the bloggy itch = lots of sentimental junk

You should see my bedroom right now...literally, there are piles of clothes all over the floor. And I'm talking PILES. But I'm tired, and I slept in until almost 10:00 AM, which I never, ever do...and so maybe its ok to pamper myself a little bit today and just take it easy. So that's exactly what I'm doing. Made a cup of tea, threw on an oversized hoodie, took a brush to my hair, and decided to scootch myself downstairs and at the computer to write. All the adulting stuff can come later. ;)

Since I've been feeling rather dry in the writing department, I'm just going to be super candid and update you all on my life. I feel like I haven't really done that since getting back from my summer adventures...just glimpses here and there, but not a solid update. So here goes.

Its February (duh, which you know if you are paying attention to the calendar, ;P ) annnnd lets just say this...I never expected to still be at home. I am in no wise complaining because I'm realizing more and more--especially now with the beautiful spring-ish weather that's hitting Ohio!--how GOOD it actually is. I have a warm place to sleep, a family that loves me, good food. However, I still have the itch to get back to my own place, namely Kentucky. Man, I miss it there so, so much. Plus this is the time of year where I am usually working HARD to get everything packed and personal things buttoned up and whatnot for my summer in Colorado...and this is the first time in three years I won't be going back to the ranch. If you've followed me either here or my old blog for any period of time you know about my love for Wind River Ranch, my summer home from 2015-17. It wasn't all fun and games, we worked hella hard, but every last minute of service was WORTH IT and made me grow...literally stretched me to the core.

So yes, there is some sadness and sentiment on that count, as flashbacks of my time in CO come more frequently, and I miss certain things vividly...like the way the sky looked all fired up before setting behind the mountain. Climbing the mudslide with my dear friend Katie at dusk. Sitting in the horse pasture with my best girl Charity, just talking about life. All the tears and laughter and late-into-the-night conversations. I miss it all. Especially the summer of 2016, that changed how I view the world and life and jumping out of comfort zones and into the real world (whew, run on sentence much? ;) ) Beautiful life, beautiful times, beautiful Jesus for giving me these memories. It gives me hope that if something could impact me so deeply, there must be so many more adventures in the making.

Then Kentucky. My soul home. Quite literally. I felt when I moved to KY not only an independence I'd never before experienced but also a peace that wrapped me in its arms and welcomed me in a way nowhere else has. My little brick house with its sprawling yard and horses next door, where I could spread a blanket under one of the big oak trees and read for hours. My roommates and best friends that I got to do life with. Gosh, I miss those girls! Sarah, Nikki, Mary...who didn't actually live with us but basically did. ;) The "brothers" who were always available to answer my guy questions or just hang out for a dinner of Chic Fila. It was a whirlwind of everything I always imagined a real community would be...and then it was over.

Now I'm home. It hasn't been exactly what I expected and it definitely hasn't run at the pace I wanted. But like I say in almost every.single.blog post...God's timeline rarely coincides with ours. For example, my biggest goal has been to get my car fixed and get my tush back to KY. Well, the car issue still remains and I am still without a working vehicle. It's coming slowly, but my deadline of May is getting closer, and I've accepted the fact that I might be here just a little longer...and its GOOD. Where else do I have the worlds cutest pooch (my sweet Belle!) to cuddle with at night?  Answers the question right there...home is where the heart is. #cheesycliquesareok #isoundlikeahallmarkmovie

I've spent a ton of time job hunting and "trying" out different jobs that really didn't fit what I needed financially. Starbucks lasted a month, and as I explained before I didn't hesitate to quit. Its like I woke up one morning and God was ASKING me to.  A couple weeks later I landed a part-time nanny job ACROSS THE STREET from my parent's house, so I can just walk to work, which totally solves the current car issue. What even. God is so good. The boys I sit for are little boogers, and I'm learning to work with parents that are always home and hesitant to hand over authority to me. But I AM working on it, and rather enjoy the challenge. I'll make the little monsters respect and LOVE me! lol Remember my word for 2018, Fierce? It continues to be my motivation.

I've been basically gone for three years, so something else I'm working toward is building up a community in my area. All of my close friends live out of State, and I don't know why exactly, but if you don't already have a friend-group in the Midwest, it's very difficult to fall into one--has anyone else noticed that? Jesus has provided a lot of opportunities with churches in the area, and my sister Anna and I are visiting two that are super giving and have active communities. All that to say, we are ALWAYS BUSY.  Small group, movie nights, spontaneous breakfasts, swing dances, lunch in cute little towns. I'm also treasuring time with my sisters since I may not see them as often when I move away. We are all so different and everyone but the youngest (who is finishing up high school,) are working, so our lives are spread in a million directions...but we always gather in the evenings for Netflix or just to talk.

Netflix, Netflix. It sounds bad, but while I was job hunting I spent a lot of time TV show binging. :P Oh gosh, I just admitted that. But I'm not really even sorry, because I've always loved TV/movies, and I always will, haha. In fact, I'm currently working through the highly addictive 'Gran Hotel,' an English-sub Spanish period drama that is very slightly like Downton Abbey (in time period/costumes, at least,) and a whole lot of mystery and intrigue and murder, lol. Its soapy at times but also so well done that I forget I'm reading subtitles. Plus I've picked up some Spanish, which is kind of fun and very random. ;) But anyway...if you read this and check it out, let me know in the comments!

Oh and hey how about dem Olympics? Watched figure skating like my life depended on it, and again I'm not sorry because for a while there it felt like an actual eternal winter and I was just going to curl up in a hole and sleep until the sun came out again. :P For real though. I'm not sure if I forgot what an Ohio winter was like, but this one was BRUTAL. I hate, hate, hate snow and being cold, so basically, I lived my worst nightmare. :P Seasonal depression is REAL, folks. Now the sun is peaking out a little longer every day and I can trade my icky big coat for sweatshirts and cardigans, and actually wear my fav boyfriend jeans with the rips and not freeze my legs off...and I am haaappppyyyy!! Yes I know I always gush about springtime, but for realz. If the world waking from dead winter into a beautiful, lush wonderland of sunshine and birdsong isn't symbolism from God, I don't know what is. ;) I think with just the right amount of spring sunshine and warmth and maybe a flower or two, I could rule the world. Or at least...go out there and conquer some dreams.

I'm not sure this was an update so much as a sentimental junk, but like I said, my brain has had serious writer's block and I popped out of bed this morning feeling the bloggy itch. I'd say I'm in a very different place in my life this year but it isn't bad because I'm still being stretched...just not exactly in the direction I thought. Looking back over the last few months I see a lot of challenges, but the awesome part is that the light is so much bigger and brighter once reached! Hello to fresh awakenings and days with no mistakes in them...yet.

Let's connect! Leave me a comment or send me a message, and I'll be sure to respond. I love hearing from you all and what God is doing in your lives. :)



There are so many expectations thrown at us with the new year. Resolutions, goals, wanting to do and be better. I'm at a place in my life right now that is constantly fluctuating between a surreal amazement at God's power, and then life becomes real and the enemy of doubt gets a foothold and everything that was so clear becomes a rabid, putrid mess.

I am not a stranger to the dark
"Hide away", they say
"'Cause we don't want your broken parts"
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
"Run away", they say
"No one'll love you as you are"

Ok, honest moment. I've dealt with chronic anxiety for years, and for years I've done everything I can to mask it. Few people would guess upon meeting me--friendly, over the top bubbly, apparently easy-going me--that I am often wrecked with some type of off the wall nerves, usually related to a very simple "problem" that to me is the biggest, most unconquerable thing in the world. I've traveled, dug into my Bible, prayed a whole lot, and ultimately tried to "escape" the constant fear that overtakes my life. Its a lot bigger and scarier than most people realize. "Anxiety" looks different for many people, and I've pinned mine in particular down to one thing: I don't like the feeling of uselessness. I've talked about waiting so much on my blog because it is truly the hardest concept in the world for me to grasp. An unknown future and the feeling of my world stopping while I wait for the next season drives me absolutely crazy. I know how big this world is and I want to do nothing more than be in it, and even more than that, be fulfilled in the world I've created. I guess in a very real sense I'm a control freak. I don't know how to settle down or be patient. I'm constantly looking for the next "thrill," and realizing that both disgust and humbles me.

But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

But in recognizing the "problem" over and over and over again, I've continued to take the wrong approach in dealing with the constant feeling of "not being enough," being unfulfilled. Being, quite plainly. . . bored. Instead of taking anxiety by its big ugly horns and throwing it out the window or better yet, looking it in the face and refusing to let it define me, I've run away. I've ran and ran and ran in hopes of getting away from the clutches of the beast, and while it's fled from time to time, like a faithful old friend it comes creeping back, and each time it is more powerful, more gruesome.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
am who I'm meant to be, this is me

If my fear had a face, I think it would be parts cuddly and terrifying. Cuddly because let's get real, if we didn't find some type of solace or comfort within our fear, it wouldn't be there in the first place. The other half is a pure terror, a big black, engulfing mass that I seemingly can't control. The hilarious part of this confession is that I am a Christian. Well, God is a God of order and fear comes from the evil one, and perfect love (Jesus) casts out all fear. Does that mean Christians can't deal with fear and anxiety? Absolutely YES they can. And they do. Some of strongest people I know, love and look up to deal with chronic, invisible demons. If anything, there is a deep strength in the Christian with anxiety, because we know who our Redeemer is. Listen, without Christ, I have no idea how I'd get through most of the time! Whenever I'm going through a particularly hard time and despair surrounds me there is always hope. It doesn't always happen like this, but I woke up today with the distinct knowledge that I am being cared for. No, I'm not super happy that my car is broken, I'm not working fulltime (though I am so grateful for my little parttime job!) and I can't make a solid decision about a life-changing aspect of my life. That's why I'm always encouraging you guys to take the bull by the horns and leap, because I may very well be the worlds most indecisive person. It's super confusing because sometimes its like, what is the difference between my fear, what is actually happening, what could be happening, and reality? The cup of tea I'm drinking is real. The dishwashing rumbling behind me is real. The sun coming in through the window is real. So it the feeling of boredom as I look outside and realize there is still snow covering the ground and I am facing another day indoors, no closer to the end goal of moving out and getting my car fixed than I was yesterday.
 Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

I'm hoping that through this post you can take a good hard look at the things that are keeping you down. Is it lack of money, education, purpose, a relationship? Are you surrounded by people, yet perpetually lonely? If you are anything like me, you are unintentionally looking for band-aids to "fix" your fears. New clothes, new adventures, new loves, new dreams (figurative, not necessarily applied to my own life).

 Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades
And reaching for the sun
(We are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become

No one can change you or me. Only YOU can change YOU. Yes, Christ working in you can change you, but even His constant presence isn't always enough. Sometimes we see it and know it is there, and refuse to listen. Refuse to understand that everything really is for a season, and He is working for our good. FIERCE is another word of mine for 2018. No longer fear. FIERCE. Fierce because change is constantly happening, behind the scenes, when everything else feels stagnant. Fierce because even in the midst of fear there is a shining beacon of hope and His name is Jesus. Fierce because we are made in the image of Christ, and no good thing does He withhold from them who walk uprightly. Fierce because I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. Fierce because there are more mountains to climb and more rivers to cross. Fierce because I am not defined by feelings or fear. Fierce because true repentance means turning away from fear and basking in the light of an ever-present King.

I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me!

Lyrics from the Greatest Showman, This is me


love and gelato

I don't know if I've ever been so devastated to put down a book as I was just now when I finished Love and Gelato. At least, I haven't been that affected by a work of fiction in a very, very long time. Its literally like a hug or a breezy spring day in Florence, gelato dripping down your fingers. It's falling in love overlooking one of the worlds more romantic cities. It's everything simple and innocent and cheesy and just perfect. This little gem sat on my sister's bookshelf for a long time before I finally decided to pick it up and read it. Oddly for me (who rushes through a good story and can't put it down until every last inch is devoured), there was something so slow and special about this one, I savored it. I didn't want to put it down but I also didn't want it to end, so I dragged it on and on (for almost two months now,) until this morning when it got kind of exciting and I had to know what happened. Its one of those young adult books that in theory is really kind of stupid, but the heart of the author seeps into her characters and gives it this simplistic charm that makes it officially one of the best books I've read. Love and Gelato. I honestly can't think of a better way to describe it than those two words.

Book aside, I have a ton of thoughts rolling through my head, and when that happens, I know I have to write. I did some handwritten stuff earlier, which was good, but with all the mushiness of this morning, plus some personal things I'm considering right now, I wanted to talk about a specific topic, love. 

Love is a weird thing. One day it just strolls into our lives, takes captive our hearts, and walks merrily on its way, creating joy and endless laughter and maybe a baby or two (even if its the furry variety.) WRONG. I mean, for some, probably most, it works that way. Then there is the brokenhearted side of things when you are an older single and everyone younger than you is married and starting families, and you're just sitting there with your soul shattered maybe a dozen times, wondering "is this really destiny?" 

I can't say strongly enough how much I hate the cliques that come out of a lot of married or dating peoples mouths when giving advice to someone still waiting for love. Things like "Oh just wait, Mr. Right is out there" or "There are plenty of fish in the sea." Or for someone who is in love, and perhaps is loved or a least liked back, and can't be with their person for whatever complicated reason. It rips the living heart of you, let me just say that. (been there ladies?) I'm choosing to look at it as a love-lorn Romeo and Juliet situations, but that's because I'm high on Florence and falling asleep under floating lanterns at the moment. ;)

Sometimes you just need a little bit of sap. Like a mushy book, a lame Hallmark film, or that song that makes you cry no matter what... .like Forever and Always by Parachute. CAN'T EVEN. Yeah, it's attractive to make men think you don't really care, that you love your independent single life, but in reality...we suffer. And that's ok. But the beautiful thing is, HE sees all our suffering, and HE CARES. Sometimes it doesn't seem like much, being loved by this God we can't even talk too. But He is the author of romance. Look at the history of the world, look at the Bible, for goodness sake! Every possible scenario can be found there, from handsome, glamorous heroes to adultery, pagan ritual, homosexuality, incest, witchcraft, war, peace, dens of lions. The Bible is literally the greatest novel of all time. It captures the human condition through the lives of sinful men...and women. Its painted in debauchery to tell the greatest love story of all time...one of hope, one of redemption..one of an all-seeing, all-loving, absolutely perfect, completely powerful savior. Our heavenly groom. The only groom who will ever know us from the inside out, who will always accept us, who cleanses us from our faults, who is a champion, a defender, a protector, a best friend.

I was having a conversation the other night, explaining what I want in a relationship, all the qualities I listed above, the need to feel valued. What they said was so simple, yet it kind of blew my mind..."you know, you just described Jesus."

Perfect love casts out all fear. Greater love has no man than this...that a man lay down his life for his friends. Hey listen, I'm afraid too. We all are. That need for companionship is rooted so deep in our hearts it aches with the need to love and to be loved. That's what we were created for. Some don't have that call, and its ok. Most, however, desire marriage and everything that comes with it. And no, I'm not afraid to mention sex. It's a natural desire and not something we should be ashamed of. I don't know when I've mentioned it last, maybe on my old blog, but I believe and know with my whole heart that that desire was put there by God. Just like my desire to go on the mission field as a kid. Maybe not indefinitely, but that one trip to Thailand soothed the ache to see if that was God's plan. It wasn't, at least not in the near future. But He knew what I needed because He put the need there. I wrote this in my Bible sometime back in July:

"I am sitting on a step at the orphanage in Thailand right now, Fountain of Hope. its been an exhausting few days, and this morning we had to say goodbye to the kids. I have an overall sense of discouragement. What am I here, God? But maybe I don't need to know yet. Maybe like one of my teammates reminded me--I'm just simply meant to follow and obey His call to be here. Maybe by the end, I will know...perhaps I never will. But I was called, and I am here. I love the portion of the song we sang today: "I give it all to you God, trusting that you'll make something beautiful out of me.""