"Comparison is the thief of joy." Wise words from a president who was born 148 years before Twitter was founded and 152 before Instagram. It makes me wonder what kind of struggles they faced back then that were inflicted by culture.

How many times have you sat around, scrolling through a newsfeed, thinking, "I wish I had that," or "I wish I looked like her?" I'd be willing to bet that's happened more times than you can count on all your fingers and toes. Social media is a great tool for sharing styles and ideas, but it opens up the door to nagging comparison of what you don't have that everyone else (so it seems) does.

I'm so guilty of holding myself to the standard that is portrayed on social media. Ask Harrison and my mom how many times they get screenshots and texts that say "ugh, I wish I had this;" this being whatever item the latest fashion blogger is wearing or using. Ask Harrison how many times I ask him if I'm skinnier than an airbrushed girl in a picture (he always says yes, bless him). It's kind of scary how much I want what others have and how many times I fail to appreciate what I do have.

Think about how that makes you feel, all the jealousy and envy and materialism. Does it make you feel full of life and happiness and joy? I'm going to guess that it doesn't. Stop holding yourself to a standard that you're making up in your head. Stop telling yourself that you need the latest look or trend. You don't. You have all you need in who you are. Find joy in what you have. Count your blessings.

Psalm 139:14 says,

I have been remarkably and wondrously made.

God made you in His perfect image. Don't mistake his beautiful creation for something that needs to lose 5 pounds to perfect or that needs to dressed in the most expensive brand to be desirable.

Use comparison to better yourself and to grow, not to wallow in the things you don't have.


10 Things I Love About Small Farming Towns

ONE // The sunrise over a tobacco field

TWO // Hole-in-the-wall diners where old farmers gather around coffee to one-up each other on how early they woke up

THREE // Tractor traffic jams

FOUR // Waving at your neighbors driving down the road

FIVE // Pastry dinner fundraisers at the Baptist church up the road

SIX // "Ya want more tea, 'baby?'" or "hon'" or "love" or "sweetheart"

SEVEN // Pastures dotted with cows, wheat, and the occasional rusted, broken down tractor

EIGHT // Not worrying about locking your car doors- or your house doors, for that matter

NINE // The smell of dew in the morning, fresh cut hay, and, yes, even the livestock

TEN // Knowing that no matter what shiny things the big cities hold, you have all you could ever need down a gravel road, in the bed of a pickup truck, in grandma's kitchen, or on your front porch



There is a field of sunflowers in Raleigh that has suddenly become famous. Park-a-mile-away-and-walk famous. There were murmurs about the field that is owned by the City of Raleigh, but it all of the sudden blew up. I've seen a blogger from Raleigh posting pictures there and Southern Living reposted someone's Instragram picture of it! It truly is a hit, and what's not to love? Sunflowers are my favorite flower, so I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go take a few snapshots of the field. I recently bought a new lens for my camera, so it was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

My parents and sisters had been Sunday evening and the flowers had started dying a bit since then. The vast majority of them were turned away (towards the east, where the sun rises), but they were beautiful nonetheless! The field is located along the road and along a walking/biking trail. There is a fence that separates the trail from the field because the field is city-owned property. It has become such a tourist attraction that there are now signs (and there have been multiple news reports) telling people not to trespass beyond the fence. No one pays attention to that rule, though, and there were multiple people in the field with their children taking pictures and even picking the flowers.

The flowers will be harvested later to be processed into biodiesel and the City of Raleigh has been applying wastewater sludge from the nearby water treatment plant to the field. I have to think that the people laying on the ground out there have no idea that's the case. It makes for beautiful blooms, but not necessarily the place to put your baby on the ground and take pictures!

The beauty of sunflowers never ceases to amaze me! Harrison asked me what I wanted him to put in his garden this year- I replied "sunflowers." Naturally, the sunflowers were the only thing he killed. Thanks, babe. At least I got my fix not too far from home!


Blue Ridge Parkway

I spent last weekend at Harrison's and we had intentions of going hiking with Sailor. Rain was threatening all Friday and Saturday morning, so we opted instead to leave Sailor at his house and drive a ways down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Parkway is a national parkway running 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park through 29 North Carolina and Virginia counties. I have mostly been on the Parkway towards Asheville, so I was excited to explore some of the sights up near Boone. Harrison and I didn't really have a plan (I navigated from his house to the Parkway via a map, and I'm a little surprised we're not still lost somewhere in the NC mountains), but just wanted to take our time and enjoy our day together.

We got on the Parkway where it intersects with NC 18 and headed south. We stopped at a few overlooks, and even though it was cloudy, we still had some incredible views! As we wound through the mountains, we took our time and pondered how people who on the Parkway considering it closes at some points during the winter. If anyone knows, please tell us because we couldn't figure it out! The mountain laurel is starting to bloom, so that gave an extra element of "wow, that is so pretty" to our drive. 

We passed a field of what we thought looked like yaks, so I made Harrison turn around so I could put my camera to use! They turned out to be Scottish Highland cattle, a hardy breed known for tender meat. They were really cool- and the babies were precious! I'm still working on convincing Harrison to buy a couple (; (Side note- one of my favorite things about the Parkway, and the mountains in general, are the locust-wood fence posts!)

We stopped at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park which includes the 1901 estate of the prosperous textile entrepreneur. The manor is now home to a craft center featuring handmade goods from local artists. The estate has miles of trails and we saw plenty of bikers, runners, dogs, and horseback riders! Harrison enjoyed reminiscing about rolling down the hill in front of the house as a kid. A few miles after, we came across Price Lake which looked like a lovely spot to go kayaking! There were tons of people enjoying the afternoon on the water and fishing. There was even a man stand-up paddle boarding!

We were getting hungry and trying to figure out where to go, but we ultimately decided on going to Grandfather Mountain to go across the Mile High Swinging Bridge! I had never been, and the price is a bit steep ($20 per person), but it includes a lot of other things, so we decided to pull the trigger. We went up the mountain first and quickly realized that they didn't lie to us about the wind. I was afraid of being blown off the mountain! Apparently, though highly debated, the highest wind speed on Earth was recorded at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The bridge itself is 80 feet above the gorge below it, but sits at 1 mile above sea level. I'm terrified of heights, but I didn't have too much of a problem crossing the bridge! After the short hike to the highest elevation I've ever been at (outside of an airplane), we made our way back down the mountain. One of the curves was ran by Forrest Gump in the movie (Tom Hanks actually filmed it himself, as opposed to his brother as his "run double"), so that was a neat tidbit to learn. They also have animal habitats (we saw a bear playing in her pool) and a museum that we looked through. 

After Grandfather Mountain, we headed to Boone and had a (very) late lunch at Lost Province Brewing Co. Downtown Boone is full of little spots, but we picked a good one! They have a "fancy" spin on pub/American food and really good beers. We had a buffalo chicken pizza and shared a flight of beer samples, which was the perfect amount for the afternoon.

We headed back relatively early, and thankfully so, because we ended up with a flat tire about 5 minutes from Harrison's house! Our adventures never have a dull moment!
Taylor Jenkins. Design by Berenica Designs.