Wednesday, December 30

Lose the List & Pick a Word

Tis that time of year where we reflect upon the current year and look ahead towards the coming year. We look at the things we've accomplished, the happy moments, the hard times that continued to mold and shape us...and we look at the upcoming year with anticipation and hope.
For me, 2015 was a year of some of the things I love best:
Crossfit. Yoga. Travel. Dance. Fellowship and Faith with Friends.

As I look forward to 2016, I have a heart of anticipation and wonder at what God will call me to do, what doors He will open, and what He will bring me through. (John 14:1 Don't let your heart be troubled, trust in God). 

Although my 2015 was full of highlights there were low points. There were hard things to walk through, friendships I had to let go, peoples loved ones who passed away, unanswered questions, fights, angry tongues that flew, disappointments and failures. I made goals and promises that I didn't keep (to myself and others) but I survived it, made it through and here I stand at the end of 2015. I promise you we all will face troubles and hardships in 2016... that is hopefully not a shock to any of you; but what can we do to ensure that God can use us for His best in 2015? What can we do today to ensure that one-year-from-now, we can recall on 2016 and be like "Wow, God was in that. He was in that mess. He was in that victory. He really has shown me...."? 

I think it starts with a simple list: throw out that list and pick a word.

Lose the list of resolutions we shove to the back of our mind come late winter. Yeah we all want to be happier, be healthier, lose weight, spend more time with friends and family, quit a bad habit, learn a new hobby, save more, spend less, travel, get organized, be less stressed, live life to the fullest, stop procrastinating, declutter and spend less time on social media. Sound like a familiar list? Yeah. I used to have a few of those items dashed across the imaginary paper in my head of 'New Years Resolutions'. How many of those 'came true'? Well if I had to write a list today, I'd say a lot of those would still appear on my list which makes me ask- Are these even obtainable goals? Are they quantifiable? Eh. Instead of getting stuck in the cycle of list making and resolution breaking, several years ago I started doing something different. I threw out the list and picked a word.

Pastor Mike Ashcraft, the pastor of the church I attended in college Port City Community in Wilmington North Carolina, would always preach a sermon at the end of the year about MY ONE WORD. A few years later he took his sermons, thoughts and prayers and published the book, My One Word. To put it briefly, Pastor says instead of focusing on this list of things you may or may not be able to obtain, pick one word to inspire you throughout the year. "Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year". 

Great- sounds good but how do you pick just one word? Pastor Ashcraft has some simple steps to help you narrow down a couple million word choices to just one. Ask yourself, what kind of person do you want to become this year? Identify the characteristics and qualities of that person. Is that person slow to anger? Is that person outspoken? Is that person generous? This should help get your mind flowing on qualities, characteristics and words that can help inspire you in 2016. Check out the website for some great jumping off points:



Chose your word. Write it down. Focus on that word. How can you apply it to your daily life? What do you want to see at the end of the year? I had a friend who chose the word 'carefree' one year because she was always worrying and stressing. So on a notecard she wrote the word CAREFREE on one side and a Bible verse she could read when she found her mind wondering down the road of distress. In the end she had to tape notecards in the kitchen, her bathroom, the car, her office.... and she worked at it for a whole year. Not saying it was like snap-your-fingers-everythings-perfect, but she really did become stronger in her faith by trusting God with the little things and when she was stressed or anxious she could turn to God for comfort. 

So who do you want to become in 2016? What qualities or characteristics do you want to grow or bolster in this next year? Pray about it! Ask God what He wants to show you. Open your heart because you'd be amazed at what God will do if you only let Him. 

Happy 2015 and a Blessed 2016 Everybody! 

Wednesday, December 23

The Promise of Possibility

The promise of possibility

Life can be incredibly overwhelming. Daunting and exhausting, deadlines loom in our face reminding us of all the things we still need to accomplish. If you're like me, the post-it note and iPhone note lists go on and on even when the light of day disappears. It's easy to look down at your list and think "This is impossible, I'll never get all of this done in time!".

Life can be hard. We face hardships and trials. Financial struggles, relationship issues, problems at work. How often do you look around and think "I don't think I can do this. What am I going to do?"

Life can get complicated. We take on too much. We don't learn to say no. We attempt something and fail. Do you ever just want to throw your hands up and give up, "it's impossible" running through your mind?

Jesus replied "What is impossible with men is possible with God"
 Luke 18:27

I'd venture to say most of us have heard the Christmas story. Mary, a virgin girl, becomes pregnant with a baby boy. She travels to Bethlehem with her husband Joseph to register in their 'hometown' of sorts. While she's there, she goes into labor but no one has room for her and Joseph to have the baby. With no other options, they settle into a manger and she gives birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. A Star shines brightly over Bethlehem causing shepherds and wise men from across the land to seek and search for this star. They arrive and bow down to this new born baby, the Savior of the world. 

It's a great story, right? The humble beginnings of the greatest King to ever grace this earth, lowly and quiet. But this morning as I was reading through my Advent devotional I was struck by the strength of Mary and the miraculous power of the Lord. When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and told her that God had chosen Mary to carry His son, her response was:

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 

In modern translation she's basically like "What?! That's impossible since I'm a virgin". It's got to be hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you're not only going to have a baby but the son of God.

I am plagued by the thought that things are just not possible, that there's no way I can do something, that X is too hard, Y is too much, and Z…well I can't handle that. But God tells us in so many areas of the Bible that what is impossible with men is possible with God….that we can do all things through Christ. As I read through the Christmas story another time, I was struck by the idea of something being so impossible and unfathomable was completely possible and capable with the help of God.

The Bible is laden with accounts of God doing miraculous things, things that seemed impossible at the time but were completely possible with His help.  
Impossible: escaping Egypt and the Pharaoh's brutality
Possible: with God's help, He led them out of Egypt
Impossible: crossing over the Red Sea
Possible: God split the sea for them to walk
Impossible: Thousands of hungry people and not enough food
Possible: God provided fish and bread tenfold to the masses
Impossible: one young man taking down a giant
Possible: God provided David the strength to fight His battle
Impossible: A virgin to get pregnant
Possible: God chose Mary and blessed her with strength to give birth

All of these scenarios seem impossible at the moment. It's unheard of, it's too much to wrap your mind around but it is the truth. God promises to do the impossible in our lives, we just have to wait and seek His counsel. God can do ANYTHING He wants; He can move mountains and rebuild broken homes, so surely whatever you're facing right now- remember that everything is possible with God if you just believe. What is impossible with man is possible with God, so whatever you're going through right now just remember there is a God who loves you, is fighting for you and will make the impossible possible if you just believe. 

Monday, November 30

The Thankful Project: November 30th

The Thankful Project: November 30th: The Birth of Christ

As November draws to an end and we look towards tomorrow, a new month dawns. This coming month will hopefully be a month filled with joy and love for you and your loved ones. One of the things I'm looking forward to is celebrating the Advent. The advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christ. Maybe you're more familiar with the modern (non-Christian) interpretation of the 25-day chocolate calendar that leads up to Santa Claus coming to town. It's the same thought: you're waiting anxiously for a special day, preparing your heart and home for the day. 

I really like how The Voice put it Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!
It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation. It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.

Coming off a month of thankfulness, I'm looking forward to a month of preparation. Preparing my heart for a month to specifically focus on the special meaning of this season: Christ. The love of Christ, the story of Christ, the continued miracles Christ performs in my life, and ultimately the second coming of Christ. If you're looking for a good devotional and book to get you into the Advent season, I suggest checking out She Reads Truth

Take this moment to be thankful for the blessed and most wonderful gift anyone could ever give you: a way to have a relationship with God. God bless everyone & thanks for coming on this thankful journey with me!

Sunday, November 29

The Thankful Project: November 29th

The Thankful Project: November 29th: Wanderlust

Travel Quotes | #travel #quotes | twitter @ecogreentravel | Instagram stephen_b_d:

As unhealthy as it may be (and I'm fully aware of it) I have a severe case of wanderlust. There are so many reasons I love to travel:

1. Meet new people

2. Experience new cultures

3. Try amazing food

4. Have stories to share for a lifetime

5. Witness things you've only read about

6. Open your mind to another world out there

7. Figure out who you really are, and what you can withstand

8. Love and romance

9. Adventure

10. Countless memories that you'll be able to keep in your heart for a lifetime

I'm so thankful that I get to travel so much and I get to experience these exact things. I'm thankful that travel brings power and love back in my life, just when I think I've lost it. My answer to almost everything is travel:

Heartbroken? Travel.
Sad? Travel.
Joyful? Travel.
Anxious? Travel.
Happy? Travel
Confused? Travel.
Guy issues? Travel.

I'm thankful for all the experiences I've had so far and all the adventures that are yet to come.

Bon Voyage

Saturday, November 28

The Thankful Project: November 28th

The Thankful Project: November 28th: Christmas Trees

Today my family drove up to Boone, North Carolina to cut down a fresh Christmas tree.

I'm so glad to live in a world that has Christmas trees. The idea of a Christmas tree may be a bit odd: cut down a perfectly good tree from the woods, stick it inside your house and decorate it with ornaments and tinsel and lights; however it just makes me happy. There is something so magical and warm about a Christmas tree. I love sitting home in the evenings with nothing but the Christmas tree and the fireplace to light the room. I have many memories of watching Christmas movies by tree and firelight with my family over the years. 

This year was the first year my whole family has cut down a tree in a while. Usually we're a touch busy to drive the several hour drive to the mountain but this year my middle brother wanted to go, so we did. It was unseasonably warm today so we were hot and sweaty by the time we got to the top of the mountain (because of course we want the tree from the very tippy top of the hill). The three is a cute tree though. My mom always has a soft-spot for the more skinny "Charlie Brown" trees as she calls them. A perfect tree in my moms eyes is tall, skinny, with a good shape but empty spots in the branches to hang large ornaments. Her trees always turn out beautiful.

So today we went up the mountain alone but came back with three Fraiser Firs strapped to our rooftop, so let the Christmas season commence! 

Thursday, November 26

The Thankful Project: November 26th

The Thankful Project: November 26th: Give Thanks

Craftaholics Anonymous® | Fabulous Free Fall Printables:

I'm so thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving with my family and enjoying fellowship and food. Thank you all for showing your love and support of my blog over the past year or so; I hope you all have a blessed & full Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble.

Wednesday, November 25

The Thankful Project: November 25th

The Thankful Project: November 25th: Modern Medicine + Medical Professionals

You don't realize how thankful you are for your health until you don't have it. Today was one of those days that I just realized how much I take for granted medicine, health and doctors and all the other wonderful medical professionals out there. I've had a multitude of health issues since I was little. I think my first 'major' surgery was at 8-years-old and I've battled all sorts of crazy things throughout the years. About six years ago I became really sick again and underwent tons of tests and doctor visits...finally finding resolutions about four years ago. I've learned to deal with the cards I've been given but I don't talk about it much because I know as sick as I've been, people are a lot worse off than me. 

However today was an exhausting day of medicine, blood work and being bounced
from one doctor to the next. In a matter of 24-hours my life has turned upside down again and I'm left without many answers but many future tests and doctor visits to come. In fact, as I sit here, I got the dreaded phone call from a nurse (it's never good when the doctor calls you right?!) and confirmed what I sort of knew but was hoping wasn't true. I don't know why I've been so sick or why I have to deal with the things I do but I know that God is in control- and whatever happens, happens. 

I trust in God and know that by His wounds we are healed. Even though I don't know what tomorrow holds and what my future will look like now, I know that God has a plan for all the pain and suffering. God is in control and I just have to trust that He'll heal me or He'll let me go through more medical struggles for a greater purpose that I can't see.

Tonight I'm thankful for medicine, for medical professionals, for healing, for peace, for diagnoses and for treatment. Praying for all those who are sick and ill tonight (emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically) and praying for God's peace and presence be with you.
Fabulous free printable of the Bible Verse Isaiah 53:5, By his Wounds we are Healed.:

Tuesday, November 24

The Thankful Project: November 24th

The Thankful Project: November 24th: This

God's Greatness described so beautifully!:

Today I'm thankful for this truth. I'm thankful that God is greater than it all, that the enemy can huff and puff all he wants, but the war has been won. God's greater than anything you've done, anything anyone's ever done to you, or anything you will do. No president, no king, no minister is great than God. But what is even better is that Jesus was hanging on that cross and thinking about you, and He would've died for just one person or ten million people. Don't ever think you're too far gone to feel love. It's the most wonderful and unconditional love you will ever experience, you just need to accept it.

Monday, November 23

The Thankful Project: November 23rd

The Thankful Project: November 23rd: Hot Tea

Growing up in Minnesota you have no choice but to have thick skin for the winter. It could start snowing as early as October and could last into April, but you just accepted that and moved on with life. However when I moved down to North Carolina, I quickly lost my Northern blood and became a pansy for the cold. I use my heat seat all the time and I have a heat pack I bring to work all year long. North Carolina has mild falls and springs for the most part with an occasional snap of cold. Well today is one of those cold snap days. It was below freezing when I ventured into the office today and boy was I thankful for a hot cup of tea in the office this morning.

When I lived in England I drank tea all the time. My flatmate Liam would actually wake up early in the morning to get the kettle going so we all could have hot tea before we headed out for the day (boy do I miss that luxury). When I returned back stateside, the “sit and enjoy a spot of tea” mentality just wasn’t the same; maybe it’s American consumerism, the American mentality of never enough time in the day, or the obsession of Starbucks (guilty) but I rarely drink tea these days. After today though, I’m reminded why I love hot tea and the nostalgic and warm feelings you get by drinking a wonderful cup of Earl Gray.

Cheers to a wonderful week!

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Sunday, November 22

The Thankful Project: November 22nd

The Thankful Project: November 22nd: Random Road Trips

It’s a known fact that I don’t like to stay in town for too long. As much as I’d like to spend every weekend gallivanting around the globe, sometimes that just isn’t an option. So when I’m “forced” to stay in town I love to take random road trips to different places. The mountains, the beach, a new restaurant in an urban city, an old tiny town to go antiquing- whatever, whenever, however! The Traveling Cupcake just likes to get out.

Today my mom and I took a random road trip together and got to spend most of the afternoon catching up. I’m thankful for XM Radio, highways with speed limits above 70 MPH, a great pair of aviator sunglasses, drive-thru Starbuck’s Coffee, heat seats in the car, and a great companion to ride with. I’m thankful that I get to get away (even if it’s just for a day) and discover new places and new things.

Just because you can’t fly, doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Grab a map. Hit the road. You never know what you’ll discover.

Saturday, November 21

The Thankful Project: November 21st

The Thankful Project: November 21st: Workout Friends

Never thought I'd actually be able to say this, but I've been doing Crossfit for over two years. Today was my first "competition", an in-house competition where we spent the whole morning working out and supporting one another to hit some PR's and make time caps. I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, as I tend to get super shy and nervous when people watch me compete or perform in a competition...but I think that because of the amazing community that Crossfit is, it wasn't as scary. 

I just want to give a shout out to my awesome partner, Michelle and some of the great friends I have made in the past year at being at College Hill Crossfit like Starr, Megan, Kaci, Megan, and Carly. If it wasn't for them, I don't think I would've made it through today ... or PR'd my hang snatch. Overall, Michelle and I tied for 3rd with our sweet friends Megan + Megan and I'll gladly take that as a first competition victory. 

Friday, November 20

The Thankful Project: November 20th

The Thankful Project: November 20th: Salsa Dancing

I never expected to fall in love, but I did. It happened so fast that I didn’t even know it was happening. Yet, almost four years later and I’m still madly in love. Latin dancing started off as a hobby and quickly became a passion and a way of life. Now if you would’ve told me in college that I would be dancing it up on the dance floor to music I can’t understand, in 4-inch heels, into the early hours of the morning I would have surely told you that you had the wrong Katlin. I’m way too shy for such things. I’m way too old-souled for such things (I go to bed around 9:00 usually). However there’s something magical about putting on a pair of strappy salsa heels, a flowy skirt and social dancing for four or five hours.

My introduction to salsa dancing was as about random as it gets. I was at the gym one day and there was a flyer for free beginner salsa dance lessons that evening; it would be a 6-week introductory course and open to all. Now what possessed super-shy me to get the courage to go ALONE to such a thing…it must’ve been God knowing I needed that creative outlet because let me tell you, that is NOT like me. Well it turns out that my university had flown in this latin dance guy from Italy who barely spoke any English, and paid him to instruct this 6-week seminar, and then he’d go back to Italy. So odd. Well, all it took was that one lesson and I was hooked. Only problem, there was nowhere to dance in Boone, North Carolina so after 6-weeks I stopped dancing and figured that was that.

God works in mysterious ways guys. Flash forward three years and  I find myself living in England completely alone and randomly decide to try ballroom dancing. While at my first ever ballroom lesson, a girl approached me and asked if I’d be interested in taking salsa classes. I went, mysteriously remembered everything that Italian instructor had taught me, and that evening I was in a car driving to some salsa-club outside of London. I’ll never forget it, The Jaguar Club, it was packed with dancers from all across England; a two-roomed Latin club packed with a couple hundred people. From that night on, I was hooked and salsa dancing no longer was a random thing I had learned in college, it was a way of being and breathing. I was a dancer.

I’m so thankful for the crazy and (what seemed) random encounters that led me to the Latin dance world. I can’t even begin to explain how dull my life seems without dance. I love the culture, the atmosphere, the community and the beauty of dance. Salsa dancing is more than high heels, flashy turn patterns, sweaty bodies and the music- it’s an unraveling of the soul; an emotional experience in which you leave a piece of your story on the dance floor but take away a morsel of the beauty and art that our bodies create without he necessity of words. You walk away with life pulsing through your veins, an understanding of the raw beauty of the world, and an admiration for the simplicity of leaving it all on the dance floor.

"If you dance with your heart, your body will follow." -Mia Michaels #dance #quote:

Thursday, November 19

The Thankful Project: November 19th

The Thankful Project: November 19th: A Book

I’ve always loved reading. There was one summer when I was in middle school that I read every single Nancy Drew book out there, I believe it was close to almost 150 books at the time (I guess you could’ve considered me a nerd). I unfortunately don’t have time to read 150 books in even a year, but I always try to read at least one book on every trip.

Due to my love of reading, I have a plethora of books that I love. Anything by Jane Austen (Persuasion and Emma are probably my favorites) is always going to hold a special place in my heart. Agatha Christie suspense novels always keep me turning the page. I’m a hopeless romantic so Nicholas Sparks always gets me crying on the plane. I love a series called “Love Finds You”, typical (predictable) Christian romance type stuff.

However if I had to choose a book that I was thankful for, it would be these two:

“A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope and “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. I was given Redeeming Love by a friend in college and I think I read the whole book in a matter of two-days (in between studying for exams of course). It’s just a wonderful story and representation of God’s redeeming and healing love. Francine Rivers was inspired by the book of Hosea in the Bible, a story of redemption, love, and healing. I’d definitely recommend picking up this book for any woman out there as it speaks to so many themes in our lives as Women of God.

The second book, A Confident Heart, I picked up after finishing a Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries. They send out a daily email devotional and I can’t remember exactly what the devotional was about, but I know it had me crying at my desk (super professional) so I went out to Lifeway and immediately bought the book. I can’t put it better, so here is what I copied from Google Books description:  Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt--about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our lives. A Confident Heart gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows women how to identify, overcome, and even use doubt in order to live confidently in God's power, truth, and grace. Perfect for women's small groups or individuals, A Confident Heart is an authentic, insight-filled and encouraging message for any woman who wants to exchange.

I’m thankful that God put these books in my hands and I hope that if you’re searching for something to grasp onto today, that maybe one of these books will speak to you! 

Wednesday, November 18

The Thankful Project: November 18th

The Thankful Project: November 18th: Restoration & Healing

Jeremiah 30:17-19
17 But I will restore you to health
    and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast,
    Zion for whom no one cares.’
18 “This is what the Lord says:
“‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents
    and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city will be rebuilt on her ruins,
    and the palace will stand in its proper place.
19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving
    and the sound of rejoicing.
I will add to their numbers,
    and they will not be decreased;
I will bring them honor,
    and they will not be disdained.

God heals, restores, and makes new. This section of scripture out of Jeremiah is a great reminder that God can and will not only restore you but bless you. Sometimes reading Scripture can get a little confusing, so I thought I’d break it down like this:

Verse 17: God can heal both our emotional and physical wounds, even if you feel forgotten, neglected, scorned or embarrassed

Verse 18: God will reestablish your worth and your value. He will build you up stronger and place you on solid ground. He will build you back up on a strong foundation- His grace, His love & His mercy

Verse 19: Bring your praise and thankfulness to the Lord, He will increase your riches in heaven, He will bless you and love on you

How can you not thank God for such a wonderful promise, and all He wants in return is for us to love Him, seek Him, pursue Him and honor Him. I’m thankful for this wonderful love! I’m thankful for restored relationships, healed relationships and relationships that honor Him. As humans we get caught up in this world; people offend us, we get upset and we can hold grudges. Know what though- God can repair your heart and replenish your spirit if you allow Him. Just this past week, someone I have been hardened towards due to the pain they inflicted upon me, came up and apologized. That was God’s hand completely. He brought healing to a wound that I’ve had open for quite a while. Thank God for restoration and healing!

If he asks u to put something down its bc he wants u to pick up something so much better. I really hope this is the case...:

God is GOOD! A healing story.:

Tuesday, November 17

The Thankful Project: November 17th

The Thankful Project: November 17th: The Holidays

Insert <<It's the most wonderful time of the year>> here. Honestly though, there is something special about this time of the year. Maybe it's the nostalgia or maybe it's the excessive amount of sweets but there is something a little different about November and December. I love the holiday season for multiple reasons:
- the food
-the music
-the sense of nostalgia
-the movies on TV
-the family time
-the selflessness of humanity
-the thoughtfulness 
-love is in the air

The holidays were always a special time for my family. I'm sure I have a Norman Rockwell idealized image of what we actually looked like, but it always felt so warm and cozy. We would always go to my grandmothers for a Thanksgiving meal and all the cousins and aunts and uncles would come over to enjoy food and fellowship with one another. When I was a teenager my little family moved away (the first rebels to do so) and then we started our own family traditions. It has always been a time where we all come home and spend time with one another, something we don’t always get to do with our busy schedules.

I know people like to complain about the traffic and the sales that seem to be earlier and earlier, the Christmas music that starts playing too soon (for some people at least), the stress and expectations of entertaining- but remember the ‘reason for the season’. Remember to be grateful and thankful for the traffic: that means you have a car to get from one place to the next. Be grateful and thankful for the ridiculous sales because it means you can finish your check list sooner and spend the rest of your time with the ones you love. Be grateful and thankful for that Christmas music that starts playing way too early, it may bring someone joy in a moment of darkness. Be grateful and thankful for the stress of the in-laws coming into town, you have people who want to be with you during a time that is busy!

Looking forward to another wonderful holiday season with the ones I love, both near and far.

Monday, November 16

The Thankful Project: November 16th

The Thankful Project: November 16th: Crossfit

Girls who lift. Because, weights:

Yes I’m crazy. Yes I’m in pain. Yes I’m paying for this.  Over two years ago I drank that Crossift Kool-Aid and here I am still pounding away and pushing my body. I was terrified to try Crossfit at first; I was intimidated by the weights, the women were beastly and so strong, I didn’t understand any of the lingo and I was still struggling being sick. Yet I tried it. I remember the first workout having hill sprints and I thought I would die (because on top of being a non-Crossfitter I also despise running), however I survived and didn’t vomit so I returned for another WOD-..and another..and another.

Crossfit changed my life. I was always sick when I was younger but in my late teens I was diagnosed with several conditions that brought answers I’ve been looking for but a reality that there wasn’t really much that could be done. I worked hard throughout college but still was dealing with on and off episodes of sickness that brought me home a lot. Post-college is when I first stepped into a box and since then I’ve slowly improved my mental and physical health. I don’t talk about it much because I never want to use a disease as a crutch, but there are some days that I just can’t. Crossfit has offered that push and that commitment to help get through it.

I’m thankful for a place that I can work my butt off, become stronger and empowered. There are days I get so incredibly discouraged (I’m a perfectionist) and I get so angry with myself that I nearly want to quit. Yet like some sort of drug, I always come back. My youngest brother Jack started doing Crossfit with me and often has to talk me off the ledge. It has brought us closer as siblings and crated a bond that is unique and different than we’ve ever had. As Jack likes to constantly remind me, it’s all in my head. I admit it, I get in my head and can’t get out. Fear is my #1 enemy in the box. Ultimate fear: death. Jack reminds me that when I walked into Crossfit two and a half years ago, I had never touched a barbell, I couldn’t do one pull up, I never been upside down in a handstand, or ever swung a 50+lb kettlebell. Now I can do pull ups (as my biceps are still screaming from the 75 we did this morning), I love a barbell in my hand, I’m mastering the handstand, and kettlebells are my friends.

I believe that Crossfit is for anyone but not everyone is for Crossfit. You have to know how you are motivated, how you respond to the group atmosphere, and what you enjoy. I think that Crossfit can be adapted to any disability, restriction or injury but you have to be willing to put in the work regardless. Just because you can’t squat because you have a knee injury, doesn’t mean you’re going to take it easy in Crossfit. You’ll hit it hard in some other way. It’s adaptable, functional and relatable but it starts with you. You have to want it. You have to try. You have to be willing to be the last one on the floor and still keep chipping away at the workout.

Crossfit has changed my life and I have a sneaky suspicion I’ll be an avid Crossfitter for the rest of my life. #DoYouEvenLift

Your mind will quit 100 times before your body ever does. I feel the pain and do it anyway...:

Sunday, November 15

The Thankful Project: November 15th

The Thankful Project: November 15th: Weekends

Weekends are such a glorious thing, it’s just too bad they always seem so short. This weekend I’m thankful for time with my family especially. Tyler came up from college and we did a family portrait session with a wonderful local photographer (we haven’t gotten professional pictures done as a whole family in years). Then we all went out for a family dinner.

Today I got to push my boundaries a bit by trying something that kind of scares me: aerial yoga. If you don’t know that that is, it’s yoga done in silk scarves. You get great support but I also find you can reach new positions and work muscles you didn’t even know you had! I flipped upside down and didn’t die, so I consider that a great success.

Weekends are meant for rejuvenation, relaxation and a time to reconnect. I’m keeping it short today so I can spend the rest of the day with family and doing the things that give me joy. 

Enjoy your weekend all!

Saturday, November 14

The Thankful Project: November 14th

The Thankful Project: November 14th: Friendship

“A friend loves at all times” Proverbs 17:17 God intentionally puts people in our lives to build us up. The enemy puts people in our path to drag us away from God. Look at the people you surround yourself with: do they bring you joy, life, love and happiness? Do they ultimate push you closer to having a more ‘real’ relationship with God? Or do the people who surround you bring you angst, drama, feelings of jealousy and low self-esteem?
I’m not saying you need to cut off all your friends who don’t quote scripture 24/7 or go around praying for everybody every moment of every day; what I am saying is that sometimes you need to take a look at who you call your friends and make sure they are pushing you to fulfill your ultimate purpose, not dragging you further away.

I’ve had to do that a few times in my life. I had to take a hard look at who I was becoming and who was around me. I realized that the people I was hanging out with weren’t for my betterment and I had to make a choice. I didn’t necessarily cut those people out of my life, but I’ve become intentional with my time with them, I’ve become intentional with how often I hang around them, and I’ve become intentional about guarding my heart to conforming to their ways. Our driends have an incredibly powerful influence over our lives, so you just need to be aware!

 Today I’m thankful for all the people God has placed in my life. Over the past three years specifically, I have seen some incredible people come into my life that I am so grateful for their wisdom, love and fellowship. I could probably write for hours about the different friends in my life, both old and new, but I thought I’d shower a little love on two of my best friends.

I wish I had a picture of us when we first met; but just envision two blonde-haired babies sitting on a 90s floral couch in one of our homes. We were neighbors but quickly became sisters. The two of us spent countless hours watching Mary-Kate & Ashley movies, playing school or house in our little tree fort, running around with the neighborhood boys playing hockey, ice skating, Halloweens, theater performances of ‘Grease’ in my backyard… I mean we were inseparable growing up! 

Years later, now living thousands of miles apart, she is still my best friend and sister. Now she is getting MARRIED and I’m so honored to be her Maid of Honor. I love being able to share this journey with her and am thankful that I’ve gotten to spend basically my whole life calling her my sister and best friend!

God doesn’t accidentally ‘do’ things in your life, there is intention and purpose in everything. Your job, the gym you go to, the Bible study you join- they are all avenues that God can use you and connect you with someone special. When I decided to join a women’s Bible study group I had a few options but I chose a study about the Fruits of the Spirit. Little did I know then that I would meet one of my best friends within the first week of study. I could’ve picked a different study, I could’ve decided to drop out because I didn’t know anyone, but I’m so thankful that I went that week because Brittany and I connected instantly.
Flash forward and Brittany is one of my dearest friends, a woman of faith who I can go to and cry and seek godly wisdom…but also a friend that can be ridiculous and girly and silly. I love that we can have in-depth conversation about God’s calling for our lives but also have girls night, laugh, eat and drink and just share our lives with one another.  


I never feel like I have to put on a ‘front’ with Brittany, and she usually can see right through my generic answers. I can spill my heart out to her and feel totally safe and reassured that she is going to give me wisdom and grace (or if she is at a loss for, she always has a coffee or froyo as back-up). I was so honored that she asked me to be her Maid of Honor this past year as she married one of the greatest guys I know! The two of them have blessed me and my life and I’m so thankful for both of their love and friendship. So honored to call you one of my best friends Brittany!

Friday, November 13

The Thankful Project: November 13th

The Thankful Project: November 13th: My Parents

Today I want to love a little on the people who raised me, put up with me, and have supported me in every venture I’ve sought- my parents.

I count my blessings to have two parents who always love and support me. They have always been there for my riding competitions, piano recitals, dance performances, school field trips, and of course moving me from city to city because I just can’t make up my mind on where to live or what to do in life! I realize everyone doesn’t have two parents who are still together, let alone involved in their life, so I find myself blessed that I have parents who love one another, sacrifice daily for their children, and manage to bring joy and love into our family.

Mom: When my mom was pregnant, my parents decided to wait to find out the gender of the baby. My mom thought she was having a boy, so she was shocked (and thrilled) that I was a girl! Her exact words were “I can’t believe I got my girl!”. My mom and I have always been close and because I am the only girl, and the oldest, she’s become my best friend. For most of my life I was fortunate enough to have her as a stay-at-home mom so she was always involved in my life: classroom parties, field trips, dance practice, piano recitals, horseback riding and all the other random activities I wanted to try as a kid. My mom’s always been my #1 cheerleader and has believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s scarified having her own career and pursuing her dreams to raise four kids. She’s also been the one to hold down the household while my dad is away. Mom’s always been there for us, supported us emotionally and spiritually…as well as taken care of us while we’ve been sick (there’s something about being sick that just makes you want your mom).

Dad: Being the only daughter I of course fall into the “daddy’s little girl” category. My dad has paid a sacrifice nearly every day since I was about nine-years-old. His job takes him on the road every week, he flies to his office on Sunday night and returns Thursday night. He’s had that schedule for a huge chunk of my life, basically only being home on the weekends. However sometimes he goes overseas and then it’s weeks at a time where he’s gone. (So as wrong as it probably may be, I have a hard time feeling sorry for friends who act like the world is ending when they have to leave their husband for 1-2 nights for a trip or girls weekend. It’s also why distance doesn’t scare me, I’ve seen it work with my own eyes)
 Although he hasn’t always physically been at home, he’s always been involved and connected in our lives. When I was younger, I’d fax him math homework and he’d help me work through those horrid mathematical equations. When I started to drive he was always a phone call away for a car issue and 9 times out of 10 he’d either walk me through the problem or have AAA on speed dial if need be. Thanks to modern technologies like Skype, text, FaceTime and Facebook, that didn’t exist 20 years ago, my dad gets to be more connected and involved in our lives.

It’s a rare thing, especially now, for people to stay together forever. I look at my grandparents and I look at my parents and am so thankful that they all have been examples of committed, God-centered marriages. I’m thankful that my parents have decided to bring the family up in a Christian home and instill in us values and characteristics that are Biblically-based. I’m thankful for their love and support for one another, but I’m also thankful that they’ve been real. They’ve shown me that marriage isn’t perfect and it won’t fix your problems; they’ve had their moments and their struggles (like when dad is driving and mom is giving directions) but they have always shown me the importance of compromise, saying sorry, unconditional love and faith.

I love you mom & dad!

Thursday, November 12

The Thankful Project: November 12th

The Thankful Project: November 12th: A Pet

Whoever said "It's only a dog" has obviously never loved a dog

“After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation”

When you get an animal, it becomes more than just a pet, it becomes a part of the family. Fourteen years ago we added one more baby into our family, and she happened to have four paws and a tail. Now we consider her family, we don’t discriminate against the number of paws she has or that her nose is wet; we just love her. Abby was so small she could fit in our two hands. She was more like a big cotton ball then a puppy, heck her tail hadn’t even curled yet. Although my parents would say she definitely had her trying moments (like when she chewed the bottom of the blinds in the kitchen, or when she whined all night long, or when she ate a whole Subway teriyaki chicken sandwich off the counter)…she has become the center of our family.

Bichons :):

Bichon :):
I seriously doubt there is a dog that is more loved, more spoiled and more pampered than Abby. She has three dog beds on the first floor of our home and not to mention the plethora of couches, chairs, sofas, ottomans and beds elsewhere in the house she can choose from. Our family Christmas card always includes a little love from the baby and in case any of our family questioned our undying love for her, we throw her a birthday party every January (to in which, she gets birthday cards FROM our family…yeah we’re crazy)

Best dog in the world:


I hate to see Abby get older (she’ll be fourteen come January) and it just breaks my heart to think of a day when she won’t be here, but we’ve been blessed with her for this long and are praying for several more healthy years for our baby. I’m so thankful for our little fluffy muffin and her sweet nature. She is affectionate and loving, always there to cuddle and lick away your tears. She is playful and funny when you need a laugh. She tends to wounds and knows when you’re hurting and offers her own fluff as a comfort. She’s the absolute best friend (and sister) a girl could ever want. 

Wednesday, November 11

The Thankful Project: November 11th

The Thankful Project: 15 Thankful Things

Thanksgiving is just 15 days away so today I'm thankful for..

1. Sunday afternoons: when you can refresh, catch up with friends, and do absolutely nothing

2. Slow cookers: my Crockpot saved my life in college and continues to pay for itself over and over again

3. Wine: because it’s gluten free and wonderful

4. The local farmer’s market: I love going to the market on Saturday and strolling through the aisles of fresh fruits, veggies and baked goods. God’s harvest on display

5. Grandma’s old cookbooks: they’re simple and classic. Doesn’t get much better than a mac-n-cheese tuna hotdish

6. Bookstores: because there is something still magical about turning the pages of a book

7. Family vacations: we’ve been blessed to visit some amazing places and grow closer together as a family

8. The healing power of music: whether you’re sad, happy, sleepy or scatter-brained, music soothes the soul

9. Spellcheck: because lets be honest, seeing that little squiggle is a life-saver for work documents

10. Gluten-free cookies: Praise the Lord for gluten-free foods that are actually yummy

11. Pandora being on point: You all know you love it when your Pandora station is on-point and playing all the right songs

12. Instant oatmeal: because my butt is always running late for work after Crossfit in the morning, so grabbing a pack on the way out the door saves my morning

13. Monogrammed stationery: bringing back the art of a well-written letter
14. Bible Study Groups: because the girls in my group get me, love me and hold me accountable in my life 

15. Spandex: because sometimes all you want to wear is that pair of Lulu workout pants and an oversized sweatshirt, and that's ok