Forgive Me.

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Dear God, forgive me.
Forgive me for wanting to be her- for scrolling through Instagram admiring her poses, captions, and likes. Forgive me for coveting empty cyber-likes.
God forgive me for letting my insecurities control me. For staying silent when I should speak up because I’m afraid of what they’ll think of me. Those same insecurities that don’t let me celebrate her achievements. I am so broken, Lord forgive me.
God forgive me for my lack of faith. For not believing you could use me.
God forgive me for believing you don’t want me, that there’s no way on this planet you chose me.
Forgive me for doubting you, for thinking you couldn’t raise the support. I see now that you can. And you will.
Forgive me for thinking too highly of myself. I'm really not that impressive.
Forgive me for my discontentment, for always wanting more, craving more.
God forgive me for being stingy with my time, for filling my calendar with tasks that give me value instead of filling time with you.
Forgive me for putting my hope in people, for valuing their opinion more than yours.
Forgive me for the way I treat my body- the way I curse and shame and judge the body you created.
God forgive me for my cynicism, for not believing the best about people, especially her.
God forgive me for my fear, for cowering under Netflix binges instead of taking steps into the unknown.
Forgive me for believing my life is my own. It's not. I know it's not.
I am undeniably broken. Lord, forgive me.

Tent Camping for the Indoorsy

I'm not a lifestyle blogger. My lifestyle is pretty lame, so I typically stay away from posting about my day-to-day or else you'd hear a lot about coffee and my cat. But today, I'm going to pretend to be a lifestyle blogger and tell you about my attempts at camping. I wasn't raised camping. Anyone who knows my family knows we're "indoorsy." We opted for beach vacations and Disney World for most of my childhood.  Road-tripping wasn't really our thing, cushy hotels were.

When Steve and I got married, we made it a goal to visit a different national park every year. We didn't want to just visit, we wanted to experience the park and we decided we couldn't do that without tent camping. So we filled our wedding registry with camping equipment and became REI members. We became proud owners of a Coleman tent and a Rumpl blanket and decided to give national park camping a shot.

Camping is hard for me. I'm willing to debate that I am one of the most high-maintenance sleepers around. I have to have a certain weight of blankets on me, a white noise maker nearby and my feet HAVE TO BE CLEAN. I have fine hair that attracts oil within 12 hours of being washed and I'm cold pretty much constantly. This doesn't bode well for camping.

Camping is hard for me. But I love camping. I think I love it because it's hard. It's something that doesn't come naturally for me and forces me outside of my comfort zone. Camping isn't something people expect me to enjoy and I pride myself in keeping people on their toes.

Steve and I are very newbie campers. We camped at the Grand Canyon last summer and we just returned from Acadia National Park in Maine (which is amazing btw). We tent camped in both locations and I've loved (most of) it every time.

If you're like me and love the idea of camping, but struggle when it comes, here are some helpful #Newb-Tips that help me enjoy tent camping.

  1. Dry shampoo + beanie. All day every day this saves me. I love taking photos and I don't want to display my forever greasy hair in said photos so the dry shampoo beanie combo comes in CLUTCH when your only shower option is to pay 2.00 for a 4 minute shower. Nope. I currently use Dove dry shampoo (which I don't love because it's filled with chemicals, but I haven't found a natural alternative that works for me. Send suggestions my way). I love these Carhartt beanies which come in tons of colors and are ethically sourced in the USA!
  2. Burt's Bees wipes. Love these. They become my shower most mornings and nights. They help me feel even a little cleaner which makes sleeping easier for me. Again, not completely natural so I'm working on a decent alternative, but for now, these work until I find a recipe to make my own.
  3. Battery operated white noise maker. This is probably my most glamping, high maintenance item, but if you camp in the National Parks, you're likely going to be sharing nearby sites with several campers. I'm not one to fall asleep to the sound of laughing humans so this white noise maker became my prized possession. I don't turn it up super loud, just enough to distract my brain with a different sound.
  4. Smart Wool socks. Worth every penny every day. I whine a lot if my feet are cold and with these babes, Steve did not have to listen to me complain.
  5. I use this product every day, but I love it so much it's making an appearance on my camping list. The Young Living ART skincare system. Guys, seriously. I have hormone issues which leave my skin a HOT mess, but nothing beats this system which I saved my ER points for. Normally when we camp, I break out really bad (hello no shower for 4 days), but I was faithful to use these products every morning/night and my skin looks fine post-camping!

Disclaimer: I recognize this list is laughable to some and our version of camping is probably akin to a cushy hotel at times (Emily McDowell, I'm looking at you and your adventures on the Appalachian Trail), but this is what works for me, an indoorsy millennial.  

Here are some of my favorite pics from our trip to Maine! I may do another post about our trip, but for now, if you have the chance to go to Maine, do it. Do it. DO IT.

- W

Reflections on the school year.

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I looked at my calendar today and saw APRIL 22?! How is this semester over?! My newsfeed is filled with celebratory end of finals posts and countdown until graduation timers, yet I don't think it fully registered that, for the most part, I've wrapped up year three of campus ministry.

I'm the reflective type (that's 90% of my blog posts), so here is what the Lord has graciously taught me in year 3 of ministry. Nothing earth-shattering. I'm just a slow-learner.

  1. Getting in the Word is E V E R Y T H I N G . You'd think I'd know this by now. Until this spring, I struggled to spend extended periods of time just reading Scripture. I struggled to be ok without journaling or listening to worship music. Now, I NEED to read chunks of Scripture. I need the Word more than anything. I relied on devotionals a lot, which in itself is not terrible, but I doubted my ability (or rather the Holy Spirit's ability) to reveal God's Word to me. I figured I wasn't smart enough or patient enough to let Scripture seep into my heart. I was wrong. I'm currently booking through 1 Kings and LOVING it.
  2. B O U N D A R I E S . I'm forever learning this, but ministry will teach you in a very real and intense way that if you don't have boundaries, you will suffer. I love personality tests, and according to Myers-Briggs, my ENFJ type has a real problem with not being the savior of the world. I feel the need to resolve every crisis, answer my phone whenever it rings, and basically wear a cape and fly around Columbus fighting bad guys. I continue to learn the hard way that I am not Jesus. He loves people far more than I ever could and because of that, I need to let my phone go to voicemail sometimes so people can dig deeper into their need for Jesus.
  3. Resolve dat conflict. All day err'day. I've done a lot of confessing this year and a lot of recognizing how deeply tangled my insecurities are. 95% of the time, my insecurities are the reason I have perceived conflict with people, but that doesn't mean I power through and ignore my emotions. I've had to open my mouth and confess that I let me insecurities affect my job. I've been met with a lot of grace, y'all.

 

I could keep writing, but in an effort to not overwhelm you with my issues, I'll wrap it up here. There is nothing like ministry to refine your character in a very real and tangible way.  This school year, I'm v thankful for Global Gallery, my husband, and God's grace.

What'd you guys learn this year? I'd love to hear!

-W

Friday

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It’s been Friday a lot for me lately.

Not the just got paid, time for happy hour and margs Friday. It’s been Good Friday. The ironically named day of desperation and grief.
I imagine on the first good Friday thousands of years ago, hopelessness reigned. I imagine it was the darkest, scariest day to be a follower of Jesus. I imagine confusion and unspeakable pain. I imagine shame and conviction, doubt and some self-loathing sprinkled in there (I’m looking at you, Peter). I imagine that was a heavy Friday.
It’s been a heavy season lately. While I cannot directly compare the world we live in today with arguably the darkest day in history, I’ve felt heavy. I’ve watched friends and family suffer. I’ve felt lonely, confused and scared. I’ve felt a weight of hopelessness when I’ve sat across friends at coffee shops. It’s been a sorrowful few weeks in ministry. There are a lot of people hurting and suffering.
It’s felt like Good Friday.
Sometimes in the midst of that pain and confusion I forget that it’s Friday. It’s only Friday.
Sunday comes and with it the most glorious day in all of history. A day of freedom, hope, and redemption. The day that changed everything. A day that grace reigned and death died.
I live a lot like it’s Friday. I’m tempted to sit in the weight of shame and pain. I’m tempted to revert to old habits and give up on myself. But today I remember, it’s Friday. It’s only Friday.
Sunday will come.

Another post about me weeping in a coffee shop...

I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by commitments. Overwhelmed by relationships. Overwhelmed by my iCal. Just overwhelmed. 

Today, I sat at my coffee shop (yes, I refer to Global Gallery as mine now) with my black coffee growing cold. I replied to emails, filled out google docs, answered texts that have been sitting in my messages for days (sorry if you were one of those people). If it weren't for the questionable substance on the tile beneath me, I would've curled up in the fetal position. 

As I was filling out my weekly management form for work, I realized, I haven’t spent solid time with Jesus in nearly two weeks. Ironically, it’s been nearly two weeks since I felt like I could breathe. Funny, no matter how many times I’m overwhelmed and no matter how many times Jesus comes through as the answer, I always forget to prioritize time in the Word to bring me rest. 

Side note: I get weirdly emotional around Good Friday and Easter. It’s like my body has it’s own calendar that knows to be fragile during this season. So if you see me randomly weeping leading up to Easter, know it's normal for me and I can usually be consoled with a donut. Conveniently though, our church talked about the Resurrection yesterday. 

So today, in the midst of anxiety, I folded my arms on the table and remembered this beautiful passage:  

“He is not here; for he has risen. Just as He said” [Matthew 28:6] 

That was enough. That passage changed everything. It changed everything for everyone all of eternity and it changed everything for me in that moment. I am so thankful. So thankful that my life rests in this truth and not my productivity. I would 5sure not be saved if my salvation and peace were dependent on my administration/google doc skills. I am thankful for the Resurrection, the hope, the peace, the eternal rest it brings. 

Maybe you're like me, overwhelmed and stretched. That's why I shared this story with you, because the amount of rest I found in those 3 words (He is Risen), gave me the breath I needed.

-W

If you need me, I'll be frolicking through some weeds off of the Olentangy Trail. 

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Growing Up & New Adventures

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I've been MIA this month. Not because I don't love this corner of the internet, but I've been swamped with transition. I haven't let my brain settle long enough to write. A sorry excuse, but my reality nonetheless.

I experienced sexual trauma in my past. In the midst of some of the worst years of pain, my heart started breaking for sexual violence and human-trafficking. I knew I wanted to play a role in pursuing voice for the voiceless, but I was overwhelmed by my own sin and brokenness.

A few weeks ago I announced my new role with a Columbus anti-human trafficking organization called She Has a Name. I am honored to join this team.

I spent a lot of my life believing I couldn't be used. I believed I wasn't gifted or talented or passionate enough to be used by God. Over the past few years it's been one of the greatest honors of my life to work for H2O Church. God has allowed me to see college students redeemed and restored. I've grown up a lot in my 3ish years in ministry. When I first started working with H2O, my job became a place of healing for me with the side bonus of getting to do ministry. If an opportunity to work with SHAN came along 3 years ago, I would not have been in a place to say yes. Now, the Lord has healed and restored me to a position where I can leap into this new adventure.

I want to encourage you, wherever you are. The passions and gifts God has put on your heart are valid and worth fighting for. Sometimes you have to wait. Sometimes we need to grow up a bit. That's ok. You don't have to be perfect to use your voice and fight injustice (believe me, I'm real broken), but sometimes we need to "cook" a little longer. We need to heal and dig into our own sin and trauma. Sometimes we need to be told no a few times and resolve some conflict. Sometimes we have to learn how to let go of control so God can grow us up a bit.

I hope you let yourself grow up. In my 3 years of "waiting," my heart never stopped hurting for those being trafficked. I never stopped thinking and praying that God would use me in this community. Looking back, my three years of ministry with H2O have been the most character-refining, growing, grace-filled years of my life. I am thankful that I get to continue being on the H2O staff team while saying "yes" to Jesus in this new area of ministry.

God is good, folks. Real good.

-W

Self-Care Thursday

In honor of NEDA week, I thought I'd share a little reflection on growth and self-care. When I stumbled into my counselor's office in November 2012, I was a mess. Picture an underweight anxiety-driven college student, working three jobs and trying to convince everyone that she had it all together. If you're picturing a miserable human, multiply the bags under her eyes by 2342, you're heading in the right direction.

I thought I thrived on chaos. I spent my first two years of college trying to be everybody. I wanted to be noticed. I breathed in the lie that I was only as valuable as I was busy. I lived in a state of disassociation and numbness.

The first several months of counseling/recovery were less about my obsession with the scale and more about me learning how to let go of commitments and rest. I remember how painful it was when I quit my job as an ABA therapist. Not because I loved my job but because I hated admitting weakness. That I couldn't do everything. Eventually I left my other job as a research assistant in the Autism Lab at OSU. I thought I kissed my grad school dreams good bye with that two-week notice.

My social life was put on hold during this season. I couldn't do everything. I had to focus on recovery, healing, and rest.

Fast forward nearly 5 years and I consider myself a little too obsessed with self-care. I'm a huge advocate for rest and saying no. I no longer think it's valuable or healthy to pack my schedule with meetings and activities. I value my couch, my cat, and big cups of coffee (oh alliteration, you slay me).

I genuinely try to take time for daily self-care, but this semester, I've invested in Self-Care Thursdays  (I wish I was creative enough for a catchy phrase, but that seems hard, so I'm sticking with SCT).

Every Thursday, I close my schedule at 5. While Steve invests in his MBA program, I spend my evening exercising, cooking, taking a detox bath (essential oils 5ever), and allthenetflix.  I've been trying to incorporate something new each Thursday, whether it's a new recipe (this vegan nacho cheese recipe is life.changing.) or choosing a new show on Netflix (I recently joined the This is Us cult). As much as I can, I try to do a few things that refresh me.

My commitment to Self-Care Thursday allows me to do my job better, love my husband bigger, and connect with Jesus freely. I didn't wake up a self-care guru. I spent A LOT of time weeping in counseling as my identity was stripped with every commitment I backed out of or event I turned down.

Friends, don't give into society's lie that you have to be consumed with busyness. It's just not true. You are loved right where you are. Say no to overworking and yes to self-care. I promise in time your relationships will thrive and you'll develop a better understanding of how little control you actually have over your life (this is a GOOD thing).

Honestly, I could write about this topic forever, but I'm going to wrap it up here. If you need help coming up with ideas for rest or how to say no, please reach out! I'd love to help! I am P A S S I O N A T E about self-care and rest!

-W

 

          This is a MUCH happier, healthier Whitney. 

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Envisioned

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset February has been a weird blur for me. My weekends have been consumed with traveling, bridal showers, and 500+ participant retreats. When I look at the calendar in the beginning of each month, if I don't see foreseeable rest, I tend to put my head down and power through my days. (Please don't follow this pattern. It's not cool)

Over the past few weeks, I've had a lot of people ask me how I'm doing. My response is always the same: "I'm ok. I feel off, but I'm ok."

FINALLY. Today, I cleared my schedule, slept in, and when I surfaced from my 10+ hour night of sleep like a bear emerging from the longest winter hibernation, I drove to my spot. My beloved coffee shop just up the street.

Over the past few weeks of "powering through," I lost vision. I lost vision for my work, my marriage, my friendships, my relationship with Jesus. I started checking off tasks without checking my heart or really understanding WHY I do what I do. This pattern left me grumpy and exhausted.

Proverbs 29:18 says: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

While I'm pretty sure this verse is speaking into prophetic vision, I think the significance remains the same. Without understanding our heart and motivation, we're going to crumble: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

So today, I prayed through the different categories of my life and here's my vision for the next stretch of February before I refocus for March.

Relationship with Jesus: Prioritize above all else. Live, breathe, rest in the Gospel.

Marriage: Cherish Steve. Pray for him daily and remind him how loved he is.

Work: Invest in my girls. Listen to them, really listen. They are valuable and deserve all the love in the world.

Friendships: Invest in community. Prioritize going to City Life Group and being vulnerable with the handful of people in my life.

Physical health: I HAVE NOT BEEN TAKING CARE OF MYSELF. Get back on the exercise train and STOP THE BODY SHAMING.

My vision isn't super deep or complicated. Just investing where I am and remembering to be present and to love people well. That's it. Not frilly or fancy, just be.where.i'm.at.

How are you guys doing? It's almost March. Are your #goalz for 2017 still a thing?

-W

 

My Photogenic Latte

I wrote this "segmented essay" for a Creative Non-fiction class I'm taking at the local community college. This post is basically a glimpse into my insecure life.

-W

The Snap.

It’s yours. The perfect latte. Steaming, frothing, intricate hearts laced in the milky foam. Perhaps the best four dollars you spent. A perfect moment for Instagram. Let the world see your caffeinated day unfold. Everyone must know that you drink lattes. It’s cool to drink lattes. You’re drinking a latte. You must be cool. You hold your iPhone 7, remove the case as to not affect the lighting surrounding your perfect latte. Adjust the brightness, make sure your lens is focused. Your perfect latte perfectly centered with the silky marble table and the muted green succulent. Should it be on the right? The left? Off-centered? Centered? It has to be perfect. Everyone must see your perfect latte.

The Filter.

The latte is perfect. The photo doesn’t do it justice. Those foamy hearts aren’t bright enough. No one will know how perfectly caffeinated you are with your perfect latte. So the filter. Open the app. Scroll through filters. F2 isn’t faded enough, M3 is too faded. Maybe you should click the in app purchase button. The perfect filter will only cost you 2.99. It’s worth it. Everyone must appreciate your perfect latte. Best 2.99 you’ve spent, probably.

The Post.

It is finished. Will they like it? Did you use enough hashtags? Less than fifty likes requires immediate deleting of your latte. Your perfect latte deserves at least seventy-two likes, maybe a few comments. What if they hate it? What if you aren’t cool enough for the perfect latte? You burry your iPhone in the bottom of your disorganized purse. Must. Resist. Temptation. To. Delete. You sit at the coffee shop, twiddling your thumbs. Waiting. Waiting for the magic likes that remind you that your latte is perfect and you are cool.

The Likes.

It’s been seventeen minutes. Seventeen minutes since you posted the perfect picture of your perfect latte. Only twenty six likes. TWENTY SIX. Should you wait it out? Should you wait another seventeen minutes? Will those hashtags work? Will people appreciate the perfect latte, which is now room temperature and honestly not that tasty. You resolve to wait, wait for the magic fifty. Exactly thirty-seven minutes after you Instagram your perfect latte, it happens. Fifty- One. Fifty-One likes. You breathe a sigh of relief. Your latte is deemed worthy and with it, you are valuable. Your untouched latte is now cold and you’re running late to class, but at least your perfect latte is seen, liked and worthy. You can breathe.

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Dat lighting doe ^^

#moreselfies

I'm a person with a lot of feelings, a lot of thoughts, and a lot of dreams. If I don't consciously take time to stop and reflect, I'll swirl through my days on autopilot without checking in to see how God is growing my life and my heart.

So today, I reflect.

I spent a lot of years hating myself. Hating my body. Hating my reflection. Hating anything that showed my face.

I insta stalked myself today and shook my head as i traced myself back to the height of my body shaming days. I hardly posted pics of myself. In fact, most of the pics are of my feet and various lattes. I remember feeling my throat closing every time I posted a photo of myself. I feared judgement. I hated myself. I used my social media to pretend I wasn’t insecure, but really I wanted to die every time I posted. 

The past few months I’ve resolved to selfie more. Not because I think I’m awesome and need your validation on my instagram, but I want to punch my insecurities in the face. 

I decided to stop hiding behind shoe pics and cat pics (although I love shoes and my cat is the coolest). I want to use my social media as a place where I can express myself and screw my fears. 

So I’m going to continue to post more pics of yours truly. I encourage you to do the same.

Have a rockin' Tuesday, friends.

-W

I'm going to keep standing in front of walls with coffee. It's just going to be a thing. 

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Love Anyway.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset It's been a crazy few weeks, friends.

I've experienced a lot of emotions, the most prevalent being grief. Steve can attest that I've read far too many blogs and articles and this weekend I legitimately cried because I felt so much pain for our world. I've loved too hard and now it hurts.

In church yesterday, one of our pastors encouraged us to do two things regardless of our political ideologies: love and pray.

Despite the pain of the past few weeks, we are called to love. Love no matter what. Love when it doesn't make sense. Love when it's the last thing you could comprehend doing. Love in the morning and in the evening. Love when your friend posts offensive comments. Love when it hurts. Love when it doesn't hurt. Love when people won't listen. Love when your views go unheard. Love anyway.

When my Grammy got sick I remember a heavy, creeping desire in my gut that told me to withdrawal. Pull away. Run away. Guard. Protect myself.

I remember having moments of wishing I hadn't loved this woman so much. I remember wishing I hadn't met her, spent so much time in her cozy living room drinking tea and eating whatever snacks she pulled from her cupboard. I couldn't bare the pain of losing her so I thought it'd be better if I hadn't loved her.

I'm learning now that love is risky. When you let yourself love, you are signing up for pain. It's not a debate. Real love hurts. You WILL experience disappointment and grief. Sorrow and conflict.

But despite the certain pain, love is worth it. If I'd never loved that 80 year old southern belle, I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't know to write thank you notes for every.single.thing. I wouldn't know that frozen is the best way to consume a Reese's cup. I wouldn't know that God wants us to pray for everything. No matter how ridiculous it sounds.

So in the midst of a time when people are hard to love (at least for me), I encourage you to put yourself out there and love anyway. Love the people that a hard to love. It'll certainly hurt, but who knows what beauty you'll experience when you take the leap and love anyway. Who knows how your life will change when you let yourself love in big radical over-the-top ways.

-W

The Table

This photo filled my screen today as I read a thoughtful article from my favorite magazine. It's beautiful for so many reasons. featured-dc-womens-march-darlingPhoto Cred.

But these words struck me: "A Place at the Table for All."

Debate floods my Facebook feed, I'm sure I'm no exception. It's been exhausting and it feels sort of like every single time I try to watch a horror movie with Steve. I know I shouldn't watch. I know it'll keep me up at night. But alas, I can't stop my creeping eyes from peeking out from under my blanket.

I've read so.many.articles. From both political parties and everywhere in between. I'm a sucker for blogs and opinions and I love to learn.

But true confession: One of my biggest personality traits is altruism. I was pretty naive because I didn't realize millions of people uniting for a seemingly positive cause dear to their hearts would be an issue. I genuinely thought, FINALLY something we can all agree on- women's empowerment! People standing for something they believe in, regardless of political affiliation. Surely everyone will love this! I now hear Leslie Knope whispering: "Oh Whit, you beautiful, sophisticated, naive newborn baby."

However, my naivety is not what this post is about. It's about that concept: "A place at the Table for All." Isn't that a beautiful picture? And you know what's great, we didn't come up with that idea.

Isaiah 25:6 describes a scene when all the believers are gathered together at the Lord's Table. Jesus returns and rescues all his kids.

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare     a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—     the best of meats and the finest of wines.

It's beautiful. I imagine it'll be a colorful table, filled with people from every race, ethnicity, political background, etc. I imagine it'll be a place where super broken people feel safe and welcome. A place where people, all people feel home.

So today, in the midst of so much division, my heart longs for that day when there is a place at the Table for All.

It's been a long couple weeks, folks. Consider this your go ahead to get a large latte.

-W

 

**My opinions are my own and do not reflect those of any of the organizations of which I am affiliated**

#goals

The first week of January I spent countless hours sipping on coffee and writing, praying, dreaming. I started working through my hurts/struggles from 2016 and transitioning them to goals in 2017. One of my goals is: Reading > Scrolling. Aka hang up and hang out or pick up my Bible for a change.

After 16 days of not exactly punching this goal in the face, I  wondered, "why did I set this goal?" Honestly, it sounded nice and spiritual. I'll admit most of my goals were/are very me-focused. Which is probably why the God goal went to the back burner. 

It's January 16 and I can genuinely say, I've scrolled far more than I've even looked at my Bible (judge free zone, people). So today, I prayed. Why is it so important for me to pick up my purpleish, faded, torn up Bible? Why is it crucial that I stop refreshing my Instagram feed and start refreshing my soul?

The Word is everything.

My girl Ann Voskamp said, “The world needs more women who know how to do hard and holy things.” yes yes yes. Those poetic words fill my heart often. The world has a lot of epic Instagram-ers. I spend way too much time trying to be one of them. But when I really stop and think about it, actually pause and reflect, I want to be a woman who has Jesus’ words deep in her soul, fueling every interaction.

When Steve wakes my sleepy self up tomorrow, I'm not going to magically turn into a woman devoted to the Word. My Inst-obsession (ha! see what I did there?) isn't going to fade somewhere between REM cycles. I recognize this truth, so PRACTICALS. Every slightly type A personality's favorite word.

Here's my practical to accomplish Reading > Scrolling: Read the New Testament.

Admittedly the NT has become pretty cliche for me recently. I’d much rather camp out in the prophets and decipher the strange language of Ezra and Ezekiel. But I think this is exactly why I need to read through the New  Testament. I need to get back to the basics. Back to the heart of my faith. The Gospel. Jesus. His life. Who HE is. 

So I made a goal to read through the New Testament this year. It may not equal more time spent scrolling, but at least it’s a step. 

-W

Yet another pic of me attempting a moody smile with coffee in hand.

Not pictured: Steve snapping this pic telling me he's cold and wants to go inside. He's a champ, guys.

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Simplify.

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It's been awhile since I started my ethical/capsule wardrobe journey. I think it's high time for an update. (Read here for my first post about my wardrobe)

Back in June I started Project 333. Every three(ish) months I narrow my closet to 33 pieces and wear only those articles for the season. I try not to purchase any new clothing and work with what I have. Surprisingly, I still love living the capsule life. It's simplified my life and freed me from my temptation to shop constantly. Here're some tips in case you're interested in narrowing your wardrobe in 2017.

  1. This is less of a tip and more of a statement, but where you live matters. Living in the Midwest makes a difference in my capsule. It's no secret that I love my city. I love the seasons, I love how I can experience most parts of Creation in 365 days. However, as much as I love Ohio and it's endearing ability to go from subzero temperatures to  sweat like Bikram in a matter of hours, it can be difficult to plan a versatile wardrobe. I recommend layers. It's January, but I still have some tanktops in this season's capsule. Keep your zip code in mind when you're planning your capsule.
  2. Remove everything that isn't in this seasons wardrobe. Put it in a tub, don't look at it. It isn't an option for 3 months. Every few months I go through my dresser and my bin that holds off season clothing. I reorganize everything and hide anything that didn't make the cut.
  3. Plan. I get ideas from Pinterest and take note of styles I love as the season rolls on. By the time I'm ready to switch wardrobes, I'm usually able to decide if there are any items I need or items I didn't actually wear in last seasons capsule. For example, this winter, I really needed (or wanted) snow boots and a winter coat/parka. I kept my eyes open at thrift shops (where I scored a North Face parka for $40) and researched (LL Bean is made in the USA and has an unlimited day product guarantee), so when winter came, I was ready to add these items into my wardrobe without spending much money.
  4.  Utilize Poshmark and other resale stores (in Columbus I love Rag-O-Rama and Buffalo Exchange). If I'm looking for a black cardigan to finish my winter wardrobe, I sell/trade other clothing and put the earnings towards a new piece.
  5. Perfection isn't the point. I'll admit that my thrifting obsession doesn't stop when I'm in the middle of a capsule project. If I find a piece I love, I usually try to sell or trade another piece of clothing to purchase said item. The point is to take baby steps, simplify, remove distractions, and try something new. If you have 40 items in your capsule- great! It's a step! Celebrate that!
  6. Shop ethical. It's 100% changed everything about my life and my role in the abolitionist community.  It's no exaggeration when I say 95% of my wardrobe is thrifted. I try (imperfectly) to purchase everything second hand and if I absolutely cannot (shoes for example are hard for me to thrift because I have serious foot issues), I research all practices and ethics before purchasing. The money I save thrifting allows me to spend more on quality pieces that I can't find at a thrift store. Plus, my closet doesn't reflect sweat shops and slave labor.

My capsule wardrobe and shopping ethical simplified my life. I'm forced to be more creative, I better understand my "style" and I'm significantly less tempted to purchase obscene amounts of clothing. These are imperfect tips but maybe it gives you a small glimpse of a way to remove distractions this year. Give it a try! I'd love to hear/help on your journey to simplify your wardrobe and/or shop ethical!

-W

 

This season's capsule! (S/O to Brittany for letting me steal her garment rack)

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Why.

Per usual, I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop, black coffee to my right, praying, dreaming, writing. 

I’m a sucker for the new year. In reality, I understand there is no real difference when I flip the page of a calendar, but a new year, a new date, gives me hope. A new year gives me clarity, peace and assurance that I will not relive the previous year (which btw you couldn’t pay me to relive 2016).

The past several days I’ve spent a lot of time in this sweet corner of Columbus, dreaming and praying through 2017. What do I want this year to look like? What is going to be different? What went well in 2016? I’ve been using Lara Casey’s Make it Happen Power Sheets and I honestly cannot say enough good things about the words on these pages. Such intentional questions and organization makes my ENFJ heart pitter patter. I love that she gives me freedom to be imperfect and messy and letsbehonest, we all need freedom to be messy. 

One of my goals for 2017 is to commit and cultivate this blog. That being said- why? Why would I care so much about a measly few paragraphs that I hope to write weekly? Why is this cyber space so important to me?

I speak pretty vaguely about my past. I want to protect those involved and it truly doesn’t help me to relive some of the experiences that characterized the dark days of my life. However, those dark days, those painful spaces, are the reason I blog. I’ll spare you the gory details but I went through a season of my life where I felt like I had no voice. My words didn’t matter and were often used against me. I was abused and afraid. I lived in shame and confusion and ultimately silence. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in counseling regaining my voice after living through years of slavery and silence. I’ve said it before, I love to write. God has given me a deep love for language and communication. I’ve chosen this space to be my outlet for those words. This blog is where I use my voice, something I had to relearn after years of silence. 

So there you have it. I blog because I have a voice. It’s empowering to use this space to share my heart and tell you how broken I am but how good God is. I love this blog because it’s my way of walking in freedom every single time I hit the publish button. I truly feel honored that you read my blog. It reminds me that God has radically healed my life and given me a voice. 

Here’s to walking in freedom in 2017. 

W

Here's a pic from my recent road trip to New York with one of my besties. We had the best time exploring the city, taking tons of photos, and consuming way too much caffeine. Cheers to more spontaneous road trips!

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