November 16, 2015

Even When it Hurts Like Hell


Sometimes my heart simply gets overwhelmed – overwhelmed with tragedy, sadness, loneliness, hurt, longing, insecurity, worry- sometimes all of those at the same time.

 I find myself in this place as I type. I’m sitting in the quietness of my apartment absolutely broken hearted over a valley one of my friends must walk through without the ability to run over to her house, sit on the couch, and just love on her. Yet, in my broken heartedness the song “Here Now” by Hillsong Worship comes on and I immediately reminded of His presence – here now – in every circumstance and in every situation. I’m aware that while I can’t be there, He has never left her side. I am aware that in the depths of sorrow He is fully present.  I know that in brokenness He provides a peace that surpasses understanding. But, then again, I realize that is exactly who Dad is…He is the most beautiful of contradictions.

He is peace in the midst of chaos. He is the comfort that makes no sense in the midst of the loneliest of seasons. He is joy in the depths of our pain…even when it hurts like hell.

This post isn’t meant to be super profound, but just a reminder and hopefully a glimpse of hope, if you find yourself in any of those places now.

He is near. Now. He desires to be your beautiful contradiction. He desires to give you joy for mourning, beauty for ashes, and songs of praise instead of despair.
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November 11, 2015

The Tragedy of Great


I was sitting in a class the other day and our instructor had all of us write down a goal we wanted to achieve. Then he went through and asked us a series of questions we had to write an answer to around that goal. Questions like: How is not doing this a problem for you? What do you need to start doing to make this a reality? What would your life look like if you achieved said goal?

After we went through this our instructor picked out people at random and forced lovingly encouraged them to be vulnerable and share their goal. One girl he picked on in our class is an insane songwriter. She has come out with her own CD and has preformed her songs in front of millions of people. But…she hasn’t written in a long time for the fear that her next song won’t be great. She had such a high level of expectation for herself and the things she wrote that it paralyzed her from writing at all thinking what she wrote next might only be good.

Then and there in that classroom I couldn’t help but wonder how many books have never been written, blog posts have been left in the draft folder, messages have never been preached, opportunities have been turned down because we might not be great?

In all honesty about 90% of what you create will just be good; 20 percent of it might even be down right bad. But if you refuse to create anything you will never uncover the 10% that is great. You will never create the song that sets people free. You will never write the book that caused people to look at the world differently. You will never bring people into the truth with your great message. If you don’t create, 100% percent of your God entrusted gift will not be serving people in the way it was intended to.

What are you not doing, what are you not creating, because you are too afraid it will not be great?

If you're always great, then there is no real reason God needs to show up in it. You clearly already have it under control. But when you are only good and something great comes out of it you know it must have been God. The good is God's playground for greatness.
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November 9, 2015

Melbourne Fall Street Style - The Power of Shoes and Accessories

As the weather changes into Spring here in Australia, all of you back home are pulling out your cozy sweaters, boots, and snuggies winter capes while sipping your Pumpkin Spice Latte's from the glorious red Starbucks cups. I have to admit, fall is my favorite season and I get a bit jealous thinking about those red cups and sweaters...until I remember I am going to the beach today. 

But in honor of my favorite season I thought I would share my favorite fall outfit and also show the difference a change of shoes and accessories can make to the entire outfit.

This wardrobe change wasn't actually planned, but while we were on our short trip to Melbourne the one pair of high heel booties I brought, which are adorable and normally very comfortable, weren't cutting it. We walked 26 miles in 48 hours {:not exaggerating:} and I needed some serious comfort in my life. Converse to the rescue. 

What's your favorite way to change an outfit?  



H&M Scarf & Hat // Converse // Kohl's Sweater {:similar:}
 Meyer Boots {:similar:} // H&M Jacket {:similar:} // AE Black Denim
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November 6, 2015

My College Kitchen: Easy, Budget-friendly, Paleo Chicken Casserole


I told you a couple of weeks ago how I am really trying to clean up my diet, not for any desired look {:okay maybe a little bit for how I want to look:} but for my healthy. I want to be healthy. The pace of my life these days seems to be about that of a cheetah on the way to kill its next meal. And I have realized the importance of what I fuel my body with for these marathon days, weeks, and months. This isn't a pity party I invited y'all to; I love my life, but it is full so what I eat matter now more than ever. 
So my dilemma has been - how do I eat these well balanced, full of nourishment, I love my body enough to give it what it needs and not what it wants meals on a college girl's shoestring budget? 
I have done a ton of Pinteresting, reading, and research and it basically comes down to planning and strategizing. {:You were hoping I wasn't going to tell you the same things everyone else has been telling you, weren't you?:} Good news is I have done some of that research for you and can now just share the goodness, yeah?
Today's meal is one I originally found here and I have just adapted it and made it work for me. Oh and by the way I would never share anything that was similar to cardboard or rubber...these recipes are yumm-o and all non-Paleo housemate approved!
Ingredients: 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms
  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth {:homemade if strict Paleo:}
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cooking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cook the chicken over medium heat until no longer pink.
  • Take two forks and shred the chicken.
  • Prepare the casserole dish by using 1 of the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to grease the dish.
  • Steam the broccoli florets until barely cooked and set to the side.
  • With the other teaspoon of coconut oil sauté the onions and mushrooms in a pan adding salt and pepper to your liking. Remove from heat.
  • Combine the broccoli with the mushrooms and onions and distribute evenly into the casserole dish. Distribute the shredded chicken over the broccoli, mushrooms, and onions evenly.
  • In a separate dish combine the broth, coconut milk, eggs, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk.
  • Pour the mixture over the other ingredients in the casserole dish evenly and make sure all the contents are covered.
  • Cook for 35-40 minutes, allow to cool for 5 minutes and Bon- Appetite!

This dish gave me six generous meals. I put three in the fridge for the week and I put the other three servings in the freezer to eat on busy days. It freezes like a dream and was the perfect meal to pull out in the morning when I knew I would get home late and have no desire to cook. 

Hope you all love this dish as much as I do. It is a southern food-lovin girl's Paleo dream. 
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November 4, 2015

Salmon and Tomato Religion


"I don't like salmon." 

I have claimed this for 28 years {:well give or take a few since I didn't talk for at least one of those and probably didn't even know what salmon was for a couple of them as well:}. I also would have told you that I don't like tomatoes. Until I realized I do. I don't even just like salmon and tomatoes. I kinda love them both. 

So where did those statements come from? 

As far back as I can remember I can recall my mom telling people she did not like salmon or tomatoes. Therefore, she never cooked either. So instinctively, without ever really giving either food a fair shot, I  decided and started declaring I didn't like them either. 

Earlier this year, I started thinking about this and laughing a bit. Why didn't it dawn on me that I actually might have different taste buds than my mom? Then I started thinking beyond salmon and tomatoes and more about things that really matter like core values I have, morals I stand on, and even Biblical truths that I hold to be, well, true.

I started asking myself the question of "why do I believe what I believe?" 

This is a tough pill to swallow for the girl who has always just taken things at face value. I realized that just like my mom’s statement about salmon and tomatoes, I had become a parrot of other people’s beliefs as. 

For me, If someone told me your shirt was blue, that was good enough for me. I didn’t need to go read a scholarly peer-reviewed article to investigate if what they said may be true or ten arguments to the contrary. If you said it was blue, that color will hence forth and forever blue. Done. 

Then I came to college, sat in a stinking class called Theology and my life got flipped-turned upside down {:you are welcome all you children of the 90s:}. I was being pushed to ask myself the question ‘why’ constantly: Why do I believe that God is healer? Why do I believe that a person cannot lose their salvation? Why do I believe that marriage is good? Why do I believe you shouldn’t wear pink if your nails are red? Why? Why? Why? 

Just like my opinions on salmon and tomatoes had been passed down from my parents so too had many of my thoughts, beliefs, and truths that I based my entire life around yet hadn’t taken the time to investigate or even just think through what they meant for me.

I've realized I'm not the only one. Many of us grow up with other peoples religion and other peoples experiences and just take them as our own. We believe in Jesus because our Sunday school teacher with the cool felt board Jesus holding the lamb told us he was real. We believe God is a healer because one time we heard a story about some woman in Africa that was deaf and her hearing was restored. We believe that Pentecostals are hooky-spooky and weird and Baptist are strict and women can’t wear pants and don’t dance.  We believe so many things and even believe them with fervor and conviction. Yet when we are asked why we believe these things, if we are honest with ourselves, we would say it is because our parents believed it or someone else had an experience so we simply took what was their truth, their reality and made it our own.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for you to live off of other’s revelation and truth. There is, but there is also a time to try the salmon and tomatoes for yourself.


What truth is God stirring your heart to ask ‘why’ about? It could just be the thing he wants to solidify in your life. If you’re brave enough I double dog dare you to comment with what question you are asking ’why’ to today. I'll start...
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November 2, 2015

Wonderlust Wanderings: Life's Not Always Beautiful...But Sometimes It Is




Just three short weeks ago I was waking up to the smell of salty air, the sound of crashing waves, and the feeling of absolute contentment in my soul. It was college break and it was vacation time. 

Ten of my friends and I packed up and took on a road trip through Australia to go to one of those vacations where all you can think as a college student is "I totally should not be able to afford this!"

The road trip was only three short hours but every second of it was stunning. We traveled through mountains that would rival West Virginia's all while singing to our favorite songs and chatting with these <<< two beauties.             We were on our way to Jervis Bay - a beach known for having the whitest sand in the world. It is so beautifully white that a beach in Hawaii imports the sand from Jervis to the Hawaiian beach. Which is, of corse, the only reason I would call a picture of my feet acceptable {:In case you are new to these parts...I HATE feet:} 


Yeah, it was definitely a pinch me vacation.

The first two days we were there, it wasn't even beach weather {:as you can probably tell by our sweatshirts and hats:}. Honestly, it didn't even matter. That still didn't get in the way of this being an incredible vacation. Our days started with breakfast together then consisted of long walks along the water, Kan Jam on the beach, cards, reading by the indoor fireplace while Mozart serenaded on the surround sound, reading on the beach curled up in fur blankets as the waves crashed, watching movies, drinking coffee at the local beachside cafe, and just loving life at a much slower pace. And that was just our days! The nights ended with family dinner and bonfires filled with marshmallow roasting and stories that left all of us with sore cheeks and plenty of inside jokes.
We even learned a new game called Kan Jam.
Has anyone else ever played this before?



The days went by way too fast, but on our last day we all got up while it was still dark to watch the sunrise. There was a bit of cloud covering that morning so we weren't sure how much we were going to see. It took a little more patience, but when the sun peeked over those clouds and reflected on the water, it proved to be a morning I won't soon forget. It was beautiful! We soaked it in, took a lot of pictures, and made some lasting memories. Then, we hurried back to the house, ate breakfast together one last time and then packed up so we could head out to the beach before we headed for home that evening. The weather was suppose to be gorgeous that day, and oh boy - it did not disappoint!





Leaving paradise wasn't so easy but the memories sure are sweet....and I am totally going back there before I leave. Now, who is coming to visit me??



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