If I could sum up the summer so far in one word it would be: TRAVEL.
I have been fortunate to travel my whole life and honestly it never gets old. Seeing the world from your own set of eyes is one of the best gifts anyone can give you, in my opinion. As I began to make my summer plans this past spring it was obvious I was going to be doing some fun traveling and I am so grateful that my parents have allowed me to do that.
As written in a previous blog post, I have been really taking a chill pill this summer as far as writing has gone, but because of that I never really did sum up the rest of my journey abroad for 5 weeks. I am still in shock that I was able to go on that trip and see all the amazing things I got to see. I am already dying to go back to Italy. I also can't stop using some of their phrases. It is pretty funny! After Italy my grandparents met me for some extended travel in Europe. It was so wonderful to see their smiling faces when I met them in Berlin. We traveled to Berlin and Prague together as a gift for my 21st birthday, which is actually one week from today, and it was the best gift they could have given me. I would much rather see amazing sites and make unforgettable memories with my JanJan and Bia, then open a gift and use it a few times only to struggle remembering what said gift was when the next birthday rolls around. I will cherish those times for the rest of my life.
So over a span of 5 weeks I visited:
and several smaller places in Europe. AHHH I am almost ready to go back!!!
When I got back to the states I will admit it took me a while to get back on track. My sleeping schedule was all mixed up and it was harder than I thought it was going to be. I was home for about a week and a half until it was time to take off on the next adventure. This time last week I was gazing up at the rocky mountains taking in what actual summer weather feels like. Every year my grandparents give us a trip together, the 8 of us, and this year we went to Colorado Springs, CO. At Christmas this past year, when they usually read a poem disclosing the destination, I was really not that excited about Colorado Springs to be honest. I mean I wasn't going to complain because... TRAVEL... but I had only ever been during the winter time to ski so I was really not sure what it would be like during the summer. As time went on I did a little research and questioned friends, which made me excited for this vacation. If you have never been in the summer...GO. It is a completely different place, in such a good way. I mean everything is so happy to be in the sun it is just beautiful. There were a crazy amount of adventurous things to do in Colorado Springs and I was crazy about it.
We all went white water rafting on the Arkansas River and I am like 99% sure it was one of the best adventures our family has ever been on. We laughed and laughed, but at the same time had so much fun. I will share some of the photos below... It was an incredible experience! You would just go over these huge currents--it was crazy!! Water would be everywhere and you would paddle hard and laugh. Laughing is key! 10/10 would recommend white water rafting!!
My mom, aunt, and I also had the chance to go zip lining through the Colorado Rocky mountains and seven falls national park. It was one the craziest things I think I have ever done, but I would do it over again right now. There were 5 different lines we went on and one of them was 6 football fields long and had us going 45 mph. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! The views while zipping were crazy beautiful. One time I looked down at a water fall and saw all these tiny ant looking things... THEY WERE PEOPLE Y'ALL!!!! If you can't tell, I am still not really over it. Nothing like it!
Huge thank you to JanJan and Bia for taking us on another fun family adventure in Colorado Springs. I wouldn't trade these times for anything! Oh and the Broadmoor hotel is one of the best places I have ever stayed. The service was outstanding and not to mention the grounds as a whole were breathtaking. One of these days I will have to visit again!
Lots of adventure also means having to have lots of faith. The first time I jumped off that platform and zipped down the canyon I had to say a little prayer. But man how cool is it that God creates such beautiful places with such amazing ways to view it. At times this world may seem full of bad things, but times like this remind me that our God is alive and He is fighting to keep the good in the world.
Travel is good for a lot of things. Travel is good at making me thankful. Until the next adventure!
Southern and Thankful
Oh what fun this life is. I swear if I had a dollar for every time I was in awe of the various blessings in my life, I'd be a very rich boy! I've been out and about doing more adventuring, which FYI always teaches you a thing or two, and I can't wait to fill you in!
Here's a sneak peek: I can gladly inform you how it feels to fly at 45 mph on a cable over the Rocky Mountains!!!
But before all that, today, June 27th, just so happens to be a day very near and dear to my heart!!! Two years ago, on this day, I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea to start writing a blog called "Southern and Thankful" and to write every single day something I am thankful for. Of course, you all can attest to this, but this idea was CRAZY for many reasons, but mainly because I have never been able to truly spell correctly to save my life (not a God given gift). It's by the grace of God that this all came about and now TWO YEARS LATER, I am able to look back on everything that is Southern and Thankful with a full heart and somewhat misty eyes.
I mean to this day I have no idea what I am going to do with my life, but I am so confident that God has a plan. And that is mostly thanks to Southern and Thankful. I have seen what he has done in my life and also in my readers' lives and I can't help but feel a tad calm because I have seen and heard how he works. And I know he works wonders.
I have grown a lot in the past 2 years and I love that you all have been able to grow with me, through Southern and Thankful. And looking back, I know that is a reason why God gave me Southern and Thankful because he didn't want me to feel alone as I learn who I am in this world. And that among many things makes me forever grateful for this gift AKA Southern and Thankful.
You can imagine the conversations that have followed over the years after introducing a complete stranger to the Southern and Thankful style of things. Lots of people are usually very inquisitive or are even overcome with emotion. I have always known for sure that God wants me to be a light in this world, and Southern and Thankful is an amazing platform that allows me to be that light on a whole different level. It's hard to remember each person you come in to contact with, but there is one conversation that sticks out to me in particular. I can't really remember where I was or who it was with, but I remember feeling so positive after the conversation. We just talked about how no matter what happens in life it will always end up being some type of blessing. We can wish for whatever our hearts desire, but at the end of the day the right wishes will come true and they will be what we should truly be thankful for.
Speaking of wishes, I know it has been a while, but I have decided on new charity starting now and also for the month of July!! A portion of the month's sales will be going towards the Make A Wish Foundation. The make a wish mission is, "We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” This organization grants wishes to kids who need it most every single day. And as we have discussed, that is what we should all be thankful for!
CELEBRATE WITH US!!! 🎉🎈🎁😊
Use the coupon code "HBDSAT" to receive 20% off on all things Southern and Thankful this week online and/or in store at Coker Hampton!!
I really hope you will have some fun with me and help me celebrate a pretty cool achievement in my life. I will say, two years later, and I have held up that promise that I made to myself to use my southern roots while being thankful always. Like I said, I will never get over the many blessings in my life, especially this brand, and the other half of me formally known as 'Southern and Thankful'. Thank you all for going on this fun ride with me.. here's to whatever my God has planned next!!
Happy Birthday to me!!
Southern and Thankful
Hello. Happy Father's Day. Go Frogs.
The other morning I was watching the Today Show (something I finally have time to do) and some of the male co-hosts were talking about how underpaid Father's Day was compared to Mother's Day. I can see exactly where they are coming from, but no matter how it may feel, as a young man, dads are just as important to be appreciated and loved on this day and everyday. I hate that some males may feel that way because I can assure you my life would not be the same if it weren't for my Dad's influence.
Today in church the topic of those with no father, those whose fathers were not good fathers and I struggled to really understand this topic. From my own Dad to Mr. Allen (long time family friend)... I have always been surrounded by positive, strong men. I, myself, strive to be as compassionate, smart, and hardworking as them one day to my own kids. But it really got me thinking about those who know nothing about what a good Dad looks like.
A good Dad:
Cooks good food.
Has a heart of gold.
Does everything to glorify God.
Likes a movie marathon.
Dresses to impress.
Puts others first.
Teaches you all about his hobbies.
Wants the best for everyone, especially you.
Teaches you the golden rule.
Makes you do the right thing even when you don't want to.
Values and teaches good manners.
And lastly, is not afraid to to admit that all these things make a real man.
I am thankful to say that my Dad satisfies most things on this list. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for him. I hope many of you celebrated the Dad's in your life... no matter who that is. Those of us that feel so blessed by our dads can't really imagine what it would be like without one, but I can assure you there are many people out there who know exactly what that feels like and today a piece of their heart was hurting. I hope you appreciated and loved on your Dad's today... After all, that is the #southernandhtankful way, especially on Father's Day!
Dads today and everyday you will always have a fan club. We are so thankful for the men you make and the daughters you raise. What a cool job being a Dad must be and for that we thank you!
Thank God for all the amazing Fathers that have talked this earth, walk this earth everyday, and will walk this earth in the coming days...
Happy Father's Day
...and Go Frogs because they beat Tech at the College World Series today. What a day to celebrate! Below you will see the Bethea family in their natural game day attire. Nothing better than a frog win at home with the family celebrating all Dadoo (my Dad) does as the head of our household. I sure love you!!
Southern and Thankful
"Well well well... Would you look who it is!"
I am sure that is what you must be thinking right about now. It seems I have almost fallen off the face of the planet recently, but I assure you that is not what happened. And I can also assure you that I am back at home in America for a short time until the next adventure and when I returned home I realized a couple of things.
It's so hot. Okay that isn't really the first thing that came to my head, but I know many of you can agree on that with me.
When I went back to school in January I hit the ground running and it came to my attention that I never really stopped running. All last semester I went from one place to the next. I mean I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off I didn't even really have time to make it to church on Sundays because I was normally out of town. Don't get me wrong, I love to be busy, but there comes a time when you get so busy that you begin to sacrifice other things that need to be important to you. I was feeling really behind on many Southern and Thankful things.
While I was abroad, which by the way I have lots to say about that at the right time, I was really upset because it became so hard for my blog to post. I have all these blogs typed up, but I never had good enough wifi to post them. It really frustrated me. So in the coming days I am going to be posting these old posts from my adventures abroad... Just enjoy them!
When I got back to American I realized that it was a little bit of a relief to finally have my feet on the ground moving at a nice speed; not running. I decided that it would be in my best interest to take this time to almost go on a sort of hiatus. I want to get my life kind of organized again and I want to get on a better posting schedule as far as writing is concerned. I felt like I was really getting into this place where I was writing only because it was on my to-do list. I was losing the reason why I started doing all this in the first place.
I just want to pray and ask that God will provide me with the answers I am looking for as far as Southern and Thankful is concerned! This is in no way me saying I am quitting this while deal... That could never happen. This is me not running and while I am not running I am going to take the time to enjoy the things around me and, of course, be ever so thankful.... just without writing everyday. At least for the time being until I get everything figured out! But like I said, I am several posts saved up from while I was abroad and I am looking forward to sharing those with you. If you would like, pray for the future of Southern and Thankful and what that looks like. How I can use it to help others... How I can use it to be a light!
Running is not a bad thing; it is exciting and for a young person like me it is what we do best. But there are times in life where you get tired of running all the time and those times are often given to use for a reason. I am going to take this time and do wonderful things with it... I am 1000% sure you will see! If you are running... It can be a little scary to stop running, but I assure you everyone needs a little down time here and there. Embrace it!
May you all find something to be thankful for each and every day.
Stay tuned and Stay thankful!
Southern and Thankful
Good Morning people (well maybe good night for you)! It's a great day to explore a new place! After a little over 3 weeks in Italy with the Texas Christian University Communication Studies department, my program has ended and I, graciously, get the opportunity to stay after and do a little traveling of my own!
My program ended Sunday and all my friend left fairly early Monday morning and this is where my story starts...
I am so excited because my JanJan and Bia are meeting me to travel the rest of the time I am over here. It is going to be so much fun!! Originally, I knew that my program ended and I would have to stay one night alone in Florence before meeting them. I wasn't thrilled with that because I am really not a fan of doing things alone... It's just not my personality! But I knew I could handle one day alone. Monday came so quickly and I said bye to all my friends. It was sad just thinking about everyone leaving me, but like I said, I am a big boy and I knew it would all be fine.
I arrived at my (new) hotel and quickly learned that I didn't have a room reserved there for Monday night, but instead Tuesday night. You can only imagine all that was going through my head. I first thought that my travel arrangements were all wrong. I was a little freaked out with all my things and nowhere to stay. It was around 11 am here, which meant it was 3 am at home, but I called anyways because I was unsure of what to do. Somewhere along the way we thought the last day of travel with my trip was the 31st of May, but it turns out it was actually the 30th. Long story short, I wasn't meeting my JanJan and Bia till Wednesday (today) which meant I had to stay two days alone in Florence instead of one. I was not very happy about this at first, but I have learned that things like this usually turn out better than expected.
I had a feeling something was wrong because some of my family was at the lake all weekend and I was confused why my JanJan and Bia weren't at home packing or something. I probably should have asked! Anyways, luckily, the hotel had my room available for Monday night and I could check-in right then and there. Praise the Lord for that! My room was so nice compared to my last place. I had to sleep with my windows open because I had no air and I ended up getting all these bug bites. So having a larger bed and air conditioning was already a step in the right direction! I got myself settled and went to a local grocery store! I was really so tired, it was raining, and I had already been in Florence for 10 days so I didn't really have anything else I wanted to see!
These past two days have been so restful and peaceful. Since January when I went back to school for the second semester I have felt like I am constantly running. Never stopping. Always something to do. It was so nice to have this time to just chill out. I stated a new show on Netflix. Watched a movie. Worked on some work I have due for my classes I have been taking. I went back to a couple of my favorite places in the city, including my favorite gelato place. I really felt like I was truly living in Florence. I was not excited about it, but when He gives us extra time... We have to realize that is something to be thankful for!
It is weird leaving Italy after 3 weeks... I mean I almost feel like a local (wink wink). What an incredible opportunity this was. I will touch on it more when I get back, but a huge thank you goes to my professors and all those at TCU that make life changing opportunities, like spending a month in Italy, possible. Oh yeah, and my parents! Thanks for being here for me even miles and miles away AND for providing all the euros. (ily guys).
Also, to all the other ladies on the trip: Thanks for making me the Prince and making me feel so loved. Traveling Italy with 10+ females wasn't what I had in mind, but when life changes you make the best of it. I had so much fun with y'all!!!
On another note, yesterday was one of my favorite dude's special day. You may have seen him in the blog before, he happens to make regular appearances, and it just so happens that yesterday he turned 21!!! Michael Drake is a huge light on campus and an even bigger light in my life. I remember meeting him at orientation and then our parents randomly chatting for hours in Fuzzy's afterwards. He was one of my first friends at TCU and man, did God pick a good first guy to place in my life. I don't really know what it is about MDrake, but wherever he is I can guarantee he is going to make you feel important, special, and loved. It makes your day no matter what else is going on. He is one outstanding dude that I am honored to call a good friend. He is currently living in the Dominican Republic for two months speaking Spanish and doing an awesome internship. I also know he is taking his gift
and light to that place and I can honestly say they are so lucky! Lift him up in your prayers as he just started a few days ago! I am sure he is already doing outstanding things!
Michael, happy birthday brother!! I appreciate you more than you know! Can't wait to celebrate when we are back in TX in the fall. Keep doing great things my man!
Life is full of the unexpected, even in Italy, and the best thing we can do about it is trust our guy upstairs all while keeping a thankful heart. I am sure I will check in soon... Until then... Stay thankful!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!