Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Break

Thankful for...

My siblings 


Time with friends


And this beautiful view

Just to name a few. 

Monday, November 24, 2014


I am a youth leader at the church I attend while away at school. It is a big church with an equally as large youth group. I am the senior girls life group leader and they are all gems. This last weekend I participated in my second 'foodless feast' weekend.

In the weeks leading up to foodless feast the youth group goes about different methods of fundraising to raise money for different causes related to poverty, hunger and homelessness. Then as an act of awareness and perspective- we fast for 30 hours, do service projects at community organizations and top it all off by sleeping in card board boxes in mid-November!

We went to a women's shelter where we had to open up the cabinets and cook whatever we had. Naturally, I called my father who was a chef and he gave us instructions on what to do. It was a little cruel to have to prepare a meal in the hardest few hours of our fast. 

Next, we went back and constructed our adorable box shelter for the night. We won the award for most unique, durable and warmest. It's also pretty darn cute.

After serving a mystery meal to some paying church member we started playing catch phrase and heads up- which went as well as you can imagine playing a guessing game on no food. Eventually we bundled up in 27 thousand layers and headed out to our box homes. 

The night was not nearly as bad as I anticipated, which probably is not realistic. We survived the night and were all hungry and cranky come morning.

The best part of the weekend: The youth raised over 15,000 DOLLARS. 

As I reflect on the weekend, I'd like to mimic the prayer of some of our youth by saying; I am incredibly thankful that we have the resources and privilege to choose to go hungry. That in order to know what it is like to be poor and hungry, we have to willingly subject ourselves to it. I also hope and pray that this privilege does not slip through our fingers without realizing the enormous responsibility that comes with it.  

Homelessness is so much more than cardboard boxes and hunger. It's complex, it is multifaceted and it is devastating. We have the resources to do something about it. I am incredibly honored to know 75 high school students who are more than willing to step up and do what they can.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Semester Essentials {What's in my back pack}

{Planner} I never go anywhere without my planner. Right now I use the At-A-Glance student planner. I'm pleased with it and I like the size. Next year I plan on trying an Erin Condren life planner. 

{Small Notebook} I use a small spiral bound notebook for my lists. I split mine into four categories of lists. I ALWAYS have this with me. {Example here}

{Water Bottle} I try, keyword 'try', to always have my water bottle with me. I try to drink the 32 oz bottle 3 times as well as match the ounces of caffeine I drank with water. 

{Laptop} This is a no brainer. Always brings your laptop and charger. If I ever find myself needing to kill time I can get work done. 

{Also inside} I always have:
> Mechanical pencils
> Headphones
>Keys, Student ID and wallet
> Class materials 

Monday, November 17, 2014


Courage; the power to trudge on in the aftermath of chaos. The storm has settled but the air is thick, branches are strewn. All the world is silent and calm but my heart is raging, my chest is heavy with pain and discouragement. I am in those moments after a change where you find yourself question a once unwavering peace that you were making the right decision. As I stood on the edge of the storm I could see the wind but it was not until I stepped in did I feel the wind whipping through me and the rain falling fast and hard on my sensitive skin. It was not until I could feel and hear the storm raging on the outside of myself, did it begin to seep in. It was not until I came face to face with the hurt did I question my decision.

Sometimes, courage is the decision to continue, to trudge on through the pain. To remain true to the once firm belief it was time to walk away. To continue, even though the road ahead is dark and unknown and I am not quite sure I am going the right way. 

Maybe, courage will be the strength to speak up in say I wish to turn around, that I have made a terrible mistake. Or maybe it will be the realization that I were right all along, even though hearts were unintentionally broken in the process. The strength  to not take responsibility for the healing of hearts that are not my own. Courage could be a combination of or all of these things at different times. I am not sure though. For now, I am on the aftermath of chaos.  I still feel anxious and I still do not know what way I am going. So for today, for right now, courage is to continue on in the direction I once felt sure about.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

To Do List love


I have a planner for my calendar, reading assignments work schedule, nanny schedule, appointments and major due dates. 

Then I have a notebook that is broken into 4 sections:
{Remember this}
{To Do Lists}
{Exam/Project Lists}
{Random Lists}

For my To-Do section I like to take al of the information on my calandar and put it down in a list so it's all ordered in one place. 

I use a different color for each class, red for the urgent items and normal pencil for things that need done this week but doesn't matter when. Then of course I doodle on it to procrastinate the things on my list. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to have a beautiful, vibrant blog in one easy step.

I love blogging. I find it relaxing. However, four out of five posts I delete within 5 minutes of hitting 'publish'. Why? Because, comparison. That's why. Comparison sucks. I find myself meticulously combing over my blog posts and comparing it to similar blogs. If you are a blogger looking to expand your audience, I know you can relate.

Why are her Instagram pictures so perfect? HOW is her room is so organized? Her life is clearly more fun than mine. How can I have beautiful, vibrant blog?

It's easy. Live a beautiful, vibrant life. But do not live a beautiful, vibrant life for the sake of your blog. Do it for the fact that you live in a beautiful world and the very fact you even have a blog that you are worrying about means you are privileged. You have more than most.

Do not put one more second of thought into which instagram filter will get you the most likes. Do not worry about whether your outfit would make a good blog post. Do not take time from things that matter for things that do not. Your follower count and page views are not more important than your real, live world.

So go, see the world. Hold closely the ones you love. Laugh more than you cry. Be passionate about something. Give away generously, and not just your spare change to the bell-ringing men in Christmas hats on black Friday. Give you time, your resources, your energy. Be kind. Be bold, stand up for what you believe.  Live beautifully, live vibrantly.

And if, only if you get a spare second between coffee dates and tickle fights, take a moment to write about the vibrant beauty in your everyday.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh that God, there he goes again sending me into the next unexpected, unplanned or over-the-top adventure . Not even a year ago I began praying that God would 'lead me where my trust is without borders' and he led me onto a plane headed for Honduras, I waved to my comfort zone as we taxied down the runway.

Almost 4 months after the trip I reflect on my pre-trip concerns with an ear to ear grin. I spoke with disgust of travelers diarrhea and expressed fears about the language barrier. As I prepared to step outside my comfort zone I was undeniably terrified. The trip crept up and my fears got stronger. I was toeing the line of my little comfort box. All of the sudden the trip was the next box on the calendar and here I was boarding a plane to a foreign country. Little did I know I was about to leap out of that box, straight into the gracious arms of God.

I had diarrhea the whole time and the first 48 hours I tried to combat the language barrier by yelling everything I wanted to say. It was awful and hot and I questioned why in the world I signed up. The main leader got sick and it was all me that first day. I spent most of the day attempting to hide my frustration and the tears welling up in my eyes. The second day I lived on the toilet and did not want to eat a thing. I got bit by a tic and broke out in hives. There were good parts in those first few days but my attitude was quickly going South.

I prayed for a good attitude, hard stools and a break. Then God stepped in, he opened my eyes and showed me what I was missing. I stood hand in hand with the children and felt the pain that saturated the stories of their lives. I sang praises to God, a mixture of both languages raising up higher than the musty church building. I can still feel the arms of toddlers wrapped around my neck communicating more with our eyes than we ever will be able to with our words. Somewhere between the soccer games and Spanish songs, my life changed forever. It could have been the sight of 27 young hands raising up in proclamation to follow Jesus. It could have been the children chasing our bus as we drove away. It could have been the pain in their eyes or their refreshing thankfulness and graciousness that I have never seen in myself and I have so much more than them.

Regardless of what changed me, I was a radically different person getting off that plane than I was getting on, I came face to face with poverty and desperation I had never known; my hands were stained with the dirt of their country and I never want to wash them clean.Before I packed my bags to come home, I had my heart set on going back. Or more so I had my mind set on going back to get my heart because as we boarded the plane to return home, I ripped out my heart and sent it bouncing around in the dirt of the school yard.

Today, I got confirmation that I would be returning and I would be leading the returning youth team. My heart is full of anticipation and excitement. If a year ago today you were to tell me I would be willingly planning my second trip to Honduras, I would laugh at you. I had other plans. That is just it though- God heard my prayers and led me deeper than I ever would've gone. He led me off my path and right out of my little comfort box to a place where my trust had no borders. Praise him, for without that, I would have missed out on the best week of my life.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Toddler Dictionary (Part one)

After spending any amount of time around a child you know they speak a language of their own. Todder-ese. A language which primary consists of crying, chanting and crayon hieroglyphics on your white walls. It is the hardest language in the world to learn as is consists of no common sense and constantly changing rules. I have begun to compile a list of toddler-ese definitions for your reference. However, the dictators of Toddlerland might decide to reconstruct their entire vocabulary come snack time, so this is probably useless.

 Words and meanings slightly modified. All come straight from the mouths of Toddlerland Residents. 

Remember why you started

I have wanted to quit a lot, quit school, quit work, stop being so busy or doing so  much. Fueled solely on coffee and prayer, I've been pouring energy I do not have, into school work I do not want to do. My energy is spent. I feel overly exhausted but I feel strongly that I am doing the work God has set before me. I have prayed endlessly that if I am expending unnecessary energy in unneeded outlets that God will make it abundantly clear and provide a way out. Instead, I see his hand in each and
every commitment in my life.

I can see, feel and appreciate his working and doings in my nannying, schoolwork, jobs, volunteer work and future plans. I know that plans and paths frequently change and mixing up what you knew to be true is God's prerogative but for this moment in time, I feel what I am doing is right.

Knowing this makes it easier to feel motivated but it does not leave me any less exhausted, frustrated and weary. Late last night as I was studying for an exam I did not want to take after a long weekend of work, I felt stronger than ever that I did not want to do this anymore. Naturally, I ended up looking through pinterest and a quote popped up on my feed,

"When you feel like quitting think about why you started." 

Think about why you started. You started for a reason, an urging, a yearning. No matter the path you are on at the start there was something that gripped your heart and said do this, go there, sign up for that. You strapped on your shoes and started this race for a reason. Whether there are little faces at home that motivate your current goals, whether you are doing something to help another, to further your education, to prove yourself that you can. Regardless, remember the reason that you started. Reflect on the moment you decided to do this. 

Whether you began with firm confidence or trembling fear the point is you heard a calling and you answered. When every single thing around you seems to be going to hell, when the road ahead seems to be perpetually longer than the road behind, when you are weary, tired and close to quitting remember why you started this journey. Then pick yourself up and start running, walking or crawling your way to the end. Repeat as necessary.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Catching up on the happy.

I fell off the wagon of 100 days of happy somewhere on the corner of "omg I have 3 exams this week" and "I've worked 30 hours this week and it's only Tuesday" So I haven't blogged, I haven't shared my happy and I've done a crappy job at remembering to be happy. So here are a few happy bursts to remind myself that life is good and I'm blessed.

Babies and pretty to-do lists that make the 'doing' less stressful.

A journal with a quote that speaks to my heart and a comfy scarf.