weekend trip: charlotte

earlier this month, g and i took a road trip down to charlotte, nc. it was our first road trip together – and we now know that i have serious driving anxiety and i should always pack a pillow to sit on for long drives. i’m a super fun wife.

the weather in charlotte happened to drop as soon as we arrived – from like 70 degree sunshine to 50 something gloom. but the sun did manage to peek out for the clouds on our last full day of exploring for which we were quite thankful.

friday was spent traveling to charlotte, checking into our hotel which happened to be hosting many nascar fans for the big race that weekend, and showering before lights out.

saturday morning we woke up refreshed and ready to find some good local acai bowls for breakfast to feel like we were truly living the dream. only to find out that every trendy cutesy place i had bookmarked was about 20 minutes in the wrong direction of where we needed to be at 9am. so bob evans it was! this was surprisingly g’s first time eating at bob evans, yet for me this was a chidlhood favorite. it was delicious and fast.

the whole purpose of being in charlotte for the weekend was for a conference I was attending. you can read all about it in this post. while i learned about all the things, g went exploring the town. he found mcdowell nature perserve and hiked around a bit until the wind just was too cold to bear. on his way back to the hotel he found the billy graham historical library and stopped in for a visit. he came out with a new book and a cute wooden sign for me. he’s so thoughtful and sweet, seriously.

after the conference, we tried to do the cool hip thing and visit the cool hip part of town – but we just weren’t feeling it after walking around and having an hour long wait for a table – or maybe it’s that we just weren’t cool and hip enough? so we ended up a few blocks down at ruru’s tacos & tequila. it was loud yet adorable – we really liked the atmosphere and the food! seemed like it’s definitely a local date night spot for many!

sunday morning was exciting! we had plans to meet up with brittany (longtime childhood friend) at elevation church. it was such a sweet expeiernce to get a behind the scenes look at prep for the service, while meeting some really awesome team members/staff. brittany was such a great host to us and we really enjoyed the experience. elevation is the kinda church you can learn so much from.

the rest of sunday afternoon was spent exploring 7th street market. we had pizza at a local spot and then took the train to southend. g and i discovered were not much of the exploring type – we need a plan, a destination, a purpose. so after walking around aimlessly for a few hours, the hotel was calling our names. lame, we know.

we chilled in the hotel, i probably took a nap, and then we awoke to grumbling stomachs, ready for the next meal. isn’t that just how it goes on vacation? hurrying up to the next time you’ll eat? haha

we stumbled out of the hotel to a beautiful pond with people paddle boating. so cute.

g and i are obsessed with mexican food and even though we had just had it the night before for dinner, we easily said yes to trying out zapata’s. and good glory we are so glad. this was hands down the best mexican food we have ever had. each of our dishes had amazing flavor. we now hold zapata’s at the top of the list, and like i said, we have frequented many a mexican restaurant since our trip, and nothing compares. so delicious.

monday morning, ironically, the weather in charlotte shot right back up to the usual sunny and 70 degrees – but alas we had to hit the road back home around 7AM.

it was fun to get away for the first time since being married. g had really been looking forward to our charlotte trip and would remind me often during the snowy maryland months that we were only xx days away. he’s always so encouraging and hopeful. i love him. would love to return to charlotte for a longer stay with a tad bit more of a purpose – maybe an itinerary created by some of the locals. that’s more my cup of tea. enjoy the pics, y’all!

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purpose – like real purpose

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this weekend at church the message is about “the single family.” i’ve been married to grant for 5 short months, so honestly my life has been spent more single than not. y’all know i’m passionate about what a single person is capable of – what a single person can experience during this season, bc that was me. it was my story. i’ve never been shy about how i feel on the topic of being single (just search “single” on this blog & you will see!) there tends to be this invisible timer attached to a single person – as if your time just hasn’t come yet, as if he or she isn’t here yet. now, i’m a newlywed who knows literally nothing on the topic of marriage, but i must say (shout!), marriage won’t complete you. it’s a blessing, absolutely, but it’s no lifesaver. you have purpose no matter what. bottom line. i hope you do feel encouraged that you do matter in the kingdom and god will use you, no matter what your relationship status. remember, he’s bigger than any situation.

five years in the making.

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i’ve been living in maryland, in the same town, for 27 years. born in the local hospital – grew up in the same house until i was 18.

then it was off to college. i tried florida. that lasted a semester. i was homesick. i was unsatisfied. i was a typical teenager trying to make very adult decisions. why are we given such responsibility at such a young age? makes no sense. especially when college tuition and debt are involved.

i graduated with my degree. a bs in sociology. the study of people. i love people. i love studying them.

then the fun and stressful task of finding a job became my day & night. applications, resumes, rationalizing every job and saying “yeah, i guess i could do that” or “i’m totally qualified to teach kids english as their second language.” these are the conversations you have with yourself when you just wanna hurry up and start your career. your next step.

because life is just one step after the other. (insert feet emoji here) (ps why are the feet red?)

on a very snowy day in february, i got a call from a family friend. she said they were looking for an administrative assistant at the church.

on march 1, 2010, my journey began at chesapeake. well, not really. it started 5 years earlier, through a series of different events and connections, but that’s a story for a different day, different blog post 😉

it’s been five years since i started as full time staff at chesapeake church.

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[ this is me on 3/1/10. they take pictures of you on your first day haha i felt right at home 😉 ]

you know, your job is just one part of your life. it’s a big part, but it’s only one part.

however, working at the place where you worship, where you grow in your faith, where the same people that you turn to for counsel are the same people you submit reports, where you call work and home, at the same time – – it’s just an experience i can’t really describe fully.

maybe you’re wondering what exactly i “do” at the church. haha. it’s a fair question.

well, there’s my job title that might give it away – “executive assistant” – but i have a feeling that just made things even more vague 😉

i’m not trying to avoid the question – it’s just such a big answer. the list is long of the “things i do” and i really like my list. but it’s just a list.

when i look back on the last five years, i can say it’s been hard. and i’m not even talking about my job. i’m talking about life.

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[ this is me in january – on vacation from the job i love so much. resting & relaxing on the beach are imperative for my soul once a year. ]

DID YOU KNOW: your 20’s are a HUGE transitioning time. no one ever told me this. and if they did, well, i ignored them.

having a job at a church – doing ministry as my job – wasn’t my idea. i was gonna be a teacher.

but we hear this allllll the time. we have plans, God has different plans. and we are in awe at His plans over ours. but it’s true.

God has a mission for my life. and it will never look like how i expect.

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the other day my good friend billy asked me what i see myself doing at chesapeake in ten years. it’s a question i get asked all the time.

we are forward thinkers and nobody wants to get stagnant. and i LOVE the challenge.

but here’s MY question – is this ever an easy question for people? like are there actually people out there that know what they want to do in ten years? haha because it’s a ridiculously hard question for me to hear and answer.

but i pushed through haha for the sake of the conversation. i see myself teaching at chesapeake, in some fashion. in a classroom – meeting people. teaching people. i don’t knowwwwwww. that’s as far as my little brain could go.

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i’m excited for this journey. i don’t need it all planned out. because His plan for my life is way better than anything i can dream. but i get it. don’t stop dreaming. my dreams and God’s dreams are one in the same. because the more i trust Him, the more i want what He wants. it’s all just so beautiful.

 

i’m gonna have some ice cream to celebrate these last five years.

xo

february wrap up!

i found myself in a vlog rut at the end of february.

but i had a good month – it was certainly busy.

this video highlights a few trips to work (RIVETING), a vulnerable explanation of my current addiction, some beautiful parts of our commitment services at church (where we are building a new auditorium and the body pledged to make it happen), and of course, some games at the lifeline pasta dinner.

 

enjoy!

young love.

it’s wedding season, so i’ve heard. & practically all my friends are getting married. so i guess it’s true!

young love. it’s a song, it’s a thing. people say it all the time.

i remember three years ago, while i was in honduras for the first time, where i watched young love grow. bekah & brandon were friends – really good friends. bekah was a spark – a spit fire. she challenged brandon to push up contests and made fun of his hair. she was sporty & he was smitten. i remember, as their leader, starting conversations like:

“brandon, what kinda girl do you wanna marry?”

he went on to describe a person who just so happened to have the same characteristics as bekah . . . #hello#obvious

i asked bekah the same question:

“what kinda guy do you wanna marry?”

without hesitation, she blurted out:

“RICH!”

it was a hilarious moment for multiple reasons . . . & she was definitely kidding!

i’ll never forget watching their young love grow. from friendship, to dating, to engagement, & now, marriage.

god’s beautiful in his planning. he knew bekah & brandon were going to be married one day . . . even as we painted the back porch of the mission house in honduras in 2010. he knew. i guess i kinda knew too. 🙂

bekah & brandon married on july 12, 2013, in the church where they met. in the church that supported & walked along side them during their dating relationship.

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young love is rare.

or maybe it’s not.

maybe it’s the way god grows some of the most unique hearts together.

three years.

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well happy work anniversary . . . to me!

yep, three solid years at this place.

it was march 1, 2010, when i made the leap into full-time ministry.

it’s a memory still fresh in my mind.

an eager, determined 22 year old. a sociology major who, when asked what she can actually do with her sociology degree, answered “anything with people – because it’s the study of people!”

i was am a sociology nerd, but it’s definitely my true passion. people – listening, watching, learning, talking, laughing, planning, celebrating.

so, spending the past three years with people – listening, watching, learning, talking, laughing, planning, celebrating – in ministry has grown me the most. ever. in my entire life. more than any other experience.

i was gonna be a teacher. i was gonna rock the teacher world. but god had his plan & he put it into action.

i’m baffled & blessed at how much has happened the past three years. like my boss/mentor/friend said today, “from an intern to an executive assistant.”

that’s quite a leap. a leap that i didn’t expect, i didn’t envision, i didn’t think i would ever want.

i’ve made ((future bridesmaids – for the rest of your life – sisters in christ – future kid play-date – future hubby’s will be best friends – scrapbooking club)) BEST FRIENDS during these years.

god has made me more mature; more sensitive to the needs of others. he has taught me the art of communicating – after 22 years of failing at it 🙂 . he has shown me grace & freedom from junk. it’s definitely been a life-changing three years.

& i get to edit – like everyday. have i ever expressed how much i love to edit? it’s like a breath of fresh air. i love it.

my coworker & friend puna blogged my first day on the job back in 2010. she makes me smile. you should go read her post – it’s full of silly pictures from that first day! read it HERE.

here’s to the next three years.

tonight my question is this: “am i following god? or am i asking god to follow me?”

‘gram galore – february

let the ‘grammin begin! this a series where i share snip-its from my daily life as display on good ol’  instagram. the following are photos from the shortest month of the year . . .

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new favorite worship song. it may get a little wilddddd. heart-felt night at church.

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we got a little bit of maryland snow. how pretty.

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instead of watching the most watched football game of the year, we decided to dye our hair. thinking about going blonde . . . #sike

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sometimes friendships change. sometimes you don’t get to see each other everyday, but you do write more letters to each other. sometimes that happens.

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this was crazy hard but crazy good.

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got right back on the healthy smoothie bfast wagon.

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i take a lot of ‘drive-by’ pics. & then i come up with captions like : life is so much more than what you’re seeing.

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came for the sunset; instead i got clouds.

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that seagull was such a show-off.

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before my hair got a much needed update!

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my hair only looks like this after a haircut. #lazy ps: i colored my hair professionally for the first-time-ever!

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she got bangs; i got no more gray hair! #yay

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a creative moment, in my car, while the sun was setting while i was listening to ‘don’t you worry, don’t you worry childdddd.’ ps that is a flipflop air freshener.

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throwback to 2007 at woodstock.

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then i freaking bought a house!

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time to destroy things.

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cara & i went crazy in the kitchen.

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then holly thought it would be a good idea to turn 23 on the 23rd.

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go get you some grace y’all.

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real friends phonetically spell your name.

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rethinking a bunch of stuff. specifically loving how straight this road is.

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finally went grocery shopping! ps that lavash bread is lavash.

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grab sharpie, grab friends, grab past hurt, grab hammer, grab freedom.

28 days of february – came & went.