May 31, 2013

the moment I knew

Sunday, June 24, 2007.  
This was the day I knew that I was in love.

I mentioned before that Riley and I have known each other since we were about 15.  He had asked me out at that time, and even though I did have a little crush on him, I turned him down.  I will never hear the end of this for as long as I live.  We seemed so completely different at the time, I couldn't possibly imagine the two of us having a relationship.  Over the next several years our paths would cross occasionally because of a mutual friend.  In the summer of 2007, while planning a camping trip with this friend, I suggested that we invite Riley.  After that weekend, we were inseparable.

The weekend after the camping trip, Riley invited me on a picnic.  That Sunday morning he showed up at my parents house to go with us to church.  That right there earned him several points.  As we stood next to each other at the service, I listened to him singing, his voice strong and clear.  In that moment it hit me.  I knew that I loved him.  That I would marry him.  That this guy standing next to me was all of the things that I had been looking for in a relationship.

The picnic was just the icing on the cake.  We took his Jeep, with the windows down and the music up, to the picturesque spot that he had picked.  Riley had made lunch himself, complete with homemade fried chicken and freshly squeezed lemonade.  He was pulling out all of the stops.  He didn't have to at this point, I was already sold.  But I let him sweat it out a little longer.

Just a little.
We were engaged three months later.

Now we're celebrating almost five years of marriage.
More in love everyday.

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

May 30, 2013

letting go

These pictures are relevant because... the sun is setting on the things I am letting go of...get it?
I have high standards.  I expect a lot out of myself, out of my fellow man, and out of life in general.  In some ways, this can be a positive thing.  I always push myself to be better, and I like to see the world through rose colored glasses.  But too often, this leads to feelings of disappointment, followed by the need for control.  If I can let go of my expectations, how much more could I get out of life?  My own little view on the world gets clouded by all of these trivial matters, and I miss out on the big picture.  I get distracted by the small, insignificant things of this world, and I give them entirely too much power over my life.  So I'm going to work on letting go.  Letting go of my own plans and my need for control.  Letting go of my unrealistic expectations and disappointments.  Letting go of the fear of potential mistakes and anger over mistakes past.  I'm letting go, and I'm letting in the possibility of so much more.

By the way, thank you all so much for your kind words and prayers for Gidget!  They meant so much to me.  Her surgery went well and I brought her home yesterday morning.  She's pretty out of it and the next couple of weeks will take a lot of rest and physical therapy, but then she should be as good as new!

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go

May 29, 2013

hammer time!

Here's an embarrassing fact about myself that I really try to keep secret:

I have bad taste in music.  Really bad.

Sometimes I get it right and come across an artist or song that I don't mind admitting admiration for.  But for the most part, when someone asks me what kind of music I like, I give my standard vague answer, "you know, a little bit of everything."

That annoyingly catchy love song by a teen that has probably never even been in love? I like it.
The cheesy 80's rock ballad? I like it.
A rap song that I can't understand by a guy that I can't relate to? I like it.

I blame this on my father.  When I was growing up, he would spend his evenings winding down to the greatest hits of the 70's, 80's and the 90's blaring from the surround sound system in the basement.  Family dance parties were frequent.

Here are some of our all time family favorites:

So Bad by Allison on Grooveshark

YMCA-This was my Dad's song of choice whenever any "new friends" (i.e., boys) came over to the house.  It was part of our father daughter dance.  It seemed fitting.

Ice Ice Baby-I know, I know.  But it's so bad that it's almost good.  
Ok, maybe not.  But the video's a real treat.
U Can't Touch This- Two words: The. Pants.
Good Vibrations-If Marky Mark doesn't make you want to get up and dance, well... then you probably have better taste in music than I do.
Hold On-My kindergarten self could really relate to this one.

I can't say I really endorse listening to any of this music, but I'm a little sentimental, and to me, this is what childhood memories are made of.  I'm a fairly reserved person, but play one of these songs anywhere near a dance floor, and there's just no stopping me.

So, spill!  What is your favorite terrible song?

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

May 28, 2013

a weekend of successful "firsts" (mostly)

First dinner we made on the boat!  A delicious success!
Our first sail together on Windbrandt, and Gidget's first ever.  Another success!
I hate that this picture is blurry, but I was in a hurry to capture our first "man overboard" experience.

Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures

May 27, 2013


First of all, I would just like to say thank you for reading!  Thanks for putting up with me while I try to figure out what I'm doing with this blog.  And thank you so much for all of the sweet and thoughtful comments, I truly, truly appreciate them. I am really excited about the future and I hope that you will stick with me!  I have enjoyed "meeting" some of you and reading your blogs, as well.  By the way, if you ever have any questions, suggestions, or maybe even some general blogging tips, please send them my way!

I'm feeling a little bit distracted and anxious today.  I have to drop Gidget off for surgery tomorrow morning.  It's nothing life threatening, and it's honestly nothing I should be too concerned about.  In fact, it's a huge answer to prayer.  

About two years ago, we noticed that Gidget started limping.  We took her to the vet, and we were told that she has a luxating patella.  Basically, her knee won't stay in place.  It's fairly common in small dogs and it can be fixed with surgery.  However, surgery is expensive.  As much as we love our little dog, we just couldn't see how we could possibly justify fitting it into our budget at this point in time.  So as a worrier, I spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering what would happen to her if we didn't get it fixed, and what would happen to us financially if we did.  Finally (I don't know what took me so long), I decided to start praying about it.  Several months later, Riley (an electrician) was offered the opportunity to barter work with another vet that performs this kind of surgery!  I can't even begin to tell you how absolutely relieved and grateful we are!  After getting some x-rays, we found out that it's still in the earlier stages, without signs of arthritis yet.  

So anyway, that's what's been going on around here lately. I'm dropping her off tomorrow and leaving her there overnight.  And as happy and grateful as I am about it, I'm still feeling a little anxious and can't wait for this to be over with.  Also, I really hope that when I leave her, I can make it back to the privacy of my car before I start crying.  Because that's definitely going to be happening.

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers.

May 26, 2013

what if...

I've been spending a lot of time recently, driving on bridges over bodies of water.  I'm not generally afraid of heights, but I can't help but wonder, whenever crossing a particularly long or tall bridge (hello, Chesapeake Bay Bridge), "what if the bridge collapses and the car plunges into the water?" Okay, so this is obviously not a very realistic scenario, but surely this thought has crossed your mind at least once, too?  Maybe?
These pictures are from Bridge Day at the New River Gorge in Virginia, hence the unusual number of bystanders and base jumpers.  Also, I don't think escaping from your car would even be an issue if this bridge collapsed.
I pulled up my aol homepage the other day, and as I skimmed the headlines (too often this is the only way I ever know what is going on in the outside world) this one jumped out at me: "Escape a Car Underwater." Finally, the answer to the question I had always wondered about but was too afraid to google.  Now that I am armed with knowledge, it is even less likely that my car will ever plummet off of a bridge.  Because isn't that the way it works? Try as I might, I always prepare for the wrong freak accidents.  And knowing my record of freak car accidents, I figure better safe than sorry.  Here's the link to the video, in case you too, are paranoid about the highly unlikely chance that you might find your car slowly sinking in a large body of water: 
Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online.

May 25, 2013

Can I see your ID?

This is not a story about being carded in a bar.

No, I was buying a movie ticket.  For a PG-13 movie.  Granted, I was only 13.  But, seriously?  Who even cares?  I had no ID on me, go figure... so the guy let me buy the ticket anyway.  Uh, thanks.

This may or may not have been the same day that I was completely mortified by another member of the opposite sex, at this point I honestly can't remember.  This was one of those times where all of your friends get together, someone's mom drops you off at the movies, and for a few hours you are mature and independent women.  Or something kind of like that.  One of the girls knew some guys from another school and they were going to meet up at the theater.  So, we're all being introduced and one of the guys looks at me and says, "So, are you the little sister?"  

Worst day ever.  

When you're a 13 year old girl and half of your life is spent dreaming about how to get the cute guy to notice you, this kind of thing is seriously detrimental to your development.  But, what can you do?  You brush it off, because, whatever, he was ugly anyway.
If I could count the number of times that I heard things like, "Can I see your ID?" or, "But you look so young!" followed by the ever popular, well intentioned, but always slightly condescending, "You'll appreciate it when you're older!"  By the way, the last one is so not happening.  I know I'm still fairly young, but as certain lines on my face start becoming more and more defined, I've come to the realization that I am always going to look like a teenager, just a teenager with wrinkles.  

Over the years I've developed a sort of complex about it.  I've always been too mature, and too responsible, I suppose in an attempt to prove myself.  When I was younger I thought there would come a time when all of a sudden I would feel grown up.  I'd be bigger and taller and "look" like a grown up.  I'm still waiting.  

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget.

May 24, 2013

the worst

Shirt: J.Crew Maxi: Modcloth Shoes: Seychelles Sunglasses: Ray Ban 
Purse: Anthropologie Necklace: The Bauble Dept.

Here's a fun topic for today: My top three worst traits.  This is too easy.

I worry.  I worry about things that are happening and about things that are going to happen.  I worry about things that never under any circumstance could ever possibly happen.  I even worry about things that have already happened.

I over analyze.  I over analyze the comment that Riley just made, because surely it has some hidden meaning.  I over analyze the things I do and say.  I even over analyze the skin on my face.  If you know what I mean.

I doubt.  Mostly myself and my own abilities.  Fortunately, I never doubt the people close to me.  And they always have enough faith in me for the both of us.  Faith and patience; because obviously they're going to need it when dealing with this piece of work.

Okay, now confess.  What is your worst trait?
Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

May 23, 2013


Sometimes I like to kid myself into thinking I only just graduated college yesterday.  It seems like just yesterday.  But as more and more time passes, I find myself feeling more and more clueless.  I spent a good chunk of my life in school, and now I'm not even sure what I have to show for it.

Don't get me wrong, I was a good student.  And I was smart.  At least, I thought I was.  I knew how to get good grades, and I knew how to ace a test.  So I was labeled "smart."  I got my associates degree first, and graduated with a 4.0.  I transfered to a four year school and graduated cum laude (granted, I did study art).  But no one ever asks me what my grade point average was.  And "smart" doesn't really translate into real life.

Life doesn't care that I could write a stellar book report about someone else's experiences.  It challenges me to write my own experiences, and write them well.

Life doesn't care that I got A's on all of my U.S. History tests.  It wants to know how I am going to learn from my own past and use trials and mistakes to shape my future.

Life doesn't care what I learned in Biology.  It is going to show me so many amazing things with my own eyes; things that will leave me standing in awe of the Creator.

How did I go from feeling so smart in school to feeling so clueless in the real world?  It is humbling, for sure.  I have so much more to see, and so much more to learn.

Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you

liebster award

Thank you so much to Brittney at Teaberry Trails for nominating me for the Liebster Award!
What is the Liebster Award?  The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  Awesome, right? What a great way show some love for the newer and smaller blogs.  Thanks, Brittney!

Here are the rules:

After being acknowledged, you should...
-Acknowledge the blog that nominated you in a post.
-Share 11 facts about yourself.
-Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created.
-Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you believe deserve some recognition.
-Post 11 questions for them to answer.
-Notify all the bloggers selected that they have been nominated.
-And finally, you can't nominate the blog who nominated you.

11 Facts About Me

1. I hate raspberry flavored anything.
2. I love to dance.  Even if I'm not all that great at it.
3. I've never broken a bone.
4. I really wish I could sing, well.
5. I was homeschooled for a few years.
6. I'm too much of a chicken for scary movies.  The last one I saw was Sixth Sense, and I had nightmares for weeks.  I know, it's not even that scary.  But it is creepy.
7. I used to live on Pop Tarts.  Brown sugar Pop Tarts.
8. I have a thing for alliteration.
9. I'm Polish.  If you couldn't already tell by my nose.
10. I love made for tv movies.  The cheesier, the better.
11. I love turquoise (the stone).

11 Questions for Me

1. What is your favorite season?
2. Favorite fruit? Veggie?
Strawberries and sweet potatoes (or is that a starch?).
3. If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
I can't choose. I wouldn't want to be an animal because they are so vulnerable to human and other outside forces.
4. Where do you go/what do you do for your 'me' time?
I can't say it's how I'd really choose to spend my time, but I always wind up getting lost in the internet.
5. Cats vs. Dogs. Go!
Dogs, definitely.
6. What do you want to be when you 'grow' up?!
A mom.
7. What is your favorite sport (to play or watch?)
I've never been very athletic, attempts at softball and volleyball were both pretty disastrous. But I like to sail!
8. The chore you despise?
Cleaning showers.
9. Walmart or Target?
10. Do you enjoy painting? (as in the walls of your house?!)
I'd say no, but I seem to do quite a bit of it, so some part of me must enjoy it.
11. What was your favorite thing to do during recess when you were in elementary school?
The only thing I can remember doing at recess is huddling in a clique gossiping about other cliques. Awful, I know.

My Nominees:

11 Questions for You!

1. What is your favorite thing about yourself (physical or otherwise)?
2. What country is at the top of your "must visit" list?
3. If you could choose your own name, what would it be?
4. Salty or sweet?
5. If you had just one whole day off to do absolutely anything you wanted, what would you do?
6. How many states (and or countries) have you lived in?
7. What one song would best describe your life right now?
8. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
9. If you became rich and famous, what is the one thing you would splurge on?
10. What is your all time favorite tv show?
11. Which decade (or century) would you like to have lived in, and why?

Congratulations! If you decide to play along, let me know! I'd love to read your answers :)

May 22, 2013

Country Roads... I can't get home

Lets review some of the positive aspects of living in the country:
fresh air
open space
peace and quiet
no traffic

So, now you're probably picturing yourself enjoying a peaceful drive in the scenic countryside.  
It's all a lie.  Let me tell you about the real country roads.

 First, you have the dirt and gravel roads.  So quaint, right?  Wrong.  Your car is never going to be clean and they are certainly not conducive to running late.  Especially when the weather is bad.  You will never see the potholes coming when it's raining.  Or snowing.  But you probably won't even be driving if it's snowing, because no one plows the roads.  Also, somehow the fact that there are no yellow lines seems to give drivers the permission to drive down the center of the road.  At high speeds.  On winding, hilly roads.  
And then there are the deer.

If you are fortunate enough to be driving on a paved road, it is most likely going to be one lane.  And it will still be winding.  And you are probably going to get stuck behind a nice old man taking a leisurely drive at approximately 35 mph in a 55 mph zone.  Or better yet, a tractor.  And there will be no passing lanes.  If you do happen upon a passing lane, one of two things will happen.  Either the old man will now realize how slow he's been driving and proceed to speed up, or suddenly, a steady stream of oncoming traffic will appear out of nowhere.  So, you will take a deep breath and thank God for giving you this opportunity to practice patience.  But, since it takes at least 30 minutes, on a good day, to get to the nearest anything,  it is likely that your patience will run out.  
If you're anything like me, that is.  If not, you'd probably do well in the country.

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. 

May 21, 2013

favorite things

My family brings me so much joy in life.  I have been blessed with a family that I can honestly say I enjoy spending time with.  Between my immediate family, extended family, and my in laws, I can count family members as some of my very best friends.  This may already be obvious to you, considering the number of times I have mentioned my family in posts in the few short months that I have been blogging.

my family in October  2012, photographed by my very talented sister in law Chelsa Yoder
One of my favorite things about my husband Riley is how very different he is from me.  This is a good thing, most of the time.  We learn from each other and push each other to become better versions of ourselves.  Every once in a while, we even find something that we enjoy doing together, usually in the form of some kind of project.  Life with Riley has reminded me that a little bit of dirt is good for the soul.  Life with me, however, has taught him that things aren't always what they seem.

Isle of Palms, spring 2011
The women in my family have a very special place in my heart.  I had a grandmother that lived down the street who occupies some of my fondest childhood memories.  And a great grandmother whose love of jewelry is still inspiring me.  I have a mother whose creative spirit helped shape who I am today.  And a sister, without whom I wouldn't have learned the importance of a guilty conscience or the power of a shared closet.

These people, and these memories, are some of my favorite things.
Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

May 20, 2013

can't hardly wait

Patience.  In a world of instant gratification, patience seems to be a lost virtue.  A few years ago I decided that I needed to make a concerted effort to become a more patient person before I had kids of my own.  A little advanced prep work, if you will.  This is a noble idea, sure.  But patience is not something I will ever be able to master.

I'm not sure if it's harder to be patient when you are waiting for something that has a timeline or something that is open ended.  Riley and I would like to have kids, but we're not quite ready yet, so we're waiting.  We would like to own a little bigger house somewhere, but we don't know exactly where yet, so we're waiting.  The past few years have been a wonderful start to our lives together, but in a way I feel like we've just been in limbo...waiting.

When we first started talking about taking this sailing trip, we were planning it for two years out.  Then Riley bumped it up a year.  (I think he may have an issue with patience as well.  But we won't bring that up.)  I can't blame him; when you have something exciting to look forward to you can hardly stand the wait.  For now, our plates are full with house and boat projects that need to be finished before we can leave.  So we will work and we will wait.  Truth be told, with this shortened timeline, it will be all we can do to have everything finished in time.  But after the last several months of hard work on the boat, we are getting a little impatient to start having some fun, too.  Next weekend, as long as everything goes smoothly (it usually doesn't), just might be our chance to take Winbrandt on our first real sail together.  

I can't hardly wait.

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

May 19, 2013

I love blogs...and more blogs

Today's challenge is to share five of your favorite blogs.  I have been reading and following blogs for so many years now, and my favorites are constantly rotating.  I have favorite fashion blogs, diy blogs, lifestyle and family blogs, inspirational blogs, and every now and then even a food blog.  Many of them have followers in the tens of thousands.

Since I began this blog challenge, though, I have found so many new, wonderful blogs.  Blogs written by people more like myself, people that I can relate to.  They may be smarter, funnier, or more stylish than I am, but I find something in them that inspires me.  Now, I feel like I have barely begun to scratch the surface of finding my favorites, so I can't possibly narrow it down to just five.  Instead, here are five ways that I have been inspired by blogs lately:

1.  Finding beauty in the mundane.  Reading about the everyday occurrences that someone is thankful for and blessed by encourages me to take a deeper look at my own little world.  I remember not to take the little things for granted and to appreciate all that I have.

2.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  This is so obvious and cliche, but I can't begin to tell you how inspired I am by all of the beautiful photography that I see on blogs.  It motivates me to step it up and learn how to improve my own photography skills.

3.  I am not alone.  How comforting and reassuring it is to know that someone else feels the way that I do.  Someone else shares the same fears and insecurities, or even the same hopes and dreams.  I love when I stumble across a blog post and feel like I could have written it myself (if I was only so eloquent).

4.  Reading the writing.  I am such a visual person, so I am drawn first to the pretty things.  The blogs with the best pictures and the best designs.  But I love reading when someone really has something to say, and they are really good at saying it.  I'm inspired to dig deeper and think harder.

5.  Get out there.  Reading about other people's hobbies, travels, and life experiences inspires me to broaden my own horizons.  Sometimes I forget to get out of my own little bubble and try something new.  A healthy dose of jealousy is an awfully good motivator.

What else have I left out?  What have you been inspired by lately?

Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them

May 18, 2013

Hampshire House

I had a pretty idyllic childhood growing up.  My mom and dad both worked and provided for us well, but I still felt like they were actively involved in my life.  I had a little sister to both fight and play with.  We took family vacations to beaches and campgrounds.  When I think about my childhood now, it's hard to pin point one specific memory; most of it was pretty good.

One thing I always loved to do, was visit my grandparents' bed and breakfast.  They owned a gorgeous two story brick house built in 1884 in a quaint West Virginia town.  They had worked hard at restoring the place and decorated it in true period fashion.  Even at a young age I could appreciate the history of the house.  I loved all of the rooms.  Each one was named for someone that had ties to the house and was decorated in character.  My favorite was the Rebecca.  The entire extended family would travel to West Virginia for Thanksgiving every year, and we would fill up the rooms at Hampshire House.  Thanksgiving became my absolute favorite time of year because of this very family tradition.
"helping" with breakfast
As each grandchild became a certain age, we were allowed to stay with our grandparents at Hampshire House for an entire week during the summer.  This was both thrilling and a little scary.  To be three hours away from parents, for a whole week!  During the day we would walk down to Main Street and visit the little jewelry shop, or walk to the nearby playground that was the resting place for a very cool old caboose.  We would pretend that we were the ladies of the house as we sat at the writing desks or lounged on the fainting couch.  We would play in the closet under the staircase that held treasures like guest books and credit card machines.  We would even help serve the guests at mealtime.  

Running a bed and breakfast is a lot of work, and eventually my grandparents had to sell Hampshire House.  But the Thanksgivings and summers that I spent there as a child remain some of my fondest memories.

Day 18, Saturday: Tell a story from your childhood. 

May 17, 2013

my favorite photo

This is one of my favorite photos of myself.  I am not the star of the picture (although there's a definite possibility that was the intention).  No, to me this photo is about my grandmother. I called her "Mom Mom."  I loved her, so much.  I loved walking to her house and hanging out for awhile.  I loved her hugs, and I love that I can still remember exactly what they felt like.  I loved her beautiful peony bush that welcomed visitors at the door.  I loved the way it's gorgeous, papery blooms meant that spring had truly arrived.  I loved her Japanese Maple tree, the one in the background.  It's low, strong branches were a shaded playground on which grandchildren could imagine and dream.  When I think about her now, these are the memories that come to mind.  She developed Alzheimer's Disease when I was a teenager, and passed away when I was a junior in college.  Although, with a disease like Alzheimer's, she was really gone long before she actually died.  But this is the Mom Mom that I remember.  And I love that this one photo captures so many memories that I hold so dear.

Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why
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