No. 1: Becoming an aunt! In a past Small Joys post, I included a picture of my adorable sister-in-law (I call her my frister-- a friend/sister) and our brother-in-law as they announced that they were having a baby boy! Well, Easton Brent is here and is SO adorable. I can't wait until September when we can go home to snuggle him and love on Ashley and Chris as new parents. He was so eager to join the Banker family that he arrived a week and a half early-- much to everyone's surprise. We're so happy to welcome this sweet boy into the family!
No. 2: Finishing up summer school. And grad school, semester 3. 3/8 semesters down-- yippee! I've been a little on edge over the past few weeks with school coming to an end, and I'm thankful to put this semester behind me to move onto something new. Summer school makes summer NO FUN! :)
Doc helping me study (which he does by napping and not
crying to go outside a billion times)
No. 3: Lake trips. I've been antsy this summer. Antsy to be near an ocean-- to lie on a beach and bake, to taste salt in the air, to feel sand between my toes, and to bask in the coolness of the sea. Instead of heading to the coast, I took a day trip with my friend Kayla up to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore yesterday. It was supposed to be my treat for finishing the semester strong, but I hadn't actually finished one of my final papers yet. I threw caution to the wind and hopped in the car anyways, and I'm so glad that I did. Sometimes you need a little sunshine to pull you out of a rut. So though there wasn't salty air or waves crashing at my feet, there was sand, plenty of sun, good company, and water that almost looked like sea water. It was enough that I could bear it, and enough to call me back to my core and give me needed strength to push through the week.
No. 4: Books for fun. I prematurely picked up reading for fun again this week. Though I should have been finishing up finals, I decided to treat myself a little early. I'm currently reading The Vacationers, which I had started a while ago and never got to finish due to school. It takes place in Mallorca and makes me want to travel to Europe again. The travel bug never stops biting once it's started. I'm also looking forward to picking things back up with Book Club and reading a few others things during my break from school, including Small Victories by Anne Lamott, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (yet to be released, but SO SOON), Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh. Pending those, I'll likely check out a few more from the library, but that should get me through most of August until Fall classes begin.
No. 5: Zucchini chocolate chip bread. How did I not know about this sooner? We have some zucchini from our garden that we needed to use-- as well as some that I had bought from the grocery store before our zucchini was ready-- so I decided to attempt some zucchini chocolate chip bread for something a little different. This bread is dangerous and has me ready for fall breads and pumpkin galore-- be still, my heart! Check out this recipe from one of my best friends over at Bluegrass Bites! (Note: I wanted bread vs. muffins and it turned out just fine using the same recipe!)
A Night Two Nights (!!) with Shauna. You all know about my love for Shauna Niequist and her writing-- and how much I get excited about possible sightings of her. Well, next month, I'm actually going to have the opportunity to see her TWICE! One of my childhood best friends, Alex, and I are going to the Belong Tour in Columbus, OH to see Shauna Niequist, Jen Hatmaker, and so many other lovely Christian women speaking to the hearts of other women. My other Shauna sighting is one I am being SO nerdy about. I logged on Facebook for two seconds today as a break from writing my paper, and I saw a post from Shauna's page about a filming for her book release party. There were only 75 spots, and I figured I had already missed my chance! Nevertheless, I clicked on the link which stated that there were TWO SPOTS LEFT. I logged in faster than I have ever logged into anything in my life and snagged one of the last two free tickets to this event. She technically advertised this for "locals," but a 3.5 hour drive to a Chicago suburb basically makes me a local, right? It would only let me get one ticket, so I'm super nerding and going solo. Scott thinks I'm weird. Doc will be sad that I won't be here to snuggle. All will be well, and I will be drinking a LOT of coffee for my 7 hours of driving next Tuesday.
Release date: August 9, 2016
No. 7: The Village People. SOMEHOW, I ended up with some of the very best friends you could ever ask for. In college, I was still trying to figure out exactly who I was. Desperately seeking this with all that I was, I stumbled across some women while trying to figure it out. These women became the lifelongs, the forever friends who come to into your life and never leave. My dear friend Shannon is one of those village people. She encourages me and loves me SO well. She is thoughtful and kind, and just one of the rarest and very best of people you'll come across. She sent me this sweet package filled with delightful treats (coffee from INDIA that I cannot wait to try tomorrow morning in the Chemex!). Thanks, friend, for loving me well and encouraging me in dark moments.
No. 8: Needtobreathe coming SOON. Needtobreathe is home to me. I listen to their music and I'm back in Chapel Hill in a tiny concert hall hearing their music for the first time. Or I'm in Winston-Salem with some of my best friends the night before a 12 hour shift at work, staying out late because I can't stay away when NTB is nearby playing live. I can't wait to see them in a few weeks and am desperate to get my hands on their new album, Hard Love, ASAP.
No. 9: My handsome husband. You know what? This man is really the best. He loves me well and deals with my TERRIBLE mood swings. He pulls me out of the little ball of stress that I tightly wind myself into, and he pushes me to be better in every way. I don't tell him enough how much I love him and enjoy this little life we have together. I pray that I find better ways to tell him and show him how loved and appreciated he is, how happy I am to walk beside him through all of life's mountains and valleys.
No. 10: Little Doc. How could I forget about this little snuggle butt? He makes me immensely tired when he wakes me up at 4AM but also very happy and calm when he snuggles against me on the couch while I'm studying. We've had some puppy struggles but we're working through them. He brings so much laughter and joy into our little home.
Morning snuggles when he wakes me up at 6:30.
We go outside, and then we sleep on the couch.
We don't do this upon his first waking at 4 for obvious reasons
Being enchanted by treats
I'm out of space for now-- but I have another joy-- clean kitchens! I can't number it as number 11 because it'll drive me crazy and then I'll be prompted to find 4-9 more things to add to the list so that it's a multiple of 5. So it'll just be a freebie that I'm throwing in-- it's a wonderful treat to myself to go to bed with a clean kitchen and to wake up and brew coffee in that very same clean space.
Hoping your week and weekend ahead is filled with those little moments that take your breath away in the middle of the very ordinary.