ house.

Right now I love living in our little downtown apartment – it’s what I have been dreaming of for the past few years and I couldn’t be happier that I get to spend this time in the city with Brendan. But I am also looking forward to finding a beautiful little place one day that we can call our own and will be the site where Brendan and I will settle down, have babies, and call our home.

Cloudy Skies and a Happy Heart

Have you ever had one of those days where you have a lot of thoughts running through your mind and the only way to escape the noisy chaos is to go on a long drive? Well, I had one of those days yesterday. Luckily I had already made plans to visit my family for the day and I was very thankful for an excuse to flee my little apartment and just drive.

It was a gorgeous day for a long drive. The almost-autumn day boasted of warm air, cloudy skies, and changing foliage. I was almost bursting at the seams with delight for this weather that was just melancholy enough to satisfy my somber mood while the bits of blue sky let me know that God was smiling down on me. I had ginger tea by my side for the ride while Vanessa Carlton serenaded me for the whole journey to the sleepy little town of Shipman.

The real reason I was going to visit my family was so I could help my brother on an English essay he was working on for college. It felt good to be able to put my journalistic editing skills to good use by helping my brother improve is essay. And during the process I was thrilled to discover that I actually do know a decent amount about editing essays, so I guess going to college for 4 ½ years paid off haha.

Going back home to visit my parents always eases my stress and fills me with such peace. There’s just something about the wide open fields, the fresh country air, and the protective mountains surrounding the house on all sides that brings a sense of security and comfort to me. And the older I get, the more I grow to love that little old farm house. ❤ I especially love going back home in the fall when all of the leaves on the mountains begin to gleam different shades of bronze and red.

Another thing that lifts my spirits when going back home is being surrounded by animals! My parents currently have 8 kittens, all black and orange. Some are short furred and others have fluffy little coats. My favorite is Cheetah – he’s an orange lazy kitty who has big ears and the cutest little nose. I’m kind of thinking he might be ‘the one’ to kitty-cat-nap and bring back to Roanoke to be a part of Brendan and my little family. ❤

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I ended up having the best afternoon. I had a much needed venting session with my mom (don’t we all sometimes?), my dad brought home pizza for dinner, we all played around with Snapchat filters, I fixed a nice cup of coffee (which always seems to taste better when I make it at my parents’ house), and I got to love on all of the fuzzy buddies. And if that wasn’t enough to cast my worries away, my mom French braided my hair for me (I’m a 23 year-old married woman who still gets her mom to braid her hair), fixed me a jar of some homemade potato soup that she had made the other day, and my dad gave me a Starbucks gift card as the last part of my birthday present. 

So, by the time I left that evening to start my journey back home to Roanoke, the gloom that followed me from Roanoke had passed and I was left beaming with love and sunshine in my heart. With a thermos filled with piping hot coffee next to me and Adele singing to me in the background, I didn’t even mind the two-hour drive back home to the apartment. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the drive home and it went by quickly.

So I’m wondering, when you have one of those days when someone says something to upset you, when you’re angry, or just feeling a bit blue, what’s your go-to to make you feel better? A few things that always brighten my mood and help me feel better are: going on a long drive, getting a cup of coffee (surprise), going to the gym, venting to a friend (or my mom haha), cooking, journaling about my feelings, watching funny animal videos on YouTube, cuddling with my husband, praying, listening to Jazz (or a favorite artist), and reading a good book. These are just a few things that I find I run to when I’m feeling upset and overwhelmed.

Just remember, your happiness depends on your attitude and mindset. You can choose to let something or someone hurt or upset you and then spend the day sulking around, OR you can choose to pray about it, brush it off, and move forward and live happy and joyfully. My day may have started out crappy, but by the time twilight rolled around I was surrounded by family and laughter and I felt happy again. J

(Fun Fact: I spent the entirety of my morning writing this post, and then the laptop decided it would have a mind of its own and delete the whole thing. So, here I sit writing it out a second time, trying to remember all of the beautiful words that got deleted.)

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30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 20: Favorite words 

I read a lot of classic literature, so I tend to love the rich vocabulary and language used by the authors, whether they be American or British. However, I am drawing almost a complete blank on my favorite words, so I might have to come back  and had them here as they come to me haha.

  • Bleak
  • Loquacious
  • Melancholy
  • Blustery
  • Ominous
  • Tomfoolery
  • Vellichor
  • Eloquence
  • Somber

Wow, I need to find some sunshine-y words to add to this list! Guys, I promise I’m a happy, upbeat person haha. 

Day 21: Favorite Bible verses 

  • James 1:17
  • James 5:16
  • Luke 11:9-10
  • John 3:30
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
  • 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
  • Ephesians 4:32
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Philippians 4:13

Coming Home

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I have been back home in Virginia for a week now. Last Sunday my parents came to pick me up and I had to leave Brendan and his family. After spending two weeks with a family and sharing with them the good times and the bad, you start to feel like you are a part of that family. Now, as nice as it is to come back home after a long adventure, it is hard to leave what has come to be your other home behind.  Brendan and I have had to say goodbye several times now and we had to spend last summer apart, so you would think that goodbyes are just an expected thing now. But the goodbyes have not gotten any easier; in fact, this was the hardest goodbye I have had to face.

I have come to realize that I am a restless person. I do not like being stuck at home for long periods of time. I would rather be out traveling and exploring new places. I have this wanderlust and I want to  travel as much as possible and see as much of the world as I can while I am young. So, coming home was really the last thing that I wanted to do. Do not get me wrong, I love my family and my pets and spending time with them, but my restless spirit wants to soar. My problem is that when I am home for the summer and have a lot of time on my hands, I tend to sit around and think and think and think. Sometimes I start to think too much and I end up complicating simple situations. I am not proud of that, but it is the truth.

So as I watched my surroundings shift and fade from relaxing seaside, to the great rush of the city to the old familiar mountains and open fields this past week, I became more melancholy. It did not seem right for the sun to be shining so bright and the country side to be so teeming with life. I felt like the weather should be overcast and rainy to match my mood. But as my parents and I drove back into the sleepy little town of Shipman, I was overpowered by the heavenly aroma of honeysuckle, mock orange and freshly cut fields. It was then that I knew I was coming back home to sunshine and happiness instead of dark bitter days. I could feel the sadness melting away and my heart becoming a bit lighter. Somehow I knew that this summer was going to be different than last year.

I am going to try to keep myself busy this summer. I have a long list of projects that I want to do such as home improvements, photo assignments, writing stories, trying new recipes, exercising and reading lots and lots of good books. And of course, I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. I sometimes believe the lie that I cannot have adventures or new stories to tell if I spend most of my time at home, but that is far from the truth. My siblings and I have always had wonderful imaginations and we can dream up all kinds of adventures right here in our yard in the country.

This summer will not be easy. I still miss Brendan everyday and wish that we could be together; but I know that God has plans for both of our lives while we are apart this summer. I miss the city and all of the excitement that traveling brings; but instead of longing to be somewhere else, I need to be thankful for the traveling I have done and the places I have gotten to see and be content with being at home.

We never know where God will be leading us next. I am learning to be content and enjoy where He has me placed today. I hope you are enjoying your summer wherever you may be!

Spring Break 2014 (Part 3) – Back to Virginia

Wednesday March 12 – I said goodbye to the nice sunny weather in Pittsburgh on Wednesday and welcomed the day of rain and melancholy. I honestly love rainy days, it creates the perfect atmosphere for drinking coffee, reading books, cuddling on the couch and watching movies. And that’s exactly how I spent my Wednesday. We did originally have plans to visit some museums in Pittsburgh, but due to the weather Brendan and I decided to sleep in and get some homework done at home. After dinner Brendan and I watched ‘Man of Steel’ with his family. It was a very nice, relaxing day.

Thursday March 13 – Brendan and I spent Thursday on the road traveling back to Virginia. We rented a car and left Brendan’s house around 10 a.m.. The six hour drive from Pittsburgh to my house isn’t so bad when I have my boyfriend, good music and a good book to help pass the time. We arrived at my house at 7:30 p.m., just in time to eat dinner with my family.

Friday March 14 – Brendan had to leave first thing in the morning to go back to Lynchburg to drop off the rental car and to work at a Liberty University baseball game. My parents were also up and gone bright and early. My older brother Chris was moving out of the house and into his new apartment in North Carolina, so my parents went with him to help him get settled in. It ended up just being me and my other three siblings left at home, so it was a relatively quiet day.

I took advantage of the peaceful morning and made my favorite breakfast: Egg whites and spinach on whole wheat toast with a nice big steaming cup of coffee! It was so nice to be able to cook again and to eat real, fresh food. I spent the day laying out in the sun reading. It was so nice to not feel rushed or pressured into doing homework.

Saturday March 15 – Well, Saturday was definitely an interesting day. After dinner, my family and I (and our dog Rocky) all went out to get ice cream together. Oh and by the way, I got glasses over spring break! Here I am rocking them for the first time in these pictures.

Earlier in the afternoon, my mom had noticed smoke over on one of the mountains near our house. We thought that it might just be somebody burning trash, but it turns out we were quite wrong. What started out as a little bit of smoke turned into a burning mountain of flames. By the time my family and I got back home, the mountain was engulfed in flames.

By the next morning firemen had put out the fire on Peavine Mountain. Thankfully nobody was hurt. I felt like a real photojournalist as I stood outside documenting the fire. This was the first time I have encountered a situation like this, and while it was scary, it was also exciting!

Sunday March 16 – Sunday morning my dad brought me and my brother Jon back to Liberty. I spent the afternoon unpacking and doing homework. And then to end a wonderful spring break, Brendan and I went to go see ‘Non-Stop’ at the movie theater.

Spring Break 2014 has definitely been the most exciting spring break for me so far! I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures and seeing some of the moments that I captured on camera.

The Music and Rhythm of Home

The Music and Rhythm of Home written Dec. 2012

There is a certain theme song that every home has, each one is different and unique in it’s own sound. Most of the time we all tune out the song, thinking that it is nothing more than annoying background noise. But when we actually take the time to stop and listen, we discover the sounds that we have come to know and love; the sounds that bring us security and comfort; the sounds of home.

I especially notice these sounds when I come home for a break after I have been away at college for a few months. The sounds of my dorm room and the sounds of home are quite different in every manner. The sounds that make up the theme song of my house start with tires slowly crunching on the rocks of our red dirt drive way. Then there are the sounds of the animals outside; the hunting dogs begin to bark with excitement; the chickens cluck and crow and there is always a cat or two at the door waiting to be fed. The sound of a car pulling up and a squeaky back door opening announces the arrival of someone. And depending on the tone of Rocky’s (our pomeranian) bark, I can tell if it is dad that is home from work or merely just a visitor.

It is very rare that the theme song ceases to play, for there is hardly ever a dull or quiet moment. There is always my siblings’ voices to be heard, whether in play or argument. And one of the guitars can usually be heard being strummed away. Still, on other days the piano can be heard with it’s lovely melodies floating so sweetly through the air. I can hear mom washing dishes in the kitchen, the low hum of the tv, a video game being played in another room. A cricket chirping in the distance and sometimes if I open my window I can hear the spring frogs chirping outside. These are the sounds I have come to know and love, the music of my home.