Thankfulness Thursday II

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Hi friends - Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Thanksgiving is always a quiet one over here, and that's exactly how I like it. I've been slammed as of late with all of the chaos of graduation (only two weeks away! what?!), and have been so looking forward to a quieter pace, even just for a day. 

The trees are more and more bare every time that I drive through the mountains, and I feel as though I'm living in an in-between, not here nor there. November always feels like that, I think, but even more so this year, with so much on the verge of changing and becoming new. I haven't decided if I like that yet. 

But for now, it's Thanksgiving, and my world is calm. And that is perfectly fine with me. :-)


Last year, for one of my Thankfulness Thursday posts, I wrote about moments of oblivion amidst the chaos that was 2020. Oblivion wasn't quite the right word - because let's be honest, we were all too aware of just about everything last year. But amidst the mess, there were moments in which the world didn't feel quite so terrible - moments where the hard wasn't quite so consuming. I wrote that those moments were what I wanted to remember of the year - not the moments of worry or hurt or exhaustion, but the moments of peace, of joy, of normalcy. 

I'd be lying if I said that I've managed to rewire my view of 2020 enough to look back on it with fondness - the 2020 Christmas ornament that I banned from my grandmother's Christmas tree can speak to that. (But come on, you can't tell me that thing would be a good omen for the holiday season. You just can't.) It remains a year that I would be all too happy to forget, no question about it. But looking back on the words that I wrote last year, there were so many moments that I'm grateful for, even if they felt far too few and far between. I don't know if a single post has ever transported me back to a litany of moments so quickly. 

I can't say I quite have the words for 2021 yet. I'm grateful that it's been lighter than 2020 was, but gosh it's been a rough one all the same. Still, I want to remember the good. I want to remember just how much  has been to be grateful for, even amidst it all. And so, a new tradition begins - of hanging on to those sweet moments of peace and oblivion, no matter where they're found. 


The new year begins. We're tired and we're sad and we're worn, but we blast Taylor Swift and start new traditions, and ring in the new year on the floor with a jigsaw puzzle. We hold on to hope. 


My mom and I road trip, just the two of us. The day is hard, but we drive into the sunset and play all of our favorite songs, and I think I could live in this moment.


Early February holds a morning that's just about perfect. The sun is shining, and my mom and sister and I go on a museum adventure. It's a gift in about a thousand ways. 


We play games with my grandparents and everything feels right again.


It's early, early March, but it's eighty degrees, and secretly I think the south knows I need it. (God knew I needed it.) I read in the sun. We get the best news that day, and I refuse to believe it's not related.


Spring comes again. I don't know why I always doubt it. 


My kids my kids my kids. God, I love my kids. It's not oblivion, no, but it's joy. They gave me a shirt so that I'd remember them, but how could I ever forget?


It's April and I find myself in the same coffee shop as Hannah Brencher. How is life real?


Performance night. Once again there's no oblivion to it, but one night I'm joined by a friend I haven't seen in ages, and the next I sit on the floor next to my favorite person. I wish I could hold onto them forever, but in this moment I'm just glad I'm here.


The roads are winding and unfamiliar, but before I know it, I'm in Georgia hugging Hailey and it's so sweet and so wild, I can't quite wrap my head around it. When I get home that night, there are cars wrapped down my driveway and so many of my favorite humans are on my back porch, talking and laughing, and it is so, so good.


We dance in the sun.


Two weeks at the sea. The ocean always tries to heal my heart, bit by bit. I sit on the porch and stare at the sunset until there isn't a drop of light left, tiny flecks of seashells and sand still stuck to my skin.


"I booked my flight."


There's nothing I love more than the late summer air. We sit under the lights in my best friends backyard and laugh with people who've been there for it all.


June sounds like the rustle of picnic blankets and the snap of a camera lens. We explore our own city, because why not?


Atlanta. There will never be words. We run around the city and laugh over the stupidest things and soak in every last second of being together. It's summertime picnics and good music and staying in Hanne's hotel room until ungodly hours because we just don't want to say goodbye.


I turn twenty-one and feel more loved than I knew was possible. All I can think as I drift off to sleep: may we all be so lucky.


Book sales and cream puffs and my sweet grandma's birthday. I teach my first dance classes since May just a few days later and leave that night to the prettiest sunset.


My last first day. It's strange to be back, but this time, my sister is with me. We run into old friends and face the season of new.


I have never been so grateful to hear my phone's text chime.


September holds weekends at the lake and the most precious downtown day and picnics with Mary Shelley. The crepe myrtles are still in bloom, and I snap a photo for Keira. 


The weeks blur, but they're sweet. Dancing in the car and eyeball parties in literature, movie kidnappings and lots of Come From Away.


We celebrate my grandparents' sixtieth anniversary with a last-minute beach retreat. We walk, and I savor every sunrise.


Broadway is back. It's the very first night and our city is alive. I've never seen this many people at the theater before, and the electricity makes me want to weep. No one cares about the masks or the checks - we're just here to watch Orpheus bring the world to life once more.


The fall afternoons are gentle. I sit on the swing with the same book I've been trying to finish all semester and watch people pass as they crunch through the fallen leaves. The light is golden as I drive home through the winding roads, and music from the playlist my friends sent pumps through my speakers and into my heart.


Some people just feel like home, and she's one of them. We sit on her porch for hours, and I end up in her kitchen until late into the night. And I'm nothing but grateful. 


The light is perfect as I spin through the field. I hear the click of the camera and can't believe there are just a few weeks left. 


It's freezing and I couldn't care less. I laugh with three of my dearest friends for the first time in three and a half years, and I think to myself how lucky I am to have people who loved me at nine and still love me today. How lucky we are, the four of us, to have each other.


Thanksgiving. We're together. What else could I ever ask for?


I am so easily discouraged when I think back on the past year. But oh, how much gratitude I hold for it. 

I'm grateful that when it comes to moments from the past year, this post really only scratches the surface.

I'm grateful for rest, and for art, and for light. 

I'm grateful for laughter - because isn't it just the most beautiful thing?  

I'm grateful for new beginnings, even when they're the last thing that I want. I'm grateful that the sun always rises in the morning, and that life can, too.

I'm grateful for connection, and for community. Life is always, always, always more beautiful when I'm with my people. I'm grateful for the friendships that span decades, and for the friendships that span months, and I'm grateful for the people who've come into my life through this space - wildly, wildly grateful. You all have held me up, time and time again, and I feel forever in your debt for that.

I'm grateful for a God who holds me, even when I'm crazy enough to think He's not. I'm grateful that He loves me even when my brain is a mess, and that He keeps reminding me, over and over again. 

I'm grateful that we're here. That I'm here. That you're here. That my people are alright. For health, and for home. The world's still spinning. We're all here. And that will always be more than enough. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Thanks for sticking around for another year of Thankfulness Thursdays - they've been a joy. Grateful for each and every one of you every day. 


Thankfulness Thursday Friends 

Thankfulness Thursday I

Thursday, November 11, 2021

And, we're back. :-)

For the past seven years (!!!), November has meant Thankfulness Thursdays here on the blog. It's so funny because I truly never intended for this to be what it has become - when I started Thankfulness Thursdays, I was fifteen and couldn't come up with anything to post about on my blog. I remember distinctly talking to my mom about it in the car one day and saying, "Well, it's November, so I guess I can do a gratitude series or something to have some content this month." I certainly never expected to still be here, six Novembers later, but I'm oh so glad that I am. :-)

I know that I keep promising to come back with life updates and all of my typical content, and I promise, I haven't forgotten. Soon soon soon!

But for now, Thankfulness Thursdays are taking the reins. In case you're new and don't know the drill - every Thursday for the month of November, I share a post here on the blog centering around gratitude or what I'm particularly grateful for. Over the years, the challenge has changed and grown and now we keep the party going over on Instagram as well! I started the month over there this time around, but I'm planning to have the next three weeks here one the blog, too. 

My favorite part of Thankfulness Thursdays is seeing people join in - I love this little community, and I love hearing your thoughts over the course of the month. There’s no major method to the madness - I would just love for you to share what’s on your heart this November. This year has been a wild one, and I’m really hoping that Thankfulness Thursdays will be a way for us all to take a step back and just breathe.

Tag me in your posts on Instagram, and I will share them on my story, and shoot me a comment, email, or DM if you post for Thankfulness Thursday on your blog, and I’ll link to it on my blog post for that week so that we all can see what everyone is sharing.


This year has been a strange one. I think that a piece of me thought that once we got past 2020, we would be able to breathe again, and while there's no doubt that this year has been no 2020 (thank GOD), I can't call it a cakewalk, either. I feel as though I'm living in a dichotomy of immense gratitude and utter uncertainty and unrest, and I don't know how to level the two. Perhaps you never do? 

The biggest thing that I know is that we constantly have to be rewiring our brains for gratitude. Because at the end of the day, it's a choice - choosing gratitude in the midst of the uncertainty. 

A few months ago, I was talking on the phone with a friend. She was asking me what I was thinking as far as life after graduation goes (because, oh yeah, I graduate in four weeks. Like I said, I really need to do a life update on here), and I was expressing my general panic at the fact that I have no earthly idea. I've always been the girl with a plan, and suddenly not having one is just about my least favorite thing in the world. 

I truly don't remember what I even said, but after I finished explaining where I was with it all, my friend said, "Well, isn't that kind of exciting though?" 

(Reader, I have not been excited.)

"You don't have any expectations for this season," she said, "and it's pretty hard to be disappointed when you don't have any expectations to begin with. So really, you can just be excited to see what happens next, right? You get to do something new, and you have all the options in the world. So, look at the excitement of it. Not the fear." 

It was a perspective that I quite literally had not even begun to consider before that moment. 

And, despite my ongoing anxiety about it all - it helped me to reframe my perspective. 

It helped me to find gratitude in a situation that I hadn't been giving much space for positivity at all. 

And isn't that what we have to keep doing in everything? 

It's about reframing. It's about gaining a new perspective. It's about taking a step back and letting yourself look at something in a different light - a better light. 

So here's to reframing towards gratitude, even when it's hard - and to the people who help us do it when we aren't able to on our own. 

May we hold those people close - and may we be those people to those around us. 


Thankfulness Thursday Friends 


What are you grateful for this week, friend? I'd love to hear. And hey - I'd love for you to join in the Thankfulness Thursday challenge. Be sure to drop a link in the comments if you do - I'd love to share it, and I'd love to see it.  ♥ Check out my instagram to see some of the incredible humans joining in over there on my story - I love them all so dearly.

what is it?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Hi, friends.

It's been a minute.


I had absolutely no intentions of stepping away from this space. I truly didn't. 

Life got wild, and, well, you know the drill. 

Anyways, this is just me slowly trying to make my way back. :-) 

I've still been writing a lot while I've been away - in the Tuesday Letters, over on Insta...basically everywhere *except* for here. Hopefully we're changing that.

But before I get into life updates and all of that good stuff, I wanted to give this piece a space to live here on the blog. 

I shared these words back in July, less than a week before my twenty-first birthday. They're a big chunk of my heart over the past year or so - the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's a piece that means a lot to me, and I thought it deserved a permanent space.

I hope you're all doing so, so well, and that October has been a kind one.

Wishing you clear skies. xx



"He rained down manna for the people to eat,
He gave them the grain of Heaven."

- Psalm 78:24


The sunlight is gentle through my window today.

It's been the kind of thunderstormy day that makes up most of the summertime in the south, with two minute downpours that give way to the clearest of skies minutes later. It's quiet now, hazier, and the golden light that normally pours into my bedroom is tinged by the clouds.

As I'm sitting here trying to peck out this letter that's probably going to end up far more vulnerable than I'd planned, I'm DMing a friend, asking the question that you probably are, too - how are we already almost halfway through July?

Some days feel so slow, and yet the summer is absolutely flying by. I looked at a calendar last night and realized just how soon classes will be starting up, and I think that I've decided that I don't need to look at calendars anymore.

Denial is a healthy coping mechanism, right?


The next time that a Tuesday Letter lands in your inbox, I'll be twenty-one.

All week, I've found myself thinking about life a year ago - how different it was, in so many ways. How much has stayed the same, both in ways I'm grateful for and in ways that I'd give anything to change. And amidst the mess of it all, in looking back and sorting through the summer that broke my heart, I remember being so completely terrified to turn twenty.

I wrote about it, as I do most things, so if you were around a year ago, this isn't news to you. But I was so anxious, in a way that was almost paralyzing, because I felt as though I'd hit two decades of life with nothing to show for it. I wasn't where I'd hoped I'd be on my timeline, and I didn't know what to do with that.


If I'm being dead honest, twenty has quite possibly been the hardest year of my life.

The first six months to the day were a sea of grief, and I've spent the past six trying to figure out where to go from there.

My initial anxieties about being twenty - worries about things I hadn't done or made it to - quickly faded to the back of my radar as I became settled in the fact that there was nothing truly momentous about a new decade; each day was another day like any other.

But instead I felt so bogged down with the weight of everything in day to day life that I simply wanted to breathe.


In the Old Testament, there's a story in which the Israelites wander the desert for forty years.

They're searching for the Promised Land, but they can't get there - God won't let them. They were disobedient and didn't trust Him, and so He left them to wander. Without help, all of the Israelites would have died quickly in the barren desert. But six days a week, God rained bread down from the heavens for them to eat - manna.

There's a post on Jane Marczewski's blog called "God is on the Bathroom Floor".

In the post, Jane, better known as Nightbirde, writes about her relationship with God amidst tragedy. Immense trauma left physical damage to her brain, and she write about the autumn that she spent wrestling with God in the rawest way.

"I remind myself," she writes, "that I’m praying to the God who let the Israelites stay lost for decades. They begged to arrive in the Promised Land, but instead He let them wander, answering prayers they didn’t pray. For forty years, their shoes didn’t wear out. Fire lit their path each night. Every morning, He sent them mercy-bread from heaven.

I look hard for the answers to the prayers that I didn’t pray. I look for the mercy-bread that He promised to bake fresh for me each morning. The Israelites called it manna, which means “what is it?” 

That’s the same question I’m asking—again, and again. There’s mercy here somewhere—but what is it? What is it? What is it?"

It's the question that I think I've spent the last year asking: what is the mercy here? Where is the good? I know in my brain that You are good, but I look around and ask: where is it? What is it? I find myself feeling like a hypocrite, writing letters and posts and emails in the morning about finding the good, seeing the good, and then turning to my journal the same night and questioning when I'll see it myself.

But then the post continues, and the words of a woman who's known more pain than I can fathom are a balm to my heart.

"I see mercy in the dusty sunlight that outlines the trees, in my mother’s crooked hands, in the blanket my friend left for me, in the harmony of the wind chimes. It’s not the mercy that I asked for, but it is mercy nonethelessAnd I learn a new prayer: thank you. It’s a prayer I don’t mean yet, but will repeat until I do."

When I look back over the last year, over twenty, and I really look at it, I see where the mercy lies all over it. Oh, I spent the year praying for mercy alright, and at first glance, it never came. Those midnight prayers and whispers as I went about the day sometimes feel like nothing more than that - whispers. But mercy was there nonetheless. It's not obvious, not screaming for attention, but it's there, in the grace of a quiet morning with my mother and sunlight on my back porch and the kindness of someone miles away. And no, it wasn't the mercy that I asked for, but since when am I the one to make the call on the mercy that I deserve? Who am I to negate the mercy I've been handed?

I spent most of twenty feeling as though the overwhelm of it all would crush me. But that's the thing about manna - you always get exactly as much as you need. God didn't leave the Israelites to starve, and He also didn't give them more than their share. God isn't a God of messy estimates - He gives exactly the portion you need to be handed.

And so I'm reminded that despite the chaos, despite the heaviness, I'm still here, in many ways in a place that I couldn't have imagined eight months ago. And there is no ounce of false belief in my mind that I could have managed that alone, that I got myself here. It was all manna.

And that's where the prayer comes in: "thank you". The whisper of a prayer that we don't always mean, but repeat until we do. Thank you for grace. Thank you for breath. Thank you for manna, rained down in the portion that we so need, even when it's the furthest thing from what we hoped for or asked for or wanted.

It's a daily act - finding the manna in the desert. Recognizing it for what it is when it didn't come in the form that you thought it would, dropping gratitude from your dry lips day after day after day. Because if I'm going to wander, at least I'm not doing it alone.

I don't think that twenty will ever be a year that I look back on with fondness. But I also hope that when I think back to these days, I remember the manna - even as it's a daily process of finding it. Maybe it's rarely been what I asked for, maybe it's never been what I asked for. But it's sustenance all the same, because it was never about my plans, anyways, was it?

I am here and I have been sustained, and that's the greatest mercy of all.

So, here's to twenty-one. I don't have the faintest idea what it will hold in any way - but I know that I will be sustained. And I know that the manna will still be here.

And so I whisper "thank you" until I mean it, letting my days become tinged with gratitude like streaks of color in the sky, because there is mercy here.

beneath the dirt

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Impatience tugs at my spirit, and I don’t know if it’s aimed at myself or at Him.

I’m never doing enough or creating enough or moving quickly enough, and why am I living in this limbo? Why don’t I know where I’ll land?

I’m a child thrusting seeds in the dirt only to dig them back up again, clutching them in my muddy palm as I run back to His feet. “Why aren’t they blooming?” I beg, showing Him the seeds as though He didn’t set them in my hand. As if He didn’t send the rain that turned the dirt to mud underneath my fingernails.

But He reaches out and curls my fingers into fists, tightening what He’s always urging me to loosen. Guiding me back to my knees to push the seeds beneath the dirt once more.

And when the rain comes again, it washes over me, through my hair and down my back, dirt running down my fingertips and leaving me bare. The skin is tender and red and the words I’ve tattooed across my body day after day are gone now.

I look to Him and a smile tugs at His lips. He points to the ground where a single sprout pokes up from the dirt I’ve dug up and packed down again day after day.

And when He smiles, it’s not filled with the “I-told-you-so” that I deserve. It’s just a smile.

#writtentospeak writing prompts: Blooming | Patience | Rain
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