a grateful heart | olive june

a grateful heart

 hi! hope your weekend went well ♥

my heart could not be more grateful today. i spent the weekend with my family in cincinnati and walked away with a lot of love in my heart. not only with love, but so much pride for those whom i call family and friends ... and for the place i call home. 
we all met up to celebrate life and cheer on my sister and her husband as they ran the flying pig half marathon {i had some medical issues while training- i am fine though} they ran in honor of his brother, imoh, who passed away unexpectedly last september- just three weeks before their wedding day. it was an incredible and emotional weekend; spent with family and close friends. i left with so much goodness inside of me because i have been blessed with strong values, kindness, and encouragement from extraordinary people. i also left with an appreciation for life; realizing again just how short life is and how we need to live to our fullest potential- every day.

 yesterday afternoon my sister, her husband, and i drove around cincinnati exploring {i went there a lot in college- but sadly didn't do much exploring- now i would be all over that place! i think i am just a little more outgoing now and more confident with cities in general} we grabbed a graeter's ice cream cone and sat on a park bench in hyde park square. we sat and we talked about life. how precious it is and the importance of spending it doing something we enjoy. they are both so encouraging and talking to them is easy- they are calm, insightful, and full of support. there is something about the way i feel whole when i am around my family. i am grateful for this. i think the one key factor for this is their undeniable openness towards almost anything in life and the emphasis to just be you.  it's a comfortable feeling; i feel like i can say or talk about anything. my parents have had an ability to parent in such a powerful and endearing way; letting each one of us 'fly' as a young adult with minimal caution and constant faith. i truly hope to do the same one day with my own children. it took me a long time to realize their incredible ability to guide us while rarely hounding/telling us what to do as adults. in the end, i think this helped make me a stronger person; someone who is willing to take risks. looking back, they never talked down to us and i think this helped create the mentality that anything is possible. that all you need is passion. again, i hope i can do the same one day. as a parent, i am sure it is difficult to pull back; to let go of the 'control' aspect? ... but i hope i can realize that my own kids deserve this. i feel that by letting us make our own decisions, it helped build confidence, character, and simply allowed me to be me- and proudly

my sister and brother are also an excellent example of this: although we are all different in many ways, together we all have a way of encouraging versus bringing one another down. i believe this has helped us to become even closer as adults. i feel strongly that it is important to respect the way we each choose to live our individual lives and to not question the daily decisions we each make. the way we spend our time, the way we choose to spend our money, the way we look at our faith, what we  eat, where we decide to travel, how we choose to raise our future kids, etc. instead, to always step back and to take in the positive aspects- to bring one another up in the best way we know possible. i trust and respect them regarding these issues and as a result, there is a stronger bond and a whole lot of respect. one thing is for sure~ i always feel beautiful around them {no matter my current size or what i feel like at the moment- my mom is the absolute BEST at this} ... i simply feel loved. i am grateful {with my whole heart} for the way that they all bring me up and encourage me to always strive for the best in life. do you focus on bringing people up and not putting them down? if i learned anything from the tragic passing of bassey's amazing brother it has been to always love one another - to always be kind {even if people aren't kind to you} and to enjoy every moment you have one them. thank you, imoh. you are an angel among us - i know you are with us every day and are always in our hearts. after the race sunday, we did a family group hug- sweat and all- and remembered moh. there were tears and there were prayers- i could feel him with us. i will never forget that moment.

{left: family time in cincinnati and right: new orleans just two days before 9.15.14}
yesterday on that park bench we talked about life and how we should re-evaluate our happiness all the time. are we living the way God has planned? are we being kind to others? are we being the best person we can be? i hope to use the beautiful gift of family - their open minds and warm hearts-  to always find my passion. to pursue it and to make every moment count. 
my sister's husband, bassey, sent this photo to me {art in their home} after our heart to heart yesterday and it meant the world. he's an incredible man. and i am so proud to be his little sister.
thank you for this. forgive when it's hard and love with all your heart. 
ohio bound on friday evening- i snapped a photo from the charlotte airport
 "this midwest way of ease it surrounds us- i can't deny the rhythm here" - oar.
we stayed downtown at the renaissance inn- which was an old bank
it was beautiful. one thing is for sure as i walked around this weekend...
 cincy has some great architecture! 
my outfit saturday as we explored
dress and cardigan: old navy
tights and shoes: urban outfitters
bag: target
 i spent friday night on ud's campus- living it up with my brother as he finishes up college ♥
 our hotel lobby
so proud of them!!
cheers from us - mile six
 so many gorgeous flowers throughout the city
 hello mt. adams
 our ice cream and life chat in the park
{anyone else ever had graeter's famous black raspberry chip ice cream?}
& absolutely love having a 'deep conversation' fam.
 a summer sangria on the rooftop
pig love
 saturday we sat outside in the gorgeous weather and celebrated cinco de mayo a little early...
this has always been one of my favorite holidays {i could eat mexican every day} anyone else? 
 loved spending lots of time with my brother, alex
strolling along the ohio river
 goodbye my home state- until next time!
everyone was just as friendly as ever- something i always notice quickly when returning home.
i am grateful for that
and family- always.
what are you grateful for this week?

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
hope your weekend went well!
also linking up with oak + oats and b loved boston
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  1. Visiting from the link up! I have that same wall art quote hanging in my bedroom. I love that it encompasses so many different aspects of life; work, love, friendships, family, faith, food. It looks like you had a fantastic weekend, hope you have a wonderful week! :)

    1. hi donna!! thank you so much- it was wonderful! hope the same for you! and love that quote!

  2. I'm glad you were able to spend some time with your family!! Enjoy the wonderful weather!

  3. What a wonderful time with your family! Your love for your family is very evident, and it sounds like you have a great relationship with them! I'm so sorry for your family's loss but that is awesome that you all honored and remembered him in such a special way!

    1. ♥ you are the sweetest julia! thank you. he is with us all the time. i appreciate your kind words!

  4. I love this post. I feel the same about my family, with all the gratefulness in my heart. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but think it's amazing how you're able to grieve and rejoice about life with those who are closest to your heart.

    1. awe- thank you so much! they are so close to my heart. it's been so hard - thanks for your kind words. ♥

  5. love all of these gorgeous photos!! it looks like you had an awesome week!

  6. Love this post, Nelle <3 So special. A few weeks ago I was reading some of your past posts and read the one about the physical loss of your BIL's brother, I'm so sorry. I love that you all were there at the race to celebrate him, together. Family is the most important thing - and I believe we are always together, in heart and spirit. xo