Live in Love

Hey all! Earlier this week with Valentine’s Day in route, I shared with you an older post on owning your singleness. Now I’ve had several people approach me since writing the last blog to inquire if I am against relationships. And let me be clear that is ABSOLUTELY not true. I’m actually what I like to call a “closet romantic.” I LOVE love. A good quality love story is beautiful to me. But the stories that I usually get behind are the real ones. You probably won’t catch me reading too many Nicholas Sparks novels, but you’ll definitely hear me asking the couples in my life how they met. I think about love a lot. Whether you’re a believer or not, I think it’s undeniable that love is a very big, if not the biggest, part (or force, or vibe, or whatever you want to call it) of our world. Don’t believe me? Ok. Let’s look at our culture’s movie consumption. I googled “most popular movies of all time” and the first 10 on the list of Top 100 Box Office films (unadjusted for inflation) are as follows:

  1. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
  2. Avatar (2009)
  3. Titanic (1997)
  4. Jurassic World (2015)
  5. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  6. The Dark Knight (2008)
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  8. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
  9. Finding Dory (2016)
  10. Star Wars: Episode 1 – Phantom Menace (1999)

And the featured love story in each of these are easy to peg (can’t take credit for it all… shoutout to the Will Hall Wolfpack for the help):

  1. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Princess Lei and Han Solo
  2. Avatar – Neytiri and Jake
  3. Titanic – Jack and Rose
  4. Jurassic World – Owen and Claire
  5. Marvel’s The Avengers – Hulk and Black Widow
  6. The Dark Knight – Bruce and Rachel & Rachel and Harvey (#drama)
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor
  8. Beauty and the Beast – see title
  9. Finding Dory – Dory and her parents
  10. Star Wars: Episode 1 – Phantom Menace – Padme and Anakin

Still don’t believe me? Ok. Let’s make this a little more personal. Scroll down the screen and stop at the word that pops up on your screen and look at it for 5 seconds.























Who or what was the first person or experience that came to mind when you read that word?











Maybe for you it was a significant other that you love dearly. Maybe it was a parent that you know loves you SO well. Maybe for you it was an experience of brokenness because of a less than ideal home life. Maybe you’re fighting back tears thinking of a time when your heart was truly broken. Maybe you’re overjoyed to think of your friends that you love. Or maybe that word just absolutely made you squirm. No matter who you are… the word “love” elicits some sort of memory or thought or connection to you and something or someone in your life.

Now, I think this is super cool. I get so pumped about love. But you know what I LOVE the most about love? I love that it points to my (our) Mighty Warrior. No matter the type of love you have experienced in your life, I want to encourage you to see the Savior and His work in showing You his love. Please keep reading as I share with you a little bit of what my time in scripture, ministry, and life has taught me about love.

So I’m a little bit of a theology nerd and I love reading all the commentaries there are to read about passages of scripture. I think one of the most mind-blowing commentaries I read was one in high school focusing on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter in John 21.

The conversation takes place after Jesus’ resurrection. They are sitting on the beach, eating a breakfast that Jesus had prepared for the disciples. Jesus turns to Peter and asks,

“Peter, do you love me?”

Peter responds, “You know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs.”

“Peter, do you love me?

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

“Take care of my sheep.”

“Peter do you love me?”

“Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep.”

Now I could spend hours talking about this passage and all of the things that are being said in this conversation. But I just want to focus on one part that has continued to shape my perception of love. I couldn’t tell you what commentary it was that taught me this but it pointed out that in order to truly understand this passage, you need to know that the greek language that this passage is translated from actually has four words for the english word, “love.”






Now again, I would love to take this conversation back to the passage in John 21. But if I go back to that, I’ll never find an end to this blog. But I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to research (or asking me) what these different words for love have to do with that specific scripture. But let’s just focus on the four types for now: Eros, Phileo, Storge and Agape.

The first love, eros, can be described as “desire or longing”. This is the romantic kind of love that we often see portrayed in movies, romantic novels, or every sit com ever. This love is based on physical attraction. This love often consumes the first few months of a budding relationship. You know… the phase of butterflies and feeling giddy the second the other person walks in the room, the phase of kissing and holding hands, and everything is new and exciting? That phase. I think when we hear the word “love” this is often the first kind that comes to mind. Although this love is amazing and created by God, more often than not our culture has turned this love into self-seeking pleasure. Once a relationship has run out of this desire, without the other kinds of love…it will fizzle out.

Where eros is the love describing the romantic desire, phileo is the love of a dear friend or companion. If you think of this kind of love, your besties might be the first people to come to mind. This love is a NECESSITY in life. We, as humans, are designed to have that sort of intimate community in our life. Although this love can be great… I’m sure a lot of you have experienced that this love isn’t guaranteed to last. Friendships end. Sometimes they end badly, and sometimes they end because of natural life circumstances of moving away or simply getting older.

So we’ve got romantic love, and we have the friendship kind of love…another love that I think we’ve all experienced (whether positively or negatively) is storge. Storge is defined as a natural or instinctive love. A better way to describe this love is the love of a parent towards their children or the other way around. Storge isn’t a love that is we choose, like we do eros or phileo. Storge is the love that just seems to unexplainably exist between blood family. Whether or not you have a good relationship with your family, you have all experienced this love even if the experience is heartbreak.

So we’ve got these three loves: the love of a family, the love of a friend, and the love of a romantic partner. Often these loves overlap in relationships… a significant other is also a best friend, or a best friend is also a sister. All of these loves are meant to be good. And they really can be. The problem is freaking humans like to go and ruin everything. More often than not, we have turned our relationships into another way to satisfy ourselves. These loves are as mortal as we are. They have a time limit. They are egocentric. And they are searching for their own gain. And you’re probably reading this like, “wow, Emily way to be a downer.”




Are you ready for the cool part?



Are you sure?




There is one more type of love…its called AGAPE. Agape is the Divine love. It’s unconditional, it’s selfless, it’s sacrificial. It’s the love that God has for his Church and it’s the love he asks us to have for all of his people. Just like we are incapable of living eternally without our Savior, any sort of love we hope to have is going to die without this agape love. Our love is limited, but His love is limitless. Ah! Isn’t that so cool? So great to hear?

It’s so beautiful to me that even if we don’t have a relationship with the Lord or even if we choose to reject or believe in agape love. He has still given us the gift of having a glimpse of agape through the love he has innately designed humans to search for. The next time you’re sitting around a table laughing with your friends over a cup of coffee, or  sitting on the couch watching a movie with your family, or on a date with your significant other… remember that that love is good. But it’s a gift, just a little tease, of the love that can be if it’s completely filled with the unconditional love that God has for his people.

Maybe you’re in a boat of brokenness… you’ve been hurt, burned, and rejected. The idea of love makes you shudder because of the baggage and connotations that come with the idea of love that you have shaped in your own mind. I want to speak to those of you who are floating in that boat: if love is synonymous with brokenness in your world… you have yet to experience true love. What you have experienced is a man-made, sin-filled idea. And I hope you find encouragement in that because I want you to see the beauty of the agape love that Your Mighty Savior has for you. He has fought for you, he gave his life for you and he wants you. If all other forms of love have failed you, His love never will.

Maybe you’re in another boat. You’ve experienced eros, phileo, or storge and you think you’ve experienced them well. Do me a favor and thank those people that you’ve been in those relationships with. Please be grateful to have a positive outlook on love. But I also want to ask you: What more could come from those relationships if you were to refuse allow them to just stay there. Are you allowing that agape love to consume your relationships or are you choosing to be satisfied with love that is limited?

Before we go I have a few challenges for you:

  1. Journal. Always journal. Which type of love is easiest for you? Which type of love is hardest for you? Why do you think that is? Don’t let those thoughts just created cobwebs in your brain, get them out on paper.
  2. Read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis (and anything else by C.S. Lewis). Did the separation of these loves intrigue you? C.S. Lewis has a whole book about this. I’d be lying if I said, I read the whole thing cover to cover but I after learning about the greek words for love, this book has helped me even further understand these loves.
  3. Encourage. Did you have some really great people come to mind when we discussed the four types of love? Tell them. If someone is that important in your life that they embody a type of love in your eyes…they deserve to know.

Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can comment below or look me up on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I sincerely appreciate you spending a little bit of your time here today!

Live to Free

Welcome to another Friday!

Some of you may have seen a bit of buzz on social media yesterday around the #enditmovement. Yesterday was Shine a Light on Slavery Day, dedicated to raising awareness of modern day slavery. Slavery is a G L O B A L issue. But often times we forget that it also happens right around the corner. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who works as a police officer a few years ago that I realized how close to home human trafficking is happening. I will warn you right now that this blog is going to be a lot more dense and blunt than the usual style of blog entries posted. This week, you’ll be reading from that friend.  In order for him writing to be as open, honest, and direct as possible, we had to make the decision to keep his identity unknown. He has a lot to share, so let’s get to it. 

Hello all,

__________, here. As Emily said I am keeping myself anonymous because I believe what I am about to share with you shouldn’t be kept silent. What you can know about me is that I am a law enforcement officer and more importantly a follower of Jesus.  Please bear with me as I attempt to avoid typing this blog as a police report, wish me luck. (Editor’s note: TBH I re-wrote a LOT of what he said, not the facts, just the way that it was presented because apparently stepping out of police report mode is a lot harder than anticipated ;))

A little bit more about me: As a police officer I, of course, have a love for guns and outdoors and stuff.  But that’s cliché. Some other fun things about me: I admire the bands Twenty One Pilots, BORNS, Mutemath and Young the Giant.  So, I’m kind of edgy I guess (joking).  I cannot resist a Mountain Dew and a Snickers bar, just so good.  I will wear jeans and a hoodie for any occasion, any weather. And most clothing items I own are blue in color.  Not intentional, just kind of happens.

Something else to know about me is that in anything I do, I people watch.  I seriously LOVE to watch people.  They’re just interesting.  And mostly weird.

People watching has certainly helped me in my line of work.  Watching, observing and learning behavior is crucial when investigating.  Today, I am going to touch on the vast subject of Human Trafficking.  I have investigated a few Human Trafficking incidents in the last few months.  My intent is to share with you characters of trafficking to detect and avoid, and report if possible. And ALSO, make a point that it happens in areas and neighborhoods that you wouldn’t expect.

I’m sure you all have heard a little bit of human trafficking from one source or another.  HT (as we, police folk, call it) has recently been given light within society through incredible organizations like International Justice Mission or the END IT Movement, and rightly so. A simple definition of HT is a victim committing sex acts while third party person collects payment or goods.  In short, forcing a victim into prostitution or keeping them in prostitution.  There are several forms of HT.  The most commonly thought of by the public is like the movie Taken.  A girl is abducted and forced into sex slavery.  That situation happens, however, it isn’t the only form of HT.

Something I have seen is not as simple.  In theory, a female or male subject, relies on an individual for everyday living.  They are then swindled into performing sex acts, but the money or goods go to another individual.

To give you more of an idea of what happens, here’s a situation I’ve dealt with (slightly altered for confidentiality protection)…

A while back I was called on to investigate an incident of Human Sex Trafficking.  I was sent to the hospital to speak with an 18-year-old girl that was knocked unconscious and left on the street for dead.  She told the medical staff that she escaped.  She escaped the grasps of a trafficker…she suffered a beating for doing so, but she escaped.

Upon contacting the victim, she was lying in the hospital bed.  One side of her face was scraped from the asphalt she fell on.  The other was swollen and bruised from the forceful blows of a fist.  She told me she was beaten by a man.  This man who she thought was her boyfriend.

When I asked her how she met this guy, she told me she was at a party, just trying to have some fun in her last year of high school. She had a volleyball scholarship to a well-known college.  She was eager to end high school and get on with her life.  At the party, she was approached by an older guy.  They hit it off and the two exchanged contact info. She began to date this guy for a short period of time.  She informed me he slowly removed her from her family and friends.  She spent more time with this guy and less time with her friends.  She spent more nights with this guy and less at home.  She missed her volleyball tryouts and she lost the volleyball scholarship. But she still had her boyfriend who she believed really loved her.

Her boyfriend gave her a cell phone but was not able to call anyone other than him, to her it probably seemed romantic that he would be willing to provide for her and protect her in that way.  She did not transfer her contacts to the new phone.  She kept the old phone in secret.  The new phone was tracked by her boyfriend.  Everywhere she went, he knew.  As time went on, she saw her friends and family once a week and then once a month.

She gave up her ID to her boyfriend after he convinced her she did not need to drive anymore.  She did not have a job and stayed at the house.  She was forced to sell her possessions to help contribute to the household.  She thought she was being filled with love and care but really she was empty.  All she had to rely on was her boyfriend.

She began to experience physical abuse. She would be told to do minor tasks like find batteries for the remote.  If she didn’t move fast enough, she was punched.  She thought he was just having one bad day… no big deal, right? Just one physical altercation isn’t that bad. But then it started getting more frequent.  She wouldn’t have food ready for him when he got home from work, and she’d be beaten.  She would be locked in her bedroom.  But she loved him and he loved her so it was ok.

She relied solely on this guy.  One day, her boyfriend brought a few guys home with him. She experienced sexual advances throughout the night. Later on her boyfriend told her, she needed to contribute to the household.  She was sent upstairs with one of the guys, the highest bidder, where she was forced into sex.  Afterwards, she stayed upstairs wondering what just happened, but then she remembered that she needed to contribute to the household…maybe helping out in this way, would prevent her beloved boyfriend from beating her

The next day more guys came over and she was forced to sleep with a number of them.  She felt empty, but she needed to please her boyfriend and earn his love.

The next week, she was pampered with flowers and chocolates by her boyfriend.  Things were perfect.  She believed she had finally made him happy again. But now he was no longer sexual with her.  He was distant.  But she loved him and the flowers were proof that he loved her back… right?

The next week.  She was forced to sleep with dozens of guys.  She heard one of them say she didn’t look like her ad… that was when she found out that her body was solicited on the internet for sex.  What pictures were they referring to? Were the ones she had sexted to her boyfriend? She was empty.  But relied completely on her boyfriend. She had absolutely nothing if she didn’t have him.

As time went on.  She was not physically able to keep up with the sexual demand.  She was given drugs to help her with performance.  Essentially to keep her awake.  She became addicted to the drugs and was promised more as compensation for a certain amount acts committed.  She looked forward to the acts to get her next high.  She was empty.  But what she had, was everything her boyfriend gave her. One night, she had had enough and asked to just sleep for the night.  After her request, her boyfriend pointed a loaded gun at her head and threatened her to continue, so she went along with the program.

The gun was the turning point.  That was the first fatal threat.  The first time she looked at death.  It was then that her eyes started to open to what was happening to her and she needed to get out.  The next morning, she heard her boyfriend leave the house for work.  She tried to leave just after his car left the driveway.  The alarm usually took 30 seconds to set so she figured she’d have enough time to leave without tripping it. As soon as she saw her boyfriend’s car leave, she opened the door. Unfortunately, the alarm rang. She bolted in fear, but didn’t realize that the alarm notified her boyfriend and he was on his way back.  She tried to make it to the neighbor’s house and bang on the door.  As she reached the door, her boyfriend got out of the car and pulled her away.  She was punched and knocked to the ground.  Her boyfriend tried to drag her home as she fought back.  She was kicked repeatedly in the head until she passed out and her boyfriend left her there lying in the street.

A few hours later a passerby noticed her lifeless body in the street and called 911.  She was brought into the hospital with a severe concussion and several broken bones, where our paths crossed. In the moment she told me she was done with her boyfriend because he left her in the street to die.  The victim was set up with victim services and programs after she left the hospital.

As the investigation goes on, the boyfriend was arrested. As the incident nears court.  The victim told the prosecutor she didn’t want to press charges.  She forgave her boyfriend and believed it all to be a misunderstanding. After hearing this, I made contact with the victim.  She had contact with the boyfriend and gotten everything “straightened out”.  In more words, I asked why.  She told me he loved her, and she loved him.  It’s that simple.

I tried explaining to the victim that what she experienced wasn’t love.  No person that devalues another loves them.  I explained if her boyfriend was willing to share her body, it was not love.  More than that, if he is willing to sell her body, it was not love.  After speaking with her, I thought I had gotten through to her.  I reiterated she did not have to depend on him.  That the services she was in would help her.

The victim did not cooperate.  The suspect did not receive the proper sentence and was charged with relatively minor charges. You’re probably sitting there reading this and baffled that she would ever try to contact her “boyfriend” again. Cases like this make it clear that it isn’t just physical and sexual abuse that victims are enduring when they are being trafficked. The emotional trauma and psychological manipulation that is used to lure these girls results in not just their physical bodies to be enslaved, but their hearts, minds, and souls as well.

The crazier part? The neighborhood this took place in looks just like any other neighborhood.Well-kept houses, quiet streets, neighbors who mind their own business. Sound familiar to any neighborhood you’ve ever lived in?I tell you this story to shed some light on real situations happening in your town, city, county and state. If you knew where I was when I investigated this incident, you would be shocked. This is all too real and very possibly happening much nearer to you than you think. Although it is possible a girl will be abducted and forced into sex slavery instantly… Typically, it is a long, drawn out game.  Indicating factors include; physical or mental abuse, separation from the world, lack of possessions, lack of freedom on simple decisions, change in behavior, fearful or timid, and has a controlling person with them always.  Obviously, we can think of a person that may have several of these indicators.  These indicators alone do not always depict HT, but they are certainly worthy of taking note.

If you notice a friend (or yourself) being drawn away from his or her family by a subject, take note and/or act on it.  That is usually the first indicator of HT.  If you begin to see additional indicators, I strongly urge you to act.  The action can be simply pulling a few trustworthy/godly people together to express your concern.  Seek guidance and try to approach that person.  And obviously, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement if it is serious.

And really quick before I leave, I want to focus on YOU.  Love is not being controlled. Do not let someone control you.  Not trying to get you to rebel against “The Man” or anything here.  But a “boyfriend” or an outside subject that tries to pull you away from friends and family is not healthy. If your boyfriend does not see your value, it is not love. If he diminishes your value, it certainly is not love.  If you feel any of these things are applicable to a relationship or friendship that you are a part of, I beg that you would talk to just one person about the concern and know that admitting this is not weakness… it is strength. Remember, you can’t change a person. Only God can.

Phew. You guys made it. Thank you so much for sticking with this, I know this isn’t the usual encouraging blog post you’re looking to read. But we believe that the light needs to be shown on the reality of human trafficking both internationally and domestically. After reading this you’re probably like, ok now what? So here are a few ideas:

  1. Share it. Spread it. End it. Don’t know how to start a conversation? Start by sharing this article on social media.
  2. Exit ignorance. Choose to be informed. Do some research to learn about the human trafficking stats in your home town. Ignorance is something that we need to leave behind. And it’s YOUR responsibility to be informed
  3. Report. If there is immediate danger for the one involved, call 911. Get as much information about the situation as safely as you can. If there is not immediate danger but you suspect trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline number and leave an anonymous tip or get help. 888-3737-888. or text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733).
  4. Will Hall is working on a few ways for you to tangibly get involved without even having to leave the building. Check your e-mail for more opportunities be the change.

Thanks for reading!


Live to Change

Hi ladies,

Today we’re going to start a conversation that you might be thinking, “Man, I’m sick of talking about this.” It’s a topic of conversation that is pretty heavy in the news, in classrooms, in history, in politics, etc. It’s everywhere. And while you may not love talking about it more, the conversation simply isn’t over. There is still SO much room for change. So, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day behind us, and Black History Month ahead of us, let’s talk about race. My wonderful wonderful friend Charniqua is excited to chat with you, so without further adieu, here’s Charlie.

Howdy! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Charniqua Michelle Emel, but most people call me Charlie. I am currently a junior here at ONU, studying Christian Education and Intercultural Studies. I have recently decided to pursue a career in counseling after graduation and I hope to become a psychiatrist sometime down the road. I’m a huge New Girl fan, so if you want to be friends, just ask me about Nick and Schmidt… or my love for Crocs. I adore people and love having conversations about new things! I may be shy at first but once I warm up, I don’t stop talking. Something many people don’t know about me is that I’ve been dancing for almost 15 years now – catch me performing in Mr. ONU February 1st! I love the way I’m able to express myself through music and movement. Last random thing I have to share is that I will hammock no matter what temperature it is outside.

Black History Month is right around the corner, so today we’re going to talk about something that is close to my heart: the topic of race. Some of you may be thinking, “Please no. Not this again.” I just want you to know, I HEAR YOU. I feel like we have the same conversation every February, but I believe this time is different. I’m not here to tell you that you’re wrong or that I’m right. I’m just here to share about some personal experiences and lessons learned.

As a child, I was adopted by two wonderful people I have the privilege of calling Mom and Dad. I grew up just fine, but there were some tough things I had to come to terms with. One of these things being the fact that my family is white. Yup, no one else looks like me.

This was hard for me because I couldn’t decide if there was something wrong with me or if I was just extra special, haha… My race wasn’t really something we talked about as a family. I know my parents and siblings did this so I didn’t feel singled out, but I wish we would have had those conversations. I missed out on parts of my heritage and well, beauty. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t look like the other people in my predominantly white community.

I wanted their hair, so I relaxed mine. I wanted their skin, so I used skin brightener and wore lighter makeup. I wanted their facial features, so I tried to convince my parents to let me get a nose job – so glad they didn’t!

I hated myself because I thought there was something wrong with me. Being the only one of three black kids in my grade, people didn’t just comment on my skin. They also commented on my hair, my scars, and my nose. I know that many of the things said were out of curiosity and fear. However, that doesn’t justify the way I allowed them to make me feel. I let others joke about my race, my features, and Black history. I was teaching them it was okay to belittle me. I couldn’t teach them how to love me, or others like me, though because I didn’t know how to love myself. I didn’t understand there was a God that loved me just the way I am.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s MASTERPIECE. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

We were masterpieces BEFORE we were born; BEFORE we learned how to do makeup; and BEFORE plastic surgery was thought of.

I say all of this because we need to realize our own worth before we try to convince others that we have any. We need to realize that God is the only one that can deem us worthy, and good news, He already has.

I would argue that we have a skewed view of what racism really is. Oxford Dictionary describes racism as the “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” After reading this, some of us may think, “Well, that’s not me and I don’t need this.” Oh, but you do. WE do.

Racism isn’t a personal issue, it’s a communal issue. It’s a SIN issue and we, as the Church, have been ignoring it for far too long.

Who are we to decide another person’s worth? God calls us masterpieces. That means everyone, not just you and not just me.

Assumption also plays a huge role in the way we see our brothers and sisters. We assume black men carry guns and we assume white men don’t like their black brothers. We assume that it’s okay to joke about topics we know nothing about. We assume that it’s okay to pet our black sisters’ hair. We assume our black brothers and sisters all come from low income families and “trashy” neighborhoods. We assume that when our white brothers and sisters say something, it’s out of hate. We assume that this world will remain the same until Jesus returns.

I say otherwise.

We have an opportunity as the Church to be united right now, regardless of color or upbringing.

My black brothers and sisters, we need to stop assuming that those around us know how to love and respect us. Instead of taking offense when someone says something, why don’t we suggest a better term or take the time to educate them on our heritage and history? My white brothers and sisters, if you have a question, why don’t you stop assuming you have the answer and just ask? I know these things are easier said than done, but we must try.

We aren’t seeing each other, we never really have. Both black and white are in the wrong, being driven by ignorance and fear. We’re missing each other, but I believe that we can start seeing one another. We just have to look to Jesus first.

We have a long way to go so let’s start now.

Start asking questions. Start researching. Start growing. Start accepting. Start loving. And most importantly, start putting God at the CENTER of our lives.

So, where will we begin?

Journal prompts:

What things can I do better?

What conversation have I been too scared to have?

What does it mean to be Christ-like to those who don’t look like me?


7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (Rosa Parks 139-163)

Historically Black Podcast

I would love for y’all to get in contact with me! Add me on Facebook, Charlie Emel, and follow me on Instagram, @charniquam16. I am here for you so if you have questions, prayer requests, or would just like to hang out, please let me know! Much love♥️

Live Together


It’s been a while since a #FridayontheBlog, hasn’t it? With the holidays and the busyness that comes with that, I decided to put the blog on the back burner to focus on what was before me and remove any unnecessary obligations and stress from my life. BUT I’VE MISSED YOU! And now, here we are in 2019! What the what?? As long as I can remember I’ve always made the “New Year, New Me” joke. And quite honestly, I kind of beat that joke to the ground and use it all year round. I know a lot of people who have mixed feelings toward the concept of New Year Resolutions. It’s actually laughable to read the different articles and legitimate CONTROVERSY that comes with New Year Resolutions. Especially in the Christian community. “Is it biblical?” “Can I honor God and want to do things for myself?” “Am I letting God down if I don’t follow through with my New Year Resolutions?”

When I hear those conversations, I’m just sitting there thinking, “Any chance you’re WAY overthinking this?”

For me I love goals. I love casting vision, and creating mission statements, and implementing plans to make ideas become a reality. Knowing that about me, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I LOVE the new year and an excuse to do some more of that dreaming. But my job as a Resident Director and following a school-year schedule brings opportunity to reflect in other periods of the calendar year as well. So the new year typically feels like an opportunity to check up on how I’m doing with my goals.

However, in August, when I was preparing for the school year I was thinking and praying about what vision I wanted to cast for Williams this school year. And typically, I have no problem with coming up with something like this. But this year, I just felt compelled to wait, I wanted to get to know you. And form the vision after I met the people. So over break I thought of YOU. I prayed for you. And I still didn’t come up with a mission statement of my own.


I found something better.

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Take some time to read that a few times. Let it sink in. Open your bible app and read that scripture around it, let those words transform you. As I read it over and over again, I was amazed.

Now before I get into it, let me say that this is simply my interpretation of this scripture. I’m not claiming to be a scholarly source, and I don’t know the original greek. And if I did know the original greek, that wouldn’t help much either because… well… I don’t know how to read greek. So keep in mind that this is me, myself, and I interpreting this.

But the scripture surrounding this verse is Paul reminiscing on his visit to Thessalonica. He talks of his love for the Thessalonians. He admitted to depending on them and loving just as much he was preaching with them and sharing the Good News. He uses a familial comparisons to assimilate his love for the Thessalonians two different times. And that’s when we get to verse 8,

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives too.”

Do you see the way that verse is worded? It’s almost as if sharing the Good News of the Gospel is the easy part, but sharing your LIVES as well? Whoa. They also shared that.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the word vulnerability at one point or another. I don’t know what your thoughts are on the concept of vulnerability, but for me it’s one of my least favorite things. Ask my closest friends. It’s not my forte. It takes years for me feel comfortable around people. You wanna talk about the weather? I’ve got you covered for hours. But getting real and talking about my insecurities and fears? That’s a whole other can of worms that I’d prefer not to open.

But I just want to challenge you today (as well as myself) to share the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus, but also share your lives as well: The messy, the hurt, the dreams, the passions, the fears, the unfiltered… All of it. If you believe in Jesus, take some time today and read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16 and reflect on dream on what you can learn from the life that Paul and the Thessalonians lived together as an example of how you can live together with the people around you. If you don’t, I’d still encourage you to look up this passage as well. If that’s too much to ask, that’s totally fine and I totally get it. But just spend some time dreaming about how your life would be changed if you shared your ALL of your life with the people who are IN your life.

Why wait? Start the conversation now.

How to Hygge

Hello hello!

Happy Friday and what a week it’s been! It seems like winter just hit us like a ton of bricks in the past few days. I feel like the first snow typically comes with a ton of buzz, but this year I just woke up and it was a winter wonderland without any warning. Now I LOVE winter, but I know a lot of people do not share the same sentiment. So on this chilly Friday with snow covering the ground, I wanted to take a quick opportunity to talk to you about one of my favorite things. It’s called HYGGE (pronounced HOO-GUH).

About 2 years ago I stumbled upon this very weird and oh-so-hard to pronounce word and as I learn more about it, it continues to improve me life and attitude.

So what is hygge? It’s a Scandinavian word that actually originates from Danish culture. Although this word can’t be directly translated to english, it can be described as “a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”

Alright, that definition sounds nice tell me more… Maybe you’ve heard this, maybe you haven’t, but Denmark is known for being the happiest country in the world. The even crazier part is that, because of their location, this country gets significantly less sunlight, shorter summers, and longer winters than most climates. Because sunlight helps produce endorphins, there is often a correlation between depression and places with long winters so the fact that a country like Denmark that has such long harsh winters is the happiest country in the world is even more mind-boggling. Several researchers have done studies on Denmark to figure out what their key to happiness is and that’s where hygge comes in.

Instead of dreading the long, cold days, Denmark culture embraces it. They have festivals celebrating the beginning of winter. They bundle up in parkas and thick scarves and warm hats. They embrace the opportunity for community that comes with extra long nights inside. Instead of complaining about not having anything to do, they celebrate the opportunity to be together by putting away technology and spending time chatting by the fire or playing a game of cards with friends. They embrace the coziness of candles, relaxing music, and cozy socks and sweaters.

So what’s that got to do with me? As the next few days come filled with snow flurries and bitter cold temperatures, I want to challenge you to remember that you can’t change the weather, but you can change your attitude. Instead of complaining about your hands being cold, invest in a good pair of gloves. Instead of talking about how the snow is ruining your hair day, laugh about it and look forward getting back home and snuggling under a big blanket while you read or work on homework. I hate to break it to you, but winter isn’t going anywhere…. but your attitude can.

With that in mind, let me give you a few tips on how to embrace the beautiful spirit of hygge…

1. Cozy clothes

When you’re heading to class or walking to your car, don’t just suck it up and walk out out there in a subpar fleece. Bundle up with your thickest coat, a hat that covers your ears, gloves, and a good pair of boots that won’t get ruined in the snow. Layer up with socks and leggings AND pants if you’re going to be outside for a long time. This is the time of the year to wear your favorite cozy sweater for 5 days in a row (I won’t judge you, if you won’t judge me), wash it and then wear it for 5 more days. Ok maybe that’s a bit much, but seriously whatever best keeps you warm, keep that at the front of your closet and ready to grab in the morning when you need to bundle up.

2. Candle warmer and essential oil diffusers and globes lights

Because most of you reading this go to Olivet, I can’t condone burning candles (#firehazard) but candles warmers or essential oils (Editor’s note: see Kylie Barnhart if you have ANY essential oils questions… she’s a pro.) can give you that scent of a candle and globe lights can provide the same ambiance. It’s amazing how much having a fresh smell and soft lighting can improve your mood.

3. Fireplace

If you don’t think you can cozy up by a fireplace in your dorm room, you’re wrong. Two words for you: Netflix fireplace (or youtube!). You can laugh all you want, but once you try it, you will understand. It’s the most relaxing thing in the world. I’m pretty sure your mind tricks you into thinking that the room actually gets warmer too because every time I turn it on, I end up having to take my sweatshirt off or get out from under the blanket or something because I get so warm. Fake fireplaces are bae.

4. Time with friends

Put your phone away, turn off Netflix, stop watching youtube videos of puppies (I know it’s hard. I love puppy videos) and spend legitimate time with people. Whether it’s simply sitting around catching up on each other’s days or playing a game of cards, you’d be surprised what a little bit of intentional time off the phones and in real life will do for you.

5. Warm drinks

Although a parka can warm up your outsides, and time with friends can warm up the soul, I’m not sure that it’s possible to reach complete coziness without a warm drink in your hand. Whether that be hot chocolate, a cup of straight joe, a latte, or cider.

(I highly recommend a homemade earl grey latte (aka london fog). They’re my favorite cozy drink. Recipe below.)

  • 1 part almond milk
  • 1 part hot water
  • 1 bag earl grey tea
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla flavoring (to taste)

In a mug, microwave almond milk for 30 seconds. Stir. And then microwave for 30 more seconds.  Remove and add vanilla flavoring. Froth milk mixture either using a whisk by hand , frother, or I use my handheld mixer on low for 15 seconds (be careful not to splatter milk everywhere). After frothing, add hot water and tea bag and allow to steep for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Today I just scratched the surface of the art of hygge. I highly recommend doing a little more research. Pinterest has all sorts of hygge challenges and tips on how to make your living space as hygge-esque as possible. Have fun, embrace the cold, and happy winter!

How to Live Minimally

It’s that blessed day of the week again… Happy FriYAY! Real quick, can we just make note of how weird and off this week has been because of the time change? 3 of the last 5 nights I’ve thought myself, “Man. I really need to get to bed…” only to look at the clock and see that it was like 7:30pm. But no matter, we made it to another Friday, with another weekend in sight to help us recover.

Anyway . . .

Last week on the blog Lauren, my dear dear friend, wrote about making an impact by changing the way you shop. She highlighted the fashion industry’s marketing that leaves believing that we need more more more. It was actually Lauren’s decision to be more socially conscious through the way she shops that has made me so adamant about the topic of discussion today.

It was about two years ago that I learned about something the I believe has really improved my life. I’m sure many of have heard the buzz about minimalism. Lauren had been telling me a little bit about minimalism the year prior as that factored into her passion for the growing fair-trade industry. As I was skimming through Netflix on January 4, 2017 I came across a documentary on Minimalism. I started watching it at about 10:30pm and by Midnight at I had shrunk my closet from over 100 articles of clothing to just 30 remaining hangers.

Ok, now before you freak out and stop reading because you think I’m going to ask you to do the same thing… I’m not, I promise! I simply want to explain to you what minimalism is and what it isn’t, give you three reasons why I chose to be a minimalist, and then provide some resources for you to take the first steps… SHOULD YOU CHOOSE. Seriously. no pressure.

What minimalism isn’t.

Before I tell you what minimalism is…. let me tell you what it isn’t.

  • it’s not some hippie trend
  • it’s not a live off the land and forget the world that raised us rebellion
  • it’s not a set of rules that says that you are ONLY allowed 30 articles of clothing and if you own 31 you are hypocrite and a liar and you are banished from the Island of Minimalists.
  • it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go backpacking for a year (but maybe that’d be fun)
  • it’s not a purging thing you do every month
  • it’s not something intended to make you feel like you’re in suffering because of your lack of stuff

I worry that most people have this really weird perception that anyone who associates with minimalism is some super new-agey, hyper spiritual guru who sits in the local park bare-footed and cross-legged and chanting something weird about the mighty feline. And well that specific guru might be a minimalist… that’s not what minimalism is, so let’s throw those stereotypes out the window. Cool?

But what minimalism is…

  • it’s a tool
  • it’s a simpler lifestyle
  • it’s an opportunity to focus on what you really love
  • it’s an aid in helping you achieve your goals
  • it’s an opportunity for growth
  • it’s removing searching for worth, value, acceptance, and happiness from our material possessions

Minimalism is a belief that maybe we’re a little bit too attached to the things we own. So maybe we don’t need as much as we think we do.

3 Things I’ve learned since being a minimalist:

1.   Less is way way way more.

As far as my shopping goes…. I’ve always been rather frugal. I’d always go thrifting and buy a shirt for $3.99. Then that same week I’d be pilfering through the clearance rack at Target and find another shirt that’s a similar color and style for $5.99. And then I’d also see that same shirt in a different color that I didn’t really like and I knew didn’t look good on me, but it was a good deal and buy it anyway. And then by the end of the week I would have spent over $30 on super low quality shirts that I didn’t really like. And maybe to you that doesn’t sound like a lot of money… but let’s say you – I mean I – spent $30 a week on random gizmos and gadgets and low quality stuff all year… that’s over $1,500 per year that’s wasted, as opposed to me buying one $30 shirt that is high quality and still hanging in my closet. Holy cow. Now maybe you’re like, “ok, Emily. You’re being dramatic. I don’t spend that much money.” Maybe you don’t do that exact thing. But how much money do you spend on clothes that just don’t get that much use? I think you’d be surprised. (I could also do another plug about fair trade,)

2. How to say no

For me, minimalism wasn’t just about the amount of possessions I owned. It was also about what I spent my time doing and thinking about. No one ever specifically told me this, but somewhere along the way of life I picked up this thought process that I need to be busy all the time and I need to do everything and the only way to be successful in life is to have a very very messy planner filled with all sorts of events. And somewhere along the way I got it into my head that having a night at home to myself reading about things that I wanted to read about and doing the things that I enjoyed is synonymous with laziness and selfishness. So on Januray 4, 2017 I committed to not over-committing. I chose 3 time commitments: work, my family, and my church. After that, I gave myself permission to say no. I’m not saying that I didn’t do ANYTHING else besides those three things. I just allowed myself the option of saying no. If I had had a long day at work and my friends wanted to get together afterwards, I would suggest another day. If someone asked me to take part in something that was a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly commitment, I’d think about it instead of saying yes right away. And honestly, it was weird. I felt (and still do feel) weird saying no without having a scheduling conflict to blame. Sometime I felt rude or guilty. But honestly, I don’t know how I lived my life without allowing myself time to recuperate so I had energy to pour into the things that I needed to do. Minimalism taught me how to say no to not only excess possessions but also excess commitments so I could focus on what was important to me.

 3. I have SO much more than I need

I’m going to warn you: once you get on this minimalism band wagon, it’s hard to stop. That initial purging can give you this weird high where you just want to keep getting rid of stuff. You quickly realize how much stuff you have that you think you needed but you totally don’t. And then before you know it you have a garage full of stuff that you’re ready to donate and you want to re-assess the your belongings and see what else you can purge. I’m not kidding. I never thought I was one to hold onto unnecessary stuff, but I was so surprised at all of the stuff that I had been holding onto and allowing to clutter my life for years.

Now I could keep going with this minimalism idea for hours and hours and I could take it in so many directions, but today I’m going to to leave you with a few resources and tricks to get the ball rolling for you.

  1. Watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix
  2. Read this blog by The Minimalists (and then read all of the blogs that they suggest at the bottom)
  3. Start with your closet.
    • Purge away. See how many high school t-shirts you can get rid of.
    • But here’s the thing: I want this declutter to be different. Don’t get to the point where you have to to do this again. From here on out. If you buy something new, try to get rid of something old. When you’re at the store getting ready to check out… Ask yourself if you like whatever you’re about to purchase more than a specific item that you already own. That’s the big part of minimalism is not letting the stuff get out of hand again.

There you have it folks. This decision to live minimally, was one of my favorite decisions I’ve made. At times it was confusing knowing the line between too much and not enough. And I am no where near having this down pat, but I highly recommend discovering how different your life would be if you decided to live with less.

How to Shop

Raise your hand if you want to change the world (. Ok now raise your hand if you don’t know how. Ok now raise your hand if you wear clothes. Perfect. I bet most of you raised your hand three times. And if you didn’t raise your hand for the last one…. maybe we need to have a different chat. But for those of you who do, in fact, wear clothes, want to change the world, and don’t know how – keep reading. My friend, Lauren (yes the Lauren that is referenced in my blog with Addy on friendship) is about to share some words with you that might change the way you think and shop. Have a read below!

Hello all,

Since childhood my enjoyment of bare feet, playing outside, chocolate-dipped ice cream cones, ridiculous faces, and crazy hair days has only grown. Currently, I am a twenty-four year old going through a quarter life crisis that I believe will never end. You see, I am seeking to do something to change the world. Most days I feel like I am not getting anywhere, but fortunately, it is the slightest progress, revelation, hope, and life change that keep me fueled to move forward.

My name is Lauren Sauer, friend and sister-in-law to the Emily Sauer. I reside in the city of Flint, Michigan with a mortally handsome and wise man named Tyler and a dog named Maggie.

There is nothing too fancy or important about me (Editor’s note: her friends would say otherwise). I haven’t climbed to any summit, solved any third world problems, and there isn’t necessarily anything that stands out about me. Regardless, I am a woman who believes in truth, empowering others, experiencing creation, and living like Jesus Christ. I take pride in the story that has been written for me, successes and failures, and I seek to instill confidence in other people to share their stories, no matter the background.

My expectation is not that you will be forever changed by the words I publish, but my hope is that something will resonate with you and challenge you to find the “more” you are supposed to be a part of in this world. My intention is to be open and honest with you, hoping you may begin to see that you and I are human and imperfect, but that we are being perfected daily if we allow it.

This is part of my story. Within this part you will find one of those revelations that has fueled me to believe I am changing the world.


After graduating from Olivet in 2015, there were a few things that happened.


I sat at home, jobless for a few months

Was fervently pursued by the man whose life I thought I had ruined

Taught eighth grade writing

Married that man whose life I thought I ruined

Moved to Michigan

Substitute taught in some pretty tough schools

Decided to work for a coffee company


Now, while these have been some pretty significant events in my life, there was one thing that took place that has completely altered the way I see the world today.


A Netflix documentary.


Now I know you are thinking, “You’re kidding me, right?”, but alas, I am not.


It was two years ago when I found myself out of school, without a job, living at home, and feeling like I had no true passions of my own.


I got to know Netflix pretty well to say the least.


One evening I was on the hunt for that one thing I hadn’t watched yet when I came across a documentary about the fashion industry called The True Cost. Fashion trends had always peaked my interest, but I found myself too frugal most of my life to pursue that interest too much. So rather than making that interest a hobby, I decided to live vicariously through a movie.


I watched, and I watched. I rewound, replayed, paused to cry, and replayed again.


The information that was shared within one movie rocked my world. My head was spinning for days. I felt so wound up with anger, compassion, energy, and passion, and I could not shake it. That evening I ended up sitting by a fire for hours completely alone in the silence, yet everything inside me was SCREAMING.


I had lived my entire life up to that point making uninformed decisions. For an indecisive person, finding out I had been making decisions that were affecting the lives of people, mostly for the worse, wasn’t the most settling.


Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t uninformed out of a resistance to be informed.


It wasn’t like avoiding the nutritional information on the back of a package of Oreos so you don’t change your mind about a horrible health choice. This was like, “I’m going to buy these Oreos because they are delicious cookies, and I actually have no clue how they impact my health”.


As I became more informed from this film, I started to research some numbers and run them through my head.



The people making my clothing do not make a living wage.


If you were wondering, a living wage is defined as a wage high enough to maintain a normal standard of living.


People are living on anywhere from 17 to 200 dollars a month. Unfortunately, most clothing producers air on the low side of that wage scale. For perspective’s sake, I spent $95 to get healthy groceries for meals this week from Aldi and Meijer.


Though prices in the US may be a little more expensive than other countries, we are just talking about groceries here.


Imagine this with me.


A family of 4 in Bangladesh is living on $100 in one month. Here’s the breakdown for the month.

Groceries $30

Rent $20 to live in a city close to work

School $240 for 2 kids


Total $290


The money is gone just in case you didn’t realize it. Unfortunately, schooling isn’t free in Bangladesh, so if you want your child to be educated so he or she does not have to follow in your footsteps of poverty, it’s a solid $500 for 4 months of school.


We weren’t even able to take into account transportation costs, medical expenses (if any), or any kind of savings.


Perhaps the numbers and money don’t do it for you.



The people making your clothing are a part of generational cycles of illness.


Your clothes are made out of cotton and numerous unnatural substances. Due to the rate that fashion industries want clothing, chemicals must be used to treat plants to grow quicker. These toxins are inhaled by the farmer applying them, then run-off is introduced to local streams and water sources.


Waste facilities for toxic waste are not available, so waste from man-made fibers (anything aside from cotton, silk, or wool) are dumped into rivers, streams, and bodies of water that people bathe in and drink from.


Cancers wipe out men in their forties by the dozens if they haven’t already killed themselves. Entire generations of children of cotton-farming towns are born with physical and mental disabilities in mass quantities.


Do you see any association?



Perhaps your heart isn’t moved by the conditions of other people (which is okay).


Let me tell you a little bit about yourself.


In the consumerist society we live in, the goal is to have more, be more, show more, know more, more. You have been birthed into a system that you don’t realize you are a huge part of and this is only proving to cause more issues to your heart and mind.


Tim Kasser published in his book, “The High Price of Materialism” (MIT Press, 2002), his and others’ research showing that when people sort their lives around extrinsic or materialistic goals — those focusing on possessions, image, status, and receiving rewards and praise — they report greater unhappiness in relationships, poorer moods and more psychological problems.


According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 18% of our population 18 and over (40 million people) are known to struggle with anxiety and depressive disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry published that depression rates for American adults was only 3.3 percent in 1991.


There may not be a direct correlation, but I do know the fashion industry has drastically changed in the past 20 years. With the clothing industry, most other industries have also shifted to a “more, more, more” mindset.


The more we consume, the more we lose for ourselves.



The biggest reason I am writing this blog is to inform you, so you are not caught in the position I was in of just not knowing.


As a lover of people and someone who cares so much about breaking cycles of poverty, it still makes me ill to know my decisions about the clothing I wore were contributing to a monster of injustice.


Hopefully all of this information is completely overwhelming for you, as it was for me. Maybe for some of you it isn’t and that’s okay too.


Whether it is or not, there are a few things I want you to do within the next few days.


Pause → I challenge you to one year of zero clothing purchases.


I know it sounds crazy right now, but I promise you it flies by. Over my year of zero purchases I realized how often I filled my time at Target clearance racks or just walking around stores. My purchases were actually feeding this faint voice in me that had convinced me if I had that one thing then I would be on the next level of how people viewed me.


Continue walking through that year asking yourself what you really need. If you come to a point where you really do need (as defined by any dictionary) an item of clothing, try buying from a re-sale shop or a fair-trade company.


Watch → Gather up a few friends and watch The True Cost documentary.


This isn’t like a “feel good” film that will be fun for everyone to watch, so I encourage you to get together with a few girls who are truly interested in this topic. It contains a lot of great information, incredible music, and interviews with companies and designers who are changing the fashion industry.


Write and/or Discuss → Try answering a few of these questions that stick out to you.


What are my needs vs. wants?

How am I supposed to care for my “neighbors” locally and globally?

Does the issue of injustice in the fashion industry matter to me? Why or why not?

What would one year without clothing purchases be like for me?

Can the support of one person against a monster of injustice help change anything?



Research → Google some of the names of the companies you buy from followed by the word “ethics”. Start asking questions about where and how some of your clothes are made.



All of the steps above are ones I have taken.


The year I “retired” from buying clothes was one of the most freeing years of my life. I no longer felt enslaved to stuff. Those late night trips to browse Target clearance racks started to repulse me.


Something as simple as buying clothes now had a purpose and an intention to help promote changing a system that is broken.


My informed purchases weren’t and aren’t putting an end to poverty. I wrestled for a while with thoughts of “Am I even doing anything to help change this?”


And 3 years later the answer is most certainly yes.


The more I chose purchasing fair-trade or resale clothing items for myself, the more people asked me about my choices. It created a ripple effect among the people closest to me. I know for sure the people around me are no longer uninformed. I could list at least 10 who are just choosing to support fair-trade companies when they purchase some of their clothing, and a definite 3 who have committed to purchasing less, and are only choosing resale or fair-trade when they do.


Those numbers may seem small to you, but the ripple effect will continue with each of those people.


Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Bring justice through your everyday choices and watch how it slowly changes the world around you.


Hey, I promise I’m not one of those “You don’t do what I do, so don’t talk to me” people. I fully understand that this may not be an issue you are at all concerned with, and that is really okay. Whether it moves you to action or not, I’d love to hear from you with any questions, comments, concerns, or reflections.


How to be a Friend

Hi all! Today, we are talking about F R I E N D S H I P . And what a better way to talk about friendship than to hear from a pair of friends? So we’re going to give something a try and see how this works. This blog is written by me (Emily) and Addyson Nichole Emmons, Resident Director of Parrott Hall (Hey-o!) and bestie of Emily Sauer. But before we get started, let us introduce ourselves.


We are Addy and Emily and we are similar in the fact that we are both women.

After that, aside from our love for Jesus, we pretty much couldn’t be more opposite.

Addy is the thinker.Emily is the feeler.

Addy is the introvert.Emily is the extrovert.

Addy is a 5w6.Emily is a 3w4.

Addy likes beaches.Emily likes mountains.

Addy likes heels and dresses.Emily prefers Chacos and oversized t-shirts.

Addy likes reading.Emily likes running.

Addy hates the spotlight.Emily loves it.

Addy likes hugs.Emily likes words.

Addy is the oldest child.Emily is the youngest.

And believe it or not… when we met our freshman year, we didn’t necessarily click. Both of us had that distant “friend-crush” on each other but the first few times we hung out were just AWKWARD. Looking back, it was probably the fact that both of us so badly wanted to be friends with the other that we tried to appease the other by doing things we didn’t really like doing. Really, the best explanation we have for staying friends the first few months is the Lord’s divine intervention in our lives.

We needed each other but we didn’t really know why.

Fast forward to now. We’ve been friends for about 6 years and HOLY COW what a ride. The years have been filled with laughter, a heck of a lot of tears (usually not together because we don’t like to cry in front of people…[ONE thing we have in common]), and a whole lot of miscommunication. It’s safe to say that both of us have been challenged in ways we never expected and pushed to see things from a perspective that we never knew existed. Today, we just want to share with you a few things we’ve learned along the way that have helped us experience the beauty(and mess) we call friendship.

1. We chose each other

Odds are you’ve been told a time or two that you have to choose love. But usually that’s said in regards to how to have a good marriage. There are some days where it’s not as easy as others to love. We believe that the concept of choosing to love is JUST as applicable to friendship as it is to a marriage or dating relationship.

There were several different levels of “choosing” for us. The first happened the summer after our freshman year of college. Freshman year we lived in the same building so it was easy to just walk down a flight of stairs and say hello. During the summer leading up to sophomore year we realized it wasn’t going to be that simple. We had both committed to different positions on campus that meant we would be busy doing things in other areas of life. Knowing us, it was probably Addy (neither of us can remember) that initiated the conversation that clarified that this friendship was important and neither of us wanted to lose it. We had a realistic plan as to how our friendship would look the next few years. Although we might not be able to see each other or even talk or text every day, it was understood that we were still rooting for each other and available for that support.

So we had chosen each other… it was that simple, right? Well… In Addy’s head, yes. We were going to be in each other’s lives forever. You see, Addy was raised by a single mother, who had three best friends who were Addy’s “Aunts”. They were not related by blood and there were years where family, jobs, or life did not let them see each other much but they consistently supported her mom through everything. So in her mind, that’s what friendship was and when she communicated “I am choosing you,” she was thinking that Emily would be the “Aunt” Emily ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road. In Emily’s head, the term “I am choosing you” looked a little bit different. There is a lot that goes into it, but Emily’s perception of friendship was that this would last for a season. So as she was “choosing” Addy, she was thinking that Addy would be a pivotal part of the college years, but after that.. who really knows? (lol. Remember how we’re different)

So sophomore year, conversations about the distant future- jobs, travel, weddings, and retiring in a rocking chair would come up and Addy would talk as if the friendship would last until one of us was 6 feet under (and then some because Jesus and heaven and stuff). Emily smiled politely just assuming that this was just another usual friendship where you talk about future hypotheticals but never actually take action on those “day dreams.” Emily here, let me just say how thankful I am for Addy’s consistency and understanding of friendship… I have learned so much about the beauty of having someone in my life who isn’t going anywhere. And also learning to believe that she really isn’t going anywhere.

2. We sat together in the 💩

[editor’s note: We love cuss words. To some that might be a flaw that needs work, but we can save that convo for another day. However, in order to make this G-rated, emoji’s will be replacing cuss words. Thank you in advance for choosing to appreciate our creative liberties]

*enter Junior year of college*

Spoiler Alert: we’re broken humans. And to paint a picture of how truly broken we were in this phase of life, imagine holding a delicate, glass Christmas ornament that your parents never let you touch in one hand, and a baseball bat in the other. Now imagine throwing the ornament straight up in the air and winding up with the bat and full force as the ornament falls smoking the ornament so that it shatters to smithereens. And then when all of the bits and pieces are on the ground, imagine jumping up and down and twisting your cleats into the ground on top of the bits turning them into dust that would just blow away over time. That’s what junior year felt like to us. Dramatic? No, not really.

But as you can guess because we’re Addy and Emily, we were broken in very different ways. Different life circumstances threw us up in the air, different mental illnesses shattered us, and different periods of processing what the 🚒 just happened turned those broken pieces into dust that blew away in the wind. The weird part was how our pain followed the same timeline that year. It was like some crazy synced up period.

That year was hard… on us and our friendship. But what came from it was depth, sincerity and more solidified friendships that have become our people (S/O to Lauren and Olivia…Side note: we could each probably write a blog post about our friendships individually, and another whole blog post about our friendship collectively. These women have transformed our lives immensely and we wouldn’t be who we are without them)

Addy here, I would like to be able to say that when the 💩 hit the fan and the metaphorical bat hit the ornament that I hit my knees in prayer, called Emily, and got my butt to counseling. I did not do any of those things. I gave the not so metaphorical finger to the heavens, avoided my closest friends, and I was ‘fine’ and fine people do not need counseling.

Our lives sucked: we were in leadership positions that were mentally and emotionally taxing. We had family issues and stuff from our past that just didn’t seem to leave us alone. And of course there were good-looking men who grabbed our attention and threw us a few more curveballs. Mix all that together and sprinkle some eating disorder and severe depression on top and you’ve got a nice little mess.

We were not great friends to each other because we did not have time, energy, or the innate understanding.


We understood pain and gave each other the room to just simply grieve without judgement.


Made us the best friends either one of us could have had in that moment. We did not need superficial friendships in those moments, we needed Jesus. We saw Jesus in each other when we were too stubborn to turn to him ourselves.

When we were scared of the rejection that comes with being fully known by our Savior, we tested being understood on each other. We saw each other at moments others probably would have left, and stayed and that was healing. Even when we disagreed, were upset, or didn’t understand, we stayed. Addy here, This friendship was healing in a way that a romantic one never could have been. I learned the beauty of sitting in the ashes together from that year. I learned that I can be broken, shattered, and destroyed and still be okay. I had my head pulled out of my 🍑 and started the process of learning what joy means and grace looks like. I had been numb for a long time and the transition from numbness to feeling again was clumsy. Emily forgave, supported, and loved me, as me. 

3. Our friendship took TIME.

Emily here, Ok but for real, I could go on about the friendship for far longer than any of you would care for me to… so one more thing to wrap this blog up: OUR FRIENDSHIP DID NOT JUST HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. I believe we’ve alluded to it, but just in case you haven’t caught our drift, our friendship hasn’t been all sunshine, roses, rainbows, and butterflies. In fact I don’t think I would use any of those words to describe our friendship. But holy cow has this friendship been GOOD. We’ve made lots of beautiful memories, we have learned to laugh at a lot of the 💩 that has been thrown our way, and we get excited about the moments when we get each other without any explanation (still few and far between, honestly). We have discovered and continue to learn what it is to be vulnerable with the people in our tribe. But NONE of this happened quickly. I want to take a minute to encourage all of you in this transition of finding new friends to BE PATIENT. Friendship takes time. Addy and I didn’t even meet until the week of finals right before Christmas break. I’m sure a lot of you are feeling out of place, lonely, and wishing to find “your people.” And I think you’d be surprised by how many people are feeling exactly the same way you are. Don’t throw in the towel just because you haven’t found your friends yet.Here are a few things you can do in the meantime while you patiently wait for your people:

  1. Turn to Jesus. He is the only constant. No matter how perfect of a friend you find, they will fail you and hurt you at some point… Jesus, however, does not work that way 🙂
  2. Pray. It’s ok to pray for those friendships
  3. Put yourself out there. Ask someone to coffee that you’ve wanted to get to know. Share with them a little bit about your desire for community and making friends. And if it’s awkward, that’s normal… try again.
  4. Be picky.
  5. Reflect. Spend some time figuring out what YOU want to be in a friendship.
  6. CHILL. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. GOOD FRIENDSHIP TAKES TIME. Just c h i l l. They’ll come. Don’t be too hard on yourself that they haven’t come yet. Make some memories and look for opportunities to have some fun.

How to be Single

Hello people of the World Wide Web. Welcome to the Live Collective Blog. Usually I am one of those people that likes to slowly ease into the personal, nitty gritty parts of my life but I just don’t think I can wait any longer so today we’re going to jump right into the deep end of your life and mine. What I am going to say might seem extreme or dramatic or maybe a little forward, but I see so many well-meaning people preaching from one end of the spectrum that I feel the need to speak from the other. So today, on the blog, I am going to teach you how to be single. Because y’all are capable, independent people who do not need a partner in order for you to feel fulfilled and I just don’t think that is said enough.


My name is Emily Sauer.

And I am an expert at being single.

You might be asking why I think I’m an expert… well… They say (who is they you ask? Google…I googled it) it takes 10,000 hours of practice at anything to become considered an expert and I have spent 218,736 hours being single, so based on statistics it would appear that I am, in fact, an expert. Often when people hear that I have been single my entire life they ask why. While I can understand why that question follows… I’m not here to answer it. I’m simply here to use this small tidbit of my life to encourage and share with you some truths that I’ve learned on my own that I wish someone would have been bold enough to tell me. Some of the things that I say might make you feel uncomfortable. Some of things I say, you might disagree with. And that’s ok. I just ask that you sincerely consider why those certain things make you feel uncomfortable... Is it fear? Fear that I might be speaking directly to you and you don’t want to admit that it’s something in your life that needs to change?

For starters, let me tell you where I’ve come from. I was raised in an environment that taught me to start praying for my husband at a very young age. I think I started praying for my husband before I even committed my own life to the Lord (red flag alert). Between the ages of 10-13, I had been to a handful of purity conferences where I signed contract after contract agreeing to “save myself for marriage”. The leaders of the conferences had me write letters to my future husband and put them in a little box that we decorated really pretty. I was encouraged to write to my future spouse often and give these letters to him on my wedding night. By the time I was 16, I had obtained 3 purity rings, a necklace that “held my first kiss”, and a purity bracelet. At that point, all I needed was the chastity belt and I would have been set. I had committed not to date in high school and instead created list upon list of what that man would be and the qualities he would have. And since he wasn’t in my life yet… I’d simply work on my relationship with the Lord and wait for the man of my prayers and dreams.

Sounds good enough, right?

Well… now I disagree.

Now enter my junior year of high school. I would say this was the season of life where my faith and relationship with the Lord really began to transform my life. I remember in this season, sitting in a bible study with a bunch of other high school girls that was led by some older, married women (whom I really respected). One of the high school girls started talking about a guy she was dating. One of the leaders of the small group could see the hurt that was going on in the relationship and did her best to comfort the high schooler, “you need to work on being a better Christian now, so you can be a better wife later.” A few weeks later in that bible study, the adult women leading us passed out these little notes of comfort that were written from the perspective of God. There were lots of good things about identity and loving yourself, but the letter “from God” ended with, “you need to be satisfied in me, and then a husband will come later.”

I had heard stuff like this before and never thought twice about it. But this time it didn’t settle well with me. I remember being REALLY upset… but why? Looking back, I realize that this was the first step to realizing that maybe what I believed to be a biblical perspective of relationships was actually very wrong. You see, those comments that I had heard turned my singleness into a punishment because I wasn’t right with God. I was being told that if I was single, it was because I needed to do more. It was because I wasn’t reading my bible every day, or I hadn’t been praying enough. I realized that the mentality I had turned God into a vending machine. I push the “go to church 3 times a week” button, plus the “read my bible every day” button, plus the “go on an overseas missions trip” button and VOILA! I thought that meant that I would get the blessings I wanted. I have had well-meaning people promise me at a very young age that I would have a husband. They told me that I simply need to “delight in the Lord, and he would give me the desires of my heart” (based off of Psalm 37:4). But I just don’t think it’s fair to take that passage of scripture and use that to backup a guarantee of my love life. Yes, I absolutely believe that if I delight in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart. But if I am truly delighting in the Lord… and I mean TRULY delighting in the Lord, HIS desires for my heart will become my desires for my heart. I’ve learned that those desires are far bigger than my personal satisfaction in my life (or love life). Those desires look more like oceans of justice in this world, a love and passion for mercy in my daily life, and a growing understanding of God’s love and grace that brings me to my knees because of how unfathomably vast His love is.

So that was high school.

*now enter college*

There was quite a mindset switch in college when it came to relationships in my life. I had spent years upon years of my life creating this guy in my head. I had prayed more prayers for him than I had ever prayed for my own spiritual growth. And college hit and I was DONE (I thought). Any time dating came up in conversation, so did the walls. I think the 4 in my 3w4 enneagram type came out and any time dating came up in a conversation, I completely shut down. I was NOT going to be another one of those Christian girls who was obsessed with getting married.

On the outside, I was independent and care-free and telling any female in my life that would listen that they were strong and independent and didn’t need no man.

On the inside there was a bit more of a complex going on. I learned that heartbrokenness manifests itself in ways outside of just a traditional break up and, let me tell you, I was HEART.BROKEN. Although, I preached being confident in your own skin and pursuing your own dreams and being comfortable on your own… In my head and heart, I craved that that sort of intimacy and also saw myself as someone who was completely incapable of that kind of love. I had dreams, but I was afraid to vocalize them because what if a guy found a woman with ambition and her own set of dreams unappealing? I even felt a specific call on my life but fear resulted in me putting that call on my hypothetical future husbands’ hands and telling myself that I would be overjoyed in encouraging him to pursue the call that the Lord was putting on my own life. AND ALL THE WHILE I was believing that I was not created to love like that. I had come to believe that the brokenness I so clearly saw in my life was enough to keep me from loving like that. So any time I found myself daydreaming about a guy in my future, I quickly stuffed those feelings thinking it was sinful to desire that.

And now here I am.

So why am I telling you this?

I have put off sharing this for so long. There was even a time in my life where I said, “I can’t wait to get married so I can talk to all of the girls in my circle of influence of God’s faithfulness and healing and redemption.” But then I had an epiphany moment… God’s faithfulness, healing, and redemption is not dependent on my relationship status. I’m still single. And, even so, I can still tell you the story of how the Lord has made me whole. All of the broken fragments of my heart are constantly being put together to make the most beautiful mosaic of God’s glory, grace, and love.

I hope that sharing this part of my story inspires you to be open to some feedback/advice/constructive criticism/encouragement that I’ve picked up along the way that I’d like to share with you.

1. You are not the creator of your hypothetical future spouse.

I understand. You have standards. You want a guy who loves Jesus. And a guy who cares for his family. And a guy that is also 6’2″ with broad shoulders, blue eyes, good hair, the ability to grow a beard, and one that doesn’t smack his bananas when he chews, wants to be a doctor, enjoys running, knows how to play guitar (and has the voice of Ed Sheeran too!), is the life of the party, likes hanging out with you and your girlfriends, and enjoys shopping and watching you try on clothes for hours and hours, doesn’t like watching sports all the time, loves puppies, hates cats, only wears Patagonia, raises his hands during chapel, has a 6-pack, rocks a navy blue suit, does yoga in the park on Saturday mornings, blah blah blah. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. And while, yes, there is a level of standards and you ABSOLUTELY deserve an amazing guy… I think maybe we’ve started this build-a-boyfriend workshop in our minds that is getting really unhealthy. We create these ideas in our heads that are impossible for any one man to be and when we don’t find that in real life, we’re upset. I wonder how different our lives would be if, instead of spending our time dreaming up Mr. Wonderful, we spent our time looking at the qualities we need to work on to better reflect Jesus. And to clarify, I don’t want you working on reflecting Jesus in order to attract someone else… I want you working on reflecting Jesus because THAT is who the Lord is calling you to be.

2. You CAN be comfortable and confident and feel satisfied in your life without having someone to hold hands with.

I know. It’s really hard to believe. And I will be the first to admit that there are days where I don’t feel fulfilled. There are days where I look at myself in the mirror (whether literal or metaphorical) and don’t like what I see. I wish I had the right words to say to get rid of every insecurity, fear, and dissatisfied thought that you have about yourself because you are living, breathing, and existing and that in itself should be enough to empower you to live a life confident and satisfied in your own skin. But the problem is I don’t think my words will change the horrible way you view yourself. Just know that all of those negative thoughts are complete crap. And, not that I have my life together by any stretch of the imagination… but if nothing else, I am here as living proof that it is possible to love life not just feeling like it’s just a matter of “making it” until there is another person to complete you. You are a whole person all on your own and you will be better for it if you begin the road to discovering that person.

3. Your life doesn’t start once you get married…

…The rest of your life has already started. So what are you planning for outside of that relationship and what are you subconsciously putting off doing, hoping that your hypothetical future partner will do for you? Are you hoping that you’ll find someone to provide your financial stability that offsets your poor spending habits? Are you passionate about something that you haven’t acted on because you hope that your future spouse will do it for you? Please don’t wait to live your life because you want to bounce this or that idea off of them first. What is going on in your life right now that you need to be focusing on? Is there a specific social justice issue that is stirring in your heart to advocate for? Where are you now in life? What opportunities do you have to love people and how can you be more present in those areas of your life? Here’s an idea: stop waiting to figure out what the Lord is calling you to in the future and focus on where he is calling you NOW. The future will come when it comes.

Quick little tangent…

Ladies: learn how to take care of yourself. Learn how to do the basic things like check your oil, use a power drill, and change a flat tire. Should that relationship come around for you, there are still going to be times when your boyfriend might not be able to come pick you up when you have minor car troubles or when you need to hang a shelf. I highly recommend checking out youtube and learning how to take care of those things… it’s also kinda liberating too.

And to the few gentlemen who frequent this blog: First of all, THANK YOU. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate a guy who sees the written words of a female and doesn’t instantly swipe out. Know that the Live Collective Blog truly TRULY values your time spent reading this blog. Secondly, if you haven’t taught yourself the basics of cooking yourself a nutritional meal… Please do that tonight. Don’t leave something as important as nourishing your body in the hands of someone else.

4. A relationship is a gift, not a given

Where did we get this idea that we are simple owed a relationship because we exist. We talk so confidently about getting married like it’s a guarantee and I think that’s a dangerous place to be.

For those of you who are single and reading this… Use this as motivation to spend your time thinking of things other than who you’ll date. Resist the temptation to turn the idea of a relationship into an idol that you eat, sleep, and breathe. Instead of meditating on that dream, meditate on our Savior and don’t let that change should the day come that you are in a relationship.

For those of you who are in a relationship and reading this… Use this as a reminder. Do not take the person you are with for granted. That person is a gift. Treasure them. Thank them for the beautiful role they play in your life and for allowing you to be a part of their life. I think it’s important for all of us to remember, whether single or in a relationship, that a relationship is something to be treasured.

5. It’s ok to want that relationship

Let me make sure I am very clear in all of this. I am not saying that relationships are bad and we should banish them altogether. And one thing I learned is that denying to myself that a relationship is something that I want, is just as unhealthy as pining over a relationship and complaining about being single. If you have that desire, admit it to yourself and a few close friends, but don’t let that desire rule your life, decision-making, and rationale.

I want you to know that in sharing all of those things, I am not coming from a place of condemnation and judgment. I’m coming from a place where I’ve been and I am embarrassed to say that I have done. I want you to learn from my mistakes or be set free from any insecurity that may hold you back.

And now, as I close, I want to leave you with a few challenges;

  1. Journal. I know I always say that. But it’s been so helpful for me. If anything made you uncomfortable, write that down and figure out why it rubbed you the wrong way. Don’t take this blog as Ultimate Truth. I will be the first to say that this isn’t the Bible.
  2. Cars 101. Tomorrow at College Church at 2pm. Come and learn some car basics so you can be strong and capable and take care of things yourself when minor car issues arise.
  3. Send me your questions. I’m sure there are a lot of them rattling around in your brain after a blog like this. I’d love to chat a little more 🙂
  4. Thank God. No matter what your relationship status is, thank God for the current season he has you in. You may not know what He is calling you to in the future, but you know where He has you right now in this moment…. Thank him for it.

Emily on Instagram Accounts Worth Following

Happy Friday!

We are doing some dreaming of something coming up the near future of this blog. Social media is a big part of today’s culture and there are so many things to learn about how to use social media as a form of enhancing engagement with people instead of another avenue of life to feel discouraged by. As a little preview of what is to come on the blog in the topic of social media, today I want to direct you to 9 Instagram Accounts that are WORTH following because they post content that isn’t just your average pretty photo and clever caption… they post REAL stuff… like the stuff that pushes you to want to live life better.

So. Without further adieu. Here are 9 Instagram accounts WORTH following.

1. Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher)

Ok first and foremost, if you’re looking for someone to boost yourself worth and also make you feel like your best friend (minus the spending time together) because she tells you the stuff that you NEED to hear… go follow Jenna Kutcher right now. Jenna is a self-made millionaire that loves all things photography, marketing, and social media. But the cool thing is she uses her platform to inspire people to live confidently and boldly in who they are and also provides ALL of the resources to help you be a successful leader in whatever avenue you choose. Aside, from her instagram account, I also love listening to her Goal Digger podcast. Check it out next time you are going for a drive, or wanting someone to hang out with while getting ready in the morning.

2. Bob Goff (@bobgoff)

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Bob Goff and I am anxiously awaiting an opportunity to get my hands on his newly released book, Everybody Always. Anybody who has heard of Bob, knows about his seemingly simple out look on life that has resulted in a vivacious love for people and enjoying every moment of life. Anything I’ve read about him, whether it be from his book, from an author of a different book that talks about Bob, or from Instagram page challenges me to live life a little more colorfully… and don’t we all need a little more of that in our lives?

3. Natalie Franke (@nataliefranke)

Natalie is a WAVE MAKER. She is passionate about helping others thrive. She doesn’t see people as a reason for competition, but as a source of community. She’s another creative that has a beautiful Instagram feed, but it doesn’t stop there. She focuses on empowering others through the unstoppable force that is life together. Although not all of you may be looking for inspiration in growing as a creative, she is honest with day-to-day struggles that go outside of simply what it takes run a business. We all have MUCH to learn from Natalie Franke.

4. Take More Adventures (@takemoreadventures)

This account is for those of you who need to be inspired by beautiful pictures of beautiful places to get you off the couch and out looking for the beauty in your backyard or on the other side of the world. Everybody needs to follow at least one account that awakens the travel bug in you. They also have a shop and every order plants 10 new trees!! Check them out! But I’m warning you… you may only be scrolling for a few minutes before you find yourself shopping for a plane ticket to anywhere.

5. Brooklyn Lindsey (@brooklynlindsey)

Now Brooklyn I may be a bit biased towards. I’ve heard her speak a few times and every time leave believing I can change the world. She is humble, kind, and a passionate follower of Jesus. I remember a specific message from her challenging her audience to do SOMETHING that takes your breath away. She is an advocate for justice. For those who don’t have a voice and for those who simply have yet to discover their voice.

6. Kate T. Parker (@katetparker)

I’ll admit that I only started following Kate today, but her eye for photography and instilling passion in the next generation has already made me think deeper of what I am doing to equip the next generation to lead this world well. Her work is beautiful, but her heart behind it is even more beautiful.

7. Jennie Allen (@jenniesallen)

Oh man. Jennie Allen has been pivotal in developing my philosophy of life, loving people, and ministry. What she says, she preaches with this sense of strength that commands you to listen. Keeping tabs on her on Instagram has been a great source of accountability as to if I’m living my life the way Jesus created me to live. I love seeing her heart for the women she works so closely with, her family, and most of all her Saviour. It is evident in everything she does… her books, her events, her instagram posts, EVERYTHING that her life is radically changed because of her relationship with Jesus.

8. Jessica Honegger (@jessicahonegger)

Jessica Honegger is the founder of Noonday Collection, a fair trade jewelry company that she started in 2010. Jessica’s story of how Noonday started is I N C R E D I B L E. She has impacted so many lives and provided jobs for artisans and entrepreneurs all over the world. Lately, I’ve been hooked on Jessica’s recently launch podcast, Going Scared. In this podcast she talks with a diverse group of people who simply had a dream and needed to figure out how to get it done. I think the best part is that everything she does, has a bigger purpose. It’s not about making money, it’s about finding a bigger mission in life.

9. Camper & Honey (@camperandhoney)

Now this one seems like a no brainer to me but everybody needs a little bit extra puppy love in their lives. Go follow these two beautiful golden retrievers to add a some extra smiles to your day as you scroll through your feed.

Like I said, we’ll be talking a little bit more about social media here in the near future. So stay tuned, but for now check out these Instagram accounts to add a little bit of extra positivity to your feed. Happy scrolling!


*photo created by Canva