Music Wednesday: Your Promise Still Stands

I am back everyone! I apologize for my unexplained and unannounced hiatus. When I first started this blog, it was never my intention to go MIA any period of time, much less 6 weeks, however, I found the time separated was oddly what I needed.

Anyway, some crazy things have happened since I left and I am still trying to gather my thoughts on how to dive further into this in the future. Until such time, we need to kick it back off with more music Wednesday’s because well, let’s face it…it’s been a while.

If you remember back to the beginning of the year, I found myself saying I am filled with faith of the work God is going to do throughout 2017. I stand by that post with everything I have today because I have been seeing it happen again and again.

So as a bit of backstory, there are certain things in my life God and I go round and round about, and for a little bit, I felt like we were making good progress. Ephesians 3:20 had been on my mind so much and I remember analyzing my situations, talking with God about it, and thinking God this really does feel like immeasurably more.

I would drive down the road to work and ask God to direct me in the correct path. There was some pain and confusion, but not much. For the most part, I was praising God and thanking Him. I walked around thinking “this is it.” Then today, that door I was so thankful God gave me a glimpse of closed. Just right in my face, there was nothing I can do about it anymore.

While I expected and prepared myself for something like this to happen, it also didn’t take long for me to retract back on my words and instead of praising God for what He had blessed me with to go back to thoughts such as “God did I hear you correctly?” or “Well God, I see nothing has ACTUALLY changed.

Foolish, right? How much more flighty can you get?

Then we fast-forward to bible study tonight. I’m sitting there listening to the speaker tell the story of king David when he says God showed David his future as king, but then he had to face years of trials before the promise would come to fruition. A glimpse of the future, but no roadmap on how to get there, only God as a compass. It was one of those statements that made me take a step back and think.

THEN, during discussion, a lady at my table suggested I listen to Do It Again by Elevation Worship. I was shocked I’d never heard this song since I listen to Elevation SO much, but I was all for it. The first thing I did when I got in my car was turn this song on and wow is all I have to say.

Maybe God knew I needed to hear this? Possibly it’s just a coincidence? Either way, there is no denying this song spoke to me. I found myself relating to the lyrics in a way I haven’t in a while. The song speaking the word of God me found me right where I needed it.

I was reminded God has a plan. Even if this door really did close, it does not mean He and I cannot reach immeasurably more in some other way (He is God after all). Through it all, I believe He is able.

P.S. The bridge is the best part – “I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains, and I believe I’ll see you do it again. You made a way when there was no way, and I believe I’ll see you do it again.

The Continuous Tale of a Mighty Warrior

777bf4cf0d34f375ed9646bbbd4dab8c

“The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, ‘the LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’”
Judges 6:12

My phone hits 17:00. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Though shaking, my hands begin to dial the phone number I had scribbled down a sticky note. One ring… Two rings… My heart is pounding.

“Hi Abigail! How are you?”

I couldn’t believe it. It was her and this was actually happening…

Poised and refined, though emotional and solemn, the continuous words of this Gold Star mom as we proceeded to speak left me aghast.

Marc Alan Lee was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died during a fierce firefight with insurgents in the central Iraqi city of Ramadi. Debbie Lee is his mom.

In July of 2006, Marc wrote his last letter home. The letter reads these words – “So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they may be people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.”

In efforts to both fulfill her spiritual gift granted from God as an encourager and carry out Marc’s last request to pass on the kindness, Debbie founded America’s Mighty Warriors, a military non-profit focused on helping Gold Star families find healing, helping heroes recover from PTSD and TBI’s, and granting Marc’s wish to carry out random acts of kindness.

As I spoke with Debbie, I was amazed at her wisdom and compassion.

“There is nothing greater than sacrifice,” Debbie said. “Christ displayed it first on the cross, and our troops display it next by being so ready and so willing. It’s become a clear example of the sacrifice Christ made for us.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Debbie and I spoke for no more than 30 minutes. I asked her questions upon questions about running a non-profit and any advice she had for someone seeking a future in military and/or non-profit work. She was more than willing to help.

Beyond her kind words of advice, however, it was the words about her son, about her situation, and about the work God was doing through her to bring His name glory that me feeling both refreshed and fulfilled by the end of the conversation.

She walked me through the journey she has been on since that fateful day so many years ago. Overall, it was clear she strives to keep the presence of Marc and his personality through all of her daily activities, even joking when she hit her necklace and cut her finger. A sarcastic “well thanks, Marc” came out as she chuckled at the small knick his SEAL trident had caused.

As the first Gold Star mom to visit a combat zone, I asked about her time in Iraq and if the trip ever scared her. Her response to me?

“Not even close. I had prayed about it. I knew it was right.”

 While going into a combat zone would scare most of us I’m sure, Debbie said she appreciated it. It gave her a chance to get a glimpse of what our troops endure, how they live, and how they fight. She saw it as the opportunity to relate to our troops, to relate to her own son, and how they live.

“As a believer, if something happened, I knew where I was going,” Debbie said. “Like Daniel in the lions den, I was on a mission to do what God had asked me to do no matter the outcome.”

 Debbie ended up spending Christmas with a group of soldiers that trip. She said there was no greater joy than sharing the story and sacrifice of Christ with those who sacrifice so much for our freedom on one of the most beautiful days of the year.

At the end of our conversation, I asked the all encompassing question – “How are you seeking to bring good from a past hurt?”

Though I could tell the question was tender, Debbie responded by stating that when Marc died, her confidence was not in herself or her son, but in who God was.

“I did not have a choice on the news that was given to me on August 2nd,” Debbie said. “But I had choice on how I responded. Losing Marc was the toughest thing I ever faced, but I knew God would see me through. He was still the same God on August 2nd that He was on August 1st. His character had not changed.”

She realized God does not waste pain and if anything He was teaching the lesson to always trust Him, to always go to Him, and not another person. As a widow and now-grieving mother, Debbie said she began to understand the conversation between Hezekiah and God a little more. She began to talk to God like he was physically there and realized as scripture states, God had seen her tears, He’d heard her prayers, and He would answer. She knew even when she didn’t have a specific answer, she could always feel God’s presence and He would always provide.

Through her pain, it rings clear that she has remained humble and graceful in the presence of God. Debbie has undoubtedly used Marc and America’s Mighty Warriors to touch the lives of so many Gold Star families and hurting soldiers for the Gospel.

For more information on Marc and Debbie, visit americasmightywarriors.org.

Music Wednesday: Military in Motion

Due to exciting news that I cannot yet share – I have decided to dedicated this music Wednesday to our service members.

See, something is happening that I will soon expand more on, but until such time I have decided to give a sneak peak at what’s to come. (And for those who are thinking it – no I have decided to become a commissioned officer in the Navy…yet)

When it comes to the military, I have a number of favorite movies. Saving Private Ryan. Pearl Harbor. We Were Soldiers. American Sniper. The list goes on.

However, there is one movie that I feel goes above and beyond all the others. It’s a movie capable of hitting anyone in the gut. Maybe some would agree with me on this, maybe they wouldn’t. Either way, I am willing to argue this is the one of the, if not THE, best movie about the military out there.

This is a movie I’ve only seen twice. Once in January of 2013. Again at the end of July 2015. Twice. That’s it. And both times ended with me on the floor, in a ball, crying my eyes out.

I don’t mean this to sound bad or weird. There’s something about the military (not just movies based off the military), that will hit me every. single. time. I have a reverence for our troops that I struggle finding the words to explain. I believe it’s the highest aspiration anyone can achieve in life. It’s not only the big things but the small things that get to me as well. It’s just a long way to say that it doesn’t take much to have an impact on me when it comes to the military.

But this movie. This movie epitomizes every ounce of that reverence I have for the military into 110 minutes of raw action starring real Navy SEALs. This move is Act of Valor.

It’s my favorite movie on the military, hands down. It’s also a movie I almost never watch simply because of HOW upset it makes me. However, given the surprise I have coming soon, I believe this was the perfect choice for this music Wednesday.

Keith Urban recorded the song For You specifically for Act of Valor. I’m not really sure how to describe this song other than like the movie, it’s a song you will not find me listening to very often due to the impact it has on me. Again, given the surprise I have coming soon, it’s the perfect choice.

As with most music, it is the lyrics of For You that make the song so raw and so powerful. After all, the first verse quotes John 15:13 – “no greater gift has man than to lay down his life for love.” The feeling, the thought, there are those out there in the world who will take a bullet for my freedom, who wouldn’t think twice about going into the line of fire, who don’t think about right or wrong but do what they have to do to defend their own, it’s a reaction from me unlike anything you could ever see. This is why For You is my choice for this music Wednesday.

I challenge you to listen to the lyrics. You never know what you’ll experience.

The Power of THEY

I want to talk about THEY. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy – you know what I mean. THEY. Those people. The ones you surround yourself with on a daily basis. The ones you associate yourself with. Your THEY.

They are everywhere. From social media, to work, to school, personal life, we are surrounded by a THEY.

But are we really? When we really, and I mean really, start to think about who they are, are they really the people we want to be surrounded by?

maxresdefault

Let’s back up a little bit –

On Wednesday nights I go to a bible study in Grapevine called Flavour. Last night we talked about who we do our battles with, otherwise known as our THEY.

Think about it – you have your friends on social media, but then you have the group of people you’d be willing to invite to an event or something (and I mean like the extended-extended-of extended family/friends here), there’s the people you’d want at your birthday party or graduation or wedding, but then what about those people, the one’s you know who will go into battle with you no matter what. These are your THEY.

Now, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, or you just think I’m a weirdo who has a problem with caps lock, THEY is an acronym. There is so much more to the people who are your THEY than just those you would consider your “ride or die” style friends. And let me tell you, you may think there are some who could or should be your THEY, until you really start to analyze what this means, then you begin to realize your THEY isn’t as large or as strong as you thought it was.

Here’s what I mean:

T

The first letter we have is T. T stands for tough. These are the people who are solid and steady. The ones who give you a firm foundation when you feel like you don’t have one. More importantly, the ones who remind you of the foundation you stand on when you feel like you’re struggling to remember. They really are the epitome of ride or die.

H

H stands for honest. These are the people who will speak truth into your life even when you don’t want to hear it. This goes beyond just telling someone they’re being a brat. They are honest about living up to the life God created you to have. They provide honest perspective on your difficulties. They will tell you if your decision is rash, or if your words are harsh. They provide the level-headed perspective we all need in our lives.

E

E stands for encouraging. These are the people speak constant encouragement into your life no matter what. They do not display signs of jealousy or a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality. You can come to them with good news, the best news, and they won’t try to break you down, or show you up, or throw a pity party for themselves. They’re just always happy to you and for you.

Y

The last letter is Y. It’s also the most important letter. It stands for yielded. Are they a whole-hearted, committed, commissioned, follower of Christ? I don’t think I can ever emphasize this enough. These are the people who both speak and live the word of God. They don’t just know God’s word, God’s word is written on their hearts. And they will take the word and transmit it to you during those times you need it. They are the one’s who shine for Christ in all that they do. You never have to ask them if they’re a Christian because you know they are. They walk with a different beat in their step because you know they live a life totally surrendered to Christ, and this type of surrender is displayed in everything they do. And let me tell you – this is absolutely the most important quality you want in your THEY. The other three letters are mediocre to this sense of yielding all that we have and all that we are to Christ.

So why is THEY important? Because it’s not about how many there are. It’s about who they are. THEY are the ones who display these qualities through and through, no matter the stages or seasons of life. THEY are the ones you can always turn to to be tough, honest, encouraging, and yielded. Without these qualities, well to be quiet frank, our THEY isn’t really a THEY worth having.

So who is my THEY? It’s a list I made last night as an exercise during bible study. Like most, some who I thought would make the list were quickly cut off. Then there were others who removed themselves from the list by removing themselves from my life. At the end (not counting my parents or my sister) the number of people I can turn to at any time of day for any reason, is three. Three people. Three people in my inner circle I would trust with my life. They are my THEY.

Emma Vance. Kaelan Blok. Haley Wolters. They are the ones who are both tough and make me tough. They are the ones who are honest with me even when I don’t want to hear it. They are the ones who encourage me. But most importantly, they are the ones who speak the truth of God into my life at all times. They are the ones who offer their prayers and support. They are the ones who bring treats to my house, text me at 4 am to make sure I’m okay, and tell me they’re buying a boat to get my mind off my mom’s wreck. This is my THEY.

Going even further, Haley is my ultimate THEY. She is the Godsend to my life who emulates all of these qualities to me, even if the seasons of life are difficult for her.

At bible study, they asked to share how we met our best friend/ultimate THEY. Haley and I have an interesting story. We worked the same internship. I walked in my first day with my Gilmore Girls coffee cup and it was basically an instant connection from there. We were inseparable that summer. And yes, we are the annoying girls in their 20s who run around Target shopping then lay on the floor laughing while she reads “All My Friends Are Dead” and I play with a giant green bouncy ball.

fullsizerender
I did buy the bouncy ball that day. Makes for good stress relief. 

But what really got Haley and I, where we really noticed God was working between the two of us for each other as best friends beyond all that we had in common, was the night we baked cookies at her house. We baked cookies and watched Gilmore Girls. But we also shared our stories with each other. I told her about how much I found my identity in someone else and as such allowed a breakup to destroy my life. She told me about the struggles she faced with her biological dad and reasons her family is the way it is as a result.

There is no denying we bonded – but this is where we realized it was God at work and not us. In that moment of sitting her on L-shape couch, stuffing our face with cookies, while her dog Ugg begged us for attention, Haley looked at me square in the eye and began talking about the very passage of scripture God had been using to speak into my life for many months leading up to that moment. The weird part? Not once did I ever say in the conversation that was the journey God and I were walking together. Haley just felt the words come on her heart and she spoke them. Except that wasn’t Haley, that was God. Everything was uphill from there.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-9-02-31-pm

Now, obviously not everyone will have a story like Haley and I, but I do believe it reflects the importance of choosing the right THEY. Without the right THEY, we are marching into battle with people who do not understand our desire and need for God. They point us to each other instead of toward Him, and we need the people who will always point us toward Him.

I’ll end with this – they said this quote last night and I love it – “It’s not the people who will ride in the limo with you, it’s the ones who will be there when the limo breaks down.” Well, this is ALL to real for Haley and I since her car did break down and we (i.e. Micah and Erik, we sat in the car) had to push it to the gas station.

fullsizerender-2
Because who doesn’t want to run out of gas in July in Texas?

Your THEY is important so surround yourself with the right ones. And if you don’t have them, then pray for them. God will provide them. But remember, you have to be the right THEY as well as choosing the right THEY.

fullsizerender-1
One last ode to the bouncy ball. It’s always there for me. 

Music Wednesday: The Most Played Song on Spotify

So I’ve titled this blog “the most played song on Spotify,” for me at least. This definitely isn’t the most played song in all of Spotify. I don’t even know if this is the most played song on my personal Spotify. However, I do remember it made my “Year in Review” list for 2016 from Spotify so I must have played it enough for the song to hit the list.

Nonetheless, you won’t hear much Chris Young on my Spotify. In fact, you’ll hear almost no Chris Young on my Spotify. It’s not that I don’t like Chris Young because I do. In fact, I love him. But due to certain circumstances, I don’t keep his music on my Spotify. (The same goes for Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett. LOVE the song, but you’ll never actually see me listen to it. In fact, I often turn it off when it comes on the radio but I digress)

Still, beyond my connection with Chris Young and my reasons for keeping his music away from my Spotify there is a song by him that I will listen to every time it comes on shuffle and then some.

I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s one of those songs that just hits me. The crescendo into the beginning, followed by the steady beat of the drum and then finally Chris’ beautiful voice singing the first verse until he and the rest of the band hit it hard at the chorus. It’s perfection. It’s one of those songs that can instantly change my mood and I often find myself with it on repeat.

I cannot count the amount of times I’ve gone for drives on beautiful Texas days with the windows rolled down, blaring this song, watching my antler and turquoise necklace dangle from my review mirror with a soft smirk to the side of my face. I just love it that much.

These are the reasons why I would take a guess that’s it’s the most played song on my Spotify. I could be wrong, and that’s okay if I am. But we’re going to pretend it is. After all, music speaks to us for a reason and Chris definitely made a masterpiece when his voice was combined with these lyrics. Like I said, perfection.

Alright guys, I’m done babbling. Though if anyone knows if there’s a way to check your most played songs on Spotify, I’d really appreciate it!

Here’s Lonely Eyes by Chris Young! Enjoy!

Faith

fullsizerender
I used to have this verse hanging via decal on my living room wall. Then I moved from Waco and never replaced it. Still I find myself doodling it a lot

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gain approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible…and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11

If I told you I took a spiritual gifts test on Sunday and faith came back as one of my strongest spiritual gifts would you believe me? Honestly, I was somewhat shocked. The knowledge and wisdom aspects didn’t surprise me as much. I am a learner. I love gaining knowledge about anything and everything. Scripture is no exception to this rule. Concerning wisdom, I understood how I ranked so highly on that. From my knowledge, I had experienced spiritual maturity and began to be able to practically apply that knowledge I had grown up with my entire life.

But faith…really…faith? Faith is for the crazy people that believe God is capable of everything right? Faith is for people like Abraham, Moses, and David. But me? God granted me the gift of faith? I was honestly taken aback. This simply cannot be so. Yet then again, I did mark a five out five on the line “I feel assured that a situation will change for the glory of God even when the situation seems impossible.” 

Then I read the text box for faith:

Faith trusts God to work beyond the human capabilities of the people. Believers with this gift encourage others to trust in God in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. (1 Corinthians 12:9)

If you want to talk about yelling at God for saying a situation is impossible, I am probably your poster child. Still, I realized this very reason is why it hit me so much.

Make no mistake, I am always the first person to say “don’t doubt God, you never know what He could be up to.” But saying it and believing it. Well, those are two completely different scenarios. Yet here I sit, faith tied for the highest score on my spiritual gifts.

The faith one is the one that hit me the most because it’s the one that has felt so real in my life for the past few years. I had to go beyond hearing it and knowing it to living it and believing it. Ultimately, it was this faith that God is in the midst of everything and is able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my ex and I became so close.

He was going through one of the, if not the, toughest time in his life up to that point at least. I could sense his anger. I could sense his hopelessness. I could sense there were moments he wanted to ask God why He would place such an egregious situation in his life.

As he went through these circumstances, I would sit with him and try to make him talk to me. I knew he didn’t want to, but I still encouraged him by letting him know that I was there 24/7 if he ever needed a support through everything he had to face. Although we weren’t yet dating at this point, let’s be honest I inherently knew I loved him (whether I was ready to admit it or not is a topic for later discussion), and all I wanted was assurance he would be okay no matter what happened.

I distinctly remember one night at our local city park. He and I and a few other friends all went down to the park to hang out, goof off, be kids, whatever. We were 16 year olds that wanted to stay out until curfew. Though while we were all joking around, he separated himself from the group. He climbed up to the top of one of the slides and just stood there analyzing his surroundings. I figured his mind had to be racing with thoughts so I climbed up there with him to see what was going on. Like I said, my goal in the entire situation was to always make sure he was okay.

He opened up to me that night. He told me how angry he was at everything. He told me how he felt alone, almost like his other siblings didn’t quite understand the feelings he was trying to work through. And most importantly he told me he just didn’t get it. I sat there and listened and then proceeded to talk him through his anger. I told him God had an end to this situation but it would require a lot of faith on his behalf. I told him God would use the hurtful and seemingly impossible circumstances in his life to not only grow him stronger as a person, but also bring glory to His name. I remember telling him it may seem weird now, but you’ll see how God will work this out.

I held his hand (literally and figuratively) as he moved forward with a battle he never thought he would have to face in his life. It’s coming up on seven years, and I pray he is able to see how God used and is still using this situation and how everything worked out because I know I can.

Little did I know, however, that years later God would use him to shatter my world, and in my heart-broken state I would have to begin uttering those same words of faith I gave him on the slide that night to myself. I could no longer look at him and tell him everything was going to be okay and move on with my life. I had to learn how to hear and believe the truths God was speaking into my life, even though I can recall pulling into the parking garage at Baylor one day and in my prayer simply saying “God…it’s impossible”, to which his response to me was “I am God all-sufficient. I will make it possible.”

My faith grew that day.

2014-05-23_14-39-54
El Shaddai in Hebrew

As I discussed this aspect of faith with those around me, I realized the journey God brought me down was one very much of faith-solidifying. God knew the faith was there, but I had to realize it. I had to dig deeper into myself than I ever had before and cling to God harder than I ever had before (which I am still doing). It was either that or fall WAY off the deep end. I would think my friends and family are happy I chose the former as opposed to the latter.

But faith-solidifying is really where I fell at. Once that was laid out before me, I could see the truth in my spiritual gifts test. I could tell God had given me this faith for a reason, even if I cannot yet see what that reason is.

I was brought to the edge of myself so I could reach something greater. It was an unknown. It’s still an unknown. But I have faith one day I’ll see that place, whether on earth or in Heaven. The important part was I didn’t step out in blind faith, but instead in all-consuming readiness to be used by God through what I viewed as insurmountable circumstances.

I have said it before but I want to reiterate it – my faith grew stronger because in seeking explanation from God, I found revelation instead, and through this revelation my mind was elevated. I know longer saw my circumstances for what they were but instead saw God for who He was and the things He is capable of (which is a lot).

While it was weird at first, faith was actually spot on. Faith is that God is who He says He is and will do what He has said He will do. Faith that in God I can experience immeasurably more.

FullSizeRender-1.jpg

100 Things: A Follow Up

img_9886
Forever pondering 100 things…and being super basic in the process courtesy of snapchat

A year ago I read a Thought Catalog post on journaling/blogging ideas and I decided to give one a try – make yourself vulnerable and share 100 facts about yourself. So I did. If you never read that post, believe me, they. were. random.

Today my mom and I were talking about journaling (because she got me this adorable blue and red anchor journal) and she’s decided to take it up. She told me it’s one of those things she’s thought about before, but never really knew how to move forward with it. My response went something like “well mom, you just do it.” But on the flip side of that, I understand her argument. How do you journal? What do you write about? Where do you begin?

I understand. It’s scary. Even when you are branded “a writer,” I have a whole folder full of writings that will never see the light of day.

I guess that’s when I was reminded of my 100 Things post. Thought Catalog inspired a post for me, there’s so many writing prompts on Pinterest, and amongst other things, I do what I can to draw inspiration from the world around me. The thing about the 100 Things post is how much it required me to dig into myself, to analyze myself, to become vulnerable and share my likes and dislikes with the world.

Being vulnerable is really the biggest part. It’s the hardest part. It’s the scariest part. But it’s also the most important part. And today, I decided to become even more vulnerable and do a follow up post to my 100 Things.

I decided to this because I’ve talked to my mom about writing a lot the past couple days. I realized my writings help display a lot of that growth, but also being able to go back to my 100 Things posts and show how things in general have changed also seemed like a lot of fun. And who knows, maybe by going back and revisiting some my older writings – including the ones never published – I’ll be able to find more inspirations for my writings. Just keep growing, right? (Which I almost spelled “write” because puns…okay I’m done)

I won’t cover ALL of the 100 items listed in the original post. That’s just way too much. But here is an overview of how things can change over a year (P.S. I will be using the original number from the list):

1.  “I have the most fun relaxing and watching Netflix.”
Still true. I have binged on House of Cards a lot lately. But I’ve also spent a lot of time reading. Trust me, a large book post is coming.

fullsizerender

9. “I’ve never broken a bone.”
While this is still true, I did twist my ankle pretty badly trail running the other day in Trinity Park. Let’s talk about how fun it was limping back to my car…

11. “I want to learn how to speak French.”
Well…Savoir, penser, rêver. Tout est la. A lovely phrase.

25. “I want a German Shepherd and his/her name will be Kona.”
While this is still true, I am a renter and German Shepherds are restricted breeds in most rental places. Because of this, if I do get a dog it’ll either be a Lab or a Catahoula named Huckleberry. Then everywhere we go I can say “he’s my Huckleberry.”

41151012178c819889bbae5417728b63

30. “My favorite bible verses include Psalm 118:8, John 3:30, and Habakkuk 2:3.”
I also want to add Ephesians 3:20 to this list. A beautiful doxology by Paul that has been on my mind a lot lately. Even if it’s a temporary favorite verse, I’m glad it’s there.

c1segodukaanydv-jpg-large

32. “I have my entire wedding planned on Pinterest.”
Scratch that. I do have a wedding planned on Pinterest, but it probably won’t be mine. Why? Because I don’t want a wedding ceremony with the bridesmaids, and the 300 guests, and the stress. Haley once told me I’ll have shotgun wedding and she’s right. I want a small ceremony (seriously like 10 people max) on a beach (preferably Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown, VA) probably on some random day of the week and that’s it. Think like Chuck and Blair Gossip Girl getting married in Central Park, minus the whole Bart’s dead plot twist.

b1e549cf2965279d68d6747cdfb08ff4
Part of Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown

35. “When it comes to European travel, my dream destinations are Paris, Venice, and Prague.”
I’m happy to report that my wanderlust has ventured beyond just Europe. (You thought I was going to say I got to go to Paris, didn’t you?) At the time I wrote this, I REALLY wanted to go to Europe, a couple of other places, and that’s it. Now, I also want to go to both Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan as while as go hike Patagonia in Argentina/Chile.

48. “As much as I love Texas, I have a longing to travel and live in different places.”
Look up and look back down. I guess travel was really on my mind a year ago (and still is). Though stateside I am currently planning a trip to Williamsburg/Yorktown. What up Hampton Roads! Trust me guys, the day my dream (and I mean legit I had a dream about this) of moving to Yorktown comes true, y’all will be some of the first to know.

50. “The marathon I hope to run one day is the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C.”
So I signed up for the MCM newsletter and I do plan on enrolling in the lottery for the 2017 marathon. If I don’t make it through the lottery, I’ll probably run it through a charity. I was thinking TAPS, but I’ll definitely keep y’all posted. Oh and we can also add the 2018 London Marathon to this list.

59. “I would like to work somewhere like Wounded Warrior Project or USO.”
Still very true, though my dad wants me to be commissioned as an officer for the Navy. I won’t deny I consider it…all the time. I’m just trying to get through grad school first. Plus, the thought really scares me. I love the military, I just never thought I’d actually be apart of the military.

73. “Loreena McKinnett and Phillip Wesley are some of my favorite classical artists.”
Throw Tim Janis in there and we’re golden.

80. “My dream grad school is William & Mary.”
Obviously, W&M is not where I am getting my MA from, however, this does not mean I do not love the school. Grad school right after I graduated college ended up being a whim decision for me and my options were limited. (I had initially planned on deferring for a year) However, this doesn’t mean I regret my decision to not go to W&M either. Liberty has been good for me. If anything this is more of a “terminal” MA to just get my feet wet in the realm of International Affairs. W&M is still my dream school, I just want them to be the ones who hood me as a doctor.

2d8eb6c72ab4473b949b00d49d5ac298
The Christopher Wren building on William & Mary’s campus

95. “I am a huge introvert.”
I used to think this was a bad thing, but lately I’ve learned to embrace it. I enjoy my own company. I guess some people think it’s depressing when you go do things on your own, but I’ve learned to love it. Whether it’s going to eat or going exploring (I still haven’t gone to the movies by myself), it’s still incredibly enjoyable and relaxing (plus people-watching). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of others because I do. I guess it’s just overtime I’ve learned it’s okay to spend time alone and it’s okay to enjoy it. Being an introvert is nothing to be ashamed of.

fullsizerender-1
Taken the day I explored Grapevine, TX on my own

So there you have it friends…13 updates on my life. I did this because I wanted to see growth. Because from these 13 updates, I can use any one of them to fuel a fire in my writing or build future blog posts off of (which will definitely happen if I run the MCM).

As stated before on my conversation with my mom, I know it’s hard. There are many times I publish a post scared to death because of how vulnerable it will make me seem, and there are plenty of writings that will never be published because I’m not ready to be that vulnerable. But the simplest things in life can provide inspiration to the world around us. That’s why I love these lists of facts about ourselves and the world around us so much. I ultimately believe they can help all of us become better writers and thinkers altogether.

Whether you’re just starting out writing or you’ve been writing for a while, keep going guys! There is inspiration everywhere, I know you’ll find it!