Thursday, January 30, 2014

January: Stability

It seems like everyone has a one word for this year. That's great, but I have a whole book of words, and just one doesn't seem to fit. That being said, as January happened, I noticed a theme.

It began with a fast that I started on the first, probably a bigger sacrifice than I bargained for. I learned a lot about myself, and I am really glad that's over.

I worked Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas, so that I could see my family. Because of those lovely work days, I was able to surprise my family just after Christmas, and also go to the beach this past weekend. We celebrated my dad and brother's birthdays by just spending time together. We talked, and ate an abundance of birthday cake, and my mom and I watched an entire season of Downton Abbey in two days.

It was a sacrifice to get there, and worth every moment. I got to rest with my family, and we all got to go back to our homes, and steady (if rigorous) lives. It's an good rhythm, and it's nice.

January has been the month of settling in. I've had to discover new patterns of life with this new season, both spiritually and literally. Snow can cause train delays.

I've started budgeting again, after spending like a mad woman November and December. Part of my spending spree was because of the holidays, and part of it was because I now have a real job, and they pay me real money. No more Monopoly cash!

I wish this post was more exciting... It's been a month of writing and friendship and paying the bills. But I think we all need months like this, ones which are fairly orderly, not a lot of drama, not a lot of change. The monotony is a nice relief from the chaos that was my 2013. 2014 has started off strong, by getting down to the basics. Stability. It's been good.

I don't know if each month will have a word or a theme; I only thought of stability as I wrote this post. We'll see!
Maybe 2014 will be a year of 12 words.

Until then,

Peace with you.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

But wait! There's more!

There were a few things that I neglected to mention in my last post.

1. I got a tattoo. It looks like this:

The words are lyrics from Coldplay's Yellow, which is one of my favorite songs. Yellow was released in 2000, which was (obviously) 13 years ago; 13 is my favorite number, and also my birthday, (10/13). 2013 was a big year for me. If you're unfamiliar with Yellow, this is my favorite version.

2. I didn't go home for Christmas, that is true.

Instead, I (gently) lied to my family, and surprised my mom, dad and brother by showing up in Florida for a few days. They had absolutely no idea, and their reactions were priceless. (Pictures coming soon)

It was quite possibly the greatest surprise I have ever planned... The three of them were completely unaware. Already making plans for next Christmas, though I don't know how I'm going to top this. You guys, my own *birth* wasn't even a surprise.

3. 2014 will be a year of writing for me.

I'm going to throw myself wholeheartedly into my other blog, Graceland. I'm still going to post monthly updates here, but Graceland will me much more regular. Thank you for journeying this far with me, and I wish the happiest 2014 to you all.



Saturday, November 30, 2013


 There's glitter in the air.

For the first time in a long time, it feels like the holiday season is a gift we are longing to receive; we are preparing for it with anticipation like one anticipates chocolate. It will be rich and satisfying. This of course could be my own impression, based off of the fact that my Christmases over the past few years have been marked by a kind of melancholy... But I don't think so.

This Christmas is different. 

There was the Christmas that was My Last Christmas At Home. There was My First Christmas In College. Last year was The Christmas Where I Wasn't At Home and I Wasn't Where I Wanted To Be, with a Job That I Hated.

This Christmas is different.

Life is different. For the first time, ever (gulp) I won’t be in North Carolina for the holidays. I will be tucked away in New York, FaceTiming and texting my family while I battle consumerism and celebrate with family up here.

I’ve been transitioning into a stable life in the city, one day at a time. I’ve been paying rent and utilities, I’ve been doing laundry, and getting to work on time, taking advantage of my health insurance... This is an adulthood that I haven’t really experienced before. So much of my time in the past has been spent barely making it, barely surviving. I did make it, and it wasn’t easy, and I am grateful for the lessons that I learned, many of them the hard way.

I can say with confidence that 2013 has been the year of blessing.

I would also say that 2013 has been the most challenging year of my life.

I made three big moves, changed jobs, watched plans fail, I watched promises come true, and there were words spoken over my life that humble me and astound me and bring me to my knees in awe and terror. Friendships that I thought were all but gone have been restored, fighting stronger than ever. New friendships have formed that are fierce and vulnerable, and breathing. I turned 21,
I changed roles at church, I ended toxic relationships, and before the year is up, I'm going to get a tattoo to commemorate it all.

There is so much in store. There are so many futures that are ahead. There promises that I don’t believe I will see for years, but there is healing and hope, and a promise that there are days ahead where some of my far off dreams will become present realities.

This has been the year of dreams.

I pray that I never stop dreaming.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To begin again.

This post is long overdue, though with good reason. (promise)

So much has happened since September. In August, my mom and aunt visited me in Bronxville, and I tried to walk them to death. They survived, though not without a few blisters, I'm sure. 

As we were in Grand Central, ready to head back to the airport, I received that magical "we would be pleased to offer you a position..." phone call. I cried, no shame.

I packed up my space in Bronxville over the following 10 days, and was completely moved out by the 12th. Bright and early on September 13th, I began training for my new job. I couchhopped a bit, eventually landing at a friend's apartment in Brooklyn.

A friend from church forwarded me a room listing that seemed almost too good to be true; a beautiful pre-war apartment in quite possibly my favorite neighborhood. I visited the apartment, met my roommate and heard back within days. There can be no other explanation than the full orchestration of God. I live near a cafe and wine bar, an Indian restaurant, an Ethiopian restaurant, and a teeny tiny 24 hour market with a really good chocolate selection. I'm in heaven.

On October 13th, I turned 21. I celebrated with friends over dinner and cupcakes, and went to a charming Steampunk themed bar in Brooklyn. I celebrated later that day with more cupcakes and can say with much confidence that this has been my favorite birthday in New York so far.

 Six days later, I was on a plane to Myrtle Beach, where I celebrated and vacationed with my family. We walked on the beach, and I beat them at cards, and my dad made pumpkin pie cheesecake. 

My life is so different than it was mere months ago, even a year ago. I feel almost like a different person. This new season is rich with strong friendships that just needed some time, and I'm healthier in spirit and emotion. I'm still asked about Australia and Bible college, and my answer is much the same: I am very clearly supposed to be in New York right now. I don't know when Bible college will happen, though I believe it is certainly a part of my future.

My church is growing in leaps and heaps and I am excited to be a part of all that God is doing. Our tight knit family is growing to Brooklyn and London and Zimbabwe. We are reaching deeper into the heart of God to see what compassion looks like, and we are making differences. We are inviting people to kneel alongside us as we ask for wholeness, peace, and restoration. I recently handed over my leadership role of our guest lounge to a dear friend, who is bringing new life and a vibrant spirit to the team I love so dearly. I've been in charge of the lounge for over two years... It's been the single most consistent part of my life since I moved to New York in 2011. I'm still as involved as ever, but taking a break from leadership to serve and renew, and prepare to step up as our growing community expands.

Everything in my life right now is a new season. New friendships, new roommates, new apartment, new job, new role at church; it can be overwhelming. However there is peace in the new. I can say with absolute confidence that I am glad that I stayed put. I am in a season of rest that I have not had in quite awhile. My world is stable. I can see my family more often, I can sleep easy, and I can dream. Dream about the future, dream about what 2014 will bring (let me tell you: big things).

My plan is to write more, to listen eagerly, and to learn to rest. I have a feeling it can only get busier from here.