Friday, September 19, 2014


There are days when my spirit feels restless.  When I have a strong desire to travel or paint or create or dance or sing or cut my hair off or something. Just something.  Maybe it's a quarter life crisis.   Maybe it's because a jackhammer woke me up a 6:30 this morning.  I don't know.

But what I've learned is that on days like these, I'm probably being told to just be still.  That a yearning that I can't quite put my finger on is a yearning for Jesus.  A yearning for deep relationship with the redeemer of my heart.

Today, I curled up under my favorite family quilt and sipped some chai tea and my puppy snuggled by my side.  And I felt my soul settle.  This has been a morning of sweet little reminders. Reminders that life gets fuzzy and messy.  Reminders that a simple life can be a sweet life.  Reminders that I don't have to have it all figured out.  Reminders that put my restless heart at ease.

I'm so grateful for mornings when I'm told I need to just slow down.

Friday, September 12, 2014

a letter for girls

Dear, sweet girl,

As I write you this letter, I'm sitting at my desk with a vase of sunflowers and a candle that smells like fall.  And I'm thinking of you. Praying for you.  Because life is hard as a middle or high schooler.  There is a lot of pressure.  So much comparison.  Crushing expectations.  And there isn't much time to figure out who you are.

I can tell you one thing.  You are loved.  You are so dearly loved.  Even on days when it doesn't seem that way - it is true.  You were created for a purpose, in the beautiful image of your Father, and that is not something we should take for granted.  But we all know that we do.

This purpose I'm talking about can sound daunting.  And you may not know yet what you will become.  But there is purpose in today.  And that purpose is set aside for you.  Just for you, dear one.  And it doesn't matter what it is that you love to do...that desire was given to you for a reason.  You may not see it, but others do.

If you love to read, read books of worth.  Choose stories of heroines that are strong and bold.  Pick books that make you think and challenge your spirit.  And pay attention in your English classes - because your teachers are wiser than you give them credit.  

If you love to cheer, cheer loudly!  And make sure your squad only yells "S-C-O-R-E" when your team actually has the ball.  And when the student section doesn't' cheer along, try not to take it personally.  You just keep doing your thing.

If you love to perform, don't hold back.  The stage is full of lessons to learn - jump in feet first.  When you a learning about a character, let it teach you about other people.  See the world the way you see the theatre.  And ALWAYS pack a snack during tech week.

If you love to play sports, run fast and jump high and work hard.  Because you are talented.  We both know you are.  But talent needs hard work to make something of it.  Push yourself in practice and it'll show up in a game.

If you love to dance, dance fiercely!  And love every minute, because one day, you'll miss the studio.  Although you may not put on a leotard and tights anymore, you do have wedding season to look forward to - and you'll KILL IT on the dance floor.  Oh, and when you do leave dancing behind, don't quit stretching.  You'll lose your splits faster than you can imagine.  Trust me.  

If you love animals, love them well.  They need you!  Find a farm that welcomes you in just as you are.  And remember, there are times when puppies and horses are the best kind of friends.  And that is more than ok.

If you love learning, never stop.  Push yourself in school.  Ask hard questions.  And be patient with those around you who might not feel the same way.  As a matter of fact, help that kid that never seems to figure the homework out.  Life is tough for them too, you know.

If you love fashion, dress well.  Be yourself and be modest.  This doesn't mean you have to wear a burlap sack, but you and I both know what is and isn't ok.  Make the choice for yourself - I promise you'll be glad you did.

If you love music, make a joyful noise!  Sing to the top of your lungs!  Play to your heart's content!  And practice.  Play your scales and sing your warm-ups.  And remember, learning classically will give you all the tools you need.  But it's still ok to sing along to the radio.

If you love being involved, join that club!  Run for SGA, help organize an event, work for the yearbook!  Test the waters in all kinds of different things, and see where your heart really lies.  But don't get so busy that you forget to be still.  Because filling a schedule is easy.  Prioritizing takes a little more work.

If you're a dreamer, dream big.

If you're scared, it's ok.

If you don't know what on earth you're doing, you'll figure it out.

If you feel lost, don't.  You've already been found.

Because you see, sweet girl, you are in the palm of our Creator's hand.  The One who breathed life into this world did the same thing for you.  He loves you.  He desires a relationship with you.  He sees your worth.  Don't you?  Oh, I know you don't.  But it is there.  Under the insecurity or the make-up or the good grades or the bad ones, there is a beautiful, smart, exciting human.  And I just love her.  She's the best there is.

I'll leave you with this: Don't grow up too fast.  Listen to your parents.  Laugh with your friends.  Challenge yourself.  Seek out a mentor.  Eat ice cream.  Go to high school football games - even if you don't think it's your thing, give it a try, just once, for me.  When you start to drive, BE SAFE.  Forgive faster than you want to.  Learn from your mistakes.  Cut yourself some slack.  Love the Lord.  Trust in Him.  For His provision is good and His love endures.

Things are tough, but you'll get through them.  I believe in you.  And remember that part I said a while back? The part about you being so dearly loved?  Please, please believe it.  Because it is true.

All my love,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

bouquets of sharpened pencils

[Spoiler Alert: This is gonna get mushy.]

Sometimes, life surprises you.  And it surprised me. With Jordan Cross.  We had been the best of friends for the majority of undergrad.  Wedding season rolled around last summer, both of us in need of dates and dance partners.  After a first date a Cafe 4 (my favorite restaurant), we both knew this thing was different.  And I can confidently say that each day is sweeter than the one before.  That isn't to say that each day is filled to brim with happiness and that we float around in some sort of euphoric daze.  Quite the contrary - life is sweet because I have a constant buddy for when things get rough.  And they do.  And consistent does not even scratch the service at who Jordan is.

On my birthday last year, the gift Jordan gave me was full of thoughtful little things.  Things that I truly loved but would have never spent on myself.  Things that he took the time and energy to remember, seek out, and surprise me with.  In the gift, he had included a fresh package of yellow, No. 2, Dixon Ticonderoga pencils (THE BEST traditional pencils on the market as far as I'm concerned).  He handed them to me and said, "Your bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.  It's almost fall - I thought you needed some."  And I just knew.  This kid was the real deal.

A bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.  1. You've Got Mail reference.  2. School supplies.  3.  Preparation for fall.  I mean, it doesn't get much better than that in my book.

I was having a conversation yesterday where the woman said, "Ya know, the small stuff really does matter in the long run."  And I have to agree with her.  Because choosing to be kind may not win us a Nobel Peace Prize, but it impacts the every day lives of those around.  Because the small stuff adds up.  Our lives are jam-packed with little moments - and when I think about the things in my life that really mean something, it's the small stuff.

I wish that I could give the whole world a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.  But for now, I will pay attention to the small things, try my best to love the people that are placed right in front of me at any given moment.  And say little prayers of thanks for the man that Jordan Cross is and continues to become and for falling hard for him all of those many days ago.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

craving creativity

I don't know if it's that fall is just around the corner, that I'm finally getting settled in my new home, or that I just wanted to update things around here, but I felt like Jenny D from TN needed a bit of a facelift.  I'm pumped about how it looks so far.  Thanks for stopping by, and way to go on making it through this long Tuesday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

waiting, prayerfully

It's Monday.  Sometimes I learn things on Mondays.  A lot of times, Mondays sit in a fog.  But, sometimes, Mondays shift into focus.  After a weekend that has refreshed my heart and my soul, this day is just good.  That isn't to say that it is easier than other days. Or slower.  Or out-of-the-ordinary.  But there is something different about it.  Days have been kinda hard as of late.  Lots of change, lots of sad.  After a long season of feeling enormously led, even in the tiniest of decisions and steps, this most recent time has been, well, quiet in that department.  Today feels like a new season might be on my horizon - much like my beloved fall, which promises to show itself soon. Today I'm grateful for things that renew my spirit: local music with JC & watching football games smack-dab between Mama D and Spanky & my cuddly puppy & chai tea & the book of Romans.  So grateful.

I don't read Anne Lamott regularly, or even know much about her.  But I stumbled upon something that she shared with her readers today.

"Fifteen years ago, my pastor Veronica said that when she had no clue what direction to take, she imagined standing in a spotlight, as if on stage, and waited, prayerfully, until one more spotlight began to appear nearby. Then she would go stand in that circle of light."

Wow.  I just love that.  Moving from light to light.  Prayerfully considering our next steps, and taking action after the Leader of our hearts has revealed a glimpse of what we're supposed to do.  And using a stage to teach me that?  Well, the tiny dancer in my soul grins because that image must have come from a kindred spirit that needed to learn that lesson, too.  Funny how that works.

I'm going to fight hard against the temptation to take this season into my own hands.  To seek Light, first...not my own understanding.  For now, I'm just waiting, prayerfully.