2016 recap

Here are my top moments of 2016 in chronological order (since I obviously love a good recap post, why not?):

January: Turning 24; starting to host my girls’ small group at my house; weathering the winter storm with Mom in CLT; taking pottery

February: Celebrating Mme’s life in Aiken; starting young girls’ events at OBC with sweet friends (I was off social media for this month and can legitimately not remember what happened then.)

March: Becoming a member at OBC; having Kaila up for the weekend; celebrating Dad’s birthday; visiting Kasey, Aaron, and Abby in Greenville; taking Jack and Joe out for an afternoon for their birthday; my friend Maddie moving in; working the Drew Holcomb merch table with my friend Michelle

April: EK coming up for the night/our painting session with Evelyn Henson; Kaila’s bridal shower in Appling; seeing The Oh Hellos with Aaron and Kasey at the USNWC

May: Road trip to DC with Aubrey, Katie, and Maddie; Mom coming up for Mother’s Day; being on the Giddy Up, Eunice book team; Kaila’s bachelorette weekend (this month felt so busy, but I literally have no idea why)

June: Finishing my FIRST YEAR OF TEACHING; #SurpriseBestFriendTrip; surprising Dad for Father’s Day; SLEEPING IN

July: Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta; Kaila and Patrick’s wedding; spending two weeks in Augusta/Atlanta/Hilton Head; Elizabeth’s visit to CLT; SLEEPING IN SOME MORE

August: Olympics party at my condo; my friend Rachel moving in; starting my second year of teaching; Kasey’s visit to CLT

September: Visit home for Casie’s birthday/to hang out with the boys; visiting EK in Greenville; camp reunion at Look Up Lodge

October: Starting to teach Sunday School at OBC; EK’s visit to CLT; lots of time spent with family; Anthony and Kristen’s wedding

November: OBC’s The Table for women; OBC girls trip to Boone; Thanksgiving with Jordan/Sofia and kiddos in Augusta; time spent with college friend in Augusta

December: Christmas pajama party at my condo; Christmas at Oakhurst; CHRISTMAS BREAK; gingerbread house making with the boys/time spent with them plus Casie; Christmas with the fam; NYC trip

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Let’s just say this fall has been incredibly busy. So much busier than I thought it would be/than I planned it to be. Needless to say, the blog has been pushed to the furthest back burner of my mind, but I do want to update every now and then. SO, here I am for a quick (bullet point and picture) update.

  • In September, I headed home for a weekend to see my parents and to see these sweet boys play soccer. I also got to hug their mama on her birthday, so it was a win for everyone, really.

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  • The next weekend in September, I headed to Greenville to visit some of my very favorite camp friends. EK and I went to this super cute craft fair (where I got some new wall art which ended up with me redecorating a wall in my living room), and then the next day, we went up to Look Up Lodge to catch up with all of our camp friends. So fun.

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  • Emma Kate came up a few weekends later, and while we didn’t do anything super trendy or fall-ish, it was a fun weekend. We went to Davidson, stopped by a festival of sorts that didn’t meet our expectations and so we then went to JCrew and to dinner. Perfect.

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  • My grandmother recently passed away, and while handling that hasn’t exactly been a fun or easy process, it has been nice to be with family. One weekend, while she was in the hospital, we left the kiddos with the men and went out for some much needed girl time. And shopping. Always shopping.

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  • My friend Anthony, from college, got married the last weekend in October. It was super hot (shocking), but it was so good to get to spend the day with these friends. Love them so!

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September + October Reads: 

 

 

July Recap

July was just as busy as June, if not even more so. I was out of town for almost three weeks in July, and as much as I hated living out of suitcases, it was good to see my people. We laughed and cried and celebrated and rejoiced together, which is always a plus. As good as it was, it’s just as good to be back in CLT, and I’ve declared August a no travel month. Because, let’s be real, I’ve met my quota of miles I need to drive for this whole year in the past two months alone. And then some.

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July started off in Atlanta. I helped move Kaila and Patrick into their new apartment, watched them run the Peachtree Road Race, and celebrated the Fourth by watching fireworks at Lenox.

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The big event in July was Kaila’s wedding, obviously. I like this snapshot from the rehearsal dinner because the three of us are smiling which is what we did all weekend long.

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The morning after the wedding, my mom and I headed to Hilton Head for a few days. We weren’t there super long, but we both got some sun, read a lot, and genuinely relaxed. At least I did.
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I headed back to CLT after two weeks away, and it was so good to be back. I spent time over the next ten or so days catching up with friends, reading (duh), and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that summer is really almost over. And being really grateful for the people I meet with in that courtyard and the buildings around it every week.

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Elizabeth came in town for a few days, and we experienced all things Elizabeth 🙂 (there’s an area of CLT called Elizabeth, so…). It was so fun getting to show her my city and getting to try out some new places!

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More and more new people are coming to Oakhurst, and meeting them has just been so good for my soul. It’s fun to figure out connections, to exclaim “you know her too!!!”, and to fellowship with these new residents of the Queen City. I think my favorite thing may be that we’re all going out to lunch on Sundays after church, and it just makes me smile. I like these people (and others not pictured) a whole lot.

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I was the first dinner guest at the Caudills’ home just last week! I spent a few days in ATL helping Kaila set up her classroom. We also got to see some other friends, and it was fun to have one last trip for the summer!

July Reads: (There seemed to be a theme of the books I read in July of strong female roles or novels that highlighted female relationships (sisters, mother/daughter, etc.). This was not on purpose, but nonetheless, these are some excellent books I definitely recommend.)

  • Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle–This is a memoir about motherhood, written in Shankle’s hilarious style that makes for an easy read.
  • Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin–This was so refreshing to me, and I would recommend it to anyone, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian. It was just a great reminder to me about how to study my Bible.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah–I read a lot of books. I can typically predict the ending of the book well before I’m done with it. This one? No idea. I was thrown for a loop the ENTIRE time. It’s a novel set in France during WWII about two sisters and their roles in the war. It was so good. Long, but good.

Kaila & Patrick’s Wedding

First, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who left comments on FB/spoke to me about the letter I wrote to Kaila. Your words were so encouraging. I’d also just like to say that our friendship isn’t something I take for granted, and I know not everyone can say they have a friend like the one I described. She’s a blessing, and I’m truly grateful for the Lord bringing her into my life when I did. 

Now, to the wedding itself.

A little fun fact about this wedding was that I am better friends with more groomsmen than I am the bridesmaids of this wedding. Plus, I’ve hung out with, a handful of times, some of Patrick’s Tech friends who were also groomsmen. Knowing that going into the weekend, I knew the whole weekend would be a blast. And it was. I laughed more than I thought I would, danced almost literally the whole night (KP, you would’ve been so proud), and just had an overall great time. 

Patrick has a great group of friends from GT, and while I doubt that any of them will ever read this, I just want to publicly say how fun and nice and genuine they are. (Also, thanks for jump starting this girl’s car in the middle of the parking lot after the rehearsal dinner.) A couple of my high school friends are in that group as well, so it was just so fun to have them around to make the wedding fun. And they did. From cracking jokes, to dancing hilariously, to much more, huge shout out to them. 

And even though I’m not that great of friends with the majority of the bridesmaids, they were some fun people as well. And creative (shout out to you, Adrienne, for all the dresses you made)! It’s just encouraging to see my friends loved by their people. 


One of the things I don’t have yet in Charlotte but am praying for is a consistent group of solid, godly guy friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have some great, godly brothers there. But–and maybe it’s because we share so much past and history–it’s different than the friendship I have with these guys. It was just so encouraging and uplifting to be with them all weekend. 

Kaila literally tickled us to make this picture turn out the way it did. Props to her for doing that. I so enjoyed laughing with these two all weekend long! 


For some (dumb) reason, I didn’t take a picture with Kaila on my phone on Saturday, so this will have to do for now. Her photographer (Whitney Wysong, for you AGS folks who may be looking for someone) was phenomenal! I can’t wait to see all the pictures. 


All the planning and hard work paid off for these two. It was such a beatiful ceremony, a really FUN reception, and an incredible weekend spent celebrating these two. 

Not Your Time (How to Be a Decent Bridesmaid).

I have done the bridesmaid routine a few times now, and while I could quote 27 Dresses a million times or even say something along the lines of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”, this isn’t the time or place for that. I haven’t been a bridesmaid 27 times (has anyone ever, other than Jane from 27 Dresses?), but I have done it enough to know the routine. Once a year for the past four years, I’ve been a bridesmaid, as well as some other times pre-college. I know how it goes, what to do, when to show up, etc. I may not be the best bridesmaid, but I do feel like I’ve learned enough to offer up a few tips for those of us who are in the middle of wedding season.

  1. It’s not your turn. It isn’t. Your turn may have already happened, your turn may be happening soon, or your turn may be so far out of the unseeable future that you are doubtful it’ll ever happen. Unless you and the bride are in a double wedding (which, no, just no), it’s not your turn. Therefore, don’t make it about you. Listen, offer advice when necessary, but don’t make any decision about you. Even the bridesmaid dress.
  2. Listen. Just do it. Your friend/sister/cousin/college roommate/whatever-she-is-to-you is a woman just like you. She’s going to go through all the emotions under the sun and experience ALL THE FEELINGS when she’s planning her wedding, no matter how laid back or easy going she normally is. She’s going to need someone to listen to when Mr. Perfect Fiance has said something insensitive or totally like a man or when the church isn’t available or when the caterer is more expensive than she planned or when life is just crazy and she needs her friend. Let her rant/rave/cry/laugh all she wants and remember that she did or will do the same thing for you. 
  3. Show up. My friend Kasey recently spoke some incredibly encouraging truths into my life, and one of the things she said to me was that I come to her/show up at things a lot and that makes me a good friend. I don’t say that to sound cocky, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that our friendship has always been a long distance one, BUT, I do think it’s an important point. Showing up to all the things–showers, engagement parties, bachelorette weekends–is important. The bride may be so overwhelmed that she doesn’t get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with you (which can be hard for those of us thinkers/feelers/introverts who crave that), but I can guarantee she’ll be happy you’re there. This is a totally new normal for her, so I would bet money that it would make her feel better/happier to know her girls are there for her.
  4. Don’t be selfish. Would I rather wear a black dress in the wedding because it’s slimming? Sure. Do I want to go to the mountains instead of a random, non-scenic city for the bachelorette weekend? Absolutely. Is it my call? Not at all. It’s not your wedding. It’s not your day. It’s not your call. Unless the dress makes you feel uncomfortable in some way, don’t say anything. If she doesn’t like it, agree and be willing to try on another. If she does like it and you don’t, smile and nod and ask if it can be shortened so you can wear it again 🙂 But, really. Hop on board when she’s happy about something and agree to whatever because it isn’t your turn.
  5. Say encouraging things, but don’t overwhelm. My first wedding to be in when I was in college was my dear friend Hannah’s wedding. Almost all of Hannah’s bridesmaids were people she’d been friends with since birth/early childhood, and the others were incredibly important people in her life. Also, Hannah was the first of our group of friends, our age, to get married. It was a big deal for all of us, not just Hannah. And we, as inexperienced bridesmaids, might’ve freaked her out. We had pure motives and good intentions, but I know the words, “This is the biggest day of your life” over and over again in Hannah’s brain were not the most “underwhelming” things. We totally overwhelmed her. I’m not saying that getting married isn’t a big deal. Because it is. It’s a covenant between man, woman, and God. It’s huge. But, don’t you think, if your friend and her future husband are pursuing the Lord then they KNOW THAT?! Hopefully, they didn’t enter into this process lightly, and it’s not your job to remind her of the huge change that will take place that day. Smile, tell her how beautiful she looks, and pray your little heart out–silently.
  6. Be a help, not a burden. I’ve never gotten married, but I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to have a friend/relative/bridesmaid be more of a burden than a help. As a bridesmaid, your role is to support. That’s it. Lift up her skirts when she needs to pee, wipe a tear away without smudging makeup, and return the random gift from her crazy great-aunt before she gets back from her honeymoon. Don’t complain. Don’t annoy. Don’t frustrate. Help. Serve. Love.

All in all, it’s not your day, but it is one of your people’s days. If you haven’t had your turn, wouldn’t you want her to be supportive and loving and selfless when it is your turn? And if you had, remember how she was when it was your turn. If she wasn’t in your wedding party, just think about how she is as a person. And, if she’s one of those hard-to-love people, remember that she’s in your life for a reason and you’re called to love her because Christ loved us first.

At the end of the day, isn’t it all about reflecting Christ anyway?

2015 Highlights

2015 was a crazy year for me–in more ways than one. I lost two grandfathers, graduated from college, put a lot of miles on my car, went to an absurd amount of weddings, moved to Charlotte, started teaching, went to more weddings, held lots of babies, made new friends, etc. Needless to say, it’s been a year! I have been on both ends of the emotional roller coaster more than once, but all in all, it’s been a good year. Here are some of my favorite moments of this year…

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Dad and I “ran” the Cooper River Bridge Run in March. 

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We graduated college in May! HOLLA.

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We celebrated Anna’s wedding in May as well–complete with a fun trip to Charleston!

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Kasey got engaged in March!

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And then got married in September!

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I moved to the Queen City in July. 

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Mom and Aunt Lisa came up for a hilarious visit in October. 

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These boys grew and grew, and I just kept squeezing them as often as I could. 

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I saw Ben Rector. Twice. In Charlotte. 

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We kept up our long-distance friendship via phone calls and texts.

So much more happened in 2015, and I’m thankful for it. Here’s to an awesome–and maybe a little less stressful–2016!