What I'm Into: December 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I can't believe that it's already been five months since I've taken part in Leigh's link up...December's highlights go to: A Charlie Brown Christmas, movie nights, baking "parties", the sermon series on Psalms (and Christmas carols) at church, driving around looking at Christmas lights with my sister, the masquerade ball, my sister's trip to SC (the airport part was TOUGH, but the facetime sessions are hunky-dunky), a million and one trips to the library, Christmas Eve shopping with my Mom, and of course, the Star Wars premiere.
What I'm Watching

Speaking of Star Wars...We stood in a blizzard, I loved it, and I can't wait to watch it again. I wrote all about here.

We're still making our way through my stash of Christmas movies...We go for the classics around here. During the week of Christmas, we watched Holiday Inn, It's A Wonderful Life, and Christmas in Connecticut. 

We also watched 84, Charing Cross Road (with Anthony Hopkins). Read the book and then watch the movie. They both are the kind I wish I could crawl into! 

Did you know there's a sequel to Phantom of the Opera? We didn't either...Until we watched Love Never Dies. 

In the Kitchen

Christmas cookies were the highlight of December. What's your favorite recipe?

This month I've tried several new recipes. Here are the top three: Roasted Cauliflower, Roast Beef (the leftovers make excellent sandwiches), and Chocolate Cake (I did this as a cake and baked it for 35 minutes. Next time I'm thinking about skipping the egg.).

Even though I've been doing a fair amount of cooking, snack dinners are still going strong. I recently discovered that salami and havarti cheese are a combo that I can't seem to get enough. Get yourself to the Wal Mart deli counter and order some Prima Della Hard Salami and Havarti Cheese sliced as thin as they can get them. 

And...I've taken to finely chopping romaine lettuce and putting it on nearly every sandwich. 

My Reading Chair

I finished: "The Gift of Christmas Present", "December Stillness", and "Home for the Holidays".

I gave up on: "Mr. Ives' Christmas" and "There's Something About Christmas".

I'm working on: "Waiting On God", "All Dressed In White", and "Selected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickinson". I'm STILL making my way through "Gone With The Wind" which is the first book in a long time that has me desperately wanting it to go on forever.

On My Blog 

I shared my Peppermint Syrup recipe

Kiki challenged me to share 5 Things About Me.

I came face to face with what it means to wait on God in real life.

My top six favorite books from my fall reading list.

What are YOU into?


Continuing in Him

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 18, 2015

I've been reflecting on 2015 over the last month or so and I've really liked what I've found. One day it hit me: 2015 was a year of almost no anxiety.  No matter how hard I try to figure out WHY that was, I keep coming up without an answer. It could be so very many things...

I found myself in South Carolina TWICE in 2015. It was so good for my soul. The kind of good that you can't quite explain. The kind of good that makes your eyes well up with the happiest of tears just thinking about it.

I chose three words for the year and did little more than kick them around every now and then. Reading over my hopes for 2015 makes me praise God because the hope that I wrote about on January 5th could be turned into a description of the year as I sit here on December 29th.

I read the entire Bible. I found a church. I house hunted until I couldn't house hunt any more. I made new friends. I finished college. I read a variety of books and learned a lot from the people that wrote them (E.B. White, Richard Adams, Madeleine L'Engle, and Andrew Murray in particular).

Yesterday morning I found myself standing on the sidewalk chatting with the neighbors. It was 10am and we were all in our pajamas. I was out shoveling snow and they were enjoying cigarettes on their porch. After I put the shovel away in the garage, I headed back into the house with all kinds of thoughts flying around in my mind.

When I rang in 2015 in Georgia, I had no idea what the year would hold. I was 24 and I was sure of one thing: I wanted to continue trusting in God and looking to Him for direction. As it turned out, He took me to some pretty great places and gave me a taste of the JOY and CERTAINTY that come with trusting Him. The thing is, 24 year old Victoria didn't want to or try to get rid of her anxiety any more than her younger self.

As I prepare to ring in another new year that leaves me with even more room to question, I'm setting my hope in God once more. I'm grateful for gifts of God's grace and I'm longing for them to stay with me in the days to come. In all that I found myself doing and enjoying in 2015, the theme was RECEIVING.

"For in Him we live and move and have our being..." Acts 17:28 

May 2016 be a year of continuing in Him. 

The Wait Was Over

Monday, December 28, 2015

My youngest brother has been a fan of Star Wars ever since he was old enough to choose his library check outs. He even exchanged letters with Lucas. Acting and creating and producing are in this boy's blood and I have no doubt that they will always be part of his life. His infatuation with the films and the story behind them is something I think very few people can really understand. He has gotten us into going to premieres, standing in lines to make sure we get decent seats, and designs costumes that get all kinds of compliments. The release of the latest episode of Star Wars was a reason for celebration in my family (on both coasts...). We line up two hours before the film started and stood in a BLIZZARD with nearly 100 other people doing our best to stay warm.

There was a double date going on in front of us. The group was made up of a barista, a bail bondsman, a dental student, and a guy who basically did a lot of listening. They were chatting away about the differences in drinks, a guy who got "dishonorably discharged" from some branch of the military and pretends to be a police officer serving warrants, as well as the makeup and decay process of teeth. I was trying my hardest NOT to listen too closely, but we were all standing within two feet of each other. Besides that, the dental student's umbrella kept getting my attention every time it got closer to my face.

There was a father and son duo behind us...They were exact imprints of one another. The father was telling his son all about his memories of going to see the original movies. They were friendly and even offered the time when they overheard my Mom ask about it for the third time in 15 minutes.

Then there were the guys from "Tuesday night swing" who got ECSTATIC about seeing some people they knew in the line. The thing is, we don't actually KNOW them. We all just know what the others look like...but, I saw the first guy's eyes light up with recognition and then watched as he turned his back to us and whisper shouted to the lady he was with "BEHIND ME!!! PEOPLE FROM TUESDAY NIGHTS!!!". He did it again when his buddy showed up. Both times I actually laughed out loud. Eventually, we all acknowledged one another and properly introduced ourselves.

When the lady came out to welcome the crowd into the theatre, everyone cheered. The wait was over...

I really enjoyed the film and I can't wait to watch it again, but December 17th wasn't about a big premiere. It was about joining in on a moment my 15 year old brother has been looking forward to for a very long time. The excitement of FANS truly is contagious. I've been to the premiere of three or four films now and each time I am surprised at how excited I find myself becoming once I'm in the presence of people who have been living and breathing a certain story. It's a kind of contagion that I find myself thinking back on.

There were teenagers, grown men, and even old people who were anticipating those two hours with such GLEE that it was wearing off on everyone around them. I saw the smiles that seemed to take over their entire face. I heard exclamations and whispers of "I am SOOOO excited!!!!" so many times that I lost count. When the film was over and everyone sat in silence, I found myself wishing we could all sit around and swap thoughts. Was it everything they had hoped for?

Instead, we all filed out of the theatre in a kind stupor. The streets were silent. The snow continued to fall. The wait was over. It was 1am and the premiere of Star Wars 7 was becoming a memory.

The next morning we all slept WAY in and eventually made our way outside to take care of the snow. The memory had been made and I was a little surprised to see that the excitement wore on. That's the thing that sets true delight apart.

A week and a half has gone by. BB8 melted a little bit and is nearly lost to the massive amounts of snow that have piled up all around him. Underneath the piles and the drifts lies a reminder of one man's creation which has inspired countless others. Never underestimate influence...You never know how far your reach may go.

Peppermint Syrup Recipe

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When I was in high school, I worked at a coffee shop. The thing about working behind the coffee counter is that you learn things about people. There are the demanding people who know EXACTLY what they want and expect you to have magically known that they were coming and have their drink ready moments before they even walked through the door.  There are the usual people who come in everyday around the same time and order the same thing. These are the people who are about as carefree as they get and they're always up for a chat (unless they are in a hurry, in which case they apologize profusely and promise to see you tomorrow). There are the confused people who know that they have a "usual" but who have no idea what it is or what it tastes like and they look at you pleadingly to either know what it is or to somehow figure it out. Then you have the adventurous people. These are the ones who have no idea what they want or what they are in the mood for and are up for ANYTHING.

The adventurous people were the fun ones. I concocted all sorts of drinks for them and they're the ones I think of when I get the urge to create a coffee shop version of a beverage at home. Some of them turned into regulars whose visits (and orders) I could count on. Some of them stayed adventurers and that was okay too.

I learned a lot spending my afternoons (and then my mornings) working at that coffee shop. I learned how to spot these different types of people, how to please them, and how to keep a smile on my face no matter what. My years behind the coffee counter were some of the best lessons in learning to serve others and yet every single customer ended up serving me too. I know, we all say that about everything, but maybe we say it because it's true.

My latest kitchen success took me back to those days. I wanted a DIY version of one of THE most popular winter drinks and I think I achieved it. Whether you're Demanding Dan, Usual Ulysses, Confused Connie, or Adventurous Adam...If you're a fan of peppermint in your drinks, I think you'll love this at home version!

Ingredient gathering is SIMPLE. Basically, we're making a simple syrup infused with peppermint. It goes like this: sugar, water, extract. DONE.


First up is the sugar. Any kind of white sugar is what you're after. I happen to use pure cane sugar, but that's just me.

We're going to add the water and get a syrup going over medium heat. Basically, we're just disolving the sugar. Keep your eye on it, stir it occasionally, but don't stress. It's easy, it goes quickly, and it gets HOT because there is sugar involved. The longer you simmer, the thicker your syrup will get.

Once your sugar water has turned into syrup, add in your peppermint extract. Less is more when it comes to extracts, so go easy at first knowing that you will be able to add more if you want to. You can simmer it for a few more minutes, but you don't need to.

When you're happy with the syrup, remove it from the heat and let it cool in the pan until it has reached room temperature. Pour it into a little jar and store it in the refrigerator. To use, simply add about a teaspoon to your coffee or hot cocoa and you're all set! In case you're wondering, the cane sugar is the reason for the unsightly color of this syrup. Once it's stirred into your drink you'll have forgotten all about that strange looking specimen jar sitting in the back of you fridge. I promise.

Now...Go make some!

Peppermint Syrup

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c water
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Simmer sugar and water over medium heat until they reach a syrupy consistency (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add peppermint extract (I added just shy of 1/2 tsp to mine). May simmer for a few more minutes or you may remove from heat to cool down.

Once your syrup has reached room temperature, transfer to a small jar and refrigerate. Add 1 tsp to your favorite beverage for a peppermint kick.

Do you have a favorite at home coffee shop beverage?

What's your coffee ordering personality type? 

5 Things About Me

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17, 2014

Forever ago, my friend Kiki did this kind of post and challenged me to join in. I'm finally getting around to it. Here are five pretty silly things about me that you might not necessarily know.

1. I could eat hamburgers several times a week. I always order them. They're one of my default foods. I'm practically always craving them.

2. I really want "every time" to be one word. They're not (right?). Just to be safe, I usually write the sentence so that I can use something that means the same thing but doesn't require me to make a decision.

3. I LOVE the Nutcracker Ballet. The music from it is the ONE soundtrack that has my undying devotion. Babes In Toyland (the Keanu Reeves/Drew Barrymore version) is a close second.

4. Jack (from Babes In Toyland) and Theo Huxtable were the first two men under the age of 65 that I had eyes for. Truthfully though, they were later joined by Matt Camden in making me wish that I had an older brother.

5. I've always wanted my first child to be a boy. And I'd like a set of boy/girl twins, but not as firstborn(s). Funny how we all assume that at some point we're going to have children...

What are five things about YOU that I might not necessarily know?

Waiting On God In Real Life

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

November 11, 2015

Each time I talk about Advent, I'm amazed at how many people aren't really all that familiar with it. I've gone back and forth about how to blog over the next month or so (Christmas goes clear to January 6th in my house)....I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'll tell you this: I'm learning SO MUCH from the time that I've been spending in God's Word alongside Andrew Murray's book that is packed to the gills with TRUTH and I have this need to share it with you.

Murray wrote the introduction 120 years ago. Apparently, much of it was composed aboard a ship. It blows me away that some man's scribbles from 1895 got turned into a book and that that little book found its way into my hands exactly when I needed to read it. God does not leave ANYTHING to chance.

With my friend Alice in the hospital battling pneumonia, another member of my family taking their leave this Christmas (my sister is leaving for 3 weeks TOMORROW), and the general sense of "in-betweeness" that came with the shape our life took in August, this Advent season has been the EPITOME of waiting on God. I'm reminded of the words of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12 "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

Yesterday as I made my way to the elevator after spending some more time with Alice, I thought to myself, "THIS is what it means to wait on God." When I drove by the playgrounds full of children who had just had lunch and I noticed only pairs of little girls, the tears began to pour down my cheeks. Children follow and wait and trust so willingly. Before they know it, these children will be at the end of their lives or walking beside someone they love who is having to fight to stay strong in the Lord during a difficult time where death is near but will not come. They will long for God to grant them the ability to follow and wait and trust as willingly as they did during their playground days.

Advent is the time for preparing. We look back on what God has done in the birth of Christ. We look forward to the day when Christ returns. We savor the JOY His birth brought to the people who recognized Him as Messiah. Advent can be a time to meet with God to shore up your hope in Him. Advent is the time to renew our waiting upon God.

Murray wrote these words to introduce his book and I think they serve as a great introduction to Advent, "We want to wait on Him, to put away our experiences, however blessed they have been; our conceptions of truth, however sound and Scriptural we think they seem; our plans, however needful and suitable they appear; and give God time and place to show us what He could do, what He will do."

He continues with these words, "...Would God that we might get some right conception of what the influence would be on a life spent not in thought, or imagination, or effort, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, wholly waiting upon God."

God calls His people to wait on Him. By His grace and the power of the Helper granted to us by our Savior, we CAN wait on Him. This kind of waiting is for the praise of His glory. Alice is waiting on Him. I'm considering these things and asking myself the question whose answers bears so much weight, "Am I waiting on Him?"

"'Be silent unto God,' and thou shalt know
The quiet, holy calm He doth betsow
On those who wait on Him; so shalt thou bear
His presence, and His life and light e'en where
The night is darkest, and thine earthly days
Shall show His love, and sound His glorious praise.
And He will work with hand unfettered, free,
His high and holy purposes through thee...

And He will work for thee. Stand still and see
The victories thy God will gain for thee..." - Freda Hanbury

This post is part of a series on what I'm studying right now. To learn more about Advent or to read more posts in this series click HERE.

Six Favorites From Fall

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's been a while since I've told you what I'm reading and what I'm thinking about it all....That and my sister asked me for a recommendation based off of what I've been reading lately when we were out yesterday. I had to tell her that I've put more books down in the last few weeks than I've actually finished. Even though that disappointment clouded my memory, I combed through my fall stacks and chose a few favorites for her and for you. 

I read some really great books this fall, but these six came out on top:

"The Trouble With The Truth" by Edna Robinson probably comes out on top. Minus one little chapter that could be completely skipped, this book is simply fantastic. The introduction alone brought me to tears (you'll see why when you read it). The book itself is a hidden gem of a story! I'm glad that I happened upon it in my library's "new" section. This is one I want everyone to read. 

"As Always, Julia" edited by Joan Reardon For the last three years I've read a book related to French cooking and eating during November (this one in 2013 and this one in 2014) and it's a ritual that I've really come to look forward to. It only took me three days to plow through this one. The letters were so entertaining. The two friends wrote about anything and everything and while I admit that I did skim certain parts of the letters, I thoroughly enjoyed them! The third section was my favorite because that was when Avis started working for the publishing house and that world is very interesting to me. Read this one and prepare to feel like two of your closest friends have died when you reach the end. It was really strange to come to the end and realize, "This is it."

"Voracious by Cara Nicoletti" belongs on this list because it shaped much of the reading I did this fall. Nicoletti read books with her friends and then cooked meals inspired by what they had read. Their literary dinner parties turned into a food blog and somewhere along the way she landed a book deal. Voracious is her first book and it reads like a series of literary dinner parties. If you like reading and cooking, this is a book for you. 

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrick Backman was what I read with my goodreads book club (which you are welcome to join!!!) in November. We all agreed that this was a novel that caught us by surprise. It's Backman's debut novel, but it shows that he definitely has a way with words and people. You will laugh. You will cry. You'll hate the way the book makes you feel and you'll have to force yourself to pick it up so that you can read a little more. Each time you crack it open, you'll realize that you don't want to put it down. All of a sudden you'll realize that you love Ove and you need to know more about his story. Disclaimer: There is a fair amount of language in this book. 

"The Secret Adversary" by Agatha Christie I've been reading Christie for the longest time and I was surprised to find out that I had never touched her "Tommy and Tuppence" series. My Mom and I watched the series on AcornTV as it was released in September, so I decided to read the book before we made it through all the episodes. I LOVE the tv series, but I really like the way Christie brought Tommy and Tuppence to life in the novel. If you're looking for a quick mystery, this is the one for you! There's a whole series following it AND a tv version if that's your thing. 

"I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith satisfied my craving for some mid-century literature. This (along with the poetry of Billy Collins - which is hit or miss by the way) was recommended to me by way of Nicoletti. I loved digging into something that had inspired her and has called her back for more many times over. This is one of those stories about LIFE as it happens, slowly and unexpectedly. It's the perfect book to take your time on, to curl up with on a rainy day, and to get a taste for the way writers used to work. 

There you have it, six books that made my fall reading something special! All of these would translate very well into winter reads. If you pick one up, be sure to let me know. I'm taking recommendations for next November's book on French eating and cooking. What would you recommend?

What are some books that really spoke to you this fall?

DIY Advent Calendar

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

In case you didn't already know it, I am NOT a crafty person. When I did my student teaching, Mrs. J told me that I really needed to overcome my weaknesses and learn to incorporate songs and crafts into my lessons. Every now and then, the voice of Mrs. J (and the knowledge that my Mom, sister, or friend Heidi will come to my rescue if my genius idea doesn't pan out) inspires me to pull out the crafting supplies and create something...Every now and then, everything turns out exactly as I hoped it would.

Last Friday when God brought my plans for Advent into existence, I attempted to make myself a calendar using things that I already had on hand. Since we've been living without 90% of our belongings for the last few months, my options were super limited. It's not Martha Stewart and it's received a few laughs, but it works and it makes me happy every single time I see it.

Let's get started!!!

For this project, you will need:

paper - I used newspaper because we happen to have a bunch of it
a sharpie
a hole punch
a needle with a large eye (optional)
painters tape - I'm sure you have some other kind of adhesive on hand though

Begin by choosing the sections of newspaper that you will use. I looked for pieces that were heavy with printed text, a few bold headlines, and I made sure that both sides appealed to me. Use your scissors to cut them into any shape. I went with rectangles, but this is YOUR calendar.

Next, use your sharpie to label each shape with a large number which will correspond to each day leading up to Christmas. Some people count down, but I always count up for some reason. Again, this is YOUR project.

Punch a hole near the center of the top of each shape.  I used a three hole punch, but if you've got a single hole punch, I have a feeling that will go a lot faster!

Cut two lengths of yarn and thread one length into the needle. String the numbered shapes onto the string so that they are in order. Repeat with second length and the remaining shapes.

Use your painters tape to secure your banners in a place where you will be sure to see them throughout the day. If you want to, you can cut out an extra piece of newspaper and write down some words that summarize your focus this Advent season.

There you have it!!!

I plan to gently tear off each day's numbered shape and use a dark pen to write a few short words or a Scripture that summarize what I learned that day. I love having a calendar on the wall because it helps me to build excitement for the days to come, it's a visible reminder of what I have learned, and it pushes me to do the study each day.

Whether you have fancy supplies, or odds and ends that really aren't all that fantastic, I do hope that you can create something to add to your Advent celebration! It's never too late to give your soul time to prepare for the hope that the first coming of our Savior brought or for the joy that His second coming will bring!!!!

What's your favorite DIY of this Christmas season? 

Advent 2015: Waiting On God

Monday, December 07, 2015

By the beginning of November I start planning ahead for the Advent season. This year the first Sunday came and went and I still had no idea what I was going to do. I searched and searched and not one single study or specific Scripture stood out to me. Little did I know that the book I would be using was waiting in a thrift store for just 49 cents. 

Last Wednesday (the fourth day of Advent) we decided to pop into a thrift store during the break we had between an appointment and rehearsals. After doing a search for any stores that were nearby, we pulled into the parking lot to find that they were having a major sale. My Mom and I headed straight to the bookshelves. We found some great theology books (something that doesn't happen all that often in thrift stores) that were all in excellent condition. After combing through the stack, we narrowed it down to 16 titles. 

Friday rolled around and I was still anxious about what I was going to be doing for Advent...That's when I decided to look through the small selection of books we have at this house (the rest of our books are still at the other house) to see if anything could be adapted into a study that would take me through Epiphany. 

Andrew Murray's little volume titled "Waiting on God" which happens to consist of 31 days worth of meditations on the topic seemed pretty fitting. I set to work mapping out the study with the calendar. I gathered up materials that we happened to have on hand and made a simple Advent Calendar to hang up. My plan is to read one meditation and the Scripture that goes with it each day. Along the way I will journal my thoughts and keep my eyes peeled for hymns, poems, and daily happenings that go along with what God uses my study to teach me. 

I completed the first study time this morning and I can't wait for the next 30 days!!! Everything I have I owe to God and the fact that this study seems perfectly planned by Him shouldn't come as a surprise, but if I'm honest it is causing me to stand back in awe. I have so very much to learn and the weeks leading up to Christmas following a fall spent being reminded that the grace and presence of God are my greatest treasures is going to do much for my soul. 

I'll be here studying what it means to wait on God and I'm expecting Him to teach me how to do it...Our lives are full of examples of His providence, protection, and provision. May we all see His glory in a way that we've never quite seen it before this Advent season. The glimpses have already begun!

How do you celebrate Advent? 

A Thursday Drive: As Always

Friday, December 04, 2015

At the end of October, I shared some pictures from a drive I took with my Dad, my aunt, and my grandparents when I was visiting South Carolina back in September. It's the beginning of December (the warmest and fallest feeling day we've had in weeks) now and I'm ready to share the second and final part of this little series! I've got an hour and my second cup of coffee and a fresh bite from the writing bug, so let's go....

It's been 10 weeks since that rainy day in September when nothing was going right and yet everything was perfect. I think my Dad may have known where he was going all along, but maybe he really was making his mind up as the day wore on. After winding our way through this road and that road, up into the mountains, and in parts of North and South Carolina that none of us had laid eyes on in YEARS, we made it to the spot where we would get our hike in.

Hooker Falls Dam is a spot that my Dad used to take us to. We hiked the trails, rode horses, played in the water (my brother may or may not have had one of his many water related "there he goes" again moments there) and enjoyed countless day trips to these woods. We all piled out of the car armed with the umbrellas that my Grandpa packed (that man is the essence of preparedness) and made our way to the trailhead. It was barely drizzling by now so we were eager to take our time and enjoy this hike we had all set our minds on!

I pulled out my camera right away and started taking pictures of everything that I saw. The falls may be small, but they are peaceful and beautiful. When my Dad first started dabbling in photography he spent some time playing with techniques at this spot. One shot ended up framed and many a lazy summer afternoon was spent staring at that picture which used to hang on my Grandma's stairwell. What I'm trying to say is that I love this spot.

Hiking with my Dad and his parents is one of my favorite things. Everyone is quiet as they take in the scenery. There is ALWAYS something to laugh about and no one is in a hurry. I wonder if hiking these trails will be the same once they are all gone. They truly did teach me MY kind of hiking and I've yet to meet anyone that hikes quite like they do. My Grandma ALWAYS wears flip flops and she ALWAYS keeps up just fine. My Grandpa is the watchdog warning of danger and quick to offer whatever he has in his back pocket for "emergencies" (water? umbrella? an extra hat? snack?). Hiking was a highlight of my summers when I was growing up and looking back I realize how carefree those trips made me feel. Maybe that's what I loved best.

This September Thursday was no different. Everyone had aged about ten years since our last hike. My brother had no idea I was in SC and was experiencing his final day at police academy. My Grandma still wore her flipflops, my Grandpa was still the watchdog, my Dad was close by, and I was as carefree as I was in the days gone by. Hooker Falls Dam's magic was as breathtaking as always.

The rain picked up as we headed to the car. We piled back in one last time and began the drive to the house. The last leg of the trip was the quietest and I'm pretty sure it was because we were all mulling over the day's adventure. I snapped a few more pictures. We pulled over once to take pictures of this horse which proceeded to pose for a few shots and then turn around when he'd had quite enough. We finished off the snacks and drinks my Grandpa packed and before we knew it night was falling and we were home. I went to bed knowing that that day was going to be one of my favorites from the trip.

Ten weeks later, I've realized that that day held a lesson that's going to do me a lot of good in this season I'm in now. The road blocks were MANY and yet there was always another route. Plan A got swapped for Plan B and yet Plan B really was better than Plan A could have ever hoped to be. Making our way past the change ups was memorable...It's still with me 10 weeks later in a special kind of way. The joy that day brought was a result of my willingness to make the most of the day, roadblocks and all.

We've been at the Queen's Cottage for about three months now and I never quite know how to explain things or plan for the future, so life kind of feels like one great big Plan B. And actually, if I'm honest, it feels more like I'm on Plan J by now. The secret to being carefree and embracing that peace that God promises to His people is trusting Him the same way that I trusted my Dad that Thursday in September. It might feel foolish. It might not make sense to me or to those around me. It might not change the world...But when God's people trust Him (and live like it) they are a testimony to the reality of His sovereign grace. The words I've been clinging to over the last five years still ring true today and I'm grateful for another reminder of them.

"The life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there...There are rock slides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backwards in order to go forwards. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn't let you see very far ahead there are frequent signs that say, 'The best is yet to come.'" - John Piper