On August 1st, I posted about 31 things that I wanted to do before my 31st birthday on August 31st.  Yes, that's today and it's my birthday.  Best day ever.  Happy Birfday to me!!!  One of the things that I wanted to do this month was write down one thing each day that I felt thankful for.  I am naturally discontent and although I don't always want "more" (because I love living simply), I do usually want "better".  However, I want to remind myself that even if I don't get more things or better things, I already have everything that I need.  Here are the things that I wrote down:

I am thankful for...

1.  Grandma's Bible
2.  morning walks on the beach

3.  money to do fun things like go see a movie with a friend
4.  my volvo
5.  coming home to Ironman each day
6.  a home that's our own

7.  bike rides on the rail trail
8.  this blog :)
9.  a comfortable bed
10.  my essential oils business
11.  our family beach house
12.  friends that I can count on

Photo by Katy Faith Photography
13.  running water, electricity, internet
14.  days to rest and relax
15.  warm air in the mornings
16.  a washer and drier inside my house
17.  plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink
18.  the toilet that is now in my new bathroom
19.  being able to shower in our new bathroom
20.  my family

21.  a church where people love me
22.  a healthy body so that I am able to be active
23.  clothes to wear
24.  cooler weather in the mornings
25.  waking up early with Ironman
26.  my porch swing

27.  women in my life to learn from
28.  a good night's sleep
29.  Buddy, the bulldog

30.  our nice gym
31.  another year of life

What is something that you are thankful for right now???  I'd love to hear in the comments below!



If it were possible, I'd be traveling the world all the time to see faraway places and document them here on my blog, but that's not always an option.  So, my friends, Katelyn and Emily, and I decided to find unique places in South Carolina and play tourists!  First stop...Lake City, South Carolina.

Although I've lived around here all these years, I never knew that Lake City had anything to offer until a few months back.  In the spring, I came here with a friend to view the Artfields and was shocked at how much this cute, little town had to offer! 

I made sure that our first stop was the downtown Bakery so that we could fuel up with some goodies and be ready to take on the day!

All over town, you can find unique artwork, sculptures and even a few pianos that have "Play Me I'm Yours" written across the front of them to invite anyone to sit down and crank out a tune.

We wandered all over and ended up finding this Bucket List wall!  I was so surprised and instantly fell in love with Lake City forever.  Goal setting is one of my favorites, so I searched all over the ground until I found one last little tiny piece of yellow chalk.

Once I got that piece of chalk, though, it was actually hard to come up with only one thing that I wanted to do before I die.  I want to do about 4,579,273 things and they are pretty much all related to traveling.  But, I figured if I could only do one, it would have to be backpack Europe!

Right across the street from the Bucket List wall was an small, outdoor market with fresh fruits and veggies.  I can imagine how convenient it would be to live around here and just stop by each day and pick up what you need for dinner!

And this was the coolest thing in town.  I'm not sure what happened to the inside of the building, but all that was left of this old movie theatre was the front wall and sign, which still worked!  The inside has been totally gutted and turned into a little park with plenty of picnic tables for a decent sized party.  I love that instead of tearing it all down, Lake City found a way to do something unique and keep the flow of old buildings on the street.

As soon as I spotted this wall, I heard Dr. Who music running through my head.  It's so weird how your eyes can play tricks on you...the painted wall almost looked like it was moving!

In the few hours that we were there, several trains came speeding through town.  It sort of freaked me out that you could just stand right there on the tracks in the center of town.

Lake City has done such a good job at creating a homey, welcoming downtown environment.  The buildings are in good shape and offer shade from the sun and cover from the rain, there are plenty of benches to sit and rest and lots of plants that are well cared for!

My favorite was this adorable alley!  It probably used to look like a great place to walk through if you want to get mugged, but now its got a little bench and trees wrapped with Christmas lights!

After a full morning enjoying ourselves, we jumped in the car to head back home and ended up passing by the Caboose Cafe!  I had never seen this place and was so surprised to just find it by mistake...and so glad we did.  

We stopped in, sat down at one of these sweet littles tables and got some ice cream and drinks to cool down.  The entire time we were inside, it felt like we had been taken back to another century.

As soon as I got home, I told Nick all about the places we saw in Lake City and that we need to go back for a date!  It was only a 30 minute drive from home and is well worth a second trip!  I'm so glad that my friends and I took the time to visit and I'm excited about the other places that we are going to see in South Carolina.  Most people who I talk to in smaller towns say "there's nothing to do here" and we want to prove that no matter where you live, you can find something fun to do close by!

Do you know of any city or place in South Carolina that we should visit?  Please let us know in the comments below and maybe we will put that on our list!



Ever since we got married, Ironman and I have joked that we are basically one person in two bodies.  We love to spend time together and never get sick of each other.  We've driven across the country for a month and even lived in a tiny cabin on a ship for six months (and still missed each other if we were apart).  Date nights are easy because one of us will say "I'd really like to eat at ____" and then the other one of us will say "Oh my gosh, I was getting ready to suggest that place too".  Same thing when trying to choose a movie to watch together.  Or even how to spend our free time.  You name it.  But, then I've thought that maybe it's not that we're just alike...but maybe we are just happy to do anything, as long as we're together.  Whatever it is, I know that Ironman is most definitely my better half and all these years spending time together has taught me some good lessons.


No matter who the person is, Ironman is genuinely kind.  He is friendly to everyone and always treats each person like they matter (because they do!).


On the same note as "being kind", Ironman is also very good at forgiving others, no matter how they choose to treat him.  Because he is so kind, I think that it can be easy for people to believe that they can take advantage of him.  Instead of holding a grudge though, Ironman simply forgives, moves on and continues to treat people the way he wants to be treated.


I've always said that Ironman and I are good fighters.  We are honest and open with each other, get it all out, fight about it, listen to each other and then say "I'm sorry".  It's a great way to do it because once we are done, it's done.  No need to bring it back up in the future.


I admit it...I can be lazy.  I get overwhelmed and give up pretty easily at times.  Ironman is the opposite.  He work's hard and when I ask "how do you do it?", he answers back with something like, "you just have to push through".  That sounds so easy...until you actually try it.  I love that he does hard things.


Yea and to follow up on "work hard", Ironman never complains.  Seriously.  He works hard all day and then comes home and works on our fixer upper and then makes time to train for his triathlon and still spends time with me and our family and friends and travels with me and on and on and on!  He gets tired.  He gets stressed.  Yet, he never complains.   Never.


My family is crazy, our life is always an adventure and I tend to be an emotional roller-coaster.  Let's just say, Ironman is probably the most patient person I've ever met in my life.


Even when he is tired, Ironman always puts other people first.  He takes time to make sure that everyone else is comfortable and have what they need, even if it means that he misses out.


And last but not least, Ironman is a great listener.  He takes time with people and doesn't interrupt or make them feel rushed to finish talking.  He is focused on the person and not on his iPhone or other distractions.

I mean, no one is perfect...but Ironman comes pretty close.  And he is perfect for me...in all the areas where I struggle, he's a pro.  I admire him, continue to learn so much from him and always wonder how in the world can a person turn out so well?



When we were kids, we were always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?".  I've heard everything from bus driver to doctor to ballerina to missionary to Superman.  It's easy to dream when you're still young.  Adults think its cute and say things like "You'd make a great doctor because you're so smart!" or "You'd be an awesome Superman because you're so strong...show me those muscles!".  However, as we get older (and we're not so little and cute anymore), the world convinces us that it's not realistic to dream after all .  The answers begin to change...people say things like, "Well, that sounds nice, but do they offer good insurance?" or "That's interesting, but how would you save for retirement?".  Some people will even flat out tell you, "You should have a real job and you should work hard all the time...it's not meant to be fun".

I'm not saying we should make unwise decisions and live irresponsible lives, but what in the world happened to dreaming?!  When did "what I want to be when I grow up" become unrealistic?

So, I am going to give you five reasons why YOU need to create your own Bucket List RIGHT NOW...


Let's just start here.  It's your life.  It doesn't matter what other people think.  If you want to write a book, hike the Appalachian Trail, open a bed and breakfast, become a triathlete or even win the Guinness World Record for owning the most cats...it's your choice!  However, if you want to become Superman, that's probably not going to ever happen.  Sorry.  You only get one chance to make your life count.  Don't be that person on their deathbed who has regrets after realizing they never did anything they wanted to do.  


Whether you tell people or not, you have dreams.  You have things that you would love to do...go to the Super Bowl, adopt a child, open that business you've always wanted to own, etc.  The odds are that you will NEVER do any of them.  Sad.  Don't let that happen!  Go get a piece of paper and pen right now.  Write down your dreams.  You can even call them "goals" if you feel too silly to actually use the word "dreams"...haha.  Do you have just one thing you would love to do?  Or do you have 17?  It doesn't matter.  Write it down...each and every one.  Now, go put that somewhere you will see everyday like on the fridge, in your bible or taped to your laptop.  It's official.  You have a Bucket List!


Once you have written down your Dreams (or goals), you will clearly see your end goal.  You know where you want to end up.  But, you won't just end up there by magic.  It's going to take focused work, planning and sacrifice.  Each time you see your list of Dreams, you will be reminded of WHY you are hustling.  For instance, we want to go on a big road trip next summer, so I have a plan of how much money I need to save each month so that we are able to go!  You need a plan so that you are constantly working towards accomplishing your dream.  The journey is half the fun because you are thinking about and talking about something that excites you...you have something to look forward to. That alone can give you a much better outlook in other areas of your life!


Do you want your kids to dream and be confident that they can accomplish their goals?  Of course you do...let them watch and learn from you!  Do you want your friends to get stuck in a life they don't love?  I'm sure you don't...show them that they don't have to live that way!  Most of the world is just waking up, going to work, coming back home to get some sleep and doing it all over again (it's like the movie Groundhog Day, but the your movie ends when you die).  Most of them are not fulfilled.  Most of them are not dreaming.  Show your peers that it's good to dream!  Can you imagine what it would be like to go to work each day and be with a bunch of people who are excited and dreaming and talking of future plans together?!


Remember it's YOUR Bucket List.  You can change it any time.  Throw it out and start over, if you want!  Decide that you don't want to do something after all and just scratch it off the list.  There are no rules.  It's your life...make it count!  Write down your dreams and start hustling.  You are the only one who can hold you back.

Now, just because I'm nosey...tell me just one thing (at least) that you have on your new Bucket List!



People are often afraid to put themselves out there and end up waiting forever to do something because they believe they aren't "good enough" or don't have a degree or don't have 10K followers on Instagram.  I hear so many people say "when this happens" or "when that happens" then I'll do (fill in the blank).

But, why wait?  Everyone has gifts and talents.  And everyone has things they love doing.  The question is how can you use your gifts and talents to do what you love and help others at the same time?

For example, people have always told me that I am a good writer.  I also love writing.  So, I decided to start doing a blog!  This is the thing, though...that didn't mean that my blog was awesome from day one.  Nope.  I look back at old posts and I'm shocked at how much my writing has changed!  But, what if I had waited until I was a "real" writer?  I would never have started my blog.  How sad!

Another thing people tell me I'm good at is organizing.  I also love organizing!  So, I often am called by friends and family to come to their homes and help clean out, straighten up and organize!  That doesn't mean that I'm going to be the next Kon Mari, but it does mean that I can have fun helping those around me!

What is something that you have been complimented on?  Is it something that you also love doing?

Because people are so different, it means that we all have different strengths.  You may a fashionista, but someone else may be an amazing cook.  Or you may be an excellent runner, but someone else may be great at sitting with a friend who needs a listening ear.  You may be a great photographer, but someone else may be a great mother.  You may be a great traveler, but someone else may be an amazing landscaper.

You don't have to be the best to do your best.  You don't have to have a degree to make a difference.  Compared to someone else who isn't as knowledgeable in an area you love, you will appear to be the pro on that topic!  So, don't wait until you've got that certificate, or stamp of approval, or amount of followers, or career with 6 figures...if you're even a little good at something and you love it, enjoy it and share it with others!  Just imagine what things we could accomplish together if we all did that.

I love reading and suggesting books to friends, so here's one for you...The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John Mann is short, easy to read and goes along perfectly with what I am talking about in this post!

So, what is your thing?  What are you good at?  What do you love?  How can you use that to help others?  Share it with us in the comments!



It's true, traveling is our absolute favorite.  We are pretty much up for going anywhere and everywhere at anytime, but we do have places that just captured our hearts and leave us constantly talking about "when we go back".  Whether it's the people or the place or both, I want to share with you why we love these eleven destinations and why YOU should start planning your own trip!


Ok, ok...maybe I'm a little biased since I grew up there, but Bolivia is absolutely amazing and a great destination for any adventure seeker!  The cities are filled with great architecture and surrounded by snow capped Andes Mountains, deep jungle and beautiful landscapes.  Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and a fun place to stay for a few days.  The Salt Flats in Solar Uyuni are mesmerizing.  And, Death Road...need I say more?  But the food, oh the food.  This country knows how to eat.  Luckily you can eat and eat and still lose weight because of all of the walking you do around the cities!  


It's so crazy because Salt Lake City seems like Cochabamba, Bolivia's twin!  The mountain views, the fresh air, the city life and so many other little things that remind me of home.  Even the fact that Cochabamba has the largest Mormon Temple in South America and Salt Lake City is the center of Mormonism!  I still remember the first day that I flew into SLC and knew that I was going to love this place.  We've been so many times now...6 in total.  Even Ironman loves our trips to this city and always says that one day he will buy a home here too so that we can go more often!  Although the city is fun, we love that you can just drive an hour outside of the city and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  Who doesn't love empty landscapes and beautiful views?!  Plus this is another great destination for any adventurer.  Last summer we rented this little ATV and got filthy dirty while having a blast in the wilderness...next on my list is going there during the winter months and skiing!  Plus, I'm a little biased with this place also because we can always stop by and visit the Young Living Lavender Farms.  I LOVE that we work for an essential oils company where there are no secrets and you are welcome to be a part of the entire process from planting the seeds, to farming, to harvesting, to distilling and even bottling it all up!  If you are ever Utah, you should stop by and tour the farm...it's beautiful!


So, there isn't a certain destination here, but just a Caribbean Cruise in general.  I LOVE cruises because you pay and then you're done.  You get on the cruise ship and everything is provided.  All your food, entertainment, snacks, gym, movies, swimming, shows, room service and so much more!  Sure, you have to pay more if you want to drink alcohol and go on port excursions, but you don't have to have those things to have fun.  For our honeymoon, Ironman and I went on our first cruise and visited Key West, Cozumel and the Cayman Islands.  Then, last year, for our family vacation, we went on a cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel.  It's so wonderful for someone else to worry about everything and you just walk onboard and spend a week relaxing.  Now, that's what I call a vacation!  It's perfect for families who want to spend time together, but not worry about details.  Each person can sleep in their own cabin, eat the food they want, spend their day doing what they want, take a nap when they want, etc...my family would just have a plan of when we would all meet up at a certain time to eat and hang out!  When we have kids, Ironman and I want to go on a Disney Cruise!


It's like the land where fairy tales come from...so mystically beautiful, it's almost creepy!  We flew into Ireland the day after Christmas 2013 and our friends picked us up to take us to their home in Northern Ireland.  For two weeks, we enjoyed Belfast and got carted around by our friends who played tourists with us!  Giants Causeway is so strange and reminds me of why I love to travel...the world has so many interesting things to see and learn about!  I think about how God probably had a great time putting all this together and maybe even laughed to himself and thought, "I'll create these wonders and give them mysteries to amaze them and keep them questioning and guessing!"  So, if you like fish and chips, breathtaking views and cooler weather, make sure you add Northern Ireland and Ireland to your Bucket List!


Right after our two week trip to Northern Ireland and Ireland, we flew into Scotland for five days...and it did not disappoint.  We spent a few days exploring Edinburgh and absolutely loved it.  It was much colder than Northern Ireland had been, but the views were still just as beautiful.  My favorite part of being in the city were the men wearing quilts and playing their bagpipes on the sidewalks.  Ironman's great grandaddy was born in Stirling, so we took a day trip by train over to that city.  It was much smaller, but we had more trouble navigating and figuring out the bus routes.  However, we did love that the name "Stewart" was all over the castle and Ironman's family crest was on the backs of the thrones!  Because our trip was so short, we were not able to get up into the highlands, so it's going to have to be a trip that we make again in the future!


The entire time we were here in the Faroe Islands, we kept commenting on how the landscape made us feel like we were in The Lord of the Rings movies!  It is, hands down, the most beautiful place I've ever been in the world.  Granted, I like cooler weather and overcast skies.  It just always feels so peaceful and calm.  The Faroe Islands are referred to as the last frontier and the people were the kindest, most welcoming people I've ever encountered.  Everywhere we went, people would open their doors and say "Come!  You are welcome!".  The country is made up of 17 islands, has no trees, sheep everywhere and only about 50,000 people total.  We stayed in one of their largest cities called Klaksvik, which had 5,000 people.  We could walk everywhere and ended up falling in love with this little cafe by the water.  I was obsessed with a dessert called Murstein...I think I ate it every.  single.  day.  Needless to say (but I'm saying it), the food was amazing.  We attended a friend's wedding (which was a two day event!!!) and there were 70 wedding cakes!  Apparently it's tradition there for each invited guest to show up with a cake.  Also, the groom buys his tux because he will wear it again, but the bride rents her dress because she won't...that makes so much more sense!


So, let's head back to the USA.  In 2012, we took a month long road trip around the country and put over 8,000 miles on our car visiting a bunch of friends, family, some strangers, site seeing, camping and having the time of our lives!  I had always wanted to go to the major state parks around and was so excited that, during our trip, I probably said "I can't believe we are actually doing this!" about a million times.  The Grand Canyon was raining and cold and our tent site actually flooded so we slept in the car.  But the views...I can't even explain.  And the photos do it no justice.  It was absolutely amazing.  I still remember walking up to the edge and looking out over the canyon in awe.  I had never seen anything like it and was totally shocked.  Sure, I had seen movies and documentaries with scenes of the Grand Canyon, but nothing compared to standing on the edge, listening to the quiet and taking it all in.  


We had a few stops in between the Grand Canyon and the Redwoods.  It was mostly city, so I was so happy to once again be back in nature.  It was back to cooler weather and quietness...my favorite.  And just like the Grand Canyon, I was absolutely shocked at the Redwoods.  Again, I had seen the movies and documentaries, but nothing did it justice.  The trees were taller and wider than anything I could have even imagined.  It was so beautiful and we were already saying "we have to come back here one day" before we had even enjoyed our first five minutes.  After visiting the Grand Canyon and then seeing the Redwoods, I felt reminded at how very little I am and how very big God is!  It's good to keep it all in perspective.


Ok, not gonna lie...after visiting the Grand Canyon and the Redwoods, Yellowstone just wasn't as exciting.  Yes, I enjoyed it and thought that it was beautiful, but it was definitely more crowded.  Plus, we didn't camp because there were so many warnings of Grizzlies and I was terrified!  The sulfur pools were so interesting and although the weather was cool, you could feel yourself get hotter and hotter the closer you got to the turquoise water.  We walked around the park a little, had some lunch and waited until we saw Old Faithful do it's thing.  The views were beautiful and the park had so much diversity in just the little bit that we saw.  But, I think that by not staying there or camping, we missed out.  So, one day we need to go back and see Yellowstone "the right way"...Grizzlies and all!


Welcome to colorful Colorado...as the state line sign read.  At first the landscapes were brown and dry, but the closer we got to our friend's home, the more colorful it became.  By this time in our road trip, it was late September and all of the leaves were turning orange.  It was beautiful.  Gorgeous weather.  Amazing views.  Mountains.  We stayed with our friend at a ranch and slept on the floor of his bunk house.  Each morning we woke up to the fields covered in mist and horses sleeping and grazing.  It was like a dream.  It's another great state for those who love the outdoors and adventure!  We were sad that we were only able to stay for a few days, but loved it and hope to go back one day on another road trip!


I'm not sure why, but I have always been fascinated with history.  I love to see photos of people's homes and clothes and read stories about their lives.  So, The Biltmore Estate is right up my alley.  You can walk through the home and see all of the furniture and decorations and hear the history behind how the house was built, who lived there and how they lived their every day lives.  There are hundreds of rooms and it's so interesting to take a walk back in time and imagine what it would have been like to live there.  It's hard to believe that people actually lived like this (like kings) and continue to do so even today.   This trip was special to me also because it was to celebrate Ironman graduating from college.  We got married in college and both still had two semesters left as full time students.  I was so proud of us that one of us had graduated and I wanted to do something special.  So, I sneakily packed up the car early one morning, woke Ironman up and told him he was not going to work, hopped in the car and told him the direction to drive.  He was so surprised and it was our first trip after our honeymoon!  I have been back one time with a friend, but it's on our Bucket List to go while it is decorated for Christmas and full of the sparkling lights!

Even putting together this list was hard because I love pretty much every place I go while traveling!  The more I travel, the more I want to go go go.  The more people I meet, the more I realize that we are all the same...we grow up, fall in love, have families, work, dream and struggle.  And the more places I see, the more I believe that God created it all and wants us to enjoy it!  

Have you been to any of these places yet?  If not, is there somewhere that you would like to visit?



Social Media does not always tell the truth.  It's not that people are trying to lie, but most people don't want the entire world to know their struggles.  Fair enough, right?  Last year, someone came up to me, commented on all the traveling photos I was posting and asked "Are you really as happy as you try to make people believe on Facebook?"  Um, ouch!  Ever since that day, I have thought about her question over and over.  I have found the answer to be yes and no.  Let me explain.

When I post photos on social media, it's pretty much always something that I'm excited to share about because it made me happy for one reason or another.  But that doesn't mean that I don't have times when I am not happy.  Also, I am not trying "to make people believe" anything on FaceBook, but when I am struggling, I never think "Oh, I can't wait to go share this moment on social media".  In those hard times, I'm most likely just trying to make it through the day.

I absolutely love that I grew up living overseas and traveling the world, but I am convinced that it is one of the major causes of my lifelong struggle with anxiety.  Plus, when I was 16-years-old, my family had an accident in our home and my mom almost died (read story HERE).  I always believed that as I grew up, I would get over the anxiety...but the older I've gotten, the worse it's gotten.
Over the years and even in high school, I have seen many counselors, psychologists, doctors, taken medications and even gone to natural alternatives.  But, I've come to find over and over that there is no cure.  There is no magic pill.  There is no person that can help me.  It is a burden that I have had to learn to deal with and I have to take to THE LORD every. single. day.  But, I've also come to find that EVERYONE has something...everyone has struggles.  I am no different.  I am not alone.

Mrs. Judy's Tips

The best counselor that I ever saw was a woman named Judy.  She didn't try to convince me that she was going to solve all my problems and she didn't make me feel ashamed of my struggles but she gave me actual steps that I could take to live a normal life as best I can.  When I take good care of my health by following this list, I really can tell that I feel more "normal"!  However, when I don't bother to do any of this, I can tell that I go downhill pretty quickly.  And once there, it's so hard to turn around!

So, back to the question, "Are you really as happy as you try to make people believe on FaceBook?". The answer is yes and no.  Yes, sometimes I am happy and it's usually when I'm posting about something that got me excited or smiling!  And no, sometimes I'm not happy and it's usually when I'm not posting at all.  I mean, seriously...no one is always happy!  And if they are, they're probably insane.  However, I have come to find that posting on social media actually helps me to feel happier and focus less on myself and my own problems!  I love to post photos on Instagram and share something that I'm excited about right in that moment.  I love to use FaceBook to connect with friends and family.  I love to write on my blog and encourage others to dream and learn new things.  So, I'm not trying to make people believe anything...I'm just trying to stay focused on things that are positive for my own sanity.
It is true that social media can be used for negative drama, but just because something can be used badly doesn't mean you have to go down that path!  I know I don't want to and as soon as I notice someone else has, I use that "unfollow" button and take care of it.  Last year, I went to see the new Cinderella movie and felt inspired when the mother was dying and told Cinderella "Have courage and be kind."  It's so simple.  Anyone can do it.  You can do it.  I can do it.

I want to challenge all of us, not to lie or be fake, but use social media as a place to encourage others and speak truth in love!  You never know what someone is going through underneath it all and you never know what impact you might make on their life.  So, make it a positive one!  Life is not perfect...don't be fooled.  But you can take time throughout each day to find little things that make you happy and then share them with others!  Your next post on social media may be exactly what someone else needed to see or hear today.