the things learned in fall 2017

These months have flown by in a stream of colors, photographs, memories, last-minute trips, laughter to the point of tears, milestones, way too many emotions to keep up with the amounts of caffeine + sleep in our system (which is not a lot), and countless stories. So much has been unfolded in the rich, sentimental, transforming time of autumn and this September – November corner of the year. And while the sheer volume of things learned may cause me to run from writing and be overwhelmed, it is worth unpacking. it has been an undeniably difficult season, yet there are gems here.

So, in no particular order, here are twelve things I’ve learned lately (sometimes by accident, sometimes under protest, but always worth it):

  1. The places where we sit are powerful. Lately I’ve been taking stock of the places I’ve been sitting. And I’ve realized that there is something profound and sacred in these ordinary spaces. Today it is the giant low chairs with the perfect frame for sinking in criss-cross applesauce and having deep moments, with a circle table in between. The other day it was in the laundry room late at night, machines tumbling with the comforting ease of home. Earlier in the semester, on the verge of quitting it all before senior year began, it was the chapel seats with Ephesians verses engraved on the back of them. On night walks, it’s been the brick planter by the lake with a clear view of the campus and stars, as tears fall and truth comes out.

  2. Do the next right thing. Sometimes that phrase your professor consistently repeated to you over and over again becomes the title of your favorite author’s podcast. then that podcast slowly breathes life into your weeks and days when it all seems too much. Case in point, this gem of a realization |Learning to be honest in the presence of Jesus, to bring the darkness and brokenness and unspoken desires to Him, frees up everything. To just admit it all, write it down, pray it through, put it into words, because it’s better in the long run that way and safer to trust it to Him.

  3. Watching other people do things that brings them joy brings you joy. Case in point, Jordan Fisher on Dancing with the Stars. It was impossible after watching this guy dance each week to not smile. Seriously, just watch these and look at his reactions. A reminder that doing what makes you come alive makes the world come alive. Also, if you find others who love a show like you do, gather them around and plan special viewing nights, it makes things so much more enjoyable. Jordan Fisher | All Dances

  4. Reminding yourself of the past, of God’s faithfulness comes in many forms. Re-reading old journals and blogs is necessary. Facebook’s On This Day feature includes the ups and downs with social media, bittersweet memories with the lovely ones, but wow what a reminder of how rich life is and how far God takes a soul. The coolest discovery | There is a memories feature on the camera roll. And within that tab, there are grouped together collections of snapshots + videos from days and places, a rewind of this year, and options for making films of them, with all kinds of music. I watched the first suggested one and instantly burst into tears. It is so amazing to watch things unfold. Definitely a new favorite feature.

  5. When you’re on the brink of graduation, you’ll realize you love all things home decor related. Magnolia + Fixer Upper and Ikea have made my inner love of interior design and aesthetically pleasing spaces come out strong. There’s something about the way it causes you to dream about long chats over coffee tables, desk spaces from which to change the world, a home spilling over with laughter and the hardest and fullest of times.

  6. When you turn from rejoicing with those who rejoice and celebrate, to grieving with those who grieve and hurt, to processing your own healing and deep brokenness, it can become a confusing whirlwind. But keep showing up. To the games, the concerts, the events, the meetings, the everyday conversations. Community is worth it all + people matter. And you will find your own heart healing as you learn to come alongside other hearts again.

  7. Sometimes small concerts can be the best. the other night I stood in the most intimate of concert venues and watched a songwriter pour intentionality and heart into his art. And honestly it was one of the fullest concert experiences, changing the way I view live music and artistry. There is something beautiful about being so close and connected to the event, something larger arenas lose.

  8. The simple routines are the most transforming and more significant than you know. Brunches with good friends, Friday morning coffee and breakfast traditions. Chapels at 10 AM. Sunday morning rides to church with coffee thermos in hand, bible open, bold blue sky, Jon Foreman playing, as the sun stretches across this corner of the world. And your soul needs this, to remember that He fills your cup to overflowing with good things in the most draining of seasons. That each detail is purposely designed. That nothing is ordinary when we walk through it with Jesus.
    Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

  9. For an overwhelmed heart, going outside or opening your window and staring at the sky is one of the best remedies. You will not always be able to process everything in life, and that is okay. Much of our lives is overwhelming. This practice of looking up forces you to gratitude, which is the most essential perspective that you can hold, and takes your breath away and reminds you who God is and what He is unfolding in the world and the heart. It is a reminder that on your worst days, Jesus is far from done with you and there is hope in all that He is creating within you.

  10. Character moodboard aesthetics speak to the most creative parts of my soul and also PSA Riverdale is the most fascinating and visually stunning show. And sometimes you need the fun and intriguing shows when the rest of life is kind of crazy too.

    Credit | the creative humans on Tumblr

  11.  Lord of the Rings still holds some of the most timeless lines and truths.
    PT I | One that’s traveled with me a lot right now is that there is good left in this world and it is worth fighting for. in the unfolding days of often heavy hearts, washed out photographs of memory, of red eyes and a million questions, of beauty in a child’s smile or the ways someone’s eyes light up as they talk about things that make them come alive, of papers and job searches and chapels with thousands of voices singing out praise, come back to this. keep discovering that there is good He is working, there is good in this story, and it is worth fighting for.
    PT II | The other line that’s been with me? There are some things that you can’t go back from, and that’s okay. Life has been forever changed by my mom’s passing this year, but that is okay.

  12. When you are overwhelmed and questioning your purpose, make a list of things you were made for, that you were made to do. It changes you and changes the way you view the world you are involved in. List them out, from the silly little things, like what you love and your contribution to coffee shops, to the deep significant things about how you relate to others and interact with them, and the ways you write. Grab a friend if necessary.

So here you go friends, there’s some fun facts for your life. It may be a non-stop action kind of season where up and down don’t seem the same anymore. But wherever you are at, there is much to be learned. Also, these lists keep me sane and remind me to enjoy life with gratitude, and they are tons of fun to write. So please, join me in this journey. You’ll find it makes life better.

Here’s to the details that shape us + the One in control of them,


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