Taking Flight

Leaving Egypt: Freedom + Closed Doors

When I would hear the saying “when God closes a door, He opens a window” or some variation of God closing and opening some way of passing through into some other place, one image always came to mind.

I imagined a long hallway that seemed to go on forever. There was no end to this hallway. Not only was there no end, but it was small, the ceiling low hanging, maybe not even 8 feet tall and so narrow that two people couldn’t even walk side-by-side. The only light in this cramped hallway came from your standard light bulbs – emitting hardly enough light to see by as they hung naked from the fixtures above. There were no windows, no natural light. Only the dim, exposed orbs floating overhead. But there were doors. There were lots of doors, one right after the other as far as the eye could see in this infinitesimal yet infinite passageway spaced evenly apart, maybe every three feet or so, all looking the same – your standard wood door with your standard brass knob. Nothing to distinguish one from the other. Some are completely locked as if there were a deadbolt on the other side and the knob is locked, too. It doesn’t turn, doesn’t give at all. Some the knob turns, but when you push, there’s nothing. And then there are some that are a complete tease. The knob turns, it opens. And you get excited because finally there is a way out of that dingy, creepy hallway that never ends and seems to have no way out at all. You just want a little bit of sunlight, a little bit of something different, something good. All in one instance you push forward, you see that light you’ve been longing to see, and…

There’s a chain on the other side of the door that holds tight. What happened to knock and it shall be opened? You thought it was your turn. You were certain this was your door. The door you had prayed about. The door you had pleaded with God to open because all you want is a little bit of sunshine, even a small window to look out of would do.

If this image doesn’t scare you, if it doesn’t terrify you just a little bit and make you feel so small that a part of you feels like you want to curl up in a ball, it should. This should make you feel small and incapable and completely overwhelmed at this whole knocking on doors nonsense. It sure does me. In general, I don’t like small spaces and I’ve come to realize I’m not a huge fan of the indoors. I don’t like feeling closed off and isolated and I don’t like not being able to see a way out.

If this is the image you have of this saying we so often throw around, if you have the same image that I once had, then there are three things.

One, God has more than just a prison-sized peephole for us to look forward to. He set us free from slavery and He didn’t intend for us to go back. All too often we’re willing to go back to a form of slavery because it’s easier, it’s immediate, but it’s also misleading. The prison always gives the illusion of greener grass, but we’re not really free. We’re surviving, not thriving as Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan write in Wild and Free. But Christ bought our freedom and he intended for us to thrive.

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Two, I’ve learned that life isn’t the infinite hallway with no light, no hope. It’s the road out of Egypt.

Right now, there’s a door you’re trying to find and you’re seeking with all your might, both eyes wide open, but it’s desert or prairie – or whatever terrain is the best metaphor – for miles and miles. An oasis or natural spring would be nice about now. A village just over the horizon would be even better.

Right now, there’s a door you’re waiting to be opened. You might even be trespassing a smidgen trying to peek in through the windows and going around back to see if anyone’s home.

For now, be patient.

The village will come soon enough. Enjoy the journey even though it’s hard. Your throat is parched, but there’s Living Water for that. You’re starving. That’s good. It means you have an appetite for goodness. Stay hungry just a little longer.

The door will open when the time is right, but in the mean time take in the beauty around you. There are things that need to be done outside of that door, people who could use you and who you could learn a thing or two from. The whole world isn’t on the other side of that door; instead, there’s a whole world outside that door just waiting for you to explore it.

And three, because life isn’t a cramped and creepy hallway, there’s room for company. You aren’t alone. You are not the only one waiting, wandering, knocking and wondering.

(photo by Kathryn Patterson Photography)

(Originally published to my former site, thetakingflightblog.com, on June 24, 2016.)

Advertisements
Standard
Taking Flight, Writing

A Letter to the Woman Who is 19-going-on-20

candace||kpp-5.jpg

(photo by Kathryn Patterson Photography)

It’s been almost a year since I turned twenty. A lot of people said to get ready. That it would be hard and that the struggle would be so very real. People told me that this would be the hardest time in my life. But despite all the warnings and ill-tidings people would proffer, I looked at twenty and I saw hope. I saw joy. I saw new beginnings and unlimited possibility. I saw a chance to reevaluate the direction my life was going and reinvent who I was. So here is a heart to heart I offer to the woman who is about to leave her teenage years behind because ready or not, here twenty comes:

Sweet child,

You’re no longer a child anymore and I’m sure you’ve felt that way for quite some time. All of a sudden the number 20 is thrust upon you. You’ve longed for freedom and for independence. You’ve wrestled with this idea of womanhood – wondering what that exactly means and when exactly you entered that season. You’ve grappled with what a woman lives her life like and how you will live the life before you with strength and dignity and determination, but now you have to live it.

Twenty. It’s a very confusing number with so many implications, so many expectations. Your twenties are scary and ominous. There is so much uncertainty. For what might be the first time in your life you see the things in which you once put your hope for what they are. Meaningless. A vapor in the wind. Up until now you’ve had dreams – big dreams – but in the context of twenty they seem far off and unlikely.

I wish I could tell you all that there is to living out your twenties and living them fully, but I’m still learning just like you. But let me start here.

I hope that you will not lose hope.

I pray that you love life. I pray that you will seek adventure. I pray that you will not lose faith but instead find God in the most amazing and unlikely places simply because you took the time to look. I pray that you will not get caught up in the rat race of life, but that you will charge full speed ahead in the race God has called you to run.

I pray that you know that everything in this next decade of life and in every other decade is very much a choice. I pray that you choose joy even when that seems like the hard thing, the awkward thing. I pray that you choose love even when you don’t have a man in your life to love. I pray that you choose peace when the storm seems too big for you to weather. I pray that you choose kindness. I pray that you choose compassion. I pray that you choose grace. I pray that you choose beauty because, yes, even beauty is a choice. And I’m not talking about the beauty that comes from powder and paint.

I pray that you see the future as opportunity for God to be glorified and to make much of Jesus. I pray that you see the coming years as a blank canvas for Him to create a beautiful masterpiece. I pray that you look past the uncertainty and the unknowns and see all that the Master Artist could do in the coming years – that He can and will make beautiful things from nothing or even bad and horrible things.

I hope you take a chance. I hope you travel all over the world and leave worry behind because He is bigger than your worry. He is bigger than your fears because turning twenty is kind of scary.

But more than anything.

I hope you dream wildly and live adventurously.

In Him,

Candace

(Originally published to my former site, thetakingflightblog.com, on March 11, 2016.)

 

Standard
Taking Flight, The Single Life

5 Valentine’s Gifts for the Adventurous Girl

Adventurous

If you have an adventurous girl in your life, then you’ve come to the right place to find the perfect gift! I love spending time outdoors but apparel and gear for the next trek isn’t exactly the typical Valentine’s Day gift – which is what makes those kind of things the best kind of gift! Nothing says “I love you” or “You’re pretty cool” like a unique gift! Whether she is your girlfriend, your best friend, your daughter or your wife, show some love to the adventurous girl in your life with one of these five out-of-the-box gifts she is sure to love!

1. Chaco Natilly Boots: $140

Chaco boots of any kind are a great gift! They have the Chaco sole that are podiatrist-approved and super comfy. They’re perfect for casual day hikes. And they are fashionable on and off the trails.

I’ve had my Chaco Natilly boots for almost a year and I’ve worn them in just about every environment. I wore them all the time when I studied abroad in London and Paris. I’ve worn them on rainy days to class, in the snow, on a girls’ night out and to church. These boots are definitely not cheap, but the adventurous girl is sure to get a lot of wear out of them.

You could also spring for the Barbary style, which I’m in love with! They’re just $10 more at $150 and I’d be willing to bet they have just as much versatility!

2. Merrell’s Fluorecein Mid Waterproof Boots: Regular price $140, On Sale for $99.99

I know…another pair of boots. What can I say. I love shoes, especially boots and especially ones made with hiking in mind. I just got my pair of these lovelies for a New Mexico backpacking trip in June (because Chacos will not cut it on long treks like this one). It was love at first…wear??? Anywho, this would be a great gift to show the adventurous girl in your life that you love and appreciate her!

I know these first two gifts are a bit pricey and may not be the best thing for a friend or even your girlfriend unless it’s getting serious, but your outdoorsy wife or daughter will love you forever.

3. Doublenest ENO Hammock: $69.95

I love my ENO! But I got a Singlenest because I didn’t want to pay $10 more. It’s the tragic story of a poor college student. I know. The double allows for more room for a sleeping bag…or cuddling! But so far that has been my only regret!

An ENO will make sleeping out under the stars, taking an outdoor catnap or just chilling outside fun and relaxing! I love to take mine out even for a few hours to read and enjoy nice weather when it comes around!

Obviously, this would not be the gift you would get your friend unless you were the one who won the Powerball or you just REALLY loved them, but it could be the perfect and unique thing for a girlfriend, wife or daughter! I mean let’s face it…you’ll end up spending just as much money on a good bouquet of flowers.

(NOTE: You will also need to buy straps to suspend the hammock…and lucky for you that’s the next suggestion!)

4. ENO Atlas Hammock Suspension: $29.95

This is the perfect gift for the girl who already has an ENO but wants to take her hammocking to the next level. Eagle Nest Outfitters has what they call a Slap Strap for $10 cheaper, but you can’t use these traps in state and national parks. They’re actually illegal because they are too thing and can hurt the trees. At least that’s what the guy at Sun & Ski told me. But the Atlas straps or can be used anywhere you can physically get your ENO to stay hanging! So, give the gift that will let your friend or girlfriend hammock like a champion!

5. Adventure Essentials Care Package (Lip balm, hiking socks, + a few snacks)

This might seem like a weird cop-out gift, but if you’re wanting to get a gift for a friend or multiple adventurous friends, this is an inexpensive yet valuable gift. This is also where you can let some creativity shine through! I would suggest a stick of lip balm, a pair of hiking socks and maybe some peanut butter crackers or a Clif Bar.

A good lip balm is like gold for the girl who likes to spend her time in the great outdoors because sweltering heat, frigid air, bright sun and stinging wind can DE-stroy your skin, especially on your lips. The last thing she will want to worry about when she’s out on the trails or on the slopes is the annoying and unbearable stinging sensation that is chapped lips.

You can get any lip balm that you like, but I’m a huge fan of Burt’s Bees! It’s all-natural. It lasts FOR-EV-ER. You can get it in a lot of flavors (Peppermint is my favorite!). And unlike some brands of lip balm, it’s easy to pack and not an awkward sphere shape so your best girlfriend can slip it into a jacket pocket or side pocket in her pack and be good to go!

As far as the socks go, there one of those things that it’s a hard thing to justify buying for yourself because socks tend to be easily lost and there is always more expensive equipment to save up for. Thus, a good pair of socks tend to go by the wayside.

Finally, the snacks are just a no-brainer. Everyone loves snacks!

What gift would you add to the list?

Standard
A Christ-filled Adventure, Taking Flight

Bekah York + a Christ-filled Adventure

Bekah York(1)

The inspiration for Taking Flight didn’t just come out of nowhere. First and for most, this blog was definitely a God-thing. At the end of last year, I felt a gentle tug on my heart to use my love and talent for writing to further His kingdom so I started to just jump into my writing and see where it took me.

But I am always deeply inspired by the people He has placed in my life as well. Sometimes my favorite and best and most successful blog posts have come from having a cup of coffee with the people around me. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of those people and her Christ-filled Adventure!

Meet Bekah York! You can thank a conversation with this ray of sunshine for inspiring I’m a Christian and I go to a public university and Why I write. So sit back and enjoy this story of beautiful friendship!

How We Met!

I met Bekah at one of the best places to make new friends – at church! Though she came into the college group as a sophomore, she has been a great blessing to everyone involved. With her bubbly and infectious personality, Bekah is one of those people who will make you feel right at home in a matter of seconds!

However, it wasn’t just her outgoing personality that drew me to this sweet soul. Bekah is a journalism major at OU, which means not only did Team “Not An Engineer” gain another member at church but there was also someone in the same college as me! (Don’t get me wrong…love my engineering friends but it’s nice to have a conversation without the words “differential equations” and “solid mechanics” being said!).

And if that’s not enough, Bekah has a blog! I would suggest jumping over and reading some of her stuff. Hers is one of my favorite blogging voices!

Her Christ-filled Adventure

There are some people that when you meet them for the first time you just feel warm inside. They radiate joy and sunshine and you can’t help but be happy when you’re around them. I think fruits of the spirit and that verse from Proverbs 31 when I think of these kind of people.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
Provers 31:25 (NLT)

And that’s Bekah!

She’s full of so much laughter and joy and it’s infectious! I don’t think I’ve ever see her without a smile on her face. Even when she’s faced with the uncertainty and the enormity of what might come, she always shoots for optimism when her gut says otherwise.

But the part of about being “clothed with strength and dignity” applies to Bekah as well. She’s a strong and independent woman who’s not afraid to think intelligently and speak what’s on her heart – a kind of woman this world needs more of.

More About Bekah

Bekah is a fellow Okie! She grew up in the same part of the state as me in Broken Arrow, Okla. She’s a theatre enthusiast and loves all things acting, which makes total sense once you know her highly loveable, extroverted personality!

She dreams of one day being an actress, writer and photographer – all the things that don’t exactly make a lot of money as she is often told. I can certainly relate to the writer part!

She has a cute pup named Toby that she adopted from an animal shelter last spring. She is passionate about adopting instead of shopping – which I LOVE!

She’s another fellow coffee lover and one of the people I go to when I need a person to pray with.

A sweet soul. A lover of people and adopting shelter puppies. I hope everyone has a friend like Bekah in there life who inspires them to live a Christ-filled adventure!

Who in your life inspires you to live a Christ-filled Adventure? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

Standard
Taking Flight, The Single Life

Singleness

What I’m about to say might sound very satirical and sarcastic. That’s what I was going for, but if that’s not your thing, if you have a hard time understanding sarcasm or taking it, then you might want to stop reading now.

What I’m about to say might sound like it comes from bitterness and resentment toward all things love and relationships, but I beg of you to keep reading because that is not my motivation at all.

So, allow me to paint a picture for you.

What if single people posted as much about being single as some dating, engaged, newlywed or married people posted about their relationships? No, if we did that, the sky might fall on top of us and humanity would cease to exist as we know it.

What if instead of Mancrush Monday and Womencrush Wednesday, we had Single’s Sunday? Or even Saturday…yeah, I think we would settle for Saturday.

Or better yet, what if one day out of the whole year, we had a day were singles could genuinely celebrate their singleness? They could post pictures of the single life and all the couples would just have to sit there thinking, “You know it’s cool you all have your day, but we couples still exist and we would like some recognition, too.”

All of this sounds ridiculous and obnoxious, right? At least that’s what I’m hoping you think.

A couple of times on Taking Flight I’ve talk about Christianity and the Christian community’s approach to singleness and dating, but this isn’t just a Christian problem, it’s a world problem. But the fact of the matter is relationships are celebrated while singleness is left high and dry.

So much is dedicated to and set aside for the dating/married community. Annual holidays; twice weekly social media days; one week, one month, six month and one year anniversaries; annual holidays for those who have taken their relationship to the next level and added a child to the mix. Congratulations. You can reproduce. What an accomplishment. Bacteria does that multiple times a day, but ya know…it’s cool.

Sarcasm aside…in the midst of all these special days we’re recognizing parents who really aren’t that great at being parents. We’re celebrating relationships that are on the rocks except in the perfectly posed, beautifully written captions of Instagram photos. We’re elevating husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, dads and moms who are so bad at it that all of us single people can’t even.

This isn’t to deny those who are great parents, spouses and significant others the credit due them. After all, if I were in that position, I think I would like to get a pat on the back every once in awhile if I were doing a decent job at it, but where are the flowers and chocolates for the single peeps? Or a plane ticket to some place really cool (because it’s really all the same)?

I mean we’d like to think we’re killin’ it at this whole single thing, but it’s kind of hard when the things being celebrated are not singleness and making the most of this season of life. There’s no special day for singles. There’s only sad sideways glances, pity and well meaning (but actually insulting) “it will come” comments.

So, as my call-to-action, in the moments when you’re celebrating your relationships and the blessings that come with them this Valentine’s season, also take a moment to celebrate the single in your life in whatever way you possibly can.


 

Join the Taking Flight community during the month of February for this month long series, Single Life!

Single Life

Standard
travel

Taking Flight: Washington + Colorado

In the past month, I’ve been blessed to go to some pretty cool places. I love traveling and if I had an endless supply of money, I don’t think I would be able to keep my feet on the ground. I’d spend every minute exploring new places and trying to catch the next 747 to the next place on my travel checklist.

Over winter break, I went to two states I had already been to and even some already visited towns and cities, but I still made a point to find something and someplace new and amazing about each.

Washington

My first adventure started with a trip to the Pacific Northwest with my family to see more family that we hadn’t seen since my high school graduation so almost three years.

We actually flew into Portland, Oregon before enjoying the feet upon feet of snow and the beauty of the Cascade Mountains. Here are some photos from our stay at a quaint little farm house near Leavenworth, WA!

 The Drive to Leavenworth

   

The Cabin – Yes, there was a piano and horses!



  

Some Family and Some Sledding



  
  
  
  
Oh, and Bella (my cousin’s dog) LOVED her natural habitat!

Breckenridge, CO

Before I continue, I should probably say that I used to HATE going to the mountains. I was a kind of “loathe entirely” moment like from the Grinch because (1) it felt like my family went there every fall break when I was a kid and (2) I passed out every time.

But that’s all past tense junk now because mountains mean wilderness and wilderness means hiking, skiing and all sorts of outdoor fun. The higher the mountain the better regardless of fainting possibilities.

This was my second trip to Breckenridge in my life. Both times I have gone with the college group from church for a ski trip and it’s always been a blast. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by nature that God created and spending time with Christ-minded peers.

Though this was my second time to Breck, I still managed to explore some new slopes and enjoyed the breath-taking view that only harder slopes can offer. You don’t get views even close to that on Green slopes.

Here are some photos from Breck! Sorry they are in short supply compared to the WA photos!

Our Drive



I got Harper Lee’s new novel for the trip!

From the slopes, but not a blue. I was too busy trying to stay up to take a picture!

Standard
Taking Flight

The Heart of a Planner

Confession. Sometimes my heart gets ahead of me. Correction. Sometimes my heart gets ahead of God.

As I make plans for the direction of this blog, I find myself just wanting to hit the ground running. I’ve got so many ideas that it has literally been killing me not to go ahead with them. But the timing just hasn’t been right.

One of the things I hate most in life is steamrolling (granted, it’s sometimes a necessary evil), but in all the exhilarating emotions that come with motivation and new ideas, on an almost daily basis I find myself trying to steamroll God. ‘Trying’ being the operative word. I make these plans in my head. I get so excited over them that I sometimes lose sleep. I’ll spend the last few minutes or hours before going to bed writing or thinking of ways to grow Taking Flight and even when I put down my work and go to bed, my mind is going a million miles an hour and sleep evades me. In my head, I imagine God saying, “Um excuse me miss” as I say, “Now I’m gonna do this and that.”

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

This week has been no different even though it’s OU’s finals week and in the midst of studying I still found myself dreaming wildly and planning my next adventures with Taking Flight. (Don’t worry, Mom! I still studied my little heart out.) If you were to look in the margins of my Cognitive notes and study guide, you would see little notes to myself on ideas for articles and next steps in growing this site. As I studied, it took every fiber of my being not to switch gears and take a “study break” (that, if we’re being real, would have been a complete hiatus from studying).

There have been times in the last two weeks where I’ve had to pray “God, help me stick to the task at hand” because even though we have those outlets where we feel we are serving God at our optimum level, that is not the only place our servitude is needed. Sometimes those outlets where we feel we are most serving God are actually the outlets the feed our ego and arrogance (James 4:16). And sometimes our service to His kingdom is needed in the day to day and not in the grandiose because sometimes it is the menial where His name is glorified the most.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Though writing would have been a lot more fun than studying Cognitive Psychology, my heart cannot speed past God’s heart.

This blog has become one of my favorite adventures. With each knew post, I get to grow as a writer and a daughter of the King. I love that feeling I get when I start writing an article and I hit a cord not only in my own heart but in the hearts of others.

Anyone who writes or creates in anyway knows that feeling and it’s exhilarating! It motivates me to want to write more, which is why it’s hard to stick to the task and glorify Him in the menial.

However, finals are over (PRAISE!) and I can now get back to doing what I love most – writing for Taking Flight.

I’m a huge planner and I’ve been dreaming like a maniac over this blog! I am beyond excited to reveal some of those plans in the next few weeks and coming months, but until then bear with me as I wait for the right timing. God’s timing!

(Photo courtesy of Kathryn Patterson)

Standard