All In

This day has been a long time coming. I can't remember a time in my adult life when I wasn't working towards getting a literary agent. It's an incredibly difficult thing to accomplish—for a number of reasons—and so many wonderful authors end up going on to pursue other, less traditional, ways of publishing because of it. (I am one of those authors, too, as you might already know.)

This Little Light of Mine

I think I may have told you this before, but that won't stop me from telling you again. (Does it ever?)

I love my little girl.

The Victory of Defeat

There is something so whimsical and wondrous about the idea of victory. It conjures images of war heroes and survivors of unimaginable loss, of people who lived to overcome great suffering despite impossible odds.

The Best of 2017

I love to take some time at the end of the year to reflect on my favorite memories of the past twelve months. (And also to appreciate some of my not-so-favorite-but-also-important moments.) So, because I got a jump start on de-cluttering and taking down Christmas decorations yesterday, I have some time this afternoon to do just that.

Here's a little stroll down 2017 Memory Lane...

On January 3rd, my final novel (and the sequel to my first) debuted! It got some really fun and thoughtful reviews, and people seemed to connect with it as much as I hoped they would. I made approximately $47 in royalties on it. 

Later that month, the Falcons won the NFC Championship! We celebrated by screaming our lungs out and also losing our minds when we found out Arthur Blank was gifting every staff member (and spouse!) a trip to the Super Bowl along with the team. 

In February, we mourned. (I'm fine. Everything's fine.)

Lucy also had her first teeth cleaning in February. Our good friend, Jennifer, is a dental hygienist and she helped Lucy feel right at home. (As much as one can in a dentist's office, anyway!)

I took a break from social media in March to spend some time with family and get away from the relentless distraction that is my love/hate relationship with Instagram. I also began working on my nonfiction book proposal.

In April, we went on our very first vacation as a family! Pierce and I have traveled on our own with our church a few times (and once to my friend's cabin) and Lucy has been to the beach on several occasions with family, so it was super awesome to finally have the three of us together on a trip. We visited St. Simons and Jekyll Islands for an extended weekend where we explored Driftwood Beach, went on a dolphin tour, climbed the St. Simons Lighthouse, had dinner with friends, drank lots of coffee (me), and ate lots of good food. I'm definitely looking forward to our next trip together! (More on that in a moment.) I also got two tattoos in April and rejoined the scrolling timesuck that is social media.

In May, my niece, Mary Grace, went to her first prom and we all oohed and aahed as we are wont to do in circumstances such as those.

Later that month, I booked our 10th-anniversary trip to the United Kingdom! We will be spending two weeks touring all of England and Scotland (where both mine and Pierce's ancestors are from) and Lucy will be joining us, as well. (Obvs.) We're taking the trip a few months before our anniversary because we got married in November and trying to get an Atlanta Falcons employee to take fifteen days off during football season is like...well...impossible. I can't wait!

In June, Pierce went to Panama City with our church for the high school ministry's annual beach trip. Lucy also traveled to Panama City with her grandparents that week to visit her aunt, uncle, and cousins. I stayed home and had a terrible panic attack. (Nice segue, I know.) It was simultaneously the most painful and the most tender weekend I had all year because while I was home my best friend, Lauren, gave birth to her first child, a baby boy named Daniel Harper. I got to give him lots of kisses and snuggles while P and Lucy were gone, so that helped :).

In July, we celebrated Independence Day with family and the next week I traveled to Miami with Pierce for his work conference. A big part of why I went was because I couldn't bear to be alone, especially with Lucy, after having such a terrible bout with anxiety just a few weeks prior. Thankfully, because of a million little things working in our favor, I was able to afford a cheap last-minute ticket and my mom stayed at our house to care for Lucy and the animals. I struggled not to have a repeat episode while I was there, but Pierce and I were also able to enjoy some really sweet alone time in the city and I got to have dinner with an old friend while in town, too. Miami is such a beautiful city!

In August, I celebrated my 32nd birthday with breakfast in bed and a girls day at Six Flags! It was pretty much perfect.

The day after my birthday we drove two hours to Cornelia, Georgia to witness the solar eclipse in person! And WOW. So amazing. I was super paranoid that Lucy would go blind so I kept hissing at her to put on the glasses and missed a full thirty seconds of totality, but other than that it was one of my favorite moments of the year. No contest.

Lucy also started playing soccer in August and we deeeeeefinitely made ourselves look like ridiculous Soccer Parents.

At the end of the month, my sweet friend Rosalie released her debut EP and I sang backup with her at the release party! That was a fun night and it made me realize how much I miss performing.

In September, we celebrated Pierce's 32nd birthday, too! He is such a blessing to us. I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.

I also faced my fears about being alone for a weekend while Pierce was out of town. I stayed home with Lucy and had almost no anxiety at all! That was a huge victory for me, particularly in light of what I went through earlier in the summer. Cognitive behavioral therapy and prayer are truly miracle workers, you guys.

I went to a Falcons game in late September with my friend, Brianna, where we ran into Pierce while he was working and he took us onto the field. I saw Devonta Freeman in person and promptly died. I am writing all of this from heaven.

In October, my mother sold the house she designed and had built for us in 2002. We moved in during the beginning of my senior year of high school, and that place holds so many wonderful memories for our family, especially me and my little sister, Kati. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was also time.

In November, Pierce and I celebrated nine years of marriage and had an incredible dinner out at Bones. We devoured delicious steaks and talked about life and Lucy and ended the night with other wonderful things I will not discuss here. (We're married; don't be weird about it.)

We also celebrated Lucy turning four (!) and getting her first haircut.

Lucy was way more okay with it than I was. The stylist even told me she didn't want to cut Lucy's hair. (See before picture below for clarification.) It's now above her shoulders and she looks fourteen. Someone make time stop, please.

Also, my friend Jillian's baby boy, Jaxton, turned one! We met up with them in their hometown and I got to see a whole bunch of my college buddies there, too. We're all mamas now and this picture of us together is one of my absolute favorites. The plaid thing was unplanned and also perfection. Hashtag basic.

In December, we enjoyed the holiday season and did ALL THE HOLIDAY THINGS. It even snowed this month! That was the perfect winter day. I'm still marveling over it.

I began re-working my book proposal a few weeks ago and we spent our Christmas weekend visiting all our extended family. It was a lot of driving, but we are so thankful to have our loved ones close by.

I hope your 2017 was full of wonder and love and goodness. Here's to more beautiful—and refining—moments in 2018!