Monday, February 28, 2011

Home Sweet Habersham

This past weekend I made a trip to a little place I like to call home. It's actually quite a large place, but the number of people there have kept it a "small town," if you will. The name is Habersham--also known as "The Sham," Home of the Raiders, and the middle of nowhere, according to some. Habersham is the place you hated when you were 16 and had just gotten your driver's license and wanted to drive everywhere in the world and the only place you had to drive to was...Wal-Mart. It's also the place you become more and more grateful for as time goes by. Some might argue with me, but Habersham is the perfect place to grow up. It's beautiful, filled with mountains and woods and lakes (more like large ponds) and pastures for days. It's the place where everyone still knows [almost] everyone, the place where Friday night plans will always be to go to the high school football game, and the place where good manners are still expected (thank goodness). When I go back to Habersham from school, I always know I'm going home. I'm so glad I don't go home to a city full of honking cars driven by stressed out, brake-slamming, bird-shooting people; I go home to faces I know, stars in the sky and a view of the mountains from my back porch that goes on for days. To put it simply, I couldn't be more thankful I call that place home.
So, until the next time I make that trip into northeast Georgia, I'll miss you, Home Sweet Habersham.
(the view from the top of my driveway--no justice done here)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lucky Ducks

As I write this blog, I am sitting in a chair that is part of a lawn furniture set the previous owners of our house left (thanks, guys!), letting my fingers crawl over the keyboard as I take breaks to eat the most delicious, crisp apple. And as I sit here with the sun shining on my face (I can literally feel the freckles appearing), the ever-so-slightest breeze blowing through my very messy ponytail, I can't help but feel so grateful for such a beautiful life. Believe me, I have my moments when I fail to recognize and acknowledge this, but how many people on Earth get to have afternoons like this? If we're honest with ourselves, I think we would all agree that we live comparatively simple lives when we look at the rest of the world. Yes, we have the day-to-day stresses that seem to consume our lives at times--but we bring most of those on ourselves. In other words, we choose to live that way; we're not forced to. How lucky are we?
Going in a (somewhat) completely different direction, I just have to take a moment to talk about this BEAUTIFUL weather we've had! I kid you not, I feel like a different person when the weather starts getting warm. The trees in Athens are starting to bud their little pink blooms, and for me, that's when I know spring is here. That and when the line at Yoforia is constantly out to the road.
Okay...so that place is always packed.
And even though everyone keeps being pessimistic and saying that a cold front will make its way back soon enough (which, in reality...is very likely), I don't care. These few days I've been able to spend outside without 7 layers on have been incredible, and I won't let any thoughts about a blackberry winter ruin them.
I'm going to wrap this up so I can close my eyes and listen to my latest iTunes purchases...life is so good.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Downward Facing...Cody

So at the beginning of this year (and this blog) I set out to fill the next twelve months with as many new experiences as possible. I've really had to keep myself from planning this all out though, because what fun would that be if things didn't happen spontaneously? It wouldn't be, because with my OCD tendencies it would all become another project to schedule and label and color code...you get the point. This leads me to my next experience:
A couple weeks ago I was trying to figure out what I could do to mix up my workouts. Running (although the half-marathon was great), gets really boring. Ramsey, the gym at UGA, is huge and has basically anything and everything you would ever want to do; however, the girls (and guys) that spend two hours+ a day there pacing back and forth in front of the floor to ceiling mirrors sneaking glances at themselves the whole time is sort of nauseating, so I set out to find somewhere new to release my stress. And what better opportunity to try something new?? So I did! At...yoga.
If I'm truly honest, I have to admit that I was skeptical at first. And although some of my predispositions still hold true, yoga has turned out to be one of my new favorite things. (I wish I could have an official list of those like Oprah does--I think people would like mine more because the items would actually be affordable.) I never feel stronger than I do in yoga class when I'm holding a position that I can't even pronounce the name of that literally makes fire run through the muscles in my body. I've still got a lot (I mean a lot) to learn, but it's really become a way to be strong for me.
Speaking of downward-facing dog...(let's pretend I was), I found another little dog at my last yoga class! Everyone meet Cody:
How precious is he?? I think I love him so much because he reminds me of Ellie Bear. Cody is my yoga instructor's dog, and he was there for the day to join us for class. Needless to say, I was a little preoccupied during class--not the best thing when you're trying to hold your balance so you don't fall on your head.
So go out there and try something new today, because you never know what you might find! Strength, a new talent, a new love, and maybe even a friend :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soul on Fire

My blog has officially become yet another form of procrastination...like I needed another one. I have literally come to my blog a least a dozen times today to write, to get away from the studying that has recently become my life. And every time I've had the self-control to deviate away from the blog.
"Now right now, Sarah Beth. Later. After you're done studying...as in never."
But this time I stayed. Because my fingers were itching, and I knew I couldn't possibly study a minute longer until I had written something, anything.
The problem is, I don't really have anything significant to say. Do you ever have those days? When you feel like everything that comes out of your mouth must sound like Charlie Brown's teacher? I do. And today is one of them, so I won't share my words; I'll share someone else's (I don't know whose, but I cannot take credit for them).
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Now that is significant. I love it. If I had to pick a favorite quote, that would be it. Hands down. (Besides the Bible. But those aren't quotes; they're truths.)
Passion is more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction, more explosive than the most complex atomic bomb, more potent than the largest trace of anthrax. With God behind it, its power increases tenfold. So light your soul on fire. You will be able to do big, big things.

Friday, February 4, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

As I lay in bed writing this blog (yes, it is 2:41 in the afternoon), I can hear the pitter-patter of rain drops against the tiny square of tin roof on top of our house. I can hear the trickle of water running in the tiniest of rivers down my windows, and I can almost feel the chill the rain brings seeping in through my walls (That last one is probably pretty accurate; my house is a bit old.).
When I woke up, the first thing I did was go pick up my roommates from their classes--I don't have Friday classes, by the grace of God! And the first thing I thought as I stepped out the door was, "This is the most disgusting day!" 
Now wait a minute. Disgusting? or beautiful? The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a beautiful little thing this day was going to be. Although it might be messy to get out in, it's the perfect excuse to stay in, to slow down. I would argue whether any of us really understands what those two words together mean anymore, but we could all use a day like today to teach us. I think God uses rainy days to do just that, to make us slow down for a second. Even if we're only slowing down because we take an hour to decide if we really want to get out and run those unnecessary errands in this weather or not. 
So I'm slowing down. And realizing how much I actually love messy, rainy days like today. They're one of my favorite things. I have a lot of favorite things, so I'm going to share a few.
My family. My beautiful, incredible, God-given family. This is us on the Golden Gate Bridge last summer, and it was so windy. That's probably why we all look so blown away, literally. That and the fact that it was really beautiful up there. I will be writing about my family a lot, and I mean a lot. They are the most important people in my life--I could write about them for days, but I'll save whoever is reading this from that sappy mess. (Note: from the left: my beautiful mom, me, my sister and very best friend Morgan, and my sweet dad) 

Now this little bundle of joy is also part of the family :) Don't you just want to squeeze her through the screen?? Her name is Ellie, also known as Ellie Bear. We call her Jelly most of the time (thus, the jar of peanut butter beside her). She's Morgan's dog but...the rest of the family likes to think she's everyone's dog too.
The Grit. oh my goodness...where do I begin? The Grit is this incredible little vegan restaurant in Athens. Don't be quick to judge! I know vegan comes with a negative connotation sometimes, but it is truly the best food you'll ever eat. Not to mention their cakes. the. best. cake you will ever have in your lifetime, I kid you not. My favorite is the lemon poppyseed cake. I have no words to describe it, so I won't even try. My point is that this is my favorite restaurant, hands down. Go try it.
And finally...good friends. There just isn't anything better, is there? And these are the best. These girls are the ones I lived with my first semester at UGA and the ones I live with now. And I just love them so much. Good friends can make any bad day better. (that sounds like a lyric right out of a country song, but it's true) 
I could stay in bed all day talking about my favorite things, but it's time to get up now. Don't worry, I'm not speeding up. I'm just making cookies. I hope you enjoy your slow day too. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God Means Go

So it's official: I will be spending a little over six weeks of my summer in Paris, France.
I know, I'm still pinching myself. Is this real? A week ago I didn't even know about the program, literally. But God likes to surprise me, I think. I kept telling Him that if this wasn't where He wanted me I needed a blatant sign. And give me signs He did, but they were all telling me to go. Everything just started falling into place, and that's when I realized that I didn't need flashing lights to direct my decision. God gives us signs all the time, many times in the most simple ways. We just fail to notice them because we don't expect God to be so fully and intricately a part of our lives. It's like we can't imagine that He would be behind a seemingly random thing, like finding out about the study abroad experience we've always dreamed of two days before it's too late to apply (or maybe that's just me). So look for Him, because He is everywhere.