2 Simple Steps to Making Wall Art {for the Price of a Latte}

     It's been a while since I've written about anything crafty I've done. I suppose that throughout the last year, my most artistic endeavors have consisted of the arrangement of RedBubble stickers on my laptop.

     Yet here I am with a little bit of DIY inspiration for your next piece of art!

A Super Complicated, Super Expensive *5 Minute & 3 Dollar* Tutorial

1. Buy a postcard. Any {cute} postcard. I found this set of 8 in a local shop for $16, which broke down to $2 per card. They're silhouettes with famous authors' quotes, including Maya Angelou, E. B. White, Jane Austen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Classy, non?

2. Buy a frame, preferably from your local garage sale (and probably 5" x 7"). Garage sales really pick up in the fall and spring seasons because of the cooler weather, and I snagged this frame for $1. If you can't find a local garage sale, look at Goodwill or another resale place.

     There isn't a step three unless you count putting the postcard into the frame. Voila! You have a $3 piece of art ready to frame, and you didn't have to spend $100 on handmade art and $37.50 on shipping a frame to your house.

     What's your latest art "steal"? As Pablo Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist," something I do all the time as an English major.



A Reminder that You Are in Progress

     I'm writing over at Burning Youth, and today I have a simple reminder for you:

     We are hard workers - learning how to do things effectively and study better than ever before.

     We are adventurers - giving ourselves space to explore and getting up early to get our lives on the road.

     We are peacemakers - still figuring out how to love people well and how to stay calm ourselves when it all piles on top of us.

     Click here for more truth to be poured into you.



What Do I Actually Need for College?

     My word for 2018 is adventure. I love the aesthetic as well as the practical side of packing up and going somewhere.

     This weekend, I'll throw my three favorite tops and a pair of jeans in my backpack to return home for the first time this semester.

     I haven't seen my family since they brought the last of my stuff up to my room and hugged me quickly, so we wouldn't cry. It's sophomore year, but my heart hasn't yet learned how to say goodbye without grieving in some capacity.

     The other days of the year, when I'm not going home, my backpack holds some essentials to get me through my classes. This is especially important for the days where I leave the room and don't come back until after dinner.

     Besides textbooks and notebook paper, here are the necessities you'll need in your backpack once you're living on a college campus.


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.