i dare you

i dare you


When I was a little kid, I took piano lessons for about three years. My teacher was wonderful and when I decided to quit taking lessons, it was because I felt that I knew everything I needed to know.

It was also because I’m a rebel.

Now. That word. Rebel. What do you think of? Probably not something good. At least, not always. Rebellious behavior oftentimes leads to mistakes and misery for everyone involved – especially said rebel. But to me, rebellion means something much more.

Good, pure, beautiful rebellion is when you decide to break the rules because you’ve got a wild river surging at the gates that hold you back. I decided to open those gates.

Ever since I was a little kid, I felt called to music. When I play piano I lose all track of time (something that is nearly impossible for me.) When I sing I feel more powerful and confident and me than when I do anything else. Music is what I am meant to do.

But I knew right from the start that I was never meant to follow the rules.

The beautiful thing about art is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The beautiful thing about rebellion is the burning desire for freedom. For me, Art and Rebellion hold hands and kiss. They are one thing.

I never learned how to fluently read sheet music. I never learned any songs by “the great composers.” I never studied music theory. And I am certainly not demeaning any of these things – I’m just saying that they didn’t work for me.

Even as a child, when I played piano I felt something take flight inside of me. But there wasn’t any room to fly within those parameters. I wanted to let my creativity soar, but I was holding it back in a cage. A cage of rules and parameters.

So what does it mean to be resolute? For some people, it might mean persevering even through the struggle and the hard times to get to the place you ultimately want to be. And that is a beautiful definition. But for some people (like myself) that determination stems from a deeper longing – something that maybe you can’t explain. Something that doesn’t fit in a box.


I could have still persevered with my music career and played by the rules. But, to be honest, I couldn’t have. Because I know what I’m like. A rebel. And I know that I would have grown to hate those rules and those parameters. I would have hated my art. And to what purpose? Because I was afraid of what people would think of me.

“She can’t read sheet music. She never took voice lessons. She doesn’t know Bach or Beethoven or Mozart.” True. But what do I care? If my satisfaction depended on other people’s opinion of me, I would never be satisfied. No, my satisfaction is dependent on how I feel about my art. When I let my creativity freely soar – my own way – THAT is when I am truly satisfied.

So if you’re having a hard time with being “resolute,” notice the walls around you. Look closely. Are you in a box without even realizing it? Maybe you weren’t the one who put you in that box – maybe it was a friend or a family member. Maybe it was a little voice inside your head that was afraid of the consequences of being different.

I dare you to get out of that box – even just for a day. Whatever you do, let your creative spirit soar. Throw caution to the wind. Don’t care what he or she or they say about you – only one opinion matters in this world: the voice of the star-breather pulsating in your heart.

Be resolute in your dream. But first, free yourself. Find the thing that drives you to get out of bed in the morning. Then check it out to see if there’s anything you’re forcing – any walls your creative birds are bumping into as they try to taste the sky. Find the audacity to be different. Find the courage to say, “No. I don’t do it that way.” Find the rebellion to be the most liberated version of yourself.

And most importantly, eat waffles.


love,
abbiee

when they don't like your dream

when they don't like your dream

So let me tell you something crazy about letting yourself dream -

Sometimes, other people won't like it.


You've got this song inside of you, and you're flinging the high notes out left, right, and centre, because you're excited, and you just want the world to be excited with you. And some people will be - they'll twirl you around and add a splash of colour to the dream you thought was already perfect, and it's so good. Other times, though, people will frown at you as you pass by. Or they'll yank you to a halt and tell you to sing under your breath, for goodness' sake. Or, worst of all, they snicker behind their hands when you skip by, and it turns the glorious thumping of your heart within you into a dud, dud,

dud.

There are a couple of reasons for this, I think. Sometimes it's because people just don't understand what it's like to have a dream, if they've never been allowed to have one for themselves. Sometimes your dream just looks very different from theirs, and they get confused. And sometimes, I think they see the hugeness of your dream, and it scares them because it's so powerful. They don't know what to expect from you, they can't control you, and so they default and try to shut you down.

Don't let them.

"Do you want to paint the white?" He asked. I signed at him that I would definitely ruin it if he put a paintbrush in my hands. "You will not." He shook his head. "I bet your hands are as graceful as your dancing, you've just never tried.":
via
I'm living in this tentative place of not knowing when to be honest with people when they ask about my dream, and when to hug it close to me like a balloon in the middle of a porcupine family reunion, because I just don't want to get hurt. Telling people that I'm getting my degree in English, (but no, I don't want to be a teacher,) leads to wrinkled noses and tilted heads. "So what do you want to do, then?" When my answer is that I would love to keep working in my church's youth ministry for the rest of my life, writing books and leading students and raising my future children, they start to frown. Sometimes they ask why I'm in university at all, if I don't plan to work with my degree, and they shake their heads at me when I say it's because I want to learn. Because I'm in love with the written word, and I want to write books, and I want to grow, and change, and be better at what I love.

At first, it didn't even bother me. I let it roll, like water off a duck's back, and I kept my head high, because I knew that my dream was good, and important, and right. I have the support of my parents and closest friends, and most of all, I feel like this is the place where God wants me.

But you know what has started to happen? After months and months and months of people asking the same polite, sometimes hurtful questions, tilting their heads at exactly the same angle, sometimes smiling indulgently, sometimes asking if I really think I'll even finish the whole degree, I started to wilt. I began to dread talking about my hopes, plans, my beautiful little dream, because I was tired of listening to the faint "hiss" of air as it deflated a little farther. So I started answering in roundabout, vague, general ways, because people were less inclined to ask questions if I said I was "waiting to see what the future will bring" or "prayerfully considering my options". But that didn't feel right, either... hiding away the real core of who I am; smothering what I care about just because I was afraid of what people would think.

So here's where I am now - and here's my challenge to you. Let's bring out those dreams again - let's dust off the hopes hiding under our bed, and puff a little extra air into those deflated balloons. Let's keep singing, and smile at the people who shake their heads. I'm going to talk about youth ministry, and how much I love the high school students at my church. I'm going to tell people with my chin up that I'm getting an English degree, and yes I do intend to finish. I'm going to be honest when people ask what I love, and tell them that I write books, even though I'm only 19 years old. And no, I don't think that's too young. I'm going to start standing up for my dreams again, and I want to encourage you to do the same.

If no one has ever given you permission to dream something a little out-of-the-ordinary before, let me be the first to do so. I firmly believe that God has created each one of us with unique talents and hopes and opinions, and it only makes sense to me that each of our dreams is a completely unique combination of all the little parts that make us up. If no one has ever told you that you don't have to strive for the normal, the expected, I'm telling you now. Whatever is on your heart - whatever makes you want to stand up and do something - that thing is important because it arouses something in you that nothing else can call out. Find that thing - I promise, it's there - and fight for it.

That doesn't mean your dream will look like mine - and that doesn't mean you have to turn your dream into a career, or a lifestyle, or anything else. You don't even have to have a dream that's crazy - maybe yours is simple, and sweet, and ordinary. There's no recipe for dreams, and if that means you get your English degree and become a teacher, than I think that's just awesome, and I think that your dream is just as worth discovering and cultivating and fighting for as anyone else's. Your dreams, no matter what they are, are intrinsically important - and they're worth fighting for.

What are you dreaming of? Are your hopes for the future wild and crazy, or sweet and every-day? I'd love to hear about them.

xx,
Olivia (s)

it isn't about me

it isn't about me






















I am a horse lover.

For as long as I can remember, horses have been the driving force behind every dream I have ever had. In the past nine years, I have been everything from beginner rider to competitor to a trainer's apprentice to stall-mucking extraordinaire...and love every second I spend with these animals as much as I did when I first started. I have been game to try most everything you can do with horses, but my interest has unwaveringly always been loyal to dressage.

Perhaps it is my naturally perfectionist nature that drove me to pursue dressage as a discipline as soon as I knew what it was. Dressage is all about the horse and rider working together to perform movements that involve an incredible amount of strength and fine-tuning on the part of both the horse and rider. Think of it like a combination of bodybuilding and yoga for horses.

I competed in my first ever dressage show after I had been riding for about six months. Since then, I've never stopped. Competitive dressage involves patterns(called “tests”) ridden through a series of levels, with each level adding more complicated sequences and movements that the horse and rider are expected to perform. But dressage is first and foremost an art and, done correctly, is beneficial to the longevity and well-being of the horse.

So, yeah. I used to be seriously competitively minded. I'm talking, “want to go the Olympics one day” kind of serious. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But as I stepped into the horse industry more and more, I found myself being drawn in a different direction. One that had less to do with the mainstream idea of success in this industry and more to do with those who were left by the wayside in pursuit of it.


You see, the more horses I worked with, the more my heart got stuck on those who were never going to be “special” in the eyes of most. Sure, I've fallen completely head over heels for horses who have gone on to be superstars and win every competitive title available to them. The ones everybody roots for, the ones we all know are going to succeed.

But time and time again, I found my attachments landing on the horses that needed “just a little more time”. The ones who were too ugly, too crippled, too untalented, too sensitive and neurotic to ever be expected to win any sort of prize. The ones that, if human, would have a caption in the Senior Yearbook that said, “Most Likely To Fail.”

See, in the horse industry, a horse's value is directly linked to how useful it is. Horses who can't be used and ridden don't end up in good and safe homes...they end up at auctions and slaughterhouses. It's sad and it's a viewpoint that I don't agree with, but from a business perspective, understand why some would..but I guess I've never been great at being business savvy.

Which is why, no matter how many times I have tried to dodge it, pass the burden to someone else to take care of, I can't avoid the calling in my heart any longer.

I want to open an equine rescue.

Horses, mules, donkeys, hinnys...zebras?!..anything falling under the category of 'equine', I want to open my heart to it and do what I can to see it on to a forever home.

There is nothing wrong with competing. I love it. I still compete and I don't plan to stop. But somewhere along the line, I lost interest in pursuing a gold medal and decided I want to pursue smaller victories instead.

Taking on those who haven't been heard...and let them know I'm listening.

The gelding with his ears pinned back, who has bucked off rider after rider; the one called “bad tempered”...the one who is really only hoping someone will hear him say, “Please...my joints hurt.”

The mare who was turned out on 40 acres, who hasn't had a human touch her in nearly a decade, who finds herself between a rock and a hard place after her owner passes away..the one labeled “rogue”..the one with the wide eyes asking, “Am I safe with you?”

The horse who has been passed around from owner to owner for the past three years, the one with the “crazy” label, the one ready to battle it out when in an uncomfortable situation, the one just trying to explain, “Someone else's touch wasn't so kind.

Things like...

Small victories like watching a malnourished donkey gain weight.

Little 'wins' of a previously abused horse learning to trust again.

The prize of seeing a once unloved pony go home with a family.

The bittersweet ending of helping a forgotten, senior horse through his final days with as much love as possible.

Making my life a lot less about whether my name is known and more about whether the forgotten know they aren't truly forgotten..not by Him or me.

And if somehow I can merge this where both forgotten equines and forgotten people are made aware that they are loved...that there is freedom from oppression, depression, heartache, abuse, darkness...that there is hope...

That would be a dream come true.

I don't know. I envision grassy fields full of contented equines and a barn that somehow turned sanctuary for their lonely and exhausted human counterparts...someplace to open as home.  

For the longest time, I have been all about the “grind”...another success, another accomplishment, another -insert whatever-, desperately trying to prove that I have managed to make something of myself. And yeah, our personal successes can hold so much weight and testimony...but when it's all about me...well, that gets pretty exhausting.

So, when I realized my dream..my calling...my mission...wasn't about me, but about others..when I awakened to the idea that my hope didn't rest in what I could do..but what He could do through me...it's been liberating.

I don't know how yet...but I'm starting to learn that the “how” isn't my responsibility anyway. Just that I take steps of obedience wherever He may call me.

Aside from that, I would like to continue my writing career. I am currently working on a couple of different fiction projects and hoping to get back to posting on my personal blog soon. My main goal with my writing is to delve into the complexities of humanity and what it means in terms of hope, love, and connection with our Creator and the world around us. I guess I'm trying to put my overthinking and analytical nature to good use.

Whatever path God puts my feet on, I know it will be a good one.

It isn't about me!!...and that is the most awesome thing I can think of.

And while I wait for direction, I'll keep singing this over myself...

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders..let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me..take me deeper than my feet could ever wander..and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior..


-ashlyn 

dreaming /// i'm not there yet

dreaming /// i'm not there yet

I want to be a midwife.
That's my dream.
I want to travel overseas and care for those
That will not survive otherwise.
That's my dream.


It always was something like that:
I wanted to help. I wanted to make a tangible difference because
I knew not everyone had what I had.
Most had much less.
Too much less, so they were dying
From lack of food and water.
And then i learned that some die from the pain
Women, in childbirth,
When it doesn't work.
They die.


My dream is to change that. I can see it:
Lines of mommas wrapped up in shawls, calling out in
Native tongue at the small children playing at their feet, dust
Everywhere, dirty feet, perfectly smooth
Round bellies with heartbeats inside,
Smiles, "how are you feeling?"
"Are you excited?"


And then the pain that they forget the moment that
first breath comes,  
Wet, red baby screaming from squinty face and squinty eyes
Momma reaching for the tiny human that she made, awe on her face,
When she sees the entirety of her work laid in her arms.


This is my dream.
And I'm not living it.


There will be a day
In the future
Maybe tomorrow
Maybe today
Maybe its years down the road.


But you will become acutely aware
Of the fact that you
Are not living your dream
And you know what it is.


When you close your eyelids, its dances on the backs of them
Tinged with red light around the edges.
You've pasted it there to watch while you slumber.


I'm sitting on my floral couch.
The big windows of my living room feel
A bit like the windows of my world.
Fog creeps down the sugar coated mountain, through the white evergreens
Obscuring every view, every distance.
I can't see past the fence of my backyard,
Painted white from snow
Descended in the night.


I can't see into the future.
I hope - I think - the mountains are there, just like
I hope - I think - that one day I will be a midwife.
Technically I've started the journey, but
I am acutely aware that I'm not there yet. I haven't arrived.


I want to say this:
Sometimes chasing your dream means handing them over to
The star-breather.
And letting Him dream for you.
Sometimes it means that He blindfolds you and says
'Trust me'.


Dreaming, oh, dreaming is beautiful.
Dreaming to soundtracks and songs that make your heart
turn into the kick drum from
Imagine Dragons,
Seeing stars in the best possible way,
High on winter frost and airplan-wing-up-in-the-air pictures,
Strange food and scraping cash together for the next chunk of gas money.


Dreaming of new life, the gasp of air,
The shaking hands, the relief of labor not being wasted.
The screaming, tiny humans being lifted into mother's arms,
And the smiles and the tears that come after.
The love.


I'm dreaming of what I want to do.
I want to be a midwife.
But what I'm doing right now is not that.
I'm waiting, and I'm working (because as much as I hate it, life costs money),
I'm figuring out how to measure things in centimeters with my fingers,
How to give applicable advice, how to listen,
How to be kind,
How to know what I need to know,
Chasing down scholarships and information, filling out applications and then
Re-filling them out because they weren't right the first time.
I spend late nights getting to the end of the chapter in the
childbirth education book by bribing myself with Spotify and Instagram.
I'm sitting here waiting,
Blindfolded,
Quieted breath
Fog caressing my snow globe living room.


And I am reminded of the fact that
I must be resolute.
I must be strong.
For I know who holds my dreams
I know who gave them to me in the first place.
I know Him and He guides my steps even when they don't make sense;
I know.


I am reminded that even in my resoluteness there will be uncertainty.
It won't make sense.
He tends to take the path of most resistance
Of most faith
The one that passes over water and through wilderness,
Through crowds of angry people
Through desolation and emptiness and exhaustion.
In resoluteness there will be uncertainty.
And in uncertainty may we find resoluteness.


My dreams are different than most:
Catching babies and measuring bellies
And watching families be made.


My dreams are different but they're there,
Pasted to the backs of my eyelids.
Blinking, they flash before me.


The fog clears a bit from the windows.
I can see the mountains now.
Perhaps the wait will not be so long.
Perhaps I will not be dreaming, soon.

be resolute

be resolute



res·o·lute
ˈrezəˌl(y)o͞ot/
adjective
admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.


I believe we all have dreams. goals. gifts inside of us that we were born to pursue and enjoy. But so often we see life beat that out of us. We often feel like we're just clinging on for dear life as best we can, with that dream or desire forever lingering in the back of our minds, but so far from being realized.

there's a difference between dreaming and being a resolute dreamer. There's a difference between being an activist, and being an inactivist. There's a difference between stagnating and reaching.

You are a dreamer, yes. But you are more than a dreamer.
You have goals, yes-- but beyond that, you have been born with all that you need to accomplish those goals already trapped between your rib cage, and folded into that wild, beating heart.

You were born to dream, but you were born with the resolve to make those dreams manifest. You were born with the words "I can do all things..." inscribed on your heart in the handwriting of your Creator.

Your dream is not just your own. It's not a selfish thing to pursue your dreams and goals. They were woven into your heart for a reason. They were handed to you so that you would make this world brighter and more beautiful with them.

He believes in you. That's why he gave you those dreams.
Now you have to believe in you.

Be a dreamer, yes.
But be resolute.



I love this excerpt from one of the Rocky movies. Some of my favorite running motivation videos include a sound bite from this particular speech, and it gets me every time because it is SO true.


"You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you-- you’re better than that!"


Taking the hits. 
Continuing to move forward. 
Not pointing fingers. 
Getting back up.

That is how being resolute is done!
That's how dreams stop being just dreams.
That's how goals are met.

It's not easy-- it's hard. It takes courage and resilience to keep on going, even when things get tough. Even when people tell you it can't be done. Even when everything around you is trying to bring you down.

Just remember, you're in good company. The river is only made stronger by the rapids. I love the way Helen Keller put it:


"While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done."


What they say doesn't matter. It's how you handle it.
It's about staying true to yourself-- and believing in you because HE believes in you.

It's about staying resolute.






lOVE,
kATE

go forth and conquer those 2017 resolutions and goals. WE BELIEVE IN YOU. Tell us if you've set any particular goals for the new year ahead of us

I'm the kid with the big dreams

I'm the kid with the big dreams

When Kate sent out the email about our new focus/topic for this month it excited me so much. She gave the idea of telling our dreams and our resolutions for this year to go forward with those dreams. Lately, I've found that talking to others about your dreams and hearing theirs is the most inspiring and motivating thing ever. So I'm going to tell you about my dream. And if you want, you can tell me yours. :)


Right now, I am in my junior year of high school and I am getting pretty pumped about graduating in 2018. As of right now, I plan on going to college. Which is crazy for me because all my life I swore I never would, haha! Crazy how the plans and opinions you never thought would change, change, as you get older.
I don't really have an interest in going to a "big" university or even going out of state. I really want to stay local. I have zero desire to move away from the people I love! If I was going to be a doctor or something I would probably consider a bigger college, but I want to go for music. 

Music is my life. I know that's a super over-used phrase, but it seriously is. Music is my passion. It has helped pulled me through the darkest times and celebrated with me through the light. It's my favorite hobby. It gives me so much joy. I feel very strongly that this is my calling and I couldn't be happier about it.
I want to make music because I want to be a light in the crack. I want my music to be a bridge between people and God. I want to inspire. I want the feelings and things God is speaking to my heart to flow out and be transformed into a melody that people can sing. This is what I want to do with my life. Music is such an important aspect of society as a whole (like, seriously, think about it.). I want to be a voice. I want to help change lives with music and Jesus.

And in the midst of all this,
I want to get a job at a bookstore or a coffee shop.
I want to hunt murals in cute downtown places.
I want my neck to be sore from carrying my camera around my neck.
I want to stay connected with my friends even though we are already getting pulled apart in all different directions.
I want to have adventures and do things and never sit at home with nothing to do.
I want to go to a ridiculous amount of concerts.
I want to be busy living life to the fullest. 



What I will do after college is still a mystery. I'm not looking that far yet. Maybe I'll be married? I don't know. Not too concerned about that. But speaking of marriage here's the next piece to my dream.

I dream of traveling the world with my husband. I've never been one to chase after boys or even have any interest in relationships at all (literally never even been in one and don't plan on it for awhile lol), but a recent experience showed me how beautiful it can be. I have this HUGE dream of touring the U.S. and hopefully some foreign countries as well. I want to see things. I want to see more than just my little town. And I'm too scared to do anything like that alone, so the thought of traveling with the one I love is amazing to me.

And while I'm traveling, I hope I'll at least have my foot in the door with music, and I want to make music along the way. And I mean, who knows, maybe my husband will be a really cute musician himself and we can make music TOGETHER. *brb just picking myself off the floor because of that thought*

I can just taste it.

Traveling in our cozy airstream.
With a folk-rock song playing.
Guitars and uke's set up around me.
Just enjoying each other's company while we explore the most beautiful piece of art made by the most beautiful Artist.
Haha, this my favorite daydream.



And that's as far as I've gotten. And maybe some of these dreams won't happen. Maybe my life will go completely how I didn't plan. But as long as I'm following God and I'm willing to be clay in His hands it will all work out better than I could ever imagine. His ways are higher than mine and I can't wait to see what he does in my future.

And my resolutions for these dreams? Glad you asked.
I'm going to be motivated with school. I'm going to work hard and get *clap* this *clap* done *clap*
I'm going to press on with learning as many instruments as I can and work on perfecting them. 
And I'm going to follow Jesus with everything I've got and let Him write my story. 

I love you all, and if you read all this you're basically the best <3
-aaliyah

i've got a dream

i've got a dream

backdrop: me with headphones in listening to coffee table jazz playlist on spotify, wearing leggings an oversized t-shirt of my dad's from disney and a worn flannel, in the living room surrounded by my family's chaos. there's snow on the ground outside.

so, kate sent out an email about sharing our dreams and our resolution in working towards them. well, like a lot of you probably, I'm still working on the actual getting there part. but I know what I want and I'm willing to do what it takes to get there- I'm just not sure what my exact path is yet.




I want to be a journalist. I'm pretty sure that's literally the only reasonable career choice that I've considered that wouldn't get boring to me. It's a constantly growing and changing field, a field where I would never stop learning. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, a voice of reason, truth, but mostly of light. I want to travel the world and write about what goes on behind closed doors, in the shadows, and about what makes people uncomfortable. I want to write about the countless pinpricks of light in a night sky where so many are unable to see the light. I want to write from home, researching online, typing on my laptop in my comfy clothes like right now. I want to love what I do, and wake up everyday ready for a new challenge.

eventually, I want to get married (but I'm gonna leave this part up to God. lol not about that chasing-after-guys life). honestly (not like I haven't been honest this whole time but), I'd like to get married early. I want to have kids and kinda wanna still work my job, writing, bleary-eyed during nap and after they head to bed with my husband reading by my side. and, yeah, I know this is all pretty idealistic, but I guess that's why it's called dreaming, right?

so, go ahead. dream. dream hard. but hustle harder.
*resists every urge to make "go, live your dream" tangled reference*

now, tell me about your dreams? 
thanks for listening to mine x

encourage + inspire

encourage + inspire


   
i want this year to be the year of great things.

i want to encourage.

i want to bring hope to the hopeless. i want to deliver smiles and laughs. little jokes and hearts in text messages. say hi to strangers. i want to pray for all the people, whether their needs are obvious or not. 

i want to boost confidence in insecure souls. i want to scream that they can do the impossible thing they're dreaming of. i want to give big, caring hugs.

i want to encourage  others. i want to show them that even in the dark times there is hope. there's a light -- it may seem far, but it's there -- in the distance. i want to spark the love of our King in the hearts of heavy souls.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
[hebrews 10.24-25]

i want to inspire.

i want to believe in the crazy dreams that others have and help them achieve their goals. i want to inspire others to encourage. i want to inspire people to spread all the positive vibes and hope.

i want to inspire people to become a warrior. to become a conqueror of demons and darkness -- to take up their armor and fight  for Him.

i want to inspire others to take faith in our only hope -- God.


2017 is a new year. a year brimming with possibilities, so don't throw it away. bad things will happen, ]and life will get tough, but the year is what we make of it. this world is a messy, sinful place, and if we choose to focus on that instead of our Hope, it's all too easy to despair and look upon things with a negative filter.

go into this year with confidence, knowing that you're made in His image and for accomplishing wonderful things. go with a hope to encourage and inspire and to make the world a better place. if we all go into this year with these thoughts in our minds, think of the hope that 2017 has.

i believe in all of you. may your year be as amazing as you are. 

you are forever

you are forever

Image result for galaxy sky tumblr
via


















I want you to remember.

Think long, think hard, breathe deep.

Remember that

This moment
This fleeting pain
This difficult road

will pass.

You are here, beloved,
and though you are hurting,
your burden will fade.

Seasons come
and seasons go

But our God is forever.

In case you have forgotten
In case you need to hear it
In case you have lost yourself in all you believe you need to be:

Christ deemed you worth dying for.

Infinitely loved are you,
and so forgiven,
destined for
greater places
and faces
and times than these.

So we wait for Him,
like astronauts,
rejoicing in even one step forward
on this planet that feels so foreign.

Remember, believe:

T H I S  I S  N O T  T H E  E N D

You are here
and you are alive
and you are loved.

Yes, daughter, even in this moment,
you are loved as much as you were
yesterday,
and will be tomorrow.

Regardless of what you've done or will do:
He loves you just the same,
loves you as much as conceivably possible, and then some.

So, with relish,
we run,
remembering that we will one day be caught up in the clouds
to meet Him,
to see Him,

face
to
face.

Remember how He holds you,
so that with every last breath
your life will sing of His love
so others,
also infinite,
might sing along, too.

You are forever.

~ erin 

i'm fine

i'm fine

I have the privilege of working with a wonderful lady who, when asked, will tell you exactly how she is.
The other day I asked her, "Leigh, how is it you always say just how you are?"
She smiled, "Well, it's better than lying."

And I have done this so many times.
"How are you?"
"I'm fine." 
or,
"How have you been?"
"I've been good!" **cue overenthusiastic smile.

But let's face it: no one is fine all the time (If you know someone who is, let me know).
Personally, I am not fine;
at different intervals, I am stressed, I am tired, I am hopeful, I am happy, I am blessed, I am good.

I am not just 'fine'. I am so much more.


Why can't we say how we are?
Someone wouldn't ask if they weren't wondering.
So tell them. Please.
Of course, I'm not saying spill your guts - unless you want to - but tell them.

I know this can be difficult due to the world we live in;
Vulnerability is taboo and people are called brave for saying how they are or how they feel.
I believe this is because our society only wants things sugarcoated.
They want things pretty.
They want things airbrushed.
They want things in such a way that it doesn't hurt.
Sunshine and rainbows.

But you know what? There is beauty in thunderstorms too.


xo


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