Summer!

I often joke that I am my best self during the summer, but I’m not totally joking. I so enjoy the summer, the slower pace, the chance to read, and the opportunity to travel. While I enjoy the school year, the summer is such a nice time to reset and relax. As of today, I’ve been out for a week, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I know that in a few weeks, I’ll be ready for the routine of the school year again (maybe), but for now, I’m soaking up summer!

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While it wasn’t quite yet summer yet (even though it felt like it), Jordan and I went down to Beaufort and Emma Kate met us there for Memorial Day weekend. We got to spend one day at the beach, but the weather wasn’t so great, so we drove to Charleston for another day. We spent Memorial Day biking around Beaufort before heading home, and it was a fun end to a fun weekend! It’s fun having my friends become friends.

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We celebrated my friend Kelly’s birthday at what seems to be our new birthday place, Tupelo Honey. While lighting isn’t the best and we didn’t quite manage to make sure the exit sign was out of the picture, it was a fun night out with some of the sweetest friends.

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I headed to Augusta last Tuesday, and I met my friend Casie for breakfast on Wednesday morning. We went to a new-to-Augusta place, and I ordered what I thought was a normal pancake. And well, this came out. The shirt wasn’t planned, but let’s just say the best caption for this picture is, “Y’all. This pancake!” 🙂

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I got to have dinner that night with my dear friend Chelsea (you really need to read her blog). We’ve known each other since elementary school and have been close friends since high school. We were talking about a post I’d submitted to Stand for Life last year that they recently reposted when she said, “I know I’ve read that a few times. But each time I do, I think about what you went through to get to that point to be able to write that.” It was just a sweet reminder of how long we’ve been friends and of how much she’s walked through with me.

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I had a wedding to go to in Pensacola this weekend, and when my dad mentioned that to his friend Johnny, he invited them to come down as well. We walked near their house and went biking before I headed to the wedding. While we did a lot of driving in one weekend, it was fun getting to be with my parents and their friends for a bit.

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My friend Addison is one of my oldest friends. I really don’t remember not knowing him, while I know there were years when I didn’t. We grew up at church together, and we went to middle and high school together. We stayed friends after college, but we managed to keep in touch better because he lived with my friend Kaila’s boyfriend (now husband) in college. It was fun getting to see him get married this weekend and spend time with some old friends!

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The wedding was of course the most fun because anytime spent with your BFF is fun, even if you both have weird sunburns (please ignore my major burn/tan line on my arm). But really, so glad we get to share friends and go to weddings together and hang out in random places.

I’m back in CLT now, and I’m ready for a summer full of books and slow mornings spent drinking coffee on my back porch. I have a couple of low key trips planned but not much else. Here’s to a restful summer!

A Few Recommendations:

  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi | I saw a friend post on Instagram about this book last year, and I finished it last week. It’s the story of a doctor who is diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Incredibly fascinating (I always have found the medical world interesting) and very raw and honest.
  • Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush | I really like the Bush family, and I’ve had this on my “to-read” list since it came out last year. It was sweet, an easy read, and a fun little look into their lives.
  • Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson | Lots of friends have talked about this book, and I’ve had it for a few months. I finally managed to dive into it last month, and I’m glad I did. Anderson discusses the importance of humility in all seasons of life and how Jesus Christ was the best example of true humility.
  • Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot | As always, Elisabeth Elliot’s work manages to wreck me. Written in her true to self form, quick to the point yet compassionate, this book reads almost as if it were a journal or a note to a friend. I really enjoyed this one.

Currently Reading: 

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Rich in Friendships

My friend Kasey came in town a couple of weeks ago, and in the midst of one conversation, she said, “Mom said to tell you hi. She also said that I was rich in friendships.” That phrase–“rich in friendships”–has stuck with me ever since Kasey said that. I thought, “That’s what I am. I am rich in friendships.” And over the last few weeks, I have truly seen how God has blessed me in abundance with sweet friendships.

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I feel like this year, there has been a constant theme rolling around in my mind when it comes to my friends. It’s that, God has been so faithful to preserve these friendships. I have been incredibly blessed with friends in Charlotte but also with friends beyond the area I call home. And God has been so kind and faithful to preserve those friendships.

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This year, I’ve been able to spend extended time with every one of my dearest and best of friends. I’ve been able to soak up sweet conversations that weren’t necessarily planned out at the beginning of 2017 but were some of the best and most needed for 2017. I’ve gotten to enjoy my friends in their homes and in mine and that has truly been one of the sweetest of gifts.

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know it would be easier to not keep up with friends who live in Augusta, Atlanta, Greenville, TEXAS (hi, Kase 😉 ), etc. I’ll admit that there are days when I don’t answer the phone or don’t text back right away. My friends who live in a different city aren’t always first on my priority list because they aren’t right in front of me. That’s not to say they aren’t a priority, because I promise they are. BUT…

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Even in the midst of all of that, God has shown me how important it is to keep those friendships up, to take the phone call or to return the text right away, to go out of my way to see a friend even if it’s just for twenty-four hours. God has been so faithful to give me the grace to be a friend and to remind me that He’s put these people in my life for a reason.

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He’s also done something else this year when it comes to friendships. He’s reminded me that while He has given me some of the BEST friends who live far in a different zip code than me, He’s also given me some of the BEST friends who live in the same zip code (or maybe different because there are a million in CLT) as me. He’s shown me how to embrace these incredibly kind, faithful, and genuine friends who are sitting right in front of me.

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He’s blessed me with an incredible community of some of the sweetest and dearest of friends. These are the friends who you can call at 3 in the morning if you need to or the ones who you let borrow your vacuum because that’s called living in community with each other. They are the ones who rejoice with you when you rejoice and grieve with you when you grieve.

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These are also friends who may not be in the same stage of life as me. I have learned so much this year about the beauty of friendship–with women who are ten, fifteen, twenty years older than me. It has been so beautiful to me to get to call these ladies friends, even if they are wiping snotty noses or signing report cards in the midst of a conversation with me.

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I’ve been able to travel with friends to places near and far. We’ve gone on road trips and explored other cities together. We’ve chatted about life and the current struggles as well as the hopes, dreams, and desires we have for the future. We’ve laughed our way through countless meals, coffees, and more.

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These friends are also the ones who I get to see week in and week out at church, at their homes, or even at Ulta, Starbucks, Harris Teeter, or anywhere in Cotswold :). There has been something special to me about the daily/weekly routine of these friendships, of getting to walk through life with each other, and of getting to see growth in the little things and the big things that God is doing in our lives.

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To get to do life with these people, here in Charlotte, who love Jesus and love me is such a blessing. To get to see God preserve my friendships with people who don’t live in Charlotte is such a blessing. As Lucy Maud Montgomery writes, “I’m so thankful for friendship. It beautifies life so much.”

Amen.

2017 goals

Okay, I know, I know. We’re already about 1/12th of the way into the year, and I’m just now getting to this post. BUT, if you’d had the last 2-3 weeks I’ve had, you’d understand.

I told my friend Kelly at church on Wednesday that “I have no plans! No plans. I might see my parents. I might go home. I might not. No plans! For the rest of the year. No weddings. No showers. Nothing!” [Mom and Dad, I will see you.] Literally, the only thing on my calendar for the next six weeks (besides normal church activities) is to babysit one Friday night. That’s it! 

It’s bliss. 

After a really busy year, I’m honestly super pumped to head into 2017 not having tons of plans. It’s quite refreshing. And it gives me a chance to do all of the things I’ve been wanting to do in Charlotte that I never have before/didn’t get to last year. So, without much more rambling, here are my 2017 goals (because the planner in me can’t have zero plans). 

  • Go to the gym 3-4 times per week. If you’ve ever had the privilege of meeting my dad, you’ve had the privilege of meeting one of the most disciplined people in the world. I have so much respect for him in many regards, but especially that one. You know what I’m disciplined in? Reading a book in a day. Going to Gap when they have a sale. Eating a lemon about once a week. NOT going to the gym. I’m not good at it. I don’t like it, but I want to. So, here’s to hoping that happens in 2017. 
  • Go to the Mint Museum. A goal from last summer that never happened. So, let’s make it happen this year!
  • Write more. I honestly don’t think I have the emotional space to really do this, but I want to try harder to cultivate some time and space to do this. Another area where I need to be more disciplined. 
  • Budget well. Now I sound like a full-grown adult, eh? Well, it’s about time that I really try and manage this better, so here’s to hoping in happens in 2017. 
  • Make strawberry jam. Another one from the 2016 summer goals list (actually, this is at least from 2013 or 2014) that never happened. 
  • Read all of the Little House on the Prairie books. I have a whole lot of classics I’ve never read but have always wanted to. 2016 was the Anne of Green Gables year, so I’m claiming 2017 to be the year Laura Ingalls Wilder blows me away! 
  • Deep clean my condo. Something that just really needs to be done. And well. 
  • Go somewhere new. Where? With whom? Who knows? (This is super vague so that it can actually get done!)
  • Visit my people. I sure do love my CLT community, but I also really love my friends of yore. (Remember that Friends episode where Rachel only knows two time periods? Yesteryear and yore? I digress.) Anyway, I do love them all, and at some point in 2017, I’d like to visit them all. They would be: Kaila + Patrick, Kasey + Aaron + other Greenville people, my cousins, Chelsea, and Casie, Graham, Jack, and Joe. 
  • Grow in CLT relationships. I sure do love my church body. My friends here are incredible. I pray this year will only strengthen those relationships! 

Mme.

It’s the only extra day off I’ll have for a while, and I should be putting grades in. But, I can’t. I keep finding myself going back to Facebook while in the middle of doing things, reading and rereading and rereading again the posts of former classmates, schoolmates, and teachers about our dear Madame Dawson.

Mme is slowly deteriorating, slowly leaving this world and going into the arms of our Father, and I just can’t get over it.

I signed up to take Spanish my freshman year of high school–as did most of my freshman class–and was forced to take study hall instead. There weren’t enough spots for the class that would fit in with my schedule, and instead of taking French, I opted to wait until the next year to take Spanish I.

Fast forward another year. Same problem, and instead of opting to not take a foreign language until my junior year of college, I went with French. I had a couple of friends who would be in the class, so I figured it wouldn’t be that awful, even if I didn’t want to learn the language. Oh, how wrong I was.

I did well in the class–I made As every year of the three years I took French from Mme. But, it wasn’t just because I was a decent student and she was a good teacher. She made French so much more than the language, and she made her class so much more than fifty minutes of learning how to conjugate verbs. (P.S. Mme, I still remember “e, es, e, ons, ez, ent”.)

She taught us about a whole other culture. Actually, she taught us Southerners about two: the French culture and the Southern California culture. We heard story after story about her family and friends who still lived in Cali and story after story about her trips to France. The best part? While she was telling us stories (which she did every day), she taught us. Not just about French, but how to love people and how important they were.

She listened, took in all of our problems even when she had her own, and made us feel as if we were the only person in the world. She loved us so well. I remember time after time going to her with complaints about typical high school drama, and she would give advice and guidance.

And she’d ask the next day or a couple of days later how things were going. Because she truly and genuinely cared about us, not just our class or our grades. She wanted us as humans to succeed in the world and become people we would be proud to be. She loved each and every one of us, in her own, somewhat unique, Mme way.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw Mme. She started teaching at a different school, and eventually, your paths just don’t cross. But, as I’ve started my own teaching career, I’ve thought of her often. I’ve thought of her incredibly joyful attitude, one that was contagious. You couldn’t help but smile when around Mme. I’ve thought of how she loved each and every one of us–unique as we were–without ever wanting anything back. I hope I can love my students just a fraction of the way Mme loved (loves) us.

Mme, I am praying that God does a miracle in your life! I want to hear France stories and eat crepes and watch you coach my friends in Quiz Bowl again. Just one more time. But, if not, if God chooses to take you home in two-four weeks like your doctors say, I know it’s for His glory.

So incredibly grateful God saw it fit for me to take French instead of Spanish.

Je t’aime beaucoup, Mme.

The Night Before…

…not Christmas, but I do feel a little giddy and anxious. Tonight is the night before my first day of teaching! Ahhhh! While I have so many thoughts on the matter, I can’t really put them all into words yet. I’d appreciate lots of prayers as I start teaching and as I continue to transition into my new life in Charlotte.

Speaking of, I’ve been fairly busy these last couple of weeks which has been quite the change from my first few weeks here (where I watched HGTV all day almost every day). Preplanning started a week-and-a-half ago, and I have really enjoyed working in my classroom and getting to know my colleagues.

A few days before preplanning began, I headed to Asheville for a going away party for my friends Kasey, Aaron, Abby, and Nick. They are all transitioning out of working at camp and living in Asheville, and I was more than willing to drive only TWO hours (so grateful that drive is almost half of what it used to be!) to celebrate them. It was a welcome surprise when I walked in and got to see this sweet thing!

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All six of the people below were a joy to work for and with during my two summers at camp. Whether as a coworker or a boss, these six exude faithfulness, loyalty, strong leadership, and most importantly, God’s love. I’m so thankful they each play/played a part (some larger than others) in my life!

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I came home for a very quick trip last weekend so that I could celebrate my sweet Hannah and her soon-to-be born baby girl. I still can’t believe that Hannah and Jonathan are about to be PARENTS, but I’m so thrilled for them. I know that they are going to be fabulous parents, and I can’t wait to hold their little bundle of joy soon!

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And, just a little HBD shout out to one of my dearest and best friends! I so miss doing day-to-day life with Kaila, but I am grateful to be just a phone call/visit away!

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busy busy busy

life these days is incredibly busy, full of student teaching, work, and coffee. lots and lots of coffee (newest fave: dunkin donuts dark roast). i’ve managed to work a ton, babysit sweet kiddos, grab lunch with a few friends, hit up Augusta’s newest shopping center (HELLO DSW!), go to Augusta Christian’s homecoming, plan outfits, burn fall candles, test out some of OPI’s new Nordic collection, and sleep–some. i’m also dreaming of the future, of teaching in the city, of moving away, of growing up and of graduation. oh, sweet graduation, you are about 200 days away. and i’m counting down the days to you joyfully.

while i still have a ton to do before i can apply for jobs or move away or get a job here and pay for big girl things, i’m going to enjoy these last few months of college. for this weekend, that means i’m grabbing coffee with an old roommate, going to dinner with high school friends (that still sounds odd to me to describe people that way), roadtrippin’ to athens to see friends and BEN RECTOR in concert with one of my favorites from camp, and celebrating the sweetest momma for a special birthday.

life is busy. life is full. life is hard. life is sweet.

and i hope ben rector plays this song because it’s the current anthem of my life.

Chelsea + John

This past Friday night, one of my dearest friends, Chelsea, got engaged! I found out it was happening a few hours before, and I was thrilled to be able to be there that night to celebrate with her! A surprise birthday party turned surprise engagement party brought about all of their closest friends and family, and it felt so good to be at Chelsea’s childhood home, celebrating this new chapter of her life!

I recently bought a (new to me) DSLR camera. I’m not very great at taking pictures, and I have a long way to go before they are ever anything I’m super “proud” of. However, I sure was glad to have that thing on Friday night. I was able to capture a few really sweet shots of Chelsea, John, and their families, and I got to practice using it on them (ha!).

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Sweet Mrs. Kim seeing the ring + realizing they were engaged!

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Mr. Eddie hugs are the best.

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Proud little sister/secret keeper

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Happy besties!

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With John’s parents

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YAY!

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So thrilled she said yes!

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LOVED getting to be here to celebrate this night. I was sure I was going to miss this while I was at camp! I am so excited for Chelsea and John, and I cannot wait to see what the next few months bring.