Weekends & Windscreens: Charlotte North Carolina

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What do you do when you only have about six hours in Charlotte, North Carolina? Let me tell you!

We left Asheville early and drove the two hours to Charlotte for our day of adventure. We had to make the most of our time so we decided to go for brunch, coffee, and IKEA (and maybe more coffee). Starting off on the west side of the city, Not Just Coffee in the Atherton Mill was our first stop. The space is an old factory turned into businesses and different stores. The coffee shop is full of natural lights, plants, and so, so beautiful. We sipped lattes under an old skylight while plotting are strategy for the rest of the day.

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The next destination, Little Spoon was our choice for an amazing alfresco brunch. We enjoyed donut holes that were the perfect balance of softness and crispiness, breakfast sandwiches with thick bacon and delicious cheese, and fluffy mini biscuits with delicious gravy. The food was all excellent and beyond even what I expected from it’s reviews. If you go, try the donuts. Well worth it.

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IKEA was up next. Who doesn’t love a good trip to IKEA? We strolled the show rooms and picked up a few fun trinkets along the way. I even scored some baskets I’ve been wanting for an amazing price. Eliza ended up with an adorable plate, Danny found a tiny terrarrium, and Rachel got an amazing wicker light for her bedroom.

We finished up the trip with a quick stop at Smelly Catt Coffee where we grabbed some drinks for the road. I even got a pound of coffee that I am currently really enjoying for my morning coffee. I love buying coffee from local roasters on my trips!

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Taking a trip to Charlotte soon? Would love to hear about your adventure!

Want a good book on Charlotte with some more info? Click here !

 

 

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35 Books

It’s that time of year again. As my birthday rolls to a close here is my list of books that I read over the past year. I don’t know if it was harder that 34. I paced myself a bit better and only crammed in three books this week. Last year it was 7 I think. So hopefully that means I am improving and also that I am reading more and wasting less time…? One can only hope. I have already started War and Peace and Ulysses for next year…We’ll see if they even make it on the list of 36. Big ambitions! Anyway here’s this year’s list. Any suggestions for next year?

  1. Till We have Faces by C. S. Lewis
  2. The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  3. Shaken by Tim Tebow
  4. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  5. The Horse & His Boy by C. S. Lewis
  6. Alice by Christina Henry
  7. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
  8. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
  9. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  10. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  11. Hope Heals by Jay & Katherine Wolfe
  12. The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman
  13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  14. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
  15. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
  16. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
  17. The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  18. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier
  19. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  20. The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn
  21. The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
  22. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  23. The Year of Living Danishly by Hellen Russell
  24. This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
  25. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  26. Son by Lois Lowry
  27. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  28. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  29. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  30. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  31. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  32. Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
  33. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  34. Emma by Jane Austen
  35. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

If you want to see a mostly complete list for the past few years (beginning around 2014, click here)

eclipse

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This week was the total solar eclipse. We were very near the line of totality, so we drove down south a bit to watch at a camp near Travelers Rest. (Yes, that is the name of the town.) It was such a cool experience. There was a wide open grassy space on top of a hill so we climbed to the top to wait for the sun and moon to get into position. We hung hammocks around the edge of the woods, laid out picnic blankets, and set up so many cameras and tripods. We had arrived early because we were afraid we would get stuck in traffic, so we spent the day lounging in our hammocks, reading, eating, and just hanging out. When it finally started, we moved to the middle of the open space to watch the slow transformation. To see the moon cover the sun and change the day to night for a few seconds. We had a view over the mountains and it went from sunny blue skies, to orange and purple sunset, to dusky dark and then back to bright blue again. When it was dark all the crickets started chirping in the woods and it felt like a hot summer night. Then the sun began to slowly peak out again and within a few minutes, we had sunny skies again. Amazing.

Did you get to see it??

I also sprained my foot this week. I fell down the steep hill in my backyard while I was mowing the lawn. When I got out of urgent care, I sat in my car and cried. I feel like in four years I have made so much progress. If you didn’t know me, you probably wouldn’t even notice that I had a messed up leg. It was strong and toned and I worked hard to get it that way. I bought a house. I mow my own lawn. (well not anymore!) It doesn’t hurt a LOT. Just hurts enough. But since the feeling in that foot isn’t normal, I guess I don’t know how much it really hurts and maybe its worse that what I can feel. The blessing (?) of not having properly working nerves. But guys this is hard. I feel like I’ve gone completely back to the beginning. Which I know isn’t true, but it seems like it was then. The orthopedic originally said he thought it was something else and would require immediate surgery, but he decided to take more x-rays to make sure. I sat on the bed in the x-ray room trying not to cry because I don’t know if I can handle surgery. I know I can. I’m just not ready for it. It was so many emotions. I was so scared.

As I sat in my car crying, I looked down at my booted foot and next to it, my left gas pedal. Which I haven’t used in…I don’t know two and a half years, but I had to put it back in to get myself to urgent care. So there it was. My left foot pedal. The only way I can drive when my idiot leg decides to be blown up in a bomb and then four years later to break while mowing the DANGEROUS lawn.

But you know what? I know how to drive with my left foot. And my car is equipped for that. And you know what else? I am so good at crutches. And I know how to get myself in and out of a boot in record time. I am Boston Strong and I know how to do all these things. And this time is not even near as bad as the last time. (hopefully) And yeah I’ll be out of work for a while probably. And I’ll have to sit around a lot. But I have a lot of reading and writing to do. So I guess I can catch up. And I think it’s time for my Starbucks career to wind down, so this might be a good time of searching and seeing what God has for me next.

I told my sister this was really bad timing because I have a lot of things coming up that I have to prepare for. And she asked me when would be a good time for me to break my foot? I guess never. There’s never a good time for bad things to happen. It’s a setback. It’s frustrating. But here’s to hoping that my pain and fear doesn’t eclipse what this time could mean for me.

“Eclipses of a spiritual nature help us see things differently too. When the life we thought we’d have is blotted out by something bigger and we find ourselves in the dark, we have a choice. We can either huddle in disillusionment, fear, and isolation, or we can smile in wide-eyed wonder, opening our hearts and hands and selves to each other and to something other. What feels like a totality of darkness can actually be a totality of grace if we have eyes to see it that way or if we at least have the right kind of glasses.”
Katherine Wolfe

a hero?

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I am writing my book proposal. I know. I always say that. But this time for real. It’s been written. And re written. And re written again. So yeah, I’m re writing it. I’m sure not for the last time. Something I just read said that your book proposal should present your topic, describe an urgent gap in the topic and then introduce the author as the hero who will be able to fill that gap. I feel ultimately deflated and not able to be that hero. Obviously I don’t think of myself as any expert on any subject, let alone the subject of suffering. But I have to write this proposal suggesting myself as the hero who can fill a gap in this subject area?

My book is the heroic document that will solve the worlds suffering problem and bring healing to the masses.

Yeah right.

Surely that is not what is expected of me.

The real reason I started writing was selfishly only for myself. For my healing. I think it was very profitable. I explored my story. My feelings. I wrote them down and I was able to look at all the events and explore them all to see how those things were affecting my life. This four-year journey has been weird. And has had lots of ups and downs. I know that I have learned a lot of things. Most of them I still can’t even put into words. But I don’t think I am the hero.

I don’t know how to sell myself or sell my book to a publisher as someone who is filling a gap. Let alone the only one who is able to fill that gap. I know that there are gaps. I know that there are people suffering. Who feel like they are alone. And I think that is my main objective. To just put it out there and say hey I went through this, and I went through suffering and its maybe not the same as yours, but I felt it and I know kinda what you are feeling and there are lots of other people feeling it too and you aren’t alone! You are not alone!

But is that heroic?

I went to get special orthotics the other day. Like an old person. I know. LAME. The man fitting me for the orthotics was a double amputee. He lost his legs in a car accident. He asked for my story to get a better idea of what was going on with my foot and as I shared with him he was amazed. He walked me around the place introducing me to other workers exclaiming loudly that I was in a bomb and that I was a hero. I don’t know how being in a bomb makes me a hero. It’s not like I did it intentionally. Or saved anyone else’s life. I was in a bomb and I lived. But to me that isn’t heroic. It’s just stupid. Wrong place, wrong time. I survived. Which is good I guess. But where do heroics come into that?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about that. How he kept telling me I was a hero. And I talk to my boss, a retired marine, who was in bombs but in defending and protecting our country. And I think he is a hero. But not me. He put himself in harm’s way to protect us. That is heroic.

A hero is defined as: “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character;
a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal; or the principal character in a story, play, film, etc. (dictionary.com) I certainly don’t feel like I had any courageous acts or nobility. But I would love to be distinguished as a role model and in the story of my life, that I am writing, I am the principal character.

So in this day, in this weird space, I am trying to figure out if I am a hero. And how to best present myself in that light even thought I don’t believe it about myself. Because I want this publisher to see me that way. I want him to be desperate to publish my book. But am I asking him to believe something about me that I don’t believe about myself. And do I need to believe it in order for it to indeed be true or is it a “fake it till you make it” situation? Am I the only one who can fill this gap? Am I the only one who can talk about suffering and how to get through it and how to learn from it and how to put God in the middle of it as the only means of actually making sense of it? No. Other people can do that. But I am the only one who can tell this story. And so, I am going to be this hero. And I am going back to writing my proposal. To convince the publisher that I am the hero worth having.

art shows

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Guys, I’ve been busy. I know. Lame excuse for a blogger. I should keep up with it better and I have been SLACKING! I know! I’m so sorry! But I have exciting news!

I have been weaving A LOT. And I recently entered two art shows, one here in Asheville, and one back in Rochester, NY. And I got into both of them! I am beyond excited, but also totally stressed because that not only means I have to have enough product for two shows, I also have to design a booth, and business cards, and probably a web site, and… so much more stuff!

So this is what I have been working on! I have been weaving like crazy. A friend at church gave me bags of yarn she didn’t need so I now have an amazing stash. And I am starting to plan a booth for a craft fair! I don’t even know what that entails, so I’m starting with research and planning and when I get back from Japan, (yes I’m going to Japan), I will start constructing a booth. Everything has to fit in my car because I’ll be driving up to NY for the show.

If you have any tips for building a booth for a craft fair let me know!

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If you want to visit either of my shows, here’s the info.

East West Pop Up March 23-25 278 Haywood Road Asheville North Carolina

Mayday Underground April 29, 10-5pm Village Gate Mall Rochester New York

I’ve applied for a few more shows, so I’ll keep you informed if I go to any other ones! If there are any in your town that you think I should be a part of let me know!

Hope everyone is doing well!

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2017

…and its another year.

Did you make new years resolutions?

I wasn’t going to. But then I thought I would just make two goals for my year. Is that the same as a resolution? I don’t know. My goals for 2017 are to take better care of myself. This is very broad. It encompasses physical, spiritual, and emotional things. Things like exercise. Eat better. Sleep more consistently. Don’t let people take advantage of me. Do things for myself. Ge more involved at church. Don’t say yes to everyone and everything. Etc. And the other goal is to finish my book. There are lots of smaller goals within these goals, but I didn’t want to make a huge list of things that I would think about until about January 11th and then totally forget about until December and then be disappointed with myself that I can’t follow through with anything. So I still have my goal to read 35 books for my 35th year. Slow going in that area. I think I’ve read maybe 9 since September? I need to get a move on! And then my two goals for 2017.

Keeping it simple folks!

How about you? I want to hear what resolutions you made. Or didn’t make. I hope you all had a great Christmas/New Years! I’m enjoying the warm “winter” weather down here!

the wound is where the light shines through

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Advent Day 9

“When you are brave, you give yourself the gift of facing and touching the torn places. The places where we’re torn to pieces can be thin places where we touch the peace of God…
What was intended to tear you apart, God intends it to set you apart.”
Ann Voskamp

“A prison cell, in which on waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When have you seen God take what was torn and turn it into a gift? I’d love to hear your thought

*All quotations and questions taken from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

 

 

Love came down

Advent Day 8

“Sometimes you’re just the most tired of trying to be strong…When you are wrung out, that is the sign you’ve been reaching for rungs. The work at the very heart of salvations is the work of the very heart of Christmas: simply rest…
The wonder of all this – God looks at you at your lowest and loves you all the way up to the sky.”
Ann Voskamp

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas,
When it’s mighty Founder was a child himself.”
Charles Dickens

How would your perspective on the dailyness of life change if you could see that here is holy?

*all quotations and questions taken from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

“to provide” means “to see”

Advent Day 7

“You don’t need to climb mountains named I Will Perform.
You don’t need to climb mountains named I will Produce.
Every mountain that every Christian ever faces, the Lord levels with sufficient grace:
The Lord Will Provide.”
Ann Voskamp

“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burn offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place [Yahweh-Yireh] The Lord Will Provide. 
Genesis 22:13-14

Name the ways God has provided grace for the gaps in your life.

*all quotations and questions taken from The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp