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“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

As a girl in this world, growing up I was always feeling insecure.

One of the best pieces of wisdom I’ve ever heard told is this: Nobody really cares that much about you.

Sounds harsh, but it’s so comforting to me.

Nobody truly cares about how you look, what you’re doing, what grade you made, what awards you receive. They don’t ruminate on what you said two weeks ago. They could talk about it, but that’s most likely their own insecurity shining through. Because they don’t really care.

There’s a lens in all of us that’s unique, but the same- our worldview and perceptions. It’s human nature to make our worldview revolve around our favorite topic- which is us.

K admit it, we love to talk about ourselves. Almost every little decision we make keeps in mind what someone else might say, think, or do about it afterwards.

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.”

A lot of the time I have to make a conscious effort to just listen. To just stop talking and thinking about myself for one minute and to take in someone else’s thoughts. I admire so much the people who can do this really well.

This is not all to say we don’t have genuine moments and connections with people. My point is that it’s the people who matter that will care about your accomplishments and listen to your concerns, because they love you. Not for any other reason. If someone cares deeply otherwise it’s because they are jealous and insecure like the rest of us.

While I think it’s probably impossible to rid ourselves of all insecurity, it’s so freeing to let go of as much as we can. Trading in superficial conversation and appearances for meaningful relationships is one of the best things I could’ve ever done for myself. And I still work at it.

There will always be that person who is smarter, prettier, funnier, nicer, more likable, and has a better job or goes to a better school than you do. To me, that’s become a good thing, because I don’t feel as much of a need to live up to something so unattainable.

We’ll never be able to measure up to the expectations we put in other people’s heads about ourselves. I think it’s important to try and find a new forefront for our minds- one in which we decide to consciously empathize with someone else.

Being the perfect cocktail of physically perfect and “emotionally unavailable” is a waste.

Care for other people.

You cannot take what you’ve earned in this world to the grave. Nothing and no one is going with you but your soul.

Is that scary, or comforting?


“I have seen all things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, like chasing the wind.” -Ecclesiastes 1:14


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I find myself wishing.

I wish I didn’t feel the need to explain myself constantly. Or to explain mental illness.

I wish I didn’t have to prove my normalcy and only then feel comfortable enough to tell my disorder in a whisper.

I wish mental illness and its effects were just already common knowledge. That it was taught with compassion in school and by our parents, not stumbled upon reluctantly on television.

I wish people would just get help.

But I wish there were adequate resources to even do so. There’s a 3 month waiting list to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. Cancelation is the best bet for counseling. Everything is expensive.

I wish my counseling appointments weren’t 200 dollars per 45 minute session.

I wish I didn’t have these extremes- the mania and the depression. That I felt I am the captain of my mind. And the chemicals would simply align and do what they were intended to do.

I wish I knew what everyone else felt like in their body and in their mind everyday.

I wish I knew which version of myself is the “real me,” and which is my illness. They are so hard to decipher. Am I creative and outgoing? Or am I unable to form a sentence and awkward?

I wish people understood that bipolar doesn’t mean I’m happy and sad and moody all in a day. I wish they knew it means my circadian clock throughout the year lends me to manic tendencies in the fall, and depression in the spring.

I wish I could help people. I want them to know they have value, and that their mental illness isn’t who they are. People aren’t cancer. They aren’t heart disease. They aren’t cerebral palsy. But they are bipolar.

Semantics… I have bipolar, not “I am” bipolar. But it doesn’t matter how you say it, it’s how others feel about it. It’s how you feel about yourself.

That girl “is” bipolar. It is her identity.

But it’s not?

I am more than a disorder, despite how I have felt about myself in the past.. the times when I let the diagnosis dictate every thought and every decision of my life.

When I looked at people who I knew saw me as “normal” and thought and believed, “if only they knew, I’m not normal, I’m one of those freaks.” I am the one you’re talking about who stayed in the “looney bin.” That was me. A few short years ago.

I wish I had figured everything out sooner to avoid insufferable pain.

I wish the world would recognize mental illness as real and important to know about. It affects everyone, whether we want it to or not (and of course we don’t want it to). If it’s not you, it’s a friend, coworker, family member, acquaintance. Somebody.

I wish we didn’t feel the need to hide our condition.

From everyone. There are so many people in the working world and just in life who are successful and charismatic, and they deal with a mental illness you would never know about. We’re not all “weird, deranged, dangerous.” We are like you.

We’re people who have a chronically sick brain. Just like people have sick hearts, stomachs, lungs.

I wish I didn’t have to take medication everyday. And I wish I didn’t have so much pride about needing it.

I wish mental illness received a hand and heart to help, instead of a kick to the chest.

I wish people understood mental illness. That it’s not a character flaw, it’s not a choice. It doesn’t discriminate in who it afflicts.

But I am lucky. I accepted my diagnosis within three years, instead of the average ten. I have a family who does everything in their power to protect me, and who loves me so fiercely I have no choice but to want to better myself and take care of me- for them. Not all friends stood by me, but some of them did. And I am so lucky.

I have Eric. He comforts me and treasures me as his future wife, not as his basket case. I am so, so lucky and fortunate. And I am so heartbroken for the people with my disorder who can’t say the same.


mental illness awareness week film


MIAW is this week Oct 2-8. My goal is to shine light where there is a lot of darkness in our country, around the world, and in our hearts right now. Having a severe mental illness has been tough to say the least, and receiving slim to none understanding over the past years hasn’t helped.

If your heart or any other organ is chronically sick, there’s usually no hesitation to get help or to talk to someone about it. With our brains, for whatever reason, it’s a different story. Admitting you have a mental illness is usually done under your breath if at all. And it’s mostly met with “why would you ever admit that.”

I’m a part of 2.6% of the population with Bipolar Disorder. says that 1 in 5 people with Bipolar Disorder will complete suicide. That is a devastating statistic for me. A 1 in 5 chance to live is not a comforting reality and shouldn’t be accepted. This is part of what motivates me to educate others on our illness. Because it is an illness that has been around since the beginning of time, not our imagination. While the manias and depressions are beyond awful, the associated shame and stigma is hell on earth.

People with severe mental illness used to be treated like animals, chained in prisons, hung and thought to be witches, lobotomized, and basically treated as sub human throughout history. I wish I could say this has improved far more drastically than it actually has. (…/the-history-of-mental-ill…)

After I left Clemson finally in the Fall of 2014, after having been sexually assaulted by a student there, being sent into a severe manic episode, and overdosing twice within a week, I went to an inpatient facility for a 2 hour interview where they deemed my case “not severe enough” to stay there. There’s nowhere to go.

I wrote a fan letter to a strong woman in the sport’s industry, Samantha Ponder, where I told her I was coming to terms with leaving Clemson and having Bipolar Disorder. And I was treated by ESPN security like a criminally insane stalker for it. I’m now apparently on a list to look out for, because I told this woman I wanted to be like her one day. I can’t help but feel that if I had a different illness that that letter would have been received completely different.

Education. Conversation. Long term treatment in conjunction with acute treatment. Understanding. Acceptance. Erasing the stigma. These are so desperately needed.

If you would share this post or my one from a couple days ago in hopes of allowing others to be more aware of mental illness, that would be wonderful. Mental Illness affects all of us in some way whether we want it to or not. Might as well do something about it.

“Our purpose is in our pain” -Brandon Marshall


Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching over me,
I can sing though billows roll ; Ascend The Hill

Mental Illness Awareness Week has come to a close today. There’s one more thing I wanted to say.

To *some* Christians in my life, mostly past, and some present, I want you to understand mental illness.

I don’t want to yell at you. I don’t want to totally point the finger and place all my blame. But I do want you to know I remember and it hurts. I’m usually relatively vague in my blog about what has happened with old friends. It makes sense that you’re scared, because you’re just not educated on the subject. A few churches are compassionate about the the topic, and support treatment and openness.

While others are repulsed, and believe there is a sin I committed to deserve this. If I pray hard enough, my brain will magically repair its prefrontal cortex and replace its malignant chemicals with healthy ones. If I just trust in God to bring me joy, He’ll give it to me instantly.

What if Ephesians 3:20 doesn’t mean immeasurably more health and happiness. What if it truly means that He has plans for me also, to use my illness as a platform for Him. To glorify Him through my pain.

Despite my doubt and shame, He chooses me every day. You know who condemned as if they themselves were God? If you didn’t cherry pick the Bible for the sin you don’t personally commit (premarital sex, divorce, homosexuality, underage drinking, etc.) you might know it’s the Pharisees.

A lot of you weren’t there for me when I needed you the most. You still snicker at the thought of my name. You untagged yourselves from pictures with me because I was once an embarrassing human when I could not help it. You asked me to dance when I was skinny and didn’t look my way when I was noticeably depressed and had gained weight. Your good deed for the century was driving me to the hospital and later rolling your eyes. Because how could I be so stupid and far from God’s best for me?

Thirty of you or so didn’t acknowledge my presence save a room full of stares, though I used to go to your houses and laugh with you.

You told me in my gullible manic state to call someone and leave a hateful voicemail for something they didn’t do. And the rest of you stood by and laughed.

One of you was my best friend in the world, and didn’t come to my hospital bed in 2012 or even send an “I hope you’re okay” when I was incapable of forming a thought. Now you’re in ministry, preaching what you couldn’t practice for me. I never really heard from you again. I had formerly volunteered in your church’s nursery and your dad was my pastor. I reached out in 2014 not to rekindle a romance but to tell you I was diagnosed bipolar and raped. Your response was blocking me.

I get it, we are all imperfect. I am so flawed it breaks my heart. I pray I can forgive you, and I work towards it.

Know that your actions carry so much weight, obviously not just for me, but everyone you will encounter. Remember that not all the Psalms were filled with joy. But they all had hope.

Psalm 38

“Your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they scheme and lie.
I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
like the mute, who cannot speak;
I have become like one who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.

Lord, I wait for you;
you will answer.
For I said, ‘Do not let them gloat
or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.’
For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
Many have become my enemies without cause;

Lord, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior.”

let go



Letting go is hard. I’d argue it borders on impossible. I’ve advanced closer, waded somewhere in the middle, and regressed. I’ve had one limb in forgiveness, one in bitterness, and a third in embarrassment. I just don’t think I can say I’ve let it all go. I know I can’t say it.

What I’m talking about is my heartache, people I’ve been hurt by, whether intentional or not, and painful memories.

Sometimes I’ll go through long stretches without thinking about any of it, which is nice. But other times I’ll be laying in my bed or driving in my car and an old memory resurfaces, from however many years ago, to taunt me or to remind me that I should be embarrassed. A lot of memories I’ve repressed, but eventually almost all return.

This past weekend was the anniversary of a very painful time in my life two years ago. Today I’m so grateful and happy with where and who I am, but I cannot help but feel a searing pain when I look back.

I’ve held grudges. Some things I truly have forgiven myself and other people for. And other things, if I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t. It’s not because I don’t want to.

The most prominent memories entail embarrassment, frustration, confusion, rejection, and being out of my own control. At the time I felt like no one wanted to be associated with Laura Hogan, the girl who had lost it after her senior year of high school.

I kept hearing this message preached that “it’s okay to struggle, and life is going to be hard and you’re going to need to ask people for help so that they can walk through it with you.” But from these same types of people I found that my struggle was too much. You can hurt, but it needs to be an acceptable kind of hurting.

You can struggle, but it needs to be with gossiping too much, or being impatient with God’s plan, or being too selfish with your time, or not feeling His presence enough, or not getting asked to the dance.

It cannot be that you are battling a mental illness that you didn’t know you had. That’s what I learned from them. I’m not talking about one group of people, but a group at large. Do I think I’ve been there perfectly and every time for other people’s struggles? No I don’t think so.

But I was absolutely amazed by the lack of empathy I received from so many people back then. At the time I thought it might be deserved, but looking back I’m just angry. Not the kind of angry that makes someone want to be violent, but the kind that puts up walls and has given a lot of tears.

I’m still learning to let go.


“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” – Psalm 34:5

the number one treatment for the recovery of bipolar disorder

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Let me start by saying medication has been vital in my recovery, wellness, and maintenance. The arsenal of counseling and psychiatric services has also played a huge role. Without these things, my life would still be in shambles.

However, I’ve come to realize the magnitude of the treatment that helped me the most with bipolar type 1 disorder. It sounds cliche, and maybe it is, but this is what pulled me through and out of some of the deepest valleys of my life.

The best treatment I ever received was love.

The sentiment of love gets tossed around a lot as we know, and the meaning has become diluted.

But the love I experienced wasn’t an ephemeral love. It was a compassionate love that didn’t have conditions. I didn’t have to perform a certain way in order to receive it. I have felt loved by several people, but most notably over the years by the unwavering support system I have in my parents.

In times when mental illness gripped me the hardest and I felt like the world turned its back on me, and when the white noise was deafening, they claimed me. And even more so they were proud of me.

They put the condemning weight of my burdens on themselves and then some. They laughed and sobbed with me. They celebrated my small accomplishments. They held me with a death grip when I felt helpless. They encouraged me. They stood up for me. They loved me when I didn’t have love for myself.

I was more important to them than the appearance of our family. They didn’t run from the diagnosis, but instead educated themselves and are now educating others. They put their own schedules on hold to be near me and to bring their little girl back. They emulated the agape love that God has for me. They were never ashamed to call me their daughter.

I love you mom and dad. Thank you for sharing in both my sorrow and healing. I could never fully articulate how grateful I am that your reservoir of grace never runs dry for me.

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So I haven’t written in a while. I’ll be honest, I contemplated deleting my blog a few times, feeling like I had shared too much. But then I remembered the people who told me it had helped them, and decided to let it stick around (also, I couldn’t figure out how to delete it – haha).

I’m at a great place in my life right now and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that.

If I’m being candid, the beginning of 2016 was not a walk in the park. It was difficult. But as the year went on, things got better again like they do. I’m happy to say this summer has been the best of my life so far.

I got engaged to Eric! I couldn’t ever explain how happy and overjoyed this makes me. I found someone who loves me for exactly who I am, which is something I never knew if I’d say or not. He’s an amazing man, and I’m beyond excited for the rest of our lives together.

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This post is really just to say that I’m glad I didn’t completely count myself out. In the hard times I’ve learned to love myself and to care less about what others think of me. I haven’t mastered it all – but I’ve gained ground and that’s all I’m going to ask of myself.

Speaking up for mental health and mental illness is still on my heart, and I plan to continue spreading light for it.

– Laura


“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts.”

Romans 5:3-5


bipolar is and isn’t


Bipolar disorder is a serious disease. It’s not fun, nor trendy.

Bipolar (for me at least) means consistent medication, dose changes, and getting adequate sleep to stay well.

Bipolar means periods of extremes. Mania and depression, then mania again, and so on. A cycle through the seasons. It doesn’t mean: Let me yell and pull my hair out, and then giggle uncontrollably thirty minutes later.

Mania is a state of the brain. It seems rather misunderstood as a whole. It’s important to know that being in mania doesn’t make someone a maniac. 

I took the liberty of looking up “mania” on Here’s the super informative definition:

(1) excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze: ex: The country has a mania for soccer.

Okay.. so in second place:

(2) Psychiatry. manic disorder

Mania. I had no idea what it was until I experienced it firsthand.

In my psych class at Clemson, I remember we breezed right through it. Which is fine, lots of material to cover-I get it Jorgensen.

I scribed in my notes something of the like: mania- affective disorder characterized by euphoric mood, excessive activity and impaired judgment. 

While this is true, I had no grasp on what this would entail in real life application. It was simply a multiple choice answer on a test.

It wasn’t until my nonchalantly jotted bullet point became my reality that I understood.

Bipolar disorder freaking sucks. It’s not something I can ignore and say, “Just..stay there, I’ll deal with you later.”

It’s really hard. But I have learned a few things.

It means living with haunting and embarrassing things I did or said in the past.

..But It doesn’t mean I have to dwell on them day in and day out…and I don’t (anymore).

It means I have a serious condition that needs to be addressed and managed.

..But It doesn’t mean I think of myself as some sub-human specimen who can’t do what everyone else can.

It has made me manic, but not a lunatic.

It has made me depressed, but not completely hopeless for eternity.

When someone has a physical condition, most of the time they don’t feel the need to confess it under their breath. Unfortunately, mental illness is a different story.

Even the word “bipolar” is so harsh sounding. If I tell someone out loud that I’m bipolar, I’m often greeted with a look of I can’t believe you just admitted that out loud. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…kind of like most things that are expected to be kept to ourselves.

The prenotions that come with the idea of bipolar are so strong.

Like I’ve mentioned in a post before, when in high school, I remember hearing random, uneducated slams against bipolar here and there…I thought semi subconsciously, I am so glad that I’ll never have to deal with something like that! I’m so normal. Bipolar people are weird. Bipolar people are psychos. 

Then it hit, and I was now the aforementioned “psycho.” But really, I was just ill.

I’ve also told of how a “well-intentioned” woman advised me to never share with anyone that I’m bipolar. To keep it a secret for my own good. That she was looking out for me.

So, thanks lady who I haven’t heard from since! Your recommendation is actually the reason I started this blog.

I’m doing the exact opposite of what you told me to do, because I think more highly of the human capability to understand than you do.

The truth is, my secret could’ve ultimately killed me- and my life is far more important than my pride or appearance.

 – Laura

everything is alright


Give me a reason to end this discussion,

To break with tradition.
To fold and divide

“Are you feeling fine?”
Yes, I feel just fine.

– Everything Is Alright; MCS

OCD–Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–a disorder that can go hand in hand with bipolar. Like Liam and Miley, they just can’t stay away from each other for too long!

I need to stop watching E! news forever.

A sped-up mind (bipolar) needs more to think and worry about (anxiety/OCD).

So OCD may not be what you think if you’ve only heard it talked about on TV. It doesn’t always equate to clean freak. It’s more than some extreme organizational habit..

OCD is literally as described… obsessive, compulsive thoughts. Unwanted, persistent thoughts.

And these thoughts don’t have to be grounded in what’s worthy of being thought of. This is the annoying part.

For me, it can be counting. Counting the hours of sleep I got. Over and over in my head. 6. 7. 7. 8. 9. 7. Feeling like I can’t carry on before knowing in that exact moment something so trivial to the trajectory of my life.

It shows up in my hypochondria. Anyone who has known me at all knows that I’ve always had an irrational fear of sickness. Emetophobic compulsive thoughts used to keep me out of school when I was younger. Seriously.

I obsessively wash my hands. Douse hand sanitizer. Won’t touch door knobs with my bare hand unless I absolutely have to.

If you knew me in high school, I was the girl who always had a pack of gum. Well, it wasn’t so everyone could ask me for a piece– I know, very hard to believe. It was because it helped ease my anxiety at the time in some weird way. I chewed, on average, 7 pieces per test. I was finally able to break somewhat from this habit.. thank goodness, my jaw seriously wanted to kill me for a few years there.

My friend Kate (her blog, click!) talks about her anxiety/OCD in fight or flight terms–which I hadn’t thought of before. But it’s so accurate. If you relate, you know, you either stay in the moment and fight it, or you run away.

I don’t have too much pride to admit I’ve literally ran away from anxiety inducing situations in the past. Literally ran away… because I just had to get out of there.

Yesterday I decided to “fight.” I was in the grocery store line having just worked out, I was out of breath, on the phone, and carrying a basket way too heavy (should’ve gone with the cart). The man in front of me had something wrong with his transaction, so I’m waiting for another clerk to come help the completely normal, nothing out of the ordinary, everyday situation.

It was taking too long. Claustrophobia. I’m short of breath, imagining myself fainting on the floor. My head starts spinning and my heart picks up. I hang up the phone in a hurry, and seriously contemplate just leaving my basket on the ground and walking out of the store to get fresh air.

This example is seriously so ridiculous, sorry for that–but I know people with this kind of anxiety could be able to relate.

..A lot of it has to do with control. Not being able to control exact details of even the simplest situations gives me anxiety. Yes, this is super frustrating.

But this isn’t always the case.

I go through weeks, even months without this kind of anxiety. I prefer those times.

I also have this thing where I feel like I have to confess everything to someone. Like how I imagine a devout catholic at Confession (I’m not catholic.. I don’t know) But I feel this compulsion to confess things that.. aren’t even worth confessing. It will be on my mind until I do.

So I realize people who are reading this and have never experienced anything similar are most likely thinking, “Laura has more problems than once anticipated!” Eh well.. you’re probably right! However, this all really isn’t entirely uncommon.

More recently in life, I’ve found I’ve been at peace with a lot of things.

But this is new to me…so my brain is trying its absolute best to find a way to self-sabotage. I’m not used to things going well and staying well. That sounds really dramatic, but it’s how I feel.

Therefore, when things are great, my mind projects my anxiety onto something that’s undeserving.

This feeling of constantly needing something to worry about and stress over..  I think someone can relate to that.

I really want to change this.

My brain wins a lot. It’s the bipolar, OCD, and anxiety cocktail kicking my butt momentarily.

But it’s just that–right now, not forever.

Because I’ve already found ways to alleviate some of these symptoms, and I’m going to keep trying to figure this deal out. Stepping back when I can to be rational really helps. Simple, but hard to do. Talking with people who “get it” has really helped. This blog outlet definitely helps me as well.

That’s all I have on this…tryna break with tradition.

XO- Laura



A sense of peace acts reciprocally by virtue of conflict.

It ebbs and flows with the seasons. When intentions are contorted through every lens, our dissonance succeeds.

It seems to almost always result from a series of surefire misunderstandings.

And I hate that.

Why can’t anything seem to fall into place without some surprise conflict?

Peace.. It often seems unattainable. Especially if you’re wed to overthinking like I tend to be. OCD thoughts keep me prone to worry.

Peace is something pretty hard to find or feel. Hoping for it can feel like waiting for what’s not even real. And most times it seems Murphy’s law will always win out.

How can we find peace in the thick of misunderstanding and conflict? Things can turn sideways, 0 to 100, for endless reasons I won’t try to list.

Becoming tangled proceeds the chance to inhale. My tendency to shoot from the hip doesn’t help either.

I realize I’m being vague, but it’s because this doesn’t seem to apply to just me. It appears pretty dang universal.

Misunderstanding. Conflict. A lack of peace.

I certainly don’t have all the answers of how to have peace in hard situations or even mundane ones.

But what I have found is that peace doesn’t have to be circumstantial- even though it certainly feels this way most days.

I’m human. With that fact comes failing people- and hopefully we know this to be true of everyone. We all fail, and we also have all been and will be failed.

This actuality has helped me understand that peace can be a possibility, even though at first glance it seems to suggest the opposite.

What I propose is that we give ourselves and each other some slack.

When we stop being so hard on ourselves, maybe there will be peace of mind.

Once we stop looking to ourselves or to other people for all of our comfort and answers, maybe there will be peace of heart.

We are fallible.

There is a peace in knowing that control over every detail is out of our hands, and in another’s.

But this only comes if we trust that these same hands are working everything together for our good.

Only then is weight lifted and peace gained.

XO- Laura

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27