Normal people –> live in same city, date, get engaged, take engagement photos, get married.

Stephen and I –> short time in same city, move to different states, get engaged, live in different states, still be engaged, look for jobs in same state, still be engaged, elope?, maybe get Brett Photography to snap some shots after the fact. I apologize if you aren’t getting cute engaged photo Christmas cards from us, but this isn’t our first Christmas as fiances (here’s hoping it will it be our last!!) and our only photos are instagrammed. So, from both of us to all of you . . . Merry Christmas.




give thanks – day 3

Next to my salvation, the greatest gift the Lord has ever given me is my fiance, Stephen.

Never has someone known or loved me so well. He is my love, my pursuer, my best friend, my leader, my comic relief, my biggest fan, and my favorite person ever. He challenges me daily, loves me dearly, and encourages me always.

Although he may look intimidating, he is a sweet, selfless romantic. My own Mr. Darcy. (Seriously. He gave me a leather bound copy of Jane Austen’s novels. Including Pride and Prejudice with specific sections marked, complete with his intentions written in the front cover. *swoon*) I’m a lucky lady. Believe me, I know.

To my love….

Stephen, I love you so much. You make me want to be a better, more godly woman. You have shown me selflessness and love beyond comprehension. You are patient and gracious when I’m difficult and stubborn. Even when I am unlovable, you are outspoken of your affections for me. You love me like Jesus. The more I see that lived out, the more I am drawn to the lavish love of my Jesus. Grateful for even a fallen earthly glimpse of His perfect love.

You’re the best snuggler, a true competitor (who never lets me win – which I appreciate), and ridiculous as ever. I know I’m weird, but you’re weird as woah–which is comforting because I feel somewhat normal when we’re together 🙂 You love my crazy family and fit right in! Let it be known that they adore you as well.

Even though we’re 6 hours away, you are interested in every little detail of my life and anxiously await the day you can join me in them. And we both pray that is very soon! It will be the greatest honor to be your wife–to serve you and minister alongside you. I am extremely blessed to be your girl. The one you chose. Your forever. I pray that you know without a doubt that you are mine.

Love always,


breath of light. breath of life.

I found in the light of stars a heavenly language which proclaims the glory of God. Each burning star is a focus of energy, of life-giving activity which it pours out lavishly into every direction; it pours out the life of its own heart, in order to beget new life. What a vista that opens to our imagination! What new beauties are disclosed in the words of Genesis: ‘God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.’ The light of the stars is a part of the life-giving breath of God. I never look now upon the starlit vault of heaven without feeling this divine breath and its quickening action upon my soul.

Dr. Michael Pupin, the great inventor, philosopher, and teacher, got his start in scientific research by watching the stars as a shepherd boy in the Hungarian hills.

it’s NOT like riding a bike

I’m sure you’re familiar with the quote,

“It’s just like riding a bike. You never forget.”


Today, my roommate joined me on my run for day 2 of my half-marathon training plan (that’s a whole other post). We completed the run, and Erin (the resident marathon runner) suggested I bike alongside her while she ran 4 more miles. I figured it was the least I could do because she put up with my slowness, sweatiness, and even scattered whinings.

We arrive back to our apartment, and I remind her that I seriously haven’t ridden a bike in probably 14 years. She reminds me of that age old quote. “It’s riding a bike. You never forget.”

I’ve heard it enough from other sources, so I believe it’s true. She goes into the apartment and begins by handing me the hottest of all helmets (helmets are a foreign concept to me – people in the country never wore them). Okay, not only am I exhausted and rusty, but the emotional scarring has begun by being the 23 year old with a helmet and 8 year old abilities.

I’m confident in my bike riding abilities. I mean, I grew up riding dirt-bikes for crying out loud, and my dad has a Harley. It clearly runs in the family. Erin proceeds to pull out her “bike.” I was expecting a normal handle-barred bike or even a mountain bike. Nope, this was a super ridiculous racing bike. Was she out of her mind? Was she expecting me to be Lance Armstrong??

I argue against this plan for quite some time. I climb onto the bike, and my toes barely skim the surface of the asphalt (which is a horrible in case I need to bail). I’ve never seen handlebars that look like anything other than a “V” or straight line. These are a maze of gadgets and clicky things!

I waddle to the parking lot of our apartment with tons of optimism and a “stylish” helmet. I assume that if I don’t touch any of the gadgets that I’ll be okay with just riding this machine as is.


After three hard peddles, I nearly fall to my death. I try to jump off but remember that I’m really too short for this bike. I have no choice but to continue peddling.

Well, the combination of peddling up the hill, dodging the speed bumps, and being incapable of changing out of gear 497 all led to my demise.

I begin whining, laughing, and nearly lay down this expensive racing bike in front of our unknowing neighbors and the mailman. Erin realizes that I’m a lost cause, laughs, and suggests we return to the apartment.

I have not only embarrassed myself in front of my roommate and neighbors, but now I have to lead the walk of shame back to my apartment with my helmet still on and bike in tow.

There may be some things that you never forget. But there are also some things I never learned. Don’t expect to successfully drive a racing bike when 14 years ago you rocked a pink one with a basket.

open hands

To finally let go of my plans
These earthly kingdoms built of sand
Jesus at your cross I stand with open hands

And I lift my hands open wide let the whole world sing
how you’ve loved, how you died, how you set me free!
Free at last I surrender all I am
with open hands
with open hands

Why is there so much confusion in surrender? Or is it just incomplete surrender that brings confusion? Are my hands fully open? Or are they holding onto things – security, comfort, convenience, family, plans. . .

yes, please.

My recent attempts at scarf wearing have been overpowered by unexpected afternoon heat. However, the air’s cool bite this morning says the time has come. No more pairing scarves with t-shirts and praying to survive. Give me bold, bright, printed, or plaid. The scarves have spoken. It’s go time.