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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influence right where i am

i never go to conferences. like ever.

 

so this past weekend was different. different in a really good way.

for a few years now, i’ve followed along on the influence network journey. i find it very interesting & inspiring that women want to help other women be influential. it’s like speaker and co-founder hayley morgan reminded us at the end of the conference – we are all on the same team anyway!

so here i sit, after a long seven hour road trip back to maryland – recapping the weekend. recapping the conference. wondering how i can sit in a room full of complete strangers and feel so inspired. a room full of women who don’t know my story – and i don’t know theirs. we were blessed to hear the vulnerable stories of each speaker – helping us to connect to them in new ways which i love. bc we seriously connect at our wounds. i believe it’s the way god intended it.

i sit here, remembering jess connolly opening up about how there are areas in our lives that have influence, if we only stop feeling shame and start sharing. that hit hard. it’s the balance of “hey look at me and all that i’ve been through” and “hey look what god has done in my messy messy life.” i love the second perspective. it’s the true perspective. it’s the “to give him more glory” perspective.

things don’t happen to us. they happen through us. god works through us. through our terrible messy situations. i pray for the bravery to slowly unpack what that looks like in my life. what areas in my life could i share so that god gets the victory. i know, right off the bat, that i feel fear because i’m not 100% sure there is victory in these areas. i want there to be – i’m just not sure there is.

so here i sit, remembering that it’s good to slow down and listen to wise people. wise people who truly want to encourage a new perspective in our lives.

i’m pretty big on the idea of “grow where you’re planted.” i’m born and raised in the same town (took a four year break for college) and my husband and i dream of growing deep deep family roots right where we are in our biblical community. so i love the idea that we have influence, right where we are.

two other points about #influenceconf and then i’ll let you go.

sweet ashlee proffitt reminded us that “worship prepares our heart for battle.” a simple truth. a solid truth. i’m going through some battles right now and i expect i will for the rest of my earthly life. worship prepares us for the battle. the current battle. the future battle. the past battle. worship. (2 chronicles 20:18)

and finally, brilliant renee swope – well god used her to convict me through her battle. the challenge is this: Alicia, be the person you say I am. -Jesus. I think that pretty much sums up a life with Christ. Be the person you say I am.

overall, my heart is encouraged and my mind is open. i went to charlotte for this one-day conference with literally no expectations. just a desire to learn. and that i did. thankful there are women being influential so ultimately i will be influential. it’s gonna spread like fire. i think that’s the point!

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bird poop

so i noticed this morning my car is victim to much a bird poop. gross i know.

but that means that spring is here, y’all.

yesterday was the first true warm day in a while and it felt amazing.

birds invaded the front yard. we leaf blowed the front yard on sunday, unveiling a yard full of untouched goodness. birds spent the day picking and flying; flying and picking — new life, new breath.

i’m doing better – i’m thankful for grief and sorrow. i’m thankful this is not our home. i’m thankful for community. for true community. not just holidays with presents and food, but community – where you have the same outlook on life, the same beliefs, you understand each other and you love each other through the mess.

and it is messy. life is one big pile of mess. sin. are we surprised? is this another flaw of us? that we truly believe life should be without mess? did we think we’d live this life unscathed? no. and i’m thankful i’m learning this at 28 years old. because i know some of you have felt unbearable pain before you were 16 years old, before you were 10 years old. some of you stay in a constant state of pain.

but there is hope. and you need only accept the hope. let it soak into your heart. believe in something bigger than you. it’s scary at first, but what do you have to lose? honestly? is life going your way with YOU in control? like, have you honestly figured it all out?

no. don’t kid yourself.

so why did i wake up this morning at start this blog post? because i like looking back at my honest thoughts. it’s humbling to be real with strangers on the internet, sure. but it’s more about the freedom i feel when i’m honest with myself.

the sunrise was a painting this morning. heaven and earth met with strokes of cloud beauty. this week i will focus on beyond this life. i will feel each and every moment with an eternal perspective. xo thanks for reading.

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grief

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for a few weeks now, i’ve had a hard time spending time with God. not proud of it, but it’s the truth. yesterday, i decided to lay down my pain, my anger, my confusion to the side & turn to God. it was honest & real & surprisingly, healing. but I realized putting those feelings to the side is not what He wanted though. He wants to hear those things. He understands those feelings. God is the same yesterday, today & tomorrow. He’s unchanging & He can take whatever I throw at Him. He’s God.

 

Isaiah 55:9:

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways & My thoughts than your thoughts.

lately

lately, i’ve been in the winter funk and ain’t nobody gonna change that. i’ve been trying though – really trying to be grateful through this season. it happens every year, so i really shouldn’t surprised. my husband? well, he’s learning. i keep telling him: “you married me. all of me. even this season of me.”

he’s so sweet and reminds me that “yes, he did marry me.”

this kinda stuff just doesn’t phase him.

god knew i need a man unfazed by my craziness. ha. that made me laugh. bc it’s so true.

here are some pictures from last weekend. not sure the reputation maryland has throughout the country (or even the world!) but we are basically a four-season kinda state with water & woods everywhere you turn. i love it here. it’s so dang beautiful. enjoy!

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how to hike

first, make sure your husband is extremely sick.

second, make sure it’s a ridiculously famous holiday where most people DONT do things like hike.

third, bring your new camera and pretend like you’re really good at film making.

fourth, get your shoes SOAKED and walk back to the car, making sure it’s at least 2 miles.

fifth, smile. smile that you get to enjoy the crazy weird moments with the love of your life.

PRESS PLAY BELOW. It’s vlog time!

blizzard jonas

grant & i have spent 54 consecutive hours together (friday @12:30pm to sunday @6pm) & we are still going strong! we have watched plenty of netflix, i’ve learned a few games (sequence & speed) & crushed grant at both. we’ve baked cookies, made homemade pizza, homemade pesto, homemade alfredo, boiled rice, boiled pasta, baked potato chips, done hours of homework (grant), danced in the living room, spent morning devotionals together, watched tons of youtube, prayed for the power to stay on, laughed with delirium, went tubing down our front yard into the woods, went for a walk to the beach, almost fell into the icy bay (alicia). it’s been a memorable blizzard. i’m thankful we didn’t lose power & went kept morale high at camp cardwell. please enjoy our blizzard tubing fun from today. xo

 

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