We kicked off our day in the best way — a big ‘ol breakfast! We went to Taylor Street Coffee Shop, but it was really so much more than a coffee shop — which we quickly realized when there was a line out the door and we waited for 45 minutes. But a long line is a sign of a good meal, and the wait was well worth it! Plus, I got to play with an adorable Spanish-speaking toddler named Salvador next to us in line the whole time, so it was actually a fun wait.
It was a tiny place, but we loved the intimate atmosphere. Chad got the famous Millionaire Bacon (which was $8) and I got the French toast with corn flakes on top. SO GOOD! Man, this whole not eating vegan on vacation thing really has its perks. 🙂
I grabbed some coffee next door at Tilden and we took to the streets for day two of exploring the city. Our first stop: AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
Chad LOVES baseball and one of his biggest life goals is to visit every stadium. So of course new city = new MLB stadium to tour!
Situated right on the water, it was gorgeous…but I still think Citizens Bank Park in Philly is way better. 🙂
Next, we took a Lyft across town to the famous Haight-Ashbury area. It was cool, but maybe not for you if you’re with your kids and don’t like being offered mushrooms or “great trips” every two seconds while you’re walking down the street. No, thank you. 🙂
We wandered in the famous Amoeba Records store and grabbed some lunch at Whole Foods.
Vegan BLTA — yes please!
We spent the next few hours walking through Golden Gate Park. It was a pretty walk and there was so much to see — except for views of the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂 we even saw buffalo in the park!
We ventured all the way down to Ocean Beach. We wanted to visit this beach particularly because it is the same exact name as our beach town! It boasted a gorgeous sunset, and we shared a beer sampler flight at the bar across the street and watched some Olympics while the sun went down.
We made our way back to Haight-Ashbury and went to dinner and the best sangria EVER at Cha Cha Cha, a funky little Cuban restaurant that we both thought was possibly the best meal of the trip! It came highly recommend by both our financial advisor and the street mushroom entrepreneur – and they were both right!
Happy Wednesday and happy valentine’s day, dear friends. I hope your week has been a good one so far!
We’re settling back into routine today (work, chores, and commuting, oh my!) after a magical four days in San Francisco. This was our first time exploring NorCal and while it felt like being in a completely different country compared to our southern half of the state, we loved every chilly, sunny second of it!
I wanted to recap our travels for you in case you ever find yourself on your own SF adventure. Over the next three days, SGMG will be bringing you all things San Francisco. I hope you’ll find it fun and useful to follow along! I hope I’ll have you booking your own flights to SF by the end of the week. 🙂
Quick side note: while we’re on the traveling subject — one of my best friends, Gwen, just launched her own blog, Full Life, Full Passport. She is an expert when it comes to executing wanderlust, so please be sure to subscribe to her blog so she can help make your travel dreams come true! Chances are, she’s already been to the places on your bucket list. She has so much knowledge + experience for us to learn from!
Now, back to SF! Let’s kickoff this series by recapping day one in the city.
How We Got There
Even though we weren’t leaving the state, we chose to fly to SF. It’s still crazy to me that you can fly and not leave California! Holy cow, it’s big. I’m used to being from somewhere where it wasn’t abnormal to drive through four states in one day.
The flight was only an hour and fifteen minutes and we scored a great deal on flights for only $49 each back in December. Keep your eyes out for those email sales — we love Southwest! Not to mention, I think they have the best airplane coffee ever. And I’ve tried them all.
But if you prefer, you can drive from SoCal to San Francisco in about 8 hours or so.
Where We Stayed
When we travel, we go full millennial and almost always stay in an AirBNB. It’s always been a fun, positive, and budget-friendly experience for us. We usually opt for places where we have the entire home to ourselves, but since we knew that we’d be out in the city exploring 99% of the time, we decided to save a buck by renting a master bedroom in someone’s home. We stayed at Alice’s roomy, charming apartment in Nob Hill.
It was clean, spacious, and quiet — and the bay windows, fire escapes, and charming brick made me want to live there forever.
Alice was a sweetheart, too; she served us like a hotel would and gave us great recommendations for restaurants. It’s always nice to have the inside scoop from a local. If you find yourself in SF, I’d highly recommend staying with her!
Around Town: Day One
After we landed at the airport and dropped our bags in our room, we changed into our sneakers and set out on foot to wander around the neighborhood.
We walked a few blocks to nearby Chinatown and stumbled upon a Chinese New Year Festival! We enjoyed the live music, lanterns, busy streets, and even saw a Chinese dragon performance.
We walked down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and enjoyed lunch at Boudin Bakery.
Boudin is famous for its sourdough bread and many of my coworkers suggested that we eat there — and I’m so glad that they told me!
I enjoyed a bread bowl with tomato soup, and Chad had a crab cake sandwich and local Anchor Steam beer. So good!
After lunch, we wandered all around The Embarcadero and Pier 39. It was full of shops, restaurants, and touristy things — but was still really fun and definitely worth seeing, as it offered amazing views of the city, water, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.
And hey, there’s no shame in doing touristy things — we are tourists, after all. 🙂
Next, we knew we had to indulge in some treats at Ghiradelli Square — luxurious soy latte for me, and a “Crissy Field” sundae for Chad. I tried to be good and resist it, but I definitely had a few bites of his sundae! It was divine.
When you make your way to SF, Ghiradelli is not to be missed!
I eat vegan and plant based 99% of the time at home, but when we travel I give myself a lot of grace and choose to eat vegetarian. This way, we’re able to enjoy a lot more meals together and it takes away the stress of finding a restaurant that works for both of us. It makes traveling so much easier when you’re married to a meat + dairy lover…and I get to try some fun things. 🙂
Then we walked off *some* of our treats by climbing the loooong, steep hills up to Lombard Street for the famous winding street. It smelled like burnt rubber from all of the cars riding their brakes down the massive hill! But it was such a cool and pretty sight.
Later that night, some friends from Delaware (who moved to the bay area to work for Apple) picked us up for dinner. It was great to see familiar faces in a new city! They took us to a hotpot place, Little Sheep. Think “the melting pot” for Asian food — if you love both, this is the place for you. It was a new thing for us, and a fun experience for a group! We’ll definitely be looking to see if San Diego has any hotpot joints.
(Source: Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot)
After dinner, our friends took the time to drive us down Lombard Street, to the Painted Ladies (full house opening credits!), and up to Twin Peaks for spectacular views of the dazzling skyline at night. They were so sweet to be our own private tour guides — thanks, Raisul and Danya!
We were in bed by midnight (late for us!) to rest up for a full second day of our vacation! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a recap + travel tips from day two in San Francisco.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you been to San Francisco before?
Do you prefer to stay in AirBNBs or hotels when you travel?
Do you stick to a certain diet when you travel, or do you let yourself indulge?
Think of your best, oldest, and truestfriend. You know the one.
That one friend that’s known you in all seasons — they’ve known your good, your bad, your ugly. They loved you in bellbottoms and scrunchies, they were a part of your first breakup and your wedding day. And you loved them at their worst, too. But you always saw the best for them. You’ve walked through grief and celebration, heartache and hope, with this friend. Your memories with this friend are as old as you are.
For me, this friend is the Philadelphia Eagles.
This team has been a friend I’ve known in all seasons. A friend that was constant in the midst of change. A friend that I played with and laughed with and argued with and partied with and fought with; a friend that I’d easily make up with again and quickly get over it. A friend that you might be rolling your eyes right now because oh my gosh charlotte, it’s just a football team.
But for me…for all of us…it’s never been just a football team.
It’s the earliest memory I have of my dad.
It’s making the 40 minute drive from South Jersey to Delaware every other Sunday night, while riding in the passenger seat, listening to Angelo Cataldi recap that night’s drama. Or, if it was a late game — listening to Merrill and Mike call it.
It’s sitting behind the goal post at Veterans Stadium in a backwards hat and glasses, 2002, week 11, watching Donovan McNabb break his ankle and screaming my eleven-year-old head off as he locked in 4 touchdowns and a win against the Cardinals anyway.
It’s the song I later made up about him while bored in school one day: “Shabby McNabby, he passes so fabby, had a cat, was a tabby…”. Yeah. A real talent. My uncles still tease me.
It’s waking up early on a Sunday morning with grandmom and dad to watch (and let’s be honest, sulk) as that same stadium with my first memories was demolished. I still believe that there’s a 700 level in heaven.
It’s if I had a nickel for every time I had to hear a “jail in the stadium” joke, even 14 years later. Please. Come up with some new material and don’t you dare mention Santa Claus.
It’s walking out to the parking lot after a loss and finding that our friend’s back windshield was smashed. Angry drunk, or committed tailgater who was committed to going reaaaallly long for that parking lot football toss? It’s still a mystery.
It’s getting to tour the Linc one summer in July, the season before it opened. I think they called it an Open House and my dad and I had so much fun on that trip.
It’s the nickname Lexi started calling me in 4th grade, “Pinky”, because I loved Todd Pinkston so much. P.S.Where are you now, Todd?!
It’s all of those summers as a kid at training camp, at Lehigh University. It’s waiting all day in the sun for McNabb to come out and then when he offered high fives, I could only reach high enough to smack his elbow. It’s James Thrash signing my program and quickly saying, “God Bless You”, and my ten year-old brain thinking, but I didn’t sneeze.
It’s another training camp when I boldly asked Hank Fraley in the way that little kids don’t care about being polite, “Hank, is it true that you eat six honey buns a day?”
“Who told you that?” he said. “Uhhhhh, maybe my dad?” I stammered. It was really my Uncle Mark who told me that. But Hank gave Dad a look. Sorry Dad. Sorry Hank.
It’s being Brian Westbrook for Halloween. Yes, me. Skinny 13-year-old white girl with braided pigtails and braces. But also, eyeblacks.
It’s Joe and Dad.
It’s all of the feelings of being a 7th grader and watching your favorite people on the planet go to the super bowl.
It’s all of the feelings of sitting on your dad’s friend’s dryer in the laundry room, staring at a bag of Beneful and a tile floor, during the fourth quarter of that same super bowl because you can’t bear to watch anymore. It’s asking to stay home from school the next day because you’re too sad to go on. It’s thinking that you might just vomit, too.
It’s experiencing my first real loss – Grandpop Barron – in a bitter cold January in 5th grade. It’s listening to Eagles talk radio late at night in my bedroom, on my blue boombox, when I couldn’t fall asleep and felt scared in the weeks after his funeral. I just needed something familiar.
It’s terrible photos from the first cellphone you ever had.
It’s running those looooooonnnnng switchbacks, quads burning, usually singing, rushing to make it to our seats by kickoff. The energy is building and you feel pretty dang happy to be a part of it.
And it’s also receiving the text that my Pop-Pop had died — while I sat in section 221 with Chad and Matt as the Eagles painfully lost to the Seahawks, December 7, 2014. It’s crying the whole way back down 95 South.
It’s running through the tunnel.
It’s celebrating our Veterans.
It’s hanging out in the college bedroom of a guy that I liked, watching just about every away game together that season. We both knew it wasn’t going anywhere, but I could talk football and eat pizza and blow off studying… so that was fine by me.
It’s dating someone else for all the wrong reasons. It’s realizing that I wanted to break up with him the same day that Andy Reid was fired, and somehow always connecting the two together.
It’s being with my friend 4.5 years ago, the week before her wedding, stopping for gas in Rancho Cucamounga, CA. It’s, “wait! before you start driving again, can we watch the Eagles hype video?” It was this one. She was so nice + patient.
It’s all of those awkward stages of stumbling through life and not really knowing who the heck you are or what the heck you’re doing. It’s trying new things and messing up and learning hard lessons and skinning your knees along the way…but faithfully watching the TV every Sunday in the Fall. That old, familiar friend.
And it’s joy, too. It’s not just a football team, but so much joy.
It’s September, telling my mom about the cute guy from church that I met while the Eagles played the Broncos on the TV in the background.
It’s sitting at a picnic table in FDR Park on an unusually warm November day, eating Wawa hoagies knee-to-knee with that same cute guy from church as he asked me to be his girlfriend, before kickoff against the Redskins. Nick Foles was our QB then, too. And it’s “Hey…I know we’ve only been dating for two hours but…wanna meet my dad at halftime?”
And it’s knowing you’ve got an Eagles-watching-partner forever and ever, when he later asks you to be his wife.
And it’s blissfully attending your first game as newlyweds.
It’s Take Your Dad To the Linc Day.
And it’s dad flying all the way across the country for some quality time — but not without our birds, of course.
It’s losing bets to our friends from Dallas.
It’s joking about naming our first born child Carson. But we’re actually totally serious. Don’t steal our name.
It’s running six miles to the Rocky steps before the Monday night game.
It’s attending open practice at Franklin Field.
And it’s still so, so many countless memories with Dad.
It’s losing my voice singing in section 221.
It’s that time they tweeted our dog.
It’s that time we had seriously the best day ever ever ever. A bitter cold December night (the best football watching conditions), Jim’s Steaks, butterflies in our stomach, and deep fried peanut butter + jelly.
It’s CAN WE JUST TALK FOR A SECOND ABOUT HOW CUTE MY BABY SISTER IS?!
It’s running into the owner in Pike Place Market in Seattle. He was so kind and friendly.
It’s making friends with Eagles fans – even in the Space Needle.
And it’s not even going to the game — but just hanging out with them across the street — the next day. It’s hugging everyone, because we’re strangers but we’re all family.
It’s having the chance to do my best Andy Reid impression. Time’s yours.
And it’s me absolutely losing my cool over just a football team.
This is my story of a life spent loving the Philadelphia Eagles. What’s yours?
Because…this isn’t just a football team. This isn’t just a sport. This is the story of a city, our city, who has faithfully waited and waited and waited and WAITED, alongside our lifelong friend — the one that has been woven through all of our stories, and all of our seasons and childhoods and memories.
We’ve ridden the highest highs and the lowest lows for YEARS. And even when it hurt, even when it was hard — we kept going and kept believing at all costs.
Even though the road to victory has been a heck of a bumpy one. Even though this Sunday looks a little bit different than what we originally imagined — we never stopped believing that our Sunday would come. Now, it’s right around the corner.
We’re resilient and we’re ready.
And come what may — I’m just really happy for my friend. My best, oldest, truest friend.
And I’ve also been struggling with this whole no-sugar-Monday-through-Friday thing.
Luckily, the short and simple recipe that I get to share with you today is a remedy to both of those problems. 🙂 Shout out to my sweet friend/coworker Bonnie who made a variation of these first and gave me the idea!
Introducing…4-Ingredient Date Bites. The sweetest, tastiest, easiest treat ever.
The best part is, they’re 100% vegan, made from whole foods, and free from anything that it’s trendy to not eat right now. 🙂 They’re perfect for a sweet treat after dinner, or for quick fuel before you head out the door for your morning run. Wanna know the goods?
4 cups of dates
Half a cup of unsweetened coconut
One cup of unsalted pistachios
One tablespoon of agave nectar
That’s IT! I’m willing to bet you already have a few of these good-for-you staples in your kitchen right this very moment.
How To Make Date Bites
Take dates and chop in your food processor. Make sure your dates are pitted!
Remove dates from food processor and add to a large mixing bowl. Use the back of a spoon to mold dates together to form a thick paste.
Crush pistachios and add to the dates.
Add in just a bit of agave nectar.
Mash it all together!
Crush your unsweetened coconut pieces and place in separate bowl.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
Get ready to get messy — using your hands, take the date mixture and roll small balls at any size that you’d like.
Dip the ball in coconut chips until it’s covered on the outer layer.
Place on baking sheet and let them chill in fridge for at least one hour before serving.
Too easy, right? I love that they satisfy my sweet tooth naturally. Give them a try and let me know what you think! The mix-in possibilities are endless.
Reading A few books at once! Right now, The Excellent Wife, and the Shofar Blew, and the Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible. It depends what time of the day it is and what I’m in the mood for. 🙂
The daily devotional Bible has been by far the best part of my year so far. Some friends and I have committed to reading through a section daily and by the end of the year, we’ll have read the entire bible! This is always something I’ve aspired to do but always felt quite intimidated by it. This Bible is perfect because it is broken up into 365 days, and there are sections from a few different books of the Bible. For example, right now, I read a little something from Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, and Matthew in one sitting. And it all ties together, which is really cool to see how God connected certain themes throughout the Bible. Thank you, Jarilyn, for this fabulous idea and for helping to keep me accountable and thank you, sweet Bonnie, for gifting me this special Bible for Christmas!
Watching Season 2 of This Is Us! Anyone else? It’s our favorite show to watch together and I love that they are touching on foster care. Randall is my favorite character, but I must admit that I have the biggest crush on Jack Pearson…aka…Jess from Gilmore Girls. 🙂
When we were on Maui, we bought a $4.99 app that was a self-guided tour recording for Haleakala National Park. It was the best $5 we spent on the whole vacation because the tour was fantastic! The tour’s soundtrack was awesome too. We drove up and down the volcano twice during our stay there, and on the way down, the app plays this song. I sang it allllll vacation long and as you can hear, it’s super easy to get it stuck in your head.
I honestly forgot about the song until last week, but randomly one night after work I searched for it and found it and had no idea that it was from Lilo & Stitch! I remember seeing the movie however many years ago when it came out, but didn’t remember this song. Now I listen to it at least 2 times a day because it’s just so fun and happy and brings back good Maui memories. Call me crazy for loving a children’s song but if you listen to this song and it doesn’t bring you insane joy, something might be wrong with you. 🙂
And this song was also on the tour, too!
Eating So much popcorn lately! I just can’t get enough. Lately I’ve been loving getting creative with it and adding different toppings. I like making salt and vinegar popcorn or adding the Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s.
How do you take your popcorn?
Drinking My daily green smoothie, as I type this. I know I sound like a broken record because I talk about this combo so much, but it really is tasty, filling, and perfect!
Simple recipe: 1 cup spinach, 1 cup coconut water, 1 scoop protein powder, and one banana. Blend and enjoy!
Indulging in Restaurant Week at a new place for our date tonight! 5 course meal, here we come. 🙂
Anticipating going home for the Eagles Super Bowl!!! Only 8 days away!
Cooking lots of stir-fry lately. My go-to is jasmine or brown rice, mixed veggies, tempeh, and coconut aminos.
Praising God for taking care of a scary situation in our neighborhood last night. He is good, he is faithful, and he always protects us!
Praying for healing with the person involved last night, for my father-in-law’s recovery from his surgery, for my Nana’s health.
Hello from the comfort of my couch, two cups of coffee deep as I’m writing this on a lazy Monday morning! I’m lucky to have had the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Speaking of which, we got to visit the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN during our road trip out to San Diego in 2016. This was where he was killed. It was such a powerful experience to be there, imagine him standing on the balcony giving a speech, and I am so thankful for all that he did in the past that made a way for the future that we enjoy today – though there is still so much work that needs to be done to fight for justice and equality. Nevertheless, he lived a beautiful example and paved the way!
We had a great and busy weekend. It started off on Friday with heading to the Carlsbad Marathon & Half Expo after work. I was in and out in 5 minutes, and was a #BadBlogger because I took photos of nothing! I was too tired from the work day to spend any time walking around the booths and sampling the goodies.
Carlsbad is at the very northern end of San Diego County, and it’s a bit of a hike from where we live, so I inevitably sat in some of that notorious southern california traffic on the 5 on the way home. I made the most of it and passed the time by calling my mom + nana and caught up on life with two of my favorite ladies.
Chad and I were both pretty exhausted from the work week, so we opted for some dinner from our favorite cuban food restaurant + reruns of the Office. I didn’t take a picture but here’s a fun and bright smoothie bowl that i made the night before.
On Saturday morning, I worked a few hours at the gym and then it was time to head to the local Philly bar to cheer on our Eagles as they took on the Falcons.
California Tap Room is a great bar in North Park, San Diego’s hippest neighborhood. It was started by a guy from West Chester, PA and specializes in soft pretzels, a philly classic! We watched the game with one of Chad’s coworkers and one of my old coworkers from the Invisible Children days, and he also happens to be from Philly. We met a lot of people from the Philly area that moved to San Diego for the weather, just like us.
The Eagles pulled off the win and I literally shed a tear (or twelve) because I love them so much and it was so good to be surrounded by our people. It’s rare that I get homesick, but it usually happens during an Eagles game. I grew up going to a lot of Eagles games with my dad, training camp every summer, and that environment and this team just feels like home to me. I am so excited that we are contenders for the Super Bowl and just love this time of year. On to playing the Vikings in the NFC Championship this Saturday!
We were up bright and early Sunday morning for the Carlsbad Half Marathon. I told Chad that he didn’t have to come since it is a local race, and I could drive myself, but he insisted on waking up early with me and playing his normal role of chauffer, coach, photographer, and professional stuff-holder. I am so thankful for his support of my running!
We were off at 7:45 a.m…a fairly late start as far as races go! It was hot hot hot by time we got out there.
It was a hot day with ocean views and rolling hills – way more hills than I anticipated! I loved running in the sun by the ocean and 13.1 miles later, pulled off a 1:59:50 watch time and 2:00:36 chip time, a PR for me. According to the chip, you could say I missed my goal by 36 seconds. But you could also say that I had a BLAST running this race too, enjoyed the Pacific scenery, and felt God’s presence which is such a gift on the run — and is what really matters at the end of the day.
I counted and this was my 9th half marathon! I grew up running cross country and track in middle and high school. My first half marathon was in September 2013 after I was motivated to run by the tragic events that happened at the Boston Marathon that year, and, well…9 halves and 2 fulls later…it’s safe to say that I love to run!
Fun story about that first half: Chad and I were just friends for about four months at first. I thought he was super cute the moment I met him but also thought he was too old for me. 🙂 He didn’t think of me beyond a friend either. Then that September, I ran the Philly Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon with my mom and promptly went to the Eagles 1 p.m. game with my dad (against the San Diego Chargers, of all cities!) after crossing the finish line. I posted about both on Facebook and Chad saw the photos, and apparently that combination of running + football is what made him see me a little differently than as just a friend. 😉 He asked me on a date a few days later, we watched a lot of Eagles games together and ran a lot that Fall, and the rest is history. And now we’re married and live in San Diego and I still spend my weekends watching football and running miles. 🙂 I love the way God works, don’t you?
Chad used to be a runner but is more into Crossfit these days, which is fine by me! Though, I am dying for him to run a marathon with me. He says that if I break his 1:47 half marathon PR, he’ll run a full. So i’ve got some work to do! 🙂
Since Chad’s been doing this whole awesome supportive running husband thing for a few years now, he’s gotten pretty good at making the most of all of the free swag after races. I’m so proud! Rx Bars are his favorite and they go for like $2.29 a piece in stores! He should get a medal just for his food hauling abilities.
We celebrated and refueled at Draft Republic in Carlsbad with a gift card from our dear friends – thanks Matt and Gwen! It was delicious and a really fun atmosphere to watch football (hellllllo, 150 screen inch TV). We couldn’t believe the Jaguars vs. Steelers!
And then we went home and took the world’s longest nap. I think one of my favorite things about race day is the marathon-length nap I take afterwards in the late afternoon sun. There’s nothing better than the feeling of lactic acid buildup in your legs and the comfort of your own bed. 😉
Later that night we went with two of our friends to see one of our favorite comedians/speakers, Michael Jr. He is hysterical and yet meaningful, and always makes me cry!
On our day off, I enjoyed a walk by the water with my friend/coworker/soul sister Bonnie and her sweet baby girl. I brought my (furry) baby along, too!
We also met up with Ali and her dog Harley (Chase’s girlfriend) later in the day for…you guessed it…more walking by the water! It never gets old. 🙂
And, while the day off held a lot of fun things, it also held a healthy dose of real life, too — like scrubbing toilets, laundry, and grocery shopping. Here’s a glimpse at some of our haul! And yes, that’s steak and chicken, and eggs and yogurt — I may not eat animals, but I do love my husband enough to still cook his favorites. 🙂 We make it work!
Were you off of work for Martin Luther King Jr. day?
Did you race this weekend? Where? How far? How did you do?
Do you have different dietary preferences in your family?
You’ve heard it before, right? I know I have, but it’s never rocked me before like it has recently. Friends, if I heard that expression once in the first 11 days of 2018…I’ve heard it 100 times. God has been sending me a message so loud and clear about contentment and gratitude. I’ve heard that exact expression in podcasts, interviews, books, and conversations with friends so many times over the past week and a half that I just have to blog about it.
And I confess: it’s a message I’ve desperately needed. Throughout the last months of 2017, I found myself knee-deep in the comparison trap and the grass that seemed greener to me sounded a little like this in my head:
her daily life must be so much better because she lives on Maui
her husband must really love her because all of their pictures are perfect
she must be so much happier because she qualified for the Boston Marathon
perhaps I need to be in an industry that allows me to make more money
life would be better if we bought a home like they did
Just typing out those thoughts make me roll my eyes in disgust at how ugly and ungrateful they are, but the truth is, that is really what is going on in my head sometimes. Have you ever had thoughts like that? I’m willing to bet – yes, you have, maybe even multiple times a day. You’re not alone, sister.
These thoughts that the grass is greener on the other side are straight up lies from the enemy, who so often tries to convince us that our lives would be much better if only they looked more like everyone else’s. That’s just simply not true.
God has gifted us each with the life that He especially handcrafted and designed just for us. There is no other life quite like yours. So why waste our precious, numbered days focused on what everyone else has, instead of enjoying the gift that God has given us to the fullest?
But let me be the first to admit that this is a daily struggle. I know. I get it. The world is constantly telling us that someone else has it better. So how do we combat that?
Join me in my new endeavor: thankful thursdays. It’s simple, really. Even if you’re not a blogger, take 5 minutes at the start of every Thursday to write down in a journal 5 things about your own life that you love. That you’re thankful for. And then, write down 5 ways that you’re going to water your own grass. Wins, and then the water.
Here’s what this habit looks like for me today, punching those lies of comparison and ingratitude right in the face:
WIN: We live in the paradise that is San Diego, a dream we’ve had for a long time that we are actually getting to live out.
WATER: Spend more time at the beach and take advantage of our proximity to so much beauty.
WIN: Chad and I have been happily married for two years and together for four and a half, and we’re continually learning more about each other and only getting stronger.
WATER: Protect our weekly date night time and take two trips just for us this year.
WIN: I am healthy and able to run and I enjoy a sport that I’m passionate about.
WATER: Set goals that are personal and meaningful to me, and don’t measure my success against someone else’s.
WIN: I have my favorite job yet and love getting to serve children, families, and volunteers in foster care. And my coworkers have become some of my best friends.
WATER: Remind myself that contributing to kingdom work is more rewarding than the size of my paycheck — and that I have been blessed with more resources than I deserve, and there are so many people living in true poverty.
WIN: We live in an apartment because we live at the beach, and that’s what’s financially realistic. The joy of simple beach living outweighs the social pressure I can sometimes feel to settle down and fill a big house with babies and stuff I don’t need. 🙂 plus, there’s so much less to clean!
WATER: Steward the gift of our home well by using it to host friends and family, by inviting neighbors for meals, and by making it a place of refuge and peace for anyone that visits. Remind myself that it’s not what’s on the walls or in the cabinets that matters. Grow in hospitality.
So…what are the lies of comparison that you’ve been believing lately? Who’s grass have you been looking at and longing for? And what steps do you need to take to start seeing how darn cute your own grass is? And how will you water it?
None of our lives are perfect, but they are each a precious gift. And I have to believe that our lives will get brighter the moment we stop to acknowledge that.
What are 5 things that you’re thankful for in your life today? Feel free to share in the comments.