Friday, November 29, 2013

A Day of Thanks

Thanksgiving was filled with chilly weather, warm cups of coffee, delicious food and tons of laughter. I was planning on waking up super early to finish my cooking and baking, but that didn't happen (surprise, surprise). It was my first day off and I wanted to sleep in. My morning was kind of a blur. I watched bits and pieces of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while rushing to finish everything up.

One broccoli casserole, two pumpkin pies and two dozen deviled eggs later, we were ready to head to my brother's house. It was finally cold enough to throw on a jacket and pull out my boots. I even tossed on a scarf (for like the first time, ever). I was so incredibly thankful to be surrounded by the people I love most. Before everyone filled their bellies, we went around the table and shared what we were thankful for. Some were goofy, but others were heartwarming. It was nice to focus on our blessings instead of the hardships this life can bring.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Disney Vacation · The Parks

After checking into the lodge on Monday morning, the three of us headed to Magic Kingdom on the ferry. Once inside the gates, all of these memories came flooding back. We made our way down Main Street, reminiscing about times we'd been there in the past. Eagerly grabbing a map, I scoped out all of the rides that I wanted to revisit. There weren't as many people there as I thought there would be, so the waiting wasn't so bad.

Walking around a bit after riding a handful of rides, we all decided it was time to get lunch. Since Disney recently expanded Fantasyland, we wanted to try a new restaurant. Fashioned after the castle in Beauty and the Beast, Be Our Guest had been on the top of my list. The food was good, but the atmosphere was fantastic.

Growing tired, G suggested that we take the ferry back to the lodge for a couple of hours and then return to watch the fireworks before the park closed at 10. It couldn't have worked out better, really. The sun had set and the temperature dropped. We were able to quickly find a spot to stand for the show once we were back. I have to admit, the fireworks were my favorite part. Disney really knows how to put on a great show!

On Tuesday, we hung around the lodge for the majority of the day. Around 4, we took a bus over to Downtown Disney. I've been wanting to ride the Characters in Flight balloon for years, but it was always closed when we would visit. Thankfully, it wasn't too windy and we were finally able to ride it. After we were back on the ground, we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and walked around for a little while. But there were so many people! We ended up leaving earlier than planned. I can't stand crowds! When we were back at the lodge, we got some hot cocoa and relaxed for the rest of the night. All in all, it was a nice little getaway :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Disney Vacation · The Resort

Last Monday, we packed up and headed to Orlando for a couple of days. As I mentioned on Twitter, I was a little too excited about going to Disney World again. I have only been about 10x in my life (far more than the average person, I know). What can I say? Living an hour and a half away from Mickey certainly has it's perks!

We only stayed for 2 nights, but it was fun while it lasted. My mama had been saving up money since last year so that we could stay at Disney's Wilderness Lodge together instead of booking a room at a regular hotel. We used to stay at the lodge almost every year after my 12th birthday. It became somewhat of a family tradition. I have to admit, being there this year brought back so many memories of my Dad. I really wish he could've joined us.

If you're ever visiting the Orlando area and have an opportunity to stay in one of the Disney resorts, I'd highly recommend staying at the Wilderness Lodge. Its rustic charm and tranquil ambiance will captivate you. Quaint little alcoves accompanied by toasty fireplaces and snug chairs are nestled into different areas of the lodge. And when Christmas rolls around, they really deck the halls. Wreaths and garland adorn the walls while a 60-foot Christmas tree takes center stage in the lobby. It's really a sight to see!

I was bummed when we checked in on Monday morning. I walked in hoping to see that giant tree, glistening in all its glory. When the automatic doors slid open, my heart sunk. But, upon check-in, I was informed that I may be able to see it during our stay. I shrugged it off since we would only be there for 2 nights. What were the chances? G said, "watch, you'll wake up in the morning and the tree will be there." Little did I know, he was right!

Whenever we went to grab dinner on Monday night, a women who worked there told me that they would be setting the tree up at midnight. She told me that every year, after her shift, she would get some hot cocoa and watch the team set it up. After years of admiring its beauty, we were finally able to see how it was assembled. We couldn't stay up the entire time since it takes all night, but it was very cool to witness.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing about our time at Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Lazy Weekend

Last week was a whirlwind of sorts. Tuesday was orientation, but I already shared about that here. Wednesday wasn't so bad. Two hours of learning the cash register. I would say "training", but handing me a book and telling me to figure it out with a fellow new team member isn't really training. Haha. Thursday was kinda rough! I worked from 4:30pm-11pm. My trainer had an important project to work on so I was left alone the majority of the night. She was helpful, but I would have liked some more one on one time. Friday totally made up for the night before. The lady who trained me was the sweetest and she stayed with me the entire night. I was even recognized during our end-of-the-shift "team huddle" for being a quick learner and for working hard. So, that was neat.

Once the weekend rolled around, I was ready to be lazy relax at home for a bit. G and I went out to dinner with our friends on Saturday night. Yummy sushi and lots of laughs makes for a pretty great night. I'm surprised they didn't kick us out because of how loud we were! I intended to go to church yesterday morning, but I didn't make it there. I must have been tired because I turned my alarm off and didn't wake up until 11am. Yikes! Between working and just not feeling it (bad excuse), I haven't been to church much this year. Need to go soon!

I spent the day being a bum, not even gonna lie. I stayed in an over-sized tee and sweatpants all day long. I managed to get some laundry done (washed and put away). I cooked a pot full of creamy chicken tortilla soup for dinner (and by pot, I mean crock-pot ... love that thing). Needless to say, it was delicious and I'm planning on sharing the recipe with y'all. I watched television, played Call of Duty and unfollowed 50+ blogs that I had been following (new recommendations are appreciated). It was a lazy Sunday, no doubt about that. But, I enjoyed it.

This morning I woke up around 7am after going to bed after 2am (crazy, I know). My alarm hadn't gone off. I just felt well rested, I suppose. G was already still up (he's a night owl, I tell ya). He put a fresh pot of coffee on and we headed back to our room. I basked in the comfort of our bed, with a cup of steaming pumpkin spiced bliss in hand. Slow mornings are the best, aren't they? I plan on being productive today (to make up for the past 2 days I've wasted, of course). I'm guessing step one would be to wrap this super long (sorry, not sorry) post up!

But first, I would really like to say how thankful I am for each and every (past, present and future) veteran that has served our country. Thank you for your bravery, your dedication and your sacrifice. I would especially like to recognize my Dad on this day of remembrance. He is loved and missed by many! Freedom isn't free, friends.

Don't forget to thank a vet today (and everyday, really).

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Every Dream, Every Plan

Dream after dream, plan after plan. Journal pages filled with a life I imagined I'd be living. Where I would live. What I would be doing for a living. When I would have children and the names I would give them. It's all there, crashing about in a sea of hopeful pursuit. I've been a planner for as long as I can remember. Although it comes in handy sometimes, it's also caused much disappointment in my life over the years.

Looking back, there have been many times that my plans fell through. In those moments, I was disappointed (and upset) about the way things turned out. That is until I saw what He had to offer. When I saw the bigger picture, I was relieved. God can see what's around each corner, which is an ability that we lack (unfortunately). We should find comfort in knowing that He can see what's going to happen next. He's working behind the scenes no matter how things may look from our perspective. I'm glad He has my life in His hands, every dream + every plan.

I'm glad I didn't end up marrying my high school fling or any of the other guys I could have sworn were "the one" at the time. Because I would have never met my husband. I'm glad we didn't end up having a "honeymoon" baby like I had hoped for. Because starting a family in that season of our marriage would've been too hard on our relationship. I'm glad our plans of moving out of my parents' house in 2011 didn't work out. Because we wouldn't have been here to help my mom after my dad passed away last year. It's like this quote says: "God will wreck your plans when He sees that your plans are about to wreck you." I believe God was protecting me (and my family) during all of these instances. Next time your plans don't work out the way you'd like them to, remember that it could be a good thing! God's "NO" isn't a rejection, but rather a redirection.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Target Orientation

Y'all, it's official. This morning I had my orientation for Target. There was a lot of information to take in, but besides that it was great. We introduced ourselves, watched some videos, filled out a ton of paperwork and took a tour of the facility. We were given our schedules as well. I'm training the next few days, then I'm off all next week. I'm so happy to be working for one of my favorite stores. Not just that, but the more I learn about the company and what they stand for (integrity, diversity, teamwork, etc.), the more I love the fact that I'm working there.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

I'm Choosing to Grow

It's kinda funny, you know. Looking back at who we once were and being aware of the fact that we've changed. I'm not the same person I was years, months or even weeks ago. Change is inevitable, we all know that for a fact. But, growth? Growth is a choice, really. We can choose to stay the same, always wondering what we could be. Or, we can choose to grow and learn from each experience. Leaving what we've always known and reaching towards something greater. I don't know about you, but staying the same doesn't appeal to me much anymore. Embracing change, however, seems to be a daring adventure. One that I'd like to experience day in and day out.

"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."
Karen Kaiser Clark

I used to be one who despised change. I loved routine. I clung to it like a baby holds tight to a security blanket. I found safety in the ordinary. Until I came to the conclusion that God hasn't called me to live that way. Life is always changing, always adapting. So, I shouldn't be afraid when these changes impact me. On the contrary. I should be thriving in every season, welcoming change with open arms (and an open heart). Coming to that realization has helped me.

Now I find myself craving opportunities for personal growth. I'm pushing myself to go further, to reach higher. I don't want to waste the days that I've been given. The changes I face will only mold me into a stronger and wiser individual (if I allow them to do so). I want to be all that I can be and do all that I can do. What a shame it would be, to look back on this life and realize I was too afraid to grow. I refuse to live like that and so should you.

Friday, November 01, 2013

So Long, Comfort Zone

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram already know this. On Wednesday, I landed my first "real" job (I mean real as in not managed and/or owned by my parents). I'll be working a seasonal position at Target. I know. Pretty sweet! But also a bit dangerous since I love pretty much want everything that's sold there.

The funny part? That was my first interview, ever. That's right. I'm 23 years old and I had never been interviewed. Talk about having a mini-heart attack! I nearly fainted after hanging up with the HR manager on Tuesday. I quickly sent text messages to all my friends for advice. What the heck do I wear? How do I act? What do I say? Yeah, you get the picture. Thank God for awesome friends! Each of them had great advice and really encouraged me.

Come Wednesday morning, I was a nervous wreck. I had been up all night, tossing and turning and over-thinking. I even contemplated not showing up at all (so lame). But after praying about it all and pulling myself together, I decided to just go for it. I mean, I'm twenty-freakin'-three years old. Gonna have to come out of my shell at some point, right?

I showed up 20 minutes early and filled out a questionnaire on one of the computers. I was then sent up to HR where I patiently awaited my interview in one of their conference rooms. After watching a short video and being asked a series of questions by a woman who worked there, I was escorted to the managers office. And that's where it all went downhill (or so I thought). I answered most of the questions to the best of my abilities, but was at a loss for words on some of them.

I'm pretty sure the manager could sense my nervousness, because it seemed like he was coaching me through the whole thing. When it came time for me to share my strengths and weaknesses, I simply told him the truth. I'm a hard worker and I'm extremely reliable, but I do have a hard time talking to people sometimes. I'll do it since I have to, but it still freaks me out. It's something that I'm working on and I actually think that this job will be very beneficial for me.

After the interview had finished, he asked me to take a seat in the employee break room. I really didn't know what to expect. I thought he would thank me, tell me he would be in touch and send me on my way. Well, I was wrong. I guess he liked my honesty and saw potential because he offered me a position on the spot. I was shocked (and very thankful).

I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking "it's just a seasonal job", but to me it's really so much more than that. It's about taking a step giant leap out of my comfort zone and working on improving myself. I can honestly say that I'm proud of myself and I haven't felt this way in a long time.

I passed my drug test, purchased red tops + khaki pants and my orientation is on November 12th. I'm still a tad bit anxious about the whole thing, but that's normal since it's a new experience. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, learning the ropes and pushing myself to do things that I never thought I could do :)