charlotte | yeah!


i don't usually visit charlotte in january, because my december trip is always extended and sometimes even runs into the new year, but a january trip just so happened to work out this year.

and so i went.

the day i arrived, T and lee went out to dinner with our cousins and i got to hang out with my nephews. it might seem funny that i essentially arrived in time for them to hand me two children with their plates of dinner and say, "k thanks bye!" but it wasn't.

one, because it wasn't actually that rushed. there were a few hours in between my arrival and their departure. and two, that is basically what i secretly hope for every time i visit. apparently it's what luca always hopes for as well because he didn't even wait for it to be time for them to leave before he kindly told T she could take jack downstairs while he and i played upstairs.

aka, auntie's here now so you can go, if you want to.

i fed them dinner, like a proper babysitter. and then we had all the fun. that mostly involved a raging dance party to an instrumental song on the tarzan soundtrack (which luca prefers over the trolls soundtrack ??). and then more books at bedtime than would usually be appropriate.

also i just want to explain to you how rare it is that i get a photo of me and both of them together where they are both smiling and genuinely look happy and interested in what's happening. and these two i got that night were the ONLY two. obviously, i snapped more than these two, but the window of getting a photo like these is VERY SMALL. like, i'm pretty sure these weren't even the photos i captured, but thankfully the live photo exists, where you can go in and select which frame actually contains this rare and golden moment. which i kindly filtered into black and white because, did i mention that i drove almost seven hours earlier that morning?

anyway, it was only because i got those precious hours of just-me-and-them time that i volunteered to spend the entire day on saturday away from them and helping my mom instead, doing the work i spent three years pre-nashville doing (and very much not enjoying).

data entry!


i don't miss that dual-screen life.

to be fair, i never actually had two monitors when i worked for my mom, though it would've been incredibly helpful if i had. in fact, when i quit, i left behind a beautiful 27-inch imac computer that was wonderfully synched with my personal itunes library for easy listening while i worked. in my final stretch of working there, i attribute my at-work sanity entirely to the imac. (yes, and also to the fact that my boss was also my mom, which came with privileges i will say are somewhat similar to being the youngest child – speaking from experience. she treated all her employees fairly, but i can't say that if any of the other accounting associates requested dunkin donuts for our weekly staff meetings, she would've brought them in every time.) but, i have lived the dual-screen office life and it's kind of all the same, isn't it? when you need two monitors, your job is kind of intense.

but bookkeeping and data entry, while helpful in areas of personal growth, are most certainly not my calling. i will be forever thankful for the opportunities (and donuts) that job afforded me, but i am also incredibly thankful for the passing of that season. though, it was kind of nice to dip my toes back in, six (!!) years later, and remember how i got to where i am.

it helped that it was only for one day.

it also helped that, for the second half of the day, my job was to go shopping for frames, put prints in those frames, and then hang them on the wall. and, not just any prints, but my prints. the one-of-each my mom purchased when i first opened the shop, with the intention of displaying them in her office to advertise for me, because she is my biggest fan.


y'all. i cannot.

my mom is simply the best.

to be honest, the rest of the trip is kind of a blur, as i recap close to march and backdate to january.

luca is now tall enough in his seat to reach that handle above the car door. that's what these photos are documenting, along with some silly faces.

i think we went to my parents' house? i mean, we did, because i have some photos of luca "fixing" a chair there. but literally all of my photos from this trip are of my nephews only, so there is no real proof that anyone else was there at all. (except there is because T blogs weekly now.)

and obviously someone has to be driving the car we are sitting in, because squishing between two car seats in the backseat of a sedan is not my idea of a super fun pastime.

jack now says "yeah!" and in true jack fashion, he says it (exclaims it) in a whisper. just like his roar and "waffle." T and i spent the majority of this weekend asking him yes or no questions (that we knew the answer was yes to) just so we could hear it. it's adorable, and there's never any shortage of excitement from him about saying yes. sort of like how luca went through a phase of saying "no way" instead of a simple "no." except the opposite. (although i will say that jack does let you know when it's a no.)

he also does that thing luca used to do, where he squints his eyes shut when you ask what a bunny says.

and we're still in the phase where the carseat photos are some of the best ones i get. because, you know, he is strapped in and has no where to go.

i just remembered i'm the one who bought him this wooden toolbox set. (and was immediately like, "but your dad will have to teach you how to use it because i can't help you there.") (also he's twice the age he was when i gave it to him. what?) thankfully, he has learned how to use the tools, otherwise someone might've fallen out of that broken chair before he fixed it, and he takes that work very seriously.

on monday, after we picked him up from school, luca asked to have a donut date with me. which was, obviously, the best. T is always saying how he asks her on dates regularly, and he did insist i be a third wheel on their date when i visited for christmas, but this time i got one of my very own.

he still goes for the pink frosted donuts (they had no sprinkles this time), holds up his toys to be in photos, and my favorite person to have a conversation with.

jack has been very into wearing this pair of crocs at all times of day and, if it were up to him, nighttime too. (but we say night night to those crocs like they need to get their rest at bedtime and nap time too.) i think he also wears them in the bath, which i know because i've heard what happens when it's time to get his feet washed.

he also sits still long enough to read books, and he has a few favorites he likes to read over and over again. (looking at you, tiny board book of opposites.)


that's it. that's all i got.

i do want to clarify that luca isn't scrolling instagram, but google image searching rescue bots. it's like the next best thing if he can't actually watch the show. and, while i don't necessarily understand the thrill of it, it still remains that basically anything luca asks me to do is something i suddenly absolutely want to do.

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.