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on this winter's night.

well folks, i adopted!…a puppy.

fun facts:
name: shadow
age: 15 months
weight: 48 lbs. 7 ozs.
due to her shaggy hair, she constantly looks like she just woke up from a nap.
she loves to snuggle. all day. every day.
she loves long walks and playing with her new sister in the backyard.
when she sighs, she sighs big.
she pulls her hind legs all the way around to her face when she sleeps.
(obviously prepping for pet olympics)
and her favorite color is grey.
prepare yourself for cuteness.

merry christmas eve, y'all!


christmas sillies.

remember this guy? he left and now he's back! it's a christmas miracle.
sit back and enjoy the sillies.
happy weekend, homies!
pound it. or should i say, flound it!


christmas melodies.

so i've been listening to christmas music for a while now.
like since before thanksgiving. gasp.
but because i've been listening so long, i've had time to put together a few of my favorites.

a top 10 list for you in no particular order:
lady antebellum - silent night [my favorite]
the glee cast - oh holy night [breathtaking]
bing crosby - white christmas [a classic: go watch the movie now]
matt wertz - tennessee christmas [we've had a white christmas ONCE]
david crowder band - angels we have heard on high [good foot stompin' music]
sufjan stevens - holy holy holy [a dash of hipster]
chris tomlin & audrey assad - winter snow [the reason for the season]
dave barnes - very merry christmas [feels like home]
zooey & joseph gordon levitt - what are you doing new year's eve [smiling all the way]
lea michele - auld lang syne [it's a wonderful life]

oh and one more because the kid in this is so cute. i wouldn't want y'all to miss out!
plus, i just love lady antebellum. a lot.


i'm gonna make this place your home.

dear monday,

let's just get this out there.
i love phillip phillips. always have. always will.
and i get teary eyed every time i hear [home]. every time.
why? i don't know.
maybe it's because he won me over every tuesday night last spring.
or maybe becuase it sounds very mumford and sons-ish. and i love me some mumford.
then [home] was used in the olympics. as if the olympics aren't emotional enough already.
then the best friend used it in her wedding. and the joy overflowed.
whatever the reason, it continues to pull on my heartstrings.
some days it stays on repeat. i hope you're okay with this...because i am.


behold the lamb.

i love traditions and our annual trip to nashville is one of them.
for the last seven years, my family and i have gone see andrew peterson's [behold the lamb] concert at the ryman auditorium.  i love christmas, music, and jesus, and this concert wraps all those things into one bundle of joy. the music never gets old to me. andrew peterson does an incredible job of telling the story of jesus through song.
confession: sometimes i sing along. and by sometimes, i mean every time.
so excuse me while i go do some vocal warm ups.
we are off to nashville after lunch, and i need to be prepared…

listen to the [behold the lamb] album here.

p.s. you may or may not have noticed that the blog is under construction.  thanks for bearing with me while i figure out the intricacies of photoshop and html :)


how he loves.

i don't know about you, but i had never heard the story behind this song until today. it's always been a favorite, and john mark mcmillan puts [love] into such a wonderful perspective. unconditional love.
the kind of love that's willing to love things that are messy, difficult, and gross.
john mark says this,
"in my anger, my resentment, in my frustration, he could still love me through that.  he's not offended at the fact that i'm angry at him."
jesus doesn't back away when we're angry with him. he doesn't let go. he keeps moving towards us. to show us how he loves.
grab a kleenex, watch, and listen to this story.

How He Loves : A Song Story from john mark mcmillan on Vimeo.


tacky christmas.

this is my core group.

we had our annual christmas party this week and it was great.
who doesn't love a good photobooth?
and by photobooth, i mean i hung a white sheet up in our basement and beamed with pride at my creation. too much, i know.
we wore christmas sweaters that would make your friends proud
and your grandmothers jealous.
we laughed until we couldn't breathe, told stories, and talked about the future.
i am forever thankful for my time with these girls.
i've been there to see them grow. laugh and cry. live and love.
and it has brought me so much joy.
life is a crazy beautiful mess. and i'm so blessed to have walked through the last three years with these precious people.



can i tell you something?
the past two days have been rough.
like [there's no chocolate in your house when you want it] kind of rough.
i spent a day being frustrated with jesus because things weren't going my way.
things i thought he had set in motion.
i wasn't getting what i wanted.
and i was mad.
and i didn't understand.
and i made sure he knew it.

then today, in the car by myself, this song came on.
and it broke me. 
jesus reminded me in the gentlest way possible that he is in control.
that nothing matters except for him.
i am not in control. he is. and sometimes i forget that.
i tend to hand everything over to him except for one thing.
one corner of my heart that i want to hold on to.
today he told me to surrender. everything.
and that's scary.
it's scary to hand my dreams over to him.
but you know what?
that's where they are safest.
in the hands of my all-knowing and loving savior is where i want my life to be.
nothing else matters.
i want for it to be a joy to say [your will, your way. always.]


christmas extravaganza.

last christmas i gave you my heart.
just kidding.
last christmas i told y'all about this guy named dave barnes.
a singer/songwriter/unoffical comedian hailing from nashville.
his music is great and all, but you want to know what i love most?
he knows how to be silly.

for 5 years, dave entertained us with his creative spin on christmas songs,
ugly christmas sweaters, and singing off key.
he retired feeling like santa dave had run it's course.
but don't fear, i think he'll be back someday.
until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the dave of christmases past.

if you made it through this, i'm proud of you.
we could be friends.
and you should check out [christmas extravaganza parts 1 - 4].


for the love of hobbits.

my dad sent me this video a little while back.
nerd alert:
we are both big [lord of the rings] fans.
so needless to say, this made me giggle. a lot.
if i ever travel to new zealand, i hope i'm on this flight.
just sayin'.

raise your hand if you're excited about [the hobbit]


back to the rockies.

tomorrow i get to see my bestie out west.
bear hugs will be involved.

speaking of my bestie, she's doing a giveaway over at
it's super easy to enter and who doesn't need stocking stuffers??
oh and check out the rest of her blog while you're over there.
she's pretty neat.


ballet is hard.

it's tuesday and rainy outside.
a dreary end-of-autumn kind of day.
my nose is runny and my head is foggy.
for the rest of the cold/flu season, you may call me rudolph.
because my nose will be in a constant state of redness.

maybe you're like me and have to carry a box of kleenex everywhere you go.
or maybe you accidentally wore mismatched socks this morning.
or spilled your favorite coffee all over yourself in your car on the way to work.
or forgot to put on deodorant. [it happens]
regardless of your situation, we could all use a good laugh today.
here you go.
you're welcome.


weekend reunions.

today, three of my college besties were in town.
one of us got married this past may, and we hadn't all been together since then.
it was a beautiful, blue skies, wind in your hair kind of day.
and by wind in your hair, i mean freezing cold wind in your hair.
like i couldn't feel my face.
it was worth it.

we visited two of our favorite chatt town spots
and walked across the walnut street bridge that spans the tennessee river.
it's one of my favorite parts of my city.

fun fact: 
the walnut street bridge [completed in 1891] is tennessee’s 
oldest non-military highway bridge still in use today.
that's your history lesson for the week.
you're welcome.

i'm so thankful for these girls.
that we can pick up right where we left off.
today was a reminder of how blessed i am by their friendship.
my heart is happy.


thankful thursday.

happy thanksgiving!
i hope you all have a wonderful day with family, friends, pets, strangers...
ya know. whoever you like to hang out with.
i'm spending time with my family all day.
we're probably playing guitars, throwing frisbees
and dressing up like pilgrims & indians.

oh. it's also my little brother's birthday today.
happy birthday, lando!
this picture pretty much sums up our relationship.
wonderfully awkward.
it's how we roll.


we'll be alright.

one of my favorites off the new album.
it was on repeat for a couple weeks.
thank you, mumford.

p.s. if you want an entertaining break down of [i will wait] from jon acuff's perspective, click here.


politics: a kid's perspective.

so the presidential election is coming up.
who knew, right?
the excessive amount of ads might have given it away.
or the unruly debates televised for all of us to see.
embarrassing, really.
take it away, kid president…


weekends are my favorite.

what up, homies?
[sorry, i don't know where that came from.]
anyway, this weekend i was in colorado visiting the best friend and her hubs.
they are the cutest.
it. was. great.
zoo animals.
awkward moments.
pumpkin carving.
animated movies. [the best]
it's all part of my crazy life.


music & lyrics.

i love these folks.
they love Jesus.
and they're irish.

enjoy this good old foot stompin' music.
let the words sink deep into your soul.
oh. and feel free to dance.


some days i wish i could go exploring again with my brother.
back when days were longer and life was simpler.
and i had awesome bangs and less teeth to worry about.
back when we had matching rain jackets and camping hats.
back when we were pioneers in the woods behind our house.
back when he was my adventure buddy.

some days i wish.
today was one of them.


[unexpected] joy.

[i hope you have a day of unexpected joy]
those were the words sent to me by a precious heart this morning.
it's words like these that catch me off guard.
and make me tear up at work.
oh heck. tears run down my face.

and then coworkers suddenly walk into my cubicle unannounced
while i'm scrambling to find a kleenex.

it's small things like those words that remind me that i am loved.
that i am cared for.
that i am not forgotten.

thankful for daily reminders like this that Jesus loves me.
and that he has surrounded me with friends who have beautiful hearts.
who encourage me with words i need to hear.
and remind me that i never walk alone.


wonderfully random.

the bestie was in town this weekend.
5 years into our friendship and i am still learning new things about her.

what i learned this time?

nat does an incredible [marcel the shell] impersonation.
i also found out that she likes to repeat things i say in a [marcel the shell] voice.
who knew i was so entertaining?
apparently i say random things on a regular basis.
in a very matter of fact tone.
just like marcel.
no wonder i received the [most wonderfully random] 
award from my camp counselor in high school.
good to know some things never change.


i will wait [for you].

now i'll be bold
as well as strong
and use my head alongside my heart
so tame my flesh
and fix my eyes
a tethered mind freed from the lies

cause i will wait, i will wait for you
and i will
wait, i will wait for you
and i will
wait, i will wait for you
and i will
wait, i will wait for you


hogwarts is real.

this weekend i spent some time at hogwarts.
i mean...the university of michigan.
who knew harry potter lived in ann arbor?


for the love of reading.

i love to read.
i was that kid with her nose always in a book.
reading was a way to escape to another world and have new adventures.
and it still is.

as i got older and busier, the pile of unread books grew.
but i missed it.
i knew if i was ever going to read everything i wanted to,
i'd have to make time for it.
so i've set new goals for myself…
reading a book every couple of weeks.
and. i. love. it.

i just finished [finding God in the land of narnia]
y'all. it is impossible to explain how much i love narnia.
i've read the books so many times.
in this book, the writers kurt bruner & jim ware,
explore the land of narnia and reveal the [kingdom story] woven throughout. 

as human beings, we all understand the deep rooted desire for something more.
jack lewis, understood that and his stories fuel that longing.
the desire of another world. the desire for something that will satisfy.
the narnian character that portrays this desire the most is [reepicheep].
reepicheep lives a desire driven life. his whole existence is a quest.
a quest to find aslan's country.
he never looked back. 
"his sights were set on a goal that lay beyond the boundaries of this world."
he's a character i can relate to.
that's where i want my heart and my desires to be.

in may of 1955, a mother wrote to jack lewis telling him 
of her son's concern that, after reading narnia,
he loved aslan more than he loved Jesus.
this was jack's response.

i. just. love. that.


august is for birthdays.

happy birthday to the one who taught me the importance of being silly.
love you, mama.


colorado love.

last week i flew out to colorado to visit some of my favorite people.
it was so wonderful to be back in my [other] home state.
it was a weekend of laughter, friends, and real conversations.
i didn't want to leave.
but guess, what??
i get to go back in 16 days for the best friend's wedding!!


[olympic] thoughts.

well i've never won a gold medal for any of my thoughts
but i DO think about the olympics. a lot.
my family and i love the olympics.
always have. always will.
for 2 weeks, we sit ourselves in front of the television every night.
completely involved in the competition going on.
we yell at the tv and cheer for people by name who we don't know,
[but we wish we did]
everyone has their favorite events to watch.
mine have always been swimming and gymnastics.

because i swam competitively from age 7 through high school.
i was a fish. i lived and breathed swimming.
my parents threw me in the lake at age 1 and said, "swim, child!"
because i tried being a gymnast and, 
unlike my brother, 
i actually have a sense of fear.
i never made it to the high beam, folks.
being a gymnast obviously wasn't mean to be.
that's okay. i was more comfortable in the water anyway.
i still love watching gymnastics!
i just have to remember to breath.
it's so stressful!

tonight we are getting ready to watch gabby douglas win the gold,
missy franklin torpedo herself through the water, 
and  michael phelps and ryan lochte redeem themselves.

also, i get teary eyed every time these commercials play.


.american idol love.

phillip phillips.
you can't help but love this guy.
he's southern.
he's adorable.
he lights up when he sings.
and tonight's final performance made me tear up a little.
it was so mumford and sons[ish].
that's right, randy jackson. i said it before you.
take a listen.
i may or may not have this on repeat right now.
i'm a fan, phillip phillips.
you keep singin' and i'll keep listenin'.


.holders [not] folders.

yesterday was my [best friend's] birthday!
the day she was born.
24 years ago.
and i'm so thankful she was.
i'm thankful for meaningful conversations.
i'm thankful for singing loud with the windows down.
i'm thankful for getting to be a third wheel.
i'm thankful for phone dates.
I'm thankful for sisters.
i'm thankful for summer adventures.
i'm thankful for forever friendships.
i'm thankful for you, beth joy.
happy birthday, beautiful.

every moment counts.
life is precious.
so soak it in.
celebrate it.


.birthday love.

you see that baby right there?
that's my cousin, laney. 
i was 5 years old. she was a month and a half. 
and yesterday she turned 18. eighteen.
how did that happen?
look how little she was. 
wasn't that just yesterday?
i'm so glad the Lord put her in my family.
because she's so much more than a cousin.
she's my adventure buddy.
she's my sidekick.
she's my sister.
she's my best friend.
i wouldn't want it any other way.

[yes. our code names are robin hood and little john. you're jealous. i know.]

happy birthday, little.


.adventure is out there.

i mean what a great day, y'all.
i got to sleep in.
i spent quiet time with Jesus.
then the sister and i went on a spontaneous hiking adventure.
she's my adventure buddy.
one on one time. oh yeah.
working a big girl job doesn't allow much time for such things during the week.
so i like to take advantage of the weekends.
i spent the day's end soaking up the last rays of light
and hanging out in my new [and free!] eno.
thanks, sister, for spending this beautiful day with me.

this is the day the Lord has made. 
i will rejoice and be glad in it.


.when i go home.

so i had this thought the other day.
me? having thoughts? cray cray.
but here it is.
i cannot wait to hear jesus laugh.
i mean really.
i. can't. wait.
i imagine the first time i see jesus, his laugh will be like the king in [tangled].
you know. rapunzel's dad.
at the very end of the movie, when rapunzel returns home, her dad laughs.
it's like this deeply rooted and quiet joy bubbling over with relief.
it's an [i've been patiently waiting and you're finally here!] laugh.
and that is what i imagine jesus sounding like when he welcomes me home.


.he is risen.

happy resurrection day!
a day of celebration.
the savior is risen and living!

christ is risen from the dead!
trampling over death by death.
come awake. come awake.
come and rise up from the grave.
oh death, where is your sting?
oh hell, where is your victory?
oh church, come stand in the light.
our God is not dead. he's alive.
he's alive.

now that is something to celebrate.
[luke 24: 5-6]
"why do you seek the living among the dead?
he is not here, but has risen."


.uh. iphone only.

so i love instagram.
it's my daily journal in photo form.
it's one of the many ways i keep up with my besties.
we all live in different parts of the country.
this is one way we share life together.
i love it.
and this video made me giggle.

it's a photo inside of a photo. [inception]


.i'm a big kid now.

i'm a guest blogger over at [until only love remains] today!
beth is doing a mini series on [why you blog]

so head on over to read my short story of 
i decided to start a blog.


.oh my soul.

psalm 103.
this psalm quickly became one of my favorites this summer.
it's the one i always go to.
i refer to it constantly.
it stirs my heart.
it brings me to tears.
as believers, we need to learn to talk to ourselves.
i have full on conversations with myself, so this should be easy, right?
just like david, we have to tell ourselves to bless the Lord.
i think these things, but am i saying them out loud?
i should be.
because he
forgives all my iniquity.
heals my diseases.
redeems my life from the pit.
crowns me with steadfast love and mercy.
satisfies me with good.
renews my strength like the eagle's.

that's something to talk about.
start here. now.
don't wait.

and on that day when my strength is failing.
the end draws near and my time has come.
still my soul will sing your praise undending.
10,000 years and then forevermore.
bless the lord, oh my soul.
sing like never before, oh my soul.


.stuck on replay.

this has been on repeat for the past [two] hours.
i know.
what can i say?
it's how i roll.
i like to listen over and over.
to memorize words full of truth.
to let the lyrics sink into my soul.
and i find myself here on my knees again
caught up in grace like an avalanche
nothing compares to this love. love. love
burning in my heart.


.we're all sinking.

this past weekend, my core group studied grace and mercy.
how they are different yet work together.

receiving something you don't deserve.
unmerited favor.
a gift that can't be repaid.
we can't pay God back.
he already owns all we have to give him.
he doesn't like to have his grace nullified,
but glorified.
it can all be overwhelming.
i'm thankful but don't feel deserving of this gift.
why would God have grace on me?

i'm sinful.
i'm broken.
i'm dirty.
but Jesus has forgiven my sin.
he has made me whole.
he is clean enough for all of us.
[to my girls]...
he has called you by name.
and he says that you are
precious, honored, and loved.
believe it.
let him love you.
receive the gift that he holds out to you.
let it wash over you.
an ocean of grace.


.before & after.

i'm a huge fan of before & after projects.
of making old things new.
i love to be inspired.
i love to create.
i like to reuse and renew.
maybe that's why i'm obsessed with pinterest.
someone help make me this table. okay? thanks.

so when i found this treasure the other day, i was delighted.
i may or may not have spent half an hour drooling over the remodels.
this is my dream job.
taking old, seemingly hopeless spaces and making them beautiful.
you should probably drop everything you're doing and check this out.
[the design sponge]
don't tell, but i found it while facebook stalking my bff beth.
yes. we're actually friends in real life, so this was not creepy.
p.s. you should check out her blog! she's doing a giveaway.
free stuff, y'all!
it doesn't get much better than that.
don't miss it.


.previously on 24.

there are some days when i really miss jack bauer.
ridiculous, right?
i miss monday nights in college when the bff and two other friends would come over to my house to eat chocolate chip cookies and watch 24.
those were the days.
but good news!
jack bauer is back on tv!
except his name is martin.
and he gets beat up. [no one messes with jack bauer]
and he doesn't carry a firearm with him at all times.
and he actually sleeps. [weird]
and he doesn't carry a satchel. [man purse]
and he's not calling chloe every 5 minutes.
but he is saving the world.
thank goodness some things never change.
also, i'm not sure about this [martin] thing.
i can't stop calling him jack.
nevertheless, check it out.
ladies and gentlemen,
jack bauer's new show [touch]


.words mean things.

i like lyric videos.
maybe because i have an obsessive need to read what's in front of me.
i blame my dad.
we took a trip to [d.c.] when i was in middle school.
made a stop by the smithsonian.
let's just say my dad probably needed 2+ years to get through one building.
he had to read everything.
then, i felt like he was slowing us down.
but as i've gotten older,
i think i'm learning to appreciate the words.
to slow down and take them in.
to learn.
so i read.
but don't take me to a movie where there are subtitles.
i will be incapable of actually watching the movie because i'll be reading along.
trust me, it's not a fun experience.
i feel torn between seeing what's going on and reading word for word.
it's quite stressful.
so back to the video.
i like this one because i like stars.
and letters.
and jason mraz.
and typography.
and old stamps.
and airmail envelopes.


.let down the walls.

rend collective experiment.
one of the newly found artists that were on the soundtrack of my summer.
thanks to some pretty neat friends for the introduction.
the music.
the lyrics.
the people.
i just want to move to ireland and follow them around.
in a non-creeper way, of course.
3 faves from this video:
one] the beach
two] the campfire
three] the paper lanterns. tangled, anyone?
oh. good news.
their new album was just recently released.
check it out on itunes.
buy it.


.awake, my soul.

good morning!
forgive me for being absent for so long.
it has been a week since Passion ended and i've spent the past 7 days trying to process and re-process everything i heard and learned. 
i keep going back to the first talk louie giglio gave to our little group of 45,000.
it blew me away.
like louie's talks usually do. [remember this?]
he spoke from [luke seven: eleven - seventeen]
 11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
louie described Jesus as an interrupter of funerals.
i mean seriously, can you imagine being there, in a funeral procession, and a man walks up and tells your dead son to [arise]??  
i'm not sure if i would laugh or cry.
just like the dead man, we were all dead before Jesus saved us.
we were all on our own stretchers being carried out to our graves.
sin put us in an eternal grave, but Jesus gave us eternal life.
Jesus enters our lives and says [wake up, oh sleeper. rise up from the dead!]
he brought us back from the dead to live lives filled with hope.
that his name and renown would be the desire of our souls.
one more thing.
the name of this town Jesus was in means [beauty]
and in this town Jesus created beauty from the ashes of the dead man's life.
we have an incredibly purposeful maker.
think about this.
you are dead. 
about to be buried in the ground.
you're a goner.
then someone touches you, says [arise!], you open your eyes, and the first thing you see if the face of Jesus. your savior. i can't think of anything more beautiful.
awake, my soul. you were made to meet your maker.


.goodbye 2011.

last night i started reflecting on this past year.
what had happened.
where i'd been.
what i'd learned.
i've been through my first full year of being a college graduate.
and let me tell you,
there have been some ups and downs.
this year there has been a lot of hurt.
a lot of pain.
a lot of questioning.
but through all of that, there has been a lot of healing.
there has been a lot of love.
unconditional love.
one year ago i was applying to work at [elc].
something i never thought i would actually get to do.
i will forever be grateful for my time there this summer.
for the people i met.
for what Jesus taught me.
i was looking back through my journal
[because i became a lover of journaling this year]
it's amazing to see what i struggled with at the beginning of the year
and how i have grown throughout the past several months.
he taught me how to love.
he taught me how to trust.
not perfectly.
i don't always love like i should.
i still have my doubts.
my insecurities.
but i know Jesus is there.
i know he's made me a promise.
so i will trust him.
this year i was given new friends.
and new relationships with old friends
who are now best friends.
there is nothing better i could ask for.
i have been blessed.
today is a new day.
a new year.
and i'm starting 2012 off at [passion]
3 days worshipping Jesus with some of my best friends.
ones i know will be with me through this next year.
 i couldn't ask for a better way to start 2012.
a new chapter.
with Jesus in my heart
and friends by my side.