Fall Boots & Nerdy Sweaters

WHAT I'M WEARING :: Sweater // consignment :: Vest// consignment ::  Jeans // consignment :: Bracelet // Molly Suzanne Boots// c/o Pink Basis

Fall is definitely my favorite season, so it's no surprise that I've already started shopping for the perfect fall look. Last week, my sister and I hit up a local consignment store and got all sorts of great pieces for $80. This nerdy sweater and these polka dotted jeans were my favorite finds and I couldn't wait to get home and put an outfit together!

Boots are clearly the most important staple to any fall outfit these days. After finding this perfect Pink Basis pair and adding a thrifted vest from last season, my look was complete! I officially cannot wait for the leaves to start changing colors! I'm even more excited to wear this nerdy little sweater with my new nerdy little glasses that will hopefully arrive sometime this week. :)

My favorite thing about finding Pink Basis is that their shoes and on trend and affordable. I've already got a growing wish list of the next pair I want to add to my growing shoe collection! Us Minnesotan's can never, ever have too many pairs of boots... And how cute are these strappy glitter flats?!

What are your "must have's" for fall fashion?!


I Wish Someone Would've Told Me

Reverse culture shock, they call it. Google defines it as an emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment marked by feelings of loneliness and desolation. If you ask me, most days it feels pretty similar to my autoimmune disease (minus the physical pain). It's unpredictable, it's consuming, and it's absolutely, utterly exhausting.

So, yes, I'd heard about it. I heard it was a "thing" but I didn't believe it was a "thing," per se.

The first Sunday I'd been back home from my time in Swaziland, Africa, I went to church. I hugged the people I had missed so much. I had great conversation with those I hadn't seen all summer. I sat in my favorite spot. I prayed harder than I usually prayed. I closed my eyes and worshipped with the same reckless abandonment that I always have. But as far away as Cold Spring, Minnesota is from Manzini, Swaziland... I could not shake the feeling that I, sitting there in my home church, was not home. In fact, I felt the furthest thing from it.

At one point during the service, some of the kids played a game where they had to unroll a roll of toilet paper the fastest. Feelings built up FAST for me and I just about got up to leave because I couldn't control the tears that were forming. All I could think about was the carepoint I'd just spent 12 days in and all I could picture was the stack of notebook paper next to the "toilet" (if you want to call it that) in the makeshift "outhouse" (again, if you want to call it that). Yes, you read that right. I started crying about toilet paper. Or lack of thereof, I should say.

I felt crazy walking out of church that day and in the days to follow. EVERYTHING I did felt selfish. Even something as simple as unpacking or having one of my favorite snacks frustrated me to the point of tears because it was so self-serving. I felt useless because anything I was doing couldn't compare to what I could and would be doing if I was back in Swaziland.

I'm doing better now, you could say. I'm praying through it and attempting to write it out instead of internalizing it and letting it all turn to tears. Hence the blog post. Everyday does seem to get a little easier, but then there's a tough one thrown in. Some days I'm speechless... Some days I start drafting 6 blog posts. It's just hard not to wish someone would've told me.

I wish someone would've told me that I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning thinking about the kids I got to know in Swaziland. Wondering where they are and what they're doing 7 hours ahead of the time zone I lay awake in.

I wish someone would've told me about the nights I'd move from my bed to the floor just because it feels too comfortable. Because I need to be closer to to the same earth those kids are walking on in some remote villiage in Africa.

I wish someone would've told me that every time I now go to my closet, all I really want to do is throw everything out. That my style will never be the same again because the maxi skirts and t-shirts I lived in during my time there now hold a whole new meaning.

I wish someone would've told me that every time people ask how my trip was, I would daze off for a solid five minutes and still struggle to utter the words: "It...was...uh...perfect. It was perfect." Only to be disappointed with my response because HOW? How do I even begin to explain the way Jesus shattered my heart during my time there?

I wish someone would've told me I'd want to punch a wall when the response is, "Oh Kenzie, you are such a good person!" or "You have such a big heart!" or "You are a brave soul!" Because I'm not. I'm not any better than Abraham and Sarah's doubts or Rahab's lifestyle. My heart is the size of everyone else's and I am anything but brave. What I am is real. I'm afraid. Of being where God wants me to be. Of not being where He wants me to be.

Truth be told, I didn't go to Africa because I have a heart bigger than anyone else's. I didn't go because I'm the next David defeating Goliath or a giant of any kind, really. I didn't go to Africa because I have an answer to the world's problems or because I have the resources to fix those problems. I went to love. That's it. Because God first loved us and it is the most valuable thing you and I have to offer everyone and anyone we come in contact with.

Is there a need to be met? Yes. There are so many needs. But caring for and tending to those needs should come out of a genuine love for people and Christ, not out of pity or a sense of obligation to this world. When our actions align with the desires of His heart, things change...people change.

So, yes. I wish someone would've told me. I wish I would've been warned. I wish I had known that the tears were beginning the healing process, not making me crazy...but I wouldn't change where my heart is right now for the world.

“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us and to spread His light. This is the dream...and it is possible.”  - Katie Davis


Africa Reminded Me

When I first started to finalize details for my trip to Swaziland, Africa this summer, I must admit that I looked at everything a bit naively. I wasn't anticipating perfection by any means, but there were just a few details that didn't cross my mind until either: a.) the moment we were headed there b.) a random day well into the trip or c.) we were on our way home.

For lack of a better word...there were just a few things that Africa reminded me.

1.) BATTERIES DON'T CHARGE THEMSELVES. You would think after a long day of playing with the kids at the carepoint and spending all your free time snapping photos of them that charging your camera and phone batteries would... Well...at LEAST cross your mind. You would think. 

2.) IF YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT SPORTS IN AMERICA, YOU WON'T BE GOOD AT SPORTS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. HA. HA. HA. I know...it sounds like I'm being a serious Debbie Downer. One day afterschool some of the older girls were playing a game that they call tennis. (There were no rackets, FYI). They were basically bouncing a tennis ball back and forth between about 8 of them. They claimed the only trick was that you had to jump over the ball before catching it. But actually, they lied...because the other trick was the fact that I was wearing a long skirt...and I'm just gonna leave it at that. Kenzie, meet dirt. Dirt, meet Kenzie. Kenzie, praise Jesus that you are wearing leggings under said skirt.

3.) THERE IS ALWAYS TIME FOR LAUGHTER. So often here at home, I notice myself turning into this "no foolin" kinda girl. I get into my rigid schedule and everything I do almost seems to become an appointment. God reminds me of this one pretty often, but in Africa, it was like a whole 12 days of being reminded. I have never laughed more. I have never made so many silly faces. I have never laughed more about the silly faces I was making. See exhibit A below... ;)

4.) BUILDING WALLS DOESN'T KEEP OTHER PEOPLE OUT, IT FENCES YOU IN. This is DEEP and it hit me like a ton of bricks while I was there. The kids loved looking at photos of and hearing about my family. When the question, "do you have a grandpa?" arose from time to time, I was taken a bit aback before I could find the words to explain that I have two in Heaven. Here at home, the same question would result in an almost awkward response of... "Uh, let's not talk about it." Being honest and open with the kids, even when it was bittersweet for me, split my heart right open. God did a lot of healing through little conversations with little ladies who now mean the absolute world to me.

It may have a thing or two to do with being caught up in the moment...but, regardless...hindsight is 20/20, right? :)


Hope For What's Next

As many of my faithful friends + readers know, I have returned from my more than blessed time and trip to Swaziland, Africa. Physically, my feet are 100% back home here in Minnesota... But, friends, I left my heart thousands of miles away back in that carepoint with the sweet children I got to know, love, and care for.

WHAT I'M WEARING ::  HEADBAND // Brady Bands :: SUNGLASSES // Vanity :: T-SHIRT // c/o Our Anthem is Hope ::  BRACELET / Swazi market  ::: SKIRT // Vanity ::  SANDALS // Old Navy

My time in Swaziland completely changed my heart, perspective, and ultimately my life. I know that's a broad statement. And as much as this type A personality, detail-oriented girl HATES broad... But I'm trying my best to embrace it.

Because I don't need to know every detail. I don't need to comprehend every feeling. I don't need to understand just why God has called me to a place so far away... I just need to say yes to His call.

When I was in Swaziland, I didn't spend an hour picking out my outfit for the day. I didn't worry about the petty things in my life. I didn't waste time and energy worrying about things I cannot control. I simply woke up each morning and said, "Yes, God. I'm up for whatever you have for me today."

My adjustment to being back here in the states has been an incredibly slow process thus far. I'm writing, I'm praying, and I'm trying to process everything before sharing because I want to get it right... And I don't want to miss a single step in doing so.

I move to college in 21 days and am already rapidly researching ways to get back to Africa as soon as possible. During my time in Swaziland, one of the missionaries I had the opportunity to chat with told me about an incredible organization called the Abide Family Center in Uganda and their internship program. Needless to say, much of my 20 hour flight home was spent praying about my future plans to pursue social work and missional ministries, my desire to move someplace in Africa, and my emotions about the place I have so desperately fallen in love with.

Amidst it all, I am so thankful for sweet friends like Natalie who give me hope in the future that is to come and hope in the only God who can change this world. Her business, Our Anthem is Hope, is creating hope all around the world and I am so thankful that she helped give me the opportunity to bring that hope to Swaziland. I can't wait to see where God takes it next. :)

Linking up with The Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirBecause Shanna Said SoGet Your Pretty On, & Tucker Up!