"think of these pages as graffiti maybe, and where i have scratched up in a public place my longings and loves, my grievances and indecencies, be reminded in private of your own. in that way, at least, we can hold a kind of converse."
- frederick buechner

welcome to blooming branch! i created this blog in 2008 as a creative outlet for life's many experiences: wonderful, inspiring, challenging, mundane. it has followed me through the beginnings of adulthood, my very first house of my own, two very unsettling periods of unemployment, more goodwill trips than most people make in a lifetime, and intense spiritual growth. i believe we experience life when we experience God and i believe we are created to experience God in everything. His love for us abounds in every breath of life - from the wretched moments to those few moments we'll remember forever, and everything in between. so while i'm writing about decorating my house, art, fashion, my latest great deal, adventures in my kitchen, or things i'm learning on my journey, it is my hope that you will share with me in life, Christ, and the abundant life to which we are called...
"listen to your life. see it for the fathomless mystery that it is. in the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way in to the Holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is Grace." 
- frederick buechner

and, since you asked, 26 things for my 26 years...

1. i was born in new york, but moved to north carolina when i was five. i may be a transplant, but i consider myself a southern girl.
2. yes, i am tall (5'10" in fact), and yes i know this. people seem to feel the need to point it out daily. aside from the obvious challenges when it comes to pants and being taller than a lot of cute, eligible men, i actually like being tall. i don't like being repeatedly told that i am so.

3. i have a really really excellent family which includes my dad and mom, chris and dixie; my younger brother, aaron; and his soon-to-be wife, gracie; as well as fantastic grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
4. i drink my coffee black, my tea un-sweet and only club soda, thanks.

6. i have a really mischievous part maine coon cat named liam. i am not a cat lady.
7. i have never been in love, never eaten ramen noodles, never broken a bone and never received a speeding ticket.

8. i really like politics; and spend a lot of time listening to npr, watching the news and reading david hawkings' daily emails. but you will never read about any of that on this blog. you're welcome.
9. i own the entire friends series on dvd and watch it quite frequently. to many of my actual friends' annoyance, i also make a lot of friends references.
10. i'm type I diabetic, but i still eat a loooot of swedish fish.

11. september-december is my absolute favorite time of year. i find it completely appropriate to listen to christmas music throughout these four months and i'm one of those annoying people who gets really, really excited about christmas.
12. i took ballet from age five to age 18. i loved it then and i love it now.

13. i pay full price for almost nothing and am probably the cheapest person you'll ever meet. i spend more free time at the goodwill than i do at the gym. i get annoyed at the mall when things on sale are still more than $10. i'm really awesome at yard sale-ing and and thrift shopping.
14. i don't really get the draw of camping. i prefer sleeping indoors. in a bed. with plumbing.
15. i have an extreme irrational fear of parasites in all their forms. i have frequent nightmares about them. thankfully, i've never actually had any of them as i would probably be in an asylum. if my kids get lice someday they're just going to have to live at school.
16. i can't stop buying books. (from thrift stores, that is.)

17. i have really exceptional friends. they are, among other things, moms, artists, fellow bloggers, teachers, photographers, ministry leaders and infinitely wise and creative. i am blessed.
18. i have painfully neat handwriting and prefer to be super organized. well planned details and logistics just make sense.   
19. i love going out, but staying in is just as pleasant to me. i find takeout, pj's and a movie are an excellent way to spend an evening.
20. i have subscriptions to lucky magazine and country living magazine. in the fall and at christmas, i also buy martha stewart living and real simple.

21. in college, a life-size photo of me studying was on quite a few campus drink machines. true story.
22. my favorite bible verse is jeremiah 29:11. favorite food is pizza. or cake. favorite drink is a gin and tonic. or a margarita. favorite holiday is thanksgiving and christmas. favorite movie is love actually. favorite book is les miserables. favorite color is pink. favorite time of day is morning. and i will always take the mountains over the beach.

23. i used to work for habitat for humanity (before the economy tanked, that is) and i love the organization. i take deep pride and comfort in my home and loved providing that for others. i also now know how to properly use power tools and words like "elevation", "soffit" and "joist".
24. i used to speak halfway decent french. i have unfortunately forgotten a large portion of that now.
25. aside from dancing and dance-related activities, i have been given no athletic ability whatsoever. don't believe me? invite me to join your volleyball team. i may be tall, but i am beyond uncoordinated.
26. i make lots of lists.

thanks for reading!