Posted in writing


I have a hard time choosing titles for things: essays, lists, email subject lines, and especially blog posts. I know that the title shapes the perception of the content, and this is intimidating.

It’s about presentation, and whether or not a potential reader will enter in for more information, or if the title is enough to show them that they don’t want to see any more. It’s like judging a book by its cover, only it’s judging a blog post by its title. It’s not fair but it happens.

It feels so high-stakes sometimes to choose a phrase of just a few words that represents all that I have to say. I don’t want to skimp on anything. I want to make sure everything I have to say is represented fully and fairly.

My words are so close to my heart. I don’t want to put them in a position where they could be rejected. (I don’t want to put myself in a position where I could be rejected, and my words feel like an extension of myself.) I don’t want to send them out into the world unless I know they have a fighting chance.

I don’t think there’s a solution to this or even if it’s a real problem, but it’s a thing, and I think about it a lot. I want to make sure my words are best represented. Other people make this look so easy and thoughtless.

It’s like the title is bait but you can’t always catch a fish, you know?

It’s like sending out a resume or going on a first date where presentation is everything. The goal is to come off as confident but not cocky, independent but not standoffish, open-minded but not a follower, smart but not a jerk about it, caring but not too emotional, humble and kind. Somehow it works out.



Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned: November 2016

Last November was full, but not as busy as October. I took lots of pictures of my kids at school (which I can’t post unfortunately!) and read a lot of books and went on a trip to the farm with my family and was with my family again for Thanksgiving.

What I Learned: November 2016

  1. You can’t always teach yourself the things you need to know. This means that you can’t be 100% self-sufficient.
  2. Invest in sleep. It’s good.
  3. Kids are innocent but they’re not sinless. Humans are not born basically good even though they’re born cute.
  4. It’s good to ask for help, but it’s not the job of the person helping you to do your job for you or make your decisions for you. Don’t ask for help just because you don’t want to make a decision.
  5. With most positive things: the more you have, the more you want. Use self-discipline.


6. This sounds pessimistic but it’s helpful: It’s better to expect no one to notice that you got your hair cut and be surprised when one person notices than to expect everyone to notice and be frustrated when only person does. It’s a perspective thing.




Posted in Jesus, life

I’m Not in Charge!

I like to be in control, or even to just feel like I’m in control. I am addicted to routines because they let me feel like I’m running the show. I tend to think pretty rigidly when making decisions. I do not like the in-between.

But every once in a while, the Lord reminds me that thinking this way isn’t trusting Him. Getting my way all the time gives me zero dependence on Him or faith in His providence or goodness.

When I’m in these situations, I’m reminded that I’m not in charge, and that makes me feel squirmy. I want to know what’s going on; I want to run the show. I want decisions to be made definitively, and now: yes or no.

However, I’m definitively not in charge. And this is a good thing, however squirmy it makes me.

There are obvious reasons that it’s good I’m not in charge, and they can be summed up like this: I’m not God.

I read an article recently that said one way to have “better mornings” is to wake up and immediately pump your fist in the air and say, “YEAH!,” like a baller. I guess it’s the same idea as doing power poses, like telling your body that you are awake and powerful and ready for the day.

But my thought is: maybe I should start my mornings by pumping my fist and saying, “I’m not in charge!” This way, I can start out knowing that my plan is not what’s going to prevail. This way, I can begin my day with a thankful and trusting attitude. This way, I can be prepared to submit to His plan instead of getting mad when mine doesn’t happen and then rolling my eyes and then repenting and then submitting. Submission is much more direct when I come from a readiness to do it.

Here’s to that squirmy truth: I’m not in charge. Because, as it turns out, I haven’t seen eternity from its beginning to end. I only know the mind of one broken person. The plans I have for me are to get what I want. My providence for myself looks like chocolate chip cookies and fiction.

God will bring glory to Himself. Sometimes, that makes me feel like a baller, and sometimes that makes me feel super squirmy. But always, He’s in charge. Always, He’s good.



Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned: October 2016

Last October was busy with weddings and bachelorette weekends and hurrications…and teaching five days a week, too. I had just gone a full year without coffee (an experiment) and was reunited again, yay! Last October was full and exciting and exhausting. Here is what I learned:

What I Learned: October 2016

1. People appreciate you being present and listening to them. Of course, people appreciate more than just being listened to, but it’s a start.

2. Being with old friends is part reminiscing and part making new memories – I thought it might be just reminiscing or that it might feel like we had never been apart, but it was different. It was special because we knew we weren’t often together so that made the time together so sweet.

3. If you don’t write something down, you will not remember it. That’s just how it works.

4. Habits (and not just old habits) die hard…after successfully going a year with no coffee, I decided to see how long I could go without diet coke (so it has now been a year since I had diet coke!), and this was very difficult. Especially the beginning.

5. You can’t pretend you’re not here. Be where you are.


6. Don’t make Wednesday the longest day of your week – it makes the week feel so much longer.





Posted in nostalgia, post-college

Coffee Shop Saturdays

My ideal Saturday has me spending the majority of the day at my coffee shop. It’s nice to sit down and work on blogging or writing and get my life together. It’s nice to be around people but not have to talk to them. It’s nice to drink good coffee.

I like to wake up and take my time getting to where I’m going, and I like to hang out in a place that has noise that can be blocked out, and I like to spend time with my brain. I like to leave smelling like coffee.

In Clemson, I had the best coffee shop. (I think my love and devotion to it is very clear.) I go every time I’m home. It’s familiar and lovely and smells great and my favorite table is there and it’s the first place I ever tried coffee. I’ve laughed and cried and been angry there. I’ve had coffee dates and study dates and productive times and very unproductive times.

But that’s not where I live anymore, and now I’ve found an adequate coffee place in this new town. It’s no All In, but of course it’s not. It’s modern and sleeker and there are fewer Clemson people there (but there are some!). It’s different but I can live with it. Also, I never call it by its name. I always call it, “the coffee shop.”

I like routine, and coffee shop Saturdays is part of my routine. It’s relaxing while also productive. And even though I thought I couldn’t live without All In, it turns out that I was thinking very rigidly. Coffee shops are everywhere, and none of them are the same (and nothing beats your first love). A place that lets me work and rest in quiet and busy-ness is good.

Disclaimer: Obviously All In is my first love and the most important. But this could grow on me. However, I seriously doubt that I’ll do push-ups in the bathroom here after drinking too much coffee. I’ve learned since then how much coffee my body can take in a small amount of time. I will always love All In for being the place where that happened.

A good coffee shop is worth finding.



Posted in life, post-college

#adulting #withspirit

Adult life is a jump. Sometimes you land, and sometimes you fall down. Either way, you have to be at work on Monday.

It’s kind of like eating your vegetables: you just have to do it. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s gross. You can say, “no thank you, this isn’t my favorite,” but then it will show up cold on your breakfast plate, and continue to show up on all your plates, until you eat it (at least that’s how it worked at my house growing up).

I define exciting as rolling down grassy hills and books that come free with a meal but you can trade them in for ice cream if you want. When put in that context, adulthood is not exciting at all.

Seeing boring and negative grown-ups makes me scared that that’s the prognosis for my own life. I never want to be the kind of grown up who says, “I love my job” but only ever means it sarcastically.

There’s a reason no one wants to grow up: it means buying sensible shoes and caring about the price of milk and being forward-thinking enough to know that you’re going to need an oil change before you’ve gone over the mileage on the little sticker in the corner of your windshield.

This kind of adulthood sounds spiritless.

But I want to buy shoes that are cute and bright and not have to consider how they’ll affect my back when I wear them standing up and walking around all day long! I don’t want to buy groceries; I just want food to show up in my refrigerator and I want it to be delicious always! And I want to drive my car into the sunset and never have to pay money to take care of it and also I want it to never make questionable or concerning noises!

But that’s really not a successful approach to adulthood or life. To be successful, sometimes you have to eat vegetables even though you just want cookies, and go to bed early so you can be a nice person tomorrow, and save money so you can pay for your car’s new head gaskets.

Making wise adult choices and being fun-hearted are not mutually exclusive, but it sometimes feels like they are. It can be disheartening. But I know that man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and I know that means that I’m not called to be serious and task-oriented 100% of the time.

I know that it’s okay to have some spirit in what I do, that adulthood does not have to be just bland and rigid!

I can glorify God in my work and in the things I do after work. I can fully invest in all the things I do and find ways to enjoy them. I can insert whimsy into all the pockets of my life, because dragging my feet through the muck of productivity is not glorifying.

If I go through life with no spirit, I might as well be a computer, because they don’t have spirits, either – or souls.

Joy is legitimately important. And so I need to make the choice to live life – all of it – with joy, with whimsy, in pursuit of glorifying the Lord! Otherwise I am not obeying Him. I am not a computer; I am a person. I am an adult, whether or not I like it all the time.

So right now, in my rookie adulthood, my choice is to do adulthood with spirit, to glorify God in all things (even things I would not have chosen for myself) and to enjoy Him forever. It’s how I know to not get my spirit squashed.



Posted in What I Learned

What I Learned: September 2016

A year ago, I was settling into teaching, I bought a washer and dryer, I I read a lot of books, and I worked a lot. It wasn’t a super exciting time, but it was good. I learned a lot.

What I Learned: September 2016

  1. When you are an adult and you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, you don’t get to just show up. You’re supposed to offer to bring something – salad, dessert, wine, etc. People invite college students over for free food but you are not in college anymore. You get to at least offer to contribute.
  2. A leader who is kind of annoying is a better leader than one who isn’t there – because presence (and subsequently, support) has more value than personality – at least in the context of leadership.
  3. If you don’t want to have clutter, have lots of trash cans. It seems simple but it’s revolutionary when put into place!
  4. There may (and most likely will) come a time in your life when you have to say goodbye to Camp – this time will of course be sad but you will not die. I learned this when visiting an old Camp friend who teaches in my district now – he spoke affectionately of Camp but he was okay with his life now. That was good for me to observe.
  5. Parking under a tree on a hot day is very wise – even if said tree isn’t the closest parking space. It’s an investment in later sanity.


6. Things you can’t talk about with a 12-year-old: gas prices

7. If you are more committed to USC football than you are to your marriage, you have a problem. Actually, you have two problems.