being the light


Another news article pops up on my feed.

I click the link.

My heart races.

My anxiety skyrockets.

This is what my life has been for the past six months. Maybe more. Moments of panic, ‘what if’s. There is no ease, only question after question as I work my way through. Finally clicking the little ‘x’ at the top right corner, I slam my computer shut and walk away. Enough is enough.

Our world has become this place of complete fear. I can’t remember if it’s ever been this bad. Every day, there’s something new. Something terrible. Something no one wants to read, or hear, or witness.

Social media has become a place of darkness…insane news articles, political posts that almost ALWAYS cause some sort of distress to others….when will it stop?

The other week, I decided to take a short break from Facebook (probably not long enough). It’s amazing how this source of connection can cause so much disconnection, so much anxiety, so much hate, and so much pain.

Before I started writing this blog entry, I just sat here looking at my computer screen. How do you find words to describe such intricate feelings that you’ve never felt before?

My heart breaks for our world. It truly does. Each and every day, when I hear of something going on within our world, I choke up and the pieces of my heart that are already broken become smaller.

Where is the hope? Where is the love? Where is the light?

It is hard to see it, isnt it? When so much bad is going on in the world-so much bad that it blankets everything known to man-it’s hard to see the light.

But it’s out there. I know it is. It’s the people who stood in line for hours to donate blood after the Orlando tragedy, its the people who stand in silent peaceful protest…it’s there. Why can’t I feel it?

As a society, I believe it’s our job to be the light. It’s our job to do good, to be good, to act with kindness and truth in our hearts. There is not nearly enough of this stuff in our world right now. Everyone is currently on their high horse on this or that and we’re literally losing it.

So let’s be the light. Let’s be the people who change this darkness. Let’s give hope a chance.

Do something kind for someone you know, or someone you don’t know. Say something kind. Give a hug. Smile at a stranger (Lord, do we need more of that). Lend a helping hand when you see someone struggling. Lovingly respond to a friends post on social media. And I challenge you to only post things that will produce happiness.

Let’s overpower this. Let’s defeat the dark. Let’s stand in the light and shine into the world with our hearts wide open.


thoughts on the past.

have you ever had those moments where a question or statement brings something up from the past? something that was never resolved in your heart and mind…something that continues to bother you six years later?

i know that we all have our ‘stuff’. it’s clear to me that we are all human, which means that we are all flawed, imperfect creatures. but when my memory jets back to this one incident, i just have a hard time letting it go.

i’ve been going through the story of joseph with my 9th grade youth group girls as a sort of lenten devotional, if you will. i wanted to introduce them to it because it’s such a great testimony of someone who has an unshakeable faith. joseph is this guy who goes through trial after trial–including being sold by his brothers–but somehow he does not seem to break and hit rock bottom, like a lot of us feel like doing in those situations.

anyways, i asked a question to the girls the other night after reading chapter 39…in what situation have you been treated unjustly for taking a moral stand or refusing to do something wrong?

and i didnt realize how relevant it is to my life.

because yes. YES, i have been treated unjustly for taking a moral stand.

YES, i lost a lot of friends from it (i didn’t realize this until one of the girls brought it up after i shared and i realized just how many friends i lost).

YES, it still bothers me.

how does one let these things go? what happened to that phrase ‘learn from it and move on’? am i dwelling? all of a sudden i’m dwelling. oops!

another part of this story is about ultimate forgiveness. forgiving these people who have done you wrong, who have gone behind your back and said much that wasnt true, who have escalated the story to make themselves look bigger.

HOW. how does one forgive that? it seems like such an amazing gift-that sort of forgiveness. and yet, after all these years, i can’t seem to stir whatever it is i need to up in my heart.

it’s hard going through life and learning these lessons. it’s hard feeling betrayed and watching your friends turn and walk away. all because i thought i was doing the right thing.

thank God we have a God who shows us grace. and grace upon grace upon grace. i suppose the one thing that I have learned, rather than forgiveness (sometimes its such a hard word), is to have GRACE with everyone you meet. i do believe that has changed the way that i interact with people now. and maybe it’s something that i was still learning then.

whatever it is…the past is in the past. where i am now is because of what happened then, and i still continue to have very high moral standards for myself and those around me. but i will continue to always show them grace.

grace upon grace upon grace.

thank you, Lord, for grace.

life in the city

its been a while…life has been keeping me quite busy, but lately i’ve had the itch to write again. and thanks to my sweet husband who has taken on the chores for tonight (thank God for him), i am able to actually sit down and make that happen. i cant even remember when my last blog post was…

life in our new city has been super sweet. we love the people here–their quest for adventure, exploration, community. there is always something new right around the next corner, and we recently moved into one of the most booming neighborhoods. we’ve finally made some friends (that was the hardest part of moving away from norfolk and something that i prayed about extensively), and everyone still falls madly in love with burnie as soon as they meet him. my heart still sings for haiti. thats something i’ll post on later.

we’ve been so blessed to fall into community here. but i can’t help but think what pulled me to richmond in the first place…quite some time ago. before my internship, the first family i EVER babysat for (the oldest was 2 and is now a junior in high school) moved to midlothian to be closer to family. its crazy how much they’ve watched me grow up, and how much i’ve watched their kids grow up, too. they hold such a special place in my heart. its such an awesome bond, and im extra grateful that the bond is now forming with matt.

the other night, matt and i went over to their house for a dinner and game night. recently, ive really been into the libraries around here, and have become significantly obsessed with the cookbook section. if you know me, you know im an extreme foodie, so this may come as no surprise.

i’m always interested to try new ones out. see if they’re good and worth investing in. it’s always hit or miss, but with this recipe i tried for our dinner with the schneiders….holy mother of pearl. i probably should have made 3 pans!!!! i’m including the recipe below..something i’ll probably do on here every now and again just because cooking has always been one of my passions. and who doesn’t love a good cheesecake bar?? these come highly recommended. i mean, i could probably put  testimonies in here if i needed to. enjoy  🙂

cheesecake bars

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
from Bars & Squares

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. cold butter, cubed

2 8oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened (these are only sort of low calorie)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c. blueberry jam
1 c. fresh blueberries

  1. CRUST: In a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter and blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into a prepared 13×9 inch pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until edges are lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. The crust will resemble shortbread.
  2. FILLING: In a bowl (i just used the food processor again), beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and lemon zest and juice, beating until smooth.
  3. Spread jam evenly over crust. Sprinkle blueberries on top. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly into pan and spread over blueberries. Return to oven and bake just until set, 25 to 30 minutes. I usually test this by making sure the center isnt jiggly like jello. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars.
  4. Devour.

❤ ❤ ❤ until next time, friends.

thoughts on remembering.

there comes a time when life gets wild. crazy. so much fills up on your plate that you don’t know how to balance it all. you don’t know where to guide your passion.

and unfortunately, here I am. in that place. in a new city, far enough from home to feel like its ‘away’. and somehow my schedule is already full with appointments, to-do lists, you name it. who knew life could get so crazy just as you’re settling into a new home.

but I guess that’s what happens when you are planning a wedding, looking for a job, working on a relationship, working on multiple projects, and trying to find your way around somewhere new.

but…i guess life has a tendency to do that. it ebbs and it flows. at some point, it feels like we’ve tackled everything on our to-do list and then WHAM, there’s 20,000 more things right in front of us! ive noticed that this is just the rythym, but boy does it challenge us to find balance.

in the yoga practice, usually somewhere at the beginning of an asana practice, we are cued by our teachers to ground, center, and strengthen our breath. sometimes, I wish it was easier for all of us (including myself, especially) to take the time to do that when life itself gets overwhelming. but I guess that’s part of taking our practice ‘off the mat’. the phrase relates to all of our actions, not just some. taking what we learn in practice…the grounding, the strengthening…embracing the challenge and breathing through it…its taking what we learn and REALLY putting it into practice.

its so important to remember that. but not only that we are grounded and strong, but that we are happy with wherever we are in our lives. to remember our passion, what makes us smile, what makes our hearts sing and our feet dance.

sometimes, its so easy for us to get all in a rut about life. im guilty. being a sensitive person means feeling everything. sometimes its hard to remember what really makes me happy and what I need to stay focused on. so today, I pray for you and me to focus on the brightness of life, to remember what makes us shine, so that we can put that into the world and make it a better place.

always remember.

{thoughts on surprises}

DSC_0115|photo by Brittany Videll|

its been a while.

life is insane, and ive been wanting to write a blog post for quite some time, but ive had those moments of not knowing what i’ll write or thinking that i just don’t have the words. but i decided to pause for a moment tonight, even with the chaos that’s in my mind (and in my room) and sit. because when i sit here, the words flow out and i find myself reflecting on so many important items.

lately my thoughts have been on surprises. specifically those that God tucks away until a really amazing moment…just the right time, actually. we all have them. sometimes its hard to uncover them from the struggles and hardships that make up our lives, but if you really stop and take a minute to think about it, there are little and big surprises everywhere. we wouldnt get by without them, right? they are our little rays of hope.

i want to tell you a story. and those who know me well already know most of this. so you all are allowed to skip over 😉

about a year ago, i was sitting in a different house with a completely different view on life. i had actually just moved for the third time in two years, and a few months later i would learn that i’d be moving again. i was going through a massive heartbreak…one that left my heart broken and shattered. thank goodness i was about to go to Haiti, because i’m pretty sure that’s what helped lead me out of my depression. i was in between jobs, working here or there, just getting by. i was all over the place, and i wasnt sure what to do. all i really wanted to do was stay in my bed and snuggle my kitty all day.

come october, things started to look up a little bit. one day i woke up and said to myself ‘woah, i feel like ME!’, and for a person dealing with depression, thats one of the best feelings in the world.

a few weeks later, i would go on the first date with my soon to be husband. (<—woah)

guys, i had NO CLUE what God had in store for me!

i didnt even look cute on our first date!

but somehow, someway, i had to work out of something so difficult and incredibly hard to handle in order to reach my next surprise. it sounds so cliche, doesnt it? i dont understand it either.

some people call me a testament because of that story. those who were there, who had to witness me struggle, and i mean REALLY struggle, know how insanely different i am this year compared to last. and its not because Matt changed me or anything like that…its because he challenged me to be a better, more compassionate and daring person every single day; to strive for my dreams without ceasing or doubting or questioning. another part of my story has begun to unfold and it is more chaotic and beautiful that any other part has been, all in the best way possible.

for me, i like to call myself a believer. because through the hard parts, even when it was really challenging for me to even think about the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, i heavily relied on my faith. i prayed every. single. day. on average about three times, sometimes six or seven.

life is crazy. and it always will be–in a different way than it was yesterday.

but its really important…EXTREMELY important, to look for the surprises.

always look for the surprises. ❤

I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all.
-Maya Angelou

Where Is Your Happy?


Where is your happy?

Ive been having a few of those moments lately. Those moments where I come up against myself both physically and mentally. I hit a road block. I lean over, panting, trying to catch my breath. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say. I just need quiet.

Since turning 25, everything seems a lot more…real. This whole growing up thing gets all up in my face each and every day as friends get married and start having children (super sweet ones, at that). It’s that time where the pressure is on to find a serious job and a serious relationship.

Am I saying that we all need to fit into that mold? No. Heck no. I’ve been avoiding it for years. Always get funny looks because of that but the experiences that I’ve been able to have are worth more than anything. I wouldn’t trade that time for the world.

What I’m saying is this. Now is the time to take my passion seriously. It’s time to go out there, lift my voice, and make the world believe what my heart feels. It’s time to speak up.

And the Leo in me just goes in the corner. That’s what’s happening right now.

As transition slowly creeps into my life once again (because really, its the only thing thats constant), I try so hard to stand firm, to know what I really want to do. But my mind gets so overwhelmed by change and by choice that I just begin to shut down. And that’s when I have to remember. That’s when I have to look back.

When I’m in those moments of blurriness and uncertainty…where is my happy? When I’m not sure which path to take on the upcoming road…where is my happy? Where will it always lie? Where’s the happy I can carry in my heart throughout my life? What’s the one thing that I can do that brings my heart pure joy, that makes me smile until my cheeks hurt and laugh until I (almost) have a 6 pack?

That, for me, is service. Serving others. Giving back. Giving to those who need the most. Whenever I’m having a ‘moment’, my mind instantly goes to Haiti, and not only the times that I’ve been there to give back, but the lessons that those people have taught me that I never could have learned without their amazing stories, caring hearts and embracing arms. It’s dancing with the girls at the ACFFC to ‘Run the World’ until our feet hurt. It’s snuggling Stephens until he falls fast asleep in my arms. It’s showing a child the joy that comes with a crayon and a coloring page. It’s watching a free medical center flourish right before your eyes. It’s grouting the medical center while sweating through your clothes and dancing with the brooms. It’s thinking back to how the community comes together for good, collecting blankets or supplies for PB&J’s, or boxes of clothes and everything under the sun to send to typhoon relief in the Philippines. It’s spending the afternoon with a homeless man…hearing his story, hearing his voice. THESE are the acts that bring me joy, THESE are the stories that I long to hold on to. THIS is where my happy lies. And this is where it always will.

I’m having one of those days where I’m sort of lacking motivation to do anything at all. I could just as easily crawl in bed on this 60 degree day and nap the whole way through. But instead, I will reflect on the goodness that is around me. I will reinvent and reinstate my passion. I will write a note to myself to post on my wall reminding me of this each and every day.

Because I don’t ever want to forget where my happy is. Ever.


{red ribbons and God moments}

1546011_644081759065_1474495243_ni’m sitting here, pretty much exhausted, with so much running through my mind.
i’ve been wanting to write something significant these past few weeks but to be quiet honest, i’ve had trouble finding words. this is rare when it comes to writing, so i knew it was important to wait.

i am currently nestled up in the mountains, surrounded by hundreds of youth who are having so much fun learning and embracing God’s Word and His endless gifts. i’m having one of those moments where i wish this event could last forever, just because these kids continue to astound me with their bravery, strength, and wisdom. it’s been even more special being a part of the planning team and being able to watch a theme develop, the planning group grow stronger and closer, and for the audience to really get each piece of it. strangers are embracing each other…welcoming each other with open arms with the only knowledge being that they are here because they wanted to be in this intentional community…and it can go eons from there.

tonight, in our very special planning team small group, we did an exercise where we passed around a candle and asked who God was to us. afterwards, the people in the group added how they saw God in us. it was a very uplifting, motivating exercise, and it was even more interesting to see how people saw our one God so differently in so many ways.

when i got the candle, i knew what i was going to say.

God, to me, is my very best friend.

for the past few months…well, years, actually, i’ve had the chance to grow much closer to my God and see His wonders even more clearly. through the midst of it all, whether celebrating something amazing or grieving something i could not understand, He was there. i learned very quickly that this Man never has an intention to harm, but rather to heal. He does not want to take a way, rather He wants to teach. i learned that He would be the One person who was there for me in the quiet when no one on this earth could quite understand. that’s who God is to me, and our friendship grows stronger each day. each time i find myself dropped into a place of quiet, i take a minute to look up, thank Him, and think about where i’m at and why i’m there. i pray in that moment (and many others, by the way) that He continues to lead me so that i can do His work.

these past few weeks specifically have created some challenges emotionally. this past monday we laid a girl named sarah to rest. sarah, a sweet girl from my church, had some intense things going on that none of us even knew about. she was dealing with depression, thoughts of suicide, and in the end, it affected everyone around her immensely. she may never know how deeply we all are hurting. a lot of us are holding each other up, the family especially, at this time as we try to find peace and comfort.

tonight, when i was holding that candle, one of the members of the group asked straight up…’HOW did you go through all of that with your church and then come to winter cel?’

the truth is, i dont know. the ride up was hard. i didn’t know how to put my feelings into words and i still don’t, which is why it’s taken me so long to write this post.

but, while spending most of the day with the family one day, i was able to witness how much love and support there is to go around, and again, i saw God. sarah’s hospital room was so packed at one point that i excused myself and met the family at the house later. there was someone at her bedside at all times. people were there to embrace her, her parents, and her siblings. that’s how its been for the past few weeks; the petersons have had people lifting them up, embracing them, supporting them. our whole entire community has begun to put red ribbons up. as  you drive around norfolk, you’re bound to spot at least 10! this is spreading all over the country. even here at winter celebration, people were sporting red ribbons, constantly praying for this family whom some of them never even met. the youth group from my church held each other as they tried to make sense of it. there was love filling up ever square inch of this place, and you could feel it.

but then…what about those quiet moments? what about those moments when no one is around? i hope that in those moments, each one of those family members can find some quiet time with God. i hope they can find time to take a deep breath, cry if they need to, and seek understanding.

last week was one of the hardest weeks of my life to date. grief and mourning a loss of someone so very young and special can be a very heavy subject, and its going to be a long way to recovery for a lot of us. i continue to pray to my Best Friend, in hopes that we can continue to see the beauty in everything…even those hard moments.

the day after sarahs funeral, there was snow. more snow than i’d seen in years. i also witnessed the MOST beautiful sunset right outside the neighborhood grocery store and just a few days later up here in the mountains. i know shes up there smiling down at us. and each one of these miracles…the snow and absolutely astounding sunsets..those make me think of her.

im thankful for sunsets like that. im thankful for the God moments that fill our lives and remind us of all that there is around us and beyond.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory,
He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith,
as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend,
with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

-Ephesians 3:14-19-


hug 7 SR
verb: embrace; 3rd person present: embraces; past tense: embraced; past participle: embraced; gerund or present participle: embracing
  1. 1.
    hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, esp. as a sign of affection.
    “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”
    synonyms: hug, take/hold in one’s arms, hold, cuddle, clasp to one’s bosom, clasp, squeeze, clutch; More

    enfold, enclasp, encircle, envelop, entwine oneself around;
    informalcanoodle, clinch
    “he embraced her warmly”
  2. 2.
    accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.
    “besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology”
    synonyms: welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one’s heart, adopt;
if you know me at all, then you know that these past few years have been quite the whirlwind.
but then again, i guess everyone is living in a whirlwind. life is full a practice of change. it’s the only thing that is constant. nothing in this world is permanent, there is something larger, something beyond this place that we must trust in, that we must seek in order to find that fullness.
God has given me many opportunities throughout my lifetime, and the past few years especially, to practice the word embrace. as defined above, accepting and supporting willingly.
how hard is that for us? for us human beings. we are not made to be perfect. we are perfectly imperfect…we are flawed. sometimes, its hard for us to step up, accept, and embrace. sometimes, we want to be stubborn and act better than others. we don’t like to be wrong. we aren’t willing to accept what’s right in front of us.
embrace is a word in our language that is often used for positive circumstances. but as i think on it more, even the challenging times teach you how to embrace. they teach you how to soak in the situation, however bad it is. those times, you embrace in tears, sometimes in awestruck wonder as to what is happening in your life. but whatever it is, you embrace. those around you, those nearest to you, those who will listen and give sound advice. and after you take yourself out of that, or whenever God places something in your life to make that time seem just a little bit lighter and better, the embrace turns into a joyful, jump up in the air, throw your arms out and run to whoever is in front of you hug. you smile, you cry…but you’re still learning, even in the joyful moments when everything seems like bliss.
for a while, it was challenging for me as a human being to embrace. he has brought many people into my life that have shown me how hard and how easy it can be to embrace a situation. sometimes its hard to know which way to go or which thing to embrace first. life can throw curveballs at you that you will never see coming and you just have to be ready with an open heart and an open mind. sure, there will be moments when you are on the floor and don’t feel like opening your eyes, but in those moments, do not worry. take courage.
take courage and embrace.
see all that there is to see in that moment. soak up every color, however light or dark. and remember. nothing lasts forever. so embrace as much as you can.


Mandala_033_Gratitudethanksgiving was just a few days ago. it was such a whirlwind that i didnt even get a chance to sit down and write my annual thanksgiving blog post. so now that ive found a few hours in my day, here it is.

matt brought up a great point when we were in the car the other day. we shouldnt just take thanksgiving to sit and reflect what we’re thankful for. it should be something that we practice each and every day. though i believe this to be very true and i try my hardest to practice this whenever i can, i see thanksgiving as a special time to shout it out. so, here we go. as best as i can, i give great thanks for the following things and for the following people.

i give thanks for my community. over the past two years, the community that ive been immersed in has been ever nourishing, ever inspiring, always accepting, and so, so loving. to say that i am blessed by the people in my community would be quite the understatement. i love them each so dearly and am so proud of them each and every day. they blow me away with their talents and the time that they take to care about others around them. they have supported me in my deepest endeavors and have lifted me up when ive needed it the most. they have made me laugh until ive cried. the nostalgia is neverending with the group of friends that ive acquired in and around ghent.

i give thanks for my family. for their constant support for what i do and what my dreams are. for their unending and unconditional love. my life is so crazy right now that im never sure whats going to come next, but i rest assured that my family will always be there. always.

i give thanks for my yoga practice. the journey on and off my yoga mat is one that has been extremely pivotal in my life. it has helped me grow as a person. it has made me so much stronger both physically and mentally. it has helped me through the most challenging times in my life. it has led me to absolutely incredible teachers who mentor me, believe in me, and challenge me. it has led me to yoga sisters and brothers who are all doing incredible things with their lives; more to be proud of.

i give thanks for my faith. my church and my friends have continued to remind me to stay deeply rooted in faith, to not take one step without knowing that Our God is a God of great blessings, great abundance, and great purpose. He doesn’t place any one person or circumstance in our life without there being a bigger reason. i am thankful that my faith has been strong enough to endure the pain and darkness that my heart has faced, that its helped me see the light in it all.

i am thankful for relationship. both romantic and friendships. over this past year, so many of my relationships have blossomed. each relationship that i encounter has also been a teacher, showing me something new about the world or being human. i am blessed by the people who have shown true friendship, true love, and endurance. without so many of my friends, i would be such a different person. they have made me better, reminded me that i am stronger than si sometimes think, and remind me that im beautiful even when i feel like a mess.

i am thankful for opportunity. for the chances God has given me to live in my purpose. for the trips ive had to Haiti. for the workings in my heart. for my constant opportunity to explore new places and travel. for the opportunity to teach. to learn. to sing. to dance. to embrace. to love. to cry. to fall. to pick myself back up. to dig deep into my heart for the true meaning of my life. for all of this, and so much more.

It is gratitude that enables us to receive and it is gratitude that motivates us to repay by returning the goodness that we have been given. In short, it is gratitude that enables us to be fully human.

…may I find all of the ways possible to show my gratitude to those I love most. thank you all for blessing my life so much.

{thoughts on seasons of change}

fallit never fails.

each and every october for the past three years, there have been major shifts in my life. i’m deeming it the month of change.

i have been so busy these past few weeks, so thrilled by the newness that is flying into my life, by the refreshing sounds of old friends and the opportunity to create new strong relationships that i haven’t had much time to think, let alone get a good nights rest!

and finally, a moment to sit, which means a moment to blog!

i truly believe that God puts us each on a beautiful path, whether we are aware of it at times or not. sometimes it feels like the path turns into a really narrow tunnel, and its hard to see where the end is, but then you reach the end, see the sun bursting and you dance in it. i think that’s just the way life works; the ebbs and the flows. the comings and the goings of people and jobs. nothing lasts forever. for some reason, this always happens (for me) during the summer time and then out of nowhere, something magical falls into my life. those times make you feel all the more blessed and thankful for the sweet..and sour..moments.

i cant say that this summer was easy, because it wasnt. but right when i started to turn the bend and get back up on my feet, when i was able to look at everything that was on the floor and pick up the pieces, when i was able to let go of everything that i felt bound to, everything that was holding me back, thats when the magic began.

in yoga, the lotus flower is one of the most significant symbols to many teachers and students. because a lotus flower does not start out beautiful. its roots have to grow through mud and dirt. only after that journey does the flower bloom into something gorgeous. i think its a significant symbol in teaching us that we ourselves are not flawless, that our lives are not perfect, and those around us are going through their own struggles, too.

i can attest to the statement that the struggles make us stronger. i am forever and always thankful for the friends who saw me through the mess that i was this summer, for the hardship that i endured as i tried to gain understanding for something i will never, ever be able to comprehend. i thank the new season, the refreshing souls in my life, the amount of laughter that i have had the past few weeks, the exhaustion from it all. this life is ever abundant, and i am blessed through every circumstance and opportunity.

every piece of this journey is tremendous. and by taking each step with compassion, forgiveness, and strength, we learn to be raw, real, beautiful creatures.