Growing up in "the best place in Indiana"
I was five when we moved. I remember moving into what we called the little house. And that's exactly what it was, it was a small little house. It was white, and attached to it was a larger house that my great grandfather lived in. The little house didn't have enough bedrooms for my brother, my parents, and I so while our kitchen, our bathroom, our formal living room, and our TV room, as well as a small upstairs play area were in the little house, our bedrooms were in the larger house with my great grandfather. I can't imagine growing up anywhere else. My great grandpas bedrooms downstairs and my parents my brothers and my bedroom were upstairs. My brother and I shared a room and closet growing up and my parents bedroom was attached to ours by a single door. It might have been a small house which may not be ideal for many families but I can't imagine growing up anywhere else. You see, living in that little house taught me so much. And while the house taught me so much, the man that was born in that house taught me much more.
My great grandpa was a man of faith, family, support, love, and most importantly a man of God. Every time I walked into his house and into the kitchen he thanked me for coming. My brother and I often ate breakfast with him, and lunch as well, in summer. He often had Honey nut Cheerios for almost every meal. There are so many specific details that I remember about my great grandpa, its hard to choose a few for this.
Each specific detail made an impact on my life. Each specific detail taught me something. My great grandpa read his Bible every single night out loud and I can remember sitting before I went to bed listening to him read it. He also read it at lunch and in the morning. And when he went to bed he prayed and you could hear him from our bedrooms. Growing up I took gymnastics and I would practice cart wheels in his living room. After every single cart wheel he always Clapped and cheered me on. It meant the world to a little girl trying to be good at something. And I remember He would sit in his chair and watch the squirrels in the tree in front of his window. It was things so simple to me but he made them meaningful.
At the age of five my parents let me get my own pet, I got a cat and her name was dancer. Dancer lived in grandpa's house with us. She's soon not only became my best friend but his as well.
When my grandma came to give him lunch or go out to lunch with him, my brother and I would ride in his Oldsmobile car with them and they would take us through the drive-through of McDonald's for lunch, my brother and I would get our food and then my grandma, grandpa, and great grandpa would go get their lunch. It wasn't just a car ride with him it was more than that.
He also had these pillows on his couch that had real feathers and then and I can remember my brother and I plucking them out. And as kids whenever my brother and I found treasures outside, such as worms are butterflies we always ran into show grandpa Dean our treasures.
You see, I was named after his wife, Sarah Elizabeth. And he never ever forgot my name even when he grew very old, he always knew who I was. After many years of Sharing a home with him, we decided to build our own house next to his and tear down the little house. Growing up I began to get busy with school and sports and I didn't see him as much, but I always made my best effort to go see him next door. And every time we drove up our Long lane driveway you could always see my great grandpa in his chair waving at us no matter what time of day. He had the greatest stories to tell. But my favorite is when he told me that we live in the best place in Indiana. The farm. When we moved into our new house next-door, we decided to let the cat stay with grandpa. He loved her so much, and she loved him, even though she scratched him sometimes. He would feed her so many treats and he even cut them up for her. She was spoiled rotten and that showed. And even though she scratched him sometimes he loved her anyway. Two peas in a pod, Dean and Dancer.
My great grandpa grew to be very old. He made it in his 100s. But one of my favorite last memories of him is sharing something that we both had in common. We both held a key to the city of Nappanee. It was a special moment to share with him.
I love my great grandpa. He was the greatest man I've ever met. He was so full of love for the Lord. He had the best stories. He was the greatest cheerleader. The best cat treat feeder. And the best great Grandpa I could've ever been given. I'm so grateful.
I am blessed to have grown up with a great grandpa and grown up at the best place in Indiana. And every time I go past his grave I blink my lights like we did when he waved to us as we drove up the lane because I know he is waving back at me from heaven.
I could tell you many more things I loved about him but if you have a great grandparent, take an hour or more out of your day and go talk to them, ask them to tell you stories, because they truly are the best stories.
We are known as the ME ME ME generation. As the generation that is lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow.
Why yes, we can be all these things, but so can everyone else in different generations.
We are known to be consumed in our cell phones and laptops. Which I won’t deny. I spend hours each day on both, whether it is for school purposes or for my blog, watching YouTube videos, etc.
However that doesn’t mean that I don’t care, just because we post a selfie doesn’t make us awful humans. Posting a selfie for the world to see is actually pretty scary, it uses courage within someone. A selfie means you are allowing society to view you, to see you, to judge who we are based on one photo. Selfies can create confident people.
They say we are lazy, but Millennials are some of the hardest working people I know, we just work differently than most generations. We want to work hard to find a cure for cancer, to save our oceans, to eliminate factory farming. Millennials have big dreams and are willing to work as hard as they have to in order to achieve those dreams.
We are known to not be able to connect face to face anymore but are more than capable of connecting through email, text, Skype, or FaceTime. That we are consumed in our social lives.
However, from my own personal story, I was given the opportunity to meet my best friend of 8 years at the time because of Skype. I was able to chat with her for 16 years thanks to email, and Skype. Without that I would have never met my best friend. I would never be able to share what I was going through living my life with one arm and have her share what her life is like having one arm and have the ability to help each other through the hardest times of our lives.
YES SOCIAL MEDIA CONSUMES US.
YES WE ARE CONSTANTLY ON OUR PHONES AND LAPTOPS
While many of these statements are true, Millennials are capable of so much more than you think.
We are the most diverse and educated generation yet. We are open minded and want to learn others point of view. We see value, importance, and we want to change the world.
We want to change society and will do everything we can to make an impact in some way, whether that is complementing someone we see as we cross the street, or commenting a positive message on someone’s photo on Instagram.
They say that we think the world revolves around us, but we are creating campaigns globally to change the world, to gain recognition for others, to share others stories so that those stories can impact lives.
Millennials are not content because we always want to be better, do better, and find better ways of accomplishing tasks. This is why we will achieve more than you can ever imagine. We hope to be a better version of ourselves each day and strive to be great.
Millennials understand your perspective and we won’t deny that what you say might be true but before you speak or dis on us, please look into each of these statements and research a little bit further, take into consideration why we do what we do. Why we consume ourselves in technology, because the reason you think is most likely not truly the reason.
From my personal life, I consume myself in social media because I want to change the world, I want to change the idea of perfection, to make an impact on those around me, and to help others who might experience the same situations I have and if they can hear my story first it might help them through difficult times and challenges.
We care, that’s why we share.
A Great Escape
Cof.fee shop: a café serving coffee and light refreshments
A peaceful place, a great escape, where it is no longer you inside of a large world of mass chaos but instead you and a cup.
I have always found peace in coffee shops. I had my first sip of coffee at age 8 thanks to my grandmother and ever since I found a love for it.
My family never understood this great escape of mine, and some of you may not understand either. However, I know there are many of you who will understand the great escape I am talking about.
Here is a list of my top reasons why I love coffee shops…. And I am not talking about your local Starbucks.
You can’t have a coffee shop without coffee. Coffee isn’t just a drink. Coffee brings people together. It brings joy and life to so many. If you are anything like me, your day doesn’t start until you have had your coffee. Without it my smile is just not the same. It’s warm and delightful. My go to is a large vanilla latte. My favorite part is the foam at the top. Every time I buy my incredibly expensive cup of joe, I am not just paying for a cup of coffee but instead paying for a great experience, a cup of coffee that could change my life, not the coffee changing my life but someone or something in the coffee shop that could change my life that day.
Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and not seen art everywhere? There is art on the walls, on the floor, the tables, and even art in your latte. Each drink is different that’s art if you ask me, and each person who walks into that coffee shop looks different, smells different, lives differently and each have their own unique personal story. Art is made in coffee shops, sold in coffee shops, art is everywhere.
My second favorite thing about coffee shops. The people… so many people walk in and out of those doors every day. Each person with a different reason to visit and each person with a different order meaningful to themselves. There are people of all ages at a coffee shop. I love watching the old couples talk and share a cup of coffee while the husband so kindly helps put on his wife’s jacket as they are ready to leave. There are business men and women who come for meetings and to discuss important topics that could make or break a deal. There are children playing in the corner with the toys as their parents have a relaxing break. Couples on their first date and couples on their 100th date who just enjoy a day with a cup of coffee and their significant other sitting across from them. There are long lost friends who haven’t seen each other in ages and want to catch up, and what better way to catch up than at a coffee shop! College students writing their next essay, high school students preparing for their next steps, bloggers, and then there is people like me alone at a table taking in the environment and loving every second and last sip. There are so many different stories around you in a coffee shop and most of them you will never know, but they are there right around you waiting to be told. You never know who you might see or what you might run across in a coffee shop but what I do know is that there are so many amazing people who visit.
My favorite. I know this might not be true for every coffee shop but it is true for the coffee shop I visit. God’s love is everywhere. On Sunday’s families visit after church and discuss the sermon that day over a cup. On any day, you will find at least one or two individuals with a cup of coffee in one hand and their Bible in front of them, digging deeper into the word of God. Couples that are praying together and instead of being on their phone reading God’s word together. God’s love and presence is all over; remember to be aware of his presence.
Memories are made in coffee shops. Memories with friends, maybe just yourself, your significant other, and your family. It might be the memory of your first time visiting your favorite coffee shop, or the first time trying it. A memory shared with a friend or even reminiscing over memories with each other.
Next time you drive past a coffee shop at night look into the windows. The windows each representing a different story. People sitting at tables, chatting. The windows each represent something different. Different lives, a different story to be told. It could be an older couple reminiscing through their lives. A brand-new couple ready to embark on a journey together. Or a girl who needs a little extra love and is finding it difficult to find herself. When you look through the windows imagine a story waiting to be told and it will change your outlook.
IDEAS AND DREAMS
In a coffee shop, there are so many ideas and dreams being tossed around. Business ideas, inventions, and new thoughts into different brains. Whenever I sit in a coffee shop as I am right now ideas always are flowing through my mind. New blog posts I can write about, how I can change the lives around me, what I can do to be the best version of myself and how I can make a difference in this world. Dreams Ideas are everywhere in coffee shops and dreams are being made. I think a coffee shop is somewhere where people can express who they are and not be judged, a peaceful place to relax and enjoy time to yourself.
I find so much peace in a coffee shop. Just me and my cup of coffee. Sometimes I see people I know or even people I don’t and I find a reason to smile because it creates a conversation. There is something about the quietness of a coffee shop but also the voices around you that I find peaceful. The smell of fresh ground coffee that fills the air and the presence is very peaceful to me.
Your great escape from the world can be anywhere you want it to be.
For me…. My great escape is a coffee shop.
Congrats you made it into a new year! I hope 2016 was filled with lots of love, laughter, family, friends, hope for your future and much more!
It’s a new year so what does that mean?
The promise of a new year has us look at our past and evaluate ourselves and the choices we may have made as well as what we want to change, to make our lives better. It is natural for us to strive to be great. We want to be the best version of ourselves. We want to love more, do more, create more, and improve.
However, we can make these “changes” at any given time in our lives. We don’t need a new year to make improvements to our lives. We get a new day every 24 hours, that’s enough to better ourselves.
Fun Fact: Nearly half of the population makes resolutions every year and yet only 8 percent stick with their resolution.
If you search on Google the top resolutions for 2016 you will find:
There is nothing wrong with wanting to make these changes in your life, they are all positive changes that can better you. Each of these resolutions are attainable of course! The problem is that we don’t see an automatic change and as a result we often give up on these.
You are capable of creating whatever change you wish to see in the world, in your own life, or in the lives around you. Take action. Think positively.
Change your words first:
Lose Weight à Be active and stay healthy, eat good
Get Organized à The exterior is a reflection of the interior, prioritize
Spend less, save more à Evaluate needs vs. wants
Fall in love à Learn to love yourself and with time love will find you
Spend more time with family à Make time, live more
You have the power to do all of these things, just find the right nitch and go for it. Do not give up, keep pushing and with time you will find that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.
There have been multiple times in my life when God has spoken to me. As I’m sure most of you can say as well. However, God is always speaking to us. The real question is are we listening?
I want to share these moments with you in hope that the presence of the Lord will be shared. Next time you experience something big in your life or maybe something small, get in tune with God and listen for his voice. It will be heard.
I was 15 years old, I sent in my story to Skype and I was waiting to hear if I would meet my best friend. I have never been so nervous and excited. My parents didn’t want me to get my hopes up and I remember them saying, “Sarah stay calm, it might not happen, don’t get too excited, it is in God’s hands.”
The words that really stuck with me was that it was in God’s hands. You see…. I worried a lot. Whether it was before a cross-country meet, before a big test, or just that I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, I was always worrying.
When I got the news I cried. I cried happy tears, that this was in God’s plan for my life. But I had no idea what would happen.
I am a planner, I like to know what I am doing everyday at what time and I have my weeks planned out for me, while that might be a good thing it is also a bad thing. During this time in my life I learned a very valuable lesson. That it is not my time’s but instead God’s timing.
During this process I had to take many weeks off of school, one for filming, one for New Zealand and one after that I hadn’t expected. This meant that I had to learn on my own, I was taking challenging classes at the time such as chemistry and science is my least favorite subject so I was worried about my grades. But something happened to me during these few weeks….. typically I would worry and worry about my grades and getting everything done. However, God took ahold of me this week and said to me, “Sarah do not worry for I am with you, I will help you through this, trust me.”
I did just that, I lived in the moment these few weeks and no longer worried about my future. I trusted God’s word and his voice. I knew that he has a plan for my life and that I should not worry but instead trust in him and follow the path that he had before me.
A door opened
Without my faith I don’t know where I would be today. My faith is very important to me. My best friend does not know Christ and I have always wanted that door to open but I try not to rip it open but instead just plant one seed at a time. During my trip many seeds were planted and a door opened. She asked me who God is and what I believe in.
I went into this journey feeling very prepared thanks to my team and I had no idea what would happen or come out of it. I didn’t really have one goal in mind going into it, I just wanted to follow the path God had planned for me. I prayed a lot this week and every time I got on the bus or was in my dressing room I wrote a prayer in my prayer box.
What I am about to tell you next won’t make sense unless I tell you this story first.
As a kid when my mum got a headache she would ask me to lay my head on her head to take her headache away. This sounds crazy but it was a thing. I believe that God gives everyone gifts and I am not sure but I think this might me one of mine. When I put my head on my mums’s I could feel a sensation of pain come into my head then when I took my head off hers the pain would leave.
So, during the week of Miss Indiana, someone there could not speak due to her throat hurting and she had lost her voice. I knew she was a strong Christian and when we were backstage I asked If I could put my hands on her throat and pray over her before we went on stage. She said yes, as I placed my hands on her neck I did not feel that pain but I felt God’s presence.
After I prayed it was time for me to practice my dance number, as I sat waiting backstage and once I got on stage to dance my throat began to feel excruciating pain, it felt as if it was getting hard to breath.
I can’t explain this but I know it was God.
During this week I learned so much about myself. This week I heard God’s voice the clearest I ever had. When they announced top 10, I went back to my dressing room and prayed, and God said to me, “Sarah this is not the plan I have for you, I have a different plan for your life.” After these words I was so humbled in knowing that God has a different plan for me and I trust in that plan, whatever it may be.
Know that God is with you always, listen for his voice and you will hear him speak to you. Pray continuously and life live not in your time but instead in God’s time. ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
LIVE LIKE YOU ARE LOVED
Yeah well he does, He loves you so incredibly much. He loves you so much that he died on the cross for your sins. God loves us all, everyone on this Earth. That a lot of people. He loves us just as we are, flawed, broken and sinners. God loves us just as we are and we do not need to change because God has created us who we are for a plan and a purpose. God’s love is more than enough. His love is all you truly need to care about. Yes, you are loved by so many but God’s love is first. As well as your love for God.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
My inspiration for this post was from the song Live Like You’re Loved by Hawk Nelson. Take a listen for yourself!
Somehow my grandma understands boys and dating more than anyone my age. She is always keeping updated on me and giving great advice. But the best advice is watching you and grandpa and your love for each other. I hope one day I can have a love like yours and a man who just goes with my flow like grandpa does with you.
A LIST FOR LOVE
Girls, have you ever had a list of what your perfect man would be? Or even a list of what you want in a guy? You know…. That list that we talk about with our girl friends at 3 a.m. and list off all the qualities we want our future significant other to possess.
I have had “a list” my whole life… I had a very large list and every guy I met I was always disappointed because he never checked every little thing off my list.
I thought that once I found “the one” that I would know it was him because he would meet almost everything on my list.
As I grew older my list got longer, more complex and more of a fairytale.
I couldn’t wrap my head around why I couldn’t find a single guy that met what I wanted. I was the girl who looked and looked. I dated and went on dates to see what I liked, what I wanted. I am picky and I knew exactly what I wanted.
Many of you may be like me in that aspect, and you might even have “a list”.
It might consist of something like this…. Or similar…..
2.Has a good, loving family
4.Has a Nice Car
10.Treats me right
11.Laughs… A LOT
My list was quite large and probably a lot more detailed than the one above but hopefully you get the idea.
SOOOOO…. Girls…. If you have a list learn that you don’t need it!!!!
First, your perfect guy most likely isn’t going to come when you are searching for him, most likely God will give you him when you least expect it, and he might not meet everything on your list but you are going to notice something very different.
To the man that made me realize I don’t need a list,
You came when I least expected it and I never expected it would be you either. I was with someone at the time we met and I thought that guy was “perfect”. However, as we walked and laughed at my favorite place I realized a very important thing… that man may have checked off a few items on my list but those things on my list didn’t make me genuinely happy. Just like money can’t buy you happiness. I realized a list can’t bring me happiness either. You made me realize that my list was silly. That love isn’t about the physical features, or the nice car he drives, or the cute things he says. Love is about finding that one person that can make you laugh for hours, forget what time it is and never want to leave that person’s side. Love is someone who you want to spend every day with for the rest of your life. Love is someone who you want to share every embarrassing, quirky moment and flaw with. Love is going on an adventure at 3 am and never looking back. Love isn’t a list. Love isn’t a fancy car, nice clothes or really good hair. Even though you do have really nice hair!!!
So thank you, for showing me that love isn’t a list. Love is something that comes out of the blue with someone that genuinely makes you laugh and makes you a better you when you are together.
So ladies, find a man that shows you that you don’t need a silly list full of silly things that could matter less.
Find a man that loves God first, loves you as you are, makes you laugh, and genuinely makes you smile and happy.
You don’t need a list to find love.
It’s a BIG World
Recently my world flipped upside down as I let go of a large chapter in my life and began to write a new book for my life. That new book is college. Already in two weeks I have learned more than I ever imagined.
You learn to wake up even when you don’t want to and if you wake up late you learn to just put on a t-shirt and shorts and start your day. No one in college is going to judge you because it’s a bun and no makeup kind of day, we all understand the struggle.
When you start to adult you learn to be more grateful of things you once had at home, like a dishwasher not too far away. In college we have this thing called a sink and I wash everything in the kitchen by hand. “Mom, I now understand why you hated having dirty dishes in the sink.”
While all of this might not be the best or fun, I personally enjoy being on my own and learning that the world is much bigger than the little city I came from. There are new views, ideas, and lots of different people who can all teach you something new each day.
2. People Stare A LOT
Of course people stare, and I don’t mean that they do this to everyone. I think it is mainly just me because they have never seen someone without an arm before. Staring never bothered me and still doesn’t, however it can get old sometimes.
Sometimes I wish those who stare would come up and ask, “What happened, or why do you only have one arm?” I have gotten use to the funny looks and the whispering to their friends but after every day goes by it can get a little old.
I might as well make a big announcement on the streets, “YES I HAVE ONE ARM AND YES YOU CAN SAY SOMETHING!!!”
Recently I performed a social experiment wearing my prosthetic to see if people stared. The answer is no they don’t.
3. Classes are much harder
In high school I thought it was challenging, I had loads of homework each day. However, college is a whole new ball game. I have heaps of homework and studying each day, and sometimes professors are not as clear as you want them to be.
The professor is not going to remind you to finish your homework or give you an oops pass.
You have to be on top of your game and know what is coming up. Learn to balance class, homework, exams, free time, and extra activities you may be a part of. It’s good to know that the professor will not always be reminding you what is due or when the exams are, so remember to check your school account and email’s often.
A helpful tip: GET A PLANNER and DON’T SLACK OFF!
This is the rest of your life we are talking about!
4. Be Outgoing
High school can have loads of bullies; trust me I understand. So in a sense you might have a wall up and be scared of those around you. You might even be scared that people are not genuine or going to be a true friend.
Don’t worry, let down your guard and know that everyone is having this thought pop into your head. People want to make friends too, so let your guard down a little and go sit with a stranger at lunch. Get to know someone and maybe you guys will just click and boom you have a new best friend! We are all in the same boat of leaving our old friends from home and trying to find new ones. You will meet so many great people as you walk around campus and also while in your classes.
5. Finding classes can be a challenge
I highly recommend before your first day of classes start to go find the main building where your classes are located. Also find what classroom they are located in. In my experience I only did the first step and found the building. It turned out the first day that I was late due to not being able to locate the exact classroom; this resulted in a meltdown followed by a call to my dad and a pep talk.
It can be a challenge so I highly recommend you figure it out before hand and do your best to locate your classes.
Maybe try to take a day with a friend and each of you can help each other out.
6. Call Home
As much as you think you won’t miss home know, you will. Remember to call your parents and keep them up to date on what is going on. Your parents want you to keep them updated and they want to hear how each day goes. I said I wouldn’t miss my parents and as much as I love college and being on my own I miss coming home to their loving faces each day. But remember, they are always just a call or Skype away.
7. Find a best friend
In high school you might have had a best friend, or so you thought, or maybe you actually did and you still are in touch. In college you are probably going to meet a best friend. That boy that will be your best man in your wedding or that girl that will be your maid of honor and cry as you walk down the aisle because she has been with you through it all. This friend could change your whole world. College is a much more fun if you have someone to share your greatest memories and funniest times with.
8. Get Involved
In college I highly recommend that you get involved with as much as you possibly can while still having time for studies and naps.
Keep track of all the organizations you want to get involved with and learn what you can handle and what you will not be able to.
If you are worried about making friends and you are not sure how to, get involved in something and I guarantee you will meet people.
Getting involved is going to make you learn to possess time management skills and also allow you to get the full college experience.
Mail Time, Mail Time, Mailllll Timmeeeee
Yes, that song is from Blue’s Clues but after leaving home and getting into college you learn that you begin to LOVE getting mail. A package or a letter, it is always a good day when you get mail.
Have your mum or a grandma send a quick letter or fun care package and send a nice letter back. You will love it and so will your family.
My best friend and I always joke about how much we check our mail. We check it about 4 times a day, no joke.
10. Dorm / Roommate
Living with someone is a whole new ball game. You and your roommate are not always going to get along. There will be arguments, fights, and sometimes you are going to annoy each other. Also it may be worse than all of the things I mentioned above. I recommend filling out a roommate agreement and discussing it with each other. If worse comes to worse get your RA involved and figure something out. A dorm room is pretty small and you are going to want it to feel as at home as possible.
Welcome to the time of loads of stress. Exams are 10x harder, and there are no study guides. You are an adult now. In college you are going to learn that it is perfectly okay to feel alone and stressed. You will have multiple breakdowns, but trust me everyone has them. I have had multiple in the last 5 hours and in the end God will take care of everything. You are going to be okay.
Overall, Have fun and just be you! Remember to not stress and worry too much!
Have you ever sat and wondered what your purpose is? If you haven’t I challenge you to ask yourself this question a few times during your lifetime. This is a challenging question to say the least. A question that may not be answered right away. Sometimes we sit and wonder why us? Why me? What is my purpose in life? It is a real question trust me, and I have asked myself this before. I can vividly remember the first time I said these words to myself.
I was eight years old, and it was a rough year for me, and I felt like I was trapped in a bubble where no one could understand my thoughts about being “different”. As most of you have heard this story, I won’t elaborate too much on it. However, I recently experienced a time when I thought I knew what my purpose was and God had different plans for my life. We often believe that we know what our purpose in life is… but do we really know? We need to stop focusing on planning our own purpose and start focusing on the purpose God has set before our life.
“My” Purpose for Life
This is a topic that I truly did not understand or grasp until just a few weeks ago when God spoke to me and made this question very clear to me. We often wonder what is my purpose? Where will I go in life and what impact will I make? Will I live in New York like I always dreamed? These are questions I have asked myself before and you see.. I am a planner. I like to have all my ducks in a line and know what I am doing in each moment of every day. When something goes wrong I have to fix it. You can look at my Pinterest and my life will be all “planned” out, from my wedding to my future home. This idea of planning is not uncommon for my generation. Yes, these are all dreams and I am not saying do not dream because trust me I have big dreams as well and dreams are extremely important! However, we are all so focused on what WE WANT for our life that we astray from what GOD WANTS. My whole life I have wanted to do big things! I have wanted to change the world, and while I do believe I can achieve this dream, I also believe that I can never change the world with only myself leading me there. The only way I can change the world is by having God lead me there. Recently in my life this has been a thought in my mind often and I think it is truly important.
God’s Purpose for your life
This idea can be very difficult to grasp and very confusing. Sometimes we think God gives us an answer but the next day it is not as clear as we thought or had hoped. The answer to the Big Question does not come as easily as you may think. It could take days, months, and even years, for Him to answer. During this process…
As most of you know the only way I could ever write my blog is if I had my own experience of each situation I write about. So if you were wondering how this big question with lots of thoughts got into my head, well this is how. As you read earlier I am a planner, and I am always coming up with crazy new dreams. Recently I had a dream but I started listening to everyone’s voices around me instead of the one God was speaking to me. Finally, in the midst of that dream I stopped listening to what “my own” purpose was or what I thought it was and I started listening to God’s words. He spoke to me more clearly than ever before. During this time in my life I was so caught up in what I “thought” my purpose was that I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture right in front of me. God said to me, “Sarah while this purpose is great it is not your purpose I have set before you. I have a different path for you to take, follow me and trust me.” I have been humbled and blessed by these words God has spoken to me, and I encourage all of you to listen clearly to the words He might be speaking to you as well.
I encourage all of you to stop listening to other voices, and sometimes even your own voice and instead begin listening to the ONE VOICE that truly matters…. GOD.
Think to yourself… have I been living in my own “purpose” or have I been following God’s PURPOSE for my life?
If your answer to this question is the first one, know that it is okay!!! We all at some point in our life have lived for what we think is our purpose. I have, and sometimes I struggle with the idea of living for God’s purpose in my life. I go back and forth sometimes and if you do too know that it is completely normal. We are HUMAN! However, in your heart know that God’s Purpose for your life is so much greater than your own. Know that God has a plan for your life, he has a PURPOSE for your life as well.
I want to leave you with one of my favorite Bible versus….
“For I know the plans I have for You declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
When God Speaks
Recently in my life I have heard God truly speak to me. Sometimes life can get complicated and overwhelming but God is always with you. Have you ever got that crazy feeling in your belly where it feels like there are thousands of butterflies ready to explode out of it? This is how I felt a while back and typically I would try to ignore it but in this moment I prayed that he would release any butterflies and any worries I may have. As I prayed this I could feel the Holy Spirit release these uneasy feelings.
There are so many different ways that God speaks to us. God can speak to us through his word, or through his son, his creation and nature, through other believers, through music, circumstances, his spirit, and through prayer. God can speak to us in so many ways and sometimes the message is not clear right away but eventually we will see the true meaning.
Recently God has been clearly speaking to me through prayer. During a busy week recently I prayed during every moment possible that he would lead me where he wanted me to be led. That God would give me his words to speak and his light would shine through me. God showed me a lot in that time, and some crazy God moments happened to me. My biggest prayer was for God to show me my journey and touch my heart with his presence. He did just that! I want to share a few crazy thoughts and God moments with you that have recently happened and my faith has continued to grow.
God Speaks through Healing
As a child when my mum use to get a headache she would always ask me to lay my head on hers and pray for it to go away. I always did just that but the crazy thing is that her headache always went away. As I placed my head on hers I could always feel a tingly sensation in my own head and know it was the healing of her headache from my own head. As a child I was always so confused on how this was even possible and I have no answer other than God is amazing. Recently I ran into someone who could not talk because their throat hurt. I asked them if I could pray for their throat and they agreed. As I prayed I got the same tingly feeling I got when I use to pray for my mums headaches. After I prayed for their throat, my throat suddenly hurt afterward then later with time the pain went away. This seems crazy I know but I truly believe that God can heal, he is all powerful and if you truly believe it is incredible.
God Speaks through Prayer
As I prayed during this time I wasn’t expecting an answer but more of a clue. I asked God to show me my journey and to touch my heart with his presence. He did just that and it was an incredible experience. God surrounds us in every moment and is there to lead us, there is no fear when we have faith in him. During this time I wanted to be fearless in God’s presence and in my weakness I wanted God to be my shoulder to lean on and surround me in his presence. As I prayed every morning and through the day each prayer was answered in a different way. God released any fear or worry I may have had and stayed by my side holding my hand. I truly felt God surrounding me. During this time I heard God speak through me to answer my biggest prayer. God said to me, “Sarah this is not your journey but instead I have prepared a different journey for your life and your purpose on this earth is great; stick by me and follow the path I have created for you and while on your journey I will never leave or forsake you but I will guide you through every obstacle, and challenge. Keep faith in me and we will grow together.” This has given me so much comfort and contentment in my life. Never do I need to worry what is to come because God will speak through me, He will lead me through the path he has set forth for my life and in my faith I will touch lives.
God is Great
Not always are my prayers answered so clearly but they were this time and my relationship with God is the closest it has ever been. Please remember that God may not answer your prayer clearly every time or answer it in the way you have expected. However, that is what is so great! We then see how he does answer our prayers and they might be in a way we were least expecting it and that is so so exciting! God is incredibly great! God is loving, fearless, caring, and all powerful. I encourage all of you to let go of your fear, worries, and distrust. God has a plan for you, he has a purpose for you, and he loves you. God will never leave you nor forsake you and he is always with you ready to hold your hand. Put all your faith in him and just trust. Miracles can happen. Lives can change. Prayers are heard. Prayers are answered.
If you have any prayer requests feel free to email me (email@example.com), or if you need to just chat I am here and will always listen and help as best to my ability.
On the car ride to freshman orientation at Ball State University I sat singing with my mum driving next to me. She suddenly started to sing, “go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely”. This is a joke between us because most of my friends live far away or I only have a few. However she truly meant what she said. It was freshman orientation and I needed to step outside my box and make some new friends. Once we arrived I was a bit nervous the first day, there were hundreds of kids to talk to but how do you approach someone without the awkward pauses? I sat in a room full of hundreds of people the first day and I was hoping I would meet a potential friend that day.
Have you ever felt a sudden connection with someone? A connection with no awkward pauses but just a genuine connection? That is what I felt Monday of freshman orientation as I sat in a large auditorium with hundreds of people. I was sitting next to a girl who little I knew would become my best friend in a few hours. We started with our names and majors when suddenly we found that we had a lot more in common then we realized.
Her name is Maddie, she has blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, a gorgeous smile and the sweetest voice. Maddie is everything I could ask for in a best friend. However, she not only became my best friend but she became my sister in Christ. As we sat in a seminar for hours bored out of our mind we decided to talk and learn more about each other instead of listen. Finally when a break came I met her loving mom and soon her mom met my mom. That same day at our dinner break we decided to all walk together to the local coffee shop. As we were walking Maddie and I were always way ahead our moms because they always stopped to chat. Little did I know as we were walking my mom was chatting up a storm about my life testimony. I hadn’t shared this with Maddie because most kids at school at home judge me for it and in college I was most excited for a clean slate where no one knows your story. However, when we sat down at the table we got to share our life stories. I told Maddie mine and she told me hers.
The last day of orientation Maddie and I suddenly got separated into different groups and both of us felt alone and wished we could be together. God made it happen, I left my group to fix something and suddenly Maddie came through the door. We hugged and went with each other and we never separated the rest of the day.
Sometimes God has a plan and he definitely had a plan this day. He had a plan of placing an angel in my life, a best friend, a sister in Christ, someone to hold me when I feel down, do laundry together so we aren’t alone, and a friend to make sure you don’t have a bugger in your nose or bad breath. Maddie I want to thank you for changing my life in two days. Most importantly I thank God that he gave us each other. Our moms and Maddie and I had many divine appointments in these two days, we prayed before every meal, we prayed for a miracle on top of a parking garage, and in the car.
You are the sister I never had, the best friend I always wanted and the person I can always count on. Thank you! You always hear stories of finding your bridesmaid at college, well I think we did! You never know what you are missing until you experience it and that is how I feel with our friendship. We only just met but I feel like I have known you forever. We had 18 years of our lives to catch up on in just two days but we did that and so much more! When we first met somehow we just clicked and the feeling was not one sided but instead mutual. From our similar life stories, to our similar sense of humor and love for Christ, we have a lot in common. I have discovered so much about myself with just knowing you for two days. I thought I knew what a best friend was, but I truly had no idea until you showed me. I can’t wait for next year with you and for all the silly stories we will have to tell, long with the adventures we have yet to go on. I know we will always be there for each other no matter what and that means the world to me. Even when I told you every bit of my life you stuck by me and support my dreams fully. Thank You. You make the boring times fun, and the fun times even better! I am always here for you if you need a shopping buddy, want to go on an adventure, need a shoulder to cry on, or just need a break from life. I can’t wait to see what awesome things we do together in the fall and what amazing people we will grow to be. I am beyond blessed that I met you and my life wouldn’t be the same without you in it.
The time has come when we all move on, new place, new home, friends, and a new start. Some of us are sad and some are ecstatic to be done with high school. I am the kid who is ecstatic. High school was definitely a journey, and for that matter I am not quite sure if it was a good or bad one. Going into high school I was ready and excited, I never was really scared of walking through the halls. I played soccer freshman year and ran track. This was where my love for running long distance began. In high school the fun part is meeting new people but the not so fun part freshman year was being the “stupid freshman”. The years in high school go by fast. Sophomore year I had a big journey ahead of me and I followed my dream of meeting my best friend. This journey required me to miss a lot of school and I began to worry all the time. Through the journey of flying hundreds of thousands of miles away and figuring out how to do all my school work by myself I learned that my grades were not the most important thing, and I didn’t need to worry about them or anything because God would take care of everything. When I had this journey I didn’t tell very many people because I didn’t want to be seen as anything but myself. However, when I got back to school three weeks later and after being on national television everything seemed to change. Kids at school suddenly wanted to be my friend and I always try to find the good in people so I totally missed the fact that they were using me. After a few months they were no longer my friends, I wish someone would have warned me. In high school you have to be careful of friends. You can find some really great ones, but you also can find some not so great ones. Junior year I began to distant myself, but still continue to follow my dreams. Due to these dreams I was judged. My junior year I created Imperfectly Perfect and for some reason kids at school felt the need to bully me for it. Luckily I ignored the harsh comments posted on my Instagram and twitter accounts by my fellow peers. However after so many times of hearing “go live your imperfectly perfect life and leave the rest of us alone” it begins to break a person. I never fully broke because I knew I had to stay strong, I knew that they were not worth me breaking. Senior year came and I can remember dreading getting out of my bed and facing my peers in the halls. I no longer felt safe, I felt broken and judged. Yet still every day I managed to smile. The lunch room was not my friend, I was scared of it, scared of the voices amongst it. I hid in a teacher’s room and ate my lunch there every day of senior year. I didn’t have friends and I wasn’t going to try to find any. I was ready for college where nobody judged me for my story or my dreams. While high school was not my friend, I wouldn’t trade my experience because it has made me the women I am today and is a part of my journey through life.
My advice to you:
Find true friends in high school and always find something in each day that makes you smile, but do not be afraid to break down. You are human and sometimes all we need to do is cry and let out our emotions. If you are facing the fear of your peers, the lunchroom, and the bullies know that they do not have the power to break you if you don’t let them, you are strong, you are beautiful, and you are YOU! Stand up for yourself and others. If people don’t like your dreams, ignore them because you should always follow your dreams. Remember, high school can be enjoyable and it truly is not that scary. Everything happens for a reason so if you fail a test don’t sweat it, just try harder on the next one, and girls when a guy breaks your heart know he isn’t the one. People will come in and out of your life, and that is okay! Please know it does not matter if you are popular, nobody will care in a year. Also know that not everyone is going to like you and that is perfectly fine, always try to be the bigger person. Always stay positive. The two most important things you need to know is to not be afraid to do what makes you happy, and to learn to love yourself. Do not let anyone stop you from doing the things you love, be the happiest version of you! You do not need to seek approval from others to be happy, as soon as you find confidence in yourself and accept who you are you will be much happier. You are unique, you are beautiful, and you have so much potential. You are Imperfectly Perfect. Love, Sarah Stump
Since I was a child I noticed the stares, the funny looks, and the questions people asked those around them. As I grew up I heard the sounds of children asking their parents, "Mommy look at her, what happened to her arm?" Or "Mommy why does she look funny?" These questions never bothered me and I would love to educate these children on why I am missing my arm. However, parents often pull their children away and apologize to me for their child's comment.
Parents, please know that your child has not offended me. I am 110% comfortable with my arm and I would be more than happy to educate your child on my difference and others if they have a question. Please do not pull your child away and tell them not to ask that. Our children need to be educated on this. One day they will see someone else like me and they will have no idea. They will teach their children to walk away and they will be left to wonder as well. We need to educate our children on differences. Those who have differences would much rather educate and answer your child's questions so they can learn about it and then next time when they interact or see someone with a difference they will know The answer and maybe even go talk to that individual.
From our point of view:
Yes, sometimes we get annoyed when people come up to us and touch it or ask us a thousand questions and we feel as if we are overwhelmed. However, we are prepared for these moments our entire life. Our parents knew this, so they never tried to step in they allowed us to learn how to react in these situations. We would love to answer your child’s question of why and how we are missing our arm. We are not offended and we understand that this is new to some people. Not every day do you see someone who is missing a limb.
My favorite moments:
I absolutely Love when a child comes up to me on their own and touches my little arm while asking what happened or why I only have one arm. I had a little girl at a dress store come up to me and ask what happened and she felt my little arm and just kept touching it along with telling me how beautiful my dress was. This little girl changed my life because she was so sweet and she genuinely wanted to know what happened. This little girl had no idea the impact she had made on my life that day. She didn't care about my arm, she still thought I was beautiful in my dress. I thought she was beautiful too and I wanted her to know how beautiful she was. This little girl has now planted a footprint on my life forever.
When a child asks, we understand that they have never seen something like this before, and if we let them know what happened they might understand that we are no different than other people, we can still do anything that people with two hands can do. They will not be afraid of people with differences and they might not stare but instead talk to that person and share of their experience from years ago.
With the emerging technology in today’s generation we often seek to look at the flaws we see in ourselves. It is easier for us to see negatives rather than positives and this causes us to lose the love we deserve. I am not talking about love for your significant other or someone in your life, I am talking about the love for yourself. Love yourself because once you do, you will have the ability to never fear or question who you are. Each day we learn something about ourselves, learn to love yourself because you deserve the world. We need to learn to pay more attention to the things we like about ourselves and the things that make us feel good about ourselves. Rather than the things that make us feel bad. When you stand in front of the mirror in the morning let yourself know how beautiful you are and not just on the outside. Stop picking out the things that you do not like and start seeing the things you love. Sure we all have things to work on about ourselves, we are human. However, we do not need to put our entire focus on these things. Learn to love your curves, dimples, freckles, moles, scares, messy hair, one arm, one leg, learn to love YOU! Be kinder to yourself, don’t beat yourself up over silly things. These are only failures if you allow them to be and to consume you. Don’t give up on yourself and your dreams. Remember who you are and don’t let everything drain you. Others around you do not get to decide who you are, they can judge you all they want but only you get to decide who you are. Do what you love, find a job that you actually love to do so you won’t be miserable. I can remember my dad telling me this very important piece of advice. He said to always do what you love, even if that means you make less money, and to know what is truly important in life. If you choose to follow this advice you are less likely to worry and stress about these things and you will be more prone to love what you do which leads to loving yourself. Loving yourself is a journey, and the journey might not always be uplifting, there will be challenges and obstacles to face but after the journey and you learn to love yourself it will all be worth it. Every step and obstacle you face will only make you stronger. Please remember to start erasing the negative thoughts in your head and to replace them with positive ones. Love yourself first. Love your flaws, your differences, your quirks, they make you unique.
Free Hand Fitness
The creator of Free Hand Fitness Joe has contacted me asking if I would be willing to try out his product. I immediately said yes! Joe created the product to make it easier for others to have the ability to do push-ups, rows, planks, pull-ups, and lots more! This device is very helpful to people like me who have a limb difference. It allows us to perform these different exercises just like anyone with two hands would. It also allows us to work our arm that we may be missing a pat of and build muscle in that arm as well. The device is very well made and it will not break, it goes over the door and stays perfectly and hold weight very well.
How to Use the device:
When I used the device I was able to perform a push up as well as different exercises. The only problem I had when using the device was putting my right arm in the sleeve, being born with only my right I was able to pull the left sleeve on with my right sleeve but found it very difficult to put on the right sleeve. This is a VERY minor flaw and is expected. This device is extremely helpful in building muscle in your little arm. Working your entire upper-body.
Go check out Free Hand Fitness!! It is a wonderful product and is very helpful!
Disability: a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movement, senses, or activities. Am I different? Yes, I am very different, compared to various others my difference is more obvious. Although, does that mean I have a disability?
The term disability has never been something I refer myself to. I may have one arm and some tasks may be more challenging than others, but there is nothing I cannot do or achieve. As a child, I never heard this word used in my house. When I was asked, “What happened to your arm?” I simply said I was born this way, or God decided to create me with one arm instead of two. Not, I have a disability. I believe we are all created differently, we all have flaws and imperfections, differences. No one is perfect. Having one arm for me is no different than someone having blonde hair and someone having brown hair. When asked on job applications if I have a disability I leave it blank because I do not. I can remember when I applied for a job and it specifically asked me if I had a missing limb I was astounded that it would even ask that. Does it truly matter? No, there is nothing that I cannot do.
I am not a disability. I believe in today’s society we often judge people based on this. We automatically assume different perspectives. For example, if I stop to tie my shoe, someone nearby will always ask, “Do you need help with that?”’ I carry my books in the school hallway and someone may ask, “Do you need help, are you sure you can carry that?” I thank those who ask but instead of assuming the person cannot handle the task; we need to believe in a person’s ability to take on the task. We need to take a stance and empower others, instead of bringing them down. Often people with differences are seen as an outcast, we are described as “them”, but everyone is different; so why do we feel the need to separate those who are perceived as “different”? We all have something in our life that is challenging. Something that is challenging for us to achieve and takes dedication, time, and practice. By separating us, we are telling each other to keep our differences to ourselves, to be ashamed of them. STOP! No one should be afraid to show who they are. We need to learn to be proud of our differences, love ourselves, but most importantly love others as well.
As a society, we need to educate children at a young age of the differences in people. One day they will recognize someone similar to me and wonder what happened, or they also might be afraid of me and think something is terribly wrong. We are teaching our children not to ask someone who is different what happened because we think they might be offended… Guess what?!? We WON’T be offended at all. In my own experience I have had various children in public places say, “Mommy look at her arm, why does she look like that?” this is not offensive in any shape or form to myself. Children are curious, but parents often tell their child to walk away, or apologize to me. I do not want an apology. I would be more than happy to educate your child on why I am different, and let them know that it is no big deal. Do not be afraid to ask someone what happened, I encourage you next time you notice someone to ask instead of stare if you are curious. We would love to chat with you! Everyone does tasks differently, everyone is unique in their own ways. If no one was different this world would be extremely boring.
Why I don’t have a disability?
I am not defined by my difference. I do not have a disability. Although, I do have an ability. I have an ability to educate others about my difference, I have an ability to achieve things differently than others. It may have taken me sixteen years to learn how to put my hair in a ponytail, seventeen years to learn how to properly do a push-up, pull-up, and jump rope. But I achieved these tasks. I may never learn how to do the monkey bars, but I know that I will continue to try to. I have the ability to love my little arm, to love myself just as I am. I have the ability to be me. You have this ability too! If there is a will in yourself I promise you will find a way. No matter the task or the situation, you CAN do anything you set your mind to. Next time you spot someone who is “different” ask them to share their story, trust me so much can come out of it. Also, remember to not automatically assume they can’t do something, if they need help they will ask. Keep encouraging and educating being different. Embrace your differences and LOVE BEING IMPERRFEECTLY YOU.
It is true that each of us are in fact a “Masterpiece”. A masterpiece is a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. We are His Masterpiece. God formed each and every one of us in his own hands. He knew what hair, color of eyes, and each small difference we each would have before he even created us. Often we only see our personal identity; we focus on how we see ourselves and strain from how God see’s us. We each are a child of the One True King, a Child of God. We are under God’s power and not our own. We do not have control over our lives, although we often think we do. We as humans often forget that everything happens for a reason and a purpose. God has given us those situations because he believes we ARE strong enough. In today’s world we too often do things only for “me”. I think we can all admit to doing this, I will admit to it.
Sometimes I would rather do what I want then help around the house. We are human.
Temptation. This is something we all struggle with, whether it is eating that piece of chocolate cake at 3 am or being tempted to do something much worse, it happens. This temptation is Satan’s attack on our identity. In Matthew 4 it states, “The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”” “Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”” “Ten the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
The devil then took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms and told him that he would give them to Jesus, if Jesus bowed down to him. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
You see after this moment, the devil left him and the angels came and attended Jesus. The devil tried to tempt Jesus and failed, because he believed in God. He knew that with God’s love anything is possible, he knew The Lord would protect him. You see, our identity comes from God. God loves us unconditionally. We must take a step and spread the word of God to those who do not know him. Plant a seed and watch it grow into a love for our One true King, Jesus.
Ask yourself, “What is my identity in Christ?”
In Christ alone we are born again. My whole life I have loved Jesus, I have went to church and Sunday school. Although my entire life I was a worry wart. No matter what the situation was I worried, whether it be my next cross country race, or getting a good grade on my test I dealt with worries flooding my head. I feared getting a bad grade. Then one day God cleared my head and said, “Sarah do not worry for I am with you.” God told me he had a plan for my life and to give him the wheel of my life; that is exactly what I did. I stopped trying to drive my own life and gave it over to Him. It was my sophomore year of high school, I was taking the hardest classes I could to get ahead of the game, I ran cross country and was the number one runner for my school. To say the least it was stressful. I worried all the time and my grades meant way more than they should have. That year I had an opportunity of a lifetime, one I could not let pass; although it meant missing 3 weeks of school and learning everything on my own, at this time when I was away I learned more than ever in my life. That is when I learned it was time for me to share God’ love and God’s story with the world. School did not matter I knew God would take care of it as well as my life. This was my light bulb moment, when I learned to live for God and not for myself. To follow his plan and not my own, to give him the wheel to my life and say d what you want with me, I am yours.
Do you believe he loves you?
Because I do.
I hope you can take the stance today to let go of your own “me” identity and find your identity in Christ alone.
Dare to be Different
My whole life I have took the stance and dared to be different from those around me. Even though my difference is more obvious than others, we all are different in our own way. Although often it is a challenge to take this dare.
In school for some reason we believe it matters what others think of us, we think if the people around us don’t like us then nobody ever will. You want to have the cool brands of clothing, guys care way to much about their shoe and sock game, and girls go on diets to get the so called "perfect" body figure like the Instagram models they see as their scroll through their social feeds everyday. Kids at school tease us, for being "fat", too skinny, growing up in a broken home, or being even slightly different from everyone around us. We believe we are not good enough, strong enough, pretty enough. If we look too “different”, too weird, we cannot do this and we can’t do that. I am telling you right now stop telling yourself this. Those bullies at school, in your head, at home can’t define you! Only you get to decide that.
We all fall down sometimes, but we must learn how to get back up. Do not put on a mask for school, you do not need to. We all have moments when we ask why me? We lay in bed and cry because of doubt, fear, worries, and broken homes. These obstacles in life are part of our story, there is a reason and purpose why we go through them. We must try our best to find strength in ourselves, and overcome the obstacles that are put into our lives. To stop concentrating on the things we do not have, or wish we had, and accept the gifts God has blessed us with. When you ask yourself who am I? You are the only one that can answer that question, and know that it may not get answered right away, it takes time to fully understand who you are. No matter what you are going through you can get through it, find confidence in yourself. Finding confidence in who you are is key to daring to be different. We all have quirks, flaws, differences, it is a part of each of our lives; although learn to love yourself. Once you accept your differences and love them you no longer will want to be like everyone else, you will learn that being yourself is the best person you can be.
We are all created different in some way or form. Some people’s differences are just more obvious than others, such as mine. We must take a stand and dare to be different, to show the world that being different is amazing, and beautiful. Tell society that they are wrong, we need to break down the walls of perfection, letting others know that it does not exist. No matter what your situation is, one arm, one leg, a broken home, depression, anorexia, anxiety, fear of failure, we have the power to turn what could be a negative situation into a positive situation.
I stand before you today as living proof that something perceived as different, negative, can be changed into something positive, something beautiful, a blessing in my own life and others. I am living proof that if there is a will there is always a way, with determination and practice, hard work and sometimes failure. In life you will either find a way or find an excuse. Accept yourself as you are, God created you with his own hands, for a plan, and a purpose.
Dare to be different. Dare to love yourself as you are. Dare to love your differences, your flaws. Dare to be imperfectly you.
Living with One instead of Two
· Help is an interesting subject. As a person I often struggle with the idea of help. My parents raised me to figure things out on my own, whether it was opening a string cheese or riding my bike. I I continue to grow up I often see asking for help as a weakness to myself. As something that if I ask it will show that I cannot do it on my own and when I find something that I cannot achieve right away it breaks me. I have realized through my life that help is not shown as weakness, I am human and sometimes help is exactly what I need. I may need help putting up my hair, zipping my coat, etc. I can remember a time when the help of someone meant more to me than they would ever know. I was at Starbucks that day and I had ordered my usual coffee and a sandwich for dinner. With my shopping bags and purse on my left arm, my coffee in my right, there was no way I could hold a plate too. Although I did not want to ask for help, typical me. Thankfully the barista kindly asked if I needed help carrying and I said, “Yes if you could that would be amazing, Thank you!” This was something so simple but it made me want to cry because she did not have to help me but she saw I was contemplating on asking and she wanted to help. So I think it is good for me as well as others to realize that asking or needing help does not show weakness. It is perfectly okay to ask or need it, we are human. If you see someone who might need help don’t walk away, ask them if you could help and I promise that you are going to make their day complete.
II. Accepting the Catastrophe
· Oh the random breakdowns, these are something that happen every once in a blue moon. I believe everyone has them at certain times in their life. I call these random breakdowns through the looking glass. I will give you some personal examples… This summer I went to Chicago, while I was there it was an amazing day, but there came a point when I wanted to drop down on the sidewalk and begin to cry. In a big city there are tall glass buildings everywhere and no matter where you look you often see a reflection of yourself. That day I saw the reflection of myself in every glass window. I found peace in this experience. Although the reflection kept reminding me I was different it also reminded me of what I had overcome and of being strong. When I got home I broke down completely, but it was needed. I can remember a breakdown I once had thanks to a taco; yes a taco. I was holding my plate against my rib cage and my little arm on the opposite side, as I scooped the taco meat onto my taco somehow the plate fell to the ground and glass was EVERYWHERE. I stood there in shock of what to do, I did not mean to drop the plate. My dad automatically yelled, “Sarah Elizabeth why would you drop it?” The yelling sent me straight into a breakdown. It was not my dad’s fault he didn’t know any better and it was just his initial reaction to the situation. I went to my room balling because I had disappointed my father and dropped a plate. You are probably thinking no big deal it is just a plate; and while that is true it is also true that it was not just a plate to me. It showed me that I could not do something and that was when the crying began. To me it was the fact that I could not hold a plate properly like everyone else and do something so simple. I have had plenty of other breakdowns as well, my most recent happened at school. What I have learned from these is that it is okay to break down, these situations we go through have a purpose, and they make us stronger as people and prepare us for later in life. If you have a breakdown, first know it is okay, second, you will get through it, third, you are beautiful just as you are and you never need to change. Most importantly remember you are not alone.
III. When I see someone like me
· When I see someone like me I automatically want to run up and hug them, although that might seem a little odd. I feel some sort of connection when I see someone like me and my day is automatically made! I think should I go say hello or is that too weird? When the person walks away I think shoot I missed my opportunity! Should I go chase after them? I have never chased after someone but it has crossed my mind.
IV. The Stares
· Getting use to the stares is an interesting topic, I believe that how you vie this is based on perception and confidence in yourself. As I walk through the mall of course I always notice the looks and stares but I do not allow them to affect me. I can remember the time I noticed the most stares, I was in TN in a waterpark with family and I confidently walked around, I forgot that my arm was more obvious that day with me in a swimsuit, over the years I have learned to ignore the stares. At times they can get to a person but overall it is not a big deal. I can remember walking in new Zealand with Paige and two girls decided to stare and whisper to each other about Paige and I. Yes it was probably odd to see two girls with one arm walking together but there was no need to do what they did. Paige made a funny face at them and they stopped. I have concluded I would rather someone ask me what happened kindly, rather than just stare and look at me like I came from another planet. Often when children ask their moms, what happened to that girls arm?!?! The moms automatically begin to freak out, as if what their child just said was a bad word. In my opinion, let your child ask me, it is a good thing for them to see and learn about. The child is not hurting my feelings by saying something, they are just curious.
V. The awkward jokes
· Often I get asked, “What happened to your arm?” as a kid whenever someone asked I would make up a silly story like an alligator bit it off or a shark bit it off. It made the kid stop asking and be quiet. I can remember being on the playground with my cousin Kaitlyn and a boy asking what happened, we decided to make up a silly story and he ran away from us. Or instead of making up a silly story I will make an awkward joke about having one arm. The other week I was at the gym and a guy asked me to get him a foam roller; jokingly I said, “You can get it you have two hands.” I started to laugh because it was hilarious but the guy didn’t know what to say. Once he heard me laughing he soon laughed and I grabbed him one. I have found through the years just to have fun with my situation and make a joke of it. I am comfortable with the way I was made so I enjoy getting a laugh out of it, even though people typically never know what to do themselves. I have a shirt that says Dude where’s my arm? I am pretty comfortable with being different.
VI. Learning to love yourself
· This is a very important aspect of being different or feeling different. We are all different and God has given each person in this world different gifts. We need to remember we are only human, that no one is perfect except God alone. We often seek to live up to what society’s standards are and that is wrong. There is no need for us to be anything except ourselves. Our flaws do not define us, but they are a part of us we need to learn to accept. I have learned that my arm is not everything but I do not consider my arm a flaw, I consider it a blessing. It gives me a chance to inspire and help others like me. I would never want to have two arms for even a second, when I get to heaven I am asking God to only give me one wing because why would I want two. No matter your difference or so called flaw, you need to love yourself first. Learn to love every part of yourself, because I believe with every negative situation it can always be replaced with a positive situation instead.
VII. It takes 5x as long to learn
· There are always thing I wish I could do but I know in order to achieve them it is going to take time, practice, and determination. Learning how to tie my shoes took me longer than other kids my age, while riding my bike I was always lopsided and my back hurt afterward. Putting my hair into a ponytail was like rocket science. I finally learned how to put up my hair in 8th grade, I mastered a messy bun my junior year of high school. I learned how to jump rope, and do a push up as well as pull up at the age of 17. Curling my hair was a challenge but I figured it out. To this day I still have not mastered the monkey bars but one day I hope to. I have accepted that things take longer to learn and achieve but it allows me to have to work twice as hard and I wouldn’t change that. I know to never give up on my dreams.
God is Enough
We often end up asking ourselves, “Am I enough?” Whether it is in a relationship, at a job, at home, or for your children, even asking ourselves if we are enough for our own self. We must try our best to understand what we can do to overcome this. Know that YOU ARE ENOUGH, because GOD IS ENOUGH.
Growing up in a Christian home, I have learned that God has a plan and purpose for our lives and I continue to remind myself that everyday. I have accepted myself and am confident in who I am because of God. I always knew that God had a reason for why he created me with only one hand instead of two. God has given me so many opportunities in my life and I am so blessed because of them. Although through them I know that it is my job to spread God’s word and how he has impacted my life. It is very easy for us as humans to lose hope when our troubles surround us, although we must look beyond those troubled times and know that God is enough to get through them. If you ask God to help you get through those times he will, he may not help you in the way you are expecting but in someway he is going to give you help and provide the hope you need to get through each day.
Jesus told us in his word that we would have many troubles here on earth. He knew the situation and troubles we would and are going to face and how we were going to conquer them. However, he also wanted us to know that despite our problems, troubled times, and hard days, we can still stand up, heads high. He is the Hope of all things impossible, while nothing is truly impossible. He is the power to overcome all things. There is nothing that can crush a believer because all the force of heaven lives in the heart of those who belong to Christ. A royal army stands ready to fight for you, and no matter what God gives us angels everyday watching over us to keep us safe and sound.
God loves us and he wants us to succeed, sometimes it may not seem like that but he does. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. He knows what will happen a minute from now, an hour, day, year, or ten years from now. God is of all knowing and he will always be here next to us ready to take on anything right by our sides.
When I was younger and up until sophomore year of high school I often struggled with having anxiety before taking a test. My dad gave me a little coin that I kept with me in my pocket everyday and got it out right before I took any test. It had footprints on one side and on the other it said, “Follow the footprints of the Lord. They will lead you through troubled times and brighten your life.” In elementary and middle school on every test I would get out two pencils, one for me and one for God, his did not have an eraser because he doesn’t make mistakes, I scooted over on my chair so he had room and it was as if God was there taking my tests with me, I was less nervous every time.
You see we go through troubled times but God is ALWAYS there. In Psalm 8:9 it says, “God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.”
It is our job to spread God’s word throughout the world everyday and live through him.
Today was a day when being “different” became too much. Yet I had to tell myself “Sarah you are strong enough.”
It is senior year, I am taking speech class. I have prepared and given public speeches for over a year now. Although in this class I somehow for the first time in my twelve years of school feel like an outcast. While giving a speech you use hand gestures to talk. I use them just like any other student, although I use my little arm instead of a “normal” hand. I have heard from other students on my critique that my arm is “distracting”, told not to touch my “nub” and maybe try to put my arm to my side. The what I call N word "nub" has never been used in my vocabulary and myself I find the word very offensive. I refer to my arm as my little arm. As much as I try to ignore the comments and just be me; I cannot help but continue to try and improve this. Every day we all want to improve, so I tried to not hold my little arm while speaking, but even trying to do that it is natural for me to touch it and use it. Being told that a part of you that you have no control over changing is distracting to the audience is hurtful.
Looking through the broken glass.
I walked down the hall as fast as I could tears in my eyes. This does not happen often but there are days when I no longer feel strong enough to hold everything together. I thought in my head, “Sarah you are “different”. “ I often forget that I look different from those around me, until I look in the mirror. After I ran down the hall I went straight to the bathroom, went to the mirror and stood there for a minute just observing what I saw. Tears streaming down my face I realized how different I truly was. I pulled down my sleeve so I no longer saw my arm and cried harder. I asked myself, “would I be better with two?” I so badly wanted to go put on my prosthetic look like everyone else. And then I remembered I put on the prosthetic I would no longer be my true self. Then I rolled my sleeve back up, stepped closer to the mirror and said to myself, “YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH.” I may have not felt strong but I knew I had to pull myself together. I thought to myself, why anyone can’t understand, I wanted to call Paige but she is 8, 256 miles away from me. The one person who has been through every trouble I have had and cried with me. But in this I saw that I am different but if I did not have one arm, I would no longer be me.
Feeling broken is not a bad thing, it helps us remember why we are different. It allowed me to remember God knew I would face this obstacle and it would change me into a better person. Sometimes we need to break down, we need to have moments that we do not feel strong enough for the situation. Because when you look through that glass and it is no longer broken you know that God has a plan for you. Although I feel shaken from this event I know it that it will only help me in the future, it is a stepping stone in a learning process. I learned no matter the situation I must hold up my head and BE STRONG.
Next time you face and opstacle like this just remember that you are not alone.
Verse of the Day
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” –Deuteronomy 31:6
Thank You Sharpley Training for believing in me and adapting things to fit me. Also for being the first ones to not tell me to just skip the exercise. Thank you for working with me to finally achieve a pull-up, push-up, and jumping rope.
It means the world to me.
Thank you so much!
A little bit differently
Last night was one of those nights when I had a small realization of being made just a little bit differently. As I scrolled through my photos last night I came across some with my prosthetic and some without. I began to cry, not because I wish I would have had two hands, but because I often forget that I do not. I recently started training and it has really hit me hard that I am missing my arm. Not in a negative way but in a positive way.
Since a kid I always had gym class in school, I never thought about it much as a kid because I just ignored it and did what I could. In elementary when it came to jumping rope I was always told to skip it or just jump up and down to get the same affect. I can remember as a kid watching everyone else in class jump rope just fine. I often wondered to myself why it was harder for me and it was always a goal of mine to achieve this task. I tried my best as a kid to achieve it but I often got too frustrated and just told myself I would learn when I was older. In middle school gym class continued and they added push-ups. We would have competitions to see who could achieve the most push-ups. When it was time I can remember kids looking at me wondering if I could perform them. Some teachers told me to try my best and others told me to just skip them. When I performed my push-ups I was always lopsided and it was uncomfortable but I kept with it because I wanted to prove people wrong and show that I could do anything people with two arms could do. In high school push-ups and jump rope were still in gym class and one more challenge was added; pull-ups. For jump rope I was told to skip the task, push-ups just try my best or skip, and for pull-ups I was told to skip that as well. The thing that bothered me most was that I never learned how to achieve these tasks.
Looking at things differently
I broke down last night because I was proud to be different. I broke down because I never want any other child to be told to skip something just because they were made differently, but instead be told that they can. As I stated earlier I have been training and thanks to Sharpley Training I have achieved jumping rope, push-ups, and pull-ups. I may do things a little bit differently but they had the faith in me that I could achieve each task. I cannot express how grateful I am for their faith in me and for finding ways for me to preform different tasks just by adapting a little bit differently. While practicing jump rope on my own I found that going backward was easier for me for some reason. With lots of practice and help from Sharpley Training, I finally learned how to jump rope forward. We found that I often closed my eyes, I think because I had never learned and was scared of the jump rope but they reminded me to keep them open and I kept trying. With practice I eventually got it and I can honestly say I was very proud and went to show my parents and get myself a jump rope. It is not perfect of course and I still need lots of practice but I now can say that I can jump rope; something I have been waiting to say since kindergarten.
My advice to others
Never let anyone or anything stop you from achieving things. Yes, you are going to face challenging situations and get frustrated with them; but I can promise you that if you keep your head up and keep trying your best to accomplish the task one day you will finally achieve it. It is going to take time and lots of practice but you will get there, and never lose sight or faith in yourself. Remember that you can do anything you put your mind to. Believe in yourself and your dreams. It took me seventeen years to learn how to jump rope, and do a pull up. You will get there just keep practicing. So remember anything is possible and never let anyone tell you differently. If someone tells you that you cannot do something, look them straight in the eye and say “watch me”. Believe in yourself.
MY LITTLE PRINCESS
The first time I met her was in 2014, I was miss Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen. Imagine kids running everywhere by Park Stage, on Kid’s Day. There were watermelon races and fun events for all kid’s to participate in. Little did I know this was a day that I would meet a little girl that would change my life forever. Her Name is Moriah but I refer to her as my little princess. Moriah was sitting in her chair, her sister and family standing next to her. My parents were with me as well so they got the chance to talk to Moriah’s mom as I got to talk to her. As I sat down next to Moriah, the first words she spoke were, “I can’t be a princess because I have to wear these boots.” Moriah was born just a little bit different just like me, she had to wear special shoes on her feet that she called boots. I looked down at my own feet as I was wearing cowboy boots that day at the fair and said to her, “Moriah look I am wearing boots too! Just like you, and what do I have on my head?” Moriah replied with, “A crown, and you are a princess!” Hearing the words of “I can’t be a princess” broke my heart. I can remember kneeling down and whispering in her ear, “Moriah, you ARE a princess no matter what anyone else says, you are beautiful and you are God’s princess, never forget that.” I had a bag of different girly accessories that I gave to kids around the fair so I made sure to give Moriah and her sister some accessories. This little girl made a huge impact on my life that day. This is why I am here, these are the moments that I live for.
Just recently Moriah had another surgery and the day before I made sure to call her and let her know that everything would be okay. She told me she was scared, and I let her know that God is in control of everything and will be next to her protecting her. Moriah told me that she often is told that. She told me of her dolls and stuffed animals and asked me when she would see me again. I promised her to come see her the day after her surgery. On the phone she asked about my new crown and sash that I had just received. I told her I would bring them and she could try on my new crown. While chatting about crowns and princesses Moriah mentioned that she does not have a real crown. My brain began to think how could I give this little girl a true crown? Moriah deserved a real crown to show her courage and bravery.
It was November 25, 2015, time to see my little princess again. She came out in the cutest penguin pajamas, a smile on her face as always! While visiting we talked for a while and I asked how her surgery went and she gave me a thumbs up. Time to see the crown she said! We had some fun trying on my crown and sash and of course taking selfies! Because what girl doesn’t love a great selfie right? As Moriah twirled around I told her I had a very special surprise for her. It was the first crown I had ever received, a small tiara from Semi-Formal my sophomore year of high school. I decided it was time to pass it on to my little princess Moriah. As I put the crown on her head I saw her face light up. This made my day! Together we read a princess devotional out of the new book I gave her and in this moment was when I thought to myself how much of an impact this little girl has made to my life. As it was unfortunately time for me to go, we walked to the door together, took a few more pictures and as I was just about to go she hugged me and then hung onto my foot telling me she was never letting go! With the crown still on her head she made sure we knew that she was never taking the crown off of her head. She even tried to go get some glue to make sure it stayed but we reassured her that was not a good idea. As I left, I received a message from her mom with a picture of sweet princess Moriah standing, looking out of the window watching as I left.
You have made such a huge impact on my life, you will always be my little princess. Please never forget how truly beautiful you are inside and out. You are brave and courageous and that shows day in and day out. Remember God gives his toughest battles to his bravest soldiers. God has a plan for your life and he will guide you through your whole life, so never worry for what is to come because he knows where you will be ten years from now. Never stop dreaming, no matter how big or small any dream is achievable if you just believe in yourself and your dreams, I can promise you that. If you ever need anything please know I am always here, just a phone call away. Keep your head high always and keep believing in yourself. You changed my life since the first day I met you, always remember that you are God’s princess.
I often get asked how I became confident in myself?
The largest aspect that has led to my confidence is my faith. I have been raised in a Christian home by my parents. My mom is very strong in her walk with God as well as my father. Since I was little I have grown in my spiritual walk each and every day. I can remember a piece of advice my Parents told me that I will never forget. They always told me that God has created each and everyone different in their own special way and mine is just more obvious than others, but God decided to give me one arm not to be hurtful, but because of the plan he has for my life. I truly believe these words. I know that God has a plan and purpose for my life and each and every day I try my best to follow it. Since I was a child the bible verse that has stick with me and continued to push me in every aspect of my life is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." In times of doubt and questioning of having one arm, I went to God. No matter if the breakdown was in my room, car, or school; God was always there next to me helping me through all moments letting me know that everything works out in the end and he will protect me.
I believe my parents play a large part In my confidence as well. They raised me to know that I was made in God's image and beautiful as I am. That I never need to change who I am. They pushed me to be the strongest I could be. My dad pushed me in everything I did, no matter if it was school or sports, he also never allowed me to give up on anything. When I was little I thought I couldn't tie my shoes, but he then said never say you can't do something you just have to figure it out. He soon found a way to teach me to tie my shoe with one hand and he learned too! When I was 8 I wanted to learn how to put up my hair, my dad thought of a way for that too, as well as riding my bike, and hammering a nail into a piece of wood. No matter how much I cried or how much I wanted to give up, my dad never let me. This made me strong, a fighter, and a leader. My mom was always the sensitive one, the one to comfort me when I cried and let me know that I could do it, my biggest cheerleader. They taught me to be proud of who I am and turn what could have been a negative situation into a very positive one. They taught me that I was truly "ImperfectlyPerfect".
Today so many of us struggle with self-worth. In today's society we are expected to look a certain way. Act a certain way, but all that is false. Everyone has days when they just don't feel good about themselves. We are humans and it's okay to have those days. Perfect is the harshest word you can think of to punish yourself for daring to look the way you do. We use “perfect” like a weapon. For eating too much or too little, overexercising or not exercising at all. Not looking the same as our sisters or mothers or best friends or the endlessly flawless women on Instagram. Our culture thrives off of telling people they are not good enough. It's wrong, Because in spite of all the sweet, inspirational videos, Instagram accounts and movements that continue happening, the word “perfect” continues to be used.
So here is my advice: keep bringing positive thoughts and actions into your life. Go after what you want, on the day that you’re feeling your very worst, work that much harder at your job, on your relationships, on getting to a healthy place with your body, on achieving your goals and following your gut. Know that you are BEAUTIFUL. That perfect does not exist and all you need to be is yourself. But most importantly remember that you are not alone. Believe in yourself and your dreams.
Born and raised in Indiana, Sarah believes "We are all created imperfectly perfect by God, we should be proud of our imperfections and differences, they make us who we are today but do not define us, know that you are beautiful and remind yourself of this everyday." Sarah found her passion through the Skype "Born Friends" Story of Sarah and her best friend Paige. In 2014 she was named Miss Elkhart County 4-H Fair queen and this is when she decided to created her campaign of Imperfectly Perfect. In 2016 she was crowned Miss Elkhart County and she attend's Ball State University majoring in Human Resource Management. Sarah hopes to continue to have her passion of Imperfectly Perfect grow and publish her book soon.