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? ❤️

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.

Mother’s Day | 11 Promises My Mother Made to Me Before I Was Born

A few days ago, while going through some old boxes, my mother found this little sheet of paper. Written on it, were promises and goals she set for herself as a soon-to-be mother, to give me the best life possible. And with today being Mother’s Day, I thought it was perfect timing to share in hopes that they might inspire other mothers or soon-to-be mothers – I sure know it inspires me, and just reading this makes me look forward to motherhood that much more.


  1. I will always love and respect my child for who they are, and not for who I want them to be.
  2. I will not burden them with emotions and problems they are not equipped to deal with – remembering that I am the parent and they are the child.
  3. I will, when discipline is necessary, let my child know that I disapprove of what they do, not who they are.
  4. I will set limits for my child, and help them find security in knowing what is expected of them.
  5. I will make time for my child and cherish our moments together, realizing how important and fleeting they are.
  6. I will create a loving home environment and show my child that they are loved, whenever and however I can.
  7. I will be sure to give my child space – to grow, to dream, to succeed and even to fail.
  8. I will encourage them to experience the world and all its possibilities, guiding them in its ways and taking pains to leave them careful, but not fearful.
  9. I will take care of myself physically and emotionally so that I can be there for my child when they need me.
  10. I will try to be the kind of person I want my child to grow up to be – loving and fair-minded, morally-conscious, giving, hopeful, optimistic, positive, happy, outgoing, energetic, creative, and resourceful.
  11. I will tell them that I love them every day, and the last thing they will hear before they sleep at night, is at least one thing that they did that made me proud.

Wishing all the beautiful, superhero moms out there a very happy Mother’s Day! (Especially mine, love you mama!) ❤

What are your daydreams?

One morning, I was staring out the window while eating my breakfast and I let my mind completely run free. Instead of thinking about all the things I had to get done that day, I just let myself daydream, I allowed the “what ifs” that I normally shut up, I welcomed wonder, I bounced from thought to thought and I did it all while watching clouds drift by.

Do you want to know what I thought about? I thought about…

How much I wish our society wasn’t based around working and paying bills.

Moving to Europe to learn how to make cheese, or excel at pottery, or own a flower shop.

My upcoming road trip across America and all the gas station pit-stops, Americana roadside attractions, and new freckles I’ll get.

My future Dalmatian puppy sitting in the front seat of my future Subaru or Volvo station wagon.

The possibility that all of this is just a huge simulation, or that there are “lizard people” running rampant (I’m on a documentary kick right now, okay don’t judge me).

How obsessed I was with dinosaurs when I was younger, and how I would crawl around on my hands and knees and collect egg-shaped rocks (aka dinosaur eggs) and name them all Courtney.

Becoming a mother, it’s all I want! I can’t wait to raise a family, and make them cute lunches for school, and clean up their messes, and teach them to be kind and open-minded above all else.

Sailing the seas and getting caught in a storm. I’m not quite sure why, but I think about this often.


What about you? What do you daydream about? 😊

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.

 

Don’t Forget

The other day I was eavesdropping on a couple next to me (don’t act like you don’t do it). The lady sat down next to her husband and was reminding him to take his medication, asking him if he remembered to pack Kleenex, and telling him about the long list of to-do’s she has waiting for him back at home. He kept saying, “I won’t forget, I won’t forget, I won’t forget.” And that got me thinking about all the little things I don’t want to forget, the things that are so small, yet so important to me that I couldn’t stand not remembering. Not menial things, but things that from day-to-day, we all tend to forget about because they’re overshadowed by paying the bills, memorizing work presentations, and buying Christmas gifts (still have to do that…)

I want to remember all the little things in my every day.

To listen. Be curious. Remember birthdays (without an app). Remember things I’ve read, or movies I’ve seen again and again.

To memorize the pattern of freckles on his chest. Memorize poems. Memorize prayers.

To be spontaneous. Cheerful. Positive. Ambitious.

Be funny. Be happy. Be graceful.

I want to remember memories and special moments that helped carve me into who I am.

To remember how frigid the river felt on my toes. The feeling of sunshine on my shoulders and cheeks. The names of mountains and backcountry trails.

To remember the color of the towels in the bathroom. The price of ice cream at the corner store down the street.

To be adventurous and daring. To do things because I want to do them, not just because everyone else is.

To remember the sting on my knees after falling off my bike again and again and again.

To remember things we ate, special camping foods and birthday foods and “just because” restaurant outings.

To be honest and sure. To take photos and write everything down.

I want to remember who I am and where I came from, no matter where I am in life now.

To remember your hometown streets. The memories made there. The nicknames. The sunburns.

To remember to call and to write.

Remember the last time I saw you, the words we shared, the glances, the tears.

Remember the smell of lilies and gardenias. Remember to say “thank you.”

Remember to keep going, going, going.

I don’t want to forget to remember.