September 28, 2012


I've been meaning to publish this post for a long time because it's been on my heart since mid-July... I've just never felt like God wanted me to publish it. Until this week.

Last Saturday was a really busy day for me. I babysat three different times for three different families and LOVED every second of it, but I literally only sat down for two minutes. Maybe two. It was probably closer to one. The whole day, the word forgiveness was on my heart, and as I was driving home, I heard this song on the radio:

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…


Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible


I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me...

Those are just some of the lyrics...but I'm sure some of you have heard it and you get the point! It's a deep song and it explains a current situation in my life perfectly...coincidence or God tugging at my heart?

I won't go into details, but some of the things that have happened the past year have given me a bitter, bitter attitude. Not in general, just towards certain people. Today, however, I'm declaring that I am letting go. I'm not going to be the girl who walks through life holding grudges, maintaining a cold heart, and treating people who have wronged me unkindly.

I'm not going to be that girl.

In fact, what I'm REALLY declaring today is that I'm going to be the girl God has destined me to be. I wanna be that girl more than anything... And I will be. But first, I have some cleaning to terms of my heart, that is. 

As for a verse I'm holding onto?

Matthew 18:18~ "I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden to you in Heaven, and whatever you permit will be permitted in Heaven."

I'm a sinner saved by His mighty grace. That's amazing. I am so beyond grateful for that. It's not easy to forgive...but we can do it. God will help us, strengthen us, and love us through the process, even if it's messy...and in the end, that's how we'll gain forgiveness from Him in Heaven.

"Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

September 25, 2012

A Dream Come True

Last week, I shared that I was going to a Britt Nicole concert this past Sunday with my sister and best friend... I don't want to ruin all that I'm about to share but I need to say... It was the most amazing concert I have ever been to. SHE is amazing!

My sister actually attends college in the town that the concert was being held, so it was the perfect opportunity to go see my biggest role model in person. {Thank you so much for telling me, Megan, and for making it happen! You have no idea how much you mean to me, big sis!}

We got there a little late {about 6:35} and the show started at 7. We were planning on purchasing our tickets there, and it never, ever crossed our minds that they would be sold out... But, when we arrived, they most certainly were. I was just about in tears when a woman told me to go inside and put my name on the waiting list for extra tickets. {That lady has NO idea what a blessing she is!} I went inside to do so and within 20 minutes... We had seats. Front row seats. God is clearly written ALL over this ENTIRE situation!

We got into the auditorium about half and hour before Britt came on. It was perfect timing and the three of us were excited as all heck! To sum it up, the entire concert was more of a worship service than anything... It. Was. AMAZING.

{Sorry for picture quality in advance... I forgot my camera, so used my phone!}

She is absolutely gorgeous and truly has a heart of gold. If y'all ever get the chance to see her in concert... GO. Her story is so stinkin' inspiring and what God is doing through her is beyond incredible.

After the show, my sister and I stopped to snap a picture with the opening act, Manic Drive... Who were also extremely talented and blessed everyone with their testimonies!

Britt announced that after the concert, she would be signing autographs and hanging out with her "friends." {Not once did she refer to us as "fans." So cool!} I had her sign a cross keychain that I always carry with me, which was exiciting! But, she didn't stop blessing me there. I asked her to pray with me because of the impact her music has had on my life and of course because prayer is power. Always. She asked me to come sit by her and took a good 5 minutes to pray her heart out for me right then and there.

THIS is what a role model, inspiration, and woman of God looks like. She literally has a heart of gold. The entire night was a dream come true for me. 

September 16, 2012

"Date" Night!

Disclaimer: It's currently 1 a.m., but I'm getting this post typed out NOW...or it'll never, ever get written. I'm that horrible!

This week, my best friend Amy and I got asked out on a little "date night," if you will. The guys who took us out were two of our best guy friends and we had loads and loads of fun hanging out at Applebee's. My Saturday consisted of greasy hair, a t-shirt, pair of yogas, and TONS of homework.  But... Since I get to spend the day shopping with some of my favorite church friends today, I just had to get it done and over with. My motivation was the fact that I got to get all dolled up in the evening with my best friend!

Sidenote: The dress I wore is from TJ Maxx and I paid $3 for it! BOO YA! The crazy bargain lady strikes again. :)

The outfit of choice from my gorgeous best friend was a super cute lacy dress. She belted it which was absolutely adorable and did her hair in a little side updo... I have NO idea how she does it! I'm so blessed by her and our friendship. She is absolutely stunning... Am I right?! Yes, yes I am.

Just minutes after we went inside, I ran into my second "big sister." She's off to college now, so it was really good to see her and snatch a few hugs. 

Of course after we finished eating, Amy and I started screwing around with the camera. Hahaha! This girl never fails to make classic facial expressions. This is real life, people. She's hilarious.

Ah, yes. These are the two that we went out with! Two of the funniest guys on the planet and they were such gentlemen about opening doors for us and picking up the bill!

And before the night ended... Amy and I had a lovely picture snapped of us. I am so glad I get to call this beautiful girl my best friend!

All in all, that was my Saturday night! It was a wonderful reward for studying all day and lots of laughs were shared with some of my best friends! I am truly grateful for each of them!

What'd you do on Saturday night?!

September 10, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorders

I'm a day late to the par-tay...but, today, I'm doing aa post for Invisible Illness Awareness Week and am really excited to be shedding a tiny bit of light on a group of misunderstood conditions and people.

The posting this week is very open ended, which I love! The only "rule" or "guideline" to follow is making sure you are being completely honest, open, and as vulnerable as possible. That sounds easy enough, but I know it's going to be hard for me to share details that I have yet to come to terms with in my own life. Today, though, I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and share everything I can think of and I'm going to do it because I want people to know and be aware of the many "invisible" conditions that are out there.

If you read my blog regularly, it's no secret that I have been diagnosed with juvenile enthesitis related arthritis. I talk about it often and while that condition will be my main focus this week, today, I am going to focus on something else I struggle with: a sensory processing disorder.

About 6 months after being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, my pain management doctor suggested I start physical therapy to stay energized, mobile, etc. I also did some pressure release therapies to reduce pain in my neck and spine. Spending time with my physical therapist and pain management doctor allowed them to get to know me a little better and also for them to observe some of the strange/abnormal habits that I have/had. Traits that no one else picked up on before because they were just considered "me." {i.e. refusing to walk barefoot, not being able to sleep without socks on, restless leg syndrome, not eating foods such as peanut butter, olives, or meat because I don't/didn't like the texture, having random bouts of nausea, freaking out when people unexpectedly touch me, etc.} The list goes on, and on, and me! I was just a very particular teen that didn't like to be touched, right? Wrong, actually. Very wrong. 

It was a long journey to actually meeting up with my occupational therapist and being officially diagnosed because I was in school, babysitting, and just plain busy being busy...however, the first appointment with her concluded that I did, in fact, have multiple sensory processing disorders that needed to be dealt with in order for me to reduce some of the stress and hopefully some of the pain I was experiencing.

So, let me further explain... The official "definition..." 
"Sensory processing disorder (sometimes called "sensory integration disorder") is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or "sensory integration."Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. SPD can be likened to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.
One study shows that at least 1 in 20 children’s daily lives is affected by SPD. Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder, like those of most disorders, occur within a broad spectrum of severity. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life."

It was a difficult diagnosis and occupational therapy as a whole has been a struggle...why?

Notice in the "definition" how they keep mentioning "children?" Well, I'm a teenager/young adult... And the all of the treatments that work for a 3 year old are NOT going to work for me because my brain is so much more developed.

There isn't a lot of information out there on how to treat sensory disorders in teenagers because these disorders are typically taken care of as a young child. Research is all relatively new {hardly 10 years old}, and when I was the age that it's usually "dealt with," diagnosis and treatment for such a thing was unheard of. But, with all new technology and many, many medical advances/continuing research, occupational therapy has evolved and helps thousands of children and teens deal with conditions such as those mentioned here.

Basically, the purpose of occupational therapy in my situation is to retrain sensory receptors and parts of the brain so that it can correctly respond to and manage stress. The therapies and tools I've used to deal with this disorder seem very simple and mediocre - but I have noticed the BIGGEST changes and have been making huge strides in OT as a whole. It's really been wonderful and I am so grateful for my occupational therapist. 

Make sure to leave a comment with your blog's link so that I can check out your posts this week, too! Together, we can shed light on hundreds of misunderstood conditions.

September 07, 2012

Living Examples of His Grace

Well, for those who are wondering, I survived the first week of school...the first week of my junior year, to be exact. I literally JUST realized this week that I only have one "first day of high school" left...that's scary to me. But at the same time, I've just gotta say HALLELUJAH!

I'm one of those nerdy students that really enjoys new notebooks...fresh pencils to choose from...unbent folders. ;) I'm the learner, the listener. I love when other people get the chance to teach me what they're good at. What they have a talent for. I really love education.

But, then there's the flip side. High school is its own world full of rumors, drama, immaturity, etc. I really had a tough week. It's almost been a year since my Aunt Mabel passed away and I miss her more than anything, I've not been able to focus because of my neck pain, and a new schedule is never easy to adjust to.

But this year, I'm trying something new. Right now, I could say, "I hate school," or "this whole year is going to suck." However, God's really put it on my heart to see the school year in a new light. To look at it as an exhilarating challenge instead of a crappy situation...and I'm excited about that. I'm excited to see who God throws my way. I'm excited to grow as a person. I'm excited to form new relationships. I'm excited to further my education and be one step closer to graduation.

I'm excited.

It's not always going to be easy to be kind to and tolerant of others, especially when there are people that I just don't typically get along with...but I have to remember: Jesus encouraged tolerance...and He didn't stop there! He encouraged LOVE and UNDERSTANDING. He encouraged us to interact with people who don't talk the same as us, people who don't dress the same, people who don't care about the things we care about. The least of these, He said. The list goes on. He encouraged us to love everyone that we can, anytime we can. He wants us to be living examples of His grace.

And so, this year, that's my be positive, to be encouraging, to be kind, to be a light. To be the person God has called me to be. I'm excited and I'm up for the challenge because:"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." {Philippians 4:13}