Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall is in the Air!

Fall has subtly crept back into our lives, and I guess I can no longer deny it.

I noticed this shift of season most acutely when we sat inside the office of our local rental company on Friday, waiting to sign the lease agreement for our new apartment. A stuffed scarecrow greeted us when we first arrived, and every corner of the rental office displayed leaves, gourds, pumpkins, and the like.
Fall decorating will be pointless in our home this year because we'll be moving right in the thick of the season. Although not decorating makes me a little sad, an even greater part of me is simply reveling in the idea of moving to a nicer apartment!

Size-wise, it's not much bigger than what we have now, but it has one claim that our current apartment cannot boast of--washer and dryer hook-ups!

For the last year and a half, our washer and dryer have been sitting in storage, neglected. But very soon, we shall be able to use them again, and I could not be more grateful.
As for our lack of interior decorating, I think it's beyond safe to say that God is a much better decorator than myself. We are already enjoying His handiwork: vibrant green leaves becoming lovely jewel-tones and local farms brimming with pumpkins and various squash.

And just because we won't be decorating our home doesn't mean we can't enjoy our favorite fall foods.
Candy corn sugar cookies! I used the idea/ technique from Our Best Bites and the sugar cookie dough recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie.

Last week, we made pumpkin-peanut soup. Sometimes we use sweet potato, sometimes pumpkin; either way, it must be eaten with sriracha sauce!

This week, we're trying a Dorito-beef casserole. We're going to use Cool Ranch Doritos. Red Beard and I are both pretty excited about this one. :)

As the chilly air rushes in to signal the change of season, I can't help but think about how much our lives have changed in the last year (I know, I know... sentimental cliche... oh well).

We're at a new church, working with new people. Red Beard has had several promotions at work, and he is almost done with the first leg of his college career. And I'm now a FT wife (so weird!).

I know sometimes we can feel trapped in a particular season of life. Maybe "stuck" in high school or "stuck" being single or childless or jobless or whatever. But the truth is, as the Bible tells us, our lives are but a vapor (James 4:14).

One of the things God has really been pressing upon my heart lately is to not wish any time away--savor what you have, because tomorrow the winds of change will blow through and you'll wonder where the time went.

That's kind of how my dad felt post-surgery. He had to be out of work for several months to recover. At first, he was very frustrated to not be able to work, but he eventually realized how valuable his time at home was--to the point that he didn't want to go back to work when it was time to!

I know sometimes, in certain seasons, you get that same feeling you got as a kid when you received socks or underwear for Christmas instead of another toy. As a kid, it seemed lame and disappointing. But later, as an adult, it makes more sense. Maybe your family was poor and didn't have money for necessities.

I mean, what if you didn't have socks or underwear? I'm pretty sure underwear takes precedent over a toy (just sayin').

Kids don't get new toys for other reasons, too. Perhaps the kid was so rotten, he or she didn't deserve a new toy... or maybe he or she wanted a toy that was for an older child. I mean, you can't give a toy with small pieces to an infant; it wouldn't be safe.

And the same is true in our lives as Christians.

We are God's kids. Sometimes we get only what we need (the proverbial socks and underwear) and not what we want (the proverbial toy). Does that make God a bad Father? By no means!

He knows what we need, and if we are mature enough to handle more. Maybe we want something we aren't ready for or something we don't have the character to handle.

I know that if my husband had come along when I wanted to have a husband (at least 7 years prior to when God placed him in my life), Red Beard would have (or should have) run the other direction! I would have made a mess of a marriage, no matter how ready thought I was.

I pray that you are enjoying the new season of fall and, more importantly, enjoying the season of life in which you currently find yourself. Thank God for what you have, and let Him decide when you need more.

--Mrs. D.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Checking In: 9/10/14

Last week, Red Beard started his new job (same company, different department, more pay). We're very grateful for this change-up; it will afford him some new career opportunities, and it will afford us less stress in the bill-paying department.

And, of course, his start-up coincided with me being sick.

It was one of those kinds of sick where you barely leave bed, and you don't even care that you're missing out on the outside world because all you want to do is lie down.

Thankfully, it wasn't anything more serious than seasonal allergies. I just have really bad reactions to the seasons changing sometimes and guess what, y'all--Fall allergies are out! It's been years since it hit me that hard.

Today is the first day I actually felt like doing much of anything since last Wednesday (oh yes, our apartment looks amazing right now, lol).

I've been pondering many things, though, and I've continued to read my Bible (there was only one day I couldn't because my head hurt too bad).

God's been good and there are exciting things to come in our lives.

I hope everyone is well.
--Mrs. D. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Riding the Vacation Wave: Oh, the Places You Go!

I thought that Labor Day might prove a good time to reflect on our mini trips while on vacation in NC this summer. Like I posted yesterday, though, I am also still in summertime mode... that may be part of my motivation.

But, make haste....let's take a trip to...

>>Fort Fisher (Ferry Ride + Aquarium)

While on vacation, we decided to visit the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher--known as the "fish zoo" to my niece.

And what better way to get there than by boat? That's right, we took the ferry!

NC has a public ferry system that is super affordable, time efficient, and a really fun way to travel! For each family-sized vehicle, it only costs $5 to ride (we would have paid more than that in gas).

Click here to view the 2014 NC ferry schedule.

Once your car is loaded onto the boat, it's time to ditch the family ride and climb to the ferry's upper deck to look at seagulls, other boats, take pictures of your feet, etc.
Driving onto the ferry! Don't worry; my parents had a license plate. I just blurred it out :)
Upper deck!
Pulling out into the big water.
A passing large barge...
This picture doesn't do it justice... it was huge!
Mine and my niece's feet! (We're both wearing crocs.)
Red Beard looking all smooth.
Making our way back to shore.
Fish outside the aquarium...
Fish inside the aquarium... lol. I struggled to capture the actual fish, as you can see!! Although, it's a little difficult when you're simultaneously watching a 2 year old. 
>>Southport, N.C.

Post-ferry return, we were all hungry. I will be writing about the restaurant Provision & Co. in my food post (great place to eat, y'all!). But the town of Southport itself is very charming! This quaint, coastal town is littered with cute shops and equipped with a trolley (if you're not inclined to walk around). This would be a fun spot to visit on a rainy (or sunny) afternoon.

Notice the stuffed dog in the window? That's my grandpa's solution to buying my grandma a dog...
Confession: I was way too engrossed in looking around to take many pictures!

>>Bird Island

This mini trip was researched by my older brother, and we were all under the impression that it would be simple and, well, quick. Not a long walk at all. We were wrong about the quick part. At least with 10 adults, plus 2 toddlers in tow. Not to mention the sun swiftly setting.

However, it was one magnificently beautiful walk, and man, was it a wide beach!

As the name suggests, Bird Island can be a fantastic spot for watching birds. There is a mailbox, too (that we never reached because it got dark too quick), where visitors can submit a "hey--we were here" or "my thoughts on this place" kind of thing. More information about Bird Island can be found on this website and this other website.

I recommend you complete this mini trip when you have ample time to make the jaunt. If you're into scenic exercising, a romantic walk on the beach, a good way to tire out your kids, or amazingly beautiful scenery, this is definitely a good stop.

Bringing a box of doughnuts and coffee would make it even better. :)

Here's hoping to visit these places again soon,
--Mrs. D.