Sunday, September 9, 2012


Listening To: Hey Yo by The Lumineers
Line Obsession: "Girls like us, when we love, it takes everything we have." - Sarah Addison Allen

Hey daydreamers! How was your Sunday? Any football fans excited to see Peyton run out in his Broncos uniform tonight? As I've said before, I know more about Quidditch than football, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for Peyton Manning. My dad took me to all of Peyton Manning's home games when I was a senior in High School (back when he played for UT). Those are some seriously wonderful memories. So I might watch the game. For a few minutes. Even though I couldn't find a Broncos shirt that I liked.

(I cheer for Tim Tebow too.) (I pretty much cheer for anybody. Except Slytherins.) (#GoRavenclaw!)

I'm back in Tennessee, which is awesome. Equally awesome is this fact:

Today is the day I wore BOOTS for the first time this fall!! Well, ... fall-ish.

Every September, despite the lingering stank-heat, I wear boots (even though it's usually 107 degrees here). The humidity in this city is out of control. I once heard someone describe it as "beefy." (Which very much cracked me up.) And yet. Sometime around the first of September, I defy the beefy heat. I pull on my fall-boots, even though Fall is only happening in my heart. And then, I walk out into my back yard, shake my boot toward the sky - hokey-pokey style - and holler, "Take that, you stupid sun!" (My neighbors love me.) And then I walk around in puddles of sweat for the rest of the day.

(Sun, FTW.)

But this morning Fall was seriously flirting with me. So I flirted back with my tan boots, black tights, and a floral print dress. Somehow boots always put an extra kick in my step. I practically skipped into the worship service.

Other than digging my boots out of my closet, I've spent the weekend sleeping, reading, and just generally de-jet-lagging. Colorado sure knows how to win a girl's heart. I can't believe the trip is already over. The week zoomed by as fast as the Rockies zoomed by outside the car window.

This is from last year, when we played in the leaves.
She looks so contemplative here. :)
We covered almost 2,000 miles. We went to the mountain top. We explored a creepy-beautiful ghost town. We drank coffee while we walked the streets of Telluride. We ate Chipotle with the hipsters in Denver. (You're too cute for your own good, Denver. I'm a big fan of you.) We crossed over a river (or four). We saw fireworks over the dessert (where we nearly ran out of gas). We saw sunsets, rainbows, dinosaur bones, and the grave of a wild-west legend. We listened to The Lumineers with the windows rolled down; with nothing but mountains and blue skies hemming us in.

We saw big horn sheep, foxes, antelope, and elk. A guy in Denver called me "a beautiful ginger", which I've never been called before. (So nice!) And a park ranger told me I looked like she'd always imagined a fairy would look. (Which was also, admittedly, kinda cool :) We even dipped into Wyoming for a few hours. The trip was bliss. I have much more to write about that experience. It all went by way too fast. I feel like my heart is still in motion, still rolling an endless Rocky Mountain reel even though I'm settled back into Tennessee.

Tennessee is awesome too, of course. I always get the best feeling when the plane dips down through the clouds and I see rolling green hills again. 

Slight Tangent:

I was 17 the first time I flew - and that flight was also to Colorado. I've gone back a few times since, but never for this long. This time felt extra-special, probably because I got to experience the state with my brother. He's so stinking fun to adventure with.

I think this time was also special because of some milestone moments I've been celebrating. My first Colorado trip had to do with writing; I'd won a contest in my favorite magazine and I got to write a column for them, which seemed too amazing to be real. They flew me to Colorado Springs to meet the staff and all sorts of fun things. I was shy and scared and awkward, and I'm still all of that. :) But then, and now ( the end of a summer when I've also celebrated some moments that left me breathless) ... I'm so grateful. I'm so genuinely excited and happy. And still geeky. And still awkward. And that's all good.

(Yoda Moment: Please, please, please ALWAYS be geeky and awkward. Stoicism is so boring and overrated.)

I remember flying home that first time, and dipping through the clouds and seeing East Tennessee from an entirely new perspective. I felt this big whoosh of happiness deep-down in my chest. I still feel that way. I still love to see my dad's smiling face when I walk through the gate. I still love the anticipation of waiting to see if my barge-sized orange bag actually made it all the way home ...

Home is the best, always. And since my family's all in the South right now, this is home. Biscuit has been extra snuggly and vigilant.  Even if I just walk to the kitchen to get a drink, she follows me, watching frantically, afraid I'll leave again. She's the cutest. (As I type this, she's resting her fuzzy face on a pillow beside me, just staring up at me. Her guilt trips are very effective.)

This week, I'm working on a new column for Susie Magazine (probably about why I've decided that Edmund is, imho, the bravest Pevensie in Narnia ... but I might have to push that back and jump at another idea instead..). I'm also working on something NEW that's completely rocking my world, while simultaneously making me stress-eat lots of M&M's. So it goes :)

Mostly, I just wanted to pop in on this blue-sky-boot-day Sunday and say hello.

Also, I was wondering if you might do me a favor?

I'm pretty sure that at least a few of you long-suffering readers used to read Brio Magazine? I used to write a column for Brio called In Step. My friend, Krishana Kraft, was the Associate Editor at Brio. Krishana is an amazing writer who, like me, believes breakfast cereal is dessert-legit. She's also smart, funny, and gorgeous and just generally the kind of girl you'd be jealous of if she weren't so darn awesome and easy to love.

When I think of people who embody the word JOY, I think of Krishana. There's nothing fake or Pollyanna-Perky about Krishana; she just fully and completely embraces the moment. 

She chooses joy.

She's also a total adventure-seeker. She's been all over the world (she recently volunteered at the LONDON OLYMPICS!!) and she's currently serving as a missionary in Europe.

This week, Krishana is facing some exhausting medical tests. (She boldly documented her journey through cancer a few years ago on her blog.) While medical stuff is always scary, Krish is a long way away from her family, which makes facing this unexpected crapola especially tough.

And she's still smiling through the fear and being all courageous and amazing. That's how she rolls. This is an actual quote from her blog (and proof of her awesomeness): 

"I know my God is greater than all of this cancer/medical yuck! But I also know that sometimes He has even something greater to do and share and BE in the middle of the yuck. While I dread the yuck, have cried about the yuck and don't understand the yuck, I choose to not allow the yuck to keep me from drawing close to Him, curling up in His lap and allowing Him to hold me right now with all of my questions and tears. I'm safe in His arms!" - Krishana Kraft

So, first, if you'd be up for it, I would love it if you'd pray for Krishana before you click away.

And then, if you're up for some high-fiveage beyond that, would you maybe drop by her blog and let her know that you're praying for her/thinking of her this week/that she's awesome? It would make my year if we could all band together and swarm her with virtual tackle-hugs. Thanks for being so swanky :)

Now! Please, please, please feel free to talk about YOU down in the comments! I'd love to know what's up with you. How's your nearly-fall? Are you reading great books? Are your classes sucking? Heard any good jokes lately? :) I would love to hear what's happening in your world. Here's hoping your Sunday has been blue-sky-boot-wearing-beautiful.


  1. Hey Natalie!
    So glad to hear your trip to Colorado was a success! Colorado is absolutely beautiful! Our youth group occasionally has church camp at this awesome place in Colorado. So beautiful.
    Ironically enough, my first time to fly was when I was 17 and I flew to Colorado too! :)

    Fall semester of classes are going well, shouldn't have taken a full load though...but it helps that I love most of my classes :)

    Speaking of...I should probably get back to studying. Bleh.

    Thanks for being so cool, Natalie. Have a great week!

  2. Hi Natalie! So glad you had a safe, fun and exciting trip!

    I would so love to break out my Fall boots, but apparently the WNC Mountains haven't got the memo yet that it is indeed Septembrrrrr and not July or August anymore. Sigh.

    You know, I just stared blankly at the tele [where football was happening] this evening and boldly declared, out loud, that "I just don't get Quidditch...I totally get Quidditch!!" for my family and a couple of our friends to hear. They all just turned and gave me that "Shhhhush! AND You're such a nerd!" look all at the same time and I just smiled and decided quickly that I was completely fine with that fact. Haha! And just so you know, I am hopelessly geeky and awkward and I am also completely okay with that fact. No changing for me ever. *wink*

    As far as books are concerned, I just finished reading SNEAK by Evan Angler and I am completely psyched over the series so far! It's like Left Behind meets The Hunger Games story and excitement-wise. I'm ready for a new read now, though I am having trouble getting over my latest book hangover's which include SNEAK and The Peculiar's (which was neo-victorian fabness!)

    I am so excited to hear that you are working on *something* new! Really, that makes my heart happy as I used to dream I'd be a super excellent, dreamy word smith who was a comfortable-in-her-own-skin kind of writer just like you someday, when I was sprawled out on my bean bag chair twirling my hair and reading through my Brio Mag.

    Okay, well, I guess that's enough gushing ramblingness for now, huh?

    Pea Ess... I'll definitely keep Krishana in my prayers! <3

  3. I'm jealous...I haven't been able to wear my boots yet. :) But I have all of my cardigans and scarves and such ready to pull out as soon as the first hint of fall is here. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year! Virginia summers are also humid and the air is perfectly still, but lately there's been a cool breeze so I know fall is coming. :)

    I loved reading your Tumblr during your trip! P.S. I totally think the fairy comment was a compliment.

    I'll be praying for Krishana...I remember her from my Brio-reading days!


  4. I love Ho Hey. Great song. I'm glad you enjoyed Colorado, it sounds great and I enjoyed the tumblr! Tennessee is special. I love it here. Of course I will pray for Krishana . And um, yes. Edmund is awesome.

  5. Oh Natalie, I feel as if I shouldn't write since I send out so many email updates. My mom is visiting next week and I'm uber excited. I'm most excited about her helping me get my apartment settled. I'm loving Madison more and more even though I'm working more and more and seem to be sleeping more and more. It's gorgeous fall here but I miss the mountains and my one-of-a-kind friends. And the smell of Chattanooga in the fall/winter. And that's I think all for now... Give yo momma a huge hug for me!

  6. I am so ready for fall!!! And thank you for letting us know about your friend, I will definitely stop by her blog!

  7. I love that song by the Lumineers.

    I'm so ready for Fall. Skinny jeans, boots, scarves, and lots of hot coffee. Fall makes me crave new books, coffee, leaves, and family time. Tucker and I are settling into married life, which is amazing. Being married to the man you've been in love with since high school is sort of like a dream. We have fun together, whether it be while seeing a movie (Have you seen the Odd Life of Timothy Green? Oh my goodness. I cried, laughed and was thankful for such an honest movie about love and parenting.) or cleaning the apartment. Married life = the best. :)

    I have read two of Ellen Potter's books, The Humming Room and Pish Posh in the past two days. She is a smart writer and her books are adorable. I am going back to my library to see if I can find some more of them. I want to read the Kneebone Boy, and also Rebeccca Stead's new book! A little girl at my summer camp gave me When You Reach Me to read, and it was amazing! (Did it remind you of the Time Traveler's Wife? The bit about Marcus?)I'm still trying to finish East. It's frustrating me because I just want her to find "The Bear" already! It is good though. I am being impatient.

    Other than reading, spending lots of time with the husband, and working, I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with school. I am going to finish with a general studies degree, because besides reading books, I cannot decide what I want to do. I want to be a mom, but obviously, that will be a while. Teaching was always on my heart, but my job now is basically like a teacher, and though I love the kids, I don't enjoy it so much.

    That's my life as of now. :)

    You should definitely write a book post soon! I have been scouring your Pinterest and Barnes and Noble for new reads. ;)

  8. It's killing me that while its really nice out its still too warm for boots. Trying to hold out as long as possible. I cannot wait though! Oh how I miss you sweet friend and fall and sweet Biscuit!