Welcome Fall

Happy First Day of Fall! (even though folks have been sipping their PSLs for nearly a month now…)

Welcome Fall
Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

As we usher in one of my very favorite seasons, I thought I would share some of the things on my seasonal living list for Fall. Marking time in this way for the past couple of years has truly helped me to savor moments and learn to be present. Scripture reminds us of the importance of this practice by saying, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12, NLT).”

Savor the Season
  • Go Apple Picking
  • Coffee Day – September 29
  • Taco Day – October 4
  • Delight in a Fall Floral Arrangement
  • Go See the Color Change – As if I need an excuse for a roadtrip to the mountains…
  • Visit the Pumpkin Patch
  • Pumpkin Day – October 26
  • Host a Halloween Movie Night – Nothing better than Hocus Pocus!
  • Simmer Mulled Cider
  • Find Joy in Fall Baking – I’m hoping to try some Apple Cider Donuts this season!

How are you going to celebrate Fall?

Favorite Books of 2018 + What I Want to Read

Happy Book Lover’s Day! I love anything that celebrates books and reading. This year has been pretty different for me in that I haven’t really read as much as I normally do. But this year has also held a lot of changes and transitions, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. I wanted to share with you some of my favorites that I’ve read already this year, as well as a few titles that are on my “to-read” list!

Book Lover's Day
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Favorites of 2018

Everybody, Always // Who doesn’t love Bob Goff? I mean, really. This book was everything and I just want to be Bob’s best friend.

Little Book of Hygge // I loved this little book and it definitely made me want to hop and plane bound for Denmark. The concept of hygge – coziness and connection and comfort – is one that I strive for in my life all the time, but it was fun to read about a place and a culture that prioritizes and celebrates this too!

The Sacred Enneagram // Like basically everyone else lately, I absolutely love the Enneagram. I am Type 9, but also tied with Type 6 in my results from quiz at the Enneagram Institute. I absolutely loved this book and how it connected traits from each type to our faith journey and how it can help us grow in our identities as we grow in our relationship with God as well.

Sweet Laurel Cookbook // I’ve been a little cookbook-obsessed this year and this one is not only beautiful, but the recipes are absolutely delicious! My favorites have been the German Chocolate Cake, Baked Churros, and Vegan Caramel. Everything is free of refined sugar, gluten, and dairy and absolutely delicious!

What I Want to Read

The Life-Giving Home

The Life-Giving Table

Come Matter Here

Begin Again

Happy Reading!

Community, Rhythms, and Other Thoughts on Moving

And suddenly there were just four days left. Four days until I fill my car one last time and make the drive from Charlotte to Raleigh. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had no idea what this Fall was going to hold and I thought that I would be packing a car bound for Illinois and grad school?

Community, Rhythms, and Other Thoughts on Moving

I’ve been laughing to/at myself for weeks thinking about how much of a wreck I would be if that was actually the path that God decided to keep me on. The amount of feelings and anxiety I’ve had about just simply moving 2.5 hours away? I can’t even imagine what that’d be like if I were moving 12 hours away. You’d find me rocking in a corner somewhere. But even that, like so much in these past few weeks/months, is something to rejoice in. Even though I felt so strongly just six months ago that my path was going to take me to Illinois, I love and serve a God who protected my heart through rejections and lovingly led me to this current path to Raleigh which was an answered prayer just two-ish years “late.” I used to pray and yearn for a way to make the Raleigh area my home just a couple of years ago and clearly, God’s plans were to make a way for me there much later than what I thought. Thank goodness for timing and plans that are not my own. I can’t help but believe that He knew that my heart just wasn’t ready for that massive of a change. He knew how much it would take for me to pick up and move 2.5 hours away. It’s been a recurring theme throughout my story and my walk with Him – He is constantly guiding me but hemming me in with His perfect peace and protection….

Read the Post

Life Lately

Hello friends! I’ve got a sort of “stream of consciousness”-like update post for you all today.

It is officially summer vacation in my neck of the woods and something tells me that this is going to be a hectic summer! Between moving to a new city in late July/early August (see this post), opening an antique booth with my Mom in the NC foothills, and closing out a another school year – it’s already been a little crazy.

When I first committed to my new job and the move to Raleigh, one of the first things that I thought about was budgeting. My next thought was about wellness. Really, it was! Ever since my family and I first did Whole30 back in July 2017 and began following the Paleo lifestyle afterwards, there are certain ingredients, products, and recipes that we have kept in our lives. Although I have strayed from Paleo a lot lately, this way of eating and living is one that I truly believe in and feel strongly about. Whole30 and Paleo taught me how to start listening to my body and to pay attention to what I was putting into it. Which brings me to my next little story…

I recently had a wake-up call of sorts with my health and it forced me to open my eyes and see just how far I had strayed from the healthy lifestyle that I once had. I was never the perfect Paleo person, but I was pretty diligent for several months! But life happens, you tell yourself that a little treat here and there wouldn’t hurt, and before you know it…your clothes are back to feeling uncomfortable and you just feel off all around.

A couple weeks ago, I went in for a physical. Sadly, I can’t even remember the last physical that I had because it had been so long and I had fallen into the practice of only going to the doctor if I truly felt really sick. I had some blood work done but rather than having a completely fine bill of health, my results showed that my thyroid levels were abnormal. That certainly got my attention.

I knew a little bit about thyroid issues but did a bit more research and realized that some of the things that I had just written off as normal for me or simply due to my work environment or eating habits were also signs and symptoms of abnormal thyroid levels. My PA wanted me to wait a week to come back in for a full thyroid panel so I made the decision that for the next week, I would eat completely Paleo. Now, it ended up not being 100%, but it was pretty dang close. When I went back in for a full thyroid panel, my results came back normal (with a more than 6 point drop).

Of course, I truly don’t know if a week of eating mostly clean foods is actually what caused the normal readings but I can’t help but think that it definitely played some role. While I am super grateful for those normal results, this whole thing is super convicting for me to get back on “the bandwagon” and keep Paleo a regular and central part of my lifestyle. In a society that paints the unrealistic and damaging picture that we have to constantly be on the move and that what is quick and convenient is not going to harm us, we ultimately have to be bold enough to stand up and say enough. Enough of mindlessly filling our bodies with junk and feeling like junk in return, enough of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the fact that what we put into our bodies does have a direct impact on our health.

Clarity

Earlier this year, I shared a little about how I was reading through the Old Testament and how it really resonated with me and the journey I felt I was on as I began this year. Much like Moses’ journey with the Israelites into the wilderness, my walk at that time was very much in a transitional and “in-between” place. Not yet to point B but not all the way back at point A.

When I wrote of this back in March, I felt that I knew the general direction that God was taking me. I’d spent the past 2.5 years working towards a career as a child life specialist – preparing myself to move into either full-time grad school for two years or into a full-time child life internship for four months. But then, the plans changed. These two things that I’d a spent so much time praying over and preparing for were no longer in my immediate future. To be perfectly honest, as someone who plans for every possible outcome, I wasn’t completely prepared for this one. My answer to people who asked me what I planned to do if neither grad school or an internship panned out was “I’ll just stay here and keep teaching,” but there was a part of me that really didn’t think I’d need to consider option #3.

I think most of us have been in places like this. Surprised, anxious, and a little confused as to how we ended up here when we expected to be somewhere else entirely. It certainly isn’t a fun place to be in the moment, but when viewed in hindsight it is one of the most beautiful of spaces. Uncertainty forces us to face head-on this unpleasant reality that we are human and that we have a limited view of the world around us. It forces us to make a choice, even though I think we often fight against the obvious one. It’s the choice that we make to look to and rest in the One thing that is certain in this world. The One who created the world and everything in it and therefore knows exactly what we can’t see or decipher.

I don’t share my stories with you because I’ve figured out the secret to all of this and have navigated the uncertainty and fear that have been near-constants in my life perfectly. I truly have not. Many of my prayers in the wake of these changed plans looked and sounded a bit incredulous. I had to spend some time reconciling with God this new reality and why He didn’t give me some sort of heads up that He was switching things up on me. This was about two weeks of my life before He shared some powerful words with me.

Disappointment shouldn’t make me desperate and hard seasons shouldn’t put me in denial. Denying myself of hope, of joy, or of just simply the opportunity to trust my Creator fully and completely is exactly what the enemy wants. The enemy wants us weak and fearful and so easily crumbled when things don’t go our way and life gets tough.

Somewhere along the way within my story this truth become sort of the backbone of who God is shaping me to be, I think. He still has to stop and remind me of it along the way, as He did recently, but with every new page of this story it becomes easier to choose God over whining or desperation. Sometimes I think faith is like a muscle – we have to put it to use and actively work to strengthen it or it just becomes wasted. The person I was before God transformed my heart and my life through a season of loss and uncertainty was someone who saw disappoints and hardships as anything but the perfect opportunity to give it over to God.

There’s been several moments over the past few months when I felt like other people didn’t quite understand why I was doing what I was. Why I only applied to one grad school program and a small handful of hospitals for their internships programs. Why I was prepared to move to a small town in Illinois, where I knew absolutely no one, if I had gotten accepted to graduate school. Why I moved away from option #3 to pursue option #4 – realizing I needed a change of any kind and applying to several job openings in North and South Carolina. The simple answer is that I was just simply doing what God told me to do, even though it didn’t make complete sense to me either. A slightly longer answer is that I’ve learned that loving and following Jesus often means moving boldly forward, even (especially) when you don’t actually know what He’s moving you toward.

But just as God carried the Israelites through the wilderness and into the Promised Land, He has carried me to a place where I can finally say that I do know what the immediate future holds. And He so beautifully paved the way for this to come to fruition.

In early May, I accepted a teaching position at a new elementary school in Wake County, NC and I will be moving to Raleigh in July/August 2018. The area is a familiar one with many extended family members nearby, but also my older sister who has lived there since college and who will be my new roommate! These past few weeks have truly been humbling as I think about how God wove things together, answered prayers, and provided clarity that had been lacking for more than two years. Humbled and overflowing with gratitude as I pray and prepare for this new chapter!

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