One Year: July Fourth and A Look Back

July Fourth is actually one of my favorite holidays. I’ve come to semi-enjoy the hot summer months in Texas where sweat running down your spine is just a part of life and having glasses of ice given to you at outdoor restaurants for “when the ice in your drink melts” is a normal occurrence. But what I really enjoy are the colors; red, white, and blue are festive and loud and bold. And fireworks make people’s faces light up and reflect in their eyes. And ice cream! Beer! Picnic blankets! It’s the epitome of summer! Plus, these pictures of Pepper from two years ago are still some of my favorites.


It was one year ago yesterday that I (finally) moved to Dallas. I don’t want to get too sappy here, because I do that on nearly every other platform, but it honestly was the best decision I’ve ever made. (Besides getting Pepper and fostering Suzanna. And all the chocolate I’ve ever eaten.) Once I made the decision definitively to move here it only took me about six months. Don’t say I’m not stubborn.

I remember the day we moved in, July 3, 2015. We were sweaty and my apartment wasn’t cooled down yet and the internet guy was walking around asking me where the phone jack was. We were crashed in places wherever we could find a seat and I was so happy. The night of the fourth we heard fireworks close and all crammed on my patio and ducked around the limbs of the crepe myrtle by my patio so we could see. We were sweaty, and I was happy. Everything I’d worked for kind of summed up in that moment. I got a job so I could afford an apartment so my family could move me in so we could stand on my patio and watch the fireworks coming from Fair Park’s annual July 4 celebration. It didn’t hit me for a few months just how good of a spot I’d snagged.

This last year has given me lots of things and taken away lots of things. I’ve had my heart broken four or five times in that apartment. I’ve cried millions of tears on those pillows, one of which still has a mascara stain. (Sorry, pillow.) I learned that just because you move to a new city doesn’t mean your old crap didn’t follow you. I learned how to be alone after four months of counseling. I learned how to delete the dating apps that were crippling me. I learned how to make my house a home. I learned how to budget (PRAISE HANDS) and how to save (!!!). I still haven’t learned, though, how hard it is to cook a meal for one person.

The first six months in that place were dark. Literally and figuratively. I’m sure you know this about me by now, but I don’t really care to be alone. Actually, I’d never really been alone until I moved here. But here I am, at 25, alone. I’m doing it gang! I’m good! I’ve made new friends, distanced myself from others, met people who were destructive and manipulative, met people who were encouraging and life giving, met perfect strangers that I am coincidentally connected to through random family members or other friends, I’ve stretched and grown and changed completely. I want to hug myself from one year ago and tell her, everything is going to be okay! We love life today! You’re so great! But I forgot to put in the crystals to my time machine and can’t do that.

I still don’t know why I’m here. Maybe it’s just so I can be whole and happy. But maybe there’s something bigger. I tend to believe that about anything in my life anyway. My last serious boyfriend used to tell me all the time that I was going to do great things here. I’m not sure that I’ve really done anything that great. Well, maybe I have. Maybe me changing and stretching and growing and being really me is something truly great. It’s great to me, anyway. And I’d like to think it’s great to someone else, too.

I want my life to be invested in other people. I didn’t change and grow and do all of these things to just say, “Well that was fun! Let’s write that in the journal and put it away in the cabinet.” I live to share. I live to love. I live to invest whatever it is that I have in this tiny, weird heart in someone else. Whatever I become; a writer, a musician, a blogger, I want that to be my end goal. Mindless chatter isn’t really my thing. I want these words to mean something. And I really hope they do.

What are you doing to enjoy the holiday? I’m currently at my parents’ house getting my air conditioning fixed in my car by my dad. (THANK YOU DAD AND THANK YOU GOD FOR A DAD THAT CAN DO THIS!) I’m heading back to Dallas this afternoon to partake in the Fair Park festivities. In person this time.

Happy Fourth, babes!



My First Christmas


I’ve had a lot of firsts in the last seven months: my first apartment, my first real night alone, paying my first electricity bill, first time melting an extension cord into the socket. Lots of stuff. But this Christmas was mine. I had complete control over the entire holiday. I could make my own traditions, decorate however I wanted, watch and listen to Christmas music all day long.

I normally get pretty melancholy around Christmas. Not because of the holiday itself, but because of the weather. It’s always dreary and cloudy and it’s hard to feel festive when you come home to an empty apartment every night. But I made it work. I figured out ways to be cheerful! I made myself listen to Christmas music on the way to and from work, I decorated my tree, I made Christmas cookies for my neighbors, I even bought myself an ornament to document my first Christmas (a gold ‘M’. Fitting, as I have been recently called ‘basic’. A term I wholeheartedly disagree with.) I began my own traditions.

And that’s really what it’s about, right? We spend the majority of our early years Christmasing with our families and adopting their traditions. But what happens when we move out? When we have our own families? We have to make our own! I’m already thinking about things I can do this Christmas. (Too soon?)

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Christmases have kind of notoriously been hard for me. Lot of breakups tend to happen around this holiday for me. Just me? No one else? Cool. No matter who you are, if you’re lonely or not, just surround yourself with people. Shine those twinkle lights all night until you run your electricity bill through the roof. Make your neighbors cookies and then get anxiety knocking on their doors in the dark and then when the one neighbor you’ve deemed ‘Hot Neighbor’ doesn’t answer his door when you knock, make yourself crazy wondering why you heard his floor creak then leave the cookies outside his door. (This is so incredibly incriminating.)


Happy Christmas in March, folks.




Experiencing Hot Springs


My mom’s side of the family has started a two year long tradition of renting a house in Arkansas for Thanksgiving. A bulk of our family lives in Springdale, AR and staying up there for a time allows our actual entire family to be together. This Thanksgiving we rented an enormous farmhouse on gobs of land. It was so refreshing to spend time (with wi-fi, hallelujah) with family just walking around the grounds, breaking into buildings we probably shouldn’t have and eating our weight in food for four days.


If you’re like me and have never been to Hot Springs, the downtown there is full of non-working old bathhouses, old bathhouses that still operate, hot water fountains outside of every building, and dozens of spigots flowing hot spring water where residents come and fill up crates of old milk jugs with the stuff. The spring water is supposed to have healing powers. All I know is that soaking in that hot water would’ve really warmed me up after walking around downtown in the cold all night.

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Thanksgiving day was glorious. A storm started rolling in so we gathered on the front porch for a family portrait. Our stomachs were growling, but the wait was so worth it. Smoked turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, stuffing, bread. All the good things.

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(Now, look. I don’t want to hear any complaining about there being a terrible picture of you on here. You saw me with the camera, thus mentally signing a waiver releasing you of looking ridiculous.)

Moral of the story is rent yourself a house in the woods, the mountains, anywhere. Bring your family along. Force yourselves to spend time together. You’ll thank yourself 15 years from now when things look a lot different. I know we will.






First of all, thank you guys so much for your response to Tuesday’s post. I so appreciate you opening up and sharing your stories with me, for sharing my post, for dropping notes by my desk at work. It was a good day.

I’ve been feeling the urge to share about my life with anxiety and depression for a while, but was trying to discern if I wanted to share for the sake of sharing, or to share for the greater good and to start an open conversation about that topic. To contribute to the idea that it’s okay to talk openly about stuff that’s hard. (AHH IT’S HARD DON’T TALK ABOUT STUFF EVER) But, we should! We’re doing a disservice to ourselves as humans to not explore those deep and complex parts of ourselves and share them. Oh hey! You feel those things too? What a surprise! 

When I finally decided to write that post, I saved it as a draft a week or two before Christmas. I’d scratched the itch to write about it so I didn’t need to post it. When I came back from the holiday, I saw it there. I read it again and it still conveyed accurately what I wanted, so I cleaned it up and scheduled it. That Monday night, I spent an hour or so with my good friend Cait. We started talking about how God gives us these desires to share our lives and ourselves, but we second guess and tell Him no one wants to hear it.

BUT. Jesus does not give us those passions and desires and longings for no reason. Does that mean that every dream or longing or passion or desire we have is going to come to fruition? No. But it does mean that if we humble ourselves before Him and give Him the desires of our hearts, they become the desires of His. And that, y’all, is a really beautiful thing. As Cait and I were talking, I confessed that I don’t trust Jesus enough to fulfill the dreams He’s given me. Ouch.

And that’s one thing I feel like God has been speaking to me since about October. To dream big. Anyone who knows me at all knows I’m a dreamer. I fantasize about the future, about my day, about anything. But I’m a (very) practical dreamer. My dream car? My 2007 Honda Civic. (srsly.) My dream salary? Enough to be 100% independent and to save and give a decent amount.

I specifically remember in one of my work meetings at the end of last year, the chairman felt like he needed to share something. He’s a pastor and pastors a lot of older people. He saw that they all kind of felt like all the dreams they had had come true and they didn’t dream anymore. They didn’t see the need for it. But, he said, God is not done with our dreams. Ever. He gives us new ones.

And. Then. I. Melted. Into. My. Chair. I could’ve sobbed uncontrollably right there. Part of my motivation of moving to Dallas was to become a worship leader. And, (not) surprisingly, when that didn’t happen the moment I moved here I questioned whether or not that was what I was truly supposed to do. I guess I was also mourning my Dallas dream. I’d held it tightly for so many years and it finally came true and it was wonderful and perfect and miraculous, but I didn’t have anything practical to dream about anymore. I spent months wondering and wandering. Thankfully, I had encouragement. I had someone telling me that the spiritual part of my life had been absent for those months and I’d lost my compass, so to speak. I’ll be forever grateful for those words. They reminded me of my dream. My purpose. My calling. Then God told me specifically to dream BIG. Not just to dream. He knows I already do that. But to dream BIG. To not be afraid of those wild and crazy dreams I have deep down. To let them out and give them breath and life. To trust that God is big enough. He is good enough. Because He loves me. And because he never falls off of His throne.

So that’s my word for this year. Well, I have two words: DREAM and BOLD. They go hand in hand, actually. I want to be bold generally and bold specifically in the dreams I have. I just feel that push, you know? Go big or go home, yeah? (Ew, never let me say that again.)


Happy 2016, dummies.

Our Christmas

I know that Christmas was, like, a month ago. But I snapped about a million pictures and just really want to share some. Especially because Pepper was extra adorable that day. 🙂

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Every year my mom displays her Santa and snowman collection. It’s one of my favorite parts about Christmas. A lot of them were her mom’s and that makes them extra special. 🙂

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This was as close as I could get to putting the hat on her head. PS: In the background you can see how my genius mom wrapped our presents this year! She ordered the biggest roll of black butcher paper I’ve every seen. It’s thick and, for me because I’m bad at wrapping, hard to work with but it looks really cool with a white paint pen or chalk!

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The light on Christmas morning… it’s the best. Better than any light on any other morning any other day of the year.

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A gentle frost lay over our backyard that morning. It was chilly and blue. Beautiful.


A late Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good Monday! 🙂




Our Thanksgiving! I Know It’s January.

Okay… so Thanksgiving was more than a month ago. More like, two months ago. But hey! It’s Thanksgiving and nothing makes me feel better than looking at pictures of delicious food.

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The turkey was huge and mom basting it made her hand look like an alien. Also, turkey butt.

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Mmm… pie.

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Mom’s fall decorations on the porch. Simple and festive. Plus we really love burlap around here.

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YUM. I still crave this meal every time I look at these pictures. We stayed home and had Thanksgiving with just us. We missed our extended family but it was nice to lounge around with the windows open all day knowing we had nowhere to be. Smelling the turkey cook and watching mom bake and her pajamas… it’s the best. Also not having to put on makeup or look presentable to stuff my face was a big plus.

How was your Thanksgiving? What kind of pie did you have? I’m hungry.