27:30 Myrtle Beach

Good ‘ol Myrtle Beach!
Between FL and Myrtle Beach, those are pretty much the beaches that I have been to the most. My grandparents lived in both places, but the one we visited them at the most was Myrtle Beach. They lived about 5 minutes from the beach, and had a communal pool (i know it sounds scary, but it actually wasn’t!) in the area’s where they lived.

Myrtle Beach is not that bad of a drive from Ohio, maybe like 10 hours max depending, but it was a nice trip for us! We would go in the summer time and I would take a friend, I also remember we went in the winter time one time also with the rest of the family. One time, I’m pretty sure this was that trip, in our vehicle we had my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my other aunt. All of us ladies were in the backseat, only there wasn’t room for me, so me being the youngest on that side of the family, I literally laid on their laps and pretty much slept for however long we were in the car. My mom and aunt’s were miserable, and I was loving every second of it! πŸ™‚

Myrtle Beach is great because there is so much to do, always. It’s been quite a few years since I have been there so I know it has only changed and probably gotten better I am sure, as most things do with age :). But, there are also lots of people, so if you prefer beaches with less people, this is not the beach for you. But if you don’t mind the people, and love activities, this is definitely the beach for you – especially if you have kids!

*As for photos, I couldn’t find a whole lot, and I know for a fact that only 2 of these are from myrtle beach, the others I am not sure, but they are photos of photos and I’m all about embarrassing photos so enjoy!

*My photos are not showing up to where I am able to upload them. My apologies, hopefully in the next couple of days, they will appear! πŸ™‚

 

 

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26:30 Indiana

For most of my life, my uncle and aunt have lived in the Ft.Wayne Indiana area.
My friend’s sister, lives in the Indianapolis area and whenever I’ve gone to Chicago, we’ve driven through Indiana!

To be honest, I’ve never done touristy things in IN, nor do I really know what touristy things there would be. But my memories are from there are good ones of just passing through. I’m always met with great hospitality and friendliness.

When I was younger, I would spend a weekend at my uncle’s, they always had dogs so that was fun! There’s not much to see in Indiana apart from flat land and wind mills. There is a great road stop in western IN when your getting closer to Chicago, I know there is a great travel plaza nearby (i forget the town) but we’ve stopped there numerous times and at a Chipotle nearby! πŸ™‚ We have our travel priorities right!

Unfortunately, I have no photos of Indiana. I could just post a windmill and from what I have seen, that would be fair enough! πŸ™‚ I do appreciate the flat land, in that it is different than what I am used to with the rolling hills of central/eastern Ohio, but if anyone has anything spectacular about Indiana, you just let me know where I need to see and someday I will make it a point to get there, while I’m passing through :).

25:30 Outer Banks

2 summer’s ago I had the opportunity to take about a week vacation to the Outer Banks in NC with a family I am very fond of. I have been to a few beaches, and this was the first time to the Outer Banks. I was very pleased!

I’m an introvert, so the beaches where there are many people tend to stress me out. This beach wasn’t very crowded, and it was great! I love just laying on the beach, which we did quite a bit of, but we also did quite a bit of activities, including a sand castle building contest which the boys won, they all went to a high ropes course which was fun to watch! (i have a fear of heights, so i stayed on solid ground), went to see a local lighthouse, went to an arcade one afternoon when it was rainy… There’s plenty to do in the Outer Banks area!

One morning I got up for the sunset and that morning was so special. I found a conch shell, and has some great time with God. It was exactly what I needed that summer.

We also went to Duck Donuts one morning…waited in line for like 40 minutes and it was SOOOO worth it! Donuts are the way to my heart, so to wait in line for donuts you ca customize and that are still warm and fresh is well worth it for me!

Towards the end of the week we also went to the sand dunes which was AWESOME to see the wild horses. We rented 2 Jeep’s and off we went driving onto the beach! It was so cool! This was probably one of my favorite parts of the vacation.

I would definitely go back to the Outer Banks again, especially for those donuts ;).

 

24:30: New York City

I’m not a city girl, but I am amazed by them and love to occasionally visit them! I am always glad to go home afterwards, but I am also able to really enjoy taking them in while I am in them. So, a few years ago I had the opportunity to go take in New York City with my friend’s family who came over for their holiday and spent a weekend in NYC, so I got to go with them!

My friend and I rode the bus from Pittsburgh to NYC and we met her family pretty much right down time if I remember correctly! We arrived around lunch time so we had a drink and some food and then off we went to explore the city! We stayed at a hotel in NJ just right across from the subway station pretty much. It did the trick! πŸ™‚

My feet were so sore from walking everywhere. We took the subway to Greenwich village, on a day that just so happened to be a Gay Parade. That was very interesting to walk into, people were handing out freebie bags that I will refrain from telling you all about! πŸ™‚

We walked through Times Square, got hot dogs from a stand (which was one of my have to’s!), we hung out in central park which for some reason just felt so surreal! We went to Radio City Hall and the Rockefeller Center. We walked the high line, which was really cool! Went to the top of the Empire State Building.

We took the staten island fairy to see Lady Liberty (we didn’t get off of the boat, it was at night-time) and that was really cool! That was one the last things we did while I was there with them, I left a day early. We also walked to see the WTC site which was very surreal and so eerily quiet out of respect. If you’re ever in NYC, this is a must just because it is such a big part of our History now and to remember all of the people who lost their lives and the hero’s who lost their lives and saved so many people is an amazing thing to have been alive for. Seeing the site and reading all the names just made it so much more real for me. I clearly remember when I found out, I was in Jr. High at my last class of the day and my History teacher at the beginning just turned the TV on because History was happening right before our eyes and she wanted us to know what was going on in our country. So we all just sat there and watched the news, and when I got home, that’s all my family did. We just sat there in disbelief. I will never forget, and for those who didn’t have any family involved like me, if you go and see it for yourself, it will cement it in your brain and give you just a taste of what people went through and to pay respects to the people, was an honor.

NYC was like a dream, and although I would never ever want to live there or spend an extended period of time there, a weekend is a blast for this little suburb/country girl like me! I also, am excited to go back someday. This time, I want to go in the wintertime, and see a broadway show and go ice skating at Rockefeller center and see the big Christmas tree! That’s all I want!

I don’t have any photos from NYC, my apologies. But what I have, is below and is great for me! thanks for reading! Thanks for the Monaghan’s for letting me come on this trip with them and being so generous to me! It was an incredible blessing and a very great trip!

23:30 Tennessee

Good ‘ol Tennessee. So much music! Such a fun state to drive through and take in Memphis and Nashville. I am not a country music fan, but somehow you can appreciate it when your in TN!

I remember walking down the streets of Nashville and there being busker’s on the streets everywhere and they were all so good too! Very entertaining and always had a crowd of people!

Memphis we were only in for a couple hours. We walked around town, saw the sites and the Rock n Roll Museum, sidewalk of stars, Lorraine Motel, Elvis’ statue… and ate at a restaurant that has Jonny Cash’s name carved into it because he had eaten there before!

We stayed the night in Nashville with a friend, she was very accommodating and took us downtown to a music festival thing, and we walked around to see the sites! I loved it! Nashville is definitely a good weekend trip with the ladies, and would love to do it for longer and take it in more than an evening! πŸ™‚

I hope these posts encourage you to travel more! Remembering them makes me want to see even more of this country, and world, but also to revisit different places that I really enjoyed or wished that I had more time in!

22:30 Arizona/New Mexico

I joined Arizona and New Mexico only because I have so little photos and spent such a little amount of time there. With that being said…
In 2013 I had the awesome opportunity to road trip from Phoenix to Ohio with one of my Alaskan friends who was moving back to Ohio for the 2nd time. Her sister traveled down with her from Anchorage to somewhere in Cali, and she was staying with a friend in Phoenix, so in August I flew to Phoenix and traveled back with her so she wouldn’t have to do the trip alone!

I have been having road trip cravings recently, so it’s only appropriate that now is the perfect time to share pieces of this road trip.

So obviously we started off in Phoenix, AZ. Now, keep in mind, this is the furthest west I have ever been (yet to go to Colorado and Cali which are on my top places to go) and I loved every second of it. Although the temp’s were quite high in AZ, because there was no humidity it felt wonderful, and I don’t even think I broke a sweat. (No humidity for this Ohio girl was like a breath of fresh air…really!) So we left not super early in the morning, but we went to Dunkin Donuts, got some drinks and donuts and said farewell to her friend who she stayed with for a week or so and whom I stayed with 1 night and the road trip began.

We listened to lots of great music, mostly Christa’s selection, because she has a great one and better than my own! I was just amazed driving through the dessert of AZ and NM of all the rock formations, and I was blown away by the beauty of it all. We were surrounded by dessert and I loved it! I think it was by that evening we had made it close to Albuquerque NM, and it was pouring. Pretty much it rained most of the time we were in NM, but we were still able to see some old abandoned shops along route 66 and saw even more rock formations and more of the dessert. So, that night we pretty much parked in a grocery store parking lot, and slept a few hours in the car while it poured rain, praying we would be safe. And we were! (My parents were told after this happened, that it happened…there was a slight freak out from my mother).

After that we pretty much drove through a tiny part of Texas and Oklahoma was super boring and lasted forever until we got to TN. Which the next post, will be all about Tennessee because we stayed there for 2 nights.

I remember ever since this road trip, wanting to go back to New Mexico and seeing what all it has to offer because I loved the beauty of it and it intrigued me so much! So, hopefully someday I will get to go back!
Until next time, enjoy the few photos I have! We spent most of the time driving, so photos were pretty scarce! πŸ™‚

Also, road trips are a great way to see our country. Each state has so much to offer, so I highly recommend road tripping. This trip took us about 3-4 days if I remember correctly. We pretty much drove 12-18 hrs a day, stopping the most in TN to take in Memphis and Nashville. So keep a look out for the next post! πŸ™‚

 

21:30 Texas

When I lived in Northern Ireland, I became friends with another American from Texas named Katie who was a part of the same program that I was doing just placed in a different location. She was hilarious, friendly, and I felt comfortable with her from the moment I met her. When I walked into a pole walking downtown one night in Belfast, she was the one who nicknamed me Polebrow and helped me walk the rest of the way! She was like the big sister I had always hoped for!

So, when we both were back in the states, I had the opportunity to visit her in Dallas, Texas! So in January, 2009 I went and I loved it!

She took me to her church and her small groups at the time. We ate some good ‘ol tex-mex, she took me to a cupcakery that was deeeelicious! (I love my baked goods). We took a trolly ride through Dallas, saw the spot where JFK was assassinated and just saw the sites and city of Dallas. At this point in my life, I had not visited many cities, and frankly was pretty scared of citifies. I found Dallas to be very non-threatening though and very welcoming and I loved everything about it!
We also got to take a mini road trip and visit my friend who was going to school in Texas! That was really fun to see her and meet a couple of her friends!

I cannot wait to go back to Texas someday. I’ve yet to experience it’s heat, I was lucky enough to go in the winter time when for my mid-western blood, it was absolutely delightful! It felt like fall to me! I am currently trying to talk my family into a family vacation next November-December to Texas. My mom loves Fixer Upper and wants to see Magnolia, so we figure why not make a road trip from Dallas, to Waco to San Antonio right?! SO, next time you see my Mom, you should highly encourage a Texas vacation!
I know I do!

20:30 Alaska

Well I have been slacking!
I have 9 more posts after this week to get in by October 22 (my 30th birthday!) SO I will be whipping these puppies out for ya’ll!

Alaska. One of the top 3 most beautiful places I have been to. I have been lucky enough to have gone 3 times. (if my calculations are correct..my mind is slipping the closer i get to 30 unfortunately) Part of the reason I love Alaska is because of the people who are there, the Richardson family! I love them as people and how welcoming they are, and I love how they do ministry and how they serve the people of Anchorage through their church.

While in Alaska, I’ve traveled quite a bit to see the sites. To glaciers and walked on one and bottled up some water (coldest, best tasting water i’ve ever had), hiked half way up Flat Top in Anchorage to see the sun set (after midnight of course), fell down a mountain up near Victory Bible Camp, almost drove a van into a family of Moose, stayed up way to late just because it’s still light out at midnight and because my friends are fun, fell down a set of stairs in the dark and messed up my ankle, experience my first tiny little earthquake, met some amazing and adorable children, worshiped with fellow believer’s, drank some great coffee, drove around the city…etc.

Many many memories from my trips to Alaska and hopefully the photos below will help give you some images of my memories!

I’ve never been to Alaska in the wintertime, nor do I really desire to go in the winter time, although I am sure it is absolutely stunning. I just am not a fan of snow and cold, so summer time in Alaska is perfect for me. I love the endless daylight, I am much more productive and energetic, I love the weather where its a bit cooler at night but lots of sun shine during the day. Perfect fire pit weather! πŸ™‚
I will forever remember the adventuring, the coffee, the people, the church, the community…something I will have with me forever and I am forever grateful for those opportunities and people! πŸ™‚

 

19:30 Oahu, Hawaii

About 2 years ago I had an incredible opportunity to go on vacation to Oahu with some people I adore. It was definitely a once in a life-time trip for me and I fell in love with Hawaii then and have not stopped dreaming of going back since.Β I actually just got my very first speeding ticket the other day because I was day dreaming of Hawaii. (oops!)

I would love some day to have been to each Hawaiian island. I’ve done research (because I’m a nerd) and they each have something different to offer. Oahu is the one with the most tourism. The North Shore is famous for surfing and there are lots of little surf shops and places to rent paddle boards, take surfing lessons, go kayaking…etc.

There are literally beaches everywhere. You drive 10 minutes down the road and you have about 3-5 choices of what beach you want to go to! It rains often but for only 5-10 minutes at a time then the sun is back out! It was perfect weather, wasn’t to hot because you have a nice breeze from the ocean.

One of my favorite parts was driving and seeing the ocean on one side and a massive wild jungle of trees on the other. We stayed in a house that was close to the Polynesian Culture Center which is where we went for a Luau and watched a show on Hawaiian culture and the origination. Watched a lot of the dancing, ate the food. It was a cool experience for a girl who loves culture that is different from her own.

The people that we met who lived and worked there were super nice and told us the places to go hiking and what times to go! The first day we were there, we stayed in Honolulu and so first thing in the morning a few of us went hiking up Diamond Head. That was sweet. At the top you get an amazing view of all of Honolulu! We walked along Waikiki beach, we did some shopping, saw the statue where the Hawaii 5-0 tv show headquarters are! Made the parents jealous with that one! πŸ˜‰ We also went to Pearl Harbor and got to tour the memorial. That was a really solemn and humbling experience.

After a couple days we went up to the North Shore where we stayed the rest of the time. We had our favorite beach that we went to more often than the others, but we pretty much tried a new one every day! It was off season for surfing so we didn’t see much surf. But we went hiking in Waimea Valley and to the beach there across the road from the Valley. I loved that area, the boys did cliff jumping and rolling down the sand, as you do!

Overall, this trip was one of my most memorable and favorite’s. I cannot wait to some day, hopefully go back! I would love to do more hiking and experiencing the island!

 

Unfortunately I cannot find my photos…I have the whole summer of 2015 missing from my iCloud photos…which is a big bummer. Pretty each month I dislike technology more and more even though it can be very helpful (most of the time!)Β At least I printed them out right away so I still have photos on my wall! So I apologize that you only have these 2 photos to enjoy…
Google has a lot more professional photos, but they are still accurate of what it looks like, and yes, it is that majestic and wild and amazing!

 

If you ever get the opportunity to go to one of the Hawaiian islands, take it without hesitation! You won’t regret it!

 

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Freedom in Forgiveness

We have all been hurt by different organizations (christian and non-christian), church’s, and people. We live in a world that sin runs rampant, so it is pretty inevitable that we will get hurt, and that we will do some of the hurting too.

Every person we meet is broken. Some haven’t worked through that brokenness yet, some have, and some are still working through brokenness or finding new areas of brokenness. Like I said, sin runs rampant.

Hallelujah for the coming of our LORD when sin no longer will run rampant and all will be perfect and glorious in the presence of God!

If any of you know me personally, or have followed my blogs before, you know that the past couple of years have been difficult for me, with some hurt. It has been quite a journey of walking through that and finding healing/freedom from it. I feel like I am finally at a place where I truly have been healed and set free from all of that.

So here are some things that I have learned over the past couple of years:
Part of the issue with getting hurt, is that we hold onto it. We hold onto what has been done to us because, ‘how dare that person treat me that way’, they love Jesus, and so do I. ‘I don’t deserve that.’ Well in fact, we do deserve it (Romans 3:10, 12). But that’s not the point I want to get across.

I had this realization today while driving to church; forgiveness is championing the one’s who have hurt you. Recently, I’ve been able to see how God has in fact healed my heart from hurt, and a lot of that is by how I have defended and championed those who have hurt me in the past, even the church as a whole.

Yes, even when working for a church, the church can still hurt you. I’ve worked for/in the church/ministry for just over 10 years. WhenΒ working in a church and with leadership, I often tend to be the person to hear a lot of complaining and concerns about leadership and the way the church does things. Do I like hearing these things, no. Do I sometimes think it is necessary, yes. I would rather people share their concerns with me than anyone else apart from leadership in the church because I know I can handle it and can challenge how they view things, and have also been in their shoes.

We all want things to do be done a certain way, or people to think like we do and care about the same things that we do, but what good would it be if God’s people all thought the same way, and did things all the same way? I’ve walked through hard church times where the church was split because of differing opinions of how our Church should function. We need that tension of differing views. It can be aΒ good tension to figure out what we value most, where we need be challenged, and if we are willing to let go of our own pride for the sake of a brother or sister or ultimately and most importantly for the sake of the Gospel and Jesus.
One thing I have found in hearing these concerns…is that I have become a defender of my Church and my leadership. I have had to lay aside my own hurt, for the sake of the Gospel and what God is doing through us. I have had to lay my hurt aside for the other hurt people too, so that I don’t make their hurt worse or let them stay there. It is gossip when we start talking about all the things that we don’t like within an organization or with people- especially if we don’t plan on confronting them in love or giving suggestions or even hearing out why things are done a certain way. We often don’t give the benefit of the doubt, or trust that people love Jesus as much as we do, but we have to. If you aren’t able to trust specific people right away, then trust God, who orchestrates everything and is much more jealous for His people and Church than you are, and is much more able to change people and turn them His way.

For a while I championed or defended because I needed to, but recently I have found that I desire to defend. I feel called to be one of the many defender’s of the church and of leadership, and to help those who have been or are hurt, to walk through their hurt. I have found the freedom that is found in forgiving others, and the redemption and restoration that happens in that, and also the JOY in that, is incomparable. And I look forward for those of you who are working through hurt, to find that freedom. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, it will hurt, but God is good.

All you have to do is seek God. Pray for the ones who hurt you. And in praying for them, remember that they really are just like you, trying to be like Christ but wrestling against sin, and have been hurt also. Practice defending those who hurt you or offended you. Find the good, the Jesus in them, the things that they do really well and encourage those attributes in them. Pray also for your healing. Allow the Holy Spirit to do His mighty work in you, and be submissive to Him. He will lead and guide you. He never fails.

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Β but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Colossians 3:12-14
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Β bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.