In Summer!

Once again, it has been a while since I updated the blog. My sister has started to encourage me to get back to writing and I’m encouraging her to dive into it, so here I am once again.

This summer has flown by! I cannot believe it is July 15th or I cannot believe it is only July 15th. I’m not really sure where I am today. All I know is the next 2.5 weeks are going to fly by and then it is back to work I go.

Anyway, I thought I would share my summer via my Instagram. I am doing my best to try and maintain a balance of living in the moment while also taking pictures so that later on in my life I’m not saying to myself “I just can’t remember what I did when I was 25…”

Nat and I started off our summer in what has become a 2 year tradition: the Knoxville Expo 10k!

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We both have tried and are still currently trying to keep up our running habit throughout the summer. It was fun to start off the summer with something fun like a 10k, but I will not lie, the next day I slept in with no regret.

We then took a fun, quick weekend trip to Washington D.C.! IMG_2405

We took the Megabus up and back. The bus ride on the way up was great. We both got to read/nap/talk/whatever we wanted and we left the driving up to someone else. For a 8-9 hour drive, especially through the never ending (slightly boring) Virginia, it was nice to not have to worry about switching drivers, or in our case trying not to be a bad passenger and sleep while Nat drives. Anyway, the ride up was great. We got into the city around 7, caught a cab to our hotel and then we got dinner near our hotel and could go to bed slightly early so we could spend the next day sightseeing.

We had a lot of fun touring museums and seeing the monuments. On our last day we even went to the National Zoo which was so fun! The zoo is free to the public and because of that we noticed a lot of runners going through the park. I would love that. I think it would make me less reluctant to run some days if I knew I might see a lion or something more exciting than my neighbor’s dog.

We also were able to see my wonderful bestie Courtney while we were in the city. She is seriously who I want to be when I grow up and I am so proud of her life in DC. You go girl.

After many, many hours of sightseeing and being on our feet- we headed back to the megabus for our travels South. I’m not going to lie to anyone about my sleep habits and my attitude toward sleep. I love sleep and I need a lot of it. The overnight Megabus does not allow for it. So, if you are like me and get sassy when your sleep is interrupted choose the day bus. You won’t regret it.

All in all it was a great trip and I am so thankful we were able to go up for a weekend on our own.

After our trip to DC we spent time just hanging out and resting. A school year can really be exhausting. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary and my 25th birthday

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Our next trip took us to the great white North….Wisconsin!

My parents moved to Wisconsin almost a year ago to retire. Forget sandy white beaches- they were looking more for slushy white snow. Anyway, the winters may be rough but the summers are absolutely gorgeous. My brother and sister and their spouses and Nat and I all headed up for a few days of family fun.

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I can’t forget the most important guest…Ezekiel! My sweet nephew is the pride and joy of our family. I seriously can’t get enough of him so to have 5 days to spend with him was a great addition to my summer.

We spent our days on the lake, at the waterpark, and doing what we do best- just hanging out. It had been since Christmas since we had all been together so it really was just a treat to be around the people I love most. One of the nice things about my parents living up north is the ability to see some of our extended family- which rarely happens. We had a get together that consisted of lots of food and a southern staple- CORN HOLE

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It was such a fun trip and I am blessed by a family that I can’t get enough of. I am always looking forward to the next time I get to be with them and even though there seems to be more time between each get together as we get older, it seems like no time has passed at all.

We had a wild one day in between our trip to Wisconsin and our next big trip to EDISTO! Every year (2nd annual) we and 4 other couples go to the beach together. It is such a fun trip and we are so lucky to have a close knit group of people to be around.

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We spent 7 days on Edisto Island and it was pure bliss. It was so nice to be a 2 minute walk from the beach and everyone could just come and go as they pleased. We ate a lot and played lots of games- a lot of sweet, funny memories were made. I am anxiously looking forward to next year!

This year’s trip had a bittersweet aspect to it. One of the couples just moved from Knoxville and another moved shortly after our trip. It was weird to think of everyone being in different places. That week though was sweet because regardless of where we are in life, our friendships are still in tact and will continue to be. I am a very blessed girl because of these friendships.

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And now here we are…in present day. The big trips are behind us and we are looking forward to a new, exciting school year. Every year I feel a little anxious about school starting back and this year is no different. This year, however, is filled with excitement, which is new for me. I am starting my 3rd year or teaching and for the first time ever I feel like my feet are slightly on the ground. (I would say the tips of my toes- but that is better than nothing!)

I am thankful for a fun summer to rest and recover. There are a couple more weeks left and I am going to love them for what they are!

-Sarah

 

 

Things Change

For the 4th of July, I went to visit 2 of my girlfriends from college. Since we all graduated (some of us twice!) we have moved, gotten married, and made a lot of big changes. The beautiful thing about the friendships with these girls is that even when we are separated for a while, we get back together and we click instantly.

I am learning that in this season of life, a lot of things change and they usually change quickly. I am also learning that when things change  they are usually for the better, even if they are really hard changes at first. I just praise the Lord for lasting friendships like these. We had such a fun time.

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Another thing in life I have learned that changes are taste buds. Now, I know this is sort of silly, but it is true. There are things I love now that I couldn’t stand to look at a few years ago. I hated tomatoes, vinegar, onions, and most importantly AVOCADO. I can’t even explain to you how much I disliked avocado. The texture freaked me out and truthfully, it was nasty.

Well- like the title of this post says- things changed and one of my new favorite things is avocado. If we want to get more specific, I love guacamole. Seriously, it is the best thing ever. Over the weekend, we ate at a mexican restaurant and got guacamole and all I could think about since then was eating some more.

Tonight Nat and I had tacos, and I figured it would be the appropriate time to make some guacamole. I looked around at recipes and just took pieces from random places and I feel like my creation ended up being pretty delicious. (Also, you look super healthy at the grocery store when you buy the ingredients for guacamole. All veg!)

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Guacamole

avocados

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 small lime, juiced

1/2 cup cilantro, diced, stems removed

coarse salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/2 tomato, diced, seeds removed

Cut avocado in half, remove the seed. Scoop avocado from peel and put in mixing bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork. Don’t over mash, it should be a little chunky. Add onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Mash a little bit more with the fork. Before serving add the tomato.

Serve with tortilla chips or on a sandwich or on a taco or on a burger…the opportunities are endless!

Enjoy!

I’m back!

I have had a crazy couple of weeks. I have been out of town for most of the last two weeks, and when I am home I am usually doing laundry or taking care of our little puppy. It is so nice to be home for awhile.

In the end of June, Nat and I and 4 other couples went on a weekend trip to Charleston, SC. It was so fun! We ate a lot of delicious seafood, spent some time on the beach, and explored the downtown area. Here are a few of the pictures from that trip!

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Nat and I at dinner the first night. We ate at Sullivan’s and it was delicious!

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Fun friends at dinner!

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We celebrated Summer’s birthday while we were there!

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Our whole group at the Battery

Overall it was a great trip and we are already looking forward to next year. We plan on making this a yearly occasion!

Family Cruisin’ pt. 3

Sorry for the delay between Parts 2 and 3-  Nat and I went to visit his family and I didn’t get around to posting.

This is part 3 about my family’s vacation this summer. There are 2 other parts: Family Cruisin pt. 1 and Family Cruisin pt. 2

Our third excursion took us to Ephesus, which is technically in Ismir, Turkey. Ephesus is a very important city to Christians because that is the city Paul wrote to in Ephesians. It was fascinating to find out that Ephesus was underground until the 1950s! The city had been abandoned due to malaria and had been lost until the 1950s.

DSC_0521This is Nat and I in front of the Library in Ephesus. This wasn’t built until after Paul came through, but it was incredible to see these ruins from so long ago.

DSC_0543The amphitheater in Ephesus was absolutely incredible. I can only imagine what it was like when it was filled with people. The area in the background, where the road is, used to be where the docks were. Ephesus used to be a city on the water, but over time, the water receded and eventually the city was covered under ground.

I don’t think I will ever read Ephesians the same after walking in the footsteps of Paul. I could only imagine what it was like when Paul was there, preaching the Gospel.

Our final stop on the cruise was Split, Croatia. Again, Croatia did not disappoint. Split was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t get enough of the beauty of the city. We didn’t go on an excursion with a tour guide, but rather took our time and wandered around the city on our own.

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We climbed up the bell tower in the city to get the most amazing view of the city. There is nothing like the view of this place. We were exhausted (and sweaty) after walking up the stairs, but the view at the top was definitely worth it.

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Again, I can’t express how blessed I feel to spend this time with my family. It was so great to experience this city and all the other cities with my family. We are looking forward to adding Sue Ann into our family in August. I love that I am surrounded by loving, Christian women.

The area we explored in Split was a palace area. We only spent a few hours in the city, but we really enjoyed our time.

Overall, this cruise was an amazing experience. I can’t wait until I get another chance to go back to Europe and explore more countries. I definitely have the travel bug!

Family Cruisin’ pt. 2

This part 2 of my posts about my family’s vacation. Here is the first post: Family Cruisin’ pt. 1

The cruise took us to three different countries and four different cities. We visited Dubrovnik, Croatia, Athens, Greece, Ephesus (Ismir), Turkey, and Split, Croatia. I will not lie, traveling around these cities made me want to move to Europe. As we were there I seriously considered looking into teaching in Europe for a year.

(Coming home though, and getting back on American soil, made me change my mind. I love my home too much)

Our first stop was Dubrovnik, Croatia. This city shocked me. Truthfully, I had never heard of Dubrovnik before this cruise, and I had no idea what to expect before we got there. After visiting- I have to say, if you get the chance to go to Dubrovnik, Croatia- go. It is on the beautiful coastline, the people are friendly, and there is a lot of great history in that city.

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On the ship entering the Dubrovnik coast

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This city is gorgeous!

We had an awesome tour guide who taught us a lot about this city. If you didn’t know- Dubrovnik is one of the places they film the tv show Game of Thrones. I am not a fan of the show, but my soon to be sister-in-law is, and it seemed pretty exciting to see all the places they film.

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We took a cable car to the top of a mountain in Dubrovnik. We were able to see a fort from their war and also take in this amazing view. Dubrovnik has a lot of interesting history that I had no idea about. They were involved in war as current as the 90s. Everyone in the city was friendly. Their economy is based majorly on tourism and they made sure that we felt very welcome. Such a beautiful city!

Our next stop along the way was Athens, Greece. This was exciting for the historical aspect. I knew the most about where we were going and what we were planning on seeing. Athens as a city was huge and we didn’t spend much time walking around the city. Our main focus was seeing the Acropolis- and we did! I still am in awe that I saw these amazing things. WOW

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Nat and I in front of the Parthenon. I need to pinch myself!

The view from the Acropolis was incredible and we got to see a beautiful view of the entire city.

DSC_0396Nat and I explored a little bit on our own and wandered over to the Mars Hill area where Paul preached. I am in amazement that I have been in the same place that Paul stood and preached the gospel. I feel like I will always look at Acts a little differently now. The areas we explored in Athens were filled with history. We saw a lot of ruins throughout the city. It was really interesting to see how the city is so modern, but has also maintained the ruins and the historical aspect of that area.

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Dubrovnik and Athens were both incredible places to visit. They both offered different things and were entirely different experiences. Tomorrow I will post about the final two cities we visited and the experiences we had there.

A Magical Vacation

DSC_0605Last week (and today) was our Spring Break. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until it was here. Last year, before we got married, I wanted to go to Disney World for our honeymoon. After listening to Nat’s argument that I would need a week to relax and not do anything, we decided to go to the beach. It was a great decision. I told him that if I got a job I was going to take us to Disney World. Thank the Lord, I got a job, and since June of last year I have been waiting for this trip.

We left last Monday and stayed until Saturday morning. We were on the go the entire week, but it was an amazing week to say the least. It was fun to take a trip, just the two of us, and have fun without thinking of any real life responsibility.

Some of the best parts of the trip were spent around food (as usual). We love to eat, and we wanted to treat ourselves a few times during the trip and so we did. We ate at two character meals, which I was laughed at for, but really- I love Disney. I wanted the entire experience. On Tuesday morning we ate at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian hotel. A) That hotel is gorgeous.  B) I love a breakfast buffet.

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We spent Monday at The Magic Kingdom, Tuesday at Hollywood Studios, Wednesday at Universal Studios (Harry Potter World), Thursday at Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and Friday at Animal Kingdom and The Magic Kingdom.

This trip was filled with so many fun memories. The entire time we were there I kept thinking of how blessed we are to be able to take trips like this and to spend time with one another. Being young and married is proving to be a blast.

We also ate at the Garden Grill in Epcot. I had never eaten at this restaurant, but Nat had and it was really delicious and quite an experience. The food was family style, all you care to eat- which after a long day was right up our alley. The restaurant itself spins while you eat. It is a slow progressive spin, probably so you don’t get motion sick while eating.

DSC_0497This is not a good picture, but in my hunger I didn’t even think to move the tongs. Oh well- I think it gives a good picture of how yummy the food was. We also got to meet Mickey for the second time of the trip.

The meal also included the yummiest bread, salad, and dessert. It was a great experience and I’m glad we tried it.

DSC_0501 On Wednesday of our trip we spent the day at Universal Studios. Harry Potter world. This was my dream. I have been talking about going to Harry Potter world since it was built. It was a great experience and I am so glad we went. Even with the long lines and crazy crowds we had a great time. We both drank butter beer and really enjoyed it. IMG_0747This is us at the three broomsticks eating lunch. I ordered roast chicken with corn and potatoes-delicious for theme park food.

Now being back home, I am thankful for a couple extra days to rest (my feet are too). There are only 2 months left of school until summer and I am certain they are going to go by quickly. I’m looking forward to resting a lot and enjoying a few more trips.

Thank the Lord for a great husband and the blessing of time spent together. Happy Spring!