The Great Getaway

Friday, February 27, 2015

That is what I have lovingly named this weekend…The Great Getaway (cue vacation music).

Since starting my job back in August, I really haven't gotten a chance to stop and take a moment to breathe. Things kicked into full gear with work, then the holidays hit, and it's been busy ever since.  I don't say that to complain, because truly I've enjoyed every minute, but I have found myself feeling a little run down the last couple of weeks.  I've taken on some extra responsibilities at work, and even though we've had a couple of snow days recently, I haven't really had a full day off since Christmas. I've also noticed that the introvert in me has been screaming for some solitude lately, and well….being the front line person of contact in an office and living with your parents doesn't give much solitude :).

So, that being said, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed a weekend away.  A weekend alone, with no work, no responsibilities, and the freedom to just relax and refocus. I decided I'd come up to Greensboro, one of my favorite cities, stay in a nice hotel, sleep in way too late, watch way too many movies, order a little room service, read a good book, maybe go get a pedicure, dig into the Word, and just get away for the weekend.

And that my friends, is where I'll be until Sunday afternoon.  If you need me…don't call.  I'm safe, I promise! And, if anything happens I'll call mom...But really, I just need the weekend to myself.

Now I think I'll put the "do not disturb" sign out, draw the black out curtains, turn my fan on high, and crawl into this massive king size bed for the next 10-12 hours :). Goodnight!



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Sunday fun-day

Sunday, February 1, 2015


how's that for a cheesy title?  ha!

As the world watches the Super Bowl tonight, I'm sitting here with it playing it the background trying to figure out what this blog post should be about. Because lets be honest, I'm only watching for the commercials, half time, and the last few minutes. I've got to do something to pass the time in between commercials!  I'm such a girl :).


In other news…life is going pretty darn well (knock on wood).  I have to say I'm loving life right now.  My job is incredible.  I've been blessed immensely by this position, and every day I'm reminded by how perfect this job is for me.  Oh, and the perks of my job: incredible!!!  I got to meet Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, last week, we've got ESPN Game Day coming in for the UNC/Duke game, and I almost got to meet Emmitt Smith last semester.  I'd say the perks are pretty sweet. But seriously, I love my job.  I couldn't ask for a better position, staff, supervisors, or work environment.  I absolutely love it.


I'm also doing pretty well on my goals for the year.  I've been keeping up with my weight watchers, and have lost about 5 pounds so far!!  It's been a slow start, but I'm progressing and that's what counts!  My doctor is happy with my progress too, and is also helping me keep up with my goal for the year.  I've been sick quite a bit over the last two months which has decreased the amount I've been able to get to the pool, but I'm hoping this is the last couple of days of sickness for the year!!  Mom and I will be getting back into the pool tomorrow and making it a point to go 3x/week this month.  Here's to hoping I'm done with sinus infections/the flu for the year!!

I'm also one paycheck away from paying off my first student loan!!!!!!! Can I get an amen?!?!  I'm so stinking excited I can't even tell you!  More to come on that soon!!!!!!!!!  I also did really well last month with decreasing my shopping and was able to start adding to my savings which will set me up for success on paying off my second student loan by the end of the year.  This is such a huge step for me, and one that I'm really excited to accomplish!!

I also think I'll be able to get an apartment early next year!!  I've been looking into some options in the area/looking into my budget, and if I can get some of these loans paid off these year it will really be an option!!

Other than that, life has been carrying on as usual.  No big news, or major announcements, which is why I guess I've been a little quiet lately, but life really is going well.  Let me know in the comments if there's anything specific you'd like me to blog about!

Enjoy the Super Bowl.  I'm gonna go watch some more commercials now :)


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2015 Goals

Thursday, January 1, 2015

As I was looking back over my goals last year and all that was (or wasn't) accomplished, I realized that overall having some concrete goals to obtain was really helpful for me throughout the year.  Last year was the first time I'd ever written out goals, let alone shared them with anyone, but I found that it kept me motivated and for the most part on track throughout the year.  Having some added accountability in place really did wonders for me last year.

With that in mind, I've decided to make written goals a tradition with the hopes that this year will prove to be even more successful!  Some of this year's goals are bigger, some are more specific, and some are broader than last year, but overall I think they help touch each part of my life that I'd like to make some changes in.

So here goes nothing....for 2015, my goals are as follows: (Items that are underlined & bold are my top goals for this year).

Health:

  • Lose 50 pounds (no surgery plans this year so I want to get back on track!).
  • Work out at least 3x/week - swimming, walking more, and starting some in-home exercises.
  • Strengthen my core and upper body. 
  • Make it a point to not eat out at all at least 1 week every month.


Finances:
  • Pay off two loans completely.  
    • This is a BIG goal, but one of my top goals for 2015.  Other goals throughout this post will be going to help make this one a reality! 
  • Decrease areas of my budget as much as possible where I can (i.e. - money spent on going out, clothing, entertainment, etc).
  • Implement the "Save the Extra" method.  
    • Instead of rolling over extra cash from items in my budget at the end of the month, my goal is to now take that money and put it straight into savings so I can start saving up for my own apartment, trips, etc.
  • Plan now for Christmas.
    • My goal is to start putting a little aside each month for Christmas so that the "gifting frenzy" won't be as bad this year.

Home:
  • Re-organize!
    • This is an easy goal for me, but we all need those right?  My goal is to re-organize my closet, desk, and dresser to be more functional this week.
  • Get tax items in order.
    • I want to scan all of my receipts from Haiti last year into my digital system, and de-clutter that area of my life.  Yay for less clutter!
    • Get all of my items for 2014 taxes in order, scanned, and ready to be filed come February.
  • Gather all of my items stored upstairs and down at home, inventory them, and have Dad store them all together in one place.
    • This may be wishful thinking, but having my stuff strewn about 100 places makes me anxious, so this would be a huge weight lifted!  Plus it'd be nice to know what all I have whenever the day comes that an apartment is an option :).

Personal:
  • Contentment Challenge. 
    • After all of the buzz of the Holiday's, I keep finding myself feeling very discontent and it's been tugging at my heart.  So, I've decided to make contentment one of my major goals this year.   Some ways I'll be doing that are:
      • Digging into God's word.
      • De-cluttering my inbox and social media sites by removing/unsubscribing from all unnecessary shopping ads.  There are very few that I actually shop at regularly and the rest are just constant temptations that need to be removed.
      • Limiting online shopping.
      • Limiting my non-essential shopping trips.
      • Eating at home vs going out.
  • Read more.
    • Read at least 6 books this year (one every other month).
  • Continue to decrease my time on social media.
  • Invest more time into local missions and volunteer work.
    • Help youth at Church with their fundraising efforts.
    • Father's day/Christmas project.
  • Take some "me" time - away from work.
    • Trip to the beach, lake, something for myself!
  • Be more intentional about hanging out with friends - especially with those who live further away!
    • Take an ID5 trip
    • Have a girl's weekend with local friends
    • Beach trip

This is a lofty list, but I'm really excited about the possibility of making it all a reality!  Here's to kicking off 2015 with a strong start!  What are your top goals this year??


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2014 Wrap Up

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Well, it's that time of the year where everyone begins to look back on their year, what they accomplished (or didn't), and what they hope to achieve the following year.  I wouldn't want to throw off everyone else's groove by not doing the same myself :), so here's a look back on how I did on my 2014 goals.  I wrote these out with the intention of having my readers hold me accountable, so here goes some brutal honesty with myself....


You can read the original list here.

  • Enhance my photography knowledge.
      • Well....let's just start this off with a bang and go ahead and admit that I failed miserably in this area - ha!  I probably haven't gotten my camera out more than 5 times all year since we got back from Haiti in April.  Not proud of this fact, I've just has a gazillion other things going on that weren't quite photo-worthy...like doctor's appointments, working 3 jobs, etc.  Here's to hoping next year will be a little better in this area!

  • Improve my overall fitness level.
      • Well, I certainly didn't lose 50 pounds like I had hoped, but that's ok.  When I wrote that original blog post, I had no idea that my incision would open 3 times, or that life would take me on a roller coaster this year.  I can say though, that since starting my new job here at Duke, that I've signed up for a gym membership and am starting to swim again with mom!  I also signed up for Weight Watchers this week, and my Doctor is on board to do what she can to help me lose weight.  I'm just beginning, but I finally feel like I've got a good support system and plan in place to make this a reality.  This goal is top of my list this year, so here's to hoping 2015 will see a 50lb lighter me!

  • Improve my quiet time.
      • This goal I was actually successful with -woohoo!  I'd say I still have more room for improvement, but I got better about making my devotion time a priority, tithing regularly, and found a devotion app I really liked too.  I started reading the Bible chronologically last month too.  It puts the stories I've heard so many times into a timeline which I've really enjoyed.  It's a year-long read through the Bible chronologically, so it will take me into 2015, but that's ok with me!

  • Decrease time on social media.
      • I'd say overall, I've been pretty successful with this goal too.  Between work and things we've had going on at church, I haven't had a ton of time to be on social media, but I have found myself recently not gravitating towards my phone as easily.  This goal is still on my list for 2015, because lets be real we could all still improve in this area, but I can definitely tell a difference from where I was in February, sitting and surfing the web mindlessly, to where I am now - which is checking FB only once or twice a day.

  • Pursue dream of becoming a wedding planner. 
      • This goal completely flopped. Once I began pursuing it, I realized that wedding planning is something that I'd rather do on the side for friends right now than make it a career.  I did find a career this year though - so here's an AMEN to that!

  • Become a better reader.
      • This is the one goal that I surpassed even what I thought I was capable of!  I not only read 2 books, I read almost 6 this year!!!!!!  Whoop, whoop!  Again, I know you readers out there think I'm crazy, but for someone who hated reading just a year ago, this is HUGE!  I'm finally becoming a reader and have even found a favorite author.  I still hate the library (thanks E for getting books for me!), but I'm reading so that's something! Beggars can't be choosers after afterall! Here is a little review of the books I read:
    • "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult: Probably my favorite read this year.  Jodi Picoult did a great job exploring the world of children with Aspergers while creating a suspenseful story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.
    • "Vanishing Acts" by Jodi Picoult:  This one was good too with lots of twists I didn't see coming.
    • "Perfect Match" by Jodi Picoult: Gut wrenching read about the sexual assault of a young boy and the journey of bringing his rapist to justice, but man the book was so good!
    • "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult: I'm still reading this book about the story of a school shooting and so far Jodi Picoult has impressed as always.  I'm sure there is some big twist coming before the ending, but I haven't gotten there yet.
    • "The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks: I liked this book, and parts even made me cry, but I found it to be a typical Nicholas Spark's story.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I enjoy the suspense of not knowing what's coming in Jodi Picoult's books versus the expected outcomes of his books.  
    • "Beachcombers" by Nancy Thayer: I couldn't get into this one. I tried but when I still wasn't hooked after chapter 5, I put it down and never went back to it.

  • Become more responsible and aware with my financial planning.
      • This is another area that I surpassed my goals in.  I not only have a great budgeting system in place now, but I even ENJOY doing my budget each month.  I finally get to be stress free over money and can look forward to the next pay check because I am in control now, not the bills!  I've gotten an emergency fund in place this year, almost completely paid off one of my small loans, reimbursed funds that I'd borrowed, bought a new car, organized my ministry finances, and am set up to hopefully pay off two complete school loans in 2015!!!!!  I can't even tell you how good it feels to be in such a place of peace and control when it comes to finances.  If you're struggling with money and haven't tried the Dave Ramsey system yet - go do it NOW!  It works people.  It's not easy, it takes work, dedication, and patience, but it WORKS and it even becomes fun when you get the hang of it!

  • Blog more.
      • I didn't blog nearly as much as I'd hoped this year, but I've been doing pretty good these last couple of weeks, so maybe that counts?  I'm sure all of you readers are rolling your eyes right now :).  I'll get better, just stick with me!


Stay tuned for my 2015 goals.  Here's to hoping that 2015 will be a little less crazy, and a lot more successful in the goals department!


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End of another year...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Is 2014 really almost over?  As I think back over this year, I'm blown away by where all it has taken me.  I've learned over and over and over this year, that my plan is not God's plan, and that is completely ok with me.  If you would have asked me last December where I thought I would be writing this post from today, the last place I would have thought of would have been my desk here at Duke. But, here I sit reminiscing over all this year has encompassed feeling completely at peace with where God has me.  Here is a look back at all of the highlights from 2014:

January:
I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's weddings.


Which then led to the realization that I would need back surgery, where my sister lovingly took this picture for us all to remember the occasion.


February - March:
Which made the next two months pretty much consist of this...


April:
In April, after finding out the second hole in my incision was not closed and a third had begun, I decided to not return to Haiti full time.  Mom, Erin, and I, instead decided to take a short week-long trip over Easter to pack my stuff up and to bless the kids at HFHM with a week full of Holy Week activities.


I also started working at Michaels in April.




May:
We got to celebrate Andy's graduation from college!


June:
I got the privilege of watching another one of my very best friends get married!


And, I got to see Julianne and Derek Hough on tour (yes this was a highlight of my year!).


July:
In July, I opened my Etsy shop.


and, Erin and I got to spend a weekend, just the two of us, with Grandma and Pa, where we introduced him to smores (probably one of the top highlights of my year!).


August:
I started my temp position here at Duke with UCAE.

and, did LOTS of dog sitting!


Septemeber - October:
Late September into early October, I took a trip up to Virginia to see all of the girls from college.


In mid-October, I said farewell to Helga and welcomed this beauty into the family after accepting the permanent position here at Duke with the UCAE team!


November:
Andy came home from Vegas to surprise us all.


and we celebrated Thanksgiving old school style with Bue's Brunswick Stew recipe.



December:
The Student Involvement team, here in UCAE, took a day to volunteer at the local food bank in Durham (I love that my job gives back!).


Erin and I hosted a Thirty-One gives fundraiser.  Through your purchases and support, we raised $100 which was donated to Carrington Middle School to buy Christmas items for five families in need this Christmas.  We also were able to purchase over $500 in free products which will be given to 18 moms at the Ronald McDonald house today!


To finish off December, we will be doing all of our usual Christmas traditions.  From watching the Summit's DPAC Christmas performance, to traveling from Raleigh to Elkin to spend time with family, and even having Christmas breakfast at home.  It's going to be a busy last few days of December, but this is always my favorite time of the year!



It has been a great year.  One that I would not have necessarily planned myself, but one that has blessed me beyond belief.

So from our family to yours, Merry Christmas!







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