Before ‘I Do’: So Like I Was Saying… (PROPOSAL PHOTOS INCLUDED)


So like i was saying before… a little over a week ago, Jason and I were both super tired and just feeling overwhelmed in general. He just got a new position in his job and I have my own share of… stuff. Sundays are a work day for me which started way early on that particular day. I had no clue when I woke up before the sun that my world would be so different by the time I fell asleep again. What I knew was, we were getting out of Lakeland and taking our minds off anything that we may be responsible for. When these days happen, sometimes it means going out to find fun, and other days it means sitting around in comfy clothes and catching up on Big Brother. This day: it was a stroll into one of our favorite areas of downtown Orlando.


We walked hand in hand talking about this and that, and even at one point I thought “oh, I bet he’s trying to get ideas for a proposal.” There’s one place where one of my favorite pictures is taken (above) and when we were passing by he threw out that we should take another selfie there. The sun was terrible, I kept shifting us to better lighting and he kept shifting us back to the original location.

IMG_8312 IMG_8150

The pictures were awful, to say the least. The left above was taken by the ninja photographer who was secretly planted. The right is the best of our results.

As he turned to me from putting my phone back into my bag he said “before we get to our lunch spot…”  with a small white box in his hand.

IMG_8355 IMG_8356 IMG_8359

*a moment for your heart to drop… I know, mine too.*

After that I don’t really know what happened because I went into a little bit of a shock/black hole/wondering why I didn’t spend more time getting ready. I do know that he got on one knee and said some super sweet words about spending forever together… and then opened the box and I didn’t care about any of the other words after that. I even forgot to say “YES!”… We both just stood there and then I was like “omg, of course!”…  Okay, actually, if we’re being honest, I got really excited and took the ring out of the box and put it on my own finger. I know, I know, tradition says… but I didn’t have time for all that.

Homeless dude (1)

Best part was at the very end, a homeless man who had been hanging out in the park, came over to celebrate with us and “be a witness to our love” before riding off into the city on his bike.

Both anxious and excited and calling everyone we knew, we called our day date successful, and gladly agreed to skip lunch and head back to Lakeland to put on those comfy clothes I was talking about and stare at my hand all day. I even took my wedges off in the car – totally ready to relax – and arrived at his parent’s house to share the news (that they already knew was happening) into yet another surprise – most of our closest relationships in one room to celebrate the occasion! To say that we felt celebrated is the biggest understatement possible!

IMG_8169 IMG_8170 IMG_8171

I couldn’t have asked for a better day, and a better way to agree to a life with someone else.

IMG_8155 IMG_8160

It’s weird because my day to day is exactly the same today as it was two weeks ago, yet it feels incredibly different. A season shift faster than I’ve ever experienced. With one word, one answer, one “yes”, my life took a turn that I’m super excited and terrified for. I’m still the 27 year old girl who is figuring it all out. I’m still processing God’s plan. I’m still trying to understand the journey that I’m on – however, now I (currently) get to mix an element of planning and signing up on and whatnot, and then eventually mix an element of an everyday slumber party with one the best people I know.

Here’s to china patterns, figuring it all out, and whittling down a guest list! I’m a little scared.

Relationship Anxieties, Nails on Point, & Single Life


After seven years of seasons (together and apart) I could never be more confident in the person I’ve decided to do life with. Jason is the guy that every girl wishes would fight for her. The guy who saw value in characteristics of my life that I didn’t even see in myself, and the guy who pursued me after two years away in Haiti, as if we were just meeting.


During those two years we both discovered what it means to truly love other people by choice, to submit to the plan of Christ over our own, and the value in finding someone worth fighting for.

Sssoooooo, after a lifetime of the most intense relationship anxiety (just ask my girlfriends) I finally arrived in a place of complete contentment in the trust and fun and relief that comes with Jason and me. Which naturally leads to church bells… and the rest is history. Sounds so smooth and easy, huh? Hah! The world of writing couldn’t handle the volume of all that took place to arrive at this place. But we’re here.21744_10103483333169440_5073012961449397223_n

We met in DC 7 years ago, so naturally when the two of us both randomly found ourselves back where it all started, this summer, I was thinking ok… so this could be it.

I had super cute outfits. Nails on point. Not that I was super expecting it every second or anything… but just saying… photo ready. We walked the city, piggy back ride to our Uber because I kind of sprained my ankle in the middle of the night, museums, Lincoln Memorial (my favorite)…. and nada. The trip came and went and both of us have been totally consumed with work and what not.

I’ve always been a girl who loves single life just like I love every other kind of life (just check out this post for further explanation) so I tend to find joy and contentment in my life of Crossift and work and friends and staying out as late as I want (who I am kidding, it’s only cus I get lost in TJ Maxx sometimes or stuff my face with soup/salad at Olive Garden with Kristy Gonzalez) even if it means not seeing the boo until Saturday for dinner because we live in separate cities.

And just when the thought of syncing these lives of ours right now was basically off my radar he goes and, once again, sets the bar… TO BE CONTINUED. I know, I know, but it’s late and I’m tired and there are to many details to be said. Goodnight.

He doesn’t complete me.


As I date a guy who is thoroughly incredible (and I don’t use the word “thoroughly” lightly) I would safely venture to say that he doesn’t complete me.

Gasp, I know right.

I said that the other day and thoroughly offended multiple people. As if I were disrespecting him in some way.

However, my life was full before I ever met him and it has continued to be incredible the more I get to know him. Sharing life with someone is so everything in so many ways, but I feel like I would be doing myself an injustice if I were to find that everything in him. If I were to say that he makes me whole and happy. Because truly the disrespect would be in expecting him to be something to me that was never intended for him.

My full contentment and completion comes through Christ, and spending time getting to know that girl who has become whole in Him, not him. Seeking adventures and spending time with friends and finding hobbies. Taking the time to understand why I am who I am and why what is asked of me has been asked of me.

I know, I’m a complex girl, I tell ya.

But it has truly made every bit of difference in my life to know why I tick how I tick before asking someone else to jive with me like clock work. And knowing that allows me the perfect amount of grace for all those who feel like it’s about dang time or I should have “settled down” a long time ago, or look at me with sad eyes because they feel my life hasn’t started yet until I submit to the man of my life. Bless their little hearts.

And because of all of the above, this incredible guy and I are able to enjoy the incredible, sent from heaven, parts of each other; and also the totally human, and super annoying parts (on his part, of course). All with a smile of learning the journey and enjoying each season of it.


Expectation Surprise


Expectation Surprise.

It’s kind of an oxymoron, if you think about it.

If I am expecting it to come then why am I surprised when it arrives?


If a woman is pregnant and expecting a baby she wouldn’t be surprised when she goes through delivery and a baby is produced. She has been through months and months of preparation for that moment. She expects it.

I have intentionally spent my twenties (so far) with great abandon to what I thought would be my story – serving others, and knowing that what He could do through me is far greater than I could ever do through myself.  And right now, today, in the areas where I see His plan taking shape, I feel totally shocked and utterly undeservingly amazed that it’s happening.

I pray for it.

I prepare.

I hustle.

I sow.

I wait.

Knowing that His word says it is mine.

I expect it.

And yet, I’m shocked when it’s there.

I guess that is the essence of developing our faith. Deciding to KNOW that no matter how long it takes, or what the seasons hold, God is faithful to His word.

and there is no surprise in that. Only patience.


Learning How To Live, Love and Pursue Happiness: Letter To My Younger Self



I couldn’t be more grateful for all that life has taught, and boy has there been some lessons. At 26, I’m basically a grandmother of twenty somethings, and although 30-something year old Hope will teach me a thing or two today, I think I have some pretty good hindsight advice for the girl who lived a decade before me. If I could go back in time and give myself just a few of the many life lessons that I desperately needed (or to anyone who may catch a glimpse of this), they would be something along the lines of said letter, below.

Oh, dear and sweet crazy younger me:

You are incredible. Truly. I know your world is crazy and intense and consistently spinning off its axis at any moment, however, hold tight – there is so much ahead of you, and so many things that I know will make it easier. The good thing is that you’re a good listener. You take advice and you soak it in and you’re eager for someone to show you what the right way is. However, if there is anything I can share with you from this end of our life it would be the following (in a nutshell, of course):

  1. FIRST AND FOREMOST – You are worthy. Of respect. Of love. Of confidence. Live that way, and be selective. Even if only because you can, not because you think it’ll keep them chasing you. The guy who is showing you a little attention right now… girl, grody. You’ll be over it soon enough but really and truly, just trust me when I say it doesn’t end good and it is sooooo not worth it. Do yourself a favor and walk away now. You won’t even remember his name later in life, and when you do you’ll throw up in your mouth a little bit.
  1. IT IS SO NOT THAT DEEP. Just take it down a notch with all that unnecessary anxiety over your future. I know it is so unknown and so scary and so ‘what if’, but all of that pressure that you put on yourself to achieve perfection is not only impossible, but also really exhausting. I won’t say that it’ll get easier with all the unknowns, Cus well, ask me now if I’m good at it… but I will say that you will get better at trusting that God knows what He’s doing. Promise.


  1. THIS IS A TWO PARTER… Your whole entire being revolves around the inner workings of your small town, upcoming sporting events, friend circle drama, and weekend plans. Live in that season. Don’t rush it. Even next year, when you’re ready to throw it to the wind and get to college… enjoy being a teenager and not having the responsibility of an adult. Trust me – it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. You don’t need to know all the details of everything you’re doing in your entire life right this second. When you go to Europe – soak it in. When you travel with your family – be present. When you run around TP-ing the neighborhood – be better at not getting caught.

HOWEVER, although your whole entire being revolves around you right now… I know it’s hard to believe but you will barely even remember those tiny little details of high school that are stressing you out to the max right now. Not because HS isn’t great but because everything else is that much better. The world is so much bigger than your little town. Just you wait. And when you get to that season… soak it in, too. It’s gonna be awesome. So do me a favor – stop rushing away your life and relax.

  1. BE AWARE OF OTHERS. Always. I know sometimes you’re scared of rejection so you act all super cool, but here is a secret for you: You’re all insecure, you’re all nervous, you’re all trying to find your way. Eventually you’re all gonna look at each other’s lives and realize you’re the same. So look at those people now and embrace your likeness and differences. It’ll make it all so much better.
  1. FORGIVE QUICKLY. There are so many things that I know suck. They aren’t fair and you have no control over them. And you know what, over the next 10 years there will be some even worse hurt and pain, and you won’t be able to control that either. People are people and they will always make mistakes. But let me help you with something – keeping it inside for the next 10 years is gonna make for a real heavy clean up. Which brings me to the next one…


  1. LEARN TO CRY. Girrrllll – Learn. To. Cry. Don’t ALWAYS guard. It will help you process life’s hard moments. Process them and then walk away. Again with the cleanup. I know you’re getting good at being the strong one, but dang girl, it gets heavy in there. And then when you finally break down you ugly cry for like a bunch of hours and then your face is all red and puffy, and well that’s just not a good look on anyone. And it’s unnecessary.

In the end, it’s rare that you won’t know what the right thing to do is. The challenge will be – having the courage to do it. So stay honest (at least you’re getting something right), and make the hard choices. They pay off. Oh ya, and all those crazy midnight shenanigans that you and your best friend swear to take to the grave with you… keep ‘em up – they will provide you with great laughter long into your future.

Be Scared and Do It Anyway


I don’t know how many times I have reminded myself in the midst of a terrifying or chaotic moment that courage isn’t being unafraid, however, it is being scared and choosing to do it anyway.

courage isn’t being unafraid, however, it is being scared and choosing to do it anyway.

Being on the “hump” of my 20’s and seeing all the changes and seasons that are ahead, courage is the consistent prayer that I pray on a daily basis because it’s terrifying and vulnerable to know that it could all just go wrong, and yet reaching for it anyway. It seems second nature to be courageous in a dangerous situation or on behalf of someone else, however, a necessary sacrificial effort to make the intentional decision for my own heart and for my own life and for my own future.

Today is just a small reminder (to you and to myself) that courage doesn’t come from strength – it comes from the boldness of knowing who created you and for what purpose, and not losing sight of that in every season. Whether you realize it or not, within that purpose lies a great deal of strength to face any and every challenge and choice that could ever be in your path. Continue to keep reaching for more… even when you’re scared.