September has come and gone and the hardest thing has been not to fill my Instagram with the beauty that has been surrounding me.  Not that that would be a bad thing, but I've been trying to savor moments more too.  Oh, this Virginia fall.  This is exactly where I'm supposed to be.  Before I actually moved here after school, I didn't as much feel as if I was a part of the community.  Now I just have so much sense of pride and joy for this special little piece of the world.

So here's some of my happenings from the past month through the eyes of Instagram.  Happy Autumn everyone!

// If I could, I would go photo adventuring everyday. They are the funnest of days.
// Why have I not gone hiking more? I just love hiking and this is one of my very favorite hikes around.  Not to mention the miracle that the sun came out on the way there!
// Sweet potato tacos from Taco Shark - $6.00.  Time spent with my sweet, loving momma, priceless.
// Discovering my passions?  Apparently my dreams, aspirations, and goals give me much more possibilities then I had thought.  I have so many things I want to do and places I want to see and I don't know where and when to start pursuing those things.
// Those little kiddos sweet words and goofy laughs were so incredibly missed.
// I have found my new favorite running trail.
// The Head and the Heart. AMAZING.

Incoherent Ramblings about Life


photo credit to my sweet friend Amanda.  check out her blog here!

This will probably be a mess, but let's just go for it.

I do not believe that our circumstances shape our lives.

This is somewhat of a lie, but bear with me I will get there.  I am slowly seeing that I don't totally see this as truth.  There is a small bit of truth in it, but I am currently struggling and wrestling with coming to somewhat of a conclusion on this.

So here is what I do believe.  I believe in attitudes and intentions.

I have no idea what is going to happen to me in my life.  It's slightly terrifying, yet wonderful and exciting at the same time.  But, I do know who I am.  Well, I'm still discovering it, but I am starting to know more and more.  I'm imperfect and broken.  But I am redeemed.

Just seeming to have only tasted a bit of this life and world, it is easy to fear the unknown.

Our surroundings, our jobs, our friends, are extremely vital to our stories.  They are unique to each of us.  They are though constantly changing, fluctuating, failing, succeeding, and growing, and while they are integral parts of our story, they do not ultimately define us.

I think about the story of Hosea and Gomer.  When I think of this story, and even as I am reading a book on it now, I think of how Hosea sees Gomer, not as a harlot, whore, or prostitute, but as his beloved, his bride.

It is the story of a prostitute, trapped and believing that is all that she will ever be.  She is bound and destined for that life.  But in the midst of her personal hell, this strange man will not stop pursuing her, loving her, and caring for her.  She can not seem to wrap her mind around just why this man is treating her this way, despite who she is and what she's done.  In her filth.  In her dirtiness.  In her impurity.  In her lies.  In her rebellion.  In her hardheartedness.  In her determination to keep her walls up.  In her cunningness.  In her unthankfulness.

In this broken, scandalous story we see redemption.  The thing that gets me the most is that Hosea returned for his wife after she attempted to return to the life she once had.
I learned a long time ago we've control of little in this world... It doesn't belong to us. It's out of our hands... All we can change is the way we think and the way we live.  

What a perfect description of life.  Of your life.  And mine.

I think of it like this.  That is why our past, our sins, who we used to be, are so very important.  Because each hurt, pain, and situation that seemed out of our control inched us closer and closer to that sweet, loving redemption.   Because those things which left so many scars brought us to our new identity.

Identity defines, gives purpose, provides meaning.  Identity is WHO we are and what we are, and it is what we will leave behind and what we will bring with us.

Because maybe, there is so much more to life then then popularity, fame, and praise.  But, yet still our selfish natures crave all of these things.

So often I quickly fall back into this mentality of making my surroundings, belongings, and reputation seem "perfect" or impressive to others.

Why in the world do we seek to please or impress if it all just dies away anyway?

And when this happens, I quickly fall back into the reality of the situation.  My inclination is to bring attention and affection to myself, and I am quickly met by feelings of loneliness and a desire for more.

I am learning to strive for better, bigger dreams, yet learning to be content with where I am, what I have, etc.  To love the lost, broken, and hurting wherever I am should be my goal.  

I am a sojourner on this earth.  Sometimes I feel like I am a child, holding onto my Father's hand, dragging him, yelling at him to hurry up so we can get to the exciting place.  This is where I am now, but I recognize and have been in the place before where He is tugging my hand, telling me clearly to continue and press on, even if I want to stay where I am at.  So full of patience.

And this rant, or whatever it is, is about Him in the end.

About my Father.

It is about learning more and more just how much of a confused mess I am.  It's about how sometimes I sit down to write and feel so discouraged by the not-knowingness.  By knowing He is faithful, good, and trustworthy, but not feeling it.  Not knowing where things will lead, where I am going, or will I ever really figure it all out?

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it." Revelation 2:17

When I become discouraged, I am reminded that I can always have a fresh, clean start.  Every day has new mercies in it.  New beginnings.  He is the perfecter of my faith.  I am on my way to a better understanding of it all, to a relationship with new depths.

Because in the end, all that matters is our inheritance, our new identity.  To live.  To keep loving.

and sometimes to face the unknown with boldness and confidence.

Lynchburg Life | Exploring with Amanda


The best part of this city is it's many hidden gems.  I love discovering them and snapping just small pieces of my beloved city.  I swear, I could not find a better adventure buddy to go exploring with.  This lady loves capturing the small moments just as much as I do. 

Amanda and I met at the beginning of the summer when she came as a leader to my camp.  I started following her on Instagram through the Lynchburg hashtag, and ended up coming across a picture of one of our camp's cabins on my feed.  The next day I introduced myself to her, and so began our friendship.  Both times we have hung out so far, coffee has been involved, which is an instant bond.  This lady has such a sweet heart and I admire her ability to dream big, yet still be content and live fully in the everyday. 

I found myself giggling at Amanda when she would go to take a picture.  Her picture taking "tactics" are a lot like mine.  I reassured her that I was not laughing at her, but found it funny how similar she was to me when it came to capturing that perfect Instagram shot.  How often my friends make fun of me for stopping a moment to capture a picture, but I love that this lady understands.  I hope there are many more explorations for us to be had before we both leave and venture off to what is next for each of us.  Whether it be France, the Philippines, China, California, Georgia, or anywhere else in between, this lady will do great things. 

True Friends


Lately, I've become so critical of myself and how I look.

Life seemed much more simple when I could throw on a tee, athletic shorts, and chacos everyday.  Throw my hair in a braid, brush my teeth, splash some water on my face.  Good to go.  Nobody to impress and no standard acceptable dress to live up to.  Life was easy.

Now, I constantly feel pressure from the world to look and dress a certain way.  I know though that these thoughts are simply my own insecurity.  This is something I thought was a (long) phase in middle/high school, yet the lies of the world attack me again telling me that I'm not good enough because I don't have perfect skin, perfect hair, or am not skinny enough.  I am so quick to recognize the beauty in my friends, both their inward and outer beauty.  I see their unique beauty on the outside, but even more then that, I see loving, encouraging woman that the Lord has created so perfectly.  I see the beauty so clearly in others, yet am so critical of myself.  I've been praying a lot lately, that the Lord would once again remind me of where true beauty comes from.

Beauty is so much more then outer appearances.  Beauty is a heart that is fully pursuing and conforming to that of Christ's heart.  How often I pray for this, yet do not recognize that the Lord is simply waiting for me to rest in Him.  I become so caught up in criticizing myself that I forget that He already calls be His beloved, and there is nothing that I did or can do to earn that.

So here are some photos of a few of those people that have helped me to have a better understanding of true beauty.

These ladies have taught me so much in so many different ways.  They are all so unique and different in every single way, but I believe that that is why God places people in our lives from different places and backgrounds.  We all have something to share and teach each other and I am so thankful for what I have learned from these precious friends.  Whether I still hang out with them every week, or it has been months since our last coffee date or adventure, I am thankful for these women.  They are beautiful.

I also realized in going through old photos, that I love photographing people.  I don't do it often, as many of my friends usually start out feeling uncomfortable in front of the camera or claim they are not photogenic.  Even still, it is something that I am going to strive to do more, as every person has a unique story and was created and made beautiful by our Maker.  I mentioned in a post last week that I wanted to strive to see the beauty and blessings in everyday things.  Even more then that, I want to see more clearly and recognize the beauty in others and the blessing that true friends are.  So with that, thank you to all of my friends that have taught me just what beauty really means.

Don't strive to fit into the worlds mold of beauty.  Embrace who the Lord has made you to be.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

Thankfulness Thursday | Part 1


I've had a lot of tearful, stressful days this past week and a half.  It's so easy in these times to only think about all the things going wrong in my life and forget to really sit and be thankful. But since I've been not working, I've had a lot of time to (over)think many things in my life.  It has humbled me to look back and see just how the Lord was working and orchastrating each season of my life to allow me to be where I am today.  Today, I am starting Thankfulness Thursday, which I've seen on several other blogs, instagrams, etc.

-Cozy places to share with friends.
-A puppy who never tires of kisses and being loved on.
-My church family and finally becoming part of a community group.
-Being able to sit down and read a good book again.
-The never-ending Sam Cooke CD on Spotify.

Lynchburg Life | Coffee Dates with Foose


 There's something about coffee dates. Something so refreshing. Something so comforting by hearing a piece of a dear friend's heart, smelling the fresh coffee, and feeling like a part of the local community.  Not to mention, White Hart always plays our favorite music. Good coffeeshop tunes for the win. Don't even get me started on the taste of their mochas though. I have yet to find one that tops it. I would be more then willing to be challenged though if it means going to a new local coffeeshop.

It was Monday, so a date with this fantastic friend was just what I needed.  Even though we have different things we are struggling with, Foose gets me. I always leave feeling understood and encouraged. It probably has something to do with us both wishing we were across the world right now. But we are able to remind each other that the Lord is still faithful and working right now, right here in Lynchburg, VA. There is growth to be had in every season of life. If you are actively seeking, blessings will arise in everyday, simple ways. I've resolved to become better at recognizing these blessings that so easily go unnoticed. 

This city full of gems. There's always something new to discover. This is my home.

 ^^*insert Adele's Hometown Glory lyrics*^^
^^i just want to be a farmer already^^

Good thing there are also surrounding cities with just as much character as this one, so that my wanderlust can be satisfied for now. Not sure their spunk can compare though.

RVA Days | Family & Food


Finally shaking the dust off of Charlotte has been such a stress-reliever lately.  I made a quick one night trip back to my parents home in Richmond this past weekend and we went to dinner with my grandparents.  It was so refreshing and comforting to be able to spend time with my family after having such a stressful, worrisome week.  And to top off the trip, we just HAD to get donuts.

 ^^cutest hole in the wall restaurants.^^
My sweet momma's encouragement.  She reminds me of the Lord's faithfulness when my faith is weak.  She listens to my fears, dreams, and lets me invade her bubble while she's working.  She is the best of the best.

It was a short visit, but a great one nonetheless.  Good food and a great family are what it's all about.

camp fam


in the crazy ups and downs of the past few weeks, i not only have been too busy to devote time to blog, but i've also been trying to decide what i want this place to be now. (i've yet to come to a conclusion, mostly because i'm still figuring out what is happening in my life right now)

so this is me, posting silly pictures of some of the people that i know accept me and love me just as i am.

these people remind me that God is working in every situation and they help me to see the beauty in everything. they inspire and encourage me, and that is what i want to do for anybody that stumbles across this page. i want to find beauty in the everyday, in the simple things, in creation. because lately, those simple things have proven to mean the most.