I am guilty. Guilty of being negative. Guilty of not looking for the positive. Guilty of not looking at life through the lens of what God wants for my life. I have been in quite a funk the last couple days, probably even weeks about where I have to go every day for work. My work day has gotten down right consumed by bitterness. I have been explaining this feeling away with “it is just the way it is for right now.” However, I was met with a swift smack on the noggin by the big guy upstairs about how wrong that line of thinking is yesterday.
Sidebar…I have not been a big reader throughout my life, but I have always liked to read. However, if you were to ask me how many books I read in a year prior to this year I would have said, maybe 1. Now ask me this year and I can say 5! I haven’t written recently about the books I have been reading, but I am going to rectify that. So much of how I have been changing and growing are due in large part to the exercises and food I have been giving my mind. The amazing words of the authors I have been consuming have been such a gift. From Franis Chan, to Brene Brown and up right now Joyce Meyer.
Alright, back to my story and how God gave me a swift smack into how my mind has been running amuck. Yesterday I started back into the book, Battlefield of the Mind Winning the Battle in Your Mind, by Joyce Meyer. The very first quote was from Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Woof…talk about a dose of perspective. I proceeded with my day and happened into a meeting with a fellow colleague I had not seen for a while. I think God was throwing me a bone with this meeting. It was amazing the knowledge of circumstances he had that brought some peace about the past. But that wasn’t the end of God’s guiding hand. I then ran into folks that don’t normally work in my area. What a chance meeting this was.
I proceeded to talk to them about how I was feeling bitter abouthow I had been treated by work. They both could completely empathize; even with the feeling of bitterness over it. But then one of them said something so good and so right it was almost haunting. He said to me, “you know I don’t believe God wants anything bad or unjust to happen to us; however, sometimes he allows these things to happen to redirect the path you are on, because if not for that happening you probably would have never veered from that path. Which may need to happen in order for you to walk down the path he has planned for you. You see you don’t know what life has in store 3 years down the road, but He does.” MIND BLOWN! This really put me in my place. God’s plan is perfect. His lens is perfect. If we only stop to give Him our plans and allow His plans to take over He turns all works (good and bad) for our good. Living intentionally is key. Choosing the intentionality with each thought translate into each action.
God’s plan is so good for each of our lives. I am learning to get out of my own way every day. Thank you Lord for showing me!
With each day that passes I can’t help but take account more and more the balance it takes to live a peaceful and fulfilling life. The career you choose, the way you manage time, the prioritization of your personal hobbies and family. They all require differing levels of time and it is different for everyone. I am finding day in and day out that the career piece is losing every time when it comes to my family, personal health and all around time. It’s not that the career is losing, meaning I don’t want to have a job or a career. It is losing in regard to time. My current job demands I am in the seat (physically visible) for 9 hours a day. And that includes a 30 minute commute each way. So we are talking 10 hours of a day are spoken for before you even get to assert balance. This just doesn’t do. Especially when you are an effective and efficient worker. I come to work every day and legitimately knock out all the tasks I am responsible for within the first 2-3 hours. Then I spend the rest of the day simply watching email and waiting for anything else that may come my way. It would make so much since to me for this time to be given back to manage as I see fit. Not without regard to work, but with the whole picture in mind.
Unfortunately, that is not how my current line of work operates. So I am left to discern how to balance the time I do have the ability to affect. Between getting enough sleep, to attending to my physical fitness, and making sure our family is eating well and fueling our bodies properly. I see too often the vast majority of my coworkers letting all the previously stated completely fall off when the work organization takes over. As for me, thank goodness for a great teammate and partner in life. My husband and I are a pretty awesome team. I have to say, after 5 months without him (per his deployment), I am evermore grateful for how we tackle life. We have our routines, but we know how to be flexible. We communicate often and frequent. Our battle rhythm is high and exciting!
So I guess the point I am getting at is that balance is an effort in all facets of life. It’s important to know what you can affect and what you cannot in the way of time and make adjustments as you see they are needed (ie. I am making a career shift in 10 months!!). I make sure I stay engaged with how I am feeling so I can best communicate to my teammate and partner in life what I need. Only then, am I able to operate at full capacity to give back to him and our family. And boy is our family thriving! We are blessed. Thank you Lord for your guiding hand and the balance you help us manage everyday J
Let me first start by saying how much I love my neighborhood and the progress that the H Street corridor is making! This little gem, called Farmbird, just moved into the neighborhood. It is exactly the kind of small business and tastiness that I am excited to get behind as H Street grows. My family and I happened upon Farmbird after our weekly grocery shopping trip. We needed a little late lunch bite before church. We walked into a very clean and simple set up, with great tunes too. Their lay out was great. Walk right up to the counter, order and pay, grab a seat and your food is ready in minutes. The cashier was super helpful and had a great attitude; which always makes a dining experience that much more enjoyable. The menu was simple and to the point. They do chicken and they do it well! We ordered the Barbecue Ranch and Spicy Roasted Fresno. The chicken was succulent and dressed perfectly. The prices were great too! We were able to get 2 sides with our entrée for $11.35. All total we spent $28 for 2 meals, 4 sides, and a beer. But back to the food J We ended up getting almost every side they offer save one. The Mac and Cheese is kid approved! Our 3 year old smashed the whole helping in minutes. And it was a healthy helping! The Sweet Potatoes were delightfully salted and the Corn & Tomatillo Salad was quite refreshing on a summer day. The owner, or who I presumed to be one of the owners, Dave, even came over to see how our meal was and asked for any recommendations on improvements they could make. Great guy and great to see folks that are receptive to suggestions! So excited this little restaurant has set up shop in our neighborhood. I hope they are a sign of many more alike to come J
It’s been 3 weeks since my trip to Miami and I am still salivating over all the amazing food and the fantastic time this city showed me. So here is the final blog on my Miami trip, to round out this delectable adventure.
Beaker and Gray
This was dinner spot for night 2 and the birthday night. Set right on the outskirts of the Wynwood neighborhood, it was the perfect spot to continue our night. This will forever be the place I introduced my mother and sister to pork belly :) And boy did they do it well! This restaurant had the perfect mix of kitchen, tables, and bar. It all flowed and the evening was filled with a cacophony of joyous noise coming from all sections. We did another round robin of sharing plates. Their menu was set up based on plating. From their cold menu we got the Hamachi, cilantro, honey, buttermilk and the heirloom tomato, lemon, coriander, tempura flake. From their hot menu we got the Tortellini, oxtail, pesto, candied, pistachio; the Pumpkin Gnocchi, pork rib, manchego, red shiso, and the PORK BELLY, carrot, hazelnut, chili caramel!!! We got 2 orders of the pork belly because it completely blew us all away. After a delightful taste bud experience we were surprised with a round of birthday shots from the bar. Such hospitality! Finally, we indulged in some dessert. I don’t know that we had the room for it, but we managed to disappear some freshly made doughnuts with vanilla shakes! Needless to say, we left stuffed, but there was more fun to be had.
Next up was Blackbird Ordinary in downtown Miami. This place had a sultry vibe and pumpin AC to boot...hahaha! Superb cocktails for a bar/lounge setting! My sister and I went with the classic and signature Blackbird. It was a mixture of sweet tea vodka, blackberries and lemonade. MMMMMMMMM! We danced and drank and moved on to the real party for the night ;)
So this place is SO MUCH FUN! Great dancing, great vibes and the drinks aren’t bad either. Just look it up and see for yourself ;)
By 330 in the morning we we winding down, but weren’t done yet. We met up with some of the bartenders and waiters from Beaker and Gray and they took us to this amazing hole in the wall after hours bar. It’s called The Corner. This place can be summed up in 4 words…..GREAT BEER/LOCAL VIBES!
We made it to the last day of the trip with 2 hours of sleep and just a tad hung over. No sense in stopping the barrage of of amazing food! We made our way toward south beach, but stopped just before at this amazing little find called The Yardbird. I have to start this review by giving the most insane, crazy, awesome rave applause for the waiter, Romeo. He was by far the best server I have ever come in contact with. His attitude was kind and jovial. He was very attentive and knowledgable. And not to detract from the food, which I will get to, he made the whole dining experience phenomenal!! OK...now to the food. We ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT (psssst. it had pork belly), the Dulce de Leche Strawberry Waffle, and the house special Biscuits and Gravy. Oh boy! Food coma anyone. We even topped it off with a coffee cake. The atmosphere made you want to just keep on shoveling it in. I mean there were whole fresh watermelons on a rack by the windows! Definitely a must try should you find yourself in Miami.
For my last couple of hours we found our way to South Beach. We actually just happened upon muscle beach. I would have to sum this part up as lackluster and crazy overrun with tourist. Nothing special, but definitely worth all the people watching!
**Tune in as I start giving a breakdown of more food in DC and our next trip (back home for me) to Hawaii :)
And just like that it is has been a week since the last time I blogged. I always have the best of intentions to get 2 or more blogs out a week. Then the week starts and poof...time is flying by and I am lucky to get 1 post up. I am by no means complaining. This week, like others has been filled with quality family time, outings with friends, exercise and of course the consumer of most time...work. These days I actually find most of my moments to write at work. As a friend of mine and I caught up this week I found myself saying, "my head space just isn't in or at work anymore. So what perfect time to engage in the ways my mind wants to. By writing and reading." Sure, I am getting the job done, but for crying out loud....we are there for 9 hours a day. There is plenty of time to go around. I could probably go into some tangent about how the American work day is obscenely too long and how so many are completely unproductive even though they are at their place of work for 9 hours. But I won't.
So back to time. It is truly a struggle every week to balance work and family time. There is never a competition. Family always wins! However, it's then the balance of getting work done and work's expectation of a (forgive the figure of speech) ass in the seat :( This is literally the bane of my existence right now. So finding the time that I can steal back and get home to be with my boys is paramount. I'm not successful at this as much as I would like to be, but the count down is real. Only 10 months until I can rid my full time life of the corporate bureaucracy and join a more thoughtful, time friendly company.
Quality time with my little humans is a huge focus and although I know it's crazy important now I know that they will need me even more when they are going through those early teen and teenage years. My hope is that I can continue to be successful in putting in the time now with work and help my husband build the life that affords us some cushion for the future. So that when the time is right and/or needed I can stay at home or take a very part time job to be available for my kids. Right now I will continue to lay the foundation that they know they can count and depend on me. But later I want them to actually be able to have me whenever they need me or don't need me. I realize that my full attention needs to be on being engaged with them as they start to fully engage with the world. I want to make sure I am hedging our bets on not allowing our children to disengage with us because we are too busy.
Balance is all we can ever hope for. It is the singular goal I daily, weekly, and yearly strive for. I will enjoy and take in every growing season as it comes. Time is flying but I'm going to make every second count!
Where did I leave off....ah yes. We had just finished an amazing breakfast. We had a little buzz happening from the bellini’s and now it was time to hit the beach. We ordered up an uber, made a quick stop for sunscreen and were on the beach in swift fashion. The Miami sun and sea were wonderful! Clear water, clean beaches and lots of people watching to be had. After about 4 hours in the sun it was time to find our way back to our Wynwood getaway for some rest and recharging before the nights festivities.
Once my sister and I were able to sit for a bit, shower and change we were ready to make our way to the happy hour scene. We found the PERFECT spot. Suviche is a sushi, ceviche fusion restaurant and also walking distance from our Airbnb. (sidenote: I am telling you, this location in the Wynwoodneighborhood was clutch!) When we got to Suviche we found a place at the bar. This place had all the relaxed vibes of a Caribbean island beach bar. They even had big cushy swings for chairs. Our bartender was the sweetest and most helpful little latin sunkissed chica. I simply asked her what her favorite drink was and she pointed me right to the bourbon. Something they call a Kentucky Sour to be exact. MMMMMMMMMM! So delicious! It was passion fruit and bourbon! I quickly slurped down 2 and would have gotten another if not for the food being done and needing to save room for dinner. Phish….doing the responsible thing as well, que thinking emoji with pointer finger and thumb on face.
As for the food we ordered 2 rounds of the crunchy spicy tuna roll, tuna tataki, and the small ceviche natural. We got a second round of the spicy tuna roll because the first basically disappeared! I have had my fair share of spicy tuna rolls and this one was by far one of the best I have ever had. The tuna tataki was also quite good, but not nearly enough for 2 people with how they bait you with the fresh orange, honey drizzle. I suppose that is how happy hour works….que winky emoji. And the ceviche!!! So, I’ll just sum it up by saying I started drinking the juice that was left, but my sister made stop in embarrassment…hahaha! SOOOOO GOOD! I definitely want to come back to this place and try the whole menu.
The Wood Tavern
As a rite of passage, it is only fitting to go to a bar or club that has a bouncer and cards at the door on your 21st birthday. Insert The Wood Tavern. This place fit the bill for that late afternoon drink. So we were off. As we made our way to the door Alaynewas a little nervous to use her ID. Once she got to the bouncer,what a surprise! The big dude at the door turned that frown upside down so quick, it was like flipping a light switch. He walked Alayne to the bar, gave a $20 to the bartender, and hooked her up with her drink of choice. Talk about hospitality! We stayed only for one more round, but this place gets 2 thumbs up for selection and customer service.
I recently took a quick trip to Miami for my sisters 21st birthday! Wow! What a whirlwind of food and fun. Needless to say I have lots to catch you all up on, especially on the food front. In an effort to share all the juiciness I will break this blog up into 3…maybe 4 posts…que winky emoji face
So, first up….I flew into Miami on a Thursday night around 730 and got to my Airbnb by about 830. Luckily, with the help of friends that are from there, I had secured an awesome location in the Wynwood neighborhood. Dinner was a short stroll of about 100 feet from the apartment. Score 1 for us!
Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill
This place oozed of ambiance and cool south beach vibes. The latin music was dancing out of the speakers and the lighting made you want to salsa. Great way to start a trip in Miami. We were sat around 9 and began a tapas round robin of ordering to share dinner.
We started off with edamame and the heirloom tomato and strawberry salad. Everything was so fresh! Next up was the Hokkaido scallop and Florida snapper ceviche. YUMMY!! The ceviche was giving off the most insatiable effervescence of delectable aromas. To round out the dinner selections and to get a little extra that we just wanted we got a spicy tuna roll and the whole roasted chicken. You know the chicken is good when your sister who says she doesn’t like chicken, but tries it anyway says, “WOW! That is really good chicken!” The plate was practically clean just as soon as it was set down. Finally, we finished off this delightful culinary experience with a crème brulee. I don’t think there was much room after that.
Sugarcane had fabulous service and it looked like they were going to keep the food coming for many more patrons. Like I said…we sat down at 9 and the restaurant only seemed to continue to fill up past that! On a Thursday too! Definitely a must try if you’re in Miami.
The next morning it was time to find the right place to start a birthday. Not just any birthday, but a 21st birthday. What better spot than a place that serves carafe bellini’s! We hit the jackpot with this find. It was a little further walking than our dinner restaurant but we had no idea. So we got an uber….cue laughing so hard your crying emoji!
We got a great seat at an outdoor, community table with a fan directed right at us. This was refreshing as Miami can get quite hot. As the bellini’s were flowing we ordered some amazing meals. From the smoked salmon plate; to the ultra, light and fluffy waffle with berries and house made cream towering over the entire thing…this place had variety! And then there was the breakfast burrito!!!! Holy smokes this thing was off the charts good. Covered in marinara sauce (I know, you’re probably thinking “WHAT! Not on a burrito”) but trust me when I say IT WORKED!! The pork was perfectly cooked and the fresh avocado INSIDE the burrito just did me in. I ate the whole thing and didn’t feel the least bit guilty. Check out the pictures if you want to see what goodness looks like!
All in all Morgan’s definitely gets a 10 out 10 for breakfast. And I know breakfast…cue winky emoji face
Have you ever found yourself in that tricky situation of accepting a compliment? I know…you might have to stop and think about that one for a second. At first thought, I would have said “of course I know how to accept a compliment.” But the reality is, is that we probably aren’t as graceful as we would like to think we are about this social interaction. I have hypothesized a little about why this is and I continually come to the same conclusion….We as a society don’t hand out compliments nearly enough to be practiced in receiving them with grace and ease.
So, here is what I discovered the last time I received a compliment for another female. She said, “Wow, you are looking really good!” And instead of saying thank you, smiling, and moving on…I awkwardly stopped, looked at her with confusion, processed what she said and then said, “What? I mean thanks. I am working at it but not too hard.” YIKES!! In my head I sounded like a bumbling idiot. All I could do was shake my head at myself and walk away quickly.
I gave it a little thought and once I was more comfortable…and more importantly…confident about the compliment, I circled back to her and said “Thank you so much for the compliment. It means a lot.” You see, I gleaned so much insight about my self-confidence and view of myself from this small interaction. Had I been more confident in what she was saying from the start maybe I would have been quicker to be thankful than confused. However, I think this goes back to the bigger realization, which was that I just simply don’t have a lot of practice in receiving compliments. That then made me think, am I practiced in giving compliments? The two are certainly not mutually exclusive.
This idea of accepting compliments from friends, strangers, and even my husband has really struck a chord with me. I don’t know if it has something to with the whole concept of what you put out in the world is what you will get back, but it certainly has been a new perspective of thankfulness that I am excited about embracing.
So the last time I was complimented, I smiled, said thank you and kept the conversation moving. Such a great exercise in gratitude, graciousness, and humility! And what a boost in self-confidence! I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please leave your comments!
Date night!!! My husband has literally been talking about wanting to try this restaurant since a week after he got deployed. So naturally it was first up for our first date since he got home. I wasn't entirely convinced as the last restaurant we tried in the same area was a total dud, but I obliged after he guilted me in front of friends :) And let me say now...BOY AM I GLAD HE GUILTED ME!!!
This restaurant gets all the thumbs up. It had all the makings for an amazing sit down dining experience. From the ambiance of the very feminine chandeliers to the over the top masculine leather details everywhere....They nailed it.
Ok, so lets get to brass tacks...THE FOOD! We arrived at about 8 without a reservation on a Saturday, but were sat in about 15 minutes. It only took moments before we were perusing the massive wine list and were completely overwhelmed. But no fear! The house sommelier to the rescue :) We gave him the highlights of what were after...you know...full body/light body, fruit forward, light finish, that kind of thing. He pointed us right to the perfect bottle and then reassured that if we hated it he would drink it and find us another. Well, we loved it!
Then it was on to the menu. Thank goodness my husband likes to share, because they had some honkin steaks on the menu. We ended up getting the Ahi ceviche appetizer, the bone in 18oz Ribeye, and the Yuca frites. The Ahi came out in the coolest little container that made the presentation just as delectable as the taste. When it arrived to the table they popped it open and smoke came billowing out. If I could have licked the container I would have. Then the Ribeye came out. It was cooked to the perfect medium rare temp. We literally couldn't wait to get the first bite down. WOW! SO GOOD! The Yuca frites were the perfect compliment.
The rest of this menu looks absolutely amazing. We will definitely be back. But the amount we ordered was perfect for 2. Not to full. Not hungry when we were done. But just right! Go check this place out for sure.
So let me start by saying that I will only blog about food when it is worthy. And man was Romeo and Juliet worthy!! 301 Mass Ave in DC....GO CHECK IT OUT!
JD and I went with both the boys at about 1pm on a Saturday and they were so accommodating. Not to busy but busy enough to know they are good! We started off with the Heirloom tomato burrata salad. So refreshing and delightfully delicious. Did I mention we were drinking on a carafe of mimosa for only $15!!! we easily got 7 glass of mimosa on the carafe. Well worth the investment ;) We had 2 carafe's!!! Score 1000 for mommy and daddy!
We rounded out our meal choices with the chicken and waffles and the muffuletta. The chicken and waffles was by far the BEST chicken and waffles I have ever had. The chicken was so juicy and the waffles were super fluffy. They put gravy and syrup on the the whole ordeal. It left for a salty and sweet finish. The gravy was anything but heavy. WOW! Romeo and Juliet hit the nail on the head with this classic. As for the muffuletta...not the best we have had, as it was lacking the proper amount of olive salad. But still delightful and tasty.
ALL in all this place definitely scores an 8 out of 10. We will be back. If for nothing else than the great and generous price on "bottomless mimosas".
As a side note, both boys were awake and we managed. This restaurant was super accommodating and asking if we needed anything on the regular. Definitely recommend for families :)
I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mother of 3 boys and was an active duty member of the United States Air Force for 8 1/2 year. I medially retired in December 2018 from the Air Force and I know work as a Fitness and yoga instructor, I run the customer service experience for a local swim school and I am a Doula. I am also working on my Master's in social work.