Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's better than planned adventures? Surprise ones!

I'm not one to blog about a lot of things outside of what God is doing in my life/fitness, but this one must be written about!

My sweet, spontaneous boyfriend decided to take me on a surprise adventure last weekend. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that my parents had given the plan a thumbs up and that my inner OCD/control freak was having a hay day!

Friday after work I knew I needed to come home, get my bags and load up in his car...and off we went! This trip was broken up into legs. The first leg was a 4 hour drive of me not knowing where we were going. We ended up in his parent's driveway! I always enjoy visiting his parents. Talk about two incredible people! They own a bed and breakfast and I love being there and seeing how things work. These two have an amazing way of speaking life into people. There hasn't been one time where I've walked out of that house not feeling like I could take on the world!

When we arrived at the inn, we brought our stuff inside and found out his parents were out to dinner. So we unloaded our stuff in our rooms and took a walk down main street. This little town is adorable! Imagine the town in the movie, "The Notebook." Before we stopped to eat, we crossed the street and my boyfriend showed me a walkway with bricks. These bricks had military men and women's names on them, honoring them for their service. After looking around for a few minutes, I spotted his name. It was a proud moment for me! We stopped in a great restaurant in town. I would have to say it's by far the best restaurant I've ever been to! After our delicious meal we headed back to the inn. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks...the Eastern North Carolina allergies. It is one of the worst feelings! However, his dad came to the rescue with some benadryl and I slept like a baby that night!

The next morning I woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast with his family. His mother is an AMAZING cook! Maple bacon cupcakes...need I say more? I hope her cooking skills will rub off on me some day! After breakfast it was time to load up the car and head to the next location.

After driving about three hours in the car, we take the Quantico exit in Northern Virginia. After reading a few signs on the road, I figured out he was taking me to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. This was a really neat experience since this was such a huge part of his past. Going through the museum was a really neat experience for me. I've always been a huge supporter of the troops, so this was a neat way to learn more about what exactly they have to go through.

Don't I look like I would make a good marine? Yeah, I didn't think so either...

Standing in front of the National Museum of the Marine Corps!

After our second stop of the trip, we got back in the car and headed to one of my boyfriend's family friend's home. They were kind enough to let us stay the night! We dropped off our bags inside and I found out what the third surprise to a Nationals baseball game! I was excited about this one since we were going to be able to go into DC. I had never been to DC before, so I knew it would be a neat experience! After about 45 minutes worth of metro rides, we arrive in the city and walk towards the stadium. Then we discovered the awesome food trucks that cook brisket. YUM.
Waiting on our delicious brisket from the food truck

Then we headed to the stadium. The Nationals didn't start out so hot, but they pulled out a win in the end!

We had incredible seats!

After the game, we went back to Virginia and got a good night's sleep. The next morning we got up and visited then got into the car to go to another surprise location. My boyfriend kept building it up, saying that this was going to be my favorite part of the trip...

and right he was! I love to bake! If I wasn't a fitness professional, I would bake for a living. DC Cupcakes has been one of my favorite shows for quite some time. I couldn't believe he remembered and brought me here before we headed home! This was definitely the most thoughtful stop of the entire trip. A man deserves some major brownie points for waiting in a ridiculously long line for cupcakes...but my goodness it was so worth it!

 This was the line to get in. You may see the cupcake shop at the very end of the building. The line was even longer when we got out!
I was SO excited!!

This was just the display case...there were tons of cupcakes in that shop! I can't believe they sell that many everyday!
I couldn't choose just I bought seven. Yes, seven. Do not judge me! :D One for the road and six to enjoy with family when I got back home!

We walked around Georgetown for a little while. It was a really neat place! I enjoyed going into all of the shops and may or may not have purchased a new shirt and Lulu Lemon. ;) can't end a perfectly good surprise adventure without one of these:

My boyfriend's mom is awesome for packing these in our surprise trip bag. The only way I got a Lunchable when I was a kid was when I did good on a report card. Needless to say, I was really excited about this!

As I sit here re-living all that happened on my surprise trip, I just can't get over the fact that someone would love me enough to go through all of that trouble to plan. Ladies, never ever settle for less than the best. Yes, sometimes we do have our standards a little high and have to re-think our expectations (a lot of us can be way unrealistic with our expectations sometimes), but there really are men out there who will treat you like you're a princess. Sometimes it's hard to wait around while all of your friends are dating, but it's worth it. I didn't have my first date/boyfriend until I was 19 years old and in college! I'm so grateful for a wonderful boyfriend who loves the Lord and loves surprising me with fun things. It doesn't have to be a big trip for it to mean a lot. I'm just grateful that he opens my car door, works out with me and compliments my cooking. Look for that man who goes over and beyond to show you he cares. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Take a Deep Breath

Last night I was needing a relaxing evening. So I did what every girl does when she's feeling run down, I took a warm bath with bath salts. Talk about heaven on earth! As I was laying there, doing my best to relax, I felt the enemy attacking me with lies. I couldn't stop thinking about how I had been slacking on reading my Bible and truly focusing on growing closer to God. All I could think about was how I had been going through the motions, but not really making an effort to break the cycle. I felt extremely insecure, unworthy and was convinced that God was disappointed in me. 
So what do I do when I feel this way? I seek affirmation from other people. I immediately texted my boyfriend and told him the plans I had to grow closer to God... he was extremely supportive and provided me with plenty of affirmation, but it still wasn't good enough. I put the phone down and thought of who else I would contact next for support. After a few minutes, a thought came to mind, which could have only come from God Himself. I thought, "Sarah, you do this every time. Stop seeking affirmation from other people when you should be seeking affirmation from God and God alone." 
Then I saw a facebook status pop up on my cell phone. It was a quote shared on a friend from high school's status. After reading this quote, my entire perspective changed on what Jesus thinks of me.
 "When it comes to sin, the only one who has a right to condemn others is Jesus...and He refused."
I immediately was able to block out the enemies lies. Yes, I have been stuck in the motions for quite some time. I had put my relationship with God on the back burner because things had gotten so crazy and stressful at work... but this one statement set me free. Jesus is not mad at me. He isn't even frustrated with me. He understands that my heart wants to know Him more and that I'm trying my best. Yes, He wants me to pursue Him and know Him more each day, but if I screw up by not doing that every day, He still loves me.  

Talk about a load taken off of my shoulders. I don't need to prove to God that I'm good enough, because no matter what I do, I'll never be good enough. But thank goodness that He continues to pursue me every single day. 

Maybe you're in the same place I am right now. You're stuck in the motions and can't quite figure out how to break the cycle. Maybe you haven't spent time with Jesus in so long that you couldn't go through the motions even if you knew how. Maybe your relationship with Christ is on point right now or maybe you've never known Him at all. It doesn't matter where we are or have been. What matters is that today we choose to call on the name of the Lord. All we have to do is say the name of Jesus. There is so much power in it!

Friends, please don't give up. Even if you feel like you're not worth much of anything right now. Jesus loves you. He's crazy about you. Even if you only have 5 minutes a day to spend with Him...make the best of it. Read your Bible, pray driving down the road. Jesus understands that we are busy and don't have 2 hours set aside each day to spend with Him. 

Spending time with Jesus is just like exercise. You may not have 30 minutes a day to take a walk...but you may have 10 minutes breaks throughout your day to move around and get a little bit of exercise in. You can spend your time with Jesus like that too! It's not about quantity, it's about quality. Make the time you have available to spend with Jesus good. If you have concerns, tell Him about it. If you have something your happy about, thank Him for it. He wants you to communicate with Him.

Today I'm praying that God would change the way you think He thinks about you. I pray that as you struggle with thoughts of how you'll never be as spiritual as some famous pastor or author, that I struggle with the same thoughts too. We were never meant to compare ourselves to others, yet we do it a lot. God intends for you to be you. He wants to know your heart just as much as anyone else. 

"Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!" -Psalm 105:4