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Sometimes life gives you more than you can write about. Now is a season full of just that. I know it’s been almost two and a half months since I sat to write, and it’s ironic because more has happened in these last few weeks than probably anyone should have to deal with at once.

I realize this is a personal blog where I usually write about really anything that’s going on in my mind at the time. Still, I don’t have nearly the space or time (except I probably do since this summer will be the most event-less/least busy time of my life sans retirement) to write through all the emotion about everything that’s happened. For those of you that know me on Facebook or Instagram you know what I’m talking about. For the rest of my readers, I’ll sadly tell you that my father of a very young but extremely full 64 years suddenly and shockingly passed away on the night of April 24th at our vacation home in Montana. He went peacefully and with no one surrounding him but the northwest forest and Canadian rockies that he loved second only to God and his family. We are extremely saddened, and our family and town sense a very real and very large hole because of his absence. Even amidst the deep sorrow that comes given that none of humanity was ever meant to grasp the concept of death, we find peace, hope, and comfort in the fact that he is now experiencing the very thing for which we were created – the fullness of joy, absolute awe, and too-glorious-for-words state of being overcome by the glory of God and seeing Jesus face to face. I know this journey of grief will look differently for my mom, my sister, and anyone else that was touched deeply by my dad. I’m praying for grace daily to know how to walk through this individually and alongside my family. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support by everyone in Waco, back home, and even my future community at Penn Dental.

To add to the extreme dichotomy of emotions I’m living in, let’s remember I  just graduated from Baylor on May 15 and said far too many “See you later’s” than I ever want to. I’ve never been sadder to say goodbye to a season than that morning I drove away for the last time. I made a nostalgic “Waco Love” driving playlist, and let’s just say I cried almost all the way to Tyler. I am overcome with gratitude for God bringing me to that glorious place 4 very short years ago, and I will never be able to articulate just how much Baylor and every single person that was a part of my home team truly mean to me. Even through this past month of grieving, I experienced some of the sweetest times with some of my favorite people my last few weeks living as a college student in the city that won my heart. I won’t even go into detail on how gracious (most) of my professors were with working things out for me to finish with excellence and graduate just as I would have had this never happened. Long story short, I did get my first B(+) – not even in an upper level science class but a personal finance class, lol jokes – but still managed to finish the journey and reach my long-time goal of graduating Summa Cum Laude.

I’m home for the summer for the strangest few months of my life. This is nothing against my home, my family, or the people of my hometown, but honestly it’s just weird. These few months are the definition of limbo: I’m completely finished with the past season but the next one isn’t here until August. I’ve never known zero work, zero school, and zero of my people back in Waco that know me better than anyone. I really have never known how to rest, so that’s exactly what I need to learn to do this summer. I’ve got a lofty book list (a mix of theology, medicine, philosophy, and everything in between), am playing music more than ever, have some concerts and visits to see other TX friends lined up, but other than that, I am really the most available I’ll ever be in my life. I am making space for quiet and stillness – things I know I’ll be desperate for in a few months.

I have way more I wish I could fill in and update but I had to just start somewhere, and this is the jumpstart to my goal of more consistent blogging during this season when I have plenty of more time to do so. I want to write more about the books I’m reading, the letters I’m writing and receiving (my new favorite thing), the songs I’m playing, the meals I’m cooking, and the memories I’m making before all-out school mode begins again. Oh yeah, I’m only living in Texas for about nine more weeks, WHAT? I’m still definitely getting more excited every day for my next adventure of being an actual student doctor and navigating a new city life, without a car and without all things familiar. Crazy, but it’s happening.

Until next time, I’m researching road bikes, dreaming of writing a song, digging deep in the Word, sleeping and eating better than I have for a very long time, getting my butt kicked in boot camp workouts, and contently living in this time of in-between.

I got my eyes wide, it’s not over yet

Tonight as I settle into my favorite writing spot in the 254 for a rare homework-free night, I’m finding myself in a place that I struggle to describe; I’m over halfway into my 100 day countdown project. I look up and that number I talked about last time that would quickly make its way down as I did my best to say I truly lived up each of my last days at college is doing just that: FLYING. I’ve learned a lot throughout these past fifty days or so about myself, God, Baylor, the future, and this town and people I have come to love beyond words.

All University SING will forever be one of the hardest-to-describe events to those not at Baylor. It will also easily be one of the things that’s been the most difficult to say goodbye to. Seeing more guyliner than I ever thought possible, being sore all over (including your face muscles) from practicing and performing for hours on end, watching the show two times despite exam week just because I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to, and the people that I would not have had the privilege to know had I not signed up for this crazy thing freshman year are just a few of my favorite things.
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I will never again doubt that God can do a new thing in us and through us despite our somewhat lack of expectancy. Even when we go on a spring break mission trip we’ve been on before, there is always more of his love to rest in, more of his holiness to bring us to our knees, more of his Spirit to overwhelm us, and more of a taste of what kingdom-minded community can truly look like. Awaken 2015 was a week that marked me and those that I walk with everyday in powerful ways. We witnessed the mighty hand of God at work in the community of Edinburg, TX, and I know he stirred new things in each of our hearts as well. The vulnerability, encouragement, and pure FUN I experienced with my community really opened my eyes to the gift I’ve had these past four years. awaken 2I never would have thought I’d find these kinds of friends [family] like I have. I’m talking the kind of folks you’re on the floor in tears with one minute and then the next you’re having a crazy joy-filled dance party or the occasional rap battle. During the trip, half of the time I would get emotional I’ll admit it wasn’t for spiritual reasons (although there were plenty of holy tears trust me), it was thinking about how that was really my last big event with Antioch college ministries, and that I only have a short few weeks before I’ll be leaving these people that know my heart better than anyone I grew up with and who are so for me through whatever life brings. They challenge me daily to go deeper and dream bigger. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared or nervous about the journey of finding community like this next year. I know God has more than I can imagine in store for me the next four years, and I have to trust that one of those things is a supportive, fun, joyful, accountable group of people that I’ll hopefully grow to know in the same way that I know and love my brothers and sisters here in little Wacotown.

A few weeks ago, I got some of the best news I’d heard in a long time. My sister and brother in law announced that baby number two would be another BOY, meaning I’ll get to be an aunt to TWO little ginger nephew nuggets come late summer. I can’t wait to meet E’s baby bro, but I’m just praying my sister doesn’t end up being late since her due date is right around the time I’d move up to Philly in early August. Dental school is gonna have to wait until I get to hold and kiss another perfect little bundle.

Speaking of, I officially have a place for next year and won’t be homeless in sketchy West Philadelphia [born and raised…]! I’m not lying when I say this apartment is literally in the back parking lot of the school, basically only separated by an alley. Read: zero commute time and zero worry (at least I think/hope) about “walking back home” alone after late night study sessions in any of the gorgeous Penn libraries (that make it on snazzy lists like these). I also have a roommate to split living costs and to make loneliness as a grad student moving to a city where I know NObody (except maybe Disfordentist) a little less likely. Our place looks SO nice, spacious, and new compared to most of the tiny, old, cramped places I had been researching, and it’s still in my price range that I was budgeting/expecting to pay! I’m excited to get to know M and even more grateful that God is so faithful to provide our every need when we least expect it. Commence the Pinterest apartment browsing in all my loads of [no] free time.

Concerts are still my love language. Spontaneity is also running through my veins more than ever. Last Thursday I told my friend from high school at UT that I was buying a (dirt cheap) ticket to see Jon McLaughlin, Dave Barnes, and Matt Wertz at the Belmont downtown Austin and basically that she was joining me for a little catch up time swooning over our musician crush together. She agreed. concert 1We went to dinner at the cutest place, and over seafood rellenos talked about how trying to be a doctor is definitely hard, and going back home to see old friends in different seasons can sometimes be harder. photoI spent Saturday at my other favorite coffee shop soaking up the 75 degree sunshine for hours studying for an exam I might’ve still bombed today. I can’t say it was a wasted morning, though. I’ll miss my spontaneous road trips to that city I love so much, and really I’m realizing just Texas in general. God bless Texas.

I’m officially done writing biblical study / religion research papers and am only a creative project and final away from completing my minor in religion. I know dental school will definitely bring its challenges, but I’m almost certain writing highly engaging essays on interpreting the words of Jesus isn’t one of them. The paper I wrote on Christian wealth (titled “A Useful Tool or Terrible Lord”) that I didn’t feel was necessarily my best work received surprisingly high remarks from my favorite professor. When I read his incredibly encouraging final comments on the paper, it definitely made my week. Not just because of any certain number grade I received, but just to read such sincerely affirming words from a teacher who notices my work I put in and who says he’s grateful to have seen my biblical thinking mature over the couple of classes I’ve had with him. I can only pray my mentors and teachers in this next season of life truly care as much as he (and a select few other professors I’ve loved) does.

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I can’t promise how much I’ll get to write over the next few weeks of springtime craziness and you know, trying to pass so I graduate, but you can always keep up with my graduation countdown (aka mini daily blog posts) on Instagram. I’m looking forward to a trip home for Easter this long weekend and to keep waking up knowing there’s a reason. All my dreams come alive, life is for living with you. — *shameless plug – go buy Hillsong Young and Free’s new album asap. 

100 days til graduation!

I refuse to believe it. One hundred more sleeps until I wake up a college grad. I’ve already warned everyone I know because I know I will be an emotional WRECK come May – a complex combination of excitement, intense sadness, denial, relief, gratitude, pride, joy, lots of tears, and crazy celebration. I’ll skip the details of all my sappiness for now, but I did want to write today to document the beginning of my countdown of all countdowns. I’m planning on keeping track of watching that 100 inevitably get smaller and smaller by posting a photo a day that highlights something worth remembering each day. I promise this really isn’t a way to get double-taps on Instagram but more of a modern-day scrapbook of sorts. It could be documenting cross-offs from the Baylor bucket list (remember this? yeah I’ve got more to add), spontaneous adventures, more “lasts” than I’d like, and everything else in between. This little project of mine will ensure that I grab each and every day in all its entirety – the beautiful, big, hilarious, crazy, and irreplaceable gift of the 24 hours it is – and capture these moments so I can look back on them years from now. I desperately want to know that I soaked up every second of my last days at the best university on the planet with the greatest people I’ve known during the most incredible four years of my life (so far). I’d love to see some of my classmates’ memorable moments during the countdown as well!

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So you’re done with high school: A college senior’s thoughts to new grads


2003d52d4a3d26c5b571be9aca7df730We all know what time of year it is: the season for graduations. I wanted to write tonight addressing new high school grads bound for the next big step as a senior who’s now had enough time to gather up little bits here and there of advice on how to navigate this whole thing called college. f41544ab177000e17f3874cba3896da7

Think of this as simply my words of wisdom to a younger me, and take them for what you will and even call it cliche. I am not at all trying to convince you that I have everything figured out, because that is far from the truth. I do believe that I am a credible source of how to at least succeed academically, and hopefully along the way you’ll also thrive socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically in these glorious four years of your life. The real world will be here far sooner than you would like, I can promise you that.

I don’t even know where to begin because there is so much I wish I had time and space to tell you. ee89b68318b6ef81d797b76d9b81f911

1. Don’t stress if you don’t know what you want to major in. Ideally you can at least narrow it to a broad department such as humanities, science, business, etc., but even if you aren’t at that point, don’t fret. Yes, freshman class scheduling can be easier and more beneficial to you in the long run if you do have a general idea, but  whatever you do, don’t hesitate to switch departments the second you feel that it’s not right for you. If you don’t enjoy studying for your freshman biology class, you probably shouldn’t stay bio/pre-med (like the 70% of the incoming freshman class at Baylor, for example). You’re looking at at least twelve more years of that, so if you don’t love it now (when it’s beyond easier than anything in your future education), you never will. I don’t know exact statistics, but I’d say most students end up changing their major/career path at least two or three times before coming to a decision. For me, in high school I considered biomedical engineering. I entered college thinking I wanted to major in biochemistry, minor in nutrition, and was still back and forth between pre-med (surgery) and pre-dent (orthodontics). Well now I’m a biology major minoring in business and religion applying to dental school strongly considering oral and maxillofacial surgery. Life changes. Experiences affect you. God leads you down different paths. You change. It’s all OK and so worth it in the long run. So be flexible, moldable, and willing to give up what you think are your dreams so God can give even bigger and better ones for you.

214539a210d7628c3cfabca645a7c2262. Be yourself. College is awesome for endless reasons, but one of the ones I loved the most is that literally know one cares who or how you were in high school and back home. No one cares what you made on your ACT, what varsity teams you were on, or if you always (or never) had a boyfriend/girlfriend. For me, I had always thought my pre-college identity was tied up a lot in academics, sports, band, and just about every extracurricular activity there was. It was so refreshing to come to college and nobody had to know what all I did in high school, and they wanted to get to know me for ME, not what I do. The thousands of people you will be surrounded by are all on a new, crisp, unwritten page of their lives just like you. Want to join the crew team but have zero experience? Go for it. Inspired to step out on a limb, leave behind your introverted ways, and try out the salsa dancing club? There’s no better time. Adopt a completely different style of the way you dress just because you feel like it? Why not? While judgment by others is unfortunately inevitable in every stage of life, I feel like college is far less so than shallow small town high school where everyone knows everything from the last eighteen years about everyone. People are drawn to confident, unique, multifaceted, and fun people. So make a new name for yourself, be quirky, and not cookie-cutter.

IMG_40923. Figure out how to study, and figure it out fast. Sorry, whatever you did in high school is so far from this new way of living that I speak of. Experiment with lots of methods to find what works for you – type notes on your computer, record lectures, handwrite notes with room for drawing and categorizing, make flashcards, etc. Are you a better solo studier or do you benefit from a group setting? Whatever you do, please please please don’t start the never-ending snowball effect of procrastination. Would you rather have 4 weeks of hell during the semester come exam times, or just some slight discipline every week to keep life manageable? Look over your notes daily, rewrite them if needed, find online resources like quizzes and videos, find accountable and focused people to study with (some to challenge you and others that you can help explain material to), and my next point:

robin-williams-carpe-diem4. GO SEE YOUR PROFESSORS. Seriously I can’t stress this enough. They get paid to teach you, so if you’re not getting it in class, go to their office hours for one-on-one extra help as soon as you feel lost or behind. Not only that, but if you end up pursuing professional or grad school, you will need several letters of recommendation from professors that actually know you on a much higher level than just where you sit in their class. More than anything, a large portion of them can be extremely relatable, encouraging, and genuinely interested in your life and ambitions. They were once college students too! I’ve been so blessed at Baylor to be surrounded with sincere and caring professors and mentors, overwhelmed by how incredible they’ve made my undergraduate experience. I’ve been over to one of my professor’s house for dinner with classmates, exchanged personal blogs with another, had several long life chats leaving refreshed and uplifted, and even hope to workout sometimes with one of them next year. Don’t graduate college wishing you would’ve made a better effort.

6c10fa6751fe7166c18dec7b9a063a6c5. Get plugged into a spiritual community that fits for you wherever you might be in your faith journey. Finding a new church can be a really overwhelming thing to think about right now. You’ve probably grown up in the same church for most of your life and you’ve reached a level of comfortable and predictable that you are just fine with. Well, college is a time to figure out your own individuals beliefs, personal preferences for corporate worship and small groups, and discover where God would have you in this season to really stretch you and to thrive in your relationship with him and with those around you. Just because you went to a Baptist or Methodist church with your parents your whole life, does not at all mean that that’s where you’re expected to end up in your new home. I’m not saying it would be a bad thing, it just doesn’t have to be the only option. As someone who spent the majority of their life in a very conservative Southern Baptist church and is now attending a non-denomenational, mission-minded, and so-called “charismatic” community church, I can confidently say that I adore my church and church family, and I know that I’m where God knew I needed to be. Spend some time “church-hopping,” and if you really want to make the best choice for your faith, don’t only go where your new-found friends are visiting. Find your new home, and don’t wait too long to wish you would’ve sooner.

I probably will end up having a sequel to this post, just because I’m so passionate about telling younger people the truth about this thrilling, nerve-racking, harder than anything you’ve ever done but also so much better time of your life just around the corner. But it’s midnight, and because college is so notoriously sleep-depriving, I’m tired.

3ff4f9b4d4a4ab1e38ce11dfd5856582Congrats, class of 2014!