Casas Por Cristo

Happy Friday everyone!  Just a little update that I am planning to take a missions trip this July to the Dominican Republic.  If you would like to learn more and/or support me go ahead and click here.  Or if you would like you can read one of my very first blogs about a similar trip I took to Mexico here.

Hopefully coming soon will be a blog about why I want to go on this trip, but until then thanks for stopping by!

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

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I am Done

For when I blamed myself because I thought it was my fault.

For when I felt powerless to control my own body.

For when I felt ashamed of my own body.

 

On the nights I wanted to feel safe but I couldn’t.

On the nights that I stayed up crying.

On the nights that I felt small, silent, powerless.

 

To those I should have been able to trust.

To those that should have taught me to be proud.

To those that make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

 

I am done.

I am done playing nice.

I am done playing scared.

I am done playing by the rules.

 

I am done.

I am done with your expectations.

I am done with your disappointments.

I am done with your judgments.

 

I am done.

I am done being ashamed.

I am done being uncomfortable.

I am done being silent.

 

I am done.

I am no longer giving you the power to affect me.

I am no longer giving you the power to make me feel small.

I am no longer giving you the power to shame me.

 

I am done.

 

Done

Photo Credit: Jake Olson 

A Bold Bandana

That Crooked Nook

I was driving home from Indiana last weekend with my boyfriend’s mom when suddenly, two vehicles ahead, a car veered a sharp right and zoomed off the road.

It plowed down the ditch, up the ditch and across a plain of grass until it smashed into a tree.

In just seconds, the car had reached its final destination, yet the wheels were still spinning.

A young woman, a middle-aged man–they jumped out of their vehicles and sprinted through the ditch and across the grass. They tried to yank open the car door, but it was locked. They pounded on the windows, again and again, fists hitting glass hopelessly.

No one answered, but the tires kept circling, around and around and around.

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It’s late on a rainy Monday night, and I should be going to bed.

Instead, my mind is living in that fantastical (and absolutely crazy) third-eye place, where it narrates my thoughts as though I were…

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Dear You – You Were Made for More

Dear You,

You were made for more than to just be born and die.  You were made for more than working 8-5 and looking forward to Friday.  You were made for more than paying bills and living paycheck to paycheck.  Dear one, this is never the life that I had planned for you.  When you were breathed into existence, there was far more dreamt up for you than this.

You work so hard to do everything that you are told you are suppose to do that you completely miss the things that you are meant to do.  You are so busy following who those around you tell you to be that you silence the voice in you that says they want to be someone different.  Find that voice again.  Find your voice again.

You were made to struggle, to explore, to rebel, and to thrive.  You were made to live – in every definition that one can live.  You were made to laugh, and to go off on adventures.  You were made to take chances, and yes even to fail sometimes.  Stop trying so hard to survive that you miss every reason that you are alive.  There is so much that this life holds for you if you only stopped to notice, if you only believed you could have it.

I want you to do great things,  I want you to believe in great things, and I want you to fight for great things.  I want you to see the world as a beautiful place, and to see yourself as a beautiful person.  Life is too short to let you insecurities silence you.

There will be tough days.  Days that challenge you.  Days that make you want to hide and cry.  But on those days you will learn what you are truly made of.  You will push back because you are resilient.  You will not let the bad days ruin the good days.

There will also be good days.  Days that you laugh so hard you cry.  Days when you will make memories you cherish forever.  Days when you are brave.  Days when you are kind.  Days when you fall madly in love.  Those are the best days – the days that makes us glad to be alive.  On those days never believe that you are not deserving of this much happiness.  You are every bit deserving.

Life won’t be everything you have dreamt it to be, but if you let it, life will be more than you expected it to be.  Stop molding your life to everyone else’s expectations and go chase your life.

Feet.jpgPhoto Credit: Lori Rensink

Confession of a Clutterholic

I create clutter.  I am not sure why, I don’t do it on purpose.  In fact I really hate clutter.  I hate everything about it.  I hate having drawers so full that you can’t find anything.  I hate having mountains of stuff that I never use.  I am a minimalist at heart, but somehow I always end up with clutter – with crap that I don’t need and will never use.  But I am also a die hard sentimentalist.  Which means I can’t even throw away a scrap of paper without getting teary-eyed about “that one time”.   Do you see my problem?  I am beginning too . . .

I think my problem starts with my love of shopping, combined with my waste not want not attitude.   I feel like a terrible wasteful person any time I throw something away.  So instead I stuff my life into drawers.  The dozens of scarfs I amassed in college when I thought I was a scarf person – stuffed in a drawer.  Lotions that I use and buy in mass when they go on sale -stuffed in a drawer.  Items I have no idea why I am keeping but don’t want to look at anymore – stuffed under my bed.  Old Halloween costumes I will likely never wear again – stuffed in the back of my closet (looking at you giant peacock skirt).  The sombrero I got at Chevys for my 21st birthday – stuffed in the trunk of my car.

I cleaned out about two garbage bags from my already small closet, only to find that my closet was still too full.  My life is still too full.  I don’t need all of this stuff, and furthermore I don’t want it.  I am a firm believer that we need to have margins in our life.  Margins of time, space, and our future.  We need to have room to grow, room to breathe, and room to rest.  I have found that the best things in life happen in the margins. It is time I start creating margins in my space.

Maybe I am getting spring cleaning fever a bit early, but I can’t wait until spring to get here.  So I am going to spend my day getting rid of crap and hopefully start living a more free and spacious life.  So here is my plan of attack for today.

My decluttering goals:

– Get rid of clothes that I haven’t worn in the last year;

– Stop using the trunk and backseat of my car as a storage facility (this one makes       me want to cover my eyes and do a walk of shame);

– Stop hiding things I don’t want under my bed, including getting rid of said items that are currently hiding under my bed;

– Get rid of bathroom/hair/nail/girly products that I will never use because I don’t even like the product;

Whew, that is a lot to do in one day, but it needs to be done.  Here goes nothing.

Do you also struggle with amassing clutter?  Tell me your struggles – strength in numbers after all.  I think once we can identify what it is that causes us to create clutter, it becomes that much easier to avoid it.  After all you can’t fight a war if you don’t know who your enemy is.

Or, are you a master declutterer, who would care to leave some tips?  Please do, my comment section is open to all.

Happy Sunday and wish me the best as I dig myself out of clutter!

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Meet Sophie

I have always been a fan of the underdogs.  The scrappy ones.  The fighters.  The ones who aren’t suppose to win but do.  I think it is because I have normally been an underdog, the type of person that people under estimate.  I also have a weak spot for strays.  It doesn’t matter if they are animals or people.

It was just a normal night in the Summit house, when my roommate and one of our friends came back with a little bundle.  She had climbed up into a farmers engine to stay warm, and ended up riding all the way into the city with him.  Until he stopped at a gas station and she climbed out and found my friends.  They brought her back to our house.  I held her in my arms and it was love at first sight.

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Don’t take me for some crazy cat lady, but I couldn’t help but feel like we were meant to find each other.  That in some way we belonged together.  I just knew from the very moment I held her, that I was never going to let her go.

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I know I told you, it was love at first sight, and I was not going to let anyone take her from me.  It was not without challenges though.  I had to convince my roommates, some were easier than others.  Next came a very well planned out speech to my landlord.  There was a lot of uncertainty during that week, and with that came the tears at the thought of losing her.  But my some miracle, probably the same one that brought us to each other, she became officially mine.

She makes it easy to love her.  She is the sweetest and most fearless cat I have met.  She will love anyone.  The only time she ever makes noise is when she is purring.  She sometimes follows me around like a little puppy dog.  Its quick adorable.

I took her to her first vet visit last night.  I had guessed she was probably about 6 months old.  To my surprise the vet told me that at not even 5 lbs, little Sophie was already about a year old.  She did not grow normally due to being malnourished during her first year, and it was likely that she would never grow to be the size of normal cats.  To break my heart further, the vet also told me that the tip of her tail had fallen off due to frostbite.   And she currently didn’t have enough muscle mass to be able to hold her tail up.  He gave her medicine for her respiratory infection, ear mites, and roundworm. She was a trooper through all of it.

I think that is why I fell in love with her right away.  I could tell she was ridiculously tough but also immensely sweet.  A combination which is just as rare in cats as it is in humans.

It breaks my heart to think of her being cold and all alone with out any food.  How can something so sweet and little have such a hard life behind her?  We are also just starting the heart of South Dakota winters.  Meaning we have negative temperatures with windchill making it even colder.  I can’t help but thinking that if I hadn’t found her when I did, she would have likely not survived the winter.

I think it can be easy to save that I saved her.  While that is true, I think it is more accurate to say that she saved me.  I can’t explain it other than she has just made my life better.  Sometimes I think she is a little angel sent to me in cat form.  I know she will always be in my corner, because she is a fighter like me.

She is my little badass survivor.

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Lessons on Love Part 2

It is no secret that the people we love the most have the biggest ability to hurt us., because they should have known better.  We understand that the world is not fair.  We expect strangers to let us down or to be rude to us.  We don’t expect that from those we love.  Which is why it hurts so much when they do.

People are complicated.  At least I know I am.  We have layers of the battle scars love has left us.  We do irrational things when we feel vulnerable.  We become sensitive to actions and words that were never intended to hurt us.  But they do, and we are left just as confused by it as the person who hurt us.

We barely understand ourselves sometimes, and yet we expect those we love to understand us.

Relationships are complicated.  It is just as complicated no matter if it is a relationship with a family member, best friend, or a significant other.  Any relationship worth having takes work.  It takes constant communication.  Because we have all been hurt and we all have the ability to unintentionally open up an old scar.

It will happen.  It does not matter how much someone loves you, people are complicated and we hurt each other even when we don’t mean to.  When this happens we have two ways we can react, love or hate.  We can get angry, we can hate them, and we can try to hurt them back.  Or we can choose love, which is immensely harder to do.

Hate is me focused.   When we hate, it becomes all about what we need, how we were hurt, how we didn’t get what we wanted.   If we focus on only us, we think others are out to get us.  We get angry when people don’t treat us how we think we deserve to be treated.  We become frustrated when life doesn’t seem to give us what everyone else is getting.  We get so stuck looking at our own two feet that we cannot see everything else that is happening around us.

Hate pushes other’s away, love pulls them closer.

Love is seeing past our own reflection into someone else’s reality.

Love requires us to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.  It is understanding that they never meant to do us wrong.  In fact sometimes we may realize that we were the one being selfish.

Love is realizing that a relationship isn’t all about us.  When we love someone that means we have to put them before us sometimes.  We have to forgive them.  We have to fight for them.  We have to trust that when they say they love us they mean it, even if they don’t always show it.

For most of my life, when people hurt me I push them away.  I don’t fight for the relationship, I just run away from it.  It is hard for me to trust people – to be vulnerable with them.  It is only recently that I have started to respond in love.  To forgive someone when they have hurt me and to know that sometimes I react irrationally.  It is a lot harder, and I do mean A LOT harder.  But is also worth it.  Because when we work to restore relationships they always bounce back stronger.

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Photo Credit: Unknown

 

We Are the Generation

We are the generation that is lost and imperfect.

We are the generation that has been bombarded by media since birth.

We are the generation that constantly is been told how we must look at act, but we rebel – we are who we are and we look how we look.

We are the generation that is stumbling around blind trying to figure out our love life.

We are the generation that is desperately trying to find our soulmate in a sea of online dating and ambiguous relationships.

We are the generation that has no idea what true intimacy looks like, but we hope we find it one day.

We are the generation that has mastered communication through tweets and snap chat, but has no idea how to communicate face to face.

We are the generation that has been spoiled by our parents hard work and yet we know we are still missing something in life.

We are the generation that stays up way too late trying to find the meaning in our life.

We are the generation that has no idea what we are doing but knows we need to do something.

We are the generation that is sick of the petty carelessness of the generation before us.

We are the generation that doesn’t vote because we can’t find a politician that we trust no less believe in.

We are the generation that is running hard and fast, pushing the world for answers.

We are the generation that doesn’t like how the world works, so we challenge it.

We are the generation that is lost, misguided, reckless, and imperfect; but we are the generation that won’t settle.

We are the generation that is hungry.

We are the generation that is searching.

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Photo Credit: Michael Penn

 

 

Let That Be Enough

Happiness is fleeting.  I have been told this my whole life.  Happiness comes into our lives as quickly as it slips through our fingers.  Life gets hard, and bad things happen.  We will have moments on top of the mountain, and we will have moments in the rut.  But I am not convinced it is that simple.  I think it goes deeper than that.

By this standard, everyone should have relatively equal amounts of happiness and misery.  Take a look around you, and you will realize how inaccurate that is.  Some of the most miserable people have everything, and some of the happiest people don’t.  It has nothing to do with their current life situation – it has everything to do with them.  

Maybe happiness isn’t that fleeting, maybe we just don’t know how to appreciate it when its right in front of us. 

We see our happiness, and we want more.  Good things happen to us, but there are better things that we want to happen.  We see our life but our friends lives look better on social media.

We have become a society wrapped in our own greed.  And when we find that our greed for material things cannot be satisfied, we replace it with greed for the perfect life.  We need to have the most elaborate proposal, the most pinterest worthy holiday dinner spread, the mother that can manage all.  We run ourselves into the ground trying to chase this perfect picturesque life that we don’t even want only to wonder why we are left feeling miserable.

Bad things happen and we push through them, and they make us stronger and more resilient.  But then good things happen and we brush them aside.  We don’t take the time to see what is right in front of us.  We have so much, but we push it aside because we don’t think it is enough.   We are try harder than ever to capture happiness, and all we get is this feeling that there should be more to life.  There is, we just can’t see it because it can’t be bought in a box or posed in an Instagram post.

It is right there in the midst of the messy part of our life.  It is right there in the moments gone forgotten.  It is right there waiting for you to stop looking for other’s to approve of your life.

You don’t need the world’s stamp of approval, you just need yours.  Let that be enough. 

We have lost sight of the life that happens in the margins, the life that happens when social media isn’t watching, the life that isn’t perfectly cultivated at our fingers tips.  We have lost sight of what it means to be alive, because the best things in life can’t be planned, they just happen.

It is a hard thing to be human, it is a very hard thing.  It becomes even harder when we refuse to let ourselves be human – messy, unsure, imperfect.  We are human.  We make mistakes.  We have no clue what we are doing most of the time.  We feel things deeply, sometimes too deeply.  And we are forever haunted by this voice that tells us we are not enough,  that we will never be enough.  Silence it. 

Let life your life with its messy imperfections be enough.  Let what you have be enough.  Let the things you do be enough.  Let who you are be enough, even when you believe that you never will be.

Be messy.

Be imperfect.

Be real.

Be you.

If you don’t, you will spend your life chasing someone else’s happiness.  Chase your own happiness.  No one else but you can decide what your own happiness is.  Chase your dreams relentlessly, and always believe that you are capable of more. Be complex, be confused, be chaotic, be content – be human.

Your life is beautifully imperfect, and that is enough. 

So, I’ve been thinking about this whole being happy thing, and I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination . . .  We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy; we’ll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that’ll fix everything.  But happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination.  It’s like being tired or hungry, it’s not permanent.  It comes and does and that’s okay.  And I feel like if people thought of it more that way, they’d find happiness more often.” – One Tree Hill

Happiness

Photo Credit: Erwin Blumenfeld