full table | new year

Twenty years old.

I think I spent a lot of high school growing up fast, but the last year I’ve felt my true age more than ever. I’m not an old soul in a young body. I never have been. More so a young soul with a big job to do. I’ve been putting off writing a blog post for my newsletter like this, but yesterday was the perfect push to make it happen.

The truth is I have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years, 5 years, or next year. My goals have swayed, my vision has shifted into guidelines, and my concept of the future has been altered by my faith. The Lord has taken me to places I couldn’t have dreamed. He has given and taken. He never ceases to surprise me by gifts and mercies. love I don’t deserve. joys he never promised I would have, but simply gives. I don’t want to come up with a detailed plan. I’m done trying to plan my biggest dream, because his is beyond what I could muster up.

Ephesians 3 is clear,

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

I know his glory isn’t my fleshly desires. By accepting christ, laying my sins at the cross, and pursuing his plans, happiness is not promised, joy and gifts are not my reward on earth. But we are in it for the long run. for his mighty plan and his victory. his glory, for the kingdom. All I dream is that this year, next year, in five years, in 10 years, I want my table full. full of friends, family, and strangers.

Reading apostle Paul’s letters to the churches makes me nostalgic over memories that aren’t mine. There was fierce struggle, the good fight was daily just like it is now. There were hidden churches, there were joyful believers celebrating in low voices around tables. They leaned on each other as family and community. They had abandoned all. He wrote to encourage and challenge.

I think about the good fight I’m fighting with my brothers and sisters. The tearful phone calls, the hours of prayer, the long travels to just be with each other, the challenging conversations, the times of worship, the times of communion and fellowship. I love when I glance around and we are together and laughing. “We” is vague because I experience this “together” in different homes, states, and countries. As my birthday has passed and this new year is around the corner, all I’m praying for is that in 2018 my table is full. Even if it’s full in a different way than I imagine, may it be full.

God blessed last night, as the table was full.

At 11:00am, my best friend Ginny arrived to my new home. We greeted each other with squeals and hugs because we’ve become accustomed to not seeing each other for months due to distance. She is joining MTR (Memphis Teacher Residency) next year, and I’m proud of her. At about 12:30pm, my friend El arrived with “hazelnut spread” and a container of parsnips with carrots. She brought stories and updates from her first semester at school in New York City. We laughed over subway experiences and conversed about art, work, and community. Quickly our little group grew as Tiana, my friend who is studying dance in university, arrived; then Olivia Grace, a music major; Kelly and Vincent, friends I’ve known through Avenue Coffee; and more and more. The day continued with grinding loads of coffee. I had mentioned that you could bring your presents to wrap so we could all be together, and many of them did. So out came boxes and bows. My mom and her best friend Megan, my art and science teacher from HS, stopped by. My sister arrived with 18 boxes to stuff and package for my clients. It was a full experience.

As dinner grew near, food was arriving with each person. It was two sets of incredible mac + cheese, blt bites of some sort, bananas, fried chicken, parsnips + carrots, and veggie chili. We slayed that mac + cheese. Nothing left.

I was in the kitchen for maybe 20 minutes when I rounded the corner into my room, and dear Lord, there were so many people all together sitting on the floor, chairs, and bed. It was a full room, barely room to walk. People I didn’t recognize came and introduced themselves, new friends brought other friends. My heart swelled. This is what I’m about. I’m about the sharing food and having conversations. I love when I hear people learning about another lifestyle and culture. I’m all about hearing a friend from one part of my life introduce themselves to a friend from another part of life. Even baby Liam made a showing with Jo and Peter, my freakin’ people. I didn’t want this to end. As every bit of mac + cheese was scraped from the casserole dishes, it was time for music.

Mary Mad, as her friends lovingly call her, brought out her guitar to start us off. She is a student at MS State and a dear friend to one of my dear friends. So of course, we are tight. <3 She played and we all joined in as she finished off with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. Next, Jackie, my Zimbabwe queen. She brought her drums and spontaneously (under much squealing on my part) started hyping up the room with her beats. We even morphed a beat into jingle bells and it was so fun. Wyly began setting up his piano, and swept us away. My favorite of his last night was an original called Memphis Nights. SHAMELESS PLUG: https://open.spotify.com/track/22l9CHlqXrDL0zp8J985Gx . Olivia Grace brought out some Mariah Carey with Wyly killin’ it on the keys. After many a request, out came ice cream and cookies. We gathered together in my room again to grow quiet for John Black to play a “rough draft” of his music. He drove home to get his amp and guitar just for it, and everyone had no complaints as he kept playing.

Gosh, so much joy that night. This friend family I had left nothing for me to do, as they gathered plates, cups, moved furniture back into place, cleaned mugs. The house was back to normal in a few short bustling minutes! I was driven to Gibson’s by Sara Beth to finish off the night.

I came home, heart full, room empty. I won’t ever forget how full it was. And I hope it will always finds its way back to that state.

Solo Travel | Experiencing a City

Experiencing a city is a challenge. Especially when time is short. So why put the pressure on yourself? Why feel the need to be the tourist who sees all historical sites, the instagram-worthy modern coffee shops, the infamous restaurants, and the classic tours.

Forgetting to sit still on a trip can make it all a blur. Kind of like your wedding day. Unless you stop and breathe it in, you will likely say “I can barely remember anything! Still the best day of my life!” Which in the long run isn’t a bad answer, but personally, I LOVE remembering the details, the random excursions off trail. I hope on my wedding day, I can have moment memories that build the day, not flashes of events.

So when you take a weekend, a week trip, or longer, I challenge you to pick and choose what is most important to you. Do you ACTUALLY want to see _____ or do you just want a photo in front of it. Often, I find myself saying “i don’t know, i feel like i’m SUPPOSE to go there cause like I’m HERE?” When in England, I stayed in a northern city with close friends. London is a 5 hour drive from their home. I spent a bit of time asking myself if I should ask to go. I mean, I was in England (right!?) , and 5 hours isn’t even that far! I opted not, because I knew I would MUCH rather spend hours in their home, drinking tea, exploring their stomping grounds. I would much rather make memories laughing while attempting golf, getting brunch down the street, and going to a high tea room in an old hall. Don’t get me wrong, London would be amazing, but this trip, it was just me. I began to lose the sense of urgency to SEE IT ALL.  I plan to go back. I’ve been twice in the same calendar year, so why try to see it all and not take a breather? I hope I can continue to travel often in my lifetime, and I expect I will go back to England with a friend or friends one day who will want to take London on!

There is something so special about not using a map after a few days in a city. I spent around 6 days in Lyon, France this April. I had a European phone plan with quite a bit of data left, so I face timed some friends while around the city. After the first two days, I had gotten to know the area, the short cuts to the rivers, my favorite bridge or two to cross, my favorite spot to sit and read. It was so exciting to virtually tour my best friend around a city that now felt like a new comfortable home.

So my top “planning” tips to visiting a new city:

  1. Instead of booking a trip with the intention to see as many cities in 3 weeks that you can, consider taking on 2 cities and a town maybe. Spend a longer time in one place to truly experience the culture, the set up of the city, the food, and of course, the people!

2. Prioritize your MUST see tourist attractions, and eliminate the ones that you are going to simply out of obligation. Its YOUR trip, right?

3. Consider wandering around the city without a map (also have a note of your address… and maybe a off-line map app to get home. haha)

4. Read and write where you want to – on a step, on the ground, by water where ever you just want to be. Don’t feel guilty for that time. Allowing yourself to stop and take in your experiences will let them sink and hold. Take note of the little things. Weather, smells, sounds, people you see.

I have loved the trips I remember LIVING in the city, not simply touring it. Take the challenge, give yourself elbow room on your next trip.

Get lost in the city, try some crappy coffee you spent a little too much on, dangle your legs over a river, breath in the fresh air, and let the city settle in your memory.

Sunday afternoon after church exploring the local market for a smoothie.

One of my favorite nights in Lyon. I had eyed a spot on this one bridge a few days in a row. The weather was perfect. I just scooped myself up there and read my travel journal. The bustling city around me while I wrote in more memories I made that day.

Taking an evening off exploring and doing some well needed Friends night. Everything is so new and sometimes just a lot, its nice to have something familiar like netflix.

Take selfies. Haha you won’t regret it. Its the solo-travel way.

Snack away.

First Time Bread Baker | Attempt Once

To be honest, bread seemed really intimidating to me. Since its so easy to buy, and you hear so many talk about how hard it is to bake bread. However this summer I visited dear friends of mine, and they make bread. Well, Anna bakes bread. It all seems very simple and well time consuming but not difficult. So when I was given the bread + cheese platter for one of my best friends baby shower, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

I didn’t own a dutch oven, nor was I at all informed by the true task of baking bread. My sister came to my rescue… a baby sitter if you will. She face timed me the night I stirred it all up, and came over in the morning, let me barrow her dutch oven and stayed till it was all golden crust! So I send all my gratitude to Dough vs Girl and my sister!

Now I went with the simplest of recipes that my sister uses! And I’ve broken it down and photographed my experience below.

no-knead dutch oven bread

I made two batches. Left – Plain bread . Right – Rosemary bread


  • 3 cups of flour

  • 2 tsp of salt (for the plain bread)
  • 2 tsp of garlic salt (for the rosemary bread) + rosemary

  • 1 Tsp (one packet) of red star ACTIVE DRY YEAST

Mix until just mixed.

cover with siranwrap or something. I used parchment and then a cloth on top.

leave over night in a warm space in your home.

Turn oven on to 450 and place dutch oven inside as well!

Flour up and scoop on pan. Will use quite a bit of flour to ensure its not too sticky to mold into roundness.

Once round and cute on its pan, cover again with cloth and let rise for 30 minutes at least.

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If you so desire, you can slit an X or just a line to allow a crack .

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You can’t totally tell in this photo, but pick up the borders of the parchment paper and plop into the dutch oven.

Cook with cover on for 40/45 minutes. Then take the dutch oven top off and let bake for 8-10 minutes to make it all golden!

Me with bread.


Rheinland Pfalz, Germany | Bridals

Not much to say except that I love my cousin and I’m so thankful she gave me this time. Actually frolicking the hills of the German countryside in her wedding dress, 1o years after I was her flower girl nervously making the way down her wedding aisle. Call us pretentious, but we just living these crazy lives the Lord has given us which somehow included a magical sunset in the hills behind her village. Its a dream to have visited Alice twice in almost the same year, and I don’t take that lightly. The Lord gave us this opportunity to unlock a friendship we never got to have when we were younger. I love my cuz, my friend, Alice Holt. AND I cannot WAIT to see her in just a few short days STATE side.

Here are a few photos of my GORGEOUS cousin. <3


Victoria + Sharline | New Friends in Heidelberg, GE

Jonna and I had the best day a couple weeks ago in Heidelberg. We met up with Sharline + Vicky one night at a store and ventured around picking up our picnic snack/dinner items. Including olives, cheese, lots of bread, bananas, dips, ect. And headed on our way to the gorgeous riverside. Upon arrival, it was the ideal time for photos. I asked Sharline if she would be my model. We had met that same hour and were already giggling, arms linked towards the water.

Sharline is such a sweet soul. I love how kind her whole demeanor is and its so visible in her eyes. She encouraged me so much, and catered to all my ideas and prompts. Definitely embarrassed her yelling out compliments. <3 Thank you, Sharline, for still being my friend! I feel like I’ve known you forever, even though it was only a few hours. The Lord just connected us, and I thank Him for that!

And the tables turned when Sharline took my camera, and started posing me! <3 Also we were trying not to get in goose poop.. #adventures

And this beautiful woman is Victoria (Vicky!) She lit up when I asked if she would model as well. The girl has fierce eyes that really are the door to her adventurous, passionate spirit. Vicky filled our little picnic with laughter and encouragement. I was simply baffled by how the Lord used these girls to bless my trip to Heidelberg.

SHARLINE + VICKY, I love you both! May the Lord be with you!