Thursday, April 10, 2014

five places i'd rather be right now

 With spring right around the corner here, warmer weather is on it's way. And it's been making me itch to get outside and just do something. Naturally, I took it to a whole new level and began dreaming about traveling around the world.

1. New Zealand
With scenery like this all over the place and seeing where they filmed Lord of the Rings, how could you not want to explore all the beauty that New Zealand has to offer? This is 100% on my must-visit someday list
2. Disneyworld
If you know me, I make it no secret that I'm dying to go to Disneyworld someday. It's something I've heard that everyone should experience, and surprisingly in my 20 years of life, I haven't! I know that I would act like I'm about 5 years old the entire trip. Dang, I'm so ready to get my own Disney experience in (cough cough Matt).
3. London
I've dreamed about going to London for a long time now. There's more than enough to see and do here and I know I wouldn't be bored for a minute of it. Also, how could you say no to going to the place where you can tour the Harry Potter studio? Exactly.
 4. Palermo, Sicily
This gorgeous place over in Italy is where Matt's mom grew up, and it sure looks like a dream vacation to me. I would love to visit and explore the streets where my future mother-in-law spent her childhood years. Not to mention I'm sure the food and sights are to die for.
5. Big Sur, California
I've heard amazing things about the whole area. Driving the PCH, checking out views like this one, and seeing the beautiful forests in the area sounds like an absolutely perfect trip.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

birthdays, tacos, and attempted bar hopping

The introvert in me sometimes likes to be reminded that nights out with an actual group of people can be really nice, fun, and refreshing. Especially when it involves lots of tacos and attempting to bar hop (okay, not the bar hopping part because there were so many people I wasn't sure if I'd be able to breathe in there). Matt and I went out with a group of friends to celebrate a birthday on Saturday night with good food and drinks – except for the 20 year old over here who got to be the designated driver for the night, of course. I admit I was skeptical with our super long wait time for food and the crowded bars, but it ended up being quite a fun night for all of us. With life, school, and work constantly getting in the way, it's really nice to reconnect and spend time out with people that you care about.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

so much joy

The last few weeks have been, well, busy, and a little lot crazy for me. I've been a terrible mess at blogging, emailing people back, or even just keeping up with basic tasks. A while back, I found myself thinking again and again, I'm just so happy. I knew exactly where that joy came from – God has been blessing my life over and over in all the best ways and I have so much to be thankful for. And then I lost sight of that for a little bit.

Last week, I had to drop my Chemistry class that I was already retaking in order to get the required grade for my program at school. Let me just say, Chemistry isn't my thing. At all. We don't have a very loving relationship, to say the very least. After taking a test that I thought I aced, I felt confident as I checked my grade online to find a 75% there. My heart sank, and I physically and emotionally felt so defeated. Between work, school, and trying to have some leisure time for myself it had all been a little rough on me, and this pushed me to the edge. At that moment, this exact thought passed my mind: Looks like I'm not so happy anymore. Oh, how wrong I was, friends, to even think that when looking at all I truly have. I was at that point where I had to look at myself and just say: Julie, get yourself together. And I'm not afraid to admit that. To admit that life has been crazy over here and there's nothing I could do to control it or stop it. To admit that school is stressful, my days at work are long, I've been PMSing out the wazoo, and it feels like I've been a lazy mess most of the time. All that stuff combined kind of made me feel icky inside. I needed to be refreshed, made new, cleansed – a soul makeover, so to speak.

And during all this worrying, stressing, crying (thanks, PMS) it hit me all at once. There is joy. So much joy. Sometimes it's hard to see and near impossible to find, but it's there. The joy that only God can bring into your heart and the joy that gives you the only true peace you will ever have. Just knowing that God is there, that His mercy is new every single moment and morning, and that I can rest in Him alone is more than enough to rejoice in every single day of my life. There are plenty of times (like, everyday) that I completely forget and lose sight of that fact, and that needs to change. Because no matter what I'm going through, no matter how exhausted I get, no matter how much I don't think I'm cut out to make it, Christ understands. He knows me, He knows my sufferings. And He gives me joy in return. Because He already bore those burdens for me. He bore my sin and suffering to give me pure joy in the form of grace. What a lovely, incomprehensible thought, my friends. How could I not rejoice in that every single moment I possibly can? How could I lose sight of that immense joy when it takes a hold of my heart? 

There is always a way to make it through anything and everything. And remember, there is always going to be joy to be found in Him. You can count on that! So, rejoice today, and every day, in His great love.

Monday, March 31, 2014

giant cookies and nature walks

Do you ever just have that friend where you're pretty sure you're the same person? I've known this sweet, amazing, funny gal since kindergarden – that's like 15 years of friendship, people. WHAT.

We both know that when we hang out it's going to be a combination of baking (and underbaking our giant cookies), stuffing our faces with Mexican or Italian food followed by chocolate, walking her cute pup to try and burn off the amount of food we ate, and plenty of Disney or Harry Potter movies on the side. My favorite thing from the evening had to be reading an old "traveling" journal that we did with a few other people after watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. You can see how that might be a tad embarassing but insanely hilarious at the same time. We're both basically stuck in the mindset of 10 year olds when we're together, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so thankful for time spent with a great friend who understands me too well and is just as crazy weird as I am. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

lovely dovey

I'm a firm believer in date nights. I don't care what we do, where we go, as long as we're together. Sure, we can be pretty boring sometimes when all we do is plop our bottoms down on the couch to marathon House of Cards and eat junk food. But that's not what matters to me. I honestly don't care if we're exciting, boring, or anywhere in between. I just care about love. That tangible love filling up every single date night that we have. And yes, there may be days where we just aren't jiving together, and that's okay. It happens. Sometimes people are just going two different directions in the same day and it feels like nothing syncs up. Anyone else out there feel me on that? But we've learned to know better than to let the bad vibes linger. One of our little cliche rules is to never go to bed angry or upset. I can tell the difference between Matt being stressed, upset, angry, or sad (even if he denies it), and Matt knows that he has to get stubborn me to talk rather than brood on hurt feelings or grumpy moods.

I'm convinced that is one thing that's going to make marriage to this guy so great. We understand each other on that level, we know how the other works, we can usually fix a bad case of the grumps, and we know better than to let the day end while we're still upset. But the best thing we've got going for us in all of this? There's always, always, always love there. No matter what.