Paris

I am sure every person with a blog has written something about Paris since Friday, but I am going to join the crowd. I will not get into the politics behind terrorism or any of that. I want to share with you all my amazing experience in Paris in 2013.

It’s crazy to think I was in France almost 3 years ago now, it seems like only yesterday.

Spring break my senior year of high school I was so blessed to be able to take a trip through EF Tours to London and Paris. While a majority of the time was spent in London, I am so grateful to have made it to both lovely cities.

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We spent a lot of time eating amazing, authentic French Baguettes! They’re so cheap there (probably because they’re normal there…)
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The second I could see the Eiffel tower from our bus I couldn’t stop taking pictures – it’s kind of a big deal!20130327_054743

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We got out at this amazing area to snap some amazing photos of the Eiffel tower.

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And of course, a selfie with my bestie was a must!

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We unfortunately just drove by the Arc de Triomphe – I would have loved to have gotten out and explored it.

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All of the buildings and streets are incredible! Most of the buildings are still originals. I loved the look of buildings in London, but many were recreations due to bombings during WWII – thankfully no bombs damaged the Parisian buildings!

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Please excuse the ugly selfie from the base of the Eiffel tower – but I am so glad I took it!

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The top of the tower was phenomenal. I am so glad I made sure to ride all the way to the top!

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The view was breathtaking!

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The tower is just as amazing at night! We took a boat cruise on the Seine at night and saw all of the beautiful lights (unfortunately my camera died shortly after this picture).

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We also made a stop at the Louvre! I am so thankful we did because I got to see the Mona Lisa!! Easily one of the coolest things I have ever done ever.

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The Louvre itself is an absolutely amazing building, look at that ceiling below!

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Outside the Louvre we got to walk on the lock bridge and see where many couples had shown their love for each other by buying a piece of metal, locking it to another piece of metal and throwing away the key. Kinda weird – but also oh so cool!

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I took the picture below originally for my dad because of the pub advertising Guinness, but looking back at the picture I love everything about it!

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This is a building at Universite de France! A group of us was wandering around one afternoon and kinda got lost on campus. Once again amazing architecture!

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Notre Dame is another must see! Even if you’re not religious – go see it! When in Paris….right?!

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This is a book store near Notre Dame – Shakespeare & Co. I so desperately wanted to stop in, because I’m a sucker for books, but we did not have time. Some day I’ll go back and revel in the beauty of it.

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After reflecting on my amazing experiences in Paris – I so desperately want to go back. And after all that happened Friday, I want to go back even more. Those people are so human and I love them for that. They stood together as a nation after the worst of events, and I gladly support them through it all. I do hope someday to travel back to Paris and revisit everything I saw and spend more time in all of the culture there.

The Assignment

In one of my classes – Teaching the Faith – we have to write about our personal faith journey, the moment we knew our faith started, and how it has grown. So I thought I would share it with all of you too. My faith is a very important part of my life, and I would love to take this opportunity to share this with the world.


Similarly to the author of Building Faith One Child at a Time, I have always been a Lutheran and was baptized as an infant. Especially with growing up as a pastor’s daughter, it is hard to recall a specific moment that my faith started. Thinking back in more detail, I suppose that the first time I really identified my faith as mine was after my family moved from La Crescent, MN to Green Bay, WI.

This was a really difficult transition for me and I did not handle it in a recommended way. My family had moved a few times before, but at an age where I still felt comfortable reaching out to new friends. This was a primarily challenging area in my new life in Green Bay. My parents made the decision to send me to the LCMS High School in Green Bay, which I was excited to be a part of. I dealt with a hard time making friends, being bullied by people I trusted too quickly. The bullying, in addition to the move itself, led me into a period of depression and heightened anxiety. I began self-harming.

I eventually stopped self-harming when I opened up to a friend at church who also had scars and stories to tell. She was later hospitalized for her self-harm and bipolar disorder, we sadly lost touch. Since I was involved in a lot of sports, I went to great lengths to hide my scars. Eventually I slowed my self-harm and was able to stop. This was primarily due to increased involvement in music at my school. I developed a close bond with my music teacher and with another girl in my class.

My favorite part about being involved in the music scene at my school was the incorporation of God’s Word into nearly all of our pieces and concerts. I felt a true connection to my Savior through the means of music. It was an obvious way of praise for me.

Unfortunately, later in my high school career I did begin to self-harm again – and worse than ever before. I became much less involved in all areas of school and even quit my job because of it. It seemed like there was no right answer to how to recover. I eventually turned to Pandora and was listening to sad, sappy love songs every night as I sunk into depression. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North popped up. I bawled my eyes out. I knew this was God speaking to me. Once again, He pulled me back in with the power of music once again.

While I have always identified as a Christian, and more specifically a Lutheran, nothing has been more impactful on my faith than music. To boil it down, my faith started to be mine in that choir classroom in Green Bay. It wavered, and fell dramatically as I struggled with depression and anxiety. As I have gone through college, it has been on a steady path up. I have never felt more spiritually rich than I do now. This amazes me because I am not actively involved in any music right now. The most Christian music I encounter is from a few CDs Trevor and I have in our car and by attending church. Still, this is enough to keep me focused on nurturing my faith.


I hope my story can be a source of hope for those of you struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-harm. God’s love amazes me. He saved me when I was at below my worst. He’s still saving me now.

Life Events

These past few weeks seem to have held a lot of major life events for people I know.

I had a friend from grade school get married last week. They went somewhere tropical for their honeymoon – I am extremely jealous.

A classmate from grade school had a baby girl yesterday. Wow. We shouldn’t be old enough to reproduce yet, right?

A girl I went to high school with got engaged this past week. Seeing the pictures reminds me of when Trevor and I first got engaged. Although, we still haven’t seen all of those pictures  yet…

One of my roommates also got engaged recently and told us before the “official” Facebook post. I warned her of the soon to be most asked question of her month – “Do you have a date set yet?” She told me she’d already heard it from every family member she had enlightened about the big news.

It’s crazy that all of this stuff happened so close together. When did we become old enough to have so many life changing events happen to us? I feel like we should all still be sitting in 4th grade, taking a spelling test… Life is going by so quickly lately. I can’t decide if I like it or not.

Comparisons

Grade school and high school were really rough times in my life.

After third grade I went from the public school in my town to a Lutheran school in a town thirty minutes away. I had been bullied in my two and a half years at the public school I had attended, and my parents thought it was time for a change. At this point I had already moved several times due to my dad’s job.  I was not a huge fan of change.

I don’t remember much about my thoughts about this transition, but I know that first year there was rough. I did not have any friends from my memories and remember the girls in my class passing notes about me and I would find them in the trash.

I grew into a rough state of mind do to this. I ended up developing good friends, though. I remember constantly comparing myself to them quite frequently. I could not figure out why they had all been so mean to me at first. I thought of every possible reason I might not fit in: I was skinnier than some of them, I was smarter than some of them, I was worse at sports than most of them, my mom was a teacher, and other irrational things. Just as I was beginning to stray from these thoughts, I found out we’d be moving from Minnesota to Wisconsin that summer.

Little did I know, these thoughts would creep back into my life.

As I moved to Wisconsin, I started at a basketball camp at the high school I would be attending in the fall. I went into the camp with confidence because my favorite sport in grade school was basketball. However, I was not anywhere near the level of skill that many of the girls at the camp were at. This thought of not being good in comparison to those other girls was incredibly frustrating to me. I very quickly sunk into the habit of self-harm due to comparisons I formed against my classmates.

All through high school I struggled with forming comparisons against my teammates, classmates, and people I considered to be my role models. I honestly thought I could not succeed in anything I tried. The pattern of self-harm stayed on throughout my high school experience. While it was not always constant, it would pop up when dismal things happened.

As I have been in college, I have occasionally struggled with these negative thoughts appearing. Thankfully, I have become more aware of my support system and taken advantage of the willing support they have offered.

I am so thankful for those who have been there for me all along. Even when I did not want to acknowledge my parents and sister for their support, I have found they have become some of my greatest support. I am also so thankful for the man that has become a huge part of my life, Trevor. He has helped me out of some tough times that have popped up in college. I am also grateful for the few, strong friends that have stuck with me from high school. Even more importantly, I am so thankful to have a wonderful and loving Savior to forgive me for all of the awful thoughts and actions I did to myself.