Little Letters// January

Dear fleece leggings,
I’m not sure who invented you, but you’re definitely my favorite. As someone who hasn’t really experienced winter in the last two years, you are a must purchase. Plus you look super cute under dresses. Thanks for keeping my legs toasty.



Dear dude who ran into me,
Why oh why don’t you have insurance? It’s not really that expensive, and now I have to deal with so much more stress! (Shout out to State Farm though for being awesome sauce!). Also we all know that you didn’t “drop your drink”. You were totally looking at your phone.  (The damage wasn’t horrible, just horribly annoying)
PS- Durham cop- why didn’t he get a ticket?!?!?!


Dear keurig-
Thank you so much for keeping me going so far this school year. I use you multiple (let’s be real-like 3) times a day and you are still rocking & rolling. You make my coffee quick and you’re so easy to use that my third graders can use you!

Dear third graders,
I hope you know how much I love you! You should be reading a lot during these snow days. I am so excited to see how much you’ve learned by the end of the year!

Dear DPS,
I’m a little confused as to how you can have a teacher workday on a snow day when the governor has asked all non-essential personnel to stay off the roads! I’m just going to have to make up the time I guess. There are 10+ inches of snow on the ground, so I’ll stay nice and cosy here at my house!


Linking up with Kristen at Taz & Belly for Little Letters

Coffee Date// 01


If we were on a coffee date, I would probably get an iced caramel macchiato. That’s been my go-to lately. I also really liked the new Starbucks midnight mint mocha frap. I’d probably want to sit outside though because the air con in this country is freezing me out.

If we were on a coffee date, I would say that the stomach flu is the work of the devil. Not only is the actually being sick awful, the recovery is no fun either. I’ve had zero energy for several days now. Today is the first day I’ve actually felt like doing anything besides binge-watching Project Runway.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I still have no clue what I want to do next in my life. I’m not sure if I want to go back to school, if I want to go back to the classroom (probably not), if I want to just work at Starbucks, or what. If you have any advice, suggestions, ideas, let me know.

If we were on a coffee dateI would tell you that I’m feeling kind of lost. I’m still working on unpacking/organizing, but I’m also trying to figure out what’s next. Throw in a stomach flu, and things aren’t going that great. 😉

If we were on a coffee date, I would probably tell you all about my babies from my class this year. Without them, I wouldn’t have survived!

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you how your summer is going. I would also ask what you’re studying in scripture right now. I’m working through Colossians with LLB on Instagram.

If we were on a coffee date, what would you have to share? What would you drink?

This post is part of a link-up with Erin

Little Letters//June


Dear Korean Air,
Why are you so freaking fabulous? You always treat me so well. Thank you Kuya, for putting priority tags on all four of my checked bags so that they would come out quickly at DFW. Thank you for serving my favorite meal 2/3 meals. I also appreciate that the 12.5 hour flight was only 1/3 full. I loved having my own row!

Dear Uber,
I know you’ve gotten lots of flack recently, but in the PI you are pretty awesome. My ride to the airport, which took an hour, was only $7. PTL.

Dear Xanax,
Thank you so much for your calming abilities when I fly. I experienced zero anxiety on any flight because of you.

Dear Zzzquil,
Thanks for helping me to sleep the most I’ve ever slept on any flight. I slept for 2 hours on my first flight (out of 3.5), 5-6 on my second (out of 12.5), and 1 on my third (out of 2.5).
All the praise hands,

Dear American Airlines,
After all the hubbub about United Airlines and taking someone forcibly off the plane, you would think that all airlines would have retrained or at least spoken to their employees about how to speak to PAYING customers.
That’s not the case though. Wednesday, as I was about to board my final of three flights at DFW (after having already traveled ~30 hours), I was informed that I had too much carry-on stuff. Not sure why the rules are different between international and domestic. I had one roller bag (in the correct dimensions) and one personal bag (this one, it fits under the seat). The manager proceeded to yell at me when I expressed my concern about the many fragile valuables in my suitcase. He then got in my face and yelled at me when he gave me the bag check slip and threatened to have me taken off the flight.
In what world of customer service is this okay? I am a paying customer. Granted, I don’t platinum or whatever, but still. When I worked in customer service (and let’s include teaching in that), I would have been fired straight out for speaking to someone the way this man spoke to me, no matter how the customer was acting. And yes, I was upset. But I was definitely not screaming at anyone.
Airline employees have the power to totally ruin your trip. They can make you come off the flight for no reason and then have to rebook under your own dollar. In no other form of customer service is this acceptable. Where is the accountability? Will anything even happen if I call and complain or will I be berated further?
I will say this. I would NEVER have been treated that way on an Asian airline. They are always professional and courteous. But in the same vein, I’ve never had any issues flying with any Asian carrier either. All my delays/issues have had to do with American based carriers.
(Please let’s also note that both going to and coming from Asia this round, American Airlines cancelled my flight and rebooked me. Going, my dad fixed it because American wanted me to have a FOURTEEN HOUR layover in LAX. Coming, the timing was fine.)
No X and O for you,

This post is part of a link-up done by Kristen at TazandBelly.


What I’ve Read//May

Let me just say that this next month I have a different plan, because this post is just way too long! I read too much (is that such a thing?). I read a lot of different books this month, from children’s lit, to YA, to adult fiction and non-fiction. 


Goodbye Stranger//Rebecca Stead

4/5 82/125

From Amazon:

Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework.

It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?

By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart?

What I Loved: I loved that this was a realistic view of friendships in middle school and the struggles that students go through today in school. This was a very quick read for me (about 90 minutes total) and it was satisfying throughout. Working with youth, this would be one I would recommend to parents.

What I Didn’t: There was a second narrator who came in every few chapters with a separate timeline. This was somewhat confusing and you don’t figure out who the second narrator is until the last chapter. The second narrator has a separate plot entirely.

I would recommend this book to anyone: who is going through friendship struggles or helping their child go through friendship struggles. This is a great read for middle schoolers and high schoolers as well as adults.


Friday Barnes, Girl Detective (Friday Barnes #1) // R.A. Spratt
3/5 83/125

From Amazon:
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl!

When Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country―and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime!

Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?

career of evil

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)// Robert Galbraith
5/5 84/125

From Amazon:
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on one of the suspects, Strike and Robin delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

What I Loved: This is the third book in this series by J.K. Rowling under her pen name. This is a complete 180 from Harry Potter, so don’t go in expecting that. The writing is thoughtful and well put-together. The characters are great, and I was hooked from the beginning of the series. I’m hoping that Galbraith continues this series as I love following along with Strike. I loved all the twists and turns included in this book. 

What I Didn’t: The books do get a bit gruesome, but that’s not something that bothers me too much. 

I would recommend this to anyone: who loves murder mysteries and J.K. Rowling. This is not a children’s book! It is very dark throughout. 


Re-Entry: Making the Transition from Missions to Life at Home//Peter Jordan
4/5 85/125

From Goodreads:

Peter Jordan’s vital, insightful teaching on the challenges and opportunities that await returning missionaries makes this essential reading for every short- and long-term out-reach participant and every local church and mission agency that sends out workers.


The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle//Philip K. Dick

3/5 86/125

From Amazon:

It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award–winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.



number the stars

Number the Stars//Lois Lowry

5/5 87/125

From Amazon:
As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.


escape from warsaw

Escape From Warsaw//Ian Serraillier

4/5 88/125

From Goodreads:
On a cold, dark night in Warsaw in 1942, the Balicki children watch in horror as Nazi Storm Troopers arrest their mother. Now they are alone. With the war raging around them, food and shelter are hard to come by. They live in constant fear.
Finally, they get word that their father is alive. He has made it to Switzerland. Edek and Ruth are determined to find him, though they know how dangerous the long trip from Warsaw will be. But they also know that if they don’t make it, they may never see their parents again.
Their gripping story is taken from actual accounts.


Lumberjanes #1//Noelle Stevenson

3/5 89/125

From Goodreads:
Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

love & gelato

Love & Gelato//Jenna Evans Welch

4/5 90/125

From Goodreads:
“I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

yes please

Yes Please//Amy Poehler

4/5 91/125

From Goodreads:
In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.


face on milk carton

The Face on the Milk Carton Series//Caroline B. Cooney

4/5 92-96/125

From Goodreads:
The face on the milk carton looks like an ordinary little girl: hair in tight pigtails, a dress with a narrow white collar, a three-year-old who was kidnapped more than twelve years ago from a shopping mall in New Jersey.
As fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson stares at the milk carton, she feels overcome with shock. She knows that little girl is she. But how could it be true?
Janie can’t believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, until she begins to piece together clues that don’t make sense. Why are there no pictures of Janie before she was four? Her parents have always said they didn’t have a camera. Now that explanation sounds feeble. Something is terribly wrong, and Janie is afraid to find out what happened more than twelve years ago.
In this gripping page-turner, the reader will unravel — as Janie does — the twisted events that changed the lives of two families forever.

still alice

Still Alice//Lisa Genova

5/5 97/125

From Goodreads:
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Judith Guest’s Ordinary People.

What I Loved: So great. This book follows Alice as she discovers what it’s like to live with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

What I didn’t: I wish the husband’s voice had been able to come through a little more.

holding up the universe

Holding Up the Universe//Jennifer Niven

4/5 98/125

From Goodreads:
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

If you’re only going to pick one or two books from this list, I would highly recommend the Strike series by Robert Galbraith, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, and Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. All three are so different, but so well written! What did you read this month? Happy reading!

The Friday Five//May 19, 2017

1. Packing| It is seriously taking over my life. I’m supposed to be out of my house t.o.m.o.r.r.o.w. YIKES. I also seem to have acquired so many new clothes. It’s difficult not to when you can get a dress custom made for FOUR DOLLARS! So right now the status is several suitcases (not admitting the number), and one large box.


2. Selling all my stuff| Well, all the stuff that I don’t want to take. Which is quite a lot. Today I had a classroom sale for my kids. They were so excited to buy post-it notes, mechanical pencils, and books! I am also selling a bunch of stuff over on Facebook, where it seems to be doing pretty well. It’s not difficult for me to part with this stuff, just my clothes!

3. Making time for friends| This week alone I have gone to dinner at someone’s house, gone out for coffee, and gone out for Korean food. I am most definitely not an extrovert, so this has been difficult for me! These are things that are necessary in this stage in my life. Suffice to say, tonight will be an introvert evening! Netflix, packing, and reading, here I come!

bingsuKorean dessert- Bingsu! 

4. Tea| This is kind of weird, but since I’ve moved to the Philippines, I’ve become addicted to hot tea. When you live in a place where the average temperature is in the low 90’s (with a feels like of 110+), it’s a little odd. I drink at least 2 cups a day. It’s just a way for me to drink something that’s not water without it being sugary. My favorites are Tension Tamer and Peppermint.

5. Job Hunting| I kind of promised myself I wouldn’t really look for jobs again until I moved home. However, I’ve broken that promise. I think I’m just too Type A to handle that. I’m looking for jobs that are missionally minded (things like IJM, Samaritan’s Purse, etc.) without being support raising. I am 99.9% sure I don’t want to teach. I’m open to doing stuff with children, and I’m open to trying something completely different. (Ask my dad for his ideas. They’re VERY different from teaching.) I’m also open to traveling for my job. I love writing, reading, editing, organizing, and drinking coffee. Let me know if you hear of any openings! (My parents would like to request that I stay in NC…)

Enjoy your weekend friends! I’ll be packing, moving, reading, and hopefully drinking lots of tea and coffee!


Goodbyes are Beginning

I know that I’ve talked a little bit about transition and change, but saying goodbye is so hard. This past weekend I had to say goodbye to my mentors, bosses, and close friends. It’s just a bigger reminder that change is happening, whether I like it or not.

The Virtues: Brian with Oreo, Morgan, me, Christine, KK, and Colin

I’m so thankful for this family and what they’ve meant for me during my time here in the Philippines. They’ve stepped up and been my member care, my bosses, my mentors, my family away from family. They have really showed me what it means to serve well, even when the country you’re serving in is so difficult.

So actually, this isn’t a goodbye. It’s a see you later. We’ve already discussed me flying to see them in California next summer, and we will definitely continue to talk. They invested in my life while I served here, and I want to continue to invest in theirs.

Next week I’ll be talking more about how to invest in missionaries serving overseas or away from family and friends.

How do you invest in the lives of those around you?



Little Letters//May

Dear Traffic Controller:
At the roundabout at Tikling, if you would just let us go at our pace, it would move much faster! Promise! The days you are not there, traffic is so smooth and goes great! You are only making things harder on everyone.
Thanks for your hard work! 😉

Dear Air Con,
Thank you for your blessed coolness each evening as I go to sleep. Thank you for allowing me to sleep under my sheets instead of on top of them. I wish you were cheaper, but I only have to pay so much for you for another month, so I guess I’ll survive. Thanks for working so hard to keep me from going insane in the 100+ temps every day here!

Dear Eve at Nuat Thai on Sumulong,
I so appreciate your weekly massages. I’m going to miss you something dreadful when I move back to the States next month. I love how you know exactly what oil I want (lavender), the pressure (medium-hard), and that I always want to wear rubber slippers upstairs. You also remember that my ear is sore because of my piercing.  I also love the yummy lemongrass tea and scalding hot towel each week. Thanks for making my body tolerate this country a little better! I’m going to miss your $7 massages so much!


Dear Coffee,
Let’s be honest, without you I would be a lot grumpier than I already am. Without you I would probably cease to function. I love you in all forms, hot, cold, sweet, unsweet, black, milky, caramelley, chocolatey. YUM. Keep being you and being awesome!

Dear Mr. Quickie,
When I arrived with my broken “birkenstock” on Wednesday last, you were quick and oh so helpful. I’m so glad you were able to fix my sandal for just 30 pesos (60 cents). In minutes I was on my way again!


Dear Daisy Jane,
Uhm. That red velvet cake was amazing! Thank you so much for speaking life into my Wednesday and bringing me cake with a candle to celebrate my birthday early! You’re awesome.

This post is part of a link-up done by Kristen at TazandBelly.


30 by 30

Happy Birthday to me. Birthdays while being away from family are harder for me than any other holiday. I’m not really sure why. They just are. With that being said, today I turn 29. Phew. One year until I’m 30. I’ve been reading Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and in one of her chapters she discusses how she didn’t really feel like a true adult until she turned 30. I am beginning to see that point of view. Yes, I’ve lived in another country alone for almost two years, but guys, there is so much I have still to do!

The following are 30 things I hope to accomplish in the next year. Some may seem silly, but to me they are all things I’ve been wanting to do or need to do!

  1. Learn to fold a fitted sheet. How sad is this? I also haven’t done my own laundry for the past two years…but I know how to do that!
  2. Run Complete a 5K. This has been a goal for a longggg time. It’s time to finally buckle down and do this.
  3. Write more. See: blog.
  4. Travel somewhere alone. I have flown alone a ton of times and gone to conferences alone, but I haven’t explored a city alone much.
  5. Learn to grill. I can bake and cook, but never have mastered the grill!
  6. Climb a lighthouse and take in the view. Oak Island, Cheltsea?
  7. Go back to school (for what? who knows)
  8. Take care of my body. Not getting specific here. Just want to take care of my temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  9. Start putting money into a 401(k)
  10. Get over my fear of flying
  11. Spend daily, intentional time in the Word
  12. Start a garden
  13. Learn calligraphy
  14. Learn how to use power tools. My dad has a ton and I only know how to use the power sander.
  15. Take a cooking class.
  16. Visit a new American city. Suggestions welcome.
  17. Be a tourist in St. Louis. I was born there, but I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot!
  18. Own a dog
  19. Improve my Spanish or learn a different language
  20. Be discipled/disciple someone
  21. Tour a brewery with my dad
  22. Read all of Jane Austen’s works
  23. Road trip to Amelie’s late at night with Cheltsea
  24. Get another ear piercing. Done. 06/02/17
  25. Sew an entire outfit
  26. Complete a quilt
  27. Print/organize my Philippines pictures
  28. Complete a Whole30
  29. Do something that scares the poo out of me (besides flying)
  30. Make a Filipino friend in the States


What are some things you hope to accomplish in the coming year?


(noun) the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another
(verb) undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.


Have you ever been through a period of transition? I bet so. It seems like every single person I know is in a state of transition right now. In four weeks and 2 days I will be leaving the Philippines and returning to the States. What will I be doing there? I’m not really sure. The thought that I’m looking into the unknown terrifies me. I’m a type-A, list-maker, and planner. Leading comes naturally to me, and I love to be in charge. That includes being in charge and knowing what’s coming up next in my life.

However, I serve a faithful and constant God. He is with me through all the trials, all the ups and downs, and whatever those may bring. He knows what is up next for me, and I’m trusting in Him that He will bring me through. I’m going to continue to seek Him and to persist.


As I embark upon this period of change and transition in my life, it helps to have more than one thing that is constant. Writing is something that is constant for me. Join me as I percolate on things, as I question things, and as I continue to live the life that I’ve been called to live.

What helps you through periods of transition?