Sunday, December 29, 2013

reflections of the year.

inspiration: goodbye 2013, hello 2014. hello opportunities. hello new adventures.

I love to be able to give each year a "theme". but in looking back, i have no idea what 2013 was for me.
it was a year of a lot of things.

stretching.
growth.
adventures.
engagement.

it started off with the Daniel Fast where i prayed and fasted through some work goals.
ran my fastest half marathon right before my 24th birthday.
i went on a mission trip to Kenya - amazing.
i got engaged!

but when i think about where i want to be in 2014, there are a lot of areas where i feel like i want and need to improve. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

a stronghold in times of trouble

inspiration: an incredibly tough season

a few months ago, the Lord put the words "fortress" and "stronghold" on my heart. i began pouring through Scriptures and i wrote down about 18 different verses. and i'm glad i did. in this very moment, i'm reading over these words and these are truly words of life.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble. -Psalm 9:9
 

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;    the righteous man runs into it and is safe. -Proverbs 18:10 

The Lord is my light and my salvation;    whom shall I fear?The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;    of whom shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1 


Monday, November 4, 2013

just a few thoughts.

inspiration: just some random thoughts floating about...

This has no real order or purpose, but wanted to give a few updates and praises.

  1. The most common thing I'm asked is how wedding planning is going: It's ... going.
  2. The second most common thing I'm asked is am I excited: DUH!
  3. Holden and I just finished pre-marital counseling and it went really well. He and I had some good conversations during the counseling sessions and we've had good conversations as a result of pre-marital counseling. 
  4. I've realized how important reading and running are to my sanity. Currently re-reading The Circle Maker and also reading Ender's Game.
  5. Weddings are expensive, even when planning on a budget.
  6. Holden and I are leading a small group for Seacoast's "NEXT" series. I'm excited about this and praying that the Lord will use this time to prepare us to lead another small group after we're married.
  7. I bought bowling shoes a few weeks ago and I'm hoping to buy a bowling ball in the next couple paychecks (It will smell like birthday cake. True story).

Also, in honor of November being the month of thanks:

November 1: I am so thankful for grace; thankful that God loves me too much to let me stay where I am; thankful that He has a plan for me.

November 2: I am thankful for Holden; thankful that the Lord blessed me with a man who will lead me, fight for me, encourage me, and push me to be all that I am created to be.

November 3: I am thankful for my family and the family I'm gaining in a few months; thankful for their support, encouragement, and love.

November 4: I am thankful for my job; thankful that even though it's hard at times that I can work for a company that's innovative and forward-thinking; thankful for awesome co-workers and a fun environment that's pioneering education.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

March 15, 2014

inspiration: sometimes our desires and the Lord's plans for us are in-sync, sometimes they're out-of-sync. sometimes, we just have to ride it out and see just exactly what the Lord has planned for us.


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
    neither are your ways my ways," 
declares the Lord.  
As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
   so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9 

Last Saturday morning, Holden, his parents, and I went to see the venue where we're getting married. It's beautiful, romantic, everything I had hoped it would be! There was a lot of anticipation before the trip and I was so excited when we got there, met the owners, talked with them, then left. It felt so perfect.

But Sunday night, I got some hard news from my dad: my mom isn't doing well. He asked if there was any way we would be able to get married in TN because they wouldn't be able to travel to SC.

I cried.
I cried because of my mom.
I cried because of the shock of being excited and then being devastated.
I was confused and upset.

I imagined getting married in Charleston in the fall.
But the Lord has different plans for us.

Holden and I made the decision to get married in Tennessee in the spring so that my parents can be there.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"See what had happened was..." - My engagement story

inspiration: i'm getting married!




I can't believe it!! But before I get too ahead of myself, I just want to share some pictures with the story.
(NOTE: I have a basic phone so my camera quality is ... lacking. But hoping you will look past the poor quality of some of the pictures and notice the high quality of the story that Holden and I have :))

Our story starts far before we were dating and before I even knew who Holden Hughes was.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

my piece of the puzzle

inspiration: fitting where i was meant to be placed

...of all nights, i should've been passed-out-dead-to-the-world-with-drool-on-my-pillow two hours ago.
i've worked 1-10 the last four nights (well, 2-10 on Sunday, if you want to get technical) and today, i worked 9-8.
i'm exhausted.
i have a day of plans tomorrow (with a follow-up do-nothing Saturday).
like i said, i should've been asleep two hours ago.

but i'm not.
and i believe firmly that it is because the Lord has given me words to write.
...and He actually wants me to type them out this time, not just think about them and doodle about them in my journal.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

challenged.

inspiration: reading "Kisses from Katie" and studying Colossians

today, i went back to Seacoast (Dream Center) for the first time since before i went to Africa. we started a new series called "Deeper", a study through the book of Colossians (or as Holden likes to joke: "Col-OCEANS", because the roll-in video was filmed at the beach and it's called "Deeper"...he's silly).

but it was a good sermon for me.
i'm NOT a history buff, by any means, but i always love hearing the context of the books of the Bible.

but what i learned today was it was a letter written by Paul to the church of Colossae (which i already knew), but Paul had never been there (didn't know this). The church of Colossae was started by Epaphras, who was saved during his travels to Ephesus.

but Paul was so very encouraged by the Colossians because of the way they loved one another.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you...
-Colossians 1:3-6a 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Africa: An Overview

inspiration: it's 4:45 AM and i can't sleep....

i returned a little over 24 hours ago from the most amazing experience of my life.
i'm still definitely on Kenya time and missing the simplicity of life, but i'm going to take advantage of the "insomnia" and technology to try and process through some of the amazing things that happened....


Sunday, June 30, 2013

before i go....

inspiration: four days until i'm on a plan bound for africa.

i feel as if i haven't really fully processed what's about to happen.
the thought hit me like four point six seconds ago: i'm really about to do this.

i just got home from my team's final meeting - our packing meeting.
we arrived with our bags (only allowed 25 lbs). we weighed. rearranged stuff, unpacked stuff, repacked stuff. then we filled our bags with candy, bubbles, crayons, books, all sorts of things that we will give to the kids and families while we're there. we packed and weighed some more.

but this is it.
my bags are literally packed for an amazing trip on which i'm about to embark.

Friday, June 7, 2013

a mighty fortress

inspiration: fortress, stronghold, refuge

about a week ago, i felt the Lord speaking to me through words like "fortress" and "stronghold" and "refuge".
ive been going through Scripture and finding where these words are used. so far, i've come up with 13 verses (and i'm still searching) that have really given me strength.

fortress
    • a military stronghold
    • a heavily protected and impenetrable building
stronghold
    • a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack
    • a place were a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld
refuge
    • a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble
    • something providing such shelter

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

trial by fire.

inspiration: refined like silver

so update.
i'm leaving for Kenya in ONE MONTH!! so excited.
i still need to raise $700ish (our costs went up).
if you'd like to donate, go to http://www.seacoa.st/thewellkenya, select Pay as Guest and choose my name.

but in other news, i've been held to the fire, lately.
http://www.clarion-call.org/extras/malachi.htm

Monday, May 20, 2013

power to the weak.

inspiration: standing on the promises of God


He gives power to the weak 
and strength to the powerless. 
Even youths will become weak and tired, 
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. 
They will soar high on wings like eagles. 
They will run and not grow weary. 
They will walk and not faint. 
-Isaiah 40:29-31
it's been a long couple of weeks.
but i am standing firm on the promises of God.

i pray daily for wisdom
and strength
and to be a light to those around me.

i pray for guidance
and to lead well
and to humble myself.

i know that God has a plan and purpose for the trials i'm going through.
he is holding me to the fire and refining me for his glory.


For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. -Psalm 66:10

what promise are you clinging to today?

Monday, May 6, 2013

experiencing provision.

inspiration: the affirmation of God's call for me.

preparing for Kenya has been an up-and-down journey.
these last few weeks have been especially roller-coaster-ish.

i knew that God had called me to go this year. a couple years ago, the seed was planted. it wasn't ready to be harvested last year, but at the beginning of this year while i was doing the daniel fast, it was confirmed that i would be going this year.

but i didn't know how.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

adventure to africa.

inspiration: I'm going to Kenya this summer!

i love mission trips.
they provide us true experiences to live out the Gospel, love others, and serve the Kingdom.
and guess what, we're commanded to do just that in the Great Commission.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:16-20
what the Great Commission looks like for each us is different.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

blank pages.

inspiration: those moments of waiting.

at some point or another, you've had to wait for something.
maybe that something was big.
maybe it was small.

im a pretty impatient person.
i don't like waiting.

but something that i'm constantly being remind of is that even though i'm waiting. God has a plan.


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:8-9

this is a scripture i've been wrestling with for a while.
what are God's ways and thoughts for me?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

finding fulfillment.

inspiration: ecclesiastes 3:1


There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.
-ecclesiastes 3:1
i have the most amazing boyfriend ever.
i know everyone says that about whomever they're dating.
but in my eyes, mine is the most amazing.
we are the perfect embodiment of "opposites attact"
i'm 4'11". he's 6'5" (that's an 18-inch height difference, just FYI)
i have a computer science degree with a concentration in web development (software)
he's pursuing his electrical engineering degree (hardware)
i'm a Type-A to the core; he's laid-back and plans as he goes.
i hate confrontation and conflict; he loves rocking the boat.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

dear nineteen year old self.

inspiration: a few weeks until another birthday.

so i have a birthday coming up in a few weeks (5 weeks + 1 day, to be exact). but i've had it on my mind recently to blog about what the last five years have looked like for me. there are things i wish i knew, things i had paid attention to, choices i would've made differently had i known...

so here it is.
a letter to my nineteen year old self.
a reflection of what i wish i had known back then.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

extending some circles

inspiration: being challenged to pray an even bigger circle around africa

so, if you didn't know this before, now is the time you'll learn: this summer, i will be going on a mission trip to Turkana, Kenya and spreading the Gospel to people over there who have never heard of Jesus.

i'm super excited.
it's a huge step outside of my comfort zone and i'm not really sure how God will use me, but i'm excited about all the opportunities that lie ahead.

Monday, February 11, 2013

asking seeking and knocking ... again.

inspiration: tonight's message at theWell.

i'm not well-versed in spiritual gifts.
but i can pretty much with all boldness say that my spiritual gift is NOT prophecy.
i've never been one to say "i feel like God is going to move in this way" in my life.
but, God gave me a strong sense that 2013 would be a year of prayer and dreaming...
...and God never goes back on a promise ;)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

i once was a pharisee...but now i truly see.

inspiration: i once was blind, but now i see

tonight was the first night i have been to a large group worship night with theMix - it was awesome! i estimate there were around 50ish or so people, which is incredible! it's been incredible to connect with so many awesome people and to be in a great community where God is working mightily every day!

tonight, Travis preached the story in John 9 about a blind man who had a very personal encounter with Jesus. i've read this story many times and know the symbolism and faith behind the blind man's encounter, but tonight, i heard with different ears.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"search me..."

inspiration: Psalm 139:23-24

this is a brief prayer journal entry i wrote a couple days ago.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139:23-24
This month (January) has been a huge month of growth for me. i began it with a 21-day fast and while my eating habits have gone back to what they were before (although, i am consuming less soda, sugar, and processed foods), there are prayers that i'm still circling - especially at work.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

immeasurably more

inspiration: daniel fast in review

i know it's not over yet, i still have 3 days to go, but i wanted to share my Daniel Fast experience because it's been incredible. you can read how i was prompted to do the fast but i will definitely proclaim Ephesians 3:20 on this one!

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

The NIV uses "immeasurably" more...
I just love the idea of something being immeasurable. As humans, we see things in terms of the laws of nature, but to know that God has something that is "immeasurable more" than  our minds can comprehend or understand is mind-blowing.

But i truly believe that God has done just that over these last two-and-a-half weeks.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

blog coming soon.

inspiration: i miss writing on my blog.

so, the last 2+ weeks have been interesting.
definitely want to blog about my daniel fast experience thus far :)

but one quick thing that i've realized in doing all this: fasts change you spiritually and physically.
i'll blog more about my spiritual journey later, but i've realized just how beneficial doing a fast is.

i've had to be much more intentional about my food intake and what i'm eating.
i began this fast in a worrisome state because i didn't know how fasting (without meat, primarily) would affect my training. i worried about getting enough protein and carbs. but now that i've been eating fresher produce, no meat, no carbs, no processed food, no sugar, i'm feeling better, therefore, i'm running better, and because i'm running better, i'm more confident! i ran 2 miles in 18 minutes yesterday! that's 1 minute per mile faster than my average pace!

God has revealed great things to me so far this year and especially through this fast :)
while i do miss meat, dairy, and bread, i believe that after this fast, i will still try to eat as organically and as vegan as i can, knowing that God will give me strength to overcome cravings for sweets and such.

can't wait to unload all of what God has revealed to me so far!
but for now, i must run....literally. four weeks into my half-marathon training!

I can do all things through Christ! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

starting off 2013 with a ... fast

inspiration: Seacoast's annual Daniel fast

every year, Seacoast kicks off the New Year with a three-week fast.
many do the Daniel Fast, which is a fast where one eats only fruits, vegetables, whole grains (not bread), legumes, nuts, etc. and only drinks water; essentially, no meat, dairy, sugars, processed foods, etc. there are a lot of "what-about-this...", but i'm learning as i go with everything.

this is the first year i'll actually participate and this is the first time i will ever fast anything food-related.
it's going to be an incredibly difficult thing because i love my meat and sugary treats; when the announcement came last week about the kickoff for the daniel fast, i instantly resisted. i rationalized it with "i'm training for a half-marathon. i can't give up meat!" but the other night, i was reading "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson and he mentioned praying and fasting like Daniel and i immediately felt the Holy Spirit calling me to make a sacrifice and to participate in the fast.


i immediately began Googling recipes just to feel out how hard it would be.
with every link i clicked on and every "small victory" i came across, i felt the Lord melt my hardened heart.
with every blog i read, i felt the Lord say "Trust me. I will provide"
with every comment and question i read, i felt peace about my decision.

fasting isn't about "checking-a-checkbox" in order to receive God's gifts.
it's an act of worship and an act of surrender to God.
just because i fast won't mean that His plans will fast forward to me.