A Season for Everything

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

As I’m laying here in bed, watching it snow out our window, I’m thinking of the different seasons we experience throughout a year. 

Spring, is so beautiful, all the fresh bright colors, the time change that allows us to see the beautiful sunrise each day, it’s all a picture perfect masterpiece that God paints for us to enjoy. We all look forward to spring; to enjoy the new growth, the bright colors and the fresh air floating around. {I snapped this picture in our front yard last spring of the little buds blossoming into beautiful flowers.}

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 Summer is a season I think most everyone loves. Kids are out of school, temperatures rise, barbecues are held. We plan vacations, usually to the beach, a lake or a river, so we can enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. {This photo was taken last summer, kayaking down the Yadkin River.}IMG_3219

 Fall is my absolute favorite! When we were picking our wedding date, I knew I wanted a fall wedding. I love the warm colors, the crisp air, hay rides and the crunching sound leaves make when you step on them. {I snapped this photo in the Fall, of a tree in the parking lot of the DMV while getting my licensed renewed.}

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And of course, in the dead of winter, there is just something so peaceful about snow falling. It’s like a warm blanket of newness is covering the ground. I look out now and see the stillness of an early morning, covered in a sheet of white. No one is out moving, no footprints or tire tracks, no noises, just peace. When the sun comes out, we go out and make snowmen, sled, fourwheel and drink lots of hot chocolate! {This photo was just taken a few seconds ago during our first snow of the season.}

Each season is unique – spring, summer, fall and winter. For each season there’s a different view and feel. They each bring joy, and they each bring their own challenges. Each of them, has a different temperature that our body has to adjust to. For each season there is beauty that surrounds us, if we just simply look for it. 

It goes the same for the seasons of our lives, we must choose to look for the beauty through them all. 

Verse 2- 8 says this: “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

All Things New

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5 KJV

Happy New Year, I’m a few days late, but hey it’s better late than never! Don’t you just love how a new year brings a new prospective to everyone? It seems like everyone is more optimistic this time of year. Dreaming, planning, goal setting and preparing for another year can be fun! I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on 2016.

Last night I posted my first Bible Journal entry of 2017 on Instagram {see it here!} and I’m so excited to dive back in to that. I shared on my post a huge goal of mine for last year was to spend time reading the Bible from cover to cover. Bible Journaling was my outlet to dig in deep and truly study the Word of God. When I journal, I don’t just haphazardly throw some paint and words on a page, I spend time studying and understanding what I’m reading. Then, I find a way that I can express that through journaling so it makes it easier for me to remember. I’m a huge visual learner, ya’ll! I had a really good run going. But, I’ll be honest, I got totally discouraged in Leviticus. I just couldn’t get my mind to think about how I wanted to journal, so journaling fell on the backburner.  I occasionally would journal random scripture that was on my heart, or from a sermon; I just got so much more out of it when I was reading chapter by chapter. But in 2017, I’m starting in the New Testament and I’m so excited for this new start.

2016 brought a ton of new things for Thomas and I! New opportunities, new adventures, new cities, new emotions, new ideas, new everything really.

One of my favorite things from 2016 was all of our travels. I saw a quote on Pinterest, and it summed up my love for travel, so I have to share it! “I don’t want to spend decades on this planet and never see the diversity of places God created.” Thomas and I unanimously agreed that our trips were our favorite this year! If you haven’t figured it out – we LOVE to travel. I love seeing new places, and even visiting places we have been a million times before, even in our own backyard, and finding new experiences to enjoy. {You can follow along with our travels with the hashtag #theadventuresofthomthomandjordy on social media! And don’t you love our cheesy hashtag? I said it as a joke one weekend while camping and it stuck! We even used it as our hashtag for our wedding.} We visited lots of places we had been before but added so much more new to our travel map and it was so absolutely wonderful.  Some of our new trips from 2016 are below:

  • Road trip on our Washington, DC vacay and visited Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
  • For my 25th birthday, we visited NYC and loved every second of it! {I seriously ask him almost every day if we can go back!}
  • For our One Year Anniversary, we did a road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas with a few detours along the way. We stopped in so many cute little towns that I absolutely loved! But some well known spots  we stopped in, downtown San Fran, all the way down HWY 1 to Los Angeles, the Mojave Desert, Route 66 to Williams, AZ, up to the Grand Canyon, over to the Hoover Dam and a few days in Vegas. It was a whirlwind of a trip, that we both loved every second of. That one road trip checked off sooo many cities in California, Arizona, and Nevada from our map!

I love planning things ahead, and Thomas has ALWAYS made fun of me for it. But we planned all of these trips ahead this past year, and it was truly the best year of all for us. And guess who is so excited about these adventures, that now he’s charting out where we will traveling all the way to 2020?! I think I’ve wore off on him a bit! 😉

We had so many new opportunities and emotions this year it has really made us think and look at life differently. Thomas was promoted at work, and it has been so exciting. I am seriously so proud of him and the leader I’ve watched him grow into the past six months or so. We sold our house this year so we could move closer to Thomas’ new job, and I expected to cry like a baby on a daily basis after we moved out. But God, has given me a different set of eyes on all of it and now all I can think is the exciting opportunities up a head that would have never been possible if we hadn’t been obedient.

We experienced a surprising pregnancy in September, and then just eight short weeks later, a devastating loss as we suffered a miscarriage. This brought us closer together and made our marriage stronger than it had ever been before. I became friends in early 2016 with some of the most amazing and encouraging women, who were there for me at a time when I felt alone. Another reminder, that when God puts people in our lives, He always has a purpose. They too, had experienced the same loss and were able to help me through the emotions!

I grew closer to God in ways that I never thought would be possible. I spent more time in His Word and studying than I ever have in my life. We realized it’s not all about gifts and money, but more about what you do with what the Lord has blessed you with. We gave more and tried to help others more this year, and shared God’s love. We focused on quality time with loved ones this year, so it was amazing to get to make memories that will last a lifetime with our family and friends.

I started sewing last January, and since have made several quilt tops and projects! 2017 goal is to quilt them, but if you know quilting it may be a 2018 goal too, haha, I just get so distracted by new pretty fabrics! I started this blog, and it has been a wonderful outlet to just share my heart. To those of you, who have followed along on this blogging journey, I promise to do more in 2017. I’ve been blown away with the response  from those who follow me. For those who have told me I should write books, you tickle me! That may be a goal in the future, who knows. 😉

But, after all that, it’s a new year and I have a new focus.  I am truly so excited to see what 2017 brings for us {Hopefully a new house!}  and what the Lord will have us do for Him! Hope that each of you {if you’ve read through all my rambling and made it this far} have a blessed 2017!

New York City

Guys, I am soo sorry I’ve been a total slacker when it comes to my blog recently. Life has totally got in the way for us. My husband received an exciting new promotion at his job, but now drives three counties a day to get there. We’ve listed our house, spent hours scrounging online, looking for a new place to call home, all while waiting for our home here to sell; along with all the other day to day challenges we face in life. So needless to say, life has been a little CRAZY!

This past weekend we were able to escape and travel for the first time to NYC to celebrate my 25th birthday! I’m going to share just some of my favorite highlights from the trip with you guys. I could more than likely sit here all day and talk about all things NYC. I totally beyond fell in LOVE with the city this weekend. I had an expectation in my mind of what it would be like, but NYC met and exceeded each of those!

The very first thing we did upon our arrival, was hop on an open bus tour. I think this was the smartest thing we could have ever done. While there we ended up doing three or four of their different tour sections but this was a great way to see where everything was and how it was all connected. We could also easily hop on and hop off if there was a attraction we wanted to see, all while learning lots about the city. We chose Grey Line, simply because that’s the company that was standing at the street corner we walked to first.
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We stayed in the heart of Times Square at the Marriott Marquis and LOVED every second of it. One of our favorite past times was people watching in Times Square, we found benches or the big red steps to sit on and were amused for hours! Seriously, it is such a fun melting pot of human beings it’s so interesting to just sit back and absorb all of it.
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Can you really go to NYC and come home without talking about the food? I mean oh. my. gosh. so. good. We’ve been home two days and I already miss the sandwich shops, pizza parlors, little corner bakeries, and the yummy smells all floating through the air from the restaurants. A few of our favorites includes:

  • Junior’s Cheescake Thinking about it, makes me want a whole jar of those pickles right now. We totally went over board on dessert at Junior’s, but it was sooo good! I mean really, combining two of my most favorite desserts, Cheesecake and Carrot Cake and making carrot cake cheesecake was heavenly. I gave it all the heart eyes and ate every last bite.

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  • Carmine’s  where we ate some of the most delicious Italian ever!! It’s family style so the portions are huge!! We started out with Stuffed Mushrooms and they were probably the most flavorful that I have ever eaten. My husband, my parents and myself shared the Chicken Parmasean and the Penne Alla Vodka and still didn’t finish it all. 14199184_10210718840556046_5398970024054546922_n
  • Carve Sandwich Shop was super yummy, we had a plethora of items here, from pizza to chicken wraps to breakfast sandwiches, and not one was bad. My husband kept loading so much in his chicken wrap the sandwich maker said no more room! It was honestly almost as big as his head.
  • The Kellogg store in Times Square was something I totally wasn’t looking forward to. When I first saw it, I was like why would someone want to eat a bowl of cereal in Times Square, but honestly it was the best cereal I have EVER eaten! Soo yummy and so many fun cereal blending choices that I guarantee you would have never thought of before.  14192666_10210718837315965_8179463269375550690_n
  • Magnolia Bakery has the best banana pudding ever, right? Well that’s the dang truth!  While we were there, they had a special Peanut Butter Banana Pudding. Now if you tell me that you have added Peanut Butter to anything I can about pretty much gurantee that I’m going to love it about a million times more. I ordered a Large Size to go for myself, kept it on ice in the hotel room and finished off the case for breakfast the next morning. Now, if only I could figure out how to make it at home!

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Of course, we visited Central Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Macy’s Herald Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, and everywhere else we could stop in at. We crammed so much into this trip, now if only someone could have been waiting in my room to rub my feet every day after walking, it would have been perfect! 😉

In our family, we are all about gifting experiences instead of little trinkets. My mom and I have always wanted to go to a Blow Dry Bar and we got our first experience in the basement of Macy’s in Herald Square and it was awesome. We both have naturally curly hair so to see these ladies use hair dryers and style our hair the way they did was soo fun! Definitely a memory with my mom that I will never forget. Something I definitely recommend splurging on at some point in your life.

One of my favorite places we went on the trip was the 9/11 Tribute Museum. I was in fifth grade when the terrorist attack happened, I remember watching on tv at school that day in 2001 in pure fear of what would happen next. Ever since I have studied and read tons of stories of survivors and those not so fortunate of how their lives changed that day. It was so amazing to see all of the artifacts and hear and read the stories from that day. I have to admit, sitting in the room where the names of those who died that day and listening to their last words on voicemail left for loved ones left my in tears.

Before we went to the 9/11 Memorial we got to experience the new One World Trade Center. It was truly the most beautiful building that I have EVER seen. We went to the top and experienced the One World Observatory where you could see forever. Words cannot explain how it felt to look across miles and miles, from Brooklyn to New Jersey, and everywhere in between from 100 floors up!

The Statue of Liberty was another favorite for me! We all grew up seeing pictures and reading the history books but then to actually see it in person you are totally blown away. We had tickets to go up in the Pedestal, so it was cool to get to climb up there, go inside a national monument and see the city across the water from higher up. {If you are planning on going, I definitely recommend purchasing tickets in advance to gain access to the pedestal, or the crown tour, they sell out months in advance!}

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On my actual birthday we decided to go see a Broadway Show, I’m a total five year old at heart so of course I chose Matilda as my show of choice. I sat on the edge of my seat literally the entire time. I was enchanted by each song that was sung, the visuals on stage and the immaculate detail you could tell went into each aspect of the production. I would have watched a Broadway show every single night we were there if I would have known that they would be that great.

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I hope that you enjoyed the highlights of this trip, while it was my first visit to NYC it definitely won’t be my last! Thanks for letting me share my favorite memories with you!

 

 

Getting Ourselves Out of the Way

 

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Trusting God is simply that, believing that He loves you, He has good intentions for your life, will help, guide and direct you. Too many times we as Christians start trusting ourselves, what others say or think, or maybe even a bank account to make decisions instead of following God’s will for our lives and listening to his direction. More times than not, I start beating myself up and fill my head with thoughts of negativity. Like if I don’t have laundry done and put away, supper put on the table, the bed made after we get up, just normal day-to-day things, I get so overwhelmed and start thinking that I’m a horrible wife. A few weeks ago in a message at church, someone asked us to write down five things that we had done for God that day, and all I could think about was the focus that I had placed on all of the unimportant things I hadn’t done that I just mentioned. When really, if I would have been focusing on serving God the way that I am supposed to, all the other things would probably have fallen right into place.

I attended a funeral last Friday and a man got up and sang a song acapella and it’s been engraved on my heart and mind since then. The first verse and chorus says, “I thought number one would surely be me, I thought I could be what I wanted to be. I thought I could build on life’s sinking sand But I can’t even walk without you holding my hand. I can’t even walk without you holding my hand. The mountain’s too high and the valley’s too wide. Down on my knees, I learned to stay. And I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.” The next verse is the one I LOVE because the message is so clear. “I think I’ll make Jesus my One and my All From now on when in trouble, only His name I’ll call. And if I can’t trust Him, I’ll be less of a man, cause I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.” I am just simply amazed at how if you think about it, we truly can’t do anything without Christ. And if you keep on thinking, when you put God first and make Him your one and only His plan starts falling into perfect place. John 15:5 it says “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And that’s so true, I can’t help but think of what I have kept myself from, or even more importantly who I could have witnessed to, if I got myself out of the way and put God first in everything.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think of you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I read this scripture the other night, and really paused at the end of the verse. Before, I came to Calvary I didn’t use a KJV Bible, and several years ago, I had posted this verse on FB, coincidentally right after I had become friends with Mark. The NIV version ends with “to give you a hope and a future.” Mark quickly commented and said, the KJV says this. And I am so thankful that our God promises us an expected end. This verse is my life verse because of the promises that it speaks. That if we, would turn from our sin and give our lives to him, He will provide a life of peace, not evil, and would fulfil His promise of an expected end to us.

“Isaiah 41:9-10 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” The verse doesn’t say I’ve brought you this far, now I’m going to let you figure out things on your own. He’s always there right beside us leading us, guiding us and ready to use if we only trust in Him. God has chosen each and every single one of us for a different purpose in life. I thought I knew what my purpose was on this earth, but I was living in my will instead of God’s. Since I’ve drawn closer and put more of my trust in Him, especially through Bible Journaling, He’s shown me that our plans were completely different. When we get our self out of the way, when we stop worrying about how we are going to do little things like put gas in the car, God always shows up and provides.

When feelings of doubt and insecurity creep in we, as women, tend to feel depressed, unworthy, or like a failure and we get stuck there. However, we weren’t created to be depressed, defeated, guilty, ashamed, or unworthy; we were created to be victorious and be a light so others may see Him through us.

A friend posted this on Instagram the other day and I fell in love with it, so I’m going to close with this. “Apart from the blood of Jesus, I am a flawed mess. I don’t have to beat myself up about it anymore. I understand it; I accept it. I am flawed – temptations will come. But I am His!! No matter what, I’m His. He takes me as I am, and loves me fully, the blemishes of both dark and light, steadfast and wandering, good & bad, happy & sad, strong & weak, driven & sensitive, courageous & anxious, energetic & tired, health & sick. He loves me, and I have learned to do so too. And this, has freed me to be. To simply be. ALL That He has created me to be.”

Banner Elk Weekend Getaway

{So apparently I lost cell-service when I wrote this, because I wrote it on the way back down the mountain from our weekend getaway a few weeks ago, but still wanted to share!} 

My husband and I absolutely love to travel, even getting away for weekend getaways that may seem silly to some are fun for us. We normally go to a town nearby and camp in our camper, this weekend our town of choice was Banner Elk. We loaded up the camper and went to The Little Campground in between Banner Elk and Elk Park. Now this place was a place of total serenity. There are four campsites and we were the only people there for the weekend! It was great.

Apparently Banner Elk is dead this time of year, no one was visiting so it was perfect for us. We loved being able to stop in anywhere we wanted to grab dinner, eat lunch, or enjoy the surroundings without crowds of people. On Friday night, we had dinner at Puerto Nuevo, my obsession is their Carne Asada Tacos with lots and lots of Lime, Thomas loves their Pollo Loco.
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Saturday morning was great, waking up with no schedule. Thomas watched television for a little while {this campground had wi-fi and Satelitte for each campsite} and I pulled out my rag quilt that I am making for him and went outside the camper and snipped the edges into rags. If only I could work on every one of my quilts in that environment! I also had s’mores for breakfast and they were heavenly even though they didn’t really go with my diet. But when you are on vacation, the diet goes out the window, right?!

For lunch we drove to Banner Elk and ate at the The Banner Elk Cafe and I had the most amazing pita ever stuffed full of grilled chicken smothered in teriyaki glaze, pineapple, bacon, cheese and tomato, called The Hawaiian Chicken Pita. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it! I am such a foodie, I am obsessed!

We just recently figured out that it was our little Kenzie Doodle’s Fourth Birthday that day so we stopped in My Best Friend’s Barkery and picked her up a birthday treat. She loved it she had the icing licked off in about five seconds and we loved getting to spoil her a little more that day.
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After we ate we drove down some curvy back roads to get to the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, and it is just plopped down in the most beautiful area. While there, we of course had to buy candy and I got a puzzle to work on and leave in the camper. It was a good thing to, because a storm rolled in that evening and we ended up losing power. At least I had my 1,000 piece puzzle to keep me occupied, and I finished every piece. Thomas told me if he knew puzzles kept me that occupied he was going to start buying me one every week! 🙂

What a perfect little weekend getaway we had! Before we pulled out this morning I snapped this picture of Kenzie running through the grass, she had just discovered these dandelions and her face was covered in the little pieces from it. We will definitely be back to camp in this area…so until next time!

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“A Cord of Three Strands…”

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” 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” | Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This verse has been on my heart all week long. On Monday, it was all I could think about. We had Bible Study Monday night and Ms Mary shared on marriage, so I knew that last night I would be Bible Journaling this scripture.

Isn’t marriage just such a beautiful thing? My husband, Thomas, and I recently got married in October, and before the ceremony, everyone was asking us if we were excited for our wedding. I probably came across rude when I said that I was more excited about our life that we were going to start and build together than the actual ceremony. I know that God gave Thomas to me as the other half of me, he truly is my help-meet. I am so thankful that God blessed me with him to spend the rest of my life with.

When we got married, we wanted to incorporate God into our ceremony, because He was going to be a big part of our lives. I’ll go ahead and pre-face with this, we aren’t perfect people, we fail him daily. We don’t have a perfect marriage but when we face trials we have learned to fall to God and we are so blessed with what He reveals to us. Marriage is this weird thing where two completely different lives collide, and become one. There are new dynamics, new roles to fill, new things to think about each day. Part of marriage is washing clothes, paying bills, cooking dinner, taking care of each other but the most important part of it is trusting God, worshiping Him together, and leaning into Him for understanding, guidance and patience.

Have you ever heard the song, “Little is Much When God is in it?” I love it, and just the name of the song is so true. I could not imagine our lives without Christ. I couldn’t imagine not having the hope and the future that He has promised to us. I couldn’t imagine not having His Word to cling to and turn to when temptations, trials and disappointments arise. In our wedding ceremony, we had a board that my husband had made and had Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 painted on it. {Thomas pieced it together from the deckboards that he proposed to me on! Pictures below!} He drilled three holes for the three ropes and during our ceremony, I braided them together. This piece sits on our hearth in our living room. I see it, look at it and read it every day. I am so thankful that our marriage involves three, not just one or two, but three because we would truly be nothing without God.

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Here we go

I have wanted to blog for a while now, just never actually started. So here we go, no better time than now! I’ll be writing about lots of different things, just whatever crosses my mind. Many of you have followed along with my husband and I on our #adventuresofthomthomandjordy, so I can guarantee you’ll find those on here. I’ve been praying for God to open doors for me to help lead others to Him. I just purchased a journaling Bible last week and I’ll be posting my entries here as a way to share his word. And of course our fur babies, families, home and random thoughts will appear here. I so hope you enjoy!