The month of October gave me busy weekends and a new weekly routine, time with friends who are near and far away, and a mood shift that took me by surprise. Fall activities and the desire to start slowing down has hit, and I’m glad to be getting closer to the end of the year. Here’s what my October had for me!

What I did

Started the new month with a new haircut. I’m so happy to be back in my medium-length hair phase!

Medium-length haircut

Went to local little league baseball games. A family at my church has three boys who played little league baseball this year, and I got to go to some of the last games of their seasons! It was so fun seeing them play and cheer each other on, and I love getting to spend time with this family.

Little League Baseball games

Started teaching middle school girls. We are reading and studying through the gospel of John with the youth ministry! It’s been both humbling and challenging to prepare to teach a chapter (or two) each week, but it has also been such a pleasure to be serving these girls as they’re in what I believe to be some of the most challenging years they’ve faced yet. I also LOVE that I’m getting to do this alongside old church friends who used to teach me when I was younger. It’s so cool seeing how God places His people together throughout our lives and the role they have in each season.

Spent a weekend in Augusta with my bestie pals. We walked dogs, hung out at home, played cornhole and Incohearent, went to Costco, had a meal with my friend’s parents, and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a lovely time!

Went back to my work office after 19 months of working from home. I have to return to work at the office two days a week starting at the beginning of November, so I decided to go in a day early and work out any IT kinks and get reacclimated with waking up early, commuting, preparing breakfast and lunch, and being in a cubicle again. I got to reunite with some books I’d left there and meet new coworkers too!

Attended a Georgia Southern football game. My parents didn’t make it to any of my college’s football games when I was a student, so my dad was determined to make it to a game this year. We went down to the ‘Boro for homecoming weekend, ate at my favorite local burger place, watched a good game, visited with friends and saw some old classmates, then spent the evening and next morning with extended family. It was a great weekend!

Statesboro - October 2021

Visited with a dear friend and my godson. A trip down to south Georgia calls for a visit with my godson’s family! My dad and I had a rolled ice cream date with Jordan and Weston (so sad we missed Jeremy) and it was amazing seeing how much Weston has grown since I last saw him. He’s talking so much now and it was so endearing hearing him say my name!

What I discovered

What a Song Can Do album by Lady A. I am not a fan of country music, but I am a longtime fan of Lady A’s songwriting and perfect harmonies! This album had the perfect mix of songs to jam out to on solo drives around town, and others with meaningful lyrics that spoke to my heart. My favorite songs are “Like a Lady”, “Fire”, “Where Would I Be”, and “Be That for You”.

What made me smile

A meal with a new friend. I was paired with a co-leader when I started teaching the middle school girls at my church! I hadn’t spent any time with her before so of course, I had to take her out to dinner and exchange our life stories. We spent three hours together and it was an absolute delight! I was telling some of my close girlfriends about it a few days later, and it made me realize that I walked away from our time together feeling like I was catching up with an old friend rather than meeting a new one for the first time. What a gift!

What I wrote down

“Suffering is inherently undignified because you are being undone. So there is no need to heap shame on top of your pain by thinking you should be doing it better.” Sharon Hodde Miller

“Please know that if I’ve ever had any form of interaction with you ever, I am still overthinking it.” Lindsay Fickas

“There’s no such thing as missing out if you are in Christ.” Well-Watered Women

“Knowledge does not equal spiritual maturity unless you are letting the Lord change your heart.” Phylicia Masonheimer

“I want to be the kind of person who isn’t afraid of not being in control. I want to be the kind of person who can trust she will be cared for and loved when she is not actually the best version of herself.” Annie B. Jones

“Knowing what you want to do and pursuing what you want to do have very different timelines. Give yourself grace for the paradoxical journey you’re on.” Scott Erickson

“Change is subtle and quiet until it isn’t. Let’s keep paying attention.” Emily P. Freeman

“Once you stop finding your identity in something, and it stops always being a reflection of you, you get to just participate in it and have a good time.” Autumn Duran

“Perhaps part of waiting on God is learning that it is not a linear journey. Rather, we circle back again and again to the same lessons, the same questions, like a HIIT workout on endless repeat.” Christine Keegan

“To look to the Lord and be radiant as a result is to walk through life in happy defiance of any circumstantial adversity sending your emotional life into meltdown. You have God. You are safe. You have everything.” Dane Ortlund

“Time changes everything about lovers but nothing about the character of love itself.” Seth Haines

“He always gives me what I need, and sometimes what I need is to need for a little bit longer.” Lore Ferguson Wilbert

“I write for the beauty of it, and the inability to refrain any longer.” Sarah Southern

“Maybe picking up our crosses is inviting God into the hard thing and realizing it won’t destroy you.” Hannah Brencher via Henri Nouwen

“Loosen your grip on outcomes a little bit today.” Michael Wear

“Suffering is what produces the muscle of Christian faith.” JT English

“[Athanasius] says, ‘Whereas most of Scripture speaks to us, the psalms speak for us.’ They give us a language of lament. They give us a language of pain, of questions.” Sheila Walsh

“A bright life is one with layers of connection.” Shannan Martin

“I feel like I’m able to do more of living my own life rather than squeezing my life in between office hours.” (on working from home) – Kate Wood

Where I saw God

I had a therapy appointment the first week of October, which would be my last one for a while with my therapist of two years since she was going on maternity leave. After that session, I felt confident that I would be fine without a session until she returned. But then as the rest of the month unfolded I started experiencing what I called a ‘slump’ which I later realized was probably seasonal affective disorder. I was still able to do my normal life activities and was at my usual, high-performing self, but I felt…off, and it scared me.

The Lord has immensely blessed me with friends and mentors who listen well, acknowledge my emotions, and point me to the truth. I saw His loving kindness and care for me this past month through my people who met and sat with me in my mental despair, who stayed present in my emotional breakdowns, gave wisdom, and assured me that I wasn’t being dramatic and would be okay.

Walking through life with grief is a weird thing. You never know when the waves of it will swell up and cause things to spill out that you didn’t even know were under the surface. But I’m grateful for a God who is acquainted with grief and provides for my needs in the best ways at the best time, usually through the presence of His people. What a beautiful demonstration of His ever-present help in times of trouble.

What I’m looking forward to

Truthfully at the end of October, I am limping towards November with anticipatory dread. 

My birthday is coming up, and I feel weird about turning 25 and my life not looking like I thought it would by now. I’m going to have a birthday dinner and I know once it’s here that I’ll have a good time celebrating, but I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it as I write this.

My mom’s second birthday without her here on earth is coming, and that makes my heart ache.

Halloween in October sets the start of the holiday season in motion, a time of year that I’ve not been a fan of in a really long time, and I’m seeing the holidays as something to merely ‘get through’ rather than celebrate.

So I think that’s what I’m looking forward to at the end of this month – getting through the next one and then the next one – and fighting for joy in it all.

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