Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year...almost!

Hi friends,

It’s almost 2013! When I was younger, I use to think the only thing grownups could ever talk about was the how time was always flying by and how much the weather changed. As I inch closer to becoming a grownup myself, I understand why they were always talking about time moving so quickly. (The jury is still out on the weather banter.) The days and years seem to be going by faster than ever and in just a few short hours we will  welcome yet another. Before we get to all the things we hope for in 2013, I’m going to take a little look back at 2012. It's been a bit of a whirl wind. A great whirl wind. 

The year was brought in with fun friends, a trip back to Alabama and the Bachelor Brownies. (Bachelor brownies consist of printing off women’s faces, putting them on toothpicks, sticking them on brownies and watching a terrible reality show. It’s excellent.) It continued on with birthday celebrations, pretty spring flowers and a really fun trip to the beach with my Mama. Summer greeted me with gorgeous sunsets, fun day trips, an apple pie on the fourth and an incredible birthday beach trip. The fall of 2012 was rounded out by my internship in Portland which really needs a whole post of its own. Four months filled with new everything; including some really beautiful scenery. The final days of this year have been spent with family and a lot of food. It’s been wonderful. I have learned and grown so much this year and looking back at it makes me so happy but most of all, so thankful.

Here’s a little look at this year:

Friday, December 28, 2012

a long awaited update + Tour De Pacific Northwest


It has been way too long! It's been a crazy couple of weeks. My friend Carolyn  came to Portland to visit me during the last week I was there and then we flew home to Florida together. We figured it would be best to plan it that way because twelve hours of travel is only made worse when you have to do it alone. We had ourselves a classic adventure in the Pacific Northwest and even though it didn't go as smoothly as either of us hoped, we made a lot of memories that I'm sure will last forever. (Along with the bruise on Carolyn's knee from tripping as she got on the bus.) Sorry Carol. 

Traveling home also included eight (!!) bags full to the brim. Roughly 300 pounds. I know, I know, who needs that much stuff? No one. The answer is no one. Nevertheless, eight bags sadly turned into seven when I left one on our first connection from Portland to Oakland. The missing bag held my laptop, camera and art supplies. Needless to say, I was a bit upset when I realized what I had done. Thankfully my bag was delivered to me a few days later by way of FedEx and hefty price tag.

Here are a few photos from the start of our adventure. Anyone that goes to Oregon for the first time will undoubtedly be taken to the Columbia River Gorge without hesitation because it is that beautiful. Remember when I went the first time? Four short months ago.  

Hope you had a happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmas.

Merry Christmas friends,

The Lord came to us as a baby, to be our King, our friend, our guide and our rescuer. Let our hearts rejoice in the wondrous night, some two thousand years ago, when hope was born unto us, for us. May today be filled with laughter and full hearts that are continually pondering the eternal weight of this special day.  

Fondly from Florida, 

p.s.We'll talk about why Plant by Water has been lacking in updates later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Hey friends, 

I was walking to work yesterday and I saw a pumpkin laying in the middle of a parking spot on a busy street. Undoubtedly, it was put there by an unruly teenager who was certainly nearby watching with much anticipation for the next car to park and smash it. Kids these days, sheesh. If you know me at all, you know that I love pumpkins and can imagine that seeing this abandoned guy made me a little sad. As I was getting over the sight of the forgotten October mascot I started to think about how quickly things change. 

Just a little while ago the world couldn't have been more excited about fall and pumpkin in its many forms; in muffins, in coffee, in oatmeal, in ice-cream, in pie, in butter, and in mac & cheese (that one was just me). The time came and went just like that and in a few short weeks, the pumpkin frenzy was quickly forgotten and it was all "Christmas is here! Tell your friends." The orange gourds were soon replaced with twinkling lights, decorated trees and sweet songs being sung.  

You see, as much as I love pumpkins and I really, really do, there is something undeniably wonderful about the Christmas season. I wasn't happy to see that pumpkin laying in the road but it reminded me that there is a reason we get excited about giving gifts, decorating our homes, and gathering with our families and he came in the form of a baby. Jesus being born is a pretty big deal. And by pretty big, I mean the biggest. deal. ever. So when we say it's the most wonderful time of the year...really, isn't it? 

Have a great Tuesday! 

Fondly from Portlandia, 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

super sweater sunday.

Howdy friends! 

As the days creep closer to Christmas, festive gatherings seem to be out in full force. Last week, the church that I have been going to in Portland, Mars Hill, had the brilliant idea to have a Christmas Sweater Sunday. Everyone wore their Christmas best and after the service there were photo booths set up so you could get portraits taken. A grand time was had by all! 

I am so very thankful that in just a few short months I have been able to find a great church, people who were so welcoming, and a community of friends that have been nothing but generous and sincere. Friends aren't always easy to come by so I feel pretty blessed that I have found so many great ones here in the North West. 

Fondly from Portland, 

p.s. I'm also getting really excited because THIS GIRL gets here in exactly one week!!! (That sentence really deserved to be in all caps.) It is going to be awesome. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

seaside, or.

Hey Friends! 

A windy afternoon was spent at the coastal town of Seaside this weekend. Despite leaving with hands that were too cold to feel, it was a lovely time spent with really great friends. Most people will probably look at you with a question mark face if you tell them you are going to spend the day at the coast in December but don't let their puzzled looks stop you. The Pacific coast is breathtaking and a lot of perspective can be gained from doing some things out of turn. 

Have a great Monday folks!

Fondly from Portland, 


Monday, November 26, 2012

the holidays, portland edition.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 

I went to the tree lighting downtown this weekend. It was rainy, my socks were wet and I was freezing but it was so worth it. Even though it was only the day after Thanksgiving, it felt like the appropriate kick off to the Christmas season. When you live in Florida most of your life, I think it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit because it doesn't necessarily feel like Christmas. You can dream of a white Christmas all you want but the reality is you will probably still wear shorts on the twenty fifth day of December. These are just the facts.

Even though it is still November, the holidays seem to be in full swing around these parts. We sang some Christmas songs in church yesterday and last night I saw a tree strapped to the top of a car that I can only assume was taken home and decorated beautifully. The holiday season is really good at giving me a perpetual warm little feeling in my heart and I welcome it. 

Fondly from Portland, 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

rivalry weekend.

It's game day y'all!

The Thanksgiving fun continues today with lots of college football. My Alma Mater, the Florida State Seminoles will face off against the Florida Gators this afternoon for what is sure to be a good game. I took that picture two years ago when we played the Gators and won for the first time in six years. It was my senior year and it rocked. Hopefully this year will be a repeat! 

Come on, sing along

You got to fight, fight, fight for FSU! 

You got to scalp 'em Seminoles! 
You got to win, win, win, win this game and 
Roll on down to make those goals! 
For FSU is on the warpath now, 
and at the battle's end she's great. 
So fight, fight, fight for victory, 
the Seminoles of Florida State! 

Fondly from Portland, 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

heart of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving friends, 

As the years go by and I get older, it becomes more and more clear to me how truly thankful I am to have so much. I think that at the core of who we are, the thing that we crave the most is to be loved. (Hang with me, this won't be super emotional...promise.) Truly, the feeling of being loved is unlike any other. It has the power to heal, to conquer and to encourage. It allows you to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who are mourning. It allows us to step outside of ourselves and carry the heart of someone else. 

Being 3,000 miles from home on a holiday that is so focused on family is incredibly hard. (I dropped a friend off at the airport this morning and may have teared up just a little.) So today, I am thankful that love is not limited or measured by space or geographical location. I am thankful that loving and being loved transcends physical distance. 

Today, I will be having Thanksgiving dinner with a family that is not my own, a family that just a few short months ago, I didn't even know. That's how good the love of God is! The way he continues to care for his children fills my heart with so much joy. Ultimately, today, I am most thankful for that unconditional love. It makes all the other love in my life possible and gives me so, so much to be thankful for. 

So friends, I hope that you enjoy this thanksgiving with people that you care about and people that care about you. Remember that love is not limited and looks really different for everybody. Sadly, there are some people in the world today who don't feel loved by anyone so if you have a little extra to give, go find someone who needs it. I bet we won't have to look to far. 

With a full heart from Portland, 
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