&All the Rest

An average twenty-something who wants you know that you can conquer the world. Phil 4:13

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11 Steps to Success for the Closet Champion

(n) closet champion – someone who wants to be better, more courageous, more etc. but is held back by fear

Example: The closet champion is awesome but needs to take a little hop out the door to therefore be the outwardly awesome champion that he/she really is.

STEP 1: Admit that you need help.

-It’s okay to admit to people that sometimes you just don’t know.

STEP 2: Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

– Nobody expects you to have the whole knowledge of the human race stored up in your brain. People like being asked for advice, and it’s a humble thing to let people know that you need them sometimes.

STEP 3: Don’t be afraid to be actively curious.

-Ask questions. Get interested in things. Explore. Adventure the amazing wealth of knowledge before you. *cough* internet *cough* *cough* Go out and find things that make your brain smile.

STEP 4: Find what you love and work really hard at it.

-It’s always better to do something you’re passionate about because you’ll do it with all your heart and make it into something incredibly awesome.

STEP 5: Surround yourself with people that make you want to be better.

-Make friends with people you admire. Whether it’s their work ethic, personality or something else entirely. Don’t think of yourself as inferior, but see the people around you as other awesome people who can help each other be the best people they can be.

STEP 6: Listen more. Talk less.

-Hear what other people have to say. It shows that you care about them as a person and value their thoughts.

STEP 7: Ask questions!

-I said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s that important. DO IT. YOU LEARN THINGS. About topics, people, life, travel, history, the world in general…

STEP 8: Be assertive: speak your mind.

-Learn and work on being articulate and tactful. You have great ideas and your thoughts can mean a lot. Constructing your words to mean what you think is crucial to moving forward not only personally, but also in any career in the future.

STEP 9: Don’t be afraid to do your own thing.

-If painting makes you happy, paint. If long runs make you happy, go run. If cozying up in bed and watching Netflix on a Friday night makes you feel content with life, do that. Don’t ever feel like you have to do something. A polite decline will always do.

STEP 10: Stay active. Stay healthy.

-Keep your mind motivated and interested. Eat well. Take care of yourself. Keep your body healthy so that you can continue to do all the things you love.

STEP 11: Trust in God. And if you don’t believe in God, trust in something bigger than yourself.

>A wise kid once told me that believing that there’s a bigger picture takes the weight off your own shoulders and lets you breathe a little more. So breathe a lot. (You need it to live.)

Follow these steps and say goodbye to the Harry Potter closet. Step out and conquer the world – one step at a time. Share this with another closet champion and let them know that they can do it too.

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I Thought I Would Always Be A Rockstar, But Then I Realized It’s Just A Bad Drink.

Looking back at my life, ya know, the past 20 years or so, I’ve had it super good. I have a family that loves me, I’ve always had a roof over my head, good grades, didn’t need to worry about homework or college or getting a job, having great hair, none of that.

And then I got to college. I figured, yeah it’d be like high school. I was gonna be a rock star and be automatically awesome at everything including school. In my first semester, I had pulled 3 all-nighters, skipped more than half of my math lectures, almost failed calculus and gotten a 2.9 GPA. If you know the struggle bus, man, I was driving that thing like it was my job. The struggle was as real as it was going to get. And it didn’t get much better. Second semester, I was still trying to make it as an engineering student. The Dangerous Duo of Math and Science continued to stomp on my grades and my self-esteem.

And then it clicked.

College wasn’t about me trying to be someone who I had been convinced I had to be, but rather college is about forming who I wanted to be. It was about embracing my strengths and finding passion in subject matter that interested me and got me excited about learning. Now, I’m a full-blown Communications major with an interest in religion, art and creative writing. It may seem like I should have known this all along, but the truth is that I didn’t. I was so blind to seeing the amazing opportunities the world has to offer that it spun me into a dark hole I never expected to fall into.

But here’s the thing: Everybody hits a low point.

At some point, you’re going to struggle. Who knows what that struggle may be (school, life, deciding what to order at Wendy’s) but it’s going to happen. You’re human.

But you have to pick yourself up. Put on your sneakers. Find what you love. And go for it.

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Go Be Awesome Today.

I spend many nights fidgety and awake because I want the world to be different.

I want people to know how awesome they are and that it’s okay if they mess up. Life’s not about being perfect; it’s about being you. And you, you’re amazing.

It’s about working harder, living stronger and loving every moment of it.

It’s about people. Not things. Physical things are okay for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s just a thing. Like food is great! (MMM FOOD) Until you eat it. Then it’s gone.

A friend will always be there. Unless you eat them. Then they’re gone. 

But it’s the people, not the things that will make you happy in life. It won’t be the car that will depreciate over time. It won’t be the thousands of dollars you make or the house of your dreams that you constructed on Pinterest. Unless that house has people you love in it. People with whom you can laugh and cry and make memories with.

Life’s about the people. And how awesome they are. How you are. And how you treat them. As Kid President says:

“Just treat everyone like it’s their birthday.”

Life can be hard. But you’re better than that. Don’t settle. BE GREAT.

So go out and be awesome. Because the world can be a better place. And it starts with you.

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New Year New You


With this whole 2014 thing rolling in, it’s time for some introspection and a look at what you want to come in the new year.

What went well? What do you want to improve on? How will this year be different? Will this be the year you conquer your fears? Take a risk? Become someone new or polish the old?

Coming to realizations with your fears and flaws might help you realize that you’re only human and imperfect like the rest of us. We all have something inside us that makes us uniquely human, for better or for worse. Sometimes we have to accept that those mistakes are a part of us in order to move forward; patch the boo boos before we can learn to stand on our own two feet. How do you think babies learned to walk?? Anyway, if we had no mistakes, no errs, we’d never get better, never have any desire to grow or become better people.

So that’s one of my goals for the new year — work on being better. Not overlooking my mistakes, but learning from them and actually changing my thinking and actions to become a better person. We all mess up; it’s only natural. No one likes being wrong and having to admit that horrid fact to yourself is actually #theworst. BUT! Ain’t no shame in being wrong because when you admit to yourself that you’re capable of error and accept humility, you’re on your way to growing into the best person you can be. It’s the proverbial first step.

So okay, Leslie, that’s great and all. We’re all human, cool, but how does that affect me? How does that change me for tomorrow or when the clock strikes midnight? Well, after you spray your confetti and champagne everywhere, remember that today is a new day — a new year. And that every day when you wake up, it’s a new day. And every new day you have to choose what kind of person you’re going to be, how you’re going to think, and how you’re going to treat people. How will you be different? What are you going to do to get where you want to be? How’s it gonna be? [Insert TEB riff here]

When you wake up tomorrow morning, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself these things:

  1. Today, I choose to be happy.
  2. I am loved in every way.
  3. I’m going to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
  4. I have great hair.

Follow that up with a pretty smile at yourself and have a great day. Heck, do that every day and actually have the Happy New Year we all strive for.

Boy Gets Chased By Monkeys

Day One. December 26, 2013. Singapore, Singapore.

On our run to our cousin’s house this morning, Mike was chased by a pack of monkeys. No joke. He was leading me by 10 yards, stopped, freaked out and started running the other way down the street. Two monkeys were sprinting after him followed by two more a few seconds later. I just stood there with some housemaids and watched four monkeys chase my brother down the street. They took him as hostage and we never saw him again.

Just kidding. He showed up panting at my cousin’s house a few minutes later. He had run 3 blocks to escape their hisses and eager clutching.

So I guess monkeys are frequents to the neighborhood, but being chased by one (or four) is just my brother’s stupid luck.

6 Reasons You Should Travel

1. It makes you worldly.

And who doesn’t like to be called worldly?

2. You learn new things.
New and old things. You learn to be independent, how to behave in a foreign environment, how to keep yourself entertained, how to talk to people, how systems work, how they don’t work, about other cultures, how to navigate an airport, how to live in a world bigger than your kitchen, living room and go-to hangout spot.

3. You gain experience.
Whether it’s for a new job or just meeting new people, you’ll have something unique and intriguing to share. Ain’t nothing better than a good ole got-stuck-in-a-foreign-country-with-$20,-one-pair-of-pants-and-no-English-speakers story.

4. It’s fun.
Going to new places can be both exciting and scary, but once you get past any irrational fears, letting go and exploring life is fun!

5. There’s usually awesome food.
Get the local, authentic stuff. Nuff said.

6. You meet some really interesting people.
Tour guides, cab drivers, the local smoothie vendor, that guy you say next to on the plane for 16 hours with… People are cool and have some interesting lives. Ask questions, be assertive, make new friends.

So get out there. Find a way and see the world and all it has to offer. You’ll be glad you did!

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Why College Is Limbo

Domenico Beccafumi's depiction of Jesus leadin...

Domenico Beccafumi’s depiction of Jesus leading the patriarchs out of limbo c.1530-1535

College — it’s the intersection of identity and truth.

And the greatest game of limbo ever played.

Why limbo? Because you’re in a place of ambiguity. Where do you fit? Who are you? What do you believe in and how do you identify yourself?

Being a Catholic female in college, I’m faced with too many options. To put it in perspective, I live on one of the most liberal campuses in the nation, but the church I attend is incredibly conservative. I’m told by peers and so many others that because you are a Catholic, you should do this and should do that. Go to church. Pray a lot. Do all the good Catholic things. But at the same time, to what extent do I follow tradition versus my own convictions?

And where do I fit in gender roles? Am I a woman? A young lady? How do I act? What expectations are there of me? What expectations do I want of myself? How lady-like should I act? But wait, what about that “strong, independent woman”???

The tear between tradition and rebellion, independence and controversy is something I face every day. On top of that, I’m still expected to get good grades, plan for my future, be emotionally stable, have responsibilities AND get enough sleep? That’s a steep order.

So if anyone finds the quick fix panacea, please let me and the rest of my struggling college-aged peers know. I will gift you with a badge of master limbo-ry and a lifetime of gratitude.

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I’m Sorry, I Lied

So I know I said that my last post was the “final one”, but there’s plenty more I feel needs to be said that needs to go somewhere… So here I am, typing away because of so many reasons:

  • I am a student.
  • I am a daughter.
  • I am an aspiring inspirer.
  • I am a working success story.
  • I am leader by example.
  • and I am a follower of Christ.

For all of these reasons, I am pleased and excited to say that the record of my thoughts and experiences is not over.

The following post is a reflection I had after reading about the Colorado floods on CNN last week and then proceeding to read headline after headline of tragedy and death in our daily news… The following is not meant to be sad, but rather uplifting and maybe eye-opening. Please read with an open mind & heart.

Love always,


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The Final One

How often do you give in to your immediate impulses? Whether it be an ice cream come from McDonald’s or a cute shirt at the store. Maybe it’s opting to watch TV instead of doing chores or choosing to do something stupidly spontaneous with your friends. When we do this, we often forget reasons for why we do it and focus on the instant gratification of getting what we want. Is there a higher purpose in the immediate choice? Are we acting out of love? or greed? Things like the Seven Deadly Sins may seem like a foreign mythology but they are more active in our lives than most people would anticipate. Where are your priorities and what is it that you value? Do those values stay present in the every day or do they get pushed to the side while other idols take the forefront of your mind? What is really happening? and what do we do?

We give in to our human inability to control ourselves. Living out of essentially one suitcase and my kicks all summer, I’ve come to realize that the things that matter, aren’t things I can see all the time. Often the big, consumer-media world we live in destroys our basic values of what we are here for. For me, I found that out this summer.

It’s people. It’s ways of living. Living simply. Taking away all the extras and working with what you have and God. It’s being present. Loving others as God loves us. When we realize that He’s in it for us, we can finally make the choice to be in it for Him. Working and breathing mission work all summer not only gave me a constant spiritual outlook on life, but also a practical, realistic view that I need to give up everything and follow Him. I’m not talking about the house, the car or the shoes on your feet, but all the earthly, physical desires that draw us further away from leading a loving life. What we have to offer is far more than money and attention, but love and understanding. Take time to listen, smile at someone, smile at yourself. Do yourself a favor and ask God what He wants for you, instead of focusing on what you want for you. I know I’m not perfect and that the choices I make are mine alone, but if you let Him guide you, the burdens of life become His, which he willing died on the cross to do. Smile today and know that you are loved. Live a life that would make Him proud and never look back on the mistakes you made, but move forward in Christ to live a better tomorrow.

Peace & warmest blessings,


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Hi, I Love You

Today starts set-up week for camp #3. 

As much as I love it, I must also say that with each new day comes new challenges. For example, today was the most bizarre day of them all.

On the way to Troy, MO from St. Louis, Macy and I took two wrong turns, lost the boys and almost ran out of gas. When we finally met up with the guys at a Subway, Macy found a credit card on the ground with the same last name as hers. The water dispenser rumbled and shook whenever I tried to get water, and then in the car, our two main go-to channels were playing the same song. Needless to say, it felt like we were in an alternate universe today. 

Finally reaching our set-up hotel, everything wound down and we’ve been doing some logistics work to start our last camp off right. Already visited the hospital to inform them of our presence in the community next week and the manager seemed curious as to our doings in Troy these next two weeks. It’s reassuring especially when the week gets busy but it’s time to make the most of our last camp.

So in this eclectic post, maybe I can pull something meaningful out of it…

Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves”

So whether you’re religious, a Christian, an atheist, a patriot or a sinner, maybe take today or tomorrow to remember that people are people no matter what their beliefs or actions. Share the love today and smile at someone new.

A smile from me to you,