Retiring at 21.

I am competitive. All. The. Time. It’s rather exhausting (but only when I’m losing.)

My four years in college have been riddled with this spirit of competition, although I viewed it as proving I was better than everyone else. I mean, I already knew I was in the top 5%, but I wanted to make sure I still went above and beyond even further. Healthy, I know. I even had created a plan to becoming the best Communications student Lee has ever known.

Lately though, God has been reminding how life really actually isn’t a big race for 1st place. There are several personalities in my life who constantly try to one-up and accelerate their stories above others and gosh, it’s annoying. It’s been a great reminder how I don’t need to be the best, just be available for God to use. A person is constantly competing and comparing is not usable by God because they’re too busy trying to self-promote. As Bob Goff writes in “Love Does,” secretly incredible people don’t have to talk about what they’re doing…they just do it.

And besides, God’s plans for us are tailored, not mass produced. I’m so glad my life plan is not like Forever 21.

So at the young age of almost 22, I’m retiring from the competition of working to be the best. I want to be used by God, not lonely at the top of a pointless ladder.

Rendered Speechless

I’ve spent the past two days in Krakow, Poland–which is actually a great place (despite the snowy 19 degree weather). There’s so much history, beauty, great food, and every zloty is equal to a mere 30 cents…so pretty awesome.

Today however, we went to Auschwitz, the world famous (perhaps infamous?) concentration camp. Words cannot accurately describe how heavy it felt to walk the same path as the hundreds of thousands who marched to their death less than 100 years before. Plus, the icy winds and bitter cold added so much more to understanding the suffering and cruelty of the camp.

Sites like Auschwitz cannot help but make you wonder how such evil in the world exists. All it takes is one idea to completely change a viewpoint, as seen with the extermination of millions deemed inhuman during the Holocaust.

I know that great evil like experienced during the Holocaust is sill happening today and visiting Auschwitz made me remember that fact. I don’t want to just sit down and be quiet about injustice. If my life isn’t one of actively pursuing justice and promoting the legacy of hope that is Christ, what am I doing?

Too often Christians are on the defensive rather than offensive. Why do we spend so much time trying to make sure the media is representing us well or things like the “War on Christmas” when over and over in the Bible, Jesus tells us that him Christ we will not be treated well by the world? So who cares when we have such a high calling?

I want my life to show love and speak up for those without voices, rather than hear my own.




“Adventure is out there!”

I am approximately 49 hours away from beginning potentially the most adventurous weeks of my life, the perfect coup du grace of this semester abroad. 

What am I doing? Backpacking across Europe, no less! 

The latter sentence feels very foreign and strange to write, let alone try to comprehend. I feel so humbled to have these experiences and privileged to have the ability to travel around a continent for fourteen days. Adventure is out there, but like van Gogh said, “I am not an adventurer by choice, but by fate.” 

I’ll be spending a few days in Poland, Prague, Salzburg, Cinque Terre, Rome, and finally a week in Paris. 

There are so many questions waiting for answers such as: how will I survive with literally all my possessions in one backpack? How easy is it to sleep on a train? Will this resemble camping, as the only experience I have thus far with that has been in my backyard? etc, etc, etc. 

How do I feel about it all? Basically this: efjlibnfgajkefbnajksdnfiwuehdriadlhsjfvk;sdhnv!!!!!!!! 

Can’t wait to share all my stories when I’m back in the old U.S. of A! I won’t have a laptop until then so, this is farewell for now! Wish me luck. 

ways to my heart. in no particular order.

In case you were wondering, “Hmm, I wonder how I could go about endearing myself to Kelsy?”, have I got a blog post for you! This lays out the basics, basically.  Nobody’s perfect (DEFINITELY myself included), but these things are like gold. 

1. Understanding that the weirder the documentary topic is, the more likely I will watch it. Hoarders, people who marry inanimate objects, life after the porn industry, anything about holistic food, anything on TLC…if you love these too, get ready to spend hours getting mutually shocked by them.

2. Sharing anything funny or interesting (videos, pictures, links to articles) with me when you find them and just know I’ll love it. Because you better believe I’ll be bombarding you with the latest puppy pictures ASAP.

3. Never wanting to stop learning and growing as a person. Staying open and curious about life is so important.

4. Not being afraid to show emotion when something is truly touching or sad (although we can never ever watch “My Dog Skip” or glaringly emotional manipulative animal movies (…”War Horse”…), let’s agree to that now.)

5. Giving solid, honest, hard to hear advice.

6. Realizing that sporadic dance parties, rap sessions, or dramatic musical pantomime can and will happen anytime, anywhere.

7.  Not try to one-up, out-do, or correct something insignificant. I’m sorry, but your insecurity is showing. And unless you’re Penelope from SNL, it’s not cool.

8.  Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Some random guy once said “Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at,” and I couldn’t’ agree more. Let’s face it. We’re all pretty ridiculous. I gave up on ever trying to look cool after the Middle Parted Hair Disaster of 2006. If you can laugh at yourself and truly take a joke, you’re pretty great in my book.

9.  Treating others around you–even the sometimes annoying, or rude, or totally dopey ones–with kindness and patience.

10. Being alive. Ain’t nobody got time for those Twilight/Warm Bodies/Vampire Diaries shenanigans.

Fashion Forward: UK edition


Photo courtesy of Best News Now

Hello from the United Kingdom! As you know, I’ve been living in England for the past month and let me tell you, the fashion here is incredible. While the style is not radically far off from the United States’ thanks to the globalization of the Internet, everything is at least a season or two ahead of the clothes we wear. For example, the H&Ms put even the best of the best in America to shame—it’s like we are the UK’s younger sister and get all their fashion hand-me-downs.

Want to catch up? Here are a few of the major trends I’ve noticed on the streets and shops of Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, and Oxford:

  1. Over-the-top hair accessories: Bows and hair bandanas (think Rosie the Riveter) are huge—literally and figuratively. When it comes to hair, the bigger the better. Even yesterday, I was at a boutique and noticed several headbands with giant silk flowers in the style of a hippie daisy crown. Teased hairstyles are very popular and often incorporate these hair accessories.
  2. Mash-up of feminine and military style: Bows, lace, pearls, and short dresses are consistently paired with structured blazers, studs, and long chain necklaces. The mix of both worlds combines the distinctively structured elements of military style with the naturally pretty feminine clothes.
  3. 1960’s mod eye makeup and HUGE Sock Buns: The British have truly perfected sock buns and wear them all the time, whether casually or professionally. The cat eye makeup style is also very popular (think Adele or a less dramatic Amy Winehouse look) and is worn especially by those also with large sock buns.  
  4. Tights with EVERYTHING: In case you might have forgotten in balmy Cleveland, TN, it is currently winter. Here in Cambridge, we cannot easily forget, as every day is absolutely freezing. The main way to survive the bitter winds is through layering clothing, but many British women brave the cold just with tights! Black tights are the most popular, but navy and other muted colors are also frequently seen.
  5. Cool Goth: Gothic style is making a soft reappearance, but has reemerged as a “Let’s go to this concert” Goth rather than “Woe is Me” Gothic. Crosses, dark colors, fringe, and crop tops is the new contrasting style to the fem-military fashions.

And probably the biggest revelation  of all: Ombre hair is back! I’m predicting that it is the huge summer hair trend of 2013–everyone here wears it so well! It’s making me want to dye my hair again…gulp. 

 Living in a different culture for three months is a spectacular experience that I hope everyone gets to share one day, but until then, I will do my best to share the fashion updates from abroad!

Getting Lost in Cambridge

Hands down my favorite avenue in Cambridge.

Hands down my favorite avenue in Cambridge.

Sometimes, you just have to skip class and wander. Tolkien wrote that not all who wander are lost, but given my horrible directional skills, I definitely achieve both simultaneously sometimes.

Armed with my Calvin Klein for Costco rainjacket and a playlist full of Bon Iver, I explored the city center of Cambridge all afternoon, reveling in the beauty of the moment.


#selfie #casualthursday

There’s nothing quite like walking down the narrow cobblestone sidewalks of an ancient city, the raindrops falling on your face a reminder of the fact you are alive.

We need more reminders of the fact we are alive. You might be thinking that’s the stupidest, most obvious thing you’ve ever read—we’re alive, no kidding—but when was the last time you did something that made you wholly cognizant of that fact? We are just walking, breathing bundles of dust, living in a world full of self-medication to numb the pain of life. We crave simple moments of beauty, ones which reflect the presence of greater Good in the world, Jesus Christ. To be honest, before this past week, I was still a member of the walking dead. A change of scenery did nothing but add new methods of distraction.  Exploring the tiny harbor town of Howth, Ireland woke me up again (more details to come.)

So much beauty

So much beauty

So, how should you go about with this resuscitation? Do something non-goal oriented/ time frame based by yourself. Go for a walk, explore something, read on your front porch, paint, hike, whatever.

I think one of the biggest obstacles that twenty-somethings face in this whole weird “finding myself” phase is the fear of being alone. Doing any activity alone scares people to death because as it seems to signify the future presence of a glaring neon sign “Forever Alone.” It’s so healthy to be alone. You learn so much about yourself and become a thousand times stronger with this independence.

So go on. Get lost. It’s good for you.