Florida + adoption

With summer classes and Devin’s promotion on the table this summer, we decided that we needed to go for every weekend road trip within our grasp; we started out the summer by going to Arkansas, drove to Memphis to see a cousin’s sealing, and went to a wedding in the Smokeys.

My biological cousin invited me to come to Florida for a surprise birthday party.  They are really hilarious so anytime we have an offer, we go!

Saint Augustine, Florida cathedral pink flowers spanish styleSaint Augustine, Florida Spanish mossSaint Augustine, FloridaSaint Augustine, Florida pink historical home with spanish mossSaint Augustine, Florida pink historical home with spanish mossSaint Augustine, Florida historic brick road and sidewalk

When I went to college, I never would have fathomed how open my adoption would become.  My parents were always supportive of me having relationships with my biological family, but I had no idea that when I transferred to BYU that my cousin was starting her first year of there too.  Additionally, it was so surreal when I opened a church magazine and saw that my biological Aunt lived in Salt Lake City just 45 minutes away.

I was so nervous driving to Salt Lake to meet my Aunt and Uncle!  They were so nice and slowly I met other members in the family.  Her granddaughter Lauren and I became friends, we’ve gone down to visit her parents a few times, and last summer Sharon invited us to her family reunion in Yellowstone.

Saint Augustine, Florida tropical plants proteaSaint Augustine, Florida Flagler CollegeSaint Augustine, Florida gray historical home hurricane shuttersSaint Augustine, Florida historical church

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to visit with Devin and to be able to say hi to everyone.  The older I become the fewer questions I have about adoption, but simultaneously, the more in-awe I am in how naturally their family does treat me; additionally, my parents are always humored when I tell them about funny things I do that I have noticed others in my biological do as well.  I know that everyone doesn’t have this opportunity when they are adopted, nor would they perhaps be interested in it, but I am very appreciative of the connections and love I have felt!

Needless to say, Lauren and I kept laughing when people asked how we were related at her Dad’s birthday party.

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July gratitude journal

One of my goals is to write something I am grateful for everyday for a year.  I am going to be posting a gratitude journal on the last day of the month every month.  You’re welcome to join along!

Stay gold Autumn | July gratitude journal golden leaf

  1. Being back on the blogging boat
  2. Learning how to use my camera tripod after…a few years and a few hours of practice
  3. Being able to see my cousin’s wedding
  4. Going to Dollywood for the first time since I was a child
  5. Finding literally the best Tex Mex food in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee
  6. Discovering that some of the prettiest country is only four hours away
  7. Getting to meet one of my Jenna after almost four years of following her blog :)
  8. Surviving my summer term mid-term
  9. …and getting a really strong A on that mid-term :)
  10. Feeling like I mastered public transportation after some majorly big flops
  11. Spending a beautiful Sunday evening walking around the lake with Devin
  12. Pioneer Woman publishing this chicken spaghetti recipe so I could invite people over
  13. Getting an A on my last Dr. M midterm…previously, my highest grade was an A-
  14. Getting an A in Dr. M’s class- this is no small feat!
  15. Being surrounded by some seriously thoughtful people
  16. Having an announcement made that we didn’t have to take a final in one of my courses
  17. Getting an assistantship for fall
  18. Finishing up my third semester of grad school!!
  19. Helping a friend pick out curtains for her house
  20. Being able to take photos for people that they really love
  21. The missionaries helping us with yard work for hours
  22. Having a hot cocoa date with some grad school friends after a long day
  23. Being able to begin writing out my teaching journey
  24. Being off for the longest school break I have had since…last summer!
  25. Eating a delicious breakfast with our home teachers from church
  26. Discovering how amazingly funny Friends is
  27. Finishing grading finals and submitting grade for the college class I teach
  28. Learning how to use the Marta + bus system to go to the city
  29. Watching Devin’s garden grow
  30. Being able to go to Florida to spend some time at the beach!
  31. Completing 3 goals off of my 101 in 1001 list.  Maybe I’ll need to add some…

Stay gold Autumn | July gratitude journal yellow leaf Stay gold Autumn | July gratitude journal yellow leaf Stay gold Autumn | July gratitude journal yellow leafStay gold Autumn | July gratitude journal yellow leaf

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it usually works out just fine

Last week I accepted to re-extend my graduate assistantship.  I’m grateful, I’m ecstatic, and I’m beginning to feel resolved after a crazy roller coaster of a summer.

Stay gold Autumn | girl reading on red couch

When I accepted my first assistantship at the beginning of the summer, I had to turn a two month contract I was about to sign for a summer camp in Istanbul, Turkey.  I asked about rejecting the assistantship for summer, and going to Turkey instead, and was told if I did that it would hurt my chances of having an assistantship in the future…ouch!  Less than a month later, our department said they were having historically record breaking funding issues and assistantships would be probably non-existent.

Stay gold Autumn | girl reading on red couch

After being so unsure of how everything was going to work out for months, I’m so grateful that everything worked out.  As always, fall will be very busy!  Wish me luck come late August!  In the mean time, I’m going to be reading a lot of non-school books :)

What are your favorite books you have read here lately?

Stay gold Autumn | girl reading on red couch

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I am a teacher | part 1

I always wanted to make sure that my job wasn’t just a job, I wanted something that made me feel like I was contributing and had a cause I could get behind from day one.

As a freshman packing for college, my career had to be so obviously earth shattering that people knew I was going to make an impact on the world around me; this is incredibly prideful and immature, but I digress.  So, I made sure to even tell God about my grand plans which included never being a teacher because that is the most seemingly logical thing a 17-year-old freshman in college does.

I was sitting in a broadcasted fireside when I heard this quote in 2007 and it ended up being a driving force for finding what was truly my contribution.  Ironically, in that same meeting, I remember writing out my 5-10 year plan  for graduating and becoming a nurse (this phase only lasted a few months).

Stay gold Autumn | You can do something for another person that no one else born can do

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your people matter

Teaching is not for the thin skinned or faint of heart (and neither is blogging, life, interacting with people…).  I’ve taught for over three years now and there are more great moments than not, but when I hit a low with teaching it feels pretty low.

I’ve had a really hard class and sometimes it can be hard to turn off thinking about my classroom when I get home.  Last week when I had a student stay after class and said “don’t take this personally, but have you noticed some of the students make fun of you?” it totally confirmed some of my thoughts and insecurities.  The student was insightful and helpful; I was appreciative he took the time to talk to me, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I began crying as soon as the door closed.

Stay gold Autumn | the world needs hundreds of thousands more people like you

The thing about teaching, life, and everything else is that it really can’t be done alone…your people really matter!  I feel like friendship and mentorship can be hard earned and it was really eye opening for me to realize how many colleagues and friends I had to talk to about how I felt.  I’ve had many past experiences that made teaching feel like a really lonely road and here was this community of people who were as validating as they were constructive.  This awful, no good, very bad day of teaching was greeted with hugs, chocolate, someone verbalizing the cusswords that were clearly in my head, and when I came home a friend had literally put some snacks and a card in my mail box.

I feel incredibly blessed to have developed a community of people who are equally as caring as they are real, this includes the student who had the guts to talk to me so openly, and after thinking about it I found myself crying for a totally different reason.

To the people that care for other’s hearts and the people who create the situations that make us progress in someway: thank you.Stay gold Autumn | the world needs hundreds of thousands more people like you

What has been a gesture that has meant a lot to you when you are struggling with something?

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a little more about me

It has been incredibly humid here in Georgia.  Today is the first time in a few weeks that I’ve worn my hair down so it isn’t plastered all over my face and my camera lens completely fogged up when I took it outside.  Let’s just go with it though and act like it is some kind of fancy photoshop filter :).

My blog had a fresh re-start so I felt like it was time for me to re-introduce myself too.  Here are some facts about me!

about me stay gold autumn

  1. I dream of having a hobby farm with a petting zoo for children.
  2. I do most of the cooking around here, but when there is a dessert to bake Devin does it.  I tend to leave out important ingredients like eggs or put in the salt twice.  It’s awesome.
  3. My first concert was Dashboard Confessionals, my favorite concert was The Get Up Kids, and my last concert was The Avett Brothers.
  4. My cheapest form of vacation is looking up historical homes in different parts of the country on Zillow.  I love our house, but I can’t break the habit!
  5. I never took scissors to my own hair as a child, but I definitely do it quite often as an adult because money + convenience.  The only problem is my bangs look pretty awkward growing out right now and I have no idea how to fix it.  This might be why my bangs are braided back in most of my posts :).
  6. I grew up eating very southern food so I didn’t have cilantro, avocados, egg plant, or guacamole for the first time until I went to college.
  7. My favorite movies are: What about Bob?Penelope, Gone with the WindThe Odd Life of Timothy GreenSandlotStardust, and I am sure a few others that I am not thinking of currently.
  8. I always preferred having guy friends over females growing up and it meant that I went paint balling a lot in high school.
  9. My favorite ice cream flavor is butter pecan.
  10. My favorite TV shows are Pushing Daisies and The Wonder Years.
  11. I’ve moved cross country twice without visiting or knowing where I would live.
  12. My first word was Dumbo and my favorite exhibit at the zoo is definitely the elephants.
  13. I don’t enjoy the whole minimalist/IKEA/modern house thing because it really isn’t us, but it doesn’t keep me from reading blogs who pull it off really well.
  14. Devin introduced me to how awesome Mexican food is.
  15. My favorite color is teal and it shows up all over the house!
  16. The only makeup I’m wearing in these photos is mascara and the eyebrows I put on my face (chicken pocks were pretty bad for me), but I really enjoy wearing and putting on makeup!
  17. I love personality tests like the enneagram (469) and Meyer Briggs (INFJ).
  18. I drove my first car for 9 years, a car that was only 5 years younger than me, until someone totaled it last November.
  19. I spent a few years following blogs in different fields to help me figure out what to do with grad school.  It was pretty obvious to me what I should do after two or three months when I realized I was only following literacy and ESL blogs (and I’m still reading them a few years later).
  20. I married my complete opposite personality wise.  Our values and beliefs are the same, but our hobbies and the way we go about things could not be any more different.

Stay gold Autumn | a little more about me Stay gold Autumn | a little more about me Stay gold Autumn | a little more about me

Introduce yourself and tell me something about you! :)

These are link parties I participated in:
Pleated Poppy
Dressing Dallas
Still Being Molly

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a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!

I grew up in a small Kentucky town on the river; the only time I have received a speeding ticket…my Dad knew about it before I got home.  Our neighbors were barns and corn fields and I’m so happy I had that childhood!  It has actually been eight years since I’ve lived there, but I think about where I grew up everyday.  I love the opportunities living in a large metro area, but I definitely miss the simplicity.

We spend our whole week in downtown Atlanta, our evenings and weekends in the suburbs, and here lately we’ve started taking Sunday drives to relax and spend quality time together.  Now I’m like: why did it take us the whole three years living in Atlanta to do this?!

Stay gold Autumn | a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!Stay gold Autumn | a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!I love these little places that remind me of home and I’m grateful we can have a little bit of everything if we are willing to drive for it.  We have parents spread out over three states and we have the opportunity to see a lot of the country because of it, but my favorite places are usually very green, quiet, and away from people.

Stay gold Autumn | a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!Stay gold Autumn | a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!Stay gold Autumn | a Sunday drive + Macbook and Kate Spade Giveaway!

Do you take Sunday drives?  What are the places that make you happy like?
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blogger date: Jenna from Gold and Bloom

I have been following Jenna’s blog Gold and Bloom for almost four years and it was so nice to be able to meet her; she was just as sweet and sincere in person as I knew she would be.

We met at a coffee shop, talked for a while, and then when antiquing in our downtown (honestly, one of my favorite things!).  Also, she showed up wearing a shirt I have been eyeballing for a little while and now I am even more convinced that I need to buy it.

Stay gold Autumn | blogger date: Jenna from Gold and Bloom
I have really related a lot to Jenna’s blog in the last year because she had a huge transition with teaching and started re-evaluating her passions.  I had a very similar experience, after teaching here, and subsequently changed teaching fields.  It has been really inspiring to see her go through a similar process, find her love, and then go for it with her floral design business!!  I love looking up her work because she has a really unique style!

I love talking about marriage, goals, and having heart conversations with people one-on-one and Jenna was so gracious to spend the afternoon with me!

Stay gold Autumn | blogger date: Jenna from Gold and BloomStay gold Autumn | blogger date: Jenna from Gold and BloomStay gold Autumn | blogger date: Jenna from Gold and BloomI love meeting with other bloggers and finding out their interests, putting a blog to a voice and face, and really getting to know people’s personalities better.

Have you ever met anyone off of a blog or from the internet?

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Smoky Mountain Memories

The last time I went to Pigeon Forge someone took a Polaroid picture of me because I was the little kid the magician picked.  This time I’m married, mortgaged, and I’m debating on what age range is considered “mid-twenties” ?

Even in our marriage, in these four and a half years, we’ve had a lot of changes ourselves.  For example, when we first were dating and newly married, Devin would get embarrassed so easily.  We were next to a busy road when I started setting up my tripod for these photos and I wondered if he would go for it or not; he never would have a few years ago!  I was a waiting for a protest when he said: “I’ll do it, but only if I get a kiss.”  Wish granted, photos taken!

Stay gold Autumn | Smoky Mountain Memories

Stay gold Autumn | Smoky Mountain Memories

Stay gold Autumn | Smoky Mountain MemoriesMy heart has been asking for more green space, less people, and more time with Devin for a little while and the Smokies more than provided in a big, big way.  We’ve been to over half of the country, and somehow, I feel that I lucked out because I think my favorite place is just four hours away… and I’ve been listening to Dolly Parton non-stop since we came home.

I am now fully convinced that we are going to drag our future theoretical children to Pigeon Forge every chance we can get; Devin was trying to simmer down my excitement because I totally fell in love with every gimmicky tourist trap in a 45 minute radius.  Please picture Goofy Movie, but with me snort laughing and grabbing my inhaler from laughing too hard.  It is pretty much going to be epic.

Where is a place you could visit again and again?

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fireworks and weddings

I’ve been to a lot of weddings, but this is my first corgi themed wedding and I kind of hope it isn’t my last.  The fourth of July has become kind of a road trip holiday for us and we’ve pretty much had the knack of landing in a different place every year.  We were pretty ecstatic when we saw that Jamie, my cousin, sent out her invitations saying that she would getting married in Cades Cove, in the Smokey Mountain National park, and it is probably one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen!  To top it off, Jamie was a really beautiful bride and I am so excited for them!

Also, their wedding reception totally had a grits bar and that kind of deserves a paragraph of its own.

Stay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsStay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsTennessee is usually like the rest of the south in July: oppressively hot.  The announcement said to dress light because the church was built in the early 1900s and didn’t have electricity.  Miraculously, after a week of weather in the 90s, it was literally in the 60s the whole day.

Stay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsStay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsStay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsStay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsStay gold Autumn | Fireworks and weddingsWhat was a favorite wedding you attended like?

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