Winter is going (finally!)...

Well. So much for a good blogging schedule to start off 2015, huh?

Although, I have to promise you that I have a good excuse. I'm in my third semester of my MFA program, which means that I am actually writing all the time, just not where you can see it. Hopefully someday you will see it in book form, but to get to that point, it's nose to the grindstone in Microsoft Word, not the blogosphere. But hang with me - I'll be back one of these days.

So, since we're a week into March, I thought I'd recap the best bits of January and February. That's logical, right?

 What I'm doing when I'm not blogging.

What I'm doing when I'm not blogging.

January:

- Rev. Bill Mallard was a beloved professor at Emory's Candler School of Theology and a devoted member of our church next door. He passed away on December 23 after nearly a year of hospice care, and his funeral service at the start of January was one filled with stories, laughter and singing, which we ended with the spiritual "Amen," his trademark. It was yet another moment that gave me gratitude for my communities of faith, from beginning to end.

- I went back for my third residency week at Goddard College in Vermont, where it was very cold and snowy, but at least this year I knew what to expect! And I have wonderful friends there now, so going there for a week of fellowship, good food and writing workshops is a joy. But suffice it to say, I'm more excited about the weather for this summer's residency.

- The night I returned from Vermont, around 11:30 p.m., I made Sean stay up as we looked through every.single.one of our wedding photos that had arrived while I was gone. They are the best, and Jeff captured the day in all of its joyous thunderstorm and sunshine mess. If you're getting hitched in Atlanta, check out Jeff Roffman Photography.

- My sister-in-law recently got engaged, and we had a fun dinner gathering for the adorable couple with both families. That's one of the reasons I am so grateful to be living near family; it's been wonderful to get to see them more often (on both sides!) and to be present for special occasions like these.

- If you haven't been paying attention to college basketball (who are you?), little Davidson College is doing pretty well in its rookie year in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Won the regular season outright, in fact, and today, swept conference Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, among other things. [Although technically that didn't happen 'til March... shh!] This is the first season that I have not witnessed *in person* in nine years, so I've suffered some withdrawal, but local watch parties with alums, Twitter, and texts always make me feel like I'm side by side with all the Wildcat faithful.

- My graduate program at Goddard requires that in my third semester, I teach a writing class in my local community. (Yeah, that's another reason why I haven't been blogging.) I began doing that in January, and it's been such a treat. I really enjoy leading the group and watching folks realize what they can do with their memories on the page. It's my first time teaching, and I'm grateful to be having the experience with such dear folks.

- Our church did a Children's Sabbath Sunday, where children led every part of the worship service. Every part. They prayed (wonderful, relevant, honest prayers), sang (the beauty of a young brother and sister singing "Jesus Loves Me" with their choir member mom I will never forget), and a fifth-grader preached an amazing sermon with a message that has stuck with me since: it's better to be kind than to be right (something I always need to learn). Oh, and there were balloons. 

- One of my closest friends from college and Charlotte years came to stay with us for a night, which was a blast. I am continually thankful that distance and time apart never seem to matter with my Davidson friends; we always pick right back up where we left off.

- This is not a happy thing, and by including it I don't mean for it to sound that way: Someone I went to church and high school with passed away unexpectedly at the end of January. I had not seen him in years and did not know him well, but I do have many happy memories of him, and I know he brought great joy to his close friends and family. His deeply moving funeral service was full to bursting, with so many faces that I had not seen in years but knew in a snap. It was another reminder of the significance of community in our lives, and how I feel uniquely tethered to this one. Please say a prayer for this awesome family.

- The month capped off with a lovely girls' night dinner with three colleagues who have become friends in these last nearly-8 (!) months. Fruit, cheese, quiche, kale salad, baklava and laughter - what else do you need?

 My first visit to Davidson back in 2006, and my most recent visit, nine years later to the day.

My first visit to Davidson back in 2006, and my most recent visit, nine years later to the day.

February:

- The weekend before Valentine's Day, Sean and I took an evening jaunt over to Decatur Square, where we browsed in Little Shop, ate at Brickstore (maybe my favorite restaurant in town), and topped off the night with a-maz-ing Jeni's Ice Cream. I got a scoop of dark chocolate with a scoop of honey pistachio and homemade whipped cream - okay, *really*, what else do you need?

- Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at Emory, and I was one in a packed classroom to hear him. His talk was  great, his responses to questions were thoughtful, and his faith palpable. Also, you could not once tell that he was 90 years old. It was also pretty neat to see this byline a few days later. 

- I had coffee with a fellow Davidsonian that I knew mostly through other friends, and it was awesome to have one-on-one time to catch up and get to know each other better.

- There was one weekend where I had, I think, three? meals with my family over the course of a day and a half. Again, I'm so thankful that this is possible nowadays.

- Our office had a Mardi Gras party and lunch, which was fun and delicious, and a time to connect with co-workers. It also meant that I got to bring Sean one of his favorite things: King Cake. 

- We gathered for another Davidson basketball watch party in the middle of the month, and this group is so dedicated that when the bar found out that the game was actually blacked out in our area, someone drove home and got their laptop to bring back to the restaurant. It was set up just in time for us to watch the second half, where we won on a last-second three pointer.

- Three beloved cousins came into town for the weekend and we got to catch up over dinner one night and breakfast the next morning. It was wonderful to see them!

- From there, Sean and I headed up to Davidson for a basketball game and to see friends. We saw so many people in less than 24 hours that when we got home, we collapsed from introvert exhaustion. But we wouldn't have traded it for the world, getting to see so many people that we love in one place that we love. It helped inspire my piece on our most famous Davidson basketball player (who's also getting some good press these days - well, all the time), too.

- I had an unexpected snow day in the middle of the week, which was a perfect time to catch up on writing and reading, and lunch with my brother and mom, where she had Ella Fitzgerald on the CD player just like she would when we were kids. 

- The youth of the church put on an excellent rendition of "The Music Man" at the end of the month. Having idolized the youth group musical "stars" when I was growing up, and then acting/singing in six productions myself, this tradition has a soft spot in my heart and the energy and joy is just the same no matter how many years have gone by. It's so neat to see these youth embrace it just as deeply as my friends and I did. And now I've had such good tunes in my head!

If you've gotten through this list, boy do I salute you, and thank you for putting up with me during this time of writing-where-you-can't-see. Blogging is one of my favorite things and I mean to return to it as soon as I have the time!

[I should also mention that we finally started Game of Thrones four years late and by started I mean purchased and watched the whole four seasons and 40 hours of epic awesome television in an ungodly amount of time but YOU GUYS JUST IN TIME FOR SEASON FIVE!!!]