journal | blogging is hard

Blogging is hard. 

It's vulnerable, exposing, and time-consuming. 

Sometimes I have to give myself a break and remind myself (or be reminded by loving friends- Thanks, Maddie!) why I write in the first place. 

I write because I have so many different friends and loved ones in so many different places and I want to catch up with all of them, but find it hard between three jobs and freelance.

I write because looking back at how much you've grown since you've written a piece is moving. 

I write because I love hearing others' experiences in response to my own. 

I write because my story is what I have to offer to this world. 

I write because it helps me understand myself better.  

I write because it connects us. 

 

So, let's connect because I miss you. 

During my break from writing, I spent most of my free time walking around my neighborhood and just talking with God. 

It's the sort of neighborhood where you leave the windows open for three months straight because the sound of little ones laughing and the lady who sells homemade tamales and salsa verde coming down the street is too good to close out. Everything smells like hydrangeas, roses, and tulips and Portland's wettest winter in 40 years has created the most vibrant green trees you've ever seen. 

There's a tree swing down the street that Martin loves to swing on when we walk to the park. There is a park by the river, a park by the creek, and a park with a pool and playground. There are food carts, thrift stores, and coffee shops. If I walk five minutes down a trail at the park, I'll either get to an amusement park or a wildlife refuge. You can see a perfect view of downtown from the bridge and I can ride my bike to work. I can walk to the library, to the Children's Healing Art Project for an art workshop, or to watch a play at the neighborhood playhouse. 

Walking around and just being with Creator and creation has been the perfect way to end my hustle-filled days. I may have taken a break from writing, but God has given me plenty of work to keep me busy and constantly challenging me to grow. 

I am proud to be a Project Coordinator at the National Indian Child Welfare Association, a Communications Intern at Remember Nhu, and a part-time nanny to a sweet little six-year-old boy with a developmental disorder. 

The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), is a nonprofit whose mission is to protect the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families. Working for this organization has taught me about the importance of all cultures, the value of recognizing others, and the power of a room full of passionate, determined people. I am honored to work with some of the most humble and servant-hearted men and women that I have ever met at NICWA. Thank you for all that you do for me, NICWA. 

Remember Nhu is a nonprofit organization that prevents child sex slavery throughout the world by prevention. This means that through raising support from people like you, children in developing countries who are at-risk for being sold into the sex trade will instead enter a home where they are loved, seen, and provided for. Every staff member at Remember Nhu raises their own support in order to make sure that 87% of the support raised goes directly to supporting the children. (I'm planning to write out a more detailed post about this specifically because it is teaching me so much about the grace and provision of our Father.) Not only do I get to serve children which is my ultimate calling, but I also get to serve with some of the most creative and talented people that I've had the pleasure of calling friends. Thank you for all that you're teaching me, Remember Nhu. 

Martin is the most intelligent and silly kid you'll ever meet. He loves dinosaurs, the color blue, and getting into hammocks the hard way. I get to spend every afternoon exploring Portland and being a kid with him. He's taught me more about patience, understanding, humility, and the sacredness of children than any of my previous jobs combined. Watching him grow and learn has been a ton of fun and I can't wait to see what the summer brings! Hint: It's probably a lot of pool noodle fights. Thank you for who you are and how much you love ICEEs too, Martin.

So, this is the season God is calling me into and I absolutely adore it. 

Abba, I can't thank You enough for all of the gifts You are blessing me with during this season. Help me absorb as much wisdom and love as I can through each of the people that You have placed in my life. Teach me to be as humble, kind, gracious, and creative as the people I live and work with. Grow me. 

ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

journal | up & up

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The shiny new-ness of moving across the country started to wear off for me around the third month in my new city.

All of the possibilities and opportunities that seemed endless before were, now, starting to feel impossible. I was working another job that I wasn't passionate about, I was without community, I had no place to live still, and I had no idea why God had led me to a place just to have me in the same rut. By the end of the year, I was near my breaking point.

Our Father is so incredibly intentional. 

Over the past week, I have seen only a small glimpse of how much purpose was in those first five months. I've learned about my limits, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my spirit. I've learned about grace and humility.

Even more, I've watched open-mouthed as I have seen moment after moment of confirmation that God called me to this city. My job is blessing me with extra work and paid travel, my friends are blessing me with love and kindness, and my Father is blessing me with all of it. 

So now, my calling to live in a place is no longer shiny or new, but warm and alive! It's not a studio apartment downtown and a job at a huge creative company. My calling is to live a quiet life and to work with my hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11). It's a little white house across the river and a job at a life-changing nonprofit. 

grace - (n) the free and unmerited favor of God.

Despite how truly undeserving I am of this life I live, God looks at me with love and grace never-ceasing. 
 
Abba, thank You so much for who you are and how well You love me. My prayer for this week is that You would use me to reach those around me, that I would see them the way You do, and that I would respond to their needs with a posture of grace and humility.

ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

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going back home

Maybe it's weird to say this, but Portland feels more like home to me now than Tallahassee does. 

Tallahassee, Florida

It's a town with bright, hot summers and wet, cold winters. 

It's a town full of college students in a state full of grandparents. 

It's where some of my favorite people in this entire world live. 

It's where I learned about love, constellations, campfires, struggling, honey, manatees, and live oak trees. 

It's where I called home for 20 years. 

And yet, something made me feel incredibly uneasy when I got on the plane to go back. 

I spent so much of my time in Tallahassee feeling misplaced and discontent.

I watched as agencies I worked for, schools I attended, and churches I was involved in were corrupted by people who were inauthentic and careless. 

I was too passionate, too outspoken, too headstrong, too restless. 

I felt called away from Tallahassee when I was 17.

Maybe I'd make it to Austin, Texas for seminary by 18.

Maybe Burlington, Vermont for psychology by 19. 

In His perfect timing, God made me wait three years before He showed me where I needed to be.

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Portland, Oregon

It's a city with misty rain and foggy mornings. 

It's a city full of transplants from all over the world.

It's where I've gained the biggest community of faith-filled creatives that I get to call friends. 

It's where I'm learning about life, fir trees, donuts, couchsurfing, waterfalls, bikes and the meaning of home. 

It's my home. 

My trip to Tallahassee for the first time in eight months really taught me the weight of my adventure to the other side of the country. I was called here. I was made to live in my little white house with the green door. I was designed to work for an organization who protects, nurtures and advocates for native children and families. I was crafted to be in the missional community that I live life with. 

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It is a beautiful thing to be uniquely aligned with the Father's footsteps. I have fought, I have rebelled, I have resisted - and He used it all to bring me here. Maybe I'll live in Portland for seven years or maybe seven decades, but either way, it will always be a city I call home. 


ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

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new beginnings

Seasons are one of my favorite things about this life.

They come and go; sometimes earlier than you'd hope and other times not soon enough.  

I can remember very vividly how long the summer seemed to last home in Florida. Endlessly, it would drag on and soon have you begging for just a hint of coolness that you could be sure wouldn't come until after Christmas or so. Just this year, it was 81°F (~27°C) on Christmas Day! 

Here, in Portland, the seasons change much more often and with them, the only thing that doesn't change is the rain. For a girl who's used to the Florida sunshine and flash floods, I can't say it was something I was expecting to have to adjust to. 

The rain in Oregon is different than the rain in Florida. It's lighter, but it lasts for months. It makes for trees the deepest shade of green, but that color takes time to manifest. It takes faith, patience, steadfastness, hope, and passing seasons. 

The ride to this soul-growing city has been a wild one. 

Six months ago, I started an adventure that I had expectations for. I expected to grow, to learn, to love, to feel, to see, to listen, to talk, to laugh, to cry, to experience. 

What I didn't expect was that all of that growth would come through so much pain and such a long season of falling. Couch-surfing for four months, not knowing if I would eat that day, losing a friend, losing myself...

Oh, but the pure white snow brought new beginnings. 

A new city - where I can grow and love and learn.

A new friend - in fact, plenty of new friends who took me in and fed me and loved me.

A new house - in my favorite part of my new favorite town.

A new job - as an event coordinator for a non-profit and as a nanny.

A new season - of faith and obedience and finding myself through the adventure that comes.

A new year. 

God carefully planted me in a place full of sunshine and warmth for 20 years to grow a bright and gentle spirit within me. I can see now how much of North Florida is still a part of me from the golden tips of my hair to the Atlantic-strength waves of compassion in my heart. 

After a long journey - and with a long journey ahead - I can see how much purpose God has in calling me to dig my roots into the Pacific Northwest soil. 

Portland rain is the only thing that can grow me true and evergreen. 


ever free, ever true, ever kind.