Charlie Brown’s Wife

Today, joy looked like Charlie Brown’s wife.

Today I met Charlie Brown’s wife. At the grocery store. I was running errands for work which involved filling my cart with 36 loaves of bread. As I was crouched down, lifting empty trays and counting in my head, I hear the voice of an older woman behind me: “You must work at a food pantry!” I smiled behind my mask and told her I simply worked at a restaurant. I continued grabbing and counting loaves. The woman had still been standing only a few steps behind me with her friend when she began to talk about her own experience with a food pantry. I heard her say that she was supposed to start volunteering at one, but they never called her back. She was postured toward me, but I couldn’t tell if she was speaking directly to me, or just to her friend.

“My husband just died so I’ve been trying to stay busy. I thought that would’ve been a nice way to do it,” she announced with surprising equanimity. I agreed that volunteering at a food pantry would be fulfilling, and apologized for her loss. She revealed that her husband had been sick for a long time, and as she began to shift away, added, “But I sure do miss him.”

Through this brief encounter I continued to organize my bread in the cart, trying to stay busy myself. This woman had a spirit of strength that made me want to learn something from her, even if only in the small moments between aisles. The tenacity she exuded compelled me to approach her again. I briefly confessed the current state of my own spirits, an explanation for my puffy eyes. I said that her attitude was more encouraging to me than she could know, that I admired her resilience and hoped to mimic it. Without an initial word of response or second thought, she charged me with a hug. A genuine, healing, empathetic hug from a woman whose hurts have far surpassed mine. She didn’t just tell me, but convinced me, that everything was going to be okay.

We exchanged a bit more conversation, in that moment and a few times more throughout the store. I learned that her steadfastness could only be attributed to her faith in God, and I believed her when she said she’d pray for me. “Don’t you leave me now, I better see you here again,” she teased. I asked for her name before we separated. “Connie Brown–and my husband, his name was Charlie. My husband was Charlie Brown.” I couldn’t help but share a laugh with Connie, a moment that felt like she was reminiscing on a thousand memories.

I share this anecdote to say that divine appointments are everywhere. Connie will likely never read this, but she did say that she would try to coordinate her weekly grocery store visits to Thursdays like mine from now on, and I hope she does. I hope I run into her again, maybe in a few weeks, when she can tell me about a new pastime and I can tell her about my travels. This one encounter served to remind me of God’s great sovereignty and faithfulness. He knew all I needed was to see someone full of joy in spite of their pain to remember that I can have that, too. Today might not feel joyful to me, but true joy from the Lord is everlasting–it is unaffected, persistent, and resolute. If you are struggling to pick up your joy today, I pray for you to meet someone like Charlie Brown’s wife.

The Wonder of Nature

I want to stay myself the way I feel when I am in the wonder of nature – thank you, California.

The fact that I haven’t written a blog in months is a great indication of what I’m about to describe – this pandemic has hit me hard, and I haven’t been doing very well. For the first couple months I was often disappointed about things like everyone else, but even moving back into some normalcy of going outside the house again wasn’t enough to help me get out of the funk I was in. I started to feel symptoms of depression I hadn’t experienced in years; recalling how much it took out of me to overcome that exacerbated the hopelessness. I lost enthusiasm for the things I used to enjoy most and I found it uncharacteristically difficult to maintain a positive outlook about the future. The worst part was that I knew turning to the Lord during this dark season would be the only way to work through it, but my flesh did not want to. Have you ever been there – knowing that God would bring you solace but feeling as though you had no energy to receive it from Him? That’s where I was at: wanting God to help me but holding back from Him without much of any reason. I wasn’t mad at Him, but I wasn’t excited about Him all the time like I used to be – and I resented myself even more for it. A vicious cycle.

Here is where the wonder of nature comes in. I was finally able to take a long-awaited trip, a time away from the mundane and the tediousness of life as I felt I knew it. The anticipation of spending a week with my best friend Jasmine was one of the only things getting me up in the mornings, but being there was more therapeutic than I could have imagined. National Parks are one of the only things in the world that get my heart racing just thinking about them, so visiting two of them together was exactly what I needed. We gained 5,800ft of elevation over 22 miles of hiking and drove 1,020 miles over 26 hours around Northern California. An absolute dream.

Lassen Volcanic NP and Yosemite NP are some of the most idyllic places I’ve ever been. It was impossible to not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as I stared at the infinite starry sky above me at our campsites, or as we reached the summit of the most challenging hike I’ve done to date, or when the truck would round a bend to reveal a new landscape that took my breath away. The mountains, forests and waterfalls spoke to me in a way that humans simply cannot. All of creation worships the same King I do and this week I was reminded of that. It only took a moment, a week immersed in God’s most magnificent handiwork, for me to feel alive again.

So as I head home to Virginia, less than four months away from a world of opportunity opened to me, I will take this perspective with me. I will relive the exhilaration of the brink of physical exhaustion mixed with zestful exploration until spiritual rejuvenation washes over me like waves all over again. I want to stay myself the way I feel when I am in the wonder of nature, and I am motivated to put the work in to achieve that. The Lord has been unwaveringly sweet and gracious to me for allowing me this time to recenter on who He is and who He is still making me to be.


What if comfortable has never been what we’re called to, and we fully trusted the chaos to be calmed?

The title of this blog has been sitting in my notes and drafts for months. This word “unhurried” was a whisper from the Lord quite some time ago. After the weight of accelerated schooling and striving for insubstantial goals caught up to me, I knew I needed to slow my pace. I even wanted to, but didn’t really know how, because it wasn’t something I was used to– I’d been go, go, go for too long. I’m always looking for the next adventure around the corner; oftentimes, I dissociate with the present because of this. I have a wild zest for life that I try to tame and preserve, but when I’m moving too fast it’s hard to do so.

What better time than in the middle of a pandemic, restricting us from the hubbub of our daily routines, to pause and consider how hurried we really are? My heart aches as the world collectively suffers sickness, fear, and disappointments. Cancellations have us scrambling to regain control and some semblance of normalcy. Our default mode is to get comfortable again amidst this chaos… but what if comfortable has never been what we’re called to, and we fully trusted the chaos to be calmed?

A month ago, I bought seven plane tickets. I was accepted into and registered for a study abroad experience of a lifetime, with a backpacking excursion to follow with my best friend. She and I stayed up on the phone for hours on end over many nights, meticulously researching and planning for this dream of a trip. As you know the story to go, my study abroad was canceled by the school and it is no longer safe to travel to Europe at all. I prepared myself through prayer as best I could for this outcome, and the Lord truly gave me a sense of peace about it from the moment I got the news. I meditated on Psalm 112:7– even though I’d read it before, its simple grace resonated differently: “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” 

But of course (and I’ll say it bluntly), this still sucked. We were devastated, and we’re still trying to sort through the logistics of rescheduling our trip with the same amount of uncertainty of when this will end looming over us. I’m no longer able to graduate according to plan. By God’s grace I’m still able to finish my main program by the end of this year, but part of my coursework has to change and that sucks too. I’m confident anyone reading this could come up with some way their lives have been altered by COVID-19. We will forever remember this time as one that was unprecedented in today’s society, but I challenge you to spend it learning to be okay with “unhurried.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with rescheduling events and wanting to get things back in order– but we can do all of this without the haste. Before I started to write this, as I sat at my desk this Saturday morning, I felt rushed to get as much work done as I could. Although nothing was urgent (and I’m sure I have plenty of time at home in the coming weeks), my mind is trained to keep up with my obligations any time I have the ability to. I wrote a blog last year called “On Pacing” which serves as a reminder to slow down on the rat race. Today, with our paces being involuntarily slowed and our resources being cataclysmically stripped away, it’s important to rest in our one true provider.

“So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? Or my drink? Or my clothes? Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” -Matthew 6:31-34

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.

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


52 things I did while living in Colorado

52 weeks & 52 highlights, but a whole lot more than 52 things.

1. Accomplished my #1 bucket list item of seeing Odesza perform at Red Rocks.

2. Went to a Rockies baseball game with my Aunt Bonnie.

3. Flew first class on July 4th on the way back from Joey & Melicia’s wedding.

4. Went to my first rodeo with my coworkers.

5. Went whitewater rafting with Amy down the Arkansas river on my 20th birthday.

6. Went on my first overnight trip alone to Leadville.

7. Went camping in Moab with Jasmine.

8. Admired the aspens in Crested Butte.

9. Got my Wilderness First Responder Certification.

10. Endured 4 months of anguish trying to get my cat to me.

11. Got tattoos with Rachel & Hannah when they came to visit me.

12. Went to Rocky Mountain National Park with Brianna.

13. Made a new best friend.

14. Hosted my first Thanksgiving at my apartment & cooked with my dad and grandparents.

15. Went to a Broncos football game with my Aunt Bonnie.

16. Finished reading the entire Bible.

17. Started my first monthly blog series.

18. Visited Jasmine in San Francisco.

19. Did a Daniel Fast for 21 days.

20. Taught a cooking club for kids.

21. Tried skiing for the first time.

22. Became a ski technician having only skied one time the whole season.

23. Planned my first event with over 300 guests.

24. Went camping in Albuquerque with Yajaunte.

25. Tried cryotherapy while spending the day with my mom & Rich.

26. Chopped my hair off.

27. Went to the hot springs with Reilly in Pagosa Springs.

28. Got stuck in a snow storm on the way home from Pagosa Springs.

29. Finished (& won) my first entire game of (National Park) Monopoly.

30. Visited 5 National Parks.

31. Got two days off of work from a bomb cyclone.

32. Rode out the blizzard in the best ways possible with Brooke, Mason & Jordan.

33. Watched Yajaunte & Keevin get married in Waialua.

34. Started my master’s degree.

35. Went 14,115ft up to the top of Pike’s Peak.

36. Had my coworkers make me the biggest, sweetest basket on my last day of work.

37. Went on lots of day trips to Denver & Boulder.

38. Went on some really lame dates.

39. Gave up online/app dating as a result.

40. Finally went to the movie theater by myself.

41. Learned how to salsa dance. Then forgot.

42. Had two successful hand surgeries.

43. Sorta figured out what I want to do with my life. At least more-so since this time last year.

44. Recorded 70 miles & 31 hours of hiking.

45. Healed from a broken heart.

46. Led a group of high schoolers on Sunday nights to grow in discipleship.

47. Loved on more kids than I can count.

48. Was driven crazy by them too.

49. Lived alone and loved every minute of it. Even the ones that were lonelier than others.

50. Hosted 8 friends & 5 family members who were so kind enough to spend their time & resources visiting me.

51. Drove 1,800 miles with my dad back to the east coast.

52. Talked to lots of people about Jesus.

Pray like it depends on God, and…

Prayer never goes out of style.

For as long as I can remember, starting in childhood, I’ve struggled with anxiety in a number of different capacities. As I got a little older throughout middle and high school, depression started to creep in alongside of the anxiety. I spent years going to therapy and taking numerous medications to try and combat what I had been dealing with. Both definitely helped. By the time I got to college I had stopped going to therapy and eventually got off of all the antidepressants I had been on. And while I’m confident that I am in a world of a better place now than I was then, I’ve accepted that those things will never really go away entirely.

Anxiety is something that I face on a near daily basis. I’ve found many helpful ways to cope, but the panic attacks still present themselves on occasion. Depression on the other hand, has almost been a non-issue for a while now. While life events can cause seasons of sadness, I have grown to easily distinguish the difference between normal feelings of being down and the depression I used to feel every day. While I had hoped that living in Colorado would help keep my happiness up throughout fall and winter, this past week has reminded me of a bitter friend of mine: seasonal depression. It’s almost like I woke up one morning and felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks that felt all too familiar. I suddenly began to feel every non-desirable emotion, every day, for no explainable reason.

Once I accepted that these feelings of depression were not okay for me to continue dealing with, I was determined to make a change from what I usually do when this happens. In the past, I’ve just let the feelings fester until something just changed on its own. But this year, I’m making the conscious decision each day to dwell in God’s presence instead. To be honest, it’s not always easy and it’s not always fun. I sometimes have to force myself to listen to uplifting music instead of sad music that will only make me feel worse. I have to choose to keep spending time in the Word instead of wasting my time away with TV, social media, or whatever else can be a distraction from what God is trying to say to me or do in my life.

My grandpa recently sent me a care package that included a book I’d been wanting to read for quite some time: The Circle Maker. I am absolutely certain that God got my hands on that book exactly when I needed it. I read fairly regularly, but with this book I spent almost all of my free minutes working my way through it. Because of it, I’ve been praying more than I have in a long time. While other spiritual disciplines are not typically a problem for me, like reading my Bible and going to church, I find myself often forgetting to pray when I truly need it. I just allow myself to wallow in my negative feelings and hope that God will pull me out of the pit. But after finishing this book, I got one key principle for me to focus on: pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on you. 

This was exactly what I needed to hear throughout this time of year for me, and author Mark Batterson made it easy by repeating that line many times throughout the book! I so often succumb to my feelings of despair because it’s easier than trying to do something about them to feel better. But that is not what the Lord has called me to do. I have to make the daily decision to trust His sovereignty and put in the effort on my side of things to help Him, help me get to where I want to be.

I remember during my worst times of depression in school, I was unhappy with where I lived. I felt like I didn’t belong, like I was meant for more than my small town, and that frustrated me. I probably prayed 100 prayers asking God to get me out of that place–both physically and mentally. Now here I am, living in one of the most gorgeous places out there, feeling like this is where I was meant to be all along. And it’s all because God brought me here, honoring the work I put in along the way to get my education and advance myself through my career. He numbered my every step until they led me right to Colorado, right when I was supposed to be here. He has proved faithful to get me through 100% of the hard times I’ve faced so far, and He will continue to do that for the rest of my life when I’m willing to put Him first in my life above all the noise.

So while the cold weather seasons may be a tougher time for me (and I’m sure many of you), I trust that God will bring me back to a place of joy when I’m constantly seeking Him in prayer even when I don’t feel like it. I guarantee He will do the same for you.

P.S. Read the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson!! It was truly life-changing for me and I’m believing the same for anyone else struggling with feeling distant from God.

P.P.S. I drafted this post a couple of days ago, then this morning I watched my home church’s latest message online. It was about our value of “Pray First,” in which our pastor mentioned the same exact saying that was repeated throughout the book! Only God.

National Park Tour 2018

Featuring 5/61.

I love parks with all my heart. There’s nothing better to me than a place of natural beauty to recreate & relax. That’s why I bought a Colorado Parks & Wildlife pass as soon as I was considered a resident, and why I’ve made it my mission to visit as many U.S. National Parks as I possibly can. I accidentally (!!!) got a free (!!!) National Parks pass while on the job one day. In that moment I knew it was God’s way of confirming the desire I’ve had in my heart to not only visit, but also help preserve the natural resources & views He’s given us on this Earth. Hence the National Park Tour of 2018, where I visited five parks in a month, alongside some wonderful friends.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve


My roommate Amy & I made the three hour drive to this park at the end of August. We rented a sandboard and sled to goof around on the ginormous dunes, which ended in some gnarly wipeouts & loud laughs. On the way home we decided to take the scenic route, which added an extra hour, a coffee stop, & a brief lapse in Amy’s vegetarianism when we scarfed down a couple burgers at one of my favorite restaurants.

Rocky Mountain National Park


I had been dying to go to RMNP since the day I found out I was moving to Colorado. Trey and I have known each other since kindergarten, but it had been nearly three years since we had seen each other once I moved to the city he’s going to school in. We drove up north one Sunday when we were both finally free to spend the day reminiscing, catching up, & hiking around this stunning park. 100% guarantee I will be back very soon.

Canyonlands National Park


My best friend Jasmine flew in to spend a week with me this September. It was such a blessing to be with each other again after spending about four months apart after moving away from college. She shares my infinite love for National Parks, so it was a no brainer that we wanted to spend our time together checking a couple new ones out. Canyonlands was the first, which we spent a couple hours exploring after driving from Grand Junction, CO the night before.

Arches National Park


Jasmine and I camped at Arches, which was genuinely a dream come true for me. We somehow made putting up a tent in Moab heat fun (despite us taking turns complaining to the other), did some grilling & stargazing, then woke up the next morning for a hike to the famous Delicate Arch. The road trips to these Utah parks & back were half the fun of our trip together!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


The last park on my tour was a solo visit. I went to Black Canyon while I was completing my Wilderness First Responder certification course in Crested Butte, on our day off. It was so calming to spend time not only by myself, but with myself taking in the beauty of “Colorado’s Grand Canyon.” After my visit here, only one more National Park in Colorado to cross off the list!

I wish I knew how many hours I’ve spent calculating the distance between Colorado Springs and all of the National Parks in the country (trust me, it’s more than you think). I truly can’t put into words how thankful I am that God placed me somewhere where I can easily access so much natural beauty, which brings more joy to my heart than I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wait to continue my journey of visiting park after park for as long as I’m blessed to be here!

Not Afraid to Fall

The seasons have nothing on me anymore.

Fall has never really been my season. Not because I don’t like it–believe me, I could not be more excited for sweater weather, the changing of leaves to my favorite colors, or the holiday festivities. Bad things just tend to happen to me during this time of year.

For the past three years, I’ve had some pretty dramatic life events take place in the September/October time frame. Cliff notes of Fall ’15, ’16, & ’17: I got myself into some trouble, totalled my car, & had a highly adored relationship end. Because of these things, I’ve had some trouble getting into the autumn spirit this year. To be perfectly honest, I’m terrified that something negative will happen again. As great of a place as I’m in now that I live in Colorado, I can’t help but feel like I’ll have to come down from the high at some point, & that naturally it’ll happen in the pattern that it has been.

I used to be a pessimistic realist. I would have a grounded view on what could happen, but with expectations of the worst. However recently I’ve been slowly transforming into an optimistic realist. I figure out possible outcomes, prayerful for the desires of my heart with faith that God’s will is sovereign over my plans anyway.  But now that fall is here again, I’m struggling to maintain that mindset. Ever since I found out I was moving to Colorado, an answered prayer to be placed somewhere that feels so authentically like home, my testimony began to evolve. I could have been called to move essentially anywhere, but God chose to bring me to a place where I’ve become more fulfilled in him and happier with myself than I ever have been. But of course, this didn’t mean that I would magically become perfectly content in every area of life.

In the time since I’ve fully settled in, I’ve been dealing with some heart issues. Haven’t we all? Whether it be bitterness, rejection, or resentment (a few of mine), anger, unforgiveness, or guilt, these things affect the way we perceive our circumstances. Thankfully, I’m wildly aware of those emotions and how they’re affecting my daily life. I talk to God about them all the time, & do my best to work on improving, but it’s never easy. In the thick of summertime, it was much simpler for me to ignore the parts of life which had me feeling that way. However with the change of seasons, this year in particular is coming with many changes in my personal life. Pair that with my history of ill-fated autumns & it’s a recipe for worry about the months to come.

Lately I’ve been running out of my positive momentum, and it’s been easy for me to feel like the good has run out on me. To feel like God’s giving everyone what they want except for me. I often neglect to remember how far I’ve come or how much I’ve been given because of the emotions that cloud my vision. I wrongly choose to focus on my losses instead of my gains. I fear that my waiting seasons will last much longer than I hope for & the inconveniences in my life will be much worse than I plan for. I only see what other people have that I don’t, instead of realizing that I have everything I could possibly need.

As I enter into my jinxed time of year, I’m struggling to maintain the optimism that I take pride in. What if my circumstances don’t take a turn for the better? What if I have to go through another loss this fall? It’s during these times of questioning that I have to remind myself of a powerful truth: despite any circumstances, I have everything I need in Christ. It doesn’t matter what this season holds for me, because there is nothing I can’t face when I put my trust in the one who holds the universe in his hands. I will choose to see the remainder of this year as an opportunity for growth, self-improvement, and contentment. Whether something unexpectedly wonderful happens, or the “trend” of events continues, I will see it as God teaching me to make the most of exactly where he has me, when he has me there.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13