Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Oregon Coast Friendcation


Well I don't know if I've ever had travel expectations blown out of the water like they were when we visited Florence, Oregon and the Oregon Coast. I mean, I've always heard, "You HAVE to go to the Oregon Coast..." and I knew going into the trip that I'd probably like it, amid the wind and clouds and rain and blah, blah, blah. But what I didn't realize was that I would love Florence and the coastal beaches we visited—and there was absolutely no way I could have predicted how much fun I was going to have when we got there. It was the best (and first!) friend-cation to date!

We went with our good friends Jason & Andi to the coast over the long Memorial Day weekend. We battled rain on the road trip through Oregon, but by the time we finished our lunch in Bend, it had mostly cleared up. We enjoyed treats at Voodoo Doughnuts along the way (yum!) and made it to Florence on Friday. The skies were blue with a few clouds and it was a bit brisk, but we braved the wind and headed to the beach before dinner. The beach in Florence was beautiful, and so different than the beaches I'm used to in Seattle, Washington.

Oregon Coast, Florence Beach

We don't really get waves or expansive beaches like that in Seattle (where I "grew up" (kind of) and visit annually) so I really enjoyed these beaches. We walked up and down them until sunset.

Oregon Coast, Florence Beach

We enjoyed dinner that night at the Bridgewater Fish house and were more exhausted than we thought after the long drive. We were lights-out shortly after dinner!

Our rented condo for the weekend was right in the heart of downtown Florence on the Siuslaw River. It was above a nail salon and was a "party in the front" with the storefronts, restaurants and taverns at the front of the condo, where the master bedroom was (perfect for trying to fall asleep at night with the tavern music blasting! ha!) and "peaceful in the back," where the guestroom, living room, and deck overlooked the river. It was such a fantastic vacation rental and was the perfect fit for our two couples.

On Saturday, we got ourselves ready and headed toward Yachats to find a beach for agate hunting. Along the route, we stopped at Bob Creek, just to check it out since it was right along the road and looked like a rocky, pretty beach. We thought we "might" find some agates there. As soon as we got there, I stepped onto the beach and found an agate. And then another. And then another! I kept finding agates almost at every step along the half-mile of beach—it was fate—that was the beach we were destined to be at for the day. We ended up spending two hours there and Daniel and I together found 235 agates!

Oregon Coast, Bob Creek agates, Bob Creek Beach Oregon, Oregon agates, agate haul, raw agates

In the photo above, there are 107 agates (the ones I found) in two hours at Bob Creek. To say that the Oregon beaches blew my past Washington agate hunting adventures clear out of the water would be an understatement. I cannot believe the abundance of agates at the beaches. I would bend over to pick up one decently-sized agate and would find 10-20 tiny others right around it. My best strategy for agate hunting is to WALK. Do not sit and dig—you'll only find baby agates—instead walk and scour to try to find the bigger, more impressive ones.

Oregon Coast, Bob Creek cave, Bob Creek Beach Oregon

There was also a really cool cave at Bob Creek and it marked as far as we went on that agate hunt. All four of us found a bunch of agates. One of my favorites was Andi's black agate, and another one was Daniel's with a geode core. Too cool.

After two hours of agate hunting, we traveled the rest of the way to Yachats to eat ling cod fish and chips at the Luna Sea Fish House. Boy, that was the BEST fish we had on the entire trip. It was incredible. After we stuffed our bellies, we topped it off with double scoop ice cream cones from Toppers in Yachats. We enjoyed our cones while we watched the waves splash the cliffs of Yachats.

Oregon Coast, Yachats overlook, Yachats Oregon

The best thing to do after spending the morning in the sun, stuffing your belly with food, and topping that off with ice cream is—of course—to take a nap. So power nap we did before we headed off on our next adventure.

Jason raved about this little floating chowder house called Novelli's Crab & Seafood off the boardwalk in Florence, so that's where we decided to do dinner. We all ordered crab chowder and garlic bread, and I'll be darned if it wasn't the best crab chowder I've ever had. I can't say it's better than Ivar's clam chowder, but it was some stinkin' good chowder for sure.

After dinner, we decided to go try one more beach for agates and to watch the sunset. Jason brought his kite, so he flew that while we dug in the rocks for agates at Big Creek beach. Now, I won't say we didn't find any agates at that beach, because we did, but it is not the kind of place you'd want to go agate hunting. There weren't any agates on top of the rocks, but if you got past the first layer, you might be lucky to find a few. As we watched the sunset, I found the agate below—one of my biggest of the whole trip.

Oregon Coast, Big Creek agates, Big Creek Beach Oregon, Oregon agates

Again, some of the random beaches between Florence and Yachats are not ideal places for agate hunting, but that beach afforded us a few agates, so we weren't disappointed. We just wouldn't choose that one again. Keep reading, and I'm sure you'd agree!

That evening after the sun was down and we weren't quite ready for bed, we visited the Three Rivers Casino in Florence. I wasn't so keen on the idea of casino-ing it up since I'd never gambled (shocker!), but I went along for the ride. While I didn't hit the jackpot, I ended up having some fun on the Deuces Wild poker machine and won just a bit of money ($10). I put in a $20, and once I was up a bit and hit a Royal Flush, I threw my hands up, declared myself done for the night, and skedaddled with my $10. It ended up being a slightly profitable (and lucky, most likely) trip. We topped off our casino fun with a lively (and LATE!) game of Catan. Note: do not start Catan at 11:30 pm and expect all players to be enthusiastic and awake for the duration of the game.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early and ran along the boardwalk in Florence and around the quaint town. I loved looking at the cute houses, rhododendrons, and beachy cottages. I've been taking it easy with my running lately due to injuries and following a different training plan, so after jogging around the town for a bit, I slowed it down and just walked, admiring the flowers, river, and little town of Florence.

Oregon Coast, Downtown Florence boardwalk, Siuslaw River

After Saturday's agate-hunting success, we were ready to tackle a new beach. We ventured off toward Yachats again, after Google reviews told us anywhere along that coastline was the best chance for us to be successful. Stonefield Beach popped up in one of the top hits, so when we passed its marker on the highway, we pulled off to check it out. It wasn't but a couple steps onto the slightly rocky beach (similar to the photo below in contrast to the photos above) when we were bending over and picking up several agates each, all bigger than we had been finding the day before. There were fewer agates at Stonefield, but they were greater in size and pretty fun to find because initially looking at the beach, it's not a place you'd expect to find many agates. The photo below is what I found in about 45-minutes on the small rocky patch of beach. We did not make it to the other side of the river at that beach, and I'm sure there would have been more had we been able to cross the small river.

Oregon Coast, Stonefield Beach agates, Stonefield Beach Oregon, Oregon agates

Since that beach wasn't too big, we combed over the rocks pretty quickly and decided to try a new spot. It was sunny on Sunday, but really windy, so we were trying to find a beach that might be a little more sheltered, similar to Bob Creek. A few minutes later, we came up on Strawberry Hill beach. We didn't remember seeing Strawberry Hill on any of the Google results for top agate spots, but it was still along that highway between Yachats and Florence, so we decided to give it a go. After seeing the rocks at the bottom of the hill, we knew we had to go down and just see if we could find any. Bottom line up front, YOU GUYS—this was THE beach for agates!!! Now, back to the story (because really, do you even care about agates like we do? No, you're not weird).

Oregon Coast, Strawberry Hill agates, Strawberry Hill Beach Oregon, Oregon agates, agate haul, raw agates

Strawberry Hill was a gorgeous beach. There were so many seals in the water and lounging on the rocks just off the beach. It was a great place to watch them play in the water. I kept hoping I'd see a shark fin or something really cool go down, but unfortunately all I got was the seals. Maybe next time! (Do you guys get excited about sharks? I am all about seeing a shark... shark diving would be so cool!).

Oregon Coast, Strawberry Hill, Strawberry Hill Beach Oregon

The other great part about Strawberry Hill was that there was hardly anyone there. There had been a lot of people at Bob Creek, but we pretty much had Strawberry Hill all to ourselves. I wasn't complaining! Andi and I sported some fun beachy braids for the day. It was so fun being with friends on this vacation.

Oregon Coast, Strawberry Hill, Strawberry Hill Beach Oregon

So I mentioned above that the agates at Strawberry Hill were the best. Does it help quantify "the best" if I say that I alone found 252 agates (252!!!) over the period of two hours? What if I also told you that Daniel found 231 on that same walk? That means that combined, the two of us found 483 agates in the same two-hour period. You guys, four hundred and eighty-three. Holy moly. That's four agates a minute! Need proof? Check out below!

Oregon Coast, Strawberry Hill agates, Strawberry Beach Beach Oregon, Oregon agates, his and hers agates, agate haul

I sent that photo to my family, who promptly replied with the :-O face emoji. That one agate haul trumps our entire seven years of agate collecting by about 600%. Not kidding. If you want to find agates, go to the Oregon Coast.

After our eyes uncrossed from all the agates, we realized we were starving so we headed back to Florence for lunch. We enjoyed an ahi sandwich and pizza from Restobar and wandered the downtown area of Florence, browsing the shops. We finished up with a stop at BJ's Ice Cream before retiring to the condo for the evening.

While everyone else took a quick power-nap that afternoon, I slammed out some homework for my Master's program before we all caught up and grilled some fresh oysters with cocktail sauce. That was an experience and we all were laughing as the guys tried to shuck those suckers open. After grilling out, we capped the evening off with a few rounds of Monopoly Cards. That was a fun game!

We drove home Monday morning, stopping to enjoy breakfast in Sisters, Oregon and visiting some cute gas stations along the way.

In case you did the math above (and since I need to bring up agates one more time), Daniel and I, over the period of two days, found 718 agates. It may not look like a lot (below), but they fill up a big glass vase at home, and they're about 700 times more than all of our Washington agates that have taken us seven years to find. Just saying.

Oregon Coast agates, best places to find agates in Oregon, best agate beaches in Oregon Oregon agates

Overall, our Oregon friend-cation was absolutely too fun. I meant to write this up as a short post and just add a few photos, but it was such a perfect trip that I had to tell the story to do it justice. We have been on family vacations and solo trips before, but this was my first couples friend-cation, and I don't think I would have changed one thing about it (except for possibly making it longer). Jason and Andi were such a blast to be around, and all the joking, laughing, stories, and sarcasm we shared over the four-day trip was a memory that I'll hold close for a long time.

Oregon Coast, Bob Creek Beach Oregon

Oregon Coast... we'll be back! 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Race to Robie Creek 2018

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

The sun was shining, the weather was warm, my ruck was loaded, and I was ready to embrace the challenge of the Race to Robie Creek half marathon yet again.

The last time I attempted to conquer Robie (and got brutally dominated) was in 2011 with my mom. It was one of those runs that I hadn't properly trained for--it was my third half marathon and I hadn't trained hills... and Robie is one BIG, LONG hill--so it was one of my worst races to date. I told myself I'd never run another Robie, so when my colleague asked me to ruck it with him, I got all "Defender hooah" on him and said, "Sure, why not?"

Now, in case you're not familiar with the Race to Robie Creek, which has been hailed as the "hardest half in the lower 48 states," it's essentially 8.5-miles and 2200 feet uphill and then 4.6 miles and 2000 feet downhill. It's rough, it's tough, and it makes your legs and feet beg for mercy the entire way. That's why, when it kicked my butt in 2011, I said I'd never run it again. Here's a course map of Robie to give you an idea of the challenging route up and over Aldape Summit.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

Now, despite not wanting to run Robie again, rucking is a different story. I've trained for rucks before, since we had to run a 6-mile course with a 35-pound ruck to graduate the Security Forces Officer Course (of which I took second place out of 35 students) so I was looking forward to this training.

I began training 12-weeks out with a combination of Hal Higdon's Intermediate 2 half marathon plan as well as throwing on my 35-pound training ruck and rucking either through the hills of Palm Desert while we were on vacation, around base on flat ground, or on varied incline settings on the treadmill for anywhere from 30-120 minutes 3x per week. I documented all my training on my AunieFit Instagram account. My goal with the training was to train the full running distance without a ruck and then to train up to a little more than half the time with the ruck on. The thing about rucking is that it makes my hips really freakin' sore, so I didn't want to overdo it and injure myself before the race. In addition, I really liked the half marathon plan I chose and have used it before, so I knew it could help get me to the running distance I needed, while still helping me work on speed for my shorter runs. I was nervous that the ruck training I did wouldn't be enough for this race, but it turns out that setting the treadmill on "random" at 3.5 mph and rucking for 1-2 hours is a pretty darn good workout and totally set me up for success on this ruck.

OK--so race day. My teammate and I were the only people who signed up to ruck, though we thought we might have had a couple more people join us. Robie is tricky because they only let so many people run it, so we were glad that at least we had been able to get bibs in time. We wore matching "Honor the Fallen" Defender shirts that we got from the Security Forces schoolhouse down in Texas. We rucked with the names of 14-fallen Defenders and rucking in their memory was the most amazing, humbling, incredible thing we could have done. They gave us strength to get through it! Here's a pic of pre-race flat Lt Rowe.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

We met up at Fort Boise to start the race right around 1100. We had an hour before the race started so we chatted, got our rucks ready, and began to dread the impending doom ahead.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

My husband came to see us off at the start of the race. He was very supportive during this whole race since he knew how much it meant to me to ruck with my coworker and to proudly wear the uniform of the Idaho Air National Guard. It's not every day you get to do something so cool and honor your workplace by doing so!

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

Sisic's ruck was 50-pounds and mine was 35. I had mine loaded with armored vest plates, water, and a change of clothes. He had a 45-pound sandbag, water, and clothes in his. They were all strapped up and ready to go!

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

The theme for this year was a "Space Odyssey" so there were all sorts of people in fun space-themed outfits and even an astronaut who ran along with us. We took this photo right before we headed to the start line at 1200.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

The race kicked off promptly at noon and we were moving! We went right by the Veteran's Home and shook hands with all the vets outside--that was a really neat part of the race. We had originally started in the very back since we knew we'd be walking the entire race, and the back was where we stayed for the duration of the race.  It was kind of funny--when we started out, I said, "I don't care about time! Let's just finish" and "Well, at least we know we won't get last!" It's funny because for a good hour or so during the race... we. were. last.

The thing about races is that you never know if you're going to have a good race or a bad race until you're out on the course. And it's always those days that are perfect weather, you have a buddy with you, and you feel just super-prepared that "bad race day" sneaks in and destroys the mojo. Well that's what happened to us that day.

We had anticipated to ruck at about a 16-18 min/mile pace and finish around 3:30. It was Sisic's fifth time rucking Robie, so he had a pretty good idea of what to expect. We were right on pace until mile 3 when cramps took over my poor colleague and ravaged him for the next 5-miles--all of which were uphill, of course. Needless to say, I felt pretty good (which is what always happens when one training partner has a bad race, the other one is like more fly than a kite), so I did my best to ensure we stopped for water and bananas at every aid station and then of course also made sure he downed some Gu's and my emergency stash of jelly beans. I knew I'd need them in some capacity when I packed them!

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

We trudged up the hill for 8-5 grueling miles (left photo is going up, right photo is coming down and you can thank those rucks for squeezing the crap out of our midsections in the pictures--ooh baby, so flattering). We stopped here and there for cramps and at all the aid stations, but kept moving slowly and steadily along. Most of the folks who run Robie actually RUN it, so it was no surprise that we ended up in last place for a while there. When cramps, rucks, and walking collide, you're bound to slow down and let the runners, joggers, and speed walkers pass. No biggie.

As we made it to the top of the hill, the Temptation Station called my name. I had waited all day for a stinkin' donut (I deserved that donut!) but they were fresh out... dangit! Instead, the gal at the top said, "We don't have donuts, but we do have shots of Fireball!" So I decided to compromise and indulged her shot of fireball instead of a donut. I think it even helped perk me up for the last 5-miles!

Heading down the hill really helped us out. We'd been going pretty slow on the uphill with paces of 16, 19, 21, 25, 29, and 39-minute miles (that last one was a KILLER, I tell you!), but as soon as we switched to the decline our pace quickened to 14-16 min/miles and we even managed to pass 15 or so people as we kicked it in to high gear. We were there, man. As we came to the finish, we began to shuffle our way toward the finish line and victory never felt so good. We didn't win any medals, but we finished and that was a win in our books.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

While our original goal had been 3:30, we were happy when it was over and we crossed with a 4:40:74. Nope, it wasn't our goal time, but we did it nevertheless and were happy we didn't finish dead last!

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

The cool part about the finish was that since we finished so late, there was a HUGE line of 400-600 people waiting to get on the buses. They all clapped for us as we finished and said how neat it was that we had rucked the whole thing. We immediately dashed all feelings of being slow and felt like rockstars with rucks the size of small children on our backs. HOOAH.

We made it to the end and celebrated with a couple draft beers (two of their last!) and two dry deli meat sandwiches that the volunteers were nice enough to give us. The event normally has a really awesome catered array of food for finishers, but we kind of took too long and they had already cleaned it up. Whoops! So we sipped our drinks and ate two of the best ham and turkey sandwiches we'd ever had because after five hours of wearing our rucks and little to no food along the way--we were starving!

In the end, there was no "I'm never doing this again" that was uttered by either of us. We are both already planning to ruck Robie again next year, and hopefully with a few more Defenders by our sides. To ruck in honor of our past Defenders and to do it alongside each other encompassed a morale and espirit de corps that was too amazing. It was a humbling run, and one that I look forward to next year.

Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon, Ruck Race to Robie Creek, Ruck Half Marathon, Half Marathon Ruck

I'd like to give a huge shout-out to my teammate, TSgt Sisic, who was right  there alongside me and put one foot after another all the way to the end. You're a bad-A, Sisic and I couldn't have been more proud to be your teammate from start to finish at this race. Thanks for inviting me to share this event with you!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Palm Desert Trip 2018


Last year was not complete without our annual trip to Palm Desert, California to visit my dad and his wife at their desert oasis home. So this year, it had to happen! In the end of March, we trekked 15-hours south to Cali for a week of hikes, pool time, margaritas and Mexican food, and quality time with family.

This year, unlike years prior, my brother and grandma were also down there for the first few days of our trip. That made it really fun because we spent a little bit of time in a hotel while my dad's house was full, but we also got to spend some great time with family. We even took my brother for a hike and he got to see a whole new side of the California desert that he had never seen before.

Like our usual trips, every single day consisted of getting a good sweat on at the gym at my dad's country club, hiking for 3-4 hours, delicious lunches out at our favorite Mexican restaurants, some pool time, nap time, or homework time (since we're both in school), and then dinner with the family. The week could not have been more fun, more relaxing, or more needed!

See photos from the trip below.

Hiking the Pushwalla Palms trail at the Coachella Valley Preserve. It was the coldest and windiest day out there, but once the sun finally came out it made for a really nice afternoon. The very top photo in this post is also from the Coachella Valley Preserve. It was my favorite photo that we took the whole trip.

Las Salsas Palm Springs, margaritas
Margaritas after our hike at Salsas. Their margaritas were really affordable and surprisingly strong!

The daily view from Dad & Karen's house.

Ducks at Desert Falls Country Club, Palm Desert
These ducklings were the cutest. They became so friendly and would waddle up to us when we were out on the patio, waiting for snacks!

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Palm Canyon Trail at Indian Springs, East Fork Trail
Hiking the Palm Canyon and East Fork Trail at Indian Canyons. Their trails are probably the most diverse of any of the areas we go to, so we love the variety of the landscape.

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Palm Canyon Trail at Indian Springs, East Fork Trail
East Fork trail at Indian Canyons in Palm Springs.

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Palm Canyon Trail at Indian Springs, East Fork Trail
We made it to the end! We got a little lost on our hike through Indian Canyons and gave my brother a longer hike than what he bargained for. We made up for it afterward with margaritas and nachos. Boom!

Learning to play tennis at the Palm Desert Country Club. I need some work!

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Murray Trail to Seven Sisters Waterfalls at Indian Springs
Hiking the Murray Trail to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls at Indian Canyons. We hadn't made it the entire way last time we did it, so this time was a success!

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Murray Trail to Seven Sisters Waterfalls at Indian Springs, Rosy Boa snake
We found a rosy boa on the Murray Trail at Indian Canyons. What a friendly snake. She was just hanging out on the walking path, so we stopped to take her off to a safer spot.

Indian Canyon hiking Palm Springs, Murray Trail to Seven Sisters Waterfalls at Indian Springs
Hiking the Henderson Loop trail in Palm Springs. We love that trail, it's very desert-like and hardly ever busy.

Enjoying the best Chiles Gueritos California has to offer. This was at our favorite Mexican spot, Armandos.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail South and Canyon Loop at Whitewater Preserve in Palm Springs. Their elevation changes and wildflowers are always the most difficult to hike but beautiful to look at.

Sitting on top of the Canyon Loop trail at Whitewater Preserve.

It's crazy to hike in 80+ degree weather at Whitewater Preserve and to see snow in the California mountains ahead.

Delicious veggie enchilada and chiles rellenos at Las Casuelas Nuevas. We love our Mexican Food!

Well that's the tip of the iceberg for this year's trip, but it's a little snapshot into all the fun we had. The photos and videos (video diary to come!) always help us to reminisce and look back on our trips with such fondness. They also make us crave a return trip as soon as possible!

Check out all our past Palm Desert & California trips here!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Reflection

Aunie Sauce, a personal reflection of 2017

To say that I'm glad it's 2018 would be an understatement. 2017 was one of my most challenging, testing years I've had thus far. It was a wonderful year, don't get me wrong, but I experienced many things that I never anticipated ever happening to me and the promise of a new, fresh year is just the reassurance I need right now.

I haven't written a post like this in quite some time. This blog has been primarily travel and military related for the last couple years. However, sometimes I just need to vent, and this blog was my primary intended outlet for that.

The past couple years have seemed to be a whirlwind. When Daniel and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this past December, we couldn't believe how fast time had flown by. Spending almost half of 2017 away from him for training didn't help that either, but we were able to work through that just fine.

It's the moments in 2017 that I didn't blog about that made the biggest difference. I'm inclined to say that this last year tested my faith in God—though looking back, it actually only made it stronger. I would not have made it through 2017 without God's grace, his forgiveness, his protection, and his help to move forward after some disheartening and paralyzing points in time.

I could have chosen to not journal about this, to pretend like none of it happened and to go on with a smile on my face, exhibiting the upbeat, fun-loving personality most people know to expect from me. But this—the last year—it just held some times that while painful, I don't want to forget. I experienced some of my happiest moments of my life in 2017. I also experienced some of the most crushing. Times like this help make me who I am, and while I'm not going into detail, 2017 changed my life.

It's easy to move past the things that are hard to talk about, the things that make you cry when you least expect it, the things that only you and a handful of people know. Those things, like secrets, can be so easily forgotten if you allow yourself to erase them from your life's pages. But though some of those memories bring tears to my eyes and make me want to just sit on the couch and cry in desperation, they're now part of me, and forgetting them doesn't help. Rejoicing in God's good grace and the blessings he has provided does.

In 2017, I moved past something that has had a suffocating grasp on me for years. I achieved a full-time job with the Idaho Air National Guard, my current dream job. I dedicated myself to being a better, more supportive wife than I'd ever been. I took a trip to Hawai'i that I'd been dreaming about for five years. I finished my first graduate class in pursuit of a Masters in Management with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. All that to say... I also made poor decisions. I had to give up (temporarily, I hope) my favorite hobby—running—due to injuries that won't heal and require extensive surgery to repair. I experienced a heartache that I never even knew was possible. And now, looking back, I am just so grateful that I am where I am today, and that I'm able to face each new day with a positive outlook and hopes for the future.

Yes, this is vague. It's supposed to be. This post is for me, a placeholder, to remind myself that I'm stronger than the world around me because God and the love from those closest to me makes me brave, fierce, and a fighter. If I crumbled under the pressure and sadness I experienced, I would not be able to be where I am today, or be able to pursue the purpose for why I'm here in the first place—to which I'm still attempting to learn along the way.

Monday, December 25, 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017

Walgreens custom Christmas cards, Rowe Christmas 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Love ♥ The Rowes and all our blessings over the past year & dreams for the future

P.S. Thank you so much for visiting this page to read my blog. I can't put into words how much it means to me.

Past Christmas cards: 2011 │ 20122013201420152016

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