What Life Is All About

A little over a week ago, I got to attend my cousin Kirsten’s graduation ceremony at the University of Iowa, and I have to say, the entire day we spent with her and family was amazing. So amazing that I felt the need to write all of it down that I could possibly remember in my journal, and now my nails hurt from clenching my pen so much! It was one of those days, though, that you just want to hold onto forever. But of course reality has to set back in, and as I texted her the next day, I felt depressed thinking of the fun times and then having to return to the monotonous grind of school/”the real world.” Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way because I can look back on that time and let the joy of it radiate in me now. I wanted to blog about it, though, because not only did I have a great time and want to remember it, but I also…well, I’m trying to think of some other way to say “learned a lot of lessons from it!” because I feel like I say that with literally everything on this blog. Lessons learned from hockey, lessons learned from shopping, lessons learned from staying up late on my phone stalking social media… Okay, fine, I get it. It’s always important to learn, though, am I right?! We may as well just change this blog tagline to “everything a teen girl does and every lesson she learns from it.” Well, there’s worse things to blog about, I think!

Anyway, I really enjoy spending time with my family, and Kirsten is the type of person you just always have fun with. I’ve blogged about our times together before, including just last summer when we tried jet skiing, an experience I highly recommend! You can read all about that and many other adventures right here.

Kirsten was graduating from Iowa, and seeing as we live only an hour away from Iowa City, my mom and I were going to go to her ceremony. Mom gets pretty anxious about the driving and making it there on time when we knew it was going to be crazy, but once we got that part out of the way, we were able to relax. I’ve only been to Iowa City one other time before this, when I had to go see my surgeons there to talk about jaw surgery, and I wrote about that experience here as well and—you’ll never guess it—more lessons I’d learned!

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I was very overwhelmed by how many people there were and how big the stadium was that the ceremony was held in! There were crowds of people so big that when trying to walk through, you’d actually rub against someone, haha. Trying to find her family to sit by was a little hectic, but thankfully we were able to find them just before things got started and settled in. I enjoyed where we sat because we sat at some table/desk-like structure in the middle, and these plastic rolling chairs were actually very comfortable. It was nice to see her family!

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Even though the ceremony was super long, it didn’t really feel that way. We were able to spot Kirsten just before we missed her haha, as it moved fast and in no organized order. We did get good pictures of her, though. Then afterwards we were able to meet up with her and, seeing as my mom and I were starving since we hadn’t really had breakfast that morning, we decided to go eat somewhere. Kirsten wanted to check out the mall they had and try Zombie Burger which was in their food court, so we ended up deciding to meet there. Before we left, though, we took some pictures with Kirsten.

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I was, of course, ecstatic to be going to the mall, but Mom was still frazzled about getting out. Getting out was actually very stressful because there was not nearly adequate enough organization to directing people out, so everyone was just going as they please with no real flow. Once we got out of that mess though and then out of the mess of driving all the way through Iowa City because Siri thought that was the best route to the mall evidently, and after Mom was able to make it inside the mall and get food and such, it ended up being more relaxing with the stressful part behind us. We got food right away and enjoyed catching up with Kirsten and her mom. They actually ended up coming back to our house with us for a bit because we were going to end up going back anyway to pick up my brother, who wanted to see them, and spend some time at their hotel in Altoona. So it did end up working out that we were able to do just a bit of shopping, too! I made Kir go to one of my fave stores with me, and I was thrilled that finally a day where I go to the mall and they were having deals at my store! Mom went with my aunt to pick up some new soaps and stuff like that, and we met up with them later. We didn’t go too crazy, but hey, I was able to leave with something on sale from my store—and actually convinced Kirsten to get something, too—so I was more than happy with how it all played out. And then Kirsten and I went into a dressing room literally just to take a picture, and I’m sure the sales lady was wondering what the heck we were doing, but anyway, we got the picture, so what else matters?

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The car ride home flew by as we were lost in conversation the whole way. Seeing as Kirsten and her family live up in Minnesota, we don’t get to actually see them much, but when we do, it always goes by so fast. It’s those times you never forget, though, and they’re that much more special. I’m always so thankful to God, and even though the day stays full of activity and as a result I don’t feel like I talk to Him as much, I know that’s a blessing from Him and something He wants me to enjoy, is that time with family. It all leads me back to Him as I thank Him for those times and days and reflect back on them later. It reminds me constantly of His goodness and provision and the good times in life that I can enjoy while I’m here. We enjoyed talking with them once we got home after making a stop at our Walmart because Kirsten wanted to see if there were cute Hawkeye shirts—and normally there are—but unfortunately our Walmart let her down just like the Spirit Lake Walmart did last summer when she wanted an Okoboji shirt. Maybe one day, Kirsten…! I was happy Kir got to see my room because I’ve changed it immensely since she was last at my house.

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I love having her to take photos with because we both can be conceited together hahaha. But really, you gotta have some way to document those memories! And thankfully she’s as picky about her photos as me, so we always make sure we get some good ones and some not so serious, also, to highlight the fun of the day!

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Once we got my brother, we headed to Altoona to take them back to their hotel, since they’d be headed back the next day. That time was really special because everyone got to visit with one another in the room, although Kirsten and I were rarely in the room because we literally made the rounds walking around the hotel and talking and getting pictures about five different times, haha. We talked about everything from upcoming events we were looking forward to to guys to life now to Kir’s fear of elevators! And we took lots of pictures. And one time Kirsten literally walked into a room where there was a big dance for a wedding, which I proudly got on video, and then another time we walked into this group of dancers or something and that was quite awkward given how they were dressed, and then another time I found this cute guy, and we wanted to go look at the casino even though obviously I wasn’t getting in, and there was a gift shop, and all sorts of reasons why we were wandering around endless times! Probably one of my favorite parts of the day, just walking around with her like that and talking. I love being able to go for walks like that with people. Even when I’m at the hockey games in Wells Fargo, I always love walking around the arena.

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Gotta love that view!

I was so thankful we got to see them and have that time with them. I know that good gift of family is all from God, and it makes me so thankful for how He provides like that. He knows when I need a break or when the seriousness and routine of life needs to be broken up or when I need to be reminded of what really matters. And I know I probably say this all the time, but it just makes me so appreciative of my family and what He’s put right in front of me. It’s that reminder I need to keep enjoying the good and keep working because school can be difficult for me, both with people and with the stress of keeping up with the workload. It’s always nice to have that break, that reminder and refresher of what makes life rich. Working hard is good and important, but I don’t ever want to be so obsessed with things that I can’t let go or release control and just enjoy the season of life I’m in. Because believe me, I can get very uptight that way, and I can doubt God and lose my focus on Him and what matters. But then there are days like this, where He’ll remind me of it again and again, to remember those moments, those feelings, that knowing that He always provides and He is the One who makes life joyful. And there will always be those times for those who trust in Him completely. I’ll write much more on this in the future because learning to let go and appreciate the moment and NOT GETTING IMPATIENT LIKE I ALWAYS DO HAHA is something He’s been working on immensely in me this year. But we are getting there, people! So thank you for always following along and going on this journey with me. I pray all of you are doing well and will stop to align your focus in life with God’s because that is when you know what life is about and will have His true joy.

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Dear Future Husband... #2

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*Okay people, time for the post I've been promising forever. You better read this post here before continuing!!! :)

**I am looking over that post linked above as I write this to see how embarrassing my first letter was and give me a guide to embarrass myself yet again in this letter! Why do I post these, you ask? Well, for one, they're fun. Second off, I have this romantic fantasy that somewhere off in la la land my actual future husband may just stumble across my blog and read this post as it is published. Of course I completely doubt this, but let me dream. And lastly, on a more SERIOUS note, the biggest reason I share these publicly is because as I get older, I am more convinced that it is immensely important for girls to actually think about their futures like this. In a culture full of hooking up and failed relationships, there definitely needs to be a conversation about becoming the types of people we want to be in a relationship and also what to look for in a partner. What I'm looking for might scare you (and him, too, haha), so let's continue already!!!

(And just FYI, I still don't date yet, except I think maybe possibly my parents said I can date when I'm 16? HA, at the time I’m finally getting around to finishing this, I am 16!!! Haha it's irrelevant anyway as I highly doubt anyone will show up for me in a year, but I suppose you never know. Anyway, as a young girl, younger than I am now, I blogged about why not rushing into dating at such a young age is important in a blog post here. And I still stand by that. But I definitely don't think it's a sin to dream, pray, or write to your future husband. So write away and maybe post it online so you can embarrass yourself with me in ten or twenty years or so.:)

-This is coming completely sporadically from my brain with the prompting of some past notes I've wrote at 12:36 am as of right now and is probably not going to be finished tonight, as of June 15, 2018, because Grandma is already whining to me about going to bed. This is going to be wonderful, haha! My brain always comes up with its finest past midnight, so brace yourselves. :)

-Okay, it’s now March 11, 2019 (it will still be later than that when I publish this…), go me, here we go again finishing blog posts I started almost a year ago. Maybe my next letter will be more coordinated. We can only hope. :) And also, time flies. And also, Timeflies is the name of the singers who sing my future wedding song, “All the Way.” <— I discovered this song at a hockey game, and it’s going to be in MY wedding, so don’t steal it from me. ;)

Dear future husband!

Hello! Have I scared you off already with my intro to this post? No, you are going to love this letter, I promise, and you'll want to frame it. ;) I hope you've already read the first letter I wrote to you because I'll be referencing it here throughout. Also, do you know it's my biggest pet peeve in the whole wide world when people don't respond to me? Well now you know the quickest way you'll get divorced, you're welcome!

Ha, maybe I shouldn't already be talking about divorce before I even know who you are? Yeah........................................ I'm sure that hasn’t showed you that I'm wife goals as of right now. Moving on...

My previous letter told you that I think about you all the time, which is still true, of course I do, just like I daydreamed about high school (ha...I bet that sounds like a joke to you) and like I do now with college. I've always found excitement in the future events of life that I have to look forward to. Not the waiting, though. NEVER the waiting. Gosh, I hate waiting for things. Another character flaw I have is that I've always seemed to want to grow up faster, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not because one day I'll probably regret it. But I really do look forward to the days of loving you. Geez, does that sound sappy and too deep? Well, I have no life, you know; I spend my days after school doing this, haha. In all seriousness, though, the closer I get to God, the more I ponder the beauty of what marriage should be. It is supposed to be a symbol of His love for us, you know. I think that's pretty amazing and how He gives us these desires.

Before we continue, I have something very urgent to tell you. Okay, so you know my look alike theory? It's actually not my theory—I just saw it online somewhere—but I have so much evidence to prove it. At the time I wrote my first letter, I had just discovered the first guy to go into the seven look alikes of my one crush that is never going to happen unfortunately. Well good news for you, I found two more! That means there's only four left, so I hope you're one of them! :)

Uh, actually, update from me in March, I’ve found so many hot guys I can’t marry that fit my “type” it’s not even funny. It’s really not; it’s actually quite tragic. But I know you’ll be the best of all, so that gives me hope! :D

Yes, looks are still important to me to the dismay of my grandma, who is always lecturing me about personality over external beauty, haha. You know I'm all about the aesthetics! Apparently when I was a little girl, I threw a fit because I didn't get the gumball I wanted, and my mom had to carry me out of a store "like a football." My guess? The color wasn't pink. That is how I am going to feel if you don't have brown, curly hair or nice muscles. No pressure or anything.

Okay. Don't worry, I'm not expecting you to look like a Calvin Klein model or anything, even though I do have some pictures of one of those in my "Guys" folder on my laptop. I have my own "type" I go for, and seriously, brown curly hair and toned muscles is just about what does it! I've studied the millions of crushes I've had over my sixteen years, and those are very common characteristics. You don't have to be a supermodel to look like that; I have found plenty of everyday people who fit my type. Four to be exact! No, actually, a lot more than that, so I have no worries you’ll be one of them.

Okay so that is going to be phase one of the test in determining if I even go on a date or not, so seriously, if you're reading this, don't sweat it. You fit my type—there's no way I would be marrying you if you didn't. ;) Mom says that my liking guys based on how they look is something I will grow out of? Yeah, I don't think so. I've cared about how my guys look since as long as I can remember; I think that's just a shallow trait I have. ;)

Anyway! Enough about that. Believe it or not, I do have meaningful things to tell you.

I have learned so much since that first letter I wrote you, about what marriage is truly designed for, about what I want ours to portray, and most of all, what God wants and thinks of marriage. What He wants for us. Because sometimes, my feelings and longings for marriage are so intense that I worry it’s become an idol for me. And then I feel guilty, but the guilt still doesn’t cancel out the longing. Then I talked with the people I am closest to and trust their advice about God and my relationship with Him, and I read a lot. And I realized that those desires are human and put there by God Himself. I know marriage can become an idol like any natural desire if it gets put ahead of Him. But here’s the thing: I don’t want a marriage that doesn’t end up leading me closer to Him. All of my dreams, all of my desires, marriage itself, truly, is a reflection of the unconditional, perfect love everybody wants and that God alone provides. The marriage I want is one that is going to be a reflection of that. So how can that desire be bad? It’s not.

Patience for me is another story. I have to trust that God knows what I want and that He’ll provide it when He sees fit and, in the meantime, not make it an obsession or idol of mine. I dream about you and pray for you all the time. I’ve felt called to do that by God for a long time. The key with humans is that we have to have someone to love us and someone else to love, which is not a bad thing; it’s precisely how God wired us. When I think of you, I think of how God is making me for you, and He’s making you for me. I’m a rather passionate, intense person, and I want my love for you and our love for each other to be the same. I want to go all out because life is short, but one of the greatest gifts is that partnership and bond that God has put in lots of people to have. I don’t want to be lazy. Marriage is a gift that should be treasured and invested in, like the way I invest in writing or a career and even more so than that because we’re talking about loving another person, the person God has trusted me with to love and respect—YOU.

Life is hard, but what a gift it is to do life with someone who understands you, who you can connect with deeply about the meaningful things and work with together to overcome struggles. I’ve been blessed to get a good taste of what that’s like with my own family, but I want it with you, too, and I want our struggles to always drive us to be better, to chase after God harder, to love each other deeper. That’s how He designed it!

And this love is possible no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or anything. If you know God, and I know you will, then I know you’ll come to grasp this, and what a beautiful thing that is. I pray for you to make good choices, wherever you are right now, but I understand that sometimes making bad choices is what can bring you to your knees and see your need for Jesus, so if that’s what it takes for you, I won’t hold that against you. As long as you end up learning how to treat a girl! And learning how to treat a girl is only found through loving God. You can’t go by what the world says to do because the world doesn’t have a clue about mature, deep love that everyone craves but doesn’t know how to give. That comes only from knowing God. And I pray that you will know Him and love Him and that we can live and do life together to please Him. It’s the best way possible to live and has given me so much joy, even when I do feel utterly alone. So I cannot wait to share that with you. And we’re going to hockey games, I hope! I’m still praying you’re a hockey player, so if everything works out, hopefully I’ll be watching you. ;)

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I cannot tell you how lonely I feel sometimes or how much I long for the true love God has instilled in every person the desire for. And I constantly feel bombarded by lies, that I have to get a guy’s attention by being immodest, that love does not exist in the long term, etc. But none of that is true. True love might be rare, but it’s definitely out there for anyone who is willing to put in the time to cultivate it. And I will. I hope I already have through the way I live. And I pray you do, too. Because that is what I want for us more than anything, is built upon God’s love, which is true love. I can’t wait to see what God will do through our love and change our lives with it. I won’t settle until I know you have this true love because it’s out there. Everyone wants it, but very few will work on their own hearts first and actually get themself into the condition to be able to truly love someone because it’s not easy whatsoever and requires total surrender of oneself to God and to the person they love. But I’ve been praying I can do that.

It’s hard for me to fathom, sometimes, a guy who will be able to love me like that. I’m a complex person—but who isn’t—and I care about my relationships immensely because I know the most beautiful moments in life are surrounded around people, the way God intended. And I don’t just want surface level relationships; those are my biggest pet peeve. I want to stalk you and know everything about you. ;) Haha, seriously though, I want us to be best friends. I want us to care deeply about the other’s past, what we’ve missed with each other, learn and study each other and create a deep bond together in the present, and pray for and want to be apart of the other’s future, no matter where it takes us.

There are days I get really tired of waiting. There are days I doubt if God even wants me to get married. But in the end, I know these are just that, doubts. God has created you for me, I know that for a fact, and He’s working on me right now, to make me for you. Why? Because He’s given me the desire for a bright, raw love that is almost unheard of nowadays. And that comes directly from knowing Him and who He is, which IS love. I’m so very restless in everything, but I have to be careful not to settle. The world will say men of this intensity and maturity don’t exist, but you do. You do because you know Jesus and not just of Him but actually love Him and want to live your life for Him. And that’s the key to any other admirable quality being multiplied in a person.

I have huge dreams, for our marriage, for my life…and I have to believe that God knows all of them and is going to bring them to be in His timing because they all honor Him. I hope you have your own dreams, too, dreams that you trust God with, and I pray for yours, also, regardless of what they are. I pray for you all the time, and it’s weird not knowing who you are or what you’re doing, but I’ve learned again and again how just because I cannot see something doesn’t mean it isn’t out there or God isn’t doing anything. Just the opposite. So I know you’re out there, and I know God is at work on you right now, even if, at the time I write this, you don’t know Him yet. You will, and I know you’ll be so thankful once you do.

I pray for a grand story for us because I’m a writer, so I live for coming up with stories, and I have both realism and idealism at work in my personality, so while I want something practical, I also get a thrill of doing things that sound impossible. Because God can do anything, so I’m asking Him to go all out with you and me, to make both of us bright lights for His glory, and for our story—whatever that yet may be—to also be something beautiful for His glory. God has a unique story for everyone, as people I look up to have told me, and I know that is true for us. We will have our own special story, and since both of us will be pursuing God, there’s no limit to how beautiful that may be.

In fact, when I published my first letter to you, a sweet girl read a part of it and then was kind enough to reach out to me and tell me how she enjoyed my blog and also that she believed God would send me a guy who is the number one follower of my blog. You know I have this dream that you read every single blog post of mine? It’d be wonderful of you to do that. My first post is here, then you can just hit the next link at the bottom and read through my whole blog. And perhaps leave a comment on each one, you know, so I know you actually did it. :)

That may be a little much, but that is how I want our love to be. God went all out for us, so the least we can do is try and go all out for each other. That is marriage at its best, is pure, unconditional love that never gives up on the other person. It’s not about ourselves, so whatever you want me to do, just tell me, and I’ll probably do it. :)

Above all, knowing God will lead us to be the best people we can be, to have that perfect balance of work and play in life because that’s what I truly want, a partner who I can adventure with and go out with and do all sorts of fun things with but also someone who’s mature enough to know when certain types of “fun” are inappropriate and won’t sacrifice morality and serving Jesus for temporary things this world preaches.

I really want to get married. And I definitely don’t want to idolize marriage. Truly, I don’t. But I definitely think it’s a calling of mine or else I wouldn’t be writing this letter. ;) I’ve been boy crazy from a rather young age, and while I definitely have to keep that in check and not make bad choices as a result, that is a good thing when I think about you and preparing to meet you one day, but I do have to learn not to worry or get overwhelmed about things that aren’t here yet. It’s something I’m guilty of, and I want to live in each moment. I know I’ll enjoy every moment of being with you, but they’re not here yet, and no matter how many fits I throw about waiting, they’re not coming any sooner. So I may as well enjoy the season I’m in right now and use this time to prepare, to be shaped by God, to do all the things and fulfill all the dreams He wants me to and has laid on my heart. Right now, for me, that means writing, education, and always developing as a Christian, of course. They may not seem like big things to me right now, but they will be. I know God is going to use those “small” things to guide the rest of my life, mold me into the person I need to be to do all He’s called me to do—including being there for you—and I want to be present in that. I also pray for you, that right now at whatever season you’re in, it will be a season God works on your heart and develops you and prepares you to be the guy He wants you to be and do the things He wants you to do. And I can’t wait to hear about your dreams, goals, and how He does work in your life. Life is about Jesus, and I pray your life will reflect that and mine will, also.

I continue to pray for you, that God will help you develop a strong foundation on Him alone and then bless you with others as well, that He will help you develop good morals, undying hope in Him and His plans for you, a positive, healthy mindset, and passion and ambition to never give up in life. I also pray that He’ll mold you into the man He wants you to be, a leader for His glory, because I truly look forward to following your lead. Though I consider myself a pretty independent person, dependency has its place in life, and contrary to what the world says (there are two extremes), you can (and should!) depend on certain people—you being one of them for me—but the world also goes to the other extreme and makes dependence on another person everything, like you can’t survive without them. That’s not true, but I definitely can’t wait to have you in my life and have that godly dependence on each other that is healthy in the bond of marriage. So please take the best cares of me; even though I’m a moody drama queen sometimes, having someone secure enough in his walk with God means everything to me, and I’ll be forever grateful for your leadership, guidance, reassurance, and wisdom you help me with.

Patience, of course, is not one of my strong suits, and in the waiting I tend to doubt everything about my life, including if you even exist. But God has shown me time and again how He provides when I just let go and let Him. I know when His timing says it’s right, our love and our story will be beautiful. I won’t know quite how my prayers and these letters will affect you until God brings it altogether, but I know He will because when He calls us to do things like this, there’s always a reason and a purpose. I still feel lonely at times, and I still get upset with life. I’m learning that’s okay. I’m learning it’s all part of the process of becoming more mature, of being ready to handle things for the future, of being stronger in Christ. And I pray He will help you with this, too.

I pray you talk to Him, too. Constantly. I have no way of knowing where you happen to be at in your life right now, but the sooner you can find Jesus, the better. Regardless, however old you are when you read this or find this, I hope you will not wait any longer in surrendering your life to Him. He loves you so much, more than I ever could, and that relationship with Him is what will define your life in the best ways possible, more than you can imagine. I know because I’ve been there, and the journey I’m walking with Him is amazing. He wants that with you, too, and so do I, and I’m not marrying you if you don’t have Him, so then there’s that. ;) Haha but really. I wouldn’t emphasize it as highly as I do if I thought it wasn’t important and going to be for your best. God is literally who we're made for, and then marriage is a reflection of that, a gift He gives out of His love for us.

Also, there is something important you should know: take me shopping. Like I literally need you to, there’s no way our relationship can thrive without this. I even read an article about things husbands can do for their wives to improve their marriage, and this is actually on it. And it says it should be for “fun things”—GROCERY SHOPPING SUCKS AND WILL NOT CUT IT. And it’s not about being practical, like my mother thinks. You don’t go shopping for what you need, you go for what you WANT. The article also says you should be happy while doing this and flirt with me and don’t even worry about the money. That would literally make my life and our marriage. That’s all it takes for me. Yep, just write me a check and call it good. :’)

As I wrap this up, there actually is another personal letter I wrote you after a hockey game one night. You’ll get that when we meet, too, but here is the key points I want you to know from it: “I think about you and dream about you all the time. I need to get better at praying about you, though, I’ll admit. As awesome as I’m sure you are, God is always going to be my first love, and I don’t want to be obsessed with you. I don’t want you to be obsessed with me, either. I pray we’re passionate about each other and passionate about loving and caring for each other, but I pray that beyond and above that our hearts are always putting God first. Life is only rich with Him. Do you know that? I’m praying you will. Right now.”

By the way, patience was as much a struggle for me when I wrote that at 14 as it is for me now….

I’m going to unapologetically have high standards for you. I want you to have them for me, too, because I want us to constantly strive to be the best we can be for God’s glory. I’m not saying we have to try and earn each other’s love or God’s by being good (that’s totally not the case!), but our love should be expressed for each and for God by the way we live our lives.

You’ll get a lot more when we meet, so this is just a summary while you’re waiting. I sincerely hope you’re better at that than me. Do you know there really are people who are patient in the world? I find it hard to believe, but there really are. I need those people in my life. But if you’re not… It’s fine, we can just cry together about waiting for everything. ;)

I always like to include a little blurb about what I’m doing with my life right now, and I wish I had some amazing things to tell you, but God makes me wait for literally everything. :) That’s where we’re at, but it’s fine because I know the best is yet to come from Him. Including you, awe. <3 I’m almost done with my sophomore year of high school—still crazy to believe, as I can still remember driver’s ed from the fall and how forever ago that feels now—but that’s okay. I’m ready for summer so I can continue to spend my entire life on the internet writing things like this! I am about 3/5 of the way through with my second novel, I have actually been leaving my blog design alone because unfortunately I don’t have time to mess with it every day like I did when I was 12, and that’s about it. I spend too much time shopping and at hockey games, but without those, my mental health would be nearly gone, so it’s all good. They’re God’s gifts to me to survive the other work and grind of life. :)

In the meantime, I am going to keep dreaming and dying without you. Literally. There is this song called “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, and it’s really good and we should have it at our wedding or something, but this one lyric in particular says, “I have died everyday waiting for you.” Is that not literally me. Because I have no patience so everyday without you really is a struggle for me and is slowly killing me. :)

I still love pink. I love sparkles. I am going to pinkify and sparklify our house. Oh my gosh, I had such an awkward conversation with my mom about this when we walked into a certain store… You’ll have to remind me to tell you about it. We still are having a chandelier in every room. I don’t have much decided about our house as of yet, but the chandeliers are set in stone. There’s also this adorable ruffly bright pink comforter I found on Macy’s about a month ago, but don’t worry, I think I’m going to have it in my dorm room one day instead…because I’m sure there’s nothing you’d love more than a neon pink ruffly comforter to sleep under, am I right?! :)

Waiting really does kill me, though, but God is surely helping me with it! Every time, though, that I’m at a hockey game, or I’m shopping, or I’m bored in school…I always think about you and pray for you. It really is a beautiful thing, to marry the person God has for you, and I long for it quite a lot. Probably more than I should for the given time and that’s why waiting is killing me, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to meet you, pray with you, do life with you and love God with you. :) I have a tendency to make everything I write a book, which is fine for my career, but for everyone else’s sake I better cut this off here, though I literally could write you a book. I’ll probably put you in one of my books, so you better treat me like the angel I am!

With all the love God has put in me for you,

Your future wife, Ashlee

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What Your Favorite Movies Say About Life

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I love rewatching those movies that are my favorites, that no matter how many times you see them, they’re always entertaining and relaxing to watch again. I also have enjoyed going to movies with my family or watching them together; it’s fun bonding that way. There are movies that, despite not being distinctly Christian and maybe not even all that appropriate at times, still have some themes that I can appreciate, though. For example, I blogged about when I watched The Fault in Our Stars and how that taught me some things about the world here.

There are other movies like that I’ve enjoyed watching way more than that one, actually, and come to think of it, there are certain scenes or whatever that will speak to me or that I can appreciate. I’ll tell you some of my favorite movies and what parts I’ve liked, and then I want to hear about yours, too!

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire: I liked the whole series, but the first two were especially enjoyable. I remember one time in particular, actually, I was watching Catching Fire when it was on TV with my mom, and I got the idea for a blog post based on one of the scenes and thought, I need to write about this. There’s a part in Catching Fire where Gale, whose a cutie in my opinion, gets lashed because their society is cruel, and honestly it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this movie, so now I can’t even remember the reason why he was being punished. Anyhow, I know that whatever the reason, it was unjustified, and they did it in front of their whole town square, and Katniss tries to come rescue him.

I remember thinking about Gale once I got over how hot he is and how brave it was for him to take that and to not want Katniss to get hurt when she tried to save him. And I know you might say, that’s just a Hollywood movie, and those types of people don’t exist. Well, they should! Now, normally I am against so many of the themes cheesy Hollywood romance movies promote (you won’t see many romance movies on this list at all for that reason haha), but this is one I agree with. Chivalry and such is something that men should have and not just be a fantasy of women. Why? Because Jesus Himself models this!

Think about it. I was sitting there swooning over Gale, thinking about how brave he is and strong, etc., and then it literally just hit me. That Jesus actually went through so much worse than that. For ME. For YOU. It took my breath away. That desire, that reason why men are willing to sacrifice like that and why women want that, is it not because He did that very thing for us? And calls men to do the same (Ephesians 5:25)?

I really didn’t put this on here to nag men about what they should be doing, I put it on here to give glory to God because it shows how any desire we have, for a guy like Gale, maybe, or a marriage or to be loved like that, and the list goes on… It shows He already offers us that love and more. More than what any desire could offer.

Parental Guidance: this is a real heartwarming movie. It’s a fun comedy about grandparents and family, and I’ve enjoyed watching this with my family multiple times. Though it’s a comedy, there are multiple reminders of the importance of marriage, parenting, family, etc.

Twister: this is seriously one of my favorite movies ever. It’s on TV like all the time, and my mom and I always love to watch it. This is another comedy sort of movie, and it’s cheesy, yes, but at least it’s honest about its cheesiness. Some of those dumb romances movies try to act like they’re meaningful, and they’re not, but this one at least is honest about it haha! The main couple definitely has issues in their marriage, but there is this one scene I actually think about quite often when I get upset due to feeling restless: it’s the part where Bill tells Jo she needs to look at what she’s got right in front of her, which was him, because she is so caught up in her career for reasons the movie goes into. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

Into the Storm: this is another movie like Twister and fairly new. I went and saw this in theaters with my dad and loved it as I enjoy weather and movies involving it. This also has a theme to it despite being comedic and action packed at times. It talks about appreciating each day and never taking anything for granted.

Forrest Gump: this is a movie I saw last summer with my family, and I adore it. It’s funny, sweet, and reminded me of what’s really important in life. Even though God is not the center of the movie, through different characters and their stories, I was able to see how it all points back to all of us needing Him, whether the movie acknowledges that or not.

Everything ties back to God because He’s made us and instilled in us the deep desires for love and every other good thing. These movies at best hint at how we were made for Him and at worst show the trial and error of doing life without Him. So no matter what you watch, I wonder, where are you at in life with God? Are you able to see Him in everything, or do other distractions that movies portray take you farther from Him? Entertainment is not a bad thing—the desire for fun is from Him, too, you know—just so long as it all leads you back to Him.

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If You Would Just Let Go

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Stress is something that imprisons most people in this society. I see it everywhere. I’ve been to hockey games, which are supposed to be fun, and I see people that are agitated while they’re getting food or otherwise exhibiting an all around edginess. I’ve been to hockey games, and I’ve been stressed because my mind isn’t there; it’s jumping clear ahead to things that are not even close to being in the future yet, such as meeting people and finding people in college and getting a guy, etc. At school, everyone feels pressure to perform and meet some sort of expectations, whether their own or of others.

It’s really a sad thing we’ve got going in this society.

Nobody knows how to enjoy life as God intends for us to. While the world can be a stressful place and is full of sin, I don’t think a lot of people realize that it’s not actually what God wants for us to push ourselves deeper into it and let it rule our lives, thoughts, and attitudes. Just the opposite, really.

I’m not always good at this, but what God has shown me when He has helped me be at peace and witness others who are not is that I can’t keep quiet about the secrets to peace and how being this stressed and negative is not worth it. It’s really not. Negativity is one of those things we seldom comprehend we’re even doing until it becomes a habit, and that habit ends up defining how we think and view the world, thus influencing us to act that way and not be able to enjoy anything or appreciate the fact that God has freed us from that way of thinking.

It needs to change. As a Christian, I feel I have the responsibility to set an example of this change. When I am just as negative as my peers who are not following Jesus or are not surrendered to Him, that’s an issue. It says a lot about how my relationship with God is going and that I need to get my attention back to Him because I’ve been spending too much time immersed in the worldly ideals and not what He tells me to focus on, which is to be renewed by my mind, not feel depressed like the rest of the world and dwell on everything that’s wrong.

There really is such a simple fix, though, one that God says repeatedly throughout the Bible: just let go. Let Him take care of and fight the battles. He promises He will (Exodus 14:14).

I try to fight way too hard. I know that. I don’t want to wrestle with God, though, as it’s the quickest way to lose your peace and inherently pointless because His plans are much better anyways. Our perspective is so limited, and there have been many times where I’m reminded of just how little I really do know about what He’s doing in my life. It’s a humbling, reassuring reminder. It shows me I don’t know all He’s doing, and it is more than I can imagine, and He is obviously handling it even when I’m not conscious or aware of it. Isn’t that an amazing thought? And it is TRUE. If you are surrendering your life to Him, He is always fighting on your behalf. The God of the universe. Wow. You can’t be stressed or depressed when you meditate on that. You may not see solutions or how things are coming together or how they will be. But He does, and He promises to take care of you.

If you would just let go, you’d know this, and it’s the most reassuring, beautiful feeling. That moment of total surrender, of knowing He’s got you. You can have it right now. Even if you don’t “feel” it, believe it anyways. Life is not dependent on our emotions, and if we want any lasting joy, we cannot think based on our circumstances, stresses, or anything else along those lines.

If we want true peace, we have to focus on the only source of peace, God Himself (Isaiah 9:6). Let everything else go. Put the other thoughts to rest. God knows your every thought, and He’s more than capable of taking care of your battles without your trying to stress about it yourself. He’ll give you the insight, the solutions, when you need them. In the meantime, believe that He is already doing it. Because He really is, people.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in wanting the control, of wanting our way. But God knows what you want, and He promises the best. Life is only found in Him, not through the things you want, so place your life in Him, and anything else that comes is ultimately going to point you back to Him and how good He is.

If you would just let go, I can promise you from so much trial and error that that’s where true life is found. God never designed us to dictate our own lives and plans. We can’t do it all anyhow. We are designed to follow His lead. If you would just let go, He’ll take over. He’ll give you His perfect peace. And He’ll give you true joy and abundant life, no matter what (John 10:10; 16:33). The world thinks this is impossible, that being depressed and filled with despair and anxiety is the norm. And under sin, it absolutely is. But if you would just let go, it never has to keep you down in life. Ever. Jesus enables us to be the most peaceful, joyful people because He Himself is those things. And if you would just let go…

He’ll bless you with those special gifts also.

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10 Unknown Facts About Me

This post is a little different from what I normally write about, but I know I always find it fun to be able to learn more about the bloggers I follow, especially “random” facts that may not seem like anything significant but end up defining a person. I’ve had this idea in my queue for awhile, and since I don’t know how many of you are new around here, I thought it would be a good time to share some random, unknown facts about me! So I won’t tell you I love pink because you can all see that if you have eyes. :D

1. Dayne and Katy, from the Baxter Family series by Karen Kingsbury, are by far my favorite literary characters, especially Dayne. That series by her is also my favorite, and I’ve been dreaming of a love story like theirs since I read it, at the ripe age of 11! It’s about an actor who is very wild, but he goes to this small town because of family ties and he sees this sweet, Christian girl who stays in his mind even after he goes back to Hollywood. Long story short, I’m not going to spoil anything, but it’s a wonderful series. And one of the themes in it is that God can do anything, change anyone, cross anyone’s paths, so… Dream big and pray for mine haha. :)

2. I have a thing for guys with brown, curly hair. That’s obviously not the only factor I take in to consideration, and just because a guy has that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be attracted to him, but my look a-likes all have this, as do most of the guys I seriously crush over.

3. A few of my favorite places: Estherville, Iowa, which I talk all about here as to why, Okoboji, Iowa, a small, summery beach town with the lakes that attracts tourists, and I somehow think I am getting a house here one day (yes, pray for me, I wasn’t kidding when I said my dreams are much too big) and Des Moines, Iowa, because I love the views of this city and have so many good memories and fun times that have taken place here (to be wrote about soon!!).

4. I want a castle for a house (not in size, necessarily—think architecture). I also somehow think this is going to be my primary house and still have one in Okoboji… I love the look of those houses, though, that have those towers and look fancy and modern yet have that gothic styled architecture to them… I don’t need a mansion by any means, but a nice house with that style and one of those towers would be lovely.

5. I want a destination wedding. I’ve been dying to go to the Bahamas since forever, and I have talked about that multiple times, but I think actually getting married there would be amazing and something to remember forever as an experience. I have so many wonderful ideas for my wedding; I’m just going to tell my husband not to worry about doing a thing—except paying the bill for it all. :)

6. I could work in a mall easily. Maybe I will when I’m in college because I know an embarrassing amount of things about my favorite stores. I know all of their collections, I know all tips and tricks for various types of styles, and I’m equally passionate about everything they make so getting people to buy would come naturally! The major problem to this is that my paycheck would probably be gone before I even left work, so then there’s that.

7. I have an obsession with fragrance. It’s almost creepy because when people smell good, I can just tell and I just want to be around them to smell whatever they’re wearing. I have way too much fragrance in my room, probably like ten different things of it not counting the rollerballs. I can’t wait to buy my boyfriend a million different types of cologne!

8. I live for both the simple and finer things in life, if that even works. I love designer items and anything fancy or glamorous or basically whatever a fashion blogger talks about #onit, but it also doesn’t take MUCH to make me happy. As much as I enjoy getting those expensive things (when they go on sale haha), I do not NEED them to be happy. I could buy something as simple as a new nail polish, and that makes me happy. I try to appreciate whatever God gives me. It makes every single thing that much sweeter, especially when I actually do get a “bigger” item because you develop that appreciation for the little things in life and happiness that is not dependent on material things, so then getting something like that can be enjoyed in its proper place.

9. My whole life is a paradox: while I am an introvert and need my space, I have a need for adventure or else I get restless, and I love the city life! I try to always keep a balance of things. I’ve found that to be the key. I feel like I am a balance of things, honestly. I like to work, but I like to play, and too much of either one leaves me agitated. The good thing about that is it’s helped me learn to balance things out and take breaks when I need to of both.

10. My personality = both a realist and idealist. Hopefully some of this comes off in my posts, but I try to look at things for what they are and not sugarcoat them. With that being said, I’m a romantic and have the most unpractical dreams, so it gets hard managing the two. VERY hard. There’s a lovely quote on Pinterest I saw that talks about my personality (as identified by the Myers-Briggs quiz) being caught between these two things and, as a result, that can lead to us feeling anxious and fearful, depressed, cynical, insecure, restless, meaningless, and hopeless. Isn’t that special! #personalitygoals

It has been good, though, for me, as in some ways it’s the best of both worlds. I don’t have a distorted reality, but I also have the ability to think beyond what is. Because with God, anything is possible. It has had its challenges, though, and God has used that to strengthen me.

It works both ways. Sometimes, God has had to bring me back down to earth because my idealism wants to get lost in dreaming about the future and looking to what’s next or jumping ahead, and He wants me to enjoy what is happening right in front of me. On the other hand, sometimes my realism leads me to feel very pessimistic and stuck with situations, and I doubt that God can do more than I imagine, but there have been times where He’s showed me I just may never know all He’s doing and that He can open doors that don’t seem practical whatsoever, but He can do it because He can do anything. It’s all about balance!

Now, tell me about you! I love hearing from all of you! Thank you for getting to know me. :)

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