Happy Lunch

This is an update on how my lunch mentor sessions with “Mary” are going.

Today was by far a really good day, if not the most talkative and open lunch we’ve ever had.  It started off kind of slow but really took off after we talked about her cheerleading.  She told me how they got first place over the weekend and if they win regionals they get to go to Disney World!  Isn’t that awesome?!  I told her how proud I was of her.  She says she’s doing great in class and is getting high grades, which was not the case last year.   We then talked about halloween and costumes and soon after that I barely spoke.  Mary took off in the conversation and she opened up so much about her family and her home life.

When I learned about the area in which she lives, my heart sank a little, she lives in an area of town known for it’s gang violence.  I will be praying for her much more specifically now.  I had no idea.  I learned so many other things about her and now I know what her favorite halloween candy is and am planning on bringing it to our next lunch!  I am so glad to see her opening up, she’s grown so much since last year.  The teacher even tells me her behavior and grades have improved just because of our lunches.

I can’t wait to see where her feet take her in life!  I hope to stay in contact with her even past her elementary school days.

Her favorite halloween candy

Her favorite halloween candy

There are Adventures to be had

This week has come to a close and this weekend holds many shenanigans and adventures to be had.

I love car rides and what a perfect way to start the weekend by driving to Raleigh with my boyfriend  and family to visit and stay with friends!  Tomorrow, Saturday, we are going to the NC State Fair.  However, this news article has me a little nervous about some adventures that may need to be skipped… but I know that I will be cautious.  I’m not one to stand in line for an hour for one ride that’s going to scare me and make me cry in the end.

I am most excited to see the animals!  I am so looking forward to taking pictures and sharing with you all!  I also have my heart set on winning a prize at one of the many games the fair offers.  I’ve never won anything at a fair and I feel like this is the year!

Of course there is always the food everywhere that most people love to take part in.  I search and want for nothing but a giant carmel apple.  I have my plan all set out, I will go to the fair and price all the apples and then on the way out I will buy one to take home and enjoy!  I remember last year, they had triple dipped apples!  Chocolate, carmel, chocolate and then rolled in something (M&Ms, nuts, sprinkles, etc.)

Adventure is upon us, time for bed!

 

Date Day!!!

Yesterday was Date Day with my boyfriend.  It was his turn to make plans and think of things to do and surprise me!  I was a difficult three days leading up to Saturday because of the word “surprise.”  Let’s get something straight, I love surprises and I don’t want to wait for them, but I do want to wait, but I don’t.

I LOVE SURPRISES!!!

I LOVE SURPRISES!!!

So I was badgering Jordan with 20 questions trying to guess where we were going.  Serpentarium, no, aquarium, no, zoo, no, fall festival, no, paddle boarding, no, shopping, double no; I was so far off.

Jordan combined my love of animals and art and found an art show room that was displaying some neat animal paintings!  It was so cool!  There were three rooms of different artists, there were other beautiful landscapes but I didn’t want to take too many pictures and upset the person working there.

This one was my favorite, my second favorite I sadly don’t have a picture of (it was a giant camel!)

Ram

Ram

From there we walked down the shopping center and had some fun in a dog toy store.  They had a $2.99 toy bin and I got my dogs some new duck quacking toys!

But, the most unexpected accidental surprise was… dessert!  We decided to pop in and try out a new business in town called the Shuga Shak .  It’s a cute really small building that (we guessed at the time) sold desserts.  Before that glorious day I had never tried a french macaron, before that day they were just weird desserts that look like hamburgers, before that day you get the picture.

This company is partnered with Flower & Flour, they mostly do weddings, parties and catering etc.  But Shuga Shak you can actually go into and buy their desserts separate from an event.

Anyways, french macarons are the classiest, lightest, best dessert I’ve ever had!  In my opinion, you can have your own, but I am in love with these macarons.  The owner talked with me about how difficult they are to make and now I’ve looked at some tutorials and they do look time consuming!

I wish I would’ve gotten a picture of me eating one (or all of them, I consumed all of the five that I bought, no shame here) but sadly, I was so caught up in a movie and eating them that I forgot that I had a duty to show my blog followers new things.  So here is a picture from the Shuga Shak website:

Beautiful French Macarons

However, when the time allows (this week hopefully), I will be posting my experience with a tutorial I will choose from Pinterest!!!  Take the poll to tell me what flavor to try to make first, even though you won’t get a taste:

Even though Jordan only planned the art gallery, the entire day was beautiful and wonderful.

What two animals did God mix together to create this…?

Manatees… What two animals did God mix up to get this creation.  Don’t get me wrong, God doesn’t make mistakes, so I know manatees have a reason and purpose.  But boy are they weird!!!

While I was in Florida for graduation, we were close to the Crystal River, so we spent a day with the manatees!

My brother had a cold and my mom stayed behind with him 😦 So it was just my dad and I, but this is also an excuse to go back because mom and Parker missed out!

Even though Crystal River is a spring and is always 72 degrees, it was March and the air was 52 degrees.  Wetsuits for everyone!

My dad all ready!

My dad all ready!

Just a few pictures taking with my iPhone.  The boat that took us out was awesome, it was private, just my dad and I and the captain’s wife got in the water with us to take pictures!

Taking a breath

Momma and baby!

Momma and baby!

Here are the pictures she took!

Gearing up and about to jump in!

Gearing up and about to jump in!

All goggled up!

All goggled up!

Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming

They kind of feel like underwater elephants of sorts.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what animal they remind me of, except that they are perfectly capable of being their own amazing creature.

They feel so awesome!

They feel so awesome!

I was glad that she got in the water with us to take pictures.  I was carrying around a small underwater disposable camera but those pictures are so awful!

Super up close!

They are really curious if they feel like coming up to you.  They’ll check out your face and clothes.  If you scratch their bellies they’ll flip upside down, which is a little terrifying, but so cute!

Slightly cold.. just slightly

Slightly cold.. just slightly

The ride back was so cold!  It was fine in water, but getting out of the water to then sit wet on a moving boat for thirty minutes.

“It is finished”

As part of my “quiet time” (time set aside for God) I read a passage from the Jesus Calling devotional and today’s entry reminded me of this past March.  This past March I graduated from school but I know that I couldn’t have done it on my own at all.

The passage from Jesus Calling said:

Sometimes the way before you appears to be blocked.  If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably go off course.  Instead, focus on Me, the Shepherd who is leading you along your life-journey.  Before you know it, the “obstacle” will be behind you and you will hardly know how you passed through it.

I hardly knew how I got through on my own.  I remember praying and incorporating God’s Presence every step, every test, and all study sessions.  I know everyone says “College was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do” and I’m joining that band wagon and saying the same thing.  My major was web design and development and I joined the online fast track program.  You took one class at a time, each class was 4 weeks long and there were finals every Friday.  School was all year round, spring and summer breaks were one week and Christmas two weeks.  That’s it.  I am 21 years old and I completed a Bachelor’s degree, which should take four years, in two and a half years.  I truly don’t know how I got through it but by the grace of God and it was definitely an obstacle that I could not go around, but through.

I still have moments now when I have to do a gut check to see if I’ve actually graduated.  Sometimes I feel that this is a dream and I’m about to wake up and still have to give one-thousand percent in order to get by one more week.

Now that I’ve explained the pain that I endured for my degree.  I will now show you how spectacular my graduation week was.  My graduation week worked out to be my brother’s spring break.  The campus of my school (I attended online) is in Winter Park Florida.  So for the whole week we stayed about an hour away on a lake ranch:

Our view from the apartment (there's a main house off to the right.)

Our view from the apartment (there’s a main house off to the right.)

Me and the horses

This property had horses that I visited every morning.

Morning of Graduation

Pre-Graduation. We are getting ready to leave!!!

Can’t believe that day finally came!

It's so weird to see my name so big!

It’s so weird to see my name so big!

Post-Graduation! All done, finally!

My wonderful parents and brother were amazing support through it all and I mean ALL.

Myself, parents and my brother

Myself, parents and my brother

Check out my post tomorrow to see what I swam with during the week of my graduation…