About that Competition I Entered . . .

The group of 19 semi-finalists (plus three of our coaches) who attended a 2-day training event at Johnson University Florida. (21 others met at Pepperdine in California.)

When I woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning on Thursday (which was totally not on purpose, by the way), I was immediately jolted awake by the realization that the email I had been anticipating since February 3rd had probably come while I was asleep. So I checked. And it had. The top four had been announced, and my name wasn’t on the list. Continue reading

Excitement & Endings.

When I was in high school, I just knew that I was going to marry my boyfriend at the time. We were known for being one of the cutest couples at church, and we received compliments pretty frequently regarding how we handled our relationship. He and I expected to get married one day, and everyone else expected that, as well. Looking back, it’s funny to see how different my view of marriage was then. I don’t think I looked at it the wrong way; it was an exciting idea, and I knew certain things like divorce weren’t ever going to be an option. However, I didn’t realize that beginning a marriage required ending a part of my life.

In October, Jacob – whom you’ll remember I began dating last Fall – asked me to marry him. Since then, I’ve realized that in saying “yes” to him, I decided to stop calling Maryland home. I chose to thank my parents for all they’ve taught me, and declare I’m ready to put all of those lessons into action as I begin a family of my own. These are the types of things that I didn’t think about when I was high school. I had no reason to consider what would end when I got married, because when you’re in high school, it kind of feels like nothing is ever going to end. Marriage was a lovely, distant dream and it stopped there. Continue reading

Change Mine.

Every year at Johnson, an event called Floor Wars takes place. This event is for the girls living in the dorm, and involves competing in various games (tug-of-war, relay races, skits, etc) until one hall is deemed victorious over all of the others. In addition to simply enjoying the experience, everyone is given the opportunity to buy a Floor Wars t-shirt. This year, our shirts had Rosie the Riveter on them. If you don’t know who that is, here’s a picture:

Rosie the Riveter

A couple of weeks after most of us had paid for our shirts, our dorm resident, Becky, posted on our Johnson Hall (aka the girls’ dorm) Facebook page saying, “If you ordered a shirt already and would prefer Rosie the Riveter to be darker in skin tone please comment below with “change mine” and I will make the change.” Initially, I thought it was a neat idea, but that it didn’t really apply to me…and if I’m being honest, I was worried that the darker skin tone wouldn’t look as good if I did choose to get it. Continue reading

Thoughts on Starting Year Two.

One week from now, I will be back at Johnson University for my second year. A lot of mixed emotions come with that knowledge. Of course, I am beyond excited to be going back to all of my friends, and to dive into the vast amount of knowledge that I know I will be surrounded by this semester. However, there are some things I’m not quite as prepared for. I’m not prepared to say goodbye to my little sisters again. I’m not prepared to be going back to a place where I don’t have a job lined up. I’m not prepared to leave the wonderful church that I have been able to call home this summer. Most of all, I don’t think I’m prepared to go back to a Christian community. Continue reading

Baseball Park Magic.

The Yard.

When the Orioles went to the playoffs in 2012, my dad and I were able to go to the games they played against the Yankees. I remember looking around from where we were sitting, and being amazed by how many people were there to support the Os. Until then, I had never witnessed so much team spirit being displayed in Camden Yards. Usually, people would cheer when a player got a hit or made a good play, but you could still feel the lack of faith that people had in our team. But this time, it was different. This time, instead of only cheering enthusiastically for home runs, people were cheering enthusiastically simply to encourage the pitcher when he only had to throw one more good pitch in order to strike the batter out. I found myself cheering louder and more often than usual, because the excitement was contagious. It was vastly different from what I was used to, and it was magical. Continue reading

5 Things Someone Should Have Told Me About Purity.

When you grow up in the church as a girl, you’re told a lot about purity. You’re told that all boys think about is sex. You’re told you have to make sure what you wear is modest. You’re told to have boundaries in your relationship, and to talk about them early on, even though it’s going to be awkward. You’re told it’s okay to say no. You’re told it is emotionally devastating if you have sex before you’re married. You’re told a lot of things and you’re expected to remember them all. Not only that, but you’re expected to understand them, when most of the time, no one really explains what they mean. All of these things are told to us with what I believe are good intentions, but if I’m being honest, it’s simply not enough. 

It’s not enough to be told it’s okay to say no, if you’re never told you probably won’t want to. It’s not enough to be told to have boundaries, if we’re not told how easy it is to blow right past them time after time. It’s not enough to be told that having sex before marriage is devastating, if no one sits you down and honestly tells you about the shame they’ve experienced in their own life in a way that you’ll understand. Our approach simply isn’t good enough. As one of my friends put it, “[sexual temptation] is something we should warn the youth about, but we kind of just gloss over it.” If we’re going to tell teenagers that this is one of the most important topics to discuss, then they deserve for it to be talked about in an honest way. So today, I’m not going to dance around what I know to be true. With that said, here are the top five things I wish someone had told me about sex/purity:  Continue reading

What is “Ready” Anyway?

Recently, a handful of people have told me that I am trying to grow up too fast. This post was inspired by those comments. 

Sometime in the near future, I would like to get a job in Knoxville, find a place to live, and begin figuring out where God is leading me on the path to becoming a successful speaker. I would like to stop talking about venturing out into the world, and start figuring out what it looks like to actively do that. I would like to embark on the journey that is growing up.

Inevitably, some of you will have a problem with that desire. Some of you will read this post and then proceed to tell me that I need to stop worrying about my future, or that I should stop trying to grow up and enjoy being young while it lasts. If I’m being honest, I’d rather not receive those comments. I’d rather not be reminded that I am a pretty small fish in this ocean of a world.

Continue reading


Coming back home from Knoxville has been strange, to say the least. In some ways, it feels like I’m starting a new life all over again. My household runs differently now, my friendships here slowly faded throughout my time away, and I’m looking for a new church. There is very little to come back to that is familiar to me. Continue reading

The Problem with Zooming In.

zoom in (zoom in) – verb phrase: to examine more closely or in greater detail; focus on. 

One year, when I was on the annual Fall Retreat with my youth group, every student in attendance was given a piece of a puzzle. The puzzle pieces all had part of a collage on them, and the collage was made up of pictures that had been taken at different events throughout the past couple of years. When we first got our pieces, none of us knew what to think of them. Sure, it was neat to see who was on your piece, but what was the point of it all?

Later on, those pieces were used for an activity we did, and we all had to turn them back in. Not too long after we did that, we were told that our leaders had put the puzzle together, and we were able to look at it. In the end, all of our individual pieces came together to form an image of Christ’s face. In some ways, that’s a bit cheesy. However, overall, it’s a stellar illustration of how often we become caught up in little details of life and forget to look at the whole picture. We zoom in on our own life, and we forget that there is a bigger picture that we should be looking at. Continue reading

One Down, Three to Go.

year (year) – noun: a specific period of time, usually occupying a definite part or parts of a twelve-month period, used for some particular activity. 

This week, I finished my first year of school at Johnson. In some ways, it feels like I just arrived on campus yesterday. In others, it feels like I have been here for much longer than eight months. Regardless of how long it feels, Johnson became my new home somewhere along the way. For the last eight months, I have lived on the same campus with pretty much the same people. I have become familiar with the area surrounding my school and can navigate it almost as easily as I can navigate the roads of my hometown. I have a routine here that I’m not quite sure I ever expected to form. In addition to this new routine, I’ve also learned a lot since being here. With that said, here are eight of the things I have learned during the past eight months:

One: I learned early on that when your school has the nickname “Johnson Bridal College” (a play on our old name – Johnson Bible College), it was given for a reason. It’s easy to assume that a nickname like that is an exaggeration, but let me tell ya – it’s not.

Two: I learned that not having a job like I did back home can make the money situation pretty stressful – especially when it costs so much in gas to get anywhere. At home, I work at Jimmy John’s. At school, I don’t have a job. I knew that having a job was beneficial at home, to say the least, but I didn’t realize how quickly the money I saved for college would disappear. Continue reading