The rain cleared just in time to make for the perfect day for Savannah & Oliver to exchange their vows. With friends and family present, these two took the step toward what will be the rest of their lives together. It was such a joy to be a part of this day for them, and I am wishing them so many blessings in the years to come! I hope you all enjoy these highlights as a preview of the beautiful wedding of Savannah & Oliver – now, properly known as Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Payne.
“You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.” – Craig Groeschel
What a powerful statement. This post isn’t meant to be a shout out to this book, or even this author. Quite frankly, I haven’t read any of his material, so I couldn’t tell you if anything beyond this statement is even worth the read. However, what I do know is that God knows how to weave these statements of inspiration and thought into our daily lives, exactly when we least expect them. I stumbled across this statement on a friend’s Instagram page, nonetheless. (Thanks Haley!) She had it there as a reminder for a youth event she was taking part in. And yet, I ran across it and it made me think about my time in a whole new way. And thus – I share these words now with you.
How often is it that we are plagued with the feeling that there is never “enough time”? I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve wrestled with the thought that world changers like our Founding Fathers, Einstein, Maya Angelou, or the ever-coveted National Geographic Explorers all have or had the same 24 hour day that you and I all share. And yet, why can’t we see ourselves as those with the potential to change the world as well? The writers and photographers that I aspire to be all have lives. They all have the same 24 hours to practice and perfect their work and create the art that so many love. The art that inspires those to live their life to the fullest and to pursue their wildest dreams.
Let me take a second and share with you something that our neighbor, Mrs. Karen, the sweetest (and arguably most God-fearing woman) I’ve ever met once said. She said anytime you see the word “but”, you better stop and listen because it’s God way of saying that you “Better Understand This”. So, let’s proceed with that mentality…
Better Understand This.
We have enough time to do everything that God wants US to do. I don’t have time to do what my best friend is supposed to do. I don’t have the time to do exactly what that other photographer, other scientist, other writer, other…(fill in your blank here)….has time to do because, quite frankly, God has other plans for them. BUT He has other plans for you too. His plans are great. They are not lesser. His plans are to do far greater than we could ever hope, dream, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). So, we still dream. We still work. We still pray expectantly because through God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
God gave us just enough time to do what he wants for us. So, may we all compare a bit less. May we be happy a bit more. And, let’s stop wasting our time doing all the things that weren’t meant for us. Instead, set your mind toward what you were designed for, and make it a point to make time for that. Even if a dream seems far off, you’ll never make it there without the first step.
>Photo from my adventures in Washington State<
Per the usual, cheesy New Year’s post, I’d like to say 2016 truly has held more blessings and memories than Daniel and I could have imagined. In the year and a half that we have been married, we have been in 3 Countries, 5 states, and a long list of new cities. We have gone Scuba Diving, Held Monkeys, and we have climbed numerous mountains. We have started grad school, switched jobs, and we have experienced fun times and difficult times. All in all, we have had each other and the Grace of God through each new event.
With 2017, we are going to be facing what will I know be one of the greatest adventures of all. We are gaining the titles of Mom and Dad, and a new person will be added to the role on our adventures. Yes, if all goes as planned, we will still finish Grad School. We will still travel. Our marriage will be a priority, and our lives will continue. The more the merrier, right? We are so excited about this new addition to our family and the joy it will bring to have tag-a-long on the journeys life takes us on. So, stay connected as our adventures gain a new addition – If you’re interested, I’ll do my best to share my experiences along the way!
This year with our friends, Daniel and I decided to take a different route for Christmas. Forgoing the materialistic side of the Holiday, we wanted to use our resources on something more lasting. Therefore, in lieu of the traditional Christmas gift-giving, us and two of our great friends decided to escape and take a short trip together instead. Michael and Sarah are two friends that we have been blessed to walk alongside for quite some time now. Sarah and I were roommates through college, and now, Michael lives just one apartment over from Daniel and I. What a joy it was to escape into the mountains for a couple days with these guys.
To start the trip off, we searched around for a nice hike and decided on Stone Mountain in the Dupont National Forest.
> Find the link to the trail website here.<
It ended up being pretty chilly and windy that day, so we did the Shorter Route of the hike options. It ended up being about 4 miles round trip (2 miles in, 2 miles out), and there are a series of large exposed granite slabs at the top of the summit. “Most of these slabs offer southerly views of the rest of the State Forest and the continental divide ridgeline…An impressive westerly view of the Pisgah range can be found by returning to the first, western-most granite opening.” (dupontforest.com)
Per our usual tradition, we found a local pizza parlor – settling on Blue Ridge Pizza Company as it was the closest to the trailhead, and we were looking forward to a warm meal.
At Blue Ridge there were several flavors to choose from, so, naturally we ordered one small pizza of the best looking flavors and we each got a piece of each. Here you see (in clockwise order) JoJo’s Dragon, Margherita Pizza, Double Pig with Fruit, and the Fat Gary. Surprisingly enough, JoJo’s Dragon – A rendition of the Buffalo Chicken Pizza – ended up being our favorite.
| Find more details about the Blue Ride Pizza Company’s Menu here if you’re in the area and wanted to check it out! |
Other great restaurant choice: Farm Burger, Asheville. Think classic burger joint with a fun twist. Favorite parts: Draft Root Beer and their sweet potato fries. 10/10 Must Try.
We ended our trip with a stop at Market Square in Knoxville. We finally had the chance to share Tupelo Honey with our friends and let them in on the secret that is the Shoo Mercy Grilled Cheese. The Christmas Tree was lit and the trees were wrapped with lights. A final stop at the Coffee & Chocolate Shop ended the trip with high energy and lifted spirits.
Enjoy a few of my favorites from this couple’s engagement shoot at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Jeff and Lauren have some of the craziest, most fun personalities of any couple you’ll meet, and it was so fun to shoot their engagement shots.