Currently: March

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Reading: The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. I really loved Girls in White Dresses, so I was excited to see another novel from Jennifer Close. I’m only a few pages in, but so far I’m enjoying it. More on this one soon!

Watching: Happy Endings. Bryan and I are binge-watching Happy Endings on Hulu, and we’re both pretty obsessed. Think Friends if it was was made 20 years later. Obviously it’s not as good as Friends (nothing ever will be), but it has a very similar plot. And every episode makes us laugh out loud.

Listening: Ellie Holcomb/Red Sea Road. I’m loving this album for the season of Lent. It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s unfailing love and grace.

Learning: To be comfortable in my own skin. Getting to know yourself is one thing and making peace with who you are in another. I think we all have things we wish we could change. There are times I long to be more outgoing or adventurous.  I definitely wish I was more easygoing and flexible.  But every day I’m learning to be more comfortable with who I am and who God created me to be. I’m becoming more aware and more grateful for how my unique personality—and my unique gifts—equip me for the work God has called me to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t have things I need to work on and learn to do better. I absolutely do. But I am becoming more content, and that is a gift.

Anticipating: March Madness! I’m still celebrating the Tar Heel victory over Duke on Saturday and looking forward to a month of nothing but college basketball. Time to dance!

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.


Hey friends! It’s Friday, and I’m so, so thankful. It’s been a week. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m feeling tired and overwhelmed and way behind at the end of this week. TGIF, am I right?!? I’m headed out of town today for a women’s retreat with my church, and I’m looking forward to some time of rest and renewal.  It’s much needed! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure….

Lent and the View from the Mountain

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In Exodus, God speaks to Moses and says, “Come up to the mountain and stay here.” It’s a simple invitation, and yet it strikes me as profoundly important.  As I’ve reflected on those words this week, I can’t help but think that this invitation is at the very heart of Lent. During this quiet,  reflective season, God offers us an opportunity to come up to the mountain with him and just stay.  He invites us to stay with nowhere to be and nothing pressing to do. He invites us to rest in the quiet and just listen. He invites us to be present and make space for his glory.

Last week I spent some time with a group of ministers talking about wellbeing.  One of the leaders spoke about this particular scripture and he noted that the thing about being on top of the mountain is that it changes your perspective.  Suddenly, your view is completely different.  When we’re on top of the mountain, we notice the beauty and majesty of creation—the vastness of it all.

But at the same time, everything feels smaller. The details fade, and we’re left with the reality of who we are.  We are human. We are small. Sometimes we fail. We are broken and in need of a Savior.

And yet, we are surrounded by the grace and majesty of God.

Lent offers us the chance to see things from a new perspective. Today, on this first day of the Lenten season, I’m giving myself the space to experience something new. I’ll be closing my office door for a few hours in order to go up to the figurative mountain and stay for a while with God.  I will let the details fade away, if only for a moment, and listen for how God is speaking to me in this season.

The invitation extended to Moses is for us as well.  If you’re tired, restless, weary, or broken, there is place for you to sit and rest. Come up to mountain, take in the view from the top, and stay.

 

*Photo Source

Valentine’s Weekend in Asheville

Bryan and I took a quick trip to Asheville—one of our all-time favorite cities—to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and we got to take Finley with us.  We ate yummy tacos, explored breweries, had a delicious dinner at The Admiral, and took Finley on her first hike. The perfect weekend getaway.

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February Reading List

  1. Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel. After getting dumped by her French boyfriend, Kate attempts to get her life back together by accepting a job in admissions at a prestigious private school in NYC.  The novel explores the crazy competitive world of private school admissions for the wealthy elite, as well as the many complicated relationships in Kate’s personal life. There’s nothing exceptional about this book, but it’s an entertaining read with some quirky characters and seriously funny moments. I enjoyed it.
  2. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. The Sun Is Also a Star follows the lives of two teenagers who meet by chance (or fate) and fall in love…over the course of one day. The catch? The protagonist is the daughter of illegal immigrants, and her family is being deported back to Jamaica that night. The book is charming and a little melodramatic—which I guess is appropriate considering that it’s written for teenagers. It also has a super sweet ending. If you’re into young adult novels, I would give this one a shot.

What I’ve Learned From 10 Years

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I recently realized that Bryan and I have officially spent ten Valentine’s Days together. TEN! We’ve only been married three years, but we started dating my senior year of high school. (We also met for the first time at thirteen, so suffice it to say that he’s been through a lot with me.)

A lot of people are talking about love this week…and with good reason. Love is an important, hard, confusing, incredible, life-changing topic—and there’s a lot to say. In ten years of loving Bryan, I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things about love. At the very least I can say that what I thought I knew about love and marriage has totally shifted.

When you’re with someone for ten years, change is inevitable.  The world will change. Your lives will change. Your relationship will change. And you will both change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Bryan and I are both very different people from the two teenagers who went on their first day to see a Reese Witherspoon movie over a decade ago.  As we’ve grown and changed, we’ve had to choose love again and again. We’ve had to decide to grow together instead of apart. We’ve had to choose to accept the way the other person has changed, even when it wasn’t what we wanted. And during that time, I have learned two very important things about love…

First, I’ve learned that love is hard. This seems obvious, but I think that love—and marriage in particular—is hard in ways that you can’t understand until you’re in the thick of it. There are so many big things to fight about, like sex and money and family and planning for a future. But there are also the little things, from laundry to dirty dishes to stealing the covers, that can pile up and become the things that break you if you let them. There is disappointment and frustration and worry. And the choosing is hard, too. Choosing to put the other person first. Choosing to let things go. Choosing to love someone who you don’t particularly like all the time. Love is about selflessness and sacrifice, and those two things are never easy.

But I’ve also learned that love is so, so worth it. Over the past ten years, we’ve graduated from college and grad school and found careers that bring us fulfillment. We’ve lived in two apartments and bought out first house. We’ve cooked meals together and made plans and travelled all over the world. We’ve grieved together and learned how to share. We brought home the world’s sweetest puppy and said “I love you” more times than I can count. Together, we’ve built a whole life.

When I look at Bryan, I still see my very best friend in the whole world. I see a partner and someone I fully trust and respect. I see someone who makes me laugh and brings out a freer, more content version of myself. There is never a day when I don’t feel safe in his love.

In ten years, I can think of so many things I’ve done wrong. I can think of fights I regret and words I wish I could take back. I can think of mistakes and failings, both as a wife and just as a person. But here we are, ten years later, and the love is still here—strong and steady and in it for the long haul. Ten years can be a long time to love someone. Thank goodness we’re just getting started.

 

 

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Friday! Bryan and I decided to get away for a quick trip with Finley this week to one of favorite places.  We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day a few days early and enjoying the incredible weather North Carolina is experiencing right now. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

What’s Saving My Life

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One of my favorite writers asked this question on her blog the other day: What’s saving your life right now?

The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s memoir, Leaving Church, which just so happens to be one of my favorite books of all time. In the memoir, she talks about being invited to speak and the host assigning her this topic.

To me, it’s more accurate to ask about those things that are giving us life.  What brings you joy these days? What little moments do you look forward to each day? Why do you want to get up in the morning? What is the bright spot?

There is always plenty to complain about, and it’s easy to focus on the negative. But I love the idea of giving time and space to focus on the positive things in our lives—no matter how small or trivial they may seem to other people. The thing giving you life these days may be as simple as a cup of coffee in the morning. (And let’s be real…that morning of cup of coffee is LITERALLY life-giving.) Here are a few things that are “saving” my life right now….

  1. Books – There is fresh stack of books on my bedside table, and I’m making the time to actually READ them.  Words—writing and reading them—give me life.
  2. Midday Escapes – I’m working on being more intentional about balancing my work life and personal life. If I got to work at 8:30 and know I’ll be there until 9:00 that evening for a meeting, I take an hour in the middle of the day to do something for myself. Sometimes it’s wandering through a book store or going home to have lunch with my husband. Sometimes it’s just walking across the street for a cup of coffee. Either way, it’s fresh air and it’s glorious.
  3. Finley – My sweet girl. I love her so much. I’ve never been a dog person and had no idea I would grow so attached when we got a puppy. But I’m totally smitten. And there’s nothing like coming home to a so-excited-to-see-you-she-can’t-stand-it puppy.
  4. Red Wine – Most of my (adult) life, I’ve been a white wine drinker. Lately, I’ve been having a glass of red wine at night and I’m kind of starting to enjoy it. Sometimes I pair it with popcorn so I can feel like I’m basically Olivia Pope.
  5. Sunshine – This has been the strangest, most wonderful winter ever. We had snow and then a 70 degree day less than a week later. Since then, we’ve had these pockets of gorgeous, sunny days (like today), and they make me so, so happy.
  6. Writing – I’ve said before that writing is the way I talk to God, and I’ve been making the time to do it more and more. Whether it’s here on the blog or just in a prayer journal, I’m enjoying the act of creating.
  7. Girlfriends – I’m a big believer in the idea that relationships–all relationships–take work.  For me, that means making time to see my friends every week even when I’m tired and busy and have too much going on. Our weekly dinners are the highlight of my week, and I’m always, always, always glad I made the time.

 

 

Currently: February

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Reading: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. It’s young adult fiction that explores the question of destiny and how much of our lives are up to fate. I’m about a third of the way through this one and finding it quite charming. More on this soon…

Watching: Z: The Beginning of Everything on Amazon.  Bryan and I just finished the first season of the new Amazon original portraying the life of Zelda Fitzgerald.  I think the Jazz Age is such an fascinating period of history, and I love reading and learning about authors from that period (I also loved the novel The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway’s wife, Hadley). We’re both learning things we didn’t know about the Fitzgeralds and finding the show incredibly interesting. Also, it’s worth watching for the fashion alone.

Listening: Joshua Radin/The Fall. Josh is one of my all-time favorites, and I am loving his new album. Current favorites are “High and Low” and “Keep the Darkness Away”.

Loving: Settling into our new home. The new house we moved into in November is FINALLY starting to feel like home. The house was the right size and location (with the best back yard ever for Finley), but it needed a little TLC.  We’ve painted, removed popcorn ceilings, finished unpacking boxes, and decorated the majority of the rooms.  We still have some light fixtures to change, a few more pieces of furniture and decor to pick out, and a bathroom that needs a major overhaul, but we’re making progress and that feels so good. Most importantly, Finley is a huge fan of her new house.  If she’s happy, we’re happy.

Praying: For our country. I’m deeply saddened and concerned about the state of our nation, particularly our leaders. The extreme lack of empathy for others is heartbreaking to me. I am been thinking a lot about my role in this–how can I pray? How can I help? How can I use my voice? There are difficult roads ahead, and I want to choose courage and love.

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web. 

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Happy Friday! It has been a crazy week around here, so this weekend is about fun, lounging, and naps with Finley.  I’ve got no plans other than a date night to see La La Land and lunch with my bestie from Chicago who is passing through town on her way to see family (YAY!!!). I hope you all have a great weekend, too. XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…