Monday Lovin’: India Edition

I’m back stateside after 12 days in India. It was an incredible trip, one I hope to take again, and it stirred up a lot in me that I’m still processing through. I’m eager to share parts of it, but as with any experience, it’s difficult to put into words. Today as part of Monday Lovin’, I’m sharing some highlights.

1) When I started to think about my trip to India, the first obstacle to overcome was funding. However, God used this faith step to affirm that He indeed wanted me on this trip. I saw my full support raised in 3 weeks. I never thought that was possible. But even more special than watching God provide financially, was seeing the ways that my support network rallied around me and my team in prayer. I received encouraging responses to emails and special prayers from friends half a world away. I felt like my friends were in the trenches with me, even though they were not physically there. This experience affirmed the power of prayer in coming alongside others.

2) I have long thought that Indian children are some of the most beautiful, and being around them for two weeks only confirmed it. The kids run a little bit free, so when our group would be sharing with the adults, I loved getting down on their level and playing with them. Even with the language barrier, I was able to play rock, paper, and scissors, and try to learn their names. Plus, kids always love having their picture taken, so I’ve been able to bring their faces home with me. Seeing and interacting with them, further motivated me to pray for and share with the adults. If parents come to know Christ, they will be able to communicate the Gospel with and disciple their children. I pray that this would be the generation that fulfills the Great Commission!

3) Technology was not only a game changer in communicating with my friends and family back home, but it will shape global missions. Many mission organizations have taken steps forward in translating the Bible (and other training materials) in all languages. This is huge. However, there are countries, specifically where many of the unreached people groups live, where low literacy rates prevent people from reading the Bibles that have been translated into their languages.

On Thursday our team will be sharing information at our church. If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned to my blog because I’ll be sharing stories for weeks to come, but I also really encourage Indianapolis locals to attend our debrief.


Monday Lovin’

I’ve lived in my apartment for just over 2 years, so I forgot just how intense moving can be. This weekend involved packing, coordinating with my new roommates to drop boxes off, unpacking boxes at the new house and cleaning. It has taken over my life. The official move date isn’t even until next Saturday. Lord, give me strength. In order to distract from the craziness of moving, I’m sharing what I’m loving right now.

  1. I don’t do well with season changes. It’s taken me years to realize that as the temperatures cool down or warm up, I slide into a little bit of a funk. My body and emotions feel heavy constantly. I compare it to mild seasonal depression, but instead of it lasting a season, it’s just a few weeks. As the weather evens out and settles into a new normal, I, too, stabilize. I know this about myself, thankfully. So what’s a girl to do when the weeks are hard? Starbucks. While I significantly cut back on my Starbucks consumption over the summer, I don’t need it just for the caffeine, but for a little reward. I made it through another day of transition, so yay!
  2. Saturday morning’s weather was dreary so my plan of a long run outside changed. After a short indoor workout, I headed to Target. In my group of friends, I’ve trademarked Target Adventures. They’re basically trips to Target with no agenda, just wandering through the aisles, thinking and dreaming. Since I’m moving, it was fun to walk up and down aisles thinking about rooms at the new place, but not letting myself buy anything immediately.
  3. Fall brings football. I wait all year to spend Sundays on the couch watching football. It’s basically the best. The Colts are off to a rough start, but hopefully they can rebound tonight.
  4. IMG_4630Our church has our first social event in our new building. On the church property, there is a silo left over from when the land was a farm. On Sunday night, we had a Social at the Silo. It was a blast to see our church family together. I loved spending time with two of my friends. We ate a lot of food and got to catch up on life. We ended the evening with 17 baptisms. Such a celebration!

I’m starting this Monday with anticipation for what this week holds. We have our first meeting for my November trip to India, I’m starting a Bible Study on 1 John and moving the rest of my stuff to the new place.

Have a great week!

Monday Lovin’: Fall Fashion


September is here with it’s cooler temperatures and breeze in the air. I’m a summer lover, so this transition can be difficult for me. To make it a little bit easier, I try to focus on the fun stuff that fall has to offer: the ability to run in the middle of the afternoon without worrying about humidity, not looking like a crazy person when I order a hot latte at Starbucks, eating yummy soups, laying on the couch watching football and the focus of today’s blog – new clothing options. Some of my favorite fall staples are already hanging in my closet, others are sitting in my online shopping carts (the dream cart) waiting for a sale or next paycheck.

  1.  J.Crew Field Jacket: Confession time, I have the J.Crew Field Jacket in two colors and I want the third. It’s the perfect fall piece, but also transitions well into winter and back into spring. It’s a casual alternative to a blazer and a dressier version of a windbreaker. Hint: the Mossy Brown looks more like army green and goes with EVERYTHING.
  2. Flannel Shirts: Versatility is important to me. Before making a purchase, I want to make sure that the item can be worn in different settings – work, church and fun. Flannels can usually do just that. Layer them under a blazer with pearls and it’s business casual. Pair them with holey jeans and a puffer vest for a casual weekend look. Looking for a Sunday football outfit? Look no further than leggings, a flannel and riding boots; you’ll look like you made an effort, but you’ll feel like you’re in pajamas – trust me. Buffalo check flannels are fun, but my personal favorite of the season this far is this bold guy that’s already hanging in my closet.
  1. Special Occasion Dress: Even though my body does well in an a-line or fit and flare dress, I am increasingly eager to step outside my comfort zone with looser fitting dresses or a shift dress. I have enough basics in my closet, so I’m drawn to bright, bold and sometimes unlikely options. You usually can’t go wrong with Anthropologie dresses; this one is a great pattern, fun fall colors and an easy fit. While you’re over at the Anthropologie website, their sale dresses are beautiful to look at, and usually at a more affordable price point. If you’re looking for a shift dress option, this J.Crew sleeveless lace shift dress is a great investment piece. It can be worn year round and dressed up or down. I personally love the bright ocean color, but all three colors are rich and would pair well with a field jacket and riding boots. It’s a perfect dress to attend a fall wedding, and the Navy/Black color could serve double duty for the holiday season.
  1. Casual Dress: I can usually count on Old Navy for a basic fall dress each year. The dresses don’t necessarily last more than a year – the fabric doesn’t hold up, the color fades or the shape changes, but for the price, that’s usually okay for me. Old Navy’s fit and flare dresses aren’t all made equal, but this year, I found a great fit for me. The black one is my favorite, I can’t wait for all the ways I can wear it this fall and winter. Hint: wait for an Old Navy dress sale.
  2. Boots: My roommate is a big fan of booties. My legs don’t do well in them. So I wouldn’t give specific recommendations for boots, but Nordstrom and DSW both have excellent options, and I’m confident there’s something for everyone. Don’t do what I’ve done in years past and wait until December to buy boots – the good sizes will be gone, and you’ll be disappointed. Even if it feels early in the season for boots, now is the time to shop.

I’d love to hear what you’re loving this fall! What’s at the top of your list of things to buy?

Monday Lovin’

July was a full month. Full of the beautiful and rich, but also full of the scary and uncertain. It has been a hard summer to get into a routine, which is why the writing has been so inconsistent. So I’m choosing to show up today, on Monday with an update about what I’m lovin’.

  1. TJ Maxxx: I LOVE to shop! I can spend money almost anywhere. But more than buying new things, I love the shopping experience. I enjoy walking around, seeing what options exist and trying on fun things. Plus, the prices are even better!
  1. Friends: Lots and lots of Friends. When life is heavy, I need some light television to unwind. Friends has been a perfect way to occupy my mind. Note for the wise: Friends is hard television show to watch while working out – it’s double duty on your abs.
  1. Sweet potatoes: My roommate introduced me to sweet potatoes. Cut into bite sized pieces, add olive oil, salt and pepper and cook at 400 for at least 20 minutes/until they’re soft. They’re filling, cheap and a great addition to any meal. I’m always looking for new food staples.
  1. Reading: All the books. I want them. Half Priced Books and Amazon have been favorites this summer as I’ve tried to fill myself up with good stuff. I’ll put out a list of my favorite books of the summer later this month, since the summer isn’t really over yet, even though all the kids are headed back to school.

I’m hoping to write more this month, so hopefully I’ll be back on Thursday with some thoughts.


Monday Lovin’

This weekend kicked off a full month of fun, with only one weekend that will be spent in Indianapolis. Which is good, but I am slightly tired just thinking about it. A friend and I drove to Cincinnati on Friday to see Beth Moore speak live. We also spent time with my family and had great conversations in the car.

  1. Beth Moore was phenomenal! I cannot speak highly enough of the chance to see her live. The love Jesus demonstrates towards us is scandalous. From the very beginning. This past week in discipleship, we discussed the birth of Christ and how the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. A woman pregnant out of wedlock. Scandal. Beth said this weekend, “We’re often too well behaved for our Bibles.” God’s story is powerful, full of adventure and drama, only the good kind of course. He doesn’t demand good behavior out of me, He demands faith, which is harder, and may be less defined. May I be brave enough to follow God in faith, wherever that may lead.
  2. My mom is doing a switcheroo of rooms at their house. Which means that my old bedroom furniture is being sold. When I was at home this weekend, I went through a lot of mementos that she had pulled of drawers in order to decide what to keep and what could go. I relived high school memories with a college and post-grad best friend. Favorites: my bright pink stilettos worn to senior homecoming, a water gun from junior year of college and key chains from several Asian vacation destinations collected while we lived overseas. I am thankful for such special memories.
  3. I love Myers-Briggs. The host of a podcast that I’ve started listening to is obsessed with Myers-Briggs, too, which has encouraged me to retest myself. This long-time ENFJ is actually an ENFP. It has been enlightening to realize that the way I process information can be draining. ENFPs are often the wide-view lens and able to make connections across many different things, but they also can’t turn their brains off. I highly recommend the test at 16 Personality Types.

This evening has been full of Matt Kearney music, book reading, tea drinking and couch laying. So good. It’s the ordinary moments that cultivate such deep gratitude in my heart. 

Monday Lovin’

Happy Monday! It’s been a rainy, cloudy week in Indianapolis. Which means this weekend was full of rest, Blacklist watching and book reading. I even took a nap on Saturday – I cannot remember the last time that happened! One more week before my favorite holiday, and only a four-day work week. It is a good discipline to share a few of my favorite things with you each Monday.

1) Trader Joe’s may be my new favorite place to shop. That is saying a lot for a clothing addict. There are not too many choices that I feel overwhelmed, but enough choices that it makes meal-planning fun. I am confident making healthy decisions at Trader Joe’s, even if I buy fun snacks (Cowboy Bark), too. Also, meal planning makes cooking fun – who knew?

2) Nothing makes me feel more grown up than furniture shopping. Two years ago, when I moved into my first apartment in Indianapolis, there was decorative table that I wanted, but it wasn’t in my (very small) budget. It is still a splurge, but 30% off at Target, and a slightly larger budget made it possible. In September, I’m moving in a new place, so I’m slowly but surely building a collection of furniture so that where I live feels like home.

3) Binge watching Blacklist with my roommates is a current hobby of mine. Each episode I say, “Oh my gosh,” “What the heck,” and “I can’t even,” at least twice, but we keep going. We are a little bit addicted, and that may be the understatement of the summer.

4) Friday after work, I had an ice cream date and Target adventure with old, but best friend. We recalled the goodness of God and talked through what we hope the future holds. There is comfort in a friend who has seen the good, bad and ugly. If you live in Indianapolis, and haven’t tried Handles Ice Cream, what are you waiting on?

I will be back on Wednesday sharing my favorite reads lately. Here’s to hoping for a good week!


Monday Lovin’

monday lovin'

It’s Monday again! Instead of sharing what I currently love, I’m sharing my summer bucket list/goals.

  1. Read 10 books. I can’t seem to get enough of reading lately. It’s been a blast to learn new things and enjoy diving into other people’s stories. I want to spend my summer continuing to do exactly that. I long to be a witness of other people’s stories, and one of the best ways for me to do that is by reading. Want to step outside your current reality and stretch what you know to be true? Pick up a new book. Reading – both fiction and nonfiction – enables my imagination, leading me to dream in new ways.
  1. Run 100 miles. In full disclosure, this one might be a bit of a challenge. It’s June 15th and I’ve only run 8 miles, so if I want to actually achieve this, I’m going to have to step up my running game to get some miles in. This may mean that I am going to have to wake up at the fine hour of 6 am to run outside or log some miles on the treadmill. However, I am the happiest, healthiest version of me when I’m running consistently, it’s almost like a spiritual discipline for me.
  1. Finishing reading through the book of Psalms. I like to read my way through books of the Bible. It’s one of the best ways I remind consistent in spending time with the Lord. However, being very feelings based, it’s hard to motivate myself to spend time in the Word when I’m not “feelin’ it.” But, if I want to grow in the ways that God want to lead me, I have to put the time in, not out of obligation, but out of delight. Thus, this summer bucket list item. May the summer of 2015 be defined in my own life as a summer that I learned more about God’s character and heart; may it be a summer of refinement and growth.
  1. Pay off my student loan debt. This item has been a long time coming. Eighteen months in the making. I’m almost there. And you may find it strange that it found its way onto this fun list. But, it IS fun to accomplish goals! At least for me. Goals are good, they motivate us to look beyond the present (new pairs of jeans, a second drink out to eat at dinner, spontaneous road trips, etc.) to the future. My desire to pay off my student loan debt has motivated so many of my decisions in the past two years, so I am excited to see the finish line. Now, I must stay disciplined so I run towards the finish line, without slowing down. This challenge also goes deeper than simply paying money to something, but for me it has been heart issue. What do I really value? How do I really view my money? Am I a good steward of what has been given to me?

I would love to hear some of your summer bucket list items. Is there anything you are so excited for this summer?

This post was inspired by a recent favorite of mine — the podcast Sorta Awesome. If you’re a podcast listener, or looking for something to pass time on your commute to and from work, it’s a great listen. The women talk about real things that matter, and it’s been so fun to listen!

Monday Lovin’

It was an excellent weekend! And not in the traditional sense traveling from event to event, jamming it full with people, but in a restful, fighting for a slower pace kind of way. I am ready to face Monday, and a new challenge. I cannot believe that by the end of the week, it will be May; I’m in denial, but SO EXCITED FOR SUMMER!

  • Harvest Bible Chapel North Indy celebrated its first Sunday in our new building yesterday. It was one of the coolest moments I have ever been able to be a part of in my walk with God. God is faithful! It is beautiful to see what happens when a church body steps out in faith, gives of themselves and watches God for the results. I bawled like a baby yesterday morning as we worshipped God in our new sanctuary. We are not a perfect church because we are not perfect people, but we serve a perfectly holy God.
  • Fitness Blender is an awesome YouTube station full of free workout videos. You can choose from short, HIIT workouts to hour long fat burning workouts, or target workouts for specific muscle groups. As my half marathon training is over, and I try to do cross training instead of just running, these workout videos give me lots of options without even leaving my apartment.
  • My new leopard print sandals may be one of my favorite things in my closet right now (which is not saying as much as of yesterday evening). They are funky and very easy to wear. I cannot wait to show them off all summer long! One of the best parts is that they were only $23 with my employee discount and 50% off everything at J.Crew Factory.


  • Over the past few months, I’ve felt an increased desire to focus on the things that matter most. I can get so stressed by the minutia of my days that I lose sight of my purpose and where my priorities should be. While I do not consider myself overly materialistic, my closet has become a huge distraction for me. So, last night I did one of the scariest and most freeing things ever – I packed away 75% of my clothes, leaving only 50 items. Over the next 8 weeks (May and June), I will be wearing only these 50 items to work and on the weekends*. At the end of June, I’ll re-evaluate, potentially getting rid of some of the items that I packed away. I want to focus on the good stuff in my life, strive towards contentment and remember where my hope is – in Christ, not in never repeating outfits. For more reading on this, the term is Capsule Wardrobe, but I’ve given myself much freedom – others go full seasons with only 30 items.


I’ll be back on the blog on Thursday, taking about hope and fear. I’m learning over and over again that when you refuse to let fear have a place in your thought life, you create space for better things! I pray that your week is full of sunshine and space to do the things you care most about.

*The 50 items do not include shoes, scarves or accessories. I’ll be doing my best to not shop during the next 8 weeks, as well, but I don’t want to make a commitment to spend no money on clothes because that will only make shopping more tempting.

Monday Lovin’

I am having a hard time trying to find words to communicate my weekend and what I’m loving right now. I have a full heart from time with friends, but I’m still processing through a disappointing race on Saturday. Mondays can be so hard when you have had a great weekend, but also when you pretend that you’re still in college, but you are not. Note to self: running a half marathon in the morning and then staying up until 3:30AM that night makes for a LONG day. Your body will hate you.

  1. When you live with someone, you get to know him or her in such a different way than just being their friend. This weekend we celebrated a roommate wedding. Both girls I moved into my apartment with in September 2013 have gotten married in the past 6 months. I love their husbands, and it is always fun to get every one back together to celebrate their marriages. As it gets increasingly difficult to find single friends to live with, I am reminded of the ways that God has provided great companionship for me in roommates. Each of the three girls I have lived with so far in Indianapolis has taught me many lessons about life and faith. I am so thankful that God cares about who I live with and blesses those relationships.
  2.  I usually make the drive from Indianapolis to Bloomington by myself either because of timing or because I’m headed down to visit someone on my own. This weekend, I had great driving buddies both on the way down and on the way back. I spend so much of my week in my car by myself, and even though talking on the phone makes the time go by faster, there is no substitute for actually having a real person in the car. Car rides breed great conversations and I believe also deepen friendships.IMG_3368
  3.  Aver’s Cream and Crimson pizza may be one of my favorite things ever. I love specialty pizzas, and this is one of the best. It is even better late at night, sitting in a nice hotel room, right off the square in Bloomington while spending time with some of your favorite college friends. Just try it.IMG_3367
  4. David Brook’s article, The Moral Bucket List, is a recent favorite. It is an excellent evaluation of what it looks like to build a life and not just build a resume. I appreciated his thoughts.

I’m still recovering from my weekend, and the weather is quite dreary, but I’m trying to choose joy today. Happy Monday!

Monday Lovin’

Happy Monday! I’m glad to be back to sharing what I’m loving today. Last Monday I was celebrating the Duke Blue Devils victory with my family, and I spent the rest of the week trying to catch up on sleep. Unsuccessfully. How come in college I was able to get six hours of sleep for multiple nights in a row and be fine, and now one night of six hours of sleep, I need struggle the rest of the week? I’m over getting older.

  1. With my half-marathon less than a week away and a very rough run last weekend, I have spent the last week eating enough food, stretching and drinking lots of water. I love my monogramed water bottle; it makes drinking water easier and more appealing. I forget how much the appearance of something influences me. This probably isn’t always a good thing, but when a water bottle can help keep me hydrated, I’m okay with it.
  2. This past Friday and Saturday, MLJ Adoptions hosted a simulcast of the Empowered to Connect conference. World-renowned child development researchers gave adoptive families and adoption professions insight to a child’s brain when they are from a hard place. Hope and healing were major themes of the training. One huge take away from sitting in on the conference both days was, “You cannot lead your child where you have not gone.” We all have baggage from our childhoods; before we can help our children work through their pasts, we have to work through ours. And it’s not all traumatic, deep dark abuse, issues. But, we cannot allow our lack of understand of ourselves cause more pain for a child that we have adopted. They have likely already experienced enough. I am thankful for a God who restores, who heals and who is faithful to the end.
  3. My family was in town for Easter weekend and the Final Four. I love spending time with them. My parents value experiences, above all. They have taken my brother to Reds’ Spring Training, and this was their second Final Four weekend. We went, and still go, on great family adventures. They have (attempted to) cultivated in me a desire to collect experienced, not things. I am thankful for a fun family.
  4. For Christmas, my parents got me gray Converse. At first thought, they were not the most practical gift. I spend a great portion of my life dressed in business casual. Dresses are my favorite, I’m usually in flats or heels, but if flip flops are an option, I’ll choose them. But these shoes have turned out to be a new favorite. They go with almost anything, and I can wear them all day, every day. They’re like the comfortable version of a nude heel — practical and versatile. As the seasons transition, and flip flop season is not quite here yet, I’ll get use out of my Converse.

I hope your week is full of rest, productivity and hopefully some of your favorite spring clothes!