Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015

I made a look-back post last year, so I figured I'd continue the tradition!
Happy New Year's Eve to all of you, and a blessed New Year! Stay safe on the road tonight, and let me know in the comments one thing you can't wait to accomplish in 2016.  

2015 was a crazy year.

 It included my second semester at Bible college, then an incredible and exhausting whirlwind two months of ministry at summer camp, followed by a mini break before jumping right back into the first semester of my junior year at my favorite university. (It's good to be back!) Along the way, 2015 has included adventures in hiking, photography, learning the backbone of what I believe, creating a yearbook, writing parts of my novel, learning more about journalism, creating a music blog, making friends, and breaking down. This year was all about leaning on the Lord's strength, not my own.




This was my desk during Bible college.
A pretty cluttered space, now that I look at it. It's so weird to remember my dorm room....that feels like ages ago. Is anybody else reminiscing today about 2015 as a whole and feeling sort of nostalgic and in awe?



My friends and I went to Oxford Exchange for Valentine's Day and basically felt judged by every hipster-y type on the planet. But while we were there, we got to have this really candid conversation with a complete stranger about church and his background with God. It was totally random, and wonderful! Good day.




Hiking. Oh, how I miss it.




This picture was taken on the first day of camp!
These girls were my absolute favorites to counsel with, and luckily this wasn't the only week we got to man a cabin together!
















Me & Adeline created a yearbook for our work assignment during the school year. This was the photo of us seeing the result of our (often stressful but wonderfully creative and bonding) work for the first time.


Me outside the antique store on my 22nd birthday.




My cousin and sister were basically my "mains" this year.
It's the most wonderful thing when your best friends are your family.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words"

This may be a strange thing to ask, but do you guys believe in "soul mates"?

I will admit that I don't like the term, as it has been cheapened by the commercial romanticism and fairy tale endings our movie-loving society thrives on, but the concept of having a soul mate is nevertheless on my mind this morning. My friends and I spent a large part of last night at Applebee's, debating and discussing, out of all things, the possibility of predestination and true love.

We wondered, do soul mates exist? Could there be such a thing?
I personally do believe in soul mates. Maybe not in the traditional sense of the term, with the perfect romantic ending and overly mushy feelings, but I'd like to think that even in a world 7 billion souls strong, it's not too hard for the God of the universe to create a true love for me. I'm not saying I have significant Scriptural basis for this, but I have certainly seen it to be true in the lives of others.

Guys, I really do not mean to sound cheesy, or as if I base my life on feelings instead of seeking the Lord, but I like to believe that there is one special man out there for me out of all men, a special one that the Lord God has prepared.

"But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman', for she was taken out of man.'"
~ Genesis 2:20b-23

God made Eve from Adam's rib. His rib! That's incredible to me -- his mate was formed out of a part of his own body. Wow! You know where I stand, but let me know what you think. Please share your thoughts! I am so curious to hear everyone's opinion on this!

+ Excuse the profanity, but this is the single most amazing poem I've ever heard about love, and I had to share it with you all. It captures such vivid emotion, and I adore it.

Friday, December 25, 2015

"take me to Your river; I wanna go"

Merry Christmas folks! 'Tis a beautiful day! ♥ 

My December 25th has been wonderfully snuggly so far, featuring early morning gift-giving, listening to my new Dry the River & Leon Bridges albums as they sleepily revolve on the record player, eating blueberry waffles and quiche at the breakfast table, sharing smiles with my family, nibbling on spoonfuls of ice cream and sliding around the dining room in my pair of cozy Christmas socks!

I hope your Christmas is just as leisurely, relaxing and family-focused as mine has been so far. 
Praise the Lord for all of life's little blessings and a Savior who cares!

+ Tell me about your Christmas! What fun traditions do you and your family have?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

hazy morning rays





I'm back from my trip to Ye Olde Writing Cabin, and might I say, it was divine.

This trip, I ran 10 miles for the first time in my life out on the little woodsy trail. My sister and I also took a bike ride on the same trail later that day and discovered a miniature jam stand that operates entirely on the honor system. These sweet country people literally just leave their precious preserves out in the open on this miniature wooden stand, and anyone who stumbles upon their sunny backstreet can purchase some. We bought plum jam. It was arguably the best $4 one could spend. #sotart #sofabulous

Also, today is a novel writing morning. It is (praise!) finally cold here today.
It's December 19, and it just may be this year's first documented case of Wearing a Beanie Because My Head is Actually Cold. This is something I think we all can celebrate.

How are you all doing?
I feel like I haven't blogged in a while. Days feel like small eternities on break, but I'm not complaining! Christmas is coming so soon, guys. Are you excited? CHRISTMAS!

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+ Want a music recommendation that is the audial equivalent of this post's picture? Click here. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

i know it's gotta stop, love, but i don't know how
























After a busy but fun week of plans with friends and family, I'm rising before the sun tomorrow to drive the winding, woodsy roads. They will lead me to my parent's teensy canary yellow cabin, where I plan to write my novel and run long distance on the little trail beyond the doorstep.

This may be the smallest of adventures, but I am so excited. 
I love planning the little details of a trip -- which music I'll listen to on the drive up, what foods I'm going to bring, which books will be my companion in the evenings. These things light me up inside.
 And that's probably because I'm 22 going on 85 years old. 

Seriously, am I the only one who gets wickedly excited when packing for a trip, however small?

+ I probably should post this on my music blog, and maybe I will later, but OH MY GOODNESS, I found a new favorite song and like a junkie I've listened to it 35 consecutive times. That's how you know it's killer! Check it out and tell me what you think!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

YOU are the beauty.


To celebrate finally being free of finals, and classes, and any real level of responsibility, my sister and cousin and I went out for a little bit of brunch this morning. It was tasty! That part was planned, but then we randomly decided to extend the visit further and go downtown to buy records!

Among the purchases were albums by Beach House, Florence + the Machine, and Tame Impala. Huzzah!
You can see the rest of my vinyl haul here.



Also wonderful? God is good. 
Last night He moved in some pretty interesting ways and answered my prayers for revival. So that was wonderful. I am still on my way of breaking out of my shell of insecurity, which seems to manifest itself most in the form of worries about body image or my personality, but He is faithful and good and true where I am not, the most loving God. And this life is so, so fleeting compared to an eternity spent with Him. I'm trying to remind myself of that!
























This has been the best day I've had in the longest time.
What was your day like? Anyone else finally finished with finals? It's time for the weekend, baby!

+ I have been meaning to post this for some time now, so you probably have already seen it, but if you have not, please check out this video on people's reactions to being told they are beautiful. It is so impactful. It even made my dad emotional!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You make me new, You are making me new

Photo credit courtesy of this link.
Last night I did a (potentially dumb) thing -- I prayed that God would challenge me. 

It seems a little daring in retrospect. It's sort of liking praying for patience -- why would anyone do that?! It just seems crazy. But my pastor once told me that when you ask God to take you on adventure, He always will. And I want that vibrant, shiny quality that Jesus always brings to my life. This semester I feel as if I have been living without it, surviving on mere substitutes. So today I'm praying that the Lord would renew me, would give me that love for people and push me out of my comfort zone of solitude.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 
~ 2nd Corinthians 3:17

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2nd Corinthians 5:17

I wish blog posts came with fragrances. This one would be the refreshing smell of a forest full of pines.

What about you? What does your week look like? What is on your mind?

+ My current Life After Finals Week goals include writing more letters, filling this lonely little bloggeth with some savory posts, running in the woods, working on a couple of art projects, buying pretty garments at thrift stores, and figuring out what the heck I'm going to get my dad for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

build a rocket ship & fly it far away

I'm starting to realize something about myself that I somehow always knew: 
I only need a handful of people in my life to be happy.

Yes, I must have always known this. But I'm seeing this truth in action as of late. While of course the craziness of finals week can make even the most social of souls reclusive and erratic, it's somehow shown me just how small a fraction of people I truly reach out to and allow to get close to me. Which sometimes can be a little lonely.

I don't say this as a negative thing, just as an observation. Does anyone else share my mindset? Maybe it's just the stress of a busy semester falling off of me, but right now I feel like I could just run away from my hometown and start a new adventure in a woodsy town I've never seen, where every face is fresh.

Is that calloused? Is that awful? Or is that the nature of being 22?
Your thoughts appreciated! 

Forgive me, my thoughts are coming out like scrambled eggs because I'M FINALLY FREE OF FINALS!

+ A big, BIG thank you to all of you who commented and shared your sweet thoughts on my last post. Reading every word from you guys made me smile during a crazy week! But praise the Lord, finals are over! School is done! The chaos is complete! And my mom and I got to see the Hunger Games today and it was #sogood.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"my love for you has always had a sad face"




Somehow, impossibly, tomorrow marks my last day of classes for the fall semester. 

I have two exams due Monday, and then it's complete.
Quite soon I shall be halfway through my junior year of college, just like that!

I am one of those souls that gets deeply nostalgic at the close of another semester.
I've been this way ever since elementary school. The end of another school year always means a miniature ending of an era, a moment in time closed off to me for good. Even though this semester has had its difficulties and irritations, I'm sad to see it go. I even thought to myself this week that I should love to stay in college forever.

To properly mourn this week, I hope to hit up a record store or grab a coffee or some other treat.
I may even go to see the last Hunger Games flick with my mom after my exams are finally finished.
It's weird; I'm sad that classes are ending but that's also super exciting. More time for writing my novel (more on that to come, I promise) and reading y'all's blogs, ya know?

What do you do to mourn/celebrate the end of another semester or school year? (: 

+ I have too many stories swirling in my head and I really can't wait to put them down on paper. 
I miss writing something awful. You all have thoroughly inspired me with your NaNoWriMo posts!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

i would be sad

Well, my dad told me, 
"One day son, this girl will think of what she's done, 
and hurting you will be the first of many more regrets to come." 
And he said, "If she doesn't call, then it's her fault, and it's her loss." 
I say, "It's not that simple, see," but then again -- it just may be.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

for the trees & your eyes & a God who cares



By the time you're reading this post it will be Thanksgiving so I should let you know that yesterday I woke up and missed my grandparents terribly. But I'm thankful, because what a life this is, and what wonderful humans I have been privileged to call family, and in retrospect and even looking forward, I can say that I wouldn't change a single darned thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

gather 'round the campfire



It was truly chilly last night for the first time this year.
 So my best friends and I pulled on our sweatshirts and winter coats and sat around a bonfire at my church. There were marshmallows, and smiles, and stars. 

Also, I'm done with school for the week and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
That means a hearty helping of family and pumpkin pie. Yes sir!

What does the rest of your week look like? Any Thanksgiving plans?

+ Here's a song & the verses that are making me smile today.

Friday, November 20, 2015

clouds



Outside, the sky is a foggy, stormy grey-white, yet somehow, that fits Friday. 
In fact, it's almost pleasant.

It's still morning, but I've already run four miles, strolled peacefully in the park, listened to Youth Lagoon's epic Savage Hills Ballroom LP on gold vinyl, and ate a hearty breakfast. Yes, I can feel it; today is the kind of day that makes you ponder life, makes you take a deeper look at things. My head is swimming with Youth Lagoon lyrics and possible prose for my novel. And God is only a prayer away, never too far from reach.

Life is beautiful.
Really step back and appreciate all you've been given today.

+ I took this photo of my mom in a garden in St. Augustine on our trip there last December. I think of St. Augs periodically, and today it is on my mind. Wishing I could be there to stroll through the brick back streets and take photographs. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

take heart

Hey, guys. 

I don't know about y'all, but what with the tragedy in Paris and just life in general lately, I've been feeling a little hopeless. Looking around at the world and humanity can be disheartening. But the Lord whispered one tiny verse to me today:
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
~ John 16:33
There is always a reason for hope. 
Lord, help us, for we are small and twisted and desperately longing for a loving touch from You.

+ This photo was taken during my last hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail in April. 
I am currently longing to trek into the woods once more, to stare at the trees and smell the woods and be a whole human again.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

click on this post & tell me about your saturday

Currently procrastinating writing my novel again, which is a shame because it's National Novel Writing Month, but who cares, because I ran seven miles for the first time in my life today, and the weather is perfect, and finally warrants wearing a sweatshirt, and my sister and I went on an adventure today, and there's a chance I could redesign this blog again, and Starbucks drinks with caramel in them are my best friends, and life is grand, tell yo' friends.

I'M ABOUT THAT SATURDAY MORNING LIFE

Friday, November 13, 2015

erin marie & the grandiose, delectable appeal of savoring the moment



Somewhere along my epic two-mile I'm-totally-an-old-lady walk in the park last night, it hit me.

The slowness. 

I do everything fast. Or at least, I try to. I eat fast. I read fast. I walk to Ethics class fast. Nothing I do seems to be slow or methodical. My time is owned by The Man, and I speedily accomplish the tasks he has laid before me, hoping to have a crumb left over for myself.

Maybe that's not entirely true; my life certainly has its free moments. But I've noticed that even in my spare time, I speed. I'm always looking forward to the next weekend, the next plan, the next bite of chocolate cake. Everything is so quick, so rushed, that I hardly enjoy what I'm doing.

What happened to slowness?

In the delicate words of noted lyricist Justin Timberlake, I'm bringing sexy slowness back.
Seriously.

I may only be 22, but I'm figuring out that we don't have time to waste. Life is a seriously short event, y'all. But that's just it -- life is meant to be so much more than an "event: it's supposed to be enjoyed. How can I honestly expect to enjoy the gift of the 24 blessed hours the Lord has gifted me for the day if I don't soak up every minute of it?
"This is the day which the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24
I'm tired of not finding things beautiful. I am weary of only seeing the wrong in others, the wrong in myself. Life, grace, and God are all meant to be celebrated. Each day should be filled with victory. 

That's why I'm going to occupy myself with morning walks and sunset skies and sharing smiles with strangers. I'm going to take the time to wrap myself up in a book, to hang on every lyric of my favorite album, to live rejoicing over whatever or whoever God has placed into my life as my gift for the day.

I'm going to savor each moment. 
Because we don't get many.

My beautiful best friend just put up her wedding pictures online and this was one of the shots.
Major photography kudos to Jed Mootsey.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

bless your beautiful heart

This weekend, my big brother got married. 

What was super sweet was that he asked my sister and I to sing at his wedding. It was really touching. We were all very emotional! It was such a blessing to see he and his beautiful bride say their vows. I'm so happy for my brother. The wedding was gorgeous, too, on a boat that went out into the waters after the ceremony. And this morning we got to take the happy couple out to IHOP, and that was a nice moment of reflection on a beautiful weekend.

Thank You Lord for family, and for sweet weekends like this one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

the whistler

Have you ever had a stranger turn your bad day good 
simply because they asked you how your day was in the elevator?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

have a smile on me #2

Lio

For as long as I can remember, I have read the Sunday comics. Ever since I was a kid, I would settle down after church with my Sunday lunch (usually Wendy's) and read the colorful, splashy pages. There were always strips I wasn't so fond of (Marmaduke has yet to make me laugh) but every now and then I really take a liking to a certain strip and just die laughing.

In short, this one slayed me today. SLAYED ME, I SAY. Please enjoy.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

costume party



Happy Halloween, my fanciful friends! I hope that this October 31st finds you with fall spirit galore and enough Reese's leftover to satisfy your sweet tooth craving.

Running Update: For the first time in what feels like over a year, I ran 6 miles. 6 MILES. For you longer distance runners out there, that's probably not a whirlwind of an accomplishment, but considering it's the maximum mileage I ever had to run during my high school track team practices, makes me feel pretty stellar. I'm getting back in the game!! One of the goals I set for myself is to eventually run 10 miles without stopping. I've only ever run 6 in a row. 7, I'm comin' to getcha. Who knows, maybe a half marathon is up next? *eep*

How about you? Reached any rad goals this week? Got a Halloween costume planned? Tell me about it. ^_^