How Should We Live?

Pro Life Tip: IF YOUR MOM SAYS, “LET’S GO TO NEW YORK” YOU DON’T QUESTION IT. YOU PACK THAT SUITCASE AND GET THE HECK ON THAT PLANE (even if you miss a final, whoops)

While walking through the Museum of Modern Art, I was struck with the question, “How should we live?” 

To be honest, I have no idea. I’m 15, figure out most of the answers to life’s problems through dance parties alone and sleep with a stuffed giraffe named Ferb. But what I do know is this; I have a heavenly father who knows what tomorrow looks like and he gave us something even better than a self-help book.

Like it says in Psalm 121,

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

There’s thousands of self-help books out there. There’s self-help books for when your parents are getting a divorce and how to cope with it. There’s self-help books for getting into the college you want to get into more than anything. There’s self-help books on getting over your fears. There’s even self-help books on how to transition into new points in your life. But here’s the thing – you can read as many self-help books as you want, be as prepared as you possible can and still fail. You will still have a breakdown because sometimes life is hard. You will still have a chance of not getting accepted. You will still be scared of some things because change is scary.

And that’s life.

And no matter how many times you try to convince yourself that you can plan everything and keep like consistent, you can’t.

And if you think life is going to work how you want it to, like I so frequently try to tell myself, it won’t. (jokes on me for thinking I know how life is going to work out when I don’t even know what I’m getting people for Christmas)

BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT 

We do have God’s word, and in that He tells us,

For, Whoever would love life

and see good days

must keep their tongue from evil

and their lips from deceitful speech.

They must turn from evil and do good;

they must seek peace and pursue it.

1 Peter 3:10-11 

So maybe we mess up and realize we don’t have any clue what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. AND THAT IS PERFECTLY OKAY!!!

We weren’t made to be flawless human beings who knew how to live their lives without any mistakes (and if we were that would be absolutely no fun at all)

We were made to live full of light and being so PROUD of our Lord  that everyone can tell. We were made to live life using what we love to spread His word. We were made to pursue peace as intensely as we possibly can.

We should live for Him because He died for us.

With Love,

Elle

ps- check out more pictures from my little adventure HERE !!!
ily people

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In the Moment

Sitting on my 5am flight home this morning, I’m stuck thinking about all the moments in life that we miss because we are too scared of what will happen the next day. Life isn’t meant to be wasted on fear of what tomorrow will bring. Life is meant to be a spontaneous, messy adventure that you just kind of say, “why not?” to.

Sometimes your dad will say, “hey we should go see a concert,” so you pile a few days’ worth of tee shirts and socks into a bag and drive the 11 hours to go see that concert while looping through the same 100 songs on spotify the entire drive. And then sometimes, after a couple dozen wrong turns and doing your makeup while driving on the highway, you end up getting to see two of your favorite bands play underneath the stars and dance along with thousands of other people as invested in that moment as you are.

The more unplanned on moments I find myself falling into in this life, the more I am starting to get that maybe I am not supposed to know what’s going on all the time. Maybe it’s okay to book a flight and hop on four hours later. Maybe it’s okay to fuel yourself on coffee for three straight days so you can write while watching the sun rise through the clouds. And maybe it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

In the end, I don’t think I’m going to find myself remembering the nights I got plenty of sleep or the days that were perfectly planned to a “T”. I think I’m going to look back on the sunrises from the sky, the wrong turns I took and where they led me, and the people next to me along the way. 

“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.”-Judith McNaught

with love,

Elle

what do ya do?

It has been simultaneously the best and most confusing week of my life.

Let me explain…

This week has been full of stress, trials and confrontations I was completely unprepared for, but mostly just a lot of things where I looked at myself and was like, “Well okay, how do I handle this?”

In the midst of all of this, the doubt and fear and confusion and everything in between, I was also just COVERED in this amazing peace that I haven’t felt in a realllllly long time. It’s just felt like I’ve been killing life lately.

SIDE NOTE: I’m the girl that has her detailed life plan up until she’s 25, I know where I want to be and when I want to be there and that’s my life. But this plan has kind of gone way way way off track, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

All of this confusion has caused my planned-to-a-“T” life to go out of whack and here I am, sitting on the floor of my math classroom thinking about how FANTASTIC it is that I have no clue what the heck I’m doing, because SO WHAT if I don’t have a perfect GPA or a car that has a right axle?? I have some best friends who are willing to eat my cooking (even when I make the cake too dry) and watch bad movies in Spanish with me even though we don’t speak a word of Spanish, I have a guy (who I completely don’t deserve) that is down for building blanket forts with me  and a Heavenly Father who looks at me and is like, “yeah girl, I have your back.” and that’s pretty dang amazing if you ask me.

When we’re growing up, everyone tells us to follow our dreams. They tell us to figure out what we want to do with our lives and chase after that with full intensity. But what if instead of chasing after our dreams, we chased whole-heartedly, haphazardly after the Lord who has plans for us bigger than we could even begin to grasp?

…And why don’t  we do that?

Honestly, what’s stopping us? Is it fear? Or pride? Or maybe, we just don’t know where to start.

So here I am, saying go for it. Stop worrying about some dumb life plan (even if you’ve had one that’s incredibly detailed and has been adapted since you were 13 and thought life was going to be this perfect lil plan all that time and man ohhhh man were you wrong). Maybe instead try looking to God and see where THAT takes you, something tells me that the creator of the UNIVERSE isn’t going to mess you up. Follow that beautiful heart of yours because it was given to you for a reason and it isn’t going to steer you away from where you need to go if Jesus is the one filling it up. Stop being so hard on yourself and instead just be.

Friends, try to take this time to be thankful for yourself and this life. I know that sometimes we are overwhelmingly sad and life is a big question mark and you can find yourself crying and wondering how the heck you got there but listen. You are beautifully made. You are deserving of love and other people’s affection. You aren’t being forced to stay somewhere you aren’t happy. Sometimes life can just be really tough and it’s not your fault at all. But sit back and appreciate your wonderful heart that can be a little sensitive at times but also is beating every day for YOU. Life is far too short to chase after things that make us unhappy.

Take some time to love yourself because it’s okay that you don’t know what to do. You don’t always need to.

With Love,

Elle

He is STILL good. 

Over the past week, our country has been full of a lot of incredibly strong (and rightfully so on both ends) emotions. No matter what your stance is on the state of our country, feelings of anger, anxiety and division. We, as a country, have treated this whole thing like a divorce and quite frankly we aren’t acting much like a country anymore. We need to realign our thoughts and remember that the King of Kings has us all held in the palm of His hand and He’s not letting go anytime soon. So, here’s a list of what’s still good in the world, even when what’s happening next is a big mystery.

  • porch swings and hammocks by the lake
  • hiking mountains
  • perfectly painted nails
  • old pictures
  • writing and receiving letters
  • dainty little necklaces
  • ice cream runs
  • fish (especially my best friend, Munna!)
  • good eyeliner days
  • fuzzy white blankets
  • getting dressed up
  • sitting on roofs
  • Fun, new dates
  • picnics
  • walks
  • trying new food
  • walks on the beach at sunset
  • Watching sunsets
  • Watching sunrises
  • Seeing someone after a long time
  • Finding really good new music
  • Trips to art museums
  • Bracelets on bracelets on bracelets
  • Bouquets of flowers
  • Sitting poolside or beachside
  • Record shopping
  • Plane rides at nighttime
  • Long talks with people I just met
  • People that just make everywhere feel like home
  • early mornings
  • Late nights
  • Silence
  • Being in the middle of a concert
  • fireflies
  • acoustic covers
  • sunshiney days
  • Rainy days
  • new markers
  • Driving and looking at christmas lights
  • Cloud watching on warm days
  • Roadtrips
  • Friends that eat all the caramels in boxes of chocolates for you
  • Really bad puns
  • People sharing secrets that no one else knows about
  • Exploring new places
  • worship
  • Long bus rides
  • Really bad movies
  • Really good songs
  • Really good movies
  • Really good books
  • Wrapped presents
  • Little surprises
  • Jesus bobbleheads
  • Early 2000’s music
  • Learning new lang
  • uages
  • Holding hands
  • Phone calls
  • Old libraries
  • Airports
  • Taking off and landing on planes
  • Staring at the moon
  • Blanket forts

Hebrews 13:5 “For God has said, ‘I will never forsake you. I will never abandon you.’”

Wrecked

Wrecked
For those of you wondering, my week has been a wreck.

Literally.

Monday morning was jolted to a start in a car wreck that was a lot better than it should have been (but talk to the car, he might disagree). Crashing into a cement median on the highway should have set off the air bags in the very least, but somehow Patrick (the red GMC who is a very big fan of road trips and off-roading on the occasion) and I were unharmed except for the right tire. Some might say that is just luck, the car mechanic says it was thanks to my Jesus bobble-head on the dashboard, but if you ask me – that is just straight up God-power.

And I think that is how a lot of things in life work too.

You can be on this straight path, life is going great. You can have done nothing wrong, but maybe you start drifting a little off course and then you hit something. And you start to wonder, how did I let myself end up here? What did I do wrong? How did I wreck? And – why am I okay?

Ironically enough, this morning I have been reading through Jeremiah and found this verse.

“There is a hope for your future…Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went…How long will you waver, o faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth.”

So maybe we get a little off track. Maybe the point A to point B gets a little mixed up and lost along the way. And maybe you get so far gone that you feel like you have just hit a cement median.

IT HAPPENS!

But no one promised us that the path to Heaven was easy, I just promise that it is going to be worth it. There is a song thats lyrics frequently appear on my Pintrest boards and part of it says,

 “you’ve taught my feet to dance upon disappointments”.

And why the heck wouldn’t we? Bottomline is, we are going to mess up over and over again. We are going to get off track and we are going to wonder, “Where in the world am I?”

AND THAT IS SO OKAY.

When you have a God so great that He pulls you out of the wreckage of all your mistakes and loves you when you have a lip swollen to the size of a ping pong ball, how can you not celebrate in the simple joy that is His grace?

No matter what, He loves us. Just think about that for a second. You can go so far, wreck so many things –

and He still looks at you and thinks, “That is my kiddo right there. And I love them way too much. And I have this amazing plan for them and somehow, someway, they are going to be so great.”

So let’s stop looking back on our mistakes, thinking, “I can’t do it. I’m worthless. I am too far gone.”

Newsflash,  you aren’t.

No lie, no fights you might start, no horrible things you say or others can say about you is going to make Him change how He feels about you. So stop wavering. Stop being faithless. And start dancing on those disappointments.

With love,

Elle

Chasing the Light: Rest in Peace, Sweet Hannah

Spontaneity scares me.

And yet, life throws us in a loop.

We are not called to wait for answers to be brought to us, we are called to chase His light and bring it to others.

Some people just already have this one figured out. 

Chasers of the Light, you are a step ahead of the rest of us. You already know that love should be a first response and life should be the direct consequence. To those of you who have a firm grasp of fearless and spontaneous pursuit of life, I could learn a thing or two from you.

Life is unpredictable, it is rarely an understandable concept. It is frustrating, oh my it is frustrating. But, to those of you as fearful of the chase, I think that it is time we stop hiding.

Let’s be that sunshine.  

Ten years ago, one of the most incredible chasers of light left this earth. Hannah was one of those people who was just as beautiful inside and out. At five years old, she had a better grasp on what the meaning of life was than most adults I know. To Hannah, life was meant to be shared. Love was a cause and life was the effect. Her love radiated, it was something that I will forever keep with me. She did not limit her care to those she knew, it was freely given with nothing asked for in return. Hannah was strong, she radiated love and life and at five years old, going through chemotherapy and a 16 month long battle full of some not-so-good days, she had a better outlook on dark days than anyone. 

One day, Hannah was at a blood drive asking people to donate blood for her. There was a man there, who had some very legitimate concerns about getting his blood drawn, just the thought of needles made him nervous. Hannah told him, “Oh it’s perfectly fine, I get ‘stuck’ all the time. Here, I’ll hold your hand.” So, she held the man’s hand as he donated blood for the first time.

To her, this was not abnormal. It was just what she did. She was the constant flow of sunshine and light in everyone who met her’s lives.

Hannah never stopped, even when she couldn’t dance because her legs were too weak after surgery, she would sit at the dance studio in front of her class, fully dressed to practice and tapping her feet along to the dances she was learning.

When Hannah passed, it was almost like a small light went out in the world around me. She was everything and she was wonderful. Hannah taught me how to love, despite pain and uncertainty of what tomorrow looked like. She showed me the power that words could have on a person. Ten years without her and still – she is probably the best role model I could possibly ask for.

During her celebration of life, it was decided that sunsets containing pink (oh my word, she loved pink) were Hannah’s way of telling all of us it would be okay.

So here’s to Hannah; for teaching us to love words and to love others, for banana bread and pink sunsets, and most of all – for never thinking before loving wholeheartedly. Han, I love and miss you more than I could even start to tell you. Thank you for teaching us to run towards the light, and that if there was none, to become that light.

Reckless 

To all of those of you who are afraid to love wholeheartedly, 
To all of you who can’t comprehend why someone who would give everything for you,

To all of you who shy away from the tough stuff just because you’re scared of it hurting,

To all of you and more, it’s about time we started loving recklessly. 

I am an extreme optimist. I don’t want to, I can’t help it. No matter what it is, you better bet that I’ve gotten my hopes up about it. I build them up so high and then it never ends up happening and I’m crushed. I’m mad. I ask God, “Why me?” more times in a week then most people would in a month. Last night, I hit a breaking point with it. I wanted to be done getting my hopes up when every stinking time I ended up in the same place I was before. 

But God has a funny way of showing Himself when you least expect it, and I wasn’t expecting it this morning. I opened up my Bible and found a passage from Ephesians 6 with the words, “Loving recklessly requires hurting deeply” next to it.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

We are in chains. We are bound by sin and lies and pain that resonates too deeply within us. 

But, sweet friends, we cannot break these chains on our own. We should go back to Him. We should go back to the guy who died for us, the guy who went through trials and temptations and everything that we’re going through x 100,000,000, because HE could tell us a few things about what reckless love should look like. 

Why are we sitting here, fearing what tomorrow will be and breaking over everything that this world can’t fulfill for us? 

He has freed us. 

So why aren’t we acting free? 

He has given us a beautiful, perfect example of how we should love and live and yet we still are hiding in the shadows of fear. We need to get out there and love so violently that it can’t be ignored. 

He is greater than anything that hurts us. 

To love the way that Jesus loved, we will get hurt. We will experience heartbreak and loss, but if you ask me, that’s all worthwhile if it means getting to be like Him.