Faith · Florida Gators · thoughts

Blind Faith

Since I was six years old, it's been my dream to go to the University of Florida. I've always wanted to live in Gainesville-my favorite place on this planet- and truly be able to say, "I'm a Gator." But now that the time has come to start applying to schools, I'm not sure if I even want to submit an application.

You see, despite the fact that I've taken the ACT twice and the SAT once, my score isn't that great. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing, either. And since I made my first B last semester, my unweighted GPA is no longer a 4.0. Knowing that the chances of my getting into UF are slim, I haven't looked up when their application is due or what all they want in it. I don't want to get my hopes up just to have them shot down.

I want to make something clear: I'm not afraid to fail. That's not it at all. I don't want to set myself up for heartbreak. Because if I apply and then I find a letter in my mailbox that says, "Thank you for applying. However, we unfortunately cannot accept you at this time" my heart will shatter. I'll be crushed. If that happens, that means I'll have to sit there and watch my dream slip from my fingertips.

Yet I can't help but think God's put passion for the Gators in my heart for a reason. I can't help but think there's a reason I love Florida the way I do and Gainesville feels like home. There are no accidents. He does what He does for a reason, and He's got a plan that is good and perfect. There's a reason applying to UF has come up twice in as many days. There's a reason a little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, "What if? What if it works?" In the words of one of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs, "I've seen You make miracles, and hopeless dreams come true/ You made the heavens and the stars/Everything/Come on, how hard would it be…" If He created this beautiful Earth, He can help me get into a college… Right?

Somehow, just writing this has helped calm the tumultuous wave of emotion I've been feeling. I'm not sure if I'll get in, but there's only one thing for me to do: Try. Take a breath and trust God. Sometimes, you have to take a leap of blind faith.

thoughts

If You Have A Dream, Chase It- An Update

Last week, I wrote a post about my dream of helping kids with cancer. Thanks to The Truth 365, that dream has come true.

A few days after I published the post, I got a response from The Truth 365, which, of you didn't catch my first post, is an organization that raises awareness for pediatric cancer and advocates for more funding. The woman who emailed me back was incredibly kind, and she told me that what I could do was write a guest post for their Facebook page and we'd see what kind of response we'd get. I was elated, and immediately went to work writing my post, despite the fact that I'd seen the email after midnight. (People always say you write the best pieces late at night- I'm inclined to agree.)

The post was published the next day, and the response was overwhelming. There were so many kind, thoughtful comments, but the best part was that a mom wrote in to The Truth 365 and said she would love it if I would write to her little girl! I was so excited. I have a card that I'm going to send her, and I hope and pray the Lord will use my words to make her smile and lift her up. She has already inspired and encouraged me so much, and I'm so blessed to be a small part of her courageous battle.

Please keep her in your prayers, and never be afraid to follow your heart and chase your dreams. Amazing things happen when you have the courage to step out in faith and reach towards them.

Here's the link to the guest post I wrote, in case any of you want to read it😊:
https://goo.gl/ka3Q1c

thoughts

If You Have A Dream, Chase It

Since the passing of my sweet friend Kate, I’ve had a desire to help other kids fighting cancer. I wrote Kate letters, and I would love to do something similar for other kids. It doesn’t have to be letters; I just want to encourage and be there for other kids fighting the same battle Kate fought so courageously.

Tonight, I did something about it.

There’s a non-profit organization called The Truth 365, who shares stories of kids fighting cancer and who fundraises and raises awareness for childhood cancer. They’ve reached out to thousands of cancer fighters, including Kate. In fact, she was how I learned about them- her mom shared posts on her Facebook page of interviews she and her family have done with them, as well as other things they’ve posted about Kate. So tonight, I reached out to them, telling them about my dream of wanting to help other kids who are fighting. I’m not sure when or if they’ll respond, but I decided to try, just in case it works out and I do get the blessing of being a small part of what they do.

So tonight, I wanted to tell you this: if you have a dream, or a desire that the Lord has placed on your heart, don’t be afraid to go after it. If it’s meant to be, it will work out. And if not, you will still be able to say you pursued something close to your heart. And that is something to be proud of.

I hope you had a blessed Monday. Good night. πŸ’— Sweet dreams. πŸ’–

thoughts

Late Night Musings

I’m not sure why, but the past few nights, I’ve had trouble sleeping. It takes me a while to fall asleep, and then I’ll wake up around four and lay awake for a few hours. I don’t mind, though- it gives me a chance to think. And I just realized something: I worry far too much about what others think.

I’ve known for a while that it’s a problem. But realized it again because, after a friend of mine just had an incredible accomplishment, I asked a mutual friend to congratulate him for me, since we don’t live near each other and I have no way to get in touch with him. And then, afterwards, I felt guilty for asking her to do that. I felt like I had been a bother, and the last thing I want to do is bother or inconvenience anyone, especially her. But, as I laid here tonight, unable to sleep, I realized something else: I shouldn’t feel guilty for trying to be kind.

I’ve been focusing on her, when instead I should be focusing on what my friend has just accomplished. He just did something amazing; he deserves to be congratulated, especially after all the hard work and dedication he’s put in. It’s not wrong to tell him that. But by overthinking, I created a problem that wasn’t there to begin with and caused myself a lot of needless stress and worry.
I think a lot of us do that. I think we’re so busy worrying about what someone else will think or how our actions will be precieved that we rob ourselves of countless opportunities: opportunities to speak our minds, share what’s been on our hearts, or brighten someone else’s day. And you know what? We need to stop doing that. Because being yourself and being honest isn’t something to be sorry for, as long as you go about it the right way. You never know how your words or actions could impact someone or inspire them. Who knows? Maybe you’ll encourage someone to follow their dreams or achieve a goal they once thought was impossible. Maybe you’ll open someone’s heart, and make them realize that they are indeed amazing and loved. Or maybe you’ll brighten someone’s day, and be a ray of sunshine they look at whenever they’re stuck in the rain. You never know. Because while words have the power to break someone, they also have the power to heal and bring joy. They have the power to open hearts and doors, and their impact is often more profound than any of us realize.

So the next time you want to compliment someone or share what’s been on your heart, do it. Say what you need to say, and don’t apologize for it. There’s nothing wrong with being kind, there’s nothing wrong with being honest, and there’s nothing wrong with being yourself. Because you are a masterpiece unlike any other, and you deserve to be heard. You do. In the words of my favorite singer, “I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.”

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.

thoughts

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:

BeautyBeyondBones
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!