all is calm, all is bright

Monday, December 24, 2018

A few weeks ago, it snowed.

For my northern friends reading this, that probably seems like no big deal, but for the south, getting snow the first week in December is generally unheard of. Everyone thought that it wouldn't come, that we'd just get some freezing rain, maybe a flurry or two that would melt as soon as it hit the pavement. But no, we got snow. Inches and inches of it, covering our world in white. It was as magical as it was shocking, and I fell asleep that night with my blinds open, so that whenever I opened my eyes the first thing that I saw would be snowflakes falling from the sky.

That beautiful snow ended up keeping us indoors for three days, and your favorite introvert was thriving. After a hectic semester, nothing could have been more peaceful. We made waffles and ate lots of cookie dough and I knit for the first time all year. And for those three days, there was one single phrase that kept running through my brain over and over.

All is calm, all is bright. 

I think that if I were asked what a perfect world would look like to me, what I crave more than anything else, that sentence is the best way that I could possibly sum it up. All would be calm, and all would be bright. A little less rush and a little more light.

I sat in the kitchen one afternoon, staring out at the freshly white backyard. Though it was still cold enough for everything to be frozen, the sun was shining, and the reflection off the newly fallen snow resulted in the most beautiful light.

All was calm, and all was bright.


Christmas comes faster and faster every year, and suddenly, here we are. The trees have been trimmed, presents are wrapped up with neat little bows under the tree, and children around the world are beginning to bounce off the walls with anticipation. Our Instagram feeds are full of red and green and gold, of ice skates and families gathered round the table and crackling fireplaces.

I've always loved this time of year, and the spark of magic that comes with it. Everything is a little warmer, a little brighter, and a little more exciting. I love the tradition of it all, from the decorations put up in November that have been the same since I was small, to the day spent in my grandmother's kitchen year after year, baking more cookies than one would think could possibly be eaten. I love the anticipation of wrapping up a gift that I know that someone will love. I love the slow mornings of Christmas break, when there's finally nowhere to be but home. I love the evenings spent with my family piled into the living room, watching holiday movies that we know by heart. I love how everyone is a little happier and a little more festive and a little bit kinder.


My prayer for you this Christmas is that all will be calm, and all will be bright. Calm and bright can be kind of hard to find these days. We live in a world of rush and heaviness. If I'm being honest, even with a winter wonderland, I can't remember the last time that all was calm, and as desperately as I wish for it, everything isn't always bright. I know that, and it's always true, but I think that it's a little harder around Christmas. More than anything, there's an added longing for everyone around you to be able to experience that moment of peace. So I pray that, amidst all of the hurt and the ugliness and the hard stuff, you have that moment of calm. No matter how 2018 has treated you, whether it's been the best or the worst or somewhere in between, I pray that something is bright. That even if you don't feel much like celebrating this year, you have a moment to breathe in the grace of our Savior.  

Merry Christmas, friends. I love you so much, and I hope that your day is filled with so much peace and so much joy. ♥

Thankfulness Thursday V

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I am convinced that there are few things in life better for you than challenging yourself to chase gratitude.

Because let's be honest. When I say chase, I mean it. Sometimes, you have to quite literally sprint after gratitude, to push yourself to grasp it between your shaking fingers. When things get busy and stressful, when the overwhelm takes over, gratitude seems far off. But if there's one thing that chasing after gratitude will teach you, it's that it's always worth it.

Every November, as I write up these Thankfulness Thursday posts and send them out into the wild void that is the internet, I'm reminded of this. That, like love, gratitude isn't always going to be a feeling. You aren't always going to wake up first thing in the morning and be flooded with joy and thankfulness. You're going to get tired and you're going to dread the tasks in front of you and you're going to wish for nothing more than to bury yourself away for the rest of the month.

But you have the choice to do otherwise. 

You have the choice to decide that you're not going to let that inclination win. You have the choice to get up and face the tasks ahead of you not as things that you have to do, but as things that you get to do. You can dread getting up and going to school, or you can take a breath and simply be glad that you're physically able to do that. You can wish that you didn't have to go to that event, or you can be thankful for the friend that you're going to get to hug while you're there.

It's all a choice. 

Over the last few months, one of the most prominent reminders that I've had whirring around in my brain is how much completely minuscule crap that we complain about every single day. Everywhere I go, it seems that all I hear is the negative about people's lives, the tiny things of no value that they let ruin their day. I never hear about the good things, I just hear about how much they don't want to take that test or run that errand. And when I say ruin their day, I mean that. People let these things that quite frankly won't matter in a month suck any joy out of their day, and subsequently drain everyone around them.

And I get it. I really, truly do. I'm as guilty as anyone of seeing a friend and immediately venting about the current source of stress in my life. And I'm not saying that that's a bad thing at all. Friends are there for a reason. We need people in our lives who are there when we're overwhelmed or having a bad day or just need to rant. But why is it the norm for that to be all that we ever do?

I'm not saying to fake being fine; I'm not saying that at all. That's never healthy. But is dwelling in a sea of negativity healthy either?

We have to have a balance. We have to be able to acknowledge that hey, this thing is happening that I'm really not a fan of, and it's getting on my nerves - but it's also not the end of the world, and there's more to life than a task that I don't like.

There's such an infinite amount to be grateful for, even when there may not be a massive, joy filled blessing that you've been waiting and waiting for staring up at you. You have the choice to choose gratitude. That choice is something that no person and no circumstance can take away from you.

So friends, if you only take one thing away from Thankfulness Thursdays this year, let it be this - gratitude is a choice that will only make your life better. You have nothing to lose by choosing to be grateful. It doesn't cost anything except maybe taking a step back and chipping away a bit of pride. So as we go into December, into a month that can be magical or miserable, let that thought linger. Hold onto it. Grasp it between your shaking fingers.

There is so much to be thankful for.


Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥


Thanks for sticking around for another year of Thankfulness Thursdays, my beautiful friends. What are you thankful for?

Thankfulness Thursday IV - Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! ♥

Per usual, it's been a quiet Thanksgiving around here, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanksgiving for us always begins with watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and is followed with spending the rest of the day with family and way too much food. We've started to get Christmas decorations out, and I think that it's safe to say that the holiday season is officially in full swing. Despite the fact that I've been listening to Christmas music since August for my dance classes, it feels like the season snuck up on us so quickly this year, but I'm ready to throw myself headfirst into the Christmas preparations. Thanksgiving always feels like the calm before the storm, a day to rest and reset before the final stretch of the year, and I kind of love it. 

For last year's Thanksgiving Thankfulness Thursday post, I talked about what I was thankful for over the course of the past year, and I decided to continue the tradition. It's always nice to take a step back and look at the big picture of it all, don't you think? 


When I think over everything that I'm thankful for from 2018, the main theme that comes up over and over again is that I am just so ridiculously grateful for the people in my life. Every single one of my favorite memories is near and dear to my heart entirely because of the people involved. On top of the amazing family that I already have, Jesus has given me the best "adopted family" I could have ever asked for, and I'm so grateful for all of the pieces of home that I have scattered in every direction. I so don't deserve such wonderful people, but I love them with my whole heart. 

I am thankful for theatre, and the massive gift that it is in my life. It's not an easy art to love, but it's been the thing that has shaped me more than any other, and I wouldn't want to live in a world without it. I'm so beyond grateful to now not only love it, but have the opportunity to have a job in it as well. I'm so grateful for people who believe in me enough to give me the chance to do what I love.

I am thankful for the internet, and for the community that we've created here. Even when life is crazy and steps back have to be taken, I always return to this space so grateful to have somewhere that we can all do what we love surrounded by some of the most incredible people on the planet. Through the internet, I've gotten to know people with incredible drive and ambition and dreams, people who are creating SUCH COOL THINGS, and who also make the absolute best friends. People who pray for you and encourage you, people who always make your day brighter and who help you when you feel like you're drowning. You guys are such a bright spot in my day, and I love you all so much.

I am thankful for senior spring, and the wildly beautiful ride that it was. It was so hard, but amidst the stress and the overwhelm, it was a season of grace upon grace upon grace.

I am thankful that while we live in a world that's so messy and screwed up and broken, we also live in a world that has sunsets and music and art and warm blankets and all of the wonderful little things that make the mess a little more bearable. I'm thankful for simple bright spots in the midst of mundanity, and for the fact that they leave room for optimism when it's not immediately the easiest to find. 

Primarily, I am thankful for a God who continues to teach me new things every day, who cares about every detail of my life and answers prayers in ways I would have never dreamed of. Over the course of this past year, I have seen prayer after prayer answered, and I am consistently overwhelmed with gratitude for that. I'm grateful for His consistency, patience, and love, His goodness and His faithfulness, and for how He has blessed me a thousand times over what I deserve. 


Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥


In case you missed it...


What are you thankful for this year?

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. :)


Thankfulness Thursday Friends ♥

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


In case you missed it...


What are you thankful for this week?

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