Guys, I’m bringing back the Thank You Notes blog series!!! Last summer, I decided to start an ongoing series of little things that bring me joy. As school became more busy, the fun Thank You Notes got lost somewhere in the hustle. I’ve really missed the moments of reflection and gratitude. So, my new and improved Thank You Notes blog series will be a monthly Monday morning recap of the fun things in my life that I’m thankful for. I hope that you will join me on the last Monday of each month to remember the month with gratitude. Just as a recap, this remains my inspiration and mission for Thank You Notes (from the original post last year):
As a way to remind me of life’s simple joys, I will be devoting a new section of my blog to sharing an inside scoop of the little things that are reminding me of God’s goodness and beauty. I will be sharing an assortment of music, Bible verses, coffee, food, recipes, books, or anything else that is making me smile. Life is a gift God has given to be savored and filled with praise.
Anyone who knows me will attest that I love words and all things that relate to words. One of my favorite simple gifts in life is grabbing a new pen and writing a letter to someone I love. Letters have a timeless quality, a way of showing someone they are known and special in a treasure they can read again and again.
As I was brainstorming the name for this new blogging venture, I kept returning to my passion for meaningful words. So, I joyfully name this new corner of Becoming Emma “Thank You Notes.” All of the ways God whispers and brings life into the ordinary are gifts to be celebrated. I decided it’s only fitting to leave God thank you notes.
So, here are my May Thank You Notes. Today I’m thankful for…
I finished my first year at Anderson University three weeks ago, then headed home for a time of rest before a new journey begins. I loved sleeping in, enjoying the spring mountain air, and spending precious time with my family and friends. I hiked with old friends. We even squeezed in a fun, relaxing family vacation to the beach. As much as I love living South Carolina, home remains a special place to feel known and to remember the places and people that have walked with me through it all. To be honest, I spent a lot of time grappling with the challenges of change and this new adulthood. I asked God to remind me who He was, and He showed up. The time to rest and reflect was a gift after a busy semester at school.
As ironic as it sounds considering I live in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I have never been much of a hiker. However, I’m convinced I’m going to teach myself to love hiking. Since being home the last three weeks, I have hiked three times in three different places. Guess what? I actually had a lot of fun. I hiked at Stone Mountain (NC), Grayson Highlands (VA), and Pilot Mountain (NC). All three hikes were within an hour of home, so it was a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful mountains I live in. Even better, though, were the memories I made with friends.
I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob. I think a lot of the joy of coffee is in the experience. Anytime I visit a new place, I try to find a new coffee shop to visit. I first tried Counter Culture at Tandem (an amazing creperie in Traveler’s Rest, SC), and I drank a whole serving of pour-over black. I’ve been hooked ever since. Counter Culture is based in Durham, NC, so it’s fairly easy to find in the Carolinas. I have bought bags of both their Hologram and Big Trouble blend. I usually make it in my french press, but it has been wonderful any way I brew it. For summer, it has a bold flavor that makes for tasty iced coffee!
I have a newfound love for Sleeping At Last’s music. I think I solely listened to Sleeping At Last on repeat during exam week! Ryan O’Neal makes music by the name of Sleeping At Last. I love the raw, poetic lyrics and the creative artistry of his music. His project, Atlas, beautifully covers so many themes that make us human. His songs make me feel understood and inspired to creativity. I especially love his new series in Atlas about the enneagram! So far, songs especially made for enneagram types 1-4 have been released, and 5-9 are soon to come! I’d recommend listening if you’re looking for some peaceful, thoughtful music. The podcast is on my to-listen list too.
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor is my favorite recent fiction read! I read the novel in just two days while we were vacationing at the beach. I consider Flannery O’Connor the epitome of a writer. I wish I could go back in time to just sit across a table over coffee with her and talk about writing, faith, and life. I love the way her fiction conveyed a search for God in Wise Blood! A good novel always encourages me to learn, grow, and challenge myself as a writer
I’m thrilled to be on the launch team for Hannah Brencher’s new book, Come Matter Here. Come Matter Here will be released TOMORROW! I give it 6/5 stars! It was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I love Hannah’s writing and bold stories. Make sure to pick up a copy, you won’t regret it! Stay posted for a book review here and social media updates because I will be cheering on Come Matter Here!
A Prayer of Thanks
Lord, thank you for meeting me in the change. Thank you for remaining steadfast, even through the tears of transition. I am grateful for the small places that you show up to in a big way. I see you in conversations with friends over coffee, goodbye hugs, mountain trails, song lyrics that leave me in awe of your creation, and books that teach me what faith is all about. Today, I worship you as our Good Father who gives good gifts to his children.