Chasing the Wind: The Battle of Envy and Comparison

Well, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? The last time I posted, I had just gotten back from a semester abroad in Ecuador and a trip to India. Now, I’m halfway done with my spring semester of junior year. Life has been so crazy since being back. After having six months of life centered around cultural experiences and exploration, rather than work and rigorous studies, it was extremely difficult to get back into the studious routine that I have lived my whole life. Now I’m back into the swing of things. It’s been one of the happiest, yet most strenuous semesters of my college career. I’m happiest in the sense that I’m reunited with my friends and professors who I’ve missed, and I’m back in a community that feels like my second home.


My classes in Biochemistry, Systemic Physiology, and a History course on Poverty, Charity, and Welfare are so intellectually stimulating; they have made me begin to think about how I can use my future in science to provide a voice for those who are less fortunate.

The biggest weight on my shoulders is the MCAT, the entrance exam a person needs to take to apply for medical school. I’m taking the exam in less than a month, and this semester has been a roller coaster of feelings from peace to anxiety to confidence to inferiority. When I got back this semester, I realized that more people in my class are applying to medical school than I thought, and immediately I felt threatened. I felt like now more than ever I have to prove myself to others. That mentality quickly spun out of control. I would get these thoughts saying that I needed to be the best, not only for the MCAT, but for my other classes as well. If other people did as well as me, or almost as well as me on exams or anything that had a grade attached, I would get mad at myself and I couldn’t feel happy for the other person. Then one day, I began thinking, why do I get upset if other people, especially my closest friends, achieve something good? As their friend, shouldn’t I be happy that they are happy and succeeding? If I worked hard and achieved something, wouldn’t I want others to be happy for me? I realized that I had let comparison and envy obscure my perception of the events occurring around me.

In Ecclesiastes 4:4 it states, “all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” This verse resonates so deeply with me. Because I let comparison and envy take control, I lost sight of why I want to attend school and pursue medicine and public health. When my head and heart are in the right place, I know I want to pursue this career because it combines my interest of science with my desire to fight for social justice, especially in regards to access to quality healthcare. Plus, I believe that a large aspect of faith is not only what you believe, but also how you conduct your life in order to bring love, joy, peace, etc. into the world. Especially with all of the horrors occurring recently, I feel especially called to take action by doing everything I can to bring goodness into the world; for me, I think medicine and public health is one way I can achieve that.

However, when I let envy and comparison creep in, I find myself wanting to achieve not with the hopes of fulfilling my vocation to serve others, but to impress others. I either want to be as successful as other people, or I want others’ successes that I do not have. This cycle truly is like “chasing after the wind.” These negative thoughts don’t make me a more successful person—they bring me down and threaten my relationships with others. These thoughts never make me feel satisfied because they force me to believe that my worth stems from how I compare with others, and I forget that my worth comes from God, who created each of us to be unique individuals.

So throughout this last month, I was reminded that it’s pointless to try to compare myself with others because God intentionally created us to be different individuals, pursuing God’s will for our lives in different ways. They only way that I can find peace and joy is if I become content with who God created me to be, not by how well I appear in comparison to others. This is still very much a struggle, and I think it always will be something that I have to work on. However, acknowledging that envy and comparison are areas of my life I need to address has already helped me start changing my actions towards others. For example, I’m trying not to talk about grades or any scores with people because that can just turn into a numbers game. Also, when something good does happen to one of my peers, especially if it’s something that I wanted as well, I don’t offer up a shallow congratulations, but tell them how happy I am for them after I have processed the news to the point where I genuinely feel that emotion.

Like it said in Ecclesiastes, envy is meaningless, and I can attest to it first hand. We live in a culture that thrives on competition and success, but I realize that if I can resist the temptation to look to others for self-worth, I can find peace in the fact that God made me for a specific purpose, unique to anyone else, and with that in mind, I can focus on becoming the best version of myself.


Lots of love,



Saying goodbye to the best year of my life

And just like that we are in 2018. 2017 was probably one of the best years of my life. It was a year of adventure, growth, and meaningful connections. At the end of this year, I feel extremely grateful and happy for the opportunities that God has given me. Like I have mentioned in previous posts, faith and spirituality is a key part of my life, but it is complex and confusing. Oftentimes I don’t know what to believe because there are so many different belief systems in this world. But throughout this year, I cannot deny God working in my life. I do struggle with all the hardships that are occurring around us—mass shootings, sexual assaults, natural disasters, threats to go to war, etc. At the same time, though, there is a ton of good happening. There a lot of people standing with those being oppressed or starting conversations about issues that need to be addressed. In my own life, a lot of good resulted too.There were moments that occurred during this year that I can’t take credit for; I owe those experiences to God. These briefly were the highlights of the past 12 months.

2017 Highlights

  • January: Being able to lead a group of students to volunteer at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and starting my second semester of sophomore year
  • February: Lunch dates with my friends at Phils, study sessions in the library, attending my friend’s bridal shower
  • March: Making the most of our late night Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy labs with my best friend Kelly, spontaneous trips to Dairy Queen with my friends, leading discussions about faith and vocation for my job
  • April: Volunteering at the YMCA and teaching toddlers to swim, late night hangouts with my friends, presenting research at my school’s research forum, going to Royal Family Kids Camp training
  • May: finishing finals, giant ice cream cones at the caf, visiting Rachel in Edinburgh!
  • June: Shadowing a family medicine doctor, Royal Family Kids Camp!, Maine!
  • July: Trip to Appleton to visit friends, volunteering as a Spanish interpreter, Mary’s wedding
  • August: Leaving for Quito!
  • September: Going to the Amazon and Mindo
  • October: Galapagos!!, Timmy Global Health, Volcán Corazón
  • November: Traveling to the coast, hikes galore, Baños
  • December: Cotopaxi!!!, celebrating my 21st birthday, coming home!

2017 was great, but I am even more optimistic for 2018. My hope is that on a global level,  the devastation occurring in the world will move people to get educated and to take action. This year, I want to place even more emphasis on reducing my waste so that I can help conserve this beautiful world. I also want to continue exploring topics about faith and social justice so that I can try to create small positive changes by living with compassion, empathy, and dedication. On a more personal level, this year I hope to travel, challenge myself with new races, and dedicate more time to reading. I believe this year will be truly monumental. I will finish my junior year and start my senior year of college. My best friend will get married. I will have applied to medical schools, and hopefully I will have maybe gotten in to one. While I will never know for certain what lies ahead, I can’t help but feel optimistic and also open to however God is going to work in my life.

Lots of love,


Week 7: Embracing Life in Ecuador

Hola a todos!

This week was extremely relaxed. I had no tests, barely any homework, and really no major plans. Having a week to just recharge has been refreshing, but also challenging. If life in Ecuador is teaching me anything, it is how to be more “chill”. As a person who thrives off of structure, punctuality, and full agendas, this laid-back way of life still throws me off. If I could describe the feel of life in Ecuador, I would say that life is not about what you accomplish in a day, but who you spend your time with. It’s very people-oriented, rather than than task-oriented.

Since this is a people-focused culture, time loses its power. If we are late to this, it is fine. If we can’t visit everything on a trip, no worries. It is all about the experience of being with the people you care about, regardless of how time is functioning. Even being here for seven weeks now, I still struggle with this lack of structure. I’m the annoying person who wants to see and do everything on trips. I get impatient if we run late or can’t check off all the sights that we had planned to see. In my day to day life, to combat the lack of structure, I create it myself by working out, studying for the MCAT, even blogging. If my day feels full, I feel accomplished.

I clearly see how detrimental this mentality can be. I can get so sucked into doing things that I’m not really enjoying the day, I’m just mechanically moving through the day in order to check off my to-do list. If I’m so focused  and structured, I can miss out on the spontaneous moments with friends and family that form the memories I treasure the most. That’s why I’m so grateful to be in Ecuador—to receive a lesson on truly living.

So this week, instead of going stir crazy with the lack of stuff to do, I found ways to enjoy the lack of structure—I got lunch with Estefanny, my friend from Ecuador, talked to friends from home, and most importantly, I started reading a book just for fun, and now I’m obsessed. You will find me reading just about anywhere simply because I want to.

I still struggle with adjusting to this lifestyle, but this challenge couldn’t come at a better time. After I get back to the States, I’ll be thrown into real school again, with the bonus of trying to prepare for medical school. I don’t want my agenda to rule my life; I want prioritize time for my family and friends because they mean more to me than any “productive” day could offer.

Even though it is uncomfortable to change the way I’ve always lived, I’m so thankful for this semester in Ecuador to challenge me to stop thinking of my time as solely quantitative, but rather to give precedence to doing the things I love with the people I love.



Plant the Seed, Water, and Wait

A few short days ago, I returned from my fourth Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for abused and neglected foster children. These children were exhausting, but also charming, silly, kind, and filled to the brim with a desire to be loved unconditionally. This year, my campers were as sweet as can be. My first camper and I bonded the most through hairstyle creations. She loved to do hair, and despite the fact that I had to walk around with ridiculous buns on my head or with a unicorn braid standing straight up, I loved watching her be so gentle with my hair. I think that giving her a motherly, nurturing role and allowing her to use positive touch was extremely healing for her. My other camper was more shy, but her guard came down when we went swimming. Nothing is sweeter than hearing pure, genuine laughter from a little girl. In the pool, her smile was contagious, and we had a blast playing catch with a beach ball or swimming for various diving sticks.

My two girls were extremely appreciative of this week. I received cute letters and pictures thanking me for camp and for being their counselor. I could clearly see how a week of unconditional love and undivided attention for these girls could be life-changing. However, that is not always the case with each camper. Sometimes, you give out every last drop of love and patience to your campers, and you barely see their hardened shells crack. Many times a camper will move placements throughout the year, so you never get to see them again—never knowing if all of your efforts even made a difference. That is why I believe Royal Family is one of the hardest mission trips I have ever been on. We work relentlessly throughout this week at camp, but may never see how that work transforms the lives of our campers. At other mission trips, it might be easier to feel like you made a difference. For instance, if you built a house or served food at a homeless shelter, the effects of your work are more tangible. Here at camp, we must be completely dependent on God to carry out the efforts made at camp. During this week, we plant a seed in each of these campers through messages of God’s power, strength, and love. Just by giving of our time, we hope to show our campers that they are valuable, that people care about them, and that God will turn their painful pasts into something beautiful.

My work at camp is done for the year, but God is just getting started. I may never see how God is transforming the lives of my girls and all of the campers, but I trust in the plans that he has for them. While even typing those words seems so cheesy, I can’t believe that God would allow these children to suffer physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect while other people, like me, have lived with families who love and care for them. I can’t imagine such an unjust God. Therefore, I have to trust that God will use their pain for good because I believe that God has intentions to use every person he places on Earth. For now, I’ll be praying for all the campers that came to Royal Family over the course of the year—asking that God continues to show love to these children and that they can find a safe home where they can prosper and grow.


Lots of love,


The Cusp of Change

The first few weeks of summer have been a whirlwind of events. I went to Scotland, I am preparing for Royal Family Kids Camp (see my posts about them here and here), the MCAT, my study abroad experience for this fall, and to top it off I’m trying to squeeze in some work and volunteering. I just realized that my early 20’s will be flooded with change, more than I’ve ever experienced. As a person who is comfortable with consistency and routine, all of these upcoming life events are completely overwhelming to me. I think God is using this point in my life to challenge me: Am I going to rely on self-sufficiency or trust in God?

While my inner self feels a need to exert my independence and take control of this period of change, I know that I need to work through this cognitive dissonance and rely on God to lead me through this season. At this point in my life, I don’t really view God as this all-controlling being. I think God allows us to use our free will to make decisions about our lives. However, when making these decisions especially in these new situations, I don’t want to ignore God—I hope that I can recognize God walking through life with me. It’s so easy for me to outline my future: I want to study abroad, finish school, go to medical school, establish a career, have a family, etc. Now that I am on the brink of so much change—change that could drastically alter my path in life for the next few years— I need to take a step back and be honest with myself. Am I doing this for myself or for God’s glory?

I have been thinking about these upcoming life events, and I do believe that this plan is what God is calling me to do. I think, more importantly, I need focus on integrating daily prayer into my life. I want to be intentional with these changes in my life and ask key questions for each new situation. Who do you want me to meet, God? What am I supposed to gain from this change? How are my experiences going to help me make Earth more like Heaven?

I can’t be swept away by the idea of change in the future. It all is so uncertain, and no matter how these changes affect my future, I want to make sure that I am living my life for God first and foremost. I trust that God can use my passions and strengths to do good. On this cusp of change, I hope that I can rely less on myself and instead trust that God is leading through these new periods of my life.


Lots of love,


A Lesson in Humility: A Recap of My Children’s Medical Trip

Before embarking on this Children’s Medical trip to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, I couldn’t help but create expectations for what I wanted the trip to be like. I wanted to spend one-on-one time everyday with sick in-patients, giving them joy, hope, and encouragement. I yearned to hear stories from the families about how they were dealing with the stress of having a sick child so that I could offer a listening ear and an empathetic heart. What we got instead was little patient contact and a lot of filing, copying, and stuffing of envelopes.

The reality of this trip was so drastically different from what I envisioned, and for a while, I was bitter. I knew that other Children’s Medical trips to Iowa and Tennessee were having a very different experience than we were having. I realized, however, that I was being selfish with the service that I was willing to offer. As the week went on, my group discussed how we could all benefit from a dose of humility. We came to serve this hospital. No service (administrative or patient care) is below us. With that notion in mind, our group was able to enter the hospital every day with positivity. When we got to do arts and crafts or play games with smiling children, we cherished those moments. Other times when we were doing paperwork, we tried to use that opportunity to learn more about the behind the scenes jobs that need to get done in order to make the hospital run.


This trip was not what I expected at all. Despite the challenges we faced, I have many memorable moments with my group. My favorite child interaction was when I was running “Art Cart” for the out-patients. I saw a little boy running around, and his dad looked exhausted, so I decided to see if I could harness his energy. The little boy and I began playing a modified form of Red Light Green Light. Soon other kids were joining in, and we played this game along with Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, and whatever other games I could think of on the spot. Needless to say, the kids had an endless supply of energy, and I definitely got my cardio in for the day.

My other memorable moment was making dinner at the newly built Ronald McDonald house. This facility was beautifully renovated. It is clean, cozy, and comforting for the families who stay there. Plus, their dog Mac brings a smile to everyone. On Thursday night, we decided to make “Breakfast for Dinner” for these families since we heard that many people were sick of eating pasta or chili. After getting a tour from the wonderfully dedicated maintenance man, Ernie, we whipped out the red and white striped aprons and got to work. We flipped pancakes (topped with your choice of chocolate chips, bananas, and/or sprinkles), scrambled eggs, fried some bacon and sausage, and even made cookies. It was a great feeling knowing that we could provide a home-cooked meal for these families. I am so thankful that Ronald McDonald house exists because if I had a sick child, the last thing I would want to do is worry about where to stay or what to eat. Here, the families can just focus on being there to support their children at the hospital. I’m so glad to have been able to serve in such a wonderful facility.


Finally, my group was filled with funny, kind, and positive people. Before we began our service at the hospital, we bonded by rock climbing to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. Luckily, no bones were broken—just one scraped up leg resulted. Later we bonded further by cheering on the Packers at Buffalo Wild Wings, even though we were surrounded by dedicated Dallas fans. Luckily, the Packers were victorious, so we were able to leave with our heads held high. Whether it morale boosting Baskin Robbins runs, murder mystery podcast listening sessions, or intense games of Uno attack, our group couldn’t have gotten along better. Even when we were disappointed at times about our service, we were able to laugh it off and face each moment with the positivity needed to get through the week.


So no, this trip is not what I expected it to be, but as a result I grew in my ability to lead, adapt, and remain positive in unpredictable circumstances. I was challenged to volunteer selflessly and humbly, realizing that we were helping the hospital no matter what type of service we were giving. I was able to bond with my wonderful group and meet some of the nicest people with Southern hospitality, such as Margie from church who cooked us a meal for free, the men from the simulation center with their passion and enthusiasm, and Blake from the research center who was so excited to educate young adults like us. Even though this trip didn’t go as planned, I can still walk away feeling accomplished in the ways that I served others and built relationships with the people I met.


Hasta Luego 2016!

Here we are–December 31, 2016. Just like that, another year has flown by. This year was characterized by college, friends, family, and travels both small and large scale. While I’m sad that life occurs too quickly, all I can say is that I am thankful to be where I am today. I’m healthy, happy, loved, supported, and so much more due to the communities that I have been blessed with. I’d just like to take a moment to recall some of my favorite memories with you.

  1. January: Learning about the HIV/AIDS social justice issue on my service trip to Chicago, IL
  2. June: Shadowing an OB/GYN and getting to use the doppler to hear a baby’s heartbeat
  3. July: Visiting Seattle, WA and Alaska on a cruise with my family
  4. July: Exploring Chicago, IL with my mom: visiting Navy Pier, shopping, eating delicious food
  5. August: Completing my first triathlon despite the terrifying swim portion
  6. August: Being a camp counselor to a precious foster child at Royal Family Kids Camp
  7. Summer: Hiking and exploring Milwaukee with my high school friends
  8. School year: Having my job on the ALIVE team, being a TRIPS leader, spending time with my friends, beginning research, connecting with my professors, and so much more


I have high hopes for 2017. First, I have my children’s medical trip to Arkansas. Then, I need to make it through second semester of sophomore year. I will be taking Organic Chemistry, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Physics, and the Christian Tradition. While it will probably be another hard semester, I am excited to be reunited with my friends and professors. In the summer, I hope to do some kind of race, travel somewhere, and volunteer at Royal Family Kids Camp, Finally, the goal in the fall is to spend the semester in Quito, Ecuador!

There are so many amazing opportunities to look forward to in 2017, but I’m hoping this year to be less future-focused, but rather enjoy one day at a time. I feel like that’s the only way to help time slow down just a hare so that I can take in all of these memories. 2017 will definitely be a year of new experiences especially with the leadership roles that I am taking on and with the traveling that I will be doing. Most importantly, I hope that 2017 is a year of spiritual growth for me. I want to continue deepening my faith and challenging myself to trust God’s plan for me.


Happy New Year!

Solidarity Amidst Our Fractured Society

Week one of college done. As the Script would sing, “I’m still alive, but I’m barely breathing.” It’s true. I’m taking a tough course load, and I’m super involved on campus. My life is insanely busy, but it’s so fulfilling. Anyways, at the college’s opening Mass, I found out that my school’s theme for the year is solidarity. Honestly, what a perfect theme to reflect upon this year, especially when the world seems so chaotic and fragmented. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lecture called “Solidarity in a Time of Bias, Hate, and Violence,” and it opened my eyes to the fact that so much work needs to be done in order to create unity in our communities.

The presenters challenged us to think of solidarity as more than just unity. It demands each individual to commit oneself to the common good. Solidarity stresses justice for all and reiterates that humans were designed by God to be interdependent. Our society tries to marginalize individuals based on our differences and brainwashes people into believing that each person can thrive autonomously. Solidarity fights against society’s structural sins through self-sacrifice and care for the poor and vulnerable.

Later on, the lecturers stated that bringing solidarity into communities begins with a change in the mindset of each individual. I, myself, need to take a step back and notice my surroundings. Sometimes hate, bias, and violence are so embedded in society that it is hard to notice it if I don’t proactively look for it. It’s not enough just to acknowledge the terrible things that are happening in this world. I want to be part of the solution. How can I better incorporate justice, service, and solidarity into my daily life? Even on campus, how can I help create a more inclusive, welcoming community?

I may not have the answers to these questions yet, but the theme of solidarity is so thought-provoking. After all, as Christians, we are supposed to be one body in Christ. We need to be the ones who see the similarities in each individual, rather than separate ourselves based on our differences. At the end of the day, we are all human beings deserving of love, dignity, and justice. Imagine if members of society truly lived in solidarity with one another. What a wonderful world it would be. It’s not impossible, and I’m going to do my part to make solidarity a reality.

Lots of love,

Tapping Into God’s Unconditional Love–RFKC 2016

This week, I was a counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp, and it was challenging, heartbreaking, and life-changing. Since this was my third year being involved with RFK, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but I was clearly wrong. Leading up to camp, I kept praying that God would allow me to give 100% to my camper, and He honored that. I have never been so exhausted, yet filled with joy. The team that I worked with, those praying for me, and God’s strength gave me the ability to get through this week. By the end of this week, I left with a better understanding of the unconditional love that God has for all of us.

Royal Family for us staff began on Sunday. After attending church, we drove to the campsite, unloaded, and decorated our cabins in order to fit this year’s Olympic theme. That evening, I finally found out who my camper was going to be. I pretty much only knew her name and that she was 9, none of her temperaments (for the safety and confidentiality of my camper, I’m only going to refer to her as “my camper”). I knew I was going in blind, but that didn’t matter to me. I was just so excited for Monday to come so that I could finally meet her. That night we all walked over to the lake in order to pray and do a devotional. In the midst of this beautiful nature, everyone could feel God’s presence. While at the lake, one of our staff members decided to be baptized, which was amazing. I have never seen a baptism like this. It was beautiful just seeing him declare his life to Christ while having his new RFK family there to support him. What was even cooler was that later a random woman saw us gathered on the beach and asked if she could be baptized. If that wasn’t a God moment, I don’t know what is. So we had two baptisms that evening. That night, I went to sleep knowing that this is God’s camp. He is orchestrating this whole thing. I knew that he had hand picked my camper, and I was so excited to finally meet her.

On Monday as the coach bus rolled in, we all stood outside with posters with each of the campers names on them in order to welcome our 24 precious princes and princesses. Each child had varying emotions as they stepped off of the bus–excitement, a little bit of fear, maybe nothing at all. When my camper walked off the bus, I was filled with such joy! I just couldn’t wait to get to know this precious girl! What I didn’t know was that behind that beautiful face was a girl with a broken heart.

Even though the week was filled with fun events, such as Grandma’s Tea Party, Everybody’s Birthday Party, and the Variety show, she struggled throughout the entire week. My camper loved being the center of attention and being in control. When she couldn’t have her ways, she ran around or ran away. So the whole week, I was on high alert because if I turned away for one minute, she could have been out the door running somewhere else. In addition, pretty much everyday, she had some sort of of meltdown over something small– she wasn’t picked to dance on stage, someone else took her spot, etc. These weren’t the real reasons for the meltdowns. In actuality, she was dealing with past heartbreaks. She hasn’t seen her birth parents in three years, and she yearns for them, even though they must have done something terrible enough to get her taken out of that family in the first place. What probably intensified her behaviors was the fact that she and three of her other siblings are currently up for adoption at the end of this month. You think that adoption would be a good thing– finally a being taken out of foster care and being placed into a stable home, hopefully. However, I think that to my camper, adoption means never seeing her birth parents again.

Most of the week was exhausting. My camper looked so downtrodden. She constantly told me how she didn’t like this camp, and she tried to hide any emotion whatsoever. God gave we such unwavering patience with her, though. He gave me the strength to just be there for her. And the thing is by day two, I had so much love for my camper. It didn’t matter that she was constantly wandering away, acting sassy, or having a meltdown. I was her rock, and I owe that all to God. The beautiful thing was that behind her act, I could tell that she really cared for me too. She would always be asking, “Where’s my counselor?,” and she would ask me to race her up the rock wall or to dance the Whip and Nae Nae with her at the talent show. My favorite moments with her, though, were when we were at the lake. That girl loved to swim; I think it was therapeutic for her. Together, we would swim “all over the world”– to Florida, Illinois, Australia even. She also loved using her goggles to grab sand at the bottom of the lake. We would look at the sand together and find all sorts of neat rocks and shells. In the water, she would open up, not about her past, but about her interests and school and just normal things.

Friday, when we were back at church, was the hardest part for me. It was beautiful to see my camper singing the songs she learned at camp up onstage. Normally she is hogging the stage for attention, but that afternoon, she was just singing and dancing next to her best friend that she made at camp. What made it worse was when I saw a couple of tears escape her eyes during the closing ceremony. That was confirmation to me that she actually cared about me too. Saying goodbye was the hardest. I thought that her future parents were going to pick her and her siblings up, but some random lady that the girls didn’t even know picked them up instead. That made me so upset because I wanted to meet the people that were planning on adopting her just to see if they seemed loving and safe. I guess we don’t always get what we want. Eventually, my camper and I said our final goodbyes. Tears were shed by both of us, and I just kept telling her how much I loved her and how I would be praying for her. Then just like that, she was gone.

I truly believe that God matched my camper and me together. Even though I have a huge heart, I am emotionally strong, and I think that allowed me to be so consistent and composed around my camper. My camper has shown me how to love and persevere way beyond what I thought I could do. That little girl–who is so brave, smart, caring, helpful, and charismatic– now will forever have a piece of my heart. I just have to trust God that He will keep her safe and that He will use her to do amazing things. I could go on and on about camp, but this post is already so long. Camp was amazing and life-changing. It challenged me probably more than I’ve ever been challenged, but I had a great group of people to support me along the way. I pray that I will be able to keep attending Royal Family Kids Camps for many years to come.

Lots of love,

Make Moments Matter

God has really being reminding me lately that life is short, sometimes drastically shorter than we can ever prepare for. Earlier this year, God showed me this when a boy I went to high school with passed away unexpectedly. I wasn’t good friends with him, but we had three classes together senior year. It’s still weird knowing that he isn’t here anymore. Just a few days ago, two guys who went to my college drowned after powerful waves knocked them off of a pier. That really shook me. Again, I didn’t personally know them, but when you go to a small school, tragedies like this impact everyone.

I can’t quite wrap my head around the whole thing. Both the boy from high school and the two guys from my college would have never expected their lives to be so short. It’s incredibly easy to just assume that we will wake up each morning, be safe during the day, and continue to live at least into our 80’s. God has been challenging me, though, to change this mindset.

To be honest, I’m so future focused that I assume I’ll graduate college, get married, have kids, find my dream job, and so on. I’m not guaranteed any of that, though. The fact of the matter is, this world is full of sickness, war, violence, and freak accidents. I might not get tomorrow, so I need to truly be thankful for everyone and everything in my life and make today matter.

Since theses deaths have occurred, I’ve tried to be more conscientious about the blessings that God has given me. I have a loving supportive family, I have wonderful friends, I get the opportunity to go to my dream school, I am healthy, I live in a safe area, I have so much freedom… the list goes on and on. My goal is to intentionally thank God EVERYDAY or these gifts because they are, well…gifts. I didn’t do anything to earn them. I need to be more proactive about showing this gratitude to God and to those that I love. I need to be better at telling my parents and friends that I love them, and that I value the relationships that we have formed. I can’t takes these precious people for granted.

The other message that God is showing me is to make moments matter. I don’t believe God makes mistakes when he takes the life away from someone. I think that some people’s lives are shorter than others depending on what God’s plan for them is. I need to make each day count because I don’t know if I will get another one. So what does that mean? I think for me, I need to focus on how I can more fully live the life that God called me to live. After all, the only reason we are on this earth is to glorify Him and to do His will. I need to take another look at each part of my day and see who I can love, serve, encourage, etc. How can I make someone’s day a little brighter? How can I spread God’s love to those around me? I want to focus on making small choices to act more like Christ. I have to transform the way I think and act now because I might not be guaranteed a later time in life to fix my ways.

I thank God for reminding me that life is short, but it’s also an incredible gift. Sometimes, our visions for the future don’t match what God has in store for us. I need to trust whatever God has planned for me, strive to live more like Christ today, and never take anything for granted. It’s a crazy wake up call, but I needed it. I hope that this will inspire you to make today count too. Tell your loved ones how much you care about them. Make someone smile. Spread kindness and joy. Make moments matter.

Lots of love,