Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I've written about rain before. I'll write about rain again. Today, I write about grace.

You see, I'm thankful for rain because storm clouds make for cozy days, full of flannel and grilled cheeses and favorite movies.  I'm thankful for rain because my childhood memories are flooded with summer showers on a porch swing or evenings chasing puddles in my drive way.  I'm thankful for rain because it makes the whole world slow down a little bit.  And because I have a really cute umbrella.

But more than that, I am blessed by the rain.  Because rain reminds me of a God of grace.  A God who knows what His earth and His people need.  A God who knows how I love the rain and uses that to display His constant pursuit of my heart.

Amidst a long string of days that have felt dark, cold, ugly, and dry, I greet this rain like a child whose parents have come home from a long trip - with arms reaching only up…clinging to the familiarity, yet resounding mystery,  of unconditional love.

And I sing the words of that hymn that speak so clearly to my soul:
"O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.
Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it!  Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, O, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above."

This rain. It is good. And it feels like it was sent just for me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

fallin' for f a l l

There are few things I love in the world more than fall.  And there are few places where fall is more stuffing than the mountains of East Tennessee.  On mornings like this, when the air is crisp and chilly, I look forward to the season to come (Christmas is 37 days away. When did that happen??) and I look back at autumn and smile.  Because the colors and the football and the pumpkins and the scarves and the sunsets and the rainstorms are wonderful.  And I'm exceptionally grateful for living in this place - where my mountains take my breath away and there is nothing quite like looking at the stars on a clear, cool night.

I know I'm rambling and might not be making much sense, but fall can do that to a person.  I get so caught up in how splendid things can be that I'm not even certain that my thoughts are coherent.  But, I don't mind being joyfully jumbled - because this life is certainly a beautiful thing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Oh Jesus

If you haven't had the chance to listen to Jon McLaughlin's new album "Holding My Breath" I highly encourage you to change that.  Some of his best work yet.  You can listen to it all on Spotify - check it out.

One song that has spoken to me is called "Oh Jesus." It is hauntingly honest and it's simplicity makes it one of the most beautiful songs I've heard on a pop album in a long time.  It is human - it reflects some of my own insecurities and doubts and fears and questions.  But, the true beauty of this song is found in it's chorus "Oh, come what may...I will thank God for you."  Oh, that I might have that type of faith - to thank God for Jesus, no matter what my life might hold.

Oh Jesus, can you hear me know?
Oh Jesus, I'm just wondering how I'm doing...
Am I proving worth all the time you spent?

Oh Jesus, I know you're there.
Oh Jesus, have you decided where I'm going?
You know, I was hoping to be with you in the end.

And oh, come what may, through the black and blue
I will thank God for you.

Jesus, I am so confused
Oh Jesus, have you seen the news?
Tell me please, help me see the way it all really works.

Oh Jesus, we yell so loud.
Oh Jesus, and your name rolls out our mouths like fools,
Tell me, do you we help or do we hurt?

And oh, come what may, through the black and blue
I will thank God for you.

Jesus, have your scars healed?
Oh Jesus, can you still feel that cross? And the friends you lost?
And do you ever want to take it back?

Oh Jesus, yeah I know,
Oh Jesus, that I owe you so much more than I can give,
but this life I live you can have.

And oh, come what may, through the black and blue
I will thank God for you.
Cause I am because of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I read this blog today (a friend had posted it on Facebook) about parenting teenagers and it got me thinking.  I am certainly not a mother, although I hope to be one day.  But I do have the distinct privilege of working with teenagers on a regular basis.  And here is the deal folks - teenagers are remarkable.

My mom has always said that children are influenced by the power of suggestion - if you tell them they will change upon midnight of their thirteenth year, they just might prove you right.  But I can tell you with sincere confidence, there is much more good in our high school students than bad.  They face different obstacles than any generation before them, are constantly bombarded by various forms of media, and experience tremendous pressure on a daily basis.  But what I see is not the "monster-like" stereotype that seems to be broadcast among the adults of our culture.  The youth I spend time with love one another, encourage one another, and lift each other up.

Allow me to give you an example.  In the youth band at Church Street UMC, we have started a tradition at the end of each rehearsal called "Peaks and Pits."  Each individual shares their high and low point of the week.  The students have become increasingly invested in each others lives - asking from week to week about the things they have shared.  One student had a rough start to her year - new school, moved houses, lots of change.  One week she said, "Well, I don't think I have a pit...it's actually been a really good week!"  The joy that the other kids had for her took my breath away. They were genuinely thrilled that she had turned the corner in her school year, and it brought tears to my eyes.

Why am I sharing this, you ask?  Because I am on their side.  They are not perfect.  They mess up.  They can be unreasonable and impulsive and unfocused and emotional and stubborn.  But they are also kind and generous and wise and strong and funny and determined and beautiful and good.  We shower them with recitations of 2 Timothy 4:12 - "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young..." but do we forget that this passage might be meant for us too?  A reminder that they are more than capable, that they are a force to be reckoned with, and we shouldn't discount who they are.

The youth I know show me the love of Christ all the time, and most of the time, they don't even know it.  So, here's to our teenagers - the ones with braces and learner's permits and growth spurts and questions and big dreams.  Let us love them well, because they deserve it, and so much more.

Friday, October 25, 2013

wagon wheel

Johnson City, TN.  

A place that will always make my heart smile.  A place that draws a breath of relief from my lungs as soon as I pull off at the Roan Street exit.  A place with Greg's Pizza.  A place where so many of my favorite people (and puppies) reside.  A place where my mountains remind me of my Creator.  A place that will always be home.

"When I was at home, I was in a better place." - William Shakespeare

Friday, October 11, 2013


It is Friday. Friday is good. Therefore, by the transitive property (A=B & B=C, so A=C), it is good.  If I had it my way, today would be filled entirely with reading a book by candle and Christmas twinkle light, sipping coffee from a mug that looks like it came straight from the quaintest of little bed and breakfasts, and wearing excessively snuggly socks.  Doesn't that sound like the loveliest of days?  Although I can't commit to a day like that, I will enjoy the cool breeze of fall and look at the sky and smile at strangers and wear boots.  Because it is October. And it is Friday...and Friday is good.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

heroic courage

Courage.  That's a word we hear often, and yet, I rarely give it much thought.  So, I stumbled across these words last night and they have been bouncing around in my head ever since.  

C.S. Lewis understood the importance of imagination and the power of a story and used them to share the gospel.  Interestingly enough, Jesus loved stories too - why else would Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John be bursting at the seam with parables?

Here is the other thing about courage - it doesn't have to be big.  Courage can be small acts. And sometimes, small acts have a resounding impact.

A middle schooler blessing their lunch in the cafeteria.  A shy student raising their hand in class.  A quiet co-worker speaking up in a staff meeting. A dad coaching their child's soccer team, even if all he ever played was baseball and football.  A poor college kid paying for the person's coffee in the car behind them.  A mom putting aside all she has to do to watch her daughter dance in the living room for the hundredth time.  A football coach going for it on 4th and 1.

Courage doesn't always take words. Courage can be quiet. I am eternally grateful to my parents - because they read me fairy tales and told me stories of real life heroes.  And although I may not be the bravest of knights, when I have faced those "cruel enemies," I've wanted to be the strong and courageous - the way they told me I could be.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

pleasant surprise

Spontaneous date night: 

Window shopping. Strolling. Bookstores. 
New traditions. Coffee. Trader Joe's. 
Breakfast for dinner. Movie viewing. 
Introduction of Jordan to the blog.

Total success.

Friday, September 27, 2013

fall y'all

If there is one thing that F. Scott Fitzgerald had, it was a way with words.  And there are few things I love in this world than words.  And when words talk about my favorite season, I am totally on board with it.  This quote from The Great Gatsby is a beautiful little reminder.  And I truly do believe that autumn gives you the chance to turn over a new leaf - no pun intended.  So, have a Pumpkin Spice Latte today.  I know I will.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


This week, I parked at the only open meter spot on UT's entire campus.  This was it's number.  1998. National Champions. Go Vols.

Last night, I watched the ESPN Film "The Book of Manning".  For anyone that knows even a little bit about me, I love me some Peyton - and the whole Manning clan for that matter.  And although this story was centered around the glorious sport that is football, it was more about family.

I've been blessed with an incredible family: parents who love and support me unconditionally, a brother who makes me laugh harder than any person on this earth, grandparents who never miss a single part of my life, aunts and uncles who offer listening ears and wise advice, and cousins that are more like siblings than anything else.

Today, I am feeling tremendously blessed.  Because God has used unusual things to remind me how fortunate I am.  Because, even on rough days, I have more to be thankful for than to complain about.  Because smiles can come in the most unexpected places - like a number on a parking meter.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's gonna be GOLDEN.

Today, I reflect on my first couple weeks of 23-dom.  I must say, I'm a fan of this age thus far.  A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday in the best of ways - simply.  People all day long made me feel loved with gestures that were thoughtful and kind.  Nothing was extravagant, but they were the type of things that I will talk about to anyone who will listen for years to come.  Here's to a year full of chasing sunsets and dancing the night away on boat docks.  I mean, really, what more could a girl ever want?

P.S. 23 on the 23rd - aka golden birthday. aka it's gonna be a good year. aka go vols.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Sometimes, the floor outside your office is getting waxed, so you have to work from home.  It's a rough life. So, on such a day, you have coffee and a vanilla macaroon for lunch. And then, you find out The Civl Wars released a new album...that is available on Spotify.  Sometimes, great days happen. Today is one of those days.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thoughts on a Tuesday

It's Tuesday.  A day of the week that more times than not I find more sluggish and difficult than Mondays.  You see, Mondays are like a fresh start - who knows what the week might hold on a Monday.  But Tuesdays...they are sneaky.  They hold challenges that are hidden as regular tasks and weekly meetings and Monday night leftovers.  Even so, I don't mind Tuesdays.  I just like some of the other days a little better.

As I've mentioned before, You've Got Mail is one of my all-time favorite movies.  It is the film equivalent of comfort food, like macaroni and cheese or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  I like it because of it's quotes and conversations.  Have I mentioned I'm a words person?  In it, Kathleen Kelley writes to Joe Fox about her life:
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
I think we have a tendency to buy into the fallacy that a life that isn't full of daily adventures or extreme fortune or household-name-fame isn't a life that amounts to much. I don't believe that is true in the least.  Sometimes, the brave thing to do is embrace a new dream, follow a different path, answer a new call.

I found this quote recently. It has served as a good reminder to me - that life is valuable, no matter the scale.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Neighborhood

On this glorious summer day with unusually comfortable temperatures, (79 degrees...in July...in Knoxville, TN. Come on!! That never happens.) I find myself exceptionally thankful to be living this Downtown life.  So, as I went on a casual stroll this afternoon, I caught myself saying a little prayer of thanks - for the very real reminder that I am blessed far beyond what I deserve.  I can say with pretty reasonable certainty that the place I find myself today is nothing like what I imagined when I moved to Knoxville 5 years ago, but - good grief! - it is way better than whatever the 17-year-old version of myself had in mind.

So, here's to you, Monday, July 29.  You've been a day full of little blessings, and I like you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh hey there.

Remember me? Yeah, I've been away from the blogging world for a little while. And by "little while" I mean half a year.  A whole lot has happened in that bit of time - some big-time life changes - but there are some resounding truths I have come to know during this time.  Allow me to expand.

  1. Change is inevitable. Change is constant. Change is not a bad thing. If you know me at all, you know that my admitting that last statement is true is a big, honkin' deal.
  2. Talking to your parents is always a good thing. They're gonna give you a fresh perspective and lots of love.  And if you're blessed with parents like mine, you'll get more encouragement than you deserve along with a healthy dose of hearing what you need to hear - even if you don't like it.  I couldn't be more grateful for Mama and Papa D these days.
  3. The Lord speaks through relationships.  I can't tell you how many times a friend, colleague, family member, youth group kiddo, mentor, or random human has been used during the last six months to help me see what the Big Guy was wanting me to understand.
  4. Patience is good for the soul. There. I said it. Sometimes it stinks, but good grief - it makes the end result so much sweeter.  I'm not very good at being patient just yet, but I'm working on it.
  5. I still love words.  Everything from scripture, to text messages, to You've Got Mail quotes have been used in big ways in my life.  Don't worry - I'll share some of my favorites below.
To make a long story short, I've been blessed beyond measure in 2013.  It hasn't all been easy, but we are not called to live an easy life.  2 Timothy 1:7 says, "for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control."  It boils down to this for me right now - live boldly, listen well, love always. If that is too corny for you, that's alright. It works for me. And uses alliteration...so all is well.

It's good to be back.

P.S. All images are from Pinterest.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thoughts from an Airport Terminal

First of all, I feel like the title of this post could be the title of a future, semi-indie movie, much like Perks of Being a Wallflower or Eat, Pray, Love, but with the unexpected wit of Juno.

But enough about that. There is something interesting about airports. There are all kinds of different people, all kinds of different baggage (figuratively and literally). And there are all sorts of different emotions people seem to be having. But I think my favorite thing to watch, as I sit and wait for United Flight 4314 to arrive, is the anticipation of those picking people up. The smiles that begin to spread as the time of the landing flight draws near. It is like a tiny little glimpse of Christmas - you know, the excitement that grows as the holiday gets closer and closer. And we all know I love Christmas. So, I love this. I like happy people. Therefore, I am becoming quite the fan of airport terminals.

That is all.

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY Mug Tutorial

Welp, I haven't been so good at the whole "Blog once a week" New Year Goal.  But, to be honest, I haven't had much inspiration in the writing department.  So maybe we'll have to play that goal by ear.

In other news, I come bearing a new tutorial!  I had found something on Pinterest ages ago about decorating ceramic mugs with Sharpies.  Unfortunately, I didn't actually pin it and cannot find the original.  So, here is my own version.

I am a big fan of two current design trends: confetti dots and arrows.  Allow me to explain:
Kate Spade Dinnerware via

"gotcha" arrows via

I mean what's not to love, right?  So, I found a couple of white, ceramic pieces at Target, and decided to spruce them up a bit.

Cappuccino Mug = $3.99
Dip Bowl = $1.99
 I had these Sharpie pens on hand.  The Sharpie mini is a navy color.  The metallic silver and gold pens are actually Sharpie paint pens (who knew?) and they work wonders.  The Sharpie mini was given to me, and the paint pens were purchased at Hobby Lobby.

I simply drew on my own dots to achieve this Kate Spade inspired confetti look.

And this cute little bowl serves as a new home for paper clips and thumb tacts.

And here is where it lives!

I used arrows to adorn the upper half of my new mug.

After completion, place the ceramic pieces in the oven on 350 for about 20 minutes to make the design permanent.  It's as easy as that!  How perfect for personlized gifts or home accents?  And the whole thing took less than 30 minutes from start to finish!

Here is the finished product! I am so pleased with my new little items.  Can't wait to try this little trick again soon.  Spoiler alert - these may be the type of gift I give for a long time.

Happy MLK Jr. Day!