I wish I could say that my bedroom looked like this. (Actually, this isn’t even my bedroom. Thanks, Pottery Barn and Pinterest, for utterly gorgeous and utterly unrealistic home decor inspiration.)

Unfortunately, my bedroom looked this this:

Yikes! I kind of can’t believe I just posted this disaster on the Internet. However, I snapped a picture of this mess because I knew I wanted to write a blog about this lesson that God has been teaching me lately.

You see, I made the conscious choice to leave my room in cluttered chaos before leaving for work because I chose to spend that time with the Lord instead. It was one of those mornings where I simply didn’t have enough time in the day, and one of the following things had to give:

  1. My appearance
  2. A beautiful, organized bedroom
  3. Time with God
  4. Coffee and breakfast

(Okay, we’re going to go ahead and rule out the idea of giving up coffee and breakfast, because those are quite literally the fuel for the rest of the items above.)

So, let’s look at item #1, appearance. I could go to work without wearing makeup or fixing my hair, but honestly, I know that’s not going to happen. Why? Because I care about what other people think of me. And in some sense, rightly so! I am a #yopro (that’s cool lingo for “young professional”), and it’s important that I represent myself and my company well. So showing up to work looking like a pale ghost with Lizzie-McGuire-esque crimped hair is probably not the best idea.

That moves us to item #2, an organized bedroom with all clothing tucked away in its respective drawers and decorative pillows in their proper places. If fixing my appearance is to please other people, then fixing up my bedroom is to please ME. You know that feeling when you walk out your bedroom door, glance back at your Pinterest-perfect bedroom and gently sigh. Ahh, you think. Joanna Gaines would be so proud. That’s a great way to start a workday, and it leaves you feeling good about your life. For a little while.

But, without item #3, somehow the good feelings from your adorable outfit and nice makeup and organized bedroom (and even the coffee and breakfast) don’t last long. I recently read a story in Luke when Jesus went to visit his friends who were sisters named Mary and Martha:

 

Every time I read this story, I think, I am such a Martha. I am a PLANNER. A Walmart-list-maker. A person who loves to make others feel comfortable in my home. What if JESUS–Jesus Himself–came to visit my house? I can guarantee that I’d be frantically running around, making sure He was comfortable, preparing a delicious meal and cleaning up wherever I could. And if I looked over in the living room and saw my brother Andrew sitting on the rug, listening to Jesus, doing nothing to help clean up? Oooh… that would not sit well with me!

But what does Jesus say? “Martha, Martha,”––or put your name in there––”Rachel, Rachel, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.”

The truth is, I am anxious and troubled about many things. And we will ALWAYS be anxious or troubled in some way or another. But only one thing is necessary. Jesus ends the story saying, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” What did Mary choose? She chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His teaching.

Oh friends, what a privilege it is to hold the words and teachings of Jesus in the palm of our hands. I know I fall short of spending time as much time with Jesus as I should. In fact, I’m sometimes hesitant to post blogs like this, because I do NOT want to seem like I have it all figured out. I wish I could say that I spent plenty of time with the Lord every day, but in reality, I’m still learning this lesson. And each time I choose to spend time with Him over “things,” I’m reminded again that He is infinitely more precious than a pretty outfit or a pretty room.

What are the many things that are making you anxious and troubled? How can you choose to prioritize time with the Lord this week? Write out small steps of ways to put Jesus first, and see how He blesses your time in His Word.

 

It’s no secret that I love reading and writing about people’s stories. I’ve recently gone through three top-notch autobiographies from some of my favorite people in the entertainment industry. If you like them on-screen or on the radio, don’t hesitate to pick up or download a copy of their book. Enjoy!

The Magnolia Story (Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino)

Aren’t they the cutest? This book rewinds to the beginning of Chip and JoJo’s love story, which is just as sappy-sweet and comical as you would imagine. Both innovators at heart, Chip and Joanna take readers through the ups and downs of how they launched their one-of-a-kind careers, all while beautifully giving credit to God and His sovereign plan for their lives.

One of my favorite parts? The story of how Chip surprised JoJo by spending their extra money on a decrepit houseboat. This disastrous move on Chip’s part is what actually landed them a reality TV pilot.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham)

It sounds impossible, but I propose that you’ll walk away from this book loving Lauren Graham herself even more than the beloved Lorelai Gilmore or Sarah Braverman. Lauren is smart, witty, classy, down-to-earth, clean, funny, and oh so entertaining. You feel like she’s your best friend. (We ARE best friends, right, LG?) You’ll relish Lauren’s hilarious tales about skipping kindergarten, living on a houseboat, working in The Theatah (no thea-teeeer), being single (and why that’s okay), and of course, making Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.

One of my favorite parts? Advice from Old Lady Jackson. Lauren writes,

“Old Lady Jackson is a character I made up when I started catching myself giving advice–initially to Mae and Miles on the Parenthood set–that sounded like it came from your grayhaired grandma who spends her days in a rocking chair knitting your scratchy socks you pretend to love at Christmas. By creating this character, who was obviously very, very, very far away from myself, I hoped to confuse Mae and Miles, among others, into thinking that while I might sometimes seem to offer suggestions that could be considered a tad ‘old-timey,’ they weren’t actually coming from me…”

I think I have a little bit of “Old Lady Jackson” in myself, so this chapter was particularly comical to me. (Again, because Lauren and I are besties. Right?)

When God Doesn’t Fix It (Laura Story with Jennifer Schuchmann)

In contrast to the other two books I mentioned earlier, this autobiography carries a serious tone and many difficult truths. You might recognize the artist Laura Story from her radio hits like “Blessings” and “What a Savior,” but you probably don’t know about her personal hardships.

Laura began an unexpected journey only one year into her marriage, when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What initially seemed to be a “next surgery will fix it” situation turned into a realization that Laura’s husband would likely have serious memory issues for the rest of his life.

One of my favorite parts? Laura concludes each chapter with a myth and a truth. My favorite is, “MYTH: God can only use my story when there is a happy ending. TRUTH: God can use my story when I trust him in the journey.”

Laura tackles the topic of our “happily ever after” mindset, sharing how she learned to praise God in the midst of grievous trials.

•••

There you have it, friends! As always, I love to hear your thoughts on these books and on YOUR favorite biographies. Happy reading!

 

Friends, I am thrilled to introduce you to the super-talented, yellow-wearing, fun-loving, Erin Robertson! Erin is the WINNER of Project Runway Season 15, and I am honored to have her as my latest “Celeb Sit Down” guest.

Throughout the season, Erin won the hearts of Project Runway’s fans (and judges!) with her bubbly personality and out-of-the-box designs. After speaking with Erin, I can attest to her genuine, upbeat spirit and creative enthusiasm.

One thing that distinguished Erin from the other contestants was her bold use of color and willingness to take risks. I asked Erin if she ever got nervous before facing the judges (Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen).

“I really respect the main three judges. I was never nervous! I love critique and positive feedback,” Erin said, adding that she doesn’t view anything as “negative” feedback. “It never scared me.”

Erin also spoke highly of Project Runway host and mentor Tim Gunn, who encouraged Erin to stay true to her personal style. “I think his role is to test you to make sure you’re being you. Not telling you who you are or who you aren’t, but making comments that make you think. “

More than once, Tim was concerned about Erin finishing her look in time for the runway show. However, Erin said that working under a time crunch is one of her strengths.

“I knew I had a good chance of winning because I know how I work under pressure,” Erin said. “I’m a positive procrastinator, so a lot of times I leave things until the last minute, and then I whip it out!

For Erin, the hardest part of the competition was working in a different environment without the collaborative influence of her friends from home.

“I talk to my friends everyday, and when I work in the studio, I always get their feedback,” Erin said. “I’m very community driven, so I had to create this new community with these people who I’m competing with. But I was really lucky. Honestly, I loved everyone.”

As part of the series finale, Erin and three other contestants presented a 10-piece collection at New York Fashion Week.

“There’s so much that goes on behind the camera,” Erin said. “We woke up at 2 a.m., and they started filming morning reality at 3.” After hours of prepping models and rehearsing the show, the finalists presented their collections and collapsed backstage for a much-needed nap. “We woke back up, and they said they were going to announce the winner. We were all delirious! That’s the funny thing, and no one knows it.”

And that’s when Heidi Klum spoke the words Erin longed to hear: “Erin, you are the winner of Project Runway Season 15!”

Erin spent the evening celebrating with her parents, two best friends and other contestants from the show. She is currently in the process of receiving the Project Runway prize package, which she plans to use to purchase studio space and equipment.

Born and raised in Utah, Erin moved to Boston after high school and worked as a dental assistant before attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study fashion and fiber art.

“I did fashion when I was in high school,” Erin said. “I made my own prom dress and whatnot. Then I took a break because I didn’t think I could make money as a fashion designer. I wasn’t raised on the idea that you could go to art school and make money, or even that art school existed.”

In Boston, Erin worked in a dental research lab under Dr. Porsche, the woman who became her mentor. “I ended up assisting her in the lab for two years and doing all of these crazy of experiments,” Erin said. “I think that’s where I learned a lot of craft. I learned tenacity, that if you don’t do something right, you have to do it again. Failure is not an option.”

Erin’s design aesthetic can be described as playful and humorous, and she is a master at the art of unconventional materials. (One of my favorite pieces from the season was Erin’s dress made with meal worms and guitar pics. Amazing!)

“Part of my work is taking something and hiding what it’s original state is. I think [unconventional materials] are a challenge, but I like a challenge…” Erin said. “I find humor in that.”

Known for her signature yellow, Erin says that she has always been a fan of bold colors. “Even when I was a dental assistant, I would wear bubblegum pink scrubs when everyone else would wear black.” She often uses the banana motif, which Erin said was inspired from a cell phone case she got a few years ago.

“Do you still have that case?” I asked.

“I’m talking to you on it right now!” Erin replied.

One of my last questions to Erin was, “If you could be anything other than a fashion designer, what would you be?”

After careful consideration, Erin answered, “I don’t see myself as just a fashion designer. I don’t like to put myself in just one category. I want to be a bunch of stuff. That’s why I say I’m just a human!”

In the future, Erin plans to find a live-work space in Cambridge and continue studying sustainable textiles and innovating fabric development. You can keep up with Erin and her creative endeavors on Instagram at @an_erin, or visit her website, erinrobertsonart.com.

 

“Do you ever wish that we had a perfect Christmas tree?” Mom asked me a few years ago.

“ABSOLUTELY NOT ARE YOU CRAZY I LOVE OUR TREE OUR TREE IS PERFECT NO WAY!” I answered. Or something along those lines.

Let me step back and explain: Our tree is perfect, or at least it is in my eyes. Mom was referring to the kind of tree you see at the center of the mall or on display at Pottery Barn. The kind of tree that has a trendy color scheme, matching ornaments and a cohesive theme.

Our tree is what I call a “hodge podge collage” of everything. Oh, we have the gorgeous glass-blown crystals and the Pottery Barn glittery Santas. But we also have handmade macaroni preschool ornaments and the cheesy snowman that sings when you press the button on his piano.

I love our Christmas tree because each ornament tells a story. Let me share with you some of my favorite hodge podge ornaments and why they mean so much to me. Click through the photo gallery below (arrows on the sides), and read the descriptions underneath!

Arthur and D.W.

Arthur and D.W., my all-time favorites! “Arthur’s Christmas” was one of the books I could recite before I could read. Today when I read it to my cousin Caroline, I love the familiar cadance that easily flows from 20 years of long-term memory. This ornament features siblings Arthur and D.W. in their signature pj’s on the Read’s mint green living room rug. While they’re usually caught up in the latest sibling rivalry, Arthur and D.W. share a sweet moment eating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve.

Macaroni Ornaments

We’re pretty cute, if I do say so myself! I especially love my macaroni ornament because I’m smiling. If you come to my house and look through my early childhood photo albums, you’ll understand why this smile is so rare! I was a fairly serious child, and for some reason, I was hard-pressed to offer a photogenic smile. Andrew, on the other hand, could’ve been an OshKosh B’gosh model. What a cutie!

The Night Before Christmas

The best part about this ornament? It’s a real book! You can read the entire story in size 2.5 Times New Roman font. I always wanted Dad to read the book to us, a request that’s become increasingly more difficult with the passing years. It’s still fun to try!

Lakeside

I have always said that if I had to point to one physical place on the earth that I would call “home,” it would be Lakeside. Here is where I grew up, learned about Jesus and learned what it means to walk through life with Him as Lord. I could probably write a whole book about what Lakeside means to me, but I’ll just say this: I am eternally grateful for this family of faith who has played such a huge role in making me the person I am today. Thank you, Lord!

The Schoolhouse

I LOVE school! And I’m not kidding. In fact, only having one more semester of college is slightly alarming and definitely sad… Will YouTube tutorials be enough to further my education?! Anyway, Mom gave me this ornament the year I started kindergarten, and I love adding it to the tree each year.

Mom and Dad’s First Christmas

Aren’t they adorable? I especially love this ornament because our first house had green shutters just like these. Boy am I thankful for these two!

The Little Pianist

Mom got this ornament when she was a child. Every December, we pull out our Christmas duet book and attempt to clunk through a few holiday tunes. If you come visit us, you might convince us to play “Frosty the Snowman.” Expect to hear Mom’s disclaimer (“We haven’t played this in forever, so we’ll probably mess up!”) and my favorite saying to Mom, “SLOW DOWN!” All jokes aside, we both love the piano. Hopefully this ornament will pass on through the family line!

Baby’s 1st Christmas

Remember when I said I didn’t smile for pictures as a child? Yeah. This started day 1, literally! We always laugh at this photo and joke that I was ready to knock out anyone who got in my way. Don’t mess with Baby Rachel!

Big Ben

I love London. It’s incredible. Go if you haven’t been. It’s amazing. That’s all.

Andrew’s Cross

I’ve saved the best ornament for last: Andrew’s cross. When Andrew was a baby, he began having severe GI issues when he was only a few weeks old. The doctors had never seen a baby like this before, and the issue became very serious. Mom and Dad bought this ornament from the hospital gift shop during December. They wanted a reminder that God was in control, sovereign over the situation and holding little Andrew in His hands. Later, Andrew had gallbladder surgery at 10 weeks old, and he has been healthy ever since. This ornament reminds us of God’s amazing faithfulness and goodness, and we thank Him for giving us Andrew. Only Andrew can put this ornament on the tree!

 

And that, my friends, is why I love my Christmas tree. I wish you and your families a Messy Merry Christmas! Now go make some hodge podge collage memories of your own!


 

It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Unfortunately, we only have 20 more days where it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. I’ve put together a playlist entitled “Mix & Match Christmas” with some of my favorite, lesser-known Christmas songs. While these songs may not be top 20 on the radio, they are fantastic and well-deserving of a download! Enjoy!

Hello friends! I know you’re all excited to meet my next Celeb Sit Down guest from one of our all-time favorite shows, Gilmore Girls! This blog post is long-anticipated, as I’ve had this interview since early summer.

Now that we’re only three days away from the revival, it’s time for me to share my exclusive interview with the one and only… Emily Kuroda! You know Emily as the notorious “Mrs. Kim,” the mother of Rory’s best friend, Lane. From her fierce warnings about boys to her ruthless rules (“You break, you buy!”), Mrs. Kim has brought us many laughs throughout the series. So pour a cup of coffee, order some pizza and enjoy!

RS: What was it like reuniting with the Gilmore Girls cast? Who were you excited to see?

EK: The table read was so much fun. It was nice to see everyone! Keiko wasn’t there because she was shooting Grimm.

RS: What is your favorite episode of Gilmore Girls and why?

EK: I love them all, but one of my favorites is when I decide to kick Lane out of the house because she had looked me in the eye and lied to me. As she was leaving, Amy and Dan wrote a very short quiet scene — underlined with maternal conflict, fear, hurt and love.

RS: You have described yourself as “shy.” Are people surprised when they discover that your personality is very different from that of your character?

EK: They usually think it’s pretty funny.

RS: Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000. Did you expect the series to gain such longstanding popularity? Why do you think the show resonates with many different audiences?

EK: Amy and Dan are smart and witty and refuse to talk down to people. With so many shows on TV the audience is ahead of the story, but with GG they are always catching up. Jokes are not underlined, and when the audience catches one it is especially delicious. It is also based on real (although often far fetched) characters with very real relationships. Gilmore Girls appeals to the heart and the mind, and I think that is the reason the show has been so accepted and appreciated globally.  

RS: Even though Mrs. Kim and Lorelai are very different, they are both independent mothers with compelling mother-daughter relationships. What parallels can you draw between the two characters?

EK: The parallels between Lorelai and Mrs. Kim are the love for their only daughter and the difficulty of motherhood. Although Mrs. Kim has a loud bark, there were many times she doubted herself and her decisions.

RS: You had many comedic moments on the show. Can you remember a specific scene that was hard to film without laughing?

EK: The Bracebridge Dinner. I sat across the table from Sally Struthers (Babette) and Liz Torres (Miss Patty) — the two funniest (and kindest) ladies on the planet!  

RS: The show never addresses the character of Lane’s father. If you had to write in the character or history of Mr. Kim, what would his story be?

EK: It keeps changing. Sometimes I thought he was a missionary, or he had another family in Korea, or he’s a rockstar on the road…

RS: With over 30 years of experience in theater and television, which do you prefer?

EK: Gilmore girls was like a theater piece, but one that built and explored its characters over seven years. How lucky am I to have been given that!

 

Watch this clip from Emily’s favorite episode, “In the Clamor and the Clangor” (Season 4, Episode 11). Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, will premiere on Netflix Friday, November 25!

FAVORITE GILMORE GIRLS MEMORIES

Alright friends, we’re only 1 WEEK away from our beloved Gilmore Girls revival! As a way to celebrate, I want to share a few of my favorite Gilmore memories as we look back on the past 7 seasons. BUT, I need your help too! I’m asking you to share your favorite scenes or episodes by commenting on Facebook, reposting this article or tweeting @1RachelSinclair with your favorites… whatever you can do to spread the Gilmore love. I can’t wait to see your responses! 

1. Lorelai and Emily’s Fashion Show

You know Emily will do just about anything to ensure Rory’s bright future at Chilton, including going all out in the Booster Club’s fashion show that Lorelai somehow ended up hosting. Although horrified at first, Lorelai eventually lightened up and even smiled as she and Emily struck a final pose on the runway.

2. Rory’s Graduation Speech

“My ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be.  She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith.  As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.  Thank you, Mom: you are my guidepost for everything.”

Bring out the tissues, please!

3. Luke and Lorelai’s First Kiss

IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! This might just be my favorite scene of the entire series. And you have to love Kirk. He’s the cherry on top to make this a scene of perfection! #LukeandLorelaiForever.

4. Lane’s Baby Shower

Sweet little Lane… on bedrest with TWINS! The whole town (including Lorelai and the feisty Mrs. Kim) comes together for an epic baby shower for Lane, Zach and their twin boys. Lane is only able to attend the party because of her friends and family who wheel her across the town square to Miss Patty’s studio. 

5. Rory’s Graduation/Going Away Party

 

Good ole’ Luke pulled off the surprise party of the century. He stays up all night cooking hot dogs and sewing together tarps because of how much he cares for Rory! (And the townspeople, and… maybe Lorelai too?) Everyone from Stars Hollow comes to bid Rory farewell. Richard and Emily even make an appearance AND tell Lorelai that Rory’s incredible character and success is a testament to her parenting. What a sweet moment!

I’ve shared some of my favorite Gilmore memories, and now it’s time for you to share yours! Tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and spread the #GilmoreLove! And stay tuned for my upcoming #celebsitdown interview with one of the Gilmore Girls cast members!

Friends, I am SO excited to introduce you to one of my favorite TV actors–Atticus Shaffer! You know him as “Brick Heck,” youngest child of the hilarious and dysfunctional Heck family on ABC’s The Middle. Atticus has captured the hearts of Americans since the show premiered in 2009 through his quirky and endearing character. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed when he offered to speak with me a few weeks ago during the filming of season eight.

Atticus said he’s amazed at the new laughs and fresh comedy that come with every episode. “This season is probably one of the best seasons we’ve had where consistently, every week, the episodes are making me, my family and all of the people on set laugh out loud,” Atticus said. “Since we’ve been on [air] for so long, you wonder if stuff will ever get old or stale. But nope! Our writers are good!”

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One of the reasons my family and I love watching The Middle is because each character is so relatable in one way or another. We laugh when my mom has a “Frankie Moment” and forgets the snack bag, or when I do the “Sue Heck Dance” after receiving good news. I was curious to ask Atticus which actor’s real-life personality was most consistent with that of their character.

“Probably me,” Atticus said. “Not because I’m into fonts or I whisper to myself, but it’s mainly because Brick and I both follow the beat to our own drummer… I am who I am, and I’m accepting of that. Brick hasn’t necessarily articulated that, but it’s the backbone of who he is. He is smart, he is quick, and he says, ‘this is me.’”

Atticus said that one of his favorite episodes was “Halloween” from season two, where Brick dresses up as Sergeant Charles MacKenzie, a Scottish World War I hero. “I loved it because I’m a huge military history nerd,” Atticus said. “I got to wear a kilt for a week!”

Fans of the show often tell Atticus how they admire Brick’s self-confidence and enthusiasm. “I get people all the time who say, ‘We love your show, and we think your character is a role model,’” Atticus said. “I get to be a character that’s a role model and that your kids look up to? That’s insane. That’s so amazing.”

Atticus himself is an inspiration to others, as he continues to thrive in the television and film industry while overcoming the challenges of living with osteogenesis imperfecta. This genetic bone condition affects the collagen of his bone cells and increases bones fragility.

Atticus said he prefers to use the term “condition” rather than “disability.”

“My condition in no way disables me. And that’s really my message: if you have a challenge, a condition, or whatever, it’s nothing that can disable you… you work around your challenge,” Atticus said, adding, “You don’t focus on the can’t; you focus on the can.”

Atticus said his mom had a huge influence on him by encouraging him to find a way to overcome his physical difficulties. “If you can’t get through it, you work over it, under it, around it or whatever way you can. That’s what my mom taught me ever since I was little. She made the conscious decision that whatever I couldn’t get to, she would bring it to me if it was worth it. And she brought the world to me. Growing up, and even now, she brought the world to me.”

PART 2 of this article discusses Atticus’s family, faith and the story of how Brick got his name. Keep up with #celebsitdown by following @1RachelSinclair!

Like A Child

This summer I had the WONDERFUL blessing of living with my aunt, uncle and precious, rock-star cousins, Parker (8) and Caroline (6). I can’t tell you what a joy it was to come home from work to squeals of excitement, giant hugs and a million shouts of, “look what I did!”

I loved the everyday adventures of living with Parker and Caroline. Through laughter, tears and everything in between, they reminded me of what it means to be a child. God used this experience to give me a living picture of what it looks like be a child–His child!

Ask Questions

My favorite question of the summer was when Parker asked me what college was like. I begin to explain that I’m in 16th grade, I live without my parents [WHAT?!] and I sort of get to choose my own classes. Caroline looked at me with a squinty-eyed faced, like she was thinking hard. “Why don’t you play games instead?”

Good question, Caroline. If I get to choose my classes, why wouldn’t I play games instead? I said that the classes were for my “major,” which would hopefully lead to a job. I told her that I was majoring in writing.

Again, she makes the squinty face. “Why not crafts?”

Hmm. Why not crafts? I’ll have to run that by Aunt Angie and Uncle Don.

Be Messy

Sometimes I felt like a juggler, subconsciously waiting for something to fall, break, spill or who knows what else! But as time went on, I realized that making mistakes is part of the process of growing. If I never let Caroline hold her own milkshake, she wouldn’t learn how to keep it from spilling. If I always insisted that I hold onto the dog’s leash, Parker wouldn’t have the chance to practice being a leader and taking responsibility.

While I was always there to support and guide them, I couldn’t do everything for them. I’d be there before, during and after, but they had to learn some skills on their own!

Sweet Moments

So many sweet moments. This is a picture of a letter Caroline wrote me on a weekend when they were out of town. It’s just one of the many precious memories that I treasure from my time this summer!img_7818

Limited Understanding

This insight was probably my most impactful lesson from the whole summer. Sometimes children ask questions that are simply too big, too complicated and too above-their-heads to answer. I knew that they either could not understand, or they didn’t need to understand.

Friends, please stop and think about this in light of our relationship with God the Father. How many times do we ask, beg, yearn to understand things that don’t make sense to our small, earthly brains. God wants us to ask Him questions (James 1:5), but sometimes we’re not supposed to know the answer (Deuteronomy 29:29).

It’s hard, but it’s also comforting that we don’t always have to know. We can trust Him to be good, greater, wiser and better than our earthly perspective. Take a deep breath and let that sink it. That’s encouraging!

Limitless Love

There’s something unique about the pure, limitless love and adoration of a child. They aren’t afraid to wrap you in a hug, sit to by you during a movie or tell you that they wish you could stay forever.

As adults, we often think long and hard before expressing our feelings, especially to those we really care about. What if we weren’t afraid to say, “I love you” or “I need you”? What if we worshipped God with a pure joy that springs from the heart?

 

These are only a handful of the many lessons that God taught me this summer. Hopefully my experience will encourage you to examine your relationship with the Lord, the perfect Father!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14, NIV).


 

Dear Freshman,

College is awesome. It’s fun, hard, exciting, complicated… pretty much all of the above! College is where you learn about yourself as a person and make decisions for your ever-looming “future.” Truthfully there is no blog post, book, or conversation that can fully prepare you for the journey ahead. But, I wanted to take the time to share with you a few tips from my experience. Sit back, hang on and enjoy the ride!

 

1. Go and do.

College is FREEDOM! Wahoo! You are going to meet a million people from a million different places and have a million opportunities to do things that are new to you! Whether that’s studying abroad in London or trying out the new restaurant downtown, this is your time to go and explore. Always be on the lookout for local festivals, outdoor activities, concerts and cool day trips. Grab a group of friends, split the gas money and have fun!

dreams lizzie

2. Be wise.

Mama always said, “If you have that funny feeling in your stomach that something is just not right, don’t do it.” Friends, mama is right. While college is a time to have new and fun experiences, don’t compromise your standards. Stick to who you are. Use good judgment and don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’ You’ll always thank yourself for making the right decision.

3. Eat with people.

The simple but true strategy for making friends! Ask some classmates if they want to go to lunch after biology on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Invite the girls down your hall to join you for free queso on “Moes Monday.” Or–if you’re feeling extra on top of things–gather a few friends and cook one of your favorite dishes from home. Forget easy mac and Chinese takeout for one; meals are meant for sharing!

4. Miss home.

It’s okay. In fact… it’s normal! After spending 18 years of your life with the same people, it’s hard to not see them every day. FaceTime your family (and your dog) to keep up with those who love you the most. Plus, the time that you do get to spend with family is now even more precious!

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5. Really study.

College is no breeze, but it’s doable. My best advice? Study every week on a regular basis. Your next test may not be for two months, but boy do you need to know the material that you talked about in class today. Do the homework, read the books and–yes–go to class! Once again, you will thank yourself later.

6. Change your major.

But you’ve wanted to be a teacher since you were five years old! You thought you loved politics! You swore you’d never have the same career as your parents! I know. I’ve been there. You’re talking to the girl who used to consider becoming a lawyer, until journalistic law nearly put me to sleep. On the other hand, I thought I’d hate accounting, but I actually loved the class (#nerd). All that to say, be open minded! It’s okay to change your plan.

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7. Make many friends.

Friendships don’t happen overnight. As a freshman looking at a sea of hundreds of potential besties, it’s kind of hard to know where to start. I think It’s important for you to make many friends from different parts of college life. Don’t stick to one or two people and shut out everyone else. Take this opportunity to befriend lots of people, and be friendly towards everyone!