the beauty of getting up and going.

“I think the true adventurers are those who treat every ordinary day like the mysterious gift it is; who greet strangers with an expansive mind and an eager, helpful heart; and who aren’t necessarily fearless but who confront fears, little or large, and attempt to transcend them.”               -Lavinia Spalding

One of my best friend’s Abby and I were babysitting her cousins the other day and we somehow started talking about road trips. Neither one of us really remember how this conversation got started, but as we continued to talk about a road trip, we realized that we actually really wanted to take one.

We realized that an actual road trip where you have several destinations wasn’t going to happen for us anytime soon, so we decided just to plan a trip to a certain place and call it our mini road trip. Neither one of us really had a place in mind, so we did what anyone does when they want to go somewhere: get on Instagram and look at cool places. Within minutes, we’d found the most perfect place: Asheville, North Carolina.

We began looking at dates toward the end of our Christmas break, but we soon realized that nothing was going to fit into both of our schedules during that time.

“Well hey, my last final is Tuesday. Let’s just go then,” Abby suggested. Since it was Saturday, this was going to have to be very spontaneous. I chewed on this for about uh TEN seconds before I was 100% in. What can I say, I can’t turn down an adventure.

It was surprisingly easy to get both of our parents on board. I found a cheap, yet non-sketchy hotel online and immediately began looking more into the city. I couldn’t believe this was going to happen. I’d never checked into a hotel before- but thankfully it turned out to be very easy. I’d never planned a trip to a town that I knew pretty much nothing about.

I was nervous but I was SO excited. The couple of days before we left absolutely drug by- mainly because I had to study for my last final that was on Monday- but before we knew it, it was time to head east. We checked out of our dorms for Christmas break, loaded my car down, and began the trip. We laughed, talked, drank coffee, and sang our hearts out the entire three and a half hour drive. It was absolutely perfect.

The city of Asheville itself was so unique. Neither of us had ever been, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but we jumped head first into the experience. At first, we were slightly self-conscious because we felt like the biggest tourists in the world, but we soon got over that and embraced being dorky tourists and it made everything a blast. We ate in the yummiest cafes, explored the cutest local shops, and walked the streets of downtown for literally hours. We came across an adorable double-decker bus that had been turned into a coffee shop. There was a sign that said “You must buy coffee to hang out in the bus.” So of course, we made the sacrifice of buying our second coffees of the day so we could hang out in the warm bus; which turned out to be a really good decision.

We wondered into the most adorable bookstore. I could have stayed tucked away in that corner forever, browsing books. It was so perfect. I’m pretty much a sucker for any kind of bookstore, but this one definitely has a special place in my heart.

But of course, hiking was my favorite part. A couple of the places on our list proved to be impossible to find, so we didn’t end up getting to go to every spot that I wanted to, but that was okay.

One place we did get to go to was the Botanical Gardens. Since it is December and freezing outside, all the flowers were dead, but we could tell it would be absolutely beautiful in the spring when everything was in full bloom. The trail was a big loop and it was so peaceful. Up the hill was the University of North Carolina Asheville, so we walked up there to look around (guess we can’t stay away from school after all). The campus was huge and seemed really confusing, so we didn’t stay very long. How cool would it be to have those beautiful gardens right behind your school? (Step it up, UTC. Just kidding. Kinda..).

We ended our short two day trip with the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life: Max Patch. (Let me pause here and give you some advice. If you’ve never been to Max Patch, go. I’m serious. Plan your next trip here. I don’t care if you’re a hiker or not, go. You can thank me later by sending me tons of pictures so I can pretend that I went with you). We had to drive up the longest gravel road in the world and the whole time I felt like we were literally scaling the side of a mountain (which I guess we kinda were). When my car reached the parking lot and we got out to walk to the top, we realized it was snowing; not hard, but still enough to numb our faces. The mountain was a beautiful color of white and the ground was frozen solid.

The climb was straight uphill and my legs went numb about halfway to the top, but the view made everything in the world worth it.

There was nothing but endless mountains as far as the eye could see. No roads, no factories, no buildings, no towns. Nothing, just mountains. I was in total awe of the beauty that I was physically surrounded by. Nothing crossed my mind except taking in that moment. I didn’t think of the cold, the four finals I had taken the week before, or how out of breath I was from the hike, nothing  expect the mountains I was standing before. I just wanted to be there forever.

In the car on the way home I almost started tearing up because we had to leave- which was weird for me because I’m not a crier at all. The trip had been nothing short of perfect. My soul was smiling. My spirit was screaming hallelujah. My bones were rejoicing. I was so happy in that moment with Taylor Swift playing in the background and the warmth of my car bringing life back to my fingers and toes. I’ll never forget it.

When I got home, as I was going through pictures I got to thinking. If God spent that much time on Max Patch, I can only imagine how flawless his Kingdom is. I get chill bumps thinking about it. I can’t wait to meet my Creator because the second that I do, I’m going to thank Him for creating Max Patch and leading me to it. I’m sure He’ll laugh, grab my hand, and tell me I haven’t seen anything as He leads me to the mountains He lives in. Oh what a day that will be.

here are a couple of pictures from my new favorite place on earth.

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Also Abby is the most talented person in the world and she documented our entire trip on her phone and made it into the most precious video I’ve ever seen. I really really want you to watch and I want you to tell her what an amazing time job she did on it. (I’ve watched it probably two-hundred times and I’m still not tired of it.)

HERE IS THE LINK SWEET ANGELS.

(If for some reason this doesn’t work, the video is my on Facebook.)

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101 reasons to show your teeth & crinkle your eyes

The other day I was being really negative and I was just very frustrated with myself, so I stopped what I was doing and started making a list of reasons to SMILE. In the middle of the library, with nine hundred and forty-seven things on my to do list, I pulled out my notebook and started writing the craziest, most random things I could thing of that have  brought a smile to my face at some point.

Hope you enjoy and that they make you smile 🙂

  1. Jesus died for me and forgave all my sins.
  2. I have ears that hear.
  3. I have eyes that see.
  4. I have a nose that smells.
  5. I have legs that I can walk on.
  6. I have hands that can pick up puppies.
  7. I look just like my momma.
  8. The sun has rose and set every day of my life.
  9. Hair grows back after you cut it off.
  10. I’ve never been in a really bad car crash.
  11. Someone had the incredible idea of dipping double-stuffed Oreos in milk and they didn’t keep it to themselves.
  12. I have people that still love me after they hear me sing- because it’s awful sounding, let me tell ya.
  13. Flowers grow back in the spring.
  14. Leaves change colors in the fall.
  15. Snow will eventually melt.
  16. The sun makes skin tan.
  17. I have the biggest family out of everyone that I know.
  18. My brothers will always let me know if my hair/outfit looks dumb-sometimes without my asking.
  19. My sister bends down in pictures with me so I don’t look as short.
  20. My dad will always find the sketchiest restaurant to eat at, no matter where we are.
  21. I share blood with some of the best cooks in the south.
  22. Coffee is easy to make.
  23. Chick-fil-a is open Monday-Saturday.
  24. I got told I had a pretty smile once, then later I noticed I’d had something stuck between my teeth all day.
  25. I’ve never truly been hungry or thirsty.
  26. I’ve probably known how to swim longer than I’ve know how to walk.
  27. I’m not allergic to peanut butter.
  28. My dog is always so excited to see me.
  29. I just hit my shin REALLY HARD, but it’s not bleeding 🙂 :/
  30. I get told I look like Brooke Wells-my Crossfit girl crush.
  31. Crossfit competing, enough said.
  32. Deodorant was invented.
  33. I get to call the mountains home.
  34. I’ve gotten to lay on the beach and read an entire day away.
  35. I’ve already make some of the most incredible friendships in college.
  36. I got to see Lecrae in concert.
  37. I’m content with my face without having makeup on.
  38. I have makeup available for when the days I actually want to wear it.
  39. I know that I’m valued and loved by so many people.
  40. My grades aren’t determining factors of me, but they’re small accomplishments for me.
  41. I have the ability to learn something new every day for the rest of my life.
  42. I still remember songs verbatim from 2008.
  43. I’ve read more books than I’ll ever be able to count.
  44. I’ll never do anything to lose my parent’s love.
  45. One of my grandmas makes me home-made jelly, salsa, and dehydrated fruits. Plus so much more.
  46. One grandma randomly buys me cute clothes.
  47. Both grandmas love me unconditionally.
  48. Umbrellas were created.
  49. My shin is no longer throbbing (WOO!!)
  50. New music is always being produced.
  51. My feet will never outgrow my favorite shoes.
  52. Opinions are simply opinions.
  53. Mashed potatoes and corn can be mixed together.
  54. When people’s laughs are funnier than the actual joke.
  55. Hearing stories.
  56. Stories that teach you something without directly telling you they’re teaching you something.
  57. Stories that have a crazy twist.
  58. I’ve never had to spray my pepper spray.
  59. The seasonal sugar cookies that basically melt in your mouth.
  60. Going on a bike ride.
  61. When you can hear someone’s voice through a text because you can actually picture them saying whatever it is the typed.
  62. Being able to carry all your groceries inside in one trip.
  63. Making a to do list and checking everything off it.
  64. Portable chargers.
  65. Getting your paycheck.
  66. …Spending your paycheck on things you don’t actually need.
  67. Freshly washed sheets.
  68. Crawling into bed after a long day.
  69. Waking up and not being tired.
  70. Taking a really good nap.
  71. Using a nap as a reward for getting a certain amount of things done.
  72. Not getting stopped by any red lights.
  73. Hearing someone say they’re proud of you.
  74. Giving someone a hug after you’ve gone a while without seeing them.
  75. Haunted houses.
  76. Christmas lights.
  77. Putting up the Christmas tree with my family.
  78. My mom’s chocolate-chip pancakes.
  79. When you stop the microwave with just one second left.
  80. When there’s the perfect amount of milk left for a bowl of cereal.
  81. When your 8 am class gets canceled.
  82. Actually, when any of your classes get canceled.
  83. When someone sends you something and tells you that it made them think of you.
  84. Traveling to new places.
  85. Looking at the stars.
  86. Thinking back about something that happened and actually laughing out loud.
  87. Giving meaningful compliments.
  88. Receiving meaningful compliments.
  89. Car jam sessions.
  90. Listening to someone talk about something they’re passionate about.
  91. Explaining to someone the reason you like certain things.
  92. When you meet someone and you discover you like a lot of the same things.
  93. Winning something from a claw machine.
  94. Getting a fresh batch of fries from Mcdonald’s.
  95. Wendy’s strawberry lemonade.
  96. When someone doesn’t rub it in your face when you’re wrong.
  97. Reading something motivating or inspiring.
  98. Watching a movie on a rainy day.
  99. Going to concerts.
  100. Feeling like you’re getting abs from laughing so hard.
  101. Being alive.

What does your list look like?

 

 

here are a couple of my lovely friend’s smiles that I wanted to share 🙂

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heggy-smile

Deep Breaths

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If you’re a college student, you understand the stress that comes with finals week. You’ve been up for sixteen hours, twelve of those hours have been in the library, your eyes feel like they’re going crossed from reading so much information, and you’ve drank so many cups of coffee you feel like you’re made now out of it.

I’ve always heard that finals week was stressful and hard, but I never really understood until I was actually living it. As a freshmen with all gen ed classes, I’m so bored with the content in my classes. It all seems so dry and I have to really force myself to focus while I’m studying. (I’m sure it’s not just gen ed classes though).

One of the most important things I learned during finals week was to chill out and take a deep breath every once in a while.

Yes, finals week is stressful and exhausting, but it’s just for one week. You can get through it and you will get through it.

This past weekend I went home to Crossville and brought two of my best friends back with me. I warned them multiple times that there wasn’t much to do here, but they insisted on coming back with me and watching my Crossfit competition Friday night and staying the rest of the weekend.

While we were in Crossville I got to show them around and it was actually really fun. Neither of them had ever been and so they didn’t really know anything about it, but they ended up really liking it. I took them to my favorite Japanese restaurant, my favorite coffee shop, and we looked around a couple of local boutiques. But I think their favorite thing we did was climb the fire tower.

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Last year, one of my good friends took me to the fire tower. It was a cold, windy night in November and the climb was scary. He laughed at me the whole time we were climbing it and joked around about me falling. (I’m pretty sure I bruised his arm from hanging on to it so tightly). Once we go to the top though, it was worth it.

Since it was dark, cold, and windy, I wasn’t too crazy about it, but I still liked it. I didn’t think about it or go back for a couple of months. Periodically, I went back with friends during the warmer months whenever we were bored.

But this weekend when I went to the tower and climbed it, it was calming and peaceful. My friends were in absolute awe. They loved the view of the mountains and the multicolored tree tops. The breeze wasn’t too chilly and we got to sit there and take in the breath-taking views. We got to take deep breaths. For just a little while, we were away from the stress of finals and everyday life.

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Later that night, we all piled into my bed with our laptops and textbooks and did some homework and studying. We realized that after you chill out and admire the pretty views, you have to come back and get your work done, whether you want to or not.. That’s where the deep breath part is kind of important.

So this week, whether you have finals or not, if the stress gets to be too much, go find a pretty view and take some deep breaths and remember how blessed you actually are.

 

 

picture credits to Heather Farrar