December 31, 2013

|2014| the year of GRACE.

Grace (noun): simple elegance, the exercise of kindness, love and good will, the undeserved kindness or forgiveness of God, perfection of form.

Grace is my word for 2014.  When I think to the future, I want to live a life of grace.  I want to take who I am today, broken pieces and all, and refine myself into the woman that I want to be. 

I love the beginning of a New Year.  I love the new planners, the fresh mindsets, and the happiness of people. I love the reflecting and growing people do during this time.

This year I have been struggling to come up with goals for 2014 and I think it's because I am content with where I am right now.  God has provided a peace in my heart that has filled my life with joy and happiness. For many years, I have always planned my life, but this year is different. All of my planning doesn't seem to matter anymore because I know his plan is greater and I am willing to trust him.

"Sometimes where we THINK we're supposed to be is far lesser than where God KNOWS we belong. He does have a plan for your life: a big, marvelous, fantastical plan.  And if you're willing to show up: broken spirit, broken dreamsbroken heart, and all, and hand him the pieces, he'll turn it all into something beautiful."- Mandy Hale

This year I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection...and when I fail, he promises to give more grace. |2014| the year of grace.
*Find this free printable from Mique at Thirty Days*

December 30, 2013

from Manteo to Murphy...I've seen them all.

I know the cities are hard to see in this picture, but the reason I posted this picture is to show you how much I drove on, the important part is the blue line (I hope you can see that). 

It has always been my goal to drive through all 100 counties in North Carolina.  Up until this weekend I had been through 94 of the 100 counties.  The counties I had to finish are all in the far western part of North Carolina. It isn't the easiest to get out there, hence why I hadn't visited them.  

My friends Lauren and Alex were in from Louisiana and wanted to rent a cabin with some friends for the weekend. Our cabin was in Bryson City and was further west than I had originally thought.  On my way to the cabin, I decided that the Sunday drive back was the opportune time to finish this goal and cross it off my bucket list.

Our cabin was in Swain County, so on my way there I crossed off Jackson County. 
On Sunday afternoon, I crossed through Macon County and began my travels through the beautiful scenery of the Nantahala National Forest.
Then I passed through Graham County and Cherokee County. One of my favorite things about this area was that Graham, Cherokee, and Macon Counties are all accessible at one intersection.  I could have stopped there, but I wanted to make it to Murphy, North Carolina.
I finally made it to Murphy, North Carolina which is located in Cherokee County.  There is a saying in North Carolina, "Manteo to Murphy" that references the east to west width of the state. Neither of these cities are precisely on the borders, but  they are in the furthest eastern and western counties of North Carolina.
 After driving through Murphy, I had one county left....Clay County.
After completing my 101 in 1001 goal, I decided to take the scenic route since I had never been that way before.  I noticed semi-trucks were not allowed which made me question this route...after long, I knew why.  I went 20 mph the entire way and felt a little motion sick weaving back and forth around the mountains.  BUT, it was all worth it because I got some of the most beautiful pictures of North Carolina.
I also stumbled upon this little gem while driving... I saw a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road and decided to join them.  The old road of US 64 runs underneath the Bridal Veil Falls. It was a lot of fun to be able to drive underneath them!  I took lots of pictures and laughed with those around me...we were all getting a little wet from the spray droplets of the falls!

Last, but not least, I found this sign on my way home.  The Eastern Continental Divide separates the water flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and the Water flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.  I thought it was pretty neat to actually be able to see it! Overall, this was a great trip and a fun way to cross off my goal. I cannot believe I have traveled ALL 100 COUNTIES IN NORTH CAROLINA! Stay tuned later this week...I will definitely share more about the weekend with my Lousiana friends!

17. Visit all 100 counties in NC (100/100)- DONE! (12/29/13) 

December 27, 2013

the bling of my ring! I am not engaged. No where close to being engaged or having those of you that have wedding or baby fever, rest your hearts. It's okay, it's just my class ring!

When I was in college, I didn't have much extra cash laying around.  I worked as an RA in the dorms for 3 years to pay for housing, meals, and gas.  Then, I paid for tuition in student loans.  I didn't get a high school class ring because I really had no desire for one.  I went to two different high schools and loved both, but had plenty of other things that reminded me of all the fun times and opportunities I had. 

When I got out of college, I moved a couple of times and was trying to figure out life.  In August of 2013, I decided to finally purchase a class ring.  I knew which one I wanted and was ready to make the commitment. 

So, during my lunch hour I drove over to North Carolina State University, walked to the university bookstore, tried on a sample and placed my order. The class ring ceremony was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon in December, but I was unable to attend due to work travel.  I waited and waited for it to be shipped and I finally got it after Christmas.  It was one of the best Christmas presents I could have ever given myself!

Another 101 in 1001 item completed!

31. Buy a college class ring DONE! (12/26/13)

December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

My family is originally from Michigan, so, every year at Christmas we travel back to the frozen tundra to visit with friends and family.  Instead of me giving you every little ounce of information, I am just going to give you a nice collage and some of the highlights...okay?
+ We traveled for 5 days this year and flew back Christmas Day.  I love flying on Christmas Day...people are just so cheery and happy! When we returned our rental car, we noticed our shuttle was decorated for Christmas. On our way to the terminal we said "Awww! You decorated the shuttle for Christmas!" Our driver said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a shuttle. Today, it is a sleigh.  Merry Christmas!"

+ We went and visited our old feed store and the family that bought it. It brings back so many memories!

+ My mom and dad got to see some of their best friends. I tagged along and ruined their fun!

+ My cousin had pie for dessert after dinner...the question it really there? Check out all that whipped cream and ice cream!

+ We were out of power for a couple days due to a bad ice storm, so my cousins and I made snowmen.  I hadn't made a snowman in about 10 years because the snow is never wet enough to be packed into snowballs.  We may or may not have had a snowball fight!

+ I took many pictures of reindeer antlers on cars for my friend Olivia.  She hates them!  My dad even helped me create a hashtag... #projectantler

+ Our family tradition on my Mom's side of the family is to eat, then play games the rest of the evening.  Farkle was a huge hit!

+ Clyde the Elf has been visiting my cousins this year.  Clyde has dated all the Barbies this Christmas and has broken their hearts...the Barbies had it out for him and it resulted in them taping him to the wall and holding hands in opposition to him.

+ I mailed my first set of Christmas cards. Check out the post HERE!

+ My brother made some girly looking drink and my uncle revoked his man-card.

+ I found some old games that my grandparents had in a drawer. My cousins and I used to play them all the time when we were younger.  Does anyone remember PERFECTION?

+ My grandpa made a special chair next to the wood stove in the basement for my mom. We also stacked a lot of wood for my grandpa!

+ I ate pie. Lots of pie.

+ Along with the pie, I drank local apple cider. Lots of apple cider. It's my favorite!

+ The ice storm we had was crazy dangerous...but so beautiful!

+ We took a sibling picture near my snowman, at my grandpa's house, in the middle of snow flurries.  We got a white Christmas!

+ We flew home and played with Rosie, my mom's new daughter.  Rosie is a robotic vacuum my mom got for Christmas!  She is named after the character on the Jetsons!

What did y'all do for Christmas? 

December 25, 2013

Operation: Christmas Cards

Since I am on my own this year...I decided that it would be fun to send Christmas cards to some of my friends and family.  I had 49 addresses and hope to gather more as 2014 progresses on.  
I delivered them BEFORE Christmas Eve and they should be arriving to mailboxes all over the world here shortly!  For those of you that requested one and gave me your address, I hope you love it!

Merry Christmas!

That's another thing crossed off my 101 in 1001 list!

39. Send out Christmas cards - DONE! (12/25/13)

December 17, 2013

Mega Millions WINNER!

According to my local news station, I had a better chance of being hit with an asteroid or being attacked by a shark than winning the Mega Millions jackpot tonight.  

Buying a lottery ticket has always been something I have wanted to do, but just haven't taken the time to do it. After seeing the jackpot was $636 million, I knew I was in.  I liked the jackpot numbers, so after work, I drove to the local Harris Teeter and purchased my first lottery ticket. I picked my lucky numbers and today's date, then handed my $1 over to support educational lottery.

The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20, 39, 7

I'm close enough...right?

Another 101 in 1001 goal completed...check out the rest here.
23. Buy a lottery ticket when there is a huge jackpot!- DONE!

December 11, 2013

Recap: 2013

As I was driving home from my parent's the other night, I was thinking about how fast 2013 has gone by and all that I have done.  I remembered writing 13 goals for 2013 here and thought I would revisit them to remind myself that I did accomplish something...actually, a lot of things.  

13. Be happy with who I am...
+ My stress levels, my acne, and my overall happiness with myself has greatly improved over the course of the year.

12. Send a letter to a friend in need (X 13)
+ I have started sending postcards everywhere I travel. In other words, I have sent at least 30 cards to those that could use a little encouragement! I even have a pen-pal now...Tabitha over at Wandering Java Lover.

11. Be content. LET GOD
+ I took some balloons and released them.  I prayed and let go of a lot of things I was holding on to.

10. Start Fresh
+ Every day I started new and tried to not let the previous day ruin what I had in store for the next.  I tried new things and enjoyed my mornings in nature.

9. Step away from technology
+ I have gotten involved with church and have spent time developing relationships with people in my community.

8.Spend more time with the Lord.
+ I have been working through some devotional books and reading She Reads Truth.

7. Be a better girlfriend
+ I went through a breakup in June, so here lately, it's just been me.

6. Exercise
+ I am loving my fitbit and have enjoyed running a couple 5Ks this year!

5. Learn
+ I am working on my Certified Crop Advisor Certification, and I am learning so much through traveling with Cheminova.

4. Stay in touch and make new friends
+ I have had a lot of fun traveling across the state, meeting new friends, and keeping up with my old ones.

3. Blog
+ I have started blogging more and conversing with other bloggers on a regular basis.  I loved the meet-up I attended this year!

2. When life gets dull, go and do.
+ I took my dad to his first college football game (Go Pack!), ate a lot of ice cream, and tried out some new restaurants.  

1. Love for Life
+ I feel most fulfilled serving others...something that God has called me to do the last few months of this year.  I love life and the people in this world.  Life is beautiful.

Did you accomplish the goals you wanted to achieve this year?

December 9, 2013

Jingle Ball 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by my friend Whitney to volunteer at the Jingle Ball with her and some friends.  I am so glad that she mentioned volunteer opportunities at the Jingle Ball...I have always wanted to attend and thought this would be a fun way to!

The Jingle Ball is an annual ball put on by the Capital City Clauses that helps benefit the Wake County Salvation Army. The Jingle Ball is a semi-formal event that provides food, drink, dancing, and a fun night in exchange for a donation of a $20 unwrapped toy or a $30 check.  It was definitely a fun night for those in attendance.

I chose to donate a John Deere tractor and wagon for a little boy/girl that loves agriculture just as much as I do.  Any chance I get, I try to spread the knowledge of agriculture around me!

Whitney, her friends and I were in charge of collecting toys from attendees and stacking them up into the huge toy pile that many look forward to year after year! I am so thankful to have Whitney as a friend! Many people take a picture in front of this toy pile each is a spectacular thing to see!

I met some new friends volunteering at the Jingle Ball and spent much of the evening with them. We had a lot of fun laughing at those around us, singing, dancing, and welcoming those to the Jingle Ball.  It was fun to reminisce about some of the toys we used to have as kids and to see what kids like now.

At the end of the evening, I got to see that there were over 1,600 toys donated to the Salvation Army of Wake County!  This was such a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to take part in it again next year!

December 5, 2013

high five for friday.

This week. Man, it's been a fun one... 

Here are my top 5 for the week (see if you can match the pictures with my captions below...because it is 11:40pm and I am in the mood to write, but my organization isn't at its best. Bear with me!)
1. My mother is hilarious...actually, last Saturday, I think she was delusional.  She had been lacking sleep, but our feed store was extremely busy with people purchasing Christmas trees, so we all had to be there.  My sister asked her to order dinner, but we had a ton of Mexican leftovers from earlier that day.  Arrows conpolio?  Ummm, I'm pretty sure we aren't using arrows and there is a vaccine for polio. How about Arroz con Pollo next time? #facepalm

2. I left Sunday afternoon on a flight out to Seattle.  I was helping out at a horticulture trade show and it was a lot of fun.  I felt challenged and refreshed.  I love my job! Plus, I got to watch Russell Wilson (one of our former  NC State quarterbacks) play an AMAZING game!

3. Some of my family came into town for Thanksgiving and we went Black Thursday/Friday shopping.  My cousin Brittany was after the Magic Bullet...we went to Macy's and came back with an even better blender.  The Ninja.  Watch out world...

4. My dogs and my roommate's dog.  Whenever I go home, I just can't stop loving on these two.  It was especially cold one night this past weekend and they were both ready to come in...I thought it was funny, so I took a picture. I am sure they appreciated it. My roommate's dog Tyson has missed me. As I got ready on Thursday morning, he laid right in the middle of my stuff.  He's adorable and clean...and got a new Carolina blue collar.  He may just get a Wolfpack red one for Christmas, just to remind my roommate of her priorities.

5. On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Jingle Ball in Raleigh.  It was my first time attending and I absolutely loved it!  I met some new friends, donated a John Deere tractor to put in the toy pile, and smiled all night long.  I promise, there will be a post about this!

How was your week?