I've always wanted to see NYC. The big screens of Times Square, the booming voices of Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. I wanted to bustle down the crowded streets and look up into the sky and see buildings kissing the clouds.
This past weekend, I experienced it all and so much more. It was as amazing as I always thought it would be.
It was a grand time of FIRST TIMES:
The entire city is a giant breathing advertisement. There are ads in the cabs and subways. Everyone, everywhere is trying to sell you something. But perhaps what New York is really trying to sell you is life. Go live, travel, shop, play, skate, see, and dream. Know that even the sky isn't the limit. Look around. Look up.
The Empire State Building was built in the midst of the Great Depression. The Twin Towers still glow in memory of the fallen, and now the united trade center towers overhead and stands in guard of its memorial.
New York is a symbol of America's ambition and resilience. It's truly something to see.
Several people have asked me what my best experience there was, and you may be surprised by my answer. There are those moments in life that define you. The pre-experience you and the post-experience you. Visiting Hillsong Church was one of those spiritually defining moments for me. The pastor, Carl Lentz, shared an amazing message that still has me thinking. He left us with three questions to ponder, and now I'm leaving them with you.
*You will reap a harvest. There is no reality HE cannot change. Keep your head up!
So long New York. Until our paths meet again.
Three years ago, my husband and I purchased a little old house on a lake. It's been a long road, and we still have LOTS to do. But we've come a long way.
Once upon a time, I married the love of my life. He got a job in Texas, and we moved from our beloved sweet home in Alabama to the barren desert of south Texas. Tired of living in a hotel (six months of misery) and thinking we'd "bloom where we're planted," we purchased a home there. It didn't take us long before we were living paycheck to paycheck like the other 75% of Americans.
That's when we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University -- a 13 week money rehab. It was sobering, and one of the best experiences we've ever had. We decided to do something most people would think is crazy and move into a camper (with out three dogs). And we're not talking about a nice, big luxury camper with sliders. Nope. I could stretch both my arms out and reach each side. Tiny.
We rented our home out and saved and paid off debt. We lived there for over two years. Then we finally got an opportunity to return back to the deep south, near where we were raised. That's when we purchased this lil hot mess.
Luckily, we got it for an incredible deal (especially when you consider that a huge lake is in its backyard). We almost felt guilty for paying nearly half the price you'd pay for the typical new car. Almost. When you consider that we've been working on it for three years, and we moved into it without a functioning bathroom, kitchen, or air conditioning (this is South Georgia for goodness sakes), we probably got what we deserved. :)
Most importantly, we got something we never thought we'd have -- freedom from debt.
I thought I'd share a few before and afters. Keep in mind it's still a work-in-progress.
One of our goals this year is to finally finish this remodel, so you'll probably see more posts about our lil pod in the coming months.
What's the biggest DIY project you've ever taken on?
It's the first full week of 2015, and we're already scrambling to figure out what is actually doable on our resolution list. Last year, one of my resolutions was to read through the Bible in six months. It took me eight, but I did it! This year, it's on my resolution list again. This time though, I created my own plan, and I'm sharing it with you. This plan can work in one of two ways: You can read through it in approximately six months, or you can spread it out through the year. I'm doing the year plan.
There are literally thousands of plan available online and on apps. I worked through the Day Star 6-month last year, but I haven't found one yet that really suited me perfectly. My husband and I remodel and travel on the weekends, so those days are nearly impossible to stick to a schedule. And when there's a long weekend, we always have projects or are spending time with family. So here's my solution:
In this plan, you will read approximately six chapters a day (some days more or less). It catalogs 175 days of reading. There are 251 working days in 2015, so that leaves us with 76 catch-up/oops days. I plan on reading every business day and taking holidays, weekends, and the last part of December off.
If you'd rather go through it in six months, though, please do. If you choose the six month route, you'll be reading six or so chapters every day (which is totally doable if you're committed).
Either way, it's not impossible to read through the Bible in a year, six months, or even less. It's especially not daunting if you have a plan. And please be sure to keep me posted with how you're doing. I'd love to cheer you on!
I don't usually make resolutions, so this year is already an anomaly for me. There is so much I hope to accomplish. I'm exhausted just looking at my daunting list of to-dos. BUT I'm also excited. There's something thrilling about a new beginning that just doesn't compare to anything else. There's hope and feeling of adventure. Almost anything feels possible.
So happy for my friend, Sonia Poynter, on her debut today! Congrats, Sonia! May this be the beginning of a wonderful writing career!
The Last Stored by Sonia Poynter
Vanessa K. Eccles
Books, life, and travel.
Author of FABLED, RED RIBBONS, and OF LOVE & LEGEND // Founder of The Faithful Creative Magazine