Leroy

After ten years of being homeless, he decided it was time to settle down. Although he now travels around the country to live with his children, Leroy stays faithful to the homeless community in Knoxville, Tennessee.
When asked for his personal piece of advice, Leroy, 71, said “Even if you’re stuck in a situation that you can’t get out of, if you believe in your heart, He will pull you out.”
Leroy has been a Christian for fifteen years or so, after one specific frightful night. While staying in someone’s home, a fire began to erupt in the kitchen. After failing to put it out, Leroy prayed to himself “if Hell is this hot, I can’t do it.” To this day, he prays on his knees each morning and night, thanking God.

Leroy has fourteen kids spread around Tennessee, California, Florida, and Delaware. Although he travels to stay with all of them, he somehow always returns to his home city, Knoxville. Whenever he is in the area, he volunteers at Love Kitchen and local churches, using his experiences and faith to encourage other homeless people.
“Being homeless, you shift yourself from place to place. Often, people are addicted to drugs and alcohol because they have given up. They think life is not worth it, God doesn’t love them.” This is why Leroy dedicates his time spreading God’s message throughout the city, to tell others his story and spread encouragement.
Like many others, Leroy used to have drinking habits. He would make his own moonshine, continuing to make and drink it until one day, he began to get sick. Throwing up, he begged God to “take the taste out” of his mouth. The next day, as he lifted more alcohol to his lips, he felt the sudden urge to pour the entire bottle out, so he did. He hasn’t had a drop since.
Leroy has dozens of fascinating and scary stories from living on the streets.

According to him, the most terrifying moment was in 1972, when he got lost in the Everglades. By the time he realized how lost he had become, it was dark with nothing around but a small empty fruit stand. Barely able to see his hands in front of his face, Leroy managed to make it to the stand for the night. Looking around, he noticed two pairs of glowing eyes from about 30 feet away. He was being watched by two panthers. Luckily, they didn’t come close enough to hurt him, only scare him. In the morning, he was arrested by state troopers for endangering his own life. After two days in jail, the state department got him a ticket to Orlando, Florida.
Leroy is currently waiting to begin living in his own apartment, with the help of local church, Redeemer. As much as he loves living with his kids, he says he wishes to have a home of his own. He also claims that if he ever gets enough money, he would buy a house and let other homeless people live there, as long as he trusted them.
Leroy and I met each other at Lost Sheep Ministry, a local organization that feeds the Knoxville homeless community each Wednesday. He has become a kind friend to me, someone who always smiles and gives me a hug. His story is the first of many volunteers and homeless people from Lost Sheep.

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That Time When a Stranger Gave Me Money for a Boobjob

It was the last night of a long trip in Europe. The final destination was Dublin, Ireland. To start our evening, two friends and I headed to the Jameson Factory. We were planning on taking a tour through the factory; however, all of the tours were booked by the time that we arrived. Little did we know, this minor disappointment turned out to be the factor that started our night of a lifetime.

Bummed out, we decided to at least grab a drink at the bar before leaving. They had delicious and fresh whiskey drinks. Boone drank a whiskey straight up while Katy and I both ordered a drink that involved lemon, thyme syrup, orange peel, and honey.

Our attitudes were all the same, let’s drink these and go home.

To top off our disappointing night, there were no more tables available. After noticing us looking very tired and lost, a very kind man offered for us to sit with him. The three of us were always trying to meet new people during our trip, so we didn’t even hesitate to sit and get to know him. As I sat down, I couldn’t help but notice that there were seven or so empty drinks already on the table. So, either this guy had friends that already left, sat at a used table, or he was already very drunk.

He was hammered.

For the next three hours, Katy and I sat in humiliation. This man was an extreme pervert and with every drink he lost the little social filter he already had.

At first, his jokes were funny. He poked fun at himself, complaining in detail about his sex life at home (or the lack of one). He showed us pictures of his dogs and wife. Then, he dropped a bombshell on us.

He boasted to us that he was a multimillionaire. I’m not sure about Boone or Katy, but I didn’t believe him. I thought to myself, this is some sad, drunk man trying to talk himself up. I entertained his stories about flying on his private jet and about his winning racehorses. There was no way this guy was seriously rich. He could barely speak a sentence without drunkenly drooling a little down his chin.

Throughout the course of the evening, this man bought us five drinks each, at ten dollars a drink. Katy and I were only able to finish about half of a drink before he got up to grab us more. We didn’t mind though, it’s not like we were wasting our own personal money. Boone wasn’t enjoying the five free drinks as much as we were. Whenever the man went to grab more drinks, Boone would grab my drink and tell me that he wanted a fruity drink instead of another straight up.

Each time he bought us a drink, he would toss a fifty euro at the waiter. (Im not kidding, the poor waiter had to pick it off the ground. He didn’t seem too annoyed to be earning such large tips though.)

As the evening wore on, the man apparently noticed my boobs, or the lack of them. He decided that I needed to do something about this. Handing over his credit card, he told me to go get a breast enhancement surgery. He wanted to help me.

It was very difficult to explain to this man why I wouldn’t accept his money. Finally, I was able to persuade him to put the credit card away. He said to me, you’re right! I shouldn’t take the credit card, his wife would notice!

Instead, he pulled out seven hundred euros and put them on the table.

The stack of crisp euros sat on the table for the next hour untouched by everyone except the man. He would pull a fifty off of the top to tip the waiter. Don’t worry, he told me, we will go to the ATM and get you more money after this.

Almost five hours after sitting and talking with this man, Katy, Boone, and I began to give each other the ‘lets leave soon’ look. We had heard enough of his drunken stories and were finding his come-ons less and less humorous. Instead, his comments just became more vulgar by the minute.

For those reading this article, I have spared you all of the disgusting and demeaning comments he made, especially towards Katy and myself.

Never again do I want to hear about the things an overweight, drunk, old man wants to physically do to me. I do not want to hear any more detailed questions about my own sex life. And I definitely I do not want to be told to “move my arms” so that someone can get a better look at my chest.

Having said all of that, I can still say that this was the best last night of my trip.

After making an excuse to leave, the man said he wanted to take us to dinner. No, I said, and please take your money. He told me to hold it for a minute while he went to get his limo for us.

And then he disappeared… without taking his money and without leaving a name.

So I got a boob job.

Just kidding. Boone, Katy, and I treated ourselves to wine, dinner, and dessert at one of the most famous restaurants in Dublin. It was amazing.

The next day, out of curiosity I attempted to find him online. I searched the phrase “canadian multimillionaire horse racer” and there he was.

Looking back on it, I wonder if he remembers anything that happened or if he just woke up with an empty wallet. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me.

It was a delicious meal.

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Finding Love Abroad

This post is about my summer abroad and my Italian romance that bloomed while there. If anyone who reads this is inspired to go travel, I have accomplished my goal.

I first learned about my study abroad program from a hippie professor during a lecture. She was teaching a course I was enrolled in, Public Relations 270. I was intrigued by the way the program sounded, so I went home and dug into thorough research. I found that the city was small and beautiful. I could totally see myself living in Italy.

I had hundreds of concerns that overwhelmed me at the time. What if I didn’t receive scholarship? How expensive will travel be? Is it going to be safe?

All of my concerns faded with time and with all of the encouragement from study abroad alums, friends, and family. I received a generous amount of scholarship, allowing me to make the final step into changing my life.

Finally, the day came. I was leaving America for Siena, Italy.

 

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Here is a photo of Katy and I about to head for our gate to Siena. You may not be surprised to hear that this picture was forced by our parents.

I studied in the quaint city of Siena, Italy for a total of five weeks. During this time, I took a 400 level Public Relations course and let me say, the professor was not easy. That woman isn’t playing around with grades. Luckily, outside of class she’s a pretty chill woman with millions of fascinating stories from a rockin’ career. Also, she’s very earthy and hippie, which makes her pretty cool in my opinion.

Waking up early every morning, I would get coffee from my block’s coffee shop, attend class, eat pasta, buy wine (which was very cheap), study in the park, and eat more pasta. My roommate and I had picnics all of the time; sometimes we brought bread and cheese to eat with the wine, which we always brought.

During the weekends, I would travel to other cities. That is how I met Leonardo, my Italian hunk.

During my first weekend in Italy, four friends and I went to Elba Island. After taking a ferry, we were picked up in a small, red truck by a small, Italian woman. She was our Air BnB host and spoke no english. The roads were windy and she had terrible driving skills. This made my poor friend Robert, who was forced to hover in the bed of the dinky truck, scream like a girl a good half of the time.

Lorena, the host, had prepared everything prior to our arrival and it was beautiful. Perfect, in fact. She was extremely sweet and eventually called her son to help her translate. That is how Leonardo and I first met, in a way. We spoke on the phone multiple times in order to communicate with his mom.

Although I didn’t see any photographs of her son, our WhatsApp conversations had become flirtatious. I joked with his mom about marrying him. She thought it was hilarious when I said Leonardo, pointed to my wedding finger, and called her mom. Maybe she was just laughing at me and didn’t actually understand….Actually, she was probably just laughing at me, now that I think about it.

Back in Siena, I was able to watch something called The Palio. The Palio is a six horse race that has been performed since the city’s creation. Siena’s twelve districts compete in it and there are many long-lived rivalries. The race lasts about five minutes in total. But after learning the history, living among the month long preparations, and standing four hours to see the race, I might say this was my favorite day of all my travels. I highly recommend researching ‘Siena Palio’ on YouTube.

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This photo was taken the day of the Palio. If you can’t tell, there are thousands of people crammed into the city’s center. The horses race around the circle of people.

I also got to do things like take a cooking class, wine tasting, hiking, and eating. SO.MUCH.FOOD. I left America disliking wine and came back a connoisseur, I’m sure all of my American friends hate how nerdy I am about wine now.  Also I’m pretty sure everyone hates me for talking about my summer constantly. How could I not? I miss it every single day.

Aside from Elba, I visited Pisa, Florence, Napoli, Capri, San Giminano, Grosseto, Cinque Terre, and Rome.

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Here we are in front of the colosseum in Rome. After this picture we discovered a local restaurant and I had the best lasagne of my life. That is what I remember best about Rome, the lasagna.

In Pisa, I scheduled a time and place to meet Leonardo. I was very nervous, thinking of movies like Taken and Taken 2. What if he was some weirdo who just wanted to drug an American girl and take advantage of her? Or worse… what if he was ugly? Just kidding. I was excited to meet him no matter what, although looks were going to be a bonus. I knew he was in college as an aerospace engineer, his mom was a sweetheart, and he had been very polite over text. What could possibly go wrong?

To my pleasant surprise, I arrived to see a handsome, nerdy, and very Italian boy. He brought along his dog, a gorgeous golden retriever named Achille and met me at the train station. He wanted to go for a walk and get gelato. So that’s exactly what we did.

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He would probably kill me for posting a picture of him but oh well. Here he is on our first day of meeting. Does he look in love with me yet?

After my program ended, I took three extra weeks to backpack around different countries. I spent time in Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Ireland. I hiked the Swiss Alps, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, walked down the red-light district in Amsterdam, drank wine by the Eiffel tower, stayed with a German family in Stuttgart and hiked through the black forest, and drank beer in Dublin. None of this would’ve been possible without the push to study abroad.

My favorite of all of these countries was Switzerland. Although the prices were ridiculous, the views made it all worth it. Below is a photograph of a portion of the hiking in Switzerland.

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As for Leonardo and I, after spending many days together in Italy, he decided to come to Ireland with me. After an amazing week of being together in Dublin, we agreed to date. Basically, I just completed every girl’s dream of falling in love with a beautiful Italian man. We have now been dating for two months, which is pretty good for an across-the-ocean relationship.

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Here is Leonardo and I after spending a long morning exploring Dublin.

All in all, I spent eight weeks in Europe and I cannot wait to go again.

The language barrier can often be uncomfortable. I once got locked inside a bathroom stall and no one understood what was happening because they did not speak English. I was sweating like a pig inside an un-air conditioned public restroom, with ten minutes before my ferry left for Capri. In Switzerland, I missed a train because I could not find an English-speaking person to guide me the correct way. But these are the memories I love, the excitement of being in a foreign country and immersing yourself in it.

Studying abroad taught me so much about myself and my future. It exposed me to new experiences, encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to embrace other cultures in a way that is impossible to do in America.

I believe that everyone should get an opportunity to study abroad. Whether a student wants to study in Africa, India, Italy, or Australia, it doesn’t matter. There is exciting food, music, people, and customs just waiting to be explored. The world is an amazing place and by exploring it, you are learning more than you ever thought you could.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to find a foreign romance.

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Throwing my coin into the Trevi fountain in hopes of returning.

 

 

Is this Adulthood?

I don’t know why children, preteens, teenagers, and young adults rush to adulthood. I am currently in the category of young adult and am just now realizing how unprepared I am for being a self-supported adult. I am half-way through my college career and just completed my first phone interview. The interview in itself wasn’t too intimidating. There were the typical questions: What are your weakness? Do you have any communication horror stories that you learned from? Do you have any questions so far?

To every question I was asked, I never had a complete answer. No, I never had any questions. In my opinion, he described everything perfectly to me. Why is there so much pressure to have a question? This led me to ask silly questions that seemed unimportant from the moment it left my lips. Do I have any horror stories? The moments with customers that do not deem well, I usually tend to forget. I do not have specific moments of growth ready to explain. All in all, I would give my first phone interview a solid 7/10.

Is this the beginning of my adult life? Awkward phone interviews? By this time today, I have showered, made coffee, had a phone interview, emailed professors, and have begun a blog. My seventeen year old brother has yet to crawl out of bed.

I yearn for the days where I was content with watching Netflix all night, sleeping in all day, and waking up to finish my summer reading. Now, I am tired by 9pm and I am only twenty. I can’t even legally have a drink yet but I am expected to maintain a job, do well in school, pay bills, and make adult decisions. Well, in my opinion, doing all of these things successfully deserves a drink! Maybe two!

Our elders expect us to act as if we are thirty but then speak to us as though we don’t understand what it will be like in the future. I am not saying all of this to complain, I enjoy the benefits of not having a full-time career, not having to pay all of my bills alone, and not having full responsibility of everything in my life. I am just saying that the college students in their last two years of school need more credit. We may not be ‘adult’ yet but we sure are pretty darn close.

Later today I have to endure a second phone interview and Monday I have an in-person one. My brother will probably sleep through those too.

God, Give Me Guidance!

I can’t express how many times my journal has read ‘God, give me guidance’ over the last few months. It pains me to ask for answers time and time again, knowing in the back of my mind that He is constantly giving them to me. Instead of constantly asking for guidance, I should be seeking the ones that are surrounding me daily.

But here I write, once again, God…give me guidance!

As many of you know, I just spent the last two months in Europe exploring the countryside as well as myself. I learned so many things. I learned that I have a knack for finding kind strangers to guide me in any country, that I love traveling more than anything in the world, that being away from everything does nothing but pull me closer to God, and so much more. In addition to the plethora of things I learned, I also came back with many questions. Will I ever see Italy again? Will my new relationship last? Will I continue to seek God everyday? When will I be happy to be back?

Don’t get me wrong, seeing my family and Mikey (of course) took so much weight off of my shoulders. Being away from them always reminds me of how blessed I am in so many ways. I hoped that being able to reach out and be with my family would take this longing away, this longing to return. To travel. To explore.

With this in mind, I pray. I pray not to travel but that God will show me what my purpose is in life. Instead of praying for a successful romance, I have prayed for God to show me his purpose in this relationship. I constantly pray for the Lord to be with me, to let me think of Him in all that I do. I have asked, pleaded, and cried out to God. I have gotten on my knees in over seven countries, all asking the same thing from God.

God, why do I feel so unanswered? Give me guidance!!!

The thing is, whenever I sit to write a blog, I begin to write whilst very emotional and clouded. I almost always come out of writing very clear-headed and smiling. I wouldn’t claim to be quite clear-headed right now, but I sure am smiling.

God has been guiding me this entire summer. He guided me to a random island in Italy, where my romance began. He guided me to my best friend and roommate this summer, who helped me grow so very much. He is the reason for my life changing summer. He pursued my heart. Although He kept me questioning, which at times gets a big annoying, He kept my eyes on Him.

I guess what I am saying is, by asking God for guidance, I am exactly where I need to be. And that puts a smile on my face, no matter what continent I am in.

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A Sophomores Summer at Home

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Summer. The time of year that encourages every college student to push through the sleep deprivation, lack of money, and final exams. We count down the days until our last final and look forward to finally doing the things we have been unable to all year: sleeping, eating real food, hanging out at our favorite hometown spots, and seeing old friends from high school.IMG_8268

Finally, summer arrives. We thoroughly enjoy the first few weeks. Our parents feed us meals that make our old diet of ramen noodles and cafeteria food look like prison food. We sleep until late afternoon, recovering from the year-long lack of it. We constantly meet up with our high school pals, telling each other humorous stories of how wild our first year was. The first few weeks of summer is magical. The grace period, allowing time away from the chaotic schedule of classes and other activities, has taken over, and we are overjoyed.

The second month of summer rolls along and we begin to slowly admit that we are ready for classes to start back up again. While the sleeping has been nice, our lives are beginning to get, dare I say it, boring. Although we love our friends from home, seeing them everyday has begun to get old. We have begun to run out of Netflix originals to watch and are beginning to watch episodes of Family Guy over and over again. We envy our older friends who seem to be having a fun time in their campus apartments. We begin to stalk those few people who spend all summer traveling the world and feel jealous. We talk about this in our group texts and decide to do more creative things in order to spice up our summer a little more… but, we never get to them. Instead, we continue to do the same thing with the same friends every night.

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Suddenly, a few people begin to SnapChat themselves all moved in their new apartment back on campus. Knowing that our move in dates aren’t for a few weeks makes the time pass by that much more slowly. Summer is now not just boring, it is agonizing. We want our campus life back!

Summer break? What a tricky thing! While the home-cooked meals and free laundry service from our parents is enjoyable, what seasoned college students neglect to tell upcoming sophomores is summer back home is just a time for too much sleep, too much Netflix, and too much time on your hands. (Unless you are one of those people who were lucky enough to travel. In that case, we will continue to despise you until school starts. Sorry not sorry!)

Luckily for us, in about a month we will all be back to our wonderfully chaotic school schedules counting down the days until summer 2016 begins.

To True Friends

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 12)

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True friendship is such an uncommon thing.  

Occasionally we will catch a glimpse of what could have possibility been one, but these often fall short of what a true friendship should be.

These friends are hard to come by, but once you have found one, you will never let go.

So, here’s to you. The true friends.

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To my lifelong friend….

Thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I was three and still to this day.

I cannot imagine growing up alongside anyone else, laughing through our awkwardly-staged photos with anyone else, or reminiscing at all the stupid things we did as kids with anyone else.

I love hearing my mom tell any one of the million childhood stories that you’re in, its a reminder that you are not only my lifelong friend but my sister as well. As we grew up, our families accepted each of us as one of their own.

Through everything, you have stuck by my side with nothing but honest, bottomless love. There is no one else who can say that they have gone to the ends of the earth for me, countless times now, for almost sixteen years.

You have seen the best and the worst sides of me, and have accepted them and loved me anyways. We have endured breakups, depressions, betrayal, pain, and God only knows what else, but we have always (and will always) remained friends. Even when I had given up on myself, you never gave up on me.

I picture the first time we met and I smile, knowing that someday I will also be picturing us growing old together, hitting all of the life stepping stones with you by my side.

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To my high school best friend….

I can’t imagine going through those miserable four years with anyone else by my side.

In high school, we are constantly changing. We find our first true romances, our first major peer pressures, undergo the stress of applying for colleges, and in the end we always find out who are true friends are. I did not doubt for one second that you would be one of the good ones that sticks around.

You are the friend that never considered flirting with my ex-crushes. No matter how small and short-lived the crush may have been.

You are the friend that wouldn’t care about looking “cool” as long as you were by my side. At football games our freshman year, homecoming pep rallies, graduation, it didn’t matter.. we could always be found within ten feet of each other.

You are the friend that came over whenever I was grounded and couldn’t go out. (Which was often.) Whether I was grounded for grades or for getting caught sneaking out, you would come over to relieve my boredom.

You are the friend that I laugh at how awkward, embarrassing, and amazing our friendship was. You know about the times I most humiliated myself and about those awkward dreams that I’ve never told anyone else. No one else will ever know these, unless they read the millions of notes we passed back and forth in class.

You are the friend that I know the past memories will always be able to outweigh the current ones. Whenever we see each other, it is like we never left. It doesn’t matter the distance or the time spent apart, I cherish your friendship and how faithful you have been to me.

You are the friend that I hope my future children have someday, because high school would have been impossible without you. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.

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To my crazy best friend…

My life became drastically more fun when you entered it.

Although we have our serious moments, the times I most grow with you is when we are laughing. Which is always. You are the friend I can call and know I will have a good time with.

Even through the hardest times of my life, you kept it upbeat. Whether it was us taking a car ride, listening to Whitney Houston and screaming our hearts out, or making videos and replaying them in slo-mo, we always had a good time.

You are the only friend that I feel comfortable enough sending a snapchat where I am singing terribly to, the only friend I can say I went to Starbucks with at 5am to study, the only friend who oddly calls me chewbacca and knows what it means. I share so many moments with you that I will never be able to compare with anyone else.

Sure, we had our rough patches, but those are not what I think about. When I reminisce on our friendship, I most remember the laughter, fun, energy, and the closeness we developed through it all.

I want to thank you for making my life a never ending, strangely fun, memorable, adventure with you. I cannot wait to create so many more with you, my crazy best friend.

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To my college best friend….

Words cannot explain the full appreciation I have for your friendship.

People often jokingly say we are dating because we are always together, act like each other, make comments that would make others uncomfortable, take couple-y pictures, etc. What no one understands is, that is just how close we are. We can sit in silence for hours and not feel uncomfortable in the slightest. Sometimes, I crawl in bed with you to take a nap just because thats how our friendship is (again, we sound like a couple).

Not only am I completely comfortable around you, but I trust you with all of my heart. I know that I can tell you anything and you will never judge me. I trust that you will tell me how it is. You will remind me when I have strayed away from God and encourage me the entire way back.

We have both hit low points during our first semesters of college, but it was made so much easier knowing that God placed you in my life and knowing you were there with me.

Not only are you faithful as a friend, as loving as a sister, encouraging to my faith, and down with me in my struggles, but you are the only person who laughs at all of my jokes, no matter how lame they are. We often speak to each other solely through facial expressions. To anyone else we look insane, to us we are communicating normally.

Like I said earlier, I can’t describe in words my love I have for you. To me, you are my sister in Christ. My going out buddy. My future roommate. You are my best friend. 

I have been extremely blessed to have such an amazing group of four best friends. I treasure each and every one of you and look forward to sharing life with you. You all have changed my life for the better, making me who I am today. I love you. 

Dating in College

I’ll start off this post with a bit of a personal story. Recently, a boy brought to my attention that he was pursuing me with intentions to date soon. I was taken by surprise when he said this, because although we had been on a few dates and stuck to each other’s sides at parties, I had never had the intention to date him. I can’t exactly give a valid excuse for me not wanting to date him, he is a great guy. But in the moment that he told me he wanted to date me, I knew I was going to end it.

Later that night, I was running the list of reasons why I wanted to end it through my head. I realized later on that none of it mattered. The most important reason, and the reason I have to end it, is because I cannot see myself marrying him. God doesn’t want me dating someone for reasons other than marriage, and to be honest neither do I. 

And this brings my whole reason for this post, dating in college. Every time I think about it, I remember the pastor of my church flat out telling me that I will not find my future husband during my first year of college, so not to look. That statement went in and out of my ears at first. I didn’t want to listen, I wanted to go find a cute college boy and date him. But now, I am being forced to re-evaluate what my personal opinion on dating in college is.

It’s funny how God showed me that I need to focus on Him. He showed me by giving me exactly what I had been looking for, all knowing that in the end I would realize it wouldn’t be enough.

If you had asked me a month ago if I wanted to date someone, I would most likely interrupt you mid-sentence with a loud YES, however; if you asked me now, my answer would be the same..yet different. I know I sound like a crazy person right now, but let me explain.

Yes, I do want to date someone. Two people actually.

Firstly, I want to date God. If I gave God half of the attention that I have been giving to boys, I would be twice the Christian that I am right now. I need to be going on dates with God, giving myself one on one time to get to know Him. Unlike college boys, God will not ignore me, He will not blow me off, He will not cheat on me, He will not hurt me. I need to give God my whole heart, to date Him and eventually marry Him. In Hosea, God tells us to do just that.

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16 “And in that day you will call me ‘Your Husband’ and no longer ‘My Baal.’ Hosea 2:14-16

Secondly, I want to date myself. Why in the world am I spending hours on hours wondering about boys, when I barely know who I am? College has brought out so many new parts of myself that I never knew before, and I have not taken time to explore them. College is supposed to be a time for me to grow up, become the woman I will be for the rest of my life. How can I do that when I am constantly trying to be the woman other people (boys) want me to be?

I will not look for a boyfriend my freshman year. I need to trust that God will bring my husband to me in due time. In the meantime, I am giving God my heart.

And someday, when God does bring me a worthy man of which whom I am supposed to be with for the rest of my life, I can be proud that I spent my first year as an adult focusing on the one who loves me the most and becoming the woman my husband is falling in love with, not chasing after meaningless part-time things.

So, here I go. But I am not worried, because I know I have God on my side holding my hand and guiding me the whole way.

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