Thankfulness Thursday III

Thursday, November 15, 2018



Happy Thursday, friends!

It's been a rather gloomy week around here. We're going on day four of what feels like endless rain, and at this point, I'd give just about anything for some sunshine. On top of daylight savings and the cold weather, I am really not a fan of these gray, wet days. Here's hoping that sunshine is around the corner very soon!

In complete honesty, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about going into this post. As much as I love writing for Thankfulness Thursday, some weeks the words don't come quite as easily, and this was one of those times. School and NaNo (yes, I'm attempting NaNo. I'm a psychopath, I know.) have begun to make me feel like I've been robbed of any writing ability at this point. 

Then I opened my email. If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug), you know that I can't get enough of Miss Elaini's weekly Dear Wednesday emails. They always seem to speak into exactly what I need to hear, and this week's was, ironically enough, about gratitude. It was the perfect reminder of why I love Thankfulness Thursday in the first place. Elaini wrote- 

"I needed to be reminded about how many good things there are all around us.  They exist every. single. day. We just have to have eyes to see them. That moment of gratitude was so helpful for me. It instantly started changing how I felt. No, my current problems didn't disappear but I was reminded that giving thanks brings a true joy. It lifts us from ourselves to look upward. (.....) Did you know that gratitude is proven to make you happier?! Just writing down three things you're grateful for each day can revolutionize your life. It's FREE and it's SIMPLE! Did I mention that it will bring you increased joy?! What isn't there to love?"

Not only was her email the perfect reminder of why I love Thankfulness Thursday, it also helped me to remember that gratitude doesn't always have to be in the big, massive things. (And that these posts don't always have to be intense!) There's so much gratitude in the everyday as well. 

So, this Thursday, here are some of the things that I'm grateful for...

// Blankets upon blankets upon blankets when the world is far too cold

// Nights at the theater with good friends, and works of art that tell stories that matter

// Cancelled classes

// Car rides with Jesus

// Rereading Harry Potter at midnight because I actually get to sleep in the next morning

// The sanity saver that is prayer journaling

// Peanut butter cups

// A job doing what I love surrounded by the people that I love

// Floral rain boots

Here's to celebrating the little things. :)

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Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥

Send me your Thankfulness Thursday links and I'll share them here!


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In case you missed it...


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What are you thankful for this week?

Thankfulness Thursday II

Thursday, November 8, 2018


"I've seen you move,
You move the mountains
and I believe
I'll see You do it again.
You made a way
when there was no way
and I believe
I'll see You do it again."


This week, I'm thankful for hope. 

It's been a long week, the kind that you're ready to be done with before it's properly begun. There's been a lot of stuff weighing really heavily on my heart that's made it difficult to concentrate on much else. But let me tell you a story.

This past Monday was in just about every way your quintessential "everything that can go wrong, will go wrong" kind of Monday. Everything from forgotten appointments to miscommunications to being inches away from ending up in a car accident all added up to a day of utter chaos.

After a morning of insanity, I was driving home to grab lunch before heading to an afternoon of back to back teaching, and I found myself already completely drained. With the worship music blaring, in a whisper, I begged, "Jesus, please, can I have just one good thing happen today? Just one?" I remember sighing and continuing on home to keep on with the rest of the day. I didn't think anything of that little breathed prayer, honestly. It was just an exhausted plea for a break.

As I was throwing together some food in the kitchen, I was joined by my mom. We were talking through various logistical things about the day and about rehearsal schedules when she paused what she was doing and turned to look at me. "Oh, by the way, did you hear?" she asked.

She proceeded to tell me about something that took place in the life of one of my dearest friends, something that I'd been praying and praying and praying for nearly every single day for the past two years. The amount of times that I wrote that prayer over and over in my prayer journal is ridiculous. I quite literally still have it written on a list of prayers that I keep taped in my car to pray over as I drive to school each day. 

Next week would mark the two year anniversary of that prayer. For the past three days, all I've been able to think is thank you, Jesus. 

At the best possible time, I got the 'yes' that I feared would never come. On a day that I would have been thrilled just to get a sunset or even make it through an hour without anything going terribly, I ended up with happy tears for the rest of the week.

So this week, I am thankful for His faithfulness, and as my necklace says in the photo up top, I'm thankful for hope. In the midst of this week, my silly worrier heart so needed the reminder that He is faithful, and that because of Him, I have hope. Because this week, I've seen Him move the mountains, so why shouldn't I believe that I'll see Him do it again? Why should I worry when I know Who holds the world in His hand? When it feels like there's chaos around every corner, I have hope because I know that God doesn't forget. He answers what feels like the impossible. He is good in all things, and He's going to take care of us. Because of that hope, we can keep pressing on, because He's the God of the hills and valleys, and we're never alone. So this week, I'm wearing that little necklace, as a reminder of crappy Mondays and answered prayers, and of the One who's over it all.

Thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.


"Your promise still stands,
great is Your faithfulness,
faithfulness,
I'm still in Your hands
this is my confidence,
You've never failed me yet."

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Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥

Send me your Thankfulness Thursday links and I'll share them here!

Vanessa -- Simply Me
Cute Nerdy Girl

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In case you missed it....


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What are you thankful for this week?


Thankfulness Thursday I

Thursday, November 1, 2018


It's that time of year again!

Gratitude is something that we all could be better about practicing year round, but we're all reminded of it a bit more around Thanksgiving. Three years ago, in 2015, I decided to put a particular emphasis on taking note of everything that I have to be thankful for by starting a Thankfulness Thursday series here on Totally Graced for the month of November. The posts were simple, just short lists of things that I was thankful for over the course of the week. Since then, Thankfulness Thursday has become an annual tradition, with bloggers from all over the world joining in each November. The posts vary from incredible stories of God's goodness to mere sentences, the kind that are all you can choke out when your brain is spinning in a thousand directions. At the core, however, they all share the same message- on the good days and the bad, the easy and the hard, there is always something to be grateful for. 


I'm really excited to jump into the fourth year of Thankfulness Thursday! The beautiful Vanessa of Simply Me has already come on board to participate alongside me this month, and I would love for you to join in as well. You don't have to post every week, and it doesn't have to be long or complicated. You can even join in on social media if you prefer. Thankfulness Thursday is just a great way to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, no matter how you decide to join in. Everyone seems to be super stressed out in November, whether that's due to the impending holiday season, finals, NaNoWriMo, or just the general pressures of life. I've found that doing Thankfulness Thursday posts is a great way to refocus myself each week and remind myself that amidst the crazy, everything's going to be okay. 

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There are so many things that I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for the fact that I have incredible people in my life, a job that I love, and access to anything that I could possibly need. I'm thankful for rest and for adventures, for dancing and for peace.

But something in particular that I've been thinking through lately the fact that I'm grateful that I'm not the one in control. 

Hear me out. I am a control freak. I've long since accepted this about myself. I'm about as Type A as you can get. Lists calm me. I don't like surprises. I'm most comfortable when I feel like I have a steady grip on everything around me. I realized a long time ago that, in one way or another, all of the things in life that freak me out the most involve some aspect of a loss of being in control.

And yet, I've been realizing lately that I am so grateful that I'm not. 

October was a strange month. There were multiple situations that took place that didn't work out at all how I would have necessarily hoped, and definitely not how I would have chosen had I been able to change things. I'm a bit of a verbal processor at times, and often when I'm in the car alone for long periods of time, I find myself working the things that have been spinning in my brain out aloud, asking God to make sense of them, to help me understand. And as I was doing this one morning, the thought flew into my head, clear as day- "Why am I upset over this when God's the one in control, not me? Why would I want to be the one in control here? Doesn't He know so much more than I do? He has it all worked out. Why am I even hesitating to be okay with that?" 

When something doesn't work out the way that we might have liked, what if we didn't take it as such a negative thing? What if we realized that maybe our own plans weren't quite so perfect after all?

So lately, something that I've been adding to my chats with Jesus is, "Thank You so much that You're the one in control and I'm not." Because that's something to be grateful for. I can't even imagine what a mess it would be if we were the ones running the show. 

Amidst a thousand other things, this Thursday, I'm thankful that I'm not the one in control.

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Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥

Vanessa -- Simply Me

(Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you join in and I'll link your post here! Let's share the gratitude this November. )


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How's life going, friends? What are you thankful for?




99 Things I Learned from Senior Year

Saturday, August 25, 2018


The 99 Things post series started at the end of my sophomore year, a collaboration with two of my dearest friends. (Rachel and Mary Shelley - you two forever have my heart.) A lover of routine, I've kept it up, now reaching what may be the final post in the series. Whether or not I'll keep this up into the college years, I really don't know yet, but I know that I love having these posts to look back on. Keeping up the Senior Saturday series with 99 Things that this whirlwind of a year taught me/reminded me.

1. You're capable of more than you think you are.
2. That being said, don't put yourself in a position where you're so exhausted and drained that everything is miserable.
3. Don't let someone who knows less about what you're doing than you do make you feel inadequate.
4. The happiest moment of your life will be when you're finally done with standardized testing.
5. DRINK WATER.
6. Sometimes it's okay to just eat a pop-tart for lunch alone in your car because #senioryear.
7. Get out of bed. Blare the Jesus music. You can do this.
8. No one cares what you look like besides you. Stop stressing.
9. The Legally Blonde soundtrack can get you through anything.
10. People who remind you that they're proud of you are the kind of people to keep close.
11. You. Are. Enough.
12. Watching your friends live out their dreams and just rock this life thing is the best feeling in the world.
13. God can turn any situation around, no matter how bad it looks.
14. You will be found.
15. Situations work out the way that they're supposed to, even when it looks impossible at the beginning.
16. Start shopping for your end of the semester stuff in January- prom dresses, graduation dresses, etc. You'll be so glad you did.
17. PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN. I cannot emphasize that enough. Plan.
18. Comfort food might possibly be the only thing besides Jesus that gets you through the year and honestly it's okay we're all right there with you.
19. No matter how crazy things get, don't isolate yourself.
20. Stack your classes early in high school so that you have a light senior year. Just trust me.
21. Never say that "I'll never do _____." Jesus has a real sense of humor.
22. Cardigans are the best thing in the world.
23. Real friends stick with you even when life is crazy.
24. BE THOUGHTFUL.
25. Keep a running list of thank you notes that need to be written and try to get them in the mail as quickly as possible. It just makes life easier.
26. Don't feel guilty about letting yourself recharge. You can't function well if you don't take care of yourself.
27. You cannot be everything for everyone.
28. When God tells you not to do something, LISTEN.
29. Likewise, when God tells you to do something, LISTEN.
30. When in doubt, walk it out. (Prayer walking is even better.)
31. Survival without coffee is possible.
32. Leave your phone in another room when at all possible.
33. When online shopping, make sure it's returnable.
34. Sometimes, you have to be the one to speak up. Nothing will ever change if everyone stays silent.
35. Photographs are the single most precious memento you can have.
36. Go to prom. Just do it.
37. If you're going to get your nails done for prom, don't try to cram it in the day of prom. Do it the day before.
38. Sometimes you just need to sit in your car for an hour because it's the only place you can get some peace.
39. Have a go-to playlist for those mornings where you'd rather do literally anything than the things that you have on the agenda.
40. Routines save so much time.
41. The beach is quite literally the most therapeutic place in the world.
42. Ben Rector says it best - you can't make old friends. Cherish them.
43. If you don't write it down, you'll forget it. (You can't remember everything no matter how hard you try.)
44. Read for pleasure as much as you can.
45. You've Got Mail will never get old.
46. Prayer journaling will save. your. life.
47. Life is better in leggings.
48. Social media is literally pointless. Please don't let your life revolve around it.
49. Take the time to show people how much you appreciate them.
50. God plans out every tiny detail of your life. There's zero reason to stress. He's got you.
51. If you feel yourself getting sick, CHUG WATER. I swear, every time I do this, I'm 80% better the next day. Pretty sure I've almost given myself water poisoning in the process but it's fine.
52. No matter how much you strive to be independent, lean on people every once in a while. It's okay, I promise.
53. You can't put out good art if you don't consume good art.
54. Nothing brightens someone's day more than surprise snail mail.
55. Car shopping is quite possibly the most miserable process on planet earth.
56. If you use an online calendar/calendar app, be sure to set it so that it doesn't delete your appointments after they've passed. Just trust me.
57. When you get the opportunity to learn from someone more experienced than you, soak in every second.
58. Dump your phone regularly. Don't let full storage stop you from taking as many photos as you possibly can.
59. Joy is a choice.
60. NaNo is never easy, but some years are even rougher than others. Be proud of what you accomplish, even if it's not what you hoped.
61. Prayer >>>>>>>>
62. Sometimes it's going to seem like nothing is working out and everything is falling apart, but in reality, God's pulling it all together.
63. College stuff sneaks up on you SO FAST. No one tells you just how early things are actually due. Don't let it catch you by surprise.
64. Make sure that you find your calculator BEFORE midnight the night before the SAT. Otherwise a Walmart run will be in your near future.
65. Jeremy Jordan Broadway covers will bless your life.
66. Dual credit is the best idea. Do as much as you can.
67. Getting your senior photos taken is one of the most surreal feelings.
68. Friends who send you cat photos when they know you're upset are the best kind of people you can possibly have in your life.
69. Bread will get you through anything.
70. You know things are low when you find yourself crashed on the couch at one am with comfort food you don't even like but are eating anyways.
71. There is nothing on earth better than having a class cancelled.
72. When your brain is messy, clean your space. It helps so so much.
73. Start working on Christmas presents in October. Just do it.
74. Dramatic musical theatre songs (LES MIS!) make the best alarms.
75. Breathe breathe breathe.
76. Seeing the Lord work in your friends' lives is without a doubt the most incredible thing to watch.
77. God WILL provide.
78. Show the people who are important to you that they're important to you.
79. Senior year and sleep basically do not exist simultaneously but try not to die of sleep deprivation. Going to bed before one am every now and then is a solid decision.
80. Sometimes you just need to eat ice cream for lunch.
81. Glitter makes the world a better place.
82. If you're getting the same advice from literally everyone in your life that you trust, you should probably listen.
83. Push yourself to make time to do what you love.
84. Writing things out will help you to process.
85. People are going to frustrate you, they're going to drive you crazy- love is a choice. Love them anyways.
86. It really really really really really really really doesn't matter what people think. No one will ever be as critical of you as you are of yourself.
87. Stand up for what you believe in without holding back.
88. Not everyone's going to like you, and it isn't the end of the world. Still working on being okay with this.
89. Anxiety can feel debilitating. Push through anyways.
90. Internet friends are some of the most wonderful people.
91. If you want to simultaneously bawl and be amazed, watch Bandstand.
92. There is no better feeling than driving home.
93. Completely avoiding drama makes your life so much easier.
94. Wing your eyeliner and do the thing.
95. Keep a book with you at all times.
96. Sunflowers make everything better.
97. God just might give you exactly what you never dared to hope for.
98. Graduation is the most special day. Soak up every second.
99. Don't wish away senior year. Enjoy every second.

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Also! In case you missed it on Twitter, the winners of the blogiversary giveaway are...

Abigail Lennah
Hanne T
Amanda from SKG

Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I so appreciate you celebrating with me! 

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What did this year teach you?
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