What Brings Me Joy

The Loves of My Life

The past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster, with more downs than ups if I’m honest. Still, through everything, I try to seek the things that bring me joy. Jesus is my ultimate joy, but earthly things make me happy, too.

Wanna know what they are? Some are simple; some are everything. Here’s a jumbled list in no particular order:

Brenya and Isaac

Brenya and Isaac

I’m scared to death to hold my new niece because I’m afraid I’ll break her. I was the same with Isaac and we’re super close anyway, so I don’t think she’ll hold my fear against me when she’s older. And Isaac… Never have I met a kid with such a strong moral compass and social conscience. This boy will change the world.

Mom and Dad

Liam’s citizenship ceremony

Sometimes I wonder if maybe parents as awesome as mine are actually the exception. No matter what I do, whom I love, or where I go, my parents support, help, love, smile, and encourage. Really, there can’t be better parents out there.


ring of kerry

If you didn’t already know this one… But seriously. Who could NOT love it?

My Irish Family

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Liam’s family has always made me feel like I’m one of them, from the very first moment I met them. I’m so blessed to have them in my life and cherish the time we get to spend together.

Melissa Fox

wraith enchanted melissa fox

My co-author, editor, and dear friend holds the mirror up, even when she knows I won’t like what I see. I trust her with my work, my fears, and my dreams.

Swear and Shake

Unpretentious folk rock created and performed by some of the nicest people on the planet? One of the sweetest, sultriest, strongest female voices in music? It all adds up to joy, people.



Man, he’s cute.


Just listen.

Luna and Rosie

Luna and Rosie

Our sweet girls have tried so hard to give the dog a chance. They had the house to themselves for years, so I don’t blame them that they haven’t yet figured out how to love him as much as we do.



We have our differences even now, but no one makes me laugh like she does.

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Maybe the lights of Pigeon Forge are about as tacky as Vegas, but oh man, the surrounding mountains hold a treasure of memories. Even the thought of fall and winter in the Smokies makes me smile.



Who knew I’d enjoy a sport so much? Not only am I developing a connection with Liam’s home and heritage, but I’ve also made some amazing new friends.



I can’t even put into words what this girl means to me. She’s on the other side of the world, so time zones are always weird. Luckily, I’m up early and she’s up late, so we still get plenty of time to talk every day.



This one’s probably obvious.



Unapologetically put my tree up as early as I can get away with every year. I also start making Christmas music playlists sometime in November. Make fun if you like. I don’t care.

Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes

Who could listen to these guys and not dance? Also, they’re just super nice. (As a side note, their bass player, Marshall, took the photos that appear on the cover of my latest book.)



Somehow, this girl makes even the most outrageous disasters something to laugh at. Anyone who can turn tears to laughter in a split second is someone I need in my life.



Personally, I like the flavored stuff, but Liam hates when I run those through is coffee maker, so we have two. Best I ever had? Red Velvet.



After a leg injury, all my cute heels got thrown out and I adopted flats. I love them. I wear them everywhere. I even sometimes play hurling in them.

Sleeping with a box fan

I even lured Liam over to the dark side. I also move it around the house with me so I have that hum even when I’m working.


This is especially important to me. My dad raised me with a healthy respect for fun cars, but after my car accident, just sitting in one made me car sick. I’ve managed to find my joy again behind the wheel, even if I’m a lot more conscientious and careful now.



If I had a long lost twin but then found again, she’d be it.

Watching Will and Liam together


When Tiff’s husband and Liam get together, it’s like watching The Hangover.

Craft beer


Just keep your IPA, please.

Harry Potter


I dare you to defy me on this one.

Irish chocolate


It’s just better than American chocolate. If you don’t believe me, try it.



They’re like wearing a warm, cozy, loving hug.



Is there anyone sweeter in the world? We don’t talk much, but when we do, I’m smiling the whole damn time.

My work

I’m so lucky to say this. Believe it or not, I enjoy my work. Mostly, I write blogs about ecommerce and inbound marketing for HubSpot, but sometimes I get to ghostwrite a blog or two about Nashville real estate. The fact that I do all these things in my pajamas…well, who could be so lucky?

Fireplaces—with fires in them

We have three in our house and none of them work. I’ve made it my mission to make at least one of them a functioning fireplace, but until then, the fire pit outside holds some pretty big bonfires.



Once a month, like clockwork, with my friend Kristie. Except for a random lunch, we really don’t see each other unless there’s a chair massage and a pedicure involved, so I’ve really grown to cherish the pampering and friendship.

Pumpkin or Cinnamon Crunch Scones



My family


I’ve always been quite close to my extended family. When Allie and I were kids, we’d stay weekends and summers with Grandmother or aunts and uncles. My grandfather took us on road trips—most famously the cross-country trip to California for graduation. I even count some of my cousins as my closest friends. I’m fortunate to have such a tight-knit family, and just thinking about any one of them makes me smile.



Sure, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s just so pretty. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m programmed to pray for it after only two years of teaching high school. Snow days made me happier when I was a teacher than they ever did when I was a student.

The ocean


My attachment to the ocean probably stems from our whole-family vacations when I was a little girl. Still, even without that, could anything match the joy of warm sand between your toes?


I relish the chance to grab a mic and wail for a bit. Twin Kegs is my karaoke joint of choice. It’s where everybody knows my name. (I have no video of me singing karaoke, but this is me singing with the Corbin High School Jazz Band starting at 14:30.)

Katie Marcario


This dollface makes me laugh even when the most annoying, irritating, and frustrating things have just pissed me off. When steam’s coming out my ears, I hit her up first because I know she’ll make me smile.


Don’t you judge me.



Finally, but definitely not last, there’s Liam. Dear God, this man just makes everything better. Everything. When I’m sad, he holds me. When I’m angry, he soothes me. When I’m laughing, he’s making me do it. None of the things before could mean quite so much without my ability to share them with him.

4 thoughts on “What Brings Me Joy

  1. I love this post. And I’m honored to be included among the things/people that bring you joy! <3 <3 <3

  2. You made me cry, and I love you even more for it. I’m honored and humbled to be included. <3

    And Will and Liam together? As a witness to the hilarity, I wholeheartedly agree!

    Cadbury Dairy Milk ftw.

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