Blogger Love: Friday Favorites

I have been meaning to link up with All The Joys for her #Bloggerlove Friday Favorites, and today I am FINALLY joining in! It has been one heck of a week trying to get back into the swing of graduate school and still not feeling 100% healthy. All I can say is thank GOD for my husband who has helped with the cleaning, cooking, and everything else so that I can get work done! He's a gem.

I didn't do as much blog reading as I would have liked this week, but I still found some lovely posts to share with you!

1. Walker House by Rachel from Rachel Rewritten. I will be the first to admit that I am EXTREMELY nosy. Getting a little peek into Rachel and her husband's home was so much fun and I am in LOVE with the space they are building for themselves!

2. On Beating a Dead Horse by Amber at Mr. Thomas and Me. I definitely have mixed feelings about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. I love the awareness it is bringing to ALS, but things can just get too political too quick with things like this. Amber shares the story behind the ALS challenge, which might just give you a more positive outlook on the challenge (as it did for me).

3. PECAN PIE BARS by Casey from The Messmers. NEED I SAY MORE?! These things look delicious and I cannot wait to make (or have M make) a gluten free version!

4. How to Comment on Blogs by Madison from Wetherills Say I Do. Commenting is such an important part of networking and building community in the blog world. Madison offers some practical tips for leaving comments that are effective. I wouldn't be opposed to you practicing these tips on this post. HA!

5. Single and Purposeful by Leah from Hope Collective via Our Yellow Door. If you follow me on Twitter you know I am a HUGE fan of Our Yellow Door's Singleness Series. This installment was no different. Although I wasn't a Christian when I met M, I still wasn't intentional about being single. This post is a must read for single, engaged, and married ladies alike!

6. Hold Fast by Samantha at Elah Tree. I held fast to this post about community. It really spoke to me. I have been blessed with such a different type of community since moving to the Midwest and it has been so special. It makes me happy that Samantha has something similar. I pray that we all will!

HAPPY FRIDAY! What were your favorite posts this week? Leave a link in the comments- I would love to check them out!

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A Grand Canyon Love Affair

Why I love the Grand Canyon and Why You Should Too

I did not visit the Grand Canyon until I was in college. Pretty shocking considering I lived in Arizona almost 10 years, right? Well, I lived in California until I was 14. Then I moved to Arizona, but still about 4 hours from the Grand Canyon. When I moved from Flagstaff for school (only about an hour and a half from the South Rim), I finally made it up there. My first trip was pretty uneventful. I drove to the rim with some friends, sat on the edge for some photos and drove home.

Grand Canyon sunrise

Grand Canyon Sunrise
It wasn't until I met my husband that the Grand Canyon began to become a very special place to me. We took our first date to the Grand Canyon (July, 2011). It was far more eventful this time around. We saw an IMAX movie, ate lunch on the rim, and took the shuttle around to different areas of the rim. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of our relationship with each other and with the canyon. 

Grand Canyon North Rim Bright Angel Trail

A few short weeks later we took a 10-day camping trip. One of our stops included the North Rim. Now, if you have been to the canyon, you know that the South Rim is pretty cool. BUT THE NORTH RIM. I have never seen such beauty. You get all the amazing views of the canyon that you get at the South Rim, but instead of being in the desert, you are up in the birch trees surrounded by greenery, beefalo (not kidding), and GREAT weather.

Grand Canyon North Rim Campfire

Grand Canyon North Rim Rain 
Grand Canyon North Rim
Grand Canyon North Rim

After this, we took many more trips to the canyon. Sometimes for sunrise, sometimes during the winter, and sometimes for no reason at all. It just became our "place."

Grand Canyon North Rim views
Grand Canyon North Rim Hiking

For our one year anniversary (right before I left for Scotland), we spent a few days at the North Rim in a cabin. It was such an amazing trip, despite the fact that we had mouse friends trying to hang out with us in the cabin. We biked from the lodge to the welcome sign, ate way too much food, did some hiking, and plenty of star gazing. Magical would be an understatement.

Grand Canyon North Rim Road Cycling

Grand Canyon North Rim Stars
Our next BIG event at the Grand Canyon was our sunrise engagement. It couldn't have been more perfect.

Grand Canyon Sunrise Engagement

The Grand Canyon is such an amazing creation. I can't wait to do a rim-to-rim hike, go rafting in the river, and so much more! If you haven't been to the Grand Canyon, it is a must see. Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?

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15 Things To Do in Costa Rica

What to do in Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica
I am finally getting around to [sort of] recapping our Costa Rica honeymoon! It was such an amazing trip. I can't wait for traveling again with my husband in the future! He's the best adventure partner anyone could ask for. 
Costa Rica Stitch Fix Sunset

1. GO HIKING! If you haven't figured it out by now, we love to hike. The resort we were staying at had amazing hiking trails that overlooked the bay.
Costa Rica hiking ocean view
2. ZIP LINE. This was my first time zip lining and it was such a blast. I would HIGHLY suggest doing this on your visit!

Costa Rica Zip Line
Costa Rica Zip Line Costa Rica Zip Line
3. VISIT THE WALKING BRIDGES. We took a tour to the Monteverde region and went into the cloud forest. It was amazing. We walked eight bridges, many of which overlooked the tree canopies. It was also nice to get out of the heat for a day! Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable which made our trip even more fun. 
Costa Rica Monteverde Walking Bridge Tour
Costa Rica Monteverde Walking Bridge Tour 
4. SWIM! I prefer the ocean, but the pools are also nice for sitting back and enjoying a few drinks. The good thing is- there are options!

Costa Rica Hilton Papagayo Pool
5. GO KAYAKING. The kayaking in Guanacaste is perfect, the water is so mellow! I wish we had a go-pro or something waterproof so we could have captured photos of us kayaking!

Costa Rica Beach
6. VISIT A COFFEE PLANTATION AND DRINK TOO MUCH COFFEE. That's pretty self explanatory. Their coffee is AMAZING and so cheap. I think you can bring something ridiculous like 30lbs in roasted coffee through customs? DO IT. Read more about the coffee HERE.

Costa Rica Coffee Plantation Tour
 7.  GO SNORKELING. Again, I desperately wish we had photos from this! The snorkeling was absolutely amazing!

8. WALK ON THE BEACH AT SUNSET (OR ANY TIME OF DAY REALLY). A mojito really makes it more enjoyable, I'm tellin' ya.
Costa Rica honeymoon
9. STALK THE LOCAL ANIMALS. So many animals! We saw iguanas, racoons, cats, a dog, lizards, birds, and so many others! I even touched this dude. Sadly, we didn't get to see a monkey, but we heard them! Definitely stalk a monkey.
Costa Rica Iguana Lizard 10. TAKE PHOTOS OF THE NATURE. Let's be real... My husband took all of these. So this should be "watch your husband take photos of the nature."

Costa Rica FlowersCosta Rica Fern
Butterfly Costa Rica
Costa Rica BeachButterfly
Humming Bird
11. ROCK CLIMB. I used to be a big indoor climber in college. Well, this experience showed me that those days are long gone because I was actually pretty terrified of this climb. But it was so beautiful!
Rock Climbing Colorado River Costa Rica
Colorado River Costa Rica

12. THREE THINGS IN THIS ORDER: SAUNA, MUD BATH, HOT SPRING. The sauna opens up your pores, the mud bath is full of antioxidants and minerals that leave your skin feeling like a baby's butt, and the hot spring is SO relaxing afterwards. I would suggest enjoying a Costa Rican beer while enjoying this last step.
Costa Rica Mud BathCosta Rica Mud Bath
Costa Rica Mud Bath
13. EXPLORE NEARBY BEACH TOWNS. We visited Playa del Coco (Coco Beach) which was just a short drive from our hotel. It was really fun to see the local culture and do a little wandering around town.
Playa Del Coco Costa Rica
14. TRY THE LOCAL CUISINE (AND BEVERAGES). Yes we ate a lot of rice and beans, but we also discovered SWEET PLANTAINS (I can't even), and lots of other tasty food! Also, per Kelli's suggestion I tried a Dirty Monkey drink (similar here. use rum instead of vodka) and I really wish I hadn't because now I want them all. the. time.
15.  BREAK DOWN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Just kidding, don't do that. Trust us, it's not fun! Well.. unless you want to meet the local police that is.

Which activity sounds most appealing to you? Have you ever been to Costa Rica?

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Where Do You Find Rest?

It's probably safe to assume you have had the following thoughts before:

"I just cannot wait for Friday to get here so I can get some rest."
"If only my vacation would get here sooner. I will finally be able to catch up on some rest."
"Had my significant other done the dishes instead of leaving them for me, I would have been able to rest tonight after work."
"If summer break would only get here sooner I could finally get some alone time and rest."
"If the baby would only take a nap so I could finally get some rest."

Am I right? I am pretty guilty of always looking forward to my next "break" in hopes that I will get some much needed rest. Sadly, the end of the said break, vacation, weekend, or nap usually ends with me looking forward to my next break, vacation, weekend, or nap in hopes of getting rest the next time. Usually because the rest I thought I was going to get doesn't always happen. Weekends get crazy, vacations can be stressful, kids don't always go down for their planned naps, and our spouses do not always do the dishes in anticipation of us needing rest, because they need it too. The rest we so desperately needed doesn't always come.

Have you ever thought about why these types of rest are often less fulfilling than we expect them to be?

I have been thinking a lot about why this is the case lately (mostly thanks to this great sermon). I think the answer is simple: we do not achieve rest in these ways because they are not meant to give us rest. Only God is meant to give us the rest we need. Not our vacations, breaks, naps, or weekends.

Matthew 11:28

The Bible is pretty clear about where and how we are to find rest:

"And he said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” Exodus 33:14
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

These verses make it pretty clear that those desired breaks are not giving us the rest we want and think we need because they are not meant to. Only Jesus is able to give us the rest we need. 

I want to live a life that treasures the here and now, and not my next break. I want to be present in my own life instead of always looking to what is next. I pray that we would hang on to the truth that we can ONLY have true rest in God. I pray that we would remember this during those tough days of work, sleepless nights, dirty houses, and times of restlessness. 

How are you finding your rest these days? Would you link up and join us? Just grab the button below and link-up any of your faith-related posts this week!

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On a different note, how is the In the Word in One Year study going for everyone?! I have loved following along with you. I can honestly say that digging this deep into God's word on a daily basis has been so great for me. It gives me time to slow down and focus on what is really important in life. How is the study going for you?
Here is September's calendar- knock yourselves out!

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