#MaddyStrong is a Beautiful Way to Live

#MaddyStrong As I write this, it's 7:22 p.m. I'm on winter break. I'm supposed to be finishing up my scheduled blog post. I'm supposed to be having amazing weekend adventures with my best friends. Instead, all I can think about is a girl I've never met.

Three days ago, a girl from our sister college, Walla Walla University in Washington, was hit by a truck while riding her bike near campus. She was airlifted to a hospital in Seattle with numerous severe injuries. News of the accident spread rapidly through social media, and people from around the world began to lift her, her friends, and her family up in prayer.

But a day later, Madison (Maddy) Jewel Baird passed away. She was 20 years old.

When the news of her accident spread to our campus that Tuesday evening, we all gathered together to pray. Even though Walla Walla is states away, you'd be surprised at how interconnected the Seventh-Day Adventist (my religious denomination) community is. I have friends from Washington that knew Maddy, one of which is my roommate; she and Maddy worked together at a camp in Oregon in the summer.

Now, a day after Maddy's passing, my Facebook feed is filled with videos, pictures, and memories of her. Just by reading these posts, I can tell that she had a warm, happy vibe about her that affected everyone she met. She'll be greatly missed.

But why do I care? I didn't even know who she was before.

Well, I care because it could happen to me, it could happen to you, it could happen to anyone. Your life could change in the blink of an eye. We live in such a fast-paced, materialistic world that we don't even take enough time to marvel at the beauty of nature and simple things in life.

But Maddy did.

A link to her blog, Sisters of Simplicity, was shared on Facebook. The first post on the homepage was enough to make me cry:

A home A structure, a building, a cage, A piece of dirt that outstretches from within the earth; We put a price tag on it. We build upon the land and call it ours The mountains, the valleys, the ground It is more than money can ever offer. its not just a structure, it’s our home In the midst of building the world up The earth sits waiting and rejected God’s canvas is put on sale. The worlds beauty sits among the ruins. The rainforests cry out. The ground shakes out of anger Yet, will anyone here their plea. Let us not forget the beauty of the earth, Do not forget.

Because of her story, I want to be #MaddyStrong. This is the hashtag being spread on social media as a result of her accident. It's meant to be an encouragement to live life to the fullest, just like she did. She's inspired me spread happiness wherever I go. I want to be a light in this dark world. These 7 principles are what I've learned from her:

1. Get outside and experience God's creation.

2. Eat healthy. Your body is a temple of God.

3. Be creative.

4. Never underestimate the power of a simple smile and "Hello!"

5. Beauty is often overlooked when it becomes part of a routine.

6. Sometimes the best things are the simplest things.

7. Breathe in the beauty of a new day.

This earth we live in is such a beautiful creation, but it's covered in sin. I can't wait for Jesus to come back, when Maddy and others will awake to the voice of Jesus and all mourning will end. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

So even though I never met her, the legacy that she left behind causes me to look up and remember why I'm here on earth. 

Let's rediscover the beauty of God's creation. Let's cherish the little moments that make life so meaningful.

Let's be #MaddyStrong.

Finding our Way By Madison Baird

“Lot’s of coffee shops Some silent talks an old gas pump beauty disguised as a grump broken and slow the car has nothing to show waiting and hoping laughs and joking lost and stranded not sure quite what we’ve been handed This is life Empty, confused and filled with strife people try and make plans Truth is it’s all in Gods hands I’m waiting Empty handed and contemplating. We gotta just enjoy the ride for soon we will run out of time.”

To get the complete story about Madison Baird, please visit here.

For more information on what Adventists believe, visit this website.


Love Letters // 04

Love Letters | The Kardia Blog Dear Caleb Hiapo,

I am definitely the luckiest girl in the world. Last Friday for our anniversary you cooked me a four course meal, complete with background music and candles!! You planned it out and stayed up late to get everything ready, and it turned out AMAZING! Thank you so much honey! I loved it so much! You definitely get the best boyfriend award, although I think I already gave you that award a few times...but another one doesn't hurt, right? ;)

Dear Briggitte,

You are the sweetest girl I know! You're always there when someone needs to talk, you make an effort to show people that you care, and you always know how to brighten someone's day. I'm so glad to be able to help you get everything organized for Outreach and Community Service for Campus Ministries. I love seeing you take leadership and help others :) You're amazing!

Dear Thanksgiving break,

You're here!! Finally!! I've been looking forward to you all month! In less than 12 hours I will be home again :) The craziness of this past week has really burnt me out, and I'm in dire need of some rest. Please go by slowly so that I can enjoy every minute.

Dear city of Lincoln,

I really wish you would learn that when it snows, you plow the snow off the streets, not just dump a whole bunch of salt on the road. All the packed down snow and ice just makes driving even more dangerous. The world doesn't end when it snows 3 inches. You're part of the midwest, c'mon!


A Minnesota Girl

To: Me (and you)

From: God


I know that it's difficult to wait. You may even feel like you're becoming an expert at waiting. I know what situation you're in though, and I have something for you to learn in the process. So keep waiting and start learning. Your patience will be rewarded. I guarantee it.

- Your heavenly Dad

Love Note

8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

(image credit)


P.S. What season are you in?

Seasons in Life

Seasons in Life | The Kardia Blog

I am so excited to bring you another Community Brew post today, hosted by Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do and Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts! This month's topic is all about Seasons. I know that I'm a day late posting this due to my crazy busy schedule these past two days. Nevertheless, I always look forward to these posts because I get to share from my heart.

Esther 4:14 || Isaiah 40:31 What has God taught you about seasons in life? How have you learned to move from one season to another? What is your current season in life and how are you learning to grow in that season?

When I think of seasons, I think changes in life; changes that may sometimes push you out of your comfort zone or changes that you eagerly accept.

I absolutely love what Madison had to say on chasing seasons. As a person who loves dreaming about the future and what's in store, I find that I have to learn to slow down and cherish the season I'm currently in. I have so many dreams I want to fulfill, such as graduating college with a double major in only four years, getting married, decorating a house, starting a business, growing my blog, the list goes on and on. As much as I want to be in control of the path of my life, that is completely out of my hands and in God's only. What I've learned over the past few months is that God has His own timing, and things don't always go the way you thought they would. You may stay in one season longer than another, or you may change between multiple ones in a short amount of time. But if you're constantly wanting to get to the next season, you'll never fully enjoy what's happening in the moment or learn what God is trying to teach you.

Right now, I really want to move on to the next season in my life, but I can hear God saying "Not yet", because I have some things to learn. Things like patience, priorities, and not being wasteful. So if I had to choose one word to describe the season I'm in currently, it'd be growth. I'm learning to be a leader, learning to work with people, learning to apply things in life. I'm growing in my spiritual life day by day and growing in knowledge as I go to classes and study every night. Yet the one thing this season has really taught me is patience. It's not all about me and what I want. Just because something doesn't go the way I wanted it to doesn't mean it's ruined. That's being selfish. God's using this season of growth and learning to mold me.

So take time to reflect on what season you're in. Don't try to rush God's timing. Seasons in life will come and go, but your memories of those seasons will stay with you forever.

 What do seasons mean to you? What season are you in? 


P.S. Why gratitude matters.

Love Letters // 03

Love Letters | The Kardia Blog

Dear Caleb,

It's been one month since you moved here to Lincoln! I am so blessed to have you in my life :) Thank you for making an apple pie with me, even though we were both busy and never got around to taking the pictures of it (the whole point of making it in the first place!) It was sooo good. I can't wait to make another! Yum!

Dear Kiara,

I am so glad to be best friends with you! :) All our inside jokes, random singing, being walking buddies - those just cover the surface level of our relationship! I know that I can go to you if I need someone to talk to or listen to me. And you should know that I'm always there for you too.

P.S. You still need to draw me a lion ;)

Dear Yik Yak,

You're basically the anonymous twitter for college students! Now if only people from my school didn't post negative things and ruin all the fun...

Dear Phone Case,

Thank you for protecting my phone for the millions of times I've dropped it. Concret, leaves, stairs, and falling off my bed have nothing on you! Keep it up! You look real cute too ;)

To: Me (and you)

From: God

 Precious Daughter,

Life is hard. Life is demanding. Life may feel like one constant waiting game. But don't lose hope. Waiting may seem to make up a good portion of your life, but never have I left your story go unfinished. I never will. Just wait, trust in me, and obey. I can make things happen that you never thought would be possible.

- Your Hope

Love Note

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11


P.S. Don't miss these 7 Ways to Achieve Your Dreams!

Love Letters // 02

Love Letters | The Kardia Blog
Dearest Caleb,

Words can't express how happy I am to finally be together in the same state as you! Day to day life dragged by really slowly without you here. I know you hate strongly dislike Nebraska, but yet you packed up everything you have to move here... to be with me. And I love you for that :)  You are such a blessing to me. For real.

Dear Karina,

Can I just say that I am so glad I get to call you one of my best friends? :) Even when you're exhausted and worn out, you still manage to be one of the happiest people I know! Your bubbly personality is why so many people look up to you. Don't give up, love! I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Dear Downtown Lincoln,

You looked absolutely beautiful last night. I just wish I had more time to walk slowly, hand in hand with my love, down your lighted streets. The cool breeze flowing through the warm night was perfect. Don't let nights like that go away! I'll be back.

Dear Payday,

Please come soon!


A Broke College Student

To: Me (and you)

From: God

My child,

Next time you spend the night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, remember this: You are safe with me! Close your eyes and find rest and peace in me. Sweet dreams!

- Your caring Father

Love Note

I will lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 4:8

(image credit)


P.S. Did you hear?! I wrote for The Collaboreat!


Gratitude | The Kardia Blog Today is my first post as part of a linkup called Community Brew. Two of my favorite bloggers, Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts, and Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do, began this linkup to give bloggers the opportunity to open up, be honest, vulnerable, and build community with others. Sometimes the prompts are on marriage, sometimes they are about life in general, but today's topic is on gratitude. I'm really excited to talk about this topic because its something that has been on my heart lately.

Earlier this month I shared my September Goals, and one of the things on my list is to begin a gratitude journal. Honestly, I've be slacking on that. Life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I feel like I've been barely able to keep up with everything. Between work, classes, friends, homework, hobbies, meetings, and projects, I don't have much time to relax.

And I don't like it.

I'm constantly doing one thing or another. Sometimes I want to scream and cry because it's just too much and I wonder why I'm spending so much time on things like homework and meetings. I get frustrated with my teachers because I have too much due on the same day. I wish I didn't have to go to work or class at 8:30 in the morning and just sleep in instead. Then I stumbled across this saying:

Gratitude | The Kardia Blog
It's so true. I took a moment to be by myself and sat outside earlier today. I spent the time in conversation with God, not complaining about how busy I am (although I did ask for peace, guidance, and the strength to complete things efficiently), but being thankful for all that He's done for me. I felt so much more alert and prepared the rest of the day. My outlook on things had changed; I was more positive.

How little time we spend being grateful for what we're blessed with.  We let life bog us down and take our focus away from what truly matters. My personal verse to remind me to take time to be thankful is Colossians 3:15-17.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I'm excited to share that I will be using my gratitude journal beginning today! I want to be more intentional on taking time to be grateful.

10 Things I'm Grateful For:

  1. The crisp air of early fall mornings.
  2. The chance to get a good education.
  3. Conversation dates with my girl friends.
  4. A warm bed to fall into every night.
  5. The sunlight that streams through the trees.
  6. A loving family.
  7. Laughter that brings me to tears.
  8. New friends
  9. Kind strangers
  10. A God who loves me

community brew link up
What are some things you are thankful for? How do you show gratitude even when you feel burnt out?


Love Letters // 01

Love Letters | The Kardia BlogDear Caleb,

I miss you so much. These past few days have been rough. Not being able to be with my best friend is really hard. But every time I see your picture pop up on caller ID, I smile. I smile because I realize just how special you are to me :) I'm so proud of all the hard work you do and for not only dreaming of what you want, but actually doing it. I've never met someone more driven than you. I can't wait to be with you again! I love you.

Dear Weekend,

You are looking so promising, being 3 days instead of just 2. You bring with you a holy and special day of rest. A much needed day of rest. I'm so excited to have the chance to relax and recharge after this crazy busy week.

Dear French Manicure,

Why couldn't you last at least a week?!

Dear Blog,

You are now a week and one day old!! I'm so glad I decided to start you and I'm more than excited to see what is in store for us!

To: Me (and you) From: God

My Daughter,

Do not be anxious. It's easy to feel lost in this fast-paced, get-it-done-now, do-this-and-that world. When you are feeling lost, alone, or overwhelmed, remember that I am your shepherd. I will search for you myself and keep you safe. Count on it. Cast your burdens on me.

Abide in me and you will find rest.

- Your loving Father

Love Note 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7


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