Healthy Lifestyle, Passion & Purpose, Personal Journey

Running in Circles: a case of identity

The stories and photos are literally at our fingertips, especially in light of social media. People who are making a difference. Organizations that are running effective programs that impact thousands. Problems being solved. Lives being changed. I love reading stuff like this; it’s inspiring. But I’ve also come to realize that, if I’m not careful, it becomes a slippery slope. It’s easy for me to compare myself to others, especially those working with other non-profits or ministries. Not comparing in a way that is judgmental of them, but condemning of myself. “I’m not doing enough” or “they are way more effective than me” run through my head more than I’d like to admit. And so I begin the mental checklist that can basically be summed up in two items: Do more. Be more. And so I strive, oh I strive. I aim to help more people, listen to more sermons, read more inspiring books, learn new skills, pray more, do more things that make me feel like I’m doing more and being more. Check. Check. Check. The list gets marked off. But really, I’m running in circles because checklists don’t get to the root of the issue (shocking, I know). […]

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Healthy Lifestyle, Passion & Purpose

Encouragement for the single in a new town

Perhaps you got a job in a new town, moved to work with a ministry in another country, or are in school far from family and friends. Whatever the reason may be, you are now in a new place and quite by yourself. To the single who moved away from everything familiar and is feeling a bit lonely, I get it. New chapters and new locations are exciting, as it usually includes the unfolding of things you’ve planned for and dreamed of. But let’s be honest, while traveling somewhere on your own can be a bit intimidating, moving on your own to a place where you have no close friends or family can be downright scary. As a single girl who moved to South Africa, I understand. There are rough days. Sometimes you just want to go to a coffee shop with your best friend and talk about life (because let’s be honest, a FaceTime call just doesn’t quite do it). Sometimes you wish you could drive over to your parent’s house for the evening. But the reality hits that you can’t. And it’s hard. Please don’t give up. I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of […]

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Personal Journey

Through the eyes of 21-year-old me

I recently came across a journal entry from early 2016 that went something like this:  God, I don’t understand what you are doing in my heart. I don’t understand how all of this is supposed to fit together. Photography, videography, missions, storytelling, kids, church, a lifestyle of love – all of this is welling up in my heart and I don’t know what I’m suppose to do with all of it… Everything seemed like an unknown. I felt like I was holding a million tiny puzzle pieces that didn’t fit together or, if they did, the picture they made was confusing. How in the world were these things suppose to connect? Little more than 2 years later, I’m sitting looking out my window at South African bush; every one of those things I mentioned in the journal entry now a part of my normal life in some way. I don’t share this to declare, “Look how far I’ve come!” I share this as an encouragement. In the moment, it’s often hard to see the bigger picture. Standing with those mismatched puzzle pieces in hand, it’s hard to imagine how they could fit together. In many ways, I’m still discovering it. And, honestly, […]

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Personal Journey, Travel & Adventure

Experiencing Waterfalls

Knowing about something and experiencing it are two completely different things. You can know about ice cream, for example, but knowing about it doesn’t equate to experiencing it’s smooth texture and creamy flavor. I’m all about the experience when it comes to nature. I don’t want to just know about things. I don’t want to just see a picture of it. I don’t want to just view it from afar. I want to experience it. I recently went hiking with some friends. As we hiked along the canyon floor, we came to a place where you could take short trek down an adjoining ravine. You climb up some rocks and into a 20-foot-wide gorge with a stream at the bottom, doggy paddle across a small pool, carefully maneuver the shallow water by balancing against the ever narrowing rock walls, go around a corner, and end up at a waterfall. I didn’t want to just know about the waterfall. I didn’t want to just see it from afar. I wanted to experience it. I wanted to feel it’s mist hitting my face. The pulsing of the water as it rushed from the falls and over my feet and legs. The sunlight […]

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Travel & Adventure

10 questions to ask your friend who traveled abroad

Your friend comes back from traveling abroad and you sit down together at a coffee shop, freshly brewed lattes in hand. And then comes the age-old, well-meaning (but dare I say, dreaded?) question: “So, how was your trip?” I’m not bashing the question – I fully understand that it’s the first one that naturally comes to mind. I still catch myself asking it from time to time! But let’s be honest here – it’s broad and hard to answer. So much happens on trips to another country, and asking a question like that can leave people unsure of what to share and wondering if you are just looking for a general answer like, “It was good!” so that you can move the conversation along to another topic. Perhaps they were studying abroad, on vacation, doing a short-term missions trip, or away for a longer period of time. No matter what the reason was, traveling to another country and experiencing a new culture can be quite difficult to process, let alone summarize in a few sentences. As their friend, I’m sure you genuinely want to know how their trip was – you don’t just want a generic answer. And I’m sure […]

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