Friday, December 7, 2012

so they say

Two down, two to go.  A week from now exactly, I'll be leavin' on that jet plane to see Mary McCall White become Mary McCall McArthur, to dance it up all that night and then crash at the beach for a few days with all my brothers and sisters who are still stateside.  And if that in itself isn't a dream come true, THEN I get to go to Maine, where I will enjoy the freezing temperatures with a fire in the fireplace and Christmas lights in the cabin. 

But before I get too lost in those magical thoughts - contracts calls.  Offer and acceptance, parol evidence, promissory estoppel...anyone?  Looking for a friend...  (But seriously, if you have no clue what I'm talking about, good for you.  I would keep up whatever you're currently doing that isn't law school finals for as long as possible....) 

Happy Friday, friends.  Hang in there, whatever you're up to.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Super blessed to hang out with these kids last week, during a quick but totally-worth-it trip to Charlotte, NC.

Last week.  Was that just a week ago?  Because it feels like a solid month.  I miss them already.  Thank goodness for Snapchat - the Snapchats are priceless.  I really can't believe it's only been a week since that day - when we were still in Thanksgiving food coma and exploring UNCC's campus and roaming IKEA.  That was a good, simple day.  Totally different than how my next 14 days are looking...  

Not sure if these next two weeks are going to be the longest ever or fly by.  There are moments of gold, and there are flashes of light - wait, no, totally kidding.  (I have had Celine in my head for a couple of days though!)  There are moments, sure, when the fear starts to creep in and tries to take over.  But there are many, many more moments where I am so incredibly calm, it surprises me.  Totally throws me off, actually.  I'm not supposed to be calm, I'm a 1L.  I'm supposed to be panicking, right?  Too often we forget...nowhere is that written.

Nowhere does it say we should give in to fear.  Nowhere does it say that we should prepare to fail.  Nowhere does it say that we should just try harder, and pull it off from our own strength.  Everywhere it says the opposite.

Do not fear.  Take heart.  Peace be with you.  I have overcome.  I have overcome.

There is nothing to fear.  

That is why we give thanks.  That is why Thanksgiving is every day.  Not only the day(s) that I got to hang with my cousins, eat, sleep, watch football and Duck Dynasty, and laugh together.  But also today, when I get to sit here and work on negligence hypos and my Civ Pro outline.  And also, believe it or not, next Tuesday, when I have the first of four 4-hour exams, all of which play a fairly substantial role in how the rest of law school, and potentially the rest of forever, starts to shape up.

Hear me again.  Better, hear Him again.  There is nothing to fear.  Only thanks, always.  And that, friends, is about as good as it gets.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Yesterday, I met Sam.

Every day I walk a mile to and from the law school.  Every day I pass apartments, bus stops, a hotel, and the UK hospital.  I stand on street corners with undergrads, pharmacy students, hospital janitors, patients, and surgeons.  And every day, we march together to the beat of Lexington's drum...

Beep-beep, beep-beep.  
Beep-beep, beep-beep.
And then finally: South Limestone.
Walk sign is on to cross South Limestone.

Yesterday, towards the very start of my walk home, I found myself right behind a boy in a red hoodie.  We walked at an almost identical pace, so that it would have been impossible to try and pass him or for him to really distance himself from me.  We walked awkwardly in this rhythm for three-fourths of a mile, even stopping to cross at all of the same crosswalks.  And neither one of us ever said a word.  Until...

After about 15 minutes of walking and waiting, boy in the red hoodie turns down a side street.  "Good," I think.  "I can walk faster now."  But before boy in the red hoodie gets too far away, he turns over his shoulder, grins, and yells - "Nice walking with you!"  To which I stop, look after him, shake my head, and die out laughing.

I continue walking, taking my usual shortcut through the hotel parking lot, and thinking about the boy.  About how much nicer that walk would have been if we had talked to each other the entire way.  About how, when I first started school here, my least favorite thing was that no one on my daily walk would speak back to me when I said hello as I passed them.  About how, four months later, I had become just like them, exactly as I vowed I never would.

I make it through the parking lot to turn on Waller and realize boy in the red hoodie is back, now about fifteen paces ahead of me and walking up the steps to his typical campus-area house.  He sees me.  I yell to him, and he waits for me on his front porch.

Boy in the red hoodie is no longer boy in the red hoodie.  He is Sam, UK student who lives around the block.  And he knows a faster shortcut than I do, through a grassy area, behind the hotel.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sam jolted some life back into me.  Sam reminded me that just because the Deep South's hospitality and friendliness I grew up with isn't exactly the common thing up here, that doesn't mean it isn't the right thing still.  Reminded me that, despite hundreds of pages of dense reading and impending final exams and a largely auto-pilot lifestyle, I do not live in a world of cardboard cutouts.  I march to the beat of Lexington's drum with immortals, with very real lives, and very real souls.  Even if the voice telling me when it's time to cross the street is automated, the people I cross the street with are not.

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"To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."
[Oscar Wilde]

Thanks, Sam.  I meant it when I said I hoped you have a great rest of the week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Make anyone else want to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou?  Add that to the Christmas list.  Only 10 days of class, a trip to North Carolina, hours of studying, one paper, and four exams to go.  

P.S. If anyone wants to get me Avett Brothers tickets for Christmas too, I'd be ok with that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

quoted: the original george w

A little bit of post-election perspective, from the man who started this whole presidential thing anyway:

"We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust, it will again.  If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times..."

[George Washington]

For the record, I am not thrilled about the results.  But I'm standing by my Rule #1 - just don't freak out. Roll with the punches, guys.  We (Republicans, Democrats, Independents, non-voters, I don't care who you are) have just been given an occasion.  Time to rise to it.  



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the times, they are a-changin'

October has slipped into November.  70 degrees has changed to 40.   The general law school attitude has changed from distant thoughts of finals to panic because finals are now only a month away, and a month cannot possibly be long enough.  I want the break to come quickly so that I can see my brothers and sisters in Mississippi, go to Maine, celebrate the holidays, and rest.  But at the same time, I am scared of what I face until then, and while I would consider myself more emotionally stable than a lot of people at this point, I'm just saying.  If I could get a hold of Hermione's time-turner, I would be totally down with that.  

But the times, they are a-changin', and if I have been in denial about that at all, I have had this tree to remind me.  I pass it every day, on the way to school and back.  And it's as good an example as any that 

The leaves have changed,

changed some more,

and finally fallen.

Can a girl get a pause button around these parts?  Where does the time (and the leaves!) go?

But that's the challenge, isn't it?  We want life to speed up, we want life to slow down, but regardless of our personal desires and wishes life goes on.  The only real choice is to go on with it.  So here's to embracing the changin' times - the new month (although I will always and forever mourn the end of October), the colder weather, the barren trees, even the studying.  It will all be beautiful in its own way, regardless of what anyone tries to tell us.

Even still - if you want to find me a time-turner or a pause button for the sake of my Contracts exam...  I'm just throwing that out there.  This may be the hardest month and a half of my life to date, but tonight, at least, I think I'm feeling up for the challenge.  Outlining, flashcard making, tea, and apple pie await...

come gather 'round people wherever you roam
and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone,
if your time to you is worth savin', 
then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
for the times, they are a-changin'...
[bob dylan]

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I'm not going to lie.  This week was pretty rough.  I thought school was already in high-gear.  Apparently, there is turbo-gear, and it is scary.  But a bad week of class does not equate a bad week of life.  Especially this month.

Fall in Kentucky is beautiful.  And while this state is so different than Mississippi (more on that later), it has its own grand adventures that I have been fortunate to take advantage of lately.

 More time at Keeneland

Red River Gorge last Saturday.  Absolutely breathtaking. 

And of course, leaves falling everywhere.

I still feel kind of out of place here, but I definitely love it.  And I think the water must be getting to me or something, because the Bluegrass music is rubbing off on me too.  This song, on repeat, all day:

No action-packed activities planned for this weekend (besides the ridiculous law school Halloween party I just got back from) - it's time to sleep and study for a day or two.  I love October adventures, but I think I can stand to handle a little rest for a change.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

my favorite superheroes

"Katie, take a picture of me in my superman room!..."

[Steven + rabbit + toothbrush.  Sometimes it's best not to ask.] 

[Jefersson, after performing a highly impressive Superman stunt move on his bed]

Flashback to August 2011 - just a little mid-week pick-me-up to put a smile on your face.  LOVE these kids, and hoping for a chance to go see them again soon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

october (week one)

Keeneland on Friday all day, spontaneous Page CXVI concert road trip Sunday night, quality friend time and conversations, changing leaves, sunny weather...I'd call the first week of my favorite month a success.  With research assignments and oddly timed makeup classes all week it could be hard to top, but still hoping for an equally as good if not better week 2 from here until the weekend!

[Extra note about Keeneland: It is awesome.  I appreciate having grown up liking horse racing, but actually being able to go to the horse races is infinitely more exciting and beautiful.]

Thought for the day #1: "Anyone can do the possible.  Add courage and with a bit of zeal, some may do the phenomenal.  But it is only the Christians who are obliged to do the impossible." [A.W. Tozer]

Thought for the day #2: "What do you call two bananas?  A pair of slippers!" [Sean Courtney, whispering to me during class as we discuss slip-and-fall torts liability claims.  Timely, agreed?]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

reflections from the river

Nature is good for you.

This Saturday I got to take a 17 mile canoe trip down the Cumberland River with old and new friends from UK Wesley.  It was absolutely beautiful and, although I rejoiced with everyone else when we reached the end, at the same time I would stay out there forever.  Three days later, the tension in my shoulders and arms from the paddling that I was less than prepared for is gone, and I am once again immersed in the intensity of 1L life.  But some things from Saturday continue to fill my wandering thoughts, some serious, some not at all...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The best adventures always go un-photographed. 

Bald eagles are awesome.  Good call, whoever named that the national bird.

Clif bars are good.  Clif bars when you're tired and hungry are even better.

I am thankful that my friend Scott who I've known since I was 7 now lives in the same city as me and can share a canoe and ask what God has been teaching me and sing Lord of the Rings songs all at the same time.

Water and trees and sun and sky and clouds are beautiful.  So are hearts and lives that belong to the Lord.

That moment when you see a runaway kayak caught in the current headed for Cumberland Falls and you realize that if someone's going to rescue the kayak, it's got to be you, but you've got to make sure that you don't also end up down Cumberland Falls...yes.  That's a good moment.

What does it mean to live life in such a way that those who see you take note that you have been with Jesus? (Acts 4:13)

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Nature is so very good for you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Just a little mid-week reminder...

Except for maybe you should work now so you can play this weekend.  That's what I'm aiming for.  Canoeing trip before it gets too cold?  Absolutely, as long as I get my homework under control.  (Check out how much more responsible law school is making me!)  Legal Research and Writing, bring it on.

But still you should probably go ahead and play a little. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

list the happiness

"Life belongs to the living." (Goethe).  
Also, the goal is not simply to survive each day but to live it to the fullest.  
Even further, I do not have to go to law school.  I get to go to law school.  

Just a couple of phrases I've been repeating to myself during the times when I start to get frustrated with my confusing Contracts homework, the tricky dial on my cheap combination lock, and my rescheduled late-afternoon Civ Pro class.  If you're having a rough day, repeat those phrases.  (Substitute law school for wherever you find yourself.)  It works well.  Trust me.

Despite the intensity of school, there are a lot of small things making me happy today:

September weather
new Avett Brothers CD
Square Table Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins
the fact that tomorrow AND Thursday I finish class at 2:00
NFL Sunday football is back
Monday night UK Wesley Foundation time
1 Corinthians 1:8-9
making lists - like this, and not of the thousand things I have to read :)

Along the same lines of my last post, here are some muy interesante links for you to check out:

Saturday Down South article - SEC football feature about the economics involved in small schools like Idaho playing SEC teams like LSU, Ole Miss, Florida, and Bama in coming years - In case you haven't yet, it's time to inform yourself on the ever-looming presidential election.  This website has you take a quiz and matches you with the candidates who share your views. Very helpful in determining who you might want to vote for as well as making you think about a few of those tricky policy questions you've just been ignoring... (Ex: "What do I think about the citizenship of illegal immigrants?" or "Does the national debt really exist?")

Southern Living's 20 Best Apple Desserts - Oh yes.  I got this email around 3:00 today and it totally brightened the 1L seminar I was stuck in.  I love fall.  Apple desserts are in many ways the epitome of the season.  I can't wait to start making some!

I liked posting the Coldplay video so much last time, here's another one.  Mumford & Sons this time, "I Will Wait."  New album coming soon. :)

And also, can't go without saying - eleven years have passed.  Remembering heroes today.  #9/11.  #NeverForget.

If you're busy, stressed, whatever this week, try to focus on the little things.  List them out, and soak up the happiness.  And always remember - we are more blessed than we think we are.

Friday, August 31, 2012

czech it

Katherine's South Africa blog is up and running!  Check it out whether you know her or not.  She is one of the coolest people I know, and she is up to some awesome things overseas!  I miss her terribly.  I miss South Africa a lot too.  Just trust me.  You want to see these photos/read these words.

Happy Friday, everybody.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

the blog lives/don't freak out

Just ignore all of that last post stuff about "ahh-what-is-happening-to-my-life-the-blog-might-get-abandoned-forever?!?!" etc.

One week down, and to say that law school is intense is a severe understatement.  Surely only crazy people sign up for this.  But while it is true that this past week was up there with one of the hardest of my life, I love it.  Really, truly.  It is going to be very hard, but very, very good.

I can already tell that one of the biggest difficulties is going to be finding a way to not let the overwhelming amount of work take over our lives.  Professors have warned us against it, and the first week proved that their concerns are legitimate.  People get lost in the madness that is 620 Limestone.  But I am determined too not let that happen to me.

In case you haven't realized by now, I am a really low-stress person.  I am spontaneous and flexible and for some reason have been blessed with the ability to juggle multiple things at once without getting stressed out.  I have already had several people ask me this week how I have been able to remain so calm.  My answer in a nutshell?  "Just don't freak out."

This is the goal for the semester.  The next 3 years, really, but we'll take it a semester at a time.  Don't freak out.  Breathe easy, study well, but rest well too.  Keep doing things that I love - things that got me here in the first place.

For me, this means that I will sit outside in the mornings with a cup of tea as many days as I possibly can.  I will lose myself in Trader Joe's and read Matador and continue to say hello to everyone I pass on my daily walk to class, even though no one here ever says hello back.  I will make pointless lists in my Moleskines and waste time in coffeeshops and Twitter-stalk Olympic athletes and the UK basketball team.  I will keep rambling on the blog, even though no one really cares.  I will never stop being spontaneous.  (Let's face it, even if I tried to be 110% responsible every single second, I couldn't make it if I tried.)

All of that said, the blog lives, though maybe a teensy bit less than before.  If you need me, well, I'll probably still be with all the other 1Ls in the library.  But I'll be busy not freaking out.  Come and find me. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Tomorrow I start law school.

Could someone please tell me when the heck that happened?

I have no idea what this is going to be like.  I have no idea how much time I will have; I have no idea how hard this will be.  Basically, I have no idea.

While I would be lying if I didn’t say there are moments when I borderline panic, I can say with confidence that I am excited about this.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.  It doesn’t matter that I’m not even 100% sure yet why exactly I am here.  What matters is this:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands…From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being…
                                                                                          [Acts 17:24-28] 
Right before I defended my thesis, one of my brothers prayed that the Holy Spirit would “snipe any butterflies” that were fluttering around in my stomach.  (This possibly is my favorite prayer that has ever been prayed.)  But seriously, can it get any better than that?  I get nervous, I ask the Holy Spirit to snipe the butterflies, I start uncontrollably laughing, the Lord hears – and answers, and all is well.

All of this to say, the blog may be taking a hiatus.  Who knows?  This is about to be one crazy adventure, and I’m just along for the ride.  So wish me luck, and if you’d like to offer up some butterfly-sniping prayers on my behalf those are appreciated too.  It is definitely going to be intense.  But like Julian of Norwich said...

Tomorrow's the day!  Can't wait to tell you all how it goes. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

be inspired

Here’s to the new possible.

So says one of the many Olympic-themed commercials that have aired on NBC throughout the past two weeks.  Of course I love the commercials during this time, because I love everything about this time.  Watching every sport, learning about every athlete, celebrating every time the US national anthem is played.  I really am obsessed, and it makes me stop and wonder at times…why?  Why do I love this so much?  This AT&T commercial holds part of the answer.

The Olympics represent more greatness, more perseverance, more determination and drive than anything I’ve ever seen.  These athletes are among the most dedicated people in the world, and it is seriously inspiring.  I mean, try explaining the amount of work that goes into winning 22 medals – 18 of them gold – to become the “greatest Olympian of all time.” 


I can barely even begin to fathom that.  I would say that it’s impossible.  But it’s not.  Because Michael Phelps just did it.  Of course, he is a one-of-a-kind example.  No one has done what he has done.  But no one has done what a lot of other athletes these Games have done either…

How about Gabby Douglas, being the first African American woman to win gymnastics all-around gold?  Or Kayla Harrison bringing home the first United States judo medal ever?  Misty and Kerri winning women’s volleyball gold for the third Games in a row?  Things that might not have seemed possible.  Turns out they are.

But the list goes on, and oftentimes, has little to do with winning an actual medal.  Think about Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, a double amputee running – and often keeping up with – the rest of the athletes.  He epitomizes possibility.  Or Mohamed Mohamed and Samsam Mohamed Farah of Somalia, both excited to simply compete and represent their beloved but ravaged nation.  They represent hope.  What about Sarah Attar, the first woman from Saudi Arabia ever allowed to compete in track and field?  She is a dream come true, and an example of change before your very eyes.  And Manteo Mitchell, the US runner who completed the last 200 meters of the relay prelim despite breaking his leg in the middle of the race.  He reminds all of us to never, ever, ever give up. 

You don’t have to chase gold medals or athletic perfection.  The inspiration these athletes provide translates into just about every area of life.  Like another Olympics commercial says (Nike, this time) – “find your greatness.”  And again, from Powerade - "Favorites don't shock the world.  You do."  Propaganda and nicely timed marketing?  Maybe.  But it's true.  Haven't you just witnessed it?  With dedication, determination, and drive, you can accomplish anything, overcome incredible obstacles.  These athletes just did, and so can you.  So take a lesson from the Olympics and chase your dreams, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever your dreams might be.

Here’s to the new possible. 

Be inspired.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

clickity click click

I am blogging to distract myself from my nerves.  The women's gymnastics team final AND men's swimming where Michael Phelps has the chance to break the record for most medals ever are airing right now on NBC Primetime.  I've been boycotting social media all day so I don't find out all of the results, but maybe I should just break down and check.  All of the anticipation is making me extremely antsy.  Anyway, I have been reading/seeing some interesting things lately and thought I'd share.  In no particular order:

Chris Bounds was the Bible study leader at Indian Springs this year, and the days I heard him speak he was absolutely incredible.  If you missed it, no worries.  Here's his printable, 22 page Christology guide that walks through the Apostles Creed in an informative, powerful way.

The recent Chick-fil-A controversy has generated a lot of drama in the already dramatic gay rights conversation.  And I have my personal opinion about the situation just like everyone does, but honestly, I am so over it.  I am so tired of the fighting.  Has no one noticed by now?  No matter how passionate you are about whichever side of the political and/or religious spectrum you are on, it isn't working.  So whether you choose to eat at Chick-fil-A tomorrow or never eat there again for the rest of your life, read this.  Please please please. 

I know, I know.  If you're anything like me, this song will be stuck in your head forever.  But in honor of the Olympics, watch this anyway.  I love these people, and I love that despite the fierce competition, they really are having fun this week!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I no longer have automatic meals to eat at school (aka DG house).  Come the start of law school, I will have to deal with really hard classes and finding food at the same time - food that is hopefully the tricky combination of cheap, healthy, and delicious.  Enter this cool tumblr site with some really cool lunchbox ideas.  Can't wait to try some of them!

Ok.  I'm off to focus on the Games.  Hopefully you are watching too.  And cheering.  Hard.  Consider it your patriotic duty.  :)  Hope you enjoy the links, and hope some of our athletes go get that gold!

Friday, July 27, 2012

the fun has arrived

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

5 hours + 33 minutes and counting...

Be prepared for a complete inundation of Olympics posts.  I am slightly obsessed, and after all of the waiting, it is finally time!  Party at the Smith house to watch the Opening Cerermonies, and every other day for that matter.  Something inside of me just loves international competition; I appreciate the nations and become extremely patriotic at the same time.  

Go World.  
But still.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

la familia

Choosing Ole Miss was by far one of the best decisions I have made and will ever make in my life, but as far as family time is concerned, it had some disadvantages.  All of our family on Dad's side is in New Jersey, and Mom's family is in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Chicago, with random second cousins and great aunts on both sides scattered through Ohio.  It's hard for us to see each other as much as we would like, and with me spending the last 4 years in Oxford, I missed out on some family reunions here and there.  To be honest, it was getting a little out of control - I hadn't seen my cousins on Mom's side for YEARS.  But we made up for it this weekend when Aunt Laura, Uncle Eric, Kayla and Corbin all came to visit Wilmore.

Kayla just finished her freshman year at UNC Charlotte, and Corbin will be a high school sophomore this fall.  They are awesome, and we soaked up the time together with late night chats, spontaneous drives, storytelling, and YouTube video watching. 

No matter that I was at Ole Miss and Kayla's at UNCC.  Laura's at the Bury now and Corbin still has a couple years to decide.  Whether we are personally Asburians or not, we gotta pay tribute to the family heritage.

So thankful for time with these two.

The only problem with the quality bonding time is that now it will make me miss them even more than before!  But we're working on another reunion as quickly as possible - maybe at Passion this winter, or time in Maine, or a random meet-halfway-road-trip.  We'll figure it out somehow.  In the meantime, I am thankful for the time we had together to catch up, encourage each other spiritually, laugh hysterically, and simply be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

video clip of the day

Longer update on what's been going on in good old Wilmore, Kentucky later, but meantime, this is sure to make you smile.  Scott Avett singing, much to the dismay of his precious little girl:

One day she will realize how lucky she is to hear him serenade her in the living room whenever she likes.  But for now, to her, he is just like any other dad and she is just like any other daughter.  And that is enough.

Happy Tuesday to you, until next time.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

summertime and the living is easy

The nice thing about summer Saturdays - at least for me, now that I'm back at home and my main job is to "rest" before law school starts - is that they are essentially a free for all.  The morning does have a bit of rhythm - wake up, hot tea, porch swing, Bible, rescue the kitten from a tree (true story, did that today), write letters to brothers and sisters, etc.  But then?  I am blessed and get to essentially do whatever for the rest of the day. 

So for this summer Saturday?  I spent the last hour or so making homemade strawberry jam.  Currently it is thickening; I'm crossing my fingers it turned out well, because there is a lot of it, and I would love it if this afternoon took care of my entire next year's worth of PB&Js.  If this worked out, next stop = blueberry jam.  Or peach maybe.  While I am not that into canning (I'm still too young for that, right?), I am determined to take advantage of this good summer fruit while I can.

And speaking of fruit...

Good call, Twain.  Just a bit of Saturday afternoon brain food for you.  Enjoy the weekend while you can, because it's summertime and the living is easy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

summer spontaneity

What could be better than a summer trip to Birmingham to celebrate Katherine's off-night from DeSoto?  Complete with shopping at the Summit, Target, Whole Foods, coffee shops, a lot of hilarious/serious talk, and a spontaneous trip to this place - Steel City Pops.  A shop that sells only popsicles, and some really cool flavors at that:

[Lacey - Avocado, Anna - Sweet Tea, me - Mango, and Kat - Hibiscus]

Getting to spend time with these girls was the perfect mid-summer adventure.  It is potentially going to be a long time before we get to be together again, but it was such a huge blessing to get the little bit of time that we did.  I just love these people, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we left feeling incredibly refreshed and excited for what the future holds, even if it means we'll be apart for a while.  Shout out to Birmingham for being an awesome place, too.  I could definitely see myself liking living there.

But looks like I have my own city to figure out - I'm headed to Kentucky on Monday where I will hopefully finally really and truly learn my way around Lexington.  Until then, just packing up and saying final goodbyes in Oxford.  It doesn't feel real, but I think I am ready.  Regardless, this overnight summer reunion was the perfect way to wrap up June.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the new men

I can't get this passage out of my head lately.  I am continually struck by the simple fact that in a room full of people, even a room full of believers, some are different.  Some stand out more than all the rest, but not because of anything they do.  Simply because of who (or whose, maybe) they are.  I've thought about this a lot this semester - how Enoch walked with God, so much so that he didn't even die, the Lord just took him up to Himself (Genesis 5:21-24).  Something about Enoch was different.

Leave it to C.S. Lewis to put into words perfectly that which I can never seem to:

        Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth.  Every now and then one meets them.  Their very voices and faces are different from ours; stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant.  They begin where most of us leave off.  They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for.  They will not be very like the idea of “religious people” which you have formed from your general reading.  They do not draw attention to themselves.  You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you.  They love you more than other men do, but they need you less... 
        They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from.  When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily.  And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier or colour, sex, class, age, and even of creeds.  In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society.  To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun…  [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, "The New Men"]
Read the rest here.

Thankful for the "new men" I have been blessed to encounter - several this weekend during my time in Jackson - and hoping to continually live a life that looks more and more like Mr. Lewis's description.  More and more like Enoch.  

More and more like Christ.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

song of the day

There's a hole in the roof
For the stars to fall in
I gather them up for you
Fill up my pockets, start walking again

Bringing these stars to you
Bringing these stars to you
Bringing these stars to you.

(Worn Out Shoes, Joe Purdy)

Monday, June 4, 2012

high low

Sometimes in small groups or Wesley or Muffin Club we do High/Low – go around the room and tell your highlight of the week and then your low point.  I have grown accustomed to mentally doing this myself, even when I’m not sharing my thoughts with a group.  The past 10-ish days have been filled with various highs and lows.  For example…

High: pool time with friends
Low: sunburn that resulted from pool time with friends

High: realizing it is not too difficult to make homemade pancake batter
Low: realizing there are cockroaches in the flour you just used to make the pancake batter

High: having enough time to re-read Mere Christianity
Low: somehow, even though it is summer, still never having enough time to read what you want

Other highs include the Farmer’s Market, good weather, summer flowers, spending time with one of my incredible role models, and Summer Wesley.  Other lows include the typical missing of my best friends, and also the fact that healthy, delicious summer foods are expensive and I am on a super low budget with little money to purchase them.  My first attempt at P90X yoga falls somewhere in the middle of high and low.  High because it was hilarious, low because if I had to do one more darn downward dog pose I might have lost my mind.  (Seriously, it's always the downward dog - crazy!!)  Overall, the past week or so has been a good one, and I am finally remembering how to relax a little bit and enjoy summer.  Looking forward to the rest of June with hopefully lots more highs and not many lows to come!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

from dixie with love

I have officially survived the first week of post-grad, and so have my brothers and sisters.  This week has literally felt like a month.  There are still lots of emotionally overwhelming moments, but there are lots of hilarious ones as well as we, of course, are staying in touch as much as possible.  We have been making great use of our cell phones and the group text, and camp mail is about to kick in too.  Last weekend at this time we were overwhelmed to say the least, but seven days later - no worries, everyone - while it is still hard, it appears we will survive.

Speaking of surviving, the Smith family has a new addition:

Meet Dixie, our new kitten.  This girl rode under our Suburban the entire way from Oxford to Lexington and survived the trip!  The kitten is officially Laura's, because she can actually take care of it.  But what a better way to always have a piece of Oxford in Kentucky!

From Dixie, with love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

go forth

Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister... [Mark 3:34]

“Isn’t it crazy how we’re all in God’s will but we’re going all over the place?”

Picnic talk at Rowan Oak, Sunday April 29.  It is crazy.  So crazy I’m still not really certain what to do about it, even though at last the time has just about come... 

This year has been better than I could ever express.  I’m not sure why the Lord chose to bless me, and bless my friends, with community and with life so much greater than we deserve, but for some reason He did, and so we have sought all year long to live a life worthy of what we have been given.  Over the course of the year that has looked like a lot of different things; in a nutshell, it has meant prayer, encouragement, service, milkshakes, camping, breakfast, disc golf time for the boys, coffee shop time for the girls, Sots, Muffin Club, and more.  It has meant spending intentional time with others, reaching out to them and seeking to show them what Christ has done for us and what Christ wants to do for them.  It has also meant spending intentional time with each other, encouraging each other, rebuking each other, laughing with each other, and loving each other as only brothers and sisters can.

And now, at long last, it seems the year is up and that it is time to go.  To go all of the places we have always talked about going.  To do all of the things the Lord has prepared for us to do.  When I say go, I mean go.  For a couple of us, go means stay – stay in Oxford, finish school, continue to hold down the fort and look after those we are leaving behind.  For the rest of us, go means go, quite literally.  To Georgia, Kentucky, Texas and Jackson, to South Africa, to the Middle East, and even to places yet to be revealed.  Some of us go to what seems like our dream job, and some of us go to Ninevah.  But however we feel or whatever we fear, we go.  We go in peace, and we go boldly, because it is the Lord’s will for our lives, and because it is why we were brought together in the first place.

The last few days together have been so sweet, and continue to be sweet.  This weekend we attempted camping one last time, only to be ousted by mosquitoes and chiggers in the middle of the night.  But with a grove of cypress trees, a full moon, and a beautiful sunset, how could we not be reminded that everything is all right?  How could we doubt that God has orchestrated all of this as part of his perfect plan?  Just like all we have seen this year so far.  Just like always.

It’s hard to process this stuff, to think about change and about saying goodbye, to deal with finals and packing and the weight that all of it is.  Or, at least, it’s hard when we focus on it.  But when we focus on Christ – when we fix our eyes on the eternal perspective, on running to win the prize – we realize that it is actually quite easy to go and to go boldly.  After all, we’re actually not going away for all that long.  Yes, it’s inconvenient to not be able to hang out at the Brick House all together every single day for the rest of our lives.  But one day soon we will be together again, for eternity, doing what we all love best – worshipping at the feet of Jesus, together, forever.  And that day is sooner than we think.
Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.” [1 Samuel 20:42]

Go forth.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

goodbye thesis + quote(s) of the day

Reason #328971 my brothers and sisters are champions: they rocked my thesis defense this afternoon.  Seriously.  It had very little to do with me.  They made everything so much smoother and stress-free than I could possibly imagine.  I knew a few friends would come, but I had no idea they all would.  The looks on my 3 readers’ faces when they showed up to a totally filled room was pretty priceless.  (As was our collective reaction when a random but super sweet stranger rolled up in the room singing the “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” hymn…story for another time.)  But truly, the support I have from these people consistently blows my mind.  Hours later and my heart is still so full.  I kind of don’t know how to handle it. 

On top of the joy I have from finishing my thesis and doing it with the people I love, this conversation that took place afterwards still has me laughing.  Make that reason #328972…

David: “Look at our cult friends.” 
Emily: “Yeah, don’t forget to wear the shirt tomorrow!”
David: “Wait, what?”
Emily: “Tomorrow, we’re all matching…”
David: (confused looks)
Me: “This is the problem!  You actually think us all wearing a matching shirt is a legitimate possibility!”
 Mary Margaret: “Wait, we’re getting family reunion t-shirts?  YESSS!”

Ohhh the joys of brother/sisterhood.  Headed to sleep tonight with sweet dreams of love and friendship family and the fact that the thesis weight (which was heavier than I thought it was) has been lifted from my shoulders.  Sweet dreams to you too, and happy May 1.  I have a good feeling...while seemingly impossible, May is going to be a good month, somehow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

april showers (part 2)

Last time I wrote about the rain showers, and the blessing showers, but I forgot to write about the best April shower yet!  Drumroll please...Saturday night's meteor shower.

Just like I said that we would, all the brothers and sisters dressed up Saturday night, went to dinner, and crashed DG Parent's Weekend to dance the night away.  After that, we changed clothes, met back up at the Brick House, collectively dominated a half gallon of Cookies and Cream ice cream, and headed out to a dark place to look at the stars.  It was really cold, and we were really tired, but it was really beautiful.

Brothers.  Sisters.  Blankets.  Half silence, half singing, even though I think we'd all admit our voices were sounding pretty rough that night.  And the best and brightest shooting stars you've ever seen, many that left a trail in the pitch black sky.  It didn't matter if we were having a conversation, singing a hymn, laughing, or laying there in silence.  As soon as we would see one, everyone would scream.  It's so amazing!  You can't help it.

You can't look at that kind of starry sky, filled with meteors flying across it, and not be instantly reminded of how small you are, and how wonderful that is.  You can't look at that and not worship.  Probably why the spontaneous singing of How Great Thou Art happened, along with various other songs.  We didn't really know how to respond, laying there all together on the dock staring at the beauty.  Singing seemed like a good idea.  So someone started and the rest of us just sort of went for it.  

This is the first time I had ever experienced a meteor shower, but it definitely won't be the last.  I'm waking up in the middle of the night for these things for the rest of my life!  You should absolutely do the same.  The cold and the tired is worth it.  Very much so.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

april showers

The other day I tweeted that I wanted it to rain.


My wish became the weather's command, and it has been rainy for a good part of the week. Especially last night. We were all in the Grove for the spring concert and it was semi-raining, and then all of a sudden the sky fell out. I'm talking total downpour. It was awesome/cold/hilarious/a good memory.

Speaking of good memories, not only has April been showering rain but it has been showering blessings. The Lord is so good and has truly given me and my friends abundant life like we could never imagine. The time we have left together in person is slipping away so quickly, but we have been learning how to enjoy it without living in fear - how to be intentional with the time we have left and soak up every last moment of joy and togetherness while still reaching others with the Good News for the time we have left. It really has been so beautiful.

We are in for another fun night together starting in about an hour or so. This weekend is DG Parent's Weekend, but, since none of our parents are in town, we thought we would bring our brothers instead! Dinner at SoulShine and another night of dancing - the dancing seems to be a pretty consistent thing this spring.

Before I go, I've got an awesome blog for you to check out and share. I got to meet a new friend, Kyle Reschke, this week when he came to speak to Ole Miss Wesley. Kyle is from Haiti, is absolutely on fire for the Lord, and is making a serious difference in the lives of both Haitians and everyone else he encounters. Check out his website to partner in prayer and support of his ministry, and be encouraged to live your own great adventure!

Enjoy your weekend, and stay dry - from the rain, but not from the spring blessings and fun. Let those rain down all day and all night long.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

today and everyday

in the morning when I rise

in the morning when I rise

in the morning when I rise

give me Jesus

give me Jesus

give me Jesus

you can have all this world

but give me Jesus

Thursday, April 5, 2012

number eight

They did it!!! Number 1 in the nation to bring home the 8th banner. Victory is so, so sweet.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

word of the day

{ joy } - noun

1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
2. a source of cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated
3. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety
4. a state of happiness or felicity

Otherwise known as:

Thursday: Bouré, Formal, Brick House after-party

Friday: hide and seek, Rebel baseball, Frisbee in the football stadium, ice cream sundaes

Saturday: more Rebel baseball, UK Final Four victory, geocaching attempt, quality brother-sister time

Sunday: Bluegrass music at the Orchard, picnic at Rowan Oak, Rebel baseball win to win the series, more quality brother-sister time, Anthony Davis winning the Naismith, rest

Spring weekends can't get much better than this.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

dancing shoes

The past few days have flown by. Seriously, I don't think I remember a week ever disappearing as quickly as this one has. But even though the days have been passing at warp speed, they have been such very good ones. And filled with dancing.

It all started this weekend, with ATO formal in New Orleans. Brady, Lacey, Ed and I had a lot of great bonding time, great food, and great conversations. The actual formal Saturday night was on the Riverboat, which was awesome. Probably should have taken some pictures. Lacey and I promised ourselves we would take lots of pictures throughout the weekend, so naturally we only have these to show for it:

Good enough, right? At least we have some proof that we were actually down there.

We got back to Oxford Sunday night, and Mom came to Oxford Monday afternoon. It has been so fun watching her meet everyone and experience things like brother-sister Brick House love and Milkshake Monday in person. Somehow this Milkshake Monday turned into an improv dance party, so most of the night was spent Jai Ho-ing, Cupid Shuffling, and Party Rock Anthem-ing...good times.

Besides all of that, I have just been hanging out with Mom, doing a slight bit of thesis work, unsuccessfully attempting to make nice-looking bowls in Ceramics, and enjoying the perfect spring weather all week. And, of course, a lot of dancing on my own, thanks to this song.

It's been stuck in my head all week, and now it will probably be stuck in yours. You're welcome.

To top it off, all of the dancing this weekend and week has just been a warm-up for DG formal tonight. Bouré first, Colonel's Quarters second, and all of my friends together in one place...looks promising to me! I'm ready to get these afternoon classes out of the way so that I can dance the night away. It's a good day to celebrate - Oxford, springtime, friends, and life.

Friday, March 16, 2012


A more extensive update on how incredible this Spring Break has been will follow, but for now...I am back from the beach for the day and lounging around the condo until dinnertime, so why not blog?

I realized I left everybody hanging with the whole "check back Thursday morning to see where I'm going to law school" thing. So - drumroll please - after a week of literally playing deal or no deal with my future/life, it's decided. University of Kentucky College of Law it is! A week and a day after the decision became official, it feels exciting, confusing, surreal, strange, _______ (fill in just about any adjective you want and I've probably felt it). But good. Very good. The Lord is faithful.

[UK Law - another place to add to the ever-growing list of places called "home"]

From Friday to Monday night I was in Ocoee, Tennessee, for the Wesley Retreat, and it was a pretty incredible time. And now I'm in Orange Beach with mis mejores amigas living it up, with lots of sun, sand, good food, even better cake, time to relax, and time to work (and by work I mean hardly work at all) on things for school. Next week is going to be madness, but taking an entire week off is quite worth it.

I've also had time to read lots of magazines this week, including but not limited to Real Simple, Vanity Fair, InStyle, and Relevant. This never happens and, to be honest, probably won't happen again until next Spring Break. But it's been great and has provided me with various interesting thoughts and perspectives. One of these I will now leave with you. Here's Scott Avett in Relevant, writing on art and faith:
"Our hands and minds, legs and mouths, eyes and ears, arms and feet were all made with purpose, and though you may never find that exact purpose, it is your obligation to yourself and God to search for it, and to search endlessly for a perfection that, though you will never achieve it, you must seek. This is faith. This is spirituality."
Scott Avett's a champ and you should totally listen to his music. Enjoy the last couple days of break!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

by this time next week...

By this time next week, I will be in the mountains. Not these particular mountains - this is Maine and I'll be in Ocoee, Tennessee. But I'm sure it will look at least a bit like this.

By this time next week, I will also know where I will be next year. For the next couple of years, actually. So much for the April 2 seat deposit deadline I thought I was aiming for. But, then again, this is exactly the sort of thing that would happen. Crazy. So crazy that I am actually incredibly calm about it. So crazy that there is absolutely no denying that this is the hand of the Lord.

If anyone is reading this and wants to find out the final verdict, check back Thursday sometime after 9:30 AM! Not that I have time to blog about it this week. But let's be real. If I wasn't blogging, I'd be working on my thesis, and that's no fun. Then again, if I don't finish this thing soon I won't be going anywhere next year. Such is life. But anyway, the clock is ticking for Katie's major life decisions...not much longer to wait until the Lord reveals His plan! In the meantime, prayers for discernment, encouragement, and someone to help me attach handles to mugs in Ceramics are appreciated. Thursday it is! Thursday it is.

What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

happy listening

This was an extra-good music week in Oxford. Last Friday night Drew Holcomb and the Neighbor's played at Proud Larry's, and Thursday night Jenny and Tyler came to Wesley! Two awesome couples who love each other, love the Lord, and make beautiful music. I definitely enjoyed both of their shows and have pretty much been playing their music on repeat ever since I saw them.

Drew and Ellie - "Fire and Dynamite"


Jenny and Tyler - "Faint Not"

(Special note about Jenny and Tyler - I had never seen them live before Thursday night, but they are seriously awesome musicians and people. I was lucky enough to get to talk with them some after the show and take them to Bottletree Friday morning, and I have tons of respect for what they are doing and how they are doing it. All that to say, check out their music free online but support them and pay for some of it too, because it is worth it. Just throwing a little extra PR out there!)

Happy listening! I hope you enjoy both groups as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

alphabet game

Ed recently put together a brother-sister-alphabet-magnet masterpiece on our refrigerator. Can you find: Julie Lawson, Katie Smith, Emily Moore, Lacey Gray Stone, Mark Harrison, Richard Blount, Michael Buise, Katherine Saucier, David Thompson, Brady Fortenberry, Ed Wright? Everyone's in there somewhere!

I love these people. But really. I use the word "love" there the way it's meant to be used. Tonight we all (minus DT...darn internship) found ourselves doing the Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, and various other line dances in the Brick House kitchen with around 20 international students. It was very much one of those "Is-this-real-life?" moments, and very much reinforced what I just said: I love my friends. And tonight I'm especially thankful.

P.S. Stay tuned - I fortunately captured some video footage of the dancing tonight and will hopefully upload it soon. Our new Korean friends caught on to some things very quickly, namely the Wobble. Trust me. Hilarious.
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