My Writing · thoughts

Friday’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Create

Earlier I posted yesterday’s Daily Prompt, and now I’m posting Friday’s. Better late than never, right? Friday’s daily prompt was Create, and I had to post about it because nothing makes me happier than creating something new.

One of the things most I love about creativity is that it can be taken in so many ways. Some people create breathtaking works of art, others are creative with their fashion, and then there are those who create through music. I’m most creative when I have a pen in my hand and a blank piece of paper in front of me.

I’ve always loved to write. That love first blossomed when I was in first grade, and my teacher would give us morning assignments to write stories. I loved them, and I soon figured out that with a pen in my hand, anything was possible.

I’ll never forget the first story I wrote. It was about a friendship between two horses. I still remember how excited I was that it was more than a page long, and I still remember that I wrote it in an Ariel notebook with an erasable pen. Even then I wound pieces of my own life into my writing: the horses were named after two of my friends. 

Now, eleven years later, much is still the same about the way I write. Writing still brings me a joy that nothing else does, and I’m still in love with the freedom I have when I’m sitting in front of a blank page. I love that when I write, I can do anything, I can be anything, and I can do anything. I can say what I wish I had the courage to say in person, or I can do something I’ve always dreamed of doing- I can walk, I can run, I can dance. When I write, my cerebral palsy isn’t an obstacle. With a pen in my hand, I can beat it. I can overcome the challenges I face every day; I can win the battle I fight with it. When I write, anything is possible.

My dream now is the same thing it was when I was six years old: become a published author. Though I still have a ways to go,  I’m a little closer now than I was then. Now, I’ve got an idea that I believe can actually be published, and it’s in the process of being written. And God has put people in my life that can help me accomplish that dream. I’m so grateful for their wisdom and help- because of them, in a better writer. Since then, I’ve actually been in a bestselling book- Tim Tebow shared my story in his latest book Shaken. He gave me a glimpse into the publishing process, and he showed me that if you trust God and work hard, no dream is impossible.
How do you like to be creative?

Faith · thoughts

Kate: My Friend, My Inspiration, My Angel

We lost her six months ago, and I still miss her. So much.

I miss her smile, her silly faces, her beautiful voice, and her kindness. She was so kind. And she spread it to everyone. She spread kindness, light, and love, and she gave me all three.

I met her on March 11th, 2016, at the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Gala. Instantly I was struck by how beautiful she was, and the way the Lord’s light and love radiated off of her. She seemed strong. So strong. I knew right away that she was a fighter, she was a force to be reckoned with.

I’ll never forget the words I told her: “You’re so beautiful and we all love you. Never forget that.” I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her. I was so touched by her kindness. The next day, at the golf tournament, she came over to say hello and give me another hug. I listened to her mom tell a foundation staff member about her treatment, and how we could be praying for her. I remember thinking that I’d see her next year at the tournament, because I knew that Timmy and TTF would grant her a W15H, and she would be back for the W15H events. She would make it. Of that, I had no doubt.

She was never far from my mind, or my heart. After the tournament, I thought about her, I prayed for her, I told so many people about her, all the while keeping faith that she would beat her cancer.

To say I was ecstatic when I found out about her W15H was an understatement. If I could’ve jumped up and down, I would have. Immediately, I texted my contact with the foundation and sent her something I’d written to Kate, which she promised to share with her. That night, I found pictures of her brunch with Timmy that morning; she was smiling, she was happy, she was radiant. My heart soared. But that night, I also found something else: the Facebook page her mom had set up so she could chronicle Kate’s battle. It was through that page that I found something else: an address where I could write Kate letters.

So I wrote to her. I wrote to her, telling her how much she inspired me and encouraged me and she was always in my prayers. And I told her I loved her. Whether she got them or not, I don’t know, but I hope and pray she did and that they brought as much joy to her as they did to me.

The night she died, I didn’t sleep. I tossed and I turned and my mind whirled. The next morning, I got up and just cried. In my heart, I knew she was in a better place. Now, she’s healed, she’s free. That knowledge brought me comfort, but it didn’t ease my pain.

I write about her now and I share her story because I want to keep her light alive. I want others to know her story; I want people to know about her faith and her beauty and her strength. I want people to know about the little girl who touched my life, the little girl I will always be inspired by. A few days after we lost her, I made myself a promise: I would finish the book I’m writing for her. I’ll do it for her and I’ll dedicate it to her. I’ll dedicate it to her and I’ll share her story with the world. She will never be forgotten. I’ll make sure of that.
Kate, I love you and I miss you. So much. You’re my strength, you’re my encouragement, you’re my inspiration. And you always will be. You touched my life that night. I pray I’m living in a way that makes you smile and makes you proud, and please know that you’re always on my mind and always in my heart. I love you, beautiful angel.


My First Blogging Award (!!)

A few days ago, I was blessed to be nominated for the “Awesome Blogger Award” by Mama’s Empty Nest. Thank you, Mama, so much! I’m so honored and so excited!

The award was started by Maggie at Dreaming Of Guatemala. In her words,

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

Here are the rules of the award, also from Maggie’s blog:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Include the reason behind the award.

3. Include the banner in your post.

4. Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.

5. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.

6. Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.

7. Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.

8. Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated!
1. Why did you begin to blog?

I started blogging because I thought it would be a fun way to share my story and hopefully, inspire others! My dream is to be a novelist, so I thought starting a blog would be a good way to help me grow as a writer, too.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Gainesville, Florida! It’s one of my favorite places. That town holds so many memories for me, and being there makes me happy. I love the atmosphere, I love being surrounded by orange and blue, and I love how, when I’m there, my disability isn’t in the forefront of my mind. I always feel so accepted and comfortable there. Another dream of mine is to work in Florida’s athletic department, either as a journalist or in sports information. Going to Gainesville feels like going home.
3. Do you enjoy rain, and why or why not?

Yes! I love it. The sound of it hitting the roof is so calming and cathartic to me.

4. What aspect of your life would you change if you could?

I wouldn’t necessarily change the fact that I have a disability, but I do wish I could be a little more independent. I wish it didn’t have quite as much control over how I get around as it does, but I’m working on changing that. One of my goals this summer is to become stronger and more independent. I’m also going to work on walking with my crutches!

5. What is one food you just can’t resist?

Chicken wings! I love them. There’s a local wing restaurant in town that my family and I go to at least once a week, and we go in there so much that the waitresses know our orders.

6. Would you rather hold a hard-back, paper paged book in your hand to read or do you prefer an e-reader?

An actual book! I love the feeling of the pages between my fingers, and I love being able to see how far I’ve gotten into the book. It’s easier for me to connect with a story and its characters when I’m holding a book in my hands.

7. What genre of music is your favorite?

This is such a hard question to answer! Probably country, but I’ll listen to pretty much anything except rap and heavy metal. Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Hunt are my favorite artists, but I also love Journey. I’ve seen them in concert twice- they’re amazing! I love any song that has deep and meaningful lyrics.

8. What is the best feature of your best friend?

The way that she can always make me laugh, and she’s always there for me, no matter what’s going on or what time it is. She never minds having to help me, and that means absolutely the world to me. She drives a truck, and it never bothers her that she has to pick me up to help me get into it.

9. Have you ever had a dream come true, and what was it?

Yes!! Tim Tebow has been my inspiration since I was a little girl, and in 2015, he and his foundation granted me a W15H. It was such a magical weekend.  I loved being able to just talk with him. He’s so kind, and he made me feel so special. He and his foundation mean absolutely the world to me! Tim posted this collage of us on his Instagram after we ate dinner together 😊

10. What does the view look like outside your window today?

It’s beautiful! We’re at the lake, and the sun is shining and the water is gorgeous.
My nominees are:

Brian at The Gator Chomp Blog

Stephanie at Adventures of a Bibliophile

Alanna at Honestly Alanna

Alyssa at Tree Planted by the Living Water

Here are my questions for you:

1. What is your favorite season, and why?

2. Who is your inspiration?

3. Do you like sports? Why or why not?

4. Where did you go on your favorite vacation?

5. What is one book that you’ve read over and over?

6. What are five things you’re thankful for?

7. What do you like to do when you have a free day?

8. What’s your favorite holiday? Why?

9. What has made you smile today?

10. Where do you go when you want peace and quiet?

Mama, thank you again for the nomination! And if you read my blog, please know how much I appreciate you and how AWESOME I think you are!


Relay for Life 2017❤

Ours was last Friday night, and it was such a beautiful event. The booth I worked was a crazy hair booth- you should’ve seen some of those hairdos! Some people had bottles in their hair, some had gotten their hair sprayed three different colors, and one guy proudly sported an Auburn inspired do. It was fun, but what meant so much to me was the cause it supported. Cancer has touched my life in many ways, and it meant the world to me to be a small part in helping to find a cure.

The most meaningful moment for me was the Illuminary Lap, where those who had lost loved ones to cancer walked in their honor. I walked for my sweet friend Kate, who passed away last November. When the bag pipes began playing, I broke down. I broke down because I would give anything to be able to hug sweet Kate and talk to her again. I would give anything to be able to spend just one more minute with her; I would give anything to be able to hug her one more time. It breaks my heart that she’s not here. I know she’s in a better place; I know she’s been healed and is happy and is running and singing with the angels in heaven, but I miss her. So much. So I walked for her, for my grandfather who also passed away from cancer, and for the two, amazing, incredible friends who have each beaten cancer twice. I wasn’t originally sure I was strong enough to be able to walk the entire mile, but I knew if my grandfather and my friends could fight so courageously every single day, I could walk one lap. As I walked- and fought tears- I leaned into their strength and courage. And as I walked, I could feel Kate and Grandpa walking right next to me, giving me the strength to walk the entire track. It was beautiful to me that even though they’re with Him, they’re still with me, bringing me peace, strength, and comfort when I need it most.

Relay for Life is an amazing event, and I hope and pray that one day in the near future, we will no longer have to raise money for a cure, because one will be found. But until that day, we will keep walking, we will keep praying, and we will keep fighting against this terrible illness. And as we fight alongside those who are fighting for their lives, we will honor those we love who have already joined Him. With them in our hearts, and with faith, hope, and love, we will end the fight, and finally finish-and win-our relay for life.


Love Actually is All Around

This past week has made me realize something: that love actually is all around.

I realized that last Thursday, when my dad brought me home a cookie to cheer me up, since I’d been sick most of the week. I realized that last Friday, when my friends and family saw the video of me walking with crutches and were just as excited as I was. I realized that when one of my blog’s readers took time to read one of my entries, comment on it, and tell me she was praying for me as I continue to fight for this dream. I realized that today, when my AP Language class surprised me and bought me our class shirt, since money was a little tight last month.

Whether we realize it or not, we’re surrounded by love all the time, from our family, friends, and even strangers. It comes in the form of hugs, smiles, kind words, and sometimes, t-shirts and chocolate chip cookies. So the next time you feel discouraged, or you feel like you’re alone, please remember how loved you are. You’re loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and that love will never leave you. It’s all around you, enveloping you, embracing you, holding you. You are loved, and you are not alone. Never forget that.