Monday, September 30, 2013

Blood Mountain

So sorry for abandoning y'all last week! It was one of those weeks where I just couldn't seem to get caught up on anything.

This past weekend my brothers stayed with us while my parents went to my mom's high school reunion in Columbus, MS. Well, the weather here this past weekend was absolutely perfect. There is no other way to put it. It would have been a crime if we had stayed inside all day and had done nothing. Pat is an Eagle Scout and both of my brothers are currently in the Boy Scouts so we figured we would take them hiking. We decided on Blood Mountain because none of them had ever hiked that trail before. It had been 10 years since the last time I did it. Blood Mountain is the highest peak in Georgia and the view at the top is completely worth all the pain.

My little brothers at an overlook

Finally at the top- taking it all in

My honey :)

All 4 of us

He doesn't like this picture bc he think he looks like a giant. I love it :)

You can't tell me that view isn't worth it. Breathtaking.

We ended that trip by chowing down on some BBQ, and I may have made them stop at the outlet mall on the way home. Oops!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Letters

Photo Credit: Jesse Phillips

This Friday's Letters will be a little different for me. I am so joyful that it is finally Friday, but at the same time my heart is heavy. Mr. Randy (pictured center) is someone who made my college years one of major spiritual growth. He currently is battling stage 4 cancer and as of yesterday has lost almost all ability to communicate. My Friday's Letters is dedicated to him and his sweet family.
Mr. Randy,
I'm not going to lie when I first met you I was intimidated. You are someone who naturally draws people to you. I didn't quite understand what it was at first and after spending just one Sunday with your family at church and then at lunch, I understood. It's Jesus. You are literally oozing with Jesus, grace, love, compassion and forgiveness. You are gentle and kind. Someone who can be a spiritual leader to so many while gently guiding them towards The Gospel and applying it in every day life. I have many great memories from college and most of my favorite ones include you and your family. 

The ENTIRE Phillips Family

Mr. Randy,
We, the students of Mississippi State, could never thank you or your family enough. You opened up your home to us on countless Friday nights for a time of fellowship and growth. I cherish those memories and a part of me aches for them every Friday night. I learned what it means to serve through the simple actions of your wife and children. I learned what it means to give grace when it more than likely won't be returned. I learned what it means to live with grace. Most importantly, I learned what it means to live your life for The Lord each and every moment. We all fall short and we will all stumble. I still struggle with my daily Quiet Time. I was humbled to learn that you still sometimes struggle in that department too. Listening to you talk about that struggle caused me to learn what it means to live a disciplined life. We may not always want to do what is best for us or for others, but you can over come that urge to fall backwards with some discipline and a lot of prayer and guidance from The One who truly wants what is best for us. I began to understand a little more that The Lord's way is not the same as ours. There will be times of pain and struggle, but those times are being used to bring us closer to The Lord. Those times are also used as a time of disciplinary action. We do tend to forget that we are still children most of the time. It is always a moment of awe once you remember that you are truly the child of a King. The most marvelous King that will ever exist.

There is one night that has always stuck out to me more than the others, Mr. Randy. I will never forget the moment when you said, "Sometimes I don't love my wife." You could have heard a pin drop in that room at that exact moment. The feeling in the room at that exact moment was pure shock. The love that you and Mrs. Maureen have for each other is a love that most people just dream of. We couldn't understand what you meant by that. Your explanation is one that I take with me in my day-to-day life. You told us in moments of anger you are not loving any one. In the moments of when you are angry with anyone you are not in the act of loving them. The best way to dumb that down even more is to take the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 that so many people know- 

 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

When I apply this truth to my life I like to take out the word "Love" and replace it with my name. In anger am I being patient and kind? Am I not being arrogant or rude or irritable or resentful? The answer to all those questions is no. I had never understood that before. I know I still have a long way to go. I probably always will. I am naturally an extremely stubborn person that has a temper that can flare up. I try to remind myself of that moment in your living room surrounded by so many brothers and sisters in Christ. That was the moment when I began to understand what love truly is, and I grasped a deeper understanding of the love that Christ has for all of us. 

I praise God that I was able to spend just some of my time in college with you and your family. I praise God that he put you in my life at a time where I was growing spiritually but was still a little lost. I praise God for the light that shines so brightly from each and every one of your children. I praise God for their friendships, their grace, their forgiveness, their patience, and their servant-like hearts. I praise God for the moment that you were led to Him. I praise God that he molded you into a clay jar and used you as a vessel to so many. I praise God that even through one of the most difficult battles in your life that you are still at peace. I praise God that through the simple Facebook postings of your sons and daughters-in-law that the light of Jesus is shining so brightly and spreading to so many. 

I am praying for your continued peace. I pray that you are comfortable. I pray for the strength of Mrs. Maureen and your children. I pray that I will see you again one day. 

The words "Thank you" will never seem to be enough. Through Christ you have given me some of the most important lessons that I will ever learn. I pray that as I grow older I will remember them and continue to strive to be more Christ-like.

Thank you, Mr. Randy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A normal weekend. For once.

Sometimes you just need a weekend at home. We actually got a lot done and still managed to be rested AND go to a Braves game.

Our weekends are usually spent deep cleaning our house and airing it out. We live in an old house and old houses just have a unique smell to them. I'm all about fresh air in the house so we open all the windows and let the wind blow through all weekend long. For some reason this intrigued Fluff more than anything this week. Well, Punks (the black and orange one) got all jealous (as usual) and decided to join in on the fun. We have fat cats. One fat cat on the window ledge is pushing it. Two fat cats on the window ledge ... well, it just doesn't quit work-

Fall is one of my favorite times in The South just because of college football. I thought watching football on Saturday was the perfect time to break out my new favorite ice cream. My favorite beer + ice cream = heaven. If you're in ATL please check out Frozen Pints. Their ice cream is fabulous!!

Saturday night we went to the Braves game with our good friends Jason and Kristi. Kristi always finds the best deals for Braves games. This game our tickets were $65 for the both of us in the outfield and we got a Braves Tervis Tumbler gift to go along with it. Now, I'm a sucker for a Tervis Tumbler. I drink out of one all day, every day. They seriously keep your drink colder for so much longer than just a regular cup. I think we have about 20 ... I wish I was exaggerating!

Not a bad view!

Sunday is always laundry day at our house. This Sunday laundry day also meant nap time. Pat and I both took a nap on the couch together. Something we never do. Well, we were both woken up by Fluff and it sounded like she was panicking about something. Of course, I jumped up to investigate. When I got back into our den to reclaim my spot I found it occupied ... What. A. Diva. You know what they say about people who cry wolf....

Happy Monday, y'all! Go out and take the week by storm!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Letters

DC; Summer 2009

Dear Patty, thank you for taking care of me when I had a migraine on Wednesday. Even when I was being a butt. Whoops! Thank you for your grace during that time :) Dear Work, my you have seriously dragged by this week. SO happy it's Friday! Dear Braves, I'm going to see you tomorrow. Please win! Dear AlPal, I am so so proud of you for pass the Bar! You have always been one of the hardest working people I know. Still so thankful for our summer internship on The Hill for bringing us together. Dear Pat, thank you for being a full-time student and still finding the time to work two jobs. You are the most driven person I know. Love you to the moon and beyond!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget.

Today is one of those few days in history that the majority of people know exactly where they were from 8AM (EST) on. I was in my first period science class in 8th grade at the Atlanta Girls' School. I distinctly remember the phone ringing in our classroom and for some reason thinking, "That phone call is going to be for me." It was. Hearing the words, "Hello, Britton? We are calling to let you know there has been a serious plane crash." (pause) At this point we did not know it was a terrorist attack. Also, right now would be a great time to let you all know that my dad is a pilot for Delta. Hearing those words was one my worst nightmares. Something I was always terrified of hearing. OK, continuing on... "Your dad called and wanted to let you know that he is OK and safely out of New York and in Boston." Breathe. And tears. I was the first student in my school to find out what happened. I was in shock and couldn't even put into words what I had just found out. My dad was (and still is) based in New York for Delta. At that point in time he was piloting the shuttle from New York to Boston and DC. He had happened to fly out of NYC that morning to Boston just before the first plane struck the North Tower.

I remember sitting in a daze the rest of the day. Thankful (for my dad's safety), scared, shocked, sad. My family is very involved in the military and it has always been instilled in me to be proud of being American. This was the first time I realized that not everyone "likes" the US. I didn't understand it. Perhaps I still don't to a certain extent. 

I will never forget that day. I will never forget my immediate feeling of horror when I found out what happened. I'll never forget being told to "Stop crying." I will also never forget never being more proud to be an American than I did in the days that followed. A country that is quite literally a giant melting pot united in a way that no one could imagine. The exact opposite of what those who wished to destroy the American Spirit wanted to happen. I will never forget the bravery of those who threw all caution to the wind and stormed into those towers to save those who were trapped. We will never forget the men on Flight 93 who were brave enough to save possibly thousands more by intervening on their own doomed flight. We will never forget those who worked in our Pentagon who went to the place that is the center of our national security and were attacked. We will never forget the victims. I pray that our country is able to unite that way again and to show the world why this is truly the greatest country to ever exist. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Letters

Lille, France; July 2010 - My other hometown

Dear Husband, thank you for vacuuming this week. You know how much I loathe it. Dear runs/walks, you are slowly but surely getting easier. It feels great to finally exercise again after being told my vertigo will never go away. Dear Trivia Team, way to kick butt this week and win, AGAIN. Let's show 'em how it's done again next week! Dear Neighborhood Cat, having  you sit and wait on me at the same spot during each lap is like your own form of encouragement. I love it! See you this afternoon. Dear Patrick, thank you for going to sleep in the guest room while you were sick. I think you could out snore just about anybody. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Honeymoon Style

**Warning there are approximately 1000000 pictures in this post**

Here in Atlanta it's been an incredibly rainy summer. So rainy in fact that we hit the mark for the yearly average of rainfall back in the beginning of August. Throughout all of the rain I was dreaming of our one week in paradise. We both loved St. Lucia and hope to go back one day. It had the perfect mixture of two of the things we love most, water and mountains. We both only took our iPhones, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well our pictures came out! 

Breakfast Buffet: Day 1

Our first look at the beach

Stereotypical picture of husband on beach :)

I love the water. I love being in the water. I didn't last 10 minutes on the beach before getting in it.

And then I sat as close as possible for most of the day.

Of course Pat found a cat at lunch on our first day. Cat. Man.

First Dinner. First day: Success! And burned. Whoops!

Our second day was basically a repeat of our first day: pure relaxation. My favorite day of the trip was the day we spent on a boat doing an island tour.

Boat Tour

We had to. The Piton Mountains with a Piton beer.

Souvenir Picture :) 

St. Lucia is such a lush island. So beautiful and green.

Remember when I said I L-O-V-E being in the water? This was my favorite part of our trip.

The next stop was at the sulfur mud pits in what used to be a volcano. The volcano exploded years ago so now it is used as a tourist destination. Those "warm" springs are not warm... they're SCALDING. Especially for someone with a sunburn. I almost cried. Seriously. That mud bath though? I seriously don't think my skin has been that soft since I was a day old. That junk seriously works! Here is us in all of our muddy glory-

Our next stop was Pat's favorite part of the day trip, lunch. We had the amazing opportunity to go to a local's home and eat some homemade Caribbean food. I was pleasantly surprised and Pat cleaned house as usual.

The cutest little house in the rainforest: Our lunch spot
The spread.

The rest of our trip was spent on the resort. Annnnd maybe a slightly illegal trip to the abandoned island in the cove across from our resort.

That bling looks reeeeal good on you ;) and Go United!

Our spot. Our umbrella.

The Bob Marley- Not only was that drink pretty it was also so yummy!

Honey on the beach. That island in the background is one the we made our great excursion to.

THIS is the reason we made the trip. An abandoned convent is on the island. 

The view of our resort from the abandoned island.

Looking for seashells by the seashore

Kayaking back to the resort. This was my second most favorite part of the trip.

I spent the rest of my day here.

And here.

Dinner at the Italian restaurant. SO good. Antipasta bar and all!

Dinner at the nice restaurant. 

I love mousse. Annnd I was totally fascinated by my cup made of white chocolate.

Pat's favorite feature of the island, all you can eat sushi!

The sunset on our last night. Perfection.

Here are some of the complimentary "professional" pictures taken of us by a photographer at the resort.

Our favorite.

If you made it through that you deserve an award! We tried to relish every bit of our trip because that is probably the last "vacation" we will be able to go on for awhile. Our many weekend trips are going to have to do for now!