July 31, 2013

Blessed. {3 years}

When I wrote this post...I was a little nervous. I had never written about our adoption and it's crazy journey on my blog before. I didn't know what the responses would be like, but I knew I had to do it.

You guys are amazing! So many prayers were lifted up to our Savior and we could feel them! I actually have gotten asked a few times since, how my little sister is doing. And I'm here to give you an update.

As the big sister in an adoption, you're looked up to. She wants to dress like me, do the same stuff as me, and talk like me. (including other big sister Erin) But that can be hard, because even though you can sometimes see sweet and innocent sides of her, you know it's much deeper. Her survival skills that will kick in just so she can impress you or get you to like her.

Adoption is hard if you don't see all sides. You have to understand that these amazing children were abandoned. Some how...some way. They are not with their first family. And genetically, emotionally, physically, and mentally...there is always going to be something that ties them back to that. So whether it's a hard process or not to work through that, it's still there.

Our adoption was considered an "older child adoption". My sister was around 4 yrs old when we brought her home. So we see a lot more of the grief, hurt, and distrust that she feels. After she learned english perfectly...it was the words mostly. Gross words of hate and abandonment came out of her mouth. Tantrums and screaming because she's so unsure of the future. She has this undying need to be in control of everything she does. But part of that trust, is us teaching her that we have everything under control & she has to learn to be a kid again.

We have seen some improvement since I wrote that post 2 months ago. My mom has needed to literally hold her and tell my sister to listen to her. (in a way that helps bonding and will let her know that my mom is the parent...not her) And that can be frustrating and takes a lot of energy for a surprisingly strong 7 yr old. But my mom hasn't had to hold her in a while. She can just calmly explain that my sister needs to change her attitude or she'll need to take a break in her room. The words haven't stopped yet, but that is a control thing that comes when her anxiety is at an all time high. 

We're holding onto a hope that takes us one step at a time. Whether she'll keep improving, or we'll take a couple steps back...it's all apart of the journey. And guess what guys! IT'S BEEN 3 YRS (last week) SINCE MY SISTER CAME HOME. 3 WHOLE YEARS! 

Our God chose us for this journey, and I'm holding onto the hope He gave us...that the best is yet to come. Keep your prayers coming...we feel them, and we're so blessed to have people like you that support us & don't judge us on this road of life.


July 29, 2013

Beka {July 2013}

Most of you know, that Beka is one of my best friends! We've known each other a really long time, and we love to do photo shoots together. :) We hope to do another one this summer but just a few days ago, we took some at the farm where her horse is.

It was a really fun day & we got some great shots! :)


July 26, 2013

Back in the Gym

Today was the day. Open gym for volleyball!

This year I am one of the captains on the varsity team & you have no idea how excited I am!

Just had a meeting last week with the other captains - scheduled captains practices, picked out team clothing, and chose the workouts so we can all get back in shape!

It's going to be a very fun season!

A sign that it's been too long since I touched a volleyball... A bruise & a few popped blood vessels. :)

Anyone else looking forward to any sports?

July 25, 2013


I really find joy in the simple things in life. Now call that cliche or corny, but it's true.

My life isn't extravagant. My house isn't huge, I don't get everything I want, & I've got a big family.

It's just normal. Growing up, I learned respect, love, friendship, trust, and joy. My parents taught me that life is unfair. It's not going to be easy & God is going to get you through it all. BUT it's an adventure and it can be fun if you choose that!

So that's what I'm doing. There are trials. There are adventures. There are fun times. But choosing to see joy & hope will make it so much more enjoyable.

Jesus has your back. He's there 24/7 for the rest of your life. Just trust Him and let Him walk beside you on this journey we all call "life".


July 22, 2013

This is Real.

my face isn't flawless.
i make mistakes.
i have insecurities.
i don't have all the best clothes.
my heart is being protected for one guy only.
i don't have an iphone.
i don't get everything i want.
my faith & family come first.
i don't get an allowance.
i have enemies.
i don't wear bikinis.
my hair isn't perfect.
i worry about unnecessary things.
i have friends of both genders.
i've been known to fangirl.
i'm a christian in this world.

This is Real.

You can judge me as you please, but this is me. And I'm staying right here where I can write these things and feel safe. Safe to know that Jesus is the only true judge & and that I'm living this life He gave me, best to my ability. If you follow me then you're gonna have to learn with me too.


July 18, 2013

Summer is Flying By

I don't know about the rest of you, but the fact that it is already July 18th just scares me. What happened to June? Why did it leave us so fast? Just hoping August doesn't sneak up on us like July did.

I've done so many fun things this summer! It's really been all about making memories! I've been hanging out with a lot of my friends and I've had the best times. :) Thought I'd give you a little instagram catch up & then give you the rest of my summer check list.

the summer started out incredibly rainy// rain go away selfie// babysitting// blind makeovers with Beka//
big sister's wedding// tanning :)// back to the 50's car show// bonfire// 
mango arizona tea...delicious// devotions// caribou coffee cooler - life is a journey// sparklers on the 4th of july
movie night with my sister Erin & mom and dad// the best lemonade ever// sunset after watching soccer// favorite shoes this summer

Checklist of stuff that I want to do before summer ends:

- Sleepover and fun day with Beka!
- Finish a few more goals from my 13 in 2013 list
-Go to Bunker Beach
-Photoshoot with my favorite girlfriends
-Hang out with my cousins and grandparents
-See Despicable Me 2
-Another fun bonfire night with friends from school
-Go shopping
-Re-do my family's blog
-Go to Valleyfair 

What have you been up to this summer? What's on your fun to-do list?

July 16, 2013

The Wounds He Gave Me

We would talk for hours. Whether it was in person, via text, or on the phone. He made me laugh & thought I was pretty. We'd known each other our whole lives. Gone to church together forever. He was always the one to cheer me back up if I had a bad day. It lasted for a while as we got to know each other better but soon it wasn't the same anymore. I knew that God was telling me to take a couple steps back. To live my life without a "him" for a while. So I told him that I wasn't ready. Not for a closer relationship that he was hoping for. And it seemed that I broke his heart in that moment. Soon time passed faster than I thought and the rift between us just got bigger. He moved on in our hometown's public school and I started a charter school 30 minutes away. We didn't talk. Ever really. He got a girlfriend and I just made a lot of great friends...guys & girls. When I thought the storm was over...it came back. Rumors. Horrible and hurtful rumors about me. Stuff that he told other people. And soon friends from church knew...some of my best friends. They were hearing untruthful things about me. Because...well I don't know why he said them. Popularity? Girls? Ego? I don't know. But I'm a strong girl. I don't let that stuff get to me and usually it doesn't come to me because I. hate. drama. I pushed it aside but trusted my parents and told them what my friends had heard him say. And before I knew it...there I was in a tiny room with our youth pastor asking him about these rumors. I thought I knew him. That guy just a year or 2 ago that would never do anything like this to hurt me. Who made me feel so special. But I guess he changed. The thing that hurt the most was that he denied it...allllll of it. That he didn't talk to anyone about "our history" and didn't say any of the rumors that I asked him about. He said that some of them weren't my business; that they had nothing to do with me. Ummm excuse me? If you said my name...they have everything to do with me. And my reputation that he carelessly half destroyed. Now 2 meetings down and he just sat there. And saw my tears and my confusion about this whole situation. He does nothing but deny the wounds he gave me...They hurt and sting and it's hard to take care of these wounds when they don't appear very often. But I'm finally taking care of them myself...I don't need his help or explanation to how they got there. Because I know our God is more powerful and more loving and will deal with him. But these wounds...they're on my heart. My only goal is that they don't leave a scar.


July 12, 2013

Photoshoot {Tareh Jo}

This rarely happens, but I took my youngest sister out to our small, fenced-in backyard and decided to snap a few photos of her.

They turned out pretty darn well if I do say so myself. :) So here they are!

 She didn't really feel up to it...and that's kind of frustrating. But we worked through it.

Tried a couple different poses in a couple different places with a couple different hairstyles. (if you couldn't tell)

But there were definitely some favorites! Towards the end, I think she may or may not have actually been enjoying it.

My mom does a fantastic job on her hair, doesn't she?! And for some reason I was loving the pink!

I will admit her eyes are pretty gorgeous.

Ahhh...I just love this pose! It's so her "style".

And that concludes all the wonderful editing I've been doing for the past week! (excuse the massive sun flare in the middle of the pic)


July 10, 2013

Just to Sum it all Up

Most of you know that I wrote another series starting last month and I think it went fairly well.

I got some wonderful responses and I thank everyone who gave me encouragement and said how much they loved the posts. This series was kind of difficult for me to write because some things I had never really written about. Some of it might have taken you by surprise, but I was so happy with the comments I received. :)

So if anyone missed my latest series or you are a brand new follower, I put the links down below with a  description. Or if you just want to skip it all and go to the tab above and click on 'My Blog Series', that's ok too!

Thank you all for being thoughtful and wonderful followers! Your comments make my day!

In this post, I wrote about beauty. What I see in myself when I look in the mirror and how confidence isn't always what I see in my body. But you can be that radiant girl who believes in who she is.

2. Behind the Scenes of Adoption
So this one was especially hard. I've written on my family's blog about some difficulties that adoption has brought us. But to actually put full fledged, raw words and publish it here...that was a little nerve wracking. I know quite a few of you have adopted and everyone's journeys are different. If you want to read about it, feel free!

3. Wish I'd never Grown up.
This one was about growing up. How it's all innocence and free-spirit when you're little. I wrote about how puberty is natural and that responsibility is a lot of what maturing is. God created us all differently. But don't waste your teen years just becoming mature...make sure you have fun too!

Bad language. Swearing. We've all heard it. And it's something I wish my peers wouldn't do. And could erase from the mouths of adults that I look up to. But I can't. Because you're only responsible for you and what comes from your mouth. So make sure it's something that Jesus and your grandparents would want to hear. ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful day! 

July 9, 2013


My sister's best friend just got a puppy a couple months ago.

Oh my goodness gracious. The most. Adorable. Thing. Ever.

She used to be so small that she fit in your hand, but has grown to around 10 1lbs now. 4 months old.

Her name is Jessie.

Her bark is so cute that you actually laugh instead of scold her.

She has the cutest  little tongue and it's surprisingly very long.

She loves watching birds.

And she has the littlest and most adorable face.

When she wants to go to sleep, she just curls herself into a little ball and closes her eyes.

Love this dog so much!

July 7, 2013

New Orleans - One Year Ago

Wow. Time does fly. I mean it must seriously grow wings and fly faster than we think.

One year ago today I was stepping off of a coach bus with 42 other students. Pillow and carry-on bag in my hand, best friend and sister by my side, searching for my dad in the crowd of parents.

It was such a journey. An incredible experience. When I look back and see the pictures, read the posts, and watch the videos...I just want to go back. That week was unforgettable. There were some bumps (big ones) but we got through it and glorified God at the same time.

Strength. That's one word I want to use to describe my youth group. We lost our youth pastor around 13 months and now we have a new and incredibly awesome one. But we seriously have been through a lot. Something we always point out is say how "cliquey" or "snotty" we are compared to other youth groups. Yes, there are some weaknesses. Our strength though...literally, IS strength.

That trip transformed the way we saw each other. Whether most of us forgot about it or it washed away...it's true.

And today I'm especially remembering some of the best times of my life! God has richly blessed me with more support, friends, and love than I could ever have thought of. Now for the throwback.....

These pictures bring back so many laughs, hand raising in worship, crazy bus rides, and growing 
in my faith with some of my favorite people on earth!


P.S. If you want to read more about my New Orleans trip you can start here or here or just watch the video here! 

July 6, 2013

Her Favorite thing to Do!

My sister Erin LOOOVVEESSS SOCCER! I don't know what she would do without it.
She's been playing since she was 7 years old...that's 8 years!

She's probably the fastest runner in the history of teenage girls, and can kick that ball far!

It's so much fun to watch her team play. They work together, communicate, and of course use the 
occasional tricks. :)

Last week, Erin's best friend & I were able to go watch her play. Unfortunately they lost, but it an awesome game to watch. And then last weekend, their team made it to the championship and got 2nd place!

Keep your game strong sister! 

July 4, 2013

God Bless the U.S.A. {2013}

Our family doesn't have annual 4th of July celebrations.

In the past we've gone to a Christian camp with friends and our families spent time together celebrating with a cookout, s'mores, games, and late fireworks. Everything to the max. RED WHITE & BLUE.

Sometimes we'd go visit with family and buy some fireworks. Or go to my grandparents' cabin on a lake and swim and grill food.

Last year, Erin and I were blessed to be able to go on a youth trip and enjoy a few fireworks in New Orleans, LA.

But this year...we kept it low key. And that's what we need most times. I had a few things in mind and waited for the sun to finally set in our nook of the neighborhood.

And soon it was getting a little more golden...deeper...darker. Then the sun said it's final goodnight and I started getting things set up.

We attempted to start a bonfire (didn't last very long), and make a couple s'mores.

Also bought a handful of sparklers and those went pretty well. Now I sit in our cozy & cool house, smelling of bug spray, and thanking God that I get to live in this country. For our fathers who built this country and that God was our foundation in the beginning. 

"Because there is no doubt, I love this land...
...God bless the U.S.A."