Saturday, May 31, 2014


One year ago today I touched Chadian soil for the first time. It's kinda shocking how fast the time went by. The time in Chad went by ever so slow at first, but since then time has zoomed by me like a whirlwind.

This time last year my heart was tangled up in all sorts of emotions. I was ecstatic, anxious, sad, and terrified all at once. I knew I was doing something big. And yes, I guess going to Africa for six months without my family or anyone really familiar was a little crazy. (I don't really know what my sixteen-year-old self was thinking.) But I also have realized that it's not the biggest, craziest thing people do and it's (hopefully) not the biggest, craziest thing I'll ever do.

Who knows if I'll see Chadian blue skies or feel the heat of Chad again. I don't feel like I'm supposed to go back right now, but I have a feeling that Chad hasn't seen the last of me. God has so much more in store for the Chadian people and I would really, really like to be a part of it.

(If you want to read more about my trip click here.)

(I think I had just nailed the perfect shot or something . . . photographer probs.)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

my town is cool

My town is cool, because it's small.  There's street concerts hosted by local musicians during the summertime. And people draw on the sidewalk. It's cool.

(We also have coffee shops and plenty of antique stores, too.)

You should be jealous or you should come and visit me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

struggles and weaknesses (aka scary stuff)

I wanted to talk about something that I don't feel like is talked about enough. It's easier for me to get my thoughts out through writing, but I decided to go with a little more of a scarier route -- a video. So here's a video where I talk about some things I've struggled with. One specifically was hard for me to talk about, because I don't talk about it with other people much. But I want to be more open and honest so here I am. Sorry if it's a long video, I didn't even feel like I time to talk about everything.

If you watched the video, I want to say that yes, I do think that to being a Christian involves believing. I also think that to fully live life you've got to be able to believe. While believing is a part of this Christian faith, it's not only belief. There's scientific evidence that a creator made the world.  I've seen evidence of people's lives changed because of Jesus. One of the biggest evidences has been in my own personal journey with God -- I know that I'm not lying about the changes in my heart, and so I'm either crazy or Jesus is working in my life.

There's a lot of things I struggle with besides doubt. Just sayin'. I'm not exactly sure if doubting is considered a sin or not, but if it isn't, I do sin. I'm not proud of it and it's ugly, so doubting isn't my only weakness.

And lastly, I wanna say that I'm 17 years old and I don't know everything. My ideas or beliefs could change, but I always want to be looking for truth. So if you don't agree with everything or even anything that I said, that's okay because I'm not saying that I'm 100% sure I'm right. I've still got a lot more to explore and learn.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

summer goals

School ends on May 30th. The exciting thing is that learning never ends. And I can't wait to learn this summer, because oh boy, I've sure got a lot of learning to do. 

Here's what I wanna do this summer. They're not plans. Plans can change any moment. They're more like goals. 

I want to finish up high school and be done. This means more ACT test taking and studying, but more time later in the summer to start learning interesting things. Like learning latin or greek (which one should I try?) and reading good books. I want to read a lot this summer and I want to write about what I read. I want to write more of my almost-deserted novel and blog more, too. I want to keep learning about guitars and how to play them. (By the way, my guitar's name is Jude. heeeyy Jude . . . jk.)

I want to take more photos and start photography as a business, not just as a student trying to practice a hobby. Which is kinda scary for me, because sometimes I feel like my photography is awful. I have learning to do, remember? I want to sketch again in my art journal and paint. And just be creative. I feel like all creativity has been sucked from my brain lately. Blah. 

I want to run like I used to and go for hikes outdoors. I want to go exploring new towns and places, because seeing new places makes me feel happy and alive. I want to meet new people and not worry about how awkward I might be. 

I want to keep working at Harvest Café & Coffeeshop. I want to make good food and eat good food. 

I want to be home more and I want to take my sisters and brothers more places. Or maybe just do things at home with them more. 

All those goals seem good and I'm sure I'm leaving more good ideas out. But I feel like a lot of what I just wrote was screaming me, me, me! I don't want to be all about me. If I did want to be all about me I would be living in a lie, because it is not all about me. 

It's about Jesus and other people. I'm not here to be about me. I'm here to be about Him. So this summer I hope I get to do all the things above, but mostly I want to get closer to Jesus. I want to take time to get into the Word and I want to take time to digest the Word. I want to listen to other people and I want to care about other people, not rush by them. 

I have a lot of learning to do. And sometimes I feel like I'm just beginning. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


If you've kept up with the blog for awhile, you probably have heard me talk about my friend Natalie before. And you've probably seen pictures. So here's more of both.

Natalie likes to talk, but she's always ready to listen. I love how honest she is. As I said a long time ago, and as she likes to remind me, "Be authentic." I like how we can talk about the most sobering subjects one hour and the next be laughing our heads off.

Natalie has such a servant's heart and it's neat and challenging to see Jesus work in her. One day we were talking about college and marriage and all that crazy stuff. Then she said something that stuck with me. "I want to get married one day, but I don't know when that'll be. I just think it would be cool to do a bunch of service projects and serve other people until I get married."  What teenage girl thinks that way? I keep thinking about what she said, and wow, that shows some maturity and selflessness.

Natalie (since I know you're reading this) here's to more deep conversations in antique stores, free hot chocolates from handsome baristas, walks in the freezing cold, scary car-rides with me, adventures exploring streets with our cameras, and sleepovers with peanut oil. You're the best and we're going to get together soon -- I promise.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

do what you love

I was watching this video while in awe of how astonishingly beautiful it was. And I was thinking, "Why don't I watch more stuff like this? Why do I waste time on the internet when I could be doing things on the internet that I actually love doing?"

Why do I spend hours scrolling through facebook or reading dumb articles when the internet could be used for so much more?

I could be actually reading someone else's thoughts through their blog. I could be writing down my own thoughts. I could be looking up tutorials on how to freelense. I could be finishing that long-forgotten email. So why does that latest music video or online clothing sale look so appealing?

Is it because it's easier? Because it takes less effort?

I'm not saying we can't ever buy that cute top or watch the top worst xfactor auditions (those are fun, by the way).

I just wanna know why we don't do more of the things we love. You know, the things that leave us satisfied and full in the end, not wanting more.

Maybe we do the things we don't love because it's easier in that moment. Maybe it's because everybody else does it.

Let me say something. Don't ever, ever do something that leaves you empty and feeling worthless in the end just because you feel like you have to do it. Or because everyone else is doing it. Maybe they feel empty and worthless, too.

Find what you love and do it. Yes, there will be times when it's hard and you're tired. Then you'll want to give up. But if you really love doing something, in the end you'll know it'll all be worth it -- because you love it.

So even if it's harder and even if nobody else is doing it, do what makes you come most alive. Do what you love.

Thursday, May 8, 2014