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The Things She Loved
Quote Source  // Lettering by Alex Fly

Quote Source // Lettering by Alex Fly

The way she talked about the things she loved made the whole room turn to see what shone.
— Atticus

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and it immediately struck a chord with me, a way-down-to-the-core kind of impact. I hand-lettered the words over and over and thought about the girl in the quote and the girl I want to be.

There are a lot of things I love: calligraphy and coffee, photography and writing and my dog. I love marriage and Instagram and the start of a new day. I could talk about books for hours on end or sit in a coffee shop to watch stories unfold.

I think a lot of my loves come from God, and a lot of them from myself.

But at the end of the day, I hope I radiate His love, to the depths of my being.

I hope my loves reflect His

like a daughter imitating her Father,

like a student imitating the great Instructor,

like a musician playing the Composer’s song.

Part II: 3 Days in Southern Ireland

We welcomed the slower pace of Ireland, driving the narrow roads carefully and stopping often. We circled the Ring of Kerry through Killarney National Park and wandered through the gardens & grounds of Muckross House, then pulled off at Ladies View to admire the scenery. We drove the rental car down Inch beach and hid from the strong winds, amazed and cold.

After arriving at our airbnb in the cutest little town of Dingle, we walked past the rows of colorful shops and pubs to the end of town for firewood and chocolate and gathered at the pub for a typical Irish dinner.

I slept in late and woke up to the sounds of sheep in our backyard. We lingered by the fire, sipping french press coffee before heading out through the blue door with overgrown ivy to the field behind our flat. The cows and the sheep immediately scattered upon our arrival, while the most beautiful white horse trotted our way. We called her a unicorn and fed her Nutri-Grain bars. 

Once again we loaded in the car, this time for a drive around the Dingle Peninsula, following signs for Slea Head Drive. We stopped more times than I can count, walking around the Beehive Huts and roadsides for incredible views of the dark cliffs and teal water. We saw one of the oldest Christian churches at Gallarus Oratory and climbed rocks by a random boat dock. We stopped at hole-in-the-wall cafés to sip coffee and eat potatoes and buy postcards. 

After learning about the current filming of Star Wars (Episode 8) on the Dingle Peninsula, we researched and followed google maps up to the set location. We got as close as possible, driving through the recently constructed houses for the cast and crew, while noticing the big cranes and metal ramps and village huts used for the set. We asked the security guard if anyone had ever tried sneaking up there in a cow suit, not that we were considering it or anything.

We walked through a field of sheep and played in the ruins of a castle called Rahinanne, which we quickly renamed Rihanna castle without hesitation. We drove to Conor Pass and lingered at the best views before spending the last night in Dingle by eating delicious homemade ice cream at Murphy's and wandering the cobblestone streets.

Once we made our way to Dublin, the boys dropped off me and Brittany at the beach outside the city for a fun bridal photoshoot. We ran late and asked sweet locals for bus directions (while looking like crazy, lost Americans) and finally met up with the boys for a musical pub crawl, where we listened to traditional Irish music and watched loud Irish dancing, tapping our feet to the music in the crowded pubs.  

I fell in love with Ireland all over again-- with her little yellow flowers and incredible views and farmlands woven together like a patchwork quilt, dotted with sheep and old farmhouses and deteriorating stone walls. Maybe it's the rosy-cheeked locals or the ridiculous, beautiful aspects of God's creation, but I think Ireland has always been the kind of place that welcomes you with open arms-- allowing you to be part of her wonky patchwork, if only for a little while. 

Kevin's favorite spots: Dingle Peninsula, Downtown Dingle & Musical Pub Crawl

Alex's favorite spots: Conor Pass, Exploring Downtown Dingle

Read Part One of our Europe trip here (London). 

Read Part Three of our Europe trip here (Rome).

See Brittany's awesome video of our trip here.

Part I: 48 Hours in London, England

Sleepy and giddy, we landed in London and met up with our friends Robert & Brittany to start our 10 day trip around Europe. In typical London fashion, we were greeted with pouring rain and busy streets. We quickly dropped off bags at the flat off Baker Street and hit the ground running, stopping for warm drinks and a hot meal.

We planned and chatted and wrestled umbrellas, making our way toward the British Museum where we read about mummies and ancient Greece, walked through rooms of marble and circled the Rosetta Stone. 

We navigated the tube system to Arsenal Stadium, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We walked through the Tower of London and across the London Bridge, taking elevators to the Top of the Shard for spectacular views of the city. We saw center court at Wimbledon and lingered in the pubs to keep warm and dry. We ate tapas and macaroons and fish & chips, drank afternoon tea and americanos. 

I marveled at their architecture and accents and aristocracy. 

Kevin's favorite spots: Arsenal Stadium & Top of the Shard

My favorite spots: Poet's Corner (in Westminster Abbey) & Tower of London

Read Part Two of our Europe trip here (Southern Ireland).

Read Part Three of our Europe trip here (Rome).

The Importance Of Keeping Perspective

Have you ever walked into another room and can’t remember fortheloveofallthatisgoodandholy why you went to that room in the first place? Apparently it’s called "The Doorway Effect" and is a real, actual thing that scientists have studied.

I do it all the time. I have good intentions and open up the door/pantry/computer and I immediately have no idea what I’m doing there. I turn into this robot-like thing, which kind of knows how to act like a human. And when it comes down to it, the robot-pretending-to-be-human is more likely to stare blankly than actually do anything productive.

The point is: we get distracted easily. I quickly lose perspective because of the delicious-looking chocolate Pop Tarts and the mirror I just walked past because “Oh my gosh, I really need to tweeze my eyebrows before I turn into Woody Allen” and the 10 Facebook notifications which leads to a silent, one-sided debate of: “Will Aunt Ida ever stop inviting me to play Farmville; I have never played that stupid game and will never want to play and maybe she is just lonely and I should really call her or send a note or something…”

And don’t even get me started on the distractions of cell phones. My iPhone is this whole other monster in which I will probably spend years of therapy trying to figure out.

But where was I?

Oh yeah, losing perspective.

It’s easy to do.

And it’s especially easy to lose perspective in our walks with the Lord. We proclaim our commitment to serving Him and say we surrender everything, and then we get fired or find out a bad diagnosis or maybe just have a really crappy day where nothing seems to be going right.

And we’re like, “Okay, God. I know I said I surrender everything, but I didn’t mean you had to take away that. And I know I said I would serve you, but there’s this homeless man that keeps getting in my way when I’m driving to my prayer breakfast, and I just don’t have time for that because I’m going to be late and these girls are going to start the Beth Moore study without me.”

I think prayer breakfasts and Beth Moore studies are both great, kingdom-building activities, but sometimes we (myself definitely included) ignore the person on the side of the road because we are busy studying the Good Samaritan instead of being the Good Samaritan. And just like that, we are losing perspective.

We forget that His plans are far beyond anything we could imagine and that this earth is temporary and that our Savior does not waver in His promises. We forget that God has called us to be a people of action and not complacency. We forget that our God is for us and never against us, and sometimes we just can’t see the roses because of the thorns.

And true to His promises, He makes everything new. True to His promises, He turns ashes into beauty. True to His promises, the thorns were helping grow the beautiful roses all along.  

I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.
— Bob Goff
4 Things I'm Loving
Photo Source  // Lettering by Alex Fly

Photo Source // Lettering by Alex Fly

We haven’t been careless in the treasure that is ours— namely what we are to each other.
— Nancy Reagan

1. I've seen so many touching tributes to Nancy Reagan after learning about her death last week, and I can't help but be captivated by the love between these two and the lives they led. This book is now at the top of my reading list.

2. I've been on a bit of a redecorating kick lately. I think it's this warmer weather that makes me want to open all of the windows and move furniture around and paint everything white. I might need an intervention, but I can't wait to reveal all of the fun home projects I've been working on!

Photo by  Rebecca Long Photography  // Lettering by Alex Fly

Photo by Rebecca Long Photography // Lettering by Alex Fly

3. Can you tell I've also fallen in love with watercolor lettering? There's something so soothing about the way the words and the water flow together. Can't stop. Won't stop.

4. I loved attending and snapping photos of our sweet friends' gender reveal last weekend. There were lots of smiles and tears and snow angels in confetti. Can you tell someone is excited to be a big sister? Pure joy. This new baby boy is already so loved!