Why does God have to pull “Aladdin” moments?

I love when things go perfectly ( aka perfectly my way). Don’t try to deny it, you do too.

Oscar Wilde might have said that “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”….but reallyyy, is he one to talk? Looking back, there have been things (and relationships, let’s be honest) I’m so glad didn’t work out but that’s hindsight, y’all. When you’re in the moment and you have a “perfect vision” of what you want, it’s really hard to give it all up. 

So I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like when God pulls an “Aladdin.” No, He doesn’t turn me from a street urchin into a princess or even give me a pet monkey (I would definitely prefer a pet raccoon a la “Pocahontas,” hope you all are taking notes on this); I’m talking about those really annoying moments when God interrupts and stops me from doing my own thing with my own (perfectly arranged) timeline and asks “Do you trust me?”


I mean…yes? No? Mostly yes? Soft no?

I DO trust God. He has been so faithful to me and He really, really loves me a lot. I have a million examples of the Lord’s goodness in my life. His plans always end up blowing mine out of the water. But…waiting for them to happen is hard.

It’s hard to trust God when you feel lonely. Or if your plan seems like the best/only option you can see. Or if you’re tired of waiting around. (Or if you’re turning 23 soon and could’ve SWORN things would be different by now.)

Habakkuk 2:3 reminds me to be a tad more patient: “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Unfortunately God’s timing isn’t like a 30 minute sitcom, where the problem is neatly solved by the third commercial break. 

And you know how I feel about answers: I hate writing something that addresses an issue yet isn’t practically seeking out answers. I think Psalms 37:3, the verse right before the frequently quoted (and hard to define) “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”, really does help: Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” 

Befriend Faithfulness: I love this wording (ESV y’all.) I want to be faithful in the little tiny things, so God can entrust me to be faithful in the BIG stuff. And you know, maybe that’s why God tells us (okay, ME) no & asks me to trust Him and wait.

Maybe I’m not ready yet…but I’m almost there (hopefully. Dang.)

An Autumn Promise

Psalm 84:5-7

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
    it will become a place of refreshing springs.
    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

God led me to this passage a few nights ago and I was struck by the perfect timing. I’m not sure where my Jerusalem is, but I know that I’m in a season of pilgrimage towards it. (Anddd it’s autumn, so holla at you, verse 6!)

May these verses be just as encouraging to you as they have been for me, especially fellow pilgrims. God will use the things you’ve dealt with in your own personal “Valley of Weeping” and turn it into a place of blessing, hope, and refreshment.  I’m ready for all that.

Making unemployment…FUNEMPLOYMENT (and other lies I tell myself)

I’m back from my self-inflicted writer’s block hiatus! One thing I realized during is that I don’t really talk too much about IRL personal stuff on my blog. Generally, I’m a pretty private person, which oddly enough, surprises a lot of people (somehow I have this weird reputation for talking a lot? Nooooo idea where that came from).

But you know when you reach a point when you’re just like “Screw it, I have zero inhibitions anymore?” Yeah. Hi. I’m there.

Postgrad life has been ROUGH the past four months. To everyone still in college reading this, I’m not going to sugarcoat this: It’s hard for everyone I know, even the ones who have found a job by now. It’s been increasingly humbling, as I went from being a big deal* at a small school (*perceived, at least) to being a small nobody in a big city.  Although this is technically a “gap year,” I’m really not sure about anything beyond the end of the week. I know I want to go to grad school, but I’m trusting God to show me the direction to take (law, economics, strategic communications). I know I’ll eventually go somewhere because I don’t think I’d be satisfied with just a BA. My parents are moving out of state in December, to a place I don’t feel is right for me. So, I’m staying here (I think) and praying & trusting God to provide a full-time job for me here…or wherever else…until I figure out grad school.

This season is THE definition of wilderness for me. But I know God’s got me. “Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” (Micah 7:8)

So anyways, I was watching  the documentary “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” yesterday and actually felt really inspired. (Encouragement always comes from the unlikeliest of places!)  (Backstory: in 2009, Conan replaced Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, was dismally screwed over in contract, and ultimately forced to leave and not appear on TV or the internet for 6 months (which, if your job is as a TV entertainer, that’s a bit difficult). Conan’s a really intelligent, driven perfectionist & instead makes those 6 months into a 45 city comedy tour.) 

Strangely enough, watching Conan keep going through his “wilderness” time was really inspiring. When you love something and possess that talent, no matter what happens along the way, YOU DON’T STOP.  Don’t stop learning, don’t stop writing, don’t stop creating. When there’s opposition, you know you’re in the right place & doing the right thing.

This is all advice I’m giving to myself at the same time, so you don’t have to take it, but if you’re in a wilderness time too, a period of life where everything feels so dark and unknown that all you want to do is marathon episodes of British TV shows, DON’T STOP MOVING FORWARD. Don’t let the feelings of stagnation choke you into mediocrity. You have a gift. You have talent. You have purpose. Don’t let this dark time define you.

-Learn a new language!

-Watch awesome TED talks or interesting documentaries!

-Develop a new skill (like for me: coding or photoshop skills)

-Travel on a budget!

-Read more!

-Listen to insightful podcasts!

-Get a fun part-time job!

-Join a volunteer organization (like End Slavery TN/wherever state)

-Get involved with your church/find a church!

-Train for a cool physical activity (I’m training for a half-marathon!)

-Start your own blog!

Most of all, keep going! We’re in this together.

The Time I Tried SIX Dating Sites at Once PART TWO

So by now, you’ve probably read part one of this indelible gimmick series, but let me catch you up: My goal was answer the questions: “Why are people afraid to online date?,” “What are people REALLY looking for on these sites?,” and finally “Why do people respond the way they do?”

 I had some fun on Match.com & was totally creeped out by SeekingArrangement, but the real testing of my hypotheses came from this batch of dating sites–ok, namely OkCupid.

It’s been SO fun to read everyone’s reactions! Several of y’all have since commented and told me that you’ve met YOUR significant other from online dating–which makes all this a bit more intimidating! ha, I don’t want to somehow disavow the entire system, because, hey, it actually works for lots of people!

Let’s get the reviews of the boring sites out of the way so we can focus in on the good stuff/research. FIRST, listen to John Mayer’s new song which oddly works with online dating, “Who You Love.” Because John Mayer.


While I must give eHarmony points for having the best design & layout, as well as really interesting profile questions, it was the worst site for my experiment. Why? Even with the free trial period of a week or so, NOTHING HAPPENED. I had about 8 matches, but other than a stray wink (like I told you, it’s online dating currency), nothing happened with any of them. I learned in this experiment that an “unspoken rule” is that girls don’t message guys first, but with eHarmony, you have to pay to do ANYTHING but wink. I’m not sure if it’s because I couldn’t see my matches pictures or the fact that none of them were even remotely close to my age or city, but I quickly stopped liking eHarmony. Maybe it’s best for people who are looking for a super serious relationship–not just random 22 year olds doing a bog experiment.

Highlight: Well, the design WAS pretty cool. 


 YAWN. An affiliate of match.com, I decided to try it in order to learn “world-renowned biological anthropologist” Dr. Helen Fisher’s “scientific formula” to love. I also love personality tests, so I was all about filling out that profile. The test is awfully similar to the Big 5 personality test, so sadly, that was kind of unrevolutionary. Chemisty.com shows you people who, based on your personality results, would be THE perfect match for you. Unfortunately, the whole site was one big commercial. Although affiliated with Match.com, you have to pay EVEN MORE MONEY in order to actually see your matches. I’m not buying your tricks, Chemistry.com (literally AND figuratively.)

Highlights: None whatsoever. Figure out your Myers-Brigg type to have even more fun than this site. (I’m an ENTJ). 


“Christian Mingle is the Club Penguin of online dating” by my partner in crime, Katie Foust of Artistical Thoughts

Or at least that was my first thought about the site because it was so… safe. Too ‘safe,’ actually. The about me section was a series of drop-down menu options so there’s no room for explanation or personalization there. You do get to type out which TV shows you enjoy watching.

When you upload pictures you have to wait at least 24 hours for them to be approved. You could also mail in a physical copy of the picture and they would scan and upload it for you.
When someone was interested in me they could send me a “Smile.” I could either respond with a smile or choose one of their responses. These responses allowed you to show interest in the person, turn them down, or throw a Bible verse at them.  I got the occasional message, but I couldn’t read it unless I paid to upgrade.

I eventually decided that using Club Penguin was a better way to meet people online. You can talk to people without paying, be a penguin of your favorite color, choose your favorite activities and where you want to spend your time. You have the opportunity to earn and be responsible with finances. And you also get to decorate a house the way you’d like (which speaks volumes about who you are and your personality).

AT LAST, here’s the real research I found, all thanks to a little site called OkCupid.


Oh, OkCupid. Very free (minus an unnecessary “A-List” optional fee to help you sort people by body type, etc), extremely popular, and SO FUN (if you enjoy trolling like me). Out of all my accounts, I still have this one…I know I should probably delete it, but it’s just so intriguing.

I’ll show you a few screenshots of my profile, which were pretty normal & totally representative of me. Some people (namely my brother) thought that maybe I lied on profiles for this experiment, which is totally untrue. Each profile was 100% me!

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 11.03.34 PM

(My profile name was pretty horrible, I know.)

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 1.35.53 PM*(Okay, I’ll tell you what an MPDG is–Manic Pixie Dream Girls is this stupid film writing trope that classifies women  as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Think I’m being weird? Case in point–every guy who ever is in love with Zooey Deschanel. I personally don’t ever want to be typecast into the “quirky, adorkable” MPDG girl just because it is such a limited understanding of a person and connotes misogyny. Andddd now I’m rambling.) 

There were many, many hilariously serious profiles I found (and apparently, there are also several tumblrs devoted to weird OkCupid profiles! Check them out, but know that some content is probably NSFW. People are sketchy.)

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 3.07.25 PM

This was one of my favorite little “about me” posts.

I got a LOT of strange messages (and some gross ones which I shall not include), the majority of which I never responded to:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 4.28.17 PM

Still my all time favorite comment. You go, Chris.

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 3.29.45 PM

…I’m just confused…what??

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 4.29.13 PM

Started out okay (bigandfunny IS a worse sn definitely) but then I just got confused based on the grammatical choices in the sentences…

Then there were questions that really helped me out with my research, namely WHY IN THE WORLD did some people say what they said!? This one guy started a great, normal conversation with me and then three messages later, BAM: literally asked me about my preferences for oral sex.

….Seriously? I know that the Internet adds anonymity and thus, eliminates some of the social fear of rejection, but come on.

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 1.34.01 PM

Like, how can you tell I’m “different and real” based on a profile? I mean, I’m not THAT convincing of a writer.

...Um? Seriously?

…Um? Seriously?

I'm really not sure why this guy needed to tell me he was Indian. That kind of made me sad to think that he's probably been rejected because of his race, which is just not cool or fair.

I’m really not sure why this guy needed to tell me he was Indian. To be honest, it made me sad to think that he’s probably been rejected because of his race, which is just not cool or fair.

And you also get a lot of “Hey”s and “how r u?”s. Seriously, I’m not even sure how a person ought to respond to that. Online Dating Tip: The BEST messages I ever got were from men who asked me questions about the things I wrote about in my profile. So, please for the love of Cupid, do that. Don’t just compliment or say hi awkwardly.


Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 8.35.06 PM

…WHAT?! Why is this a thing!?

Naturally after, I wondered what would happen if I–a pretty girl–was in turn the creepy one. How would the tables turn? Or would they at all!?

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 1.47.38 PM

And then I would just message random (and I mean RANDOM) guys and just say “Hi” or “Hi. You are cute.” Sometimes they responded…other times, the creepy factor might have won out. We shall never know.


All in all, I had great fun with this experiment. I learned a LOT about the enigmatic world of online dating, had actual genuine (as in, not just “Hi, how are you?”) conversations with some pretty cool guys, and definitely abolished the stigmas in my own head about online dating.

Why are people afraid to online date? Before, I was really nervous I’d be judged or seen as desperate (remember that cat lady post? Yeah…), but everyone I told this idea to was really on board! They thought the satire element was really awesome and plus, many of my friends were just as curious about it all!  I think that ultimately, people are afraid of the stigma. They don’t want to be seen as unable to meet “real life people.” But that’s not true! EVERYONE online dates. I’m not kidding. Even celebrities and other public figures! Online dating is great if you’ve moved to a new city and want to meet new people or if you’re bored with the people in your city already! There’s really no need to be ashamed. 

What are people REALLY looking for on these sites? As I was talking about this experiment to some friends and brought up what I thought was the big, social message–that everyone just wants community–they all groaned at the cheesiness of that idea. But honestly, we do! Everyone wants to find someone or a group of people who they can say “Oh my gosh, me too! I thought I was the only one!” And sometimes, online dating is the easiest way to figure that out! So, I don’t care if that’s trite, I believe it!

Why do people respond the way they do?  Oh my gosh, I have NO idea still. You saw some of those outlandish messages…weirddddd. Internet anonymity and lack of personal accountability really makes people do and say crazy things. Think of all the mean, trollish YouTube commentors. Would they say that to a person IRL? Nope. Would some of those online dating guys say disgusting things to a stranger? Hopefully not.

Online Dating Tip: If you want to try it, go for it! If you’re serious about it: use match.com. If you just want to have fun: OkCupid or Tinder, a new app which somehow I missed in my experiment…Maybe I’ll need to try this all again? ;) 

Confessions of a Lukewarm Christian

"You will know them by their fruit."

“You will know them by their fruit.”

Yesterday, I realized something horrible.

I’m currently a lukewarm Christian. “Asleep in the light,” as Keith Green might say.

How did I get here? How did I this to happen? I’m not sure.

Complacency. Convincing myself the minimum (“Yeah, one “Jesus Calling” devotional ought to be adequate time with God”) was good enough. Hoarding God’s love–seeing His goodness, favor, love, and grace in my life but doing absolutely nothing to spread His message to others. Allowing bad habits to creep into my system and become okay to the point of addiction.


It’s my biggest problem. The root of all of issues, actually. I’m so afraid to be vulnerable and look stupid. I’m missing out on so much.

And so that’s where I am.

I’m tired of my selfishness. And trust me, I’m not being honest in order to be “brave,” or garner sympathy & platitudes. I’m being honest because when you’re empty, you have nothing left.

God hasn’t forgotten me. It’s time I stop conveniently forgetting about Him.

Outing my First Tattoo

Hello world, I have a tattoo.

I got it a month ago in Cambridge’s best tattoo parlor (is that still a thing–tattoo parlors? It sounds infinitely 1874), Tattoos by Fabio. Yes, the shop is called that. No, sadly, Fabio was not the guy who made my tattoo. I was just as disappointed as you probably are.

"Step into my parlor...tattoo parlor!"

“Step into the parlor…my tattoo parlor, that is!”

When I’m super nervous, I talk…and talk…and talk. I don’t shut up, honestly. As Johnny, my lackluster named tattoo artist (tattoo guy? I really don’t know the lingo, obviously), took me to a back little room, I kept asking him pretty much everything I could think of in an effort to calm down. What’s the best tattoo he’s done? What’s the weirdest? Where are his tattoos, as he didn’t seem to have any?…And then he took off his shirt…The answer was pretty clear after that. (His tattoo was GIANT and covered his entire torso, which is extra insane because he did it himself!) I even suggested Johnny & I getting matching tattoos (kiddingly, Mom), because we were basically best friends by this point.

And then just as quickly as the process began, it was over! As much as I’d love to share a picture, because it’s on my ribs, it’s kind of hard to take a picture without it looking like I’m half-heartedly sexting somebody. (It’s also hard to show it off in public without practically undressing.)


Fun fact: the font was contrived from Jane Austen’s handwriting! But that’s obviously not why I chose the font, as that would take being a fan of someone to a weird level…

So, what is it? Pretty simple: see above! I really have always struggled with working to be smart/funny/pretty/skinny/cool/whatever enough to prove I’m worth it. But you know what? The idea of becoming “enough” is an unachievable mirage that leaves you dying of thirst for affirmation in a desert of insecurity. (Whew, I just surpassed my metaphor quota for the month!)

Isaiah 41:9 has always been a comfort to me, as God tells us “For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” The struggle with being enough is slowly losing power in my life, as I’m realizing daily that I am enough, right here & now. “Enough” is not to be achieved, but to be understood. So, I like having the visual reminder.

Skeptics of tattoos, to answer your questions: yes, it’s meaningful to me (see above, y’all); yes, I’ve been thinking about it for a year and a half; the stigma behind tattoos is changing; nobody is going to care when I’m old; it’s covered up for my future job, unless I work at a place that requires crop tops, in which case, I’m doomed.

Well, I can mark this off the job search list.

Well, I can mark this off the job search list. Bummer.

And I love it! I don’t regret it at all and am kind of already planning on a second tattoo for the near future. But more on that another time!

That one time I went to England.

Home. What a transient word it has been in my life. Growing up, we moved a lot and because of this, I’ve always had wanderlust for new environments to call home, even if just temporarily. Will I ever stay in a place long enough to establish roots? Of course! …After I see everything and everywhere to weigh my options. (Just kidding, I want to live in NYC.)

This summer, Dallas, Texas was my home for ten crazy weeks, the longest I had ever been away from home. Four days from now, I’m off to top that record. For the next twelve weeks, home is now a little country (“this precious stone set in the silver sea” according to one William Shakespeare) called the United Kingdom.


Yeah, I’m really, really blessed. This opportunity is beyond compare and I’m humbled to participate.

While it still doesn’t seem real that I’m leaving SO soon (just ask my suitcase…), everyone else is making up for my unapparent excitement with passionate enthusiasm. But the other day, while back at home in Franklin, someone from my parent’s church asked me a question that keeps subliminally pricking my conscious:

“So, Kelsy, are you doing any missions work there?” 

When asked, I was immediately kind of annoyed.

Uh, of course I’m not. Is that mandated for international travel as a Christian? 

And please, everyone knows that my sister is the missionary one in the family (legitimately) and I’m the writer. Duh. 

But then, I started thinking. Alas, how so many problems begin that way.

Sharing the essence (love, life, redemption) of Christ is kind of our jobs…in ALL that we do. We don’t get a “time out” card that we can redeem and be off the clock for representing Christ for a day or two (or in my case, 12 weeks).

And while I’m definitely NOT going to be doing ministry puppet shows, painting houses, or evangel-shouting on street corners (all typical missions activities), I will be studying, building community, and interacting 24/7 with the lovely British people. I’d be a fool to deny “missions” work being done while there, because I’m planting seeds no matter what I say (just like when I’m anywhere, not just a foreign country). My goal: planting seeds of hope, redemption,and acceptance. Little reminders of the essence of Christ

Jesus is there already, I don’t need to pack Him in my carry-on.