5 Tips For Growing Your Brand

Hiya, and welcome back to Anchors + Planes! If you’re new here: Hello, I’m Angel. I’m a military wife, new mom, and photographer. I have been a paid photographer for seven years now, but only recently started to dive into my business. There’s been seasons where I’m motivated and times when I am ready to call it quits… that was until I started to reach out to others in my niche and learn. While there is no universal formulas for branding across all spheres of society, there is a handful of tips that will help you find deeper joy in the failures and peace in your content while growing! If you’re setting the tone for your own dream wedding, photography business, Etsy shop, orthodontic offices, or just your dog’s Instagram page – here are FIVE tips for growing your brand.

Be Authentic

au·then·tic [ôˈTHen(t)ik] – adj. 1. of undisputed origin; genuine.

If you genuinely find joy from letter boards, fairy lights, and tummy tea – power to you, dude. As for me, I find that when I stay away from trends expected from me, the deeper my content is. In photography, I could pose in a “smile on 3, 2, 1” but that is not the heart of the story in front of me. It’s easy to fall in line with the cookie cutter expectations of my niche, but magic happens when you stay on the path you set out on. For an example, while working with brides – she will often have send her inspirations that are all over the board: different settings, different tones, different styles. My job is not to mimic those images, but see what they all have in common – Love, romance, joy. What a customer means to communicate is an emotion and not a replica.

Basic Invite 2

“Let love be genuine.” 

Romans 12:9 \ Best Wedding Websites

Finding your brand’s authentic style will come with time, but when you finally feel you’ve found it – it will be liberating!

Community Is Powerful

My biggest mistake starting off was being closed off to learning from others, not caring about the customer beyond the paycheck, and not working along side other businesses on the same job. There’s great power in community and knowing when your business can benefit from outsourcing.

With clients, it is vital to make them feel safe and secure in choosing your services over your competition. When you have a customer confident in your business, they’re more likely (for sure) going to offer their recommendation to their social circles. Likewise, when a customer has been turned off by your mistakes or poor attitude, they will share that experience which will drive potential customers away.

With “competition,” (who even says that anymore?) offer to meet them in person! You obviously already have a lot in common, but learn how you’re different as well. This can actually bring you more business! For example, if I get an inquire for a date that is unavailable, I can recommend them someone who is not only talented but kind. Yes, in the future they may book with them again, or they choose you for being generous enough by not leaving them in the dust.

With outsourcing, it’s just a matter of knowing when you’re “not there… yet.” For example, I have my hands full at the moment (photography, marketing, social media, blogging, editing, photo sessions, inquires/ contracts, etc,) and I have yet to master all of it – so when a bride says “oh, you don’t print my invitations?” I can proudly say, “EVEN BETTER – I have friends over at Basic Invite that have over 800 designs for you, envelopes  almost unlimited colors, custom samples, free address collection service, and they’ll even throw in a free wedding website.” But, for real, look at these epic Wedding Invitations

Your customers will thank you when they have their visions come true, thanks to you and your amazing community!

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“That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 | fun wedding invitations |marriage invitations

Over Deliver

Did anyone grow up hearing, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” Some brands actually try to function off that… and they’re often flooded with 1 star reviews. Over delivering does not mean you have to sell out, it just means find little ways to be generous to your attendees, clients, followers, etc. That could be with product or with time! Some of my favorite packages from brands have hand written notes or surprise samples. Little tokens of appreciation sprinkled through words of affirmation or a gift. Perhaps it’s donating your time to a charity that is meaningful to your niche! For example, I got to collide my worlds as a photographer and military wife by donating my services to an event on base. That willingness to serve those who serve our country was a bigger blessing to me then it was them. Fill your cup by pouring into others. There’s enough love to go around!

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“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:24-25

Know When To Say No

This was a painful lesson, and often it feels like a punch in the gut… It’s the same story for me, and I assume no matter what your brand is – it’s the same with you.

“Friend”: Oh my gosh, I saw you do photography! So cool.

Me: Thanks!

“Friend”: I would love to invite you to *insert event*

Me: Oh my goodness, thank you so much for inviting me to such a meaningful event! I would love to come and be a good friend.

“Friend”: Cool… oh and can you bring your camera?

Me: Oh, you mean you want $500 of my service for free.

Maybe they weren’t even a friend, but you get the point. Some people may not respect your art, brand, or product enough to pay you for it – and that’s okay! Don’t let it burn bridges, just simply say, “Sorry, we are not taking collaborations right now. We are a growing business and look forward to hearing how you like our product.” or “What e-mail address is best so can I send an invoice?” Friends and family should be willing to support your endeavors before asking for freebes – and if not, it’s okay – give them grace. Maybe they don’t find value in that particular things… YET! Don’t take it personal and keep on working towards zoning in on your dream customers.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

Pray

Anxiety may set in during slow seasons or big life changes that interrupt your work flow. Like in all things – love well and pray. Forgive yourself and your team for playing the comparison game or not seeing the value in your brand’s purpose! Pray for wisdom, peace, and vision for your brand moving forward.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6 

 

I hope this post was helpful or inspirational to growing your vision of branding! If you’re planning your new photo session, website, business, or mini-poodle’s social accounts – comment below with what you find best for growing your brand!

Post sponsored by: Basic Invite.

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Three Months of Motherhood

 

I have had a lot of time the past few days to reflect on the first three months of motherhood. If I could sum them up into one word, it would be “purposeful.” My young adult years have been full of championing others to fulfill their kingdom purpose instead of their earthly potential, yet I never knew exactly how much that would impact my view of God and motherhood.

I didn’t consider the sacrifice my body would have to make to give another person life, and it opened my eyes to the purpose of Jesus’ life (and Mary’s role in mothering him).

I didn’t consider that my spending habbits were unhealthy. How could I hold a baby wearing a sequenced PINK top? My belongings have been minimized to comfortable and purposeful.

I didn’t consider the value of fatherhood. The teamwork and communication that has to happen between two people raising a little is a part time job in itsself, but we keep eachother educated and at peace with prayer.

 

 

I didn’t consider the hope in tradition. That the making if tamales, lighting of a tree, or setting up the nativity would silence what was beyond our walls.

I didn’t consider the change in work flow. That when a new mom would reach out to me, I’d feel the same giddiness I feel with brides.

My body, habbits, marriage, traditions, and work have served a much greater purpose in the past three months. The heart behind motherhood can’t help but spill into every aspect of life, and I adore it. But even if I lost it all, being “Anakin’s Mom” is all I ever want to be.

Sweaters available at PinkBlush: grey sweater // Black cut out sweater

Home Tour || #MCCLUNGCASA

It has been so highly requested to share a bit of our home with the world. This was made with our west coast family in mind! We have had a handful of guests come and visit with us at this house, but we will be moving soon. I find that every space we have has it’s own personality; a warmth of it’s own that can not be covered with our chaos, but can be used collaboratively. I hope you enjoy this taste of our McClung Casa, and we will see ya soon at the next one! xoxo – angel

How To: Military Care Package (Christmas Themed)

Okay. I have no idea what I’m most happy about:

  1. I’m off work the next two days.
  2. Elf is playing on the TV right now.
  3. I’m on my second beer.
  4. I applied for a house this week.
  5. My Christmas packages arrived safely to the middle east!

I am so excited to FINALLY be sharing the mother of all care package ideas, CHRISTMAS! *Praise break* In this post, I’ll show you not one, not two, but THREE packages I put together for my husband, troops, and my family! If you have a loved one deployed, in school, or just far away, I hope this helps inspire you to send love via care packages!

boxes

Theme: Christmas // Holiday Gifts
My husband’s is the only one with decorated “flaps” (?) Whatever they’re called. The wings on boxes that unveil awesome stuff. I used scrapbook paper to cover them completely, metallic stickers to say, “Dear Deployment, LET HIM GOOOO!” *Frozen dance break*, Olaf and snowflake stickers, along with a picture of us 🙂
Inside the box is a burlap bag and many gifts! Our puppy helped me out a little… gifts
I made sure to include a gift for new years and our anniversary in January! The gifts were dated up to 12 days, making them the “12 Days of Christmas.” So everyday he has a gift to look forward to, with the last one being (hopefully) his favorite! (Total weight: 50 LBS)  Feel free to ask in the comment section for gift ideas, but for now, I’ll move onto what was in the package for our troops!
cookies
  • Instant soups
  • Mac n cheese
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal (instant)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Beef Jerky
  • Almonds & Walnuts
  • Breakfast Teas & Stress Relief Teas
  • Hot Coco
  • Candy Canes
  • & 150 + Homemade cookies (Chocolate chip, sugar, mint chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, and snicker doodle)

Total weight: 40 lbs.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this package, and to my beautiful mom, sister, and niece (along with her girl scout troop) for sending their own packages with just as much, if not more to our troops!

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

As for my family’s package, I sent two packages to California. One to “mom’s side” and one to “dad’s side.” Instead of ordering online, or sending gift cards, I wanted to personally wrap each gift with a photo that comes to mind when I think of them.

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Grandma Toni at Kristi’s Wedding 2015

Okay, and maybe all of my gifts are from Nordstrom… Sorry hunny!

I hope this inspires you to spoil those you love, and spoil them well. We never know when our last day will be, so don’t hold love back from anyone ❤ Happy Holiday and may our troops, you, and your loved ones be blessed in the name of Jesus!

Xoxo – Angel

ending

Thanksgiving Care Package Post: Click here.

Halloween Care Package Post: Click here.

Heart for Haiti – Why am I even a missionary?

I spend another day rising. Half-felt blessed, half-felt condemned.

Half of my mind praises the Lord for the wonderful life He has blessed me with; with faith in Him, the young husband, the palm trees and beaches, the life of travel…

The other half of my mind wakes up ashamed; no “normal” 9-5 job (because apparently owning a clothing line, photography, and being a missionary isn’t good enough), no kids yet (“oh you’re busy? Just wait until you have kids”), no day to day schedules filled (just weeks blocked at a time around the map)…

My second thought, after my half thoughts, is, “I should write a blog today! About Haiti and love and cultures and races and…” *sips airborne tea* *turns on TV* *sees Charleston church massacre* My heart dropped. I don’t know these people or these faces, but the pain remains the same… I can’t explain it. The feeling you get when you hear the horror. You want it to be just a demonic movie, or video game, or anything but REAL.

How is this a THING in our nation right now? How is whites vs. blacks / civilians vs. police / LGBT vs. homophobics / some group of people vs. some other group of people – How did these become things we kill over in our nation? How do people passive-aggressively share hate about each other on Facebook? When did being an advocate become being a hate-filled extremist?

God, it’s heartbreaking. Really. To strive to live everyday, looking at people – trying to see them with the heart Jesus has for them – and for someone to walk before you and spit on their face, share Facebook hate, giggle with their families about a “joke”, compare them to someone else “better”, beat them up when they walk home from the bar, criticize their physical appearance, go in their church and take their lives. The list keeps going on, because we let it.

Over three years ago, I had a heart for Haiti. I sat in a foreign church. They said “hey, we have a team going to Haiti” and I said sign me up. No questions, no doubts, no experience, just the green light. My head was so sure, my boyfriend (now husband) was up for the adventure too. It ended quickly and quietly. Someone talked him out of it, so I got scared too, and a bailed. God opened the door and gave me a green light, and I let the fear from darkness close it. Oh the places we could go… if we didn’t let the fear of the unknown keep us from going there. It was then I learned, when God says “go”, whatever is on the other side is worth it.

Fast forward, I’ve been in planes, buses, trains, cars, and mopeds this past year more hours than most go on in a decade. My ears have popped, my stomach has been tested, and my feet have blistered. I’ve slept in bus stations, airports, hostels, strangers homes, school campus’, tents, and so much more. I’ve gone through “stuff” not to look at my freshly manicured nails and say, “Mmmmm, yeah. I’m like, well traveled so…” I went though it to look at the face of Jesus and say, “You, You’re worth it all. EVERY nation. EVERY soul.”

travel

Traveling, even when gritty, has led me to more and more of God’s heart, more people He loves. I’ve met a woman who’s boyfriend would beat her, and she cried to me, “I want a better life.” Guy skating in Argentina, said “I am the way I am, because too many people have hurt me.” When not traveling, I’ve worked with someone who was gay that gave their life to Jesus, someone who was a drug dealer and got healed in the break room who gave his life to God. LIKE COME ON, THESE ARE GOD’S PEOPLE! But fear keeps you away from the unknown…

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship. – Louisa May Alcott

So, when the opportunity for me to go to Haiti came up, I knew, I KNEW it was God saying He will finish what He started in my heart. It’s not the gold star sticker, or super cool Instagram pictures I’m after. It’s the people in this world who are untouchable, unlovable, misunderstood and so broken to the point where they feel like dying, killing, or indulging in sin… That’s what I’m after, loving them the way Jesus did, does, and will continue loving. Until every nation, every tribe, every people hear the good news…

 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands – Revelation 7:9

missions

If you would like to partner with me in sending help to Haiti Orphanages, please visit www.gofundme.com/heaveninhaiti 

May Favorites: Makeup, Fashion, Health, Books, Film, Travel, & Food

Beauty:

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My favorite beauty product this month has been the L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream. This cream has completely hijacked and owned my foundation routine. I use this, concealer, and HD finishing powder. This product is very lightweight and breathable, yet helps even my skin color like a boss. (Click here to purchase for $7)

Fashion:

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Tiny cross body bags! In hot and humid weather, the last thing you want to carry is a giant bag. I got this cute little bag from Target on my recent trip to California. It’s big enough to carry a small wallet, my keys, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, lip balm, mints, etc, yet small enough to forget I’m even carrying it! The strap is comfortable and adjustable, which is LIFE because tall girls need that! (Click here to purchase for $25)

Health:

water

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Traveling a lot this year though high and low places has reminded me to ALWAYS carry a water bottle. If you’re in mountains or at the beach, clean water is so important! Camelbak has been my go to brand. They’re reliable, offer refillable filters, and don’t leak. I like to put a few meaningful stickers on mine to: 1) have a conversation starter 2) remember to grab my bottle. I’m currently using an Air Force printed bottle which I can’t find online, but you can find your branch on base or a plain one at Target.

Book:

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On our base, there is a mini thrift store where my husband and I will go and find treasures. From lamps to cookbooks, a lot of our new home is handmedowns thrifts. My favorite is this book, which by the grace of God landed in my hands. From the moment I opened it, I KNEW that it was given to me at the exact right time. As a newly wed in the military lifestyle, I felt like I was spiraling into the “military wife and nothing else in life” category which is a LIE from the enemy. Through this book and the word of God, I was able to get my dreams, motivation, and purpose back on track! If there is one favorite this month, THIS IS IT! (Click here to purchase for $12)

Movie:

Tomorrowland has rocked my world. As much as I hate to admit it, my expectations were not high. I felt like the trailers didn’t give enough info for me to be trilled. Luckily, as soon as the lights dimmed and the film started rolling, I was a goner. It had good vs. evil action, families that cared for each other, humor for both kids and adults, and unpredictable twists. One of those films that inspires you to strive for the best you possibly can and not just limit yourself to the best that exists. All in all, when it comes out on DVD, I’d go buy it!

Travel:

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone… never rang more true until I boarded a six hour flight without… headphones! ROOKIE MISTAKE, ANGEL! Rookie. Friggin. Mistake. I will now make sure they are the first thing packed, along with an ipod or phone stalked with Spotify Premium ($9.99 a month, they’re running a special right now – first three months only .99c!)

Food:

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All year round, my favorite meal is lunch. For may, my go to homemade hot sandwich was this toasted pesto, baby spinach, sliced tomato, and Swiss cheese on Rye bread. Rye is my favorite toasted! Try this with a mint, lemon, and cucumber detox water.

How To: DIY Home Decor Cross (Tommy Bahama Inspired)

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It started months ago, looking for the perfect cross for our home. Unfortunately we couldn’t find one (hobby stores, department stores, christian stores, etc), so why not DIY it!? On our registry, we registered for tommy bahama goodies. I envisioned a kitchen that was bright, fresh, but not a hot mess of mismatched-ness. So, if you want to bring your own flavor to your family cross, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Inspiration
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Super Glue
  • Wooden crosses (from Michael’s)
  • Surface to work

Est Time: 20 Min (including dry time)

Lets get started!

cross instruc

  1. Have all of the above ready
  2. Paint desired base colors on each cross – Let dry
  3. Second coat – Let dry
  4. Add pattern – Let dry
  5. Add detailing – Let dry
  6. Glue from smallest to largest
  7. Add hook if needed (or drill small hole)
  8. Hang! Have fun!

cross TB

Field Notes: Life in Argentina

To say this year was a year of blessings, is an understatement. Aside from getting engaged, planning a wedding, and quitting my day job to focus on Jesus, I spent the second half of this year with University of the Nations. When I felt called to do a DTS in Kona, Hawaii, my initial thought was “no one will support me.” But, to declare that, is to say that God isn’t bigger than our dreams or finances. The past six months have been an uncontrollable roller-coaster. Yet, day after day, God proves himself faithful. Especially these last few months. During the happy tears and tears of pain: God is good. Here is a simple breakdown of the week to week life in a foreign nation, attempting to do what Jesus calls us all to do: make disciples.

* To exclude the bad, would be to exclude the grace of God, and the reality of being human.

** These were the things I was excluded from because of health reasons.
Week 1: [9.20 – 9.26]
Kona [USA] > LAX [USA] > Dallas [USA] > Buenos Aries [ARG] > Ushuaia [ARG]
Met Ushuaia YWAM base leaders, staff, and students
Culture Introduction
Evangelism at high schools (drug use prevention)
Service: cleaning construction site
Exploring city of Ushuaia
* American Airlines flight returned back to states because of pressurization issues.
Week 2: [9.27 – 10.3]
Government meeting for members in charge of “Religion” to discuss the Holy Bible
Leading Youth Groups at a Baptist church
City wide church collaboration for annual city service.
Street Evangelism with Youth Group
Ushuaia [ARG] > Chile > El Calafate [ARG] > El Chalten [ARG]
10 Hr hike to Fitz Roy in Patagonia
* Asthma triggered with dust and cold.
* Inhaler prescribed
Week 3: [10.4 – 10.10]
City prayer walks
Exploring town of El Chalten
El Chalten [ARG] > Rio Gallegos [ARG] > Mendoza [ARG]
Met Mendoza YWAM base leaders, staff, and students
Team speaks at church
Week 4: [10.11 – 10.17]
Team // leadership development course in mountains [NIKO] **
Cabin time
Service and evangelism for mountain community **
^ 5 salvations in one family
Exploring city of Mendoza
Visit JuCUM office of Mendoza
Service: clean up for JuCUM base quincenera
* 2nd asthma attack
Week 5: [10.18 – 10.24]
Ropes course (high and low circuit)
Soccer Ministry **
Community center prayer walk
Street evangelism
Speaking at schools
Mural painting at schools
Service: preparing and clean up for JuCUM base wedding
Sharing testimonies at churches
^ 6 salvations at the church
Week 6: [10.25 – 10.31]
Fasting || Prayer
Painted mural at a school
Street Evangelism
Recycle project
YWAM base intercession
Bullying prevention at schools
Service: painting ladies nails at community center
CPR class at community center
Aerobics class at community center **
Lead at local youth group
*doctors appointment: prescribed new inhalers and medication
Week 7: [11.1 – 11.7]
Mendoza > Las Vegas
Daily worship time // devotionals
Hiked to idol worship sites **
Street evangelism
Invited to pray with Muslim and Hindu community
Prayer walks
Service: preparing firewood for community
Week 8: [11.8 – 11.14]
House church
Horseback riding through immediate mountain areas **
Stationed at Argentine Army Base: Puente Del Inca
Geology and English teachings at military school
Community clean up project
Aconcagua Cemetery clean up
Hike with Army **
Week 9: [11.15 – 11.22]
Ropes Course
Leading Baptist Youth Group
Soccer Ministry **
Service time: JuCUM Base
Team Debrief and Processing
*Hospitalized in Argentina for dehydration and excessive vomiting
Leave Date: [11.23]
We returned home to Kona for our school-wide debrief. Unfortunately my time where was cut short due to health reasons, but as one of our speakers said, “When people ask how is was, are you going to tell them your story, or what God did?” And let me tell ya, God did amazing things! The most amazing part is He didn’t need us, but He let us co-create with Him, revive the saved, and save the lost. I am forever thankful for our God’s love and grace. Thank you for all of you who supported by prayer, sharing, and financially. In the past six months, I met the most precious friends, and got the once in a lifetime opportunity to serve in the places we did (like living with another Army)! Thank you all, and happy new year!
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Five Things To Know About Long Distance Relationships (Military and Missions)

He’s in the military, I am in missions.

The questions never end, even so close to the wedding.
“Is it difficult?'”
“How do you do it?”
“Do you guys ever talk?”
“Why did you leave him?” or “Why did he leave you?”
“What if he finds someone else?”
At first it was fun to answer these questions, I thought I was so optimistic. But now? I realize when people genuinely care or just doubts that true and faithful love actually exists. I thought it was just a young single person thing, but I started worrying when married women (or worse: newlyweds) mentioned it.

Here are five things to know before getting into (or continuing) a long distance relationship (or engagement)


1. There will always be time to talk.

Even with a six hour time difference or being nations apart, there should always be time made to communicate with each other. At points, it may mean sacrificing sleep. Sometimes both parties have to loose some Zzzz’s to get by with staying on the same page. So much life happens in a day, and if you aren’t bending over backwards to share a sliver of your life with someone else, or bending over backwards to hear about their life… maybe it is time to cut the cord. I don’t know about you, but I love to hear the fascinating adventures of my love. Maybe there would be a lack of a spark if I called, and he was playing the same video game as yesterday, or was “too busy” to make time for me. It’s just like making time to read your bible or drive thru the 15 minute Starbucks line. You make time for what you can’t live without.


2. No one left anyone, it’s called living out our dreams.

I cringe when someone refers to military dudes and chicks or missionaries as “leaving.” “They left their familes behind.” I believe it’s jumping ahead. Jumping at the opportunity to serve and love others as Christ loves us. You can say “leaving,” but we chose to step away from a comfortable life temporarily so others may live free from hate, shame, and condemnation forever.


3. Distance does not influence cheating.

What if one of us finds another… well I guess it depends on if you’re looking for someone else or not. If you go out and you’re looking to give someone attention or receive it, then you’re definitely not ready for a committed relationship. My sister once said, “If someone is going to cheat, why is distance a contender? They could cheat even when you live in the same house, so why would being apart make much of a difference?” I would agree. Would you stay close to someone to slim the odds of them cheating? The way I look at it is: I love Jesus, my future husband loves Jesus, and I love my future husband.” What’s the worst that could happen? He cheats and there’s someone better out there? If I loved the wrong person THIS much, I can’t wait to see how I love the right person for me. Humans will always let us down, but God is the consistent anchor we can holdfast to. God is a JUST and good God. He has a plan for us. So don’t hold someone else’s mistakes against your significant other. There’s two outcomes: you make it to the point of someone else is protecting your heart, or you make it to the point where God protects you from someone not worth giving your heart to.


4. Have fun with it.

Yes, we still have fun and go out. What good would talking do if we were constantly waiting for the other person? Go out for burgers with the boys, get the best brew in town. Go to the beach with your classmates, go wine tasting when you have the once in a lifetime opportunity. All that matters is the intentions behind going out, and the choices made even when no one is watching. We don’t sit at home, with no going out rules, or with any rules at all. If rules have to be set, it means someone has no self control and someone wants to gain full control. I sleep a room next to male teammates, he sleeps a floor next to female coworkers. What matters is, even in the midst of worldly desires and temptation, we walk with integrity, love, honor, faith, and hope in a happily ever after handcrafted by the one who created the stars. When there’s hope like that, what in the world could Satan offer that would be more desirable than true love?


5. Lastly, it isn’t easy… but worth it.

When people ask, my immediate answer has been, “No, it’s easy when both people love Jesus.” Until I’m in a village in the mountains with no Wi-Fi weeks at a time, then I find things I wish I could tell him. I’ll make notes to forward to him, I believe it’s an overflow of friendship. When something wonderful (or terrible) happens, and all you want is for your best friend to know. There is an absence that can not be filled by anyone else, but the Holy Spirit is the ultimate comforter. Even in difficult times, I know that God would not lead me into wasting my time; there is beauty in longsuffering. We come out wiser, discerning what is right and wrong by righteous standards.


Of an eleven month engagement, I’ve seen my fiancé for two months and four days. The next time I see him, will be two days before our wedding. Has it been easy? No. But loving him through any distance or situation has. If I could time travel and give myself advice, I’d say this:
Pray about all things. Pray together. Pray for each others. The world says to fight for what you love, but Jesus did not fight for us. He walked humbly, He loved unconditionally, and laid down His life for us. Love is not hard, distance is not hard, planning a wedding from another country without Wi-Fi is not hard. When I look at the life of Jesus, and see what he had done, does do, and will do for His bride, I see that there is nothing His grace can’t cover. Distance can not phase true love, because even during the times where we are so far from God, He loves us. Even when we live by faith, and not by sight, we love Him. If believing in true love makes me a fool, then I am the happiest fool there ever was.
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YWAM Update: Semi-final Destination

The past few weeks have been INSANE.

First off, holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty: I got ALL of my outreach funds in the last 24 hours before it was due. Thank you to all who supported this mission, it means the absolute world. When the last donation came in, I burst into tears. It has been a year of raising $10,000. My heart told me this was my calling, while my mind told me there was no chance in heck that I would get the funds. So, again, thank you so much!

20140907_122611aSecond off… I have had island fever for weeks now. Itching to get out of Hawaii and into the nations! My heart has been stirred for the Argentine people and ruined for the ordinary “normal life.” Missions is our new normal. Building genuine friendships and loving unconditionally is the new normal. Spending days in airports talking about adventures is the new normal. It’s nice to break out of the island and see God in the faces of all those we encounter. He is everywhere and we get the privilege of serving a piece of His heart.

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So as I sit here in our last layover on U.S. soil, I just wanted to say thank you guys so much. I can’t wait to share stories with you on this blog or when I return!

See y’all in December!

P.S. I will not have cell service, nor texting. Please contact me via e-mail, instagram, or voxer

❤ xoxo