Gloucester and Cape Cod

I got to spend some sweet sweet time up in Massachusetts with family last week... enjoying the beachy air of Gloucester, eating too much seafood and ice cream, and reconnecting with family members.

 photo cape4_zpsh86xqrvp.jpg

 photo cape3_zpsyrcb1oxt.jpg

 photo cape11_zps5a4ohpjj.jpg

 photo cape5_zps50k2moo4.jpg

Part of the trip was spend on Cape Cod for a family reunion. We jumped off lots o bridges into the cold Atlantic, hopped on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard for a day, and enjoyed many meals in the backyard together catching up on our lives in Massachusetts, Kansas, Texas, Washington, Arkansas, etc...

 photo cape2_zps7rk9krcw.jpg

 photo cape1_zpsz5ppo0ul.jpg

 photo cape13_zps6lphcbtr.jpg

 photo cape12_zpsztr3rhu4.jpg

Annnnnd the making of a family picture... there are lots of us missing but we loved being on the beach together for a week! See ya in three years!!

 photo cape7_zpscytjq8cs.gif

Big Sur, California

 photo bigsur_zps2x91bigd.jpg

For MLK weekend, some friends and I decided to go on a school trip camping up at Big Sur. This was a big to-do on my ever-growing list of things to do in California, so I was excited to get to cross this one off the list.

 photo bigsur2_zpsbwqlvail.jpg

This was a camping trip where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Above on the right is our van pulled to the "side" of PCH while we changed our popped tire. On the left is the view from across the van... a beautiful house with an even more beautiful view.

 photo Photo Jan 17 11 07 10_zpsz2shrslc.jpg

 photo Photo Jan 17 12 20 55_zpsijbpyuvn.jpg

Finally we made it to the misty and magical forest and stopped at McWay Falls before heading to our campsite.

 photo Photo Jan 16 16 41 26_zps3yqgubab.jpg

The list of other things that went wrong included missing tent poles (so we slept in the van!), forgotten firewood, and just lots and lots of rain in general. But it's ok, we still managed to laugh it off anyways...

 photo Photo Jan 20 00 13 44_zpswjkzrxrh.jpg

 photo Photo Jan 17 16 52 02_zpsdg6orjj1.jpg

 photo Photo Jan 20 00 12 58_zpsbavbpjfh.jpg

The Van Clan...
 photo Photo Jan 20 00 13 26_zps2mvfuczq.jpg

Cheers to the first of several camping trips/exploring California's coast/good memories!

(Pictures taken on my phone and a friend's camera; I shot a roll of film while adventuring and can't wait to see how those turn out!)

 photo peaceinthevalley1_zpsp84nsjvo.jpg

There will be peace in the valley for me, someday.
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray. 
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me. 

A little while back, as we laid out on the lawn of our favorite park on campus and watched the sunset, my roommate introduced me to this song by Elvis. She told me how she and her mom love listening to it during the Christmas season. As I took in the soulful, gospel tune and the words that ring oh so true, it gave me strength and comfort. Whether you are fighting a hard battle with sickness or worldly problems, or you're wrestling with a spiritual battle, there will be peace someday.... here on earth, or in heavenly city of God. There will be peace. 

Christmas Eve in Lawrence

This year we decided to spend Christmas in Lawrence, Kansas with some family. Not only does Arkansas now feel a lot different than "normal" for me, Kansas feels... boring? (My apologies to family and my sisters who both went to college in the great sunflower state.) But, despite the endless rolling hills, plains, and dead trees, I managed to enjoy our time in the midwest.

On Christmas Eve, we went to brunch at one of our favorite spots on Massachusetts Street- 715. I've been eating here since I was probably in 8th grade, so I took a few photos to remember the place...

 photo xmaseve5_zpsk7irrjwb.jpg  photo xmaseve4_zpsktw2uuo5.jpg  photo xmaseve3_zpsukmmcro0.jpg  photo xmaseve1_zpsag7nwlgj.jpg

A classic picture taken by the waitress... 

 photo xmaseve2_zpseu58ccrt.jpg

 photo xmaseve6_zps1nlvq1ch.jpg

Afterwards we walked around downtown and did some last minute shopping followed by a dip in the (heated) pool, Christmas Eve church service, and a family screening of Christmas Vacation before bed. 

Merry Christmas Eve!!