Pages

Friday, June 10, 2016

How to Savannah on a Budget by Erin & Crystal

I mentioned to someone at church Sunday that I was going on vacation this week. "Oh, where are you going?" She asked.
"Savannah," I replied. 
Her response: "Again?"

Yes. Again. Don't judge me. 

Several people have asked for recommendations, so I'm dusting off the blog to bring you How to Savannah on a Budget. 

Getting there
I've been to Savannah close to a dozen times. Before, I've always driven. I can get here from Lexington in a little less than 8.5 hours (unless my mom is reading this, which in that case, it takes me about 9. I don't speed mom, really). This time we flew. Allegiant now has flights mon stop from Lexington, and we scored tickets for $100 each (round trip). This did include checking a bag, but between the two of us, we just checked 1. The weight limit is 40 pounds/checked bag. We didn't even hit 30 between the two of us, so why would you pay for 2 bags? Plus, you still get a "personal item" free (I used my 31 pool/beach bag; Crystal brought a backpack). Plenty of room, saves money, win/win. 

Obviously if you can fly for cheap, fly. 1.5 hours in the air > 8.5 in the car. 

Where to Stay
I've stayed a little bit of everywhere-hotels outside of Savannah that were super cheap, hotels in the historic district that were a bit pricey, hotels on the outskirts of town. I hate to spend a lot of money for a place where I'm just sleeping, but location is important in Savannah. This time we did an AirBnB off Forsyth Park , and honestly I doubt I'll ever stay anywhere else. (If you're new to AirBnB, use this link for $25 off your first booking!)


The location was great, the last pic was the view just outside out front door, and yes, that's Forsyth Park. It was close enough that we could walk over and drink our coffee in the morning, and it was no more than a mile from anything in Savannah we wanted to do. The rates were cheaper than nearly any hotel we saw, and it was a nice place. Good towels, comfy sheets, and a full kitchen if we'd ever wanted to make dinner (which we did not, but you never know). 

Getting Around
Now obviously, in the past, I've always had a car in Savannah. This time, we decided to just see if we could make it without. Guess what-we could. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we didn't go far (one day I had over 25,000 steps) but we really didn't NEED a car because of the location of the AirBnB. 

The times we wanted to go far (airport, Tybee) we just got an Uber, and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a ride. The Uber to/from the airport was about $20. To Tybee was a bit more, but we actually ended up not paying much at all. You see, while I don't use the Uber app every often, I remembered if a friend uses your referral link to sign up, they get $20 off their first ride, and then you get $10 off your next ride. I gave my referral code to Crystal before we went to Tybee, she signed up, and our ride there was $2.50. I requested the car on the way home, and our fare was $12.50. A trip to Tybee and back for $15? Yes, please! (If you're new to Uber, here is my referral link to get $20 off your first ride! You can then share your code with someone else (like a traveling companion) and get the same sweet deal we did! FYI that link must be accessed from your phone)

There's also a free dot Express Shuttle that will take you to certain points in the city. We didn't use it, but saw it several times. (Look for the purple bus stop signs or visit connectonthedot.com)

What to Do
Take a tour. 
I might be a nerd (let's face it, the "might" could for sure be taken out of that sentence), but I love the trolley tours. I've done several of them-the on and off Olde Time Trolley Tour, the on and off Old Savannah Tour, and the 90 minute Olgethorpe Tour that gives you on and off privileges afterwards. They're all good. I suggest choosing the one that is the cheapest that day. You're almost always better off buying online than in person.  You can search Google for coupon codes for each (that's what I did this trip, found a coupon code for $10 off two tours, it said the tour had to be booked 24hours in advance, and we were booking approximately 10 minutes in advance, but I tried the code and it worked!). Also, set your Living Social or Groupon app to the Savannah/Hilton Head location a few weeks before you go and you'll probably catch an even better deal. 

Several companies also offer carriage ride tours and walking tours which I've never done, but are on my list to try another time. Many of the historic homes have tours as well. 

In addition to the history tours, as Savannah is supposed to be one of the most haunted towns, there are a plethora of Ghost Tours to choose from. I've done a couple in the past, but sadly I've never seen the ghosts others claim to see.  

Visit River Street and City Market (or as my mom collectively calls them "Market Street"). There are a bunch of stores and places to eat in this area. Stop in River Street Sweets or Savannah's Candy Kitchen (or both!) and get a warm praline sample. You can thank me later. 

Just walk. 
Regardless if you're staying in the heart of it all or driving in from the outskirts, find a place to park downtown and just walk. There are over 20 "squares" (think teeny tiny parks) to sit and take in the nature, history & architecture, or drink a beer and people watch, you know, whatever tickles your fancy. 

There's also Forsyth Park which is a great place to sit and people watch, especially by the fountain. My personal favorite thing to do is to offer to take pictures for strangers so their whole family can be in one shot. I'm nice like that. 

Shopping
As I said before, there are lots of places on River Street to shop. One of my favorites is Savannah Bee Honey. They have a bunch of local honey that you can sample, as well as other honey products (soap, lotions, chap stick, etc.) it's definitely tell worth a stop. 

Another favorite is the ShopSCAD store. This is items created by local college (Savannah College of Art and Design) students, and there's some cool stuff in there. Now, I've never actually purchased anything because it's pretty expensive, but it's cool to look at. 

There are also Tanger Outlets close to the airport. So if your flight is cancelled and you have to stay another night, ask of your hotel will shuttle you there. The Country Inn & Suites will. Trust me, I know. Also, did you know Gap Outlet will ship your purchases home for only $5? I have utilized this on a previous trip and when I came home to a huge box it was like Christmas!

Tybee Island
If you're a beach person, hop in the car or use our Uber tip and head to Tybee. It's about 25 min outside of Savannah, and is a great beach. In the spring and fall, the beach is NOT crowded. In the summer, obviously a bit more so. Just by the Pavilion/Pier you can rent two beach chairs and an umbrella for $25 until 4:30. Worth it, even if you didn't save $30 getting there and back. 
There are also porch swings throughout the beach area. They make my heart happy. The beach AND a porch swing? Well that's the south at its finest. 

Where to Eat (and drink)
Now we get to the good stuff. Food. Drinks. Sweets. 

Savannah is full of places to eat whatever you're in the mood for. Again, check Groupon/Living Social for deals before your trip. (In the past I've even gotten buy one/get one deals.) When I'm close to the water, I eat seafood. If you're not a seafood fan, you might want to ask someone else for tips. 

Seafood
River Street is full of restaurants. What's nice is that they all have menus posted outside, so you know before you head in in you want to eat there. I always like to have a "go to" that I KNOW I love. It used to be Uncle Bubba's Shrimp and Grits, but then sadly, that restaurant closed (RIP). Luckily, a stop this week at The Cotton Exchange and an order of Cajun Tortellini has helped right all the wrongs in the world.  It was legitimately one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life. Cheese tortellini, seared scallops and shrimp, and a creamy Cajun sauce. Oh. My. Deliciousness. Now I'm not saying this is heath food, but I told you I walked 25,000 steps one day, so lay off me.  (Disclaimer: no picture. We were too hungry.) We also ordered the crab cake appetizer which was delicious. 

Another great choice is the fried fish sandwich at River House Seafood. So fresh and perfectly lightly fried. I got it with the Sirachia sauce instead of tarter. Yum!  

We happened on a couple of places that seemed to be full of locals as well (always a good sign) on special nights. Crystal Beer Parlor was having a pint night, and purchase of a certain beer yielded a free pint glass. Also Treylor Park on Bay Street has Taco Tuesday-free draft beer with the purchase of any tacos (I recommend the Fried Grouper-it was the catch of the day). Both restaurants have specials listed on their Facebook pages. 

Southern Comfort Food
I'm sure locals will tell you there's more than two choices, but I think all you need are these two: The Lady and Son's and The Wilkes' House. Both offer buffets of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, Mac and cheese, and other southern staples. Lady and Son's (Paula Deen's restaurant) also has a menu you can order from, but I prefer the buffet (honestly the best mashed potatoes ever in the history of the earth). You can request a table online and show up when it's time to eat. You can also just walk in and get a to go container and eat lunch in one of the close by squares (I've never actually done this, but I did email them to make sure that was a real thing and they told me in fact it is).  At Wilkes, you'll be waiting in line a while (about 45 min for us), and it's family style, so you'll be seated with a bunch of strangers (they say you can make friends this way, but my table was too busy stuffing our mouths to meet and greet). Wilkes has the BEST fried chicken. I think you can't go wrong either way. 

Dessert
As mentioned before, a good tiny bite of dessert is the free praline sample at one of the candy shops. If you're in the mood for more, you can always buy a whole praline, or any assortment of fudge, truffles, or chocolate covered anything.  

In City Market, there's a cookie shop called Byrd's. They make tiny shortbread cookies in dozens of flavors that are all scrumptious. They offer free samples (and you can sample several) as well as a free small bag of their featured flavor if you sign up for their email list while you're  there. 

If you're in the market for a cool treat (and don't mind waiting in line), Leopold's is the place to go. You might be in line for 30 minutes, but honestly. It's worth it. Best ice cream I've ever had. 

Drinks 
At Jen & Friends, there are over 300 martinis you can choose from. Yes. I said  300. Honestly, I could've put this under desserts, as the ones we got (Reese Cup and Rice Krispie Treat) were much more dessert like. At $9 a pop you won't want to have many, but honestly, you need to have one. 

There are several local beers that I fell in move with in Savannah (and sadly can't get in Kentucky)-Son of a Peach (brewed in South Carolina oddly) and Southern Delight Praline Amber brewed in Savannah by Coastal Empire. If you like beer, I recommend both, although not at once. :)

The interesting thing about Savannah is that there's no open container law, so you can get a beer, martini, etc to go and walk around with it. It's an odd situation at first, but we adapted fairly easily. ;)

So there you have it... the best things to do and see in one of my favorite places.  Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to find Cajun Tortellini recipes.

ENJOY!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Little Bit of Decorating


The Problem:


I need something above this television.  I have never had anything there, but I just cut the cord with my cable (thank you Sling!!!) and now that the DVR box is gone, and I can finally display these lamps that were my Gurnie's (The story goes, my Papaw bought these at "the thrift" when they lived in Vero Beach, Florida. Gurnie told him they were ugly and were NOT going in her house. Then somehow, she found out they were worth hundreds of dollars, and they adorned her mantle every day after that!)
So ugly they're fabulous!

Anyway... back to the empty wall space.

So I wanted something above the television.  But the walls are plaster and it's a brick chimney behind them, and, well I didn't really want to hammer/drill/whatever to hang something.  I thought about doing one of those vinyl wall decals, but I have one on the adjacent wall that leads to the dining room, so I thought that was overkill... but I did like the idea of a word: blessed.

Among other things, every morning I pray that God helps me remember all of the blessings I do have and not to focus on the few things I don't have. It's easy to focus on what we don't though, isn't it?  I do try to be grateful and understand that I truly am blessed... but I will admit, sometimes it's harder than others.

The idea of this word blessed morphed into a Pinterest worthy idea, and I am pleased at how it turned out!

I went to Michael's for some canvases, paint, and brushes.  Can you believe that the $14.99 canvases were three for the price of one this week, and I had a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase and my total was just at $25. See, I told you I was blessed!

Step one was painting the canvases a tan color. Oh, I'm sorry, "Unbleached Titanium." Which makes sense, because who wants bleach in their titanium?

Because I am highly aware of the fact that fonts are WAY cuter than my actual writing, I had found this free font online (I found it at 1001fonts.com but I can't remember which of the 1001 it was... sorry) and printed the word in like 635 point font. I wish I could've used this size on my 30 page grad school papers.  

I then turned it over and shaded the back with a pencil, so I could rub the outline of the letters on before I painted.





Look closely and you'll see the outline











Then it was just painting over the letters (which I readily admit I should've practiced before I went right in to the canvas, but hindsight is 20/20, right?) Today I bought the Command strips that are kind of like velcro, cleaned the wall and hung them up.  Those strips are the best because part stays on the wall and part on the wooden back of the canvas so I could straighten, move, etc very easily. I love those things.

So here it is now!



Again, the letters don't look as good as I wanted, but all in all I am happy.  And blessed. :)



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fixing Single People

I love my DVR. I love that I can set a series recording and never miss a new episode of Scandal. I love that while watching a UK game, I can rewind and do my own version of an instant replay even if the SEC Network isn't going to show me the play again. I love that at the end of a close basketball game, I can pause the TV and watch in slow motion (which somehow makes me less of a nervous wreck). But I really love it because I can skip through commercials, because let me let you in on a little secret...



I



Hate



Commericals


Now, every now and then, there will be a funny commercial (the Taco Bell one where the guy kisses his girlfriend's dad on the cheek because he won't put down his tacos to shake his hand) or a sweet commercial (Peter coming home for Christmas) that I don't mind, but in general I am not a fan.



I have never taken an advertising class, but I have noticed that commercials are more than just selling us something, they are all about fixing us. A quick look at commercials will show you everything that's wrong with you, and what you need to buy to fix it. Lashes too short? Too much grey? Stomach too flabby? Hair too flat? You can get products to fix each of those problems.



And the latest catastrophe that's plaguing us? Singleness.



Are you still single? You need to be married! Join a dating website so you can find someone! Join NOW!



While that's not the exact script, it does seem to be the theory behind the commercials I continue to see from Match, eHarmony, OurTime, and even FarmersOnly. You are single, something is wrong, join this site to fix it. While I am not bashing online dating (I really do know people it has worked for), the multitude of commercials for dating sites really does convey the message that this is an epidemic... a problem that has to be fixed.



And while we are on the topic, does anyone think it's a coincidence that when someone has a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a boyfriend's sister's neighbor's dogwalker's college roommate that would be "perfect" for you, it's called what--fixing you up. FIXING.



Everyone wants to fix the singles.



But... not all of us feel like we need to be fixed. Not all of us think it's a Greek tragedy if we are coming home to an empty house. I'm not even talking about people who are anti-marriage. Whether single people want to be single or not, it's okay to be single. Whether you are okay with it or not, it is okay to be single. Just because my happily ever after doesn't look like everyone else's doesn't mean I'm not happy.



And trust me, happy or not, the last thing a single person in their 30s needs is someone else making them feel like there's something wrong with them. We've got plenty of commercials for that.







Saturday, May 10, 2014

MOM



I have the greatest Mom in the world. Seriously. No offense to any of you reading this who have moms or are moms, but no one holds a candle to terri. Really. I love my mom for a million little things, but here are a couple dozen big reasons why I love her so much.

I love that she's about the cutest thing you've ever seen. Even when she's wearing a brooch on a sweatshirt or children's sandals, she's still pretty stinking adorable.

I love how much she loves my dad.

I love how much she selflessly loves her kids. All five of us.

I love how much she loves her grandkids. All ten of them.

I love our "bits". After that weird early teenage years/arguing with each other every day phase was over, it was "Hey remember when you used to hate me?" and she'd reply, "I never hated you, you hated me!" Then for a while when I'd tease her she'd say, "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone!" To which I'd reply, "Where are you going?" Now on our Tuesday morning calls after she says "Good morning! How are you?" and I mockingly say it back she says, "Are you making fun of your mother?" To which I reply "I wouldn't do that!" And then before we get off the phone she asks me what kind of shoes I have on. None of these things are probably funny to anyone else, but they make me laugh.

I love her faith. She isn't just a Christian, but she really knows and loves Jesus.

I love how humble she is.

I love how smart she is. Beating her at Scrabble is nearly impossible. I think it's because she can un-jumble letters like no one else. In fact, once I gave my fourth graders a word jumble I found online which didn't have an answer key to it. After no one could figure it out, I said, "Hold on kids" and I called her on my cell phone.  I read her the letters and in about 15 seconds she gave us the word.  My students were in awe.

I love how talented she is. The cross stitch things she's done are just beautiful, and she can sing better than anyone you've ever heard.

I love what a good cook she is (and that she makes things on request when I come home).

I love that she doesn't care about things that don't matter. So if she's coming over and there's laundry that needs to be folded or dishes in the sink, she won't even notice.

I love how cute she is when she gets things messed up. Sometimes she will say "She's up a tree without a paddle" or "You've made your bed, now you've got to eat it." Or when she's texting and her iPhone autocorrects, she says "Stupid spell check!" It makes me laugh so hard.

I love that growing up she always wanted all my friends to just call her "mom" (or "terri" at the very most). No formalities in our house.

I love how much she loves the Reds. I mean I like them. I love watching in person, and I will watch the playoff games, but this woman will listen to them on the radio if they're not on TV and at any given moment can name you all the players and probably tell you their batting averages. It's pretty impressive.

I love her sense of humor. She's not a joke teller like her dad was, but when she says something funny, it's really funny.

I love the way we can sometimes look at each other and silently know we are thinking the same things about someone.

I love that she's a perfect balance of the storytelling of her dad and the "Do you like it? Well, you can have it if you want!" of her mom. It's like a little bit of Mamaw and Papaw Wells all rolled into one.

I love how when she texts me she often throws in a bonus PS that's semi-related to what the text is about. I know that's Papaw Wells coming out in her, but I think it's about the cutest thing in the whole world.

I love that she's addicted to her iPad games and if I don't play my turn she will text me or call me to let me know she's waiting.

I love that she brought me up with rules and values. I am thankful that she loved me enough to set boundaries and hold me to high standards.

I love that she taught me life skills. I have known how to budget for groceries, paint a room, and balance a checkbook all before I could even drive a car.

I love how she's so strong, and she's made me strong. I don't even think she knows how strong she is or what a great example she's set for me, but she's fought through some seriously tough crap, and she's about as much strength as you could possibly pack into a 4 ft 10.5 in body.

I love the way she let me be my own person, and continues to support and praise me every chance she gets.

I love that I know whatever I do and wherever life takes me, she will be in my corner cheering me on.

She's the greatest mom a girl could have and I am so very very lucky that she's mine.



Happy Mother's Day Mom! I Love U!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

(Belated) Adventures in Real Estate Part 4: The Cutest House on the Block

For years, I spent my Sunday afternoons the exact same way... Watching endless hours of House Hunters on HGTV while I looked at houses for sale online.  I knew that while I did love my little townhouse, I certainly didn't want to stay there forever.  One Saturday evening in early May, I found myself watching a House Hunters marathon, and instinctively, I picked up my iPad and opened the Zillow app, which was set to filter new listings in Lexington.  That's when I saw it... The Cutest House on the Block. OMG, it was adorable.  It was everything I wanted in a house: an older home, hardwood floors, a fireplace, back deck, and a porch swing! It was even on a street I'd always loved, and the icing on the cake: walking distance to Commonwealth Stadium. I fell in love. 

As luck would have it, there was an Open House scheduled the next day. Sunday afternoon at 2 rolled around and the storms rolled in.  I thought it was ridiculous to get out in the downpour to see a house I probably wouldn't even get, but I decided to do it anyway.  When I got there, it was even cuter in person.  The rooms were just big enough (I am not a "this master bedroom isn't big enough" kind of girl), the closets were a good size for a house built in 1920 (I am not a "where's the walk in closet?" kind of girl either). The master bathroom (!) was huge, but the kitchen threw me off.  I actually stood in the corner with my arms crossed for long enough that the owner/realtor came over and said "Can I answer any questions?" I replied with, "Yeah, how do you cook in here?"  It just seemed so SMALL, and it didn't even have a dishwasher.  Hmmm... maybe this wasn't the house for me.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I emailed the owner and asked her the dimensions of the bedrooms, which happened to be almost identical to my townhouse. Monday morning at work I was showing everyone the listing on LBAR, and then I got an email from the owner that someone was about to make an offer.  I was so sad! I hadn't even called a realtor to get my townhouse listed yet! So I decided to go ahead and get that started... but before my realtor could even get my townhouse listed, the Cutest House on the Block was "Sale Pending."  Then I was REALLY sad.  As Cinderella (the 80's band, not the Disney Princess) says "Don't know what you've got til its gone..." I'd lost this house I loved.  But the kitchen was small.  And it didn't have a dishwasher.  I don't think I wanted it anyway (I told myself).

I decided to go ahead with the house search, as I had my townhouse listed, and I really did want to move.  I looked at several houses in the same general area... but nothing that I really loved.  Then one day my realtor said he had a new listing to show me in that area.  "Where is it?" I asked and he replied with an address that sounded very familiar.  It was The Cutest House on the Block.  It was back on the market.  We went the next afternoon and it was cuter than I'd remembered.  I could see myself here.  It had everything I wanted.  And while the kitchen was still lacking a dishwasher, I swear it grew in size from the first time I'd seen it.  Plus, I can wash dishes by hand. Heavens, I'm only feeding one person, and sometimes that person just wants a bowl of Lucky Charms!

It had been several weeks and no one had even looked at my townhouse yet.  I wasn't sure this trying to move was a good idea.  I prayed about it and figured it wouldn't hurt to talk to the bank.  The loan officer asked if I was going to move before I sold my townhouse.  I'm pretty sure I looked at him like he had seven heads and said something profound like, "Ummmm.... NO!" However, for some reason, they ran my preapproval with my townhouse mortgage still listed as a monthly expense. It came back preapproved for just over the list price of The Cutest House on the Block (at this point, I realize I could begin to abbreviate it as TCHOTB but I don't want to). So while I knew it wasn't logical to proceed in buying a house when I already owned a house, I did have some options at this point.

I decided to put an offer on the house, contingent on my townhouse selling.  After a touch of back and forth (where I found out I couldn't have the pot rack or the porch swing!), we had a contingency contract signed. Once my contingency offer was accepted, I had to decide if she got another offer, and I had the chance to pull my contingency, would I do it? It seemed ridiculous. I decided to pray about it.  I prayed a LOT about it, and I just really felt like God would work out the details.  So, I called the bank, then my realtor, and decided to go ahead and pull the contingency clause out myself to get the ball rolling.  After all, I did want to be in by football season!

So six months ago today, I signed my life away, and got the keys to my house.  My REAL house. The Cutest House on the Block.  I couldn't move in until she got the rest of her stuff out, which was that night, but I was so anxious (and have such good friends) that we brought over one truckload and one Equinox-load at about 10pm. We brought in the washer and dryer, cleaning supplies, and several boxes. I gave the McCartys the tour and then for good measure we took the first pic!
Lucky for Ryan, he has this thing called a regular job, which might require him to work weekends.  His wife, however, does not have that luxury and I was thankful for that.  On that Saturday, we attended the UK Women's Football Clinic...

Painted a refrigerator... (I wish we had a picture of us trying to get the fridge outside!)

Seriously, how awesome is this?

Where we learned about the dangers of DIY...




We also moved a full size cherry bed, mattress, and box spring (another thing I wished I had video of), wandered around Lowe's for what seemed like forever looking for approximately three things that we COULD NOT FIND, and then drove off from the drive thru window of Chick Fil A with only part of our order.  Yeah, we were tired.

I'm blessed that in the hottest summer ever (do you guys remember that thing... "hot"?) somehow that day, the weather was wonderful. Because of that, and because somehow I have pretty amazing friends, the next day three more people showed up to help me move! Even better than that, two were guys and the other is the strongest girl I know, (thanks again Bret, Micah, and Amanda!), so by about 4pm on Sunday, I was in.  And by IN, I mean in the middle of boxes. That's when I called in reinforcements by the name of Whitney.  I still say that had she not come over, my dining room would be filled with boxes to this day.  After three days of moving I couldn't even think straight.  I said "I can't do it! I can't decide where all the things in those boxes go! I can't!" And sweet Whitney, who probably thought I was acting like HJ, picked up one thing and said "How about this bowl? Where is this bowl going to go?" And she kept me out of the boxes and just brought me things one at a time until it was all put up.



So that's the story. Six months later I couldn't be happier.  Oh, and a few notes for the road: I unexpectedly got a raise at work enough to cover the townhouse mortgage, then I found a renter who signed a 2 year lease. Also, I found out that the day I put in my contingency offer on this place, there were two other offers that were supposed to come in, but they both backed out at the last minute.  When God works out the details, He does a really good job! :)
Thursday, December 12, 2013

35

I have always loved birthdays, especially mine.  Even if I didn't do anything big, I always loved to celebrate with a dinner with friends at the very least.

This year, however, I just wasn't feeling it.

I haven't really had a problem with getting older up until now.  29 didn't bother me. 30 only bothered me because I had the stomach flu.  Nothing post-30 had bothered me either.  That is, until this year.

35.

I am not sure why it sounds so much older than 34, but it really does.

Maybe it's because 35 is the age you start hearing on commercials. You know, "Women over 35 should consult their doctor..." "these risks increase in women over 35..."

Maybe it's because at 35, high school was literally half a lifetime ago.

Or maybe it's because at 35, I can't really ignore the fact that my life has not turned out the way I thought it would.

I love my life, I do.  Most days, I am perfectly happy with who I am and what I have accomplished (I mean, c'mon, Cutest House on the Block and I am a real estate mogul? That's pretty doggone good!) But there are plenty of days I struggle.  I struggle with feeling alone.  I struggle with being the odd man out.  I struggle with not being able to add to the conversation when the talk is anniversaries and proposal stories and late night feedings.  I struggle with the feeling that being single is somehow the consolation prize for a contest I wasn't even qualified to enter, which is a real problem for me, because I certainly don't like to lose.  And sometimes, to be brutally honest, I feel like I am losing.

Had you asked me at 20 where I would be at 35, I would've said "Married.  Good job.  Two kids.  SUV.  Dog."  Even jaded and cynical at 30, I probably would've said I would at least be dating someone seriously, if not the happy family I envisioned at 20. Isn't that what we would all say? Isn't that what we are supposed to say? Isn't that where all of us are supposed to end up? At 20, it was easy to see that.  At 30, it was harder to envision, but still imaginable.  At 35, it's becoming more difficult to imagine it happening, and easier to imagine it not happening. I am not trying to be Debbie Downer, nor am I trying to get everyone to say, "Oh, it'll happen when you _________ (least expect it/learn to truly love yourself/stop looking/etc)!" I am also not saying it won't happen, but I am saying the odds are not in my favor.

So I guess the question I have now, is what do I do now?

And I think the answer is simple.  LIVE.  Staying single is a perfectly acceptable, albeit not particularly desirable, plot twist in my story.

I can love my life even if I am sometimes discouraged.

I can be happy where I am, even if I don't want to stay there.

I know I am blessed with what I have, and that I have more than enough to satisfy me.

I will make it.

Maybe 35 won't be so bad after all...







Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blessed

I am not one to post the daily thankful status updates on Facebook.  (For the record, this is not because I am NOT thankful, but because I want to save everyone the time of having to hide me from their news feed on Day 7 when I run out of big things to say and start posting the same things I've posted for three years.) However, I have been thinking about my blessings lately, and trying to focus on what I do have, not what I don't.  It's difficult.  I am blessed in several areas of my life, but in all honesty, sometimes not the ones I want to be blessed in.  I have been striving to not compare myself to others and focus on what's good, but it is a challenge.  Then today I ran across this little jewel on Pinterest:





In all of the things I've read and sermons I've heard and conversations I have had, this one just drives it home for me.  Because it's true.

The grass is NOT always greener, and it would do us good to remember that.