Paw-ternity Leave

It has been nearly six months since I’ve written on Bird’s Nest and let’s just say I took a few months of “paw-ternity” leave to raise a (then) 7lb fluff-ball-terrorist-puppy to a now 50lb six-month (mostly) sweet buddy! Work has been particularly busy with back-to-school events, leading a retreat, and teaching at the studio 3-4x a week, there’s hardly any downtime.

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I’ve missed saying hello and sharing my latest favorite recipe (I’ve made this turkey chili at least 6x already) and linking you to a great read, like Ranking Trader Joe’s Cheeses, and how cool Google Express is for shopping.

Since the last post, I went on a week-long cruise with my momma, to Charlottesville for a family reunion, and traveled to Asheville, NC with Michael and my parents.

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I was a cat for Halloween, Rigby went as a super-dog, and for kicks, I bought him a winter sweater! No shame in my dog-mom game.

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Food wise, I’m having a moment with baked onions, kombucha (always), roasted garlic, Suzie’s Rice Cakes and THIS PARMESAN SPREAD! (Talk about a combo!) Find that parm spread at Whole Foods!

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Also, I had TCBY for the first time in nearly two years. Who cares if it was 11:00am?

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On beautiful weather days, we’ve enjoyed a few happy-hours, a D.C. Cider Fest, and a couple of Washington Redskin’s games.

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In early November, we got all dressed up to celebrate Jordon and Heather getting hitched!

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Sweet Rigby got his chestnuts roasted over Thanksgiving…cough cough…and has been wearing the cone of shame for the last week. He’s already back to his hyper self…yay…

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Looking ahead at important things, I’ve asked Santa for stacking rings because, diamonds, and Michael has insisted that they’d count for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, my birthday, and our anniversary. Woof.

That just about brings you up to speed, minus a few details. Overall, the second half of 2017 has been good…not easy, but good. I am really looking forward to a few weeks off this Christmas with our family. It’s going to be such a sweet celebration with everyone together!

What have you been up to the past 6 months?! What’s on tap for the Holidays?

It’s June!

My birthday month is over but I’m persistent to keep celebrating and make it my birthday year ;-). May was wonderful, filled with family, friends, and of course, food. If you were wondering if I got a golden retriever for my birthday, well, of course not because I would have posted that kind of news the very day! Until “that day”, I keep watching golden retriever videos and have this one on replay. It’s only ten seconds, so watch it!

May was also super busy with work, as we’ve had one event after another (Prom, banquets, etc) and still a few more to go (baccalaureate & graduation). I knew that the end of the school year would be a push, however, I didn’t imagine planning and managing five events at once!

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I was also busy collecting and refrigerating my pee for 24 hours. (Not my smoothest transition in blogging history, but there it is!) I recently went to an endocrinologist and she wanted to test my cortisol levels. The best way according to my doctor? Collect my urine for 24 hours, keep it cold, and bring it back for testing. She handed me this one orange jug and I looked at her with a “this-isn’t-going-to-cut-it” look. I told her I drink more water than a fish and should go ahead and take two. 24 hours later, two (very full) jugs, and after 8 tubes of blood drawn, I’m still waiting on the results. My blood work came our normal, which is relieving (see what I did there?).

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And here we are, June! It’s going to be another great month as I wrap up the school year and we welcome guests from all over the U.S. to Old Town on the weekends. I have a month-break in July (work-perk for being in the school system!) and am already planning my “summer bucket list”, composed of books to read, exercises classes to try, and recipes to test. I’m also reallllllllly excited take a cruise with my momma to the Caribbean the last week of July! I can almost feel that warm sunshine beaming down as we breeze through the islands.

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What do you have going on this June? Any book, recipes, and let’s be honest, TV suggestions? Please comment below! Michael and I are making our way through the new season of House of Cards and I’m anticipating my beloved So You Think You Can Dance premiering on June 12th. Spring & summer are my favorite seasons and I am determined to make the most of them, especially because winter never seems to bring out the best in me.

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Cheers to a wonderful and warm month ahead!

As If Your Life Depended Upon It

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Today I read Hebrews 11 and was struck by how many times it said by faith. By faith, Noah built an ark and it saved his family. By faith, Sarah had Isaac when she was 90 years old. By faith, the Israelites walked through the Red Sea as on dry land. By faith, the army marched around Jericho and after seven days, the walls fell.

Each story was by faith as their life depended upon it. Noah would have drowned, Sarah would have died in childbirth, the Israelites swallowed by the sea, the army overtaken. Notice that it isn’t by effort, by salary, by position, by merit or good deeds, not by-anything but faith.

What areas in your life do you need faith? Maybe you’ve been unhappy with your job (or lack there-of), struggling with finances, wondering how all of the details will come together for your wedding/trip/house, struggling with infertility, pain in your body, losing weight, or fill-in-the-blank!

9ebc2a390ebb315b44272a340186ceac.jpgHaving faith, hope, and trust in God isn’t aimless wishes. It’s staying obedient to God through the waiting.

Did you know Noah built the arc for 120 years? That’s a long time to live by faith! But by faith and obedience, Noah saved his life and his family’s life from a flood. He heard from the Lord, he obeyed, and in the waiting, he had faith.

Today, how are you living by faith as if your life depended upon it? To take that even further, what is God saying to you and where do you need to be obedient? Ask and listen.

We serve a faithful God who always fulfills His promises! Today, I pray that where we are weak, we are made strong by a good and faithful Creator (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)!

 

Friday Favorites!

Since doing my 30 posts in 30 days, it’s felt a little strange not having a daily blog post to write, though I’m convinced you must have gotten sick of me. It was a fun challenge to actually prove to myself that I could come up with 30 different topics! My plan is to continue to write on Bird’s Nest at least twice a week, perhaps Tuesdays and Fridays. Here we are, Friday! Boy am I glad it’s the weekend. Work has been cray-cray with the end of the school year. There was prom and now I’m gearing up for planning banquets, baccalaureate, and graduation. Since I’m also the yearbook teacher, we are working on the last pages and edits of the yearbook. AND, half of our building is going under a renovation so I got evicted out of my office and moved to a dark, windowless cubical beside the teacher lounge. TGIF.

Here’s my top five for today!

  1. Last weekend I celebrated my 30th birthday, wahoo! My parents came into town and the four of us went downtown D.C. to Jaleo for a birthday dinner. Woah woah waoh those bites were delicious! What a sweet weekend celebrating.Also, for all of my dear loved ones who sent cards, flowers, and wrote Facebook posts, thank you for making a girl feel special!  Jaelo love           Flowers!
  2. Michael and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on May 9th. I wrote him a letter that day and for dinner, we went to eat at Don Taco, a favorite of ours in Old Town!
  3. Speaking of marriage, I think this article is a great reminder for couples.
  4. Today I’m planning to take my 800th Pure Barre class! I’ve kept a tally of all of my classes that I’ve taken over the past 4 years (and one week) from various studios. There’s something about hitting a milestone that makes that LTB a little more rewarding.
  5. I cannot get enough of this soup. Nona Lim Thai Curry & Lime Broth is a nightly craving. It’s actually just a broth, totally satisfying alone, but you could honestly do so many creations with it. I’m thinking of adding shredding chicken, sliced bell peppers, water chestnuts, and an cilantro to make it hearty! Get it at your local Whole Foods. large_711ae7b9-72d4-463e-bd6d-255396c9aa5d

Those are my top 5! Michael and I are going to see Snatched with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn tonight and tomorrow, I teach a few Pure Barre classes while Michael as to work. The rest of the weekend should be low-key with grilling out and finishing the last season of Mad Men.

What are your plans? Happy Friday, Y’all!

Saying Goodbye to my 20’s!

#30/30

I’m writing this post on May 4th, 2017 at 10:30PM, my 30th post of 30 posts, just right before I turn 30 in an hour and a half. It feels slightly surreal ending a decade and entering into another.

Here’s my top ten of my 20’s:

  1. Moving 8 times within 10 years!
  2. Going to my dream school, Southeastern University.
  3. Backpacking Europe with Amy & Starting Bird’s Nest. From that, discovering a new passion for writing.
  4. Traveling to other countries like Israel, Nicaragua, Mexico, Bali, Thailand, and China!
  5. Pursuing my Master of Divinity at Wake Forest School of Divinity and being so so so happy to finish school!
  6. Eleanor, because that’s my girl.
  7. Moving to Charleston without a job or place to live, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my 20’s.
  8. Of my 20’s, I think 26 is still my favorite year.
  9. Working in hospice was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had. Learning as a young person to live an abundant life without regrets, centered around Jesus, has been life changing.
  10. The biggest decision I made as a 20-something: Michael & getting back together, engaged, and married!

What a decade! I am so incredibly blessed. There’s been hard seasons- seasons of depression, a lot of work with school, and growing in everyway possible- but all of it has been a sheer gift from a loving and faithful God. I’m so blessed to have the family and friends I do, the community I have both near and far, and that I get to live this life. It’s humbling.

Cheers to my 20’s!

The Not-So-Glamorous Parts of Traveling

#29/30

Our trip to Thailand and China was awesome. My favorite part was spending 13 days and nights straight with Michael (insert googily eyes)! (Though the heated toilet seat we had in China is a close second!) We had a lot of time to explore and really enjoyed seeing the other side of the world together. We tried new food, made new friends, and shared a certain camaraderie when facing the not-so-glamorous-instagrammable-parts of traveling. Today’s post is to share a few of those real travel experiences!

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  1. Arriving too late to the check-in counter, the whole missing our flight ordeal, and then finding out the plane was delayed two hours and we actually could have made the flight.
  2. The days of travel it took to get there, from town to town, and the trip back home. Oh, and the constant baggage security checks.
  3. The smells of street food. Is the raw meat sitting in that glass container safe to eat? It’s only 95 degrees outside…
  4. There’s no place like home…err…your own bathroom.
  5. Walking through uncovered sneezes. Manners people of the world!
  6. Flight arrivals at 2am, taxi rides to the hotel, and then checking in at 3:45am. Night night! Or should I say, “nap, nap!”?
  7. Thailand’s water festival, Songkran. We had buckets of water thrown on us. Yaayy…
  8. If we weren’t wet from the buckets of water, we were sweating, and sweating, and sweating some more because it’s hot in Thailand and any idea to “wear this outfit again” went right out the window.
  9. The time Michael and I had a bad massage: The ladies were distracted by the TV playing, while Michael’s lady kept texting on her phone. Mine decided she had to go to the bathroom in our bathroom with the door open and then came back to massage my feet…without washing her hands.
  10. Let me tell you about the flight from Thailand to China: First, the seat rows were insanely close together. Secondly, I was stuck in the middle and the person beside me had the worst body odor. The situation didn’t help when he took of his shoes…and socks…and then put his feet up on his seat.
  11. Jet lag is real.
  12. Stomach pain. See point #4.
  13. Finding out there WAS a direct flight to DC and that we really didn’t need to go through N.Y.
  14. Airplane food: It’s never good. Even when you’re hungry, it’s never good!
  15. Being banned from Facebook and Instagram in China!

Despite these mentioned moments, I’d sign up for the trip all over again. Maybe we’d do a few things different (like get to the airport earlier and tell the masseuse to wash her hands), but traveling is a whole package. We rode on an elephant and walked the Great Wall of China! We ate theeeee besssst soups and Pad Thai…and enjoyed the heated toilet seat in China ;-). The other massages we had were pure bliss. I felt like a celebrity with so many people asking to take a picture with me. Haha!

Next trip: somewhere closer!