dear 2010

Dear 2010,

I can't believe we've reached the end. How crazy is this? You are a year I'd tried to avoid with all my might (who do I think I am?) but you came and now are leaving and I'm still standing, well, really thriving. You watched me love my final semester at Baylor with all my might and saw my grapple with post-grad existence. You were a year to learn much, cry a lot, live it up, dream big, pray, try, and grow. Thanks for being you.

All my love,


countdown: the end is near

I've bought this photograph last August before I started my senior year of college. Normally, I steer away from the obvious, uber classical Parisian decorations, but this photograph is huge, I really needed something to take up wall space, and for whatever other reasons, I couldn't say no. Up it went and every day since I've stared at it; on days that I didn't want to leave college, on days when I wondered what I would do after college, on graduation day, on days when I doubted I'd ever move on, on days that I prayed and waited for the future, and on days when I held my breath as I waited to hear back from AUP. What I realized a few weeks after being accepted at AUP, while yet again staring at the photo, is that the area of Paris featured in the photo is roughly the same neighborhood as AUP. Seriously. Perhaps just a block of two away, maybe you can even see the tops of some of their buildings, my answer was right there in front of me the whole time. I have to wonder if God was just smiling at me, all those many days when I questioned and doubted my future, knowing that it was right in front of me. The last six months have been an exquisite, sometimes painful journey as God has faithfully chiseled away at my heart, my fears, my focus, and much more. Allowing me, I believe, to be here, one week away from Paris, and ready. It's incredible. God is so good.


cali, here we come

I'm off today to California with my parents to tag along as they visit on official Optimist business. I've never been to southern California and I'm excited. It's mind boggling that when we get back, the race will be on to prepare for my grand departure. I'm hoping to stay in the moment each day of the trip and let tomorrow's worries take care of themselves.

While we're in Cali, we'll be attending the Rose Bowl Parade. The only parades I've ever been to have been Baylor Homecoming's and while they are the largest of all collegiate parades, something tells me I'm in for a beautiful treat. Did you know that all together the floats in the Rose Bowl Parade are decorated with roughly 18 million roses? Fingers crossed for bright Cali skies. Have a happy Tuesday.


big move

How was your Christmas? My Christmast included lots of loved ones, too much delicious food, and a new blog. Yes, you read that right. Dear friends gifted me a beautiful new blog to chronicle my big move (which if you've lost track, is a week and a half away!!). I've decided to time the big blog switch with my across the pond move. In the mean time, while I get it ready, you can preview the new blog here.


go tell it

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hill and everywhere.
Go tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.

Praising King Jesus that He was willing to become baby Jesus in the hopes that my heart would one day be restored. Hallelujah. He is born.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.


the message

Whenever I think about the night Christ was born, my mind wanders to the shepherds. Alone in the fields and watching their flocks, their worlds were rocked in an instant. Light busted into the dark and that was it; their lives had been changed. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joesph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:16-18

For the rest of their lives, I'm sure none of them could ever forget or stop celebrating what they witnessed that night. Glorious, holy, special. They had been chosen to receive the exciting message and so have we.

A heavenly host of angles may have never filled the night sky before your eyes, it hasn't happened to me either, but God is trying to catch hold of our hearts every moment. It's incredible. God so wants us to know that Jesus came for us. This season, the true celebration of Christmas, is all about Jesus coming to Earth to live  and die for us, so that if we believe in Him and that He died to save us, we will live- truly and wholly as we were created to be. We were meant for so much more than what this world wants to give us. Let's celebrate that and the hope Christ-mas give us. Merry Christmas Eve.

countdown: noel


Paperwork and transactions are complete.
All is calm. All is bright.
Two weeks, Paris.
Until then, Joyeux Noel.


good tidings

Christmas cards are by far one of my favorite things about the holiday season. I know some people think the tradition is outdated, but as I tear open envelopes that have crisscrossed the country and world to arrive at my doorstep,many of their authors are brought a little closer to my mind and heart, bringing with them a flowing river memories. There's really something wonderful about sitting down to read the adventures, traditions, celebrations, lessons, love, faith, and even heartache and failures that others have experienced in the past year. It draws us all a little closer together and there are few things I want more than that, during the Christmas season.

of thee i sing

"Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?
How the sound of your feet
running from afar
brings dancing rhythms to my day? 
How you laugh
and sunshine spills into the room?" -Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama

Have you seen President Obama's Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters? The book, beautifully illustrated by Loren Long, is a letter of love and encouragement from the President to his daughters about possibility and achievement. Chronicling American thinkers, artists, leaders, and dreamers, he encourages his daughters that they too, have great possibility in themselves.

Preview the book here. It certainly would be a great gift for any kid...or anyone with great dreams.


farwell, autumn

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
-George Eliot

Today is your last day with us, did you know? Your big brother, Winter, is on his way. You may have heard rumors that he's a lot harsher than you...it's true. Don't get me wrong, there are a few good things about him; in fact,I love Kyle Dunn's take on it. Let's look on the bright side: did you know that the next time we meet, I'll be in Paris? Yeah, I'm excited too. See you then.


the grand gesture

Christmas is the beginning of the big gesture. This isn't where the great love story began and it's certainly not where it ends but it is the beginning of Jesus' grand gesture. He came to Earth, to live as one among His own so that He could take care of His own. When I think of the night Jesus was born, I imagine a hush coming over the world, like a blanket thrown over a bed; earth a reverent witness to its Maker coming to live with His creation.

That's the place I want my heart to rest this week: quiet reverence. Lately, my mind has been very focused on January 7th. My thoughts circle around and around that day, like a penny in a well waiting to finally drop. I've failed to take time to truly celebrate the joy of Christmas and I want this week to settle into gleeful celebration of the hope and grand gesture that is Christmas.

I hope this week, you too will be able to take time out, despite the hustle of shopping, cooking, traveling and whatever else life might bring, to celebrate and honor the anniversary of the ultimate gesture of love: your Creator and Champion coming for you. You are loved and known by King Jesus, whether you realize it or not. The gesture has been made, it's up to each of us to choose how to respond.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14


trend shmend

I don't care that I've fallen in line with the bateau shirt craze. In fact, I'd proudly be the line leader. Franchement, I'm in love with these striped shirts and you can't take them from me. Now that that's out of the way, you can understand why I find this little timeline dedicated to the obsession, found over at Chance, charmant.

countdown: un(e) américain(e) à paris

That's me...in three weeks.

In an interview this week, Diane von Furstenburg said the best advice she ever got was, “Fear is not an option.” I’m adopting it as my mantra. Anytime that my heart starts to flutter at the thought of what’s to come three weeks from today, I'm telling myself that fear is not an option....because it's not. Joy, excitement, relief, disbelief, wonder, humbleness, even mixed-feelings about leaving home and the ones I love...those are allowed, welcomed even, but fear, however is not invited to this party.

delicious reads

If you're still looking for a gift to give or just a pleasure read for your Christmas holiday, I'm sharing two of my favorite books I read this year. To say the very least, they're both delicious reads.  

In A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenburg  invites you into her kitchen, her life and her heart, which are often one and the same. One book review I read perfectly described the reading experience like this: You won't know whether to start the next chapter or run to the store to start cooking. And they were exactly right. Molly has incredible ease with her prose and unabashedly writes her best, worst, and most intimate moments in life- perfectly tying a favorite recipe with each chapter. The book is an absolute pleasure to read. In fact, when recommending the book to a friend, I promised that if she didn't like it, I would buy the book from her...still haven't heard from that friend. Bet you she's reading or cooking...

  David Lebovitz, a food writer and cookbook author, lived in San Fransisco for twenty years before moving to Paris. The Sweet Life in Paris is a laugh out loud, take no prisoners depiction of life among the natives in the City of Light that leaves you thinking, "Oh my gosh. Is it really like that?" Lebovitz has a reporter's knack for observation and details with a wit and sharp edge to match. The result is a savory chronicle of the always glorious, sometimes confounding food, tradition and life of Paris


o colored lights, family-ornamented, memory laden christmas tree

My dad and I finally put our Christmas tree up last night. When my brother and I were younger, it was a competition to see who could rummage through the ornament boxes fastest to find our favorite ornaments first. Today, the process is a little more subdued: my dad does the lights and me the ornaments while mom comes in and out to give helpful critiques here and there. I used to wonder why we didn't have an elegant, color coordinated Christmas tree- the kind you see on TV and in magazines. They're just so beautiful, so clean looking, so...organized. If we did that though, we would lose the history that we hang on every branch. Ornaments my brother and I made in elementary school, ornaments that nod to our personalities, our loves, our faith, and our travels. The tree is a reflection of us- and I love that. So once again, as we turn out all lights in the house to gaze upon the tiny twinkling ones of our tree, we celebrate not only the Christmas season, but our family as well.


countdown: q&a


Trans-Atlantic flight? Booked.
Countdown to departure? 4 weeks.
Becoming a tad anxious in both good and bad ways? Most definitely.
Am I going to do this whether or not I'm nervous? Absolutely.

home again

Ever see lost pet signs posted around your neighborhood? I don't know about you, but they just about break my heart. My dog once escaped the backyard for an hour and I fell to pieces. That's why I was so excited by these posters around my neighborhood yesterday.
A point for the home team.

the alexis lesson

As the days and weeks dwindle down to my departure date, there’s only one thing I’m truly nervous about. It’s not learning a new city, it’s not submerging myself in a new culture and language, and it’s not even going back to school. It’s building a new community of friends to do life with. Truth is, I don't have the best track record with this. Have you ever heard the story of how I met Alexis, my college roommate?

Picture it: move-in day at Baylor. I had just said a tearful good-bye to the parents and walked back to my new dorm room to find it empty. Experiencing a bite of loneliness already, I gazed around my new room trying to take it in. Not ten minutes later, a knock sounded on the door and I opened it to find a red haired, blue-eyed, big smiled girl. Having been told by Sarah (a family friend to Alexis and future sister-in-law to me) that we had to meet, Alexis had come to introduce herself. I, however, having just said good-bye to my parents wasn't ready to make small talk and being unhappy with the dorm I had been placed in, wasn't looking to make many friends there. Apparently I said hello, my name and not much else, shutting the door in her face.

I literally still cringe thinking about how I acted. I'm embarrassed at how rude I was and laugh at my complete oblivious state- shutting the door in the face of my future best friend and roommate. Who does that?

As the semester went on, Alexis and I hung out a few times, but it wasn’t until second semester, at a time when I really needed a good friend, that the magic sparked. From that point on, there are very few of my college memories or even day-to-day experiences that didn't involve Alexis.

The summer between freshman and sophomore years of college, I consistently prayed for friendships: that the ones I already had would be deepened and that new ones would spring up and be rich in love and life. Ask any of my close friends from Baylor and they will attest to the undeniable, ridiculous fun that was our sophomore year at Baylor. You can’t bottle that kind of chemistry, love, or lack of sleep. It's a fact that nearly every one of my dearest Baylor relationships either grew or began my sophomore year. God is faithful.

A few weeks ago, while once again wondering if anyone will want be my friend at AUP, God helped me see that He tried to give me my best friend ten minutes into my Baylor experience. He tried. I’m the one that shut the door. I’m so thankful that God and Alexis gave me another chance because the next year when two of Alexis’ best high school friends joined us at Baylor, the magic multiplied and they too, are two of my favorite and best friends. I’ve learned my lesson and now know that January is my opportunity to not make the same mistakes: open heart, open mind, no shutting of doors.

God is forever faithful. I’ve seen His hand and love every step of this crazy journey so far- He’s not going to stop once I get there. Though I don’t know their names or their faces yet, I believe those new friends, people to do life with, learn from, share with, are out there.

One of the best things about life is that we get to share it with people. Look around your life. Who are the people you’ve been surrounded by that have made the difference? Aren’t you so glad for them? Me too. Past, present, and future, me too.


this is how you do it

I read today that the average high for Paris during the month of January is 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes, baby. That means it's gonna be cold outside.

I'm crazy about this photo. Isn't she fabulous? Shot by The Sartorialist during Paris Fashion Week last winter, she is every bit of bundled-up and layered chic.This, my friends, is how you do it.


love the present

LOVE the PRESENT: Banana Republic Holiday 2010


merry happy 24th

Happy 24th to a certain Katie Diane from a certain Caitlin Diana. As you can tell by our names, we were clearly meant to be. Growing-up, she was the closet thing I ever had to a sister and I still look up to her today. She photographs, she social works and most of all, she is relentless and radical in her love for Jesus. She's one of the best. Merry happy 24th to her.

countdown: reality check

Earlier this week I found these videos about life at The American University of Paris and it all became a hundred times more real. Real people, real places all coming to life, my life actually, in a mere five weeks.

5th street xmas

Remember the time I forgot my memory card and couldn't take pictures at Christmas on 5th? Okay maybe you don't, but I do. So while I'm mourning the fact that dear friends and I didn't get to corral in front of the Quadrangle tree for our traditional photo shoot, I'm loving the fact that we sang with Matt Wertz, laughed till the wee hours, and were simply together again. And yes, Baylor as usual, was its beautiful self. Some things will never change.



I read about 20x200 yesterday over at Elements of Style and had to share it here. I think these book prints are just enchanting. 20x200 has a plethora of prints for as inexpensive as $20. Check.it.out.

actin' a fool

I sometimes traipse around in my world running on sickly sweet half-lives of entertainment. I'll skip a bible study here or a prayer time there and at first notice no difference. This causes me to make the mistake of believing I can get away with it again...and again. Until that is, I'm hurtling down I35 screaming at the person in front of me because they’re going too slow. Or until I selfishly think of myself when a loved one needs you to do them a quick favor. Am I alone in this?

Suddenly overwhelmed with shame, I finally acknowledge where it went wrong. My sickly sweet life has made me sick- or, at least a headcase. And then I'm crying while driving down the highway because I can see how ridiculous I’ve become and how un-Spirit led you’re being. Thankfully, it’s also in this moment that I can see how wondrous God is. How great His love is and how remarkable my relationship with Him is: despite the fact that I'm actin’ a complete fool, He’s still there. He's waiting to show me that there’s a better way, but for the moment, all He really wants is for me to stop and run into His arms.

We weren’t meant to live our lives on the fumes of sugary sweetness. We’re suppose to pursue the abundant life, but that takes hard work. Faith and mercy and love aren’t always the easiest things after all, but they’re so good for you. They require your daily attention if they're going to take root. I’ve always loved this line from an old hymn: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Thankful for Jesus, grace, and the chance to try again today. What about you?


hey december

It's December! Can you believe it? In celebration of the definite start of the holiday season, I'm sharing my favorite Gap holiday commercial. I can't help but smile and start to groove. Enjoy.

P.S. As long as we're talking favorite Gap commercials (which in my case could be a long conversation), here's another and while we're at it, my absolute favorite.