Away From It All

This past weekend Chad and I packed up the car and drove down to Lake of the Ozarks to spend some time together as a couple and celebrate 5 years of being married – even if it was 3 months overdue!

It was so nice to just get away. We honestly didn’t “do” a whole lot, since it was during the off season and many of the local attractions were closed or limited. We just enjoyed each other’s company. We spent time together. We didnt have to mow the yard or pay bills or run errands.

We just rented Red Box movies.
We had deep conversations (some of them nice conversations and some of them hard, but needed conversations)
We laughed together.
We explored together.
We did some shopping in the local outlet mall.
We raced Go Karts!
We took pictures together (something we don’t seem to find time to do as much anymore).
We ate out at a fancy restaurant.
We had chips and dip for dinner one night because we didn’t want to leave the hotel.

It was honestly a great trip and very refreshing for our souls and our relationship to leave the busyness and worries and responsibilities of reality back at home in Kansas City for a few days.

Pics from the trip…

Lake of the Ozark on the way in:IMAG1727

Our hotel:
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At Baxter’s Lakeside Grill:
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Chad’s Prime Rib special with Wasabi Smashed potatoes… The Wasabi potatoes ended up not being his favorite so the waitress let him exchange them for the kind of potatoes I ordered. 🙂
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I got the Walnut encrusted Walleye with Apple Butter Bearnaise sauce and a side of Bacon and Bleu Cheese red potatoes. YUMMY!

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Pics together 🙂
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Back of the hotel w/ attached H. Toads Bar and Grill

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Also, you know Missouri is WEIRD, but endearing when you drive through a small town and this is their water tower:

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🙂

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Hiatus from Facebook

I am hoping to be blogging more as I am taking a much-needed break from Facebook.

I just feel like what used to be a medium for connecting with long distance friends and networking/getting to know new friends has instead, for me, turned into a medium for drama or sadness.

To be honest, it has been hard for me to scroll through my news feed and see an overwhelming number of pregnancy announcements, sonogram pictures, and baby/kid photos.

Don’t get me wrong.

For some of my closest and dearest friends these are actually the highlight of my news feed! I love seeing photos of my KC friend’s kids and also getting to see them in real life. I love seeing the Bougher kids growing into little young men and baby Shine getting prettier every day. I love seeing pics of my nieces and nephews because every single one of them lives long distance from me. I love see Judah looking more and more like his Daddy and I love seeing Halle’s hair getting longer as she too gets more beautiful every day. I love the pics of my friend Jessica’s 3 kids, Janine’s little Micah, Michele’s two sweet boys, the Broussard family kids, and so many more….

The issue lies not in the pictures or updates themselves, but rather the fact that it now makes up 90% of my Facebook feed and every day I feel like I am “falling behind” in a journey that everyone else is taking. As much as you all include me, I am still left out. As much as I am over the moon with joy for you, I ache because my arms are empty. As much as I relish being a part of the lives of everyone I love that I can’t live near, I can’t tell you how many times I have just started crying from scrolling through my news feed.

Add to that the drama on Facebook and you have a recipe for a MUCH needed hiatus.

It won’t be permanent.
It will last as long as I need it to for my sanity.

I will be spending the time I am not on Facebook anymore catching up on the 10 books I have been wanting to start/finish.
The scrap booking I’ve put off for over a year.
The two blankets I have been working on for over 3 years!
The projects around the house I have neglected.
Intentionally hanging out with friends in real life here in KC without staring at my phone every 10 min. 😉
Heck, even the shows/movies on Netflix I have been wanting to see!

I will be blogging more. Available by email: tashabcardwell@gmail.com and answering text messages. I will probably still check Facebook private messages every now and then, but you’re more likely to reach me by email since it comes straight to my phone.

Current Thoughts

It has once again been a while since I last wrote.
This time I cannot blame my blogging absence on the past 6 weeks of massive amounts of overtime at work.
I haven’t written because I haven’t really had that much to say that I haven’t already said so many times.

I think I got used to life changing so much. Whether it be the moves between cities after Chad and I got married or the changes occurring between each new school semester, life had an ebb and flow to it so that I got used to the fluctuations.

Now my life feels like a big run on sentence that needs a lot more commas and eventually needs to end so a new sentence can begin. Instead of the ebbs and flows of my previous life, my life is in a stagnant holding pattern. I feel like that cramped passenger on a huge plane full of sweaty bodies and humid air just waiting for the go ahead to take off, but instead you’ve been just sitting on the runway for over 45 minutes and no one has explained WHY.

I did take a few vacations and we even had some family come visit us, but these are brief respites from the norm. Not that I don’t love my life. I do! Being married to Chad is wonderful and our friends are absolutely the best! It is just that I only see my friends here and there throughout a given week and I only see Chad for a few hours each night and then weekends. The rest of the time I am here. At work. A job I am thankful for, but not the job I was made for. Not the job that challenges me. Not the job that allows me to feel fulfilled in the passions and gifting God has given me. For a job like that, I need to start and finish grad school. For grad school I need us to be more financially stable and I need to have an idea on when I will actually start grad school.

Forgive me for just rambling and complaining, but these are the thoughts and the feelings that course through me every single day. I need a change. I need to feel like the future holds more than my gray cubicle and paying bills. I need to feel like the best moments and the happiest times can occur outside of taking a vacation/sick day. This job is serving it’s purpose for now and I am finding the common graces of God in places unexpected as I search for ways to give back and find meaning.

But really.
For now.

I am waiting.

Waiting sucks.

ws4e9u

HA!! —–>    drugs-alexoloughlin

Catching Up

As of tomorrow, it will have been 2 months since I last wrote. Life has felt like a whirlwind. Although my new job as an Enrollment Counselor is enjoyable in and of itself, the workload has been overwhelming and hard to manage most weeks. When I interviewed for the job I was told there would be “periods of time through the year when overtime was needed” and that those period of time fell during certain times of the year around the beginning of each new term. For me, I have been working overtime since January 1st and it doesn’t seem like there is a light at the end of the tunnel yet. Let’s hope so…

I have also been more intentional with my diet and exercise. I am done with the fads and quick fixes (for now). I have noticed that this medication I am on for my PCOS (Metformin) has helped me SO much with sugar cravings, energy levels, etc. I have lost 6 lbs and it could have been more if I hadn’t gotten so “off” during a recent road trip up to Wisconsin where Culvers and other treats were consumed with reckless abandon. Hoping that sometime this weekend after some snow melts, I can hop back on the Snap Fitness 3-5 times a week wagon. Until then, healthy eating and portion control keeps me in check. 🙂

Speaking of now – wth?!!? We didn’t have hardly any all winter and as soon as Valentines Day passed, we started getting lower temps and then WHAM! 12 inches of snow last Thursday and another 12 inches yesterday! We’re getting another 2 inches today? At least shoveling snow is a great alternative for a work out, my lower back is surprisingly tight and toned feeling! haha
I normally don’t grow bitter with the cold, but with an entire winter’s worth of snow dumped on us in less than a week I am feeling quite ready to see tree blossoms, green grass, tulips, and a thunderstorm or two.

Our trip to Wisconsin was very nice. Lots of time with my family and the wonderful Bougher family. We also had Anne (my brother’s fiance) join us, so that was very nice to spend some lengthy time with her – bonding and getting to know one another better. I am so happy that she is going to be a future sister and I LOVE how much she loves my brother. A lot of people make fun of the behaviors of people in love, but they’re seriously just jealous. If Anne misses Matthew after less than 24 hours of seeing him, who is anyone to say that is silly? I feel the same way with Chad. Heck, Chad and I miss each other just when we have to leave for work each day. Love is worth being all consumed and only becomes a clearer picture of the love relationship between us and our Savior. I think it’s beautiful.

So that is what has been going on. This coming March I am going to Portland, OR – so stay tuned for stories and pics from that. I will upload a slew of pics/videos from our trip to Wisconsin and the massive amounts of snow very soon…. 🙂

Nerd Fest: Literature

I can’t really comprehend people who spent 4 years at a University getting a degree in something they don’t have a passion for. Although sometimes you might have to take a job you don’t like in order to pay the bills or provide for your family, it just doesn’t make sense to me to choose a career path to study for 4 years where you won’t enjoy the career once you’re there.

I don’t have that problem.

I absolutely LOVE what I am studying!
I love writing.
I love literature.
I even love critical analysis!
I can’t wait to have a job where I am writing, reading, researching, and teaching while they pay me!

Right now, I am in my Senior Capstone class, which is the culmination of everything I have ever learned as an English major.
We’re writing a very large paper that we will then present to an audience of students, staff, faculty, Deans, friends, family, etc.

While some of my fellow classmates seem to be dragging their heels through every assignment, I have found myself literally loving it!

But I think I am realizing….
I won’t have another Senior Capstone class at Park University again.
I won’t have brilliant professors and fellow bibliophiles around me everyday to just spontaneous discuss literature with.
I won’t have classes where we delve deeply into the writing processes of famous authors or learn how to write poetry like TS Eliot.
This is it for me.
I am trying my best to enjoy every bit of it.

Top 3 Nerd Fest highlights for me, so far:
– Visiting the absolutely massive KU research library in Lawrence and weaving my way through aisle after aisle, and floor after floor of millions of books! They have an area called “The Stacks” where everything is categorized by whatever topic you might be researching. (How thoughtful of them!) So you don’t have to grab a book in one section and your next book in another section – you can just sit in their narrow aisles smelling the scent of worn out pages and breathing the air of active minds and have everything you need right there! I ended up walking out with 15 books!
– When I realized that I was going to make a substantial addition to the conversation surround Victor Hugo’s craft of the novel, as seen in Les Miserables – Burkean Parlor style. 🙂
– Seeing how excited the faculty have become as we’ve discussed my ideas for this paper. To know that people you respect and admire so much think you’re project is going to be fascinating is such a compliment.

Some of you have no idea what I am talking about.

You may not even read books or know how to spell your own name, and that’s okay. (Not the name part – you should work on that).

My point is that these things are a passion for me. I am studying my passion and preparing to utilize it in my career for as long as I am able. God has given us passions for a reason! We’re meant to use our passions for the betterment of the world around us. If you don’t know your passions, maybe your not looking outside yourself long enough to find one.

So whatever you’re passionate about, whatever makes your heart beat faster, whatever gives you your own private nerd fest – DO THAT.

Life is too short to stifle our passions and kindle our indifferences.

Turning 29 and Celebrating 4.

So….. exactly one month ago I turned 29.
I am currently living out my last year in my twenties – that is so strange to say!
When did I become so old?

What might have been an uneventful birthday due to a lack of planning and an overly busy summer for us and everyone else we knew, my birthday actually turned out really well! 🙂

First of all, I created an Amazon Wish List and posted it on my Facebook. When I did this, I was just feeling a bit brave and a little obnoxious, but it turns out that my friends and family actually loved the wish lists and I got lots of amazing presents because of this list! I am totally doing this every year. 🙂

I seriously got TONS of books that I really look forward to reading in the near future, plus two necklaces! Chad got me a new phone for my bday (desperately needed! haha) and I also got various cards, gift cards, and even an end table from my brother Matt and his FIANCE Anne that is designed to look like oversized books! (I’d been wanting this forever!)

Here is a pic:

Secondly, we were out-of-town for my actual birthday in Branson, MO to celebrate four years of blissful marriage, so we had plenty of fun activities to do in Branson on my birthday!

Here are some trips from the drive down to Branson…

Coffee beforehand:

I tried to get Chad to just smile at me while he was driving and this is what I got… (he makes me laugh so much!):

Finally, we got to our hotel, which was definitely a bargain since we were low on vacation funds, but it was mostly comfortable. 🙂

When we went out the day of my birthday, we already had mapped out what we wanted to do… We wanted to get breakfast, then see The Dark Knight Rises at the genuine Giant Screen IMAX (this ended up being a big Branson FAIL because the IMAX lost power 45 min into the movie!), and then we’d have dinner and then see this show recommended by Chad’s cousin called The Haygoods.

Let me be clear here. When Chad said that his cousin Taylor recommended “The Haygoods,” I immediately conjured up images of rednecks in overalls making music on whiskey jugs, corn cobs, and banjos!

I. could. not. have. been. more. wrong.

This was THE BEST show I think we could have seen in Branson!! AND one of the best shows I have EVER seen! It was 6 siblings playing tons of songs we already knew in their own style with amazing talent, dancing, lighting effects, stunts, and so much more….Here are some pics!

Opening song:

They could each play several instruments and would keep jumping back and forth between different ones per song!

A lot of their instruments would light up like this!

A lot of stunts like back flips, playing on top of the piano, instruments lighting on fire, etc… 🙂

One of my favorite parts where Dominic came out and played “Unchained Melody” on the sax! So beautiful!

This was also in my top 3 favorite parts of the show…. this one guys came out and started tap dancing on top of a table….

THEN…

A bunch of them came out and started tap dancing in Combat boots and street clothes!!
It seriously felt like a scene from RENT or something!! SO urban and so awesome!

Oh, and then the sister randomly starts playing the drums! She could play over 12 instruments!!

Here is a promotional video of the Haygoods show:

And another one that really gives an idea on what their shows are like, though we didn’t hear this particular song the night we went. 🙂

It was seriously the best! Chad and I were both hoarse from screaming and cheering and these were only a few pics of 100 or so pics that I took that night!
The Haygoods really helped make my birthday amazing. 🙂

The rest of Branson was spent celebrating our Anniversary with other shows, shopping, eating funnel cake sundaes, attending The Price is Right Live (Branson edition), and more. 🙂

Dolly Parton had a show called “The Dixie Stampede” that is set up almost exactly like Medieval Times… There is a dinner served to you that you have to eat with your hands while you watch a show where you have to pick sides and cheer for your side… in this case it was the North vs. the South. :p

I didn’t find out until after I took this pic that you’re not supposed to take pics of this event… so that was my last pic for this. 😦

Then we decided to do this brand new thing in Branson where they have a mock set up of The Price is Right! It is a LIVE show instead of televised, but you can still win real prizes! We didn’t win anything big, but Chad’s name got called as an instant winner to be able to spin the wheel and get your picture taken with the host and ladies. Everyone else had to pay $$ if they wanted to do this! 🙂

CLICK HERE TO SEE A VIDEO OF CHAD SPINNING THE WHEEL!!

When we got back from Branson, some of my dearest friends and favorite women in Kansas City wanted to throw me a birthday get-together. We went out to eat at Ingredient and then back to Maria’s house for quality time, coffee, tiramisu, wine, chocolate pie, and more! So blessed to have these wonderful friends in my life! 🙂

Maria:

Anne and Melody:

The Plaza at night…

Anne and Rachel representing France! 🙂

Yummy!

All in all, turning 29 and celebrating 4 years of marriage was wonderful! 🙂

P.B.B.C.B.A. – Pirated Buddhist Books Can Be Awesome

My dear cousin Katie let me borrow an audio book for my drive back to Kansas City from Wisconsin. By “borrow” I meant that she burned me a copy and by “a copy” I mean a duplicate version of what is most likely a pirated book. Unfortunately, I am a sucker for free literature and it didn’t feel any different from getting a free one from the library, so I didn’t judge and greedily accepted her kindness. 🙂

The book is called “My Name is Memory” by Ann Brashares. I have never read this author before and I honestly had no idea what this book was supposed to be about. Since the very first few minutes of disc one I have been absolutely captivated. Addicted. This is an amazing book! Not only is the plot unique and the character development so well done, but more importantly – the way the author weaves this story is awe-inspiring. If I ever become a fiction writer, I want to write like this! She jumps around between characters, places, and times sporadically (how modern of her!) but it is still easy to follow AND (my personal favorite thing in fiction and most writing) she gives me (us, you, the reader) an intimate look inside the character(s) mind and heart and past.

This post isn’t necessarily a book review or anything… I just thought you should know before I continue that this book is totally worth reading or, as in my case, listening to.

The story has been making me think about life and the choices we make. How do we love people? Would we make certain choices if we knew we could never shake the regret or the pain for the rest of eternity? Like if you were about to do something that hurt someone else or that would taint your personal morals to a large degree and you had to remember that choice forever, would you still do it? I mean, obviously you might remember a mistake you made if you didn’t make it to heaven because then your surroundings might serve as a constant reminder of your depravity…. but what about right now? This life. We make mistakes that we so often gloss over. We are insensitive to others feelings because we’re wrapped up in our own affairs. A small act of selfishness that we quickly forget, but that person you just brushed off may have been feeling lonely for months and they won’t likely forget the way you overlooked them so easily. We knowingly choose to compromise our standards for the sake of how we feel right now and then in a year’s time forget it entirely, or only regret it somewhat because it was “in our past.” But what if we couldn’t forget. What if the memory of our choices good and bad stayed with us vividly fresh for the rest of our lives. How would we conduct ourselves? How would we treat the people around us? Not just our friends. It’s easy to love our friends. How would we treat the people in our lives we’re not friends with or the ones that annoy us? What if loving our enemies is more than just the people we hate? What if loving our enemies is about loving the people we don’t necessarily hate, but who are hard to love because they’re needy, or annoying, or self-righteous, or vulgar, or socially awkward?

This book I am reading isn’t a Christian book at all. In fact, I am pretty sure it could be considered a Buddhist type book if anything, but the bottom line is the same. How we treat people matters. How we make choices for ourselves matters. Just because our memories are average and fleeting doesn’t mean our choices should be hasty and selfish.

The morals of the story: Books change lives.

This one got me thinking about how I think. That’s meta-cognition and that’s a good thing. 😉

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