The Redwoods


let me state at the beginning of this that we actually never saw bigfoot. and we are both sad about it because there were so many maps portraying sitings. i feel gypped, is what i'm saying. 

the redwoods are amazing. (duh) we rolled into the avenue of the giants that night and got out of our car just to hug a tree. we ate an amazing dinner at the diner down the road from our air b&b and promptly fell into bed for one of the best sleeps of my life. we had decided to break up our camping with one night in a real bed and enjoy a real bathroom. it was totally worth it and the old motor lodge we stayed in was surprisingly clean! the bed was incredibly comfortable and the woman working the front desk looked for sure like she had seen a bigfoot in her day...but i was too chicken to ask. 

the next morning we slept in till seven and lazily made our way over to a cafe further down the road. that turned out to be the best meal i ate on this trip. i just love chorizo so much okay? our waitress was so kind and she told us about the founders tree falling when she was younger and how even though she was 2 miles away, it felt like an earthquake when it hit. she told us where to find it and we headed out for a day of exploring and hunting the sasquatch. (for the record, if you didn't get to watch our insta story that day i feel really, really sad for you. because it was hilarious and there might have been some sitings...)

its weird to think about now but we literally just walked around the woods for days looking up into the trees. i have no idea how many times we drove up and down the avenue, finding different big trees on the map. it was incredible. i wish with my whole heart we had a video of the moment we were driving on one of the backroads and alena yelled "HOLE!" and i swerved to miss a giant pothole in the road only to see a truck coming in the other lane when alena yelled "TRUCK!" and we swerved back. i hit neither one for the recored but for some reason the whole thing was hilarious and we didn't stop giggling about it for hours.

we also had an episode while we were exploring around the eel river. we had climbed down an embankment and crossed through the water to skip rocks on the bank of the other side. when we had started to head back to the car we spotted a little water snake swimming along with the current. honestly the thing was tiny but in alenas defense it did pop up under a rock looking at we gave the snake a wide girth as we walked back across the river and I'm not sure if she got spooked near the deep part but alena shot through water so fast that a wave of liquid swashed up around her backside and soaked her butt. when i tell you i was laughing hard i mean that i couldn't even get up the embankment. i was helplessly clinging to a root still in the water and if that snake had come after us i would have died because i couldn't move from laughter. it was one of the funniest things i've ever seen. 

we camped and ate chicken noodle soup that night and i know by the photos you'd think it was freezing but it really was the perfect camping weather. and speaking of weather, i feel like i need to give a shout out to california for that because both alena and i had probably the best hair week of our entire lives and sometimes i get a little sad knowing that i will never have my california hair here in tenneesee. its fine. i will be fine. 

again, here are way too many pictures and a few self indulgent video clips from our trip to the redwoods! 

Posted on October 11, 2017 .



i think yosemite is going to be that thing for me, that whenever i get stressed or overwhelmed i turn to alena and say, "you wanna go to yosemite??" 

i had dreamed about the day i would stand looking at half dome and the history in the rocks of yosemite. alena and i had talked about it so much and we decided that this was the summer. we were just going to bite the bullet and go. because yolo and all that. 

the valley was everything i imagined times one thousand. i literally cannot describe it. pictures will never do it justice and if i could take every person i know it would still never be enough. God blew my mind with his creation and i feel like that's an understatement. i really wanted to cry, because i felt like that would accurately describe all my feelings about seeing it in person but actually the only thing we did was laugh. we couldn't stop laughing really. and now i'm pretty sure that's what it will be like in heaven. 

i think we planned our trip like crazed women though, throwing things together kind of last minute and figuring things out on the fly. but my grandfather would be so proud of how safe we were when it came to all things bear and wildlife related. safety first and all that. we locked things in bear things and didn't leave any food in our tent. i've read a walk in the woods by bill bryson and his bear attack stories were enough to scare me into preservation. but look! we made eat, uneaten and here today! thanks so much bill.  

our first day we hiked to north dome and may lake, a total of (and unplanned) 15.4 miles (whoops!) and the views were incredible. i could have stayed up there all day just staring at a rock. ridiculous? maybe but you can never understand it unless you're standing in front of it. 

our second day we were so sore from hiking it was hard to stand up. so with giggles and a lot of pain we waddled around the valley and stretched out. we climbed to the base of yosemite falls, sat in our hammocks and wrote post cards to all our friends, and ended the day by bouldering in camp four. (the birth place of rock climbing) when i tell you that was living the dream, i'm not exaggerating one bit. it was so fun, no matter how sore we were! 

our camp site was a little outside the park and owned by two very crusty old brothers who were super helpful in tips for the park and getting us set up with our site. i had a great conversation with the older of the two one night but honestly couldn't tell you what we talked about because his headlamp was shining directly in my eyes which was making me laugh and i think thats really all i remember. 

if i could go back every year i would. i think alena would say the same. we turned out to be perfect camping buds and i grew a deeper appreciation for her "roughing it" while being a germaphobe. always and forever proud to know that best friend of mine. i wouldn't want to see america with anyone else. now here are far too many photos of three days. and a video for over stimulation. because we got excited and i'm not even sorry about it. 

Posted on October 4, 2017 .

Bad days are not the enemy.

i'm very cold in this photo. can you tell? 

i'm very cold in this photo. can you tell? 

i drove to colorado last week. 

my sweet roommate from college packed her whole life into a pod and crammed her car full of pillows to make the move to denver on her own. she knows exactly one person in denver, and for a girl who didn't grow up moving, this next season of her life has been pretty overwhelming. 

i love marly. (my roommate.) she is such a strong, confident lady. she knows who she is in Jesus and is constantly pushing forward in her walk. i was so impressed she was moving to colorado and when she called at the last minute to see if i could make the drive with her, i jumped at the chance. 

so heres the story. 

we arrived in denver safe and sound and we had one full day before i headed back to nashville. that morning marly had a job interview and i worked from a coffee shop near the school. everything was smooth sailing. life was grand. she had't even cried that day. we decided that we would go to a cute little mountain town for lunch, about forty five minutes from denver. they are famous for pizza and dipping the crust in honey! (sometimes when i'm on vacation i eat the things that my body hates and i'm okay with it.)

the pizza was so good. four probiotics later i was feeling like i was going to make it and we decided that since we were at the base of mt evens, (a fourteener) we should drive up and see if we could find some mountain goats. i love goats and you better believe when we saw them i was freaking out. mountain goats are like goats that go camping. like the REI of goats. i love regular goats but of course i'm going to love mountain goats more...

what was i talking about?

oh yea. so we drove up the mountain and parked the car to get out and look around. the whole drive up was breathtaking! (literally the air is so thin up there...) the aspen trees are gorgeous right now mixed with the dark pines. it was a photographers dreamland. everything was beautiful, it was like a welcome hug from marlys new home. 

then i tried to pull the key out of the ignition and it was stuck.

 i tried to restart the car and it wouldn't start. i cranked it back and fourth and nothing happened. all the lights were working, the car was in park and nothing was happening. you know that saying, "now is not the time to panic?" i think that on top of a mountain, with no phone service and a dead car miiiiiight be the time to panic. i could tell marly was almost there, so i started looking around the parking lot for help. there were some hikers, some bikers and over by the bathroom i finally spotted a rangers truck about to leave. (side not: i definitely should have sprinted for the bikers because the two rangers i brought back to help us were 20 year old pot heads who know a lot about psychedelic art and alligator farms but almost nothing about cars.)

the rangers offered to drive us back down the mountain so we could call a tow truck and after praying (at the top of my lungs) the power of Jesus over this car i finally got the key out. we climbed in the backseat of their pickup and made our way down mt evens while i carried a lively conversation that ranged from forestry work, weird things in colorado, Enslo's (the boy ranger) real name, how marly and i met and donald trump. they dropped us off at the edge of Idaho Springs and waved goodbye with well wishes. 

we walked to the only coffee shop in town and ordered a terrible smoothie. the girl working was so incredibly sweet and gave us suggestions about towing companies and mechanics. she even let us stay while she was closing and offered her kindest regards when we headed to the library next. 

the librarian turned out to be the nicest and when i was telling her of our car troubles she asked if i had called jim yet?!

(que crickets) " i haven't called jim" was the only thing i said before she whipped out her landline telephone and punched in jim's cellphone number. he turned out to be the mechanic and she handed the phone to marly, her new friend. jim just told us to get it towed there and slide the key under the door "or something." 

i'm starting to remember why i love small towns. 

we waited in the library for marly's friend jenni (who had been working all day) and when she got there we wandered down the street to a mexican restaurant where we ate approximately three quarters of a basket of chips, salsa and weirdly enough, coleslaw before the tow truck guy told us he was almost there and we could meet him at the gas station. the waiter wouldn't even let us pay him for the chips but wished us well with our car troubles. 

the gas station smelled like vomit. thats not really crucial to the story, but i thought you should have a picture of three girls walking towards a tow truck with sweaters held over their noses. thats how we met camille. a bag of cool ranch doritos in his left hand, he cleared the front seat as the three of us girls piled in his surprisingly clean cab. an ex army ranger, the owner of the towing company and obviously a dorito lover, camille could have used a shave but he took great pains to be appropriate with the ladies in his truck. we started up the mountain in the dark. 

i'm sure that our buddy is a great driver. thats a lie, i have no idea if he is because driving up a fourteener in the dark at top speed in a tow truck is my only experience with his driving and after almost launching off the side of the mountain at a sharp turn he apologized and slowed way down. i apologized too for peeing on his front seat a little. 

the three of us girls and camille swapped many a story on the way up and he only asked us once if we had been drinking, to which marly replied that she could proudly say "no, we are this much fun all the time." and he thought that was amazing.

we were nearing the top of the mountain when i really started listening to Jesus about the car. the whole day i had this nagging picture in my head of the shifter thingy. the PRNDL if you will. and as we got close to the car i mentioned to camilla that before he towed it, i just wanted to try starting it in neutral. he agreed and when we arrived at the top i tossed him the keys. 

camille got in the dang car put it in fluffing neutral and it started right up. 

i would have been mad but all i could think was that "I GET TO DRIVE MYSELF BACK DOWN THE MOUNTAIN PRAISES." cam explained that marly has a faulty neutral switch and the car hadn't gone into gear so she needed to get that fixed asap. he offered to tow it down the mountain for us to which i shouted no and it left my mouth as "thank you SO much but you know i think i'm just going to drive us all the way home now!"

he graciously followed us down the mountain to make sure we made it safely, snapped a selfie with us and headed home to his wife and dog named assassin. we loved him, wholeheartedly. 

thats a very long story to make a very short point but this is it: when you're having a terrible day and you're not sure if you just royally messed up your whole life and you think its all a sign from Jesus, take a breath and think about the last thing the Lord told you. moving was so hard for my friend. we cried about it in the car, over tacos, and falling asleep. she has wondered many times if this was really what Jesus wanted for her, but he lead, he opened doors and she obeyed even when it got scary. 

we could have looked at her first day in colorado and claimed it for the enemy. we could have thought this was all a sign that she hadn't done the right thing, that somehow she had mistaken Gods leading and that he was trying to punish her. but don't be confused friend, many times those hard days are really sanctification, God working in you to stretch and make you more like himself. if holiness is the goal, we have to go through days that will cause us to make the choices of being christ like or letting the chaos consume. 

i told marly on the way down the mountain that if we had to go through that whole crazy day just so the Lord could show her that when bad things happen in the middle of nowhere colorado, he is going to take care of her no matter what. and sometimes he will use two hippy millennials, a terrible smoothie maker, a yankee librarian with the hookups, a solid friend named jenni, a waiter of tacos, and a tow truck driver that eats doritos for dinner. 

so here's my advice for your monday. don't blame everything on the devil. sometimes God lets the rain fall because he wants you to stand under his umbrella ella ella eh eh eh. keep your eyes on jesus when your car won't start, when your job is sucky, when your friends treat you poorly, and when it feels like a one thing after another thing kind of month. 

i had to drive to denver to be reminded of this truth. and i am thankful. he is so gracious when we forget, and he even lets us see a mountain goat in the middle of it. 

Posted on September 18, 2017 .

Spring Break | I Forgot We Did This...


this past spring we jumped in the car after a long day and drove all the way to the ocean. we then promptly decided we are far too old to be doing such crazy things but the moment our feet hit the sand it was all worth it. 

being in the sun after winter is such a refreshing thing for your cold, pale spirit! and mine was definitely refreshed. we ate bagels and tacos, played on the beach and read books, found some amazing spots to board and i'm pretty sure lived our best spring break lives all in three days. i took almost no photos but there is a ballin video of all the fun we had! 

Posted on August 24, 2017 .

Adventure Take 2

i have a theory that hiking brings people together like no other activity does. its just people, sweaty and gross, surrounded by other sweaty and gross people in the middle of nowhere encouraging each other to the top. 

how beautiful is that? no distractions just sweet company. we went on another hike a few days ago and it was just a little baby one but so many friends that don't know each other well showed up to explore, swim, climb on rocks and sit around to watch the sun go down and see some stars. 

i had so much fun having a ton of little conversations on the hike and snapping photos of beautiful friends making friends! our only casualty was a pair of sunglasses going over the edge so we can call that a win in my book. 

my favorite part of this hike was sitting on top of the bluff watching the thousands of fireflies light up across the river. Tennessee, you beautiful tropical fish. 

who is ready for the next hike?!

Posted on July 20, 2017 .

New York New York

my sweet friend kim and i have been trying to have a new york adventure since college. we have had many pinterest boards, late night talks and texts back and forth of all the things we need to do, so when she decided to move to NYC and i got a wedding up on the island, we decided the time was perfect! 

new york is an awesomely weird place for me. i'm not at all a city girl but being around all those different cultures at once makes me feel right at home. we did everything while i was there. from donuts to top of the rock to tiny little Italian places to chelsea market. we slid down the marble slide, stood in front of monet at the met, ate bagels and pizza (forgive me little body...) and ran around the city in the rain. we cheered on my mets (thats how you know you have a good friend!) climbed into subway cars and alice's lap, and rode a carousel. we saw anastasia on broadway, slept in the cutest hotel and ate a cream puff bigger than my fist. (again, forgive me little body.) we brunched at sara beths, saw the places you've got mail was filmed (I died!!) and even worked a day in the new york public library. all in all we just had fun being together, giggling and making our college dreams come true. 

Posted on July 5, 2017 .

The Slough of Despondency

i've just so happened to live a life with a lot of crazy stories attached to it in 27 years, and one of those stories happened at 15 in my first experience with missions. teen missions international changed my life and the lives of my siblings and so many other people i know. take any teen away from home for two months and show them how the world lives, they are bound to come back different people. 

TMI is different from a lot of other organizations in that they believe in taking all their team members through a two week boot camp to prepare them for the field they'll be working in. we got to do fun things like sleep in tents in the swamps of florida, sweat literal pounds of weight off and run an obstacle course every morning. 

i'm not going to lie, i was one of those weird kids that loved running the OC. it was no joke and they made us do some pretty insane things like running through the swamps, over a mountain of tires (mt sinai duh.) climbing over a 30 foot rope ladder and getting our whole team over a 12 foot wall. every obstacle had a biblical theme and even though i was sweating so bad and a little delirious from how bad my mosquito bites were itching, here i am, 12 years later and those obstacles and what it meant to conquer them, still hasn't left me. 

which brings me to the slough of despond. the best way i can describe that is a pit full of muddy water with ropes hanging down in the middle. you get a running start and hurl yourself as hard as you can trying to grab the rope and swing across without falling in. (i would like to go on record by saying i never fell in once hashtag athletic.) this morning i was watching videos of some of my teenage friends who are in bootcamp right now crossing that pit, and you know me, i cried. 

i watched kids run and jump fearlessly for the rope. i watched two friends hold hands and lean out barely able to grab it, and i watch a ton of kids fall in. i think i cried because i know what each of those feels like. i know what its like to be fearless and to know that muddy water can't touch you. i know what it feels like to have a friend willing to stay with you and hold your hand so you can grab the lifeline to get you over. and i know what its like to fall in, and feel alone as your feet stick to the bottom and your teammates swing by you not knowing how gross the water feels. 

the slough of despond is taken from pilgrims progress. basically Christian (the main character) and his buddy are walking along not paying attention when they both fall in. they fight it at first but then Christian starts to sink. his friend can't see him anymore and asks where he is, his reply is "truly, i do not know." 

the friend then blames Christian for the mess they're in, struggles back the way he came and leaves Chris in the mire to struggle alone. and he does struggle for a while, he struggles against loss of hope, the definition of despondency. i think our guy had almost given up when it says,

"then a man came to him whose name was HELP."

if you've never read the story let me tell you what HELP didn't do. HELP didn't try to coach Christian out of the slough, he didn't remind him that he was the one who walked into it, he didn't talk with his friends about why he was struggling, he simply said,

 "Give me thy hand." So he gave him his hand, and he drew him out; and set him upon some ground, and bade him go on his way.

"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Psalm 40:2

so three things i'm reminding myself today:

  1. if i'm going to be like Jesus, i've got to be aware of who is in the pit. 
  2. if i'm in the mire, Jesus is the only one able to pull me out. but he calls me to reach for him. even if that's over and over again.
  3. there is purpose in the mud. 

one of my favorite things about the slough at bootcamp was watching the people who had fallen in, wade through, grab that rope and swing it back to the people trying to get across. that picture is burned in my brain that when i am struggling the Lord has allowed me to get down here so that i can grab the rope for someone else. when i take my eyes off my circumstances and put them on the cross and on his people, that's when i'm reminded that my help comes from the Lord. grabbing the rope reminds me that i'm halfway and halfway is almost there.  


Posted on June 27, 2017 .

Jesus is sweet & I will have joy.

have you ever heard that term, when it rains it pours. that just might be the story of life. everything will moving along just peachy while we watch those first storm clouds roll in and before we know it we are in the middle of a monsoon. 

i was volunteering up in nashville today and my second client was late. i sat on the couch in the waiting room and watched the rain pour down in buckets and run down the street like a river. i love watching it rain. i hate going outside while its raining, but i do love to watch it. we get some pretty powerful thunderstorms here in Tennessee and each storm is like a little nod to how mighty our God is. 

as i sat in the window smiling about that very fact i was struck with the reality that when storms hit my personal life i think the very opposite about God. my first questions are, "where are you" and "why are you letting this happen to me?" 

i don't have a big spiritual post to share today. just the truth that i'm convicted about not recognizing his greatness and ability to not only calm the storms, but walk on the water next to me while they are still raging. if in a small way my mess can be a testament to his power, my dizziness a hand pointed to the one who holds all things together, then i think thats where joy lives. 

i believe in every season Jesus has a lesson for us, and here and now this is mine. no matter how ugly those clouds gets, no matter how hopeless it looks, i can have joy over it! 1 thessalonians 5:18 says "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." i love that it says IN everything not FOR everything. we don't have to be thankful for the things that hurt or wound us, we do have to be thankful in every curcumstance but guys! when your eyes are on the cross thats not even hard! NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT! the cross tells us that he is for us, and he has not left us here alone.

when everything feels like its falling apart i want to see the one who makes everything new and be confident in the wreckage that he has a purpose in all of this. at lifes hardest my Jesus is always his sweetest, full of mercy, correction and love. 

Lord let us (me) see the Joy. 

Posted on June 15, 2017 .

Sunday Adventuring

dylan, marigrace, me, abby, kenny & tara. 

not your average group that hangs out together most of the time. i would have said these were all my friends but on a very individual level. but boy, i think thats part of the beauty of this day, we got to explore together and walked away knowing each other just a little bit better than when we started. 

i learned that marigrace has a beautiful singing voice and sometimes almost drowns from laughing. i learned that abby is up for anything and loves exploring as much as i do. i learned that kenny isn't afraid to throw rocks at snakes and tara is the queen of boomerangs. i learned that dylan can actually take a fantastic photo and is faster than me at running across huge rocks. (but thats just because his legs are three times the length of mine. 

when i say it was a great day i'm not even kidding a little bit. waterfalls always blow my mind at the pure force the water is coming down with. and this one comes straight out of the side of a hill.  we had fantastic conversation all afternoon and laughed so many times over what i don't even remember. 

the very best part of the day for me was standing on top of the little falls with dylan and marigrace, watching the golden light make everything around us look like heaven. i'm not even going to lie, we started singing to Jesus and as cheesy as that sounds it was exactly what the moment called for. 

i love you summer. also hashtag chaco nation hashtag patagonia snobs hashtag live authentic hashtag keep exploring. 

Posted on June 6, 2017 .

Oh Oregon.

the above picture just about sums up how i feel today. allergies are hitting me hard and i would love nothing more than to relax on a couch like the man in this photo. maybe throw a big bag of popcorn on top of that belly and we're all set. 

spring is in full swing here in tennessee and though i'm incredibly behind on my blogging i'm starting to be okay with that. you will just have to wait til the next season to see what i've been up to! 

so lets just cover winter activities shall we? 

this past january i got to live the dream once more and shoot a wedding out in Oregon! (cue heart eyes)

that post will come at a later date because its unbelievably amazing and deserves a post dedicated to just that. 

alena had a bunch of extra miles with southwest so she joined in the adventure with me and our friend cody is from there so he decided to join in the plane ride and go home to see his family. (flying with friends is so fun/we missed you dylan #bestfriendsbestfriends) before we headed out to bend where the wedding was, we got the chance to see a little bit of portland and hang out with cody's family for the day. y'all it was SO FUN. i love seeing any place in one day because you cram as many cool things as possibly into a few short hours and it always lives up to the hype. this was my third time visiting portland and i still loved every minute of it! 

we ate bluestar, (hallelujah) drank stump town, wandered around the streets for a bit, drove through the gorge and stopped at a few falls, explored through the snow, and ate a delicious dinner in a place a can't remember the name of. my friend jared picked us up to take us out to bend and stopped along the way to give us some highlights like the inn where the shining was filmed, places they love to climb out there and one of the best views of mount hood. he also drove us around for the very short time we were in town and gave us the best tour of coffee and food. (special shout out for that because ya girl loves the good coffee.) it was such an amazing trip and just looking through these photos i am ready to go back anytime!

y'all i love the west, 

Posted on April 17, 2017 .

Brian & Ashley | Wed


i'm just going to tell you upfront that this was one of my favorite weddings of all time. partly because it was a clear answered prayer of me asking the Lord to let me shoot a wedding on the west coast, (look at God!) and partly because this couple was the kind of couple dreams are made of. they were surrounded by amazing family and friends, so full of life and love and gosh darn it they were just the most beautiful to photograph! 

the weather in san diego in decemeber was flawless. we had that cool pacific breeze blowing at all times and as their people gathered by the water for the ceremony, the songs of friends filled up the air around us. the sun was shining and we giggled and cried as they said their vows. 

we were able to shoot at the beach for bridal portraits and the field of succulents surrounding them, oh man i can't even tell you how much i was shrieking. it was SO much fun to shoot and both Ashley and Brian were so dreamy to photograph my job was just dancing around and pressing buttons. 

we danced our socks off at the reception and cried a little more during the toasts. i ate a few too many macaroons before the bride and groom hugged their family and said their goodbyes. one of my favorite things about this wedding was how much ashley and i kept talking about it after the day. i love being excited with people and ash might take the cake on that. such a beautiful couple all this time later and i'm still totally in love. 

Posted on March 25, 2017 .

LA | Round Two

this past summer my friend cesia was getting married and i had the opportunity to fly in to shoot the wedding. a couple of our other friends from college flew in as well and it was such a great time being together again. we did so much giggling that trip it made me miss college a little bit! (well the part of college that is giggling and hanging out with friends...)

our friend noah and i flew in together and ended exploring as much of LA as we could in one day. as much as i love exploring, can i tell you how much LA traffic is the absolute worst? if you've ever been then you know, but gosh you would think we could work out some kind of public transportation. other than its demoralizing traffic, i love that place! we had amazing coffee, tacos and donuts, we walked on the pier and ate ice cream, saw the city from above and just enjoyed the end of summer in california. 

looking at these photos is making me wish for warm weather SO HARD. its also reminding me how fun it is to travel with another artist because at least half these photos and videos are things noah shot. maybe its the winter getting to me but who is ready for more adventure now?!

Posted on February 9, 2017 .

A Wednesday Nugget

confession; my room is such a mess. thats not even true, its just my bed. the floor around it is totally clean, but my bed is covered in clothes and books and chords all with the purpose of organizing before the trip this weekend. normally i am great at packing and being prepared but for some reason i've managed to make it through this whole week without knowing what day it is and just realized we are leaving tomorrow. 

being busy is something i love and also hate. i love to feel like i'm on a mission and checking off accomplishments is such a great feeling! but i also hate when the business keeps me from cleaning my room up and i end up just sleeping on top of my clothes each night. 

i just got home from running errands (during which i found what could be the greatest gray sweater of all time because we all know i don't own enough gray clothing...) and when i got home i needed to start some cooking and get back to work on the wedding i'm trying to finish. i dumped all the things in my hands on the ever growing pile that is my bed and started to get busy immediately. 

about an hour later a funny thing happened! i was about to sit down at my desk to edit and felt like i really needed to lay down for a minute. so i shoved the pile over a bit and crawled into my bed. it only took about a minute for the Lord to gently remind me that here, (in my bed) i'm surrounded by busy and stuff and piles but there is a time for everything (Ecc 3) and certainly there is a time for me to be still. and so i just laid there. and i had to fight the feeling that i was wasting time. but after a little while of praying my ears were totally drenched. (does anyone else's tears go into their ears when they cry laying down?) and i felt like me and Jesus had finally had our good talk today. 

so again i am thankful that he loves us too much to leave us alone. and when we are running around in our business he is patient with us till we are ready to listen. he is so good, and he doesn't even mind that my room is still a mess. 

Posted on January 25, 2017 .

Thank Heaven For 27!

how on this precious green earth am i that old right now. i've been staring at my blinking cursor for a good fifteen minutes trying to sum up this past year and how i feel as i'm minutes from turning a year older. 

i wish i was more excited i think? i don't love the sound of saying i'm in my late twenties. but also i'm feeling overwhelmingly thankful for the twelve months i was 26. from heartbreak to laughter to community like i've never known. there were so many firsts for me!

let me start by saying to anyone who has ever had a broken heart, oh i want to squeeze you so hard and tell you that you can't ever see the full picture when your nose is right up against the painting. but as you get further away, it all starts to make sense and so many times the beauty of what God's created will just knock you right out of your socks. this year, because of heartache i was able to take steps towards healing i'd never even thought about walking. and y'all i would take that pain over and over again just to get here. 

i also need to just mention that i've never loved sundays and friday night bible studies more than this year and maybe that has something to do with the community of people i get to walk with but its mostly because Jesus calls me deeper through those days and i can truthfully tell you this is the most in love with our savior i've ever been. and i want more guys, because he promised to fill me and i'm learning that full of Jesus is the only full i want. 

and so i think thats what has me stuck tonight. i'm thinking through my whole last year of living and i have no idea what i want out of the next year. 26 was one of the most up and down years for me but i loved living it. i love where i ended it, how everything turned out. you know that verse that talks about God walking with you holding you by your right hand. that is exactly what this year has been and its such a precious thought to me. i think if thats what every year felt like from here on out, i would not be mad about it. 

so here's my birthday list,

  • God is big and he thinks precious thoughts about us. (ps 139) 
  • his loving kindness is better than life. (ps 63)
  • this life is not about me yet he chooses to work all things together for my good. (rom 8:28)
  • he gives beauty for ashes. (is 61:3)
  • when we hunger for righteousness, he promised to fill us. (matt 5:6)

and here's my thankful list,

  • for a God that cares about the details and won't let me stay stuck in my brokenness. 
  • for countless new and old friendships and a beautiful cloud of witnesses. i am beyond blessed in the friend department. 
  • for every taco i consumed. 
  • for families in so many states to love me and let me ride their grandkids scooter thingies. (i'm looking at your Ramsey family.)
  • for God closing doors so that i can only walk forward.
  • for the most amazing set of Godly parents to be my biggest cheerleaders and set of best friends.
  • for all the travels and places i got to see. Maine you are beautiful and my favorite. lets all take a moment to thank the Lord for Maine. 
  • for donuts. bless his name. 
  • for the most amazing clients and the beautiful weddings i was allowed to play a part in. 
  • for gaining more family members.
  • for the ten pounds i was able to gain!
  • for quinoa as it is the base of every meal i eat. 
  • for laughter that makes your abs hurt and tears come out your eyes. 
  • that even though i feel so old right now, i know that God has big plans for this little life of mine and he will never let me down, never leave me, and will love me no matter how silly i am. 

here's to twenty seven, all the days i will tell people the wrong age i am, and to my mom who pushed me out and then held me all those months i was cranky. blessings abound and abound. 


PS this is my twenty-seven year old face...

Posted on January 22, 2017 .

One Year Friendiversary


when i met alena joy dean exactly one year ago i was days away from a bad breakup and what would be the most emotional couple weeks of my life. i was already a mess from months of sickness and exhaustion, and what was left of me was about to get flipped on its head. 

wow Jesus with the timing am i right?

i remember grinning at her from across the room and patting the open seat on the couch next to me. she then proceeded to raise her hands like a t-rex in front of her and prance across the room like a dinosaur. i actually said out loud that i thought id just watched myself walk towards me. 

the 365 days of beautiful female friendship that fallowed that evening have added to my life in a way i can't even come close to explaining. we have laughed more than anyone should, prayed and wept together, laid on numerous floors, poured out our heartbreak and our joy, labored together, sung together, made countless funny faces, studied scripture, traveled to each of our parents houses, and so much more i could go on for a while and a half.

alena has crossed her eyes a lot, been adopted by my parents, laid on my bed when i couldn't get out of it, brought me a lot of gf muffins and coffee, taught me fun sayings and she was very mad at me once when we were running and i got too excited, she is the most like me I've ever met in a person and somehow totally different. We have been referred to as the conjoined twins and I'm not even mad about it.

I think we all know it when we meet a kindred spirit. That moment when we know we are from the same tribe, but it's all the moments afterwards that make me smile again and again. As my good friend Ben Rector says, (he is not actually my friend) "life is not the mountain tops, it's the walking in between and I like you walking next to me." 

yes I know that was written to his wife but I'm going to sing it in a best friends scenario... I know in these years to come there will be plenty o' mountain top moments in our friendship, like going to the west coast together and obviously becoming famous for our hilarity. But those day to day moments, the ones where we write each other cards or hold each other's hands to pray, or maybe laugh really weird when we pass a cute boy. Those are the moments I'm looking forward to the most. 

Alena, bird, beaver, pixiestick dean. Thanks for helping me through heartache, making me find joy, praying that we find husbands at the same time and telling me I'm pretty. You are everything a best friend should be. I'm so so so thankful Jesus brought you all the way to Tennessee so I could know you. happy friendiversary. 


Here we are bing cute in boats... 


Here we are brushing our teeth wearing heavy others clothes.  


Here we are doing my favorite activity! Eating donuts on tables people eat donuts on! 



Here I am harassing you!  


Here we are giving the gift of our faces. I love that we do that sometimes.  

Posted on January 13, 2017 .

Fall Camping

dylan and i were talking about how crazy it is that last year none of us knew each other; some of us lived in different states even! it's truly amazing that God brings people from very different parts of the country to one place, plants us together and gives of an amazing gift of friendship. 

a few weeks ago some friends decided to go camping and hiking and boy howdy was that one of my favorite weekends this fall. we headed out after group on friday night, wearing a lot of layers and full of the giggles. i love camping just about more than most things in life. sleeping outside is one of the most refreshing things. even when you get hardly any sleep at all. i loved laying in my hammock and talking before we fell asleep. i loved hearing stories of sleep talking when we wake up. 

that morning as we sat around a fire we all took turns coming up with two words to describe each other. it was so fun to sit and listen to my friends intentionally affirm each other. i love that bond that believers get to have with each other. it's so special to be a part of the body of Christ and that time made me thankful all over again. 

after we ate breakfast we packed up and drove to a short hike at a waterfall where we explored, got very cold toes and ate our lunches on rocks.

friends are my favorite.

outside is my favorite. 

we drove home and danced with the elderly. blessings really do abound. 

below are our excited about this waterfall/i haven't slept at all faces...

Posted on December 2, 2016 .

Remember Who the Real Enemy Is...

i love the hunger games books and movies. 

its a seriously messed up premise, but i still love them. recently alena and i have been rewatching the movies and its making me want to re-read the books too. i love the characters and watching their growth throughout. last week we were watching the second movie and a line from it has been stuck in my head ever since. 

when Katniss is about the go into the arena for the 2nd time, her mentor Haymitch tells her to...

"remember who the real enemy is..."

here's a little background for you if you've never seen the movies. the capitol are the bad guys. they have 12 districts and every year they take a boy and a girl from each and make them fight to the death while they all watch it on TV. the point is to remind them they, (the 12) aren't in control. Katniss and her bff win the first games, only to have to fight in another one in the second book. like i said, very messed up premise.

so that brings us to the line that's stuck in the head right now. Katniss doesn't know it, but other people fighting in the games are planning a rebellion against the capitol and are actually trying to help her and her bff survive till they can get her out. (i relate, because i never know whats going on...)

i know that was a lot but stick with me here. 

its been a weird couple of weeks for me. relationships all over the board are being tested and poked and i think so often i get frustrated when the boat hits choppy seas. yes i would like everything to be daisy all the time. WHO WOULDN'T. when someone is being an absolute butthead (or maybe i am...?) i want to throw up a peace sign and dip. save the drama for your mama pu-lease. 

i think maybe thats why the movie line is so stuck in my head. because it speaks so loudly to actual life right now. sometimes we get so busy killing each other in the arena that we totally lose sight of the fact we have a common enemy. one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. and oh does he love to see believers fight and tear each other down. 

Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep (us) and thats how we get abundant life. we don't get it by fighting each other over who is right or wrong or annoying us so bad right now or not treating someone the way i think they should be treated...(oh oops.) we get to have a good life, good relationships and good days by remembering that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, (each other) and that we have a good father who is always there to restore, renew and give hope. heck yes we should remember who the enemy is and that he loves disunity. we need to be watchful for it. but more than that we should cling to the hope or our salvation, the one who conquers that enemy and unites us in the most special of bonds for his glory. 

for some weird reason the holidays can bring out the worst in people, (people being me.) let that not be said of us. remember to love your neighbor, (sister, brother, friend, parent, stranger) do all things without murmuring, and love & take care of the least. 

the best part of the end of that movie is that some of the 12 districts decided to work together and they get free

freedom is what i want. 



Posted on December 1, 2016 .

Maine | Summer Camping Trip

a few of my best friends are exploring Maine right now and as much as i wish i was with them, i kept thinking about the trip i took up there this summer with my dearest Colleen! 

Colleen and i are trying to keep a tradition of summer camping trips and this summer we decided we should drive all the way up to the top of the east coast and visit a national park for the 100th birthday. Acadia didn't disappoint. i was (still am!) in LOVE with Maine. it reminded me so much of the west coast and the people were so friendly and helpful. 

we drove around desert island, climbed on rocks, visited bar harbor, sat on a huge rocking horse, made the most amazing camp food, giggled around a fire, hunted for sea glass, searched tide pools, ate the most amazing mac and cheese and blueberry pie of my whole life, saw sailboats and watch the sun go down over a light house. i really can't pick a favorite part although bouldering in a dress was definitely up there on the list. 

i love all the photos from this adventure and most of all i love the i got to have it with my sweet friend. what a freaking dream. 

^^i can't even get over how cute she is!! (you should have heard how loud i got over the lighting in these next photos. some dancing happened.)