Remember how I said here that I wouldn’t be making any apologies for over blogging about our trips to the lake this summer? Well, saddle up y’all here’s another post (and not the last for… More
What’s better than tractors, excavators, dump trucks, and a whole lot of dirt? Well, to B I can tell ya not much! Right after we moved to middle Tennessee my boys and I went to this (kinda huge) farm not too far from us. It’s just taken me a while to share it with y’all!
Getting caught up on all we’ve done this summer has been quite the photo editing and writing challenge! Moving back to the South and closer to our friends and family comes with more weekend trips and visits, but that also means I’M TOTALLY BEHIND ON BLOGGING! Not to mention, I’ve been working on a few side projects for a while now and those have taken mental priority. (Sorry LtL)🙈 I’ll soon be sharing my exciting business ventures here with y’all, but until then let’s have fun exploring our new home in TN!
This place Lucky Ladd Farm, was adorable and basically mecca for Brooks. The kids were able to explore a number of different farm and construction vehicles temporarily donated to this farm just for this event. And when there’s not a special event going on, there’s a whole other part with animals to pet, a vegetable garden to pick through, and rides to ride! I think I might’ve had just about as much fun as B…🤷🏼♀️
Just look at these pics…can you just feel his excitement (and concentration) surrounded by so many things he loves! Oh and these were all taken with my iPhone 🔋 My camera battery died basically as soon as we got there – rookie move on my part not checking the battery before we left!
Anyway, enjoy! 😄
I can’t wait to explore more with B and capture new memories here in Tennessee. Thanks for reading y’all!
Lemons to Love,
*Any readers from Nashville? We’d love any recs y’all have, family friendly or date night friendly! Thanks in advance! 😊
This was the pinnacle of our road trip, ya’ll – The Grand Canyon. One of the 7 natural natural wonders of the world , the name lives up to the hype. If you caught the previous post of days 1&2, you’re up to speed on our drive from Washington to Salt Lake which now brings us to our stop in Flagstaff, AZ! Less than a few hours from the Grand Canyon, Geoff and I got up early to catch the late morning light over this incredible piece of creation.
As we were nearing the park we saw a few helicopters flying over us. I casually commented on how insane it would be to take a tour of the canyon from above! Geoff smirked, quickly glanced in my direction and excitedly said “don’t play around because I will turn this car around right now!” Now, for those of y’all who know me know that I’m a bit of a budget ‘enthusiast’, if you will. (y’all like what I did there) So the mere thought of spending more money than we already were on gas and hotel stays alone gives me heart palpitations. However, *said intently* I also have a spontaneous ‘treat yo self’ bone in my body that can sometimes take over. Halla atcha girl! And wouldn’t you know it, ‘treat yo self’ won! *Geoff cheers loudly in the background.
Next thing I knew, we were taking off to what is now one of the most memorable moments of my life, just short of meeting Geoff and giving birth (seriously). I mean, at one point I even got emotional over the fact that we were physically flying over such a breath-taking piece of God’s creation – there were no words. I’ve never done something so spontaneous in my life, I couldn’t believe we were there, together…and I was beyond grateful for that memory we were given.
After the tour, we took a drive into the park to see things from yet another perspective. And to be honest, it was just as special in it’s own right. I could’ve stayed there all day, just sitting and looking out to what seemed to be a never-ending panoramic view of some of the most beautiful landscape I’d ever laid eyes on. It was like an out of body experience where I felt even closer to Geoff for just witnessing it together.
If y’all have a running bucket list, I strongly encourage you to check at least one of those items off in 2017. I’m a strong believer in the “you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do” mindset.
Thanks for reading, y’all! Winding down our trip on days 3-6 on the next post here on LtL where we visit the sweetest grandparents around.
Lemons to Love,
It seems as though our adventures are slowing down for the time being, so hindsight would tell me that driving across the country with G may have been the best way to go out with a BANG! That’s not to say our adventures won’t continue here in middle Tennessee, but they may just have a little less altitude.
Back in March Geoff and I drove our way through the good ol’ US of A. With every ending comes a beginning and sadly that meant our time in Washington was over but a new chapter just within reach; subchapter #1, driving from Washington to Florida, with our final destination ending in middle Tennessee! I still can’t believe we did it, and don’t think I’ll even be able to get it all in one post! I mean, how am I supposed to condense a life changing time in our lives into one post? Maybe the answer is I don’t and let the rest fall into place.
Weeks leading up to our final departure Geoff was busy mapping out our drive, which was a nice change from when I planned the road trip out there from Florida back in 2012…more on that here(insert cliche “where has the time gone?!”). Once I got to Washington, we had a few days with dear friends then packed up for our 13 hour drive to Salt Lake City, Utah! I always knew how beautiful of a state WA was but really found a new appreciation for Oregon. We’d only ever gone as far south as Portland so being able to see more of it’s rolling hills and seemingly endless mountain peaks began the appreciation of our road trip on the right foot.
After 173 games of ‘Would you Rather’ and ’20 Questions’ we finally made it to our hotel in Salt Lake. The mountains there are so.huge. we could see the outline of them even in the dark! It was as if they fell from the sky and landed smack dab next to you. I’d seen so many amazing pictures of the breathtaking views Utah can offer, so we decided to take the next morning and do a little exploring downtown. I’d love to go back one day and visit their National Parks. I mean whoa, could you imagine the photo opps there! *heart beats quickly* I’d probably be nerding out behind a lens the whole time while Geoff ‘patiently’ waited with a clenched jaw line. *Love you, G.
Salt Lake City’s downtown was so clean and manicured! I just remember walking around thinking it felt like a movie set. We walked their streets and visited the main campus for LDS. It was something you’d have to see in person to believe, but it was nothing short of spectacular. The money, time and care they put into their grounds, welcoming visitors, and creating a peaceful ambiance was kind of surreal.
So that completes days 1-3! Y’all know I made a video too of the whole trip but I recently realized I have over 45 minutes of footage so…yeah, it’ll be a minute before I edit and post that on my YouTube channel. Until our next outing, hope you enjoyed our first few days across the country!
Thanks for reading, ya’ll! Stay tuned for our trip to the Grand Canyon and a surprise view from the air…coming next on LtL!
Lemons to Love,
Welp. Y’all. It happened. It appears as though when I opened up about my infertility struggles in my last post, I also opened up Pandoras box – also known as a small window into my heart. I honestly didn’t realize that I had been trying so hard to keep it shut for all this time that even opening it a few inches pushed forth the flood gates that were quietly stirring, waiting for their chance to be set free. After all, even the sad, angry, and fearful feelings need their time to air out too, (apparently). But sometimes it just feels good, and maybe a tad easier, to put a bandaid over them and walk away until a new bandaid is needed. Sometimes it plain sucks to feel all those feelings I’ve pushed inside that window and covered with happy bandaids to deal with at another point in time. You know the ol’ “I’ll deal with that when I’m ready” adage?
So one day last week, a small window in my heart burst open unexpectedly and all those feelings I’d tucked away for a ‘day when I was ready’ came flooding out. It definitely wasn’t my timing, I could’ve kept pushing on, but God knew it was time I deal with what was hurting and start the process of letting go the control. Those few days were some of the saddest I’d felt in a while, honestly. It hurt to feel them. I wanted so badly to shove them deep down back in their place, but God had a different plan.
And then, Sunday happened. You see, Geoff and I have been praying for a church home for almost 6 years now. We searched for nearly a year during our time in WA, but found our spiritual refuge in our hikes and family adventures on the weekends. All the while having faith that God would give us what we needed, when we needed it. We’ve found a church home here in middle TN at Brentwood United Methodist and even became members this past Sunday! It was a very special moment for our family, to stand in front of our new church and profess our love and commitment, but the even sweeter moment came with Brooks.
For the last 5 weeks we’ve been attending BUMC we always take Brooks to the nursery before service. And every morning he cries his little eyes out as we hand him over to trusting arms. But with each new Sunday came less crying and more confidence from our B. Each Sunday he would make it just a little further down the hall, closer to the room before his fear kicked in and he remembered we’d be dropping him off. This last Sunday, however, was different. He made it all the way down the hall, to the room, turned and said ‘kiss Daddy’ and went in with no tears. When Geoff told me that I about burst.
At that moment, it hit me. B’s transformation from screaming crying to gentle kisses and a wave good-bye was a direct reflection of this walk I’m on with God. His ability to recognize that he was taken care of and could trust what lie ahead reminded me so much of our walk with Jesus. Getting there was not without tears. Getting there was not without a struggle to control his own fate of staying with his Mommy and Daddy, but getting there taught him he could trust in knowing we’d always be there when the time was right. How sweet and confident of our little B to know what trust feels like – almost as if it were ingrained in us from birth.
Much like Brooks, I held on tightly to my feelings in fear of letting go that I might fall apart somehow. That somehow opening that window into my heart might leave me vulnerable to the unknown. But, dear friends, I’ve realized…that is exactly where God wants me; right in the thick of vulnerable. Left wide open so He can work wonders with my life and my heart.
I pray you find this same place with me and allow God to work wonders in your life, too. Thank you so much for reading and sharing in this journey with me.
Lemons to Love,
I’ve been sitting on this post for quite some time now, for no particular reason other than it just didn’t feel like the right time. And to be completely honest, I’m still not motivated by ‘my timing’, but something bigger than myself at this point. Maybe it’s the timing of it being National Infertility Awareness week, or maybe it’s the peace I feel when I intently stare at my son and thank God for the opportunity to be raise him with Geoff. Or maybe it’s a combination of those mixed with a number of different reasons that I still don’t feel I have the true capability of articulating at the moment.
In a recent post I came across on FB, I think Sarah Braden says it perfectly. It really gave me the understanding I was searching for without knowing. You see, my story’s no different than many others — I’ve had heartache, loss, rejection after rejection, and I’ve heard ‘No’ to countless passions and goals I’ve worked towards. But, after some time and reflection and trusting God’s plans; His bigger picture beyond the sting of a ‘No’, I’ve seen what and where His ‘Nos’ have led me.
I’m not going to give y’all some cliche answer that they’ve led me to Nirvana or some higher calling, but they have led me closer to Him…some not immediately and some soon after, but I finally got it. I got Sarah’s message of the hashtag blessed life. It’s not the beautiful pics or happy moments posted on social media or shared between loved ones. Those I am beyond thankful for…it’s the moments I need Jesus the most, lean on Him, call out for Him in times of despair that I am #blessed.
This all might sound completely crazy to some of you, and maybe it is, but for me I know it to be true…
For me, the blessing of a ‘No’ was the comfort I felt in my pain from rejection of an internship I worked so hard for. It is the grace and promise I heard after miscarriages, negative pregnancy tests, failed hormone injections, visit after visit to the infertility specialist and eventually being diagnosed with Secondary Infertility. It is the peace I feel knowing Jesus always promised to take us in His arms, move after move, and find our right community to settle into. In each heart ache, the hashtag blessed life is what I’ve known and keep near to my heart. Because in each of these moments I have felt the overwhelming rush of promise that His work is not yet done. ❤
Happy Friday, friends! I hope today’s post brings you promise to the days to come and confidence in knowing His work his not yet complete in each of you.
Lemons to Love,
Matthew 5: 1-12
“Blessed are those…”
Not too long ago I went on a women’s retreat through my home church at Southside United Methodist in Jacksonville, FL. The retreat was nearby, but just far enough in distance to give you the mental capacity of a vacation in the quaint historical town of Fernandina Beach. The theme for the weekend was Grace, and I was fully equipped to ball my eyes out like a baby as I soaked in the word of Jesus surrounded by other strong women all looking for the same thing: strength in numbers. Maybe I’m ‘broad brushing’ here on what the other women were searching for during this time of spiritual growth, but I would imagine it was in the ball park of gaining strength. Maybe it was physically, from ailments they or loved ones have experienced; mentally from the day-to-day exhaustion of just plain ‘adulting’, or maybe just a spiritual uplifter to refuel their tanks for the year ahead. Regardless of the specific reasons, I think we can all agree we all need strength from somewhere to counterbalance our weaknesses that are hardwired in us from, well, life.
But how do we release these ‘dead weights’ of guilt, exhaustion, self-analyzing criticisms (the list can go on sometimes, can’t it)? The simple answer: Jesus. The how: through His Grace…at least that’s my working equation. 😉
For me, this retreat was a reminder of just that, my constant need of His grace. Lately I have had to check back in almost daily to remind me of God’s grace. The GRACE, not my efforts, is what saves me. I am not judged by how many ‘good acts’ I’ve done for the day; if the dishes are done, laundry is folded, dinner is prepared, planning done for my small business is further along, nurturing my relationships, or teaching Brooks oh I don’t know how to be a functioning person in society?? I could honestly keep going on the mental check list I keep a subconscious running tab on. The truth is, if I always focused on this list (and the even longer one than can creep in), I’d never feel like I met my own expectations, and…wait for it, His TRUTH is truer than my own FEELINGS any day of the week. 🙌🏼
I have a grand idea in my mind, a goal I’m constantly working towards. And while I love this innate drive to be better, do better…I’m constantly reminded that this is not my sole purpose here on Earth. We can do AMAZING things, God is just looking for willing hearts…and I want to give myself the grace He offers me so in those moments He calls on me, my heart is open and ready.
I’ll be taking a small break from blogging these next few weeks as I head out to WA to meet Geoff and we make our road trip back across the country! I’m giving myself a break from writing and posting while I soak in these last few days in Florida, enjoy the HECK outta our travels across this great country, and make our move as a family up to our new home in Tennessee. It’s crazy how life can come full circle sometimes. This trip we’re about to embark on takes me right back to the days we first started dating and drove from Atlanta to Phoenix watch Auburn in the 2010 National Championship. And how can I not mention the literal full circle of driving back across the country; where the West-bound trip was with my willing-and-able mom exactly 4 1/2 years ago!
I can’t wait to share with you our adventures over 2,000+ miles, and then as we get settled into our new home back in the South, in middle Tennessee!
In the meantime, here are a few pics to hold you over from probbbbably my favorite adventure with B in Florida…the photos really captured the joy, adventure and beauty in the day we shared. If you want to see more, click HERE! And if you want to follow along on our travels across the US of A, follow me on my Instagram stories! Just click the icon up in the right corner under Social. 😊☝🏼
Thanks so much for reading! I hope today’s post offered you the grace you’ve been needing and so deserve.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
Lemons to Love,
One of the main things I wanted to do during my short-term stay here in Jacksonville was explore the more obvious scenic spots that we ‘locals’ become blind to on a day-to-day basis. I’m a firm believer in doing the touristy stuff in every city I live in…I mean there’s a reason why out-of-towners go visit these monuments, hotspots, or viewpoints – because it offers something special to the location. So, I want to capture those special spots throughout my hometown and see it with a fresh perspective, as a ‘visitor’.
Recently my mom, B and I went to the Treaty Oak and Friendship Fountain in downtown Jax. The weather was perfect and these were just the short morning outings we needed to feel accomplished for the day before naptime commenced. 😉
They really are such beautiful spots to visit. They’re the perfect places to escape from your office, take your lunch, or just enjoy the views of the river while watching the Main Street bridge rise to allow boats to pass, and of course, people watch. Not to mention, it’s a great area to let your toddler run free to stretch their little growing legs. B especially loved the fountain! He loved splashing in the puddles and watching the water jump out into the sky. Next time I need to take a little picnic and just camp out for a late morning outing.
Thanks so much for reading! Our time here is nearing an end in Jax. I’ll be flying out to WA soon to meet Geoff as we hit the road for our cross-country trek back to the South! I can’t wait to document that trip! 🙊 I’m so looking forward to some adventures with my main squeeze! Stay tuned for that! 🚙🗺
Lemons to Love,
This beach y’all…this BEACH! I’m going to be honest here and say that I wish I could just post this outing over and over…and over again. I mean, I took hundreds (yes, hundreds) of pictures and uh, wish I could post them all on this post!
I think it’s safe to say this is hands down one of my favorite days with Brooks. The pictures that captured the joy from the day and the genuinely fun time we had marks this one in the top memories for me. This beach is such a gorgeous hidden gym I have N E V E R heard of until recently. It’s really amazing what you can find in your area with a simple Google search. This particular outing was suggested by a friend from church, but I remember reading about it when searching ‘places to visit/photograph.’ #themoreyouknow 💫
This day was so special to me. It reminded me of my very first solo hike with B and how those moments and memories are just for us. I love sharing these sweet memories with my little nugget. Aside from his *cough* rare toddlering moments 😉, he brings so much joy to my life. I love exploring the world through his innocence and purity, it’s a real gift I pray to be more mindful of everyday. And the adventures won’t stop! Did y’all catch my recent post of our FUN announcement?? It’s official, we’re movin’ to Nashville!! I am so so exciteddd! I don’t know when…and I don’t know where, but the adventures will be comin’ to LtL. I’m just trying to keep my eyes and heart open to new possibilities our next chapter will bring. 🙏🏼
As for now…I’ll continue soaking in special days like these. For my friends in Florida, y’all have GOT to go here (kids or not). It’s such a beautiful and peaceful place to spend some time.
Thanks so much for reading y’all! Happy Friday-eve!
Lemons to Love,
It’s been really special to have this extra time in my home town, staying with my mom and dad as they’ve opened their home so graciously to B and me for over 3 months (that’s a lot of toddler time folks). 😁 But one of the more meaningful reasons I love this time is for the special things I get to share with each of them on our own time. I’ve done a few fun outings with my mom I’ll be sharing soon on LtL, but today’s post is dedicated to my dad. ❤️ I’ve written a few special ones for my mom in the past and it’s about time I make this one for my ol’ man, because y’all, I may be biased, but he’s a pretty special man.
Since I was little, we’ve always joked that I was the ‘token son he never had’ of my sisters, but God knew he was just the man for the job to raise and love three daughters. His kindness is infinite, his faith in God constant, and his confidence and humility are endless. While his sensitivity is one of his best qualities, he’s also a guy’s guy. I love our memories of throwing the ball, mowing the lawn together (*token son syndrome once my sisters left the house), or tailgating with a *strong cocktail in hand. He’s set an example for me for the type of character I want to find in a husband, and I believe I did just that.
Now, before my mascara (continues to) run or my laptop short circuits from unforeseen mist falling from my eyes…today’s post is for you Dad! H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y! 🎉
Thanks for all you do, and being up for an adventure! 😄
Look at that #unremarkable bro fashion.👌🏼😉
Happy Bday, Dad. Thanks for being you, head to toe.
Here’s a special video I made, just for you ❤️
Lemons to LOVE,
“I’ve lived here my whole life and I never did that!” I used to hear that often from people back in the PNW about a place I visited or an adventure we’d just gone on. Well, there’s #nojudgement over here y’all because I grew up in Florida and never went to my own state’s capital. 😯 Maybe that’s less shocking to some, but Tallahassee also houses one of the state’s top ACC school’s, FSU, where some might assume I would’ve visited for that reason alone. But when I was in college application mode there was only one place I wanted to go and one place I applied, Auburn University.#wde But that’s neither here nor there for this blog post *insert SEC football season 2017 is so close I can smell it*. 🙌🏼🏈🐅
My sister and her family moved to Tallahassee no too long ago, so I knew I had to make one of my Florida outings to visit and explore there with her. After a girls’ night away in Fernandina, we headed there together with B in tote, ready to make the most out of the few days we had. I love the energy of someone new to an area, and my sis was just the right candidate. 😊She was all geared up in between her mom duties to hit the parks and ‘cool things to see’ in her newish city of residency.
We explored the gardens at Maclay and visited an old oak in Thomasville, GA. This oak is so old, *how old is it?* well, it’s like 330+ years old, old. I took so many sweet cousin pics mixed with huge mossy oaks struck with late afternoon light…it was hard to only choose a few!
Tallahassee was really beautiful, and here is the highlight reel…
Haha this picture cracks me up! Poor Hayes…he was such a good sport. All B wanted to do was hang on and wrestle with his cousin. I remember the feeling of thinking all my older siblings and family members were so cool and all I wanted to do was hang with them. ❤
That’s all for now! My adventures are slowing down a bit these last few months. I’ve really just been enjoying the in-between moments with my family and friends here in Florida. I have a few more adventures to share…oh, and how could I forget?! 😉 ONE BIG ADVENTURE ahead!
It’s official! Our family is moving to…Music City itself, Tennessee! We’ll be in one of the charming suburbs just south of Nashville and we really could not be more excited! I can’t wait to share more with y’all! If y’all have anyyyy suggestions of places to visit or things y’all want to see here on LtL, please share below! I love a good adventure bucket list to cross off. 😉
Since my posts aren’t as frequent right now, come find me on Instagram and follow along on our day-to-day adventures in Florida! Click the link to follow and come say Hi!
Wishing everyone a fun weekend of adventures!
Lemons to Love,
Simplify. This word keeps grabbing my attention lately at every siting or conversation. I feel as though it is a task God is asking me to complete, but I quickly brush it off as a coincidence or ‘something I’ll get to later.’ What does it even mean? How much more could I possibly simplify my days here? After all, I’m not working right now and I fill my days with the activities of my choosing, whether leisure or active, which all sounds pretty simplistic to me. But I guess the word ‘simple’ can be a subjective term, do you agree? By definition the word simple is easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth of how I’m feeling on the inside. It seems as though I’m trying to convey a simple schedule of life while in reality I’m clouded with anything but. If I’m honest, my mind if filled with too many thoughts, to dos, and plans of the future. All of which are out of my control, and yet, I try to control by thinking/planning more. *sigh* #letitgo
So today, I’m taking a step back to simplify. If not anything but my thoughts, so I’ve sat in prayer this Sunday morning and asked God to take that which I cannot control and guide me through the rest. Better yet, I’m letting go of the reigns and letting God do what He does best…lead me to the greenest of pastures. Can I getta #Jesustakethewheel moment?!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼
I’m still behind on posting our Florida adventures 🙊(oops) and will get to them, soonish? 🤔😉Ha! But seriously, I will get to them when I get back from my trip to (it’s a secret) with Geoff. 🛩 Eek! So excited! We’re meeting up at our new and next chapter in the Cott chapters of life. I’ve never been there before and I’m so so excited to explore, house hunt, and imagine what our new season will be like, oh and not to mention just have some good ol’ QT with my #1 fella. 💘 Here’s to making the conscious efforts in letting go and simplifying, because after all, simple just simply isn’t simple at all.
Here are a few simple, in-between moments with my adventurous little B. I love his spirit and being his momma.
Happy Sunday friends!
Lemons to Love,
Things are starting off simple and steady here as B and I settle into our newish and temporary living arrangements. For those of you who don’t know yet, our family is temporarily split coast to coast for the next few months. While Geoff finishes up his duties with the Army in the state of Washington, Brooks and I are back in my hometown in Florida living with my parents; who have so graciously opened up their home to two new roommates (3 if you count both of B’s toddler personalities). 😉
Being back home in the city I grew up in comes with an array of emotions, but mostly wonderful, sweet, joyful and spirit-filled with a few learning curves thrown in their for good measure…it’s all about those ABLs amiright?? Always Be Learning?…or something like that. 🙃 You can see more about our first few weeks during the holidays here, but as B and I settle into a new routine I’m crossing off a few things on my ‘New Adventures in Old Florida’ list. It’s been really fun looking at my hometown with a fresh set of eyes and new perspective. I love finding ways to enrich a place where I have so many fond memories with family and my dear friends #squad, and creating a whole new platform of memories in this season of my life; insert wife and mother here.
I have quite a few places to see on my list already and I can’t wait to share them here with y’all! I’ve also got some prettttyy exciting news on where our next stop will be for our family and I can’t wait to share it…but it’ll have to wait a few more weeks, sorry. 😉
In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for a sweet little stop at a local park near my parents’ house. It’s right on the river complete with a dock, people fishing, and boats sailing by. So naturally I had to take B here, he’s such a little water baby! It may not compare to more grand scenes like this or this, but it doesn’t fail me in the memories shared with those I love most. ❤
*Not pictured: mommy and MiMi who were in their sweaty-best post cardio attire. OR maybe I should speak for myself in the sweaty department, I get that attribute from my dad.😅#TMI
We’ve got some fun plans this weekend as we venture out to the coast lines to an area I’ve never even been to! This weekend is a dad/daughter (+B) outing while my mom is having some qt girl time with her gal pals #squad. 👯
Y’all enjoy your weekend! Any funs plans? Share below, I’d love to hear them, or any suggestions you might have for us? Just comment below! 🙋🏼👇🏼
Lemons to Love,