As I mentioned in my May review, the month of June was incredibly full, busy, and so much fun! I got to spend a lot of time celebrating my favorite people’s birthdays and marriages, travel outside of my hometown, and simply enjoy the summer weather. Here’s a recap of all of the joy that June gave me!
What I did
Attended a friend’s wedding. I grew up going to church with Chandler for over 15 years and getting to witness the start of his marriage to Kailee was so very special. It was the loveliest evening of celebration with good food, good conversation with old church family, great speeches full of laughs and tears, and lots of dancing! I very rarely ever dance in public, but this occasion and the company of good friends had me out there all night long. I loved that I could truly feel how all of the guests were just as in love with the couple as they are with each other, and there’s nothing sweeter than a relationship centered on Christ. Celebrating their marriage felt like a little piece of heaven!
Maid of Honor-ed at my sister’s wedding. My sister got married this month! This was the second wedding I’ve been in the bridal party for and the first wedding where I’ve been maid of honor. I absolutely loved getting to get all glammed up with hair, makeup, and a chiffon dress, and be behind the scenes of the day and see all of her closest friends celebrate her. I gave a short speech during the reception too!
Cut my hair short! I knew once my sister’s wedding was over that I wanted my hair shorter for the summer. What I didn’t know was that I’d love it as much as I did!
Visited dear friends in Statesboro. Every time I drive down to south Georgia I try to make sure and see The Wilburns, who are some of my absolute favorite people. We had a lovely dinner date and made some homemade ice cream! I always enjoy our conversations and time together, and this visit was extra special because they asked me to be their son’s godmother! The first thought I had when I woke up the next morning was that I was now a godmother to the sweetest little boy I know. Bless my soul, I’m so honored!
Celebrated my friend, Liz’s birthday in Savannah. We spent some time at the beach, went bowling (I won a game!), and spent the evening downtown. I even ran into an old high school classmate who I hadn’t seen since graduation! It was such a fun weekend seeing all of my friend’s friends (some of whom I got to finally meet for the first time!) come and celebrate her. We also bonded over my (and now her) struggle with how the age 24 doesn’t sound or feel as young and cute as 23 did and man do we have some weird ~feelings~ about it.
Celebrated my friend, Jenny’s birthday in Augusta. We went to a drive-in movie, spent the day at the lake relaxing and both riding and driving their jetski, and had a fun game night playing CodeNames and Hues and Clues. This was the first year since I’ve been friends with Jenny that we celebrated her birthday together, and it was such a wholesome time!
Visited Liz’s parents in Augusta. Every time I make a trip to Augusta I try to make sure to visit The Leones, and I always love my time with them – they are the best at making me laugh! Her dad refers to me as his “pseudo-daughter” and it’s the most endearing and heartwarming thing in the world to me. A crazy small world thing happened with this visit too – a friend from my hometown got to meet and talk with them too!
Attended a cookout gathering for the last time as an official member of my community group. Words cannot describe how special this group of people are to me. When I first came to my church two and a half years ago, this group of retired folks welcomed my freshly graduated self in to their group, and I spent almost every Sunday evening gleaning wisdom from their lives and walks with the Lord. They walked with me through the hardest year and season of my life thus far, offering up prayers on my behalf and encouraging me in so many ways. I’ve shared many meals with them as a group and with some of the individual women, and I am a stronger person and believer thanks to them. I’m moving on to another group in the church, and even though my time with them as a group member is ending, my love for and relationships with them won’t be going anywhere.
What I discovered
Canyon album by Ellie Holcomb. I’ve only ever listened to Ellie Holcomb from random podcast episodes over the years, but when I saw the cover of this album I knew I had to check it out! Ellie says, “this record is about a deeper sorrow and a higher hope,” which is a tension I feel like I’ve been hardcore wrestling with for the last three years of my life, and am now grateful to have music that speaks to that experience. My favorite songs on the album are “Bridge” and “Stronger”. I also really enjoyed this podcast episode where she talks about the album!
What made me smile
Having a friend with me at the weddings. After weeks of going back and forth/making a pro-con list/seeking advice on what to do with my options to bring someone with me to the weddings I attended, I made the (scary/bold/confident?) decision to ask a friend from church to accompany me to them as arm candy (yes, we had a discussion using that term and it was hilarious and mildly uncomfortable). I’m so glad I did and that he was able to go with me because we had so many good conversations on the drives to and from them, and we had a really great time together! He told me a few weeks later that Chandler’s wedding was the best one he’d been to because he felt like he was friends with everyone there afterward so I’ll take that as a win.
What I wrote down
“A reminder that living your life is usually more meaningful than finding the perfect way to show your life.” – Lisa Olivera
“Buechner said life is beautiful and terrible. Yep, that’s the deal, my friends. That is life. If somebody’s selling you all beautiful or all terrible, walk away. It’s both. Amen.” – John Blase
“Take the time to study how to make conversation. It’s not a personality trait, it’s a discipline.” – Phylicia Masonheimer
“He is not a God who bolts when life falls apart. He sticks around and helps you put the broken pieces back together. If you’re in a hard place right now, keep your eyes open. Don’t give up. He’s working in the middle of your “this.” – Jennifer Dukes Lee
“God’s capacity goes beyond preventing, God recovers and restores.” – Jade Andwele
“He didn’t give Himself up for your career change, your wedding ring, or your pregnancy announcement. He gave Himself up for you. That means your smallest moments matter immensely, because you’re in them – and He’s in you. – Phylicia Masonheimer
“Sometimes we need to believe Jesus is better than anything we have. But sometimes, we need to believe Jesus is better than everything we’ve lost. There’s a difference, but either way, Jesus is better.” – Laura Wifler
“Be the friend and neighbor you wish you had for as long as it takes to realize you actually have each other.” – Shannan Martin
“Because the ability wonder, to be curious and uncertain and awed about all the mysteries of this place, just might be the way to stay all the way alive.” – Ashley Parsons
“Sometimes all our effort is nothing more than grand groundwork for the ultimate act of creation, even if the world never sees it.” – Seth Haines
“Who we are when it’s not our turn is actually more important than who we will be when it is.” – Heather Thompson Day
Where I saw God
Witnessing and celebrating the start of two marriages this month was such a sweet reminder of the beauty of the covenant relationship that God designed, and how much hope, joy, and celebration I have to look forward to when Jesus returns for His bride.
Something I oftentimes find myself thinking about as I’m posting anything online is the whole idea of our public spaces only being a highlight reel, where the hard parts of our lives aren’t shared or are simply glossed over for varying reasons. I don’t want to do that here in this space for many reasons (hence why these are called ‘reviews’ instead of ‘highlights’). One of those reasons being that God is intimately involved in every piece of our lives, both the good and the difficult, and I think it can be a disservice to Him and His glory when we don’t share how He’s been present in the hard and dark times we walk through.
In the midst of all the fun and enjoyable times I had over this past month, it was also an extremely emotionally draining one too. I had a really hard phone call (followed by more really hard conversations throughout the month) with someone that took away my hope of something I’ve deeply desired for years and thought I was finally getting, and it knocked me down harder than I anticipated. BUT GOD, in His immense kindness, provided for and specifically took care of me in the moments and days that followed that initial conversation. He gave me friends to lean on who listened to me vent and sat on the phone with me while I cried, the honor of being asked to be a godmother, and placed unexpected people in my path when I was away from home so I wouldn’t have to be alone. I’m still grieving that loss in the best ways I know how to; I am in no way trying to tie this all up with a neat Christian bow that ignores or discounts my pain and grief. But when I look back and reflect on what happened and the days that followed, all I can think is, “Man, won’t He do it? Surely His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.”
What I’m looking forward to
July will be another month of summer activities, including Independence Day lunch with my grandmother and the rest of my mom’s family, attending a little league baseball game to support some kids in my church, my college roommates coming to visit in Atlanta, and our annual Lansford family reunion at Lake Guntersville. I’m also so excited to start attending a new community group in my church that is led by a couple who grew up in my childhood church too! Now that I’m not in school I’ve convinced myself that summer doesn’t really end until the end of August, so I’m soaking up as much sun and outdoor fun as I can until that time comes.