October 6, 2015

Change Is Good

Life has the strangest tendency to happen in the moments when you're not looking. You blink, you turn around, you pour a cup of tea...and suddenly, Life with a capital L sweeps onto the scene and shakes your world like a snowstorm in a snow globe.
I love the unpredictability of life. You can plan for a hundred years and the execution of your plans will never go as imagined. You can dream, work hard, shoot for goals...and life can still surprise you with ups and downs, new faces, new phases, and new adventures.
In the past five months I have stood on a strange precipice of life, a period of anticipation, boldness, and unknown journeys. A mixture of knowing where I'm headed and having no idea where I am going. It's a weird realm to live in, let me tell you.
In April/May, I came to the 100% positive conclusion that it was time to move on from my social media job and search for greener pastures. I am so thankful for where that role led me, but I was bored and unchallenged, holding onto my position simply because I wasn't ready to let go. It was my first "big kid" job, and I felt as though I "should" have been content, but I wasn't. I specifically remember the moment when I decided that enough was enough. It was a quiet night in the house, with a cup of green tea beside me, and I wrote down on a piece of scrap paper, "If I stay, I stay because I'm afraid and I'm comfortable. If I leave, I'm scared of not being good enough or getting into something worse than where I'm at. If I stay, I'm unhappy. If I leave, I'm unknown." I remember looking at those scribbled journal words and thinking, "Fear is not going to be the foundation of my life's decisions."
Fast forward to June and I was accepting a new role at a new company and turning in my two weeks. I stepped out of in-house social media and stepped into a digital marketing agency as a content marketing specialist. In the midst of so many changes, I have such joy and such assurance that this was absolutely the right time and the right decision to make. Also, I'm writing and creating content for a living, so that's really awesome.
As these decisions were being made, I was vary aware of the fact that August would bring a round of new  changes, some that felt even bigger than a job transition. After a year of planning, testing, and paperwork...I stepped back into the role of student and began my venture into b-school. It was (is) a brutal transition, as I learn how to balance an intense workload as well as thrive and do well in my new career. While these first few months have been long and exhausting, I know in two years time when I have another little piece of paper to stick on my wall and a few new skills to apply to my career, it will all be worth it.
And so life goes, in quiet calm periods followed by sweeping rushes of newness and unknown. My heart is settled in the peace of knowing I am where I am supposed to be in so many different ways, my head is tired and still doesn't really understand the hypergeometric probability distribution, and my hands are anxious to get to work and do they best job they can possibly do.
It is in the insanity of busyness that I watch life spin around me and I want to laugh and cry all in the same moment. We are just flecks of star dust in the span of the universe, but these moments, the quiet ones and the crazy ones, are everything. Our terminal bodies are meant for so much more than a short-sighted future. We are kingdom builders, world shakers, lovers of humans and all their messiness, their potential, their heartaches and heart joys. As life spins faster and faster, I am reminded over and over again that these steps I walk are for a purpose. These friends I make are so much more than temporary. This world we live in is not our home.
My words on this blog might come fewer and farther between in the upcoming months. I won't apologize, because I always feel sorry for the bloggers who think they need to apologize when they are absent. This space of internet has been my home away from home for almost 5 years now, sometimes I visit it daily and sometimes it stays absent for weeks on end. Life is happening in the moments we step away from the screen. I love the readers sitting behind their screens right now (hi mom), and I know your lives are filled with adventures and big moments and small moments and a hundred other wonderful and sometimes messy things to steal your attention away. So thank you, for allowing my words to be a part of your moments, and thank you for your graciousness in knowing that when I write, I write with heartfelt sincerity...and I refuse to force that process along in lieu of quality content.
Life is happening in the blinks of an eye, in fast forward motion and slowed down to the speed of a first dance. I have blinked and my world has shifted, the snow globe has been shaken and the landscape appears so differently than it did just a few short months ago. It is new, strange, beautiful, and frightening...but after all, this is Life with a capital L...and I expect nothing but the unexpected from it. Thank you for being a part of my story.

June 28, 2015

3 Lessons Learned from a Capsule Wardrobe

Simplicity is the ultimate goal in so many areas of my life. Finances, food, possessions... my organized heart skips a beat when everything is clean and simple. With this thought in mind, the idea of a capsule wardrobe captured my attention from the beginning. I stumbled across the blog Unfancy and determined myself to begin a journey of minimalism.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is simple. Limit the number of pieces you own, plan them well, make sure they're fairly complementary, and don't buy anything else. At this point in my journey of simplicity, I have deleted a lot of excess from my life and I haven't replaced much. After a few months of no shopping and much cleaning, I now know the pieces I need to purchase to complete my closet.  Part of minimalism, as it refers to a capsule wardrobe, is owning fewer pieces of higher quality. Defining your style and sticking with it to avoid impulse shopping and causalities of a "good deal".

While I am nowhere near the end of this process, I am far enough along into my journey to want to share three of the biggest takeaways this process of simplification has brought to me. And maybe somehow, if you're looking for a way to bring simplicity to your life, this idea will strike a cord and resonate with your heart and you too will begin to take a good hard look at what you own, what you need, and what really makes you happy.

1. An emptier closet is easier to navigate.

   Less clothing means less clutter. Less clothing means fewer distractions. Less clothing means more of what you love and more room to find what you need. When the only pieces in your closet are pieces you love, finding something to wear is a happier experience.

2. Creativity thrives in a minimalistic atmosphere.

    If you want to really figure out how to become creative with your clothing, take away everything you don't like and just work with what you have. Suddenly, you find new combinations to wear and new ways to style your tried-and-true favorites. Like so many other areas of life, when you take away all the clutter, you can think clearer.

3. You need so much less then what you think you need.

Raising my hand in shame, openly admitting that I am guilty. Guilty of thinking that I need to stay on top of the latest trends. Guilty of thinking that I think I "need" something new. Guilty of feeling dissatisfied with material possessions. My journey into a minimalistic closest has begun to erase these ideas and replace them with the slap over the head knowledge that I need so very little to be content. My worth isn't in the latest trends, the clothes I wear, or the brands on the label on my back.

___

My step into the conscience process of "less" is becoming a beautiful journey into "more". More time to drink a cup of tea in the mornings. More energy to put into making breakfast or sweeping the kitchen floor. More confidence in how I carry myself on a daily basis. More room to grow and evolve in so many other areas of life. If I had known that donating three-quarters of the shirts off my back would feel so liberating, I think I would have done it a long time ago. 

June 19, 2015

Two Years One Month


Two years and one month of late night giggles, dodging lipstick kisses, and eating ice cream while watching airplanes pull weary passengers home.

We're airplane watchers. Since those timid first dates a few years back, we have escaped to the airport to watch airplanes when we have needed to hash out life and all its glorious struggle. We watch the west bound planes take off and we dream about where they're going. We watch the eastbound planes take off and I reminisce about a coastal life I haven't lived in 4 years. We watch planes come in for landing and wonder if this beautiful, windy state will ever feel like home to us. We dream, we laugh, we cry...we live. 




Two years and one month of heated arguments and humble apologies. Two years and one month of wedding vows being acted out every day, every minute, every moment. Two years and one month of growth, travel, accomplishments, decisions, and love. 

I used to think that I wanted to be alone for life. I wanted to fly solo, see the world without any baggage, and never settle down. I used to think that falling in love was a path for other people to take and that no one could match my restless ambitions. I used to think that running away from love kept me young and wild, free from commitment and free to live out all my dreams. 

And then at the worst possible timing, in the blink of an eye, my world shifted. Suddenly I was learning and growing and being challenged by a man who loves the coast almost as much as me. A man who embraces imperfection but still strives for the best possible outcome he can reach. A man who embodies steadfast love, forgiveness, and second chances. 


My world-weary old soul met a man who can only ever be described as young at heart. And in just a few blinks of an eye I knew that I didn't have to run anymore. 

Oh how glorious it is to have been wrong about so many things.

We watch airplanes and wonder what contrails we'll leave through the sky. We wonder what dust our shoes will carry and what countries will become engraved on our hearts. We wonder who we will become after twenty more years of questions, refining moments, and unknown adventures. We wonder who we are in this fantastically weird moment of life called the "right now".

Two years and one month of pure joy, Dr. Pepper shaming and shameless Dr. Pepper drinking, furniture painting, windows down singing, mismatched joking... and we are still watching airplanes and always counting the blessing of knowing that we don't know what comes next.

Cheers to two years and one month, my love.

  










April 27, 2015

Twenty-Somethings


We are the twenty-somethings of a new generation. 

The post-grads who don't know what to do with their lives. The generation that wants something better but battles with student debt. The kids who put on their Sunday best and pretend it's business casual. 

We are the twenty-somethings of a connected world. 

Privileged enough to travel just enough to never be satisfied. Bound by home and struggling with the desire to make a difference. Discouraged by logistics but still willing to pursue dreams.


We are the twenty-somethings of the western world.

We work Monday-Friday 8-5 and go home at night wondering if this is what the next 45 years will be like. We go home at night and hope that we're loving people enough, working hard enough, being enough. We go home at night and hope we have another 45 years, because cancer has touched us all and we're old enough to know that life is short.


We are the twenty-somethings who are uncomfortable with average, raised to believe that we're something special and we can do big things. We are the twenty-somethings who don't want to be selfish, but we still want to be somebody. We're the Millennials, the Generation Y'ers, the haters of all labels. 

We are the twenty-somethings of a broken world. 

Our eyes are connected to the misfortunes of others, ears listening to the cries of the hungry, and hearts torn by the images we see on our screens. We are learning how to embrace being uncomfortable in this life because maybe this discomfort will push us in the right direction.

We don a faux-confidence and pretend to know where we're going. When asked, "What do you want to do with your life?", we give answers... all the while we toss and turn at night and ask ourselves the same question, settling into a heavy knowledge that we really don't know.


We are the twenty-somethings of a new world. 

We can listen to more new music in a day than our parents listened to in the decade of their twenty-something navigations. Our own neighborhoods are now a patchwork of ethnicities, sexualities, and languages...a sign of old barriers being broken down and a new type of community being formed.  

We are the twenty-somethings standing on the edge of a precipice and we are so tempted to jump


Jump into a bigger story. 
Jump into a world where we can love with abandon. 
Jump into new stories, new cultures, new ideas. 
Jump into the lives of people with whom we have nothing in common.
Jump into the pictures we would have never taken before. 

And we are standing still, watching everything spin around us in forward motion, unsure of our footing. 


We are the twenty-somethings. 

The dreamers, the artists, the mathematicians. The kids who feel so disconnected from what we want to do because we see the world, we see all of its aches and pains and discomforts, we see it all from our iPhone screens...and we've reached a point where giving $20 to a Go Fund Me account or taking a 2 week trip to Africa just isn't enough. 

We want to pour our lives into meaning, into loving, into aching for the hungry...but instead, we sip our lattes and brainstorm ideas on how to actually make a difference.


We are the twenty-somethings bound to debts that must be repaid. We are the adults budding from the cocoons of childhood, ten steps behind our older peers and trying to find the air to breath. We want to be better, work harder, love deeper...but the world keeps whispering, "Be selfish." And somewhere is the gray area between what we want to do, what we have to do, and what the world expects us to do...we have to decide where we stand. 

We are the twenty-somethings in a new world, a changing world, an uncomfortable world...and our eyes are wide open to the challenges that lie ahead...but we want to jump. 


We want to be the kind hearts that keep being kind when it isn't easy.
We want to be the successful kids who aren't enslaved to financial bondage. 
We want to be the adventurers who explore foreign countries. 
We want to be the lovers who drink deeply of life and embrace simple joys. 
We want to be the leaders, willing to risk it all for our fellow humans.
We want to be the fathers who stick around.
We want to be the mothers who follow our dreams.
We want to be the kids who make our parents proud.
We want to look at this world and know that we will leave it better than we found it. 

We are the twenty-somethings. 



April 6, 2015

Good Friday - Our Broken Hallelujah




On the night our Lord was betrayed
Betrayed by us, you and me
For all the hurt we feel and pin on Him.

Betrayed.

For letting us down
For not saving us in our time
For not being who we thought He was supposed to be. 

On the night our Lord was betrayed
For lust, for money, for fear
For harbored bitterness and anger

Betrayed.

For not healing all the wounds
And curing all the sicknesses
The way we thought they should be healed

On the night we shoved all of our anger, our disappointment, our failure
Across his body
And our hearts were hardened to his love

Betrayed.


For being the Healer, the Redeemer 
The son of the Most High 
The Savior we never know how much we need 

On the night sin thought it won 
As it mocked the cross 
And heaven weeped 

Betrayed.

For being willing to die to save us 
For having a heart that loved the unlovable
For humbling himself from the throne of heaven 

 - 

On the night our Lord was betrayed 
We sing our broken hallelujah 
And remember the cross 






March 19, 2015

Lent - Static and Change


The journey of faith reminds me of an old radio. There are periods of silence, a quiet stillness, and a deafening lack of noise. Are you there, God? Can you hear me? Is this thing on?

Then there is the static. Turn the station, wrong channel, white noise static. Where are you God? Why am I here? Can you hear me?

Then at last,  just like the channel that finally clicks into place, there is the music. Soothing, calm, clear. Perfect harmony. Perfect faith. The mountaintops of our Christian walks and the melodies we try to remember when all we hear is static. This is beautiful, God. I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.


I live in the static more than anything else. The noise, the clutter, the constant knowledge that I’m not there yet. A frustrating place of trying to find the perfect channel, trying to hear God clearly, and knowing that I’m botching up the whole process again and again…and again.

When my pastor approached me and asked if I would write a few posts for the season of Lent, I was thrilled. Followed shortly by the massive knowledge that I don’t know what to say. Living in the static is a hard place to hear God. Living in the static is a hard place to want to worship, want to sacrifice, want to say something worthwhile.

For those who know me well, I am a closet poetry junkie. I devour old English like it’s my lifeblood. With that being said, John Donne is one of my literary heroes. He wrote a poem called “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward”, which, if you’ll indulge me, ends with these words: 

Oh Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
I turne my back to Thee, but to receive
Corrections, till Thy mercies bid thee leave
O thinke me worth Thine anger; punish mee,
Burne off my rusts and my deformity,
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou may’st know me, and I’ll turn my face    

Over 400 years ago a man wrote words that resonate with my heart and with my faith to this very day. I pray and cry for change, “I’ll take the pain, God, if only to look more like you.” I long for the old me to be so burned away that only the image of Jesus reflects off my face. There are periods of my faith, in the static, when I feel the rust burning and instead of feeling a euphoric sense of relief… it is so painful. I cry out, “God, where are you? This hurts! This is terrible. Maybe I don’t want this after all.”



This is my static. This is my Lent. This is why the words come rough and my heart aches as I type away on this keyboard. Because how do I have something to say when I don’t want to hear what Jesus is saying to me? How can I teach when I don’t want to learn? How can I grow when I refuse to change the radio station?

Static.

Is change possible when we live in the static? Through the lens of marriage, I see where I need to change to better my relationship with my husband. Through the lens of faith, I see just how desperately I need to change to better glorify God.

But God, it’s hard.

My entire life has been a culmination of events, set patterns, habits, and moments that have created the person I am today. The triggers, the pet peeves, the less-than-Instagram worthy fits of frustration. How do I push those aside? How do I become the best version of me when I am so comfortable in this skin I wear. How do I change, when I can’t even commit to 40 days without sugar?

If Lent is a short-term change, one I struggle with; do I really believe that God can change me for the long-term?

Even more convicting: do I really believe that God can change other people for the long-term? The abuser. The addict. The gossip. The bully. The people I hold at a distance because it hurts too much to let them too close. I give God a lot of credit, He can do great things, but when it comes to people…I’ll take a moment to be real and say, “Ehhh, the track record isn’t the best.” Because people fail. They choose not to be changed. They reject the promises of God and choose harder roads. And we blame God when people fail. Doubt creeps into the picture when humanity stumbles and with all honesty, we question, “Can God really redeem a picture like this?”


_

Sometimes, in writing, I dig holes I don’t know how to get out of. For three days now I have come back to this question over and over again. Can God really redeem a picture like this? My heart says yes, but I have no words to sooth over the message. I have no idea how or why. I want to say no.

Static.

Can God really redeem a picture like this?

The sin, the depravity of mankind, the crime, the heartache, the violence. We live in a world of social unjustness, racism, sexism, impurity, and utter darkness. Why would anyone want to save a picture like this?

In the static, I cry out over and over again, “Change this channel, God. Let us hear You better.”

Through the static, it is clear to anyone who listens: God has created the music if only we have the ears to hear. He renews the tired hearts. He comforts those who mourn. He transforms humanity by the renewing of their minds. God redeems, over and over again, He redeems.

We all know that one person who has changed dramatically. The bully who now asks for forgiveness. The substance abuser who now leads groups in recovery. That one person who broke your heart time and time again...but now they’re trying to heal it. The before and after’s we often get to witness are enough for me to say, “God can redeem.” It is painful, it can take a long time, but it is not impossible. I have seen the goodness of the Lord, and it is incomprehensible.

I used to think that I could never understand why people don’t change. Why the abuser keeps abusing. Why the addict never stops. Why mankind doesn’t get their act together. Why God doesn’t fix it right here, right now. But then I think of myself, and the painfully slow process of transformation. We have been offered redemption, but we have to choose it. This journey is not a one-sided process on the behalf of God. He requires us to die to our old selves to live in Christ. Change is possible, but it is a daily commitment.

The static cuts in and out. This journey is stuttered, fragmented, and frustrating. This growth is painful. I don’t want to be more patient, forgiving, or more understanding.  But the music is playing, just one station over. A few notes cut through the chaos of the static, “Be kind. Forgive. Be understanding.”

So I try, and for a minute, I hear music.

The static may begin again, but for a brief moment in time, the music of Heaven cut through and my heart changed. Soon, the moments will stack on top of each other one by one. Until one day, I will wake up to a new station, a new test of faith, and new static. Even then, when I will have come so far from who I am now, I know that softly, gently, the process will continue, “Change.” 

We worship a God who does not change. We worship a God who transforms his people and equips us to become who we were created to be.


It is safe to be faithful to a faithful God. It is safe to change.

February 24, 2015

Lent – A Season of Revealing


The mirror shines, freshly cleaned, Windex sitting on the nearby counter. Polished to a perfect gleam, I see me.

Sleepy eyed, messy morning hair, not-yet brushed teeth. Glancing quickly back to the sink, I pull out the toothpaste, the comb, the makeup. Without a second glance at that messy reflection, I primp and prod until the reflection reveals a more suitable image. The dark under-eye bags, the blemishes, the frizzy hair…they all disappear.

Day after day, morning after morning, the mirror reveals an image only to me...and I change and tweak what I want the world to see before I take a single step out the door. 

Welcome to Lent.

Lent is a strange season. We approach Ash Wednesday with somber hearts, motivated to perform and anxious for God to reveal Himself in some new way. Often, when our resolve is true, we are amazed and rejuvenated 40 days later. Even more frequently, we struggle to maintain a sense of depth only days after the ashen cross is rubbed across our foreheads. How easily we forget to be somber when distractions flicker across our lives. How quickly we push aside this strange season of reflection, because in all honesty: Lent gets uncomfortable. So shortly after we’ve all made our New Year’s Resolutions, suddenly the Christian calendar throws us for another loop. “Give something up.” “Give something back.” “Find God.” Do this, do that, be better, grow spiritually.

In the hard moments of life, in the periods of spiritual drought, when prayer is hard and knowing God is harder, finding Him in Lent feels impossible. Does the church not know we’re tired? We’re busy? We want God but…how? How do we embrace this season of vulnerability when we’re still pretending we have it all together? How do we surrender control, let God work in our lives, and approach Easter refreshed and humbled, when we hide behind the façade we slather on every morning? How can we be changed if we won’t be revealed?

Gently, quietly, we are called to come before the cross and let go of all the masks we hold over our faces. Let go of the idea that we need to hold it all together. Let go of the show we put on every morning. Let go of the secrets we hold close to our hearts. The season of Lent is a season where God seems to reach out to us and whisper, “Let’s get real.”  

We’re on-stage and the show is running, we’re at work with deadlines and co-workers; we’re in church with burdens on our backs and smiles on our faces… and we need to stop pretending, be vulnerable, and be honest. Trying to fast in the season of Lent while still wearing a mask is nearly impossible. As we prepare for Easter, mourning the death of Christ and celebrating His resurrection, we need to open our hearts to His word and His redemption. Here, in this moment, He asks us to let everything else go and let Him be our Savior.

You see, God sees us: just as we are in this very moment. He has seen the darkness that resides in humanity and He has called us his beloved. He knows the hidden sins, the hearts that hurt, the choices that destroy, and He still chooses to reach out to us in love and faithfulness. When our hearts choose lesser gods, His heart breaks. When we say no, He says, “I love you.” When we turn our backs, He waits patiently. When we hide behind our masks, He gently pulls them away and says, “You are chosen.”  

As we embrace Lent, we remember that Jesus sees through the show. He sees beneath the masks we wear, the sins, the secrets…He sees us in all of our dirt and depravity and He invites us to join Him regardless. No matter how hard we try to cover up our mistakes, our shortcomings, and our regrets, He loves us beyond measure. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we choose to reveal to the outside world, He sees us. When we embrace this raw honesty, this terrifying vulnerability, we invite Him to work amid the brokenness and reveal a picture cleaner than we could ever have imagined. 

Lent is a season of revealing. The One who loves us most is gently asking us to get real and let Him work in our brokenness. As we journey through Lent, this remarkable and often difficult journey, let us approach each day with a renewed sense of honesty. Only when we approach the cross with humility and raw vulnerability do we truly begin to see just how magnificent God’s grace is in our lives.

The mirror shines, freshly cleaned, Windex sitting on the nearby counter. Polished to a perfect gleam, I see us. The church.

Christ-followers, lovers of Jesus, the people of God. We have been challenged; we are standing before the mirror of Lent and taking this season one day at a time. As the mirror glistens, daily, we must ask ourselves… will we allow God to be revealed in the midst of our brokenness?


Welcome to Lent.    

February 17, 2015

Ft. Myers Beach, Florida



Life is wonderful. Travel is glorious. And spontaneity is a necessity to avoid insanity. 

At least, that's my philosophy on any given day. I recently ran across a dirt cheap deal to buy airline tickets to Ft. Myers Beach, Florida...and in a split-second decision...I was sold. This last-minute weekend getaway was much needed, magical, and the perfect escape from gloomy January days.

(For reference, Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island are very close to each other. Our weekend was spent hopping between the two of them.)

As a kid my family vacationed to Sanibel Island semi-frequently. I knew the sea-shell filled beaches and I have fond memories of the Rainforest Café…pre-hurricane Charley.  Post-hurricane Charley, Sanibel Island remained unknown in my life, although I planned this trip with the confidence that Florida had recovered in the 10+ years since Charley has hit. With blurry memories of Sanibel Island and no memories whatsoever of Ft. Myers Beach, we packed our bags and set sail for a bargain weekend and some exploration. Florida has indeed recovered, quite well.

Without further ado, here is my humble guide to some of our favorite things to do, see, and eat if you find yourself buying a cheap ticket to Ft. Myers Beach/Sanibel Island any time soon.


1.    Do: Play Mini Golf

It’s no surprise that this area is fairly touristy. I lived in Florida once upon a time and I know Florida well, so just this once, I was okay feeling just slightly like a tourist (excuse me as I go hide my face in shame.) Which leads me to this observation, tourists play mini-golf on vacation. Go be a tourist. Visit Jungle Golf and try to find all of the hidden items or get a hole in one and win a free round. For the golf-lovers (cough – Blake – cough) and the happy-go-lucky put-putters (me), this is the way to spend the evenings. We might have played mini-golf every night we were there.  We might have won a free round. The tourist in me will never tell.

2.    Eat: Z Crepes Café


How highly can I sing their praises? Drive through the business district of Ft. Myers to the Butterfly Estates (a big name for a small section of local shops) and feast upon this glorious food. We ordered cheese puffs as an appetizer, followed by the signature homemade puree of French onion crème soup, then our entrees of a ham & cheese crepe omelet (Blake) and savory shrimp served with rosemary cream sauce (yours truly). Goodness gracious my mouth is watering just thinking about this meal. We would have ordered dessert if our stomachs had allowed. Also, the service was phenomenal. During our visit there was an undisclosed accident in the kitchen, and we were told that our food would take longer then normal. Our waiter brought out the soups on the house and offered to buy us drinks as well. We declined the drinks and gobbled down the soup. The wait was not that long at all, so we did not feel inconvenienced. To top it off, when the check came our server only charged us for the appetizer and one entrée, claiming, “We want you to remember us fondly.” Oh my, Z Crepes Café, you will always be in our fondest memories.





Note: Plan this excursion on the same day as Z Crepes Café, they are minutes apart from each other. 

For the history lovers in the group, or the house lovers, or the invention lovers, or anyone else who likes to soak in the local story…this is a must. We loved touring the Ford and Edison grounds, which are beautifully kept and preserved. From Edison’s workshop to the humorous guesthouse rules, this was $20 per/person well spent.


4.    Do: Rent Bikes        


When visiting Sanibel Island, renting bikes is a must. Billy’s Bike Shop has good reviews, but after a brunch at the Over Easy Café, we were closer to Finnimore’s Cycle Shop. Finnimore’s did seem a little bit more sketchy (shall we say), but the bikes worked and the pricing was great, so no complaints. We rented two 6-speed bikes for 4 hours at $22 dollars total. The prices decrease the longer you have the bikes. Our path took us up to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Reserve (normally $1 for cyclists, free on MLK Day). This was a lovely scenic ride, complete with one roadside alligator chilling in the swamp. We kept pedaling. It’s worth mentioning, but a short ride further up the road will take you to Captiva Island, where we stopped and spent the afternoon on the white beaches.


5.    Eat: The Royal Scoop, Cheeburger Cheeburger, and the Over Easy Café.

Like I previously mentioned, we like to dine local. While we ate some fancy dinners and gorged ourselves in seafood, nothing quite compared to these local joints. The Royal Scoop’s ice cream is heavenly and Cheeburger Cheeburger has outtathisworld burgers and shakes. Lastly, the Over Easy Café is busy, we waited 30 minutes, but the orange breakfast rolls are heavenly. So is the orange juice. And the pancakes. And the breakfast skillets. And…I think it’s time to book another flight…


Straight off the plane and right into Cheeburger heaven.
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Our trip was too fast, sunny, and wonderful. We are coastal hearts and saltwater lovers, so this reprieve from our land-locked home was much needed. After living in Belize last year, we have struggled to find contentment in a place far from the crystal Caribbean waters and warm trade winds. While it is good to be where we are, and we feel strongly like we are where we need to be for the moment, vacations help clear the mind and refresh the spirit.

Oh, and I am a little embarrassed to mention this, but we may have driven 3 hours to Orlando just to walk around the Disney boardwalk, get ice cream from Beaches and Cream, and watch the Epcot fireworks from the bridge. When I was a cast member, this was one of my favorite things to do…so Blake spoke my love language when he suggested this mini-adventure. Be still my (Disney-loving) heart. 

If you get a chance, like a cheap plane ticket and an extra day off work, I highly recommend running away for a weekend. Now tell me, what are you favorite getaway spots?


We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came. – John F. Kennedy