Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Something Fun to do in Atlanta

My mother-in-law likes to give her children experiences as gifts more than just things.  Last Christmas, she got Caleb and I an annual membership to Callaway Gardens, and this summer, she got all us kids a tree top experience at Panola State Park, and most recently she got us slots on a game at Mission Escape.

This was all of our first times doing anything like Mission Escape, but we were pretty sure we were going to have a good time.  Each game is an hour spent in a locked room looking for clues that will allow you to solve the mystery and escape the room.  Of course, if there's an emergency or anything goes wrong, there's a staff member available to free the players.  The staff member also is allowed to give out 3 hints, which ended up being invaluable to our team the evening we went.

Fewer than 30% of teams who play actually win and figure out the puzzle.  Once we heard the odds, our collective competitive spirit rose to the occasion.  We really wanted to beat the game!

Each game at Mission Escape allows for ten people to play at a time.  We kids made up eight, and then two others we didn't know, a super cool couple, were also in our game.  Turns out we needed every mind in the room, because there were multiple puzzles that needed to be figured out all at the same time if we were going to make it out in an hour.  There were secrets, surprises, misleads, and super awesome I won't share because I don't want to spoil anything.  Even with the pressure mounting with every passing minute, we had a total blast.  Everything came to a head right before the end of our 60 minutes, when we were sure we were on the last puzzle.  We ended up breaking all the codes we needed and made it out with just under 3 minutes to spare!  Oh the elation!  The adrenaline!  The glory!

I'd highly recommend visiting Mission Escape Atlanta, bringing all your good-natured friends, and checking this out.  Winning the game sure gave us a good time, but I think that even without making it to the end before the hour was up would still be a blast.

Mission Escape plans to release another game soon this summer.  We're planning on making another trip there as soon as it's available.  It's located right near Atlantic Station, which is super convenient as it's right off the connector of I-75 and I-85.  Tickets are $28 each, but especially if you're going to a team building event or just an off the wall, fun experience, it's worth it.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Our Lovely Visit to the Duluth Food Truck

Our summer is well underway in our corner of Downtown Atlanta.  I've been busy at work (hence the inconsistency here on the blog), the weather's been hot and humid (except for our current lovely and breezy 80 degrees), and we've been eating a lot of BBQ (Caleb recently picked up my dad's old grill).  Even though the blog hasn't been seeing much new content lately, I do still post on Instagram and Twitter often, and I wanted to share one of my favorite evenings of the summer so far.

Caleb and I took a date night to the Duluth Food Truck Friday last month!  We had no idea how good it would be to get out of the city!  Seriously, guys, it was so good to be away, to see families playing in the grass, to see fireflies dancing at dusk.  I didn't even realize how much I missed fireflies, just because I haven't seen them in so long!  Not only was it great to be closer to the great outdoors, but it was also great to enjoy the food available!  We ended up getting food from four different vendors including Cousins Maine Lobster's food truck and Crave Pie Studio (see the Connecticut lobster roll and butterscotch pie above).

I waited in line for that lobster roll for over an hour, by the way.  I know lobster is pretty popular, and the roll was totally worth it, but I had no idea Cousins was famous!  That's why the line was so long, I think.  The pie, well my dad loves pie, and because he recently moved to an area with fewer pies, I felt the need to indulge in his place.

Caleb and I sat and chatted, walked around, and ended up being asked to participate in a survey about church.  That was an interesting and fun conversation, actually.  Two guys from a church plant in Duluth talked with us about what the modern view of church is in the area and how to best reach the international community of Duluth.  At the end of our discussion, they took the time to ask us what they could pray for us about and then prayed for us right there in the grass.  It was a really cool experience.

While Caleb and I do enjoy a lot about being in the city, our short trip to Downtown Duluth made us miss the suburbs.  We missed the sense of community, the lower skylines, the green spaces, and the children you don't see playing around in the city.  Being in Duluth made us realize that, while the city restaurants can't be beat, we don't want to live downtown forever.  The heart of Atlanta has been good to us for this season, but we'll be happy to move to a calmer environment when the time comes.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Your Repsonse to Tragedy

Last night, in a historic Charleston church, nine people were murdered in cold blood.  A small group praying in church.  A stranger joins them then opens fire.  The murderer is white.  The victims were black.

image from Emmanuel AME Church

Last November, I attended Renovation Church's panel discussion on racial tensions in America.  I took copious notes on what the panelists had to say, but there was one topic that is particularly relevant today.  When asked what she wants most from her white sisters, panelist Pamela Stringfield said this.

LeCrae said our society has lost the art of lamenting. We read the stories and hear the news and move on to argue about it. At the end of he say, I don't care how right you are. I want people to care about what's going on, to share thoughts and questions, to say this isn't how it's supposed to be, and to actually cry. I grieve that we are pitted against each other because this is not how it was supposed to be.

Friday, May 29, 2015

When the Only One Holding You Back is You

You know those stories of folks who've made it through difficult adversity?  The stories that make people famous, or at least greatly respected?  The story usually mentions or even centers on the person's undying resolve to prove themselves or to prove others wrong.  Maybe there's no other way out or they've invested so much, they're at the point of do or die.

I've never been in a situation like that before.
I've traveled all over the world.  I was highly involved in both high school and college.  At times I pushed my work loads and extra curriculars until everything else became a haze, but I've never felt that extreme pressure, that heat from the crucible, until now.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rushing Forward, Head Over Heels

I just want to take a moment to #1 confirm that I do, in fact, still exist/write/live and #2 shout out that even though my days have been crazy busy/packed/exhausting, I am moving forward with a tired smile on my face.  I'm so thankful to be a part of what I'm a part of:
my marriage
The Iron Yard
my family
the part of humanity that loves to eat and create good food
...and I'm so thankful that when some parts of life overwhelm the others that my passions for these things keep me moving forward.  Bonus: even when I'm extra overwhelmed, there's this incessant need to check things off my list and get things done and, so far, that little personality quirk has helped my body keep on even when my mind has checked out.

When things get hectic, it's helpful to me to remember some of the other deeper parts of living among all the humans beside me.  To remember what's important.  I found this tweet today that helped me slow down just enough to get one of those good pace checks that tell you you're doing okay:

It's going to be okay, friends!  It's going to be okay.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Recommended with the Best Scrambled Eggs

Caleb recently discovered Gordon Ramsey's recipe for scrambled eggs.  He tried it out for the first time last Saturday and brought me the most delicious breakfast in bed, and then we've made these eggs two more times in the last 7 days.  If you follow the recipe, they turn out so light and fluffy and creamy.  In a word, perfect.

Now for the links I recommend with scrambled eggs...
(It's hard to believe it's been such a long time since I've done one of these collections!)


A fascinating collection of postcards from Google Earth

Even more fascinating: these stills from Google Street View

These doggy fetch fails remind me of my own pup.

Have you seen everyone making a big deal of Becca the Badass?  I'm a fan.

If I didn't share a bedroom with a boy, I'm pretty sure my room would look like this.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seriously, What Would Happen?

 No matter your creed, we all understand forgiveness to be a powerful thing.  We see stories about a woman forgiving and even building a relationship with her son's murder, and we are in awe.  Forgiveness like this takes great courage and an extraordinary selflessness love.  I believe we can all accept that this kind of forgiveness as straight up unnatural.

What would happen if we couuld forgive each other?
photo by Jason Ortega via Unsplash

A couple months ago, my church went over 6 different things we wish Jesus had never said.  It was an attention grabbing series, and it spawned a lot of discussion in my small group.  One of the questions brought up was how might forgiveness and love for one's enemies change the culture around us?