Mistakes and Shame

Our wonderful DTS Staff Isabella on the lessons she learned while leading an outreach team to Spain and Switzerland.


“What makes you a great leader is not never making mistakes. It’s your willingness to clean up your mess” 

This is what I hear God speaking to me as I am finishing up finances for my school. I am thinking back on everything and of course I am reflecting on all the mistakes I made. 
I am thinking about the things I shouldn’t have done but did and the things I should’ve done but didn’t. 
Thinking about the times I wasn’t loving other people the way I should’ve or want to. 
The little things I left undone (like finances) that are now catching up to me.
And the times that I was running away from God because I was so scared of what he was going to tell me. 

And I realise that all he ever wanted to tell me was that he was so proud of me. Not because I did everything right but because he is my father and more than anything he sees my heart. 
He sees that I tried my best, that I poured out absolutely everything I had and that I never gave up. Man is he proud of me. 
And also I know that everytime I made a mistake he wanted to remind me of who I am: My identity is not in being a great leader. That doesn’t even come close to it. My identity is in the one who loves me and pursues me everyday. In the one who is faithul and kind, compassionate and forgiving. In my one first love: Jesus Christ. 

Making mistakes makes us human- not failures. 
And after we made the mistakes we have a choice: are we going to run away from it because it scares us too much to look it in the eye? 
Or are we secure enough in WHO WE ARE to take ownership and say: “Yes I made a mistake. I am sorry. Let’s clean up the mess”. 
What we do with our mistakes never says anything about who we truly are but it does say a bunch about who we THINK we are. 

Today I am choosing to act on who I know I am. I am choosing to ask God for forgiveness for the things I did and for the things I didn’t do. I am choosing to clean up the mess and I know God is doing it with me. And when I’m done with that I’m going to let it go, because none of us are supposed to carry the shame of our past mistakes- only learn from it. 



Originally posted on beautyfromtheashes-life.tumblr.com

Views From The Backstage

by Abby Eastman

This weekend was incredible. As a self proclaimed pop culture junky, I think being able to be fully submerged in what makes the industry tick just for a weekend, was truly an unforgettable experience.

On June 10 - June 11, Moschino and Golf Wang (by Tyler The Creator) held fashion shows at the LA Live event deck and yours truly along with the beauty arise team had the opportunity to help work backstage. Racks of designer fashions, photographers' bulbs flashing (with the exception of Tyler's show; it had very limited media backstage coverage) and people running around placing final touches, it was a dreamy peak into a world we see only from our television screens.

It almost didn't feel real. Everywhere you went you were surrounded by beautiful people who were just as pretty in person as they were in the magazines. People that the world admired, as well as some that I personally had admiration for. I stared straight into the eyes of models and celebrities who I didn't know but admired for their work and the small bits of their character that I saw through the media's lens. It all felt so normal-- it was as if my television had deceived me. I think that's what God taught me and a bunch of other girls from our team this weekend: that it's normal because they are normal. Maybe I'm late with fully understanding the constant message we hear, that "celebrities are normal people just like us". It's like I knew but I didn't really understand it until I was surrounded by people who had both fame and fortune.

One thing I think I have always been good at is looking at everyone with equal worth. My heart has always broken when I could see and feel people placing others above themselves or beneath themselves. We are so the same at the core. We all feel heartbreak and sorrow and happiness and pain. We are all talented and creative and gifted. We all have our faults, we all say the wrong things. We all breathe the same air and gasp for it when we weep-- who are we to build a social hierarchy? This weekend I got to really put into practice what I have always known and believed: that we are all the same and created in God's image. What we do or what others say about us will never determine our worth.

I was also reminded this weekend that there is freedom to be ourselves. I have known about Tyler The Creator for awhile (my best friend is a huge fan) but seeing him in person and watching him work was such a privilege. He has these wacky ideas that he isn't afraid to share. He is exactly the same way he is portrayed in the media: high energy with a voice that isn't too scared to give opinions, no matter how taboo they are. He is far from fearful of being himself. I loved that so much. You can see it in a collected mentality amongst his crew (Odd Future plus friends were his models) he basically gave them a choice to wear what they wanted to wear during his show, which you don't normally see from a designer. It was fascinating. He wanted them to be themselves on the runway and encouraged them to goof around no matter how unconventional it was. 6 hours of watching Tyler work made me want to go home and pursue my own strange and wacky dreams. I ended up watching the recorded live stream of the show when I got home and was touched by his constant appreciation for his friends and their support of his dreams. Life seems a bit sweeter if you know yourself and encourage others to know themselves as well.

I am still exhausted and my eyes are fighting not to shut, but my heart is alive with this weekend's experience. Tired yet inspired, I will forever be thankful for my 2 days spent in real life tv land.

- Abby


Style Arise: Joanne

by Abby Eastman


To all the people who believe that life is dull and humorless, you real haven't had a conversation with Joanne Krahn. The constant gleam in her eye and her pretty but knowing  smile hint at the fact that she knows what happiness looks like and will live a life hoping everyone else can figure it out too. Born in Winkler, Manitoba, The 21 year old is currently doing her Discipleship Training School at YWAM LA. DTS is a time where you find freedom in various area of your life but I knew from our first meeting that freedom was something Joanne just naturally carried. The first time I spoke to Joanne I fell completely in love with her wit and the sense of freedom she carried in the way she spoke and dressed-- Joanne does what she wants, not in a rebellious way but in a way that screams she refuses to be put in a box. Dreaded hair and incredibly fresh faced, I knew Joanne had to be the next person featured on Style Arise.

AE: Describe your Style in one word?
JK: I feel like simple! It's the kind of person I am. I'm good with simple or chill. Hmm wait--  maybe chill?
AE: When did you get your dreads?
JK: A year ago! I got dreads because when I was younger I would always see them and I thought they looked so cool. As I got older some of my friends had dreads. and I thought "I want dreads so badly" but I also really liked my hair. Then I decided when I'm old and I'm telling my grand-kids stories, I want to be able to tell them I had dreads! Plus I just really like them and it's simpler than actually dealing with my natural hair.
AE: When did you decide that you didn't care about what people thought about the way you dressed or looked?
JK: Maybe like a year ago or two years ago. I worked at camp. and so there you don't really care what you look like anyway and then I think it just carried on. Sometimes with certain outfits I'll still ask "does this look okay?" but I try to put things together myself and be confident in that.
AE: Your fav clothing item at the moment?
JK: I really like my t-shirt dresses. They're so comfy!
AE: Fav place to shop?
JK: The thrift store because you get really good deals. Also I like that you can put outfits together and be really unique with it because you find some interesting things there. So when I shop there, I'll look at something and think "how can I change this?" or "what can I wear with this to make it a cute outfit?".
AE: Your personal style advise?
JK: Be confident, be yourself in what you wear, be you! Cliche I know. Also, be aware of what type of clothing you're wearing. You don't want to support sweat shops are child labor, so be aware of where the clothing is made.
AE: Are you aware?
JK: I'm becoming more aware. So I recently started either shopping at thrift stores or local stores so I know where my clothes are made and that my clothes aren't made in a sweatshop. A skate shop in my town opened around two years ago and they always promote shopping locally so that you're aware of what you're buying, which kind of inspired me.
AE:  What are you wearing now?
JK: Well the shorts are American Eagle brand. I believe my cardigan is Garage. And my tank top is from Giant Tiger. 

- Abby

Big Truth In Small Places

Written by the incandescent Hannah Walton who is currently mission building at YWAM Los Angeles.


This morning, I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop with my favorite drink and current favorite book (God is Able by Priscilla Shirer – Read it, trust me. It’s a total game changer.) I was in the middle of a chapter about one of the qualities of God I just can’t stop falling in love with Him for. It was all about His attention to our details, His desire to be included in our small things. I couldn’t help but burst with joy and excitement, so I wanted to share with you in hopes that it would encourage you today as well. Here’s some of what He’s been teaching me lately:

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23, NLT)

If that by itself didn’t take your breath away, let me just enlighten you a bit more. Steps are defined as, “a measure or action, especially one of a series taken in order to deal with or achieve a particular thing.” Not only does our Jesus know the plan, the process, and the end from the beginning; He knows every step. He knows where we’re going and every single movement that will get us there. He directs us not only in which path to take, but carefully shows us where to place our foot as we land the next step. Of course, this includes the steps that wind up in an uncomfortable spot or a place where we might have to reach a little further. He knows that, and He’s aware that we often do not enjoy those steps. However, He designed your path very specifically in order to strengthen you the way you need to be strengthened so that when you reach certain places in your journey, you will possess the skills needed to continue on with hope and resolve – because you will have seen Him come through for you, molding a faith in His unchanging nature that you can cling to when the odds are grim. Even if the next step doesn’t look promising, He’s right there holding on.

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (v. 24)

And He delights – He takes great pleasure in – our details. If you have lost sight of that, just remember that He knows how many hairs are on your head. That should give you an answer if you’ve ever wondered if your worries and cares are insignificant to Him (Read 1 Peter 5:7 and Matthew 6:26-34). There’s no “too small” with God. There’s no “not that important.” He loves everything about you and He’s excited about the things that make you excited. After all, He’s the one that put the unique gifts and passions in you anyway. He knows your favorite things and how to communicate with you exactly the way you need to hear in order to understand.

Be encouraged today, you can ask no small thing of the Lord! Invite Him into your moments and watch what happens. I challenge you, pray about something little today. Let Him be a part of the “insignificant” things and discover how much significance they actually hold. You are absolutely and entirely loved by the Creator of the universe today and forever, and He will show you in every detail you allow Him to be a part of.

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)



(Originally published on Hannah's blog www.chaiteaandjesus.wordpress.com)


Paper Thin

"Honesty is the best policy"

Take those words and run with them. Make them your daily mantra. Put them on a tshirt. Write a song based on them! Because there is nothing more good and true. 

This week I have once again learned-- or was reminded by God-- the importance of transparency. My lovely friend Leesette told me after I confessed my feelings on a car ride home, that there is something even more cowardly about pretending that you have it all together than admitting you are scared or are feeling weak. That. That struck me right in the heart. For me personally, I really REALLY don't like appearing weak. As you can tell by my attempt to convey my emotions in writing, I still need some healing in that area. I am not yet completely confident with the idea that it's ok not to be ok-- but I'm getting there.  

With magazine ads telling us we need to look a certain way and hundreds of years of history silencing female voices, girls aren't exactly setup with everyone in favor of them appearing strong and confident. I think partially for that reason I have unknowingly taken on a burden of always appearing like I have it together because I hate the idea of someone thinking I am incapable of doing something. Combine that with people pleaser tendencies and a fear of failure and I am pretty much naturally just not a vulnerable person. I beg of you please PLEASE learn from my mistakes: do not confuse vulnerability with weakness for it is the furthest thing from it. I have come far enough in my "walk towards honesty" to know this truth even before this week's mess of emotions, but I definitely needed to be reminded.

Being vulnerable allows others to see that you are not perfect. They can suddenly recognize that they are not the only ones who have faults or struggles. It adds a beautiful air of humanity and gives you one heck of a wake up call that our simple human nature needs Jesus to survive and thrive. It is beyond tiring and stressful holding things in and it creates distance between you and and the ones you love. It is so hard to be truly close to someone if you won't allow it. Vulnerability allows you to not only fight your battles as a pack and not as a lone wolf but it also creates intimacy with others. It opens up a door for someone else to open up to you. Not to mention it also leaves room for someone to speak life into you and remind you of the truths that may have slipped your mind.

I can't say just yet that I love being vulnerable but I love what it does. I can still be a strong, fierce, confident, driven person and be vulnerable at the same time. I will choose to let my pride get hurt every time if it means it will bring me some level of freedom. Opening up to someone is putting wings on the weight that held you down and letting it fly away. Don't stop yourself from living in the freedom you were created to live in.

Last year was an incredibly hard year for me and I remember writing in my journal that I felt so spread thin that it was as if I was as "fragile as paper". I think I'm seeing now that the thinner you are spread, the easier it is to see through whatever facade you are trying to create to appear strong. So if you are not ok please admit it. Let others love you, for you are so worth loving. 

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36




Luke and Val Forever

by Abby Eastman

If you haven't heard Luke Wilson and Valerie Ely are in love. 

Young but far from reckless, this happy couple will tie the knot in less than a month in Val's home state of Oregon.  I expect their wedding to be nothing short of a "grand ol' time" (both of them crave adventure and have a deep desire to have fun in every situation). Their wedding marks the very beginning of their lifetime together as a family, but in someways it also marks an ending of sorts; like a fairy tale it is their "and they lived happily ever after." 

So where did their story begin? Flashback to Los Angeles, fall 2013, Luke and Val met while attending separate Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) at Youth With A Mission Los Angeles. During DTS it is asked of the students that they do not try and pursue any new type of romantic relationship, which you can imagine definitely played a huge role in the development of their story. The couple saw each other only once a week for 3 months when their DTSs would worship and have class together. Their conversations were minimal throughout these short interactions, barely even establishing a friendship. But it was clear from the beginning that there was something there and for Luke there definitely was.

L: "I think for me it was love at first sight. I don't think I was in love with her but I knew I wanted to be with her. I would have married her--and this is so dramatic -- I think I would have on the first day. I knew that up until the day that she told me to never to talk to her again, I was going to pursue her."

DTS breezed by with no texting, no messaging and nothing but small talk to their name. Not to mention they also spent three months apart while doing their DTS overseas outreaches. It seemed incredibly unlikely that Luke and Val would even speak after their schools, due to the lack of relationship they had built and the distance between their home states (Luke hails from Illinois). Luke had also left DTS a couple days early without getting a chance to say goodbye, but thankfully with a room full of  giddy, wide eyed DTS girls on their last night together, Luke and Val beat the odds.

V: "On graduation night I messaged Luke saying we should stay in touch! It wasn't even me it was my friend Paris. It was so embarrassing! We were all screaming when we saw that he had started to type back!"

If somethings really meant to be, it'll happen regardless.

L: "I was going to wait until the next day to message Valerie-- the morning after graduation. I didn't want to seem too eager, but when I got the message from her it was like the craziest thing. We had never expressed feelings. We had never even really talked, but when she messaged me it just felt right. It was 2 in the morning and I couldn't go back to sleep until 5.

Thus began their official courtship. Text messages were passed between them, eventually moving into face time calls (which hilariously often included Val's entire family). As they began to get to know each other as well as express feelings, they decided to reconnect at a YWAM leadership school held in Kona, Hawaii 3 months later. A magical time but also a serious time of growth and discovery for the both of them.

V: "We had face timed and texted for 3 months but then seeing each other in Kona that first day was like the weirdest thing ever! We already knew we liked each other but it was honestly such a fun season of getting to know each other in real life and getting to see how [Luke] was with other people and during ministry times. We went on our first date in Hawaii! He took me on a surprise moped ride which was like my dream and then we had a picnic on the beach. Hawaii was also when I realized I had fears. On the plane ride there God basically told me that I had so many fears in my heart that I didn't even know about. It was the unfolding of all of the crap and fears I had with being in a relationship and falling in love. It was really bitter sweet for me.
L: "Hawaii was the most perfect time of my whole life. I was having fun with great people and I was falling in love. During that time Val had all these issues come up and normally in the past if a girl said things like "I don't know if this is right" or "I don't have peace" or something like that, I would have been really insecure and that would usually make me think "oh I'm done". The thing is none of those things affected me as it should have. I was just so secure--. The Lord did a lot in my heart in making me confident in who I was."

It was also a time where Luke knew without a doubt that he was in love.

L: "There was this specific night in Hawaii where we were sitting outside on the pier and I was thinking "I love this girl, what the heck?" I took a picture of us and I told her to remember that night because I wanted her to believe me when the time was right, because it was still so early."

After Hawaii, Valerie's parents had gotten a hold of Luke asking him to surprise her in Oregon as she was flying back from Kona. They went on a camping trip with her family, and a week later decided to make things official.

L:" Her dad just randomly took me to his man cave one day and he said 'you can date Valerie, she's ready'. Because of all her fears, I never knew when I could ask her to be my girlfriend."
V: "We went to this park and I knew he had been wanting to date for so long. I was so nervous but I told him 'I think I'm ready to date you' and he got so excited. We had gotten ice cream and he threw his ice cream cone across the park and he was like "Can i ask you now?!!" 

A month long visit in Oregon eventually came to an end, but the couple were soon reunited when Val went to Illinois to spend time with Luke and his family (it was there that they finally said "I love you). Soon after they were long distance for 4 months, until Luke quit his job, packed up all his things, and moved to Oregon to continue to pursue the girl of his dreams.

V: "It was like a weird change having Luke there because he was living with my family, so we were always together. It was hard in that sense because it felt like we were married without the benefits of marriage but at the same time it was really good for us because we learned so much about each other just by being around one another so much. I think it was the way the Lord wanted it for us. We learned so much."

Living together in the same place proved to be an incredibly sweet time for their relationship as they got to grow together side by side. In August of 2015, Luke's family flew out for the Ely annual camping trip which Luke had gone on the year before when the couple had just started dating. It was there in the Oregon mountains that he proposed, giving them what may very well be called a "chance at forever".

So us singles, or dating, or married people, what can we learn from them and their model of love and relationships?

What have you learned from each other?

V: "I think early on when I was really struggling with my fears and doubting my relationship as well as feeling like I was messing up, Luke was so committed to me and never took it personally. He was always on my side fighting for me and believing in me that I would overcome this. I think that takes such a huge amount of patience and commitment to stick by my side. I think if it had been the other way around I wouldn't have been the same way. I remember thinking 'oh my gosh this is how Christ loves me'. He fights for me even when I'm treating him horribly. He still loves me so much and is committed to my life. His patience and the grace he has for me--  I'm still learning how to have that for him.
L: "Since I've met Valerie I've learned to have fun all the time and to communicate better. I feel like I want to know what she's thinking whenever something's going on. Its made me want to hear every single thing that goes through her head. Its made me better at speaking with her and working through things. She's also shown me how to enjoy the little things and to not overthink."

Favorite quality about the other?

L: "Her laugh and how caring she is. She always cares about everybody and it makes me mad in a way. She will care about someone that I don't want to care about which then will actually make me want to care! Or whenever I don't feel like doing something right, she wants to. It's a very good quality and it makes me a better person. She also calls me out all the time. I like that: someone who wants to make me better and not just say "well that's how he is"
V:  "His diligence. He's so diligent and I'm so unmotivated! He keeps me motivated to do things.


V: "I would say have fun and be lighthearted because that's something I feel I was robbed of because I was so worked up about 'am I doing this right?', 'am I pleasing the Lord?', or 'is He proud of me?' for every little thing to the point where I didn't get to enjoy as much as the Lord wanted me to. Obviously stay close to Jesus and make sure your heart is in line with him, but then trust that he's going to open and close doors. Don't over spiritualize things and have fun. Remember that He loves love and he wants us to be in love and to enjoy ourselves. Soak it in, because it is a season: it's not always going to be fresh and new.
L: "If you're a guy-- or a girl-- and you want to pursue someone, you pursue them fully. If you like someone obviously be listening to the Lord because there are certain things you cant do, but what I'm saying is don't ever be scared of looking dumb. Pursue them with everything you have because down the road if you guys get married you can be so happy with how you pursued them and that you did everything you wanted to do. You won't be like 'oh I wish I just wouldn't have been so shy or been so afraid of being rejected'. The Lord told me to pursue Val with everything I had and if it didn't work out then I could be confident in the end that I did everything I could, or I could be married to her down the road and I wouldn't regret not doing certain things. Like telling her I love her and not caring if she doesn't say it back, or holding her hand in front of her parents, holding her hand in front of the people she's nervous to be seen with me. Do all these things and don't care about what she's thinking because she's going to look back one day and be really glad I wasn't too scared to do them.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

1 Corinthians 13:4-7



He Understands

Written by the lovely Emily Hopf who is currently doing a School of Ministry Development (SOMD) at YWAM Los Angeles. 


For me this week I can with all my heart and in all honesty say it was life changing for me. This week my life has been changed because of Jesus. Simply because Jesus is mine, and I am His, He knows me, He loves me, He understands me, He knows exactly what dreams I have in my heart and He knows them in more detail than my mind can even comprehend. My whole entire life I have had this deep longing in my heart to have Jesus. I’ve just always wanted Him, weather I knew that’s what I wanted, weather I was pursuing Him or not, my soul has always wanted Jesus. But it has never been enough to know about Him, all my life I’ve known about Him I’ve known who He is supposed to be, but I never figured out that He Himself is mine. Jesus in all his perfection, in all his Glory, in all his righteousness, is mine forever and ever and ever.

his week in class I heard God speak to me something so simple but it was so profound to me and in my walk with him. He simply said, “Emily, I understand.” In my relationship with God I would go to him with my prayers, questions, concerns, and feelings but I would always have this sense that I had to convince God that I was worth listening to, and that my problems were legitimate enough for him to listen.

While praying in class on Monday as we were asking God to identify certain things that were getting in the way of us hearing him and having direct access to him (such as fear of man, doubt, unbelief, comparison, etc.) He showed me that I was condemning myself. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, yet when I would be talking to Him, I was doing it in a self-condemning way. But God said No! stop doing that and let me be the one that consumes you. In that moment when I let all these things go that’s when I heard God say, “Emily, I understand”. Now I know that I don’t have to go to him trying to make my problems seem difficult enough to pay attention to, he wants to listen, he wants to take my burdens purely because I am his prize possession.

This was only one moment out of this whole week that has impacted my relationship with God. God truly used our speaker this week to transform our relationship together, it is taking us into deeper intimacy and bringing me to a place of greater dependence on God rather than on myself. Our speaker has challenged me to actually die to myself every morning and truly realize that my flesh is pretty much the only thing that is getting in the way of me having  the relationship with God that I want to have. That is why daily I’ve been making the choice to die to myself and pick up my cross, and usually its more than once in day that I have to remind myself that I am not in control because I died to myself today. It’s in this daily surrender that I am realizing what it is like to have intimacy with God and it is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced!



An Awe and a Wonder

Reading an old journal entry is both helpful and terrifying. Helpful because your former self often has very good advice and insights, and terrifying because it's a bit hard to look back at times of inexperience. With that being said, I dug up an old blog post (which to me is like an open journal) from a couple years ago that I never ended up posting and thankfully for yours and my sake, it is more helpful than anything else. 

The year was 2014, a fresh faced Abby had just returned from various trips with YWAM. She was 18 and had only just been diagnosed with a touch of wanderlust. So ignore the fact that I am referring to myself in the 3rd person and hopefully see how perfectly wondrous the world is from the eyes of an 18 year old.

The lessons of Exploration

I never thought I’d reach the point in life where I’d actually be “coming home” from someplace – I thought I would be home forever. Then one day out of the blue high school decided to come to an end and I found myself returning home from places like Thailand and Hawaii. It has indeed been an incredible year.

It’s gone by so quickly that I sometimes wonder if it honestly happened. If I really did spend all those hours in a plane flying across the US and the ocean to new and unfamiliar places. Sometimes it feels like it was a blip in time that I formed in my own imagination. Just think about it: imagine coming home to find out that everything is exactly the way you left it – you’d feel like you’d never left at all. The only assurance that I did leave, I find in myself: I have changed. Home stayed the same but I’ve changed– drastically.

I left home a scared somewhat naive individual who hated the thought of giving up personal comfort and loathed the idea of having to leave their safe little corner of the earth. The words “risk” and “adventure” weren’t even in my vocabulary. I was fine with being fine. Going to new places– especially Thailand– changed that for me. 

Thailand is so different from my world back home, that the lack in similarities is remarkable. It’s not a dangerous place, it’s just not the normal I'm use to. Living there for 3 months gave me a chance to fall in love with a land and people other than my own. I got the chance to make friends with local Thai girls who’s smiles warm ever single inch of your soul. I also ate more sticky rice and fired basil than humanely possible– It was incredible..

I was in such awe of just how creative God was, and how he made each person and land so different and unique from each other. There were nights spent on a Chiang Rai balcony that I could not fathom just how remarkable Thailand was and how there are so many other beautiful people and places that I have not yet discovered.

Hawaii was equally as eye opening. It was a 6 week blur of sunscreen and laughter. Each day I spent there made me feel more alive than ever before. I fell so in love with the people around me that the stunning scenery was secondary to the physical signs of happiness that surrounded me and my friends. I found deep friendship that summer all while surrounded by the ocean– nothing short of magical.

I learned so much in those months traveling that I will never get over the fact that before I left in September, I was fine, absolutely 100% fine, with just getting to know one part of this breathtaking earth God created. A truly tragic mindset, because If God spent so much thought and care into creating this earth and it's people then it is by far one of the greatest privileges to get to explore them.

So promise me you will explore. Promise me even if you can't get on a plane that you will take time to explore your city, because there is such an awe and wonder to God's creation and we have it right at our finger tips– you just have to grab it.

- Abby

Hawaii. Summer 2014. Stolen bouquets and a sunny day. Though not candid that smile was as genuine as can be.

Hawaii. Summer 2014. Stolen bouquets and a sunny day. Though not candid that smile was as genuine as can be.




Style Arise: Kirsty

by Abby Eastman


Style Arise

For this week's blog post I wanted to do something different. I had this idea in my head for a while to find someone who's style I admired so I could interview them in a attempt to understand the relationship between fashion and individuality. In order to make an idea a reality I hunted down Kirsty last week who modestly agreed to a short interview despite the fact that neither of us had really done anything like this before (in school when we were supposed to interview someone for an english project I instead interviewed myself pretending to be someone else, which at the time seemed clever.) So here it is: the beginning of a new series I would like to call Style Arise. Enjoy!


Long brown hair and a smile as Taylor Swift would say " could light up this whole town", Kirsty Hamilton is the definition of radiant. I met the 25 year old, Northern Ireland native while here in LA but had never really had a full conversation with her (a shame really; her excitement for life is contagious). This is partially due to the fact that she is currently taking on the colossal challenge of SBS (School of Biblical Studies), an intensive 9 month bible course that not only requires perseverance but also A LOT of your time. Even though Kirsty and I lacked in depth conversation, her style always spoke volumes to me. I was immediately drawn to her effortlessness and confidence in the way she dressed. so I was more than ecstatic when she agreed to let me interview her as well as photograph her for the blog.

AE: Describe your style in one word?
KH: Earthy! I like earth tones. Sometimes I will veer off of that, but it's naturally what I go for.
AE: At what point in your life did you stop dressing for others and started dressing for yourself?
KH: Oh I like that. That's a really good question. I think it was just before DTS (Discipleship Training School). I was probably 23. It had gotten to a point where it used to be I would see someone else wearing something and I would be like "Oh I want to wear that" and then I would get really disappointed if I wore it and it didn't do anything for me or I wouldn't look the same. But then after awhile I was like "I'm just gonna do what makes me feel most comfortable and confident but it doesn't necessarily have to be what everyone else is wearing". I think that naturally lent itself toward wearing what I wanted to wear, rather than trying to imitate and copy another person. I was like "You know what? You're an individual" and I liked being an individual anyway.
AE: Any advise for budding fashionistas?
KH: Oh  I am not a fashionista, but I feel like it's "don't box yourself in". I guess for me right now I'm really enjoying earth tones. but one day if I decide I actually just want to venture out of earth tones, then I'm going to do it. I'm not going to place myself in this little box. You can pop every now and again-- its okay
AE: Fave clothing item?
.KH: Every scarf I own! I have a thing with scarves, oh my goodness. Also because I'm from Ireland I'm always cold. It's such an essential. part of your wardrobe! I tried to wear them here and [my friend] would laugh at me because I'd be wearing scarves in like 90 degrees heat. Right now at this very moment though it is my pastel blue skirt that I bought in a thrift store in Pasadena.  But If we did this interview in 2 days it would probably change. 
AE: Where are some of your favorite places to shop?
KH: I love Zara so much and occasionally I do like Urban Outfitters. We have this place called TK Maxx in Ireland which is like TJ Maxx. It's all discounted stuff and I love just going through rails. Thrifting as well is up there. 
AE: What are you wearing right now?
KH: Black Birks--  I've had these for like 5 years now. They've been everywhere. These are the best shoes I've ever bought and a dress from Zara I bought last may.


- Abby