This is 20.

Faith

As of now, I am no longer a teenager.

I have been on the planet for two full decades. Weird!

….. ….. …..

Hello again, friends! I hope your first two-ish weeks of this year have been treating you well. I’ve got lots of good content planned for the coming weeks, and I hope you are as excited as I am for 2019! But, on an unrelated note, I just wanted to pop in today to announce to the world that I have made it to 20 years old!

Now, I’m not making this announcement in hopes that I’ll get a bunch of “Happy Birthday” comments on this post (besides, my birthday was a week ago already), but because I want to take a moment or two to reflect on who I have been up until this point and who I would like to be going forward. After all, 20 is a big number! Honestly, I really like the sound of it.

Coffee Shop Thoughts from Paris

Faith

I’m back, ladies and gents!

This post is a little different than most others I’ve published.

While there’s been a lot that has gone on here in Paris that I hope I’ll get around to sharing eventually, there is a more pressing issue on my heart right now.

Truth Talk: Being a Christian at a Large Public University

College, Faith

Alright. Truth talk.

Staying strong in your faith in college is hard. Staying strong in your faith at a large, public college is harder. Staying strong in your faith at a large, public college known for its reputation as a party school is, as you can imagine, a bit of a challenge. I’m not going to lie, it is really frickin’ hard sometimes.

Now, I’m not off in skimpy clothes raging every weekend. Or any weekend, actually. And because I’m not, it’s easy to feel like I stick out like a sore thumb here. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of believing that being different makes me weird.

What Moving to College Was Really Like

College, Faith

I have been at college for seven weeks.

I would like to tell you that so far, they have been the best seven weeks of my life, but that just wouldn’t be true. In fact, they have been stressful, terrifying, exhausting, overwhelming, confusing, and incredibly difficult.

When the first of my friends left for school in early August, I watched them flourish. Constant Instagram posts and Snapchat stories displayed countless fun activities, tons of great friends (which they were making so quickly), and a bubbly “I love life” attitude. Naturally, I expected the same thing when I left for college.

Easy Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

Lifestyle

We’d all like to think we’re generous: we hold doors for people or hand a few dollars to the homeless man on the corner of the freeway exit. Some affiliate themselves with every charity they can get their hands on, while others feel that anything they could do would have no effect in such an aching world.

No matter where you are on the spectrum, keep reading. For those who have hearts bigger than the Atlantic, you will jump at the chance to do some good. And for the skeptics, take a real look at what I am about to show you – your actions, now matter how big or small, can have an effect.

A Look at a First-Timer’s Mission Trip

Faith, Travel

Ten miles southeast of Ensenada, Mexico lies the small, poor village of Lomas Bonitas. For a decade now, my church has returned to this struggling community each summer on a missions trip. Some of the most notable accomplishments: in 2007, volunteers built a brand new church; last year, they constructed a house for the village’s Pastor Carlos and his family, who had previously been living in the church’s basement. This year, our team focused on rebuilding the children’s crumbling play structure, painting and repairing homes, and teaching the creation story through a vacation bible school program.

Today’s Laugh: The Struggles of Sincerely, B

Faith

Ready for a good laugh?

#1: Physical Exhaustion. Anytime you want to work outside of your house, somewhere like a coffee shop, for instance, you have to bring all your materials with you. In my case, that means my laptop, charger, phone, notebook, journal, Bible, and pens. Which is fine except for the fact that the Bible is practically the largest book known to humankind, and my beautiful illustrated version of 1500 pages seems to weigh about five pounds when it’s in my bag. So basically, hoisting my tote bag over my shoulder multiple times to get to and from my designated work space for the day feels like the equivalent of doing bicep curls. So dang heavy!

Here’s the Deal with the Holy Spirit

Scripture

Often times, we as Christians regard the Holy Spirit as if it is a lesser version of God, like some kind of Jesus Jr. What we tend to overlook, though, is that the Holy Spirit is not merely God’s messenger boy – it is the presence of God Himself. We need to learn more about the character and the nature of the Holy Spirit, so here are five verses to get you started.

Humans are no Different than Goldfish

Faith

Recently, my youth pastor gave an incredibly insightful message…whether or not there is an actual name to the concept, I refer to it as The Goldfish Metaphor.

Sitting on a folding table in my church parking lot last Tuesday evening were two large, rectangular fish tanks filled with live goldfish. One of the tanks, containing probably 50 fish, was labeled with a piece of paper, “The World.” The second tank, containing around 15 fish, was labeled, “The Church.”

When God’s Plans Aren’t Any Fun: Christmas Edition

Faith

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, and B had a thought:

“I’ll throw a Christmas party! I’d like that a lot!”

She set a date, she made invitations,

she baked sugar cookies and bought decorations.

The day was approaching, the excitement grew.

Only one day to go, and next thing she knew…