Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 29


Day 29…A confession. 

I am a nerd. 

If you’ve known me for a while, you’ve probably figured this out. Even if you haven’t, you may have pieced this together somewhere along the way.


Though I’m not a fan of labels, many of my interests fall into the “nerd category”. I enjoy subjects like history, literature, psychology/sociology, and theology, and could honestly ramble on about any one of these subjects and the intersections between them (e.g. the sociology and history of Christian thought process…nerd alert!). I even enjoy the occasional discussion about politics, so long as it doesn’t turn heated and crazy.

Paired with the vice of being an overachiever, you can pretty much get the picture of what I was like in middle and high school. 

Yes, I was “that kid“.

I even went through a phase where I wanted glasses (before I knew that I needed them) because I thought that glasses made you look smarter. My mom didn’t quite believe me at first when I told her I thought I needed glasses, as I always talked about how cool I thought they looked. Initially, she thought I just wanted them for appearance-sake. Nonetheless, she took me to see an eye doctor and soon found that I actually did need them to see. I still wear the same frames today, as I can’t seem to get contacts in to save my life and have no interest in getting a new pair.

I think we all have our quirks; and nerdy-ness is just one of many for me. If you also have nerdy tendencies, I urge you not to be ashamed of it. Some of our greatest world changers would be considered “nerdy” by the world’s standards. Imagine where we’d be today if Einstein or Edison had suppressed their interests to fit in with the world!

God made each one of us different and unique; the world would be boring if we all looked, talked, acted, and thought alike. The people who I enjoy hanging out with the most are the ones who are fearlessly and unabashedly themselves. Never change just to try to fit in with the crowd. When you’re authentic, it inspires authenticity in others and helps us all to be a little more honest and transparent.

As an old song by Jonny Diaz says “You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do, so there could never be a more beautiful you.” 


Three Day Quote Challenge: Day One

Hey everyone, as I promised, I’m posting day one of the quote challenge today! 

I’d like to thank Emily for nominating me; I was super excited and honored when I saw that I got picked! As a writer, it’s always good to know that someone out there is reading your random thoughts, opinions, and ramblings. 😄


“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”― Catherine of Siena

I’ve loved this quote since the moment I first heard it. It’s so inspirational and makes me feel like I can take on the world! It’s the kind of quote you want hanging on your refrigerator, as daily inspiration to start your morning with!

I love the message at the core of the quote: Be yourself and God will use you according to His plan and purpose. We can only serve God at our fullest when we’re completely honest, transparent, and real about who we are. This doesn’t mean that we can achieve perfection through some sort of new age-y”self actualization”. What it does mean is that God can use us as a vessel to make a difference in this world, flaws and all.

We’re all separate, yet all connected. This is something that I’ve always loved about the body of Christ. Though we’re one body, we have different parts, and each of us bring something beautiful and unique to the table. I may not be good at math and science, but that’s OK, because someone else is. God can use me exactly where my talents lie to help spread His message of love and grace to a broken world. Because I’m a writer, I can express God’s truth the most naturally through written word. If you’re a singer, make a joyful noise unto the Lord and glorify God through song. If you love science, teach about the truths of God’s creation, sharing your knowledge with the world.

We each have something special that we can bring. Whatever it is for you, do it with your whole heart, and bring a little more beauty to this world through your life. 

Never be afraid to set the world on fire for Jesus! 


Self Image

“You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.”
― Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot

Is this the right answer? I don’t want to sound stupid…

How will people perceive me based on my clothes, weight, height, hair color, etc. etc. etc. 

Does this tweet make me sound too quirky/serious/nerdy/ditzy? 

Oh great! I missed that shot! Now I look horribly un-athletic/un-cordinated!

At some point, all of us have dealt with these attacks. Attacks on our self image, and how we perceive ourselves. It can come in the a variety of forms, as shown above, ranging from appearance, to academics, to athletics.

Personally, I’ve always struggled with the tendency to define myself by my academic ability and competency. As a child, I literally used to feel a sense of defeat over B’s on tests, because in my mind, it should have been an A. And, If I don’t know how do something, I often get discouraged and refuse to ask for help. One of my most frequent phrases during my childhood years was “I’ll do it myself.”

I’ve improved in these areas, but at times, I still find myself reverting back to these patterns of thinking. Maybe you have a different aspect of self image that you struggle with. Perhaps yours is with the mirror, a hobby, or how others perceive you. It’s different for everyone, but it all has the same root.

Every time we see ourselves as less than God’s wonderful creation and child, we’ve believed a lie. Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. Emily from once said in her post The Most Beautiful Girl, that if we don’t love ourselves, we cannot love God or others to our fullest potential. We are made in God’s image and we are His masterpiece. Matthew 22:39 even says that we are called to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

To paraphrase Pastor Dave from God’s Not Dead, if God is incapable of making mistakes, than can each one of us be a mistake? Of course not! We are all here for a purpose and when God made us, He broke the mold! As hard as it can be when society tells us that we’re supposed to live up to a certain standard, we need to remember we were never meant to be like everyone else. We were meant to be us. 

All of our quirks and appearance “flaws” are part of the the beauty of God’s creation. Just as a flower glorifies God by being a flower, and not a tree, we glorify God by being ourselves, and not someone else. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone looked the same and had the same talents. We were made to be different. God gives us different gifts so that we can glorify God through our own unique talents.

Next time you feel discouraged or struggle with self image, remember this.

Different is beautiful. 

And, in the words of Jonny Diaz, there could never be a more beautiful you. 🙂


Why I’m Not Normal (And Why That’s OK)

My name is Courtney. That’s all I’m saying about that because, well, this is the internet.

I start singing Christmas carols months way too early and will start dancing in the middle of a store if I hear a song that like (Yes, this happened once)

I consider myself myself somewhat nerdy but cannot really do sci-fi other than Star Wars

I like both small towns and city lights

I can go from serious and philosophical to crazy in 2.0 seconds

I consider myself a tomboy, yet love chick-flicks like Sweet Home Alabama and Raise Your Voice.

Basically everything I watch on TV is a decade old or even older than that

I have never seen the Hunger Games or Twilight (Gasp!).

Technically I’m a teenager, but I often feel more like a mix between a preteen, a young adult, and an elderly person.

 But you know what? We weren’t created to be normal. We were created to be us. Differences and quirks are part of what makes this world interesting. God created each one of us, and as an old saying goes, when He made us, He broke the mold. So, if you’re “not normal” you’re in good company, because none of us are.

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change.”- Taylor Swift.


New Beginnings

There’s no denying it, the new school year is right around the corner. I start back in less than a week and I’ve already gone back to school shopping for clothes and school supplies. As the new school year begins, it often brings about changes. As crazy as it still sounds, I have two friends who are going to be in college this year. For some people, this new school year might mean a transition from middle to high school, or like some of my friends, high school to college. For others, it might mean new goals or anticipations. I know that I personally have a couple of things planned this year, such as a talent show in October, a concert with one of my friends, and a new project that I’m planning to jumpstart next spring/summer. Plus, I’m going to be on the yearbook team and in a theater class again, which I’m excited about. Since this blog is about the new school year, it feels appropriate to give my advice about what I’ve learned so far

1. Stay true to yourself. Throughout my teenage years, I’ve seen so many awesome people try to be what they thought others wanted them to be. A cookie cutter version of you will never be better than the real deal. Making friends is important, but you want them to like you for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be. Acting is for the stage, not real life.

2. Do unto others…Bullying is a huge problem in America. I’ve dealt with bullies myself and I’ve seen my friends and classmates deal with it too. For whatever reason, some people always try to make themselves appear bigger by making others feel small. If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. And, always think before you speak. Sometimes words carelessly thrown around can having lasting consequences.

3. Keep up with schoolwork. I remember how in my freshman year, I was shocked with how much more homework I got; It was a good deal more than I was used to in middle school. Nonetheless, I urge you not to panic. It’s difficult keeping on top of everything, but it does teach you the valuable lesson of time management. Honestly, I’m bad about procrastination. I know that this school year I’d like to try to get better about it. Even though I always get everything finished, it’s ten times more stressful when I procrastinate than it would have been if I had started earlier.

4. Spend time with those who build you up. One of the most difficult things about high school is finding true friends. There are some people in high school (and life) who are more self-interested than others-interested. At times, you may deal with unwelcome drama that will make you question whether you have any true friends, but hang in there. Just because you’ve had friendship problems with some people, doesn’t mean that all of your friends are like that. True friends are sometimes rare, but they do exist. I’ve found some great friends in high school and I trust that you will (or already have) too.

5. Don’t let fear hold you back. Now, obviously, there are some things we should fear. If you fear doing something dangerous, illegal, or harmful, hold on to that fear. It’s there for your own protection. Nonetheless, sometimes fear can also hold us back from good things. Don’t let fear stop you from trying a new hobby, pursuing a dream, talking to new people, or speaking out about something you believe in. In my theater class, before every performance, I always get a little jittery. However, the feeling afterwards is incredible, and acting is really fun. If I had let fear stop me, I would have missed out on a whole lot. I’ve decided that my theme for this upcoming year, is going to be fearless. There are things happening this year that I’ve worked towards for a long time, and I’m not going going to let fear rob me of those things. I urge you to not let fear hold you back either.

On a final note, always remember to trust God, be kind to others, stay true to yourself, and work hard. If you do those things, you can get through every change you’ll have to go through.

The Meaning Series Part Four: Individuality

Individuality is probably one of the most discussed topics in modern day society; you cannot go on a social media website without seeing some sort of quote about being yourself. Be yourself is one of the most widely used themes in many well known movies throughout the decades. Everywhere you turn, you hear messages about embracing your individuality, but what does that mean? The definition will likely vary a little for everyone, but to me it means accepting the person God created you to be. It would make sense that as creations, we ought to look to our Creator to find out who we are and who we’re meant to be.

Psalms 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Emily P. Freeman, in her book A Million Little Ways; Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, says “I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” If we know who we are, we’ll be less apt to fall for Satan’s lies about who he tells us we are. Though the concept has been secularized by some, I believe that it remains a pretty spiritual concept. If we know who we are, we’ll be better able to find God’s purpose for our lives. A big part of this, is being honest with ourselves about our personalities and passions.

Being that I have a couple of teen years in my rearview, I’ve experienced (And am still experiencing) some of this process. I’ve gone through a good deal of different stages, which have resulted in some interesting photographs. In jr. high school, I went through a stage where I looked like Laura Ingalls Wilder with glasses and acne. For a brief period of high school, I went through a phase with small colored hair extensions. Those were fun, but a bit of a pain.

Nonetheless, discovering who you are goes much deeper than hair and clothes phases. It’s something that you often find bits and pieces of when you least expect it. I remember taking a short, unofficial, free version of the Meyers Briggs Personality Test during my freshman year of high school. Prior to that test, I always saw myself as an introvert. I’ve never been someone who feels comfortable in large crowds, and I sometimes feel like hiding behind a very large object in a new environment. Thus, as you can imagine, I was surprised to see my Meyers Briggs results say I’m extraverted. In retrospect, it makes sense, as I tend to gain energy around people, even if I’m somewhat shy and reserved. Another surprise came during that same year, when I discovered my passion for communicating through song. Watching movies about characters who wrote songs made me want to try my hand at it myself. Little by little, I began using songwriting as a medium to express emotions and beliefs, and found that I loved it. I still write songs, and hope to get them published someday. In addition to discovering a love for songwriting, I’ve also discovered that I enjoy singing and I have begun taking voice lessons.

True, these are all relatively small pieces of myself, but each piece brings us a little closer to the person God created us to be. You can’t define yourself by things like extravert or songwriter, but those things bring out deeper parts of your personality. In my songwriting, I’ve found a sense of carefreeness in myself that I might not have discovered otherwise, being that I often tend to be a bit on the uptight side. In my extraverted-ness, I’ve come to see how being around other people makes me feel alive. Each piece of yourself is part of the larger picture of you, and each person is part of the larger picture of God’s creation. If you look at the journey of finding yourself in this light, it becomes something bigger than you: God and living a meaningful life that touches the lives of others. Everyone has a purpose and a voyage in life, and finding out who you are as a person, and who you are in Christ, is one of the first steps to beginning that voyage.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

I just finished reading an incredible book called A Million Little Ways by a previously reviewed author, Emily P. Freeman. Emily is one of those rare authors; the kind of author who writes as if they know you personally. It’s almost as if she’s been sitting on the edge of my brain, taking notes of my thoughts, feelings, ideas, passions, and concerns. Though she’s a good twenty years older than me, I feel that if I knew her, we’d be best friends. I could easily sit in a coffee shop with her, discussing the abstracts of life over decaf tea and a plate of donuts.

That being said, A Million Little Ways is the kind of book that stays with you. I found so many wise statements that I drained two poor highlighters, fiercely coloring impactful statements They may have recuperated by now, but they were in bad condition when I was using them. Anyways, the theme of the book, is how every good thing that we do in this life is art. We are all image bearers, called to create for the glory of God.

Being that I’m somewhat of a creative type, I love how she views our dreams and personalities as art, as unique ways that God expresses Himself to humanity. The way she describes God’s creation of each one of us as art reminds me of a belief that I held as a child. I didn’t have any church background as a kid, but I did believe in God’s existence and that He created the world. I often imagined that God created the world through painting. I believed that he painted a portrait of the earth, and it sprang out of the canvas and came into existence. This view was probably more cartoon based than theologically based, but I did get one thing right: God is an artist.

Furthermore, as Emily Freeman states, because we’re made in the image of God, we’re also artists, and the unique aspects of our personalities, as well as the things that make us come alive, are forms of art. This could mean more obvious forms of art such as painting and drawing, but it could also mean any hobby or talent that God has given you. When I think about all of my friends unique interests, it’s pretty incredible how different they all are. I have friends who are into acting, sports, math, science, politics, psychology, singing, cooking, computers, photography, etc.

All unique forms of art.

Throughout the book, Emily also gives helpful advice that could be applied to various forms of art, and challenges the reader to do some deep soul-searching to find their desires and passions in life. One thing that I found particularly interesting, is how she points out that our passions can often be traced back to our childhood. I personally related to this, as I’ve always had an intense obsession with stories. I asked to learn how  to read when I was about three years old, and have read books compulsively ever since. Throughout grade school, I read books the way I ate food. During middle school, I obsessed over The Left Behind Young Trib Series, feeling as if I knew each of the characters, and mourning when a character died. I’ve also told stories from a young age, driving my whole family crazy with the way I made every inanimate object talk. It didn’t matter if it was a doll or a hairbrush; It became a character with a unique personality. Not to mention that from the moment I knew how to write, I didn’t stop. I wrote and illustrated stories with pencils and crayons in elementary school, graduated to short stories and two nonfiction published works in middle school, and now the current series that I’m working on (As well as a stand alone book). I suppose looking back, storytelling and writing was always in my DNA. I’m sure that you have your own memories of dreams growing deep inside of you from your childhood as well, if you look hard enough.

In addition to our passions, she goes on to teach that our personalities and the things that move us are forms of art. Each of us were knit together in a way that is completely different than any other person throughout history. Each of of us have unique quirks, traits, and temperaments that shape us. Each of us are moved by something, just waiting to emerge in a way that makes the world a better place.

To summarize the point of the book A Million Little Ways, and paraphrase some of the information, you were created by a Divine Artist, and because you were created in His image, you are an artist as well.

Not as an equal to God, but as a reflection of Him.

God created you the way you are for a reason, and you have something to contribute to this world. The things that God has gifted you in were placed inside of you for a reason, to come out as a form of worship in a million little ways.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 (ESV)

To conclude, I found this book incredibly informative and would highly recommend it to anyone who desires to learn more about how they can live their life as art offered up in worship to God.

Note: I got much of my information here from the book A Million Little Ways, so I owe credit to the author, Emily P. Freeman.