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: June

Leaving Colorado, an(other) 1,800 mile road trip, & settling in to Virginia.

I feel as though this month has the potential to be the longest or the shortest monthly I&A blog. Seemingly overnight, everything I knew my life to be in a moment shifted to a familiarity of a life I’ve lived before, yet as someone entirely different than I was then.

My investment this month was in my ability to feel comfortable with, and content in change. I did not talk about it with anyone too much, but every day has been a struggle to accept the change of life’s seasons. The beginning of the month was filled with a countdown of days left in Colorado to do as many things that I had wanted to do, in a short amount of time. Balancing the anticipation of finals and the big move with trying to enjoy my last couple of weeks was difficult. Half of me wanted to embrace each moment I had left there, while the other half wanted to rip the band-aid off and settle into my new routine. Thanks to some amazing friends, I was able to find joy in the finality of a transformational season which I did not want to say goodbye to. But the goodbyes were said, and in the beginning it didn’t feel real. I’m now trying to completely accept the new swing of things: a drastic change in my surroundings (no more mountains serving as my compass), physical distance between me & the friends I’d made, school work consuming the vast majority of my free time, not having my own place, reminders everywhere of an era I wanted to forget– the list goes on. Accepting all of this change has taken its toll on me already, but I know God will continue to give me the strength to embrace it with grace.

My adventure of the month was the 1,800 mile road trip across the country with my dad! It started with a car-sized game of Tetris to fit everything I had left with us. Besides a case of lemonade and a too-tall hamper, we got most of it. We left immediately after I took my two finals for my first summer session of school, getting 500 miles under our belts and staying in Kansas. The second day was the longest, since we woke up early, hit the road, and continued until after sunset. After staying in Kentucky, we left early again the next day and made it home to Virginia by the afternoon. My sweet cat Abel was an ANGEL, much to our surprise. He barely made a peep the first two days. On the final stretch, he was clearly getting sick of being cooped up, but one pit stop did the trick to quiet him down for the final hour or so.


Overall, this month has forced me to change my perspective more than I’ve needed to in a while– but that’s a good thing. God has been calling out to me to lean more into Him as I begin a new chapter of my life, despite what feels like a spiritual attack I’ve been facing. But when that happens to any of us as Christians, we can trust that God is up to something bigger.

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.

Investments & Adventures: January

Fasting for 21 days, improving my health, & a trip to California.

When I felt prompted to start this blog last year, I knew I wanted to write for it on a consistent basis. I didn’t have any structure to it, so for 2019 I decided to make a “prompt” for myself to write to at the end of each month. A little while back God spoke a word into my heart that I wrote into the notes app on my phone so I couldn’t use “forgetting” as an excuse. The word was investment. I was challenged to think of what I am investing in each month. To me, along with investments come adventures. So that’s what this year will be about for me. Investing in things that matter and trading that in for the adventure of new places, improved relationships, and changed lives. To write of these things each month is to allow my future self to remember how God moved in my life, and to share my writing is hoping someone else may choose to invest in the important things.

January & February are usually pretty rough months for me for a number of reasons, so in anticipation, I decided that I wanted to start the year strong by intentionally investing in my health (physical & mental) and my relationship with God.

I started 2019 by completing a 21-day Daniel Fast consisting of a diet including nothing but fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole wheat grains. My intention for this was to surrender some simple luxuries within my diet, which would allow me to remember my absolute need for God when cravings for unnecessary things creep in. I spent extended time during those three weeks in prayer & other spiritual practices which allowed me to hear God’s voice & see His hand better in my life. I did this fast with my church back in my freshman year of college, but I was not successful due to what I believe were ulterior motives. Over six months before 2019 began, I decided that I would do this fast again, but do it right. I got my grandparents & my dad to join me on this journey, which was a great way to set up a support system as we often texted pictures of our meals & checked in with phone calls. I’m proud of myself for committing to this fast as I know it brought me closer to the Lord, because what He’s done in my life & in my heart since then is already irrefutable.

Since the fast, I’ve stuck with a cleaner diet which incorporates many more nutrient-rich foods than my body had been used to. I definitely won’t be cutting out cheese again anytime soon, but I think God’s okay with that. In addition to eating healthier, I’ve begun exercising more than I ever have, too. Right before the beginning of the year, I got a Fitbit and a gym membership and forced motivation onto myself to start taking care of my body. I’ve finally realized the importance of the fact that our bodies are not our own; they were bought with a price. So we should glorify God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). So I now go to the gym 5-6 times a week, follow a specific program, and keep track of how this increase in exercise affects me. I’ve already brought my resting heart rate down ten beats per minute! I have a ton more energy than I used to (which I can attribute to diet, exercise, and investing in a good old fashioned eight hours of sleep) which allows me to be a stronger vessel for what the Lord wants to do in my life.

To combat what I assumed would be a tough month, I planned a trip to San Francisco to look forward to so I could spend a few days with my best friend Jasmine. I booked my flight just a couple of weeks beforehand after frantically texting her asking if she would be free that weekend. She was finally able to show me her home, which lucky for me included countless beautiful viewpoints & places I’ve never been. Since I was fasting the first few days, we spent my last night going all out with fondue & then stopping by In-N-Out Burger on the way to the airport. My flight was at 1am, I got into Denver at 4:30am, then drove over two hours home in a blizzard before heading to work. Talk about an adventure.

It’s been a transformative month for me that will set the tone for the rest of the year. I look forward to the many adventures God has in store for me as I continue choosing to invest in things that matter. If you’re reading this, you should invest in some of those things too.

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