LAUREN KNIGHT

I vividly remember the day I met Lauren my freshman year at UofSC. I was this shy and quiet honestly, overwhelmed, freshman and Lauren, so kindly, reached out to see if I needed a date for the Halloween function that fall semester. From that initial meeting, I knew how important this girl would mean to me. Over the next few years together in college, she was the calm, easy-going and patient friend I knew would stick with me in the good, bad, // or ugly. She was an listening ear, steady presence and a trustworthy person who I could talk about anything with.

During college, Lauren was my go-to Toy Story fanatic, fellow Honey Boo-Boo watcher, hockey enthusiast and Gamecock football cheerleader. She was openly willing to house me for two weeks during sorority recruitment before my dorm had opened up for the semester my sophomore year. We’ve explored Emerald Isle together, been through sorority recruitment as Pi Chi’s (+ countless functions) and many other adventures along the way.

Lauren stood by my side as a bridesmaid in my wedding and we’ll be in switching places in a few short months! Through navigating adult-life living many, many miles away, I am SO excited to have both recently landed in Charlotte, NC together!


LAUREN,

Thank you for who you are as a person, friend, sorority sister and confidant. Your steadfastness over the past decade (wow!) have been nothing short of a blessing. I am grateful for your presence in my life and for being such a reliable, trustworthy and calming personality. I am so excited to finally be living in the same city again and for the many memories we will make in CLT. Get ready for many double-dates and lots of exploring our new town together! You mean the world to me!

P.S. – I can’t wait to officially celebrate with you and Alex in September!

XO,

CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

IN THE MOMENTS

I constantly have something on my mind, and I feel like I’m not always enjoying the fun moments or the now. This is because I’m always thinking about other things and distracting myself with everything that happens in life. I’m often guilty of rushing through everything, and many times, I feel like I am a very impatient person. I’m guilty of running through life too quickly and not stopping to really enjoy it.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Life goes by so fast, and I’m sure many of you are wondering how it’s already 2021. Your children are growing up, you may be finishing college, you may be feeling older, and so on. Life just goes by so quickly, y’all! My parents always said to embrace the day as it comes, but I didn’t realize the impact of their saying until I hit my early twenties.

Because of that, I just want to make sure I get to experience more of this beautiful world that we live in. I want to start enjoying it instead of being preoccupied by the things that are holding me back. I often catch myself looking for something else or something better, but why?

34 // THEREFORE DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, FOR TOMORROW WILL WORRY ABOUT ITSELF. EACH DAY HAS ENOUGH TROUBLE OF ITS OWN.

Matthew 6

Are we constantly struggling because this moment is so present, so close and so commonplace? The present moment is so always here that we don’t notice it at all. The present moment is as familiar as faded wallpaper and as taken for granted as the ground beneath our feet.

Thoughts of yesterday can be full of excitement when we recall good events or our successes. Dreams of tomorrow contain the promise of future excitement when we look forward to only our future successes. By comparison, today is just so ordinary, so “just now.” Yet amazingly, the now is the miracle point in time where we exist and live. The now is where we move and have our very being. And still we get bored with the now.

WITH THAT BEING SAID,

In the quiet moments, I can be comfortable that I am where I’m supposed to be.
In the raw moments, I can be honest with myself and learn more about who I am currently and who I am becoming.
In the hard moments, I can know that things will be okay and to trust the process.
In the God moments, I can be reassured that He is on my side always.

We all know how hard, mundane or boring life can be sometimes, but my goal this year is to be present. To be more present in the present means to be thankful for the life I have now. I think it’s okay to dream about the future and to remember where the past has brought us, but to truly love the present is enjoy what season you’re in now.

ways to stay in the moment:

1. REMOVE UNNEEDED POSSESSIONS

Minimalism forces you to live in the present. Removing items associated with past memories frees you and allows you to stop living in the past. Once the past no longer has power, you can begin to live in the moment. I consider myself a minimalist in that I feel like I am constantly going through my closets, cleaning out my phone of old pictures or contacts and clearing my head of empty //. I think that it is okay to //, but to de-clutter your space or your mind really goes a long way.

2. FULLY APPRECIATE THE MOMENTS OF TODAY

Soak in as much of today as you possibly can – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the triumph and the sorrow. These are in our daily lives but we often forget to take them in and truly appreciate them.

3. KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Keeping a gratitude journal slightly goes hand in hand with #2, but I love keeping a journal for that very reason. Often times, we go about our day and forget even the things that happened two hours ago. With that being said, keep a writing list of things you are grateful for. Be mindful of things that are both big and small, like a house over your head, a coffee on the way to work or a nice glass of wine at the end of the day.

4. FIND JOY IN YOUR JOB

If you just “survive” the workweek constantly waiting for the next weekend “to get here,” you are wasting 71% of your life (5/7 days.) There are two solutions: find a new job that you actually enjoy, or find something that you appreciate about your current career.

5. DREAM ABOUT THE FUTURE, BUT WORK HARD TODAY

Dream big. Set goals and plans for the future. Working hard today is always the first step towards realizing your dreams tomorrow. Don’t allow dreaming about tomorrow to replace living in the moment. Dreaming about the future is only productive when combined with action taken today.

6. STOP WORRYING

You can’t fully appreciate today if you worry too much about tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. Since worry has never accomplished anything for anybody, redirect your mental energy elsewhere.

7. THINK BEYOND OLD SOLUTIONS

Our world is changing so fast that most of yesterday’s solutions are no longer the right answers today. Don’t get locked into a “but that’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. Yesterday’s solutions are not today’s solutions and they are certainly not tomorrow’s solutions.

8. TAKE MORE PICTURES

Taking pictures for me has always been a way to live in the moments. I am able to look back on the day [or week] and have a mental picture of the small things that made my day so wonderful. I know there is a fine line of constantly having your //, but take pictures before those memories fade.

What ways do you feel the most present? How do you find yourself grounded in the moment? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

XO,

CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

NEW YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Hi y’all! It’s me again! I never thought I’d do something of this nature, but

I CREATED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

With that being said, I would love, love, love for you to subscribe! It would mean the world to me! I will do my best to let you all know as soon as I post my first video!

YouTube Profile

I would also love to hear some tips, tricks and advice from any of you seasoned YouTubers out there!

XO,

SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE:

MY YEAR IN REVIEW: 2020

2020 has been a “dumpster fire” of a year if we’ve ever seen one. It has been exhausting, unpredictable and quite frankly, hellish. With that being said, however, I want to remember how this year taught me how in pressure comes growth. After the dark comes light. In the quiet comes clarity. It is okay to survive one day at a time. It is more important to be in the moment than worrying about tomorrow. Things are replaceable but memories with those you love are not. Trust the Lord and trust His process.

Below is just a brief recount of my 2020 in hindsight.

JANUARY

January started out in a bang for both Chandler and I. Chandler stepped into his role full-time as Store Manager for Hallmark here in Asheville, NC. I accepted a full-time role at Chick-fil-A (for the third time) and we were commuting for the first two weeks. Let just me say – getting up at 4am and not getting back home until after 9pm is not ideal.

I also flew to New Jersey late January to see one of my best friends from college. We had a blast celebrating Chinese New Year in Chinatown, eating our weight in ice cream and galavanting around Times Square.

FEBRUARY

February was the last “calm” before the storm.

Chandler and I took a weekend trip to Pawleys Island with his family and it was such a sweet weekend playing board games, cooking dinner together and hunting for the best finds at thrift stores.

Chandler and I were also still getting acclimated to new home here in Asheville. We had many date nights, explored the amazing brewery scene around town and met many people who helped us get acclimated.

MARCH

The world as we knew it was flipped on its head literally overnight. The first onslaught of the pandemic hit and businesses were being shut down left and right, workers being furloughed and families were left scrambling to make ends meet.

Chandler worked from home for a period of time and absolutely hated it. “House husband” status was clearly not his calling. 😂

APRIL

We celebrated Chandler’s last year of his twenties in late April!

MAY

I got a “DIY” haircut for the first time! Most hair salons were closed and this girl was quickly getting tired of her long hair, so a coworker gladly offered! She admitted to watching a YouTube video on cutting hair, but I definitely recommend getting a spur of the moment hair cut at least once in your life!

Our “dinner group” friends from Charleston also scheduled a long weekend to Lake Lure, NC for Memorial Day. This weekend was full of pontoon rides, shopping downtown and throwing apples off of the second story balcony.

I also got a new car! #debtforever I traded in my 2000 Toyota 4-Runner and bought a new 2020 CR-V. Who knew new cars had this many features? As much as I loved my ol’ reliable, I am so glad that this car will last me another twenty years (fingers crossed) and has all of the new safety features.

JUNE

Summer is officially here!

Some of my best friends came to visit here in Asheville! I got to play tour guide and show them around the great ‘Land of the Sky.’ We floated down the French Broad River, ate our way through the and walked to brunch nearby one morning. It was so, so good for the soul.

Another dear friend of mine had her bachelorette weekend in Black Mountain, NC. It was a great way to reconnect with friends I hasn’t seen in a while!

JULY

July was relatively “slow” month in our neck of the woods. Chandler and I worked long hours and kept our heads down in figuring out our schedules and what worked best for us.

My family took a trip to Hilton Head over the week of July 4th and it was a much needed break for the both of us. Although Chandler couldn’t come down for the entire week, we had such a great time putting together puzzles, riding bikes around the island, taking naps and enjoying sunset hour on the beach.

AUGUST

August was a big month for Chandler and I both.

We took our anniversary trip to Louisville, KY in early August. We had originally planned out a long weekend trip to Chicago to see the Braves in action and Hanson (the musical), but the pandemic hit and nothing as we knew it was according to plan… In Louisville, we took a tour of Churchill Downs, drank our weight in Bourbon and had a great time exploring a new city.

We celebrated our official one-year wedding anniversary on August 3! Marriage is sanctifying, humbling and gratifying, but oh so sweet. Being married to Chandler has been such a great joy and being his wife is one of my most treasured titles. Here’s to year 2!

August was also a very trying time for me. Reid, who was a my middle school youth pastor, long time family friend and mentor, lost his year long battle with a brain tumor on August 17th. Reid was a giant of a man and was someone who genuinely made everyone feel like they were the most important person in the room. Some days feels more real than others and I am left questioning why he was

After Reid’s death, I have learned to grasp truly just how permanent death really is and how it discriminates against no one. Life is fragile and mustn’t be taken for granted… #RGIR

I also celebrated my 27th birthday in mid-August. Chandler took me out for dinner and scheduled a backstage tour of a local brewery, which was such a neat experience. He made it the most perfect night!

SEPTEMBER

In September, we adopted our kitten, Belmont! I had been pestering Chandler about the thought of adopting an animal for some time and he was finally at the point of caving. We knew a puppy wasn’t in the picture with our crazy schedules and apartment living, so he entertained the idea of a cat. The humane society was waiving adoption fees at the time and I quickly ran to check out what pets were available. Belmont had just been rolled out into the main adoption room and had not made it to his own ‘cage’ before I spotted him from across the room. He was two months old at the time and was (still is) the sweetest and spunkiest kitten there ever was!

OCTOBER

October is one of my favorite months! It’s the true start of fall here in the deep south. Chandler and I went pumpkin/apple picking, baked lots of sweet treats and watched Hocus Pocus one too many times.

NOVEMBER

November brought a trip to my ol’ college stomping grounds in Columbia to see another best friend of mine. Kelsey and I went mural chasing, getting lost in old book stores, strolling down Main Street’s Farmer’s Market and tailgating with our fellow Gamecocks at the A&M game. Thank you, Lord, for weekends like these.

DECEMBER

December was a typical ending to the end of 2020. Christmas allowed for lots of baking, endless movie marathons and light show sightings, but had such a different feel than in years past. My mom was diagnosed with COVID the week before Christmas and left us scrambling for alternate plans. We were still able to celebrate with the in-laws Christmas weekend and enjoyed time eating, laughing and opening presents. We plan to celebrate with my family on New Years Eve weekend, which will be so nice to see everybody!

We also visited the Biltmore Estate for the first time since living here in Asheville and officially became Pass Holders. Woop Woop!

Although I look forward to a new year and new starts, 2020 brought invaluable lessons that will never go away. I have lost, won, failed, fought, cried, loved and laughed, but refused to fold. To the friends and family who have been by my side through the year’s many “highs and lows,” thank you. Thank you for making this year a lot more tolerable and being open to hear me vent, talk about my minuscule problems and pray for me.

In 2021, remember to keep your head up and to stand tall. Ask for help. Show grace and be patient. Know that there are better days ahead. Hope comes in the morning.

HOW WAS YOUR 2020? HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY? DO YOU HAVE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR? LET’S CHAT IN THE COMMENTS!

DREAM HOUSE MUST HAVES

I have often pictured what what my dream house would look like. Before the days of saving “pins” for inspiration, I would flip through Home and Garden magazines to find ideas from the best houses. My “house” board on Pinterest is now bursting at the seems with hundreds of ideas I hope to bring to life one day in my own home. If money was no issue, here would be a few of my must-haves.

Laundry Room

Although I despise doing laundry, a designated space to do so would make it a little better, right? An ideal laundry room would include space to hang delicates for drying, adequate cabinet space to keep soap, detergent and other necessities, a sink to pretreat any stains and a counter to be able to fold laundry.

Mud Room

In my opinion, mud rooms are a such a missed opportunity in houses. At my parents’ house, their laundry and mud room is located off the garage. As a room to store your shoes, hang up jackets and keep any other belongings together, it keeps unwarranted dirt from being tracked into the main part of the house.

Open Kitchen Concept

I can imagine the smell of fresh cookies wafting through the air as we two up a night of great fellowship and even better company. A cup of coffee is brewing and all is right with the world. A walk-in pantry with shelving for optimum organization would also make this girl’s heart sing. Having an island for plenty of space to prepare meals and bar stools for additional seating would optimal use of space. A breakfast nook in the corner by the window and a coffee bar would add a nice touch for the caffeine lovers in our family. The general theme of my dream kitchen changes daily, but a sleek yet boho style seems to fit my taste here lately.

The kitchen at our apartment can only really fit one person comfortably and two without being able to move around much, so having any much more room will be an upgrade. With that being said, an open kitchen concept is important in the fact that I want for it to be a place where I enjoy cooking with Chandler without feeling cramped.

Bedrooms Upstairs

Having a two story house has always been a dream of mine. I grew up in one story house and loved going over to friend’s houses that had room to run up and down the stairs in a disorderly fashion. A master bedroom, one for each of our kids and a guest room would be my ideal setup. Any more than that is more space to clean. Let’s also not forget the walk-in closet in our master! My husband has twice the amount of clothes that I do, so we need to account for enough space.

Having our bedrooms upstairs would also allow us more to space to host and have more “livable” space downstairs.

Large Backyard

We currently live in an apartment with no backyard of our “own.” While we are thankful that there is no upkeep required of us currently, we would love to have a yard for children and pets have the freedom to roam freely, while also having a garden for fruits and vegetables. To have our own space to do with as we please would be such a nice feeling. A space to also host parties and family gatherings would be such a blessing for me. A back porch dimly lit with stringed lights, rocking chairs to sip coffee as the morning sun rises and a fire pit to roast marshmallows in the warm summer breeze would be such a great a dream come true.


A girl can dream, right? Depending on our budget and what part of Asheville has the best bang for buck, I know there are certain things we will have to compromise on. With that being said, I am excited to have a house of our own one day. I can’t wait to make it a safe haven for friends and family, as well as filling it with kids of our own. I pray that our home is a place where our friends feel welcome to take their shoes off and stay for awhile. I want it to be a home built firm on the promises of the Lord and a place where we forgive often, laugh freely and love mightily.


What were some of the non-negotiables for you when building and/or moving into a new house, townhouse etc?

XO,

CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

30 THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH BY 30 Pt. 1

Turning another year older always makes me reminiscent over everything I have accomplished and the many things I hope to do. Although I truly believe that “age is just a number,” there are thirty things that I am setting out to do before I hit ominous dirty thirty in 2023. Anybody else right there with me?! Entering into a new decade will have challenges of its own, but I know that I will be ready for whatever happens!

This might be a lengthier post, but stay with me as I dive head first into half of the things that I hope to before the next decade hits. I plan to post later this week of my second half of goals, make sure to stay tuned. Here’s to getting these all accomplished (and more) in the next three years.

#1: Take a class to learn a skill

Baking has been a hobby for me in years past. I haven’t done the best job in branching out to try new recipes but I plan to sign up for a class to learn new tips and tricks in the cooking/baking world.

#2: Have a house to call our own

We first started a savings account from the money we got from our wedding almost a year and a half ago. From that point on, any spare “change” we’ve saved up has went into the house fund. We just renewed our lease at our apartment to give us more time to save, but our goal is to have a house in the greater Asheville area by early 2022.

#3: Go to the Kentucky Derby (5/22)

All depending on how the virus plays out, my husband and I have every intent of going to the Derby in May. We were able to see Churchill Downs on our anniversary trip in August and this girl fell madly in love with the horse racing world. Fingers crossed we can make the trip!🤞🏼

*WE ARE GOING TO THE DERBY, Y’ALL! I bought my husband tickets for Christmas and I am PUMPED!

#4: Complete a weekly juice cleanse

Juice cleanses can be pretty penny, but you get what you pay for. They are a good way to help restore your gut and to reset the your body of the harmful //. Clean Juice has a daily and weekly option that are both fully customizable to your tastes.

#5: Have 300 followers on Alex in Asheville

This goal quite frankly scares me if I’m being completely honest. Since I stared blogging some six months ago, I had no earthly idea I would even be to the point where I am now. It has been a safe space for me and has already given me a great community of fellow bloggers. These people put their heart and soul into their writings and it definitely inspires this “newcomer.”

With that being said, I want to make it a priority to grow my audience and to find my niche of fellow writers. Follow along in my journey!

#6: Learn how to knit and crochet

My mom has always said that I have knack for the tedious things. She’s not all wrong, folks. With that being said, I would love to take the time to knit pieces like hats or blankets for those who might need them. I feel like it would be something soothing to do at home curled up on the couch.

#7: Plant a tree

I am planning to save this for when Chandler and I do actually buy a house with a yard and the adequate space to do so. Every intent is to plant a tree for Chandler and I as a couple and for each of our kids when they’re born.

#8: Travel to Asia

This has been a dream of mine for some have time now. I have been fortune enough to have traveled internationally to four different countries, with the exception of Haiti twice. However, going to an Asian country has been the ultimate travel dream of mine! I am lucky enough to have friends who also love to travel, so we hope to plan a trip relatively soon.

#9: Start a family

As an obvious goal for most young couples, Chandler and I plan to start family within the next few years. We plan to only have two kids, but we’ll see where we end up.

#10: Upkeep a garden (9/21)

Before the winter came quickly and rudely uprooted all of my hard work, I had a thriving (in some sense of the word) herb garden on the porch of our 900 square foot apartment. We repurposed one of the troughs we had custom built for our wedding, which makes it quite a special piece to me! I was able to cut fresh basil, parsley, cilantro and mint to cook and garnish our meals with!

Going back to the tree idea, I want space enough at our “one day” house to have vegetables, fruits and flowers in one big garden! Dream big, right?

* It’s not the to level I want it just yet, but I am learning to propagate plants and keep those alive. Yay me!

#11: Make French Macaroons

I feel like this will be one to give me quite a run for my money, but making macaroons sounds ever so sophisticated. It would be as if I was back in Québec City with a gelato in one hand and macaroons in the other. A coworker from back home brought in homemade macaroons and they were the //.

This could also be the class I take to master a skill! (#1)

#12: Read a book per month

This isn’t necessarily a hard goal, but it’s consciously making time to read every night. I’ve always loved to read and would like to knock out those books that have been on my list for some time.

#13: Flip a piece of furniture

We currently have two pieces that I plan to “flip” once we buy our new house and I decide on what theme I’m going for. DIYing furniture is such a satisfying thing to watch and very cost effective.

#14: Take a picture or video every day for a month

There are so many great apps to use for this, but I have found 1SE, which stands for One Second Everday. It’s a simple way to take videos and cut them down to one second, as I’m sure you inferred. You can do a month, six months, a year or any variation of time. I have seen friends who have done different videos and it is a unique montage of memories to look back on.

#15: Travel to the West Coast

The farthest west I’ve been is to the Lone Star State three years ago for work, but I would love to visit any part of the west coast. We have family that lives out on Bainbridge Island, WA and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the Washington and Oregon area. My husband has been there once before over a decade ago, so I would love to experience it together!

Thank you for sticking with me through the first part of my “Thirty before 30” bucket-list challenge! I hope to be able to do most, if not all of these things before I turn thirty. If not, I have a great place to start and will continue to check things off as I go.

CHARLESTON HOPE

As we head into the Christmas season, there are so many opportunities to pay it forward. We all know 2020 has been hard enough without adding the added stresses of adding Christmas shopping to our list.

Charleston Hope is a non-profit based out of Charleston, South Carolina that works to enhance school culture and climate in high poverty, Title 1 schools by building on the strengths of both the students and teachers.

This non-profit is also near to my husband’s heart. He spent many hours behind the scenes packing gifts into the U-Haul to distribute to the elementary schools every Christmas and master grilling during summer events. He met Emily (Executive Director & Founder) early on in her journey with Charleston Hope and was involved as a board member for some time.

Charleston Hope also has two distinct programs that they implement throughout the year for children in their schools: Mitchell Elementary and Sanders-Clyde Elementary.

  • Step-In Girls Empowerment Program
    Step-In Girls program that empowers 4th and 5th grade girls to step-in to themselves, their community, and their future.
  • Classroom Mentor Program
    The Classroom Mentor Program is an academic mentoring program that pairs community members with students. Often times, community members will come in for lunch to sit with students or stay after school for homework assistance.

If you feel lead to give in a tangible way to Charleston Hope’s mission, I have listed some ways below.

Adopt a Classroom

Adopt a Classroom is Charleston Hope’s fundraiser that spreads love and joy during the holiday season students and teachers in their partnered schools and raises money for their year-round program. Check out the many ways to help with Adopt a Classroom here. One night before Christmas, thousands of volunteers come together in CofC’s TD Arena to wrap gifts for hundreds of students. It’s a great time of fellowship and a way to get into the Christmas spirit. Many people wear Santa hats and are decked out in green and red. They often times have food available and is a great time for the family.

Become a Monthly Donor

Monthly donors are the backbone of Charleston Hope’s organization. They allow us to focus more on programming and less on fundraising. You can become a monthly donor in just a few simple steps!

Host a Supply Drive

Teachers need some loving this holiday season too, y’all! They are pouring their souls into each and every one of their students everyday. Help Charleston Hope collect teacher’s most needed items for their Teacher’s Hope Closet! View how here!


If you feel lead to donate otherwise or to another organization closer to your heart, that is totally okay! If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we must look out for each other. Everyone, and especially kids, are deserving of love. Many of these students in this area come from hard upbringings and are not expecting to get much this holiday season. For those of us who have the means to do so, think about giving back to the community in some way this season. You won’t regret it.

Donate here!

IV: MY MESSY APARTMENT

Dishes fill the sink to the point of spilling over. Laundry creates a mountain sized mound on your bed waiting be folded. The shelves need to be dusted and the floors haven’t been swept in some time. Cat toys are strewn across the floor.

As my mom says, cleanliness is next to Godliness. Anybody else hear that growing up? 😂

As I catch my mind wandering to the thousands of chores that need to be attended to, I am learning to embrace the messy. “Housekeeping” will always be a revolving door of being in the middle of // different things. Nonetheless, I can be appreciative. Is that weird to say? I have free access to a washer and dryer. I have free access to a vacuum. I have access to a dishwasher, which I didn’t have just last year. Some of these basic necessities are truly an answer to prayer and things I have been wanting for it seems like for forever.

A messy apartment shows me that there is life, and an abundant one at that.

I can be the first to agree that some (okay, most) days, my to-do list seems way too overwhelming to even start. The to-do list seems Mt. Everest long and continues to grow by the minute. If you are feeling like this is you, I get it. You are not alone. Take one task at a time. Be patient with yourself.

For myself, I find myself navigating to writing up a list to follow. For me, I compartmentalize by rooms. One day, I will work on the bedroom and get things organized and put up. I make the bed. I ho through my closet to see if there are things I want to thrift or give away. Find a method that works for you, though!

Balancing a full-time job, a spouse, a pet, and a social life isn’t easy by any means. It is in those moments, however, that I am the most grateful. I am grateful to have all of those things in my life.

I’m sure my list will grow that much more when we have kids, but I will learn to adapt. We tend to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, which is good in some regard, but can also make us go crazy. Keep your head up and do the best you can. Ask for help. That’s all you can do.

Today, embrace the messy. Life is more than a perfectly clean house.

III: EDUCATION

Education has always played an important part in my life. From pre-K into my high school years, my parents instilled that knowledge is something that nobody can ever take away from you.

“When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many you can change the world.”

Shai Reshef

Partly because of work ethic and her drive to do everything to the highest degree, I always admired my mom’s pursuit of higher education. She has a B.S. in Psychology, two masters degrees, a PhD and was once National Boards certified. She also obtained her PhD while holding a full time job as an administrator of an elementary school, having a family and driving to classes 1.5 hours away. Wow!

I always knew my plan was to go to college after high school. I, too, loved school and that’s what I felt was the right path for me.

I applied to three in state schools because we all know college is expensive enough without adding out-of-state tuition. Anderson, University of South Carolina and Wofford made my top three for all varying reasons.

Anderson was the small Christian school not far from home. USC was the big SEC school in the state capital and has the big school feel. Wofford was the private liberal arts college planted in my hometown. They were all diverse and all had great options.

Believe me when I say that college isn’t for everyone. We need people in trade schools. School is not a be-all-end-all, for my youngest brother included. I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not going to college. There is such a need for those trades, like welding, mechanics and even for full-time service men (and women). Often times, those people get twice as much an hour than most other jobs. Pave your own way and don’t allow anyone to dictate what is right for you.

College was a place for me to grow and to figure out what life was all about. A lot happened to that innocent seventeen year old freshman. Mentally, I grew. Emotionally, I grew. I learned how to be independent. I was able to make decisions for myself and figure out what direction I wanted to take in life at the time. By the time that twenty-one year old walked across that stage, she had experienced a lot of life.

If you are a high school junior or senior (or are looking to go back to school), consider UofSC! We’ve claimed the #1 International Business School and Honors School in the nation for the last decade.

The world is a grand place. Learning and education aren’t necessarily restricted to a classroom or in textbooks. Get outside and experience the world for yourself. Some of my fondest “teachable” moments have been sight-seeing in the Mediterranean Sea and in the streets of Paris. Take a road trip. Experience what life has to offer for yourself grab it by the horns.

✌🏼

II: Chick-fil-A

You might be thinking the same thing I was when this idea came to mind. Chick-fil-A, Alex? Really? Do you not have anything else to be thankful for?

Chick-fil-A was my first official job. It was the job I had post-college for two-and-half years as a manager. It was the job where I met my husband and it was in front of our entire team when he proposed. Chick-fil-A was the job I got to travel cross-country to do Grand Openings with. It was my first (and current) job after we moved here to Asheville. Chick-fil-A has been a part of my life for seven years and seen a lot of my life’s ups and downs.

Looking back, this job has been more of a safety net than I ever realized.

Although any job has its highs and lows, CFA will always hold a special place in my heart. Having that experience on my resume has opened doors for other opportunities I didn’t know were possible.

Will this be my forever job? Probably not. I will be sad when it comes time to hang up this grease stained uniform forever, but I know it has taught me so many invaluable lessons. It taught me to be more coachable and to also look for chances to coach others. It has grown my ability to see the bigger picture and to multi-task or die trying. It has taught me endless amounts of patience to deal with the general public and how to say “My Pleasure” without second thought.

Chick-fil-A has given me relationships that are near to my heart and has provided me people who push me to be a better version of myself, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for the endless opportunities I would’ve otherwise missed out on. Although jobs aren’t everything, you have given me a lot in return.

Do it for Truett, y’all.