One week till warm weather!
One week until iced coffee instead of hot.
One week until palm trees instead of falling leaves.
one week till home!

 I've been thinking a lot about what home means. I'm pretty sure everyone has this same introspective struggle at some point. The first day that my phone routed me "home", and by home I mean back to campus, I cried a little inside. Where is home? Florida? My dorm room? (TBH I actually live in the library now so that's it.) 

Coming to Texas, I definitely had expectations that this state would feel instantly like home. And when it didn't, I was confused. If Florida doesn't seem like home and Texas doesn't really either....where is it? Did I pick the wrong state- what am I missing?

At the beginning of the semester I spent a lot of time praying about feeling settled here in Texas And while God has done an amazing work in that area, He's also said a flat out NO. Because think about it, we weren't destined or destined to live in this sin-filled world. This wasn't His intent for us. No matter whee we are on earth, getting settled to some degree always requires with settling in with the sin that permeates our world.

Maybe the reason we've can't figure out where Home is or what it feels like is because we've actually never been. We've spent our entire lives trying to build up a framework of what we think it should be like, but we are yet to experience being at home with Him.

I'm excited to go home - to Florida and my mom and the 80 degree weather! I'm also excited because it's encouraging to know that wherever I end up on earth, I always have a home waiting for me.

(let's just hope it's 80 degrees in Heaven too!)


I'm Karissa. I live by the beach. I'm tan. I'm a photographer. I go to Moes and Chickfila at least 5 times a week. I go to three different churches and I watch the sunset at my spot on the river every night.

Except now, the only thing that hasn't changed on that list is my name.

It took leaving home and moving to Texas to realize that WHERE I am actually has very little to do with who I am. It was unsettling at first. What am I without a house by the beach and a job that I love? Who am I when I'm not in my normal setting of church and friends and school? What am I like-really?

Though unknowingly, I came to college with the expectation that my well established life and routines would be exactly the same. I thought it would be easy to slip back into my old life, yet in a new place. Surely it wouldn't be too hard! I mean, they have Chick-Fil-A on campus and the sun sets every day no matter what so there's that.

Well the Chick-Fil-A closes at 7pm. And doesn't serve salads. And I miss most of the sunsets because I'm in lab or the library.

So what am I, without that? Who am I, when I'm stripped of all the external things that made me, me?

I'm Karissa. I live in Abilene Texas. I don't live by the beach, and my parents won't for much longer either. I study biology. I eat at least 4 apples every day. I'm obviously not tan at ALL. I see the sunsets as I'm walking home from the library.

Every physical marker that I associated with my identity has changed. From my possessions (new car!) to profession (no job!) to passions (passing classes) to popularity (ha, that's laughable) has all changed. I don't wear dresses very often, I hardly do a full face of makeup. I can't get up at 6:30 because my roommate would murder me, and rightfully so.

It was suffocating at first. I can't be me! The one thing I'm sure of in life is who I am. 

The thing is, you can't force an old life into a new location. You can't move to a totally new place, leave everything you know behind...yet expect it to be the same? Because that would be weird and also, completely physically impossible. But I tried anyway, because that was my life! It was what I knew.

The only thing beyond my name that hasn't changed, is Jesus. 

In a day my identity went from established to very confused, but He was the same. When I was worried about who to be, He never changed. His love for me and grace in my life didn't stop when I moved 3,000 miles from home. If anything, the less I have of me in the way, the more room in my life I have for The Lord.

It's painful. It's hard to let go of things you thought were a part of your identity. But really on this earth?. And beaches and tans are nice and all, but really the only thing I've got for sure and forever is my name and my savior.
(But if Jesus doesn't mind, I'd love to get the tan back!)

Hydrangea Heaven

I spent all morning in biology learning about plants, specifically angiosperms aka FLOWERS. Back in Savannah in the summer, the hydrangeas were in full bloom and the absolute most beautiful thing ever. Learning about the intricate plant cells and tissue isn't exactly the most exciting thing but wow, I'm a sucker for a good monocot! Look how pretty they are.

Summer Days in Savannah

It's freaking October and I'm just now sitting down to write about our summer adventures in Savannah. Granted I just moved across the country, started college and lost my tan in a week but yeah, excuses excuses.

It was my goal this year to see my friend Sarah McNair. Lucky me, I saw her twice and was in her wedding! She wasn't even engaged when I made that goal, so either I'm a prophet or God is just really good at being God. (you pick!) Either way, I'm so thankful I got to spend time with Sarah. There are some friends where you know that no matter what, you'll be friends forever. Sarah is one of those people, and I'm so glad she's in my life.

I met all these girls at TeenPact, isn't that so funny? I guess the pencil skirts and political debates were good for something. I met Sarah and Nellie back in Georgia in 2014 (see it HERE, also lol at the fact that Sarah and I didn't really even know one another then.) and then we all connected again at NC the same year (see here) and added bri to the party. Easily without a doubt, they are some of my all time favorite people. I'm baffled at the way that TeenPact creates such strong friendships. It's weird and super awkward but WORTH every second.

Sarah wasn't in Savannah when I went over spring break (say that ten times fast), so it was a treat to be able to explore the city with a native this time around. Obviously I'm smitten with the old fashioned Charm of the city....the sweltering heat? Not so much.

I love these women with my whole heart. Also, I love the random lady we asked to take this photo because it actually turned out! Cheers to our #IDOCREW and such a fun weekend in Savannah.


When we moved back to Florida in 2010, I thought I was finished with small towns forever.

When I was 3/4 of the way  through senior year and hadn't submitted one application, I assumed going off to college was just a childhood fantasy.

And when I swore that I'd never wear grape purple again well...just look at my hat (and the 4 shirts I bought in the campus store.)


And I couldn't be more excited.

I was sitting in the dining hall back in February, wondering what I was doing 10 million miles from home, considering a school in a town in Texas that was so small I wasn't even sure it had a target. On paper the school looked good, in person it was pretty good too, but I wasn't convinced. I wasn't convinced until God spoke to me as clearly as the plate of french fries I was eating had spoken to me earlier. For whatever reason, this was the place where healing would begin. In the Dining hall at Abilene Christian University, of all the places God could pick!

For whatever reason, thats what He chose for me.
And so, I'm going.

I move in two days! I picked out a pink comforter. I'm still trying to figure out how I can bring my dog. I'm nervous and anxious and stressed but at the end of the day, I'm going where God wants me. And that matters way more than if Abilene has a Target or not.

Which PRAISE THE LORD, they do.

Now I can be broke forever!

Sunset at the Shepard Inn

Have you ever been to West Texas? I'm just going to warn you, in case you ever find yourself there, that there seems to be a shortage of Sprint Cell coverage and hotels with wifi. It's beautiful and wild and there's a lot of barbecue restaurants, but be prepared for some forced unplugged time. (Which isn't bad! Just bring a book.

We stayed at the Shepherds Inn, an air&b out in the boonies...I mean Buffalo Gap, Texas! Unfortunately we didn't realize there was no cell coverage for us there, and unfortunately we didn't think to ask the  homeowner for the wifi password before we got there at midnight. I grew up in Montana, so normally no wifi isn't an issue for me but with orientation the following morning, I had some last minute info I needed to access. 

So what else is there to do but drive back into town and park in the McDonalds parking lot and mooch the free wifi till 2 in the morning. Ah, country living.
After we got back from orientation the next day, it had just stopped raining and I can't even explain it, but the light was warm and red in the most magical way I'd ever seen. Several deer were enjoying the wild grasses in the empty field across the street and the sun was setting behind the mountains. 

And I was ruining all the serenity by running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to capture everything before the sun slipped away. 

(not an uncommon practice for me)

Even though our arrival to the Shepherds Inn was a little tumultuous, the following evening made up for it. The way the golden light spilled across the flowers and courtyards was beautiful....and the deer didn't hurt either ;) Last time I visited West Texas it was the dead of winter, but this time it was in full bloom and such a treat to see it in all it's Texan glory. After all, They say everything is better in Texas, and I'd have to agree.

(except where cell coverage is concerned!)