Cozy Days

31 October 2013

Loving these fall days as we're moving into cooler weather. My personal favorite things lately include meeting friends for bagels and hot chocolate, drinking a cup of tea at night, and lighting the most perfect candles in the evening to relax. 

And it's pretty good that we're having the most crisp fall days lately!

*Yet again, I can't find sources for the images. Anyone know how to use an image to find a link?

Shenandoah: North Marshall

30 October 2013

Virginia truly shines during the fall season. The leaves begin changing and perfect temperatures there's no place I'd rather be. My friends and I followed up from our previous hike at South Marshall and decided to try out the North Marshall trail. It was only a 1.6 mile or so hike total with a beautiful overlook to the East. There's an uphill grade, but it's short so if you're ever looking for a quick hike with high rewards, I'd recommend the North Marshall trail on the Appalachian Trail.

Shenandoah: South Marshall

29 October 2013

Recently I went up on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park with a group of friends. We were looking for a short hike near the north end of the drive to take up an hour or two of our afternoon. So, after stopping at Dickey's Ridge and watching their video about the park, touring the museum, and buying a park magnet in the shop, we headed down to mile marker 15.9 and hiked south on the Appalachian Trail for about a mile until we came to two overlooks. The Shenandoah Valley looked incredible and it was a gorgeous day.

To Do: Hit up Skyline Drive and grab a pair of hiking boots. There are a lot of trails within a half an hour of Winchester that you can utilize all year round. The year pass is only $30.

Creekside Picnic

28 October 2013

My church had fellowship out in the country on Sunday afternoon to enjoy food, the outdoors, and good company. Kids were jumping off the tractor's trailer into the creek, adults were gathered to watch and play horseshoes, rides were given on four-wheelers, and great times were had.

It's one of the best days I've had in recent memories with the perfect weather and lots of smiles.

My friend Jake came with me to the event and he enjoyed his first ride on a four-wheeler. I held my friend's dog named Timothy and was happily petting him. Perfection.


25 October 2013

{Image NOT mine, can't find credit on some lousy sites... please let me know if you know the source!}

Well, it's time for honesty. 

I've felt less than inspired for a while now and it's due to my profession... or lack thereof. I know some of you had already figured it out; I mentioned I had been struggling. 

I am no longer teaching. 

Last year was the most difficult, tumultuous experience of my life. Each evening when I got into bed felt like a victory for surviving and a torture, knowing I'd have to go through it all again the next day. People say your first year of teaching is hard, but it wasn't supposed to be that hard. 

Each morning I'd wake up and be sick from stress and each day when I got home I'd be crying. It wasn't working, this wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. When I admitted that I couldn't do this any more, it felt like I was admitting to failure. My entire school career had been leading to me being in a classroom and to not do that meant I was directionless, lost. Especially with teaching, people would keep suggesting I try a different grade, a different school, and would keep trying to push me back into it. I don't doubt those suggestions are very accurate and true - it would be an entirely different experience. Yet, the year of stress and depression kicked my butt and I know that it's not what I'm meant to do. 

It's been very hard to find myself again. I was always so confident and it seems like I lost that part of myself. I went months without being happy. It was never so difficult before. Laughing was rare and I felt no motivation to keep up with friends. 

Yet, light always comes through, if you give it enough time and try to take yourself out of a bad situation. 

Now I'm back in school because I know that I still love science... and I want to help people. That's why I went into teaching in the first place, because I wanted to make a difference. That is still something that's important to me. 

I'm currently working to complete my last pre-requisites for pharmacy school. I'm trying to get into a PharmD program in the fall. It's been hard to admit to myself that teaching isn't for me and even harder to face the world with it, feeling like it's a failure. 

But I'm happy to start putting pieces of myself back together. I'm glad to find a goal to work towards that seems like it would really suit me. I'd like to be able to make people feel better and help consult with them and discuss what they (and I) can do to help them take strides towards a healthier life. 

So, it's taken a few months before I could put it out here, but I'm finally happy again. Able to laugh, live, and love once more. 

Moral of the story: Don't let yourself reach the point that I did. It's not a failure to find out you don't enjoy something. Get yourself out of a toxic situation before it breaks down your life and vitality... And don't be afraid to get back up again and let life fill you once more. 
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