October: Kindness (Fruit of the Spirit project, Month #5)

I liked this month because it was tangible; random acts of kindness helped it to be easily measurable. Since my love language towards others is giving gifts, I had so much fun doing things like taking flowers to a sweet lady at church and choosing birthday gifts for two of my mentors/role models and making a care package to send to my friend who’s in college. And of course, I continued painting and hiding lots of rocks, since that idea originated with the idea of being kind to others! The website Pennies of Time has some really fantastic posts with acts of kindness ideas, such as this one that I used for ideas for our hotel in Savannah–things like leaving a thank you note for the housekeeper and thanking any hotel staff or maids that you pass in the hallway instead of pretending they’re not there.

I teach the Wednesday night kids’ class at church every other Wednesday; I get to plan the lesson and do everything myself. The first Wednesday that I taught this month, I decided to go along with my month of kindness theme and discuss having kindness–in our words, specifically. After we ate pretzels and candy corn (except none of them LIKED candy corn?? What?) and talked about our weeks, I had the kids do an object lesson that I remembered from middle school Sunday School–they squeezed toothpaste into a bowl and then unsuccessfully attempted to put it back in the tube, with the idea that the toothpaste = their words. We brainstormed ways that we hurt others through our words; these included gossip, tearing others down, sarcasm (“just kidding!”), lying, being rude, being disrespectful, etc. We then read some Bible verses on the topic.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. –Proverbs 12:25

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. –1 Thessalonians 5:11

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. –Ephesians 4:29

Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own. Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’ Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. –Proverbs 26:17-20

Then we brainstormed ways that we can show kindness to others through our words–encourage others, compliment them, be polite, be honest, be respectful, etc.–and we made cards with kind words on them for teachers, family, and friends to practice that. Kind words cost nothing, and everyone could use some more of them.

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What did you learn during the month of kindness? Next up is November: goodness.

Weekend Getaway: Savannah

This weekend my mom and I went to Savannah for two nights. It was my first time to visit the city, and I really loved it. The drive on Friday was over five hours, during which we talked and I slept (I was up until 1:30 Friday morning babysitting, and since I typically can’t physically stay awake past eight or nine pm, I was pretty out of it). We got in around 4:30 and went to spend our evening on River Street/Bay Street. When we finally found parking, we walked around and explored. Highlights included buying a T-shirt and postcards, seeing the big Georgia Queen boat, getting praline samples and seeing taffy being made in the Savannah Candy Kitchen, seeing the trolley, and seeing some big storage vaults from hundreds of years ago (picture below). Also, the cobblestones on River Street are made from ballast that ships brought in during the 1800’s, so we were walking on different types of rocks from all over the world. WHICH IS TOO COOL. (Pro tip though: it’s difficult to wear flip flops on River Street.)

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please ignore my horrible pictures–my phone is broken and won’t let me edit them, and I typically use my VSCO app for editing. so I know my pics aren’t super pretty:(

 

(Many aspects of the city reminded me of New Orleans–the seafood, the architecture, and just the overall aesthetic/vibe.)

We found a restaurant called Spanky’s for dinner. I had grilled chicken, steamed broccoli/zucchini, a garlic roll, and some of Mom’s potatoes. It was delicious, but I’ve regretted skipping the pecan pie for the rest of the weekend. Friday night we were back in the room by 7:30; I had a headache and was completely wiped out, but it was a great start to the vacation.

 

On Saturday we got up around 8:30. My health problems include nerve damage in my legs, which makes me tire quickly when I’m on my feet/walking, and I was already exhausted. So I was hoping I’d make it all day! We had breakfast at the hotel and then went to a botanical garden, which was small but nice.

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Beauty and the Beast vibes

 

We went back to Bay Street/River Street and walked around some more. One store we went to was Books on the Bay, which had lots of first edition books from the 1800’s. We had lunch at the Pie Society, which reminded me of the Australian bakery/cafe in my town; we sat outside, ate ham and cheese quiche, and watched the trolleys and horse-drawn carriages go by.

 

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We were in a district called City Market, and we went in some more shops; purchases included postcards, a Christmas ornament, gourmet dog treats for my baby, and a snack at another candy kitchen. Then we walked (and walked) to the Paris Market; we also tried to go to Leopold’s Ice Cream, but the line was down the block. So we walked (and walked, and walked) until we reached another square–there are lots of cute little squares in Savannah filled with Spanish hanging moss, benches, and fountains. In this square, we saw a guy casually walking his pet tortoise.

 

Next we toured Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home. I’d read a lot of her stuff for school (I especially love her prayer journal), but although most of our vacation stops were planned in July, I didn’t know her childhood home was there until a few days before we went to Savannah. The girl who did the tour was really good and everything was absolutely fascinating. The house is set up just like it was during Flannery’s childhood–a lot of the furniture is original to the family–and it was so interesting to see Flannery’s crib/playpen under the window and hear about how she literally grew up under the shadow of the Catholic cathedral and how that shaped her writing. I also enjoyed hearing about her lupus and how she didn’t let that stop her from writing; she wrote for three hours every morning. Finally, we learned that she allegedly taught her chicken to walk backwards when she was five. Her cousin (the wealthy benefactor of the family) supposedly witnessed this great event and called the press, but when the cameras arrived, the chicken wouldn’t (or couldn’t) perform. The press decided to run the tape backwards and Flannery enjoyed whatever the 1930’s equivalent of going viral would be. Click here to see the video–Flannery (“Mary”) is featured around the 0:16 mark.

 

 

Flannery used to sit in the bathtub and read to her little friends–until she got in trouble for reading them Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which sent them home terrified. Also, how appropriate is the little library below her house?

Across the square, the Cathedral of St. John had been closed for a wedding all afternoon, so we sat in the park until it opened (the bride and groom came over to the square to take pictures and I told the bride how pretty she looked!). We were finally able to go briefly into the beautiful cathedral.

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We got dinner at the Fresh Market and took it back to our hotel–we were in the room for the night by 4:30. I had grilled salmon, mac n cheese, an apple, and cheesecake. I spent the evening looking through pictures, reading Harry Potter, and writing postcards while trying to ignore my numb and tingling legs–I don’t know how I managed to survive touring literally all of Savannah in one day! I just pushed through and didn’t let the exhaustion set in until we were back in the room.

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literally so delicious. also, just pretend this is the new deluxe illustrated version of HP, please?

Sunday morning, even though my legs were still heavy and exhausted, I was dying to try out the hotel gym–it had heavier dumbbells than the tiny 5-lb ones I have at home. Unfortunately, though, some guy was using the dumbbells and bench the entire time, so I did about 25 minutes with an eight-pound medicine ball. It was a good workout, but it was a workout I could’ve gotten at home, and I was already so tired that I almost passed out afterwards. Oh well. After breakfast, we went to Forsyth Park. It was really pretty and surrounded by lots of cute houses and apartments.

 

 

On the way home, I read my book (“There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor.” << CAN WE JUST) and, when we stopped for lunch, ate broccoli and a chocolate trifle. #balance It was an exhausting weekend, but so much fun!

Have you been to Savannah? What’s your favorite place for a weekend getaway?

Looking for Something?

This is the part of the show where I read through the search terms people have used to get to my blog and helpfully answer them–because obviously, these people came here looking for something, so I just want to make sure they find it. (TOTALLY STOLE THIS IDEA FROM CAIT. GO FOLLOW HER.) Let’s jump right into things.

louisa may alcott

I like her too, but she’s not here.

project on fruit of the spirit

I’m doing one! And this is the month of kindness. It’s never too late to hop aboard.

a sky full of stars and he looked at her tkmb

Not sure about the “tkmb??” As far as I know, that quote is from the Internet poet Atticus, not the To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus.

hailey blog grace

Close enough.

hailey cross

… Jesus cross maybe?

hope is a thing with feathers hailey hudson

It’s actually THE thing with feathers. But hey, I’m flattered someone is Googling my book! If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, grab it here.

help im obsessed with newsies

ME TOO. Come out of the shadows and let us fangirl together.

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june is the month i love

I’m … happy for you. And completely bewildered as to how you ended up on my blog?

grace elements

Fire, water, air, earth, grace. Something like that? (Upon further investigation, I have come to the realization that there is a clothing line called Grace Elements. But still–I don’t know how you got here.)

deeper still perf Jesus you found me lirik

Well over half of the search terms people have used in the last year involve the lyrics to “Deeper Still” (a song from our 2016 Lifeway VBS). I’m spotlighting this one because–well, if you can’t tell why, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.

hailey hudson singer of vbs songs

Ask any of the kids at church and they’ll tell you that this is exactly what I am. It’s all I do. I never spend time doing anything else, ever. One of them must have entered this search term.

who is the singer of deeper still vbs

Did we not just clear this up? OBVIOUSLY me.

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church song deeper still

Okay, I think you get the idea. LOTS of people want to learn this song, apparently, and I hope they go and do it. Just not from me. Contrary to popular belief, I do do things other than sing VBS songs.

hailey hudson blog grace

At last, we have one pretty solid search term.

vsco emma guernsey

Hate to break it to you, but you’re in the wrong place, buddy. Never heard of her.

If you were one of the intrepid seekers, I sincerely hope that all you sought has been found. If you weren’t, comment your favorite search term listed in this post–and if you’re a blogger, what’s the weirdest search term that someone has used to find your site?

 

 

 

September: Month in Review

September was a crazy month–partially a good crazy, and partially a stressful crazy. First of all, my dad and I went to a book festival where I went to two fantastic writing seminars and also GOT TO MEET LEIGH BARDUGO, MY FAVORITE AUTHOR. We talked about Hamilton; WHAT EVEN IS LIFE.

 

Next up, there was a really stressful seven-day period that involved my grandmother having a car accident, Hurricane Irma coming through, and car trouble–you can read more about that here. But in the middle of it, my best friend Hannah slept over, and then we got to see our other best friend Emma for the first time in two years!!

 

I began working for the nonprofit where I tutor kids three days a week after school, except with things being so crazy (the hurricane, me being sick, fall break) I only went four days this month. We also began working on the kids’ Christmas musical at church. Other fun stuff: my friend Cari and I went to Ihop for breakfast and then she drove me around all day since my car was in the shop. My brother Joshua had some great baseball games. We went to Chattanooga for the day to visit my grandmother. I had a photoshoot with Ashleigh and Lynsey (local friends, I’m cheap and I’m looking for new clients). Joshua and I went to Warbington Farms with the kids my mom nannies. I took my friend Brooke N to a ladies’ event (manicures and dessert) at church, my grandpa is here to stay for a week, and Cari and Anna and I went on a super fun rock climbing road trip.

 

Also, this conversation happened:

Me: “Did you write down the answers to your mental math?”
Joshua: “Uh, no. It’s MENTAL math.”
Me: “But how do I know that you already did it? And whether you got them right?”
Joshua: “I’m smart. That’s how you know I got them right.”

This month I’m…

Reading: Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo (FAVE BOOK IN THE WORLD) (reread). I Am David, Anne Holm (reread). Vault of Dreamers, Caragh M. O’Brien. Chasing Jupiter, Rachel Coker. The Astronaut Wives Club, Lily Koppel. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard. Dust Bowl Girls, Lydia Reeder. Carve the Mark, Veronica Roth (looove) (reread). Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard. 9 total.

Listening to: Top of the World and Live Like This, Tuck Everlasting. What if I Go, Mura Masa. Welcome Home (Finale), Nobody, Donny Novitski, and Love Will Come and Find Me Again, Bandstand. Build My Life, Housefires.

Watching: JessetheReader. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (my favorite movie in the history of ever). Full House. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, with Hannah. Monica Church’s vlogs. KATIE GOT ENGAGED I SCREAMED IN TARGET. Julia Robertson’s vlogs.

Writing: The CrossFit gig that I had all summer ended, so I applied to a lot of new jobs, mostly freelance blogging gigs–23 at least, but I didn’t begin keeping track until a couple of weeks into the month. I also pitched four article ideas to individual publications. Angelica is continuing to come together great and be lots of fun. I submitted fiction (five old pieces and three new ones) to eight magazines/contests. I had a devotional published here, a personal essay published in Seshat Lit Magazine, and an article on beta reader etiquette published on Just Publishing Advice. Also, Shannon wrote a lovely review of my book!

Loving: The First Impressions Project #2 // Aimee by Grace Anne (Totally Graced). stay by Kate (the goodness revolt) (WOW THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER READ GO READ IT ASAP). The Stages of Character Building by Katie Grace (A Writer’s Faith). 18 Writing Life Hacks by Cait (Paper Fury). finally by Olivia (summer of 1999) (I. HAVE. NO. WORDS. COUNT THEM, ZERO).

I blogged four times this month: Writing Plan/Schedule/Goals: Revisited, Weird. (Hurricane Irma, Bad Brakes, Lost Jobs, and Moving On), September: Patience (Fruit of the Spirit project, Month #4), and rocktown road trip!!

Grateful for: Painless jeans shopping. THE LIBRARY HAD BROADWAY SOUNDTRACKS #carjamz. Painting so many rocks. Paying $2 to have texts with sloth facts sent to my friend every hour–best $2 I’ve ever spent. Funny pictures of Tomas Chisholm and looking at the kids at church as I taught them about God’s faithfulness and thinking “they are my whole heart.” Getting to spend time with a fellow young artist. Sophie Sophie Sophie. Chubby babies sitting in on my Sunday School. Finally, I’m incredibly grateful for people who give me second chances and show Jesus to me in the way they have continued to pursue me and love me even though I consistently pushed them away.

What did you do this month? Does it feel like fall yet where you live? Tell me all the things!