That Desert Sky


This morning did not go as planned! I received an Apple notification warning me of an impending charge to my Apple account and since I no longer use an iPhone, it sent me down a rabbit trail of logging into old accounts, downgrading to free versions of iCloud & iTunes Match… all these things I supposedly “needed” while using an Apple device. (hmmm…)

Anyway! The morning’s activities weren’t for nothing because I needed to go through the thousands – no exaggeration – of photos I had sitting on my on iPhone at some point. It might as well be today, right?

{More photos after the jump!}

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Home Sweet New Home

Alternate Title: Home Sweet New Home +  Our First Married Thanksgiving {and accompanying mishaps.}

Moving is great fun!
Sort of.
Okay, not really.

Perhaps it would be fun if everything was always as organized as the picture above! But alas… life is not exactly Good Housekeeping Magazine.

The last couple weeks have been somewhat of a tumultuous experience with our move from Kentucky to Alabama occurring over Thanksgiving weekend. We had plenty of loose ends to tie up before leaving Kentucky and several logistics to schedule for our arrival in Alabama; the result was plenty of hours on the phone or composing email correspondences, writing to-do lists, running errands, getting our carpets cleaned and packing. (And sneaking trips to bourbon distilleries!)

I’m glad to be on the other side of it alive even if I am slightly worse for wear. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic.

Kentucky gave us a beautiful but slightly unwelcome send-off with a display of weather on Wednesday night and into Thanksgiving day. On Thanksgiving morning we scraped the snow and ice off our steps and packed up our little apartment into one mid-sized U-haul trailer. The Engineer spent hours going up and down the stairs to our apartment and arranging the items around in the trailer to maximize space and maintain the correct weight distribution while I was a little bit of a pansy and claimed most of the inside work. (Though I did help with all the heavy, two-person items!) After plenty of manual labor we headed off to Denny’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Yep! You read that correctly: we spent our first married Thanksgiving at Denny’s. We’re all about making unique memories around here. 🙂

Friday morning at o’dark hundred we set off for Alabama with a healthy dose of motivation to conquer the hurdle of moving all by ourselves. We arrived at our new apartment mid-morning to find that the power had unexpectedly been shut off in our unit and we were unable to fix it due to the holiday weekend. This was a rather unfortunate piece of news, but we rallied quickly and managed to make short work of the unloading process to make the best use of daylight. The managers at our apartment community have been so gracious in allowing us to stay in one of their furnished model units because of the unforeseen power outage.

Life recently has felt pretty chaotic and full of emotion. The whole spectrum of emotion. I’m feeling all the feels right now. In light of this, here is an inconclusive list for which I should never cease to give thanks:

I’m thankful

  • That I am a chosen daughter of the God, made whole and redeemed by the sacrificial gift of His son who died for me on the cross that I may turn to His embrace and be found pure and lovely despite my sinfulness.
  • That I carry the new title of ‘wife’ and that I am convinced that the Lord shaped and molded my heart and Michael’s heart to live as one for life. What a crazy commitment that is!
  • That Michael and I have the opportunity and burden of branching out (as we are led) on our own, apart from anything and anyone we know to create a life for ourselves and any future little ones.
  • For wonderfully loving and supportive friends and family who have been there through a lot of “thick and thin” moments this year. It’s been a doozy. 🙂
Image above via: Good Housekeeping


To Everything, Add Bourbon

To Everything, Add Bourbon

It’s only mid-November but that apparently means nothing to Kentucky because it snowed last night. It. SNOWED. I’ve been indoors all day long trying to stay warm… not because I’m a snow-hater but because I left almost anything resembling winter clothing back in California. “This winter coat will serve me the best if I put it in storage” is what I said to myself in August.

Turns out, my pre-wedding brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders in August so here I am in Kentucky looking and feeling a little bit out of place. Thankfully The Engineer wears nice thick socks and now I do too! The what’s mine is yours mentality works in my favor sometimes.

This post is not about snow! It’s about bourbon, sort of. But first: moving!
We’re moving next week. It kind of snuck up on us in the way upcoming events sometimes do. The last month has been filled with all the move-related tasks. We’ve traveled back and forth between Alabama and Kentucky, walked through homes and apartments, engaged in countless financial conversations, asked the all important question “what would Dave Ramsey do?,” made a final decision, and filled out paperwork. It’s been… exciting? (Also applicable: tiring, nerve-wracking, adventurous, nauseating, fun. I don’t know how those can all apply to the same thing, but they do and I won’t question it.)

Amid the moving-extravaganza, The Engineer and I have been trying to check off ALL THE THINGS we wanted to do in Kentucky before moving. We’ve procrastinated a little bit up till this point… but in our defense, we thought we had one more month in which to complete said checklist! The most important thing for us to accomplish is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

ohh, so that’s how bourbon fits into this. Now it makes sense. Wait, what’s a bourbon trail? – you
Kentucky is famous for two things: horses and bourbon. There could be more, but from an outsider’s perspective (mine) those two take the cake. The bourbon distilleries have created this thing called The Bourbon Trail to make it even more official. I was given a little passport booklet at the first distillery we visited which is to be stamped at every other distillery on their list in order to win a free t-shirt. It’s a very serious undertaking.
We’ve visited five of the eight distilleries so far and gathered quite the collection of bourbon along the way. I’ve even started a Pinterest board solely dedicated to things I can make with bourbon. Bourbon cocktails, bourbon brownies, bourbon hot chocolate, bourbon whipped-cream, bourbon caramel, bourbon BBQ sauce, etc. etc.
If you have any delicious bourbon concoctions up your sleeve, by all means please let me know! In the meantime, I’ll be drinking it straight on the rocks – or perhaps as a snowcone? – while packing up our life in Kentucky. And you won’t find me complaining about it.


Ode to the Neighbors

It’s crazy how easy it is to take some of the simplest things for granted.

Our temporary living situation in Kentucky has been slightly eye opening to me when it comes to things I’ve taken for granted in previous living situations. For example: a sofa. When we move, having a sofa again will feel like such a luxury after months of camping-chair use. We’ll actually be able to sit together! What a happy, happy thought.

In addition to my impending delight in a comfy couch, I will also be a little too happy to escape the neighbor situation we have going on. I feel like I’m an eavesdropper even when I don’t want to overhear anything!

For one, the mother in the apartment below us has one powerful set of vocal chords. Really impressive. They’re used mostly for yelling at family members and sometimes the pets. Doors also seem to slam themselves in that apartment, in some cases so forcefully that the building shakes…for my part, I’m still trying to find a door in our apartment that is capable of being slammed so loudly. I’m assuming they’ve invested in solid oak plank doors or something?

One of our next door neighbors is a real gem. I simply love it when he smokes pot while I have the windows open to let in the cool fall breeze or when he plays his loud, bassy music all night long for back-to-back nights. While one night of very little sleep is tolerable, a second night makes for an extremely cranky Natalie who may or may not have filed a noise complaint. I do need to lighten up on the guy though, he’s had a really intense croopy cough for about three weeks. Because yes. I hear that too!
All-in-all my complaining is mostly bark and very little bite, and these experiences have served to help me to appreciate some of what I’ve had in the past (Comfy sofas! Quiet and friendly neighbors!). I plan to be thankful for every minute of such comforts in the not-so-distant future!


Let’s Meet for Coffee

If I were to sit down with you — an old friend — and sip a cup of coffee while talking to you about life, one of the biggest points I’d bring up is TRANSITION.
Transition is the weirdest, right? I have to admit, I’m not always very cool and adaptable when it comes to life’s transitions: sometimes I see them as thoroughly exciting adventures to embrace and love while in other instances I look at them as daunting mountains to climb while on crutches. It really just depends on the day. Or the hour, really.
But all that to say: life is extremely transitional right now! Half the time I’m rejoicing in the excitement of it all and the other half the time I mostly just want to curl up in bed with a good book and escape it.
“Why is your life such a transition-zone?” You might ask. And that’s a valid question, friend.
Here’s the scoop in brief! My husband landed an amazing new job about 6 months ago and moved from California to Kentucky where the company is based. Then we got married and I joined him! The entire company will be relocating, however, to Alabama where we will set up our home for the foreseeable future. For now though, we live in Kentucky with a small bundle of necessities: two camping chairs, a mattress, a decently well-stocked kitchen (thankfully!) and a rather large houseplant named George. 🙂
“What’s the story behind George!?”  is probably one of your first questions. So I shall tell you! George was a one-week anniversary gift from my husband’s parents. He showed up on our doorstep in the arms of a kindly old man who may or may not have been smaller than the plant. He was left in my hands with no instructions other than “You might wanna water it.” I honestly don’t even know for sure what kind of plant George is. Based on some research I *think* he might be a Peace Lilly? Anyway, George is still alive by some strange miracle and I hope to keep him that way!
But George has turned into a loveable digression at this point – sometimes that happens when talking with a friend over coffee, wouldn’t you agree? Back to the transitional life.
I think the thing about transition that’s getting to me the most is that I don’t want the impending change to be something that robs me of the joy and contentedness of now. Because life right now is both sweet and savory. I am blessed with a new marriage and all the encompassing newness of a cross-country move. It’s a pretty fun time to be Natalie and I don’t want to miss it.