wishing you...pink skies?

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Well, hello there, 2023. 

The start of a new year always makes me reflective – I know, you never would have guessed. I spend days beforehand mulling over all that the past twelve months have held, wondering what the next twelve have in store, and filling up arguably too many pages in my journal. 

When Saturday rolled around and we found ourselves in the final hours of 2022, I knew there was only one thing to do that would feel like the proper sendoff for a year that I couldn’t quite define. 

And so, I went on a walk. 

I think that I spent more time walking in 2022 than I have in past years combined. I’d never really had the time or space to make it a regular part of my routine before, but suddenly it was my sanity point. Last January marked quite possibly the worst my anxiety had ever been, and walking became a catharsis I didn’t know I needed. I’d pray, or talk to friends, or walk over to a nearby lake to read for a little while. It was such a point of healing for me. 

It only felt fitting to end the year in the way that had most grounded me. The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun warm on my face despite the crisp air. I set out, my phone silenced, to say goodbye to one of the weirdest years of my life in the best way I knew how. 

It had rained earlier in the day, and the world felt fresh, new. Like it was preparing for midnight’s strike right along with me. 

I bumped into my mom and sister at the halfway point of the walk, and we stopped to talk for a minute. “Remember when we went on a walk last year a few days before New Year’s and the sky was so pink?” I asked my mom. “I wish that it was like that again today.” There were streaks of gold along the horizon, but it didn’t look to be a sunset night – which was fine. The blue had been magical enough on its own.


We parted ways, and they kept walking while I hung back by the water for a little while. It was getting colder, but I couldn’t bring myself to mind. A piece of me just didn’t want to leave, as if staying by the lakeside would keep me in 2022, as if I could stave off the new year by lingering in the healing the old one had brought. 

Finally, I set off again through the old wooded path back home. It’s winding and steep, and always feels a little bit like stepping into another world.

When I emerged from the trees and looked up, the sky was streaked with pink. 

I actually froze in my tracks. No way.

But there it was – not identical to last year’s, but beautiful all on its own, feathery and light and painted like brushstrokes between the clouds.

I stood at the trailhead, my eyes locked on the sky, wishing that my phone could capture the sight as beautifully as it truly was. Deciding that maybe I didn’t mind it being just for me. 

Because that really was how it felt – like it had been put there just for me. 

As I’ve been taking the time to look back over all that 2022 held, I keep coming back to a single word over and over again – grace. In so many ways, 2022 was my grace year. It was a year I stepped into completely blind and more than a little terrified, and here at its end, I can’t help but marvel at all of the ways grace was laced into my story. The things I never expected, the people I got to have by my side, the healing I didn’t know could come. Grace upon grace upon grace, a God more gracious than I could fathom. 

And after this year of absolutely unwarranted grace, a moment with Jesus and a freshly painted sky felt like the sweetest conclusion to it all. 

I don’t know what 2023 will hold. But I know the One who sustains me, and I know that I’ll be carried through. 

That’s enough. 

As we step into the new year, I want to leave you with these words by Neil Gaiman – a wish for your year. I hope it’s a beautiful one, friends. 

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in this world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

waiting joyfully

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

It’s six pm, and the world is dark.

It’s only a few days after Daylight Savings as I’m writing this, a blanket wrapped around me as I sit at my desk, unprepared for the chill the evening would bring. I’m still not used to how quickly the light dissipates now, how I blink and it’s slipped away for the day.

I dread this time of year nearly as soon as the first day of summer hits—as soon as I know that the light will begin fading. It will be June, and I’ll be watching the sunset from the hood of my car at eight pm and I’ll be thinking, I never want to lose this.

I always do eventually; that’s the nature of time. Still, it always catches me off guard, wishing for the light to come back.

In years past, the arrival of November has meant the near-implosion of my world, a season of intense insanity. This year is different, my life more still in nearly every way, and I’ve found myself thinking about how to slip into the season with grace instead of barreling through as I normally have to.

We live in a culture that likes to move at warp speed. We wear busyness as a badge of honor, exhaustion the mark of a life of worth. And yet, in many ways, the change of season acts as a direct contradiction to those tendencies. Slow down, it says. It’s not light out anymore. Your work is done for the day.

In Danish culture, the concept of hygge describes a lifestyle based in coziness and comfort. It centers around warmth, rest, and gratitude, and is a cherished part of life for the Danes. It’s not fancy or elaborate, but it’s about lingering in simple joys and finding contentment in the slow moments of the everyday—and allowing space for that slowness.

As we step into the darker days of late autumn and face the fast-approaching winter, it’s the perfect time to embrace a bit more of the hygge lifestyle. To slow down. To carve out space for slow evenings with warm food and good books. To acknowledge that there’s value in taking time to breathe and to rest with the sun.

Hygge, some people say, is one of the greatest tools to counteracting the heaviness that comes with the winter darkness. It’s not a miracle cure—therapy and medication are still necessary lifelines that can’t be replaced overnight. But it’s been found to greatly alleviate the sadness and anxiety that can come with the winter months.

It’s about powering down and plugging into the life in front of you—and embracing the ways in which that life can become a little softer and a little kinder.

For me this fall, that’s looked like powering down from work as early in the evening as I can, and leaving my laptop on my desk, out of reach—not a novel concept, but a definite jump from the girl who’s spent most of her life bringing her laptop to bed with her into the wee hours of the morning. It’s looked like turning the twinkle lights on more often, and knitting and doing macrame while watching a comfort show with my sisters.

It's meant looking at the life I’m currently living, and finding ways to build new routines into it that are steadier and better. It’s been years since I’ve had any sort of regular nighttime routine, but I’ve been making a point to curl up with a blanket before I go to bed and take the time to go through my planner for the next day, to journal, and to read a few chapters of a novel. Recently, I made a list of all the cozy books I want to take the time to reread over the winter months instead of only trying to barrel through my ever-growing TBR. I’m going to start by jumping into Pride and Prejudice—it really does feel like coming home.

There’s an art to it, really, the act of slowing down. It takes a level of intention and mindfulness that we don’t always gravitate towards. But the rewards are so, so rich.

It reminds me of the words of one of my favorite creatives, Jenna O’Brien, who owns the cutest loose leaf tea business. She celebrated her business’s one year anniversary back in September, and took the time in her newsletter to share how tea had affected her life over the past few years. “Tea reminds me to slow down,” she wrote first and foremost. “It always takes 5 minutes to brew – and so it’s created a practice of waiting joyfully.”

Perhaps, at its core, that’s what hygge is really about—knowing that brighter days will come again, and learning how to wait joyfully until they do.

the beautiful impossible

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

July is rapidly spinning towards its close, and I find myself sitting by the window, letting the sunshine and the sounds of the late summer morning wash over me. It's quiet here, my little neighborhood, the silence only broken by the rumble of a passing delivery truck or the laughter of the little boys next door bursting outside to play for just a few more minutes. The crape myrtle waves in the breeze outside my window, and when I look down at my keyboard, tiny pieces of glitter dance in the light, still clinging on from the best birthday surprise. Today is a breath of quiet after the craziest, most wonderful week, and I'm letting myself sit in it, tired in the way that only comes from days you know you'll remember.

When I graduated at the end of 2021 and stepped into the new year, I found myself overwhelmed with the prospect of how isolating post-grad life would be. It was the coldest, dreariest time of year, I was working remotely, and it felt as though everyone's lives were spinning on but mine. It was stagnant and strange, and I remember thinking that there was no way anything would be shifting anytime soon.

I don't think I would have believed it if someone told me then about the ways the next seven months would go - the old friends who would fall back in rhythm, the new humans I never saw coming, the way paths would cross for people I've known through this space for years and years to finally become in-person friends, too. It's been weird and baffling and I'm so grateful for it, so grateful for how wrong I was.

I remember writing a Tuesday Letter a little over a year ago about community, one of my favorite letters from last summer. I wrote about the fact that we're hardwired for connection, and about the fact that God isn't going to intend something for us without also providing. My doubt is so quick to jump in there, to jump to a mindset of scarcity, and yet over and over again, He reminds me of the lack of truth in that, in ways I never see coming.

This past Sunday, through the wildest chain of events, I got to hug the first three friends I ever made through the blogosphere - friends who've been one of the dearest parts of my world for the past seven years. We met as fifteen-year-old bloggers, throwing words out into the void, until one day someone was on the other side of the screen. I remember the summer we all met so distinctly - lying sprawled across the living room floor, afternoon sun streaming through the blinds as I messaged these girls that lived states and states away, daydreaming of the brunches and sleepovers and adventures we would have one day. We were determined, we said, but we were fifteen, and our worlds didn't extend within each other's grasp.

One day, we agreed. One day, it'll happen.

There were a thousand misses over the years - close calls that didn't quite work, layovers that were just a bit too far out of reach, trips and hopes and one wildly wistful New York internship that just never came to be.

So when Rachel texted us in November that she would be flying to the East Coast in July, I didn't let myself hold on too tightly.

It was eight months away, after all, and all of our lives felt a little up in the air. Who knew what the next eight months would bring? We'd been living in an era of shutdowns and shifted plans, and it was all-too-likely that this could be yet another round.

And then, a few months later, she bought the tickets.

"I have the morning free!" she texted us. "If anyone wants to meet for coffee, I'd love to see you!"

And so I held the date tight in my mind. Didn't circle it on my calendar - it felt too much like tempting fate - but tattooed it behind my eyes, July 24th. Crossing fingers and biting my tongue and sending hesitant texts -

"Want to ride together?"

"What are you wearing?"

"I found three coffee shops - you pick."

Eight months later, July 24th rolled around, and friends - it was perfect.

There's just something about sitting around a table with people who know you - really know you - and who get the pieces of you that can't quite be put into words. But they were there, too. They know.

It was sweet and special and healing, and it felt like a little miracle in the palm of my hand. To sit with people who knew my fifteen-year-old dreams and my eighteen-year-old fears, to be twenty-two and unpack the ways that things have changed - the ways we've changed - together. To see something we spent seven years hoping for come to life, even just for a day.

There's something magical about getting to see a beautiful impossibility become real. To remember that there may be days where it feels like the world is burning, like everything is too heavy to hold, but that there will be other days that remind you that sometimes, good things do take time. That something you hold on to can still become tangible, no matter how afraid you are to believe it.

And I'm just grateful for it all - for the miraculous magic of internet connections and steady friendship and community in all of its forms.

Here's to the impossible - may 22 be filled with its wonder.

and with grace and grace and grace

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Last night, a friend asked me how my summer had been going.

"Lots of work," I texted back, "lots of back and forth. Lots of chaos. I feel like I can't even remember it all."

No, I can't seem to remember it all, and if I'm being honest, I struggle to describe it. Life has spun a thousand miles a minute the past few months, and in so many ways it has been so good, so special - though I'd be lying if I said I didn't find myself craving a moment to breathe every now and then. So far, this year has been a bundle of contradictions: slow and hectic, uncertain and stable, heavy and light. I talk to friends and they feel the same way - is this the erratic rhythm of being in your twenties? I find myself certain yet confused, hopeful yet worn, and I wonder how to make sense of it all, how best to move forward when things feel murky and strange.

"Happy, free, confused, and lonely" never felt quite so close.


Today, I turn 22.

It crept up on me this year, courtesy of a July that has flown by in a blur of humidity and friendship and hastily scribbled journal entries. Normally, the time between my sister's birthday at the beginning of the month and my own feels more marked, but this time it's slipped through my fingers like seawater. I don't even think I really processed the fact that it was nearly here, which, knowing me, might have been for the best.

Birthdays have always made me existential. (And I truly do mean always - according to my mom, turning four was absolutely devastating to me.) I find myself spending the weeks leading up obsessing over all I've yet to do and accomplish, panicking over all the upcoming year will hold. This year, though, has been such a whirlwind that I find myself unusually calm as the next trip around the sun approaches. Maybe August will be the month that brings my latest existential crisis, or maybe I'm finally coming a little bit more to terms with the fact that there's no use in anything but open hands.


21 was a year of hurting and healing. It was fast and strange and full of so much that felt new. A year that felt like a demolition of sorts, but also like rebuilding. I have a feeling that 22 will be a little like that, too.

I never pictured that I would be where I am, that life would look like it does, but I'm finding that there's a special sort of hope in that, in the knowledge that I'm not steering the ship. In the fact that I'm here, and my people are here, and that's more than enough. Months and months ago, I remember coming across a post by Written to Speak that read, "let mercy meet the madness", and in so many ways, I feel like that's the defining phrase of the past few years of life - so much madness, but mercy that supersedes it all, that's carried me through in ways I'll never begin to be able to put to the page.

It's 2am now, and I'm penning these words in the dark, listening to the hum of the cicadas outside my window. I'm wrapped in my favorite sweatshirt, a soft gray one with long drawstrings that I bought at goodwill for three dollars because it reminded me of the beach, and my cat is curled up asleep at my feet for the first night in months. The quiet is comforting, and the summer night is warm, and I feel my eyelids beginning to grow heavy.

And maybe I don't know what the year will bring, but I know that it began with doughnuts in the kitchen, because according to Taylor swift, 22 is breakfast at midnight. I know that it began with laughter, and dramatic singing, and texts that leave me marveling at the people God has let me have in my world. It began with my mom and my sisters and the peace that comes from a night after a July thunderstorm.

There is a very big piece of me that is purely terrified of a new year - that's scared to death to keep building this life, to make so many different decisions and jumps. Scared of failing, of making the wrong call, of all that will come that I can't control.

And yet, over and over, when I think of life and 22 and whatever wild adventure this year will be, I think of words that my dear, dear friend, Hannah wrote this past week that have been dancing through my mind ever since:

"Do it afraid, do it badly,
But do it earnestly
And with grace and grace and grace."

Because, as she has often reminded me, doing it afraid is just as brave - maybe braver. And so I carry that with me in my pocket, clinging to grace all the more tightly - do it afraid, do it badly, but do it earnestly. Do the next thing - and the next and the next and the next.

And I think maybe that's how you build a life - how you build an adventure.

So here's to you, 22 - to being uncertain and shaky, but here and sustained despite it all. To being happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time, to hopefully being a little less miserable and a whole lot more magical, and to a year of breakfast at midnight and falling in love with strangers. :-) I don't know what it will hold, but like Taylor says - I know that I'll just keep dancing.
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