Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hi everyone! So, as I am stuck in bed with swollen cheeks thanks to having my wisdom teeth removed, I will finally tell you all about my adventure in Tennessee. Are you ready?

We left on Wednesday, April 27th at about 4 in the morning. Then we proceeded to drive for 26 hours. Let me tell you, 26 hours in the car really makes you appreciate all of the walking around and stretching you do in a day. However, the drive in and of itself was not that bad. We drove through some beautiful countryside. Example:

This picture was taken at about 6 AM and I am pretty sure we were somewhere in Arkansas.... don't judge me. It was a long drive and when you sleep at random times, it's hard to keep track of where you are. So anyway, we finally made it to Tennessee. The biggest blessing was that when we finally arrived at our destination, I still loved the people I had traveled with. In fact, I think that I even liked them a little more than before. So we spent two nights in Memphis, and tried to just relax and recover after our drive. Besides, there isn't much to do when it's POURING RAIN. But other than the weather, it was a very enjoyable two days. After that, we arrived in Kingsport, Tennessee. It's a gorgeous, lush, green part of east Tennessee. It ended up raining and drizzling most of the time we were there, but we still managed to have some fun adventures. 

This is Cacti. She (or he, I'm not quite sure which) was adorable!

Then we walked around downtown and got to see some pretty cool old places. This old news stand and the old theatre were a few of them. I was told that the theatre was the first one in the area. It was really cool to peek in the windows and see the old fashioned inside. The news stand was also really cool. I mean, ice cream, old fashioned popcorn and the guy behind the counter wearing a tie?! I felt like we had just walked back into the 1950s. SO COOL! 

These pianos were sitting near old abandoned buildings. It was cool. Some were just painted, while others had writings and signatures on them.They played pretty well, and weren't terribly out of tune considering no one knows how long they've been there.

Yes, I did force the boys to play the awesome piano while I took a picture... No shame.

The next picture was from a hike we took, somewhere. The guys took me to this old abandoned cabin by the river. We looked around and it was kind of an eery feeling. It was cloudy and rainy and the house was creaky and super worn down. We found a place of collapsed ceiling with 19050s or 60s wallpaper still attached in a few places. The foundation of the building was visible where places of the floor had rotted away and you know what? The foundation was stacks of rocks. It was a weird old house, but it was cool imagining what the place looked like in it's glory days.

Our last stop was at Precious Nana's house. She has a an adorable little place with some of the most beautiful plants growing in her backyard. The blooms were huge and absolutely breathtaking. They smelled amazing in the warm summer sun and made the evening just that much more enjoyable. But in addition to all of that, they also reminded me of how the Lord turns us into beautiful blooms. We start as little tiny buds, but as we absorb his light and his words, we blossom little by little. Our scent and beauty reaches out and touches others if we let God do His work in us. It's amazing to me how God is constantly reminding us of who he is and how he works through all of his creations.

This last picture warms my heart. This is Nana. She is one of the most adorable, precious women that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. This picture captured a precious moment between a grandmother and her grandson, and it also reminds of that life is fleeting and that we should love and cherish moments like these while we can.

This trip changed a lot in my life and afforded me a ton of opportunities to truly seek the Lord's face. It was a much needed break from my everyday patterns and I am beyond thankful for each and every lesson I was taught while I was away. I was able to spend countless hours studying the Word of God and listening to sermons by some favorite teachers. It renewed the hunger within me and gave me a stronger desire than ever to constantly grow close to the Lord. I loved being able to spend time with this family in that beautiful place and I absolutely cannot wait to go back. But more than that, I can't wait to see those awesome people again. I am thankful for them! 

   Sammantha Jean

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hello! Yes, I am still alive and yes, I do feel guilty that I haven't blogged in forever. So, it took me getting sick and being on couch rest to finally put up another blog post. How are you all?! My, I have missed you. Me? I'm doing fabulously! (Except for the whole sick thing. Lol) Oh, oh, oh! Guess what?! My mother is opening a new coffee house! It will be called Revive and will be a coffee shop/wine cafe. The concept came about rather suddenly, but the Lord has blessed my family by opening one door after another. We have been remodeling our building and have already started creating the menu. We hope to be open by June 1, 2016. I am so excited! So, if y'all could be praying for us in this new magical venture, I would really appreciate it! The second surprise is that little old me will be driving across the country to Tennessee this week! I am road tripping out and then flying home in May. We are going to be stopping at the Grand Canyon, somewhere cool in Texas, Mississippi, and a few other places. I am excited to try to take cool pictures on the trip! Pray that I don't die.

Well, that was just a quick little update for now, but as soon as I get back from the trip, I will post tons of pictures! Love you all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hi everyone! So this last weekend I had a rather short, but much needed vacation. And where did I go on vacation you ask? Disneyland of course!  Yes, that place where imagination, wait times and small children run wild. Disneyland, as busy and crowded as it can be, holds many precious memories for me. I grew fairly close to the magical kingdom built by Walt Disney. Sometimes, my parents would take my brother and I after school and we would simply go to have dinner or watch the fireworks. Disneyland is a place that has been close to my heart since I was a small child. So, when I was invited to join my best friends family of 17 people for two days in Disneyland, and then my other friend and her school mates for the third day, it was a trip that I couldn't pass up. One of the best parts about going to Disneyland with people that you get along with is that no matter how long the lines are, there is always a way to keep yourself entertained. We played word games, we talked and laughed a lot, and overall we just enjoyed each others company. On top of the fact that I needed the vacation, this trip really made me appreciate how blessed I am to have friends that I enjoy being around. I also am super thankful for the memories that my family has helped me make. So let me share some moments and pictures from the trip. Some of them are definitely blurry, so bare with me, lol.

This is one of the awesome groups I got to go with. Of course, this was in the morning, so we don't look exhausted yet. Lol

This is the two little munchkins with the other group posing with Cinderella's Fairy godmother. Aren't they freakin precious?

The next few are from the amazing Paint the Night Parade. It's kind of the reincarnated version of the electric parade, for those of you who know what I'm referring to. 

These were the coral dancers that danced in front of the Little Mermaid float. They were so cool! 
(Side note: can you imagine how in shape you have to be to dance through the whole parade with the heavy light equipment on? I am still thoroughly impressed.)

The Little Mermaid herself. She was darling and did a fantastic job. Plus, the float she was on was incredible. 

It's Slinky! And Woody! Best Cowboy around.

This picture makes my heart ache a little. When we were very small, my parents used to put me and my brother in our stroller and buy these exact Mickey cookies from the corner bakery to eat while we watched the fireworks. So, right before the parade and fireworks, I got some coffee and a Mickey cookie. It made me tear up, but it also made me smile.

And of course, there was a lot more to the trip, but these were just a few of the memories I was able to capture on camera. And last but not least, my favorite picture.

As I stood and said farewell to Disneyland, I was left in a state of awe. It amazes me what one man was able to do with an imagination and a mouse. Walt Disney had the heart, spirit and imagination of a child. Because of this, he was able to change the world. I was teary eyed and full of wonder when I thought about the many children, adults, artists and so on that have been inspired by one man's incredible legacy. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Good almost afternoon! My, what a crazy few days it has been in my world. I have recently started working a new job, on top of all of the other responsibilities I have. I am so thankful for the ability to work and for the awesome people that I have the privilege of working with. However, because my schedule is absolutely insane right now... (two jobs, rehearsals for the play, college classes) the days where I can rest and do things that I want to do are becoming more and more rare. So when my mom left town for a women's conference and my brother went to stay with friends, I kidnapped a dear friend of mine and decided to do what I wanted to do. For the last week or so, I had been feeling very... Pinteresty. I had wanted to go explore out little town and get an awesome picture that had food and coffee in it. So Saturday came, and we did just that; we explored. Well, here were the results of our outing.
It was so much fun!!! We ate way to much and had amazing coffee in a cute little corner booth at a local shop. And, I got a good picture. I felt/feel very accomplished! But the best part of the morning was being able to sit back and relax. I didn't have to constantly check the time or worry about what I needed to do before work. I was able to be in the moment and enjoy the company of a dear sister. It's those moments, the ones where you can sit together and have a meaningful, heart-to-heart conversation, that make life worth while. I am so blessed to lead such a crazy life, but that moment was a reminder that rest is a blessing as well. Thank you Jane for blessing me with a morning filled with food, laughter, great conversation and friendship. To all of you reading this, I encourage you to do something like this. Make time, get together with a friend and enjoy the moment, without worrying about what's coming next. Happy Monday! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy Wednesday everyone! Thanks to the clouds and cold weather, I find myself in a very sentimental mood today. The "lets sit on the couch with hot chocolate and photo albums" kind of mood. So with that in mind, I want to share a little story with you. From the time I can remember, my Mama has done most of the cooking in our house. She was/is responsible for making sure that we all eat a proper, healthy diet; and Lord knows that's a task. But on sunny Saturday morning at my house, it was my Daddy who you would find in the kitchen, getting ready to make his "signature dish" - pancakes! It might not seem like a big deal to you, but I have never in my life been able to get my pancakes to taste or look like my Dad's. Although, that might be because he cheated slightly and used Bisquick in his batter. Yep, that's right; my Dad - Mr. Health himself, used Bisquick. But come on, 80/20 right? (80% = healthy eating, 20% = not so much)... There he was, setting out the griddle and the Bisquick, getting ready to make his kids their favorite breakfast; and let me tell ya, to this day, nothing can beat pancakes and cartoons on a Saturday morning. When I woke up yesterday all I really wanted was to recreate those memories and recapture that childish delight. I miss those Saturday mornings when I would walk into the kitchen, hair all over the place and find my handsome Dad getting ready to let  me "help" flip some pancakes. (Because let's be honest, the flipping is the best part.) So yesterday my brother and I made chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream and a cold glass of milk. And as I enjoyed every bite of the diabetes-giving meal, it struck me how something from so long ago, something so small, could leave such a lasting impression. It's those memories that I will treasure always. It's those memories that make it easier to go on when you miss someone so much. Thanks Dad for leaving me something to always enjoy, even though they won't ever be as good as when you made them for me.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My first attempt at joining the blogosphere...

My first official blog post!!! *quiet excited flailing* If I am being honest, I am super nervous and super excited about this. So I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Sammantha, but most people call me Sammi. I am 19 years old and I live in the beautiful town of South Lake Tahoe, CA. I love to sing and my dream is to be a worship leader. I guess that my favorite pastimes include reading books, drinking coffee and boxing. Someday I want to travel the world and pretend to be a professional photographer while I take pictures of the scenery with my phone. I lead a super busy life, so keeping up with this is gonna be so much fun! I also want to explain why I wanted to start a blog in the first place. I think it's because many people have told me in the past that I need to write a book. The problem with that is, a book about what?! I have these moments of reflection that I like to share, but they are hardly long enough to write an entire book. Unless I write a book that is supposed to be filled with random thoughts....  but I'm not motivated enough for that. I just am so filled with excitement or awe at things, that I want to take a moment to expand on what I'm thinking. Sometimes they are super deep and inspiring; other times I rant about how beautiful I think the sunset was. So if nothing else, I hope that you find my writings amusing/entertaining! I'm excited talk to y'all and have awesome conversations!

   ~ Sammi Jean ~