Lists

If I don’t post my Atlanta bucket list, do I still leave Atlanta?
This is the struggle and lately it’s been a constant battle of emotions in my head and heart. I am beyond thrilled to be going home. I am thrilled to breath the mountain air and to be in a place, knowing I am taking the next steps towards my dream. Yet, I am sad to be leaving. It seems like it’s too soon. I’m just beginning to feel known and moving back to Colorado feels a little bit like starting over. I’ll be in the same city, but a different me [also, my new roommates are the rents, but they will probably have more fun than me with all my studying. I’ll be asking them when they’ll be home…]

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t changed at all since I arrived in Georgia. I’m thankful for these changes because each and every one of them have made me stronger. They have taught me how to better love one another. They have taught me to have my own opinion and worry less about what other people say. This adventure has taught me about risk, but most importantly about trust. Trust that He will provide and equip us with the necessary things to go out and honor Him.

If you are laying in bed wondering if you should move to another state, run the marathon, start the blog, change your job, travel to another country or whatever else is challenging you right now the answer is yes. Do it. Take that leap of faith.


Here is my Atlanta Bucket List – places to go and food to eat before I leave the City in the Forest. There is room for improvement so write any other ideas you have in the comments! I will update this post as I cross things off the list —-

Places to Eat:

  • Home Grown
  • Ria’s Bluebird
  • Buford HWY
  • Heirloom BBQ
  • Flying Biscuit

Places to Hike:

  • Max Patch, NC ✔️
  • Cumberland Island
  • Providence Canyon
  • AT Approach Trail ✔️
  • Lulu Lake Land Trust
  • Springer Mountain ✔️
  • Brass Town Bald
  • Yonah Mountain ✔️
  • Tallulah Gorge Floor

Other Places to Go and Things to Do:

  • BAPS Shri swaminarayan mandir Atlanta
  • North Georgia vineyard ✔️
  • Braves Baseball Game
  • Savannah
  • Find rooftop views of downtown
  • PCM farmers market
  • Picnic @ Piedmont Park
  • See pandas in Atlanta

Photos are from my latest excursion – the AT Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, and back. This was a challenging – long – hike that had decent elevation variability and is possibly my favorite hike in Georgia to date. We had fantastic weather and completed the hike in ~6 hours! As I prepare for the Ultimate Hike at the end of April this was definitely good training.

I love u wknd 

The ladies in my house church are trying to plan a girls trip this summer and the only thing it’s accomplishing in doing is proving to me how little time I have left in Georgia. I counted. There are only 4 months — or 16 weekends. Time is scarce and these remaining weekends have just become significantly more valuable.

About a month ago I re-downloaded the dating app Bumble. It’s pretty much like all of the other dating apps with the unique twist that the girl has to send the first message [In general, I don’t like always being the first person to write something, but this way I can avoid the creepy/unwanted messages]. My interest in finding Mr. Right is low given that I’m packing up my life in just a few months, but my interest in trying as many restaurants in Atlanta is quite high. I figured this might be a fun way to accomplish that goal.

I’ve been on one date since writing my “about me” and I think it could have gone better.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we met up at the Westside Provisions area in West Midtown. The date started outside on the patio at Barcelona Wine Bar [one of my fav places in the city] accompanied by decent conversation and red wine sangria. We talked about our jobs and our dreams. What books we are reading, what we do on the weekends, movies, music, sports. All the typical first-date stuff. He talked about making plans for another date, paid the check and then we jay-walked across the street for Jenis Ice Cream [also one of my fav places]. All in all, the date was pretty good up to this point.

Where things went wrong was the moment I went to give him a hug goodbye and he went in for the kiss. Let me tell you, this wasn’t your average kiss. It was open mouth, tongue, and so, so much spit. In complete shock I pulled away and he states, “I guess you aren’t that kind of girl”. [Are you serious?] My response was, “Nope”, followed by laughter, followed by an apology, followed by “text me about dinner next week”. I haven’t heard from him since and that is totally fine by me.

For all the men out there wondering if they should kiss a girl on a first date with tongue, maybe reconsider? Or at least don’t start out with that…thnx.

I still want to cross new restaurants off my bucket list minus the wet kiss. Maybe I’ll go on more dates, maybe I’ll have some more stories to tell from it.

I love a good story. Huge fan.


I’ll share my full Atlanta Bucket List shortly, but in the meantime here are some pics from last weekend with my cousin Sarah visiting. We checked out the rooftop @ Ponce City Market, ate at Victory Sandwich, cooked up some fresh stir fry, and I solo hiked at Pine Log Creek and Quarry. There was so much moss in the water that it *almost* looked radioactive.

 

Sorry Daryll

Let me tell you a story, about a time [1 week ago] that I learned that people usually aren’t “nice and want to help you with your yard work”. 

Here in Atlanta there are A LOT of trees that translates to A LOT of leaves. I’m pretty sure that the house I rent has not had a proper rake job done in at least 5 years. Now, I know it’s not my job as a renter to do the upkeep and yard work, but I want to be proud of the space I inhabit. I want to walk up to my front door and not cringe because of how bad our yard looks. 

On Saturday I borrowed a rake, grabbed a bunch of bags and set to clean up the leaves. I was mid-leaf raking and weed pulling when this older man walked up with his lawn mower and rake in tow. He asked, “Would you like some help?” I hesitated a moment and looked around; it seemed like I had it handled. I was slowly chugging away with one half of the yard and there was plenty of daylight left. It was when he suggested that he could work on the other half AND that he had pruners to help with the bushes that I agreed. 

We both turned, started working on our sides of the yard, and it was at this point that I started to feel weird about the whole thing. First of all, why was this random guy walking around with a lawn mower and all the tools the do yard work? Second, I was the only person home and while it was the middle of the day I still wondered if I should text my roommates. [Uh oh, my phone was in the house]. As all of these thoughts are racing through my head, I’m pulling weeds and pushing leaves into bags. Finally, I think, “gosh, he probably wants me to pay him!”

Upon this epiphany, I looked over and said, “Daryll, I’m sorry but I think I misunderstood you. I actually don’t have any money to give you”.  He huffed and gave a retort at how did I expect him to do the work for free, then stomped off with his lawn mower. Whoops. 

Moral of the story? 

  • Random strangers don’t want to help you with your yard work. 
  • There is always an ulterior motive. 
  • I am super naïve. 

Uno mas, por favor

Happy Blog-iversary!!!!

It has been one full year – 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours – since I started on this journey in finding the grace within our everyday lives. I want to send a big THANK YOU out into the universe for all of you that have read my posts in this last year. Thank you for your words of encouragement, it really means the world to me [x10000000000 thank you].

I’ve enjoyed having this space to share my thoughts, struggles, and adventures. Writing posts for my blog has come to be something I look forward to each week – something I use to help reset after a crazy, busy week at work or even as a way to form complete thoughts on a theme that keeps appearing in my life. Normally I am not super creative, as a scientist I practice creativity in a very different way from the traditional sense. We carefully design experiments and then meticulously execute them with special attention paid to precision and accuracy. Writing Glimpse of Grace has allowed me to become creative outside of scientific rigor, and for that I am thankful.

As I jump into this new year – 2017 – I do so with a continued desire to be present. To be intimately engaged with this wonderful life we’ve been so fortunate to have been given. I have 6 months left in Atlanta, and my greatest fear is that I will spend those months checking the days off the calendar. Deep within my soul, I desire to make the most of those days in a way that honors God, presence, and connection. I don’t have a clear vision of what that will look like yet, but I will continue to share my journey along the way.

I’ve always been a storyteller [ask anyone from my childhood], so here I am writing down my story. Let’s see where this narrative takes us.


*The tea I enjoyed was from the local coffee bar – Taproom Coffee & Beer. I highly recommend this place for catching up with friends.

Jacks River & Other Labors

Labor Day weekend was filled all of the good kinds of labor.

  1. Hiking
  2. Cooking/Eating
  3. Relaxing
  4. Laughing x1000000000

It was the last hoorah for Leah in the city and we were lucky enough to get a visit from Anna and her boyfriend Matt on their way to the Outer Banks. A&M flew in late Friday night and flew out early Monday morning so we had 2 short days to pack all the activities in. Because I came to Atlanta with such lack-luster expectations I always feel this pressure to make sure first impressions of the city are top notch. There are so many special things about Georgia that I believe are overshadowed by other big cities. Growing up in Denver I would day dream of one day moving to Chicago, San Francisco, or New York City. I never thought in a million years that I would end up for a short time in this southern metropolis, but now that I have I’m in love. So whenever I have visitors I feel like an un-official ambassador for the city sharing the sweetness and wonder of Georgia with the world.

All that to say, we did all of the most perfect, non-touristy things. Saturday was filled with hiking in the North Georgia mountains along Jacks River. Our intention was to hike to Jacks River Falls, a waterfall just south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. From what we read online there were 2 approaches to the falls, one from Dally Gap and another from Beech Bottom. With both trails clocking in a 4.5 mile hike each way we decided to choose to start at Dally Gap since it was closer to Atlanta. This turned out to be a poor choice, we also severely misread the trail information.

The trek started along a gentle trail flanked by large green trees, green vines, and green wild rhododendrons. I’m telling you there were some large trees along the trail and the mystery has officially be solved – when a tree falls in the forest and there are four people are around to see, it makes a VERY LOUD NOISE.

Let me explain…As we were walking along, minding our own business, we heard a loud cracking sound and glanced across the valley. There, ~ 100 feet in front of us a huge tree was crashing down across the trail like a domino falling after someone gave it a light tap. Other small trees were taken down as collateral and branches and debris littered the site. All I can say is, thank the lord we weren’t standing 100 feet further up or we would have been squished like pancakes.

So, Jacks River and the namesake trail winds through the valley following each other and frequently crossing paths. At the beginning we were doing really well with staying dry. Whenever we approached a river crossing we would strategize and then leap faithfully from one balanced rock to the next until we reached the opposite bank. We hiked for 2.5 hours before beginning to question the trail information. At this point we should have reached the falls and so far we had only encountered small ripples in the river. With the afternoon passing and dinner plans in Atlanta we made the decision to stop, turn around, and head back to the car. Turns out it was actually 9 miles to Jacks River Falls from Dally gap, with 42 river crossings! Holy river crossings!

For future reference, this trail would be a fantastic overnight-er. Overall, it was more like a saga of never ending occurrences. Aside from the tree falling and river crossings:

  • We saw a giant, black snake
  • EVERYONE FELL IN THE WATER
  • I was stung by a bee
  • Anna tripped over a tree
  • Matt swung from a vine
  • Leah, Anna, and Matt went swimming
  • A threat of 30 pushups if we didn’t make it back to the car by 5 PM made us basically run the last mile
  • Google maps takes some very interesting back roads
  • No, panthers are not part of the wildlife in Georgia

The rest of the weekend we spent in the city – gorging on brunch, swinging in hammocks on my front porch, cannonballing at the pool, and feasting with a home cooked salmon dinner. My heart felt so full after my house emptied of guests on Tuesday. Even though I feel pressure to put together the perfect trip for whoever comes visit me I love the way it allows me to share my life with the people that mean the most to me. I love that Georgia has the outdoor escapes that define what Colorado is for so many people. By no means have I explored the entirety of what this peachy state has to offer, but with less than a year here I’m saying anything’s possible.

I’m ready for my next visitors.


 

Knit Together

I’m hanging on tight to this summer.

To this weekend and past weekends.

To the way I’m feeling in this exact moment – blissfully content.

I think the perfect word for this season of life I’m finding myself in is connection, and honestly, if I look back it’s certainly a common theme threaded through my past posts. The desire to pull the beauty and grace from the everyday; to slow down and enjoy what life is throwing at me rather than rushing from one thing to the next. But it’s also more than that, I’m not only craving deep connection with the world around me but with the people that I get to share it with. I don’t want to miss out on the richness of life.

Connection is vulnerable. It’s scary; it’s also exhilarating. The fear of being known and accepted is so very real. Building memories with new people is hard. I have girlfriends from college that know everything about me. They’ve seen me at my best – and my worst – but somehow they still decide to connect with me. At first I was afraid that if I shared too much with my new friends they wouldn’t want to hang out with me anymore, but that is so far from the truth. Life is messy and what good is it having friends that you can’t be real with?

I’ve only tasted the frosting on what it means to be connected, to be present, and to be vulnerable, but I’m coming back for more. In an attempt to run after connection, my friends and I have started our own Cooking Club. Once every 3 weeks someone in our group hosts a dinner where they prepare a meal and everyone else comes and receives. It’s time set aside to be present; to intentionally connect with others over good food and wine – obviously wine.


When thinking about our journey through life Shauna Niequist says it best – “It was not about to-do lists or scheduling or minutes and hours. This journey has been about love, about worth, about God, about what it means to know him and be loved by him in a way that grounds and reorders everything”. God has been telling me to slow down, and to connect – with him and with the people he loves. I’m fighting to be present and to allow the fabric of my life to be connected to that of those around me.

So, I’m hanging on tight to these moments of connection because they are too sweet to let go.

 

 

Cocoa

I have to admit, I have a bit of an obsession with hot chocolate. I don’t usually indulge in treats at the store because I know myself, and I know I have practically zero self-control when it comes to sweets.

This week however, I decided to listen to the craving and bought some.

It was also an average of 90 degrees all week so I must be crazy.

Either way, I had a cup of hot chocolate tonight and every sip was worth it.


Since I also have an obsession with dogs, and I am currently deprived of having my own, I have been watching a lot of other people’s. It’s great because I can cuddle with the pups without all of the long term responsibility. I’m like the cool aunt that gives them all the treats and takes them on all the outings.

Anyways, here’s some pictures of all my friends’ dogs –

 

A Tuesday Morning Disaster

Over the weekend I moved to a new house. Don’t worry – its still near two of my favorite places, the ATL Beltline and Trader Joe’s Piedmont Park. It’s a fabulous place with high ceilings and little bit of character. No place is truly good until it has its funky quirks and this house certainly does. For one, the washer and dryer aren’t housed side-by-side, but rather the dryer is across the room from the washer! Someday I may give you photographic evidence but for now my Tuesday morning disaster will have to suffice.

It started out just like any other day, I woke up and drank a big cup o’ coffee, cooked up some eggs over medium, and went to catch the MARTA. I live a LOT closer to the stop, but I still managed to leave with not-enough time. I was running to the stop when I watched the bus drive past, unknowing of my presence. Defeated, I turned around to go back home and wait, this time determined to make it with enough time.

My second attempt was successful until at 8th and Monroe the bus took a hard right – instead of a slight left. UH OH.

  • Lesson #1 – Apparently the stop outside my house is served by multiple bus routes and I had jumped on the wrong bus.
  • Lesson #2 – Uber is an excellent alternative to MARTA.

Wish me luck – here I go catching the MARTA this morning. It’s a new day, new disasters to keep me on my toes.

Flutter

I have no excuse for my lack of posts other than that I’ve been trying to find words for many of the events that have happened in my life during the last few weeks. Apparently it has been an unsuccessful endeavor…. Every time I sit down to write I come up with a blank. This is not for lack of material – I’ve got more than enough of that – but rather I’m attributing it to a lack of belief. Three weeks ago I got the phone call that I’ve been waiting to get since February. I got the phone call that I was accepted to the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

It really went down like this –

I was in the midst of a normal work day, running in and out of tissue culture and attending meetings, when I received a missed call and a voicemail. The number was 303-724… Those numbers caused my heart to skip a beat because I immediately knew. 303 is the area code for Colorado and 724 is the first three digits for the UC Denver Medical Campus. With trembling hands and a flutter in my stomach I returned the call from the admissions office. They very nonchalantly informed me of my acceptance to the class of 2020.

*imagine me freaking out on the other side*

The next week & a 1/2 was a whirlwind as I quickly drafted a letter requesting to defer entrance for one year and then wait (again) for a response. You’re probably thinking that I must be crazy. All of the choices I’ve made over the last several years have been decided while also considering my long term goal – becoming a doctor. I would think about it more than necessary, and especially this last year, stress over it even when I had no control. As much as I tried to continue on with life in the midst of waiting, my application was all consuming. I agonized over my future and possible outcomes. Where I would be living and how my life would look. So, in an attempt to live in the present I decided that regardless of the decision from CU I would stay in Atlanta for another year.

– I became free –

This decision was a huge step for me, but I felt so fantastically unhindered and happy with my choice. My relationships with my friends in A|T|L grew deeper, I embraced my responsibility at work with a fire, and I’ve settled into living in a city in a forest. I also accepted the possibility that I wasn’t going to be accepted this year and began preparing to reapply – writing a brand new personal essay and requesting additional letters of support. I submitted these applications exactly one week before learning of my acceptance. I guess then that answer is yes – I am a little crazy, but not insane because when I requested to delay my entry for a year I was granted this appeal.

I am beyond thankful for the opportunities this provides – not only in my research but in all aspects of my life. I know this absolutely did not just happen out of coincidence but that God has some bigger plan for me. I’m thrilled to find out what the next year holds. Excuse me while I squeal with glee.


*words are hard, dancing and jumping up and down is an easier way to celebrate.

Anniversary

July 11th marked my one year anniversary in Atlanta. ONE YEAR! Officially, I don’t use Google Maps every time I drive somewhere, I have an auto mechanic, a favorite margarita stop, grocery store, and ice cream shop. I am used to the crazy drivers on the downtown connector and mostly used to the humidity.

Cheers to 1 year, Atlanta! Cheers to 1 more!*

IMG_853

“Time flies when you’re having fun”


*More details on this to come