5 years


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It’s been 5 years. Can you believe that? It’s so crazy! Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a dream that never happened. I think this week it’s been feeling close because I had to have a small surgery on the toe on my bad leg and have been driving my car with my amazing left foot gas pedal. Brings back so many memories. Remember when I was trying to learn to drive with my left foot and I thought I would surely kill someone? Now it’s second nature and I don’t even have to think about it.

Five years is a long time. But it is also not that long.  A lot of things have changed. I moved away from NY. I bought a house last year! I have (almost) 3 nieces and 1 nephew since the bombing. My parents have also moved to live near my sister and I. I’ve travelled to so many places since the bombing. I’ve grown in so many ways. I think I still have a long ways to go. A lot to learn. But who doesn’t?

I thought I’d share some clips from 2013. In case you haven’t known me long, and don’t know what I’m even talking about. Here’s a BLAST from the past. (pun intended) It’s long so I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all! (there’s some pics at the bottom too!)


Today I met Steve. Steve was in the ambulance with me when we rode to the hospital. He was watching the marathon with his 4 year old son. He was hurt far worse than I. But all I remember from the ambulance ride is him holding my hand and alternating a between telling me it was going to be ok, and yelling at the medics to find his son who was now all alone. He held my hand the whole way. i have been wondering about him. How he was doing. Did they ever find his son? So today, then the nurse told me the man who rode in the ambulance with me was hoping to see me before he left for rehab, I was of course eager to see him. He came in on a stretcher, on his way out of the hospital. when he saw me tears formed in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. I of course started crying as well. his son had been missing when we were together in the ambulance so I inquired after him first. They foun him and he only had a small scratch on his head an was fine. Thank God. And Steve? He said he was fine. But I pushed. Really fine? No. His leg was missing from the knee down. I cried even more. My leg is useless and probably will be for a very long time, but at least I have it. Steve is going to the same rehab center that I am so as he was pulled out of my room we promised to find each other. I don’t know Steve. But I know he held my hand during some off the scariest moments of my life. And for that I will be eternally grateful.


When the bomb went off, something made a huge gash in the back of my right leg right near the bend of my knee. It is about a 9-10 inch horizontal cut. It was so deep that it severed my main artery and 2 main nerves. I lost a ton of blood. I think I got at least 4 units, but I’m not sure if I got more than that. My left leg has some cuts on it as well, but nothing that required stitches or anything. It is all black and blue and ugly with scratches and cuts, but it will heal fine. Back to my right leg. So in my first surgery they repaired my artery and cleaned it all up. A portion of my calf was also cut off/blown off? But it was small so it’s not like I’ll have a huge gap in the back of my leg where my calf should be :-). Ok so second surgery I have no idea what they did. Third surgery they reattached my nerves and closed up the wound. My entire leg is in a splint with my knee kept bent at an angle. The reason for this is so that the nerves don’t get stretched while they are trying to heal. I also have a boot on my foot. I am getting a hard cast on Tuesday and it will again be my entire leg. And I’m sure I will keep the boot on my foot.

My foot has no feeling. I have a small spot in the arch of my foot where I can feel if someone is touching me, but other than that, nothing. I also can’t move my foot or my ankle. This is because of the nerves being cut. Nerves repair at a very slow rate. In my case, since the nerve now has to “grow” from my knee to my toes, they said it will take roughly 400 days for the nerve to get all the way down. So I may not feel, or be able to move my toes for over a year. I’m not sure what this means for walking. Also, since it is my right leg this also means I may not be able to drive for over a year. Which is a very frustrating thought!

Since the nerves have been reattached I have CRAZY nerve sensations going on all in my foot and toes which is a really good sign, but still no feeling.


The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 34:7


First of all, there must have been hundreds of angels all around us. The new Chris Tomlin song Whom Shall I Fear kept running through my head. “The God of Angel armies is always by my side”. So yes, I believe there were angels all around us. We were so close to the bomb, we should be hurt much worse, or even dead. Although our injuries are extensive, they should have been much worse. Second, Colton brought this up to me today. People keep asking “where was God in all of this?” Just look at the pictures. Look at the chaos and then look at me or Rebekah, or Peter or Kim or Colton. That’s where God was. We are His children, filled with His Spirit. In the midst of chaos, He WAS there. Third, I believe that God gave us so so much grace. Grace to think clearly. To know how to respond in trauma. To know to tie tourniquets. Or to coach people to breathe. Or to know how to communicate with the first responders. Not one of us lost control or freaked out.

Someday I’m sure I will look at the pictures. But I just want you to know today, that God was there. He was with us. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for Him. And as we are experiencing more and more of His grace everyday, we are amazed and speechless and we just keep clinging to Him.

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

left footed gas pedal installed in my car


Toe off AFO that I wore after my leg brace. I had this on my leg for almost a year.


After the wound healed, it looks a bit better than this now, but these are my scars.


Full leg brace for MONTHS and crutches for 8 months.


These two are COMING TO SEE ME TODAY! But they were my first outing I think. They took me out for coffee after they flew in from Kansas to visit me when I got out of the hospital. (yes I’m in a wheelchair)






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for some reason, I kept calling today black friday. not Good Friday. but maybe.

maybe that’s what it really is.


a perfect, innocent man. betrayed with a kiss. sold for silver. whipped. beaten. crowned with thorns. mocked. crucified. killed.

from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:45)

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33)

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45while the sun’s light failed. (Luke 23:44)

He cried out

The veil was torn

An Earthquake

The tomb.


I know it was good. I know it was the best day. The day that changed all of history. All of our lives. Forever. Gave us life instead of death. Gave us hope. A bridge. A way.

But the sun went out. The Son of God was dead.

That Friday…

It was also black.




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Today started all sorts of wrong.

My Fiddle Leaf Fig tree has not been doing well, so I have been trying to hard to help it. I bought it a warm-mist humidifier and when I got up this morning it had dropped two more leaves.

I picked up the tree skirt and vacuumed up all the needles from the tree, put the tree skirt back and a million needles fell all over my vacuumed floor and clean tree skirt. Fail.

I put Christmas lights up on my front porch and they look so cute, but they KEEP FALLING DOWN. As soon as the tree dropped needles all over my freshly vacuumed floor a noise outside startled me. Most of the lights had decided to give up and fall down onto the porch.

At this point I decided to put on some music as loud as possible because I just needed some Jesus in my frustration. But my speaker, which normally works just fine, would not play the music. It was in and out, every other word. OH MY GOODNESS. I finally just let my phone play the music.

I had to print something to mail for a friend, and it needed to be mailed today. Of course, you guessed it, my printer will not work.

So now it is 11 am. I have cried three times and feel like I have accomplished NOTHING because everything keeps going wrong. I wonder why I even got up this morning. Should I just go back to bed?

I gave up on everything, sunk down into my desk chair and started reading the devotional for todays advent.

“This is the gift that wraps up all the stresses quiet:

I will bless you.

…the weight of everything melts like thinning snow in the heat of His words: “I will bless you.” He will not burden you. He will not break you. He will bless you…”

“So slow down to feel the wind. Listen to the carols just a little bit longer. Linger in the quiet and taste the grace of now, and know that He is good and He is God. Name them in this moment – gift upon gift upon gift – and listen for the echo in everything: I will bless you.



So here I am at noon, with nothing accomplished in my day, but with this reminder now wrapping me up and reminding me that I am blessed. God will bless me. And all my stupid, trivial, annoying things that go wrong don’t really matter. I just need to slow down and breathe.


The Greatest Gift


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I know Thanksgiving was this week, but now that everyone is in the Christmas mood, I wanted to put this out there so you could get it in time. I have read this book the past two Christmas seasons and I think its the perfect way to put your heart and mind in the right space for remembering what Christmas is really all about. Ann has a poetic voice, and the short devotionals for each day leading up to Christmas are beautiful and bring peace and focus to this crazy holiday season. There’s one short chapter for each day of December, be sure to get your copy soon so that you have it in time! I’d love to know what you think!

Weekends & Windscreens: Nashville TN


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Welcome to Music City, the destination of this weekend’s birthday bash is… Nashville Tennessee!

My friend Rachel’s birthday was Sunday, and she wanted to get away for the weekend and have an adventure. We drove through the crazy winding pass from Asheville to Nashville and went straight to Gabby’s Burgers & Fries for lunch. Jon Acuff had mentioned a few weeks ago that they were the best burgers in Nashville, and I wanted to find out for myself. It is an unimpressive location, small, and nothing you would probably take notice of if you were not intentionally looking for it. But, we knew it was what we wanted so we pushed in, ordered at the counter, and sat at the bar in an adjacent tiny room. Amazing. These burgers were perfectly cooked, dripping with cheese, and so tasty. Add to that a perfectly creamy milkshake and your lunch is all you could ask for. I would have to agree with Jon Acuff that they are some of the best. I haven’t had every burger in Nashville so I can’t compare, but I would definitely go back for more!


We rented a quaint little air b&b for the weekend in East Nashville and on the way decided to stop at OMG (Old Made Good) a vintage boutique. We browsed for a while, taking in all the vintage treasures, crafts and handmade goods. A fun little stop.  There was still time in the afternoon so we headed over to Barista Parlor which has long been a favorite coffee shop of mine. Anytime I visit Nashville, I make sure to stop there.  The creamy iced lattes hit the spot and the afternoon drifted away as we were reading/writing/playing video games (…I don’t play video games) …


The Shoppes On Fatherland were close to our lodging, so we perused the different boutiques and unique stores before ending the day with some Mas Tacos for dinner and drinks at The Pinewood Social.

Pinewood Social has it all. Bowling, amazing food, a great coffee shop (Crema) a swimming pool, bocce, table tennis and a comfortable outdoor area where you can sit in the warm night air and order delicious drinks from the bar. Which is what we did. I’ve heard they have the best brunch around, so I’d love to go back the next time we’re in town. I had a cocktail called “Easy like sunday morning”. A cortado (espresso & steamed milk) with Fernet-Branca and Demerara. It was warm and smooth coffee with a hint of licorice and sweetness. So delicious.


Our final day in Nashville we splurged on donuts at Five Daughters Bakery. Famous for their “100 layer” donuts, this is not a treat you want to miss. We shared donuts with flavors of pumpkin chocolate cheese cake, vanilla bean, and glazed cranberry. The cranberry was by far my favorite. Flakey laminated dough, frosted with a sweet frosting and topped with tangy and sour cranberries coated with a sugary glaze, OMG you have to try these donuts.


Not wanting to drive home yet, we spent the afternoon reading Pride and Prejudice sprawled out under trees dropping their red and golden leaves all around us. A perfect end to the weekend!


What are your favorite things to do in Nashville? I’d love to hear about them!

Want more info on Nashville? Check out this book!

Want to know where I’m going next? Be sure to follow my blog to keep up with my adventures! If you have a place you’d like me to visit or a restaurant to review, let me know!

Happy travels!




Weekends & Windscreens: Rochester, New York


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I can’t write travel blogs without blogging about my hometown can I? There are so many things I love, love, LOVE about Rochester, but to keep in tune with my weekend posts, I will simply give you a few things to do if you have a day to spend in the amazing Rochester, New York.


It’s a Saturday morning, so of course the best place to start your day is at the Rochester Public Market.  Stop into Javas or Fuego for some coffee. I never get flavored coffees but at the market for some reason I always get an almond flavored iced latte. Both coffee shops are coincidentally right next to the most amazing bakery at the market, which you will of course have to visit.  At Flour City Bread you will find some of the best granola you have ever put into your mouth, as well as the most  light and flakey chocolate croissants you can dream of. Please. Indulge.

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Wander the different areas of the market and just take in all the sights, sounds, and smells. Don’t smell too hard in the fish area. Yuck! But the cheeses and fresh fruits & veggies and the food. Oh the food. Yes I really just go to the market to EAT. Fresh made empanadas, the best breakfast sandwiches ever, poutine if you’re lucky enough to go when the poutine truck is there… I could go on and on but I’ll let you experience it for yourself.


What else should you do with your day? I mean I could take you to so many coffee shops and amazing places to eat, but for the sake of time, we will narrow it down. You will of course want to have lunch somewhere amazing. I would pick Esan. On the famed Park Avenue, Esan is the king of Thai food. Tom, the owner, is from Vietnam, so it doesn’t really make sense, but he is adorable, and the food is AMAZING. Although it is a very unimpressive looking spot, I promise if you like Thai food, you will love it. Sit outside if you can. Sitting outside on Park Ave is glorious. For people watching mostly. The perfect quintessential Rochester experience.

Right down the street from Esan, is Abbotts which is where you absolutely need to stop for some creamy custard. My favorite is the chocolate almond and it is one of the things I miss most about not living in NY anymore. Luckily they just opened a location in Greer, SC, which is only about an hour away. An hour for the best ice cream ever is definitely not too far to drive.

Now that you are full of thai food and custard, you can hop over to East Ave and take in a matinee at The Little Theater. Opened in 1929, this theater is a gem of downtown Rochester. They have cute little cafe where you can often find live jazz music, art exhibits, and of course movies. This intimate setting makes seeing a movie so unique. Don’t forget to grab a Naniamo Bar for a snack from the concessions stand. The only place I have ever seen these bars, and they are perfection. Chocolatey goodness with creme filling and a nutty crust.

One last stop. You definitely need a late night garbage plate! Founded in 1918, these garbage plates have been a staple of Rochester cuisine for a LONG TIME! Our favorite location to get a garbage plate is from Empire Hots in Webster, but you can find these famous plates at many establishments around Rochester. I know it sounds weird, but please believe me when I say you will find this to be quite addicting and you will find yourself craving one next week. I know I will be.


What are your favorite things about Rochester? I’d love to hear about your travels.

What do you buy when you travel? Souvenirs? Keepsakes? Here’s a great shirt I picked up last time I was visiting.  I usually buy a hand made pottery mug in the blue/green/teal color scheme. All of my mugs “match” but are from all over the world. Every day I drink coffee from a different one and I remember my adventures.

This weekend I’m off to Nashville, so check in next week to see my Nashville post!

Happy travels!



Weekends & Windscreens: Asheville, North Carolina


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Asheville, North Carolina is the place I now call home. Raised in upstate NY, it is a dramatically different place to lay my head, but in this tiny town nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, sunsets, warm weather, and some of the weirdest people I have ever seen, I am now home.

Asheville is unique. Artistic. Hippie. Hipster. Musical. And full of beer. More breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US. If you have a day to spend in Asheville, here are some places you need to visit.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In Ahseville, its also the most desired meal to go out to eat. Lines form at any place that has a decent breakfast and you will often find yourself waiting for a table in the early morning fog. There are so many places to choose from, it is so hard to figure out where to go. For this weekend, we chose Biscuit Head. You can’t go wrong here. Huge fluffy biscuits, perfectly cooked bacon (with different flavors to thing of), gravies of any kind, and a butter/jam bar that you will not be able to resist.

Spend the afternoon at the Biltmore House. It is the largest private home in America and was built by George Vanderbilt as his vacation home in 1895. Boasting 250 rooms, the Biltmore house is nothing to be rivaled and the grounds and gardens are quite exquisite.


Grab a cup of coffee from the newly opened Summit Coffee, before heading over to White Labs for an amazing dinner and some very interesting beer choices. As producers of the yeast that brewers use to make beer, White Labs has many beers made with different yeasts so you can taste the differences. The food is nothing to be scoffed at. It is fantastic. We shared, so we ordered several different things and then tried a bit of everything. Crispy chicken sandwich, soppressata pizza, clam pizza, poutine dripping with gravy, pecan pie, bread pudding, and donuts. All delicious.



Finish your night off with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to catch the sunset, or for something a little more relaxing, check out the Sky Bar. This bar is located on a fire escape, (yes a fire escape), and overlooks the mountains for a perfect view of the sunset, delicious old-timey drinks and a unique atmosphere you won’t experience anywhere else.


Want to know more about Asheville? Check out this book, or better yet message me and I’ll give you a personal tour!

Happy Travels!




Weekends & Windscreens: Charleston, South Carolina


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Let me take you to Charleston, South Carolina.

Palmetto trees line the streets as you enter the city. A horse and carriage pulls out in front of you. A tour of the city with a guide that takes you slowly around the rainbow-colored houses to the clip clop of horses hooves. You turn a corner to escape the carriage and are stopped by thousands of tourists teeming up and down King Street in search of the perfect restaurant or an amazing shopping experience. Pulling away from the throngs of King Street and you will sadly be stuck behind a golf cart. Some aristocrat want-to-be who feels the need to flaunt their wealth by zooming around Charleston at amazing speeds of 25 mph in a cart intended for a golf course not the streets of a bustling city.


In this city lit by gas lamps, and amazing age-old architecture you find yourself dreaming of what might have been, strolling past the houses donning hues of soft pinks and peach, greens, yellows, and blues. Ancient charm oozes out of the stucco buildings. Ornate wooden doors stand proudly ornamented with door knockers that look like pineapples or palmettos. The gardens, hiding behind moss-covered walls, add to the mystery and ambiance of this southern city.

We started off the weekend at 5 Church. God bless this old church and the amazing restaurant now housed within it. Maybe that’s sacrilegious, but wow. From the old stained glass windows, to the ceilings entirely covered in writing, to the angel wing lights above the bar, the artistry of this restaurant is unbelievable. And that’s not even considering the food. We had cheesy poutine dripping with salty, flavorful gravy, $3 mimosas, and a delightful southern breakfast with flaky biscuits, crispy bacon, creamy grits, and perfectly cooked eggs.


If you know me you know any trip is not complete without visits to multiple coffee shops. Charleston is full of enchanting places and amazing coffee. The Rise is hands down our favorite. A part of The Restoration Hotel, it is a beautiful little shop full of white marble and natural light. Sadly, The Rise was closed this weekend for an event, so we headed over to The Harbinger, which is a close second. Although in an odd part of town, very far north on King Street, this adorable shop is owned by some of the sweetest women who make amazing, amazing pastries, snacks, and coffee.


We ended the weekend at SNOB. It stands for Slightly North of Broad, but it definitely feeds the inner snob that, come on admit it, you have. The decor is nothing to write home about, but this established restaurant does it right where it counts. Warm, sweet cornbread brought to your table. Drinks that are handsome, colorful, and delicious. The food is out of this world We ordered butternut squash bisque, oxtail gnocchi with charred corn, cilantro, mole, & feta, a duck breast with a pumpkin custard,a  plum glaze & honey thyme reduction, and pork chops with mushroom farrotto, caramelized onions & apple chutney. Every bite was heaven. We savored each flavor until we had cleaned all our plates and, although full, I wanted to pick up the gnocchi plate and lick it clean. It was the best mole I have ever tasted. Anywhere.



While there are so many things to enjoy in Charleston, this was it for my quick weekend trip! I have many other spots that I enjoy if you want to know more just message me! Or for a great book on Charleston, click here !

Happy Travels!


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.


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.


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!


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 !

Happy Travels!




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)