So here’s to a beginning. I have been wanting to write for a while but haven’t been able to pull together the words as to all that I have been feeling and learning. It has been on my heart to share some of my experiences that have truly shaped me to be the person I am. It has pressed on me to share about some of my darkest times and how I was carried through. This blog is dedicated to the Lord, the very one who carries my world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New York Adventures

She began her schooling in a small school in upstate New York called Roberts Wesleyan College. And as they dropped her off, a full eight hours from home and drove away, she felt as if something within her had died. She knew it was ‘normal’ to feel that way, but her reaction surprised her. She felt a searing ache inside her. A cold chill went through her for fear of the unknown in the days ahead.  She had never known life without them. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know life without them. Big tears rolled down her cheeks. She wasn’t sure she could do this.
Then two hours went by.

And she made four new friends.

Then two more hours went by.

And she had made five more friends.


Her tears quickly faded with her new found friendships. She began to notice an inner excitement for what the days ahead would hold. She had high hopes for a future, possessing plenty of drive and determined to make her mark. She was driven by the example she had seen within the walls of that raggedy old raised ranch. She wanted to love. She wanted to love in a big way.  For the first time, she felt something within her come alive. She felt the possibilities were endless, and she began to dive into every opportunity she could get her hands on.
She enrolled in the pre-medical program as a biology major with high hopes of becoming a doctor. She began volunteering at the Salvation Army soup kitchen. She joined Senate. She joined a soccer league. She started a co-ed volleyball league. She even took a trip across the globe to Kenya to work with a missionary thoracic surgeon. To her, life’s possibilities were endless, and every door seemed to be opening before her.

For the first time, she felt like she belonged. She was so thankful for her new found friendships. She found it so fulfilling to meet many different kinds of people, all from different places with different stories.

The awkward girl slowly began to realize that she wasn’t quite so awkward. Don’t get me wrong here. She still had her moments. For instance the time when she electrocuted herself in her college physics lab in front of the entire class AND her crush. Slightly devastating.

Or the time when she wiped out on a sheet of ice on her back in front of the window by the cafeteria FILLED with students. Less than graceful.
Or on the very first day of classes, when she was helping her friend unpack her car trunk. She had her hands full of bags only to realize neither of them were holding the trunk open, and down it came. On her nose. Giving her two black eyes and a black and blue nose for her very first day.

Okay, perhaps the awkward girl was still every bit as awkward. Perhaps it was that she was for the first time coming to know herself. And to her surprise, she liked what she found, even the awkward parts.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Uncharted Territory.

So the story continued for the awkward girl, too skinny and too tall, as she found herself entering uncharted territory, public high school.  She remembers the embarrassment she felt shopping at Walmart for new school clothes upon entry to her new school. She remembers seeing the popular girls, with their bright colors and tight fitting clothes. She remembers perfume and perfectly straightened hair. She knew she wasn’t one of them. A little voice inside told her she wasn’t one of them. But she tried her best to beat that voice down any chance she could.  
She never received the attention that she saw the pretty girls receive. She didn’t go to school dances, and she certainly never went to prom. She spent her high school years feeling suffocated, like there was a person inside her that way dying to come up for air. Inside, she knew she was alive. Inside, she knew she had a world to offer. Inside she knew she was beautiful.
She went through the motions for those four years. She busied herself with volleyball, and even found out she was pretty good at it. By her junior year she was a varsity starter. She always did well in school. She minded her manners and never stepped out of bounds. She was in church every Sunday and usually a second time during the week as well. Yet something was missing. She hadn’t found her voice.
A few more days passed, and it was time to think about college. She was the first in her family to attend college. The only problem was that there wasn’t money for college. There was barely enough money for bills. But they repeated what they had been saying for her whole life, ‘trust God because God takes care of us’.
 And so they did.
 And with the letter of acceptance into college,
Also came a job for him that would triple his salary,

Making college affordable.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Humble Start

The story begins with an awkward young girl, too skinny and too tall who just so happened to be very loved. The setting was a small town and her home was nothing to brag about, but what was inside her home, without her even knowing it, was what would give her the strength to carry on for years to come on the road ahead. (More about that later) The outside of her home was a broken down raised ranch, a long bumpy driveway, and a whole lot of overgrown woods. The grass was too long, and paint was peeling off the house. The tree house that had been built for her next to her favorite tree was rotting away now. There was an old pile of wood next to two very familiar cars, an old blue pickup truck and a raggedy maroon car. To the neighbors, down the driveway and across the street, with newer and remodeled homes, hers was a wreck. To her, well to her it was everything.
Inside the raised ranch was where she found her life, in two people who knew how to love. These two people, without fancy careers, without fancy educations, certainly without fancy paychecks, these two people knew one thing. They knew how to love.
For years, she spent time talking and laughing with them, but more importantly she spent time watching them. She watched every night as they gathered together to pray over dinner. She watched as every Sunday they would get in the car and drive to church. She watched as every once in a while, they would talk about money and remind one another to ‘trust the Lord because God takes care of us’. In her heart, she knew that she didn’t have a lot. In her heart she knew they struggled, but somehow she still felt as if she lived like royalty. Perhaps it was because saw them give, and give some more.
Never was she worried about money. There wasn’t a lot. In fact, there were several times where there was close to nothing. He worked so hard and one day hurt his back. Out of work and unemployed, and the holidays were coming. She saw the church bring boxes and boxes of food to her home. Never once did she go hungry. Never once. They were sick and in bed, and unable to work. She saw friends come over with prepared meals. Of course she always thought they weren’t as good as the ones she was used to eating, but again, never hungry. To her, she lived like royalty.

Every week she saw them give money to the church, and then one day she woke up and saw a gaunt looking woman with long blonde hair in her kitchen with a little girl. She didn’t know them at all. She was told that they would be staying in her home. The frail woman had been beaten badly by her boyfriend and needed a place to stay and a place to hide. The woman and her daughter stayed in the raised ranch, and for weeks, she watched as more love was given. She was in awe at how eager they were to help the woman, how unafraid they were to protect her and how quick they were to be inconvenienced. Time passed and more came to stay. They always made room. The raised ranch was not of any great size, and there was one working shower for a family of 4, so when others came they felt it. They always made room for love.
A different day she got off the bus from school to find a couple and their four children in her living room watching television. They had known them for years. He had made a bad decision, and they had lost their home. Their own family wouldn’t take them in. This was their last option. And so it went, a single working shower, a house of 10 people, and 6 people staying in the basement. She figured it couldn’t last for long. She was a little annoyed, but they didn’t seem to feel that way. They didn’t ask the family for money. They didn’t ask them for payments or promises once they got back on their feet. They just gave up their home, no questions and no signing on any dotted lines. Days went by. It was awkward at first. Forced immediate family under very unhappy circumstances. More days went by, and days turned into weeks. Weeks slowly turned into months. She was a senior in high school then. Nine months went by and the family finally found a place of their own.
She remembers so many times where she would sit and talk with them on the porch. Hours and hours would go by. She would talk with them about her fears, about her dreams, about her hopes for love. She loved to talk to them. It was when she felt most loved. When they would go places, she wouldn’t spend time with the other children. She always wanted to spend time with them and watch their interactions with others. She always found that to be more interesting.

One night a week couples would crowd inside the raised ranch around blueberry cake and coffee. She wasn’t allowed to be present so she would hide in her room. They didn’t know, but she would listen. She would peer her head into the hallway from her bedroom and listen as couples shared their stories of trouble with their marriages. She would listen as they would laugh and talk. Some would cry. Most would speak softly. Then they would all share and pray. She heard how people looked to them. She saw how people respected them. She was deeply touched, without their knowledge, and wanted to be just like them. She wanted to love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A beginning.

I am a girl with a story to tell. The problem with stories is that some are harder to tell than others. Some have pretty pink bows on them. They are usually sparkly and are wrapped up just right so that others can watch and wish they had them. They are stories of people who have it all together, who always manage to look all together in a place where everything seems just right. The problem with pretty pink bows is that in all their glamour, there is something real underneath. Even if no one can see it, it is there. Similar to the empty feeling readers often get after reading the latest issue of ‘Cosmopolitan’ or ‘Vogue’, stories with pretty pink bows leave readers feeling envious of those who are more beautiful, who have more love in their life or who have more money. That is not my story. I have no pretty pink bow. My story is a lot harder to tell.