Beautiful Biloxi.


I am a girl that writes to process. In order to really think about something and let it sink in fully, I need to put my fingers to the keyboard or pen to the paper and let everything else go. This is especially drastic in times that are HUGE in my life. One life changing event I never put full time into writing about was my first mission trip. I kept putting aside time for it, but never protected that time to the necessary extent. Finally, I had an ultimate goal of writing it before I go on my next mission trip. Welp, I’m a college student, and procrastination is lyfe in college right? So here I am, leaving for my next mission trip in T minus eight hours. Time to write.

Now where do I even begin? When I was still attending UW Whitewater, I was endlessly searching. I was living a part of my life in drastic change and upheaval. I had a few inclinations on why my heart was so unsatisfied and quite frankly, hurting. I was an aching heart in wonder of what else life and the Lord had for me. So first I prayed. I kept feeling these pulls in certain areas, towards one thing and away from another. I was beyond confused, and so were the people all around me. Still, I prayed. Philippians 4:6. Eventually, I came to a sad peace. I applied, got accepted, and transferred home to UW Oshkosh. My year long career at UW Whitewater slowly came to a close, and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. Everyone claimed the usual stake of “I’m going to miss you’s” and many prayed over my heart and journey. My heart began to unsettle day by day during my final week in my home away from home. And then, it was done. The wild ride of a year I had at Whitewater was over, that chapter of my book was ready to close, and I was finally okay. I definitely shed tears during my two hour journey home, but those stayed between God and me. He was just about the only one who understood them, as usual. So I let Him wrap His mighty arms around me, assuring me that this is what’s right. And per usual, He was right. Funny how that happens.

I had a month off in between ending in the dub, and starting up again at osh. A month to plan, dream, and for my norm–panic. My mind likes to wander in every direction and worry about things, things that I don’t need to worry about. As if there is anything really worth worrying about. Psht. But worry I did, and worry did I not have to. After one solid tear filled break down [in my car as always], I was starting my hopefully last transfer. UW Oshkosh here I am. Transferring is always a really interesting thing to me. That stress and pressure you feel when prepping for college, it’s always like that when you’re starting a new place. It doesn’t seem to matter how many years of schooling you have behind you, how well acclimated you had been at either of your last schools-starting over is hard. Always. Definitely not as hard as continuing on in a life you know isn’t the one you’re supposed to be living though. When I started school at Oshkosh, I was determined to make things different for myself. For me. I wanted to be more independent from worldly relationships, and more dependent on my relationship with the Lord. Eventually, I got what I asked for.

I nervously walked around campus in the first week, always trying to find my classes on time like the new kid nerd I was. While walking in and out of the bookstore for the millionth time in the first week to grab many last minute necessities, I was stopped. For some odd reason, I like reading fliers put around campus and within school buildings. So I was naturally drawn to the column of fliers posted right outside the bookstore. Little did I know, one of the first ones I saw, was going to change my life.


On March 20th, I pulled up to the Go House on Oshkosh’s campus. I awkwardly drove my car to the back of the house, while a large amount of people I knew nothing about looked at me. I made the nervous ‘hello’ to a group I passed while walking to the front of the house, and I stood there with my bag. Slowly but surely, piles of people started to fill the front lawn, side lawn, and back lawn of this college campus house I knew nothing about. Eventually, there were fifty seven people collectively standing in a mass on this tiny front lawn. Fifty six people I had never met, knew absolutely nothing about, and then myself. Talk about nerves. It was about then that I wondered why I made this decision for myself. Why did I choose this as the way to get myself involved on my new campus? Why was this the organization I was choosing to try out first? Why did I stop at that bulletin podium outside the bookstore that day? But that’s it, I didn’t-God did. Looking back in hindsight, I can so clearly see that. I can see some of His purpose in the things I thought were of my choosing. And as usual, His plan is so much better than what I thought I could have invented for myself.

In continuation, the beginning of this mission trip with fifty six other people gathered on this lawn, was a true blessing. We listened to Aaron talk and pray over our trip, and we piled into six vehicles headed for Biloxi, Mississippi. Talk about excitement! I piled into the very back seats of one of our massive vans with two people I had just met, and clung to instantly. But then I had a chance to be outgoing and adventurous…which I of course scooped up. The van I was riding in needed a co-pilot for the trip down. Someone to talk with the driver and keep them engaged so our van filled with lovely people could arrive at our destination safely. Get to ride shotgun and be of assistance by being a jabberjaws?? My kinda gig! So I took it, hence getting to know fourteen other people pretty well over the next sixteen hours. Luckily, I love road trips. And talking.

After losing half of our huge squad of vehicles within the first hour, regrouping, many gas station stops, many cappuccinos for me, many bathroom breaks, many chapters read out loud of The Princess Bride, and many ‘get-to-know-you’ questions later, Biloxi bound we were. And yes, they have palm trees…just so you’re aware.

How to explain our week in Mississippi, one can’t even begin to imagine finding the right words. Cliche, but the only thing that could bring some kind of justice to my experience is life changing. Having never been exposed to missions, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew, was what I had heard about from my old high school math teacher. I heard that people were in need, as so many are. I heard that Mississippi was a beautiful place, and that it was still deeply hurting. I heard that my heart would long to help those people, and that I was the kind of person that would love to be there. All of those things, were very true. At lunch with said math teacher right before I left for our trip, I was given a verse.

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

This verse stuck with me, becoming one of my many favorites, especially for my [hopefully] many more missions experiences. So I clung onto my newfound life verse, and hugged my teacher goodbye. Beyond telling me how proud and excited he was for me, his last encouragement to me went right to the heart. “Go do great things.” And that’s exactly what I was determined to do with these fifty six beautiful souls in this new place, with the help of the Lord.

There are so many moments during this week long mission trip that I will forever hold onto in my heart. The whole week has meant the world to me, even now, months after returning home. When we arrived, we got to know our camp leaders a bit, got settled in, and headed straight for the ocean. We spent the next few days doing the typical touristy stuff. We swam a lot. We got a whole lot of sunburn, even to dangerous degrees [love you haleybaley, and Linda]. We ate tons of ice cream, reached home by watching the Badgers kill it. We searched for alligators with no luck in a beautiful nature preserve. We bought massive amounts of souvenirs [including a few hermit crabs] from a ridiculously huge tourist shop. We got to experience an amazing southern church service. We had huge group breakfasts and dinners. We worshipped the Lord and prayed as a team in the  beginning of our mornings. We took the world’s most insane amount of wonderful pictures. We sang horribly, amazingly, and filled with love. We went on muddy runs and random Walmart trips. We ate real Krispy Kreme’s and real good southern cookin’. We had a few hospital visits thrown in the mix. We had Waffle House. We experienced life. We bonded, we made new friendships, we spent real quality time together. I could probably continue on and on with all of the amazing experiences I was privileged to enjoy with this fantastic group of people.

Most importantly, we served the Lord. 

I never knew what it was like to truly give my heart, my time, my everything to others. I never knew the fire that was deeply burning in my heart for those around me. I just never knew. I had the heaping honor of serving at Seashore Missions with a group of amazing people while we were in Mississippi. We had many other groups that did FANTASTIC work at other volunteer sites, this is just a brief on mine. The projects we were able to bless Seashore Missions with in our time there, I know are forever appreciated. My team changed a few times while we were there, some trying out different volunteer locations, others being welcomed into ours. As much as I loved the idea of spreading out to another job site to broaden my horizon of Biloxi just a little bit more, my heart was set on Seashore. Jeff and Judy held a firm grip on my heart, and that wasn’t going to go anywhere.

We had the opportunity to finish two completely gutted rooms in their homeless shelter. One we turned into a clothes closet and the other a food pantry. We tried our best to organize two massively massive massed out quonset huts filled with blessed donations to the roof. We had a savvy student literally redo the entire technological situation at the shelter. The surveillance cameras, the internet, the phones, all of it. And the most important thing to our blessed souls, we got to serve others. We got to lend a hand in dishing and serving meals to massive amounts of people in need from around the area. The insane part?! I simply cannot think of a time in my life I have felt more purely blessed than my countless minutes spent asking people ‘if they wanted green beans with that’, and convincing them by telling them ‘there was bacon mixed in.’ The fact of how deeply it touched my heart to be able to be that simplistic person for so many is indescribable.

One of the most touching moments I had on this trip happened right before our last time serving a meal. Judy always prays and gives a message of sorts before the food is served. She has a beautiful way with words that brings such high glory to God and all He has done in our lives. During her last message while we were there, she said something about our work. She spoke on how grateful she was to have our group of volunteers there, making such an impact on their shelter. She told the people benefiting from the shelter that the following Monday, when we were going to be gone already, they would get to try out the new clothing room we built and get a new outfit. There are no words to explain the feeling of gratitude poured into our hearts from every soul that room encompassed. They clapped and cheered, like we just got done running a marathon. That was nice, but that wasn’t what hit me. I looked around, looked into the grateful eyes surrounding my team and myself. Seeing the true and genuine joy from such a truly small act of handiwork, it was breathtaking. And that it did. It hit me hard then, the whole point of it all. The big why of God bringing me to this campus, to this organization, to this mission trip and this shelter. To experience the whole point of life on this earth. To be more Christ like than ever, even if just for a glimpse of a moment in my continuous time here. Absolutely breathtaking. I was overtaken with emotion, bursting into tears. I was grateful for the opportunity to change lives, and have mine so much more drastically changed without them even knowing they were making it happen. I was grateful to be able to let myself cry while Judy prayed over lunch. I was grateful Macky and Troy cared, handed me tissues, and understood because they felt those similar waves of emotion. I was grateful to look to my left and see similar tears in the eyes of my lady teammates. I was grateful. I am grateful. And that moment will forever be greater than almost any in my life.

After serving the meals, we got to spend one of them finally sitting down with the world of people around us. It was more towards the end of our time at Seashore, but I was so thrilled for the experience none the less. So my dear friend MackDilly and I sat down at a table of men. We talked with them about anything, and a horizon of everything. We discussed our trip, where we were from, what it was like being in Mississippi. We talked about the movie that was playing, I hadn’t seen it but made conversation about it anyways. We talked about their lives in Biloxi, about the experiences they had on a daily basis. We talked with them about that fantastic southern food and how Judy filled our plates so full we’d probably never have to eat a meal again. Then ‘high tea’ was over, and it was time to get ready to go back to work for the afternoon. The men around us slowly faded away, one by one leaving until the next day Seashore was all open doors. One man stayed and sat with Macky and I a little longer, an extended goodbye. He asked when we’d be leaving, and we told him that the following day would be our last in Biloxi before we headed back to Oshkosh. Then, magic. Macky and I were probably making some goofy inside joke, and being our awkward selves while we ended our conversation. The man we were with turned a more serious note. Looking at us as if we’d been friends forever, he gave us a simple, ‘Well, how can I pray for y’all?’  The amount that I was caught off guard literally sent chills down my spine. After thankfully speaking for safe travel prayers, I asked him the same question in return. With one of those million dollar southern smiles, he looked at me and said ‘My name’s Steve.’  Core shaking, and simply life changing. A homeless man with seemingly nothing to give is one of the few people on this planet to give me the most hope in my life yet. God is so good.

The amount of times my heart was touched on this trip, there wouldn’t be a number big enough. I couldn’t even begin to go as in depth as to how blessed I am to have had such an amazing experience. Coming home, I struggled hard. Every part of my core felt so pulled to Biloxi, to serving, to more. Sitting in a giant lecture hall filled with students who didn’t care less about the world, while the professor talked about cloud scatters, it just simply sucked. I transitioned so harshly. I stayed in bed for a day after we got home, completely drained in the most amazing way. Biloxi took a piece of me. A piece of my heart and my life I couldn’t imagine another place with another group of beautiful people taking. My first mission trip. The first time in such a drastically long time I did something seemingly for me, but more importantly for the Lord. The first time, but so far from the last. Such an absolutely amazing life experience. So much heartfelt prayer for so many different people, organizations, places. Absolutely beautiful. The blessings abounding. Life changing. Fill in the blank mantra. Just God.

Coming home, I was also blessed abundantly with two new amazing people [among the other fifty four] to share my life with.

This, is MackDilly.

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Simply, one of the most genuine and kind hearted people I have ever met. I got to spend the entire week in Biloxi with this guy by my side. My random music singing, hand slap fighting, belly hurt laughing work partner. I am so insanely grateful God brought him into my life and allowed our friendship to flourish. I am so blessed to have made one of my best friends on such an outstanding mission trip in such a beautiful place.

And this, is Hale. 11156210_10153806013253012_7899597025979667958_n (1)

11175006_10153823418443012_7492801739443819699_n (1)My beautiful roommate, and such a fantastic woman. I am always sure to be laughing my face off when I’m with her. Always such a loving heart towards anyone and everyone. Truly one of the strongest people I know. Always so willing to be anything anyone needs, no matter what. I am so truly blessed and excited to experience life with her everyday this year and beyond! She’s going to be the absolute highlight to my days and I love her to death!

These two, are two best friends to cherish beyond this planet.

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Now, T minus six hours until I leave on the Lord’s newest adventure for my heart. Romania. Mission trip number two. God only knows what’s next.

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

In the meantime, this, is a snippet of the Biloxi in my life. Forever grateful.

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Occasional Incongruity of the Heart.


I constantly wonder if I’m truly what you wished to have in a daughter. You told me a week and a half ago that you couldn’t ever wish for anyone more. But did you mean it? Truly? Because then you made a mistake that cost so much, and yet nothing at all. I think it may have cost you your relationship with me though. And neither of you seem to care at all. Why is that? How is it to me that you only love and reach out to those around us who fail you? Why do you only care about those who seem to care the least about you? What is it about our relationship that makes you despise me? What is it going to take? Because I’ll forever be over here looking for you to see me. Notice me. Love me. And yet it’s so heartbreaking to me. You’re the two people who are supposed to offer the most love and support, and it’s such a foreign thought to you. We have such different perceptions of what that even means. Sometimes I think I will be endlessly praying for it. Driving down the road asking God to put Him as the love I constantly seek, and to let go of my longing for yours. Biological or not, maybe it will just never happen. Ultimately, it’s up to God.

Closure and forgiveness. In so many areas, it’s just so necessary. I don’t think it really became so super clear to me the effect it has on my life until literally this week. Harboring these hurt feelings, all of these emotions, has SUCH a heavy burden on my heart. But how does one with such a wrecked and damaged past simply let it all go? I just have to. I have to give it to God, every morning I awake. I have to remind myself that He holds the world. I have to forgive you. I have to let all of the hurt and pain go back to Hell where it all came from. I won’t harbor these bitter feelings towards you. There’s no point. You can’t have that control, it’s useless and undeserved of me to feel. The anchors can be released. Keep moving forward.

Chin up darling, your tiara’s falling. 

The fact that so few people know the such huge things that are affecting my life. Day in and day out. The thoughts preoccupy my mind and heart but such little is shared. A new found person. Where have you been the past twenty years? The day, will forever remain utterly unexplainable. I don’t understand how that even happened or came to be. After such a long time. It’s mind blowing. I can’t wrap my head around how similar to you I am. Such a huge part of my life was forever abandoned. Who says it still isn’t going to be? All I’ve ever known are the stories I’ve been told. Drilled into my mind by the people that thought they knew you the most. But people change. And things change. And life happens when you’re growing up and allowing God to shape you into this completely new person. My biggest lesson from this recent happening? People have the potential to be so much more than you think they are. Let go of the gossip. The ‘truths.’ Let go of cynicism. Trust that God is placing in your life what He deems necessary. That’s it.

Mind blowing. Certain things happen literally out of nowhere, and I can’t explain it. Isn’t it pretty sad that my mind automatically resorts to assuming things will break, hurt, and end. Because of the past and everything I’ve dealt with. Makes me want to snap  myself into focus, and remind myself. Not everyone is going to be painful, damaging, manipulative. It’s not all going to work out the way it always has. Someday, God will have it right in front of you. Did you ever think that He never let it happen until you really gave it all to Him? When you finally surrendered to Him your life, your heart, and the freedom for Him to work within it all? Maybe that’s all it took. Surrender. Que perspective shift.

You have such timidity, and then you have days like you keep having. Great days. Days where you’re continuously smiling and laughing, completely carefree. When you don’t have to try and think about it all. Where it just clicks for the first time in such a long time. Will you let yourself hope again? Will you get in your own mind? Just give it to God. Continuously. Remember again what it feels like to be beautifully free in someone else’s arms.



Label Me Yours.


God is so so good. All of the time. Throughout everything. Through every triumph, every failure. Every second of this worldly life and beyond to endless amounts of merciful eternity. I’m in love with the transformations my life is taking. Some parts slowly, but definitely surely. And other parts in a more fast pace.

Typically, the things that we are known for or that follow us around have some sort of description of who we are. For me, there were quite a few questionable things my name was tied to a long time ago. Things I wasn’t proud of, but that I had to deal with the consequences of anyways. When people would see me, these choices and heartbreaks were automatically drawn into their minds. Among there being bad things connected, there were definitely good as well. Others, I thought were things that I deemed important to me in my own self description. The main focus that comes to mind is being somebody’s ‘someone.’ For a while, I liked that label. I enjoyed the fact that when people saw me, they knew I was _________’s girlfriend. That I was tied to this other fantastic human being, and that was ultimately all that mattered. That I would be happy and smiling, and that person would be the main source of my joy. I was ignorant.

This last Sunday at church, I got recognized. I wasn’t noticed for being somebody’s girlfriend, I’ve been single for quite a bit. I didn’t get noticed because I was dangling on someone else’s arm, hanging on every word he said. I got noticed for the right reason. I was gathering information and signing up to do Children’s Ministry on Sunday mornings, when one women sparked conversation with me. Within our talk, I was given the beautiful title declaring I was ‘One of the Romania Girls.’ Gah, my heart….it nearly exploded. Back in January, I signed up for my Romania mission trip. A very hesitant Hannah took one tiny baby step at a time towards this huge goal. Over time, I’ve been forced to take huge leaps and put my tiny baby steps to shame. Much work and planning has had to be done for this trip. Most of the time, I’m so caught up in the focus of getting it all done, that I forget other people are aware of it. I forget other people know we’re going, and that they are so eager at heart for our God searching selves.

I couldn’t even tell you the difference in emotion for those two titles of sorts. Being called someone’s girlfriend, and noticed for that, yea it’s cool. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy that comfortable feeling of connectivity. There’s just so much more though….Being noticed as a Child of Christ, in such a season of searching for deep and true love, it’s incomprehensible. I wish you could see the smile just spread across my face while I reacted, talking about my eagerness for my trip. It definitely taught me something, standing there next to a stranger, and yet a beautiful sister in Christ. More than anything, the title I pray to endlessly hold over my life and my heart, is God’s Child. His love, His princess, His bride, His. Yes, someday, I will be eager to finally be somebody’s ‘someone’ again. I will love to love, and yearn to share the Lord with someone. Those days of the future will be glorious and God filled. But those days aren’t here. Right now, God is showing me how to put Him in the forefront of my heart and mind, and to keep Him there always. To not let anything or anyone replace the lead spot in my life where only He can be fulfilling. Sometimes, my selfish ways can make this difficult on myself. But ultimately, God will hold true and He will provide.


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Lately, my heart has been in a consistent season of change. I moved back home and in with my parents, I’ve been healing over a very serious and long relationship, I transferred schools…tons of drastic change. For about a year, various things I thought had been on track in my life have taken a plot twist. When I graduated from high school two years ago, I never would have pictured myself where I am right now in my life. I didn’t expect to transfer to two different colleges. I didn’t expect to EVER move back home. I didn’t expect to go through massive amounts of heartache. But I did it. And all of it, among so much else, is now woven into the story lines that make up my life.

Once in a while I catch myself thinking about how much things have shifted for me. I think about how much things have changed around me. And I especially think about how much things have changed within me. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I never transferred out of Madison, if I never let myself fall in love, if I never went through the battle of this life. But if I hadn’t, where would my scars come from instead?

Being in such a season of change literally blows my mind. I feel like I haven’t stood still in such a long time. Is it bad that I kind of like it? Becausedo. I have found through all of this change that just about all the time, nobody will understand what seems to be going on in your life. The beauty of it? They don’t have to, and you don’t have to either. It’s not important for me worry about the mindset of others, because then it takes away from the praise in my heart for Jesus Christ.

I’m starting to be witness to some traits within myself that are nothing like the young woman I used to be.

HBC [Hannah Before Christ]

_I was selfish. I wanted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I wanted things to go perfectly smoothly all the time. I was hardworking, but striving towards things that only mattered to me. I didn’t always consider how my actions impacted those around me.

_I was insecure. I was so insecure that my insecurities held their own insecurities. I was constantly aware of how beautiful everyone around me was, and how much I lacked that. I was constantly in awe of the amazing traits everyone else held. I saw nothing worthy or great within myself.

_I was attention seeking. I didn’t want someone’s attention for long. I sought it out to fill some kind of sick void. Knowing someone else thought I was cute, funny, interesting. It was the high I needed to get me along until the next compliment came along. It was twisted.

_I was damaged goods. I allowed the ways others had shattered my life to effect everything I did. I made sure I remembered all of the hurts I felt. I figured if others could hurt me so deeply and keep on with themselves, I must not be worth too much.

_I was wrong!


HSC [Hannah Since Christ]

_I am free from all of my baggage. My past will always be my past, and my sins my own. But none of it will ever matter when I know Christ is the holder of my heart. Each new day that passes is a struggle to learn selflessness. No, it’s not easy-but most things aren’t. It’s a learning process just as anything else. A beautiful one at that.

_I am beautiful in God’s image. I will never need to be anyone other than the woman I am. God didn’t make a mistake when He made me. He didn’t make a mistake by making my blue eyes turn green when I cry. He didn’t make a mistake when He made my brown eyebrows unique to my golden blonde hair. He didn’t make a mistake when He made my extra sensitive and tender heart. He made me exactly who I am supposed to be. It’s my beautiful journey to find out just who that is to Him, and what that means to me.

_I seek the love of my Heavenly Father. I don’t have too far to look. Everywhere I turn, I see a new way in which God’s love completely encompasses my heart. Each quiet time I take, I am drawn closer to Him than the hour and a half before. Just thinking about how much love the Lord holds for me gives my whole body goose pimples. Without it, I am not me.

_I am redeemed. Could there possibly be something more breathtaking in this world? I will never have to go back to seeing myself so shattered. I will never have to wonder if I’ll make it through to the end of this wild journey. I am taken over by the grace I have been given. I am forgiven, I am free, I am transformed.

Each new passing day, my life is changing-and I simply cannot apologize for that. I shout praises of thanksgiving to my Lord of Lords! I cry out to Him to keep working within me. Removing the parts of me that hurt Him and dishonor Him, and filling me with the beauty He encompasses.