Y’all, sometimes you just need to take the time to think of all the little things in life that make you smile. And it’s just as important to take that time on the bad days as it is the good, because straight up-there are so many wonderful things to be thankful for. So for a little pre-Thanksgiving blog, I have been thinking about the things that I am most thankful for and how those all came to be.
The way I see it, my life has been broken down into a few solid events that changed my views of the world + shaped who I am today.
Newport Beach, California
[Spring Break 2015]
I have already posted about this wonderful trip, but it truly was the point when I realized that I wanted my blog to be MORE. It was the kind of adventure where you woke up each day excited for what was going to come next. I could give you every detail of that week, but it’s the individual memories that mean more. Brynny, I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for you taking me along with you, this trip was a lot more beneficial than I had ever thought. Somewhere smushed in between bonfires of Reece’s + marshmallows and shopping for graduation dresses, I leaned how much we all affect each other’s lives. It taught me that taking the time to learn about someone’s life could mean more than anything. It was the man on Venice Beach, telling us that he wanted his art to become history, his faith that his sand-art would outlast everything.*see “In a Golden State of Inspiration“* His faith in what he hoped for. [Hebrews 11:1] The way that everyone on Venice Beach was so diverse, but somehow created a culture of it all. What a beautiful mess-in a way, it was a representation of our world. I think that was the exact moment I started to think of our lives as one, big, beautiful mess. It was the bonfire with people I had never met, yet they welcomed me like family. It helped me realize that we all need to take a little time out of our lives to welcome each other. We all need to let His light shine through us. [Matthew 5:16] This spring break taught me that I could use my writing to spread his word, and that was what I wanted most.
[Majorly summers 2014 + 2015]
“Don’t be a cafeteria Christian”.
That’s what has been in my head this week. We can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible to listen to in the same way that we can pick and choose what to grab from the lunch line. Kanakuk [& K-Life] have played a major part in my life, but the past 2 summers have truly altered my views of life.
2014: It was this summer that taught me how important it was to be strong in my faith & rejoice in times of trial. It prepared me for a year full of daily challenges that I knew I couldn’t handle on my own. At times, I felt [and still feel] like I am drowning. But I know that He will always pull me out. [Psalms 18:16] This was also the summer that began my love for writing. I met someone [who is constantly mentioned in Elle’s Adventures] who showed me exactly what I needed, the chance to use writing to spread God’s word. Her blog started mine & I am so beyond grateful for you, Cas.
2015: This summer, K2 hit me. Hard. Like truck-going-down-a-highway-coming-straight-at-you hard. I had strayed so far from my faith. I was trying to fill the holes in me with everything BUT what they were craving to be filled with-God. All of the sudden I was struck with an overwhelming calm. My past year was such a struggle and it seemed like all the weights from it were completely lifted off of me. God was good and He was all I needed to be complete. I did not need to strive to fill those holes with worldly things [other people, makeup, clothes, etc.] I finally realized the importance of everything I had been taught since I was little. I wasn’t ashamed to say that I was a Christian anymore. It’s who I am and I wasn’t going to hide it anymore. This summer was 2 weeks chocked full of “ah-ha” moments and sweet, pure laughter.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Last year, I was strung up on getting out of KC. And on a boarding school visit, I stopped for an afternoon in Chapel Hill. For those that know me well [or anyone around me for long enough] you know my love for poetry. I am so mesmerized by how 26 little letters can string together + make us feel so much. Then you take those beautiful words and smash them down into tiny chunks that still are so so powerful. Okay so lets continue. On this trip I stumbled into a cute lil used-bookstore with piles and piles of books stacked to the ceiling. And somewhere in this beautiful mess I found a collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson poems. It was ripping at the binding and had a part of a cover page but it was that book that changed how I saw the world. I absorbed those works and started to look at the world as if it was a poem, one full of beauty and mystery. Life was an amazing poem, it was my story and I simply was reading through it. This bookstore introduced me to poetry and showed me that you can find something great in a jumbled mess.
These three events were the kind of thing that seemed so small, so unimportant at the time but ended up changing everything in my life. They led up to meeting the most important people in my life today and helping me grow closer to others. God is so good. So so so good, people. Sometimes I wonder what would have changed if I didn’t do a little thing that ended up making a big impact. What would have happened if I didn’t doodle a Bible verse in my planner that day? Then I wouldn’t have had conversation about God with one of my favorite people on the planet. So thank you, RK, for sending me that friendly reminder of the Lord that day, it still is written at the beginning of each week.
What I am trying to say through all of this [I guess¿] is to savor the moments. You never know what is going to end up turning into something MUCH larger than what it seems. Rejoice in the little things + take a little time to think about what you’re thankful for:)