blogtember seven | read words

What’s on your current reading list? Or what have you read that you’d recommend? 

I don’t really keep a reading list — I just scoop up handfuls of whatever looks good at the library, or used bookstores, or wherever. But here’re two lists — one of good books I’ve read this year, then some of my all-time favorites. Presented without commentary :)

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this year

1. The Lovely Bones

2. This is How You Lose Her

3. The Casual Vacancy

4. Every Day

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

6. Orange is the New Black

7. Thunderstruck and Other Stories

8. Detroit: An American Autopsy

9. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

10. The Joys of Love

 

forever: 

1. A Ring of Endless Light

2. Beach Music

3. Little Women

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

5. East of Eden

6. Blue Like Jazz

7. The Rosewood Casket

8. The Stand

9. The Thirteenth Tale 

10. The Great Divorce

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blogtember six | currently

A “currently…” post. Tell us what you’re loving, hating, reading, eating, etc. If you want to borrow a list, mine is here.

Reading A Ring of Endless Light, for the millionth time, and Enough by Will Davis Jr. In the mornings, I’m reading the She Reads Truth Hosea study and the book of Genesis.

Watching Parks & Rec reruns, mostly. Also a few shameful Teen Mom 2 marathons.

Trying to improve my work ethic, at actual work and in life.

Eating nothing, but preparing to eat a pizza I ordered at 10 p.m. #college except I’m not in college and this isn’t actually acceptable. I forgot to make dinner, y’all!

Pinning stuff for work, mostly, and jewelry and apartment ideas.

Tweeting all day err’day for work. Other than that, about work/education, news back in the mountains, lyrics apropos of nothing (always) and the spider on my ceiling. Her name is Charlotte and she is so scary.

Going to Asheville this weekend.

Loving most everything. Teaching Sunday School. Work. My apartment. Newfound courage. Atlanta, so much.

Discovering the crucial combination of pushing myself and thinking through the consequences beforehand.

Enjoying rare times of relaxation, sweet cool weather, and chocolate-cherry ice cream bars.

Thinking about the co-existing facts that I had a terrible day and life is so good.

Feeling good, overall. Tired. My head still stings a little, which seems bizarre.

Hoping for good news ahead and grace to relax into God’s provision and plan.

Listening to John Piper podcasts and Avett Brothers favorites.

Thanking God for being faithful to the ages…to Noah, to the Israelites, and to me.

 

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blogtember five| passion

“I am passionate about ______________.”

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I’m passionate about my job. Once upon a time I would’ve used the word career, but that’s not it. I’m passionate about the task set in front of me, about knuckling down and crossing things off lists and learning a new world of professional priorities and lingo. I am not passionate about grabbing elbows or schmoozing or networking in the hollow sense, but I’ve found that really caring about the job you have will get you farther than any of the above.

I am passionate about place. I love places; I could fall in love with anywhere if I tried hard enough. I want to see as many places, small and large, significant and insignificant, as I possibly can.

I am passionate about children, and I want desperately for children in this country, who will never start life all on an equal footing, to have access to an education truly, vitally capable of leveling the field. To me, that’s the essential promise of the American dream.

I am passionate about the mystery of faith, and I am passionate about Christ, and I don’t care so much about marketing Him to people as I do about immersing myself in Him. I hope that people around me will see the difference.

From She Reads Truth’s This is the Bible study:

We are the aroma of Christ. Not peddlers of a way of life. Not salespeople for a system of beliefs. We are those commissioned by God to transform the very air in which we live, not because of who we are but because of who He is.

And here’s Madeleine L’Engle on the same topic:

We  do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

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blogtember four | trendy

Pick a fashion trend you love and a fashion trend you hate. Win us over!

Confession: I almost skipped this day, because no one needs my expertise (read: lack thereof) on fashion. But, if I went around skipping every post that didn’t immediately appeal to me, that’s not much of a challenge. So with that said…

Lately, I have been loving anything with a tassel on it. That was inspired by these (kinda ubiquitous) Kendra Scott Rayne necklaces:

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And these earrings:

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Howeverrrr both of those options are kinda pricey, so I went with a couple of Charming Charlie’s knockoffs in case I stop liking tassels in three months when the trend dies down. We’ll see what happens!

On the other hand, I do not love the kimono trend:

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I don’t know why but I’m just NOT feeling it. Now I feel mean, though, and more convinced than ever that I’m not a fashion blogger in training.

I’m sure if you have & wear a kimono-thing, you look great :)

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When I grow up // Blogtember Day Three

“When I grow up I want to be…” Answer as your 5-year-old self or as you are now.

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When I was little, I wanted to be all kinds of things. At five, I crayoned a picture of my future self as a firefighter. A little later, in the hospital with asthma complications, I decided I’d grow up to be a respiratory therapist. By 10, I’d settled on journalism as a future career, solely because of my vague knowledge that journalists got to write for a living, but I did my high-school senior project on education because I thought I might like teaching elementary school, instead.

There are pieces of those dreams in what I do today (although there’s not any firefighting going on) and I certainly don’t want to switch it up any time soon. I’m more than a little grateful for the feeling of being in the right place, at least for now. Things will keep moving — I want to go to grad school soonish, for instance — but I think I’m facing in the right direction.

I’m reminded pretty often, though, that what I want to be isn’t just about my career.

I want to be good and kind and good for something. I would like to have children, maybe, I think. I would like to understand myself better and love a few people deeply, instead of loving many people a bit. I want to travel more, for business and pleasure, and I want to turn writing into a bigger and more coherent part of my life. I want to teach, maybe. I want more degrees.

Most of all, I want to be — not happy, exactly, but calm and aware and observant of everything going on around me.

I would like to be at peace.

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Joy // Blogtember Day Two

Write about what makes you happy, from the little joys to the huge game-changers.

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(source)

Making lists, moments when I start to understand the why behind what’s been happening in my life, learning, strange-colored sunsets (I saw one once that looked like orange juice watered down with ice cubes), exploring cities and towns

Relaxation after hard work, words, candles, packages in the mail, worship music, potted plants, inspirational quotes (the good kind, not the kind that just throw together jumbles of words about life and love and butterflies), snickerdoodle cookies, office supplies

Painting my nails, working with kids, stacks of books, letting someone order for me when they know the menu, nostalgia, the smell of pluff mud on a South Carolina sea island, the smell of glossy magazine pages, vibrant neighborhoods

Books by G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, Pat Conroy novels, skylines, dogs, old hymns, shopping local, crunchy fall leaves, blogging walking somewhere with a purpose

Changes in season, libraries, Main Streets, sticky notes, fresh flowers, board games, underlining verses in my Bible, sunrises, sunsets, waterfronts, the moments when you start to feel comfortable around another person

Songs that make me sad, long drives with a fresh list of podcast episodes, people who make me laugh, poetry

Flying, taking pictures, fresh vegetables, movie theater popcorn, morning coffee (especially when I’m traveling), learning about history, bingeing on Netflix shows, public transit, mountain air

Projects, summer tomatoes, unexpected life changes, sweet tea, and fog.

There’s a lot of good in our broken world, huh?

Brave Love Blog

This is me // Blog-tember Day One

It’s halfway through September, but I’m gonna do the Blog-tember Challenge. I’m thinking I might do two posts a day to catch up. I may or may not finish in September; it’s not a big deal either way! The prompt for September 1 is…

Imagine the front sleeve of a hard cover novel. Give us your “About the Author” so we can get to know one another, and for fun tell us what your imaginary novel would be about.

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I’m not going to write in the third person, because I am really bad at it, but I’ll tell you a little bit about me.

My name is Meghan Frick (obviously). I live in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, and work for the (two-person) communications department of the Georgia Department of Education.

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina with my mom, dad, two brothers, and a rotating cast of animals. My mom can’t resist a stray, and she passed that down to me — I don’t have any pets, but keep a steady supply of cat treats in my car for the strays in my apartment complex.

I graduated from Appalachian State University in 2013 (one year late, whoops!) with a degree in public relations. I had a busy, wonderful college experience and I’m so grateful I decided to attend school out of state. Adventures are worth it, y’all, even the little ones!

I am all kinds of introverted. I love people, I love making connections — really. But if someone cancels a lunch date, there’s gonna be a giant sigh of relief. Just being real here.

I love exploring cities, decorating my apartment, breakfast restaurants, working with kids, and tearing through stacks of books. I also love to write, and before my current job I was a newspaper reporter.

Faith is something I don’t know how to describe in a way that actually encompasses it, and it’s the anchor of my life. Everything good in me is Jesus.

I think that’s about it :) And I’m not sure what my imaginary book would be about, but it would probably be set somewhere in the South and have sweeping, over-romantic descriptions of place…kinda like this blog.

Brave Love Blog

Insta-Lately

Y’all. The past few weeks have been so good.

I feel like I’m starting to hit my stride in Atlanta: Deepening my acquaintance with the city, grit and all; slowly, steadily making friends. My job is intimidating and challenging and fun and I’ve said two happy goodbyes, one to feeling like I know what I’m doing, ever, and the other to the constant, buzzing dissatisfaction that follows you around when you’re not happy with your career.

There is lots of uncertainty ahead for the coming months, but what’s ahead is not important, because that’s not where I’m living.

Now that we’re caught up…here’s a recap courtesy of Instagram :)

I had a couple out-of-town or visitor-in-town weekends this month, starting with my cousin Jared’s wedding! It’s such a crazy thing watching the spring/summer weddings shift from random acquaintances or even friends of my parents to my childhood playmates. Life happens so fast.

Here’s me outside St. Luke’s Chapel, where Jared and Caila’s ceremony was held, with my brothers (Tanner and Chris) and my dad.

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And a picture I’m so glad we grabbed, featuring almost all of my generation of cousins on my mom’s side of the family (my cousin McSwain couldn’t make it). Me, Tanner, Chris, Amanda, Jared + Caila, Mallory + her husband John. Mallory and Jared’s cousin Erin, her husband Jeremy, and their little girl are also in the picture!Screenshot6

On beautiful, bikeable Bee Street with my baby brother. Oh wait, I mean…someone seems to’ve stolen him and replaced him with this handsome, 15-year-old, sweet smirking teenager who’s taller than me. Looking at Tanner these days is like looking at time solidified into a person. Did I mention I can’t believe how fast it’s all passing?

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And here’s the full family shot. It’s my vote for Christmas card; both brothers are just barely smirking. Screenshot9

I thought I was going to miss out on the beach, because I needed to drive back in time for the class I help teach on Sundays. But, my post-surg brain decided it wasn’t as capable of back-to-back six-hour drives as I’d bet on it being, so I wound up tagging along with my family…in flats.

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The beach (well, the heat) didn’t end up sitting too well with my brain either, but it was worth getting a little pass-out-y to see this and breathe it in again. My heart hurts not being here — I love too many places. Screenshot10

The next weekend, my Nonnah (aka my grandma, dad’s mom) came to visit. We had a fabulous time talking, exploring and eating fabulous food. We grabbed these spicy lettuce wraps from a Thai place down the road from my apartment (excuse my gross nail polish)…

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…and made this chicken/rice/sherry/basil concoction the next night.

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My best friend Hannah came up for a weekend, too. I insta-collaged like it was 2012 because I liked the random mix of neighborhoods we ended up in. Screenshot2

We also ventured out to IKEA (thus the Atlantic Station picture in the insta-collage). As usual, it was all kinds of overwhelming (and we both really, really hate the flat escalators — who designed those?! They’re horror).

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BUT I bought something that had been on my wishlist for a while, these $12 (!!!) side tables, which I smashed almost together to form a de facto coffee table. (Also, that tray on the left table and a lamp for my office that I still haven’t managed to successfully assemble.) Seriously though, I hated my coffee table, and replacing it with these has made me love my apartment that much more. For $24!!! #longliveikeaScreenshot3

Speaking of my apartment…I’m obsessed with it. It’s lacking any kind of creamy,  blog-ready vibe, but I’ve put time and thought into it and it makes me happy, and that’s about all I care about. I will probably be annoying and post a home tour here later, but here’s a little glimpse. My unit is just wreathed in trees and that brings with it the best noises and views.Screenshot11

Another thing that’s been going on: I really, really like my new church. Here’s a picture from a Sunday service.Screenshot17

I joined a new small group — here are cookies I made to take to a recent meeting (the burned ones are on the bottom beneath their reasonably edible-looking peers). All the girls are in a similar life stage — single and recently out of college — and although I’m nervous, I can’t wait to see how relationships develop within the group.Screenshot16

And, the best thing of all, I’ve been working in a two-year-old class on Sunday nights in the church’s preschool ministry. In this picture, we had a bag full of these little puff balls and were letting the kids dump them out, then put them back in. I turned away for a second, and when I looked back one of the little boys had come up with a more efficient way to handle the process :) I missed being around little faces and hands and hearts more than almost anything; this has been so good for my own heart.

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Don’t think you can make it through a post without me dying a little over Atlanta + the skyline. My work held a conference in the Marriott Marquis in Downtown this week, and I loved the view from my room so much — I need a skyline-view window in my life someday. This is actually the view from the concierge lounge, but it’s essentially the same one. Looking North toward Midtown + Buckhead in the distance…with a Coke, of course.Screenshot18And here’s a sort of mid-level view of the Westin (on a brutally hot but beautifully sunny day) from the pedestrian tunnel between the Marriott and Peachtree Center.Screenshot19Mostly, I have just been trying to appreciate the little things. I know that’s a deep cliche, but focusing in on details has always made me really richly happy.

I took a picture of these green leaves because that reminded me to take a deep breath and savor summer, melting-hot as it is, because seasons (literal & figurative) go too fast without me rushing them.ScreenshotI took a picture of this rain-wet stretch of green while I was stuck in traffic, because I’d rolled my windows down and was smelling the rain instead of moaning (much) about gridlock.Screenshot15

And I took this probably-silly picture of a MARTA bus because — is it just me? Doesn’t it make the sky look so much more blue around it? Screenshot4

Apologies for this novel-length post. To wrap it up: There is so much out there, there really is. And it’s in blue buses and wet leaves, never the things we strive and sweat to get.

God, give me love.

For the people with whom I disagree passionately, whose passions strike me as harmful and off-kilter and wrong, who I see as hurting themselves, hurting society, hurting me…God, give me love. Remind me of all the horrible things I have said and done, both in Your name and outside of it. Remind me of my own muck. Remind me of how little I know and understand. Give me love.

For the people who make me feel small, who laugh at me, scoff at me, who don’t recognize my own dearly held notion that I am the center of the universe, give me love. Remind me of all the times I have made others small in an attempt to make myself large. And remind me, too, that the earth orbits around a big, firey sun…not me. God, give me love.

For the people who know how to make me angry, how to stoke my temper up into a quick, spitting flame…God, give me patience, give me breath, enough to draw it deep into my lungs and hold it there and remember that things I say count, the things I say in anger count. Give me love. 

For the people I pass by daily, crowded on sidewalks, seated in trains — for the mother balancing a baby on a hip and pushing a stroller with one hand, for the man crumpled up asleep in the park, for the students balancing piles of books and the woman ahead of me in line, God, give me love. Remind me that these are holy creatures with your fingerprints all over them. They are not annoyances. They are not inconsequential. 

Remind me that I am small. Remind me that I’m part of a whole. 

Take away my desire to compete. 

And my desire to slip easily into conversations by turning the subject to the flaws of other people.

And God, please, give me love.

When things are good

My last year of college was…well. It wasn’t great.

There were so many joys. Nights of planning for the future stretched out onto spiral-bound pages and, for the first time, time started to tick away and I was ready for it to leave. There were friends and books and a few classes where I really learned.

But you know how years have sort of overriding emotions? You think of one and there’s a feeling you get. It’s the essence of the year, I guess. And the essence of my fifth year of college was not healthy or good. 

The year after, my first year of the “real world,” was definitely not something I’d call unhealthy. I’d call it almost entirely healthy, actually, in a stretching-growing-painful-progress way. But still, those days were still not something I’d categorize under “good.” I woke up most every work day anxious — not unwilling, but cringing and afraid — about the task at hand.

And now, things are — of course — far from perfect. In small ways (sometimes I wake up late) and large ones (sometimes a tumor shadows into existence and takes up residence in my brain). 

But things are good. 

I’m so happy with the basic building blocks of my life, despite their imperfection, despite my imperfection, that there’s an undercurrent of calm flowing underneath everything, even the not-so-perfect stuff. More than enough calm to spend my time noticing and seeing and enjoying — being satisfied in the simplest way.

It will not be forever. But I’m so grateful that it’s here right now.

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