Staying Present


It’s been about three weeks since my last post. And about three weeks from today I will be heading home for a long weekend! May 16th I fly back, mainly to see my Elon friends before they graduate and disperse across the country and beyond. It just so happens to fall on my birthday weekend!

The weeks leading up to that trip are quickly filling up with fun outings and different commitments. The weekend before I head home, Brent and I will be having a big three-day birthday celebration. His birthday is the day before mine, so of course we have to go all out!

Since the last blog post I’ve been to the beach a few times. We went to Malibu for a community day. It was very peaceful and beautiful. The other weekend we went to Dockweiler with a bunch of friends, where you can camp and have bonfires on the beach. And this past Saturday I went to Santa Monica. I’ve never been to a beach by myself before and wanted to try it out. I loved it! It’s about a 40-minute bus ride, so it’s easy to get there. I brought a book, my music, and a lunch and just took it easy. I love the beach so much. It will be hard being so much farther from it when I move to Greensboro. I’ve always said that one day I will live in a beach town…one day :)

Work has been going pretty well. There are lots of changes happening at the moment, and more to come. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It’s weird that I have less than four months there! And just out here in Hollywood altogether. I can feel myself checking out in certain ways. In other words, I keep thinking about how it’s the end of April and time is flying and I almost don’t want to try addressing conflict in the house, or I don’t want to put in all the effort during community hours. Basically, I feel like it’s taking extra effort for me to follow through with commitments I have this year. And of course that’s not fair to my housemates and the neighborhood kids, etc. I think that would be my #1 prayer request right now – that I can have the strength and motivation to do what I came here to do; to do what’s expected of me for the next four months; to not check out and focus too much on next year.

I think that’s a big reason I’m not feeling as mentally present: I know what I’ll be doing next year and it’s distracting me from what I’m doing at the present moment. I’ll admit it: I’m worrying about where I’ll live next year and who I’ll live with and how little time I’ll have between my DOOR year and starting classes and registering for those classes and wanting a dog and wanting my car back and making sure all the logistics of the move are covered and that all my ducks are in a row and that everything is perfect and that I can control it all.

Yup, those are the thoughts running through my head. A little ridiculous, I know. Thankfully I have a Heavenly Father who can remind me of my inability to actually control it all…no matter how badly I want to. I have to keep reminding myself of Matthew 6 and what Scripture says about worrying. This, also, is worth remembering:

Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do for a while, but in the end you’re in the same place.

Not Scripture, but arguably just as helpful :)

So please be praying that I stay present…mentally, emotionally, etc. Also, I have been having some lower abdominal pain lately. Please be praying that I get some answers soon! I’m going to the doctor this week. Fingers crossed!

Today it was a free day (because it’s Easter Monday) and John had gotten a few free tickets to a taping of America’s Got Talent. He, Laura, and I ended up going. Let me preface by saying I tend to not like tapings so much. The few that I’ve been to (and from what I hear of others) require you to be there for hours on end without being able to eat anything, bring water, or getting any type of compensation at all. You wait in long lines, get shuffled around and told to go here or do this, and most of what you see is “fluff”. You don’t get to see much of the show’s material; it’s lots of cameras being moved, logistics being worked out, some host guy trying to entertain you, blah blah blah.

On the other hand, you get to see some famous people and watch some cool behind-the-scenes stuff and be entertained (even if it’s only for a little bit).  All for free. Soooo I try not to get too jaded.

Anyway, all that to say that the taping today was pretty awesome! It wasn’t as much fluff as usual, and most of the acts were really legit! All but two got through to the next round. And one of those two was pretty cool…just not cool enough. One act included an adorable pig that raised a flag, and “played” soccer and golf. I love pigs. It was awesome.

Also, yesterday was Easter. Saddleback Church’s new LA location launched yesterday and Rick Warren, the founder, was there to kick it off. My friend, Rebekah, and I went to check it out. I really like Rick Warren, but it’s definitely not the church for me. But I’m glad I got to experience it and see him. I haven’t gone to Reality LA in weeks! It’s simply too big for me. But I miss the amazing worship and sermons, so maybe I’ll check it out again soon. I’ve checked out Tribe, where Freddie goes. I liked it a lot. It’s just such a commitment. I have to leave at 4 p.m., I get there around 5:00, we eat and have worship and a Bible study/discussion, and leave at around 8:00. So it’s at least a 4-hour commitment. But if I can mentally prepare myself and make myself go, it’s so worth it :)

I think that’s it for now. Thanks for reading and praying. Stayed tuned for another post soon!

Love and peace,


The Future


After lots of prayer and mental pro and con lists, I have figured out where I’ll be next year. I have been accepted to – and have enrolled in – the Joint Masters of Social Work program between UNC Greensboro and NC A&T State University! I am excited to move to Greensboro and be back in the classroom, further educating myself. The program is very unique and has so much to offer. Not to mention I’ve always loved the Greensboro area :)

Full disclosure: I am very sad to have to leave LA in August. After being accepted into the Social Work program at the University of Southern California, I was stoked at the idea of staying out here for school. But when it didn’t work out financially, I thought it best to not put myself through that financial burden. It still stings to know that, but I am feeling more at peace about it as I go. I tend to liken my last week or so to a roller coaster. At times I’m certain that I am making the right decision. Other times I’m terrified I’ve made the wrong one. But the more time that goes by, the more at peace I feel about it all. A big realization I’ve had recently is that I tend to feel at home just about wherever I am. New Jersey feels like home whenever we visit. Pinehurst also feels like home. Elon did, too. And then Argentina. And now Los Angeles. I need to leave LA to figure out if it’s where I am meant to be or if it’s just another experience and place that I’ve grown to cherish. Plus, different times in life call you to different places. I have a feeling once I get settled in Greensboro it will feel right.

Another thing I have to think about it Kingdom work. It’s a term I was pretty unfamiliar with until coming to LA and meeting Marvin, the Assistant Director for DOOR Hollywood. When I was discerning what to do and talking with him, he told me to figure out where I can best build up God’s Kingdom. I feel the best place to do that is by pursuing this program in Greensboro.

It’s an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time. I need to prepare for this upcoming year and commitment, yet stay mentally present here in Hollywood with my housemates, job, and responsibilities with this program. It will be a delicate balance over the next four months of so.

Here are some praises: I figured out my post-DOOR year plans! Yay! Also, work has been going a lot better. And I’ve been having lots of fun weekends lately with great friends. I’ve also had some very lazy weekends to reenergize :)

Some prayer requests: my lower back has been hurting a bit. Same with my neck. Hopefully I just slept on it weirdly or something. Also, I’m nervous about all the logistics of next year; I don’t want to dwell on it all to much…just enough to stay on top of it all. 

Now for some lighter updates… I got to see my college roommate, Ellie, last weekend! She was visiting her brother (and also my friend) JP who lives in LA, so we all hung out for a bit.


I also got to hike to the Hollywood sign with my friend, Rebekah and then check out the Getty Museum with John, Freddie, and John’s college friend, Sam, who was visiting last weekend.



And this weekend I explored Pasadena with my prayer partner, Rachel. We tracked down Pasadena City Hall as that’s where they film exterior shots of City Hall for the fictitious town of Pawnee, Indiana as well as many interior shots. It was awesome!


That’s it for now…

Much love,


Humility & Me: A Love/Hate Relationship


Part of volunteering for a year involves people wanting to give me things, or buy me things. Sounds great, right? It is. But there’s usually this weird feeling in my gut when it happens.

“I got it. Put your wallet away.”

“We’re getting rid of some furniture. You guys want it?”

“Get whatever you want. It’s on me.”

“Oh, I have some food for you guys.”

“No, don’t be silly, I will give you a ride.”

I can’t pay them back. I consider everything people have given me and I’m not in a position to reciprocate. At least not to the same extent. It hurts my pride. It’s hard to explain, but there’s this image in my head of me crouching down in submission, allowing others to care for me and look out for me. For a year. Not just one person helping me out here…buying my lunch there. This is for 12 months.

This past Sunday I went to a friend’s house where Alex cooked me breakfast and Nathan said I could have his AC unit. Later that day my prayer partner Rachel picked me up and bought me coffee. As we were in line she said those four words she always says… “Get whatever you want.” I knew what that meant. I felt like cringing and crying and giving her the biggest hug in the world all at once. It was so much generosity and kindness in one day.

I guess part of the reason I wanted to write this post is to say THANK YOU. Words can’t describe the gratitude I feel towards family and friends both out here and back home who have supported me and looked after me.

But the other reason I wanted to shed light on this experience of mine is so I could point it back to Jesus and Scripture:

Matthew 23:12 
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Mark 9:35
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

James 4:6 
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 11:2
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

What Jesus calls us to do isn’t easy, but it’s right and just. And its results are beautiful. By swallowing my pride I can see the world in a new way. I can be more open to the grace of others and the grace of God. I can recognize the blessings He puts in my life through people and relationships. On a more somber level it reminds me that not everyone is in this boat, which further encourages me to see these offerings as a blessing and not a guilt trip.

I think I can speak for all of my housemates when I say we are so grateful for all the people who have reached out to us individually and collectively. Thank you for joining us on our journeys and having our backs.


Love and peace,


The spirit of silence


Have you ever had to be completely silent while having a meal with six other people? Me neither…until this past Monday at a Silence and Solitude Retreat. The five of us – plus Matthew and Marvin – went about an hour north into the SoCal desert to a monastery. We got there in the morning and met with Father Patrick. He explained the nature of a silence and solitude retreat and then set us free to explore the grounds, take naps, pray, sit by the pond, do whatever our hearts desired. As long as we were silent.

I was really looking forward to it. I thought it would be easier for me. It certainly wasn’t difficult, but I kept trying to enter this contemplative, prayerful state and was having some trouble. Our minds are so used to going, going, going. It takes discipline to block out the noise from others, but also from ourselves. I was reflecting and realized I would’ve loved to stay there for a long weekend, or maybe even a week.

Another challenge I didn’t expect was resisting the urge to be close to my roommates and share stories and thoughts with them. Something funny that I witnessed. A random thought that popped into my head. A dream I had during a nap. They say happiness is only real when shared. I can’t help but think that I experienced that first hand.

Nonetheless, I found the retreat very rejuvenating and helpful. We didn’t get home until about 9:30 p.m. but I didn’t feel that tired or stressed. I felt ready to take on the hectic week to come. Throughout the day I was able to start the book we’re reading as a house, take a nap (twice), journal a bit, explore the hills of the desert, watch the sunset, and sit by the pond and watch the ducks.

Father Patrick spoke about “the spirit of silence”. Not everyone at the monastery is silent all of the time, of course. But they respect this “spirit” as they know some people – like our group – are there for that specific purpose. It was challenging, rewarding, and thought-provoking all at once. Even towards the end of dinner when we were allowed to finally break the silence, most of us didn’t want to. We sat there and continued to eat without speaking for several minutes. We genuinely enjoyed just sitting there with each other. For those of you who think it’d be too difficult to stay quiet, I think it’s worth a try, if you ever have the opportunity.

May we all find time in our days to really experience silence and solitude…


“Never will I forsake you.”


Please excuse my tardiness on a new blog post! I can’t believe it’s almost March. My DOOR year is past the halfway mark. While we still have a long way to go, it makes me nervous and sad to think about what I’ll do after the year ends and possibly having to leave this place that has become my community, my home.

A couple of weeks ago my housemates and I took the Love Language quiz. Have you heard of it? You can find it online and it’s quick and free. It tells you what your “love language” is. In other words, it reveals how you feel the most loved. The main categories are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and acts of service. It was a great way for my roommates and I to better understand how we feel loved and appreciated. It allowed us to connect on a deeper level and see that – for example – when someone doesn’t give us a hug when we get home from work, it’s not because they don’t care about us. It’s because physical touch is not how they feel loved, and therefore don’t think to love other people that way. When we dress up and no one says anything, it’s not because they don’t notice. It’s because that’s not their way of communicating. I encourage you all to figure out what your love language is! Mine is words of affirmation :)

This past Monday it was my turn to plan the community day. I had made plans for later in the day, so Brent and I went on an adventure to Barnsdall Park in the morning. It was a great escape from the craziness of LA.

Brent & Me Barnsdall Park

When 3:00 came around, the five of us had a house meeting and went grocery shopping. Then we had dinner with Odalys and her family. Odalys is one of the Discerners. She has grown up in Hollywood and worked with DOOR last summer as an intern of sorts, learning about God and social justice issues in Los Angeles and beyond. Her niece and nephew, Andrea and Angelo, happen to be two of our “regulars” at community hours each week. After dinner the five of us drove up to Mulholland Drive and met Matthew for amazing nighttime views of Los Angeles and “The Compliment Game.” It’s a game that a college friend introduced me to and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s not a game so much as a time to go around and build one another up with compliments and affirmations.

This Monday we will go on a “silence and solitude retreat”. I’m so excited! It’s a place meant for prayer, reflection, reading, journaling, etc. There’s no talking. Four about twelve hours. It will be very interesting. I’ve never done anything like it. Stay tuned for my feedback…

Since my last post my “funk” has dissolved a bit, although it still gets to me sometimes. I am more disciplined about journaling and praying and doing my devotional. There’s so much going on in my life and I definitely tend to get overwhelmed, so I have to make sure I’m taking care of myself. I go to bed no later than 10 p.m. during the week now and I’ve gotten better at saying “no”. It’s so difficult when even your living situation feels like work. I leave PATH everyday at 4:00 p.m. but come home to house meetings, cooking and cleaning schedules, community hours, having my schedule disrupted, and sacrifices left and right. Don’t get me wrong – I love my housemates and this year/experience. But I think after doing it for six months it just gets to you. Lately the five of us have been more intentional about doing fun things together as a group. While it’s hard to find time when we’re all free, it’s a little thing that makes a big difference. It’s funny…I’ve never been married, of course, but I can’t help but think that this is what marriage will be like. Constant work and having to carve out time to have fun together :)

I’ve also been trying to call people more. It’s quite a time suck; it seems like everytime I’m catching up with someone on the phone, I check the time and close to an hour has gone by! But it’s totally worth it. I always feel happy after catching up with someone from back home.

I had an interesting revelation last night. We were at dinner with a few people who had experienced homelessness in their lives. One of them said that during her time being homeless, she never felt like God left her. While this may seem like a comfort, it resulted in a lot of hate towards God. How could He just sit there and let this happen? But this woman emphasized the verse, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” She said it with such passion and conviction that it gave me goosebumps. For some reason, that verse sunk into my heart, mind, and soul. The Holy Spirit at work, I suppose. I can’t get it out of my head, and I have a feeling it will be a comfort to me over the next few weeks or so. Funny how just a few words can have such an effect on someone…

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who reads my blog and supports me. Hopefully the next post will come sooner rather than later!

Love and peace,




I don’t cry very often. I wouldn’t call it a weakness, or a lack of vulnerability. In fact I enjoy opening up to others. I think it’s simply how I’ve always been. It is what it is. I don’t think tears are bad. The opposite is true, if you ask me. As a feminist and as a Christian I think it’s so important to appreciate and embrace our femininity, our more sensitive side.

For many reasons, the tears have been overabundant the last few weeks. The entire month of January I have been in what I call “a funk”. Maybe it’s the post-holiday blues. Maybe it’s the shorter days. The lack of light. The stress of this year. A divine test. Or maybe all of that, and then some. All I know is that I’ve needed to turn to God a lot more than usual, which has brought an intense joy and sense of freedom that’s intertwining with this weird state I’ve been in, slowly but surely wrapping around it and choking it until it is no more. I was doing a devotional last night and came across one of my favorite verses: “Jesus wept”. It appears a few times, but I love it particularly in the story of Lazarus. Jesus knows He will bring him back from the dead, yet He still is saddened and He let’s that show. He shares in our pain, sorrow, confusion; all the good and all the bad.

I have been affirmed several times, by many different DOOR-related people, that this “funk” is right on time. Anywhere between January to April Dwellers come down off of a hill and into a valley of sorts. So I’m not too concerned about all the tears these last few weeks, but prayers are nonetheless appreciated :)

On a lighter note, the five of us just got back from the annual DOOR plan-you-own retreat. We stayed at a friend’s house about 5 hours north of LA in a town called Copperopolis. It’s a very small town with not too much to do in the winter, so it was a perfect getaway. We had three whole days there, so we went out to Yosemite for a day, San Francisco for a day, and the last day we chilled at the house. I don’t know if I can pick a highlight! Yosemite was beautiful and so calm and peaceful. San Francisco was really fun; we did pretty much everything on our list and the timing worked out really well. We went to the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghiardelli’s Square, and drove through The Castro and Lombard Street. Plus Freddie has a couple college friends there so we met up with them and they showed us around a bit. And the day hanging out at the house was great. They have a pool table, a hot tub, and HUNDREDS of movies. I watched four. It was glorious.

We got back yesterday afternoon. This morning I went into work at 5:30 AM for early morning outreach with LAPD, which was different and really interesting. There aren’t nearly as many people around, so it makes it easier to focus on your work. And it was cool partnering with the police and learning from that. Because we went in two hours early, we got off two hours early, so I’m sitting in Bricks & Scones (basically my safe haven outside of my own room) with my cup of coffee and Spotify before going home for dinner and community hours.

I don’t have much else to report. For those of you wanting to see pictures form the retreat, I didn’t really take any :) John did though. And Brent filmed throughout the whole weekend. So they will be posting pictures and a video on Facebook soon. For anyone out there who doesn’t have Facebook, I will try and post whatever they post here on my own blog. So stay tuned for that!

That’s all for now.

Love and peace,


Happy birthday mom (and dad)!!!!!!


It’s January 16! In honor of my mother’s birthday, I thought I would give her a shout out with a new blog post. She is the most caring and considerate mother anyone could ask for. Seriously. She is the best. She makes me feel so loved every day, something I know I should never take for granted. Thank you mom, for everything! Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made. For the horseback riding lessons and karate classes. For the scrapbooks and the afghan. For passing down your love of dogs and movies. For encouraging me to travel the world, and supporting me when I followed through and actually did it. Thank you for more than I could ever put into words.


And then there’s my dad, whose birthday is just fours days from now. Where do I begin? I have never met anyone so selfless. He will drop EVERYTHING for Dana, my mom, and myself. He will always put himself last. Heck, he’s even put our dogs before himself :) I can only hope that whoever I marry one day is half the man my father is. I love you two so much!

ImageAs for updates on my end, I got to see a bunch of celebrities on Sunday! My friend Rebekah and I went over to The Beverly Hilton where The Golden Globes were being held. We stood outside by the entrance and watched as the stars pulled up in their big, black, tinted-window cars. Every now and then someone would roll down their window and everyone would go nuts. We saw Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, Sandra Bullock, Emma Watson, Orlando Bloom, Jessica Chastain, Helen Miren, Colin Farrell, Robert Redford, Channing Tatum, and Leonardo DiCaprio!!!! It was amazing.



I will be posting again soon with more of an update. If you see or talk to my parents within the next few days make sure to wish them a happy birthday :)

Love and peace,