P H I L I P P I N E S: The other side of the story

Love from every corner of this country.

Pictures of a tropical island nation vacation may have made my life seem cooler-than-thou through pictures, but they were by far not all-encompassing of the experience I had in the Philippines. I’d like to share some of what I saw and experienced on the heavier side of the trip, but first a thank-you is in order.

My grandparents are two of the most generous, selfless, loving people you will ever meet. They are fervently obedient to the Lord’s calling on their lives: to express the love of Jesus to children and youth in the Philippines through their ministry, Talking Hands. Alongside their team (who were unbelievably kind to me during my time there) they have built a preschool from the ground-up, provided educational and recreational programs for sexual abuse prevention, and worked alongside churches all over the Philippines to meet the needs of as many children and youth as possible—their primary beneficiary being those who are deaf. They use their restaurant in Virginia, Sunrise Breakfast Shoppe, as a resource for funding this ministry. They have blessed and forever changed my life by bringing me with them to the Philippines this year. I have seen and experienced things I never had before, vastly different ways of life than my own which have allowed me to be enlightened, impassioned, and humbled.

Separate from working with Talking Hands and Community Church Manila, we had the opportunity to serve alongside House of the Least of These church in Quezon City at a garbage dumpsite outside of the city.

155 children. Each with a story the world has not heard, a pain that will never be justified, yet also a joy that cannot be understood. Their tiny hands held stained Tupperware, plastic bags and mangled forks—eager to receive a serving of hot spaghetti. Their curious smiles met my own in a way which reminded me that love does not know the barrier of language; love can be expressed through bright squinted eyes, an outreached hand preceding a tight squeeze, or a warm (even dirt-clad & sweaty) embrace. These children know nothing different than walking around, often barefoot through mounds of things we might consider trash, but to them may be something of value worth holding on to. I will never forget the looks on their faces as we arrived, how their voices echoed back a prayer I was honored to lead them in, the way they slurped down their juice pouches like there was no tomorrow.

And it’s true, there may not be one for you, or for me, for the malnourished child sleeping on the ground or for your neighbor across the street. So love people well, and start where you are. We don’t have to cross oceans to serve others—it starts in our patient tone of voice, our simple random acts of kindness, and our willingness to say “yes” to modeling our lives after Jesus’. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to go on this trip; so many people who have been faithful followers much longer than I have showed me God’s love in a fresh way.

To our hospitable family members feeding me every hour, to the teens who took pictures with me and added me on Facebook, to the children playing outside of church who asked me 100 questions about my life in America, to the cooks, tour guides and fellow travelers: thank you. The Philippines is a magical place filled with beauty that reaches far beyond the seas and mountains and into the hearts of the Filipino people. I will proudly cherish this culture and heritage always.

A Lesson on Perspective

Bangkas & horses & volcanoes, oh my!

Today was quite easily one of my best adventures to date.

Myself and eleven family members (9 of which I just met!) took a drive to Tagaytay City, where we then hopped on a bangka (boat) taking us to the base of Taal Volcano Island. This would have been a killer hike, but since that was not something everyone in the group could do, we rode horseback to the pseudo-summit.

Have you ever enjoyed a moment more intimately by recalling times when you were far from that kind of happiness? I experienced this on the boat ride to the volcano as I closed my eyes tight, threw my head back in genuine laughter and remembered how big and good our God is. But in tandem and albeit a bit grim, lightning flashbacks of my lowest moments sporadically flipped through my mind: misplaced anxiety attacks forced to suppression; writhing in bed as my heart ached for love that was lost; blank stares at the wall sitting on the bathroom floor, empty of tears. But when these thoughts raced through my mind, I perceptibly embodied James 1:2, considering my trials pure joy. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for those valleys–not because I was now enjoying such a high, but simply because I realized I no longer have to dread the recollection of moments like that. It’s in the trials that steadfastness is produced, and that’s where joy is found.

Later on in the excursion, I found myself faced with an opportunity to exercise a humbled perspective. When we got to the summit, the view was breathtaking in a way that makes me hesitant to even use that word, in fear of overuse diminishing its reality. I stared in disbelief, not knowing what to do with myself–until a group entered the foreground, facing a man with camera in hand. That’s when the irritation of having left my phone behind set in. I even had the audacity to say that the camera on my phone was better than the one we did have available for pictures–how embarrassing of me. Getting off my high horse (pun intended), I chose to look at the situation from a better perspective–how was this experience provided for me in the first place?

From the moment I met my tour guide, RJ, I knew I wanted to learn more about him and share his story. RJ innocently told me I was beautiful at the start of the horseback ride–his kindness was continuously evident. He is 19 and has been giving these tours for two years. Although they only allow the horses to give one ride maximum per day, it is 8 km (nearly 5 miles) round trip from the base to the summit. RJ, along with over 600 other tour guides, spend their days making this trek on foot as they lead tourists to one of the most beautiful vistas they’ll ever see–the very place they call home.

I asked RJ what he did for fun, but he said he wasn’t sure what I meant. There was only a slight language barrier between us, and I know there are things he must do in his free time regardless, but I had to remember: my experience here is his livelihood. RJ and his colleagues (family is probably a better word) live in homes that most Americans above the poverty threshold wouldn’t call a house. Their lives essentially revolve around taking care of the horses that provide them the opportunity to make tips off of their guests. Don’t get me wrong–the people living here were not destitute and it’s not my intention to portray them as such. But after an instance where I was petty enough to be concerned with how I was going to get the best picture, it was necessary to instead recognize the beauty in enjoying a moment without the compulsion to preserve it, and empathize with the lives of those who took care of me in the process.

The pictures didn’t turn out so bad anyway.

Word of the Year: 2019 to 2020

Entering a new decade with a new perspective.

Choosing a “word of the year” was never something I did until I went all in for Jesus. In 2018, I hardly chose it anyway—it was a repeated whisper of the word “bold” that ended up echoing so loudly, I decided to invest in it. Since it was encouraging the first time, I prayed for another word to come to mind for 2019. That word was “hope,” and though I didn’t think much of it at the time (due to how commonplace it felt), the Lord used it as my heart’s preparation for the unexpected.

Something I’ve prayed over my life countless times is for God to surprise me. For Him to do wild and unexpected things in order to refine my character and allow me to know more of His own. 2019 was FULL of surprises for me—an answered prayer in unexpected ways in and of themselves. At the beginning of the year, I imagined “hope” would mean my prize for holding onto it would be the relationship I’ve craved my entire life. Perhaps a salaried job, more friends, and certainly more time to enjoy Colorado. So much to be hopeful for, right?!

I will be the first to admit that I most definitely did not want to leave Colorado—and even less did I desire to move back home. The way God led me to make the decision to do so still confounds me every time I think about it, and I‘ve craved that unprecedented feeling of being led by the Spirit more each day since. Even so, the transition of moving back home left me, well… sad. As much as I knew I was being obedient, it wasn’t what I wanted. I had to learn how to set pride aside, do what I was called, and trust that God knew what I needed.

The new season after moving to Virginia began with a misguided hope focused on my selfish desire for a relationship. Within a couple of months, I met an incredible guy with a laundry list of qualities I had prayed to find. Everything from the serendipitous way we met to the community I was becoming surrounded by were affirmations of what the Lord had promised for the relationship I desired, when I learned to trust Him with every aspect. But (there’s always a but), that relationship wasn’t “it.” I may not have wanted to admit it, but I knew it was true.

Sometimes God allows people and situations into our lives so He can use them to awaken us—and, just as I prayed for, to refine our character. That relationship opened my eyes to an entire world beyond the self-centered one I was living in. He probably has no idea how much his perspective on the world changed my own. And that leads me to my word of the year for 2020: perspective.

I had never viewed the world the way I see it today: an arena of spiritual battle, one in which followers of Jesus are called to put on their armor and become mighty warriors. God has transformed my declaration of trust into a dedication of my life for His purposes. There is so much more to this life than what we can see, and it is so much less about our own lives that it hurts to recognize how long I unknowingly lived as though it were.

New boldness. New hope. New perspective. The exhilaration of a new year—a new decade—has me anxious in the best way to see how God will continue to surprise me. I can only imagine and joyfully anticipate how my perspective will shift as a result of experiencing the things to come this year—how I might gain a perspective a little more like Jesus’.

Investments & Adventures: December

Anticipation of 2020 travel, a Charlotte visit, & celebration.

I’ll keep this last one brief– on New Year’s Eve, I have a 27-hour travel day as I head to the Philippines with my grandparents. Plenty of time for end-of-the-year retrospection & 2020 goal planning 😉

My adventure for December was a trip to Charlotte to spend time with my good friend Alisha for her birthday! We were able to go to a Panthers game, drink & eat lots of yummy things, & have many meaningful conversations about how the Lord is working in each of our lives.

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This month’s investment was in celebration! On top of celebrating Alisha’s birthday, I was able to celebrate with two of my best friends for some monumental moments: Rachel graduated from ECU and Brooke got engaged! Not to mention the celebration of Jesus for the Christmas season.

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It’s a joy to have such special things to celebrate, but sometimes in life that isn’t the case. Sometimes it’s painful to choose celebration because it would be so much easier to take a look at our circumstances, and sulk in them. Even if we know, perhaps deep down, that “things could be worse.” Don’t let that phrase make you think you are no longer entitled to your feelings, but at the same time: choose to celebrate anyway. No unfortunate circumstance we face here on earth can compare to the heavenly glory we will experience later if we are followers of Jesus. So choose to celebrate when it’s hard & when it hurts, because with the Lord the best is always still to come.

P.S. I was blown away by how many people told me they actually read these Investments & Adventures things of mine in 2019! I started this blog simply as a response to God asking me to share more of my experiences. It was mainly for my own “records” to reflect on my growth & what God is doing in my life, so I wouldn’t forget his faithfulness in the seasons where he is quieter than others. The I&A concept just came to me one day and I knew it would be the perfect way to hold myself accountable for writing at least once a month. I plan to do the same in 2020, but with less of a “monthly recap” and more of a biblical focus. I hope someone was able to glean something about the Lord’s character from these blogs & that you’ll stick with me in this new decade. 🙂


Investments & Adventures: November

A lovely wedding, a worship concert, & intimacy with Jesus.

This month turned out wildly different than I had imagined it would, but I’ve also felt closer to the Lord than I have in a while so for that, I’m so grateful. My adventures included celebrating one of my best friends at her wedding in North Carolina, and a quick trip to DC for a worship concert! I invested in a lot of things this month which have been very transformative, but for the purposes of this blog I will share about investing in intimacy with the Lord.

The first day of the month was Amy + Josh’s wedding, where I was honored to be a bridesmaid! Amy was the brave friend who took on Colorado with me after we graduated from college. The love she and Josh have for the Lord is contagious, and it’s so beautifully exhibited in their love for one another as well. The trip also involved getting to see some of my other closest friends as I visited Wilmington before the wedding– it was all such a restful time for me. Toward the end of the month my stepdad & I drove to DC & back in the same night for the Elevation/Hillsong/Casting Crowns concert! Corporate worship at that scale gives me goosebumps just thinking about it and the concert itself was just as awe-inspiring.

Intimacy is defined as “close familiarity or friendship.” It is a beautiful thing that the creator of the universe desires this kind of relationship with us. In order to reach a level of intimacy with a friend, we have to make time for them, do things with them, and become vulnerable sharing our thoughts and feelings. The perception of Christianity as mere rule following and mindless checks in the box is disheartening to even think of. God wants our intimacy– He wants us to be closely familiar with His character. Don’t be that friend who everyone knows only calls when you need something. Be a friend to Jesus like the first person you tell when anything mildly exciting, strange, or upsetting happens to you. Spend pre-planned and spontaneous time alone with Him. Invest in an intimate friendship with the Lord and watch how peace and joy begin to fill your days like never before.

For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. John 15:13

What a friend we have in Jesus.

Investments & Adventures: October

A solo trip to the mountains, a DC coffee shop, & gentleness in love.

This month was the perfect example of why I wanted to start this monthly blog series at the beginning of 2019. Not only did I get to go on an awesome trip, but I got to grow in an area which God spoke to me at the end of last month, calling me to invest in it throughout October & beyond.

My adventure for October was a solo trip to northern Virginia! When I left Colorado, the hardest part for me hands-down was leaving the majesty of the mountains. It wasn’t just the excitement of hiking and getting the jaw-dropping views on my drives to work, but more importantly, I learned how to be alone, and how to simultaneously lose & find myself within the presence of the Lord and His creation. Don’t get me wrong, living at the beach for three years helped me to do the same, but there was something special about the adventurous lifestyle I felt I was living out west.

When God called me to move to Virginia, He made me a promise that the lifestyle I had grown to treasure & desire for my life, would not leave me. To be honest, adventure has found me right where I am, but the opportunity to take trips like this one revealed His promise in a new way. I was fortunate enough to reconnect with my dad’s cousin John and his wife Kathy at his 60th birthday party, who have been beloved family members since before my long-term memory begins. They live in Culpeper and hospitably allowed me to use their place as base-camp for my travels. It was wonderful to catch up with them & get to see a new part of the state.

On the first day, I drove to Shenandoah National Park for a hike! I got there right as the sun was rising, so Skyline Drive was absolutely breathtaking. Looking down on the clouds was an ethereal experience I will never forget, especially as I was able to spend the morning simply resting with the Lord. On the way back I found the perfect coffee shop to work out of, bringing me back to the humble mountain towns of Colorado that made me so full. The whole day brought the most beautiful mix of nostalgia, hope, and vision that I had known I needed for a while.

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On the second day I somewhat-spontaneously made a trip to DC, specifically to visit Ebenezers Coffeehouse! As you can read about here, I read a book called The Circle Maker that included an incredible story about persevering in prayer that has stuck with me ever since. I had been wanting to go to this coffee shop for so long, just to be inspired even more by the love that was poured into its process of creation. So, I drove a second hour too long in 6am traffic to the nearest metro station, downloaded the DC metro app and bought a day pass to navigate myself to this coffee shop on Capitol Hill.

As much as I love people and being relational, I am admittedly an introvert who finds renewal in time alone. I also keep a constant check on my mental & emotional reserves, so I typically find a way to carve this time out when I know they are getting lower than normal. I cherish the way I’ve learned to quiet myself and hear the Lord speak, but amidst the busyness of life it can become harder to hear His whispers. Time for refreshment like I was able to receive this month is a memory I will look back on for years to come, knowing God instilled a passion for intimacy within me that could only be fulfilled by undistracted time with Him.

Gentleness is a quality that does not come naturally to me–I have to work at it. Throughout my teenage years specifically, I struggled with this. I was not soft, I was not calm, I was not tolerant, nor was I mild-mannered. As I invested in gentleness this month, I considered its definition and synonyms. To be mild-mannered means “not given to extremes of emotion”… well, I certainly knew that’s where I most often fall short in pursuing gentleness. For quite some time now I have been meditating on 1 Corinthians 13, what love is, and how to love people well. It was through this that God was able to get my attention and point out an area where He wanted to help me grow. For brevity’s sake (I could write an entire blog about this, but I’ll save it for now), I want to share a couple quotes from a devotional that stood out to me.

“Love is patient. This means you are willing to give others a long leash. It means you are being tolerant, you are being gentle, you are willing to accommodate others and extend grace to them. Patience and kindness go hand in hand, because being patient with people means that we do not retaliate but we do things that would bless them, things that would encourage and lift them up. We would speak words that would comfort and inspire them. In this way, we show kindness through our words and actions.”

The reason I love this quote is because it makes 1 Corinthians 13:4, practical. Let me share it with you in the TPT version: “Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.” Showing love to those around us is easier said than done, especially when we consider that it includes the people who are much harder to love than others, and when we consider what it really means to love the way Jesus does. For me, pursuing gentleness is a starting point to growing closer to that goal each day, because I know its an area where God can do a big work within me. When something spurs on an emotional extreme, I strive to intentionally control my reaction so I don’t express anything less than love, even when I’m obviously upset. Anxiety has a way of trying to convince us that we cannot control our reactions, but that is a lie I will tirelessly work to silence.

“The powerful outcome of receiving God’s love and allowing him to flow through us is that we become gentle people… Love is shown through gentleness and selflessness. Be unselfish in your expressions of the gifts and good deeds that you do. Be gentle when you do so. Then you are walking the more excellent way.”

Devotional quotes pulled from Love Actually Is, All Peoples Church



On Pacing

Running life’s race one step at a time.

I’ve recently started running, after years of saying I would never understand how people could actually enjoy something so… well, miserable. The thought of a side stitch stabbing the inside of my ribs, gasping for air that was escaping me, for long periods of time–sure sounded miserable to me. But what I failed to understand then, was that the reward was greater than the struggle of the process. The feeling of getting lost in your thoughts as your heart pounds in your chest faster than you’re used to, finally getting to the cool down after you surpass a new goal, endorphins overtaking your body at the end of a run… it makes the hard part worth it.

What got me to realize that I was in fact capable of running if I set my mind to it, was all about my pace. My runner friends were in agreement that if I thought I “couldn’t run,” it just meant that I was running too fast. My pace wasn’t right. I was exerting too much energy at the beginning, and didn’t save enough for the follow through. Once I learned to start running so slow it almost felt like walking, I noticed that it actually wasn’t so difficult to keep going. Before I knew it, I was running my first mile, then two, then three, without stopping. Something I had never been able to do before, not even close! Because I learned to slow down in order to do things the right way, and because I went in with the mindset that I was capable of accomplishing these new goals I had been setting for myself, I started to see myself do things I would’ve never thought I could.

I think our lives are a lot like this scenario. We push so hard to get where we want to go, that we burn out and get discouraged that we aren’t seeing the results we hoped for. In life, we tend to sprint here or there without realizing the stamina we actually possess. We strive for goals while comparing ourselves to those around us, upset that we are not where they are.

As a runner, it’s easy to hear other people talk about the long distances they trekked while thinking to yourself that you could never go that far. As a student, it’s easy to get frustrated seeing your friends graduating when you’re taking your time to figure out what you truly want to do. As a professional, it’s easy to watch those around you head down career paths that seem as though they deserve more admiration than your own. As a single person/girlfriend/boyfriend/etc., it’s easy to look at married couples as though your hopes for that life won’t be fulfilled anytime soon. As a parent, I imagine it’s easy to observe the behavior of other people’s children and wonder why your own won’t behave that way.

It’s easy to compare our pace to the pace of others. Pace is defined as “consistent and continuous speed in walking, running, or moving.” What if we learned to be consistent and continuous in pursuit of our heart’s desires? When we learn the rhythm of our natural pace, it becomes simpler to go further with what we are given. We get burnt out less when we notice how much less effort we have to exert at a consistent and continuous pace.

As a runner, this means slowing down (even if it feels like walking!) and controlling your breathing as you make it through your distance one step at a time, without regard for the people running literal or metaphorical laps around you. As a student, this means taking the time to explore your options until you feel set on a field that you can genuinely see yourself in long-term, without regard for what anyone around you wants you to do. As a professional, this means being willing to take positions that you trust will be valuable experience to help you land that next opportunity, without regard for what your peers think of it. As a person hopeful to eventually be married, this means learning how to love people well before you enter the next season of life, without regard for whether or not a relationship looks like it’s on the horizon. As a parent, this means practicing patience with your children, without regard for when other people’s children learn the lessons you’re trying to teach yours.

When we learn to take the objects of our affection and see them as a journey instead of a destination, we can find joy in sticking with a pace for ourselves that will allow us more success. Slow down, take deep breaths, and find a pace that works for you despite what is working for everyone else.

“So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” Hebrews 12:1b


Investments & Adventures: September

Autumn happiness, combating anxiety, & the adventure 🙂

So I’ve never been one of those people who obsesses over autumn, & I certainly couldn’t care less about pumpkin spice anything… but I am SO excited for fall this year. It’s a little odd having temperatures in the 80s & up at the end of September after having spent last fall in Colorado, but Virginia is getting there slowly but surely. I don’t have any special trips to share this month–the only place I travelled to was Greenville, NC for a day and a half to visit my college & meet some professors. However, I do have a different adventure to share as you’ll read below! First, on a bit of a heavier note, my investment for the month was in combating anxiety.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or just know me more relationally) you’ll know that anxiety is something I’ve dealt with as long as I can remember. Even though the ways it has presented itself have changed over time, & although I spent the better part of my teenage years trying to combat it professionally, it isn’t completely gone. I’ve learned that the devil will do everything in his power to tear us down, most intensely when we are in our best alignment with God. For me, September has been proof of that–every day I was leaning into the Lord more & more and to be honest, the blessings kept flooding in from many aspects of my life. Of course, that’s when the devil would whisper lies trying to convince me of things I knew were not of God.

“You probably shouldn’t get your hopes up, because you’re just going to be disappointed again.”

“You might be happy now, but it’s not going to last long.”

“You’ll never be good enough and you don’t deserve what you’re receiving.”

All of these lies were the exact opposite of what I know God has been trying to redeem within me for the last two years, so I knew I couldn’t trust those thoughts when they entered my mind. But when they did enter, anxiety ensued, and it was a vicious cycle of highs & lows. Thankfully, I (WE!) have the tools to receive peace & rest from negative emotions through prayer, the Bible, & what I affectionately call “quiet time” spent with the Lord. These were the things I had to intentionally choose over my tendencies to dwell in anxiety. To be totally transparent, it was exhausting. I felt like a human pendulum as I sought to magnify the voice of God over the devil’s attacks on my spirit. Even though combating anxiety does not come without some exhaustion, I knew I could prioritize rest & relationships with those important people in my life in order to help myself cope with some of the “side effects” of the spiritual battle it felt like I was facing. As the month comes to a close, I can honestly say that those anxious thoughts have simmered down tremendously after fighting back the only way I know how.

If you haven’t heard the news… September’s adventure came in the form of a new relationship 🙂 I’m sure you’ll hear more about Jay in the blogs to come but for now, I am just super grateful that our paths aligned when they did so I could have such an admirable, endearing man of God to call my boyfriend.

I took a look back on a post I wrote about a year ago, “Not Afraid to Fall“, to remember that I had once absolutely dreaded this season of the year. I haven’t had that thought cross my mind even one time in 2019 until I read what I had written! I referred to fall as “my jinxed time of year”–that’s laughable to me today! All of this to say, God is continuing to redeem my story, every tear I’ve cried & every anxiety attack I’ve endured even though I am undeserving. If the colder seasons aren’t your jam and you’re starting to feel down like I did, remember that the Lord wants to show you what true joy is no matter the literal or metaphorical season.

Investments & Adventures: August

A Wilmington trip, dad’s birthday, & my word of the year.

To my surprise, I’ve felt more “settled in” to life (for lack of a better term) this month perhaps more than I have all year. God has been doing new things in me & around me and I couldn’t feel better about it. My August adventure started with a trip to Wilmington & continued into a 60th birthday party for my dad. My investment has been in my word of the year: HOPE!

As a bit of a continuation of some things I mentioned in last month’s blog, I decided to spend a week in my college town of Wilmington, NC at the beginning of the month to spend some time with my sweet friends living there. I was able to stay with my best friend/freshman year roommate Brooke, catch up with my friends June, Shelby, & Chetna over drinks/dinner, & hang out with one of my sorority littles Reilly every day I was there! Not only did I get to unwind in good company, but I also spent some much-needed time alone working at coffee shops & lounging on Wrightsville Beach. As social as I am, I’m an introvert who needs her time away from it all, so this time was the perfect way for me to reset & prepare for the busyness of the month ahead as I began my new job with Yelp Hampton Roads & a new semester of classes.

It was truly a privilege to plan a 60th birthday celebration for my dad! He is more deserving than anyone to have a day all about him. His siblings were able to make the trip to visit us in North Carolina from all over: New York, Georgia, & Florida. He also had plenty of other long-time loved ones celebrate with us at our home where we had a huge cookout & party. I could go on and on about how awesome this day was for everyone, but for me it was an event planning adventure that couldn’t have meant more!


Hope is something I’d struggled to keep at the forefront of my mind in the last couple of years, on & off. I’ve let lots of discouragements, disappointments, & letdowns get the best of me to the point where it actually hurt to keep hoping in something. But God has shown me a better way to handle these emotions through the hope I can have in Him. While I knew I’ve been called to meditate on the word “hope” in 2019, it hasn’t always been easy. From the first day of August, this month had seemed to promise a lot to be hopeful about. A new job I had been prayerful about for months, the clean slate of a new semester after (somehow) crushing my summer sessions, & a few weeks of down time before heading full force into it all. Even when I became overwhelmed with stress & anxiety, I was as intentional as possible to change my mindset toward a life-giving perspective on whatever situation faced me.

Having hope in things unseen can be scary–I had to let go of that fear. Having hope can be unnerving–I had to be brave. Having hope meant that I had to trust God to take care of me no matter the outcome. And let me tell you: God completely & unexpectedly blew me away with His love & favor this month in more ways than I’ll even share right now. A simple decision to remain hopeful in the face of uncertainty allows God the opportunity to exceed our expectations & calm all of our fears in the process.

That’s what I did this August & I refuse to quit as the year continues.

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” Romans 15:13

Investments & Adventures: July

Peace with the past, east coast travels, & 21 years.

July was definitely a better month for me than June! This month I invested in obtaining peace with the past–something I’ve needed to work on the better part of my “adult” life but really thought a lot about the last few weeks. For July’s adventures: I went to South Carolina with my best friend Yajaunte who visited me over the 4th of July weekend from Colorado & I turned 21!

For me, the past can almost always be seen through rose colored glasses. It’s easy for me to look back on a time in my life & unintentionally see only the good in it, as opposed to some of the reasons why I was destined to get OUT of that season. For example, there was a time in my life a few years ago where I was completely out of God’s will–I nearly paid no mind to Him except to cry out when things got hard. No obedience or faithfulness. Instead of wallowing in melancholy & nostalgia, obtaining peace with the past has allowed me to find joy in remembering both the good & the bad memories, while understanding why God promoted me on to other things. The ways I did this varied from visiting special places from the past, to spending time with past important people in my life, to reading things I wrote at past times in my life and reflecting on how much I’ve grown. Even though I have a lot more peace to be gained from these kinds of practices, I know that July held a lot of healing for me and I’m grateful to God for stirring my heart to move into now-uncomfortable territories.

Yajaunte’s visit was the exact distraction I needed from the stress of summer classes (which I finished on Friday–time for a three week break!) We spent the 4th with my family & me showing her around Coastal VA a bit. Immediately the next morning we took a ~7 hour road trip to Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC on the way back! She had never been to the east coast before, so it was a blast showing her my hometown and two of my favorite cities–including where I went to college. It’s already been hard being away from her again but I am positive our friendship will withstand the test of distance & time.

My birthday was spent with my amazing family who drove me around all day for obvious reasons 😉 It was great being home for my special day and doing many of the things I love: enjoying brunch, napping, hearing live music, walking on the beach. It was truly a great day and month both. I’ve got some exciting plans for August so I am looking forward to sharing next month!