EVERYTHING IS CANCELED

Love is not canceled.

Sunshine is not canceled.

Relationships are not canceled.

Reading is not canceled.

Naps are not canceled.

Hope is not canceled.

Coffee is not canceled and thank the Lord for that.

Kindness is not canceled.

Imagination is not canceled.

Going for a walk is not canceled.

Laughter is not canceled.

Family is not canceled.

Above all else, salvation is not canceled.

A lot of things in 2020 have been canceled and we all can feel the weight of life, especially this year. Remember that joy and hope can’t be taken away, no matter the circumstance. Life is too short to worry about things out of our control. Do your best and give every day all you have. Be kind to yourself and your neighbor.

Let’s not aim to be perfect in 2021, but to be available. Be intentional. Really aim to actively hear what those around you are saying rather than being a passive listener. This world can be a dark place, but be the light.

Life will only get better, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving week, folks!

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.

I: YinYin

For my second day of “thanksgiving,” I chose to highlight my biggest confidant, my sorority little and my best friend, YinYin!

Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet YinYin knows has she a sass that is unmatched. They know grit, determination and someone who you can count on with your life. You can also expect a mean side-eye from across the room at any given moment.

I originally met YinYin my sophomore year (her freshman year) of college at the University of South Carolina. Go Cocks! YinYin had just joined the sorority that fall and we were both in the hunt for our respective big and little. Our big and little process was well underway and I wasn’t quite sure of any of the girls I had been matched with previously. In our next to last week of Crescent week, I was at Cookout with some of my friends one night when I saw YinYin with her Crescent. I immediately requested to be her Crescent for the final week and I am so glad I did. Call me creepy if you will. The Lord works in mysterious ways. 😂

Everybody has a home team: It’s the people that you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people, who near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water at you’re house without asking. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle of the night, no matter what people.

YinYin has been my “home team” since the day we met. We share the same love of naps, all things ice cream and Asian food. We throw up our peace signs as a sign of endearment and you can often find us day dreaming of our next trip abroad together. We can find all of the best Pho spots in town and will one day get our matching elephant tattoos that we’ve promised!

There’s nobody else I’d rather wander through downtown China Town during Chinese New Year 🧧 only to find confetti cannons to shoot off.

There’s no other person I’d rather sit in coffee shops eating our gelato in Québec City with or wander through shopping centers of Hilton Head to find macaroons before a friend’s wedding.

She went above and beyond to make sure my bachelorette weekend was more than I could have ever imagined and had the cutest bags made. She even flew into town a day early to sit in the floor and hand steam chair covers with me for my wedding.

Thank you for being you, YinYin. You allow me to say just about anything and to rant about whatever is on my mind without judging too hard. I could not be more grateful for you and I look forward to the day we’re roommates together in the nursing home. 💗✌🏼

30 Days of Thanksgiving

It’s officially turkey month, folks!

As a month that is about thanks, hence the name, I felt led to write about a different thing, person, place, etc. that I am thankful for for each day of the month. Some blogs might be shorter or longer, in nature, but we are rolling with it.

For the first day of Thanksgiving blog series , I am thankful for change. Why am I thankful for such a thing, you might ask?

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time could tell you that I am one that despises change. As a Type A, slight OCD person, routine is very comforting. Having things color-coded, alphabetized and in order makes my soul sing to new heights.

If 2020 has taught me anything, however, it is how much change is inevitable. Change is good, although sometimes very uncomfortable. Things are always evolving, so we have to learn that you are either stuck in a complacency or learn to embrace the unknown.

Don’t get me wrong in the fact that some things are not meant to change, like laws and biblical truth. There are certain things that must remain constant for some kind of order among the crazy in the world. These allow us to know what is expected of us and for us to live with order.

In the first ten months of 2020 alone, I have seen:
• A move to Asheville, NC
• New jobs for my husband and I
• A new 2020 Honda CR-V
• Our 1 Year Anniversary of being married (Aug. 3)
• Adopting our kitten, Belmont
• Surviving life during a pandemic
• The biggest Presidential election known to date

Although life is hard and living through a pandemic was not what we had envisioned for this year, it has brought so much growth. With that being said, I have come to understand that so much of life is out of my control. What I can control are my reactions and my emotions. My attitude will take me farther than anything that happens to me.

I pray that in every evolving season and in with every unknown, we remain confident in His truth and know that He is good. He will sustain us when we are weak. Rest in the fact that he knows our future.

There is beauty in the unknown. We can know that God is our constant through it all.

QOTD: What are you thankful for you today?

TOP 5 FALL ACTIVITIES

Fall is almost here, y’all! Fall has always been my favorite season and means sweaters, leggings, boots and bonfires. Just two weeks ago, pumpkin spice hit my local Dunkin’ Donuts and it touched my soul a little differently.

As our first fall season in Asheville, I figured I would make a list of my favorite activities to do to help get us in the mood for the best season of the year. 🤩 Within the last week, the weather has dropped and it makes this girl one happy camper.

Taste the apples of a local harvest

SKY TOP APPLE ORCHARD
This has always been a Fall favorite of mine! Chandler and I have gone to Sky Top every year since we started dating and it definitely helps jump start your mood for the fall. This is a great place for families with kids, groups of friends and couples to go and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery lined with acres of apple trees. Dogs are allowed, so don’t shy away from bringing your furry friends. Sky Top offers hay rides, apple cannons and the most delicious apple donuts and slushies. Expect a longer line when buying your donuts, but don’t let that detour you from getting some for yourself. These delectable desserts are made in house and literally melt in your mouth. We usually go in late September to get the full fall effect, but any time really is a good time. You can grab a bag of apples to go or fill your basket as you get lost in their luscious fields. Each different row of apples are clearly marked if you are looking for a specific type.

*Because of new Covid rules, you now get to keep the basket you pick apples with. I fully expect to use mine for some kind of fall decoration this year.

Spend a day baking your favorite fall treats

Baking has always been a “therapy” of mine, so I had to include this on my list! Set aside time to try a few new recipes. If you’re unsure of what to make, Pinterest is always a good place to start. You can always make treats for coworkers, neighbors or friends! If you do end up going to the apple orchard, make a batch of apple butter. It’s definitely a fan favorite and is super easy to make! Below are some of my other personal favorites!

Thanksgiving Margarita Recipe
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Visit the fair

Some of my fondest memories growing up were at the Piedmont Interstate Fair every year! We’d load up the whole family (cousins, grandparents and neighbors) and take a trip (or three) to the fair that week! We’d ride every ride at least once and eat funnel cakes until our stomachs hurt. I always loved stopping by the animal exhibits to see the horses, cows and rabbits. The Spartanburg fair always had such beautiful table exhibits and art galleries to stop and marvel at. Once I got to college, I drug my friends to the state fair and loved reminiscing on my younger days. Check out your local fair. It’s nothing short of amazing.

Host Friendsgiving

Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving gives you another chance to indulge in the soul food that ensues around this time of year. Offer to host your friends and create a sign-up sheet for people to volunteer for different food and drink options so you don’t have any repeats. It’s a great night of community and a great refresher for the soul.

☆ Run (or walk) a holiday race

Every Thanksgiving morning, it feels like my entire hometown of Spartanburg is at the Turkey Troy 8k. It is an opportunity to see friends and other people that you wouldn’t otherwise see that day. Our race begins at Spartanburg’s Morgan Square and is a big loop through downtown’s local neighborhoods, parks and streets. People wear turkey hats, full pilgrim suits and crazy Thanksgiving socks for the race and it’s always a good laugh to see what new outfits people whip out every year. Starting at an ungodly 7am, you finish just in time to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and take a nap before the Thanksgiving feast starts. I’m sure there are plenty of race options in your area, so be on the lookout for those in the weeks to come. Get your exercise in early and don’t feel as guilty for the wearing your sweatpants later that night.

If you have any other fall favorites, I would love to hear from you!

As always,
♡ Alex in Asheville

ABOVE ALL ELSE

If anyone would’ve told me in January what the rest of this year had in store, I couldn’t say I would’ve believed you even for a split second. March hit and every we knew as “normal” changed in an instant. Unemployment skyrocketed, lives were flipped on their head and families were left picking up the pieces. Masks have become the new fashion trend and an essential all in one.

Teachers and students were forced into an adaptive hybrid learning model of online and “in-person” almost overnight. Parents helped in taking on that role and kindergarteners were learning how to send emails.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has also brought new friendships and fostered old ones. With certain people in your corner, you can do anything. I’ve learned that friends are the greatest treasure in life and could not ask for any better one than those that I have. Many of my best friends have come to visit us in our new city and I’ve also been blessed to see friends in their “home base.”

2020 has also seen Chandler and my transition to a new city and adjustments in learning the ropes of our new hometown in Asheville. It has been exhilarating, freeing and humbling. I feel that from the minute we moved here, this was “our place.” Coming from the person who absolutely hates change with a passion, I knew it would take time to adjust. I not have asked for a greater place to live. (Which is also not too far from home)

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has brought unwelcome and unexpected death. This year has also seen many challenges and chartered new territory. It has shown me that more things than not are out of my control and just how fragile life is. It has taught me that life is more about mindset than anything else. My emotions, reactions, perceptions and thoughts are completely up to me and how I control them. Through it all, I’ve learned that in the quiet comes healing and in less comes more.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year has taught me to be more intentional with time and relationships. Spending time for self-care and for rediscovery fosters new growth. In those moments, I have also found my love of reading and processing the chaos through writing. Time with the Lord has also been more of a priority, which has been so, so refreshing. The sweetest moments of my morning have been spent with a coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other.

Above all else, I am thankful.

2020 has taught me that more times than not that beauty experienced in life is the most short lived, but to be grateful for it anyhow. This year has been hard but oh, so sweet. It has taught me that life can be both simultaneously. Learning to lean into the promises of the Lord has been a process everyday, but one that has helped me to hold true in His word.

I am thankful for “near misses” and I will continue this year with the promise that better days are ahead.

Above all else, I am thankful.

This year brought challenges no one saw coming, yet we persisted. Take every day as a new opportunity for good. You are stronger than what you think. Offer a lending hand, a listening ear or a prayer. Don’t be afraid to start something new. Start over. Allow this year to teach you something and do all things with a grateful heart.

I am thankful for the changing of the seasons from summer into fall, but a God that remains constant and steadfast. I am thankful for family, friends and a village that are there to pick me up when I need it the most.

Let’s make the most of the last two months in 2020. In 2021, we know there is hope.

💗 Alex