Wednesday, December 28, 2016

our holy God who washes feet

this holiday season God feels so big and holy to me.
the snow blanketed the mountains yell of His greatness
I hear the crescendos and see His vast light.

and I feel small.

my senses are ablaze,
reminding me of joyful moments
and precious hours.
and i feel myself shrinking in the scale of time.

I have heaviness in my heart this December.
grief and gilt walk with me,
stuck to my soul.
I see darkness and hurt around me,
I also see my big and holy God.

this doesn't make sense to me,
because God hates darkness.
He is the giver of light and life,
our healer and redemption.

 but God is holy and big?

friends, our holy God washes our feet.
He sinks to my tinny
in order to wash my feet.

He kneels to our level,
seeking us.
our hearts
our failures
our dreams
our plans.

and He has takes our souls, in order to wash away the dirt.

our Father washes our feet.
so let Him.
and I promise you,
you walk away the same.

love love love//elissa
Saturday, December 24, 2016


As exam season looms overhead and we're all looking a little worn around the eyes, I've been considering the idea of rest. When you've got a stack of index cards as high as your own expectations, the to-do list rolling endlessly on, and exam after exam screaming towards you from the end of the week... how do you find the strength to step back and take a break? I've heard it called "creating margin", the idea that you need to find some way to hollow out a little breathing room, even in the busiest of schedules, the idea that you can put down your study sheet for more than just a bathroom break and somehow it's okay.

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As exams and Christmas and a fresh new year come barreling towards us about as calmly as a freight train, I've been trying out a few things.

- Looking in the mirror a little less.
- Thinking about how to love the people around me a little bit more.
- Staring into space and letting my thoughts sprawl out. Watching where they go.
- Baking cookies and then giving them away.
- Saying yes to movie nights and coffee dates.
- Saying no, even to my friends, when I know I need quiet to get things done.
- Closing the fridge when I know I'm stress-eating.
- Eating food I enjoy when I'm hungry.
- Being honest, but not negative, about how I feel. 
- Taking fifteen minutes to do what I love - picking out chords on the piano, watching videos on YouTube, or scrolling through aesthetic boards on Pinterest.
- Buckling down and forcing my brain to retrace concepts, terms, and definitions, even when I'm tired.
- Knowing when to stop - turning out my light before midnight and not bringing my notes to the breakfast table first thing in the morning.
- Asking for help.

 I hope you have a restful exam and Christmas season - what are your favourite ways to create that little bit of "margin" in your life?

Olivia (s)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

there's room

It's in the twinkling of lights strung across houses and doorways and lamp posts and banisters and trees.

It's in the warmth of hands being held, circled 'round, gathered among food and family.

It's in the tinkling of a child's laugh or a dog's head resting on your lap.

It's that truth that your heart can be full of so many things and still ache.

Ache with the weight of the things left undone

Or the words you wish had been spoken, but lips were silent instead

How you can be in a room full of people, talking, connecting, and feel isolated

How you can leave a phone call at 1AM, hear them whisper 'I love you' a thousand times

And still hang up feeling like the loneliest soul in the world

Because somewhere amidst all of the laughter and smiles and touches and fun

There's a part of you that believes you're merely tolerated

That every failure on your part to be perfect leads to biting words

Why are you like this?”

No one could love you, not when you're such a mess.”

Maybe if you put forth more effort, it would be easier to like you.”

Doesn't matter if nobody has ever said that to you

You say enough to yourself

And you let those words tumble around in your head for so long

That any expression of love toward you brings you pause and the question

“Yeah...but do you really?”

Because somewhere along the line you decided that rejection was inevitable

And that no one could possibly love you for exactly who you are

Because who you are falls so immeasurably far from who you should be

Can I tell you something that may sound too good to be true?

There's Someone out there who not only loves you

He likes you

He cherishes you

And that mess you see when you consider all of your shortcomings?

They're part of the message that every one of us

Has a unquenchable desire to be known and loved

By the One who created us to be known and loved

And maybe you've heard that before

Maybe you sing refrains of “Jesus Loves Me”

Yet cater to the doubt that God Almighty

Could never even tolerate you

You're right.

He doesn't tolerate you

He redeems you

He adores you

He seeks you out

He takes on every sorrow, every pain, every doubt, and every fear

All of it on behalf of you

Because He loves you

So much so that He defeated Hell and Death

Just to make room for you at His table

So, maybe this holiday season has been spent among those you hold dear

Or maybe season's greetings have been you, Netflix, and a pint of ice cream

Wherever you are in the celebrations this year

Know that you are loved

Because perhaps you've felt like the lonely reject

That God begrudgingly accepts into His Kingdom

But the truth is, He's got His arms stretched out

Like the day He hung on that tree

He's got them open for you

And open for me

And He's calling out, shouting, pleading, saying,

Whosoever will may come!”

So, come.

There's plenty of room at the table.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mr. Gratitude

He's jollier than Santa Clause, laughing in little spurts and in fours, "HA HA HA HA" with a sigh at the end. The old man, potbellied, tall, gray haired, usually with a mustache but the last time I saw him he was clean-shaven. He's always putting his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels like a three-year old boy who's been given a compliment. The wrinkles on his face seem to be hollowed out of kindness - not sorrow or hatred like some people.

When you walk into his house which smells of potting soil and black-eyed pea soup, the rugs covering the hard wood floor, cello posing gracefully on its side, he makes sure that you know that you are welcome there.

Thank you so much for coming today!
How are you doing? 
I'm so glad you could come.
It is so good to see you. 
Tell me what's happening with you right now?

And it goes on. At times, he's so thorough in his discourse that it gets almost awkward, almost uncomfortable.
The music he plays - even though its technically a lesson for my sister - seems that it is played as a gift. Offered up. Given with joy. To anyone who will listen.

I saw this man outside the good food store, right before I left for school, and I almost didn't recognize him (clean-shaven, remember?).  When I shout after him, recognizing that gliding walk, he turns and walks towards me, and he is - well, he's thankful. He's absolutely tickled that I got his attention to say hello.

He asks about me. He always does. I tell him about going to midwifery school. His face crinkles in joy - and he tells me what a special job it is, how I'll do great - things I've heard from everyone else. They're easy things to pass off because everyone says those things.

But then I tell him about the living situation: 10 girls in a two-bedroom house for three months. I tell him about the intensity of the school: 18 months of academic training crammed into 3 months.

His face changes to concern - but not caution concern, more like encouraging concern. "You can do this, but you have to take care of yourself," he says. He gives me a list. Have consideration for yourself, be kind to yourself. Find what works for you with studying and living in general. Give yourself two months before you freak out; it takes your brain that long to figure out how to think in new ways. Go back to what you know about yourself.

Practice gratitude.

That's when it hit. This man, who had never ever been unkind or unpleasant, is overflowing with gratitude. He's grateful for you, and your presence, and your input on life. He is grateful for his every breath, for the ability he has to take his white van with the canoe on top to the lake every weekend, for the fact that he can play cello and enjoy it, that he lives in a beautiful town, that he lives. He is filled with gratitude. And he fills others because of his fullness.

Let's break down the phrase:

Gratitude: latin, meaning "thanks", "goodwill", "favor", "kindness", "devotion", "loyalty", "affection", and of course, "gratitude".

Practice: latin, meaning "use", "experience", "habit", "manner", "training", "exercise", "custom", "meditate", "contemplate", "prepare", "adjust", and "think over".

So to be able to make kindness a training, an exercise, a custom. To meditate over loyalty and affection. To make goodwill a preparation and an adjustment to life. To make favor an experience and devotion a manner...this - not just saying 'thank you' but having the presence of mind to go deeper into thought-through applied appreciation - is quite possibly the hardest challenge I will ever undertake.

With gratitude, sometimes you have to start with the little things. I got to go to the Oregon Coast for Thanksgiving. (I live in Montana, which is gloriously beautiful, but I have a deep love for the ocean.) So I am SO grateful for that. But something deeper...perhaps I could be grateful for the relationship with my sisters. Those haven't come easy over the years. We are the epitome of ups-and-downs. But I wouldn't throw those relationships (with all the good and bad times mixed in) for anything. Have I shown appreciation for that?

*insert awkward silence and cricket noises here*

How could I do that? Heartfelt notes? Baking cookies into scrolls which sing my sisters praises? Kidnapping them for coffee dates so I can shower them with good vibes and caffeine? Spamming their phones with thank you-thank you-thank you's?

This could work.

I could also simply take the time to say "Hey - I appreciate you and all you do, and I want you to know that our relationship is very important to me, and I love you a lot, despite the fact that you may have made me fear for my life on more than one occasion during my childhood." (Note: the last part of that could be omitted.)

Practice gratitude. It will not be easy. You will forget, you will fail, you will despair and think that you will never conquer the 'practice gratitude' thing. (Hello. Join the club.) But practice gets easier. It expands you. You gradually become familiar with the territory you've already covered. You know the steps, and some of them will still cause you to trip. But gradually, you'll know the path. The gratitude will come, closer to the surface, spilling over easier with every practicing step which - hopefully in a good way - jostles another person's world.

And jostling can feel forced, and fake. And you gotta press through. Its a heart issue. Let God change you, let him make you gratuitous, and thankful, and let him fill you. Let it spill. Let gratitude jostle your world, and other's worlds. Gratitude goes around. You'll never regret saying a nice thing, you'll never regret 'seeing' a person, and making sure that they are loved. Jostling another person's world might be just what they - and you - need this holiday season.

- Sami

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Out of the Deep

i’m going to be honest here
and just say it

the world is full of things
that aren’t so great
people lie
feelings change
and sometimes?

everything seems to just
c r a s h
b u r n

i can’t lie to you and say
that the world is all sunshine and roses
it isn’t

things happen that will make you feel
as though that beautiful heart of yours
your very soul
has been
s h a t t e r e d
into tiny pieces
and you don’t see
you’ll ever be able
to pick them back up

and in those moments
when you’re lying in the dark
and the thoughts are threatening
to choke you


it probably won’t be the first thought
running through that tangled up mind of yours

but let me tell you a
s e c r e t

this world that we live in?
the one that just broke your heart?

it’s full of so many beautiful things
so many beautiful moments

when you’re in the car
and the sun roof is down
and the music blares
as you pass too many trees to count

when you’re so deliriously tired
that absolutely everything is funny
and you find yourself laughing on the kitchen floor
at two a.m.
with your best friend on the other end of the phone
wondering why you’re still awake
but not minding a bit

when you wake up in the morning
and you roll over in bed
sun streaming through your windows
and you just lie there
because the day hasn’t started yet
and you’re at peace

when you turn the final page
of a book that just changed your life
and you sit in a daze
still lost in the world of those characters
that you never want to leave

when you take a bite of your favorite food
when the person you love wraps you in a big hug
when you pick a fresh flower
when a song you love starts to play

g r a t e f u l

so maybe
this world of ours
isn’t the happiest place

but those moments?
the little ones, where it feels like your heart could burst?
they come around more often than you might think

and even when you feel
like you’re drowning
those moments
can pull you out of the deep

-Grace Anne
of Totally Graced
Be sure to go check out her amazing blog and show her some tlc! she's awesome



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Whispering Thank-Yous

Thanksgiving came…and it’s passed, now.

The November gratitude is a simple focus to have – thank-yous to God for my family, for my friends, for the blessings He’s recently given me.

We make lists, we write on slips of paper, we go around the dinner table naming our thanks. We love the feeling of this joy-filled gratitude, the joy that inspires thankfulness, and the thankfulness that inspires yet more joy.

But so often – after that fourth Thursday in November – we can forget thankfulness.

We limit thanksgiving to being simply a holiday, and forget that it’s more than that. It’s a way of life.

Take a moment, whisper a thank-you. Every day, many times, even.

Whisper thank-yous to the God who gave us breath.

The God who gives us grace upon grace (John 1:16).

The God who gives us strength (Psalm 28:7).

The God who loved us so, so much – who died for us when we were stuck in our sins (Romans 5:8).

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord – for this love, Your blessed love, the love You’ve poured out so graciously and radically upon me.

It’s easy to stop talking about gratitude when November’s over, when Christmastime comes and it becomes so easily about asking for gifts and less about thanking our Father for the gifts He has so richly blessed us with. When life’s pains weigh on us and we can’t see the beauty ahead.

Let us find joy in our blessings, in the beauty, but in the pain as well.

It’s so hard sometimes, so, so hard to truly say thank you to God when life hurts so bad.

And when things seem bleak…we are still blessed.

Because God is good, even when the world is not.

Because God promises His presence with us, even when we feel the most isolated.

Because God’s love is there to envelop us, even when we feel like we’re walking this life alone, afraid.

Because God is always faithful, even in the darkest of times.

Gratitude…is an attitude.

Gratitude is finding slices of joy in the midst of everyday life.

Gratitude is a choice. A choice to trust God’s promises, even when we don’t feel like it. A choice to say thanks for the things that truly are gifts. A choice to live vividly and love wildly because we can find passion in this very life, right here, right now, in this life filled with grace and hope.

So find that joy. Trust this God who holds the reins on this world. Trust the Savior who bled and died so you could have life. Trust the Father who blesses us with all things, day after day.

And whisper thank-yous.

For He is the reason we breathe.

- amanda joy 

Be sure to check out/follow/show some love on Amanda's awesome and inspiring blog!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

break through

i will fight till the very end

i will write till the very end

i will stand with my light till the very end

take hold of my rights till the very end

take hold of my life till the very end

i will not let the black get close

no it will not get too close

it will not win

i keep playing near the edges

but i'm stopping. i'm confessing

i'm running towards the light

i'm grabbing my torch

i'll set myself ablaze in this war

the fire will consume me it will not go out

it will push all the darkness out

my God will sustain me, keep the flame blazing within me

i will fight till the very end

and when we reach the end,

we will win.


no, this most definitely not the best piece of poetry I have written. but that's not what it's for! it's here to signify a breaking point. this point is me saying that i will not lose. i'm tired of giving in to my fleshly ways and letting my sin hold me hostage. i'm breaking through, these chains aren't going to hold me, and that's a choice. what's holding you back? break through is a choice, change is a choice. keep the faith and hold strong. these waters may rage but God is still King. the battle was already won for you, my dear. i feel like i'm writing these words to myself just as much as i am to you.
 we will break through, hand in hand.

-jacyrayn xx
Saturday, November 26, 2016

What Long Distance Relationships Teach us about Gratitude

When we think about gratitude, I think we often conjure up mental images of being with our family, spending time with those we love, traveling together, having dinner together, doing things. All the things.

But over the past few months, and especially as the air grows crisp and the holiday season rolls around, I've found that I've come to look at gratitude in a different way than I used to-- in a deeper way.

My boyfriend is in the Air Force, and is currently deployed. It's rough being away from someone you love so deeply for almost 7 months. But being apart has begun to lead me into a fuller understanding of thankfulness. So here are 7 things this deployment has taught me so far about gratitude. (and this applies to any long distance relationship, or friendship.)

1. the little things are the big things

talking on the phone, or getting a simple "good morning" text... normally these things are seen as small, but when you're long distance, you begin to find that these things are SO full of joy. You look forward to sending and receiving those texts, and those moments of hearing their voice, or seeing their pixel-y face through a Skype call.

The gifts they've given you, like the token on your desk, a bracelet around your wrist, or the sweatshirt they gave you, become more than just gifts; they're vivid reminders of that person and how much they mean to you; what a blessing they are in your life and how grateful you are for them.

2. your consciousness of who they are increases

When you're with someone in person, you're often overwhelmed by a lot of things, like... YOU'RE WITH THEM IN PERSON EGHIOBGSDFIUH YAAAY. Let's do things, let's party! 

Don't get me wrong, you can definitely become aware of so many qualities someone has when you're with them in person. But when you're in a long distance relationship, or friendship, you're given space and distance to really appreciate all the little things that make them who they are-- things that you may not necessarily notice when you are with them in person. 

Like their thoughtfulness: when they snapchat you pictures of something they saw that reminded them of you, or when they write you letters and send long emails or sweet "thinking of you" texts. When they take the time to ask you how you're feeling, or what's been on your mind lately-- these are all things that really get emphasized in a long distance relationship.

3. you become SUPER grateful for technology.

Your phone and your laptop are LIFELINES. Bless everyone who stayed up late drinking red bulls in a basement somewhere inventing Skype and Face Time. We love you. A lot. And we don't take you for granted.

As rough as LDRs can be... it's nothing compared to what it would be like sans phones, computers, and technology. I don't even want to imagine what waiting weeks for letters must have been like.

4. you learn new ways to express your thankfulness for that person

When your with someone in person, you can give them a big hug and tell them how much you love them. You can stay up and watch a movie together, go out for a bite to eat, grab ice cream, or go for long rides to watch the sunset and listen to your favorite albums.

But in LDRs you have to get a little more creative. Because you can't do any of that. :')

You think of new ways to express your love and gratitude for that person; creative snaps, or short video messages via Messenger. Your plan "Skype Dates", you send super sweet care packages, you write letters, you read a book together and discuss it chapter-by-chapter, you download the same work-out challenge apps and do them together. In other words, you EXPAND the communication of your thankfulness in ways that you may not have if you lived next door to that person, or if you were with them 24/7.

5. it creates a very, very DEEP appreciation for when you DO get to spend time with them in person

So often we take for granted the fact that we get to sit across the table from someone and share a meal with them, or go out for coffee with our best friend in the flesh. Being in a long distance relationship has taught me to savor the time I spend with my boyfriend when we're together, because we can't always be together in person.

Having several more months to go before his deployment is over, we often find ourselves talking about all the little coffee dates and day trips we went on together before he left, going over small details that we may not have even thought that much about when they were happening. The distance only reminds us of how sweet, and deeply valuable all those many little experiences are.

6. you become aware of what a blessing family and friends can be

When a close friend texts you to ask how you're holding up, or when your mom takes you our for a London Fog and a pep talk, you begin to feel this sense of how deeply your friends and family care, and how much you care about them.

I am so thankful for my family, and I have become even more aware of my gratitude for them because of this deployment. When my sister stays up late and talks with me, or when my mom and I spend time together, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for them, and the fact that I have such amazing and supportive people in my life, and that I am not alone.

7. Strong long distance relationships always include a third party

In order to have a strong relationship or friendship with someone long distance, you have to rely on something bigger than the two of you.

For us, the belief that God's got us is what keeps us going and keeps our relationship strong. Yes, of course there are fears and doubts and uncertainties when we're thousands of miles apart, but if we spent all of our time with our eyes focused on us and all the "what ifs", our relationship would be a weak, unhappy, and fear-oriented one.

Instead, in relationships, friendships, and life in general, what makes our hearts feel the fullest is when we focus not on the turbulence of this world, but on the promises God has so boldly declared to us, giving us His protection, His love, and His grace.

 “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.  I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.  When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place,  it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God,  The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you:  all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me!  That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,  trade the creation just for you.
[ Isaiah 43:1-4 from the Message translation]

Long distance relationships and friendships give us a hardcore opportunity to really, honestly trust our Papa, and trust that His plans are to "...prosper us and not to harm us." That His plans are to "give us hope and a future." [Jeremiah 29:11]

And sometimes this is a hard thing to do. Sometimes trusting is something you have to actively make yourself do. But the process only makes you stronger-- and in my experience, much happier.

Are you in the long distance relationship or friendship? What are some of the things that keep you going? How has gratitude surfaced more in your life because of your LDR?


so so so thankful for all of you! <3 I hope you guys have a wonderful thanksgiving! 
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

a constant state

gratitude is an attitude.

attitude is defined as:

"a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, 
typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior"

thinking or feeling.

an attitude of gratitude is not you saying every day 


it's feeling the gratitude for life, Salvation, cozy evenings, and words.

little things like popcorn and friends <3
it's remembering that you are not alone,

not forgotten.

don't feel the pressure of having to solidify a word or a thought on gratitude,

don't tell yourself that you have to make sure you're grateful
for one thing every day,

just BE grateful.

just like prayer should be a constant stream of conversation towards Jesus,

gratefulness should be something that floods our life in everything.

live your life in a constant state of gratefulness and I believe, 
that Christ will use it to help you be content.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm scared of the night

I've been hiding from the night.

Night always has a way of getting me thinking.
But I don't want to think.
I don't want to feel.
So why not just hide?

I can keep my mind busy,
Push my thoughts away,
Stay inside the protected bubble I've made for myself,
And not have to deal with it.


It's easier this way.
Avoiding the questions that are placed in your mind.
Avoiding anything that might bring you pain.
Avoiding anything that could cause you confusion.

But that can only last for so long, can't it?

So here I sit.
In the dark.
I'm facing the night.
And I'm scared.

I don't know what I'm scared of.
Maybe it's the feelings that I don't want to deal with.
A broken heart.
Growing up.

I don't know.

But here I am.
Hanging on to Jesus.
Asking Him to hold me tight.
Here I go.

-aaliyah xx
Thursday, November 17, 2016

work in progress

in case you've been living underground, a week from today is thanksgiving. and before this year, I've never really thought much about it before the day of. thanks to this community, and this past year, and my Savior ( :') sometimes I still get all emotional at the fact that I can actually say that ya know) I've actually come a long way. hah, that's funny I never thought I'd be saying that.

from my relax board on pinterest

but close to a year ago now, I started working everyday after going to class and I realized how quickly I dilapidated into grudging apathy in the face of an inevitably monotonous schedule. it was at that point that I realized I didn't want to live like that (*there's a pin for that that says I wasn't born to just pay bills and die* and I FEEL). so I began to progressively and purposefully and frequently failurely (*this is a new word that I just made up ok*) think of and appreciate small things that I enjoyed or are beautiful or anything at all! like the sunset, or someone actually smiling at you in passing, being at home with a blanket, home cooked meals, having a body that is healthy (like how do I not think about this everyday), new headphones, the fact that I have a pretty much endless supply of paper to write on, the people that God has placed in my life, God's promises, WAFFLES, and more!! it also prompted me to take time for myself, but also to go out of my way to brighten someone else's day in a small way. this is a win-win situation, y'all.
honestly, I entitled this WIP for work in progress, because it was a draft and I didn't want Kate or Abbie to get too excited about it and publish it in advance or something hahaha. but it's actually true to the post. because gratitude will always be a work in progress. you'll never be perfect in this area. you are a work in progress. and guess what? that's ok! give yourself time and grace and you will see progress eventually! I don't think I really thought that I would, but here I am. haha, God has a funny way of doing that.
turns out, taking it day by day will actually get you a long way. so, let's get started. let's do this together as a community. there's never a better day than today. what are YOU grateful for today?

- Olivia K
Friday, November 11, 2016

songs of joy

May we all see the joy in life today. 
Peace will win, fear will lose.

- - -

Just a small graphic arts project I put together for y'all.
Quoted from: Psalm 126.
Keep burning and shining and being grateful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

what no one wants to say about gratitude

I have a confession.

I sometimes quit being thankful.

room goes quiet
men gasp
ladies clutch their purls and cover their children's ears
clock ticks loudly

I, the perfect Christian child, have quit being thankful before.
In fact, I've been tempted to do it again in these past few weeks.
So when Katie e-mailed me saying that our BY theme for November was gratitude, I shriveled my nose.

Because in all reality, reading and writing things like
we should give thanks in all circumstances
we have so much to be thankful for
count your blessings
just be thankful for what you do have
sounds so awful and fake.

A very dear friend of mine ended her life a month ago.
I'm not thankful.
I'm not thankful for funerals and tears and therapy.

Right now, I don't give thanks when think about sitting on Madison's bed with her mom two days after she committed suicide.
Right now, I don't give thanks for the pain and suffering of this world.
Right now, I don't give thanks when it punches my chest every morning.

Telling you that gratitude is nothing more than instagram worthy pictures of coffee, boots and leaves feels wrong.
Because gratitude is so much deeper than that. 
It's the response of your heart when you find Jesus in the broken and the beautiful.

So if you find joy in coffee and boots {like me}?
But if not?
You're awesome too.

Don't throw gratitude away.
Don't be thankful because it's the Christian thing to be.
Don't act like it's all good, all the time.

Please dear sisters, know that it's not fine all the time.
Please be sincere in your thanksgiving.
Please know that there are, and will, always be things to be thankful for.


it's okay to not be thankful.
it's okay to feel pain and anger,
loneliness and depression.
And in those things?

 You are held.
 You are precious.
 You will fight until you see beauty in the world.
 Because it's there.
 This earth contains so much joy, just for you to  feel.
 There are blessings to be received.
 There is warmth to be felt,
 and light to be seen.

So it's okay to quit being thankful in your pursuit of fearless authenticity.
Just don't forget there is still reason to give thanks.

Friday, November 4, 2016

November: Gratitude



My sister and I have been talking about this a lot. We talked about it in the latest podcast (episode #2), and I feel like these verses point us to the very backbone of gratitude.

Paul leads us to a meditation; whatsoever things are pure, lovely, righteous, truthful-- think on these things. How often have I chosen to think of the dark, the failing, the shortcomings? often.

I've broken down to my mom so many times before "how do I stop? I don't know how to stop these negative, destructive thoughts... I don't know how to stop them." and my mom always so graciously points out, that it's not so much about stopping, as it is about starting.

it's not so much saying 'no' to something, as it is saying a great, big 'YES' to something else. something better.

Gratitude is saying "YES". Yes, I chose to be awake. I chose to be conscious, and I chose to focus not on the things (lies) that my wandering mind tells me, but on the bold declaration my creator makes about me. I am more than a  conqueror, and I am blessed beyond measure. I choose to focus on the good, on the light, and on the beauty-- and in doing so, I set myself free. I bring more of it into the world.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Burning Youth goes podcast

cue the drum roll: Burning Youth has started a podcast!

My sister Abbie and I started Burning Youth because we wanted to create space for a community centered around our mission statement. thanks to all of our amazing friends/fellow word-spinners, this idea has become a reality; we've built our own little town. a community. a hangout with good speakers, loud bass, chips + salsa.

i had the idea for the podcast but we both decided to execute it together. because we're better together and abbie is the literal bomb (but you guys already knew that.) i was personally pumped by the idea of a podcast because it actually gives us a way to talk. we can talk to you guys, you guys can talk to us, we can dig into topics that might be better in an audio format, we can do interviews (!!!), the possibilities are sweet. so we're stoked to say the least to watch this develop.

we launched a diamond-in-the-rough pilot episode last sunday, and if you haven't given it a listen get, we'd be thrilled if you clicked that play button below so hard. (i mean, podcasts are soo sunday afternoons, lets face it.) let us know what you think in the comments and share some topics that you'd like us to tackle! we're thirsty for ideas and that feedback, so have at it.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

15,000 suns

6,500 light years from where you are right now is a star called RS Puppis. It is the brightest known Cepheids star in the Milky Way galaxy and it has used up most of its hydrogen fuel. It's getting tired, but it still burns at intervals. It pulsates rhythmically with a period of 41 days. Growing dimmer, then growing brighter. When it is at its brightest moment, it radiates as much light as 15,000 suns.

Fifteen thousand suns.
Not all the time,
not everyday,
because it can't.
It doesn't have much fuel left
but it has enough energy to pulsate.
It has enough energy to shine with the light of 15,000 suns.
It has enough light to reach the earth
6,500 hundred light years away.

I don't know much about space (however much I've geeked out over NASA since I was a little kid,) but I know one thing: space is dark. Stars that look like neighbors in a Hubble photo are actually millions of miles away from each other. There is no backup plan for a star running low on fuel. There are no other stars that can help it -- they smile briskly from light years away. But still, the RS Puppis pulsates in a 41 day cycle. Dimmer, then brighter. And at one point it shines with the light of 15,000 suns.

I don't know much about your life, but I know one thing: right now, it's looking dark. You feel lost and hollow and raw on the inside -- like you've swallowed too much sandpaper. You feel like you're running out of fuel. But you're wrong, my love. You have the power to outlast those stars around you. You have the power to pulsate a light echo that stretches across galaxies. Some days might be dimmer and some days might be brighter. But you, my love, have the power to shine with the light of 15,000 suns.

You are the world.
You are the crack in the door filled with light.
You are no excuse to stop burning and shining.

You're a star.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

maybe you're right

you tell yourself 
you deserve to be hurt, 
after all, 
you deserve 
the pain.
the blood.

and maybe you're right.
but if you are, then I deserve it too.
in fact, perhaps all humans do.
we all sin, all make mistakes, 
and we all deserve pain and death
for the things we've done.



our life, thoughts, 
they don't stop there.

for every cut you make on your body
there was a bigger, deeper one on the 
body of Jesus Christ.

for every thorn
{dark thought}
you pierce into your mind, 
there was a real thorn 
pierced into His skull.

every time you think of all the 
ways you could kill yourself,
know that Jesus died the worst
of all options:
hanging from a cross,
with nails
staked into his wrists and feet.

every time you want to cut 
your body, remember His side was 
cut open.

when your mind tells you you deserve the 
pain and blood
tell it:

"yes. perhaps i do.
i don't have 
endure the pain,
feeling of shame,
because Jesus 
endured it all 
and He did so, so that

He saved me from 
that life of pain, and now
I can live a life of 

Please remember this, 
tape it to your wall, 
tell your self EVER SINGLE DAY 
that Christ already endured it.
Accept His gift,
let Him clothe you in His perfection,
and let go of those unholy, evil, desires.

Let us produce flowers from our minds, 
our bodies,
not cuts.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

we are here for you

i drove home from a long work week with my dad the other day and we listened to music and talked about purpose. what is purpose? why do we need it? why does the human soul crave it? why is purpose blurred out like a censored face in a photo in our society?

"Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice? She’s taken her stand at First and Main, at the busiest intersection. Right in the city square where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,“You—I’m talking to all of you, everyone out here on the streets...Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well, I’m telling you how to live at your best." proverbs 8

purpose in the busy streets and within the noise-- shouting to be heard. something you have to actually  l i s t e n  for, or you'll miss. i want to raise a megaphone to her lips and turn up her volume because we  a l l  have purpose. each and every one of us. we are here for a reason, and these words are not elegant or poetic and in fact i am pretty drained rn but i mean them. because it's true.

i've printed words from this blog and cut them out and taped them to my wall to remind me. the latest, this excerpt from Sami's post about the labyrinth:

i love that when i'm sitting here at my desk, tired and ripping my hair out over something, or tormenting myself with my own thoughts, i can turn to my left and see that hanging there.

but this post isn't to talk about me. i wanted to put it out there that we are here for you guys. i have friends whom this has been a though month for so far. some of us are going through some stuff, and maybe one of those people is you. maybe you're going through something, maybe something that you don't even talk to anyone about, maybe something that isn't even a huge, physical problem, but it's something that really bothers you. i want you to know that we're here for you. that burning youth is a thing only because there are a lot of us with messy heads-- you are not the only one. we are in this together. 

i want to pray for you. we want to pray for you. and if you don't want to talk about it, that's totally ok, but we would love for you to know that we're praying for you. leave us a comment and talk to us if you have a specific prayer request. we would love to pray with you. know that we're here, we're ok, we're keeping on.

love you guys