Friday, January 2, 2015


In my older years, ringing in the new year has become significantly more fun. I mean, it certainly doesn't beat Christmas...but it has it's own vibe, for sure. It is such a grand opportunity to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and look forward to the future.

2014 was a year of great growth for me in so many ways. It deserves a serious high five, really.

Here's a run down of major events:

April: Partied on a yacht for the first time thanks to the Sophomore cruise.

Graduated with my Associates of Arts degree and said good bye to some incredibly important people. 

Turned 20

Started a new summer job as a camp counselor with some really wonderful people.

The first of our group of girls got married. We all reunited in North Carolina to watch my roommate marry the love of her life. 

Began my junior year and moved in with my lovely Abby. We all went to Caladesi Island to kick off the semester. 


Went to Disney World for the first [real] time!

Went trick or treating with my favorite Florida family

Dealt with being separated from my best friend with lots of phone calls and Skype dates 

 Went to Disney World again for the Christmas party. Libby fell off of Caleb's shoulders in front of the castle. 

Saw a protest in Downtown Tampa before the tree lighting ceremony...

I don't set resolutions, but I do like to think of ways I can improve, not just in the new year, but in general. I also like to list things I would love to do at some point. 
This year I hope to continue the personal growth spurt I have hit within myself and try new things. I also really hope to travel a little more and take more advantage of my time in Florida. 

Here's to new chances. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Standing Up

I posted a little on Instagram about the shirt I am wearing today. It is from an organization called Fight the New Drug ( ). I urge you to watch the video on their home screen.

Anyone who knows me knows that when I discover a problem, I do my best to stand up and find a way to fix it. I am too stubborn to just sit down and accept defeat. I fight for the use of the word retard(ed) to be erased from every day slang vocabulary and for the world to recognize the worth of those with special needs.
I am passionate about this topic and...

But I realized that I have been missing a passion toward fixing the biggest issue of  all: Sin.

So I want to start this with my shirt, with a beginning to warn the world of the dangers of pornography and that area of sin.

Pornography has been so normalized by our society that to the world, there is no problem... It is just another form of entertainment and sex is just a bodily desire created to be satisfied. When we view sex in this way, we lose the beauty in its purpose that was created by God. Sex is not a bad thing when kept in its proper context, and we should treat the subject with respect and speak of it in a mature manner.
Porn does the exact opposite of that. Not only are people now having sex for their career, they're doing it for others to watch. The whole idea completely objectifies the human body and loses the beauty of love. It gives viewers completely unrealistic expectations of the opposite sex. When you really think about it, there are pictures and videos of the perfect men and women plastered all around us. We see them wearing little clothing and begin to imagine and desire traits that are just not realistic or even respectable. It can cause us to dismiss a wonderful person as "not good enough" in terms of physical attraction. Pornography, however, is on a level even deeper than Victoria's Secret or Hanes underwear ads.
It is the ultimate form of sexualizing humans and defaming the perfect plan God made when He created man and woman and sex.
I don't know about you, but I would never want a man I love to look at women portrayed in these ads or in porn, and compare me to them.I would never want him to look at them at all! The thought triggers a feeling of jealousy. Not that I see myself as inferior, but I don't want those women to have his attention.

I realize that porn is not just a man's problem. Women have desires, too. We can be tempted and tossed about in the same ways and porn is just as available to us as it is to men. But I obviously cannot speak from the man's perspective.

We wonder why sexual violence is rising and why teen pregnancy is a major issue. We wonder why children (yes, I mean CHILDREN) are becoming sexually active...
And the answer is right in front of our faces. And we SUPPORT it.

As I said in my instagram post, ignoring the problem is the same as supporting it.

Ignoring SIN is the same as supporting SIN.

I wanted to preface this post with the issue of pornography, but the real issue here is sin in its many forms. We lie, cheat, steal, curse, smoke, lust, live through greed. We are selfish and we give in to fleshly desire...we forsake our God...

We fall. And sometimes it's really hard to get back up from a fall into the pit of sin. But it is possible. We can never give up... Jesus died for us to have the opportunity to rise above it. We need to stand up against sin, refuse to never sit down and fight it tooth and nail. And I don't just mean for ourselves. We need to fight for our brothers and sisters and help them out of that pit. Trials are so much easier to face when you have those who love you right behind you, supporting you with every step.

We have to make sure others know they will not be dismissed or written off as a hopeless sinner if they come to us. My goal is for people to know that they can tell me their struggles and their temptations so I can do my best to help them through those tribulations. I have people I know I can tell my most secret of sins to and I can get support... but not everyone is comfortable enough to confess those things.
Fellow Christians, we need to make it a priority to open ourselves up and tell one another our problems. This is the most important kind of accountability buddy and we NEED them in our lives in order to win the battle against sin.

You can't win a war alone. But with Christ and those who love you, you can defeat the enemy and rise above your sin.

This is not the end... Please, please...never sit down against sin.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I've noticed more and more how this life is a balancing act. It's like standing on a tight rope, one-legged, and juggling a bunch of hats- while wearing a sparkly two-two of course, because you might as well do it in style.

What we strive for is balance. No wobbling and gasping and flailing hands, but lasting stability.
Sometimes we sacrifice for balance...we drop a hat or instead of the two-two we go for yoga pants because let's face it, they're practical for tight rope walking and what not.
We may never find perfect balance, but that is what keeps things interesting. There's give and take.

There's so much to experience in this world, and for me, this is such a short and valuable time in my life that I can't afford to waste it. So I try to flow with the give and flow with the take.

Sometimes you call it an early night and sacrifice time with others.
Sometimes you stay up until 3 laughing until everything hurts and tears roll down your cheeks.
Sometimes you get up and go- try new things, wear new clothes, adventure.
Sometimes you stay in your pajamas all day and watch movies.

Sometimes you stay by yourself.
Sometimes you stay with everyone.

Sometimes you are responsible and go to class, do your work, go to work..
And sometimes you skip class to go to Disney World.

And in their own ways, all of life's options are beautiful and worthy of appreciation.

From this:

To this:

Magical, I tell you. Magical. It may have been "irresponsible"...but for the sake of balance, we have to be irresponsible every now and then, right?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Call me Crazy...

As I am finishing my second Monday of the semester and beginning the second full week, I am....tired. Nothing philosophical about it. I am dead tired. I could go to bed right now and easily not wake up until tomorrow at 8:00. I crave a hot bath with soothing music, where I can just soak for at least an hour- refilling the tub with freshly steaming water every 15 minutes or so. I would slip my head under the water and close my eyes, basking in the comfort calm and darkness. But instead, I have lesson plans to analyze and write and I have to clean and I have to do laundry and 10,000 other things and I am back to the majority of my year.
It is so easy to get bogged down with all of the things I need to do that I forget to enjoy this experience. I am only in college for one more year after this, and then I will be out in the world. I am hit with this realization more often this year than ever before. I have found myself putting off doing dishes, or pushing a pile of laundry aside, or closing my textbook to just sit and laugh with the people I hold so dear and know I will not always be with. College is a unique experience, but what is even more unique is college at FC. This place is not normal...No, it is far from your usual college. This place creates family out of people who start out as total strangers making awkward small talk. Family that will separate after just a few years of being together and roam the world to shine their lights. This is not time to take for granted.

But I knew all of that. What I am realizing more than ever in the short period I've been working this semester is that my heart is where it should be. As I write these lesson plans and read about truly teaching children and educational policy, I have a thousand thoughts. I think "No wonder people complain about the education system" from time to time... But more than anything, I see the faces of the children I have already worked with in my life. I think about that time one of my kids finally understood place value and had a celebratory dance session. I think about the love I have for these children who have touched my life so exponentially and I think, "How could I want to do anything else?"

I am reminded that through hard work and determination can come beautiful successes. And I feel a ball of excitement (and a twinge of nerves) well up within my stomach.

I recently had to write my "educational philosophy" for admittance into the education program, and it felt like spilling my heart onto paper.

It read,

When I was six years old and sitting in my first grade classroom, I decided I wanted to be a teacher one day. I remember watching my teacher, Mrs. Cheatham, writing new spelling words on the overhead projector. I scribbled them down, picturing how much fun it would be to be a teacher and get to write on an overhead every day. While my reasoning may not have been very sound then, my dream never wavered. Once I entered high school, my future goal became a true passion. I encountered teachers who made me realize the impact that educators have in the lives of their students. It was then that I also started realizing how lucky I was to have the life that I have had. My eyes were opened to situations that some children are helplessly tossed into. I heard phrases like “never had a chance” and “well, look at his family” used to describe my peers or those younger than I. I don’t remember the exact moment, but one day a light bulb went off and I knew that I was meant to use my love of learning and my care for children to fight for those who “never had a chance” because “look at their families”. I don’t expect to be a teacher who has a Hallmark movie made about her, but I know that I have a chance to represent Christ in a way I wouldn’t have in any other profession. I will have the chance to be a role model for children who may really need to know that someone cares.        

To me, education is more than books and math problems. It’s a window into this world and a chance for a better life. I’ve seen people I love destroy their lives with drugs, I have seen promising young students give up, and I have seen where they ended up. It is my mission to prove to children at a young age that learning is a beautiful opportunity and regardless of their educational success, life circumstances, and all else, that they are loved and important. They are too good to succumb to the evils of this world and throw away the incredible things they could accomplish. Teaching isn’t just a job or a paycheck, it’s the chance to help even just one child recognize their potential and rise above circumstance. I want to teach in low income schools. I know it will be hard, but I also know that this is what my heart is meant to do. I could never imagine doing anything other than teaching and I am willing to work as hard as I have to in order to become the best teacher I can possibly be.

My goal, my purpose, is to show children that they are so so valuable. And while I can't tell them, I want them to know that they are in fact, so valuable, that someone died for them. Someone suffered pure agony and torture for them. That what they are born into does not hold them hostage and that they are loved.
I recently found a quote online that  I have on the door to my room now.

The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
I think I have opportunity to be that crazy person right in front of me...and I think I would be even crazier if I didn't take it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Growing Up and Moving On

I have been on this earth for 20 years, 2 months, and 11 days. When compared to the number of years other people have lived, that is nothing. 
In my life I have forged incredible relationships, learned invaluable lessons, climbed [metaphorical] mountains, and I am no where near done.

In just a few days I will be packing up my belongings and trekking down to Florida for my third year. It's crazy that just three years I ago, I was a shaking tear-filled bundle of nerves. A baby bird stretching her wings for the first time and tiptoeing to the edge of the nest. The ground was a long way down and I didn't hold much confidence in my abilities. But I had faith that God would help me through and that I would be led to chances for growth, and I jumped. I spread my wings and flapped, teetering and jeering from side to side. Little gusts of wind would come along and help draft me upward until finally, I held my own. I flapped and I flapped...and I flew. Not for very long... I got winded and had to rest. But I did it.

I am no where near an expert. I still fall. A lot. Storms such as anxiety and depression blew me down. I am still growing and learning, and let me tell you, I am still terrified.
I was hit with the realization that I will be graduating from college in about a year and a half. Then I will be a real adult. Right now I am still in training. Now, next to my usual anxieties of germs and the possibility of illness, money in the here an now, I have things like "Will I be able to get a job?" "Will I be able to pay off my debts?" "Am I going to have to live with my parents?"
I have literally woken up in fits of panic and sweat over these thoughts.

I have a lot I want to do in my coming years. I have a lot to look forward to. Right now, I am having to remind myself of those and push away the fears that go with the future.

Right now, I am ready to take junior year by the horns and taking another step forward, because no matter how badly I might want to, there's no going back. Childhood is over. I'm in my 20's and I am going to enjoy it.

Bring it, world. I am stronger and I am even more stubborn than before. I am going to enjoy this life and these lessons.

Here we go.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It is so easy to feel discontent. In fact, I think it's easier to feel discontent than it is to feel happy and at ease with what one has. Daily we are reminded of what we don't have. We don't have new, expensive things. We are not in a fulfilling job. We don't get to travel as much as we'd like.

Why is it so easy for that to take over our minds? Chances are, life isn't so bad.

My biggest issue with discontentment is my life placement. This age of college, while rewarding, feels like an eternal state of limbo. I am not a child, but I am not an "official" adult. My dorm is not quite home, but neither is home. I am working toward my life goal, but I am so eager to just be there. I am so ready to teach, to have my own place, to be settled.

Feeling discontent is a part of life...but it is something we can shake. It doesn't have to take over our thoughts. This sort of brings me back to my Daily Scavenge project. (which can be seen here: Or if you want to use the app, my username is creativelyerin Look me up!)

There is good hidden in the bad...there is strength hidden beneath weakness. Life is a classroom and you never stop learning, so I am reminded to stay patient and use this day as a learning experience. Today is making me better for tomorrow and so on. I may not be happy about it, but it is going to happen anyways, so I might as well get over it and take it head on.

I am making a pledge for this summer. I pledge to grow. I want to learn...I want to try new things. I want to go on more adventures.

Bring it, Summer 2014. Bring it, feelings of discontent. I have overcome more challenging things and I will not let you bring down my summer.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Unknown Beauty

A lot of my anxiety comes from the unknown and my lack of control. Anyone who knows me beyond the surface knows I struggle with this. When I get stressed, I feel like everything is spiraling out of MY control. It feels sort of like knocking over a glass of water. You bump it and can do nothing except watch it fall to the ground, shattering in a big mess of glass and liquid. While it is unlikely my life would ever get to the glass and liquid puddle, it is hard to fight the feeling that it is going there.

Long explanation short, I typically despise the unknown. Not knowing yet still harboring expectations puts me on edge.

Right now my stress lies in the fact I have so much to do and no time to do it. I only have four weeks of classes left...yet I have 4 papers, 6 tests+3 finals, 4 tutoring sessions, 1 General Knowledge test, and 1 Education Program application to get done. On top of banquet, Ariel's Bachelorette party, Sophomore cruise, kids' play, and packing. Needless to say, I'm stretched thin right now. Things are about to change severely and I don't do change any better than I do the unknown. I have been a whirl wind lately, trying to go-go-go, do-do-do to keep up.

But today was one of those days. One of those slow as molasses, sweet as sugar sort of Sundays. I think Sundays might be my favorite right now. They remind me to stop, breathe, and pray. When things are so busy and stressful, it's easy to push the thought that God is in control on the back burner. I know that it is ultimately true and that I will make it through whatever hurdle thrown at me, yet when I am suffocating underneath a list of to-do's, focus is lost. Today, my focus was regained and I feel refreshed.

After church this morning, I ate and jumped right on my laundry or else I wouldn't be wearing pants tomorrow. I did some studying for one of my tests this week, started reading a book for a research paper, and even snuck a nap in there. I was feeling just plain good. I stepped outside, the warm sun hit my face and I was struck with a thought.

The unknown is a truly beautiful thing. Equally terrifying, but its beauty surpasses anything I have planned for my life. Just because I am unsure of future does not mean the future is unsure. God knows what's going to happen. He is always there with me, holding me when I can no longer stand. He is here to help me, not tear me down. Everything that is to happen from this moment forward is perfect. Does that mean it will all be easy and exactly what I want? Not even a little...but isn't that what is so great? God is in absolute control. I still make my choices and have a nugget of power in my path of life, but regardless of my life choices, one thing will always stay the same. I am living for Him, not for me.

 Why do I crave control when His plan is far superior than my own?

I don't know what I need. But God does. I just need to remember that in the end, what is stressing me out isn't important. I will get through my school work. I might not make the grades I want, but grades won't get me to heaven.

And just to top off a relaxing Sunday, we had a song service at church this evening. It was truly encouraging. One of those services where you just really feel it deep down. I am blessed. I have such an awesome, powerful, merciful, loving God. His hand in what is uncertain is beautiful and perfect.

Anxiety doesn't mean we are weak. It doesn't mean we don't have faith or trust in God. It means we question our own ability and those fears overcome the knowledge that God is strong and His plan for us is better than anything we can imagine.

I will be OK no matter what the unknown has written for me, Jesus is my assurance of that. How wonderful.

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