valle crucis photo post.

here are some photos from my recent trip to the mountains!

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hey natalie jean // book review.

“Natalie Holbrook’s sensibility is stylish and playful, as well as practical, loving, and down-to-earth. Hey Natalie Jean is a terrific read for anyone who wants to make her life more beautiful.” – Gretchen Rubin

i bought this book like 10 years ago (or back in june) and i just now finished it. (don’t you remember me telling you that story of how i asked the man at barnes where to find the book & he led me to the parenting section, eyed me down, & boldly asked when i was due. *cue awkward laugh & blurt out NOPE THANKS*)

anywhoozles, the book! it’s pure goodness i tell ya. in the words of amazon.com, “inspiring, moving, and whip-smart, Hey Natalie Jean is an honest look at the hard work and courage that go into creating a beautiful life.” preach, amazon, preach. it does take courage, & it is something we ladies work hard at. ya know, i think it must’ve taken me the 10 years (4 months) to read because i didn’t just read it. from page 1, i could tell it was gonna be so good & frankly helpful, so i started taking notes & writing down my favorite lines & tips & re-reading my favorite chapters to myself & to friends. yeah, i’m weird. whatever.

i 10/10 recommend this book, mostly to young mothers & young women. especially if you like witty talk. & like making life beautiful. i love having this book on my shelf & will probably reference it frequently. natalie jean is a babe, a total style icon, & talks some good sense about life being an adventure & happiness being right at our fingertips. can i get some snaps & an amen?

now, for your sampling pleasure, here are my favorite quotes from my (lol) detailed notes to entice you into reading it yourself::

“mom, cream cheese is the best part of my life. ever.”

“i make my home somewhere i love to be not to impress others, or to live up to some standard or ideal, but out of respect for myself.”

“i like to decorate things // there it is. my home, my body, my shelf in the bathroom where i like to line up my aesthetically pleasing skin creams according to height like trophies- i like for my things to be pretty. i like for my life to be beautiful.”

“authenticity is the most beautiful thing on a woman, & the key to unlocking your sense of inner beauty & confidence is in getting to know yourself, accepting yourself all the way, & then working with what you got, instead of trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all standard of beauty that, i promise you, only works on maybe four people.”

“you don’t need to know a thing about fashion to have a personal style.”

“put on a hat. it’s nearly impossible to feel sad when you’re wearing a hat.”

“we are only dust… but the dust built the pyramids, you know.”

“i’ve always believed that every breath is a new chance to choose happiness.”

“be the boss of your poops.”

//

now you want to read it, right? good. go read it.

home.

here comes a really heartfelt rant about the word home.

cracker barrel checkers with my love bug.

for those of you who don’t know, i’ve hopped around a few times in my life. there have been a lot of abrupt moves & one in particular that made the most impact; 3000 miles is daunting, especially for a 13 year old who thought she had every detail of her life already planned out. as a result of each living adjustment, i guess you could say “home” became a very hazy term for me. it seemed like when i finally settled down into a place, when i was finally ready to deem that “house” a “home”, it was time to pick up & move again. & as a result, i became a bit of a detached person.

i’m afraid i can be a little bit pessimistic with a dash of cynical. i have my super duper goofy side, don’t get me wrong. one of my favorite colors is yellow & some days it’s like pixie dust & daises are flowing out my soul. but, especially after the big move, i became pretty skeptical when it came to the word “home”. i hated north carolina. it just left a bad taste in my mouth. i didn’t even care to try & change how i felt. i just wanted to hate it & that was that. i put up walls, & i put them up out of fear. because if i let myself fall in love with north carolina, wouldn’t i be forced to move again? i was afraid of getting too attached or too emotionally invested in anyone or anything… because i couldn’t bear the sorrow of having it ripped away from you. & looking back, i realize that this was a trend. in friendships, relationships, & living environments… that lack of stability & that unsettling feeling will definitely cause you to put up walls. especially for teenage meredith.

now, let’s fast forward to now. i just bought this bracelet::

(no, i didn’t buy it just because of the pun… but that was like 70% of the reason...)

this is the first time i’ve been proud, & even willing, to call this my home. it’s just a bracelet, meredith. well yeah, it is just a bracelet. but to me, it carries some deeper meaning. it means i’m ready to establish a home. it means those walls are coming down. & here’s why:

my bestest pal & homegirl Susanna just wrote this awesome post. she entitled it, to survive study abroad you are going to need a sanctuary. she defines home as “a place where you are completely one hundred percent with no exceptions comfortable.” & she goes on to introduce the word sanctuary, defined as “protection or a safe place, especially for someone or something being chased or hunted.”

i’m gonna riff off her brilliant post & tell you to survive being human, you are going to need this place. this safe haven, this place of comfort. a place to let your walls down & a place to be yourself.

& this is where this post gets sappy. i think as a moody teenager, i expected there to be some place that i could go that would be my home. now, as a young adult, as someone who has had every ounce of safety ripped from her & had forgotten what comfort & protection felt like… i have come to understand that this safe haven does not exist in a physical place on earth.

my safe haven is Christ. but even more beautiful is the way my Christ has made Himself known to me these days. He can’t be here physically to hold my hand, but He has made sure there was someone to do it for Him. home, to me, has become something more than just a place. home, to me, is my love bug, his hand holding mine, encompassing me in a safe embrace. home is the warmth & comfort i feel in my soul when i’m spending time with my mother. home is the laughter i share with my father. home is a phone call from or rambling session with my sister. home is the plethora of e-mails & chats with my bestest gal pal. home is a cuddle with my pup. home has become smiles from strangers, a shared understanding that we are all lonely, we are all scared, we are all searching for a glimpse of home in another human. we are all searching for recognition & acknowledgement. we are all searching for a place to be ourselves.

in conclusion, this brings me to my life’s purpose: i want to be a home. i want to allow Christ to make His home in my heart, so that He can manifest Himself as a home in me to others. i want to be a place where my loved ones can have the perfect comfort to be themselves. i want to be a person who’s presence also brings the presence of the One who is the ultimate safe haven. a home, a sanctuary, a safe house, a resting place, whatever you want to call it… we are all in search for it, aren’t we? we all want to belong.

in order to survive being a human, you are going to need a home.

who is your home?

it’s time to fall into autumn.

oh, hey readers (if anyone does in fact read this blog). let’s talk about seasons. & the fact that we haven’t officially acknowledged autumn on crafted fragments yet?!? say what? it’s practically a sin. i mean, this is my absolute favorite time of year we’re talking about. all the leaves, the yummy food, the holidays coming up, the snuggly fuzzy clothes wearing time… & not to mention, it’s october, my all time favorite month! this girl is a happy camper i tell ya.

i know for some of you this might not actually be a happy time… i have friends who dislike autumn, who are suffering severe separation anxiety from summer, and who just get plain ol’ depressed from fall. while i don’t completely understand these particular feelings, i truly feel for you. because, similar to your feelings, i dislike every season that isn’t autumn, suffer from severe separation anxiety from leaves, and get plain ol’ depressed whenever it’s not thanksgiving.

maybe let’s level the playing field by me telling you allllll the reasons you should adore autumn like i do. then, your transition to this wonderful season will be as smooth, yet exhilarating, as jumping into a pile of leaves! shall we?

reasons you’re gonna love autumn:

  1. cause it’s awesome.
  2. leaves.
  3. pumpkins.
  4. spoopy.
  5. crisp air.
  6. the smell of all things sugar & spice.
  7. scarf wearing season.
  8. cozy sweater wearing season.
  9. fuzzy socks wearing season.
  10. THANKSGIVING.

i’m pretty sure i covered the basics.

but really, how to ensure you get the most out of autumn:

  1. go to a pumpkin patch.
  2. watch an autumn sunset.
  3. take a “fall foliage” drive.
  4. knit a scarf.
  5. have an autumn picnic, complete with checkered blanket & thermos full of apple cider.
  6. go apple picking.
  7. build a blanket fort & watch old movies.
  8. have a bonfire with s’mores & campfire songs.
  9. wear lots of sweaters.
  10. put together a fall playlist.
  11. take a “turkey walk” on thanksgiving.
  12. go to a corn maze.
  13. buy an autumnal scented candle.
  14. visit the mountains.
  15. bake lots of pumpkin flavored goods.
  16. rake leaves into a pile & jump!
  17. go on a hay ride.
  18. drink hot chocolate, hot tea, hot apple cider, hot coffee… anything hot! make sure you have a snazzy mug to go along with it.
  19. carve a pumpkin.
  20. decorate your living space for autumn.
  21. have lots of cuddles.
  22. collect & press leaves.
  23. visit a country fair or festival.
  24. maybe even visit an alpaca farm (my personal favorite).
  25. hike a nature trail.
  26. eat a lot of turkey.
  27. just be really really thankful.
  28. breathe that good air.
  29. rest your eyes on those beautiful sights.
  30. & take this season as a season of refreshing. a new beginning. a time to love & be loved. a time to be thankful & count your blessings. a time to be engaged with & excited about life. take this season as a time to be truly alive.

happy autumn, everyone. i’m so happy autumn’s finally here.