How I Ended Up in Mississippi | The Short Version

You have no homework to do
You have no one to listen to you speak
And so write in this safe space
Tell the stories you long to leak.


Crooked letters and humpbacked whales
Dancing before my eyes
I didn’t know anything but that
I didn’t like Oklahoma or Alabama.

And so I came to a place
Where they write their letters crooked
And I took it upon myself to straighten them out
Letters and essays and blog posts and texts.

I found typos and flaws
And terrific friends
Who reminded me that Millillilli isn’t a word
So I won’t straighten Mississippi out.



So You're an English Major...

     I'm back to Mississippi College for academic year two of three. Freshmen fill the halls of the beautiful brick buildings I fell in love with long ago, and new classes bond us together.

     And then I meet an English major, and my face lights up. There's an automatic understanding that we love the written word and want to use rhetoric to change the world.

     "What's your favorite book?" one English writing major asks. Her friends hold their breath, waiting to see what I say.

     "The Book Thief," I say, a moment before her friends go wild.

     "That's her favorite too!" they exclaim.


Summer Reading: My Only Reading

     Let's talk books.

     It's been a while since we've talked about anything, and my reading life has suffered in a similar manner this past school year. Confession time--

     I had not read a single book in 2018 until this month.

      I have since finished six books and found it's easier for me to finish books I am already 30% or so of the way through than it is for me to pick up a new book and start from scratch. Since I've picked up the written word, I've barely been able to put it down without finishing whatever book I am working on.

     And I'm supposed to be an English major! It just goes to show that reading slumps can happen to anyone and can be very severe droughts without you even realizing it.

     So, for me to continue summer reading and to inspire you to crack open that dusty volume, I present the books I've recently finished and the ones I'm reaching for next:

Recently Finished

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
I finally got around to reading this after seeing the movie with J.J. Feild and Emily Blunt back in 2015. It's simply one of the best mystery books, thanks to Agatha Christie's flawless writing.

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (second read-through)
I snagged this at one of the monthly Mississippi College book sales, and I was so glad to reread the truths it holds about life and womanhood and Christianity.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford
This is a middle grade novel that fell short of The Mysterious Benedict Society, but I hadn't read it yet when I bought a signed copy in New York in 2017.

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortland
If you read any book on this list, read this one! It perfectly sums up so much of what it means to live simply and elegantly while on fire for Christ. Just AHHHH!

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
I read these two comics just to get some more books under my belt and to take a break from some of the more serious literature. Highly recommend for millennials who want a light read!

Currently Reading

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Come Find Me, Sage Parker by Aliza Latta

On My Nightstand

The Irrational Season (Crosswicks Journal no. 3) by Madeleine L'Engle
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
L'art de la Simplicité: How to Live More With Less by Dominique Loreau
Everyone Always by Bob Goff

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrick Backman
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

     These three lists of books together are the cornerstone of my summer reading. But often I get distracted by movies and Netflix:
Breakfast at Tiffany's (Netflix)
Steel Magnolias
Set It Up (Netflix Original)
The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)

     I hope you now have a shortlist of awesome reads and watches for the rest of your hot months. It is only 91 degrees in Texas today, so we're having a great summer. ;)

     As always, comment below, and subscribers can hit reply to send me a direct line. Love you all!



Extraordinary: A Definition

     What is extraordinary? You can think of examples: a brilliant sunset, a newborn baby, washing the dishes with a song in your heart.

     But what makes these things extraordinary? What defines the extra-ordinary?

     It's the ordinary made special that makes us collectively catch our breath. Everyday things made uniquely beautiful to us in that moment.

     And we can't describe it.

     Because although sunsets are beautiful, they happen every single day. What makes this one extraordinary? That newborn baby is simply how every life on this planet begins. How does holding one in your arms become the most serene moment in your life? What makes washing the dishes, the most mundane activity, also one of the most magical?

     These ordinary moments, held in our hands with the bane and beauty of humanity, remind us of our mortality as well as all we have left to experience in this lifetime. We remember that this moment is sacred, that we only get so many sunsets. We smell the soft newborn scent and close our eyes to freeze the moment in our memories. The dishes will be finished soon, but we savor the teamwork as one washes and the other dries.

     In those moments, everything stills, and you hear the heartbeat. The pulse of the sun, the sleeping baby, the water pressure on your skin.

     And you realize it's the people you are surrounded by who make the moment more extraordinary than ordinary.



Decisions Made with More than Luck

     Two years ago today, I was inwardly making a decision that would shape nearly everything about my life today.

     St. Patrick's Day 2016 - the day I woke up in a Mississippi College dorm for the first time, stepped out to the "Lover's Swings, and spent the morning reflecting on my visit thus far.

     I looked up and down at the beautiful, tall trees, the red brick buildings, and the lampposts reminding me of a Narnian winter wonderland. I wondered, "What will campus look like when fall changes the colors of the leaves or when snow covers each individual blade of grass?"

     My first year of college was dramatically impacted by that one day. One day of tours and stories, of falling in love with a place, and of setting off on a destiny I didn't know I had.

     Luckily, I never looked back.


Beloved Child

     Child, you are more than enough today. Hear the Lord's call on your day and your life.

     I wrote a little something for you that has been on my heart since last Sunday.

     Ready to read my post on Burning Youth? Click here.



At the End of the Year

     We had snow in Mississippi.

     And I say we because I am no longer alone at college. I am surrounded by dozens - dare I say hundreds - of people who are choosing to go on this college adventure with me.

     I have friends whose papers I edit, friends who encourage me to write (though not online. my apologies.), friends who point me to the Lord, friends who I can be goofy and dance with, and friends who I miss very much.

     There's not a lot I can say to sum up what this semester has meant to me. I'm 1/6 of the way through this college journey, and I want to hold on to every moment.

     What was this semester like? It was...