It's Back.. No Spend July

Monday, June 30, 2014

Do y'all remember last September, Katie and I did No Spend September?! I had such a fun time with it. I didn't spend too much and I was able to save what little I had left in my account. I called it a success! So now that I'm actually making a little moolah, I want to try this again. Give my checking and savings accounts a little extra padding, ya know!

Last time I didn't really put much thought into it. Katie contacted me about doing the No Spend challenge and I basically went along with what she designed up. This time I contacted Katie and put some more thought into it. I feel like I will come out of the other end with a little more understanding this time!

I sat down and came up with my budget of $80 which is reasonable for my monthly income. That money will go towards my essentials and the hopefully very few exceptions. The remainder... savings! So you might be wondering, how am I going to stick with my budget?! Well, let's find out...

1. Limit eating out! I know that I won't be able to cut it out completely, but I want to limit it.
2. Find cheap entertainment. Netflix or Redbox, a walk around the park, picnic instead of fast food
3. Use coupons. They can be your best friend in saving!
4. Price check/compare. Know the prices at specific places and find the best deals! I learned this last time.
5. Use cash. It's easier to budget when you physically have the cash in your hand.

My plan is to budget within my budget. Confusing to say, but easy to do.

Week 1 I plan to use 15% of my budget... $12
Week 2 at 15%... $12
Week 3 at 20%... $16
Week 4 at 20%... $16
Week 5 at 30%...24
End of July at 100%... $80 spent

I'm so excited that Katie is participating with me! Be sure to go over to her page and check out her plan of attack! Hopefully by the end of the July, we'll have a little extra money in savings and be on our way to achieving our financial goals!

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July Goals

Friday, June 27, 2014

Everybody has their own style of blogging. Personally, I'm a planner (in all aspects of my life), so I try to keep a calendar. I give myself ideas of what I would like to write about on each day but sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Yesterday, I just wasn't feeling my plans. Anybody else who plans feel that sometimes? I guess I've just been feeling a little off my game. I wanted to share how my goals went for June and what I wanted to accomplish in July. I always feel like getting it out in the open helps me to feel like I have to be accountable for y'all. But I'm afraid that it is super boring to read.

I want to try to change it up a little for July. I'm going to try to take pictures whenever I'm accomplishing part of my goals. Hopefully that will also make me want to work towards them more and it will give the post a little more life. Win, win.

So July Goals:

1. Plank a day. I tried to start this but life got in the way. I want to try it again.
2. Read 2 state books. I am super excited to add more books to my map
3. Save 40% of my goal on USAA. This sounds like a lot, but as of right now my goal is still kind of low. I don't want to get discouraged.
4. Complete No Spend July. I loved this so much last year I wanted to do it again. I will expand on this Monday!

Can't wait to see how it will turn out!

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Twenty Five

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm linking up this week with the gang for Finish This. I'm pretty excited because there is something big happening this week.

I have a quarter to use a pay phone, I call... for help. No, I say that because when I think of using a pay phone (which I only know of one still in existence and I'm about 60 miles away from it) I think of needing a payphone because you need help or drank too much to drive. But if I were just calling to talk, I'd probably call John or one of my close friends.

I found $25 in my pocket, I buywould probably save it. I've been trying really hard to save a lot of money recently.

I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, I turn on… Leverage, NCIS, or Criminal Minds. I've been binge watching those recently.

A meal I can prepare, from start to finish. in 25 minutes or less is… mac n cheese with steamed broccoli and chicken. (I don't cook that much now that I'm back at home, though I do love to cook)

At the age of 25, I wish I had known hope… I am still the happy-go-lucky girl who believes that all your dreams can come true. (I still have a year and a few months until I'm 25)

If I drove 25 miles North from my house, I’d be in... the heart of the city where Lisande lives! Yay!

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Annie Walker: Sassy, Sexy and Smart

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Today is the day! Covert Affairs returns tonight. I can't even tell y'all how excited I am. My TV show role model is back. I'm completely in love with Annie Walker. Sassy, sexy and smart, she is the whole package.

Piper Perabo does an amazing job playing Annie Walker. She seems so natural in the role. The actual character of Annie is wonderful as well, she seems so real - or at least as real as a CIA agent can seem.

Covert Affairs
Honestly though, if somehow my life became a movie/tv show, I would want Piper Perabo to play me.

Happy Covert Affairs Tuesday!

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Reading Across the States

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm becoming a true book lover. I just can't help myself. I honestly don't know what's gotten into me. But I've found a book challenge that I'm just itching to participate in.

The challenge is to read a book from every state. Luckily you can count books back from 2012. Some books tell you a state where it takes place, some don't. I've got 11 down, only 39 left to go! If you know of a good book from a state that I don't already have please let me know! I'm always open to good book suggestions!

I'm so excited to get into this challenge! Also come back soon to see my review for Kathryn Sneed's book Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward with Confidence During Military Separations!

Please leave a comment about any book suggestions! :)

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Love, Me

Friday, June 20, 2014

I really enjoyed when I wrote the Friday letters last month so I decided to go again! I hope you enjoy it as well and join along if you would like!

Dear Blog,

I really liked doing Friday letters so I decided to do it again! I hope you don't mind! I promise I'll write more real stuff later!

Your owner

Dear Colleen,

Thank you for inviting me to game night on Tuesday! I didn't remember how much fun playing cards could be! It has been forever and a day since I've played Phase 10, but it was such a good night!

Your Best Friend

Dear Humid Virginia,

Although I'm really excited for summer, I would greatly appreciate you not being so humid anymore! I don't want to go outside if I'm going to sweat 10 gallons after being out there all of two point five minutes.

This VA Girl

Dear Bank Account on payday,

You know you will get a small increase in less than a week. I'm also not sure that you realize how happy that makes me. So in case you didn't know, I'm very happy with you on payday!

Girl with some mooolah!

Dear Guy from USAA in c/o USAA,

Thank you for not laughing at me when I locked myself out of my account the other day. I was already feeling a little blonde for not knowing my password and my User account number. Though I did remember my account ID. That counts for something right?! Anyway, thanks for being pleasant and not making me wait forever to talk to you to get back into my account!

Also thanks for having such great features on USAA! I think I'm falling more and more in love with you!

The Blonde

Dear John,

I'm going to be really excited if we can go camping over the Fourth of July! I already requested time off and am looking forward to seeing you! I miss you a lot!


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A Little Update on the Fiance

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm really missing the Boys Behind the Blog link up today. I had planned to maybe ask John some questions and continue on with it, but it just felt a little silly. So I figured I'd give you a small update on him.

He finally purchased some bedroom furniture for us! We made a decision and we went for it. After spending an afternoon walking around Rooms to Go together and not really seeing anything we liked, he found a bedroom set online that we were both very happy with. I don't remember seeing this bedroom set in person, but we saw a lot of furniture that day!

In this set, we will get the bed, two nightstands, the dresser and mirror. I think this will be wonderful for us! Unfortunately, it won't get to the apartment until August because the headboard for the bed is on back order and has to be made. But we are certain it will be worth the wait. John is finally sleeping on a real mattress now! No more blow up mattress for him... until we go camping again.

John is also on a special duty assignment this month (at least I think that's what it's called). He has been working two on/two off, three on/three off with each day being 12 hours. I can't really tell if he likes what he's doing this month or not. But I know he will be glad to go back to his regular shifts and not have to deal with the 12 hours anymore. Good thing he's got the real mattress to relax on!

Linking up with Treat Yo' Self at Treasure Tromp.

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Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Everybody has some kind of wishlist of things they want. Please tell me I'm not the only one. I am two steps away from being broke so basically everything that I need or want is on my wishlist. But I wanted to share with you today.

[one] My Other Half Charm Bangle by Alex and Ani. This is so cute and the meaning behind it just spoke to me when I saw it.

"To meet the fated completion of your soul is to find your other half. The camellia indicates the deep longing of the heart and its essence balances relationships. A harmonizing, devoted symbol, the My Other Half Charm celebrates the heart's undying strength and the infinite bond between two destined people."

Picture from Alex and Ani website

[two] Macadamia Deep Repair Mask. I've heard so many beauty Youtubers rave over this and I want to try it so bad, but I'm a little nervous about coming off of $30 for it. If you've tried it, please tell me what you thought and if it was worth the money!

Picture from Ulta website

[three] Nikon Wireless Shutter Remote. I want to be able to take a wonderful selfie. No, but really, I would like to be able to take pictures of my outfits and I feel like this would be a huge help. I didn't grab the picture, it's basically just a small remote with a button on it, but if you want to check it out, this is where I found it!

[four] A cute pair of nude pumps. I want to find a pair that is comfortable and stylish that won't break the bank. I suppose this is why they are still on my wishlist and not in my closet yet.

Last but definitely not the least...

[five] A new computer. I have been looking in the sale ads for computers. I am looking one that will last me a few years, not be too ridiculously expensive but still have all the things I want (a CD/DVD drive). I think I might be looking for a little while, but that's okay. I'll get a new one eventually. This is on my birthday wishlist so maybe by the end of July it won't be on this wishlist anymore.

What's on your wishlist? I'd love to hear!

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The Facebook Debate

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When it comes to the publicity of my blog, I'm really on the fence. I've been thinking a lot about this topic. I'm completely fine with my blog being out there for the world to read; I'm just leery about how public it is to my IRL (in real life) friends. I'm really a closet blogger, you can see what I mean here.

A few weeks ago, I mustered up the courage to talk to Lisande, friend of 8 years, about my blog. I knew if I were going to talk to a friend about it, she would be the one. She was so excited for me, she wanted to read it. I told her all about my goals for my blog and really opened up to her. It was surprising how good it felt to talk about my little ole' blog. One of her first suggestions was to post some of my posts to Facebook.

That would be a huge step for me. I don't really want ALL of my IRL friends knowing about it yet. Sometimes I really just think my writing sucks or I feel like my life is a huge mess and while I still press that publish button, I would like to save some face for my friends.

I had thought about making a separate Facebook page just for American Honey the blog, but it is a really big step. Sooo... I'm turning to all of my blogging friends for advice.

Do y'all have link your posts to your personal Facebook? If so, how much publicity does it generate from your friends?

Is your blog set up as its own Facebook page?

How did you make your decision about how public your blog is?

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Basically You Paint and Drink

Monday, June 16, 2014

When I think of bachelorette parties, I think lots of drinking and staying out all night. This weekend I went to Becca's bachelorette party and it was nothing like what I imagine them being like. Though it was far from my idea of typical, I have to admit I had a lot of fun.

After having a lovely snack at Aunt Cindy's house, we went to a place called Wine and Design, basically you paint and drink. We were such a calm bunch, but it was so much fun. Becca's favorite flower and wedding flower is the sunflower, so of course we were painting that!

Becca with the guide painting

Our teacher would tell/show us what to do and then go to town painting on hers. I felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning but after a glass of wine things started moving more smoothly. 

Hardly anybody talked while we were painting, we were so ahead of schedule. I swear, while I was painting I was thinking, 'oh gosh, this is going to turn out horribly!' But it all started coming together. It's amazing how it all takes shape in the end. Everybody's paintings turned out amazing!

I hung mine in the living room. Though I know I need to move the nail down some, it's way too high for that painting. But I think it looks good there since it's already decorated with sunflowers!

I really think I am going to have to go back there. It was so much fun! I think it could be very addictive!

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Hello New Birth Control

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wednesday I went back to my female doctor. Not because anything was wrong but because I wanted to get the birth control I had previously talked about! I knew everything that was going to happen, but that didn't make me any less nervous.

The nurse has such a wonderful personality as well as my doctor. They said it was no big deal, all I would feel was a stick and a burn. The rest of the time I would be numb and wouldn't feel a thing. The stick wasn't a big thing and the burn did burn a little bit but it wasn't that bad.

My doctor put the implant in and showed me where it was. The incision wasn't even that big which is nice. No stitches needed. She put medical tape over the incision, wrapped it up and I was good to go.

I had to wear the bandage over my arm for a day. I actually had to work Wednesday after I got it put in. I got a few questions about what I did to my arm. Luckily it was just from my coworkers and they were all really understanding.

My arm was still a little sore yesterday especially during work and having to move it. But I think it will continue to get better!

You can kinda see where it is, that brown like coming away from the big X that marks the incision. While I was trying to take the picture Christy had to come and visit me.

Have a great weekend and Happy Father's day to all the dads!

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Jamaican Cowboy Drink from Texas Roadhouse

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This past Saturday I went to Texas Roadhouse with a friend (Hey Lisande!) for dinner. We ordered Jamaican Cowboy to drink. It is my absolute favorite drink at the restaurant and possibly ever. It can be expensive to go out and drink a lot so I started making them at home. Yes, I drank it out of a Ball Mason jar and I lit my Bath and Body works candle while making/drinking it! On a side note, the candle smells so good. You should go check it out!

1/2 oz Malibu Rum
1/2 oz Peachtree
1 oz Tequila (whatever your preference is)
Equal parts orange juice, pineapple juice and sweet and sour mix

Mix and serve on the rocks.

It can be garnished with sugar (or salt) on the rim and a lime or orange slice on the side of the glass. Unfortunately I didn't have either of those for the picture!

Please drink responsibly!

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Finish This

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I really liked the questions this week, so I couldn't help but linking up again!

 The best compliment I ever received… was probably that I am very smart, a hard-worker or about my smile. I don't usually take compliments very well so I say "thank you" a bunch of times and just smile a lot.
Wearing red lipstick makes me feel… a little self-conscious, but kind of sassy.

The best investment I’ve made… was having leg surgery. During college, I would have pain in my lower right leg while slowly walking around campus. I went to the doctor and after a few months of testing, figured out that they was too much pressure in my leg. So 2 days before my 21st birthday I had a fasciotomy to relieve the pressure in my leg and stop the pain while walking. 

My best childhood memory… is spending time at my grandmothers during the holidays. All my family gets together at her house for nearly every holiday to celebrate and eat. That has always been some of my best memories.

Linking up with Nicole for Finish This.

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The River of No Return

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"There Is No Return.
There Is No Reutn.
Tell No One.
Uphold the Rules."

The River of No Return
Author: Bee Ridgway
Rating: 5 stars
Picture: Goodreads

At the face of death in 1813, Lord Nicholas Falcott shut his eyes and woke up in a London hospital; the year was 2003. He was greeted by the Guild, a secret society of time travelers which controlled the river of time, the past and ultimately the future. Giving up his title, Lord Falcott becomes Nick Davenant, a Vermont cheese farm owner. Though he longs for his home and a dark eyed girl in 1813.

Back in 1815, Julia Percy, the dark eyed girl, has just lost her grandfather. Along with her family loss, she finds out there were many secrets hidden within her family that she must pretend don't exist. She soon will be held captive by the new earl, her cousin, and need to be rescued.

To Nick, there were only four rules. There is no return. There is no return. Tell no one. Uphold the rules. Those are the rules until the Guild needs Nick to go back to London, 1815 to pick back up his title and help get information on a rival time travel fraternity.

This novel had me at time travel. I have really been liking the idea of time travel and alternate universes aka the TV shows Continuum and Fringe. But this had so much more than just time travel. It was a mystery and a love story all rolled into one.

I couldn't help but fall in love with Nick and Julia. They may have fictionally lived nearly 200 years before me but they seemed so real. Often times characters in a novel just seem like... well book characters. But in The River of No Return the characters actually seem like real people, worried about their reputation and political issues of the time.

I honestly don't have anything bad to say about this novel. Well, except I feel there could be a sequel and to my knowledge there is only a prequel out, The Time Tutor, as of 2014. Which means I will have to wait to find out what happens to my beloved characters. Please Ms. Ridgway write a sequel, I'm dying to know what happens to Nick and Julia.

Honestly I think if you love romance novels and are at all interested in a wee bit of sci-fi-time travel or mystery you'll love this book!

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A Pain In the Neck

Monday, June 9, 2014

There are many things that are a pain in the neck, but this time I'm speaking literally. I have been having some major pains in my neck and shoulder area. I think they are coming from standing at the cash register and having to lift my arms to use the screen. I can't really stop lifting my arms to use the screen, so I had to come up with alternatives to help the pains in my neck/shoulder.

The most obvious choice would be to take some ibuprofen, but I'd rather not look like Dr. House and be popping pills like they're candy. Better to look for yet another alternative. Hello Google! After a quick search I found an article about the benefits of heat and cold therapy for muscle pain.

Apparently both are good drug free methods to reduce pain in muscles. But there is a difference when you should use them.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy helps to relax tense muscles by drawing blood to the area. With increased blood flow and circulation to the muscle, any lactic acid buildup can also be reduced. You can use a heating pad, or cream but make sure to not get it too hot to leave your skin bright red.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy works best with muscles sore from inflammation or sports injuries. Using ice to cool the muscle will reduce blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. Ice or other cooling methods shouldn't be used for longer than 10 minutes.

After reading about both heat and cold therapy, I believe the heating pad will be my best friend tonight. I hope the next time you have a pain in your neck, you can remember this!

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Sunday Social Once Again

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It has been a while since I've done this link-up but I was reminicing and kind of missed it. So here is this week's Sunday Social...

1. When do you take time for you?
I usually take time for myself in the mornings before I go to work and in the evenings before I lay down. This usually involved blogging and stuff like that, but I enjoy it.

2. What do you find to be your biggest weakness?

Being to soft I think. I'm really kind to everybody, but I expect the same back in return and when people are mean, I get my feelings hurt.

3. What is your biggest attribute?

I'm going to take this to be my best attribute and say my smile. I hope that it's contagious. I've been complimented on it at work a few times.

4. What is your favorite place to shop online?

Amazon? That's really the only place I've shopped online... shocking, I know!

5. What is your favorite place to kill time?

The internet? Pinterest in particular.

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Roll Tide.

Friday, June 6, 2014

This past winter I didn't have much extra money to spend on Christmas gifts. I did my best and budgeted where I could, but I couldn't fit everybody in. I got John's nephews gifts as well as Em, my future sister-in-law. They were pretty easy to buy for and I found things at a good price. But John's parents, my future in-laws and basically second parents were a little harder. I put it off because I didn't know what to get them and I really didn't have the money.

They were so understanding and didn't care that I didn't get them anything. But I felt terrible. It haunted me that I didn't get them anything. I continued to think what I could do for them since I hadn't gotten them a gift for Christmas.

Finally I figured out what to do. They live in Alabama and of course you aren't a true Alabamian (that's a word right?!) if you don't love football and cheer for a team. Roll Tide. So I knew the perfect gift for them. I made them an Alabama "A" stained glass piece.

I sent it out last Thursday and Mama S received it Saturday evening. She absolutely loved it. I told her I thought it would look perfect in her kitchen window, but I don't know if she hung it there or somewhere else.

I'm so glad that I could finally come up with something for them. Plus hand-made things are always better.

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Becca Boo Bear's Bridal Shower

Thursday, June 5, 2014

... whew, that was an alliteration if I've ever heard one!

My best friend from high school, Becca, is getting married! I've known this for a while now, but it's so weird that July 12th she will become Mrs. L. -- because I really can't say her new last name.

This past weekend was her bridal shower. It was a very nice day. It was so good catching up with her again. I hadn't seen her since around mid-December. It's crazy how fast time flies.

I'm so excited for all the activities to come aka the bachelorette party and all the wedding festivities.

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Conquer, Follow, Feed and Worry Less.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Before I start off this week's Finish This, I wanted to share a little more about last week's Finish This. The topic for part of it was mistakes and what we learn from them. As I was writing it about my engagement and telling my parents, I realized I had never told my blog the whole story. So to all of my friends from the Finish This link-up, you can read the whole story about my best mistake and the whole engagement story here.

I conquer fear… the best I can. I'm a worrier and that generally makes me a 'fraidy cat. I think of all the consequences and usually fear them, but I push on the best I can and make my way through.

I follow my heart… with everything I do. I usually try to balance my decisions between my heart and my head. If what my heart is telling me is logical, I try to follow it.

I feed my soul by… doing things I love. I feel like if I am in my happy place alone cutting glass and preparing it to be made into a stained glass piece, then I'm feeding my soul then. Often times, I need to feed my soul by talking to God though. I usually get this huge calming feeling after I've had a good conversation with Him and that helps me tremendously

I used to worry about change but then I… realized that things were going to happen that are out of my control anyway. I ran across a quote from Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, a Southern self-help author and talk show host, who I absolutely love. In her books Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy, she has a comment which she is referring to children as they grow, but in reality it applies to anything and helps me worry less.  

I also wanted to thank all of my new friends from this link-up who were excited to learn more about my life and my [complicated] story.

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The [Whole] Engagement Story

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back a little over a year ago, I announced my engagement to my blog. The Beginning of the Happiest Day of My Life. That's what I called it. But unfortunately it wasn't all sunshine and roses around that time. 

I didn't realize until last week when I was answering the Finish This questions, that I had never actually told the full story around the engagement. I had only told about the happy parts. I left out the negativity because I didn't want to think about it. But I'm ready to let my readers know the full story.

To truly tell the story to the best of my ability without being bias I have to go back to close to January 1, 2013. John and I had planned a trip to Alabama for New Years. Being the only child and a girl, my parents don't like for me to drive down to Charleston by myself. So instead we took a family trip down to Myrtle Beach and John was going to come get me from there. Something funny was going on with his debit card. He couldn't get money out of his account. So unfortunately he couldn't come up to the beach to get me. My parents reacted to this as he was a bad person, saying that he wasn't good enough for me. He had lied to them and me. They wanted nothing more to do with him. Apparently they thought I should feel the same way.

But I didn't. I knew that crap happens that we can't control. For some reason it was meant for us to not go down to Alabama. Anyway, because of my parents anger, they refused to let us see each other. John and I had secretly planned to see each other when his sister had planned a trip up to Virginia to visit me during spring break in late March. 

March arrived and after not seeing John for four months, I was so happy to just be able to wrap my arms around him. I didn't care that I had lied to my parents about him coming up with Em his sister. I didn't care about anything but being happy. While he was up here, we took a trip out to my college. The first place we met. That is where he proposed to me. That is where the happiness took place.

Then the worrying set in. I knew I couldn't hide this from my parents. They were going to be furious with me. I had lied to them about John being there. They didn't like him because of what happened back in January, 2013 and would not be happy about the engagement. But I knew I had to tell them.

The next day I walked into my house with John, the surprise visitor. As my mom walked into the kitchen she was shocked to see John standing in there. All of a sudden I just blurted out, John and I got engaged. I knew if I didn't just come out and say it, I wouldn't have the courage. 

She looked at me with a mixture of surprise and hate and said that she couldn't be happy for me. After that I don't remember much. Some kind of conversation took place. She was not happy and neither was I. Eventually it came to the fact that I was packing my bags and was leaving for Alabama. I didn't want to stay in my house where I'd spend the last three months unhappy because I couldn't talk about John and I couldn't see him. 

One of the last things I remember my mom saying before I left my house to leave on the car ride to Alabama was that I was breaking up the family. I don't even recall her crying. Maybe she did after I left, I"m not sure. But I cried in John's lap the hour it took us to get from my house to North Carolina. Somewhere after that I fell asleep. After dropping John off in South Carolina, I was numb. I rode the eight hours back to my future in-laws house just watching the trees pass until it got dark. 

John's parents were very welcoming. They became my second family. I was and still am so thankful for them. All and all I stayed down in Alabama for about four months. Coming back to Virginia was almost as hard as leaving it. 

This story is also the reason John and I have not yet begun planning out wedding. We wanted it to be June 15, 2014. But after everything that happened in the spring of last year, we decided that we would wait a little for my parents to be okay with the idea of us getting married. Though it's becoming tougher and tougher to wait. My hope is that we will find the strength and the right moment in 2015 to be able to get married.

**I thought after this time I would be able to tell my story without becoming upset, but I was wrong. If there are errors in words or spelling please forgive me. I couldn't take re-reading it to check over my writing**

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Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

Monday, June 2, 2014

This weekend, my town was lucky enough to host the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. If you haven't heard of it please click on the link and read about it. I can not even describe how much of a humbling experience it was to stand in front of just the miniature wall and look at all of those thousands of names of those who served their country.

My dad served in the Air Force during the Vietnam conflict. He was stationed in Thailand during his tour. He often jokes about it and tells all of the interesting stories, but after seeing that everything there today, it really isn't a laughing matter.

The trailer pictured above had letters, dog tags, food rations and much more put on display. It was heart breaking to try to read those letters. They were left on the actual Vietnam Memorial Wall by family and friend of those who served. After being preserved, they now travel with the miniature memorial. I don't think I actually read a whole letter. I would get a few sentences in and start crying. On the opposite side of the trailer were pictures of men who had served in Vietnam and made the ultimate sacrifice. Along with the pictures was a map of the Vietnam area and all the locations where US military troops were stationed.

I'm not sure which was more humbling and saddening... reading all the words from the family members letters or looking at all of the names on the wall. One of the volunteers helping out told us that there were over 58,000 names on the wall. To think about all of those lives lost... I can't help but tearing up now.

My dad couldn't recall any names that he might have known so he could find them, but I know he was happy to be able to go. It makes you think how you should be a little more thankful everyday for those have protected and continue to protect our freedom.

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