I'm Learning To Be An Encourager.


I'm learning to be an encourager.

I'm striving to help others in whatever they are facing.
I desire for others to be inspired and feel loved by reading these posts and by knowing me personally.
I want to be the reason that others don't give up.
I want to acquire a humble, serving heart that places the needs of others above my own.

I hope to share God's love in all that I do.
Most of all, I want the way I live my life to inspire others to be like me. I want to lead others to Him.

I'm learning to share my thoughts when I like something, to compliment and make others feel loved. I'm learning that a simple comment or like on a Facebook profile may be enough to raise a girl's self esteem. I'm learning of my love to encourage others through writing. I'm learning to make a difference, just by increasing my love for others, a love that is a reflection of Jesus' love for every one of us. 

I pray this blog is a tool used to encourage YOU, as I hope to write posts that are uplifting and inspiring.

I'm learning to be an encourager. 


Every Dog Has a Story (Sharing Yogi)

Every shelter dog has a story. Every story has a past. Every story has a beginning.

    Some of their pasts are filled with heartbreak, sadness, and abuse. Some are strays, whether they were deserted by their owners, wandered from their homes, or never had a home to begin with. Other stories are clear to the shelter: dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, dogs that gave their love unconditionally to their families but had no choice but to be separated.

    Such stories are normally unknown, but it's evident that every story contained heartbreak at some point. It's in the midst of their story that they end up at the shelter. It's because of their stories that I've realized the necessity of volunteering, for loving them during that short time of their life in the shelter.

There is hope for every shelter dog. Every story has a beginning.

    From the time I saw Yogi, I always had a special bond with him. He was a stray, and in his first few days at the shelter, he was overcome in fear. The new environment, surrounded by the cries of other dogs with different, yet similar, stories, was enough to make him fearful.  He would lay in the corner of his kennel and would kiss me through the bars, but when I opened the door, he refused to walk out. I decided to wait until he was ready.

    About a week later, he began to be adjusted to his temporary place in the shelter. We were able to walk him and spend time in the play pen. He was such a sweetheart. All he wanted was love, affection, more love, affection, LOVE. All he gave was love. He sat by my side, rolled over, asked for belly rubs, and cuddled.

    Soon enough, he was adopted, then returned. A few weeks later, he was adopted again, then returned. I'm not sure what happened, but I don't blame anyone. I believe he wasn't meant to be in those homes. There is a family still out there that God has in mind, one that Yogi will fit right in, and not only will it be great for him, but he will play a role in helping the family. God has a reason for everything. As the Author of our lives, knitting together each and every one of our stories, He is working everything together for the good of those who love Him, and I know that everything will work out in the end for His children. That includes the shelter dogs. His love is relentless.

  Yogi is ready for a new beginning, a start in a forever home. He is ready for a family that will answer his plea for belly rubs and cuddling, and will stay with him no matter what happens.

  Every story has a past, but every story also has new beginnings. I know Yogi's is coming. My heart is full of hope as I continue to partake in his story.

In the Discouraging Times

Sometimes I feel discouraged...beaten down, broken, not good enough.

I've been learning that it's impossible to be liked by everyone. It's impossible to please people AND please God. It's impossible to be perfect.

However, there is good news! I have learned that JESUS came to earth to be the PERFECT for me, because no one will ever be 'good enough', no one will ever have it all together, no one is holy, except Jesus. He is the only One who is holy, yet He died for us. The only Holy One, yet He died for OUR sins! How loving, how great, how amazing our God is, that He would sacrifice His life for what we did! We owe so much more than He gets. He deserves all of our lives.

I have learned that in the times of discouragement, in the times of heartbreak, of hatred, of not being liked, there is a God who loves me and who is watching me. He is holding me in the palm of His hands, and He will never leave me.

He loves all of us that much. Our past, our present, or our future is not too big for Him. His grace is sufficient.

And with that love, there's no reason to be knocked down by the discouraging times. I must rest in His love.

I've learned that He loves me.

Most of all, He loves you. 


Reason for the Season

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

Via Pinterest
   The air has been filled with the scents of Christmas. Stores have been crowded with last minute shoppers. Trees have been decorated, gifts are being wrapped, carols are being sung. No doubt is Christmas almost here. But in the midst of busyness, of all the shopping, baking, and decorating, is the need to stop, to experience a "silent night"...to fully fathom the true reason for the season.

   Without the birth of Jesus, there wouldn't be any reason to celebrate. As he stepped into the world, clothed in flesh, yet fully God, He left His heavenly home to experience life as we have it. He experienced temptation, yet He never sinned. His presence in the world wasn't one of royalty. He was born in a manger, in a stable! But His later sacrifice for us, His true reason for stepping into the world as a human, was a gift that we should never stop celebrating.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:8-11

    This good news, the gift of His presence, was first announced to the shepherds. Ordinary people living ordinary lives, yet God chose them to be the first to hear the great news, news that will bring joy to all people. Why celebrate unless we're celebrating the biggest gift of all, the presence of the Savior in the world and the sacrifice He would later give for us? We all get so caught up in the busyness of the season, when we just need to stop and take in this "silent night", a night that forever changed the course of our lives and has determined and changed the rest of our eternity! Christmas is so much more than the temporal. It's about Jesus, Immanuel, "God with us".

    God is with us. His arrival on Earth is enough to celebrate this Christmas. His love for us and work through each and every one of our lives is incredible. It began with His presence in the lives of ordinary people living ordinary lives and still today, He shows up in our ordinary lives when we least expect it. Let's celebrate the arrival of His presence 2000 years ago and His constant presence today rather than getting caught up in all the presents and food, in the noise of the season, a noise that drowns out the true joy of Christmas--that GOD IS WITH US.


About the Girl with the Blog

1. I am a Christ follower, forever and always. I'm saved, changed, a new creation, washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and living my life for Him.

2. I am a sixteen year old high school junior who is also taking classes at the state college through dual enrollment.

3. I have naturally curly hair that is definitely NOT meant to be straight...God wanted it curly and no straightener will change it!

4. Most of the time, I am extremely shy, unless I happen to meet you at an outgoing time (it's happened with several people, who probably don't believe that I'm shy!) or unless I've gotten to know you. With God's help, I'm working on it and slowly getting better!

5. I am blessed to have the family and friends that I have!

6. I have the cutest Miniature Dachshund, Minnie. She's nine years old but she's pretty smart..less than a year and I've taught her 11 tricks!

7. I made many friends online through Wonderzone's Bible Reading Club several years ago and have gotten to know several of the girls outside of the site. One of the girls, Kara, is now one of my best friends and have been able to take a vacation with her and her family twice now...such a blessing.

8. I absolutely love animals, especially dogs. I have a particular passion for the shelter dogs. I frequently volunteer at the shelter, alongside my mom, which originally was for a school project but has led to a major hobby.

9. I am a Christian music fanatic and can't get enough of Christian and worship concerts. Especially Winter Jam...oh my goodness. Ah, and Anthem Lights is one of the best bands. Although I also love Francesca Battistelli, Dara Maclean, For King & Country, Tenth Avenue North, MercyMe, Hillsong Young & Free, and so, so, so many more.

10. I would attend church every single day if I could, because I love Jesus, love gathering in His presence, love learning more about Him through the sermon and worship, but most of all, He loves me. Back to Fact #1.

11. I am a writer, I love to blog, I love to encourage, I love when God uses my words to speak to people. I'm the editor of my high school's yearbook staff and hope to one day have my posts read by many.

12. I'm one of those rare teenagers who actually writes letters by hand. And would rather use a computer over a cell phone...and doesn't watch TV...and the list could go on.

13. I'm waiting to pursue a relationship until I'm older and relying on God's timing for the guy He has for me, which is another "weird" thing for a teenager.

 14. I love food, I try everything, I like every kind of food, I don't stop eating food.

15. That being said, I'm kind of germophobic and probably won't eat your food if you offer it to me (haha, just kidding!).

16. My top favorite restaurants are Tropical Smoothie (Paradise Point smoothie and Chipotle Chicken Club...every time) and Panera Bread (Chipotle Chicken Panini and the Broccoli Cheddar soup...again, every time).

17. Therefore, I love anything chipotle.

18. I probably waste too much time on social media.

19. I love taking pictures, modeling for pictures, photography in general.

20. I believe my spiritual gifts are wisdom and teaching, and would like to teach Sunday school for little kids in church someday.

How well do you know me? Surprised by any? Let me know in a comment!


College stress and the goodness of God

All glory to God for the works He has performed through me these past few weeks.

Struggle after struggle, my head spinning in worry and anxious thoughts, my life was filled with stress and fear of what was to come. I was grateful for the best semester I've ever had in regards to the light amount of workload compared to usual, but my usual all A's were slowly diminishing. I had to keep reassuring myself that God is good, He is with me, and that everything would work out to His best for me, and that no matter what would happen, my identity rests in Him, not in the grades I receive or the amount of knowledge I possess, but I was still gripped by worry. It wasn't my high school classes that I was worried about, but my college classes. My A in U.S. History was around a 92 and was dropping more and more, but I wasn't nearly as worried about that class as I was about English Comp. I've always done great in English up until this semester, and while I still did well, there were enough B's and C's on papers and tests that set me up for a panic. Most of all, the majority of my grades weren't entered into the gradebook, so I had no idea what grade I would receive.

Every day, I prayed. Friends joined me in prayer as well. I knew that the only way I would receive an A, particularly in my English class based on the grades so far, would be an act by a God who can do the impossible.

Sure enough, He began answering prayers one by one. I received A's on my last two history papers. By the time I took my college finals, I reflected and meditated on the verses He revealed to me through His Word, calming me and reassuring me that He would take care of me:

When I said, "My foot is slipping", Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:18-19
Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall...but as for me, I trust in You. Psalm 55:22, 23b

I knew He would stay with me as I faced those tests. His strength was all I needed, all I asked for. I shouldn't have been surprised when I found out I received a 97 on my history final, and a final 94% in the class! But the main worry, English Comp, was still on my mind. I kept trusting in Him.

Finally, my English professor entered in all of the grades almost a week after taking the final. She boosted one of my low essay grades 8 points. She gave me an unbelievable 100 on my last essay and several 100s for homework/participation. I received a B on my final grammar exam and a 97 on my final exam essay.

Somehow, in some way, I ended up with an A, about a 94, in my English class. With no doubt in my mind was that the work of a loving, caring God who has so much more power and strength than I could ever muster. I could never have done that on my own.

With this recent testimony, I say to you: whatever you are facing, don't give up. Ask God for strength, rely on His power, trust in Him and His timing. He is the God of the impossible. Put aside all worry and fear, and place your problems at His feet. He truly does care.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I could never have succeeded without Him.


Paw Prints On My Heart

I have a passion for dogs.
Filled with empathy, my compassionate heart cries out as I draw near to them, their souls sensing my love for them as they then draw near to me.
I adore big lap dogs that provide lots of affection and doggie kisses. I would spend time volunteering at an animal shelter 24/7 if I could. A love has been established for helping and loving the dogs in need.
I have a yearning inside of me, a growing desire to make a difference.
Could it be that God placed this desire in my heart for a reason? Could it be that as I put Him first and make Him my everything, He's revealed to me His love for His creations and the role He has for me, using me to fulfill His plans and make a change? Could it be that He really does place His creations, people and animals, at the right place at the right time?
I've always had a love for dogs, but never did I enjoy spending so much time with them until I began volunteering at the shelter. In fact, I originally didn't want to volunteer at a "kill" shelter, but because of age restrictive policies at the time, that was the only way to fulfill my school project. But through prayer, He revealed to my heart that that's where He wants me to go. My life, and viewpoint of shelters, has changed dramatically since.
Not only have I helped the dogs in need, but they have helped me. They have distracted me from the mess, the never-ending problems of life. But most of all, they have revealed to me the character of God.
Their love is a reflection of God's love for us. Their unconditional love for humans, their never-ending faithfulness and willing acts of obedience, shows God's purposes and act of sacrifice through Jesus. While many are hindered from seeing God's love for His creations, it has shined through His Word.

When God made the first people, Adam and Eve, He said:  
"Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 1:26
 From the first days of creation, God created people with multiple purposes, and one of those purposes is to have authority over the animals. We are called to be the voice and to take care of the animals, as well as have the ability to decide what is best for them. He made every single creature because He saw beauty. He saw potential. Most of all, He sees beauty and potential in His best creations, humans. We as humans must decide to fulfill our dominion over the animals and take care of them, because He loves them and especially loves us. 

God's love for dogs has placed a seed of love in my heart, as His care for them was revealed through His actions with Noah and the flood.When God decided to wipe out the entire earth and the evil the human race had instituted, He asked Noah and his family, who were the only ones who obeyed and loved Him, to build an ark and take pairs of every kind of animal. If God didn't love animals, why would He decide to save them and protect them from the deadly flood? His love for animals is real, and as such a love has been placed in my heart, so it is a reflection of God's. 
Most importantly, God has revealed to me that my love for animals should not be placed higher than a love for people. Jesus commands for us to love God and love others. He has shown me that I can love others through my volunteer work by treating others kindly, helping out future adopters, and making others feel important and loved. 

Every dog I meet, every story I partake in, every move I make in and out of the shelter, a paw print from each and every dog has been laid upon my heart. While in their temporary home in a short period of life, I now realize my calling to protect, to care, and to love them until they reach their forever home. Maybe my future contains a career involving my passion for dogs, or maybe I will keep volunteering or just adopt out several dogs in the future. But most of all, I know that God cares about His creations, and His care has been revealed to me as I share in the same love. I long to make a difference, and I believe that making a difference begins with placing myself in the hands of God, keeping a close eye on the passions He has given me and surrendering to His Will, as one by one, a paw print is imprinted on my heart.



We’re born into the longing
With hearts, bent toward possessing
All that our eyes are seeing
Our souls, they never stop wanting
Beauty never intended to be more than a reflection
My heart is an ocean raging
And Your grace is all that keeps me from drowning
My mind creates deceptions
So I cling the treasure sinking
Oh, Lord, light up my dark eyes
Teach me to let go
I’ve been runnin’
Chasing nothing but shadows
Oh, Lord, please come and
Raise my dead heart, let me know
You can keep me from
Chasing after the shadows

All that I run to, all that I cling to
Everything seems to only slip through my hands
All that I run to, all that I cling to
Everything seems to only slip through my hands

But I keep running, I keep chasing
Left holding on to only the after glow
Lord, light up my eyes, let me follow You
To the source behind all the shadows
"Shadows"//Tenth Avenue North

 With a heart filled with passion and longing, I seek to run. My intentions are to chase after the heart of Jesus, but in the midst of mess, heartbreak, and stress, where do I turn? In the act of redemption and salvation, my life has been made new, my sins covered by the blood of Jesus. My sinful nature never leaves though. I'm covered by His grace, but even through His unfailing love that fills my life every day, I run, and run, and run some more. Sometimes I am stuck in the shadows, chasing after the temporal things of the world, the approval of others, an identity that can never be filled except in a life lived for Jesus. When I learned to run after the heart of Jesus, I gained a wholeness, a missing piece to the puzzle, about life that I never had before.
  When we gave our lives to Christ, He knew that we would mess up, that we would fall away, that we would give into the flesh. We are human. We look at what we see, the earthly things, rather than we can't see, the heavenly perspective. Our souls continuously desire. But what God has revealed to me recently, especially through the words of Tenth Avenue North's song, is that no matter what I want, receive, or chase after, nothing will matter in the end except Jesus. Eventually the world and everything in it will fade away, and then what will be left? Shadows are nothing but temporary reflections of God's creations, dependent on the circumstance of light. Why chase after the fading things of this world when we can chase after the only One who is eternal, the "source behind all the shadows"?
   I've sought after worldly identities and possessions, but as I've been facing these struggles despite my yearning to chase after Jesus, God popped this song straight in my head. I used to listen at a time when this struggle all began, but never did I realize its significance until now. I may be the editor of the yearbook staff. I may work all day for the animals or even for the church. I may get a million likes on a Facebook post or on this blog. I may gain every relationship & friendship I've ever wished for. But in the end, these things will just slip through my hands.

The only thing that matters is Jesus, and I'm learning to follow His light, not a reflection of the world's.