Gifts Used for Growth

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be, now and forever.” This was my reminder all through high school and into my college days. I needed to remember that 1) God was holding me and 2) He could use me exactly where I was standing.

I’ve been starting to recognize the irony of the situations God places us in. He has given me the gift of writing (or so I’ve been told), and a passion for literature and writing. Yet, I have some major issues with vulnerability. I can fake it well, I can seem like an open book. I also can be vulnerable with select people, but to be vulnerable to anyone and everyone who happens to stubble across my blog? That’s a bit terrifying. I’ve always been a private person. I still talk to people, there are always people who know what’s going on in my life, but it’s limited.

A little while ago, while talking with a mentor, I began to realize that writers must be vulnerable. Anyone who writes anything, in any form, is being vulnerable. Whether you’re writing a blog post, song or poem, you are revealing something about yourself. Some forms of writing are revealing your deepest hurts, frustrations and weaknesses. All characters we write are related either to us or someone we know. All story plots have a little pieces of our real-life stories connected. All song lyrics hold some emotion that was found somewhere within yourself.

How funny is it that God would use the very gift He has given me, a strength, to push healing and growth in one of my biggest weaknesses.

I’m not always the best at being completely vulnerable on here. There have been many a post that I have scraped because I feel like I’m revealing too much of myself. Of course, I do have to use discernment in this area, I can’t share just anything, but I still aim to be real and relevant to anyone who reads.

Take a minute to think about your gifts and your weaknesses, and I bet you’ll find some connection there.

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?!

Have a blessed day!



Go Back

We seem to be a future-driven society. I’ve talked about this before in past posts. From a young age we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. In jr. high we start taking personality tests that lead to career results. In high school all the focus seems to be on college, degrees and careers. Future, future, future.

Planning for the future isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we lose a lot when we are only focused on the future.

BUT, I’m not writing today to talk about how we need to be focused on the present. I’m writing to take a step back, look on the past and see how far we’ve come.

Think back to this time last year. Think of how much you have grown, learned and changed in just the past year. Pull out an old journal if necessary, and read about what problems surrounded you a year ago. Walk through all of your familiar places, and find the differences in your world today.

Although I think dwelling in the past can sometimes be discouraging, I do think that reflection is valuable.

There is something to be said about progress.

A year ago, I had only been back from my three months in Honduras for a couple weeks and was still in a foggy, reverse-culture-shock state. I’m pretty sure it was around this time that I went to the grocery store to buy orange juice and was completely overwhelmed by the wall of options, as opposed to the big or small sizes available in Honduras, that I left the store without buying anything.

I hadn’t started with youth ministry yet, and now it is the highlight of my week. There is no other form of ministry that I would rather be doing right now.

I’ve learned so much academically and in my spiritual walk that it makes me giddy!

God is so good!

So, take a moment to step back, reflect on the past year and think about how far you have come. Think about all the positive changes that have happened to you or that you have made. Think about your growth in Christ. Think about the sour or unhealthy relationships that you walked through and away from.

It is far too easy to only look back and see all of the trials, and miss all the triumphs. God is more than the valleys, He is the victory on the mountaintops. 

If you look back and you’re disappointed, then this is just as valuable for you. Look back and see the things you missed, the problems you wished were different. And do something about it. Reflection is only valuable when we use it for improvement and growth.

It won’t all be good, because we are broken people living in a broken world, but pray that God would reveal to you the progress you have made!

Look back, reflect and move forward!

Have a blessed day,


Hair Growth: Part II

first photo
So I’m laying on my bed, reading about “The Centrality of Carbon to the Organic Molecules of Life” (riveting, right?) when it hits me like a ton of bricks…soft, squishy bricks. I definitely missed my 3 months hair growth post.


Three months came and went and two months beyond that (so five months, for those of you not great at math, not unlike me) I’m finally getting around to posting about the beast. I’ve decided that’s what it is going to be called until it turns into something beautiful (hopefully) someday.

Pixies are a wonderful thing, they truly are…unless you’re a person who loves change and gets bored with hair easily. Then it becomes this annoying, awkward mop just resting on your head. Mid-August I wrote a post about growing out my pixie, and with it were pictures of my hair, after growing it out for a month.

I’m now a little over 6 months, but I feel as though I’ve gotten nowhere. For those of you suffering along with me, growing out a pixie, this post is for you. Not only do you get to see my hair a tad longer, but I will also show a few hairstyles I use to get me through the most awkward of phases.

My hair now:

Three Sides

As you can see from my last post, it has grown out quite a bit, it just doesn’t feel like it. A couple weeks after being home from Honduras, mid-October, my sister-in-law gave me a mullet-trim, and did some extra work with the style, so that it wouldn’t feel so moppy growing out. Weeks and weeks later, I gave myself a mullet-trim. Two weeks afterwards, over Christmas week, my sister-in-laws mother (former haidresser) chopped off tons in the back to make it look somewhat decent. I feel like it’s already getting to a place of being shaggy and gross.

I can’t quite tuck my hair behind my ears yet, because this happens:


I’m not sure of anyone that can pull that look off well..and I’m hoping that in about a month, my layers will be long enough to be tucked behind my ears and not poof out so much.

If you’ve looked at any other blogs about growing out a pixie, you will hear that headbands and hairpins will be like a gift from heaven, and they aren’t wrong. They truly do make all the difference! I’m a girl who likes simple, quick fixes (hence why I chopped all my hair off), so these are all simple things that only take a minute or two to do!

1) Tucking one side behind ear:

pulled to side bobby pin

My hair poofs out, as shown above, unless I use a bobby pin to secure the hair down. You can do this by either twisting your hair away from your face, or doing what they call a “fake braid”, which I will show in another style, and securing with a bobby pin.

2) Tucked hair with a bow/flower:

tucked ear bows

Ignore the awful exposure..I had to change it so you could see my flower pin. These are small flower/bow clips and pins you can get super cheap. Two of my favorite places for these pins are Wal-mart (surprisingly) and Forever 21. They go in easily, and you can wear them with a lot of different outfits!

3) Fake braid along hairline:

fake braid

(Ignore that extremely attractive picture of me while in the process of braiding…) This is and has been one of my favorite things for a few years now. I love it because it’s quick, can be done without a mirror, and looks a lot more complex than it is. You do the same thing you would with a french braid, except with only two strands of hair! As I mentioned earlier, you can do this on the other side to get the hair out of our face. This one is especially great for the days your bangs just do not want to cooperate!

4) Elastic headbands:

elastic headband

I have a few other “hair wraps”, but this one is my absolute favorite elastic headband. I have always had trouble with these because they never stay on, but this one is fantastic (and reversible, can you tell I’m excited!?)! These, you obviously just slip over your hair. They can also be worn with a fake (or real) braid to hold back the rest of your hair! I got this headband from Rue 21, and Forever 21 also carries great headbands, elastic and plastic/metal!

5) Plastic/metal headbands:

plastic metal headband

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love bows and flowers. Plastic and metal headbands can pull back the heaviness on the side, or to completely tuck your hair behind your ears. Again, they work great with your bangs braided back!

To close, and mostly for my own satisfaction, is a one month and sixth month comparison of my hair growth:

1 and 6 monthsThanks for checking this out! Smell ya later…


Future Hoping

We, as a generation, or maybe even a society, spend a lot of time looking to the future. I believe that a lot of that is beyond our control. From a very young age, children are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Children are always playing house, classroom and other games that they act as adults. As children get older, they begin taking personality tests and career tests in 7th and 8th grade, to start preparing their minds. Then in high school, students are bombarded with this constant question of what they’re doing with the rest of their life. They take classes about careers, they take tests to show them what career would be best for them, they have meetings with school counselors about their future, they plan their classes around what they want to do after high school. Then they move on to their university or college of choice, and within two years of basic courses have to have an absolute decision on their major by their 3rd year.

It seems crazy to me!

How can a twenty-something, or younger, know what they want to do for “the rest of their life?” They can’t! We can’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone 20 or 30 years. You could have a gaggle of children, and a stay at home parent. You could be the bread-winner for your family. You could still be single. You and your spouse could both work full time. You could be diagnosed with a fatal disease. You could have a child with a disability. The list goes on and on, of things that we can’t plan for. Sometimes life takes you on an adventure that you least expected, and we miss all of the adventure. We miss the lessons we could have learned, and the sights we could have seen.

Not only are we constantly looking and planning for years in the future, but we are constantly living in the future. Wishing for this, hoping for that and planning for all things in between. I know, it’s a difficult habit to end, and often times I don’t think we realize what we’re doing.

This trip has helped me to realize how much time I spend planning for the future, and completely miss present moments. I’m so focused on an end-goal that I lose track of what’s really important, right now.

Teaching children really helps to realize this. As an example, one week in Honduras, I was teaching about jobs, and when I asked the meaning of “chef” in Spanish, one of my students raised his hand and said “Mami”. I was so focused on getting them to the end-goal of understanding what these jobs are, that I almost didn’t stop to enjoy the moment.

Moments come and go so quickly. I’m not sure what the solution to the problem is, or if there even is a solution. Is it possible to fully live in the present, while still having a grasp of the future? I believe we need to have a rough idea of our future, and having goals is important. I also believe that we miss too much of what is happening around us because of our own plans.

What moments have you been missing, and how can you truly live in them?

Have a blessed day!


New Year

Last night, I sat in a room with some of my closest friends, bringing in the New Year with laughter. As we sat and read the texts, tweets and FB posts that appeared on the screen, it continued to be people wishing for world peace, health and wealth, and to break bad habits. These are all great things, but what are these people doing to actually get there, to encourage world peace or to find wealth?

Why is it that we wait until December 31st to make goals or decide to break unhealthy patterns?

Each year, I come up against this, and each year it seems to hit a little harder.

Shouldn’t we be spending each day working towards goals and dreams that we have set for ourselves? Why does it take a specific, and for some a special day to make goals and even decide the steps it will take to get there?

I’m not saying that New Years resolutions are a bad thing, but we all know how often they are not kept or pursued. Often times, we get to the end of the year, and can’t even remember what we decided for the year before. It seems that we’ve set up this system that wants greatness, wants betterment, and yet there is nothing there to support it. These things don’t simply happen, they take effort, work and ultimately drive.

I remember when I was quite a bit younger, and was babysitting with a friend a couple nights before New Years Eve. I told her that my biggest New Years resolution was to stop gossiping. Her response to me was that it was impossible not to. That challenged me, in many ways, because the Bible warns us of gossip and what sort of character that builds (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 101:5). Gossip ultimately destroys relationships, and even at the age of twelve, I saw that and wanted no part in it.

Here my friend was, telling me that my biggest goal, was unattainable. That automatically set a low standard for me and my resolution changed from stopping gossip, to gossping less.

If you made resolutions this year, I strongly encourage you to have an accountability partner. Someone who can keep you to what you decided against or for. Not someone who will tell you it isn’t possible, or that when you fall and mess up, to just give up.

This year, I didn’t set any goals. The past two months of this year, have proven to be very promising and I have set goals months ago that I will continue to work on throughout this year. It didn’t start today, and it doesn’t end tomorrow, it is continuous.

I had an extremely challenging 2013, yet I would do it all over again, given the chance. I grew in ways I didn’t know possible and changed in very positive ways that completely God’s doing. I do not want that to be something I let go of, ever. I don’t want to get to the end of 2014, and not be able to say the exact same thing.

I believe that having a successful year, involves challenging the very core of your being. It means putting yourself in places that you have the opportunity to be used by God, and to grow. Be with the friends that challenge and encourage you. Let go of the relationships that draw you to take steps backwards. Make attainable goals, long and short term, and have someone keep you accountable.

There is an amazing Saviour that offers us a new beginning each and every day (Lamentations 3:22-23). That is the biggest encouragement to me, to know that the same One who knows all my faults, screw ups and mistakes, gives me a fresh start every day. Just as He offers me a clean slate, so I should offer myself that same new beginning. It shouldn’t be a yearly decision, but a daily decision to start anew every morning!

Don’t let this be another year of missed, forgotten or given-up resolutions. Instead take every day as a chance to be a better version of yesterdays shadow.

Have a blessed day, and a Happy New Year!

Seeking the Kingdom

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (NCV, Matthew 6:33).

In small decisions, seek Him.
In significant decisions, seek Him.
In wins,
In losses,
Seek Him.
When life is completely dark, seek Him.
When life is full of light, seek Him.
In times of confusion, seek Him.
In times of wisdom, seek Him.
In trials,
In triumphs,
Seek Him.
When you feel weak, seek Him.
When you feel strong, seek Him.

God always has something new to show us. No matter where you find yourself in this year, in this day, in this minute, God wants to teach you something. He wants to teach you how great His love is. He wants to teach you just how precious you are to Him. He wants to help you grow in ways you never thought possible. Our God is not a God of small people or small things, He is magnificent and He created you in His image! What does that make you?! Magnificent!

He created you for a reason, and He has a purpose for you. Not just for your life as a whole, but for your life in this very moment!

Don’t go one more minute without first seeking Christ; without first acknowledging who He is. Train yourself to seek Him first. It is our tendency to depend on the advice, opinions and emotions of others, but God has so much more for us!

Without a doubt, having a circle of friends, a support group, is so important in our spiritual walk, yet they cannot be our sole dependence in these moments. Even when life is at its best, God still has something new to show you.

Train your mind to seek first the Kingdom!

This is what I’m learning and working on right now. God is reminding me to be reaching for Him first – always! It is extremely challenging, sometimes even frustrating, but never is it disappointing. Since I have been truly training my mind and heart to do this, I have grown in immeasurable ways! I have so much ahead of me in this, and sometimes that scares me, but God reminds me that this is necessary. It is necessary for me to stop depending on human beings, and instead depend solely on Him! It is necessary for me to strip away my desire to please others, and instead work to please Him alone!

As I seek Him, these old, poor habits are slowly fading away and being replaced with new ones. These new habits are full of God-given joy, peace, grace and love. He is creating in me a new spirit, and I am slowly shedding my past hurts, wounds and frustrations. It is painful, oh so painful, but God never fails me. Exactly when I think I can’t keep working through this, God reminds me of His many promises for me.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says:

“Surely you know.
Surely you have heard.
The Lord is the God who lives forever,
who created all the world.
He does not become tired or need to rest.
No one can understand how great his wisdom is.
He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
Even children become tired and need to rest,
and young people trip and fall.
But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky;
they will run and not need rest;
they will walk and not become tired.”

We cannot even begin to understand the blessings God has in store for those who follow Him. I’m learning what it means to rest in Him; to receive His strength and to depend on Him in every moment.

All I can say to complete this, is that we serve one wildly-amazing God!

Have a blessed day!