Latest Posts

Do you have to GO to church to be a strong devoted Christian?

The last time I went to a church, it was in May and I was back on Maui with a friend. Since I left Hawaii, became a Florida resident and have been traveling for the last few months, I haven’t been to a church. I still do bible studies on my own and read devotionals every day, but I got to thinking the other day: Do you have to physically go to church to be a strong, devoted Christian? What constitutes a “strong Christian”? Is it the activity of going to church? Or is the stronghold of faith within your heart and the steady studying of the Word?

What is a ‘Christian’ anyway?

When I looked it up, the definition of “Christian” is:

 A person who has received Christian baptism, or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Nowhere in that definition does it say “A person who attends church.” To be a Christian means to essentially just be a follower of Christ, in whatever capacity that may be. If you are able to attend church, great. If not, that’s great too.

And if you give your heart to God, that’s all He wants. Isn’t that cool?

What do we have to do to be ‘good’ Christians?

There are tons and tons of verses that will all say something along these lines: All God wants is your heart, and being a true follower of Christ is all about what happens on the inside.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that certain customs or traditions, appearances that we keep, or being an active member of a particular church are not the things that define what being a Christian is.

Keep in mind, God warns against keeping up with a certain “image,” and teaches that what’s most important is that our hearts are pure and true.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

So, if that’s all it takes, is it even necessary to go to church? As long as I have God’s Word that shows me the life that Jesus lived, I can follow Him on my own, right?

Following God on your own

Of course, you can be a strong Christian on your own. But remember that we were not created to be alone! When you go to church and feel the music, praise and worship Jesus with everyone around you, doesn’t your heart just explode? Isn’t that the greatest, most inexplainable feeling in the world? Going to church just feels good.

Here are some verses that prove we, as followers, need our brothers and sisters in faith:

We are not created to be alone. We were created to have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20)

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

While there are no written rules in the Bible about attending church, a true follower will find that in their heart they do need to go to church. Sure, you can absorb all there is to absorb on your own with solo Bible studies and prayer and podcasts. In attending church, you can receive encouragement and fellowship from those who are also working toward strengthening their faith and building the body of Christ.


Do you attend a home church? If not, why? For me, I’m not currently attending a church because I’m traveling! I do solo bible studies, but I can’t wait to discover my new home church once I settle down in a place! 😊🙏🏼

Do you have to go to church to be a good christian

Advertisements

Heading East | Snow in September, Dinosaurs and John Mayer’s House

My Great American Road Trip is heading east! In a little less than a week’s time, I made it from Oregon, to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, to Missouri where I’ll be for a week! It was a crazy few days. I saw snow in September, a man walking a dinosaur, and drove through John Mayer’s home in Paradise Valley (which was a DREAM come true).

Here’s some bits and pieces of what I saw on my journey back east! Check out the rest of my Travel posts to catch up! 🚙

portland oregon skylineportland highway

Leaving Portland was a wild ride. When I first crossed into Oregon, I felt in my heart that I was going to make it my home right then and there. But as time went on, I flew to Nashville for business, I had some conversations with the Big Guy upstairs, and had many heart-to-hearts with myself in the shower, and then felt that maybe it’s not time to settle down yet. So onward and upward. A traveler’s life for me (for now, anyway).

idaho wildernessidaho in fall idaho in fall idaho in fall idaho in fall rain on windowpane mountainscape in rain

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

– William Cullen Bryant

hot chocolate in mug campfire in the woods road trip in van

Scenes from a campsite. Have you ever seen anything more “campy” than hot chocolate, a campfire, and bumper stickers on a van? 🌲

jasmine eclipse jasmine eclipse

Feeling like sunshine lately. I’ve been drinking tea instead of coffee, because it’s so much better for my heart, anxiety, and stomach! Letting myself sit in the sun and just be still. I have been reading and writing—two things I could never live without. Keeping a great balance on my work. Working enough to stay busy and make a “living,” but saying “no” when it gets to be too much. And I’ve been increasing my patience and decreasing my worry-wart syndrome.

I’m just a ray of sunshine these days, and I’m proud of my progress. Only love and light in this heart of mine! 🌼

road trip reading

You’re lovely, you’re lovely, you’re lovely. Don’t let yourself forget it.

montana sunset montana sunset idaho autumn sunset

This night, the sky was gorgeous. It was a gloomy day, and then out of nowhere the skies lit up with the most beautiful orange, pink and purple hues. After the sun exploded the sky, the world became a dim violet and then quietly turned into night.

Then, a deer jumped in front of the truck, wrecking the front bumper and trailer. Luckily, that was the only damage, but it was an eye-opener for sure!

yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana

Spent time daydreaming here on the shores of the Yellowstone River in Montana. I was very happy on this day 😊

Also, I have to mention that I drove through Paradise Valley, which is where John Mayer got his inspiration for his titled album (and he also has a home there!). Before you ask: Yes, all I listened to while driving through Montana was John Mayer. It was a pretty magical moment for this super fan 🤷🏼‍♀️

south dakota border sign badlands montana badlands montana

This view will always make me weak in the knees. I love the pale blue sky, the rocks, the desert-scape, the browns that never seem to blend together. I could live in the desert.

south dakota dinosaur south dakota sunflowers

When South Dakota comes to mind, what do you think of? For me, I always thought I’d never go there. But once I was there, I realized how much I would’ve missed out on if I hadn’t driven through. There’s actually so much to see! If you love quirky roadside attractions, this is the place, let me tell ya.

Also, I’m pretty sure South Dakota is home to 98% of America’s sunflowers. There were fields for miles and miles!

mount rushmore in snow mount rushmore in snow south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september

Then… it snowed. In September! I literally went from 70 degrees and sunny to 30 degrees and freezing in an hour. It’s amazing how the world works like that. I loved it and I had a blast in the snow (which I hadn’t felt since I was back in Canada! 😳), but I’m not ready for winter quite yet. I want autumn forever!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it getting cold yet? Are you excited for fall and the holidays? 😊


road trip diary

Life Lately: Heart Update & Life on the Road

Although I’ve been posting lots of travel photos showing my life on the road, it’s been some time since my last “life lately.” In short: Life has been pretty grand lately. But, here’s what I’ve been up to, where my heart has been, and what’s next for me. 😊

fall leaves in washington

I went to Nashville for a quick one-day trip

On a Monday, I hopped on a plane at 5am. I spent the day in Nashville for a meeting, then boarded a plane back to Oregon. It was the quickest trip I’ve ever been on, but I also learned so much. In between the rushing around, I got to see Nashville in all its grit and glory and met some incredible people.

I’ve done over 250 bible studies.

When I was doing my bible study the other night, my app told me that I’ve completed over 250 programs! Since I’ve been traveling and in-between places, I don’t always get to attend a church service. So instead, I do my own daily bible studies on my own. And apparently, I’ve done a heck of a lot of them! Go me!

I got new freelance clients.

Aside from my day job, I do freelance writing on the side and I’m excited that I’ve got some new clients! They’re old clients that I had in the past, but I’m happy to be helping them out again 👍🏼

Also, I feel like this is a great segue: If you need freelance writing or anything, drop me a line!

I discovered a new favorite artist.

If you know me at all, you know how much I love ending my days with some good ‘ole worship/christian music. Recently, I started seeing this girl everywhere. Billboards. Celebrities Instagrams. Spotify ads. Before all that, I’d somehow never heard of Lauren Daigle. But once I gave her latest album a listen, I became a HUGE fan. Like, huge. I can’t stop listening. Her voice. Her lyrics. Everything is amazing.

I’m heading back east on my Great American Road Trip.

I’ve been in Oregon for the last (almost) two months, and now I’m in the process of heading back east. As I write this, I’m currently on a lake in Idaho! Once I get further east, it’ll be late autumn/early winter, which beckons the question: Where to stop? When to stop? Where to plant my roots?

This trip has been the trip of a lifetime. I’ve seen things I never would have seen if I didn’t do this. I’ve met amazing people with amazing stories. I’ve spent so much time with myself and my mind, that I’ve really gotten to know myself and love myself so much better. I’ve improved my photography and writing skills. And most importantly: I’ve gotten the break from life that I so desperately wanted and needed.

That being said, I do miss the every day conveniences of “normal” life. I miss sleeping in a bed. I miss flushing a “real” toilet. I miss getting dressed and going to work (yeah, I said it). I miss forming relationships and going out with friends. I miss a home church. I miss buying white shoes and being able to keep them clean—it’s impossible on the road. I miss steady cell coverage and reliable Wi-Fi connection.

All in all, this road trip will be wrapping up soon. I just don’t know when or where or under what circumstances. But that’s all part of the adventure, right? 😉

Fall is here! (The best time of the year)

It’s getting colder and the world is exploding into orange, yellow and red color. Driving through forests and valleys blanketed in autumn colors makes my heart so warm and happy. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I’m so happy I’m able to experience it again this year!

Last year, I was in Hawaii for fall (boo hoo, I know other people would love to be in Hawaii instead of the cold, but not I!). Anyway, I’m happy to be back in a place where I can have all four seasons in the palm of my hand. This world is so beautiful and the changing seasons remind us that life is ever-changing and ever-fleeting!

Winter is also here?

While passing through South Dakota, it snowed. SNOWED in September. It was a pleasant surprise, but I definitely wasn’t prepared 😂

south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september


What has your life been looking like lately? What are you most looking forward to this fall? (Is it snowing where you are?) 🍂

How to Get Paid for Freelance Writing

I’ve been a freelance writer for a while, but only recently started to earn substantial money from my work. Freelance writing is an extremely competitive market, but it’s not totally impossible to make money—or a career— out of it. I have a few resources for blogging and business, working from home and book writing, but I really wanted to compile a list of sites to help you get paid for freelance writing. Happy writing! 👍🏼

get paid for writing

Sites that pay you for your writing

Babble

Pay: This Disney company pays up to $150 per article

Topic: Family, parenting, lifestyle

The Penny Hoarder

Pay: Up to $75 per article

Topic: Money, investing, debt, careers

Cracked

Pay: Up to $250 per article

Topic: Comedy, pop culture, personal experiences

Paste Magazine

Pay: ~$50 per article (in the form of feature profiles, essays, reviews)

Topic: Music, TV, video games

A List Apart

Pay: $200 per article

Topic: Web development, web design, tech

Dorkly

Pay: ~$75 per article

Topic: Video games, anime, pop culture

Entrepreneur

Pay: $1/word

Topic: Business, entrepreneurial

Confrontation Magazine

Pay: Up to $200 per article

Topic: Short stories, poetry, nonfiction

Affiliate sites for writers

Mixbook — 15% per sale and $20 affiliate bonuses

Blurb — 15% per sale, plus affiliate bonuses and free products

Grammarly — $20 per sale, $25 affiliate bonus

More Ways to Make Money Online

Ultimate Social Media Guide

  • 9 Pinterest group boards
  • 7 Facebook groups
  • 6 Instagram hashtag sets

Ultimate Blogging Resource

  • Setting up your blog
  • Optimizing your site
  • 10 programs to help you land brand deals
  • Making REAL money

10 Blog Topics that Generate Crazy Traffic

 

*Disclaimer: Some links may be affiliate links. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do 😉


Washington | Exploring Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier

There’s something special about Seattle, and I can’t quite place it. I just love the feel of the city, the gloomy skies, the UFOs everywhere. Seattle is just different—and I like that. My recent trip to Washington was great! I spent my time exploring Downtown Seattle, camping in the woods, and meeting family I’d never met before!

Have you seen the rest of my Great American Road Trip posts? 🌼

washington campground

washington puppy

Have you ever seen a cuter face?! Look at this happy puppy! 😍

RV in seattle

jasmine eclipse

jasmine eclipse

I am one happy camper 🌞

mount rainier

mount rainier road trip

There’s nothing better than being above the tree-line and seeing nothing but green for miles and miles. The Pacific Northwest is so gorgeous.

john muir mount rainier

Fun fact: John Muir is my favorite person in the world. Did you know it’s because of him that we even have National Parks and green, open spaces that are protected? When I was younger, I was so interested in him, his books were all I would read. I even made my dad take me to Muir’s home in California, we did the Muir Trail, and I have all his books (one of them I have in three different versions!) Anyway, I’m a big fan of Mr. Muir. 😂

washington waterfall

chehalis washington

chehalis antiques

chehalis antique market

liberty theatre washington

washington state fair

vintage coke bottles

Visiting this little town in Chehalis was like stepping back in time. Everything was vintage, it was SO amazing! If it weren’t for the gloom and cold winters, I’d totally live there.

seattle public market

seattle pier

kings station seattle

ivars seattle

first starbucks

pikes place florist

pikes place waterfront

pikes place florist

seattle ferris wheel

piroshky piroshky seattle

pikes place fruit stand

pikes place market

pikes place buildings

seattle architecture

This was my second time visiting Seattle and Pike’s, and it was as though nothing had changed from the last time I was there. The only difference was that I changed, which made the city feel even better. Have you ever felt that way visiting a place?

washington skies

washington sunset

washington skies

Oh, these Washington sunsets. The skies were an orange/purple/pink because of the wildfires, but they were so pretty. Beauty in the madness, I guess! 💜


planning a trip to seattle

Bible Studies I’m Doing Right Now

I’ve been a strong Christian for a while now, and since I’ve been traveling I’ve been doing bible studies on my own. I’ll occasionally watch a sermon online, but for the most part, my Jesus time consists of me sitting down with my bible for an hour or so each day. Here’s the studies I’m doing right now and favorite ones I’ve completed in the past. Plus, tools and resources to make your study time easier and more beneficial! 🙏🏼

bible study

How I Study the Bible On My Own

I started studying the bible on my own by using my physical bible and an app, and over time I brought in a devotional, other tools, and various online websites. My bible study time is ever-changing, but it works for me right now. Here’s how I make it work!

Tips

The biggest thing when it comes to studying the bible, is to carve out a dedicated time and quiet space where you can let yourself be totally comfortable and dive freely into the word. For me, this is 9-10pm, right before I go to sleep. I do my bible study in bed for about an hour before I sleep every night. It’s the perfect way for me to wind down the day, and recenter my thoughts on Jesus.

Tools

As with anything, if you have the right tools anything is possible. Here’s what I use:

Bible Studies I’m Doing Right Now

Decisions

Deeper Into Scripture: Matthew

Deeper Into Scripture: Mark

Life Experiences: Lessons From the Book of Luke

Faith: Fig Tree VS Mountain

The Stories We Tell: 28 Days of Truth-Telling for the Soul

All Time Favorite Bible Studies

James: Faith/Works

Hope in the Dark

God’s Plan for Your Life

Enduring with Job: 7 Days of Hope

Philippians: Choosing Joy

Check out these other blogs 🙏🏼

Here are more blogs I’ve written about faith. What other faith-related blogs would you like to see from me?

My Faith Journey

Trusting His Timing When You’re Impatient

How to Study the Bible on Your Own

 

*Some of these links may be affiliate links, because I’ve been studying so much, soon I’ll need a new bible! Check out my Disclaimer for more info. 👍🏼


bible study

Oregon (Part 4) | Exploring Bend & Crater Lake After the Wildfires

I first went to Eastern Oregon four years ago to visit friends, so going back this time around was great! I was reminded what a beautiful little city it is, and I was so happy to be spending time in the wilderness. For the week I was there, I spent time exploring Bend and Crater Lake after the wildfires ripped through. Luckily, there wasn’t too much damage and it was still as beautiful as ever.

*Have you seen Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my Oregon trip? 😎

eastern oregon forests

bend oregon camp

bend oregon camp

How adorable is this camp? I loved this little log cabin in the woods.

bend oregon forest

I grew up with the Redwoods in California, but I will never get over the beauty of these giants. They’re so amazing!

bend oregon river

bend oregon river

I’ve been making dog friends everywhere I go, and it’s awesome. I need a dog asap!

harry potter book

Also, I’ve been reading a lot. Recently, I’ve started reading Harry Potter! I’m currently about to finish the Prisoner of Azkaban and it’s so good, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read them.

bend oregon

bend oregon

vintage donuts

Bend has so many thrift stores, vintage shops and garage sales. It was fun hitting up all these places (and getting free food!)

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon

How beautiful is the moon? I love seeing her during the day time. I wrote a little bit about the moon recently, if you’re a fellow moon nerd, you should check it out! 🌙

crater lake oregon

eastern oregon lake

crater lake oregon

bend oregon

crater lake oregon

Before you ask, these are the shorts I’m wearing!

eastern oregon lake

Okay, but how incredible is that water?! These photos don’t even do it justice—it was so BLUE and bright and beautiful!

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon

I’m so happy I was finally able to see Crater Lake, and it turned out to be the most beautiful, clear day! Did you know this was a volcano, but it exploded and collapsed on itself, and that’s why it’s a lake now! Nature is so amazing.

*Some links may be affiliate links for my Dalmatian and coffee fund 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.


Crater lake oregon

Oregon (Part 3) | Staying on the Oregon Coast and Sand Dunes

When I was going to college, one thing my roommates would look forward to was the weekend. Not because of the parties or sleeping in, but because sometimes we’d visit the Oregon Coast and Sand Dunes! I loved that two-hour road trip with my best friends, it was so special. So when I visited again after all these years, all those great memories came rushing back.

*Before you read on, have you checked out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Oregon trip? 😊

oregon coast

oregon coast

My “Great American Road Trip” began on the Atlantic Ocean, and I made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It felt incredible standing here, staring out at the Pacific—an ocean that I grew up with in Hawaii. The ocean has a way of making you feel small, doesn’t it?

pacific northwest map

oregon lighthouse

Fun fact: Lighthouses are one of my favorite things in the world. There’s just something about being that light. Their job is to shine and guide ships to shore. I want to be like a lighthouse—shine and help people. (Cheesy? Too bad 😛)

oregon lighthouse

oregon coast

jasmine eclipse

jasmine eclipse

I turned 26! 🎉

oregon forests

oregon coast

oregon coast fog

I’ll never get tired of morning fog. It’s so cozy.

oregon coast forest

oregon fog

oregon forests

german shepherd puppies oregon

german shepherd puppies oregon

While on the coast, I got to play with puppies! This was one of the best days ever. It reminded me how much I love animals, and can’t wait to adopt again!

oregon lake

oregon forests

Oh, Oregon. You’re too beautiful for words. I love you.

*Some links may be affiliate links for my coffee habit 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.


trip to oregon coast

Oregon (Part 2) | Visiting my College Town in Eugene

I graduated from the University of Oregon close to five years ago now (yikes), and visiting my college town in Eugene was so surreal. When I graduated, I didn’t think I’d be back. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing and I have nothing but love for the school and the place, I just thought that chapter was over. When I went back this summer, it felt so strange! Everything had changed, yet it had all simultaneously stayed the same.

Here are photos from my second leg of my Oregon trip. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1! And catch up on my other posts from my Great American Road Trip 😎

Lundquist College of Business

johnson hall university of oregon

I’m totally biased, but the University of Oregon is the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen. The buildings are gorgeous, they’re the birthplace of Animal House, there’s over 400 species of trees, and everyone’s smiling all the time. It felt so good walking across campus again. This was probably one of my happiest days. So many great memories are rooted here, I can’t wait to bring my children here one day!

king estate winery

king estate winery

king estate winery

king estate winery

king estate winery

king estate winery

If you’re ever in Eugene, one thing you have to do is visit a winery. They’re everywhere! I stumbled on King Estate while driving around aimlessly in the countryside, and it was beautiful! The most amazing thing was the owners started the winery without knowing anything about wine! They just started growing grapes because it was something they were passionate about—how cool is that? While I was there, I got a free tour and samples, and spent the rest of the day in the sunshine.

eugene oregon camping

register guard eugene

Mornings look like this lately. I’ve been having one of my favorite breakfasts, and made the switch to tea. I’ve been ignoring my phone and computer until about 10am, and I’ve been reading the news or books instead! If you can, I recommend doing this. I’ve been so much happier!

eugene oregon farm stand

A good reminder for peaches and people 👍🏼

fern ridge eugene

fern ridge eugene

oregon blackberries

Blackberry bushes are everywhere. I’ve been snacking on these nonstop, they’re so, so good! Best part? They’re free!

eugene oregon

In August, I celebrated my second month on the road here in Oregon (and spoiler: I also spent my third month on the road in Oregon. I’m that behind on posting haha). I’m grateful for this season in my life, because learning so much, seeing so many places, meeting so many people, and seeing who I am becoming and realizing who I want to continue to grow into.

If you have the opportunity to take a break from life and road trip, DO IT.

*Some links may be affiliate links because student loans don’t pay themselves 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.


visit university of oregon

Oregon (Part 1) | Eastern Oregon & Mt. Hood in the Summer

If you follow me on my Twitter or Instagram, you know I’ve been in Oregon since July. JULY. I’ve been sitting on this Oregon content for a while because at first, I wasn’t quite sure how to put it all together. So, I’ll be rolling it out in parts (four, to be exact!). As soon as I crossed over the border into Eastern Oregon, I relished in the sweet Oregonian summertime. Here are photos from my stay at Mt. Hood in the summer!

welcome to oregon

oregon road trip

Crossing the border into Oregon felt like a warm, overdue embrace. The last time I was here, I was graduating from University (which was over four years ago now!). Coming back here felt like coming home, and after months of traveling to new and foreign places, that was a great feeling!

historic oregon

historic oregon

historic oregon

historic oregon

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for abandoned places. I love visiting run down places and towns that time forgot about.

mt hood oregon

mt hood oregon

mt hood oregon

mt hood oregon

mt hood oregon

mt hood oregon

In the four years I lived in Oregon, I never once visited Mt. Hood. Ever. So I was really excited to finally visit this time. And it was BEAUTIFUL. I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in the winter!

mt hood camp

mt hood camp

oregon trails

mirror lake oregon

At Mount Hood, I visited a place called Mirror Lake. After hiking to the lake and eating breakfast here on this log, I sat and let the beautiful silence envelope me. I sat and thought about how I got to this point—not here at the base of this mountain, but here at this point in my life.

Remembering that just a year ago, I was living in another country with an entirely different life, struggling with my own mind. And when I was sitting there watching the world wake up before my eyes, watching the mountain, birds, and wind reflected in the lake, I knew I’d made it. I felt content. I felt joy burning through my cheeks.

My life has made a total 180 from where I was last year, and I’m so unbelievably happy with the person I’m becoming. I’m glad to have left the person I once was behind, because this new me is so, so, so much better—and it’ll only go up from here. Thankful, so thankful.

mirror lake oregon

snake river oregon

On that hike, I also found this poem in the forest. I took it as a gentle gift from the universe. I hoped to meet the author out there in the woods. Maybe next time.

“Delving into muted expressions, like a record stuck on repeat,
the rest of the album waiting to be sung.
The song that was never heard, beckons a melody of truth
more poignant than the last drop of aged brandy.
Tongue trembling,
jaws clenched,
your eyes shed a mirage.”

Thank you, mysterious writer. You’ve inspired me to write again.

snake river oregon

snake river oregon

snake river oregon

snake river oregon

snake river oregon

I was very, very happy here in the woods, walking up the riverbed, wading through the water, drinking in the sunshine. It felt so great to be back in Oregon, and my stay at Mt. Hood was a wonderful welcome!

*Some links may be affiliate links for my Dalmatian and coffee fund 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.


perfect trip to oregon