Takeaway Tuesdays: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

I’m shaking things up a little bit here in the month of December. I usually create a Scripture-based print. This month, in light of Christmas, I am sharing one of my favorite Christmas songs. I love the lyrics of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. We often do not get to the third verse of the song, but it’s the greatest, I believe. It speaks of Jesus’s victory over the grave and death! I hope this Christmas season points you frequently back to Jesus, the true meaning of why we celebrate.

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Takeaway Tuesdays: Psalm 3:3

I love the Fall. It is my favorite time of year. I love the changing of the colors, the beginning of the school year (as a school nurse, I get to experience this over and over again with every year that passes). Basically all the “fally” things make my heart swoon. I’ve created this month’s Takeaway Tuesday with a Fall theme. And even though Fall brings about change, God’s character does not shift with the seasons. He is steady; He is our shield (our protector), and the One we can rest in when everything else changes. Let your hearts be encouraged by this friends.

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Takeaway Tuesdays: 1 John 3:16

I love the summer months when I get to go on adventures to different places. This summer I visited family in both Maryland and England. And though traveling is one of my favorite activities, I can’t help feel “home” when I attend my church of 11 years, Outward Church. This morning’s message was on 1 John 3:16. I was encouraged by Pastor Matt’s words, especially, “If there’s action-oriented love in your life, there’s evidence of your love for God.” I created August’s Takeaway Tuesday based upon this passage. I hope you enjoy this free print.

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20 Things I Learned in My Twenties

20 Things I Learned in my 20s

My twenties are ending in a few days. This is exciting and yet terrifying at the same time. I’ve been reflecting upon this last decade all month, and I have a list I’d love to share with anyone younger than myself. Just a few pieces of wisdom I’ve gleaned along the way. I by no means know everything there is to know about life, but I have a few nuggets worthy of a blog post. Here we go:

1.  Say yes to new learning opportunities. If I had the chance to go back into my earlier twenties, this would be one area I’d change. Many times in my early twenties I had opportunities to jump in and learn a new skill. I’d often hesitate, and someone else bolder than myself would leap at the opportunity. So if an instance arises where you can go first, DO IT. Fear of what others may think or making a fool of yourself is OVERRATED.  

2.  Be okay with telling people NO. I learned this about half way through my twenties. I’d be exhausted, and have several invitations to varying activities, and I’d suck it up and go anyway. I’d often wish I could be at home, in my sweats, with my glasses on and my hair up. I don’t know what swayed my thought process, but one time, I said no. It was freeing. It’s okay to not participate in every social activity you are invited to. Sometimes going to bed early is the cooler thing to do (trust me, your body will thank you).

3.  Travel. Can’t say it enough. Go and see new places. In my twenties I visited the UK 5 times, France, Canada, Mexico, and traveled across the US to a bunch of states. You know what, I have NO regrets spending my hard earned money on travel. Save up and go- it is SO worth it.

paris 2005

Paris 2005

4. Get an education. I don’t necessarily mean go to a university. Learn a trade. Acquire a new set of skills. My ongoing relationship with universities has been well worth it. I now have a career job with a great foundation to build the rest of my adult working life upon.

OHSU class of 2013


5. Make friends with people of all ages. My friends group has expanded beyond people my own age. When you get to your upper twenties, you worry less about the age gap and more about commonalities with others. It’s worth it to befriend older & wiser people and invite them into your life. They probably have so much life to share with you and lessons they’ve learned along the way.

6. Develop hobbies. In my twenties I learned I love to run 5K races, kayak, crochet, bake, blog, and a few others. Hobbies are not only fun, but they also give you something to make small talk about when necessary. I’m not a huge fan of small talk, but I find I can generally relate to anyone if I bring up one of my hobbies in conversation.

7.  Save money for a “rainy day”. This is a lesson that I just learned in my last year of my twenties. Because honey, when it rains, it pours. My recent car bill was hefty, but I could pay it because I had stashed some cash and left it in reserve specifically for this reason.

8. Make exercise and eating well a part of your lifestyle. In my twenties my weight fluctuated. I spent a lot of hard, sweaty hours burning off the 20 pounds I packed on during nursing school. If I could go back, I would have penciled in 30 minutes of exercise into my day to counteract the time I spent sitting and studying. If you discover what physical activities you love now, you will form healthy habits for later.

9. Be generous. Give a little extra money to a cause you love. Generosity is contagious, and it’s an admirable quality to possess.

10. Read books. Read the paper. Watch the news. Be well informed. These are more small talk topics that can be discussed when conversation lulls.

11. Be okay with not buying all the new upgrades. I have been driving the same car for all of my twenties. My cell phone is 3 generations behind. Technology and automobiles will continually upgrade and get better. Don’t be sucked into the mentality that you must have the next best thing. I guarantee that 6 months down the road, there will be something newer and better. Your money is better spent on traveling, saving for a house, or paying down your student debt.

12. Unexpected events will pop up in your life and throw you off your game. This is normal. It sucks and I’m letting you know that you will get through it. I planned on living in my apartment and working at my little part-time job until I graduated from nursing school. Then I was informed that my company was closing and that my best friend was getting married in a few months time. I moved back in with my parents. Not what I was expecting. But you know what, it’s been wonderful, and it works.

13. Learn to be comfortable with public speaking. I’m not saying you have to love it, but in this day and age, I promise there will be a time when you will be speaking to a group of people of at least 8 or more. Every time during nursing school when we had a presentation, I’d roll my eyes and wonder when I’d ever be using public speaking in nursing. Then I got my first nursing job and GUESS WHAT? I teach classes to non-medical staff frequently. My last class size included 16 people and my projector wouldn’t work. I had to wing it with my PowerPoint presentation. Praise God I had had practice with public speaking. If you have a fear of public speaking, I strongly advise you figure out a way to overcome it.

14. If your gut tells you to go after something, or quite the opposite, listen! My gut feeling about working in the ICU after graduation was a HECK NO. I’m grateful I wasn’t offered the job. If I had the chance to do it all over, I would have applied to a completely different unit or an entirely different setting. Intuition is a wonderful thing, please don’t ignore it.

15. Cherish the time you have with your family and friends. Cell phones are awesome. I love sharing my life on Instagram and Facebook. But there’s nothing like putting the phone down and being completely present. I love going to restaurants and coffee shops and seeing customers interacting face-to-face. Put your phone on silent and have a good heart-to-heart.

16. Plan for your future. If you enter into a job where a retirement plan is offered, take it. I keep reading over and over again that if you start now, as in between the ages of 25-35, by the time you retire, you will save a substantial amount of money. If you company matches what you contribute, this is even better. It’s like free money. You won’t even miss it from your paycheck. I haven’t.

17. It is NEVER too late to start over. I spent my twenties chasing after my long-term goals. It took me 4 rounds of applying to get into nursing school. I even received a couple degrees in the meanwhile. But my heart led me to nursing school. I couldn’t let it go. So I applied one last time, right before all my science prerequisites expired, and I got in. It was a God-given opportunity. I knew it would take another 3 years, but it’s been hands-down the BEST decision I made during my twenties. Chase after those deferred dreams.

SON graduation 2013


18. Use comparison only as a means of motivation. It is easy to compare yourself to others in your twenties. “She is already married with baby.” “He is working at an amazing job making such good money, etc.” In your twenties, you’ll have friends in ALL walks of life. Some will be single. Some will get married. Some will get divorced. Some will have kids. Some will not. It’s not worth your time to compare your journey with anyone else’s UNLESS it motivates you to do something better. If this means you see a friend who worked hard and earned their degree and you have not, start taking classes. If it means that your friend saves up and buys a house, stock away some money every month until you can do the same. Comparison is the thief of joy, according to Theodore Roosevelt- which is true, unless you use it for positive motivation.

19. If you happen to live within driving distance of your family, and you don’t live with them currently, visit frequently. My brother, who happens to be one of my best friends, moved across the US to the East Coast two and a half years ago, and it’s been rough on our family. Skype and FaceTime helps, but it’s not the same. Make family a priority. I urge you to free up some time for your family if at all possible.

20. Realize that your twenties are full of relationships. Some will stay, some will go. Some will come into your life for a season. This is normal. I am grateful for my most meaningful relationship—my one with God. He is constant. He is good. He is bold. He is patient. He loves me when I am so unworthy of His love. As soon as I came to grips with His love for me, my life has been anchored. God used my twenties for His glory, and it is because of this I can say I am (mostly) ready for a new decade.

So there you go! Just my lessons I’ve learned in the most shaping decade I’ve experienced (yet).


Original blog post dated 12/21/14

Goodbye 32, Hello 33


Goodbye 32,Hello 33 (8)

I’m writing this post on Christmas Eve, but when it goes live, I’ll be 33. 32 is my favorite number, so I knew heading into this past birthday year, I’d mature a little more emotionally and intellectually, deepen in my faith, and explore the world a little further. I’ve loved most moments of 32, and thought I’d share with you some of my highlights.

  • Visiting England (again!) and Italy. Holy moly. Viva Italia! Trip of a lifetime with my Aunty’s family and my own family. We explored Tuscany for a week, and I cannot get over the food, views, and culture. I look forward to returning one day!

IMG_4810Riomaggiore, the first village in the Cinque Terre if you head North

  • Meeting my niece, Brooklyn Grace. My brother and sis-in-law welcomed her in July, and she is just the happiest of babes.
  • Writing for Anchored Voices monthly. If practice makes perfect, by golly I need to practice oodles more when it comes to my writing. Some months the words seem to leap onto the page, and some months I got a little stuck. I even missed a deadline or two this past year, and had to learn that space in the creative process of anything is needed from time to time. I developed a love for designing prints of Scripture as well.
  • Challenging myself career-wise. I studied for my National School Nurse Certification with two other friends/coworkers, and ventured about an hour away to take the 200 question exam. We then had to wait about a month before the results were mailed- in a digital era, let me tell you: this is torturous! Thankfully, I passed. In June I went with 4 friends/coworkers to a school nurse conference in San Diego. It was a fun and informative trip, filled with delicious meals, and that perfect 70 degree F sunshine. I also completed my fourth year as a school nurse, and I no longer feel like a novice. I know I have a long career ahead of me as a nurse, and this first job has been the truest blessing.

IMG_4385Visiting the Bob Hope statue, Navy Pier, San Diego with Beth & Janis

  • Learning to slow down, and submerse myself in the present, especially in my faith. I am learning to listen more, and talk less when it comes to my relationship with God. To read Scripture with expectant eyes. Emulate Jesus more- seek justice, and truth. Be peaceful and hope-filled. Look for opportunities to serve others, sacrificially and with a joyful heart. Pray without ceasing. Be okay with unanswered prayers- God is always working things out for my good. Ask God for His highest and best in all circumstances.

32 was a wonderful year, filled with family, friends, and God. I look forward to 33, or my Jesus birthday. I am anticipating more travel, time with friends and family near and far. I look forward to learning more about God, and life in general. Thanks for reflecting with me on year 32- I truly think life gets better, richer, as I age.

Goodbye 32, Hello 33!

Takeaway Tuesdays: Hebrews 13:2

I love Fall, ya’ll. Sweaters, boots, pumpkin baked goodies. Tea and coffee galore. Dinner with friends. As I’m thinking about Fall, and how it begins on Friday, I am prone to think about gatherings. Fall is the quintessential time of year to gather in our homes, for it naturally hosts holidays such as Thanksgiving. This Fall, I’m challenged and reminded to be hospitable to my fellow neighbor. This may mean someone who thinks completely differently than me, and that’s okay. There is beauty in gathering together. Let’s not forget that hospitality is not just for those gifted in it, but for every single person who knows and loves God. Let’s make this Fall a season of bringing together friends, new and old. Hebrews132

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Takeaway Tuesday: Exodus 33:18

I just listened to Annie Down’s podcast That Sounds Fun. The specific episode I finished had guest John Mark Comer, who is a Portland pastor/author. I so enjoyed this episode and loved how he shared about millennials (given I am one of those peeps), the post-modern church, Portland, and the like. One of my big takeaways from the podcast was the prayer John Mark suggests that the listeners pray, specifically echoing Exodus 33:18. In this passage, Moses is asking God to show him his glory, or reveal who God is in totality. I love that. I want to know ALL of God, and hope that this verse is your prayer too.


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