Hope: a desired expectation
   I used to think that hope was basically the same thing as wishing for something, but I've learned that a "wish" is far to flimsy to be compared to "hope". Hope has solid footing. Hope, while different goes hand in hand with faith. Faith is essentially trust. You can't hope for something without first having faith in something.

   I'm a hope filled person. I live my life in such a way that I'm hoping for things to come. The issue is, my hope is typically too focused on the thing I want to happen, and not placed in the one who will never let me down. So, when something changes and hope is taken out of a situation, I'm left in a place of despair. Instead of having faith in Abba, and hope for His desires for my life, I tend to have faith in what "I" can make happen, or faith in another person. Basically, building my house on sand instead of solid rock.

  It is my firm belief that God made me a person who hopes easily and passionately, for a reason. I don't want the harshness of the world to steal my hope, and I know that if I have to deal with heartache again and again, it will. That means, I need to learn to carefully place it on a solid foundation, and not one which will crumble and fall. Just something I'm learning and working on.



   Ever since the fall of 2014 when I attended G42U, I can safely say that each year has only gotten better. Not that I haven't had struggles and hard times, but something shifted that year. I know a piece of that is my relationship with God grew in a huge way, which means that my out-look on life changed. Suddenly I had this deeper understanding of the love of my Father, which gave me more hope and in turn I was filled with more joy.

   2017 was no exception. 2017 was the year that I really got plugged into Rockpile Church. It was the year I grew vocally by learning how to harmonize. It was the year that I made a whole bunch of friends. In 2017 I found a job that I truly enjoy. I was blessed with another niece, giving me 10 nieces and nephews. I spent my first Christmas away from home with amazing friends in Ruidoso, New Mexico. I learned a lot about myself in 2017.

   I begin 2018 with hope for my future. I have so much that I want to accomplish this year.
I want to continue to grow musically. Vocal growth will always be a focus of mine, but this year I'm adding learning to play the piano.
I want to get back into reading. Not just the fiction books that I love, but also a long list of non-fiction books I've been wanting to dig into.
I honestly don't know what 2018 has to bring me. I don't know if it will be the year I go back to school. I don't know if it will be the year I move out of Texas (or at least out of the hill country). Maybe in 2019 I'll look back and there will be no major physical changes, but so much internal change.

  Abby and I had some really good hangout time the other night and in that, we spent some time waiting on the Lord for words for each other's year. For me, Abby got a few pictures:
1) I was on a boat and I was reading one of those fishing radars that tracks movement.
2) I was in Big Bend leading a group of people through the canyon in which my friends and I had such a bad experience (long story if you haven't heard it). I was telling them what they should and shouldn't do, speaking from a place of experience. She said that she could see me doing that with people. That she felt the picture meant that I had experience and wisdom to share.
3) Next, I was in a doctor's office. The doctor was listening to my heart and clicks his tongue saying "This isn't good. You haven't been silly enough.". He told me I had been caring too much what people thought of me.
4) Last, she saw me walking across a stage to get my college degree. I was so chill about it, like I didn't see it as a big deal. I just bound across the stage, took the diploma, and said peace out. I hopped off the stage and got into a spaceship haha. She felt that it was just saying that a college degree isn't a make it or break it for me.

  I'm excited to see what 2018 has for me. Obviously I have my dreams for the year, but I know that no matter what, it will be an awesome year. So here's to a year of seeking His face and seeking the hearts of those around me. Here's to learning how to let my silly show and not give a crap what people might think. 



   This morning I was catching up with a sweet friend I hadn't seen in awhile. We were talking about life. I made a comment about how something I'm dealing with is exciting, but honestly really scary too. Her response struck me. She said, "That feeling never really goes away. The older we get, but more used to it we are, but it's something that we will always experience."

   Recently I was reminded of a conversation a old friend and I had. He was telling me about something that happened to him and it ended with God saying " we don't make fear based decisions."

  Both conversations are ringing in my mind. A lot about life scares me. A lot about *my* life scares me, but I never want to be one to make my decisions based on fear. In the fight or flight frame of mind, flight usually means fear for me. I tend to run instead of sticking it out and putting in the work. So I'm challenging myself to not run. I'm challenging myself to try new things and be adventurous. I'm young. I have so much life to live, and I want to live it to the fullest.


Finding myself in the midst of life

  I'm the type of person who easily loses herself in the hustle and bustle of life. Part of it is laziness, but it also has a lot to do with the fact that at the end of a busy day at work, I just want to turn off. I don't want to have to be a person. I've always struggled with hobbies because of this. It's not that I don't want to do things, but a lot of the time, it takes another person saying "let's do this thing", for me to be a productive human outside of work and adult requirements.

  I say all this not because I want to complain about my tendency to apathy in my life, but because I genuinely want to be better. I've grown a lot in 2017 with my vocal abilities. Those of you who know me well, know that singing is one of my favorite things in life. I honestly can't put into words what it does to my soul. So the fact that I have expanded my abilities this year is very exciting to me. It's awakened something in me that doesn't want to stop growing in the things I enjoy.

  My friend who has been giving me voice lessons suggested I learn piano, and even offered to teach me. Now, I took piano and guitar lessons as a child. I always quit because I didn't have enough drive, and honestly? Because Singing always came so easy to me, that having to push so much to learn an instrument was frustrating for me. But guys? I really want to be able to sit behind a piano and have my own little worship time. When I want to sing one of my favorite songs, I don't want to have to choose between singing a Capella or using a recording. I want to be able show off my God given talent and play/sing at my favorite coffee shop. I want those things so bad it makes my insides ache.

  It goes so much deeper than my desire to say "yeah, I have hobbies." . Along with my musical desires, I really want to start writing. Recently one of my patients and I were talking. She is an older woman who is an avid reader, as well as writer. I was sharing with her my desire to write about my dad's life, as other family members. I love history, so why wouldn't want the history of my own family documented? She was telling me, it's not about writing everything perfectly and knowing the whole story, but it's about making a list of what you do know and fleshing it out. The polishing will come when it comes. Now, technically I knew that, but I'd never thought about it in such simple terms. I also thought that to write about my dad, I needed to know everything. That isn't true. I need to do what all writers do, and write what I know.

  So here I am; documenting a moment in my life when I am expressing the desire to be more than what I am to other people. But to have substance even in my own time. Here's to growing and learning.


For the Kingdom

   Lately life has felt quite messy. -Though, I suppose life is always messy, there are just times when it is more apparent to us because of situations that arise.- I've allowed the goings on of life to not only distract, but over-whelm me. So much so that some days it really seems as though I'm just going through the motions of life because I have no other option. I've lost sight of having actual communion with God, and in return, being a vessel for His living water to flow through.

   I'm currently reading (or listening to.. I love audible) Blessed Child by Ted Dekker. It's about a boy named Caleb who was raised in a monetary in Ethiopia. He was taught from a very young age to "seek first the kingdom of God", that inside of us, there isn't room for both light and darkness, therefore a choice must be made as to what we will live for.

   I haven't been living for the kingdom. I've been living for laziness and ease of life. What do I do in my down time alone? Typically, watch Netflix. I don't use my time wisely, and I don't fill myself with real worthwhile things. Things that not only are life giving, but also things that cultivate growth.

   Eight years from now I will be 30. I don't want to look back on my 20s and think "man... what a waste..". I want to have a long list of books that I've read, both fiction and non-fiction. I want to be in a vastly different place in my walk with God. I want my friendships to be deep. I don't want to live my life on the internet.

  I am thankful for so many things about this day and age, but we are certainly surrounded by so many distractions. Distractions by which I feel controlled at times. I believe the vast amount of people diagnosed with ADHD, don't actually have it. They just never have had to focus on one thing for any amount of time. I mean, I can't even make myself watch a tv show hardly, without having my phone out also.

  Something I'm challenging myself to do, is to be more unplugged. I don't need to be on Facebook twenty times a day, or any other social media for that matter. I don't need my phone as a buffer in social situations, though that one I am currently having an inner struggle about. The first thing I do every morning, before even getting out of bed, is get on social media. I'm wasting my life on this junk.

  How can I expect to pour the love of God out onto every person I meet, if most of what I fill myself with is tv and the internet? Honestly, I don't know how to change things except by stopping each time I catch myself just disappearing into my phone.

  God has so much for me in this world, and I'm missing it. I don't want to live this way. I want to be the change I want to see in this world. I want to be different. So this is me, fighting to grow and change. Fighting to be more than the norm.




   Life the last few months has been a bit of a whirlwind. Mixed with struggles, change, and growth. I now have a different job, which I really love. It's not stressful, the environment is uplifting, and I enjoy the people I work with.

   This summer has been a lot about trusting God's timing, and honestly continues to be that way. I've been struggling (though not as hard as I should) to find deeper intimacy with my Daddy God. I've found that all my problems stem from a lack of intimacy with Him.

  I am currently on vacation visiting some of my favorite people, and I'm taking this opportunity to refresh. To use my down time to read, pray, and worship. To work on my relationship with Dad. Yesterday, I was reading a book and it made a point that shifted everything in my brain. It talked about the difference between living with a scarcity mentality and living with a mentality of abundance.

  I'm surrounded by people who's lives are coming together. They're finding their person, getting married, having kids. Whatever stage they might be in. I am truly happy for them, don't get me wrong, but there's a part of me that's jealous. A part of me that wonders if I'll get an amazing life. If there will even be anything left for me to have. I'm living with a mentality of scarcity. A mentality of abundance wouldn't think this way. It would realize that someone else's great opportunities and happiness doesn't mean that I have lost out.

  Wow. Realizing that, was crazy for me. So now, I'm working to shift my mindset. I'm praying into the renewal of my mind and heart. Jealousy isn't something I want to feel. I want to feel joy for everyone around me. Untainted joy. So here's to a lifestyle of abundance.


Never judge a book by its cover

I have never understood why everyone is so focused on appearance. Why does it matter what color skin a person has, or how they choose to alter themselves?

This is specifically a problem in the work place. The interviewer sees a candidate who may be great for the job, but they have things that don't go along with the dress code. Their hair is the wrong color, or tattoos/piercings showing. Things that have zero effect on their ability to get the job done.

Personally, it's all discrimination. Unless the dress code is specifically talking about the type of clothing they would like their employees to wear and that's it, it's inappropriate.

I get it, the business has an image that's important to them, but that doesn't mean what their asking is okay.

Obviously this is a personal issue for me. I have blue bits of hair, a nose ring, and tattoos on my wrists and collar bone. Yes, I chose to do these things, and maybe it's naive and entitled of me. But that doesn't change the fact that this shouldn't even be a problem. It shouldn't matter. Whether I get hired or not should have nothing to do with me physically and have everything to do with my abilities to work.