Monday, January 22, 2018
do you remember our first summer
how we climbed up to the attic while your parents watched reruns
and you showed me your favorite record.
you held it out to me with bony fingers,
said this is how music is s’posed to sound and I marveled at the magic,
needle carving vibrations into vinyl.

you closed your eyes as springsteen spoke to your soul.

you tapped the floor in rhythm;
the full moon and a million stars shone through the porthole window,
lit up your hair with a ghostly glow,
blond locks mingling with pale light
and it wasn’t just me and you anymore because you and music were one,
the damp dusty air thick with thunder road.

you carried around those words and notes like they were holy.

three summers later you met a girl;
she didn’t like springsteen like I did, always changed the radio without asking,
but she worshipped you, you told me.
after school you’d go to the attic.
I’d climbed the elm outside the porthole window, bring a new vinyl sometimes,
and you’d share your dreams unbridled.

then your dad’s truck sped down the driveway, gravel spinning, and didn’t come back.

your girlfriend called it off,
because you wouldn’t tell her the reason for your black eye, she said.
but that night I climbed the elm,
reenacted your favorite song,
and when you laughed, lips turning up in a sort of half-grin,
music poured out.

but we always knew springsteen would carry you away once you found the courage.

with the scream of harmonica
you found what you were looking for, redemption beneath a dirty hood
I didn’t know which was louder:
those living chords, the soundtrack to your life
or the screech of tires on tattered black asphalt and the clash of metal on metal,
seventeen summers gone in a blink.

the impulse of a dream evaporated in the miasma of blood and metal.

so I chased it for you,
six months late, graduation gown in rags in the back of this chevy,
windows down, springsteen thundering,
hightailing it out of this old tired town.
I left everything behind me except the lull of your song in my ears,
and I and the music were one.

the impulse of a dream riding fulfilled on waves of the night.

where do you take you denim?

two truths and a lie

Monday, January 15, 2018
my friend olivia tagged me in a fun exercise. it goes like this:

i write three short excerpts about my life, and you get to guess which one's the lie. 

1. i remember the days we'd pile into dad's old chevy, creaking with old age, and turn on the country station. there were a few songs we loved to sing together, "mr. mom," "when the sun goes down," "good ole boys like me." i always forgot in "mr. mom" when the line was rewind barney for the sixteenth time and when it was rewind barney for the eighteenth time, so i'd mumble that line and we'd all laugh. and even then, my eyes would gloss over when i sang the lyrics because i knew this would be a memory i wouldn't forget. heading to gradma's, we'd take the long way, turning right at the stop sign instead of left, then winding around the old country roads. on the big hill, the one next to those power lines, dad would speed down and we'd throw our hands up like we were riding a roller coaster, screaming ooohhh, the pitch of our voices climbing as we went higher on the hill. so young and so free, it was like nothing could stop us.

2. the first time we went to cade's cove in tennessee, where mom + dad had spent their honey moon years earlier, we walked down a foot path to the edge of the forest. at first i didn't see them, but when i looked into the forest at its movement, i saw: three black bear cubs and their momma bear. cameras were everywhere, tourists in awe. a man with a big camera kept leaning forward, trying to get closer.. i've always been a watcher, so i watched the bears and watched the people. caroline and will and i stood together and jackson toddled on his chubby toddler legs, stuffed barney in hand. then the man with the big camera got too close to momma's cubs, and she let out a roar. and we took off running back down the foot path; mom scooped up jackson and he cried when he dropped his stuffed barney. to this day, we haven't found it. we got back into our red venture and drove. lucky for us, dad was the man with the big camera, so we have pictures.

3. one day at grandma + grandpa's house in the country, we had a girls' day, a tea party with real tea cups. we sat around a small circular table, mom and grandma smiling because they knew this moment was special. i was young, had only had sweet iced tea before, so when i tasted the plain black tea i scowled, asked to make it sweeter. grandma pointed to the honey, farm-fresh from grandpa's bees. i took the spoon and filled the cup to the brim with honey--maybe i misinterpreted its size, or maybe i did it on purpose. either way, grandma looked at my cup, now a little tea with my honey, smiled, and said, let's get you some more. caroline laughed, and my cheeks reddened, but i was amused. i let mom put the honey in my next cup.



we did visit Cade's Cove and observed a momma black bear and her cubs off in the distance, but it didn't roar and dad didn't come close to it. Jackson did drop his stuffed barney, someone ran up behind our moving van to make sure we didn't forget it. 

Senior Updates II

Tuesday, January 9, 2018
What am I up to?

I'M GOING TO COLLEGE! I received my admissions decision on December 20th from Furman University, and I am now officially a member of their class of 2022! I know we hear it often, but God is so good. Furman is the only university I legitimately wanted to attend. I wrestled with God in prayer as I awaited my admissions decision, telling him I wasn't going to college at all if I didn't get into Furman or somehow wasn't able to go. I thought that if I gave him an ultimatum, things would go my way. As I got my official acceptance, I realized it had been in the cards all along.

A sweet friend of mine told me this over coffee one evening: God has everything planned out until eternity; he knows what you'll wear tomorrow, where you'll go to college, who you'll marry. This college acceptance was monumental to my human life, but merely a blip on the radar of eternity. He knows it all and I must put my trust in him.

My friend Olivia shared this quote by John Piper: Whenever your heart starts to be anxious about the future, preach to your heart and say, "no, heart. I will not exalt myself with anxiety. I will humble myself in peace and joy as I trust this precious and great promise of God: He cares for me."

- hanging with friends downtown, laughing about where we'll be in ten years. Married with three kids, they joked about me. I laughed as I said, three dogs maybe, but no kids. But really, we just soaked it all in, because there's no way to know where any of us will be in ten years. We all want to make the best of right now.
- brunch celebrating a friend's birthday. how is she nineteen already?! Wasn't it just yesterday when we were playing Hungry in the field in front of the church, playing sardines while our parents were in choir practice, watching disney movies in the basement? oh how time flies.

- celebrating christmas with family: annual christmas party one night, celebrating my grandma's birthday the next, and christmas the next day. I don't have many pictures, because I was trying to relish it all.
       - I received a record player and browsed dad's old vinyls. My favorites of his are Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and James Taylor.

- I had coffee with the lovely Grace Anne. She is a bundle of joy, a good listener, a talented and animated storyteller--both in writing and verbally-- and so much more. I love living not too far from her and hanging out as often as we can. College, here we come!


I MADE SOME RESOLUTIONS. I decided to exercise more, finish all my homework in the evenings, hit a weekly writing goal. But then I read this post on Jefferson Bethke's (author of Jesus > Religion and It's Not What You Think) instagram. It talks about how we should shoot for a rhythm instead of meeting every little goal. I encourage you to read it (it's not too long) and take it to heart in your goal-making process.

I TURNED EIGHTEEN!!!!! I spent the weekend at Young Life's Windy Gap January 5th-7th. My birthday was the 7th, and since we stayed up so late the night before, when the clock hit midnight my friends surprised me by singing happy birthday (I may have cried). It's weird being eighteen, but it doesn't really feel any different. What feels different is everything that comes along with being eighteen, graduating and going to college and things like that.

This past year has been my hardest: it brought me through times of darkness when all I could do was hold onto the hope that the best is yet to come. It was also my best year yet, and the one that has shaped me the most in my eighteen years on earth. I look forward to how 2018 will shape me, too.

Good things
-the smell of the fraser fur--mom's favorite--as christmas music wafts through the air
-laughing with friends, not worried about the future because of the pure sweetness of the moment
-coffee dates to escape the winter wind, smiles over the rims of mugs and talking about anything and everything
-the promise that the best is yet to come because of the goodness of God's plan and God's grace
-smiles from new friends; we've shared to much to offer nothing in passing
-the feeling of being known, understood, and loved in spite of it, both by God and friends
-hope--the thing with feathers--that gives us so much to look forward to
-Christmas movies, so familiar that we know every word, but we love them anyway
-coffee by an open fire
-a ray of winter sun that holds a glorious promise: spring is coming
-the faithfulness of God, look back at how he brought me through the fire; when a storm comes again, I will remember his grace and his plan and hold onto it with all I have

the history of great things - elizabeth crane

myths and legends podcast
born to run - bruce springsteen
madman across the water - elton john
james taylor - james taylor

the invention of wings - sue monk kidd
the handmaid's tale - margaret atwood
death of a salesman - arthur miller

Let me know what you're up to in the comments! I want to hear all about it!