This weekend marked the completion of my 28th trip around the sun. As I reflected on this past year, I took into consideration all that I experienced and learned. I am of the opinion that no matter what age we are, as every year goes by we will always have more to learn in life. So here’s a look at ten of the standout things that made an impact on me in my 28th year:
The pursuit of health is about the journey, not the destination. I can easily default into the thinking that once I lose X amount of weight, or once I tone up X area of my body, THEN I will have “arrived” and I can just maintain from there. But I’ve come to find that, for one, those X factors are easily capable of endlessly changing; and for another, once those X factors are achieved, it takes just as much, if not more, work to maintain. Pursuing physical health is a winding road that looks different through all the seasons of life, so I’m really working to shift my perspective for the long haul, rather than trying to “arrive” and be done with it.
Approaching my health in a worshipful way rather than as a vain pursuit is an ongoing mental battle, but it is a battle worth fighting. I have been trying my darnedest for the last two-three years to approach my health it in a way that glorifies God, rather than simply trying to look a certain way. This past year has specifically been filled with many victories in this area, but at times it has felt like an all out war on my mind as I try to rewire my reasonings and approaches. As I continue to journey on this path, I know there is still more fighting to come. And I’m here for it.
Days spent away from my phone are always good days. Always.
Justice is the Lord’s. It is not mine to deliver. His providence is present in all of life’s circumstances, so I can, and should, trust Him to carry out His good and perfect will, even if it is not what I think is most fair in the moment.
Comfort is a huge idol in my life that majorly holds me back from obediently following Jesus. And it’s taking a lot of prayer to re-wire my brain and uproot it.
Take it ALL to the Lord in prayer. Like, everything. Joy, sorrow, gratitude, praise, disappointment, frustration, pain, confusion – all of it. There is no greater counselor to work through my “ish” with. He is a safe place and a refuge – even and especially when all around me feels unsteady. He can handle the messiest and ugliest parts of me. And he does so with grace, mercy, love, and gentleness.
Work from approval. Not for it. It’s so easy for me to seek to please or seek praise from others. But I was not made to work for approval – especially from people. I have already been considered approved by God through the blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore I will turn around and work with confidence in, and gratitude of, that.
Communication is a (if not THE) key to abundant relationships. And I am not as good at it as I thought I was. The only way for me to get better, is to practice. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of opportunity for it this year, most significantly in my marriage. I am really trying to remember that no one is a mind reader, so the best way to make my feelings known, resolve conflict, create unity, or establish understanding is to kindly speak up and use my words. It’s proven to be better than avoidance or bottling up (my defaults) 100% of the time.
Have gracious assumptions of others. There is much more going on in someone’s mind and intentions than I ever let myself believe. I need to give others the grace to be as beautifully complicated as I am.
I have spent so much time striving to be my Ideal Self rather than embracing my Actual Self. And while my Actual Self is full of brokenness, messiness, and sinfulness, that is the part of me that God has equipped to take on my specific life circumstances. This is just another area of myself that I need to cool it with the striving and embrace the grace.
Well there you have it – ten major things that God has been teaching me and giving me the grace to implement in my life in the last year. A significant thing for me to point out is that these are not things I have mastered. But they are all lessons that have stopped me in my tracks at least a time or two, and shifted the way I think or the way I approach life. I can guarantee you that I’ll be carrying all of this with me over into my 29th year, and all the years after.
What about you? What has stood out as a life lesson in your latest year of life? Maybe there’s something I learned in year 28 that already comes easy to you, but maybe there’s also something that you could benefit from learning too. If there is, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Over Memorial Day weekend we celebrated six years of marriage, and thanks to the long weekend, we chose to head a few hours South to finally check out Colorado Springs as a way to celebrate. It ended up being the perfect weekend getaway. We quickly realized that this city has so much more to offer than a weekend’s worth of activities, so we plan to return to check out the things we weren’t able to this go around. Here’s a breakdown of what we did do during our time there.
Where We Stayed
Adam found the most perfect Airbnb for the weekend at a fairly reasonable price. The location was perfect – a cozy, quiet neighborhood, but still only a few minutes away from the downtown area. Pretty much all the activities we did were within a 15 minute drive of where we stayed. Plus you could see Pikes Peak from sitting on the couch, so that’s a total win in my book. The house itself was the perfect size for just the two of us, and they were very accommodating for us bringing our two pups as well. The decor was minimal and fresh and made me feel so cozy and relaxed while there. I just loved it, and if we have the chance, I would definitely stay there again on our return trip.
Where We Ate
Bingo Burger – Our first stop after getting into town was this fun little burger joint with locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients. I tried the Shooks Run, and while the burger was good, the bleu cheese seemed to overpower it a bit more than I would have liked. Their chipotle ranch dipping sauce with their fries was tasty though.
Denver Biscuit Co. – We had been to the Denver location of this a couple years ago and enjoyed it, so when we found out there was a location in the Springs we wanted to give it another try. I got their Biscuits and Gravy and Adam got The Franklin and we were both very satisfied. Our waiter also convinced us to snag one of their highly sought after Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, and they are not kidding when they say giant. We had just a few bites before taking it to go and having it for breakfast another day, but it was scrumptious.
Dos Santos – When snagging breakfast at Denver Biscuit Co., we really liked the vibe of the collection of other restaurants that shared the same corner, so we made it a point to come back. One of those stops was Dos Santos (also recommended by our Airbnb hosts – actually pretty much all of the local places we ate were). They seem to pride themselves in their drinks as well as (surprisingly) their brunch, but we went for an afternoon pick me up after a hike, so I went with two street tacos – the Arrachera and the Porky Lechon – and they both hit the spot.
Frozen Gold – After Dos Santos we went next door for some ice cream. Frozen Gold serves unique soft serve creations that had me take about five solid minutes to decide which one I wanted. There were some that had cereal toppings, goldfish crackers, and one with Kool-aid candied popcorn (?!). I ended up going with the Samoa Samoa, and for a vegan option, it was still extremely delicious. Adam went with their Peanut Butter Puffy. Honestly, it looks like we couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the options…except for maybe the one with the goldfish. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here when we visit again.
The Exchange – We went for a casual, light lunch at this local coffee shop and bar, and enjoyed our time there on the patio. Their caprese panini was on point, and we both enjoyed their smoothies as well. We didn’t try their coffee but they locally roast their fair trade and organic coffee.
The Melting Pot – this wasn’t a local try, but we saw it one day when we were downtown and decided to make it our official anniversary dinner destination since we had never been before. We tried their classic four course experience. While the experience was cool, I wasn’t overly impressed with the taste of the food, especially for the price we paid. I can’t complain about the chocolate fondue though, and their Yin Yang Martini was pretty tasty too.
What We Did
Seven Falls – This was one of the top things I saw recommended to do in the area so we were sure to cross it off our list. When we first arrived, they directed us to a parking area that was a bit out of the way to drive to, and then we had to take a (free) shuttle back, but I also read that you could park at the Broadmoor and also take a shuttle – we just didn’t realize that the two parking spots would be different. It created about a 30 minute delay for us, but in the end, our timing was still perfect. We probably officially arrived at around 9:30-10ish, and it wasn’t super busy yet. In fact it felt super casual and calm, which allowed a better experience taking in all the amazing views as we walked in through the canyon up to where the falls were. Once we arrived at the base we took on the 224 step staircase to climb up alongside the falls. After we reached the top we continued hiking to Inspiration Point, which overlooked the city of Colorado Springs, as well as some amazing mountain views. The trails were still fairly quiet, so we also did the other hike to Moonlight Falls. The weather was perfect and the hikes weren’t too strenuous. By the time we made our way back to the falls it was around noon and the crowds were definitely picking up. We climbed another set of stairs to get to the Eagle’s Nest for one final great view of the falls, and then we made our way out. I definitely would recommend going, and I would suggest going a little earlier so you can beat the crowds. There was a fee to enter, but they did offer a military discount.
Garden of the Gods – One of the other most highly recommended places to visit in the area was Garden of the Gods. We were given the advice by some trail-goers the day before to go early and beat the crowds and get good parking, especially since it was Memorial Day weekend, so we got there around 6:15am to do so. It was awesome to watch the sunrise over these incredible rock formations and get to explore the walking paths without too many people around. We weaved in and out around the paths to cover most of the grounds, but we didn’t venture off onto any of the hiking trails. Perhaps when we come back that would be something we would do, because I imagine that some of the views would be spectacular between the rock formations and the Rocky Mountain range all within the landscape. This is a free park and definite must see.
Drove Through Manitou Springs – After our time at Garden of the Gods we strolled our way over to Manitou Springs and drove through this quaint little touristy town. I was hoping to take on the infamous Manitou Incline but we chose to save that for our return trip when we get a little more hiking and stair climbing under our belts this summer. We saw it from a distance and I will say it looked even more intense in person that in does in pictures. We didn’t stay in Manitou long due to opting for a nap after our early morning, but I know there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants in the area that could be worth checking out.
REI & Boone’s Birthday Celebration – These are definitely not local things to do, but we had some gift cards to REI, and we knew it was their big Memorial Day sale, so we chose to spend the evening having a little shopping spree. That night we also celebrated our Boone boy’s 5th birthday and followed our tradition of taking the pups to Petco for him to pick out a few new toys and getting special treats.
21 Keys Escape Rooms – It’s truly not a Pruim vacation without an escape room. We took on 21 Key’s “Jester’s New Playmate” room, and had a successful escape in the end. Now I won’t go too nerdy on you all and give my in depth debrief of thoughts on the room, but from our experience, I would give this room a 3 out of 5 stars. There were definitely some challenging puzzles that stumped us, but some of them seemed due to a poor connection of clues in the room. A challenging room is one thing, but it needs to make sense as well. Thankfully they offered an unlimited amount of hints so we used some to still be able to progress through the room and enjoy our time. The decor and set up itself felt a bit sub par too. The staff was nice though, and they had plenty of other rooms to try that could be better.
Apart from all of that, we enjoyed lounging around our Airbnb and taking the dogs for walks around the neighborhood. Like I said, there is so much more to do in the Pikes Peak region, so we definitely plan to come back to check out some more. On my list is the Manitou Incline, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. I’ve also heard amazing things about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. And while getting to the top of Pikes Peak would be a dream, driving to the top didn’t seem as desirable for the cost, and we are no where near ready to hike a 14er (although it has become one of my life goals), so we’ll see if we ever get any closer in the future.
If you are considering or planning a trip to Colorado Springs, this website was a great guide, offering an in depth look at all the different attractions of the area.
As a whole, our weekend was a perfect mixture of relaxation and adventure – just the way I like it. And it was a beautiful location to celebrate our anniversary. I may or may not have asked Adam if we could move there at least 20 times throughout the weekend. Maybe one day the Air Force stars will align…
I hope you enjoyed this little travel recap. If you’ve been to Colorado Springs, let me know what your favorite things to do or places to eat are! And if you’ve never been, which activity seems most up your alley? Let me know in the comments.
Today I’m sharing with you another installment of The Little Things. These are some recent simple things that have been impacting my day-to-day life in bigger ways. Hopefully you might enjoy one, or all, of them too.
Kristen Ess Dry Shampoo This is without a doubt my favorite dry shampoo of all time. Most of the dry shampoos I’ve tried leave my hair feeling gritty or stiff, which has been ok for days where I could use some texture or volume in my fine hair, but my hopeful purpose of using dry shampoo is so my hair can look and feel clean without having to actually wash it. And guys, this dry shampoo does the trick. When I use this, my hair actually looks AND feels fresh and clean. It makes day two hair a lot more manageable for me (unless I workout, I usually wash my hair every other day). I will confess that it is a little more pricey in comparison to some of the other dry shampoos I’ve used, and I seem to go through it fairly quickly, but I’ve grown to accept that the end result is 100% worth it. Plus it gives me an extra reason to swing by Target (as if I need an excuse to go there…)
Inkjoy Gel Pens I’ll admit, I’m kind of a pen snob, especially with the pens I use on a consistent basis. To me, a good pen is one that comes out clean and smooth, without too much pressure, and doesn’t skip out on me in the middle of a sentence. I was recently turned onto Papermate’s Inkjoy Gel Pens and it’s been a heartfelt affair ever since. They come out with a clean, not-too-thin, but not-too-thick finish (I guess you could call it my Goldilocks pen), almost looking like a fine tip Sharpie…but better. I personally love that the ink is smooth and I don’t have to put too much pressure on the pen for it write nicely (I have a tendency to hold a death grip on my pens, so my hand has thanked me). And even though they’re gel, they don’t bleed through and they dry pretty quickly. I only have the occasional smear if I’m writing a little extra fiercely. If this is your kind of feel for a pen, I’d suggest checking these out.
Bombas No Show Socks It’s taken me nearly 28 years to realize that a good pair of socks can make the world of a difference in your footwear. And boy have I find some good socks. I had seen Bombas around for awhile, but was always hesitant with the price tag – I mean they’re socks. But as I’ve learned the value of investing in quality over quantity when it comes to my wardrobe, I’ve found myself freed up to invest in quality essentials as well. For Christmas I received two pairs of Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks and since then I’ve gone on to purchase numerous more, this time in the lightweight version. I have quite a few pairs of shoes that are the in-between of flats and sneakers. For example, my Keds, Vans, and knock-off Sperrys all require socks, but ankle socks still peek out, and all of the no-show socks I’ve used have been too low cut, are poor quality, and require constant adjustment. But struggle no more – these socks are the perfect cut where they feel like a real sock, but they remain hidden when worn with lower cut shoes. And the best part? They ACTUALLY stay put. Most no show socks I’ve used claim that they will, but these are the first that have actually delivered. They have made wearing the shoes I mentioned that much more enjoyable because they’re so much more comfortable and I don’t have to think about them (simplicity WIN). Plus, they help keep my feet a little warmer even when my ankles are exposed. If you’ve seen ads for Bombas or have been debating giving them a try, I’m here to tell you they are worth it, and you can use THIS link to get 25% off your first order.
The Milk and Honey Podcast I was recently turned onto this podcast and after starting out at episode one, (which is what I usually do with a new-to-me podcast), I was pretty hooked. Lindsey and Amaris share very openly, intentionally, and vulnerably about the wisdom they have gained from their life experiences, and they aren’t afraid to confront topics that might be more uncomfortable to discuss. I love that they seek truth in God’s wise counsel on all the topics they discuss and they do a really great job at encouraging their listeners to actively choose to honor God in all areas of their lives. So far I’ve really enjoyed Episode 4: Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Gospel; Episode 1: More than Our Mess; and Episode 10: Sex Intimacy. I love hitting play on an episode when I’m on a long drive, making dinner, or folding laundry. It truly feels like getting to listen in on a casual chat with some girlfriends.
Writing Things Down In an attempt to combat some of the frazzled feelings I’ve had about life the first few months of this year, I’ve been making a more intentional try at writing things down when I think of them to: 1) get them out on paper and out of my head for mental clarity, and 2) so I actually remember to follow through on them. When I leave the thoughts floating in my head I seem to get more overwhelmed as I consider ALL the things I need or want to do. But by writing those things down, I have been able to release the thoughts and then come back to them when I can follow through in a more timely manner. I’ve been actively doing this more frequently for about a month now and I can say it has truly made a difference. I’ve forgotten far less stuff; I’ve accomplished more; and my mental state has felt a little less overwhelmed. I use my bullet journal and have a monthly “dump” page where I basically just list off to-dos, ideas, or random thoughts I want to remember when they come to mind, and add to it throughout the month. It’s actually where I made note of a few of the things on this list to share with you all. If you find yourself struggling to remember all that you want to do, or if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the flowing thoughts in your head, I’d suggest giving this practice a try and seeing if it helps.
That’s it for today – five little things that have been making a big impact on my life lately. I hope that even just one of these things sparks your interest, because they sure have benefitted me. If you give any of these things a try (or if you already use any of these products/resources) let me know in the comments below with what you think!
Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit or benefit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Bombas in which case you can get 25% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.
I kind of can’t believe I’m typing this, but I graduated high school 10 years ago today. It’s a bit baffling. But rather than diving into a long rant about how time is wild and I just don’t understand it, I thought it’d be fun to write a letter to my 17 year old self (because I was a youngin’ and didn’t turn 18 until the week before I left for college) as a form of reflection. So here it goes…
Dear 17-year-old Kelly,
Congratulations! You finally made it. You finished high school and get to move on from this place that you’ve been looking forward to leaving for the last 3 years. Since I’ve gone ahead and taken on the next ten years of your life already, I figured I’d give you some insight to ease your mind about what is ahead – or at least prepare your heart for what is to come – without giving you too many spoilers. So here’s what I have for you:
First things first, get ready for a roller coaster ride. And not the kind that you ride over and over again because you love it so much. But the kind that you can only ride once and you have no idea what is going to come next. Because honestly, that’s what life is. It’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns. There are high highs ahead, and there are also low lows. But don’t be afraid of them. They all piece together to make you the person that is writing this letter to you now. And while she’s perfectly imperfect, she’s grown significantly more in the last 10 years than you could ever expect.
While we’re kind of on the topic of it, I know you don’t like to consider yourself a perfectionist, but we both know that you’re chasing perfection in pretty much every area of life…and to be honest, you’re going to keep chasing it, and you’re going to keep coming up empty handed. Don’t let that statement discourage you. Honestly, the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll feel freed up by it. Life isn’t meant to be perfect. YOU are not meant to be perfect. And even though you’ll come to learn that your desire for it is just how you’re wired, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in an endless chase. There are far better things to chase after. So take the pressure of yourself, do your best, and most importantly give yourself GRACE.
I know you’re going to overlook that last word, because it just sounds like a simple church word to you. But I’ll warn you now that through some hard and heavy failures, you’re going to truly learn what God’s amazing grace is and it’s going to be a game changer. It won’t be until you experience these hardships that you truly understand your need for Jesus, and that up to this point you’ve still been trying to save yourself. The sooner you surrender, the sooner you can rest in your freedom in Christ, and the sooner God can really use you for His glory.
I know you feel like you’re “behind” in some way for only knowing Jesus for a few years, but girl, He is just getting started with you and that is a beautiful thing. He’s going to wreck your heart and build you back up so much stronger – which might not sound appealing, but trust me, it truly is for your good. He’s going to use you in the quiet moments – some you’ll be aware of, and many of them you won’t. Just be open and willing to be used for His glory and be ready to be amazed of all that God is capable of. Following Him truly leads to a more abundant life.
I remember now that you’ve been trying for awhile to fully believe it is ok that you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life. You’ve been told it many times from other people as well. I’m here to confirm for you, it really is ok. Even when it feels like you’re doing something wrong because everyone else seems to have it figured out, you’re not. The fact that you accept this will only make it easier for you to find your path when the time is right. Because God’s not leaving you hanging. He’s just waiting for the right time. He’ll let you in on what you need to know when you need to know it. And that means you’ll figure things out piece by piece. (Heck, I’m still figuring it out. And don’t worry, I’m so okay with it). Until then, I know you’ll come to this verse on your own eventually before you head off to college, but I’ll throw it out there to emphasize it’s importance for you: “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Life is never again going to look like it does right now for you. It’ll weird you out, and confuse you, and create some tension within you at times, because I know your tradition loving self likes to cling to the way things are when you are happy with them. But trust me when I say it’s okay to accept change and step out into the unknown. Your best memories will happen because of it. Your most significant growth will happen because of it. And it’s true that in order to experience the greatest abundance you have to let go of some things in the process. I’ll affirm with you, though, that there won’t be a day that goes by that you look back and want to return to high school. You’re going to love college. You’re going to love what comes after it. Good days and good things are ahead.
Now let’s be real, I think there’s some temptation for you right now to think you have it all figured out. I mean you’re about to turn 18. You’ve experienced a lot of life so far and you’ve already learned so much. But please let me do you a favor and lovingly tell you that you don’t. And that’s a good thing. Embrace humility in accepting that. And more importantly, embrace humility in admitting that. This will especially come into play as you navigate friendships. I know you’ve had your fair share of trials when it comes to friends (be encouraged that you do learn from them), but there’s still so much room for you to learn and grow here. There’s still some hurts ahead of you, and there’s certainly still some hurts that you’re going to inflict on others. Know that there is beauty in redemption, even when the road to it is painful. And there is also peace in letting go at the right times, even when the road to do so is painful. The friendships that endure through it all in the end become all the more worthwhile because of it.
Speaking of relationships…now I probably shouldn’t spoil this surprise for you, but it’s just too good not to…that boy you’re dating…you’re going to marry him. I know, I know. It’s wild. You’ll defy the odds of the statistics and marry your high school sweet heart. But your journey together is just getting started and your path won’t be without trials, heartaches, and pain, so don’t get too far ahead of yourself. But you’re also going to experience redemption and forgiveness and restoration in ways you’ve never known. Everything you’ve ever expected out of your relationship with him probably won’t go as planned, but it turns out better because of it. (And I’ll let you in on a secret, he only get’s more handsome).
On a different note, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news in saying that what everyone told you about your metabolism catching up with you is true. You’ve had it easy up to now. There will come a day when your health is going to require much more effort and intentional work than it ever has. It’ll rock your world for awhile, and it’ll hit you in waves and seasons, but I tell you this so that maybe you’ll handle it better than I have. Don’t take for granted your walks to class and your intramural sports. And when it does hit you, don’t be afraid to confess it like I was. You are not alone in the insecurities you’ll face, and you are not less than for feeling them. The more that God’s truth can be spoken against the lies you’ll believe, the sooner you’ll likely snap out of them and embrace the truth that you are loved and valued no matter what the shape of your body is.
Now I recognize that this has been quite a lot (yep, your wordiness doesn’t change one bit as you get older), and there’s so much more I could say, but let me finish off with this: It’s nothing but an adventure ahead of you, sweet girl. So buckle up and hang on for the ride (maybe throw your hands in the air for the thrill of it every once in awhile too)…it’s a good one ahead.
This month marks five years since my husband commissioned into the US Air Force and we started on this wild and wonderful journey of military life. We have since lived in three (very different) states, gotten more familiar with the way the Air Force works, spent countless days apart due to his job (although we haven’t experienced a “traditional” deployment), and met some fantastic people along the way. The experiences we have had as a result of this career path have shaped us in ways we couldn’t have expected, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from my experience as an Air Force wife so far.
But first, I’d like to preface with this: everyone’s military experience is a bit different. The branch of the military, the job, the places lived, family dynamics, and more, can all affect what someone’s “military life” looks like. Therefore, while there are many unique and connecting factors about the military, it is not lost on me that every single military spouse might not relate to everything I have been through or learned. What I am sharing is what I have learned from our experience with the Air Force. And hopefully it sheds some light on how being a military wife has affected me.
How To Let Go Of Control And Trust In God This is absolutely the number one thing I have learned over and over again as a result of this particular path of life. In the military, you can put in preference of what you’d like to do with your career and where you’d like to go, but ultimately it is up to the powers-that-be to decide what you end up doing and where you end up going. And even when things seem like a done deal, there’s always a chance that something can change. As someone who naturally finds comfort in control and likes to know what’s going on, God has done a miracle work by helping me to become much more flexible and accepting of the lack of control I have in determining any part of our future. This way of life has established my trust in Him probably more than anything in life so far. Because whether our path has led us to what we’ve wanted or expected, or not, God has been ahead us and beside us. He has been faithful in the good seasons, and in the hard ones. He has led us to exactly where He’s wanted us, regardless of if it has made sense to us in the moment, or later down the road.
A truth I clung to when we first began this journey was that God would work all things together for our good, and for His glory. Sometimes our “good” hasn’t felt very good because it has meant hard things that have sharpened us or caused us to grow. Other times we have felt the good come to fruition in the sweetest of ways. But regardless, five years later, I can confidently proclaim that this belief has been unwaveringly true in our lives. And that has helped me to relax and loosen my grip on our future. There’s often a lot of unknown with the military life, as well as a lot of unexpected changes. But by the Lord’s grace I’ve become a lot more comfortable with going with the flow.
Where You Live Is What You Make It In many people’s opinions we have lived in the worst of the worst places when it comes to the Air Force: Minot, ND. Quite frankly, I wasn’t thrilled at all when I found out we were moving there years ago due to the reputation of cold weather. But after learning quite quickly what I already mentioned in my first point, God helped us to see that we had a choice of how we approached our time in Minot. We could either choose to be miserable and hate every moment of it, or we could make the most of it and find the good. Thankfully, there was a lot of good to find. While the winters could be a bit brutal, we look back on our time in Minot with fondness for the friends we made there that became family in a season that we really needed fellowship (plus I’ll still rave about how fantastic the summers were). No matter where you travel to or live in life, everywhere is going to have pros and cons. So no matter where you go, if you choose to accept that a place is horrible, you will easily find all the reasons why it is so. But if you make conscious choices to make the most of it and see the good in it, you might just find yourself appreciating it for exactly what it is.
How To Make Friends As An Adult Due to the transient nature of the military life, either our moves, or our friends’ moves, have caused us to start over with friendships time and time again. It certainly has its challenges, but it has forced us to recognize the intention that relationships take, and the value of having a community – especially as we’ve had seasons with and without it. While sometimes you can fall into relationships quickly and naturally, establishing new ones as an adult oftentimes takes putting yourself out there – and we all know how terrifying that can feel. I’ve recognized that different seasons require different kinds of efforts to make friends. But I think the acceptance of that fact has helped me learn to make friends better – knowing that it isn’t a cookie cutter approach. Sometimes it has looked like joining a Bible study; sometimes it has looked like meeting my husband’s co-workers and hanging out with them and their spouses; other times it has looked like getting plugged in at a local church; and even other times it has looked like taking a risk and asking the girl I just met if she wants to grab coffee sometime. There are many ways to meet and start a friendship with someone, and sometimes it takes waiting to meet the right person for things to really click. So going in with a flexible approach and embracing all the differences has helped make me more adaptable to it.
Long Distance Relationships Are Hard Now I could have spoken to this years prior to our military life, as we spent a majority of our dating years long distance, but we’re in a whole new ball game now. The more we have moved around, the more relationships we’ve established; therefore the more people we’ve connected with; and therefore the more people there is to stay in touch with. And when a majority of your friends and family live in completely different states than you, it can be a lot harder to maintain those relationships well. It’s hard enough to handle one long distance relationship, let alone thirty. Especially when you are trying to establish a life and community where you are at. I have oftentimes felt like I am being pulled in multiple different directions. I’ve also gone through many seasons of disappointment over relationships no longer being what they were before. But I have had to come to accept that it’s impossible for a friendship to look the same when you go from living next door to each other to living hundreds of miles away from each other. Mix in marriage and children and jobs and all the other aspects of growing up and it gets even more complicated. All of this to say, I’ve come to learn that I’m pretty terrible at long distance relationships because I get easily overwhelmed at the amount of people I have to stay in touch with now. So then I try to simplify and fall back on doing what I can and giving myself grace, but that could also mean disappointing someone as my efforts towards a relationship might slacken. It’s challenging. Especially for someone who often has high expectations of herself. And I’m still figuring it out. In fact, I’ve felt like I’ve been in the depths of it for years now. It kind of seems like the nature of the game with this life. So I’ll keep doing what I can, and giving myself grace for the rest. (Hopefully my loved ones can offer the same).
The Church Search Process Is Not For The Faint Of Heart As Christians, we understand the extreme importance and value of being a part of a body of believers to navigate through life with. So with every move, one of my first priorities is to find a church to call home. But I can sum up our last five years of church experiences by saying it’s hard starting over again and again. It’s hard taking the time to find the right fit, only to have to prepare to leave once you finally feel at home. And then in the next place, it’s hard not to feel reserved and hesitant to dive in when you know how much it hurts to have to leave once you do. It’s hard to weigh out your options of which church to attend when none of them seem to fully fit what you were hoping for, or they don’t compare to what you’ve had in the past. It’s hard to find the balance between being discerning and being critical when trying out somewhere new. And it’s hard to feel motivated to find, or even attend, a church when you’re carrying some hurt from the last one you were a part of. It just feels a little exhausting to navigate the process sometimes. But the positive experiences we’ve had in the past, in combination with our trust in God’s Truth, lead us to believe that it is valuable and worth it to get involved and connect with other believers. To be honest, going through this process over and over again every few years is probably the hardest part of the military life for me. I would love to put down roots in a church that we feel at home at. Quite frankly, I’d love to return to one or two of the churches we’ve been a part of in the past. But that’s just not our reality. So I keep trying to hold this part of our life with open hands and trust that God will continue to lead us to where we are meant to be – for our good, and for His glory.
This Air Force life has led us down some amazing paths already in the last five years. It’s been thrilling, challenging, exciting, and stretching, in all the best and hardest ways. It’s taught me so much about life, myself, and my faith. And while these are things I have learned already, they are also things that I am continually being reminded of through every step of our journey. And I know I have so much more to learn. So here’s to wherever the Air Force wind blows us next...
I’ve seen it done many a times before where a blogger has written a post as if they are going out on a coffee date with someone as a way to share what’s been on their heart lately. I came across another post like that today, and I immediately felt compelled to do one too. I think the time to catch up will be good. So, let’s go on a coffee date, shall we?
While you order, I’ll ponder over which sugary drink I’ll have that will cover up the taste of my coffee. We’ll grab a table in the sunlight per my request because warmer days are ahead and I just want to feel it. After catching up on recent events, we break into conversation about the deeper stuff. About how we’re really doing. How have I been? I’m so glad you asked…
If I’m being honest, the past couple weeks have left me feeling a little frazzled. I started off the first two months of 2019 with my husband out of town for a training. You might say, “wow, that’s a long time,” and I might respond with something along the lines of, “yeah, but it could have been worse.” Always the optimist here. While he was gone I defaulted into some routines and rhythms to help manage with the loneliness (not that I was depressed; just out of sorts without my best friend around me each day). Thankfully, I got into a groove, and while I missed Adam terribly, I was managing alright for the time being. Two weeks ago he finally returned, and I could not be more ecstatic. It didn’t feel real at first. I spent his entire first night home staring at him and having those “pinch me” moments because I was so used to him being gone. Having him back has been the best, and thankfully our relationship hasn’t hit too many hard spots after being apart for so long (like I mentally prepared myself for the possibility of). Soon after he got back, my dad was in town for a night to visit, and then a day or so later some beloved friends came to town for the week. And while all of this has been wonderfully amazing and not in any way negative, I got a little burnt out. I spent the last two months a bit more on my own. And all of a sudden I was busier and more social in two weeks than I had felt like I was in the last two months. And it threw me a little out of whack.
Which leads me to how I’ve been struggling over the last couple years to determine whether I’m an introvert or an extrovert (especially lately after finishing Reading People). Years ago, I would have more easily identified as extroverted. But as I’ve gained understanding about what extroversion and introversion truly are, I’ve leaned a lot more towards the introverted side. And it’s confused me. I see strong qualities of both in my life. Every time I think I’m sure, something else comes up within me that makes me second guess it. And I think the blurriness has left me feeling a bit off-kilter. I’m still working on figuring it out, in it’s time though, because I feel like it’s pretty multifaceted. But the introverted characteristics of myself have been fairly dominant lately, and I think that’s why I so quickly burnt out. I needed some space. I needed some alone time. I needed some time to really regroup.
Thankfully, I got that this weekend. After sending off our dearly loved friends, I headed into the weekend with no set plans. Adam asked if I wanted to go out and do something, and I pretty quickly turned it down for two days to reset and recharge. Thankfully, he understood. I’ve spent the last two days with a good mix of relaxing and recouping. I’ve spent extended time in the Word to recharge my heart and soul. I’ve given my mind some rest by watching Survivor (because Adam has been watching it and he has me a little sucked in despite my distaste for reality TV). I’ve had a bit of retail therapy by walking around Target. But I’ve also done some tidying and laundry. I washed the floors. I bought groceries and meal planned. I did a mid-month check in on our budget. I rested, but I found my footing again so I can head into this week with a firmer foundation. Thankfully two days of sunshine and rising temps has helped too after our bomb cyclone blizzard this week.
You see, I thrive on rhythms and routines. I’m a much more balanced and healthier person when I have them. But I also recognize that if I stick to them too firmly (which I have a tendency to do if I’m not careful), I’ll often miss out on the most valuable moments of life. And so I have to intentionally remind myself to hold them loosely when necessary. That means I risk some of the stability that I work so hard to maintain. But as God so kindly reminded me (again…for the umpteenth time) today, my life is not about finding balance. It’s about being obedient to the mission He’s called me to. And not for my own righteousness sake. But because I ever so desperately need a Savior to come rescue me when I get myself so ensnared by my selfish attempts to manage life on my own without Him. It’s about His righteousness saving me, and you, and the person sitting a table over from us, and the barista behind the counter, and so on and so forth. I need the reminders often that I can’t have it all together on my own. The chaos I felt within me this last week is an example of that. And I’m in a place where I’m okay with recognizing that. It’s just going to take a lot more time, and a lot more of the Holy Spirit in me to change my default settings to reliance on Christ rather than reliance on myself. Thankfully, he’s MUCH more reliable than me.
We cheers to that. And when I finally finish spitting that all out and take a breath, I’ll probably apologize for talking about myself so much, and you (hopefully) express understanding. I’ll then ask how you’re doing and get an update of where your heart has been. As our time ends, we toss our cups, give each other a hug, and head on our way. Until next time friend…
Hi friends! And happy March! Spring is ever upon us, and while where we live spring still means snow and cold, the sun is staying out longer, and slowly but surely warmer temps are sneaking their way into the weekly forecasts. So that gives me hope.
Today I wanted to share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways in the last month. Because truly it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. So I plan to make this a regular happening here to share these little things with you in case they might impact your life as well. I have gotten some of my favorite recommendations for products, books, podcasts, or life tips from posts like this on other blogs, so I wanted to pass that along and share some things I’m loving with you all. So here are my top five little things from the last month:
The combination of cold winter air and living at a higher elevation makes for a lot of dryness this time of year. When the weather started turning cold in the fall, I was determined to avoid another season of losing sleep due to dry mouth or bloody noses, so I purchased a humidifier to help ease those symptoms. I ordered this little cutie off Amazon, and it has been on every night in our room since. For being so small, it has definitely made a big difference in my ability to breathe while I sleep.
I bought this book last January, but it wasn’t until this month that I finally picked it up, and I was not able to put it down. With the Enneagram craze still seeming to be going strong, and my own desire to understand myself better, this book has helped me take my self-exploration a little further by offering a great overview of numerous types of personality profiles. The book emphasizes the value and power behind better knowing ourselves, not just for own sake, but also for the benefit of our relationships and interactions with others. I just finished it this week and I definitely recommend it as a starting ground for familiarizing yourself with some different personality profiles, and therefore also familiarizing yourself better with, well, yourself.
3. Monthly Massages
In the past, I’ve usually saved massages for special occasions or as a “treat yo’self” kind of thing. But back in November, at the suggestion of my bosses, I started to make a consistent habit of getting a massage once a month. While it has been a financial investment, it has been so worth it for my own self care to use some of my fun money each month towards this. Not only does it feel great and relax me; it also helps relieve and prevent discomfort from knots in my back or muscle soreness. This month I’m especially grateful for this little thing because I went not once, but twice, due to a gnarly knot in my shoulder, and some super tight hip flexors. If you can swing it in your budget, I highly recommend a regular massage. I notice a big difference in my back now that I am going regularly (I seem to get less knots than I used to). It also helps to find a massage therapist you like and that communicates well with you about where you might want some relief.
I have heard good things about Tula from a few different sources for awhile now, so I have given some of their products a try over the last year and it has become my favorite skin care line I think I’ve ever tried. From the daily and consistent use of a few products, my face has felt and looked more hydrated and clean. The biggest note of difference for me has been the decrease of red spots I get around my upper cheeks that tend to get worse in cold weather. With Tula, my complexion seems to get more evened out and my skin truly feels more radiant. Currently I am using the Purifying Face Cleanser, PH Resurfacing Gel, and Hydrating Day & Night Cream. I’m also anxiously awaiting the restock of the Illuminating Serum because that definitely had a big impact on brightening up my skin.
If you’re interested in trying out Tula, you can click this link for access to my referral discount of 20% off your first order. I’d recommend their Discovery Kit as a try-out for some of their most popular products.
5. Taking the Pups to the Park
On the days that it hasn’t been too cold or windy, I’ve been trying to get Boone and Rizzo some extra exercise (because I usually totally slack at doing so). To mix it up from our typical walk around the neighborhood, I’ve been taking them over to the park near our house. Some days I’ve walked them on the path that goes all throughout town here, and other days I’ve taken them to a big open soccer field with their Chuck-It for some fetch (their fave). It’s given them exercise and it’s gotten me out into the fresh air. I usually put on a podcast and watch my dogs become overjoyed at the simplest of activities. I’m hoping to amp up this habit more as it continues to warm up.
And there you have it. Five simple things that add up to make a big impact on my day to day life. Be sure to check out any of these products, or give any of these habits a try. You never know what kind of impact they may have on you. And if you do, let me know!
Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Tula in which case you can get 20% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.