Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cara Box: Childhood

This month I had the opportunity to link up for the Cara Box Exchange hosted by Kaitlyn at Wifessionals. What is a Cara box? Cara means beloved friend. Kaitlyn’s idea behind the exchange is to link up bloggers each month to send each other a care package full of goodies and encouragement. Each month, she has a new theme for the box. After you’re paired up, you get to know your partner a little and put together their box!

I was paired up with Jillian at Keep Calm and Wear Pearls. I loved getting to know her a little bit, and it was cool to see some of the random things we have in common. You should stop by and check out her blog!

Anywho….onto the good stuff:
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Ballet Shoes because I loved ballet
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Quite possibly the funniest chocolate bar ever
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Awesome Nail polishes
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All of my ah-mazing gifts
I absolutely LOVED my box, Jillian did a great job reconnecting me with some sweet things I enjoyed as a kid (and now). Thanks again girl!
Cara Box Button

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Girl Behind The Blog: This One Time

Hello lovelies! Today I am linking up with Ashley & Julie for this month’s vlog!

I hope you enjoy my awkwardness…it’s pretty typical of me :p


Monday, November 26, 2012

On Leading

During my time here at Binghamton, I can humbly say I am learning what it means to be a leader. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as a small group leader for almost two semesters now and God has definitely been teaching me a lot.

It is important to vision cast. Vision casting gives purpose to your actions, reminding you of God’s will behind it all. As a small group leader, it can be easy for me to get caught up in the planning. To focus on making “good conversation” flow during bible study or to come up with a creative application response. But that’s not the point. A small group needs to be community. One that promotes deep, vulnerable conversation and equips its members to live missionally. I so easily consume myself with the minor details that I lose sight of that purpose. But without vision, we lose focus on God’s will for our time. Furthermore, if God’s will is not been done, the vision needs to be reassessed.

We are not called to lead alone. God made us relational people for a reason, we are not called to ministry alone. Both semesters I’ve been a leader, I’ve had a co-leader with me. This is by far the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me! Having a partner in crime helps in so many ways. My first semester as a leader, my co-leader Winnie mentored me in how to lead small group. She taught me how to facilitate discussion and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. This semester, I am paired up with my friend Sasha. She balances me out so well. We are able to bounce ideas off of each other and share the work that goes into planning and facilitating. It has also been so beneficial to fellowship with the other small group leaders in IV. We can come together and share our joys and burdens, what works and doesn’t work, and ultimately build community with each other as we grow together.

Things will go against your plan. This is by far the most difficult thing I am coming to terms with. It is taking a lot of time for me to truly comprehend that God’s plan does not always match up to my own. Some weeks our small group has low attendance, sometimes Sasha and I struggle to facilitate deep conversation, some planning sessions take way longer than expected. But that’s okay. It’s more than okay, because God works in all situations. He is not limited by my idea of a good small group. Ultimately, His will is being done.

If I could sum leadership up in one word I would say humbling. I have been humbled when my plans do not work. I have been humbled when I am reminded to refocus on God’s vision over my own. I have been humbled in realizing I can’t and shouldn’t lead alone. But all in all, leadership has grown and challenged me to rely more on God. It challenges me to live transparently for God in everything I do. I am learning to let God equip me for His kingdom work.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

As I prepare to head back to Bing tomorrow, my heart and belly are full. This break was such a wonderful time to truly reflect on what I have to be thankful for. Hours were spent laughing with friends, good meals were shared with family, and I got to rest and relax in the place I call home. I am leaving tomorrow refreshed and ready to get back school (just maybe not the school work!)

For now, I am resting in these words:
”I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
~Psalm 9:1-2

Bump Photos - November 24 2012
Top: missed the cats obviously // My dad’s turkey brining method…a cat litter box (cleaned of course) // Family recipe for my favorite rolls // Our Thanksgiving spread
Bottom: #SheReadsTruth “Thirteen Days of Thanksgiving” // Snuggling with my kitty // More #SheReadsTruth // Indian buffet lunch with my dad & brother // Black Friday finds

I can’t wait to be home again in just under a month!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Grand Thanksgiving Feast

Looks something like this…

Oh you know, just an intimate gathering of 30 people.

Complete with 2 turkeys, a 10lb ham, 3lbs of pasta, and lots of other deliciousness.


Thanksgiving 2012
Top: all dressed up and ready to go // a glimpse of our menu // best dressed
Bottom: some of my lovely small group members // dessert // my wonderful friends who planned this shindig…they are kind of amazing

After this on Saturday night and a church potluck tonight, I am nothing less than excited for real Thanksgiving this Thursday with my family. Now if it was just Wednesday so classes could be done and I could go home!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I mentioned in this post that I was going to start a list of the things I’m thankful for on a daily basis. Well, my life has been pretty hectic since then so I put it off. But wow is that the wrong attitude! The busier I am the more I need to step back and thank God for the things He’s giving me. That being said, I bought a notebook on Sunday and I’ve been writing down a few things that I’ve been blessed with this week.

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These are just a few of the things that made me thankful this week. Hopefully as time goes on, I’ll be able to notice so many more things throughout my day. I am officially on my way to my list of One Thousand Gifts. Already, God has been changing my heart to reveal the ways He is at work, and I’m excited to see how He grows me through this!
I’m also linking up with Sarah at Gracefully Made for Thankful Thursday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A not-so-DIY

Here I sit, in Starbucks sipping my pumpkin spice latte, feeling all legit (now I know what Erin was talking about in this post). All I can think about are these verses.

1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

These words seem so easy, so encouraging. To think that God, as powerful as He is, cares for me enough to take my anxieties and burdens on Him. And yet, here I sit, with the skewed mentality that I need to clean myself up before I come to Him. That He can’t handle the bad stuff, or that I don’t want Him to. I feel like I need to impress Him with my ability to handle everything. But honestly, what is there to impress with? We are a broken people. I am broken. God knows that….but He loves me anyway. He invites me to Him, as I am.

I’ve been wrestling with this truth for a few days now. Thinking about how I need to be vulnerable with people, because God made us relational people so we can encourage each other. But the sad reality is that I rely on people too much. I easily ask people to pray about something for me, and completely disregard my need to pray about it too. It seems that I try to replace God with people. But if God is truly sovereign, then He is the one in control. He is the one I should be going to with my pain. I can’t hide anything from him. And it’s my pride alone that gave me the false idea that I can.

Today in my #SheReadsTruth study, I was reminded of how God canceled out my debt, how He nailed it to the cross. What would it look like if I reminded myself of that daily? If I remembered that He truly does want to raise me up, and rid of the anxieties that weigh me down? He wants to see me grow, not dwell on the past.

I am about to enter a new season of my life. A season of service for God like I haven’t experienced before. It is so exciting, but I also know that it can easily bring stress if I’m not careful. I need to reevaluate the chain of command in my life. I need to give God lordship over everything I do. My schoolwork, leadership, time, relationships, and my struggles. He holds all the power. He is the only one who can strengthen me. I can’t do it myself. He can…and will!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


As I mentioned before, I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend InterVarsity’s annual fall conference Expedition. The weekend was filled with goofy friends, matching pj’s, late night drug store runs, lots of laughter, and God. Meeting me right where I needed Him most.

It. Was. Awesome.

I participated in the prayer track, and I can honestly say I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew I’d be taking away new insight on my prayer life, but I definitely wasn’t expecting the ways God challenged me.

First, He challenged me to reevaluate how I pray. As an extravert, I constantly feel the need to fill the silences. I can easily be that person who rambles in their prayer….but that’s just no good! In fact, Matthew 6:7 speaks blatantly against that. In my track, we learned how to pray in agreement. now, I had done it before, but never properly. But after this weekend, I really see the power in keeping your words few and affirming each other’s prayers. Silence is also becoming more prevalent in my personal prayer. I’m learning (and struggling) to allow God to fill my time instead of just talking at Him….it is a conversation after all!

Second, and one of my favorite aspects of the weekend, was learning about ninja prayer. (Just saying it makes me smile!) Confused? Ninja prayer is where you go into situation, maybe a public place like a cafĂ©, and pray over your surroundings. You observe the environment, listen in creep on conversations, and pray. The purpose of ninja prayer, or stealthy intercession, is to come in, pray, and leave without people knowing. Its not about you, but totally about the people around you. We had the opportunity to pray over a couple other tracks at the conference, and boy was it powerful! There’s something so wonderful about being completely selfless in your prayer. Coming back to campus, I’ve been excited to try this in the cafes, dining halls, and even in church. It is so easy yet so impactful. Think about it, God has sovereignty over every situation…even the ones we aren’t fully connected with!

Finally, God met me on such a personal level. As I mentioned here, I was convicted on one speaker’s talk on rest, and how I fail to do it. But beyond that, God revealed to me ways that I was still broken and hiding from Him. You see, God had been putting my one friend on my heart a lot lately. I had felt this pull to talk with her for a few weeks and we finally got to hang out at Expedition. I went into the conversation thinking God wanted to use me to encourage her and be there for her, but boy did I underestimate His plans. Our conversation opened up things within me that I hadn’t told anyone. Brokenness I had kept to myself because I didn’t think anyone could relate. But to my amazement, Katie was in the same boat. We talked and cried (well, I cried) and prayed for each other. I left feeling refreshed and free. I have a peace that was from truly handing these things over to Him. I am so joyful that God brought Katie & I together that weekend, because I know for sure it was not by accident. He is just so good.

Anywho, I figured I couldn’t end this post without some pictures of my weekend at Expedition!


Expedition 2012Late night snack run…complete with mini Ben & Jerry’s // Maggie and I with our amazing pajamas // post-Expedition Chipotle // Piggyback ride // Katie & I debriefing our fellowship on the prayer track

Expedition 20121All of the Binghamton IVCF who went…I love these people so much!


Friday, November 2, 2012


thanks·giv·ing [thangks-giv-ing] noun 

1. the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
2. an expression of thanks, especially to God.
3. a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.
4. a day set apart for giving thanks to God.

The concept of thanksgiving has very prevalent in my life lately. Now that it’s officially November, I have a feeling that this will be coming up a lot more in the near future.

Back in September, I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Although its been hard for me to stay consistent with my reading, I have undeniably been impacted by Ann’s words. I am most inspired by her choice to make a list of 1,000 things she’s thankful for. From the small parts of her day that bring a smile to her face, to the big ways she has been blessed. The impact of this list is so apparent in her life. Her attitude and outlook are radically changed. What would it look like if I actually took time out of my day to identify the things I’m thankful for? What if I actually acknowledged the ways God blessed me? My stress would minimize, and my fire to she His truth would be ignited.

So this post…its my humble admission that I do not practice gratitude. I fail to celebrate the wonderful little things in my life.This post is my call to change. To begin living in a way that takes the focus on myself and give the glory to God. Starting today, I am going to list out the things I’m thankful for. I am starting my one thousand gifts list. {Stay tuned to see how its turning out}

As I wrote this post this song kept coming to mind. It is currently one of my favorites, and I believe it is quite fitting for the topic.

Will you join me? To go beyond the superficial “thanksgiving” that is associated with this month, and dive deep into the things we are truly thankful for.