Sunday, June 21, 2015

Everybody has to have a "BT"

My mom grew up an orphan. Her mom did of a few different cancers (claiming breast took her life), and her father ailed for quite some time before he past, though she and her three brothers went to live in the orphanage in Clinton, SC before he actually died. When she got older, she decided to venture to college, and that's what took her to Rock Hill at Winthrop and ultimately where she met my dad on the basketball courts. Though she only spent over a year in school, she became incredibly close with one friend, Belinda Thomas, who was affectionately known as "BT" to those around her. Later, she became "Aunt BT" to us. No matter how far away they lived, or how many months (or even years!) were between them, they remained life long friends until mom's last days on earth. Mom always said "everyone needs a "BT" in their life, a friend who will tell you like it is no matter what, someone who will tell you like it is, someone who will always support you, and someone who will remain close to you no matter how far you are apart."  
I am so very grateful that mom prayed so hard for sweet friends to enter my life and even more thankful that this girl is my own "BT"
We are freshman and sophomore roommates in college and then we split to do some different things....but we have grown SO MUCH over the last 15 years. 
The highlight of our winter is having them visit us from MS for New Years every Year and we are on our second summer of road tripping to be with them in their home. Last year I went alone with the girls but this year J was able to get a day off work and go with us and we HAD A BLAST (truly and understatement!!!)

Foodie Friday was so awesome in Tupelo. We also revisited Elvis' birth place.

 The last time we were here was November 2009, in memory and celebration of mom. She was such an Elvis fan. I was also living in a bit of depression at the time as we were struggling to conceive and having fertility issues. Before we left on our road trip I had just been given some heart breaking news so that trip back then did me good-and I remember we took a picture with this exact same pose on this exact same swing. Here we are, 6 years later with two kids in tow....
Then on we went to grab lunch at Cafe 212 in downtown with great sandwiches -yummy chicken salad of course-and headed just a block down the street to a great splash pad (these things are everywhere in MS!!). The kids loved playing in the water!
 While they dried off, we walked across the street to Rosie's, which had some AWESOME cupcakes and cookies. I had run a strong and fast hard run that morning so I could tell I needed a bit of sugar to pick me up and this was just perfect! And so cheap!!!!
That night, one of Kimberly's friends offered to keep the kids so we could go on an adult double date. So more foooooooood!!!

Kermis Outlaw Kitchen (K.O.K), a farm to table AWESOME restaurant served us four delicious fresh meals that would amazing!!! J and I even got some local brews! Mine was a MS draft from some of their friends and J got a Nashville brew. So delicious, all of it!!
We walked around downtown a bit more before grabbing dessert at the biggest newest hit, CRAVE. it's a dessert bar only open Friday-Sunday and has a special menu each weekend but carries a set of their favorites, one which is the skillet chocolate chip cookie, which is what we opted for!! The sweetest ending to our calorie filled night!!!

Saturday was a great day for canoeing on the TennTom, buying local pottery, playing at the park, and eating pizza at our favorite pizza joint out of town. We love making memories with our best friends!!!

Possibly one of the best weeks of the year so far!!! We already can't wait until next summer's road trip, but until then we are counting down the days until the next time we get to see our sweet friends, which will hopefully be sooner than later. GREAT things are ahead for both of our families, and totally worth celebrating!:)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

4 weeks in...

Summer is flying by, as it always does, and we are loving every minute. We've got such a variety of summer plans there's no reason for us to be bored or really too busy-just perfect. 
And thankfully, the girls love the excitement of being outside and doing simple things that we normally can't do during the school year. So between our four weeks of being IN school this summer, a few weeks at the beach, and our mountain trips, we have a great summer bucket list- the ABCs of summer!!
We're already making headway on our list and having loads of fun making great memories. 

New friendships growing in the neighborhood
Firefly catching one night
Just Dance party prior to family wedding selfie

We go outside to explore almost everyday....this particular day we met Tommy the Turtle
Donut dates with the Ghent girls 
Our first Porch Popsicle event of the summer, though this happens several times a week!!!
Quiet times together with our favorite new ESV Bible

Spending as MUCH TIME at the lake as possible. While not on the "bucket list" officially, it's a given. And by the way, don't let the floaters fool you. m is a master swimmer these days. It's just jumping off a 5 ft pier into 12 ft of murky lake water over and over and over isn't so calming for this momma. 

Our next big to do on the list: MISSISSIPPI OR BUST!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Mountain

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me
      -Patty Griffin
I'm at the end of week three of training for my fall "whatever I'm going to do" event. While I haven't officially committed to whatever it is, I've got my sights set on a sprint triathlon at the end of August, a spartan race in mid-September, or a 1/2 marathon in mid-October. Since I haven't really trained for anything on what seems like a decade, I'm trying to figure out my limits, but I've set some sort of goal and I've really enjoyed getting back in to my old passion. 
Since J is full-on committed to the Spartan race, we decided to trek to Crowders mountain and run up the Pinnacle Trail on #nationalgetoutdoorsday yesterday. It's a 4+ mile strenuous hike round trip and of course, elevation involved since its up the mountain. And fabulously so, we conquered it (minus that one time running down the mountain it almost conquered me because a tree root jumped up to stub my toe and it took about 10 steps to regain my footing and I'm pretty sure I thought I was going nowhere but down....). Nonetheless, I'll keep training, running, swimming, cross training, etc and see what happens. 

But once we got to the top, we took a few minutes to pause and take a gaze out around us at the NC/SC ridge line and the Queen City view. 
At the moment of seeing what was before, a flood of memories rushed over me from my last mountain summit, just over a month ago when I hiked up the mountain in Teguc the day we were heading back home. I was an emotional wreck that day, for deep inside me I longed to stay with my new found friends, though I knew my return home was inevitable. 
I remember standing at the peak looking down at the valley of the city and feeling "the tug." God placed a desire in my heart that I just haven't been able to shake. There hasn't been a day since my return that I haven't thought about the people, prayed for each of them and dealt longed to be with them. If I'm being honest, a moment of each day, I just want to be there. 
There, on the peak that morning, God revealed a great promise to me-I WILL return to that very same spot to be with those sweet people as soon as the Lord allows. With this promise I have prayed daily for God's will to be done and for the patience to wait on His timing for my return. How and when, exactly, that will be accomished, I'm still unsure. But I am hopeful and trusting in the Lord in all of these things. 
Until then, I'll continue to teach my children the importance of caring for the widows and the orphans (James 1) here in my own home so that when we are in a different place, they will be stirred up to continue doing just that.