Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Retreat Recap

Hello all,

It has been a fun and travel-filled weekend! I took my youth girls on a retreat in Alabama all about being set apart. We had a bunch of fun at the beach in Panama City and then really received some beautiful words of wisdom from the Father. The main speaker from this weekend was Leslie Ludy from She brought up many topics that were relevant, but the one that stuck with me was truly believing that God will answer your prayers.

I think so many times I have this defeatist attitude that if I can't understand it then God must not really have any plan for me. SO NOT TRUE. God is the ultimate Dad. He knows what we need before we even ask it. If a mother sees that her child's shoes are wearing out, she doesn't wait for the kid to ask for some shoes...she just goes and gets them because she already knows. God is like that with us. There are things I have been praying for and have not recieved answers yet, but that's not because God is busy or doesn't care or doesn't know what to do means HIS timing for it has not come yet. I need to have faith in my Father and truly pray and seek Him. He ALWAYS is faithful to His promises.
"The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises     and faithful in all he does."
-Psalm 145:13b
Here are a few instagram photos of our crazy, God-filled weekend!

Beautiful Panama City.
No, this is not a pool. That's the actual water there! PERFECT!
Soakin' up the sun in my little (big) hat.
We REALLY like Chick-Fil-A.
Aren't they PRECIOUS?
Pretty Alabama farmland (although, we pretended we were in Kansas).
 See you next time!


Monday, May 21, 2012

A Minty May Treat

Hello friends,

I know it is not officially summer, but let's face it, it's hot here in the South and when I start seeing dirty children running around barefoot and not in school, I count it as summer.

So, hello summer!

I recently added two "babies" as I call them to our little nest. Their names are Basil and Peppermint, and they are exactly what they sound like.

Meet Basil and Peppermint!

I have been putting Basil in anything and everything I can get my hands on...and putting mint in any drink that will allow. Yesterday, Toby and I had a very relaxing day complete with a late breakfast, little chocolates, chardonnay (later that evening) and a lovely minty treat I will now share with you.

I'm not going to act like I made this up, because I basically follows directions on the box, but nonetheless, it was yummy. We made sweet mint tea and it TOTALLY hit the spot for a kind-of-hot day.

Directions for a lovely quart of mint tea:
Bring 1 cup (8 oz.) of water to a boil and pour over 6 Bigelow Plantation Mint tea bags. 
I steeped tea in a large, thick Pyrex measuring cup and then added to the container pictured, but do whatever works for you!
Steep for 10 minutes.
Discard tea bags and pour 3 cups of cold water into tea.
Add some mint leaves for some prettiness and tastiness (especially if you just bought a mint plant!)
Serve over ice and enjoy!

And there you have it! Hope you all are having a good Monday. See you soon.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Survey Saturday

It's that time again folks! Toby is officially DONE-ZO with this school year so it is now officially summer break in this nest. We are thrilled and will definitely be celebrating with Netflix and champagne. I love that Toby is a teacher so he can be here during the summer and hang out with me! Ah, sweet summer days...

I know we usually think of sunny days at the beach or pool when we think of summer break, but right now I'm thinking of lazy, beautiful, rainy days. Today's survey is geared toward those cozy moments when life slows down and gives you a break.

1. When it rains I feel a combination of excited and relaxed. I get excited when storms come because I love to watch them but when it's raining outside it's so soothing too.

2. One of my rainy day movies is Gosford Park. There is something about England that just SCREAMS rainy days!

3. The best part about rain is definitely a multi-fold issue for me. I love sitting outside watching it, but I also love getting caught in it...which happens often on purpose :) Also, looking for the rainbow is something that me and Toby do a lot and I hope we never stop.

4. A good rainy day song is Pastures New by Nickel Creek. But really ANY song by Nickel Creek is good for a rainy day. Their music is mostly so soothing and easy to listen to. If you've never heard of them, do please look them up, for your own benefit.

5. The rain is prettiest through the trees. Nothing beats hearing the two patterns of rain: first the initial fall and then the echo of it through leaves, branches and other plants. It's breathtaking. 

6. Best rainy day scene in a movie: The scene from the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice when Lizzy and Darcy fight because of...their pride and prejudice haha. SUCH great wordplay.

7. One of my best rain memories was in Texas as a freshman in college. I had taken a walk at one of my favorite trails and it started raining. This place is heavily wooded and a kind of took shelter under the trees but could still feel the raindrops falling. I found a clearing and suddenly just rain out into it and literally began to dance and laugh. I couldn't help but thank God for it. It sounds silly but it's one of the best things ever. I need to do that again.

See you all next time!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marriage nugget #1

Hello friends,

I in no way profess to have all of this great knowledge about marriage (as I've only been married a year and a half) but I am learning as I go, and I think we can all learn and grow at any stage of life and learn from people at any stage of life too. Toby and I really love being married and we have a great time together, even when times are tough. I thought I'd share some of the things we have discovered along the way for any other married friends or potential members of that club, haha.

Marriage Nugget #1:
"Remember to forget"

Too many times when people argue (not just couples) we bring up all the things that made us mad before or that "prove our case" in the current fight. Trust me, if you want to avoid ugly fights and angsty pent up feelings, then you need to LET GO of past offenses, whether they are between you both or not. Toby and I learned pretty quick that that will go nowhere quick. Friends fight, family fights, so inevitably husband and wife will fight. You are two different people raised two different ways and when you come together you are learning how to live. Remember to forget the little grievances along the way and don't hold them against your spouse, because you love him more than you could be mad at him. When I look back at our first year of marriage I don't remember ANY of our fights...because they are not important. When they are done they should be DONE. And if you have to work to forget it, please do, because it's worth all the effort you've got. Marriage is not easy, but nothing good and worth it is. The best things you have to fight for...and man, is marriage worth every minute of it.
"Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongsLove does not gloat over other people's sins but takes its delight in the truth. Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never ends"
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tea Time by Etsy

Hello all,

If you've been following my blog for any length of time you will know that I LOVE a good cup of tea. In fact, I have become rather obsessed with it. You can read about some of my adventures with tea starting here and leading to many other places including here and here. Earl Grey is my favorite and it is always able to brighten up my mood. In honor of my beloved tea time I have found several (realistically hundreds) of prints that I LOVE from etsy, all about tea!

This pretty little thing would go great in my kitchen!
These instructions on how to brew the perfect cup are fun.
Good advice for any day.
Kettle me this, kettle me that.
Why yes they do.
Aren't these prints adorable? It makes me want to brew a pot right now...however that would be unreasonable since it's almost midnight and also I'm lazy. 

Hope you all have a good night and a greater week!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Instagram Review


Sorry, I am still so very excited about my freedom! I did well in all my classes, almost all A's except for one B...which is ok, because it's in Spanish and that class kicked my butt.
Long story short, it has been an eventful and funny few weeks. I keep looking around and realizing I have so much less to do now that school's out. It kind of feels wrong. I'll busy myself some way I'm sure.
Here are some of our latest instagram-based memories:
A nice spring evening...4 cute little bottles for $5 seemed fair.
This wonderland he is descending into is at our friend's house. Down this
magical ladder and into the gorge is a shooting range. That's right.
We shot guns. Welcome to the South.
Prior to gun-derland we practiced Krav Maga. That's Toby's dad fake-beating
him and our rabbi tenderly watching nearby. hahaha.
The main attraction of gun-derland.
Yeah, baby.
That's right, BULLSEYE!
I recently fell in love with this magazine. Go check it out!
Rainy days and reflections in the parking lot :)
Rocked my eluvia shirt! They are amazing for sure.
Getting ready for work at the're almost done babe!
Summer is upon us everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend full of fun.
See you soon for survey Saturday!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


What do you think of when I say the world "vulnerable"?

Take a minute...

A lot of people (myself included at times) think of negative things like weakness, heartbreak, being unprotected, fear, etc. It's true, the hardest and most painful falls I've taken have been due to being vulnerable and opening up my heart to someone. However, the most elated moments of bliss I've ever had have come from being vulnerable as well. So where does that leave us, not just as individuals, but as a culture?


Many of us have learned through experience that to be vulnerable is to be hurt, so we go through life with our fists up. Always ready for a fight, always ready for the let down. But, as my rabbi says, if you go through life like that, you won't get hurt, but you won't get hugged either. I personally prefer hugs.
 We all put so much emphasis on not being weak and not letting anyone get us down, that we have forgotten how to really love and cultivate friendships. We have much less joy building walls than we would if we were inviting others in. We expect bad, so we limit the power joy can have in our lives.

"All those trusting in Yeshua stayed together and had everything in common;  in fact, they sold their property and possessions and distributed the proceeds to all who were in need.  Continuing faithfully and with singleness of purpose to meet in the Temple courts daily, and breaking bread in their several homes, they shared their food in joy and simplicity of heart,  praising God and having the respect of all the people. And day after day the Lord kept adding to them those who were being saved." 
Acts 2:44-47 (CJB)
In the first century, they TOTALLY got it. They lived bearing with one another's faults and lifting each other up; sharing, caring, praising, and having joy. We gotta get back there. 
I will be the first to say that I looooove my private time. I love people, but I do fear letting them in sometimes, because as we all have, I remember what it felt like to get hurt. BUT, I'm more into getting loved. If I had not been willing to open my heart to Toby, we would have never gotten married...and that is an awful thought. We've all been wounded, deeply and not so deeply, but we can't stop loving and hoping.
So, this is a charge to myself and to you all: let's try togetherness.

There is a project/tour I just found about via bonnie at the whim wham life, called Together We Will Go. It is six friends from a few bands that moved into one house together and are now traveling the country, playing music, and bringing folks together. Now, I'm not saying you need to sell your house and travel to coffee shops across the US, but these are things we can do at home: help a friend in need, go out of your way to be there for someone, forgive your friends and don't grow bitter, understand that we are all trying to be better people and if someone falls short bear with them. We must do these things because WE need these things!

Let's stick together. Let's turn our lives into communities once again. 
Let's not shut out the world, but offer it a hand. Let's see how togetherness makes G-D smile.

Go check these guys out. It's pretty cool. 



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Survey Saturday

Hello friends,

I come to you now as an almost free bird! One last honker of a final and I am summer dreamin'!
This week has been busy but exciting, as we near school's end for both of us. A dear friend is having her baby shower tomorrow, which is super exciting, and it is also a big event at the Manolis place:


Haha, ok it's not THAT fun, but it must be done nevertheless. 
Also, another exciting bit of news is that we are moving! Not far, just to a different complex about ten minutes away. It is very pretty and conveniently located near the new mall and downtown, so we are thrilled at this new adventure! G-D totally lined it up for us and we're so happy about it! Summer is bringing a lot of fun thoughts about, so that is today's survey topic.

Wanna fill one out too? I'd love to see your responses! 

1. April showers bring May... allergies.    
2. I look forward to going to the beach!! Florida is not too far away from us Georgians and I am more than ready to  make the drive to fun, sun and surf! And by surf I mean sit on the beach and occasionally get in the water.  
3. My best summer memory is the summer of dating/being engaged to Toby. It was the most time I had spent away from home at one stretch and it was where I got to fall even more in love with my amazing man. 
4. One of the songs that sums up summer for me is There is a Mountain by Donovan. I used to listen to it on the way to art shows in Dallas in May and from then on it became my favorite summer song. 

5.  My summer plans include a lot of travel! We're going to Ashville, TN, Grantham, PA, Dothan, AL, and possibly Delaware to visit family. It will be busy but oh so fun!  
6. Some summer movies I'm excited about are The Avengers (which my husband is watching now with his buddies) and Men In Black III (don't judge)! 

7. Summer truly begins with the first dip in the pool, because I'm a wimp and don't get into super cold water. 

Catch ya later!

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