Sunday, October 20, 2013

alive in our hearts.

There are days in which I look around and all I see is beauty. I can talk to a homeless man on the street and feel nothing but love and compassion. I can walk outside on a rainy day and smile and dance and twirl--just because I can.

But then...oh, but then there are those days that come creeping in. Those days in which I feel nothing but coldness. I have no room in my heart to love how I should. I feel uncomfortable and annoyed and alone.

I have been praying about this a lot lately. Confused about how I can feel so full of joy and life one minute and so worn out and sick the next. I have begun to realize that how I feel doesn't have to do so much with circumstances as it does with the depths of my heart.

What we allow to live in our hearts will become what we live for.

I was driving home the other night; it was late, dark, and rainy. It was just me and God in the front seat of the car. I had the radio on and a song of praise came on that I couldn't help but sing along to--at the top of my lungs might I add. Those moments happen a lot for me. Singing praises to God as loud as I can, dancing around my room with so much joy in my heart that I feel as if I could burst. It has been in these moments the last few weeks that I have really become aware of what I have been harboring in my heart.

Although I have been able to experience the love and forgiveness and hope that comes from knowing Christ, I still have a whole lot of ugly hiding away inside my heart and mind. There are rugged pieces of shame. There are sharp little fragments of insecurities. There are shreds of doubt telling me that I'm not good enough. Negativity. Lies. Compromise. Selfishness. Loneliness. Fear. Bitterness. My heart has had these ugly, nasty pieces hiding away just making me physically sick and emotionally drained. And what made matters worse was that instead of trying to rid my heart of these things, I was feeding them. Sure, I was feeding the good parts too, but it's surprising how much more attention the ugly pieces get than the good pieces.

I want to be sold out for Christ. I want to be burning with that joy and love and hope and peace with every fiber of my being. I want to feed these things so much that there is no room in my heart for the ugly pieces to survive.

Whatever I focus my time, energy, and thoughts on, and what I surround myself with are going to come out in my attitude and mindset every morning when I wake up. It's time to decide, and I choose to go down the path that will draw me closer to Christ. The path that will let others see Himself shining bright through me. Oh, how I will never tire of the freedom God shows to me time and time again...

Freedom to twirl and dance and sing and be
full of joy.

Let now our hearts burn with a flame, a fire consuming all for your Son's holy name.
-Hillsong United, "Saviour King"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

embracing change.

There have been days I found myself dragging my feet because of all the weights I was carrying. A pound of doubt on one shoulder and a pound of inadequacy on the other. Add to that a few pounds of loneliness and a constant search for belonging and there is just a fraction of the weight. Life has had it's share of changes lately. Moving to a new state, a new home, starting a new job, and making new friends. Wonderful changes, but change is still change. It's tiring and brings out all your weaknesses. If I wrote a guidebook on life, I would put a giant warning sign on the chapter on change:

"Beware of twists and turns and ups and downs around every corner! Approach with caution!"

The chapter would be terrifying and most people would probably choose to avoid change at all costs. They would probably decide to take the safe, cozy, comfortable route. Stay where you are all warm under the covers and do not move. Ever.

But that would be a devastating mistake.

The first part of the chapter is exhausting and terrifying and can tempt you to break down and quit. It makes you feel uncomfortable and forces you to see parts of yourself you would rather deny. But don't close the book yet. Keep reading. You see, exhaustion teaches endurance. Being scared teaches dependence on Christ. A lack of comfort teaches you to try new things. And seeing the worst in yourself, well, that is the best part of change...the whole purpose of change. It forces you to grow and understand and develop. The change going on around you is a small thing compared to the change going on inside you. Chances are, if you're not feeling a little scared, inadequate, lost, or uncomfortable right're probably not doing a whole lot of living. If you want to go anywhere, you have to push yourself. Discomfort is not a sign to give up, but rather a sign to keep going...pushing harder than ever.

Life right now is feeling a little uncomfortable, but honestly...I'm loving every minute of it. It is an exciting adventure and that is exactly what I wanted. There are moments I want to hang my head and just quit, but there are twice as many moments of blessings and laughter and joy. Those moments are found in new friendships and strangers I meet on the street and worship I sing in church and trying new restaurants and spending time with my precious niece and her fantastic mama and daddy.

Change is terrifying. But even more so, change is exhilarating and vibrant. It gives you a chance to live fully and freely.

Embrace it; you won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Onto the next thing...

Well folks, I made it through college! Seven semesters of classes, tests, projects, and papers are all things of the past! I am so excited about being done with the work part of school, but I already miss being at school...and I've only been home for a week and a half. Maybe it's just that summer hasn't really kicked off yet. I'm sure once the hot weather comes (and stays) it will feel more like summer and I can start really enjoying it. Being done with school is weird. I don't think it will fully set in until the fall comes and I'm not packing up the car for another semester. I do have some exciting news though...

I'll still be packing up the car, just not for school. I'm moving south!!! =) South Carolina to be more specific. I'll be moving in with my brother and sister-in-law...and very very soon to be niece! I am so excited to finally have myself a grand adventure! I have lived in Wisconsin my whole life and even stayed within the state for school. Moving to a different region over thirteen hours away is going to be crazy. It will be hard leaving my family, friends, and my hometown...but I need this. I need to fly. I'm craving it.

I can't wait to find a job, a church, and settle into my new surroundings. I also have some friends who live in the area so it will be awesome getting to live near them!

As for right now, I want to soak in these next three months here in Wisconsin. I'll be going down to South Carolina in a few weeks to see my niece once she is born and as soon as I come back I will start work for the summer. I want to have as much fun as possible (on a poor girl's budget, that is). Beaches, concerts, fun-runs, fireworks, parties, bonfires, late nights...ahhhhh summer is here. =)

Friday, May 3, 2013

beautiful chaos.

Life consists of extraordinary chaos. On the surface, chaos appears as a dirty film that we desperately try to wipe away from our safe little lives. We seek a way out of the confusion, the busyness, and the uncertainty. Panic enters into the depths of our hearts and we soon begin to slip into a blurry abyss of confusion.

We find chaos around every corner. Life is a continuous merry-go-round heavy with shifting plans and perplexing decisions. Security drifts into something of the past and a mandatory vulnerability takes its place. 

Something I have learned--and continue to learn--each and every day I am privileged to experience, is to find beauty in the chaos. Beautiful chaos is something that has always captivated me. Rainy afternoons compel me to do nothing short of letting my hair down and dancing barefoot in the misty air. I could look at the pouring rain and sloppy puddles and let the chaos overpower me, but instead I choose to embrace the chaos. I am in constant pursuit of turning chaos into something beautiful.

Sometimes this pursuit puts a guilty weight on my shoulders. I feel like when the world is hurting, I should hide away and give in to the chaos--almost as if shedding a smile would prove myself insensitive and inconsiderate. I have decided that if chaos cannot be avoided, it might as well be transformed into something lovely and beautiful. Chaos might be a dirty film that overtakes our peace and quiet, but under the mire is something so unbelievably wonderful. I am determined this is true.

I'm not trying to state that chaos doesn't hurt. Life throws curve balls. Even when the chaos is expected--like the fact that I am graduating in a week and I have to make some life changing decisions--it takes a toll on you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is okay to hurt and it is okay to wrap yourself up in your giant blankets and plushy pillows and tune out the world for a few moments. I am simply trying to say that there is always always always something beautiful in the works. We might not see it through the dusty mire, but it's there--we just have to discover it. The hope, the bigger picture that is coming, the blessings surrounding the present situations--it's all right there.

We can let the chaos bury us or we can shed some light on it and discover the beauty that is sure to follow.

I choose beauty.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The truth of it is...

I have a major case of Senioritis. Graduation, please come soon.

I miss the warmth and the sunshine and the beach and flip flops.

I got a package today from my Grandpa that I can't open until Easter. It's hiding under my bed and the temptation of opening it is killing me...mostly because I'm sure it's full of candy.

I really really miss some dear friends of mine. So many of them are either back home, graduated early, or transferred schools. Growing up and moving separate ways shouldn't be legal.

I need to stop watching so many scary/suspenseful shows. I can't tell you how many nightmares I've had recently about being chased by zombies, the Grayson's plotting my death, or "A" causing me some sort of chaos.

It is ten times easier for me to sleep during the day than it is at night. Naps are never an issue...going to bed at a decent time at night never happens. Seriously. It's after midnight and I'm sitting here blogging and eating chocolate animal crackers.

I am super excited about watching American Idol tomorrow while eating a pan of warm brownies. It's the small pathetic things in life, people.

Today was a good day. I was feeling a little discouraged, but I have been surrounded by so many great people today that things turned out fine. A genuine smile and kind word can honestly make such a difference!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


You're not worth anything.
Physical beauty matters more than inner beauty.
You can't be forgiven.
The way you feel must be true.
God doesn't love you.

Do you believe any of these things? If your answer is yes...STOP! ...because they are all LIES.

I have gone believing these lies for way too long. The thing is, I still find myself being deceived into thinking these things are true. It's a daily battle for me to believe what is real truth. I have to confess, I struggle daily with insecurities...more than people might realize. I let what other people think and say define me. I know, I know...letting other people define you is one of the dumbest choices we can make...but for some reason (the mere fact that I'm human) I still let it affect me.

When these lies began to engrave themselves into my heart, I found myself running from God. Instead of realizing that I was being fooled into believing these false emotions, I decided to hide--from God and from everyone else. I was ashamed of this image I had of myself. When I looked in the mirror I saw scars. Scars telling me I was unlovable and worthless. Did I know how false my thinking was? Yes...but not really. My head knew the truth but my heart didn't.

My insecurities took me on quite a journey. One that took me from my all time low to an indescribable feeling of freedom in Christ. It took me a while, but through God's grace I eventually realized something.

God loves me. Like, He really really loves me. It's not the kind of love where you say you love a person but half the time you don't even like them. It's a love that is never changing and never ending. I thought God wanted nothing to do with I had nothing to do with Him. That was the WORST thing I could have done. God doesn't just want me when I feel like I deserve Him. He wants me all the time no matter how I feel. The truth is I am worthless on my own. It is only by God's grace that I'm able to do anything good. The song "Every Good Thing" by The Afters comes to mind. It says, "You're the reason for every good thing...There will be days that give me more than I can take but I know that You always make beauty from my heartache."

God deserves all of me...the good, the bad, and the ugly. He simply just wants a heart willing to love Him, serve Him, and learn from Him. It's a win-win situation, really. God gets every. single. piece. of me; and I get the freedom of knowing that these lies are just that...lies...and never again will I let them blind me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

breathing in these 74 days.

Seventy-four days.
That's how long I must wait to meet graduation day.

I have this dilemma. One of which I want to make the absolute best of these next seventy-four days but I can't help but wish they would speed up. In seventy-four days I am going to miss this place that has become a home to me. I have made so many memories here and have learned more about life than I ever thought I needed to know. Though I know how much I will miss these days, I am getting bored.

This is my seventh and last semester of college. I have been here for what seems like forever. I am just ready to wake up in the morning and not have to run to class. I am ready to end long days in the comfort of a home. I am ready to find a job and have a steady income. I am ready to eat real food. I am ready to live somewhere that is not the middle of nowhere. I am ready for a change of pace.

I'm craving adventure. I want to face the unknown in life. I want to sail away to uncharted waters and see where the wind takes me.

With all this said, I am truly convicted about not living in the moment. I'm afraid that if I keep wishing my days away that they will truly do just that...disappear. I don't want to look back ten years from now and hit myself in the head for not making something of this time I have at my fingertips. I am a curious wanderer who just wants to keep moving, but I am trying to realize that the adventure I crave is happening right now.

Life doesn't start and stop. It's a constant. Although I might be starting a new chapter in seventy-four days, the chapter I'm in right now plays a significant role in the overall story. So maybe this is the slow part of the story, but it is after all a

part of the story

that should not be taken for granted. My curious bones are still itching to move forward, but I have to learn to enjoy the moment I'm in. There will always be something down the road; a road that doesn't seem to end. Satisfaction in life shouldn't come from running through it as fast as possible, but by taking things slow, breathing them in, and making the absolute most of every moment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love 24/7.

I'm not going to lie...I love Valentines Day. It's a time to let others know they are loved. Not to mention, I get to eat abnormal amounts of chocolate and wear pink...honestly, there is no better combination.

Even though Valentines Day can be fun, it's also that time of year where everyone seems to be measuring their worth by how much chocolate they receive or how many heart-shaped cards are in their mailbox. Ridiculous right? Maybe...but so incredibly true.

I've been there...that 16-year-old girl who was the only single girl alive. All my friends walking around with their boxes of chocolate and new jewelry strung around their necks. Oh, and of course their men right at their side. Nothing changes as we get older...I mean heck, I'm still that girl...just a few pounds heavier and with more wear and tear on this heart. Even though girls go the extra mile to make sure everyone knows how much they hate this holiday, we all know honey, that if your boyfriend doesn't buy you flowers tomorrow you will probably never let him live it down.

Some of us are in relationships...and celebrating Valentines day with your loved one should be special.

Some of us are in relationships but may be having problems...and in that case Valentines Day might cause an unbearable ache in your heart.

Some of us are single and Valentines Day might cause feelings of worthlessness.

People, I have experienced all three of these varieties. Which makes me wonder...if Valentines Day causes all these different emotions for people, something isn't right.

Why do we feel like February 14th is the only day we can celebrate love? Why do we feel that if we can't show love to a man than we can't show love to anyone?

There are 364 other days besides February 14th and whoever proclaimed that love was not important on those days is an idiot. Whoever proclaimed that love can only be celebrated between couples is an idiot. Whoever proclaimed that you're unworthy of love if you don't receive flowers or chocolate is an idiot.

Valentines Day is a great reminder to celebrate and show love, but we shouldn't let is burden us. If you're single like me, don't despair. I have a date set with one of my girl friends to go see a chick flick and get some dinner. I'm making cute cards for some of my friends to let them know how much I love and appreciate them. I may not have a special someone in my life...but I have plenty of other people I love dearly and I plan on letting them know it...not just tomorrow, but every day. Don't let the words February 14th scare or nauseate you. It's just a day. Enjoy it.

Go love.
Go eat chocolate.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Life, lately...

January was a whirlwind! 

Three weeks ago I packed up and headed back to school for my LAST semester!!!

I came a week early to take a week long block class on...the arts.

Best part? Getting to go down to Chicago to visit the Art Institute, do some shopping, and of course take pictures by the "bean" for the 20th time.

The artsy part of the trip was great and all, but the stop I made in Forever 21 was more my scene.


This past week we had a huge blizzard. (Surprise, surprise) It's sad when you wake up to a 20 degree day and it feels like a heat wave...but hey, after -14 degree weather...craziness like that happens.

Friends make cold, gloomy days a little more cheery.

...And so do packages from home full of food!

I look like a lost child alone in the woods. haha Thank you, Leah, for capturing this!

After being out in this crazy weather all week I just want to curl up in my covers with some chocolate and popcorn and watch movies for the next couple hours!

Happy weekend, everyone!

a loss.

Being away at school often means missing things happening at home.

The past couple days my dad, among 300 other firefighters and 88 fire departments, worked to control a massive fire at a food plant about a mile from our house.

After about 13 hours, they were finally able to put the fire out. It's crazy how the result of a massive fire is pure ice!

This picture is perfect. A rainbow to give our community hope after such a loss.

About 300 people lost their jobs as a result of this fire. Hopefully the city will do what they can to get the plant running again, but until then my prayers go out to those families!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thirteen for '13

Already five days into 2013 and I haven't even thought about resolutions! Shame on me, yes indeed. I suppose resolutions are a great idea and as much as I want to keep them, I rarely do. This year I'm going to come up with some more practical goals for myself. But don't worry...that doesn't mean I won't add any challenging ones. =)

Here we go...

THIRTEEN for 2013!!!

1. Read at least one book every month.

2. Get into God's Word more.

3. Graduate from college.

4. Find a job after graduation.

5. Move out of the house. (New York? YES PLEASE!)

6. Keep my room clean.

7. Learn how to play my guitar. (I think this was a resolution last year. Oops.)

8. Take a yoga or barre class.

9. Exercise at least three times a week.

10. Make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends.

11. Journal more.

12. Try new recipes!

13. Be content in who I am & where I am in life and learn to embrace it!

Alright folks, let's see how many of these happen! I'll keep you updated if I'm able to cross anything off this list! What are YOUR resolutions for this awesome year ahead?!

Friday, January 4, 2013

all at once.

It's hard to believe that in just four months I'll be done with college and starting life for real. I feel like up until now everything has been a trial run. Summer jobs, semester long classes; nothing has been permanent.

Right now my plan for post-graduation is to find a nanny job until I go to grad school down the road. I have an account with a few different childcare websites and all at once I'm getting emails from all sorts of families from all over the country asking to set up interviews and wanting to get to know me.

Having all these potential job leads is exciting but at the same time overwhelming. It's starting to get real!

I've had a few families close to home email me, a few in NYC, a few in the middle of nowhere...let's just say I'm going to have a lot of praying to do and decisions to make in the next few months.

I know God has a plan and purpose for my life and let me tell's both exciting and terrifying waiting to find out what it is.