Two weeks ago I was in Tijuana serving alongside nineteen other twenty-something-year-olds. And to be honest, it wrecked me.
Back in the Fall I was asked by my church to accompany our Spring Break missions team to Tijuana as the videographer. I’m lucky to have a few friends on staff who know my heart for Latin America and were pushing for me to go on this trip specifically, but because I was going to do a “job” (or at least in my head that’s what I thought), I didn’t think much about it until we arrived.
We stayed in Mexico for five days (a nice balance since it was a total of five days driving across the country there and back) to serve the team at Centro Shalom. I knew no one on my team — with the exception of acquaintances I had formed through mutual friends — and to be honest, my heart was postured pretty poorly going in. I believed that my week would be spent in the background glorifying a mission without playing a real role in the work itself. I was wrong.
Recently, as my sophomore year of college has met its end, I have been thinking about a variety of different things, and I figured I might as well word vomit them onto a webpage so that the entire world can see the frantic mush that my brain has become.
This is basically the sales pitch versions of random thoughts that I’ve had or things I’ve been processing recently.
There are some weeks when sitting down to write out my thoughts for the whole world to see is the most appalling idea. I’ve been feeling that way for months. When the stressors of life pile up, its always this blog that seems to be the first thing to take the hit – which is unfortunate since its the best way that I seem to process through things.
January has been an interesting month for me. Each moment of it felt intertwined with some form of a lesson. God has been present this month, even when my faith hasn’t; and its both extremely frustrating and relieving. He has revealed a lot this month, and without getting too deep into it, it’s been a month of what feels like perpetual digging where He is bent on dragging out all of the poison in my heart, and its a painful process. Most of my time this past month was spent reflecting rather than adventuring, so I think this post might be a bit short. Regardless, here goes…
I guess it makes sense to begin at the beginning of the month with New Years. I’ve decided that I don’t believe in resolutions. This really began to occur to me when I attended a sermon at my church back in Spokane in which my pastor spoke on the topic of new year’s resolutions and graciously explained that according to the Bible the life of the Christian is really just one big process of refining and sanctification, and while the world encourages resolutions that we will forget in a week, the Lord encourages us to be in constant pursuit of him and through that be transformed in Him.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasingand perfect will.
-Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I challenge us to be a people that does not thrive in month-long resolutions thought of at the start of the year, but rather a people that thrives in the grace of continual sanctification.
The first days of January were spent with my family, mentally preparing for the horror of returning to Pullman after a hellish semester. It snowed an awful lot this year, especially over here on the Eastern side of the state – a fact to which my parental units were acutely aware and overly excited about.
Their response to the snow was probably riddled with more excitement than a baby who tries chocolate for the first time. I snapped some pictures of their tomfoolery and posted them up on Wonderlust early in the month.
My brother and I spent some time in the city chasing down the perfect winter shot in the snow, but eventually resigned to sipping coffee at one of the hipster shops up the road to avoid the mass amounts of cold and snow.
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I came back to school a couple days before the semester began to unwind and relax enough to handle the impending semester. Syllabus week was relatively painless and it gave me a chance to catch up with all my fellow Pullman-ites after the break. My classes this semester are higher level courses aimed more directly at my majors, and it has been refreshing to study the things that I am really passionate about.
I’ve had a bit of a mid-college crisis and reconsidered my choice of major, which is an ongoing battle that I believe will continue to rage throughout the entirety of my collegiate career – regardless I’m halfway there, I’ve got to keep plugging on!
The last weekend of the month I spent back in Spokane with my family to celebrate my little brother’s sixteenth birthday. It was a glorious affair.
The two of us media nerds got to teach a Boy Scout Merit class on Movie-making and then spend the day exploring downtown. We went out for lunch at Chipotle (a rare treat) and watched Caged No More in theaters to celebrate his last day of being fifteen. Most of it was all a distraction, because the real party began at night.
A month ago my Mom started planning a surprise birthday party for my brother at the local roller skating rink. He was ambushed by his friends and family and we spent the evening on treacherous skates attempting to stay upright. As evidenced by my brother and I, our family is not exactly the most coordinated, and the feat of not breaking any body parts in an event so perfectly designed for doom was a triumph!
We finished out the weekend, on his actual birthday, with a family brunch. Here’s a video of the events:
It’s all rather exciting.
Rimmel London Kate #8
In step with the usual we must begin with lipstick. Like I said last month: I’m a big fan of anything in the “Kate” line of lipsticks. She has created such a beautiful series of Matte colors that seem to suit every possible look. It’s basically the perfect lipstick AND its cheap! You can buy it at your local drugstore and it’s just as good, if not better than some of the more expensive brands that I own. If you don’t own at least one “Kate” lipstick, who even are you?
This one might actually be detrimental to my heart because of the massive, fatty crush that I have developed for Matt Corby. This is what I imagine Heaven to sound like: a combination of Amber Run acapella (featured in last month’s favorites) and the sound of Matt Corby, which can only be described as the product of God’s love for humanity and the birth of an angel. I mean, just listen to it. I dare you to listen to his music and tell me its not the best thing that has ever graced your ears. Matt has a gospel growl in his music that is rivaled by none, its so unique that it might burst your eardrums with goodness.
I’ve been in love with Matt Corby for a while, but this past month my affections for him has come back full force. He’s just to magical. Maybe it’s the hair.
You’re welcome in advance.
On the note of celebrity crushes, allow me just a second to dwell on Kate McKinnon – arguable one of the funniest women on the entire planet.
Just watch this and try to hold in the pee induced by the massive bought of laughter that you are sure to experience.
Navigator’s Bible Study Plan
Like the rest of the population I have often fallen prey to the idea of reading the whole Bible in a year only to be stopped by a couple missed days, a broken spirit, a confused mind, and a lack of discipline. This year I am testing out a new tactic. My small group leader posted a link to the Bible Study plan that he uses and I checked it out and have been sticking to it.
It’s great because it gives you four different readings each day – one OT passage, two NT passages, and a Psalm or Proverb – which helps to hold attention. It is based on a 25 day system so that if you miss a day you don’t have to feel guilty and behind, and if you have left-over days at the end of the month you can revisit important passages that really resonated with you.
I really love it and it has been a huge step for me in getting back on track and genuinely pursing the Lord first. I try to do it in the mornings before I start classes or at night before I go to bed, and it has revolutionized the way that I spend time with the Lord.
If you know me then you probably know that the sky is often where I feel the most pursued by the Lord – there is nothing in the world that rivals the breathtaking sight of a night sky full of stars or a morning sunrise or a vibrant sunset.
I have been so incredibly homesick for Arizona skies this past month (in addition to being homesick in general). The Arizona sky is unlike anything else in the word. I’ve been privileged to have travelled to many different places and seen many different things, but there is nothing in the world that takes my breath away quite like the sight of the Arizona sky. I’ve been praying a lot for comfort this past month – in missing Arizona, and for the past couple days there have been some pretty beautiful sunsets in Eastern Washington. If only for a second the clouds have parted to let the light in. It’s like a big, cosmic hug.
That’s all for this month! Until next time, Wonder On!
The month of December is a notorious time of year in the college realm. It simultaneously ushers in the end-of-semester-bliss and launches us into full fledged panic mode as Finals threaten to cramp our style.
My December went a little something like this:
In the fight against human trafficking, as a woman, December is a great time to get involved to raise awareness. It is the host month of the “Dressember” campaign in which ladies all around the world pledge to wear a dress every day of the month of December in an effort to raise visibility of an often ignored issue.
Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.
I took the pledge and jumped into my dresses throughout the month – despite the freezing temperatures and abnormally massive amounts of snow.
The first weekend of December saw the Honors College Yule Ball come to fruition. In attempt to dance the wintery blues away, I stepped into my Senior Prom gown once more and danced the night away with some of my closest friends.
The second weekend ushered in the preparation for finals week and I found myself at numerous coffee shops working out the final details of projects and essays.
It was also the weekend that my good friend Garrett and I discovered that we had successfully completed Communication 300 – the notoriously hellish class that Comm majors are required to take the semester after certification. I have never been so excited to pass a class in my entire life.
And subsequently, finals week lent itself to more espresso evenings and scattered goodbyes amongst holiday parties.
The third weekend I found my way back to my family in Spokane. The Palouse was looking particularly breathtaking on the afternoon I left, blanketed in untouched snow and blue hues, it looked like a background ripped straight off of Pinterest.
I made it back in time for my cousin’s tenth birthday and ushered in the break in the company of my family. In the next week I spent my time attempting to unwind from the semester. It was a long week…
Toward the end of Fall semester I had started getting headaches again and my vision was getting a little blurry, so while I was back in town I stopped by the optometrist. He gave me reading glasses but says that the symptoms were most likely the result of stress… so that’s not sketchy at all. (Read this post: Sophomore Slump Almost Did Me In)
And, finally, it was my favorite day of the year: Christmas!
There’s a lot to be said about the Christmas holiday, even though Jesus most likely wasn’t actually born this time of year. It’s a holiday which seems shrouded in magic. And after the hellish semester that I had just survived, it was the magic of the Messiah that I needed to remember.
In the days following, my brother was on break from his high school and before welcoming in the new year we spent a day out in the snowy woods filming fun videos and taking pictures.
I roped my brother into letting me take pictures of him with his banjo in exchange for being the subject of a music video he was itching to shoot.
And then we ushered in the new year! Happy 2016 to all!
Rimmel London Kate Lipstick #104
This is actually the first lipstick that my mom ever handed down to me. I sort of forgot about it until I got to college and then I blew through the whole tube so fast I had to replenish it just weeks later. It’s the best matte color that I have and its literally perfect for every look and every season. If you don’t have it, you need it. I’m a big fan of anything in the Kate line. I don’t have many favorites this month because i was too busy crushing on this lipstick to focus on anything else. (well that, and Christmas)
If you’re not convinced yet, just consider that its a drugstore buy and as a college student you can grab one from any Walmart or Target cosmetic section.
You know when you find a band so good that you don’t want to tell anyone about it because you are sort of afraid that once you vocalize your love for them then it won’t be so special? That’s Amber Run for me.
They’re a British band that has been making music for a few years but saw a resurgence in 2015. Do yourself a favor and check them out:
Honestly as I sit down to write this, I am having a hard time recalling all that has happened in this packed month. For these updates, my planner is my best friend.
I can never decide if I love or hate the month of November, in my mind it is plagued with poor memories and great ones that convene to make a confusing picture. However, I can objectively say that I love November for the Fall atmosphere that abounds. I love reds and oranges and yellows and it feels like that time of year when Fall is taking its last breath before moving aside for winter, and it couldn’t be more beautiful.
That being said, here are a couple fun things that I did during the month of November:
During the first week of the month my brother was a central character in his very first play and it was an event that I was unwilling to miss. So after my Thursday classes I grabbed my bags and made the couple hour commute to Spokane.
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In the radio production of “Frankenstein” my brother played the role of the creature and a scientist. With absolute certainty I can say that he crushed it. He stole the show.
It’s so weird watching him group up, it seems like just yesterday I was putting my tutus on him and shoving him into plant pots.
He had been working the soundboard and lights until now when the play team begged him to be a part of the production. Honestly, none of us knew that he had it in him, but he killed his performance and I couldn’t be more proud of him!
The next day I headed back to Pullman where Dad’s weekend was beginning. This is an interesting weekend for me. Honestly, I hate the premise of Mom’s and Dad’s weekends at universities 1) because those without a mom or dad are painfully more aware of it and 2) these weekends are notorious for producing ill-advised drunken parents who roam the streets of Greek row.
As November 1st marks 12 years since my Dad passed away I was hesitant to leave the house at all. Last year I spent the weekend in the company of my friends, blocking out the heartache with copious amounts of ice cream and movies. Praise the Lord this year was different.
My stepdad, Art, was gracious enough to come up and spend time with me. My mom and him left soon after me on Friday afternoon to spend time in Pullman. I bought tickets for Art and I to go see the comedian Gabriel Iglesias at my University. He cried laughing through the while show.
The next morning I got to show him and my mom around campus and watch the WSU Dad’s Weekend Pumpkin Drop in the freezing cold with them between introducing them to Deans, Professors, and peers. I’d say it was a good weekend.
In the third week of the month the Eastern half of Washington got hit by heavy windstorms. Spokane was put under storm warning and lost power from downed power lines for almost four days in parts of the city. Pullman was hit by some of the highest winds – 67 mph – hurricane grade, if we were by the coast. The university lost power for a few hours and cancelled classes the following day. It was an interesting event.
I had to drive to Spokane the night after the storm hit to pick up my best friend from the airport and in the city I encountered dead signals and massive lines as people fought their way through the gas station. It was like an apocalyptic nightmare in the city. I went home for the night where we huddled around a portable heater in a candlelit room. It was an interesting few hours that led me to think about just how privileged I am to have been inconvenienced by the loss of wifi.
Thursday I picked up my friend, Jami, from the airport.
Months ago I told Jami about my trip to Seattle and the heartache I felt for its homeless community. So, while I was in Burma this summer, she and I were FaceTiming and she proposed the idea of spending our Thanksgiving in the city to volunteer to serve dinner to the homeless community. Which brought us to this week, a week full of adventure.
First in Pullman where I made her an honorary Coug for a weekend. And then in Seattle when we explored the city together.
While still in Pullman one of my friends from church volunteered to take our pictures. In three years of friendship, my move to the Pacific Northwest and her move to the East Coast left us without any pictures together – which is basically a crime in the world of Pinterest decorating dorm/apartment rooms. So, I arranged for us to spend a couple hours getting our pictures taken together in a makeshift bestie photoshoot before we headed out to the coast.
We got all decked out in our fall gear and hit the streets of Pullman. It was a glorious event, and even more glorious to have my best friend here, in the flesh, to share it with me.
On Monday we left for the coast. There was supposed to be a huge storm that would make it relatively impossible to drive the pass, but it never really hit. Nonetheless, we left a day early and stayed the night in SeaTac. The next day we hit the University district, scoping out the haunt of my rival college: UW. We headed down to Oak Harbor that night, spending the night and the following morning on Whidbey Island. The next two days were full of exploring the city and serving meals at various locations. Here’s a video of the adventure:
I rounded out the month in Spokane, spending a few days with my family before heading back down to school to finish out the semester. We left out the Turkey in favor of rabbit and duck, leaving us with a Thanksgiving meal to remember and respectful of our copious amount of varying allergies.
We decorated our Christmas tree before I left down, leaving me dreaming of the tidings of Christmas until I return home in three weeks at the conclusion of the semester.
Coffee Shop Indulgence: Dirty Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte with an extra shot of espresso
Unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty picture of this month’s drink (blogger fail), but don’t let that deter you from tasting this sweet treat! This is the perfect drink for the Fall season – a cinnamon-y and pumpkin-y sweet treat to usher in the warm fuzzies of Fall. If you like Chai Latte’s this is the perfect combination of all things lovely.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Transylvania This really weird and scary picture is the only one that I was able to find with the lipstick on my lips. I took it while waiting at a drive thru for my Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte.
I love this particular shade because it is so incredibly dark. I feel punky and elegant at the same time. It has a purple sort of tint to it in parts which I really love. (Also pictured in Dad’s weekend photos)
For the longest time I’ve been contemplating the idea of monthly favorites posts, so in favor of my birthday month I figured now would be the time to start. What follows is the love child of a “favorites” post and a diary.
Let’s test the waters…
I have mixed feelings about the month of October. It is the host month of my birthday and my least favorite holiday, both within hours of each other. With five weekends in this year’s October, each was full to the brim.
My first weekend was spent in Athol, Idaho at Silverwood Theme Park. Each year they revamp the park to suit the season of Halloween – complete with haunted houses, backwards roller coasters, terrifying clowns and the like; affectionately renamed “Scarywood” for the event.
I went last year with a group of five people and this year I spent the night with a team of thirty. Quite the increase – but so worth it, and since we went the first week of October we had a major discount (like twenty dollars worth) which was prefect because we’re all poor college students.
It was a night full of terror and mischief and I loved every second. (Except for the second when my friend decided to use me as a shield and threw me into a Haunted House wall to escape a rampant clown.)
The following weekend, I found myself back in Northern Idaho for a retreat with my new church. Becoming part of a new church has been an adventure in itself. It has been a season of self-doubt, processing, and hurting but also a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s pursuit and the faithfulness of living in Godly community.
I was hesitant to take the plunge and spend a whole weekend in the middle of nowhere with my new church family who I had barely begun to know. But it allowed me the opportunity to spend time getting to know the pastor and deepen relationships with girls who have relentlessly pursued me these past couple months.
It was a weekend of rest, and I needed that. Plus, how could I miss a weekend in the forest making wishes on dandelions?
The third weekend I worked every day in addition to being a part of a fundraiser for the club that I have been appointed Vice President – WSU In It To End It. A national initiative which seeks to spread awareness of Human Trafficking and help the victims in addition to aiding the effort to see the horror end in our lifetime. That experience birthed the post “Meat” but also led to us raising enough money to free a four person family from the brick kilns in India, out of the darkness there is light!
The following weekend I escaped to Spokane with my best friend – you can read about it and see more pictures in this post: Pause.
The last weekend of the month was my birthday weekend and Halloween.
Here’s where the controversy over the month of October comes into play: I absolutely despise Halloween but it is the day after my birthday. As a result, for most of my life I have had birthday parties which are a mixture of the holiday and the celebration of life. Its an interesting combination to be wearing a princess tiara in a room full of ghosts and ghouls.
There were a number of parties that were attempted to surprise me, but with so many scheduling conflicts and college stressors out of what I later learned to have been an attempted four parties was finally successful when my friends from church threw me my first ever surprise birthday party complete with gluten-free cake.
Let me tell you why this is such a triumph: one, because I’m pretty difficult to surprise with things, and normally I hate it; two, anything gluten-free is a nightmare. But they somehow managed it, and after a hellish week it was enough to bring me to tears. I wish that I could find the words to say to express how grateful I am, but for know I’m going to let the sheer joy that I felt holding that cake do all of the talking.
19 has never tasted so sweet!
The following day we had a Birthday celebration at my favorite restaurant (because they have a full gluten free menu), complete with my princess tiara and balloon. And on Saturday we spent our morning costumed and our evening cheering on the Cougs on during the WSU-Stanford game. It was raining the whole time, but I loved every single second.
Cheers to adventures!
Favorites from October
Coffee Shop Indulgence: Coconut-Caramel Latte
If you’re a fan of coconut there’s really no reason for you not to drink this… Being hours away from the Coffee Mecca of the nation I find it difficult to escape the longing for a good cup of coffee. I have been a big fan of the Coco-Mo (coconut mocha) for a long time, but I found that switching to caramel actually allows me to taste the coffee and it is incredible. If you have an itching espresso combinations breathed by Angels, this is for you. Try it now, and you can thank me later.
This particular cup of Jo was from my favorite little coffee shop/boutique in Downtown Spokane, Atticus Coffee & Gifts.
NYX Matte Lipstick in Siren
I actually only bought this color because Ulta had just run out of the matte Copenhagen lip stain (also by NYX), and ended up falling completely in love with it. It’s the perfect fall color – I find every excuse I can to wear it.
Our Last Night’s Cover of One Direction’s “Drag Me Down”
I’m obsessed with Matty Mullins, and I’m not even sorry about it. I stumbled into this cover earlier in the month and it has been on repeat ever since. I would be willing to say its better than the original.
Our Last Night: Younger Dreams
This album was released in June, and somehow I missed the memo – probably because I was living in Asia. Finding the cover of the One Direction song reminded me how much I love this band and through the Spotify realm I uncovered this album. I am absolutely in love with everything about it.
Our Last Night is described as an alternative/rock band, but I find that musical genres these days are rather broad. I would describe their sound as a mixture of Memphis May Fire or ADTR and We Came As Romans. The musician-ship is good, but the lyrics are superb. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Despite the fact that my best friend is absolutely adorable and makes taking pictures easy, I have been falling back in love with the art of black and white photography this month. I love the simplicity of a good black and white photo, to remove the colors is sometimes to remove the distraction from the beauty.
Colorful Birthday Flowers Typically I go for the white roses, my ultimate favorite flower, but I had my breath stolen by these beauties that my family had sent to me for my birthday. Complete with adorable mason-jar vase, the vivid blossoms have been a pleasantry ever since their arrival.
And thus ends the October Update, thanks to everyone who made this month what it was.