a month of gratitude

Oh, hello there. It’s nice to see you again (and happy November!). I thought I’d pop in really quick to give you a heads up on what will be happening around here over the next month.

During a meeting at work today, we were going through an exercise in an attempt to help define what our personal core values were. One of the prompts was to write down the top dozen qualities you’d find in an ideal person. Not ideal as in perfect, but ideal as in the person you’d most like to be.

Among others, two of the qualities I wanted my ideal person to be were content and present.

My desire for more of those qualities in my life wasn’t surprising to me. I live in a dream world so often because I believe the lie that it’s so much better than my reality (it isn’t). Because of that, I often struggle with feeling discontent with my life.

As I was thinking about a tangible way I could practice being content and present in my life, practicing gratitude came to mind. And here’s the thing – I can’t be thankful for what my life holds if I’m not paying attention – paying attention to the small, the big, the good, the hard of life and engaging with it all.

So, for me, November is going to be about practicing contentment and being present in my life through paying attention, and documenting something I’m thankful for each day. That feels appropriate for the month of gratitude, yes?

I’ll be documenting those moments here, every day – mostly to give myself some accountability, but also because I hope you’ll join in! Some days may just be a photo and a few words, some days may be longer essays. But, my hope is that at the end of the month, present and content will replace fear and discontent as the normal default of my heart.

a collective deep breath

Sometimes, I wish everyone – the whole world – would stop and take a collective deep breath. Let’s all be still, just for a second. Look up at the clouds and make shapes, listen to the silence or linger at the dinner table. Have nothing to do and just be.

Sounds idealistic, I know.

I learned something about myself in the past few weeks: most of the time, I’m waiting for that ideal scenario – you know, the one where everyone slows down to breathe – to become a reality. Then, I think, then I’ll have time to really enjoy life. Then, I’ll have time to pursue passions and dreams. When all the menial, daily tasks and obligations of life cease, that’s when the fun really starts. A clear schedule, a blank slate, that’s what I really need.

It’s amazing the ideal has survived this long when in my almost 28 years of life that’s never. actually. happened. ever. Not once has there been a season with absolutely nothing going on. Not once have I ever said, “When this (insert very time consuming aspect of life here) is over, then I’ll feel better” and had that statement actually come true. Life is motion, yet I’ve honestly still been expecting it to slow down at some point.

I can’t believe that lie anymore. It’s not good for my heart. There’s a desperate longing in my soul for True Rest that I’ve been trying to feed with a deceptive hope of a clear schedule.

So, I’m trying to pay attention. I’m trying to watch my Jesus, to see how he does it, how he works and rests. I’m asking him to show me the unforced rhythms of grace, in assured hope that He is the true rest my soul has been longing for.

little pockets of light

Happy June!

Summer is here, and I can already feel my heart and soul slowing down a little.

I’m trying to pay attention in these next few months, to keep an eye out for those small, seemingly insignificant moments, songs, smells, that refresh my soul and bring me joy. I don’t want to miss the little moments of summertime happy that pop up right in front of my face.

They’re like little pockets of light in my days. Some are thought-provoking, and some are just plain fun, but I’m learning to embrace how they all make me feel a little more like myself.

In case you’re needing a little pocket of light on this first day of June, here are a few of my recent favorites:

Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap

I told you, nothing extraordinary here. But, every time I wash my hands, I just take a deep breath of lavender (or peony!) and all feels right in the world. I’ve recently started using Grove Collaborative* to buy some of my household cleaning items (including Mrs. Meyers everything), and I’m loving it.

Justin Timberlake

Because try to watch this music video without smiling. Go on, try.

Trader Joe’s Treats

Currently defined as peonies, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Because, of course. It’s like a paper bag of happiness.


Penny & Sparrow, Let a Lover Drown You

This album, seriously. If you love gorgeous music and deep lyrics, go have a listen.

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Out of Sorts, by Sarah Bessey

This book has been speaking straight to my heart. Sarah is a gorgeous writer and invites you into her story of faith in such a humble, transparent, challenging way. In a season of unknown, her words have been a sweet companion through the wilderness.

Salt, Nayyirah Waheed

I recently bought Waheed’s book of poetry, Salt. I’ll admit I haven’t read a ton of poetry, but goodness, I’m loving it. She can say more in a sentence that I could say in an entire book.


Savor, by Shauna Niequist

Shauna is one of my favorite authors and her devotional, Savor, has been out for about a year. And for a year, her short essays have been a gracious, encouraging, thought-provoking way to start my mornings.

The West Wing Weekly Podcast

This last one – for all you Aaron Sorkin / West Wing lovers out there – is a weekly favorite of mine. It’s hosted by Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway, and I basically nerd out every week as they pick apart each episode of The West Wing. We did the math last night, and with 7 seasons to go through they’ll be doing the podcast for about three years. Good news for all Sorkin fans.

Happy summer! What are some of your favorites lately?

*affiliate link: whenever you purchase an item with Grove Collaborative using that link, $10 is credited to my account. The best part? You get the same benefit by creating a free account with Grove!