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! 
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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.

Birthday Celebrations

Sometimes my birthday can get overlooked because of Christmas festivities and New Year’s Eve celebrations. But reality is EVERYONE in the WHOLE world celebrates my birthday so it makes my birthday so much more fun! I spread out my birthday celebrations for about a week, and each and every celebration was so fun!

We spent New Year’s Eve and Kaila’s boyfriend’s house. Once the clock struck midnight, Patrick found this piece of cake and lit some candles and everyone sang to me. I laughed and laughed because they all knew that I don’t like cake, and then once I blew out the candles, I handed the cake back to Patrick to eat.
I went to Carrabba’s for birthday dinner with my parents. THIS chocolate delight was DELICIOUS!
The fab five were at it again for my birthday dinner. We headed downtown to The Cotton Patch, and it was such a fun time with these girls! After dinner, we headed back to my house where we talked for hours about education, the government, our futures, etc. We felt like old ladies discussing these things, but I’m so grateful for these lifelong friends.
Kaila surprised me with a trip to Atlanta for my birthday weekend. Through me being nosy and a friend kind of spilling the beans, it ended up not being as much of a surprise as it should have been. BUT it was tons of fun. We shopped a lot, ate lots of good food, played fun games, froze in Piedmont Park, didn’t get enough sleep, and laughed a lot. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to the ATL.

Fifth Annual Tacky Sweater Christmas Party

On Thursday night, we had our FIFTH annual tacky sweater Christmas party. I can barely believe that this was the fifth time we did this. How have we been doing this five years? I feel incredibly old. (You can read about Year 2, Year 3,  and Year 4.)This was the lowest turnout we’ve had, but it just shows how old we’re getting. People had things to do with their husbands (okay that was only Hannah), and plenty of others were either out of town or just busy with life. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if we’ll get to have one next year. So many of us will have graduated (not me) and we’ll be well into adulthood. One of my friends just accepted a job in Texas, and I have other friends applying to grad school. IS THIS REAL LIFE? I feel so old. Okay, moving on….

Typical.
Love these ladies!
Thanks, MB, for making us take a “fake” laughing picture 🙂
I have no words.
I just want the world to know that my sweater is about the 12 Days of Christmas (best one I’ve ever had; shout out to my mom for getting this one for me!)
Love this sweet best friend of mine!
Hope you are enjoying the tackiest, merriest time of the year!