Grace

 

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. 😊☝🏼

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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.

Proverbs 31:25

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

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Last visit to my Mt Rainier love

I’m going a little backwards today. I know I’ve technically already written my ‘last’ PNW post, but on our last Sunday in Washington Geoff, Brooks and I went to where it all began – Mt Rainier. Mt Rainier was the first outing Geoff and I had, right after we married and before he deployed. We were living in a hotel before Geoff deployed and barely had two pennies to rub together, but we made the best of the time we had and found our happiness in each other and the adventure of being a newlywed. I remember our first drive to Mt. Rainier. I was instantly captivated with the magic the mountain possessed and the fresh snowfall that dusted the mighty evergreens.

Fast forward 5 years later and now we share that same magic with our son Brooks. So it’s only fitting we spend our last #famday Sunday in one of our most cherished places, playing in the winter wonderland that is Mt. Rainier.

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So long winter wonderland…you’ve been so good to us over the years; never disappointing, always giving us your all. ❤

Until next time! Stay tuned to the adventures that await back in the South…

First stop, sunny Florida!

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

PNW Memory Montage

Most of my posts have obviously been about our more ‘grandious’ efforts in the adventures we’ve had here in WA…but that’s not to say the little inbetween moments were any less impactful and memorable for me. For my last #8in8 I want to dedicate this post to the non-polished, non-edited, fun moments and memories (that I’ve at least captured on my cell!)

This one is short, but sweet…I hope y’all enjoy!

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You know I couldn’t leave the PNW without a video montage too! Complete with snippets of love and song…

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s potentially weepy, last-day-in-the-PNW post…

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

Leavenworth Christmas Lighting

Let me set the scene: picture an adorable, charming German town set between picturesque snow-capped mountains with Christmas lights strung and carolers singing. The smell of bratwursts and beer permeate the air as we navigate the crowds to settle in for the 50th anniversary of the small town Leavenworth’s annual Christmas light festival.

I’ve escaped, myself, and am immediately back in this week’s #8in8. But wait! Don’t relax just yet…this scene is not quite complete. Picture this, too,…in addition to a 3 hour drive, B has not napped and is convulsing his way out of the stroller filling the air with high-pitched screams and alligator tears. The above peaceful ambiance of the town has immediately dissipated as Geoff and I try not to lose our minds. #parenting #reallife Hashtag the terrible twos are real y’all. Like real real. 😅

But, back to the happier moments (and I do mean moments) of our (quick) night in Leavenworth. Let me back up a bit. Our sweet friend Lisa, who we know from our time here in WA, flew in for the weekend just to spend some time with the Cotts before we pack up and head back East. She’s just so near and dear to our hearts, we’re only sad she had to go back to Colorado on Sunday! When I scooped her up from the airport that Friday it was like time picked right back up where we left it. We chatted our faces off prettyyy much the whole weekend and shared stories over *cough* multiple glasses of wine. It was just what my soul needed with a little bit of girl time with my girl Lisa. ❤️

Overall the day was…not the best , if I’m being honest! 😬 Haha! The tantrums, unfortunately, took most of the excitement of the day from me. I’m usually able to bounce back fairly unphased by B’s rare crazy-out-of-his-mind moments, but I think with everything else going on right now and planning a move across the country, my stress level was already a bit ‘above sea level’ if you will. 😉 Regardless, the town is beyond words adorable and I wish we had the time to experience it on another weekend other than it’s busiest of the year. (Apparently we’re cray cray for even attempting that weekend per our local friends…hind sights always 20/20, right?) The Christmas lighting was a special moment, setting a spirit-filled time of prayer and holding Geoff’s hand. 🙏🏼 It was nice to escape for a minute and just be connected to him, as husband and wife (with B calmly strapped back into his stroller, snack in hand) #smallparentwin 🏆

There are some pretty sweet moments captured through the lens of B…don’t let those fool you. They were the only happy moments for him. 😜 All he wanted to do was hug Rudolf and roll on the mud hill. Which, I guess in all fairness, why would a 2 year old be interested in anything else there? Again #parentingfail and lesson learned from us! Some things are just better left to enjoy as adults. Love ya B 😘

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Regardless of the outcome in our efforts, I’m still so glad we did it! Going to Leavenworth has been on my PNW bucket list since we moved here. It may not have been the perfect weekend to go or the perfect outing to remember, but perfection is so overrated and leaves life a little stale. So for that, I’m thankful. 😉

Reflecting on the sweet memories from the weekend and looking ahead at the ones to come. If I’m honest, it’s been a love/hate relationship during my time here in the PNW…but over the last year or so it’s truly become a love. Once I stopped looking for what I expected and embraced what God had prepared before me. Thankful for the unknowns, the highs and the lows! 🙌🏼

Thanks for reading friends! Have a great rest of your week! Next up in the #8in8 series is our family trip to a local family’s tree farm. Stayed tuned! ✌🏼️

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

The Polar Express

Happy post Thanksgiving week, friends! Be honest, who was already listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving? *raises hand* I got no shame in my Christmas game. There’s just something about this time of year that makes my heart warm and spirit fill a little more with the season of love and giving. We had a sweet and fun Friendsgiving over at my friend Ashley’s house. She provided quite the food spread and holiday tablescape, but y’all know I couldn’t come empty handed – so I came prepared with Southern casseroles for our last Thanksgiving here in the PNW.🍽🍗

The day after, and still recovering from our turkey and sides food frenzy, we had pre-purchased tickets to the Polar Express! A girlfriend of mine and I planned this over a month in advanced to take a family trip to the Mount Rainier area where they offer a seasonal Polar Express, complete with hot chocolate, story reading, and a visit from Santa! It was about a 90 minute excursion and I’m honestly not sure who was more excited…Brooks or me. 🤗🚂

I ran into a bit of a photographer’s hurtle of trying to capture quality photos with little-to-no lighting…but I’ll just chalk it up to my *teachable moments…or *needs an upgraded camera\lens. 😉 *coughs loudly* For now, I’ll just consider the blurred effects as something that adds a whimsical dream-like state to the evening…which in all fairness, is a pretty accurate depiction of the night with my boys. ❤ And to make up it, I put together a little video with more sweet memories captured for #3 on my #8in8 adventures with the fam.

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Warming his hands by the ‘fire’ with the hobo
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Reading The Polar Express during the train ride!
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Yummy hot chocolate with these cute souvenir mugs 🙂
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Cookies with this cutie ❤

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Y’all, this was seriously one of the more sweeter moments I’ll take with me back to the South. I just love the magic of the Christmas spirit, and seeing B’s face light up was the best part for me as his mama. I especially loved how excited he was to see Santa and receive his special bell. I love this age, and I’m sure I’ll catch myself saying that at each new stage of learning and growing. I’m just so thankful for memories like these to share with my family…we’ll always have them and that, I will forever be grateful.❤️

‘Tis the season y’all…hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love and looking ahead to the Christmas season with a little more love in your life, and if anything, spreading it a little extra thick-like to those around you. Sorta like an extra stick of butter to stuff in the turkey or extra shakes of seasoning in that casserole dish. 😉😋 #mmmSouthernfood

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

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Heybrook Lookout

So the countdown continues on LtL’s #8in8 bucket list as we near the end of our time here in the PNW. In my last post I started our official countdown, which you can read more about here! There is honestly so much I would love to do before I leave in few weeks,  but sadly there isn’t enough time or the season just isn’t right. Nonetheless, y’all know I’m gonna try my best to  go out with a BANG, in true LC style. 😉💥

This week’s #8in8 pick was to Heybrook Lookout, located up in the Central Cascades. There are tons of amazing fire lookouts here in the Pacific Northwest, all with some of the most amazing views, but most (that I’ve seen anyway) require quite the effort in reaching…at least more than I’m willing to put out with a toddler in tow.😉 So we chose this one because of it’s distance and trail ease…but mostly because I saw some pictures that once you reach the top of the tower there are birds that will fly up to you and eat right out of your hand!! 😱🕊 *insert photo opps galore here!*

Sadly, the birds were no where to be found, but our day spent exploring was just as memorable.  We let B out of the Ergo carrier to blaze his own trails, and blaze did he ever! It was sooo cute to see him climb, run, and waddle his way through the trail and up to our destination. *heart melts* It honestly felt pretty cool to see him love something on his own that Geoff and I so equally enjoy doing together. We brought our lunch picnic, and once we reached the tower we let it clear out a little, and sat under some trees to devour our well-deserved sandwich and chips.

Brooks has never met a stranger I don’t think…and his new thing is saying ‘share’ when he wants something someone’s else has. 😏 There was a mother/son duo at the top of the tower enjoying their lunch. B eyed an orange, then quickly gestured that he’d also like to enjoy by holding out his hand and saying ‘share.’ “No, B, that’s not how sharing works…” (although …it is cute, most of the time) 😁 We were on a bit of a time crunch so I could make it to a girls’ night out for martinis (because, balance), so we basically ran the entire way back down the trail. Or at least I tried. The trail was at a pretty steady decline the whole way, so by the end my quads were (quite literally) shaking…needless to say, three days later the soreness finally left the lower half of my body. 😅 #outofshape

2 of 8 – Heybrook Lookout

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“Hoola hooping” 😀
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That’s all for the LtL #8in8 today!! We’ve got some fun things lined up in my last few weeks here I can’t wait to share!!

In the meantime…click that video montage below and enjoy yourself some live footage of B being adorable.📽 🤗👦🏼

Lemons to Love, ❤️

Lindsay

Gorge-ous waterfalls

So I did the math, y’all…and, as of last week I’m officially leaving the PNW in 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS! *gasp* I can’t believe it. I can’t believe a lot of things. I can’t believe we’ve been here for four years already. I can’t believe how much I’ve come to love things out here. I can’t believe it’s all coming to an end… Ya see, I left a piece of my heart back in the South, where my roots are, my family members are, and my lifelong friends are. But, I’ve realized as it’s quickly all coming to an end here…I’ll be leaving a piece of my heart here too. 💔😢*holds back tears* Seriously…but more on that later.

This post isn’t for the emo Lindsay, it’s for the ‘Let’s party like it’s 1999’ Lindsay! 🙌🏼🎉😎So, I’ve decided with my final 8 weeks here in the PN-dub I want to do 8 new things I haven’t done yet. I’m making a list and checking it twice.

First on the list, see more of the Gorge-ous waterfalls all along the Columbia River Gorge. Do y’all remember way back when, when I visited the area with my father-in-law (aka FIL)? We drove all around site-seeing the Oregon/Washington border and I really haven’t been back since to purposefully seek out more waterfalls along the old scenic highway. And since Geoff had a few extra days off this week, we took advantage and headed south. I’ve been a little under the weather this last week, so my creative photography pursuit was lacking slightly, but I was still able to capture a few moments with my loves as we explored our first on the 8 in 8 list.

1 of 8 – Starvation Creek Falls and Horsetail Falls

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Thanks so much for going along this journey with me!! 1 of 8 complete, 7 more to go! Do y’all have any suggestions of fun things you want me to explore?? Comment below with any fun ideas you might have…

Until next time!❤️

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

Brooks’ 2nd Birthday

This year Geoff and I were both lucky enough to have the ability to take B’s actual birthday off. To celebrate, we took some purposeful family time to one of our favorite spots, Lower Lewis. You might remember our recent visit there for our camp story adventures. We had to go back to what might be our last time out there, especially with a bright sunny day like this! ☀️ While the water was fa-reez-ing, the sky was clear and the sun was shining bright. I basically did a polar plunge with my feet 😬, but was so worth the lack of circulation just to be there playing in the stream.

It was a sweet day for us as a family to celebrate B’s special day, pups included.

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Two part blog! How lucky are y’all?? 😉 I really just wanted to show y’all the cuteness that is Maly Tross Paper Collective! She made these adorable signs to go along with our ‘Transportation’ themed party vibe. She was such a doll to work with, I sent her my ideas and sayings, and she came up with the rest! We worked so well together. So well, in fact, I’d love to continue working with her in the future. 🤗 *hint, hint Aly* I love supporting local shops, not to mention she’s a Vet and military spouse. Whaaaa?? I know. She’s pretty rad.

Anyway, I’ll let her work speak for itself!

If y’all follow my IG stories, you might’ve seen me struggling through B’s bday cake. #notabaker! 😅BUT, while my technique might be nothing short of sub-par, the chocolate butter cream frosting and double-layered yellow cake finale, was not…If I don’t say so myself. 🙌🏼🚂*toot toot* I also went easy p on the snack items with some good ol’ Southern flare from Chick-Fil-A. Mmm, reminds me of home! 🏡

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I didn’t capture too many pics for B’s bday party, I just wanted to have the time to be with our friends who came over to celebrate his special day! And I really wanted to give a shout out to Aly with Maly Tross for her always stylish paper goods. *Not pictured: the super cute letters she created for a banner I was supposed to put together…but, sadly it did not make the creative cut during my day-of-party-setup. Only due to my inability to get my ish together, not because of it’s lack in bday party cuteness. 👌🏼

Also, as if this post didn’t have enough content…I’ve officially created a YouTube channel! Check out the video below and subscribe to my YouTube to never miss a vid!😱🎥📽

Thanks so much for reading and your love on Brooks’ birthday!

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay

Grandpa and Memaw visit – Mt Rainier

It’s day 3 of our family adventures with my in-laws, which, sadly means the last day of site-seeing our way through the PNW with them. Don’t worry though! You can easily relive days one and two …over, and over, and over again. 😉

We had to end on a Mt Rainier high note. She is just so beautiful, all year round. The fall brings out a different side than the clear, sunny days — with flowers still in bloom and the moodiness of the PNW slowly creeping in, it really doesn’t matter what the wether brings, the views speak for themselves.🏔🍂🍁

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What a high note to end our adventures with Grandpa and Memaw. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, the memories made with family will forever be imprinted in our time in the PNW.

Thanks for reading and following along our adventures! ❤️

Check out our video from the day👇🏼!

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Grandpa and Memaw visit – Seattle site-seeing

Recently I wrote about our thrilling adventures of “Cotts do camping” here when we roughed it in the wilderness and I basically became a camp fire master 🔥🏅(award ceremony coming soon). For day 2 of Grandpa and Memaw visit we went to Seattle for the day to explore and site-see the day away. Memaw had never been, so we obviously had to show her the infamous Pike’s Place Market, complete with fish throwing, beautiful flowers, fresh produce, and the original Starbucks. We walked through the market for a while then headed to this cool little brewery off 1st Ave called Old Stove Brewery. We really just walked in because the smell coming from the kitchen was divine! But came to find it quite comfortable, kid friendly with good food and locally brewed beers — what more could we ask for?! After feeding our faces (& Brooks getting a $.25 ride on the horsey) we dropped the grandparents off at the Chihuly Museum where we then continued on to a more toddler friendly play space. 😉

Our first stop was Kerry Park, with amazing panoramic views of downtown and the infamous Space Needle as the main show. Since B fell asleep in the car, we took advantage of our time and headed to another park I’d heard so much about – the Gas Works Park located on the north shore of Lake Union. This park was…so.friggin.pretty! It was like a little movie scene up on the hill top set between the old gas plant and a boat marina, with an unbelievable view of downtown Seattle. People were flying kites, playing soccer, reading and doing ‘people at the park’ things. It was such a beautiful day for the park, I could’ve stayed there for hours…

But alas our parent duties called for us to get our little one home in time for dinner, so we scooped up Grandpa and Memaw and headed home for the night. I mean, we had to rest up for day #3 adventures — hello! Oh, and did I mention we also got fresh caught Alaskan king crab legs at the market?? We had to hurry home to consume that deliciousness immediately! Food is always a high priority in this house. 🙌🏼🍽🦀

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Thanks again for reading! Check out our video below and never miss an adventure by subscribing to LtL!

Have a great week y’all! Until next time…

 

Lemons to Love,

Lindsay