The summer after my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to visit some of my family that lives in Minnesota. I remember I was so, so excited for this trip for so many reasons. That trip was my first adult experience of a long and tiring travel itinerary all alone, figuring out places to stay, having conversations with people and not being able to lean on my parents for support, and wandering around big cities with no agenda. Looking back, I can now see that it was one of the first times I felt brave and independent and capable.

Growing up, I remember being taught these qualities through sports, education, my parents, friendships, and at Sunday school.

But actually living these- being brave and independent and capable- as an almost 22 year old in a brand new city has been completely eye-opening. I’ve learned there’s a lot of hard work behind these actions. It’s the daily choice of stepping out of your comfort zone-into a life that I dreamed about as a naive high-schooler, now finally reality.

“Darling, your comfort zone is great but you will never grow there.”

The past couple weeks since I moved down to San Diego, I’ve been praying, writing, and contemplating about the dreams and desires of my heart.

There’s little desires like waking up to hot coffee, biking to the gym under the warm sun, and driving to the cliffs to watch the sun set over the ocean. I desire to include these small things in my everyday because they bring me joy. They remind that I am brave for making a big move by myself. They remind that I’m independent and have been abundantly blessed to live this life. They remind that I’m capable of working hard to make sure that I get to enjoy these little things everyday.

And there’s the big, bold God-sized dreams of my heart. I dream of impacting the Lord’s kingdom in small and powerful ways. I dream of a big family and lots of love and goodness. I dream of a marriage where two people daily choose one another. I dream of a job that I’m passionate about, working with children to reach their potential and recognize the image of God and the work of his mighty hands in their lives.

What I’m trying to say in this post is that if you aren’t living the life you’ve always dreamed about right now, I want to encourage you that there are small things you are capable of doing to change that. No, you may not be able to move to Paris or become a missionary in Uganda. But you may be able- actually, you are capable- of celebrating the little things as big things in your daily life. It can be things like pausing to watch the flowers fall of a tree. Or making yourself that cup of coffee at 3pm because it makes you happy and not just because you need it. Or driving with the windows down during golden hour. Or big things like looking for a new job, starting a new friendship, finding a new church.

What I’ve been learning lately is that I don’t really need to feel like I have to go to Europe to accomplish my dreams. They can happen here. In my new home, in small little ways, where I daily choose to look for the good and beautiful in everything.



A time for growth

It’s officially been one week since I packed up my belongings in my trusty little Jetta, strapped my bike to the back of my parents car, and drove from a place of comfortability into the complete unknown. I wouldn’t call myself brave. It’s all Jesus. This kind of trust in the future comes solely from the hands of the Lord.  

I loved my life in small town Monrovia. I loved going on runs in the tree-lined neighborhood, stopping in for ice cream in the downtown that so perfectly resembled Stars Hollow (thanks for tainting my dreams, Gilmore Girls), and holding babies in the nursery every Sunday morning

I so so so dearly loved babysitting my sweet little family- with 3 kids that I adore and have missed everyday since my departure. I loved preschool drop-off on Thursday mornings, dancing and making snapchat videos with sweet Truly Star. Taking August to various therapies and target runs, and feeding him endless popcorn and yogurt. Watching him learn to walk, say words, and then snuggling him before nap time. Jumping on the trampoline with Macy girl, causally throwing the best dance parties in the living room, watching her learn her sight words and eventually, earn student of the month. These memories are irreplaceable and will forever hold a huge section of my heart. (Currently tearing up because I miss them so). Through this family, I learned so much about loving selflessly, pursuing hard and holy things, what teamwork looks like in marriage, all things Down syndrome & adoption (which now I totally want for my own future life), and following the Lord’s call in your life. Their hospitality and generosity mean so much to me.

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Which brings me to San Diego. But first, let me talk to you a little about my experience with graduating…

Graduating college is a weird thing. Sure, the actual day of graduation is fun because it’s the first time you realize you don’t have any more homework to do, ever. (This is a lie, past Abby. Future Abby is doing lots of studying now). I was surrounded by my family and friends, and the affirmations of my success were pleasant to hear. And then a couple days or weeks later, it hits you. Adulthood is hard. 

I loved school. I loved learning from professors, going to chapel, living with my best friends, and running around Pasadena completely care-free. But loneliness isn’t something they talk to you about before you graduate. The best friends you’ve spent the last 3-4 years with leave. They get married or move on in various directions. After I graduated, I quickly found jobs to replace school, had a wonderful church community, was strengthening my relationship with the Lord, but was trying so desperately to fight this loneliness. 4 months later, I was still battling this and decided enough was enough. I had great friends, great jobs, a great church, great mentors… But I knew life could be more. I trusted God had better things planned for me and I had faith that although life in Monrovia was awesome, there was more out there. I didn’t want to settle. I wanted to jump into the unknown with an open heart and an open mind.  

God had better and bigger things planned, and I was finally ready to take that leap of faith. 

One week in San Diego, and I’m completely in awe of the Lord’s goodness. Just two months ago, I was so angry with the Lord for taking something so good away and questioning if he wanted me to be happy… And then I came here. His ultimate goal for my life isn’t that I’m happy. But that I can find happiness, fulfillment, joyfulness, and purpose in him. And I have found it. I have learned more and more each day about the Lord and his purpose for my life. These are little snippets or “God winks” of what I have experienced in the last week: I’m 20 minutes from the beach and can watch the sun set over the water any time I want. I found a gym that I can bike to, one that also has an outdoor lap pool (I broke out my old swim team suit this week!). My roommate is heaven sent and our apartment is just the cutest. I’ve enjoyed making all my meals in my own kitchen and even made my dad’s famous cookie recipe the other night! (These cookies are now all gone. Thankfully they were very healthy 🙌). I accepted a job offer to become an ABA tutor for kids with Autism and other developmental disabilities, and have already started my training to become a Registered Behavioral Technician. I attended a service at Mosaic SD this morning and am in prayer over where God wants me to meet his church and family.  

The Lord is good, he is faithful. Life is good, and I cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever…

to him alone does great wonders,

for his steadfast love endures forever.



Let’s go on an ADVENTURE

For this opportunity to begin again,

to not only start a brand new year, but to enter a season of post-graduation and fresh adulthood, God has placed on my heart this passage.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8.

In this season, I am anxious to watch God unfold his plans for me. This is good news. I have realized I am no longer in search of my “calling”, or whatever it is I am supposed to do with my life. However, I am on a constant, life-long journey of understanding the person God has created me to be. In all circumstances. In every season. The daughter of Christ who follows Him in my workplace, in my community, in everything. The joy of walking with Christ is not about the destination. It is about the joy that comes from Him as he guides me along. This may not be comfortable… but I am simply desperate for his presence in this season and Jesus never lived comfortably or simply. Another phrase that sums up this next season of life is

Go on an ADVENTURE. 

I want to live my life for the glory of His. I want to go to God and say, “whatever it takes. I am yours.” God this is not my year. This is your year. There is bountiful goodness in the adventure of walking with the Lord. For this 2016 year, there have been a couple ideas floating on my heart.

I desire: 

  1. For my ear to be more open to His voice.
  2. To not compromise because being comfortable is easier. Do the scary things. 
  3. “To no longer settle for what is good, but search for what is God” (Albert Tate, Fellowship Monrovia).
  4. To be drawn toward his presence. For there is goodness.

I cannot wait: 

  1. To be more active and get myself outdoors way more often.
  2. To build up the community of friends around me- to grow deeper with the friends I have and build new relationships.
  3. To read more books! More and more books! During college, it was hard to want to read books for fun and I CANNOT WAIT to push myself and read more. It’s January Fourth and I already have one down! Follow me on Goodreads to keep me accountable– I want to read at least 3 books a month.

I want to keep this list short for a reason. As my mother has been telling me these past couple of days, these are not resolutions, these are habits. They are habits I want to introduce to my life, not just goals to reach and then let them fall to the side.

2015 was a great year. I grew in ways I never thought possible and worked harder than ever before. Through the trials and struggles, God did some pretty great things and I am ever thankful. 2016 is going to be AWESOME and I simply cannot wait to enjoy the ride.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you.