Saturday Adventuring

IMG_4663It’s the unofficial start to the summer¬†with Memorial Day upon us. I don’t know about you all but here in the South it’s already gotten hot. But one thing’s for certain, Saturdays in the South in the Summer were meant for adventuring.

Sometimes it’s planned and other times it’s on a whim. That’s kind of how I like living my life these days. And we all should enjoy plans and spontaneity.

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Stay tuned as I share photos over on the Photopalooza tab (we may rename that to Adventuring) and share some of your favorite places of unplanned or planned collisions with adventure.

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Happy adventuring everyone!

Crazy Fun

Life has been what I would call crazy fun over the last two months. I prayed and 11923214_10103299607187635_5614688240623052797_njourneyed through a really difficult season this summer and I truly believe God is showing me what joy and contentment look like when I leave it to Him.

So with that I wanted to share some absolute fun things popping up.

First off let’s talk new fall television. Here’s the rub yall, I enjoy television. I find good quality stuff and I will find utter garbage to watch. I run the spectrum and I am quite okay with that. You should be too. Unless you have an addiction issue then seek help, seriously. A couple of new shows that have debuted this last week I am digging, since frankly Fox allowed Mindy Project to jump to Hulu (sorry, I’m just going to have catch up later) I was side-eyeing Scream Queens. But this is a mix of fun, campy and terrifying all rolled into one. There’s a ton of pop culture references that may have you in need of a pop-up video version.

The Player and Quantico were my gambles, pun intended for that Vegas set betting premise former show. I’m digging them both because they bring something different to the story of an hour long drama that I enjoy. It’s not the played out plot lines. Quantico also feeds my 8 year old self who wrote to the FBI for information about the academy. (Little known fact about me) strong female lead abounds in this show with her own issues but a sassy swagger. (We need more sassy swagger in our female leads)
Here’s the shows I’m aching to return: iZombie, Sleepy Hollow and Blue Bloods. (B2 returned on Friday and this was a summer addition after I watched all five season thanks to my neighborhood library!) My dad and I discuss Sleepy Hollow’s historical references ¬†cause we are nerds like that. Plus who doesn’t love a British man with scruff and longer hair stuck in a 18th century outfit? IZombie is one that no one I know watches and I cling to the fact that it’s my Veronica Mars for this time of life. Throw in another smart female lead and you have a winner peeps.

Speaking of television and my love for all things cop shows, download this week’s PopCast podcast where I land on both TeamKnox and TeamJamie for a bit in relation to my rabid fascination with all things police detectives television shows.

While I do watch some serious TV, I am still chugging away at my book goal for the year. I’m a little behind and I blame binge watching B2 and cultivating friendships. Anyways I will be reviewing a book right here on the blog pretty regularly moving forward, and will be giving a copy away with some of them. Stay tuned on that in the coming weeks. Currently I am diving into Desiring God by John Piper.

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In the last few weeks I kayaked six miles with some coworkers up the French Broad in North Carolina. Pretty spectacular day of getting to know people I work with and enjoying God’s creation. I highly recommend an excursion, especially in North Carolina if you get the chance.

Many of you know the foodie that I am. Well after doing reviews in several places I decided to launch it all on one hosting site. If you haven’t yet, check out the Dining Out Solo blog. It’s been fun going to try out new places each week and write up my thoughts on the experience and food. I’ll be taking it on the road next weekend which should be a blast!

11951151_10103329799422155_365463124412319475_nSo that’s just a glimpse of the crazy fun of the last couple of months….including multiple county fair visits with some great gals and checking out some new movies, seeing Kelly Clarkson live (eep!) and watching an NFL training camp practice (Titans, meh!). Seriously, life is truly great right now!

What crazy fun are you getting into as fall is upon us?

Recently I was headed down a main road that leads to my workplace when I happened to see my almost two years ago ex-boyfriend. He was dropping off a delivery near my office building and I immediately was thinking of how to avoid him seeing me.

Then I wondered why. He was near my place of work, in fact directly across the street from my office. I broke up with him almost two years ago. I was simply headed back to the building after going to the County Clerk’s office. This was a by-chance moment that had completely caught me off guard.

But yet we find ourselves, us singles, in these moments sometimes and have to remind ourselves that this is most certainly our past and not our future. We have to forgive ourselves and the other person to in some instances, and remember the peace we have now rather than the issues that may trigger from seeing them.

For me I had to remind myself that forgiveness was given, and it still has to be given on those days when I remember what happened and what was said. It’s not about reliving the past but about learning from it, and that includes learning about myself and the relationship I chose to be an active part of for months. It’s choosing to forgive when the doubt creeps in or the loudness of unforgiveness wants to crowd out everything else.

It’s funny how those reminders find themselves weaving into our lives so unexpectedly. I used to believe it was a bit of temptation and torture. Now I view it as an opportunity to pursue grace, mercy and forgiveness again. To let it guide my heart and remind me that I am not living in a past tense, but a future present. So I can face the past, the good and bad, having learned about who I am. Thus allowing me to be a better me for the present life and continue to work on the future of who I desire to be.

Let those moments serve as a reminder for you too. That you are not your past, unless you haven’t learned from it. You are in your present and allow whatever you may harbor to be set out and forgiven. Push through the pain and allow peace to fill you now, instead of regret and bitterness. No matter what has happened to us, we have the choice of how it affects us now.

Back to the Relationship

Recently friends and I sat around the dinner table talking about life, love and other pursuits (okay, it was about Brett Eldredge). It was a rejuvenating time as we try to get together once every couple of months to just catch up and step into each other’s lives a bit. You need that, a community of people who you can shrug off the dust of life with every now and again to refresh your mind and spirit.

As we broke biscuits and talked through some things, it came around to relationships and men…a common thing when single women gather around a table for an extended time. We are all in our 30s now with some past relationships now under our belt and something struck me as we talked. It takes hindsight, and often much time, before we can see areas of our lives in perspective, like who we are in dating relationships.

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It’s incredibly easy to lay blame at the feet of the other person when a relationship ends, but as I recall it does take two people to have a relationship, otherwise you’re just crazy. Ultimately you have to be able to see what you learned from that situation about your own self and your dating habits. As I have explored my own dating life further from past relationships, it has helped me make choices about my present and future dating as well.

Putting boundaries on a dating life is something that was new to me several years ago. But as I have evaluated myself in dating relationships and as a single, I see that often I made poor choices simply out of shear unknowing. Ignorance about ourselves is often what gets us through life without much living. We go with the flow, cave to peer pressure, and seek to have others make the decisions for us. In all honesty, I have been much the same way.

Up to this point, my choices and that way of thinking hasn’t been very successful in the dating department. There’s been a couple of relationships that ended amicably, and we are currently friends. But I also learned something about myself even in those times. When we don’t take time to learn from our past, I firmly believe we are doomed to repeat it.

The last thing I would like to do is repeat a past relationship-and end up married to that individual. If you are single, choose this time to take stock of your life and your relationships. While there are situations where the failing of it could be entirely on the other person, what can you see about yourself in that relationship and the post-breakup? Choose to see your own role in it and how that can impact your current dating life and future relationships.

One of the biggest realizations I had when I took stock of my dating habits over the years was that I often made my spiritual life fit my dating life, instead of putting my spiritual journey out there and allowing my dating life to be a part of that and mold to it. I hold to a firm belief now that had I originally held that in check I would not have been in a couple of relationships in my past. Those have taught me about forgiveness, grace, and my own inner self so for that I hold no regrets. I am utterly thankful that even at 33 I can see the impact of a right frame of thinking has impacted my life drastically when it comes to companionship and relationship. Frankly I believe much of the issues surrounding dating and marriage these days would do with a bit more reflection and lot less wooing.


Interesting in learning more about boundaries in dating? Want to explore your past relationship more in depth? Check out Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries in Dating.

A Single Foodie

Pardon me while I gush a minute about this past Saturday. And to think I almost didn’t go.

Earlier last week I found out via Lynda over at Southern Kissed that my favorite chef, Stephanie Izard, would be in town along with chef Michelle Bernstein to judge a grilling competition at Macy’s. Cue fangirling. Saturday as I was getting ready, I almost talked myself out of it. I had this voice whispering that this wasn’t something I could enjoy solo, and that I should just stay home.

As a single gal, that voice of fear gets loud sometimes. She sounds alot like doubt and a snarky friend you’d really not be friends with in real life. But man, can she cut right to your heart about fearing doing something solo. Last month when I kicked off the theme of a NoHSummer I had some swagger and confidence. Now that I am in the thick of it, I am finding fear of singleness grip like never before! A friend of mine tells me this is merely affirmation of the correct journey for me. I tend to agree with his perspective rather than that snotty girl whispering that people will talk that I am by myself.

So I went…and I am ever so glad that I did, for many reasons. First of all, I got to see amazing home-chefs grill their hearts out for the chance at $10,000 and picstitchto grill in NYC for Macy’s on the 4th of July (how awesome is that?!). Next I got to try some amazing food prepared by Michelle and Stephanie that they sent out in sampling form. There was Orxata, and for a lactose intolerant girl such as myself, this on a hot day was incredibly refreshing and delightful. We sampled two types of salads, one variation of a Caesar and another with grilled shrimp (which I dumped onto my cute dress I had in the excitement of playing trivia with Wells). They picstitch(1)sent out mini-brats that had enough kick for me…but y’all I saved the best for last. A tempura cooked chicken sandwich, with creamed feta and slaw (I may be Southern but I don’t like slaw…but this I would eat a million times over) and a peach fried pie with cinnamon and sugar. I gushed over this repeatedly to my new found foodie friends on either side of me. I wish I had the recipe for the sandwich, although I have to be semi glad that I don’t because I think I would get sick on it from eating it so much. It was that good.

So needless to say it was more than worth the internal battle I had with myself over whether I should go. In fact it build confidence in me to really pursue this NoHSummer with fervor, exploring things I can share with you all (singles/couples/marrieds/etc) in the hopes you’ll explore a single outing for yourself to enjoy the moment and this life we are created to live out.

picstitch(2)Before I go I have to share I tried a new local place that had a booth setup as well at the event. It’s called Padrino’s Pops and they are so delightful and refreshing. Had I not gone, I wouldn’t have been able to try their offerings and see that they are going to give Las Paletas a run for their money here in the 12th South District. They did not pay me in any way to post this, but I had to rave about them and how great they were. I tried the watermelon, as well as some of those sitting around me, and every flavor was a hit! Definitely check them out this summer if you’re in Nashville and needing a rescue from the heat!

I realized as I drove home on Saturday that I got to experience quite a bit over three hours that I could have missed out on, including hearing Josh Farrow perform (fan of his now too!) and getting to meet another blogger and connect. (Hey Blonde Mom Blog!) So I urge you the next time doubt creeps in about going somewhere solo, weigh the regret of a great experience with the doubt that tells you are not confident enough. And keep on going til you get there…because the regret of not going far outweighs the fear of being solo.

Lingering

“And while he lingered…”

Those words jumped out at me this morning, in the midst of a study on the women of the Bible with She Reads Truth. (I highly recommend this study for any woman or girl seeking to dig into the inner workings of God and women in the Bible. You can jump in today even)

This phrase came out of the 19th chapter of Genesis as I was reading about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, more specifically looking at the situation from Lot’s wife’s perspective. If you aren’t paying attention you miss it in verse 16, but there it is. Lot was lingering as the messenger angels were telling him of the awaiting destruction of his city. They would be the only family spared, thanks to Abraham’s pleading with God, and yet he tarried about the home.

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As much as I would like to think I would sprint out of my home should the angels of God tell me He was unloading His wrath upon the city I was in, I have to admit I would probably be right there with Lot. Lingering, tarrying, frantically looking about my home. A year ago this week I became a home owner, and as I look back on this first year I see a sense of pride building in my home. The memories that are being created, the community in which it is nestled. You worry about unreasonable things as a homeowner that you just didn’t do when you leased or rented a place. That also means you fix the things you’d normally call the super to manage.

About a month ago I discovered a leaky seal on the toilet in my master bathroom. I was determined that I could solve this issue without calling in a plumber. So after consulting my dad (who is a master at fixing almost anything and where I get my need to fix stuff from) and a plumber’s YouTube channel (because hi, it’s me) I got the seal repaired and the leak stopped. I have done minor things around my home, but I still take pride in it, in how it looks and the opportunities it provides to open up the doors for others.

Having lingered a bit too long in Genesis this morning though, I see where that can reach a dangerous point. God has been generous in the provision of this home in my life. But if I am putting more value into it rather than Him, I lose sight of the purpose of the blessing. I linger in the things rather than in the presence of Him. I grow attached to things rather than the Maker. It’s a slippery slope and one I find I have to be wary of even in the best of moments.

Yes I can build a home, one that is welcoming and full of joy. But let me not linger in it and the things it holds. Because these are all temporary-no matter what fondness or memory they hold-in comparison to what He is doing in and through me. Let’s not linger in the stuff today, and instead take hold of the hand that reaches out in mercy to bring us to safety.

Stress Less, Eat More

Normally I don’t post in the evenings. Y’all that read regularly know this, but summer is finding me writing more in the evenings than in the mornings-possibly because I’m also trying to run in the mornings before it gets so stinkin’ hot.

I will be posting either tomorrow or Monday about the awesome time I had today at Macy’s Culinary Cookout and Sizzle Showdown. I was so inspired by all the fantastic chefs, as well as the tasty bites concocted by two of my favorite chefs Michelle Bernstein and Stephanie Izard. After an afternoon spent tucked away in my favorite local coffee shop (ahem, Starbucks) writing on my book, I came home and fired up that grill.

Tonight’s grill specialty was pork once again as I am just not feeling the chicken-but I need to be soon or this running won’t help the waistline a bit. I paired cubed thick-cut pork loins with pineapple chunks and red onion quarters on skewers. Then I brushed on a mix of teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce (because I am in love with this stuff) and some Asian seasonings. I let them grill along with some corn on the cob. I soaked the corn, along with those skewers, for about ten minutes in water. I put them on the top rack of the grill, then transferred them once the skewers were ready to come off to get a good char on them. Once I took the skewers off, I brushed them again with the same sauce mixture to get a glaze on them. You can see the finished dinner below. I also put on some brown rice mixture to eat the skewered goodness with as well.

FullSizeRender(5)I would have to say one thing to change on this, definitely brine the pork before cutting it up to grill. Having tasted the difference I won’t go back to not brining pork prior to grilling, or probably cooking any which way. It seriously makes the juiciest meat that you can cut with a fork.

Thankfully I did feel up for a little under two mile walk after dinner, but I am definitely going to have to run four tomorrow morning after today’s tastings at the Macy’s event and then tonight’s dinner. Today reminded me that I often don’t find myself writing for the fun of it much anymore. I push myself to write deeper or for production’s sake on the book, knowing I’ll edit down later. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see more easy posts thrown in the rotation these days.

The summer is finding me willing to loosen up my writing, as well as sharing some of my favorite hobbies with you all! That’s just another part of the #NoHSummer Have an amazing Sunday!