Life Lately: Settling into My New Life in Oregon

I’ll start this off by giving you a short summary of the last few years: This time four years ago, I was living in China. Three years ago, I was living in a lonely apartment in DC and in a long distance relationship. Two years ago, I was a new Canadian resident, living in a big house on a lake. Last year, I left that relationship and put myself back together in Hawaii. This year, I’m settling into my new life in Oregon.

It feels strange piecing the last four years of my life into four short sentences, because there’s so much that fits into those four years — life lessons, memories, huge milestones, moments I’ll never forget, good and bad, love and loss, travel, experiences and so much more. It feels odd stumping it all down to a tiny paragraph, but I’m saving the good stuff for my book 😉

rainy day in knoxville tennessee

Where Am I Now?

When I left Hawaii, I didn’t have a plan. I just knew I’d be traveling for a while. Well, for nearly 5 months I’ve been living on the road, traveling from place to place, and living freely and simply. No life commitments, no material belongings, no end destination in mind. Just the open road.

A few weeks ago, I was on the east coast and then decided to head back to Oregon. It took about a week to drive from the east coast all the way back to the west coast, and I’ve been here in Oregon for about a week now.

Settling into Life in Oregon

Last week was full of interviews, work and house hunting. And I’m praying that some good opportunities show themselves to me in this upcoming week! I’ve had some amazing conversations and meetings with some incredible people, so I’m very hopeful.

This weekend was rainy (of course, it’s Oregon…) so it was full of football, stocking up on some warmer clothes, and seeing friends. After traveling so much in such a short amount of time, it was really nice to take it easy and relax.

Finding the Good in Waiting

I’ll be honest: it hasn’t been the smoothest, easiest ride. I’ve been extremely overwhelmed and feeling quite directionless. Should I live here, in a bigger city? Or should I take this job? That job? And there’s also been a heck of a lot of this: “WHAT IF”

There’s also been a lot of waiting: Waiting to hear from a job, a house, people, if there’s a better opportunity, another sign, a better time. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

I know everything will figure itself out, and that everything will be fine — because it always is. But, it’s still hard to sit in the unknown.

Where Faith Comes In

That’s where an important part of my life comes in: my faith. I know He’s up there doing big things for me. He has a plan for my life, and He already knows how things will work out. I want everything figured out right now, but things might not be working in my time because it doesn’t align with His time — and I have to remember that His time is the right time.

I’m overwhelmed and feeling lost, but this is where the biggest part of being a Christian comes in. As Christ’s followers, we’re His sheep and He is our shepherd. We’re small, we don’t know the way, and we get lost from time to time. He is our shepherd, He knows the way, and He is the only one who can save us and guide us when we’re feeling lost.

We don’t know the way, and that’s why we have to be patient and do things in His time.

I tend to forget that, when I get wrapped up in me, me, me. But I’ve been spending more time sitting with my bible, and then I’m reminded of the bigger purpose, the greater goal: Living my life for Jesus, being patient, following Him, and just seeking joy.


Anyway, this was just a little heart update. Oregon is my new home. Things are happening for me in my life, slowly but surely. I’m practicing patience, obedience, and gratitude. And I’m seeking joy in my every day. As always: God’s got me!

How’s everything in your life? What are some big things happening for you? How can I pray for you and your heart? ❤️

Life Lately: Settling into My New Life in Oregon

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 highway portland oregon skyline

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 in fall idaho wilderness idaho in fall idaho in fall

“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

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

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 idaho autumn sunset badlands montana south dakota dinosaur

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.

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 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 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? 😊

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

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. 😊

washington campground

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.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/jasminekeclipse/playlist/5QC0YDvw2n6XnSZyw0ABF2

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?) 🍂

Life Lately: Heart Update & Life on the Road

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 😉


How to Get Paid for Freelance Writing

An Ode to a Home (pt. II)

ode to home

The sun feels different in Hawaii. It’s hot, but not excruciating – it’s more like a hug, a warm embrace. The breeze wraps around your face like a soft shawl. The birds sing melodies only the islands can understand.

I have moved away from Hawaii many times in my life, but I have always been drawn back – it’s as though I am magnetic and the islands are only attracted to my type of metal. So when I was struggling last year, I knew that the islands would heal me. Being back here, where everything is familiar, where the sunshine has healing powers and the waters wash every bit of negativity away, I knew I would be okay.

In the last 8 months that I have been back, I have been transformed inside and out.

I came to Hawaii seeking comfort, refuge, clarity, and support. I left with so much more.

As I type this on the plane, watching the islands grow smaller and smaller from my window seat, I’m reflecting on everything this place has done for me.

When I stepped off the plane a few months ago, I was broken, distraught and hurt. I had lost everything I had and I had no plan. But the island had plans for me.

Over the next few months, I put everything I had out in the open. I poured every emotion, regret, grudge, and negative feeling out and for the first time, I didn’t allow those feelings to come back inside. I let them out and kept them out, replacing them with positivity, growth, light and joy. After many, many months of grieving, crying in the shower, in my bedroom, in the closet, on the drive home. After breaking down and asking the universe WHY, I finally let it all go. I spent many hours and days soaking up the sunshine. Laid in the sand. Hiked in the mountains. Swam in the sea. I wrote down every thought – good and bad. I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I went to church. I practiced yoga. I started loving my body, my skin, my heart. I prayed. I forgave. I accepted my life for what it is, not what it ought to be.

I searched high and low for answers, but the only thing that made sense was this: You are here now, so be here now. After all this time of thinking and planning and wishing and wanting to be someone else and somewhere else, I finally let go and let it be. Say it with me:

I am who I am, and at this moment I am where I am so I will appreciate this for what it is.

Throughout the years, the islands have been my safety net, a home that nurtured me and taught me to appreciate life for everything it is, a place I come to when life gets hard, a place I love that loves me back, a place that is comfortable and familiar.

Hawaii is every definition of home that could ever exist, and it is going to be excruciatingly difficult to find another place that can compare, but I have peace in knowing that everything I need is inside of me and so long as I carry that with me, I can create a home wherever I go.

An Ode to a Home (pt. II)

Life Lately: Two more weeks left in Hawaii

The title of this post makes me cringe. If you read my last life update, I had two MONTHS left in Hawaii. Time is really escaping me! It’s hilarious too, because I had this entire elaborate plan of posts to write, but I have no time to write them. I’ve been so, so busy lately. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Packing, packing, and more packing. The last few weeks have been full of running to Home Depot to buy more boxes, paper cuts, lots of dust and heavy lifting, garage sales, and rediscovering old photos, trinkets and memories. The movers came and took everything, and next week all the furniture will be gone. I purchased my one-way plane ticket. Now it’s REAL! Any guesses where my destination will be? 👀

I started writing again! (Not on this typewriter, because inefficient and I gave it away to a kid at the garage sale, but you get the point). I finally started writing my book way, way back in January (oh, God), but it got put on pause because of travel and starting a new job.

In the shower the other day, where most of my life-changing thoughts happen, I wrote an entire scene in my head. I hopped out of the shower and brought it to life on my computer. Slowly but surely, it’s coming along and it feels great!

Any other writers out there? Please tell me I’m not alone with my shower thinking! 🙄

In between everything else, I’ve been trying to find time each day to slow down, let my brain turn to mush and watch a show (I’m really into Parks & Rec and Twin Peaks right now!), read a book (currently reading The Child by Fiona Barton!), or go for a walk around the neighborhood.

Mother’s Day was beautiful. I felt so lucky to spend it with my mom for the first time in 3 years! (I can’t believe I was away that long… sorry mom!) We took her out to brunch at restaurant that overlooks the entire island, and I think she felt really special, which was the point ❤

Since it was Mother’s Day, I also spent some time walking down memory lane and found these photos. This was the last photo I took with my stepmother before she lost her battle to cancer. She was a very special person to me, and I feel grateful for the 10 years she was in my life. And this little angel was her therapy pup, his name is Chemo! 😊

The weather here has been pretty strange, and I can’t help but think it’s because the island doesn’t want me to leave (I sound like LOST. Remember that show?!) In all seriousness, the Hawaiian culture is very in tune with nature and spirituality – so it’s hard not to think this way. When I was vacationing here back in August/September last year, we went up to the summit of the mountain to watch the sunrise the day before we left to go back to Canada. And it poured, we were covered in clouds, and we didn’t have a sunrise. Never in the 20 years that I’ve lived here, has that ever happened. I took it as a sign that I shouldn’t leave. Now that I’m about to leave for good this time, it’s been cloudy, gloomy, rainy for months. Call me crazy…

Although it’s been pretty stormy and gloomy lately, sometimes the sun peeks through the clouds and lights up the sky with orange and yellow hues. And that’s like life, really. It can be bleak, dismal and dark. Sometimes it feels as though you’re under constant cloud-cover. But then there are moments when the entire world explodes with color, the clouds open up, the air stills, the birds sing in unison, and all feels right.

Amidst all the craziness that IS life, I live for moments like these. I hope you find some beauty and some calm this week.


 

 

*Some links may be affiliate links because these 4 cups of coffee a day won’t pay for themselves! 

Life Lately: Two more weeks left in Hawaii

Springtime | A time for embracing change

There’s something I love about all seasons.

Summer for all the fond memories and sense of nostalgia it holds.

Autumn for the drastic change from lush greenery to oranges, browns and reds. The way it brings together warmth and coldness.

Winter for the way it exposes the earth, strips the trees of its leaves and the world of its color – yet at the same time, brings so much cheer and coziness and familiarity.

And Spring, the time of year when things come back to life, flowers bloom, creatures (and people) emerge from their winter hibernations, and change is embraced with open hearts.


The first phase of Spring is a time when plants begin to defrost, shed themselves of the winter cold and emerge from their dreariness.

In the second phase, they begin to grow, their roots take hold and they grow, grow, grow.

In the third phase, their leaves reach up toward the sun and embrace warmth, embrace change.

And then one morning, seemingly out of nowhere, a flower appears. Beautiful, vibrant and full of life.


The last 7 months have been a season of change. In these last few months, I have shed myself of my dark, cold winter. I’ve grown. I’ve realized my beauty and allowed myself to strengthen and improve myself – for myself.

Right now, I’m in the third phase of spring. I’m embracing the change that is happening in my life and in my heart. Every day, I’m working toward becoming the person I want to be. The joyful, calm, kind, radiant me.

And I can’t wait to bloom.

 

Springtime | A time for embracing change

5 Steps to Help You Finally Get Started On Your Book!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wanting to write a book for a long time. In fact, I actually found my 6th grade yearbook, and I wrote that I wanted to be an author as my “dream job”!

However, it’s been 14 years since then, and I still haven’t written anything. Why? It’s simple.

It’s hard to get started.

And if you’ve ever thought you wanted to write a book, you know first-hand how hard it is.

But I have awesome news: I finally started! And here are 5 things that have helped get my butt in gear. ⚡️

1. Dig deep into your passion

Ask yourself why you want to write a book. What’s weighing on your heart? What story do you want to tell? Don’t write a book to sell. Write a book to write.

Once you figure out exactly what you want to write, everything else will almost fall into place.

2. Nail down your genre, topic and style

This one is a bit trickier, and I’m still working on this myself. But before you really get down to business (to defeat the huns 😉), you really need to solidify exactly what your story is, which genre it falls under, define your writing voice and the style in which you want to present your story.

As I’m writing, I find that I keep going back and forth between writing styles, and I know this will make it very difficult in my editing process. So, to save yourself the hassle, try as best as your can to nail down the following:

  • Topic – What do you want to write about? What is the story you want to tell? And WHY. Answering the WHY is probably my favorite part about writing, because it helps me refine my topic. Ask yourself why you want to tell the story you’re wanting to write, and everything else will be much more clear.
  • Genre – After you nail down your topic, you can further refine it by placing it in a genre. For example, you could want to tell a story about a young woman who moves to a new town, but it could take so many different turns depending on the genre. If it’s a sci-fi, she could encounter a fifth dimension. If it’s a romance, she could fall in love with the mayor’s son. If it’s a thriller, she could be running from her ex-husband. You get it.
  • Style – How do you want to present your story? Do you want to paint a big picture in the beginning and slowly get into the nitty gritty? Or do you want to start your book off with a bang? Do you want to structure your chapters in short segments, or long ones? Will your story incorporate flashbacks throughout? These are all important things to think about and consider before you begin writing, because they can change the whole dynamic of your book.

3. Outline, baby!

Remember dreading writing essay outlines in high school? Guess what! They’re actually super useful (and necessary) when it comes to planning your book.

I’ll admit, when I was still in the “I’m thinking about writing a book” phase, I almost skipped the outline step because I couldn’t even be bothered with it.

BUT, once I finally sat down and forced myself to outline my ideas, I felt so much better.

Jot all your ideas down, and then organize your thoughts into a structured outline. From there, you’ll have a much better direction for your book, and you won’t lose track of your grand idea!

4. Join communities (online & offline)

Once you begin your writing journey, reaching out to other writers can be really helpful to you! Having a group of fellow writers and authors at your disposal can help keep you accountable and motivated, and it can provide you with tons of insider tips for the writing and publishing process.

I’ve found helpful writing communities in Facebook Groups, Pinterest, Twitter and even Reddit! (A separate post on my favorite writing communities is coming soon 😊)

5. Create your writing space

I once read somewhere that you should write in the same place every day, because it will help you to…

  • Establish a routine
  • Associate a certain space with writing
  • Help you keep the same voice

Whether or not these things are true, you should still take the time to create your own special writing space. Why? Because if you think about it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time writing your book, so you may as well be comfortable!

(Note: I feel like I have to mention, I haven’t even done this yet! I’m still hunched over at a desk with bad lighting and a hard, wooden chair. But hey, baby steps!)


I hope these tips help you get closer to your dream of writing a book! Are you in the process of writing a book, or want to get started? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!

5 Steps to Help You Finally Get Started On Your Book!