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.

Screenshot5

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?

Screenshot7

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.

Screenshot8

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)…

Screenshot12

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

Screenshot14

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).

Screenshot1

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.

Screenshot13

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.

Advertisements