Peep Holes into My Past

Journaling WHYs

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I’m so tired: tired from work, from being pregnant, and from the endless to-do lists, but at the same time I can’t sit still. Yesterday I reorganized our kitchen cabinets and wiped out utensil drawers… then I got started on cleaning out our closet, the one space I haven’t yet touched in this pregnancy nesting craze.

The fun thing about that, though, is that I found my memory box. And inside that box I found my old journals… talk about fun (and embarrassing)! I spent a couple hours skimming through the pages, not realizing how much of my life I’d accidentally documented! Many of those journals are a weird combination of to-do lists, grocery lists and meal plans, Scripture excerpts, blog post ideas, sermon notes and prayers, and random math equations (budgeting stuff probably??), but those snippets often whisked me back to specific seasons of my life.

I found the journal from our season of wedding planning… in it I had scribbled out my vows, ideas for the order of our ceremony, our wedding gift thank you list, song ideas for the ceremony, notes from wedding band shopping with Jacob, rough schedules for the day of the wedding, etc. I had no idea I kept that stuff, let alone that I did it in (mostly) one place! That same journal had all kinds of notes from when we were apartment hunting, trying to figure out where to get Internet for our new apartment, etc. What a treat to look back at that stuff!

I found a slew of other journals from my college years with all sorts of tidbits in it… notes from trying to redesign my blog, get a general “life plan” (AKA choose a major), the notes from the phone call when I was offered my first “big girl job” after college, etc. My favorite, though, was the journal from the time period Jacob and I started dating. Throughout college I had glued all sorts of notes from my friends into my journals, so this journal had all the notes Jacob wrote me.

A few weeks ago, I shared my reignited love for journaling – I love seeing God’s faithfulness through the words I’ve written and the ways he has responded to those prayers. But I also love getting transported back in time to specific seasons of my life and the relationships I had at the time. I’m so grateful I documented my feelings throughout those seasons of wedding planning, dating, struggling through friendships, wrestling with where to attend college and more. Those pages are glimpses of who I was at the time, which paints a beautiful picture of how much God has grown me since then, and glimpses of God walking with me through hard decisions.

Do you save your old journals? Have you ever looked back through them? There were definitely some cringe-worthy moments where I wish I could reach back in time and slap myself silly, but there were many more moments of enjoying memories I hadn’t recalled for some time and seeing how all the pieces of a situation fell perfectly together to get me where I am now.

The post I thought I’d never publish:

Outfit details here

Holiday breaks do some great things for you, yes? I had Wednesday through the weekend off work, so I committed to taking a break from all things social media. You didn’t see any new blog posts, Instagram posts, etc, and that was purposeful.

This blogging space of mine has pushed and pulled me into a new person. I’ve stayed up many late nights (and early mornings!) writing, editing, emailing, publishing, scheduling social media, organizing future posts and dreaming for this space. It taught me so much discipline and brought me a lot of joy.

But during this four and a half day holiday break, when I let myself slow down for the first time in a long while, the questions I’ve kept locked in the back of my brain surfaced and were confirmed: I need a break.

After a lot of discussion with Jacob, I’m taking a sort of blogging “sabbatical.” For at least the month of January, I’m going to spend the hours I’m not working, volunteering for church or exercising doing things I love but often neglect for the sake of this blog. Remember my 10 Secret Dreams I published last month? I’m talking about those.

I’m talking about really sitting in Scripture with a mind that isn’t also tallying the tasks I need to do in the back closet. I’m talking about writing for the sake of being honest with my own heart in a way that doesn’t require publishing immediately. I’m talking about restringing my guitar and letting words marry a melody that makes my heart sing from its depths.

I’m letting myself remember I love to be creative, and that can look different every single day.

Friends, thank you for meeting me here. Thank you for encouraging me through all of the big steps in blogging and walking alongside of me through serious heart work. Thank you for cheering me on when I walked out onto new limbs and for coming back here so often. You guys are awesome. You are the reason I love this space so much and why it took me so long to admit I need this little break.

Thank YOU for reading, for commenting, for emailing, for sharing on your social media platforms and for being my cheerleader. I’m still yours.

xoxo

Oldies, but Goodies. Remember the time…

You know those old songs you just can’t hear enough? They play on the radio and then you just have to listen again and again? I’m sure you’ve said, “Ohhh this is an oldie, but such a goodie…” at one point or another. Am I right?

Sometimes I feel that way about blog posts. There are so many oldies, but goodies that only get to shine on that one day they were posted. It’s just not right!

So since I’m on vacation and probably sitting on the beach with my nose buried in a book at this very second… I thought we could just take a little stroll down memory lane, in case you’re itching to read something old, but good 😉

Remember that one time I flubbed the national anthem? Glory days, I tell ya.

Remember that one time Jacob said I looked like I stepped out of Charlie Brown? It was the truth.

Need a reminder you aren’t in college anymore? Here you go.

Remember that one really serious post without a picture? I wrote about God’s faithfulness in a difficult season. 

Need a reminder that where you are right now is important? Check it.

Remember that time I confessed that I actually like my gray hairs? Yup.

Remember when this blog used to be called “The Albrechts Blog”? Here’s the story behind the new name.

You wish you were Southern, too, right? Well, here’s how to fake it ’til you make it.

Remember that day I shared a weight-lifting view of your past sin? I need this reminder daily.

Confused as to how we ended up in NH from TN? Here’s the story.

Remember that one time I shared how to take killer photos with your smart phone?

And, lastly, I’ll end with this – remember when I reminded you not to base your worth on your Insta “likes” today? Don’t forget it.

I hope your weekend rocks! If you blog, share your favorite “remember the time I…” post from your archives in the comments! I want to read it while I beach it all day long 😉

P.S. Happy July 4th!! To celebrate, I’m offering 50% off any ad space with the code HAPPYFOURTH! Check out my advertising options & sign up! 😉
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Mountain Tops & Summertime

We climbed to the top of a mountain this weekend with some awesome friends. I haven’t hiked a lot in my short lifetime, but the few hikes I have done were absolutely nothing like this one. We were climbing over massive boulders, steep inclines, and grabbing trees along the way to help pull ourselves up. It was challenging and rainy, but we had the most perfect temperature and the most perfect company.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what I need to do every day – most of which includes being inside. Working my desk job, blogging, keeping up with my shop, making dinner, grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning, sleeping, etc. – those are all huge parts of my days and weeks! This weekend was a beautiful reminder of how much I just love being outdoors.

New Hampshire has a ton of great hiking locations. In fact, there’s a well-known list of “48 over 4000” hikes – that’s 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are over 4000 ft. elevation. We’ve decided we want to climb them all!

Lately I’ve been learning to celebrate the little moments more. Less worrying about what’s to come and more enjoying and making much of where we are now and what we have now. I’m really looking forward to crossing a lot of peaks off that list this summer.

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Outside my Front Door

One of my favorite things about our new city is living so close to the heart of downtown. Often I take walks for lunch, or stroll down to the local coffee shop to meet with friends. It’s my favorite. Last night Jacob and I took a walk after dinner – it was the first time we were out enjoying the gorgeous spring weather together. (And on of the first few days we’ve had such gorgeous weather!)

I’m so excited for this new season of warm weather and late nights with friends. Summer isn’t quite the same when you’re no longer a student without a care all summer long, but it’s wonderful regardless. Here’s to our first summer in New England, may it be filled with friends and so much growth.

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The Story Behind the New Name

34MSt Why Why Behind the Name

I think I had the most wonderful weekend I could have imagined. And lots of that can be attributed to you!! Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support with the blog’s rebrand and my up-and-coming shop (it goes live a week from today!!! Eek!!) You made my day.

My weekend was also full of mini-catch ups with long-time friends, my first time trail running, and the realization I already have some friendships in this new town that will blossom into deep, very life-giving friendships. God has provided abundantly, my friends!!

A few of you have asked about the meaning behind the new blog title 34 Magnolia Street. I wish it bloomed from a deep meaning, but the meaning I now love grew after some watering ;).

About a month ago, I wrote this post after a very dear friend visited us for the weekend. She’s one of those great friends you can tell your deepest darkest hopes to and she won’t laugh. She actually tells you hers and then you start scheming to make them a reality. It’s beautiful, really, and I’m so thankful for her!

Well, 34 Magnolia Street was born that very weekend. She knew I wanted to start a shop and I wanted my blog and shop to be a “brand” together… so that’s when we decided I was going to rebrand my blog. In the midst of brainstorming title ideas, I thought about how much I loved our address. I thought it was cute and kind of catchy… but I didn’t want to name my blog our address. I mean, come on, blogging feels safe and all, but I’m not an idiot.

So we started brainstorming cute words to use for the street name… and she came up with Magnolia. We loved it. It stuck and it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the entire month since her visit. Although 34 Magnolia Street was born because we loved the way it sounded, after thinking through it a bit more, Abbie said something very profound.

“Magnolias are beautiful, but they aren’t so delicate they break easily. They are beautiful, yet strong.”

That’s when I knew the name was concrete was for sure. I love remembering that beauty doesn’t mean daintiness or delicacy. Beauty comes in strength, in faith, in making hard decisions. Beauty comes in celebrating the good, despite the mess, and loving someone who is hard to love. Beauty comes in forgiving each other because Christ forgave us, and that is hard. Beauty comes in recognizing that without Christ, we are weak, but because we have been sown again in his everlasting sacrifice, watered with unwavering love and fertilized with grace, with Him we are strong. There is so much beauty in that strength.

So 34 Magnolia Street sounds catchy and cute to me. But every time I say it, I remember that magnolias are beautiful and strong. I want to be beautiful and strong, and I want you to know that you can be, too.

So, welcome (again) to 34 Magnolia Street, where beauty meets strength in every day life. Every single day of it. I’m so glad you’re here.