life change. WHAT.

As most of you probably know, about a week ago my life changed in a big way. A Big Way.

The Professor drove up to Kentucky to surprise me.

Which he totally did.

With a diamond ring.

Which I totally died over.

That’s right, friends!


Soooo crazy!! I still cannot hardly believe it. I keep looking at my left hand to make sure it wasn’t really a dream (which it most certainly still feels like).

I’ll publish a blog soon about the proposal story, with toooooooonnnnns of photos (because believe me- it’s worth it’s own post. We’re talking fairy tales and lifetime channel movies). (Seriously, though. Prepare yourself for the legit onslaught of photos). But I wanted to go ahead and make some important announcements before my facebook gets out of control. It just seems easier and more manageable to share all my big newses here, and answer any questions there.

So, for those of you who don’t know yet….


Oops. Sorry. Wrong announcement.

ACTUAL ANNOUNCEMENT: my last day at my current job, with the sweet girls that I nanny will be November 26th. It’s extremely difficult for me to imagine my life without seeing those faces every day, but I know even better things are around the corner.

I will be officially moving to Gainesville, Georgia (where the Boo is) during Thanksgiving weekend. It’s kind of a time crunch to get everything in, but as my lease runs out on November 30th, we decided it would just be easier to bring my things down with me when I go to his parents’ for the holiday (rather than making two trips).

That being said, there are some major things I’d like to request your prayers for:

Please pray that I am able to downsize my already-downsized life, and that the things I do decide to keep can find a Kentucky home for a few months until The Professor and I find a place of our own and can bring them down. Neither of us really own any furniture (and I really mean nothing) so please pray that we can find some great things for affordable prices in the coming months.

Please pray that I find a job quickly- and one that will bring me joy and satisfaction, as well as the ability to pay bills and save up for our wedding. (OUR WEDDING!!!).

Please pray that my transition into a new community is smooth and easy, and that I find my own friends outside of my relationship to The Professor.

Please pray that we find a church to call home. It’s so important to us both that we graft ourselves into a community outside of work- one that will offer us opportunities to join a small group, serve our town, and grow together in the Lord.

Please pray that we find the perfect starter home. Again, we’ll be starting from scratch in this area, so pray that he will have great insight into places to look, that we will be given great favor in our search, and that we find the home that will serve us best during our first few years of marriage.

Please pray that we continue to keep Christ front and center as we move into the challenging season of Actual. Wedding. Planning. Pray that he will keep his patience with me and that I will offer him respect and support during particularly stressful moments.

Please pray that as I prepare to move away from my Vineyard Church community- away from my dearest friends and loved ones, that I will guard myself from a spirit of comparison, and that I will eagerly look for any and every opportunity to plant myself in a new place and start growing… the way that Christ created me to.


Mostly I just want to say thank you. A biiiiiig thank you to all those of you who have loved and supported me, who have encouraged and challenged and discipled me. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for you. I’m so excited to walk into this new season with my soon-to-be-Husband (whaaaaaatttt), and I look forward to sharing all our crazy milestones with you. May God bless you and keep you until we meet again!

gosh, this boy.

tiny writing: asia

originally posted at

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to get here. Since I was 12 years old I’ve been dreaming and scheming to get to Asia.

And I have finally arrived.

I sit here on the floor in the Hong Kong airport, waiting as my squad mates exchange money and visit clean bathrooms, and I daydream about what this month is going to be.

Month 10.

Friendship Evangelism with college students.


There are not enough words to express how my heart feels, so I’m just throwing up as much as I can onto this computer, hoping I can transmit the feeling, the energy, the emotion that comes when a dream becomes reality.

The mountains surrounding the Hong Kong harbor greeted us as we approached our landing.

The harbor itself, full of barges and small ships… so much bluer than you think it should be.

The thrill of a billion people walking around one tiny space.

Like I said, not enough words.

But here I am and here we go, and I am thrilled and nervous and excited and hopeful and expectant and anticipatory about how God is going to show up in this very real, very tangible dream.

Here’s to Month 10 and my 16-year-old fantasy!

how to make friends on a bus/train/plane/boat/donkey

originally posted at

All these suggestions have been tested by personal experience (either mine or my teammates), so if you’re looking for a way to add to your community, try some out:

Introduce yourself
Say “hi” in their language
Ask their name
Give your name
Coo at baby
Ask to hold baby


Offer chips from your newly opened bag
Or cookies. Cookies work just as great (and sometimes better)
Ask to take photo of them with whatever cool thing they are carrying/traveling with

(my new friend Juan, a music teacher-turned-entrepreneur preparing to open
his own cafe next week)

Share your music via one headphone (you have the other headphone) (so it’s kinda romantic)
Offer your travel pillow to a weary traveler
Try to get a really sweet photobomb and then share

(okay, so I didn’t share this one…but it’s still really sweet)

Comment on their shirt/bracelet/hat that you like
Snuggle with them while sleeping (this can get iffy, so be careful)
Ask to hold their pet chicken

(my new friend Faith, a hippie Quaker from Pennsylvania, and her green chicken Picante)

Ask where they are from
Sing them a song
Stand up so they can have a seat (and then smile) (but don’t fall)
(this was, in fact, in the middle of falling)

Wink at young child
Buy food/drink from traveling vendor and hand to random person
Help them put their belongings on the overhead rack

(ok, so maybe this isn’t the best technique, but hey- it worked)

Help them get their belongings down from overhead rack
Share photos of your family.
Ask to see theirs.
Be okay with overcrowding. Smile. Laugh. A lot.


The whole idea is to use your travel day to your advantage. Try not to sleep the whole time- there are more people to meet, places to see, and experiences to be had. Live life abundantly!

oh, COME ON, jesus!

originally posted at

Let me tell you a little story about my life.

Route Change. Two words I’m not excited about.  But they’re here, and they’re happening.  This is actually Route Change #2 for our squad.

I chose this route originally because of the four January routes to choose from, there were two that were going to India. This route (#3) and route #1 (M Squad). I thought a lot about the differences between the routes, and I prayed about it. I also looked at the other countries listed. Of these two routes, M Squad was going to Rwanda and we were not. Having watched the movie Hotel Rwanda a time or two, I have been sufficiently terrified out of ever having a desire to go there.

So I sign up for Route #3, O Squad. To India I go, and not to Rwanda!

Well the first thing God does, almost immediately, is take India off of our route.

I really went through a grieving process. I really, really wanted to go there.

But I got over it.

Now… as of today specifically, our route has been changed once more.  Instead of heading to Tanzania (whaddup Kilimanjaro?!), we are going to- you guessed it:


Are you kidding, God?! The one place on my route I really wanted to go (and I forfeited other places I wanted to go on the other route so I wouldn’t have to go here), you took away.


You are hilarious, Jesus.

I know You have a plan. And I know it’s an awesome one. But, COME ON.

I like Your sense of humor.

Bring it on, Jesus. Where You go, I go!

best birthday ever [photo recap]

originally posted at

Hung out with some Mayan teenagers

Played Uno with people who live on the street in a bus terminal

Painted the nails of pregnant women who live in the bus terminal

Uncovered princesses

My whole team being awesome

Played soccer with guys recovering from alcohol/drug addiction

My surprise party! haha, just kidding

Instagram of the incredible cookie cake my team leader made for me

It was a really, really great birthday. #blessedbeyondunderstanding

travel day: guatemala

originally posted at

Jesus has taken it upon Himself to romance me today. We are currently sitting at the border between El Salvador and Guatemala, in a Tica bus. Tica must be Spanish for “sweetest bus on earth, with air conditioning, tv screens, and uber-comfy, over-stuffed couch seats”.

We’ve been on the road for only 2 ½ hours AND the bus was early. We even left early.

Jesus has further pursued me by motivating someone on our squad to start a movie on the overhead screens. I love movies. The movie was Step Up 4: Revolution.

Wait, wait, wait. I love movies and dancing! And we get to watch a movie about dancing? Oh my!

It was a really enjoyable 2 hours. On a squad full of tomboys and manly men, we got to watch a movie about dancing. I love it.

I was really happy to watch the movie. I felt like this was a moment where God was revealing Himself to me in the little things.

BUT THEN someone decided to put in another movie. LES MISERABLES.

So I got to watch a MUSICAL.

I was a theatre major in college. I love musicals. I love dancing. I love movies. Thank You, Jesus, for romancing me in the little ways.

One of my squaddies just handed me a cold can of Coke Zero, a drink not very popular in the small towns we’ve been in. I love Coke Zero. I miss Coke Zero. Before this blessing, a different squad mate shared a homemade chocolate chip/pecan cookie from her mom. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite dessert in the whole world.

Not only did Jesus pay attention to the things that I really enjoy, He remembered the foods I really enjoy. I feel like I’m on a date.

Thank You, Jesus for a really sweet, incredibly romantic, overwhelmingly lovely da(y)te.

See ya later, El Salvy

world race reveals… episode 5

originally posted at

I Love Little Boys

Let me restate that. Little boys capture my heart.

I don’t really like babies. I don’t particularly want to hold yours, or coo at it. My feminine heart/uterus doesn’t ache when a brand new baby strolls by in its mother’s arms. I know this is decently blasphemous, and I’ll probably catch a lot of flak for this, but I just don’t. I absolutely want to have my own babies one day, and I will definitely adopt… but I’m just not the kind of girl who fawns over tiny, drooling, peeing, screaming, messy bundles of joy.

I like teenagers. I get along with teenagers. I love their drama, and I love that everything in their world is their WHOLE WORLD. I love that they are old enough to have deep conversations about important things. Teenage girls in particular are the group of people I have felt a calling toward for a long time. Turns out, I love American teenagers. It’s really hard to have deep conversations, or to understand the ins and outs of a teen growing up on the streets of Honduras. As much as I enjoy having broken and hilarious half-English-half-Spanish-totally-misunderstood-conversations with the teenagers I’ve met so far, I’m finding that it’s just a difficult bridge to traverse- to understand and to love them well.

I’m finding now, however, that I really tolerate young children. Surprise! At least, it’s a surprise to me… a SUPER surprise. I told you about my sweet Anderson, who I love so much. The other night our squad was enjoying some worship and sharing time around a bonfire, and Anderson found me, crawled into my arms, and fell asleep. It takes a lot of trust to fall asleep with or near someone you hardly know, and even though the night was cold, my heart was so very, very warm.

There is another little boy who has captured my love. At a ministry up north in the mountains, a 2-year-old boy (whose name I cannot share, so we’ll call him Oscar) has stolen my heart. The first day we were there, around naptime, Oscar was sleeping on a chair opposite me in the family room. He woke up, rubbed his eyes, and then walked straight to me, his teeny arms reaching for me. I picked him up and he instantly fell asleep. He stayed there for another hour, just breathing and sighing, and every once in awhile his tiny hand would twitch on the back of my neck. Heaven. The day after, when we came back to the ministry, another teammate reached out to pick him up and he said, aloud, “No!” He then ran to me, and as I picked him up, he smiled and patted my cheek. These are just things you can’t make up! Later that day, after missing his nap due to some serious outdoor playtime with the other little boys and my teammates (I was helping cook dinner- pupusas, mmm!), I walked outside for a break, and sweet Oscar came running to me. Before I stood completely up with him, he had fallen asleep, and remained there until lunch was served an hour later. After lunch, he crawled back up in my arms, and slept again.

Sweet boy
While I may not know their language well, and they certainly don’t know mine, they do understand the language of touch. They understand love when their little backs are rubbed, when their boo boos are kissed, when their sweet little chubby faces are caressed. They understand love and comfort and being delighted in. In a world where goodness and kindness and gentleness are rare and hard to find, they recognize it. In a world where they fight for themselves, they treasure moments when they can let go and just be held. And when they smile at you, your life, your world, changes.
Look at that face!
I’m not sure what is happening in my heart, and if anything I thought little girls along the way would capture me…but no. It’s the little lost boys of the world who have taken me hostage. The little boys without mothers, without fathers. The little boys without family, but full of hope and joy and laughter anyway. A little boy’s laughter may be the most beautiful sound in the world, and it’s something I now fight for.
There’s no place I’d rather be…

week 1 education

originally posted at


Money Belt: I had the waist one and wearing it under my clothes made me hot and sweaty. Plus it was terrible to have to draw my shirt up every time I needed to get out my passport, buy something, or otherwise utilize the belt in any way. A couple of our squad leaders were talking about how, really, you just needed to live the way you do at home here on the field. Just buy (or bring) a wallet from home, and save the money belt for….well, never.

Drawstring Backpack: My dear friend Ellice gave me a beautiful drawstring backpack for Christmas, complete with my name embroidered on it. Her little girl, Laurana (my heart and soul), has one just like it so we match! The problem is that wearing my big pack on my back and my daypack on my front, it was really difficult to carry a drawstring backpack around in my hand. I should have brought (and I will probably buy one sometime soon) a sidesling bag- you know one of those big purses that have the shoulderstrap. That way I can keep my hands free when traveling with all my dang luggage (which was a LOT).

More Than 2 Pairs of Pants: I really only need one pair of pants to wear running around on our off day, and one pair of pants for manual labor (until you get struck with a flying piece of rock shrapnel from a sledge hammer, you’ll never believe me). The rest should be shorts for working out (every day!), and dresses or skirts to bounce around town (or be respectful in certain cultures). Although once I got out here, I was informed that most girls on my squad were planning just to buy skirts once we get to Africa (the main place we’ll be wearing them)- there they have skirts and dresses in colorful and comfortable abundance.

Camera Bag: Listen. Before you panic, just know that a camera bag makes you a HUGE target to beggars and thieves, it’s bulky and awkward to manage, and you’re constantly dragging your camera in and out of it. Per a professional photographer on my squad, I should just wrap it in a sarong or long skirt for safekeeping, and wear it around my neck/shoulder when in use. One less thing to carry! (And even at this point, ONE WEEK on the Race, this is a BIG DEAL). (No joke.)

Actual Hiking Weekend Pack: I thought I was being really clever when I bought a weekend pack to take as my daypack. It’s a little bigger, it has back support, and all kinds of cool hiking accessories. Well, it SUCKS. It doesn’t carry as much as most of the regular backpacks that racers brought, it’s super skinny so it’s twice as tall (or more) than a regular daypack, and I have to either gatecheck it at every airport, or struggle to force it to fit in the overhead compartment with every other passenger’s bags. NOT FUN. I should have just brought a regular (40 liter or so) backpack. It’ll be cool when I get home, though.


Shower Stuff Holder: I don’t know how to write this any better, but I wish I had brought something other than ziplock bags to hold my shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact case, saline solution, and glasses. Carrying all of that to and from the bathroom, along with clean clothes and a towel is ROUGH. I should have brought one of those small hangy-bag things, that separate everything into pouches, and rolls up like a burrito. Anything to make your life simpler is a really, really, really good idea.

Mesh Laundry Bag: Plastic bags are great and all, but I really wish I would have brought a legit laundry bag. Having dirty, sweaty, smelly clothes just hanging around your tent with you at the end of a long, hot day is not the formula for sweet dreams. Our team leader, Ben, brought a mesh bag with him and has been hanging his dirty clothes in a tree next to our tents. His tent is clean, emptier than the rest of us, and his laundry is kept all together in one location (mine are all over the dang tent). (and smelly). (and dusty).

Probiotics: I bought some, but ended up “not having room.” Blarney! Super important. I was told I could find yogurt (which has probiotics in it) just about anywhere…well, I haven’t found any and I’m sick. Yuck. Bring some probiotics with you!


Kleenex: I got a sinus infection INSTANTLY, and these were LIFESAVING. In a land where toilet paper and Kleenex are expensive and you have very little access to them, bringing some along really made my life so much easier, particularly when our first missions assignment involved playing in dust and dirt.

Baby Wipes: Again, lifesaving. Feet, face…other important areas…. When the showers are freezing cold and water is a precious (not endless) commodity, you just can’t bathe every day.  …Or every other day.  But, again, playing in dirt all day, you need a little somethin’ somethin’ to make your face feel less repulsive and painful.

*Super Sweet Elk-Hide Journal: I find myself wanting to journal more than ever because I think my journal is so cool and fun to write in. I even put airline ticket stubs, stickers, and ministry promo stuff in it. Menus, notes from friends or people I meet at ministry sites….anything and everything goes in there and it’s even cooler.

Ipod: Honestly, being able to sleep in my tent by myself at the end of a day is precious to me. I crave alone time almost more than anything else, and it is really restoring to me. However, in the mornings when I try to spend time with the Lord, just me and Him, often I’m overwhelmed by all the sounds surrounding me: the trucks passing by on the highway (SO loud), the young kids living on the property laughing and calling to each other as they wait for the bus to school, birds in the air, older boys walking around the property doing chores…just so much to see and hear. Having my headphones in and listening to some of my favorite worship music really helps to tune everything out and focus on whatever my sweet Jesus is trying to tell me.  It also helps to have upbeat, fun music to sing and dance to when your ministry is manual labor.

Tervis Mug: I know this is a real luxury, and it really takes up space, but being able to have hot coffee every morning (and to keep it hot) and not to have to share that in my unbelievably-necessary-Nalgene-full-of-water is so, so nice. I know that I’ll be using it quite a lot in the future.

Really Nice Camera: I know people say they get lost, stolen, or broken, but that is seriously a risk I am willing to take. The places we’ve seen just in a week, the faces of the boys on the property where we’re staying- these are things I want to really remember, things I want to share with people at home, and the better the quality, the happier you are with the product. I also brought a little point and shoot, which comes in handy when you’re in the most dangerous country in the world (the “Welcome to Honduras” speech we received at our ministry briefing).

More to come in Month 2!

Missionary Moment #2: When a hug transcends language barriers and says more than words can anyway.

so st. francis says…

originally posted at

My friend Alex was reading to me from a book of poetry entitled Love Poems From God- it’s a book describing certain people’s intimate relationship with the Lord.  She read a lot that day, and then we came across this, from St. Francis of Assisi:

God came to my house and asked for charity
And I fell to my knees
And cried, “Beloved, what may I give?”
“Just love,” He said.
“Just love.”
And it really hit me: if the Lord showed up and asked me for something, what would my response be? Would I be quick to call Him my Love, and offer anything I had? Would I be fearful, and selfishly hide the things I didn’t want to give up? Would I be angry, and ask why He didn’t call before He knocked on my door because perhaps I had other plans?Reading this book, and hearing about someone else’s incredibly intimate relationship with Jesus- it really tore at my soul. Do I call the Lord Beloved? If I do, do I really mean it…and is the proof in our day-to-day interactions? Do I really act like Jesus is the Lover of my soul? Do I allow Him to romance me, to pursue me, to call me into new life? And how do I respond when He does (and He does) chase after me?

I want a warmth with the Lord that I don’t share with anyone else. I want to call Him Beloved and mean it. I want to spend more time with Him than anyone else…or anything else.  I want, when He shows up and asks something of me, to give Him whatever is His heart’s desire… and more.

God showed up at my door and asked me…
And I answered
“Yes, Love.”

so many people, so many places

originally posted at

Currently I am on a road trip, driving my best friend (and former youth group member) to college in Washington state. From Kentucky.

That’s 5000 miles of love.

We’ve had the BEST time. We decided we would make this trip into a genuine road trip, traveling far down to the lower part of Texas before heading up to California and then north on the Pacific Coast Highway.  We’ve been able to do some really amazing things: visit the Alamo, ride a cable car to the tip top of San Francisco, hike in the Redwood Forest… And it has been just incredible. Truly. I’m beyond blessed.

One of the things that has been most memorable, however, was our day at the Grand Canyon. I mean, seeing the Grand Canyon, letting the wind blow through my hair, sitting on the rim and dangling my feet over nothing but the manifest glory of the Lord- it was breathtaking. But what struck me most about this day was the people! Hundreds of people also visited the Canyon that day. And they were NOT from the US. We heard German, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Italian. There was sign language. We heard British accents and Scottish ones.

THAT was incredible.

I am ready for the World.

I was lucky enough to grow up all over the dang place. I lived in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky. I traveled the country frequently and later, when I was on the National Karate Team, I traveled all over the world. I have never been one to struggle with homesickness or fear of the unknown.  Many of the students I went to school with had never been out of their home state. Some had lived in one house their entire lives (which is AWESOME). But, through no fault of their own, they had no concept of or concern about what the world might be like outside their own home town.

Being a people-watcher at heart, I found this day to not only be an awe-inspiring glance into glory, it was also an educational experience. Seeing different cultures interact, hearing their languages- it was a little slice of heaven! I can’t comprehend what it’s like to live in one place forever. I can’t imagine a world in which people only dress like me, talk like me, act like me.

Seeing twenty different cultures, hearing their languages, just reminded me that the world IS bigger than my own backyard, and I’m ready to go experience it again!

Going on World Race is going to give me a unique opportunity not only to experience other cultures, but to serve them as well. It’s not just about getting to travel or see things, it’s about becoming less so that through my obedience God can become more.

I really believe God has given me a heart for the world. He has given me a curiosity for other people, who they are, where they live, what their days are like.  This is my chance to bless Him for blessing me.  You can, too! Have a love of cooking? Make a meal for your neighbors.  Have a desire to pursue the stage? Do it. Use your God-given talents! Don’t throw them to the side, they are your chance to glorify God!  He gives us desires, abilities, and skills so that we might take every opportunity to pursue them and to use them to bring Him honor. My desire, and therefore my path, is to take the Lord’s love and mercy to the world, to be His hands and feet, to live as His messenger of light and hope.

What’s yours?

what i learned In dc

I recently spent a few days in Washington DC to herald in my best friend Sarah’s brand new engagement, under the ruse of helping her move.  While there we got to travel the city, see the sites, and spend some really wonderful bestie time together- all capped by watching Bryan propose to her.  It was magical.

It was also a long, exhausting, crazy trip.  The normally 9 hour drive there was extended by picking up her youngest sister (to help with the proposal), stopping for bathroom breaks for 3 women, and stopping at kmart to pick up supplies for the proposal (it was going to be an EVENT).  The normally 9 hour drive back home was even worse, with the first snow of the year deciding to fall on the day we left.  Driving went from a breezy 70 mph to a slow and torturous 24 mph for the better part of 2 hours, with visibility dropping to just in front of the nose of the car.  It was awful.  But also TOTALLY WORTH IT!

During my time in DC, it was made very clear to me that I have a lot to learn about myself…and life.


~I’m the only person on the planet who does not dress completely in black apparel…from head to foot.
~I dehydrate easily.
~I live to make excuses for eating terribly while on the road.
~I love road trips. Even when I hate them. I love them.
~Road trips make me feel like an adult.
~Lateral Thinking games quickly and easily became my new obsession.
~Nothing is better than sitting at a coffee shop, drinking a latte, talking and laughing with your best friend.
~West Virginia is not as bad a state as I seem to remember.
~Always pack for unexpected weather, particularly the cold kind.
~12* is freaking cold.
~Fuzzy boots do not protect against snow or rain or whatever else happens to be on the ground.
~As cute as those new knee-length boots are, the blisters they create after walking for 6 hours are not.
~I absolutely need to live in a big city.
~My best friend is going to be the most beautiful bride in the history of brides. Ever.
~Ice cream is never a good idea on a cold day.
~Junk food tastes great while you’re eating it…but you’re going to feel like trash the second it hits your stomach.  Particularly if you eat a lot of it.
~Water runs through your system much faster than anything else you might drink. Unless you’re willing to make 9 stops on the way home (yep), regulate how much water you consume.
~I can drive 9 hours by myself. I’ve done it before. It is infinitely easier to drive with someone else in the car with you.
~Bring a pillow with you. Bring a pillow with you. Bring a pillow with you.
~I should always pack my own breakfast materials on trips, because no one ever eats breakfast when they have guests.
~I’m not 15 anymore and I very clearly cannot stay awake all night long and then attempt to function the next day.
~My lips will stay chapped no matter how often or how much I slather chap stick on them.
~I should never walk around with cash on me. The second someone asks me for change, I can’t lie. And I end up giving away everything on me.
~Always have tons of money in your bank account. You will inevitably spend far more than you plan to.
~Parking is freaking expensive.
~I could easily ride the metro to work every day. Even if it takes up an hour or two of my day.  Reading time, anyone??
~Apparently everyone on the planet carries a rolling suitcase with them…except me.
~I’m not rich enough to visit big cities.
~Watching my best friend be proposed to was the single most exciting, beautiful, and wonderful thing I’ve ever seen.  Getting to be a part of it was even more incredible.
~I am a lucky, lucky, blessed person.

Currently Doing: Blog 1 of 3 for today. Lots of updates to write about!