My friend Erin once told me that we should write down the things that we love. So began “The List of 100 Happies”. This list became a compilation of places, moments, things and people that make your heart do a little dance and your smile grow a little bigger. Every year (honestly everyday) I think of a revision. I knock down number 76 and add emphasis to number 20 and I look back in adoration at number 4. This list doesn’t have a particular order and there are no rights or wrongs. They are just words to match feelings and pen on paper to ensure that I never forget the seasons life and little things to be thankful for.

I moved to Raleigh and naturally I started a new list. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving and all the holiday cheer, feast your eyes on the happies that have slowly but surely made this new pin on the GPS feel like home.

I’m thankful for the spaces that feel familiar. For LBC on a Sunday night under twinkly lights and a table full of strangers that have become community. For the Crutchfields open-door policy that ensures a free La Croix and a cozy fire to sit around. For Sola and their addictive oat milk lattes that have convinced me I can never drink lactose again. For Church of the Apostles warm greeting on a Sunday morning and generations of people that feel like family. For the Jordan’s kitchen that has facilitated conversation and without fail provides mini cinnamon rolls ready to be eaten. For the Dotsons front porch swing that I have consistently occupied even when Laura isn’t on the premises. For Mary Vandal Youngs living room couch and the spiritual formation that makes time feel slow and good. For the Kranhert’s home that feels like my second place of residence, praise God for that trundle bed and Amy Gross. For Emily Tripps backyard and the laughter and side conversations that take place while pushing kids on a swing set. For Molly Crutchfields room that I get to sneak away to on a Thursday and hear all the middle school tea. For the Byrons backyard and the inevitable croquet games played there. For Sallie DuBose and Erin Naziris’ homes that blend my old world into my new. For the Boultons basement where movie nights are guaranteed to be better than going to a theatre.

I’m thankful for the small and ridiculous moments. For the sheer volume of our Fellows group. For the way we all think it’s socially appropriate to burst into song. For the pranks. For interactions with middle schoolers because we all remember how weird that season of life was. For the “talent shows” that include hand dancing in white gloves under a blacklight. For the unpredicted moments when we can’t hold in a giggle. For the Triller music videos. For every word that comes from the mouth of Emilee Grissom. For Bethany Dosters infectious laughter. For the times that Laura Merten starts krumping to worship music in church. For the dance battles and rap creations. For every single time Lauren Brawley lights up to a song and turns on her performance persona. For when people do something goofy or come alive. For the way that people allow each other to live in full freedom to be themselves. For Dance Dance Revolution at Boxcar. For the stories that we belly laugh over.

What I’ve realized while making these lists is that places and things cultivate goodness, but it is the humans that help bring life and light into the spaces that make them feel complete. So here is a shout out to the people that have challenged me, walked alongside of me, laughed with me and edified me:

Ashley Crutchfield and her wild personality that screams life to the full. The woman loves Jesus in bold ways and can dance like there’s no tomorrow. Sam Crutchfield and his wisdom. When Sam speaks we all lean in a little closer to hear what he will say.  Rachel Ricks and the way she lights up and speaks about something she is passionate about. And her pipes, shawty can sing. Sarah Macris and her ability to ask Qs that make you uncover things about yourself. Philip Greco and his boldness to eat Doritos with a fork because he doesn’t what to get “cheese dust” on his fingers.  Amy Gross and her “YES” attitude. I mean the girl will show up for me and join me in shenanigans at any hour of any day. Jun Soo Kim and his ability to tell a good story and have everyone else lean in, elbows on the table and all. Daylon Shaw and his DTB (Down to Bool) mentality. Remember that time we put on wigs and went rollerblading just because we could? Yeah, me too.  Laura Merten and her thoughtfulness. Sister will get you a cute card and a small gift just because she wants to remind you that you’re worth it. Josiah Lindquist (JoJo) and his consistency and willingness to spend time with people. Lauren Brawley and the way she RADIATES (especially when Usher comes on Spotify que). If you want a mixture of energy and entertainment with a side of authenticity hit up LB’s line. Alex Gilleland’s quirky mannerisms that allow everyone to take off their masks and be goofy (if anyone needs a hand-dancing routine to Firework by Katy Perry, he’s got you).  

C.S. Lewis of course said it best when he talks about friendship:

“In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”

All the praise hands that the Master of Ceremonies was at work in knitting together this group and continues to be faithful as we lean into life together.

You heard it here first, the sneak peak of my happies. Txt it for the full list.

Peace out<3

Emily Magnus