stepping into 2018 like


at the start of 2017, i felt overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation and i couldn't let myself think about it for too long because i couldn't sit still. i wanted to get up and get moving.

moving onto what, exactly? i didn't actually know.

it was a strange feeling, to be so excited about something i couldn't name.

in a somewhat slow process, reading at my own pace and flipping back and forth between versions, i've been making my way through each book of the entire bible. a thing i have, maybe surprisingly, never done.

a few months before the start of 2017, i was reading joshua 6 – the story the battle of jericho, a story i'd heard countless times growing up – for probably the first time in my adult life.

at the start of the chapter, joshua is receiving instructions from god about what to do. as the chapter continues, you read how joshua follows the instructions and how it all plays out exactly as god had said. but the part that caught my attention was near the beginning, in joshua 6:2, where god starts talking, but before he tells joshua what to do, he basically says, "okay, listen. you've already won." and then he continues on to explain what joshua needs to do, physically, in order to achieve that victory.

the message version phrases it like this, "i've already given jericho to you." already. joshua hasn't walked around the walls of jericho. he hasn't even been given the instruction to do so. and yet, it's already his.

i wondered what that felt like, for joshua to hear. i kept thinking about the people who were living in jericho, in that moment. already. i pictured them going about their day, eating their meals, making jokes with their friends. and if joshua could've seen the bustle of their ordinary day, i imagined him thinking, "this doesn't look like it's already mine."

and yet, god had said it was. already.

it wasn't until the start of 2017 that i wrapped my head around what it meant to hold that word in my hands. already.

i couldn't see my jericho, or what 2017 would hold. i couldn't see the girl who lived in the apartment i now live in, or the way she went about her day, eating her meals, making jokes with her friends. i couldn't even see the apartment. i couldn't see the places i'd go or the people i'd meet or the babies i'd be taking care of. i didn't even know in which direction to look, or that some of those babies hadn't even been born yet. i couldn't see the way none of it looked like it would be mine.

and yet, i could feel it. already.

i told my sister that it felt like deuteronomy 11:10-12. "the land you are entering to take over is not like the land of egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. but the land you are crossing the jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. it is a land that the lord your god cares for; the eyes of the lord your god are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."

twenty sixteen felt like crossing into this new land, and 2017 would be a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. a land that the lord my god personally cares for, watching over it from january until december.

i didn't really know what that meant, then, but it sounded good.

in april, i got a glimpse of it, when i read the chronicles of narnia and thought about how i want more. i don't just want to settle for what i know about god, but i want to keep going. keep saying yes.

in november, i wrote about what pastor steven called "creative collaboration" – what happened when jesus stepped into peter's boat and asked if he would go. this point in his message ("there's a catch") stood out to me for the way it feels like the best way to describe what happened in 2017.

jesus has been in my boat. he has been asking me to work together. but 2017 felt like a year of finding out what happens when i keep saying yes. yes, yes, yes. hineni.

and as i step into 2018, with equally as much (if not more) expectation for this year, i want to look back and point to the ways god showed up in 2017.

because he did it then and he will do it again. because he has more, and i want what he has.

more. immeasurably more. infinitely more. exceedingly abundantly more.

already mine in 2017

completed my first fast.

discovered my love for c.s. lewis and the chronicles of narnia.

had my handwriting printed on a t-shirt. for andrew belle.

donated regularly to charities.

added money to my savings account.

discovered the enneagram.

started writing a book. and talking about it.

watched one of my best friends get married.

created an email newsletter.

traveled to charlotte each month.

attended my first writing workshop.

spent a week in connecticut.

moved into an apartment.

started a new job.

went on tour and traveled to 37 different cities in 19 different states.

celebrated my golden birthday.

saw needtobreathe.

paid all my bills.

hosted my friend and her new husband when they passed through nashville.

read 26 books.



december is the friday of months. it's all parties and festive snacks and not thinking ahead because it's christmastime. everything else can wait until next year because we made it.

december happenings.

because of the way christmas tour dates were arranged, i got to re-join my connect group in december. we had an ugly christmas sweater/cookie-swap party, during which we went caroling to the neighbors. i didn't know i'd be able to attend until a few days before, when the ugly christmas sweaters were long gone from goodwill, so i wore the one tab had made a few years ago, with the largest gold bow that felt hilarious and appropriate at the same time. #GOLD

i saw needtobreathe play the last show of their fall tour, part of the acoustic leg – which, as you can imagine, was incredibly dreamy. they had drew and ellie holcomb and gavin degraw as special guests, which was so fun.

molls and i met up at crema to catch up and exchange christmas gifts. i ran into another friend as i walked in, holding the bag with a gold bow. "bringing presents to crema?" he asked. but it only seemed appropriate for us to have christmas at crema, after having logged so many hours there when i was unemployed and she was in school.

one of my best friends and her husband (!!) moved from la to new york city (!!) and passed through nashville on their drive. it was such a treat to be able to hug (and host) them.

last, but not least: 6 different cities in 5 different states this month.


january | february | march | april | may | june | july | august | september | october | november

c h r i s t m a s | 2 0 1 7

i woke up like this. (jk, it was hours later & "santa" had come weeks before.)

i woke up like this. (jk, it was hours later & "santa" had come weeks before.)

by the time i went home for christmas, things had slowed down to almost a complete stop – including myself. i look back through the photos i took, all 27 of them, and that's what i think about. i slept in. i took naps when my nephews did. i took almost no photos. (thankfully, T has picked up blogging again, lest i won't forget what our day-to-day looked like.) (spoiler alert: it was casual, with lots of diffusing essential oils and going to target to buy more tissues.)

on my first day in town, i was the third wheel on a date with T and luca. he had asked her to go on a date, but since i was in town, he insisted i tag along. now that i think about it, it was pretty good planning on his part, as they basically had a personal photographer to follow them around and catch their sweet moments of dancing together on the sidewalk.

anyway, the plan was to go to the movies, but the time we wanted was sold out by the time we got there. we got tickets for a later time (in the front row, because that's all that was left) and had an extended date day, involving a toy store, target, and pizza for lunch.

we saw the star, which i'd never heard of before, but it's an animated version of the christmas story told from the perspective of the animals. i laughed out loud and also cried multiple times, and found myself still thinking about it days later. obviously, i know the christmas story so it wasn't a ground breaking experience, but to see it played out like that was impactful. it's a great movie for kids, but i also plan on purchasing a copy for myself to watch each year at christmas.

from there, christmas traditions and activities rolled out, per usual.

"traditions" this year

baking – just oreo truffles and peanut clusters

going to church on christmas eve – just T and i

exchanging 'sibling' gifts on christmas eve – where i gave luca the most giant (red!) crayon ever.

christmas morning – with luca and jack's festive pj's, and my parents and i goming over to watch them open presents first (which is maybe my most favorite – watching them open their presents feels like a gift for me)

new soma pajamas – a tradition i hope sticks around for the long haul because they're the softest, comfiest thing i've ever worn

not a tradition, but my parents bought each other (without knowing it) new wedding bling this year. they're the cutest.

the rest of our time was spent slowly opening new presents to play with, watching african cats, going to the doctor, cheers-ing jack's coffee cup, and other things i don't remember because it was just normal life things and i am not that kind of blogger.

i left just before the new year so i could be home to babysit and prepare for my january whole30, which i know you are so excited to hear about. STAY TUNED.

books of 2017 | 006

i'm cheating. i finished these in january, but i was like 90% finished with both of them and just want to keep 2017 in 2017. okay.

love wins (rob bell)

"so controversial." the first thing anyone ever says about rob bell or this book, and they're not wrong. this is the first book of his that i've read, but i've listened to a few podcast interviews with him. he makes a lot of bold statements and pushes back against many ideas that a lot of christians would file under "obvious" beliefs.

my thoughts about rob bell, and this book, are the same as my thoughts about anyone sharing what they believe to be true. i don't take what he says or believes to be factual. i read the bible and form my own opinions, but i'm open to hearing other interpretations, which i measure against my own.

love wins is probably one third questions, one third scripture, and one third conclusion. the questions aim to poke holes at what you might think is obvious, the scriptures aim to challenge you to re-think, and the conclusion is the part where he shows how the dots connect and make sense for him.

i finished this book with things i found interesting to consider, new goals for what i'm looking for when i read the bible, and generally the same beliefs i had before starting it.

simply tuesday (emily p. freeman)

this has been sitting in my kindle app for at least two years. it was on sale, but i'm a hold-the-book-in-my-hands-and-turn-the-pages kind of reader, what can i say. except that i wish i hadn't waited so long.

this book is pure gold, full of love for the average, everyday kind of day. aka, my love language. it spoke directly to my heart about things like starting small, remaining faithful to your own work, trusting god, and playing the role you were created for.

in contrast to the grueling hard work of a monday, the excitement of a friday, or an activity-filled saturday, she highlights the potential of a simple tuesday. but it's less about learning how to slow down and more about recognizing what's beautiful about the already slow parts.

it's about matching up who you are and what your life looks like to the promises of god, and understanding that your part is not to feed the five thousand, but to give what you have to jesus. your part is not to figure out the means to the end, but to wait for god's hand to move.

even on a tuesday.

books of 2017: 001 | 002 | 003 | 004 | 005

favorites of all time.