look UP

It had rained the night before, leaving the morning air misty and dark. I was driving in the outskirts of town, enjoying the mystery of the familiar road. Then, in an instant, I glanced up. The tips of the trees, mist still swirling around them, were bathed in the warm, golden light of the sun.

Without looking up, I could only see the darkness. The simple action of looking up added so much joy to the scene around me.

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It’s often easy to get stuck on the darkness and mistiness of our day to day lives. The stresses, the conflicts, the doubts; whatever it may be, it’s all too easy to focus on the difficulties.

Maybe we need to glance UP a little more. Look for the warmth, the light, the sun peaking through those clouds. Maybe even in the midst of the darkest times, there’s a Light we can look UP to.

Who and what is that Light?

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1
I challenge you – whatever storms, whatever darkness, whatever you’re dealing with right now, look UP. Christ has is our Light. He’s got a solution. Promise.

moments // 2018

When thinking of a word to describe 2018, “whirlwind,” comes to mind. Good, bad, amazing, sad, confusing, disastrous, depressing, uplifting, it had it all. I spent time at home and I flew thousands of miles. I climbed mountains and I went to the ocean.

But most importantly, I grew. I became closer to God. I had more opportunities for outreach and evangelism. I came to know more about myself and those around me.

So here are some pictures. Well, not just some. A lot. I may or may not have put a lot of my favorite pictures in my post. (and currently it looks like WordPress is going to mess up the quality – oh well)

So don’t scroll too fast. (I mean you can if you want, but you’ll miss what I have to say about individual pictures and experiences.)

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In May I went backpacking with my family, saw my first bear in the wild, and graduated from high school!

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In July I had the privilege of being a summer camp counselor. This is how I described it on Instagram:

Two weeks serving. Some would say you’re just there to watch kids and make sure they stay out of trouble. But that isn’t it at all. It’s watching miracles. Seeing hearts touched. Becoming more and more a friend of my Father in heaven and seeing others do the same. It’s incredible. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

(it feels really awkward quoting myself)

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The summer camp I work at is actually very different from many others. It focuses on Biblical teaching, mission work, and practical skills. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun!

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In between {vegan!} banana splits, swimming, singing, camp mail, and all the things we learn, it’s hard not to have fun!

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I’m just gonna encourage you to check out that picture right below this. Between hiking, swimming, canoeing, and backpacking, I managed to get myself a some pretty rad Chaco tan lines, if I do say so myself. K, I’m proud of the weirdest things…


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Speaking of backpacking, I went on three backpacking trips in 2018. Two with the fam, and one with friends.

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(backpacking food – gourmet style)

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Look at this little friend we found! This little snake was a beauty slithering in the middle of the trail. I can’t resist these things. Of course I had to hold him!

(Note – because I don’t want to get in trouble: Don’t go around picking up snakes. Or be aware of the danger if you do. Basically, if you get hurt, I’m not to blame. Your common sense is.)


Little Brother (who is now taller than me) carried some popcorn over about 4 miles of trail, and once he popped it, the whole camp came begging for some.

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In November, our community was the center of a devastating natural disaster. We were gone for two weeks, and turned hard times into good times by visiting the ocean!

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To finish off the year, I flew to Houston, TX to attend the annual GYC conference.

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First off, I don’t like big cities at all. But…

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The conference was amazing! I spent time with friends I hadn’t seen since July, learned how to form an effective public talk, and even got to see Pastor Ted Wilson speak live. That was an unexpected treat!

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And that is my year. SO many miracles. SO many lessons learned. (Oh and I became an adult, like what…?!)

I like public speaking more and more. I love my campers. And Chaco tans. And canoeing. And I prefer trees and lakes over skyscrapers and cement any day.

But wherever God needs me is where I’ll be. And that is my goal this year. To listen to His voice and see what He has in store for me next!

lessons from nature

Recently I had the opportunity to climb a mountain. Being [somewhat] out of shape, it was hard. My legs got tired, I got altitude sick, my feet hurt, I was thirsty, and sometimes I just wanted to turn back. However, I was determined to reach the top, and finally, I did!

As I was able to look down on all the world beneath me, all the pain of the climb faded away. Seeing the majesty of the view surrounding, I knew that I would climb those miles again, experience everything – all just to have the reward of that view, and having the satisfaction of reaching my goal.

That night as I lay in my sleeping bag trying to sleep, I was struck with the thought that my climb that day was very similar to what our walk with God is. It’s hard. People will make fun of us, things will be painful, and sometimes we might wonder why we’re doing it…maybe it would be easier to just quit. When we finally reach heaven to spend eternity with Jesus though, we will realize that it was all worth it. The pain, the struggles, the heartache – everything – will fade away, and we would repeat it all again to reach heaven.

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It made me even more thankful for the outdoors, how God reveals Himself and His character to us in subtle, yet beautiful ways.

when life gives you lemons

We all know that saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” right?

So often in life, when things don’t go our way, or we don’t get what we want, it is SO easy to be upset and discontented.

What if we looked at life from a different perspective?

What if, when things don’t  go our way, we look and see why? What if our motives were selfish? (Hint: Too often if we want our own way for our own gratification, there is a problem.)

Remember the lemonade part?

Instead of being discontented with circumstances, what if we all looked for the good in the situation?

In almost everything you experience, there is something to be learned, no matter if the situation is good or bad, big or small.

You know what else?

If it seems like you aren’t getting what you want, and it seems like it should be a good thing to have, maybe you need to grow.

Sometimes before we can have a good thing, God needs to work with us so we don’t mess it up.

Something could be the perfect thing for you, but if you aren’t ready for it, and you’re trusting in and submitting to God, He will work with you so you can be ready for it.

So always remember, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and always look for the silver linings on dark clouds!

Sometimes post ideas come at the randomest times. This post was written out at midnight awhile back, but somehow, it actually turned out to be something to post, unlike other ideas I’ve had at odd times.

Happy Mother’s Day!!! + Bible Verses

In honor of all our moms, I’m posting three verses this week, all having to do with mothers. 🙂

First off, Psalms 139:13:

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Next, Exodus 20:12:

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

And finally, Proverbs 1:8-9:

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.


Ecclesiastes 9:10 and Matthew 25:40

I was planning to post the verse of the week on Tuesdays, but these two verses have been stuck in my mind for awhile, and I decided that I should just sit down and post them this morning.

The first is Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

And the next is Matthew 25:40

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

These two verses really seem to fit together. If you are working with all your might, and doing a good job, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are working for Jesus. Lately I have been implementing these verses as a kind of motto in my life, an aim to achieve, and it’s amazing the blessings I have received. I’d like to share a little story of what happened this morning that ties in with this.

So, when I came out this morning to eat breakfast, all my family was still sleeping in. All the lights were off, and sunlight was coming in the windows. It was all rather pleasant, and I grabbed some almonds to start off my breakfast with. Then, I really started noticing that the kitchen was a mess. Dirty dishes on the counter, dirty dishes on the table, papers scattered around.

Now, there is something you should know about me. I can not stand messy kitchens. Literally, I just am unable to function in the chaos. So, all the sudden, I had an idea. I would straighten up the kitchen a bit! I believe this was the Holy Spirit nudging me to help out, and be a blessing to my family.

Let me tell you, it was amazing. I put dishes in the sink, straightened the table up, and wiped the counters. As I got some spray cleaner to clean the counter with, the spray apparatus wasn’t working. It was turned to the on position, so I knew that wasn’t the problem. Finally, I just said a simple prayer. It was like this, “Lord, please make this work.”

BAM. It worked.

I was like, “Whoa, that was awesome!” It was so cool, because the moment I prayed, the spray bottle started working!

Another thing I noticed as I worked was that my willingness to help seemed to influence the others in my family. My brother was more willing to help too, and there was a general air of happiness. It was such a blessing to know that by just helping a little, I had helped create such a great atmosphere.

And, I learned that cleaning the kitchen isn’t as gross as I thought. 🙂