For the record, I really do not mean to take a hiatus between each post on here. I’m back to re-counting the wonderful memories of 2013.
Working in retail is very stressful at times, but there are moments that make all of the stress worth it. One of my favorite things is when little kids find a flower that has fallen to the ground and they make a point of giving it to me, just because. There was one night in June when this happened, but for the first time, the flower I received was a fully bloomed hibiscus. When a family came up to my register to ring up their purchase, their little boy proudly gave me this beautiful flower. His sister was dancing around and being twirled by their mom. It was a beautiful moment to witness and be a part of. That family is a family full of love. Waiting on those kind of people make up completely for the not so nice customers.
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When I was in high school, one of the sports that I participated in was spring track. I joined track only so I could stay in shape for soccer. I was a distance runner, but mainly stuck to the half-mile for meets. I ran the mile every so often, but never ran the 2 mile race in a track meet (even though I ran farther than that in practices). Aside from practice, I very, very rarely went out for a run on my own. I carried the same mentality into college and into the “real world” after graduation. Going for a run by myself just didn’t seem like a fun thing to do. On a whim last June, I downloaded the Nike running app onto my iPod and went for a run to test it out. I ran just beyond one mile, but it was in that mile that I knew that I was choosing to be a runner again. I had measurable goals to strive towards, all due to my run being recorded on the app. I knew I was choosing to do more than I thought that I was capable of.
(image via Pinterest)
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One Saturday in June, I went strawberry picking with friends from church. We had a picnic afterwards to celebrate the fruits of our labor. One thing that I LOVE about living in NJ is the abundance of the best produce I’ve ever tasted. Picking your own fruit makes for a fun experience AND it is super cheap as well! Having an afternoon to spend with fellow believers who are your own age, who have become your friends, is also a wonderful moment to experience and remember.
(top left image via my friend John)
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I saw The Great Gatsby with friends when it came out in the theaters. I went into the showing having heard mixed reviews about the movie. A lot of the negative reviews complained about having modern music in the movie instead of music that was more suited to the time period. I think having modern music was a wise decision. Contemporary music helped the viewers relate to and grasp how wild Gatsby’s parties actually were. The story was told very well. The hopeless romantic in me was still amazed at all Jay did in order to win Daisy’s affections back. Towards the end, I found myself almost yelling, “NOOO!!!” when Jay and Daisy got in the car to go back home (I’m not going to spoil the ending, if there are any out there who have never read the book or seen this movie).
(image via Google Search)
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June was also the month in which my church held our annual, week long Vacation Bible School. We did a program called “Kingdom Rock,” which taught the kids many different lessons about the Kingdom of God. The main phrase of the week was “Stand Strong!” Even though I am way past the target age of VBS, I also learned more about what it means to stand strong for Jesus. In addition to getting very catchy songs stuck in my head, I helped as a photographer. Being able to capture the events of the program was a privilege and a joy. I knew most of the kids through helping with Children’s Church, but there were also new faces to meet. The best part about being a photographer for VBS is the fact that you are able to interact with ALL of the kids, instead of just the ones in your group. I might be a bit biased, but these kids are truly world-changers. Their love for God is so sincere and encouraging!
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June 2013 was the month of wedding number 3 in 2014 for me. This time around, it was my lifelong friend Kellianne. Our parents have been friends for years, so there has never been a time in our lives when we have NOT been friends. Growing up, we vacationed together. We celebrated birthdays and New Year’s Eves. We visit them at their beach house in the summer. Kellianne and Brendan’s wedding was the first wedding that my immediate family was able to attend together in a few years. Attending this wedding as a guest instead of a bridesmaid was a welcome change of pace. This wedding was a big deal, not just because of who was getting married, but because of my appearance. The dress that I bought was one that caught my attention in the store while shopping for something else. I initially did not buy the dress, but upon sharing with my mom and sister about the dress, I went back later that night and bought it, not even knowing when I would have an opportunity to wear it.
This wedding was also the first time I CHOSE to wear makeup and the first time I APPLIED my own makeup, ever. Yes, I know that most girls apply makeup on their own long before they turn 25, but I’m not most girls. It was a “coming of age” moment, of sorts, and a moment that I was very proud of. For most of my life, I NEVER thought that I would EVERY buy and wear makeup on my own free will. In the words of my co-worker, “there really is a girly-girl inside” of me. A huge shout-out goes to my friend Steph and my sister for teaching me how to apply makeup.
The ceremony was beautiful. There was an extended period of time between the ceremony and reception, so my family did the most obvious thing possible–stop by Chick-Fil-A for some food to tide us over. Walking into Chick-Fil-A fully dressed up was a weird experience, but no one said anything about it. I’m sure people wondered to themselves why in the world we were dressed up for a meal at Chick-Fil-A.
The reception was wonderful and full of precious memories. My sister and I danced a lot, even though the dance floor was crowed. We took a ton of family photos, which is something that we don’t do on a regular basis. Above all else, we simply enjoyed celebrating the marriage of such a close friend.
(top left image via my sister)
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The month ended with a birthday lunch for my grandmom, a church picnic, and a store meeting in which our managers rented an ice cream truck for the night. In other words, I got paid to eat ice cream. Yes, there was work-related things that were addressed that night. But getting paid to eat ice cream is a wonderful, wonderful gift.