3 Tips for Changing Your Name

3 Tips for Changing Your Name

Good morning.

I am officially no longer a citizen under my maiden name. I’m a new person, according to the government. When people read my name, they’re going to be very surprised to see a tiny, little white girl showing up behind a long, Zimbabwean name.

So I go to the DMV this morning; last week I saw Zooptopia twice. These are related because in Zootopia there are sloths. There is a DMV. At the DMV (in Zootopia), the workers are SLOTHS. This was my favorite part of the movie. Now, I love living in a semi-small town in the South because the DMV is a piece of cake. The longest I’ve ever had to wait was when I was 16 and needed to take my driving test. Since then, it’s only been like a 10-20 minute wait, so I’m grateful.

I know that many a lady has complained about the name-changing process being a hassle. Compared to getting our marriage certificate, this has been a walk in the park. Here’s a funny story about getting our marriage certificate.

One day my handsome fiance and I stroll into the DMV to get our marriage certificate. We are so anxious for the Chickfila that is awaiting us afterwards (we may have a problem) that we rush through the thing. We give our info. We give our “proof of counseling” notarized card (btw, highly suggest; it discounted the cost almost 50% for us.) We smile as we sign, holding hands and making googly eyes at each other because OMG in 3 weeks we are about to be husband and wife and go to the beach and get it on. By get it on, I mean getting our beach life on. Obviously. I love the beach.

A couple days later, I need Pai’s social security number to add him as a beneficiary on my retirement plan. He sends me his SSN with the cool invisible ink feature on our phones and I notice Hey. . . this is not the same number on our marriage certificate.

So at lunch that day we go BACK to the DMV so Pai can write down his proper SSN.

We get in the car. New, fresh license in hand and Pai looks at our marriage certificate and says, “Wait. . . this doesn’t look right.” WHAT. WHO HAVE I BEEN MARRIED TO TWICE ALREADY?!

A few days later, Pai brings his social security card with him to the DMV. We do the walk of shame in. To get a marriage certificate. For the third time. The lady laughed. We laughed. We’re officially married to each other. I also have his SSN memorized for myself in case he ever needs it again.

All that to say – getting my driver’s license was easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

When I got there 2 minutes after the DMV opened, there were already 5 people in front of me. Evidently it’s everyone’s idea to get in and get it done first thing in the morning. Where are the procrastinators?!

And then the automated voice that calls the ticket numbers SOUNDS like the sloth from Zootopia. “Now calling A. . . . . 0. . . . .0. . . .4”

I go up to my counter and guess what. THERE’S A SLOTH ON THE COUNTER. “Oh my gosh, is that from Zootopia?!” Don’t even ask. The lady tells me.

sloths at DMV

For all my pale, Caucasian ladies, here’s a little tip for you newbies getting married in the winter time.

DMV Name Changing Tip # 1

Wait until the summer to change your license picture. Winter time Christina – looks like a vampire. Summer time Christina – isn’t tan, but isn’t suuuuper white. She just looks like a normal human being. But winter time driver’s license photo? I could give Edward Cullen a run for his money. Can we just all agree that driver’s license pictures should a) be selfies with the XX Pro filter on it or b) your favorite picture from Facebook or c) a wedding photo? Let’s be real, the wedding day is going to be the only day of your life where you feel the prettiest you’ve ever felt.

DMV Name Changing Tip # 2

DON’T WEAR BROWN EYESHADOW. I am admittedly pretty boring in my color selection. I like the browns on my eyes and I like the greys and blacks for my clothes. Once my sister got me a purple scarf “because you just wear a lot of grey.” This morning I contemplated being adventurous and wearing my Urban Decay Smog pallette. It is a Friday, after all. But I thought “noooo. You don’t want your eyes to party TOO hard in your license picture.” Instead I put on some lipstick and lipgloss to make sure my lips were poppin. M.I.S.T.A.K.E. Not only do I look like a vampire, my eyes say “I can’t open them all the way because I’ve not finished my coffee and I look sick. I’m not sick, it’s just the choice of brown eyeshadow. It really helps my white skin to glow even more.”

DMV Name Changing Tip #3

Curl your hair. It adds volume, taking up the entire photo frame, making sure there is minimal blue space behind you.

It took me 4 tries to fit my new name on my license. It all just looks like little squiggles. I need a cup of coffee.

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my Guiding word

following your dreams requires not only creativity, but vulnerability

Last January when I was picking my word for the year, I picked a “be” verb. Rather than doing, I wanted to “be.” I wanted to embody a word that made me recognize how I lived my life. I wanted to “be” something that reflected how I carry myself. Last year I wanted to “be inspiring.” At the end of the year I asked myself – what did I do to inspire? I sought to be authentic in my speech – which sometimes resulted (and results) in saying things I wanted to swallow. Being inspiring was not about standing out, it was about encouraging people to know love and vulnerability.

I mentioned the other day that I was certain on “Be Creative” as my “be” word for this year. I wanted to get a bullet journal which I was sure would manufacture creativity (and distraught over my perfectionism.) I wanted to write every day. I wanted to craft. But as I was going to sleep one night before January 1, a different word popped in my head.

Be Brave

I’m going to be honest with you: I wrestled a lot with this word. Why bravery? Bravery requires a lot of things: more vulnerability, courage, choosing to do the scarier thing when you would just rather cozy up with a cappuccino and the Netflix . . . so I tried to get it out of my head. I don’t need to be brave, I need to be creative! I need to write! I need to try that new DIY wood pallet tree sign I saw on Pinterest. But I couldn’t shake it. Be Brave.

So then I freaked out.

What does this mean?!

And the first thing that came to my mind were all the terrible things that could happen to anyone. Don’t worry, this is a regular routine.

When my parents left my siblings and myself with a babysitter while they went out for a date night, anxiety ensued. My face would get hot, I would start to cry, because what if they didn’t come back and I was left forever with this baby sitter who doesn’t smell at all like my mom? Would I have to get a job and take care of my siblings? Would I never get to chase my dreams? Seven year old me probably needed some therapy.

Now I have adult freak outs. That’s why I went for the whole “prisoner of hope” goal last year. So I guess the good Lord just wanted to extend beyond that and encourage me to step out and be brave.

So after I pushed the 10 plauges, death, and pestilence out of my head, I sat down with my journal to figure out:

Why bravery?

I can’t decide if I am comfortable or complacent. On the relationship side of things, I am 100% out of my comfort zone since, you know, I live with a boy now. We’ve already covered that intentionally dating is like Vulnerability 100, engagement is like “Vulnerability and How to Communicate Through Stressful 200,” and then you just jump to a 500 level practicum called “MARRIAGE: The Vulnerability That Never, Ever Goes Away. Subtitle: Trying not to freak out when your husband picks up your creative writing notebook.

On the dream chasing side of things, I’m paralyzed. Maybe because I don’t want my husband to read my creative writing journal . . . So it got me thinking. Bravery doesn’t just mean standing strong during life’s challenges. Yes, we’ll face hardships. And am I prepared for those? Nope. But I believe God will give me the strength and courage when that time comes. For me, bravery means going into a deeper understanding of vulnerability. Blegk.

This is what I’ve decided: It’s time to punch my fears in the face. What if there is something amazing in store for my life and I am too weighed down by the “what if’s” (of failure, let’s be real here) to seek out the things I’m passionate about?

Since I graduated college, it feels like I’ve been on one of those rooftop decks that just spins around and I’m trying to find solid footing and the room just keeps on spinning. It’s hard to dream when you’re motion sick.

This year I’m going to be brave. And what is my first step to being brave?


Being vulnerable.

Punching fear in the face.

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Follow Inspiration

Find inspiration. Sit at its feet. Glean from those before you. And don't be afraid to stand out on your own. Because they will stand all around you.

Good morning! It’s a slightly snowy day here in Tennessee. While the snow isn’t sticking, there is a light dusting of white on the rooftops – perfect for a cozy weekend in. My best friend from college will be in town tonight, so I have a potato soup about to go in the crock pot and I’m ready to crawl back under my sweater blanket and pull over some cozy socks.

Since the wedding is over, I’ve had more time to catch up on reading blogs, writing a bit more, and listening to some really awesome podcasts. When I started working, I let my writing fall to the wayside. I’m looking forward to finally clearing off that $14 desk I found at the Salvation Army and sitting down with my paper and pen. The grey winter days always inspire me to introvert with my books and my pens.

To be a good writer, you must be an excellent learner. So today I wanted to share with you a couple ladies who have inspired me lately to open myself up to more creativity.

 Creativity requires vulnerability.

Yesterday I re-listened to this sermon by one of my favorite power houses, Kim Walker Smith. It’s a long one, so if you have an hour where you’re doing something mindless or cleaning, I highly encourage you to listen.

For the past few years, I’ve been practicing deeper intimacy through vulnerability. And being married – SHEW. It’s like Vulnerability 101 got skyrocketed to a 400 level practicum. Marriage is ALL the vulnerability, even when you’re only 3 weeks in.


One of the most vulnerable writers that I have been following over the past several years is Emily from The Freckled Fox. We are so privileged that she invites us into her life and her story. Recently, Emily lost her husband to cancer. As I followed her story, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t even fathom what she went through – a mom of 5 and a widow at 25. I admired that she kept writing. She not only just wrote, but she bared her heart and soul in her writing always with a tone of gratitude. As I continue to follow her blog, I remain encouraged by her love for her family and her love for writing. She doesn’t follow “blogging” trends in the sense of “I must put a header on everything and list everything.” Instead she composes essays that draw you in and invite you to stay.



As I was going into the year, I thought my word for the year was “Be Creative.” Last year I decided that rather than find action words for my year, I wanted “be” verbs. I wanted to practice just being instead of doing. This year I’m continuing with that trend.

I want this to be the year of creativity for me. This is the year to try new things, and to better my craft at old things. I want to, as Mary Oliver says, “make an appointment every day with my writing.” I want to carve the time to write – whether that be blogging, journaling, or scribbling a poem in my moleskin. Yes, I keep a moleskin in the pocket of my purse. I want to learn to be a better cook. No, it’s not a newlywed thing, it’s therapy. I want to understand the way flavors combine and explode. One day I imagine being the house where all the kids want to come just because I’m an excellent cook. (That will be my way of making sure my kids stay out of trouble. 😉 )

Chase your inspiration

I want to study creativity in everything – the way we love each other, the way a poet’s words seemingly fall from their heart onto the page (see: Mary Oliver & Nayyirah Waheed), the way a photographer angles their camera just so. . . I want to chase inspiration. I want to sit at the feet of those who went before me and celebrate their success. I want to practice vulnerability because I want to practice creativity.

So “Be Creative” was my word until a few nights before the New Year. Just as I was falling asleep, a different word popped in my head and wouldn’t let me go. And the word terrified me. I thought I could post it today, but when I sat down to write, the words didn’t come. The irony is, I am being the exact opposite of my word for the year. So when you come back to this space on Monday, hopefully I will have composed my thoughts enough to make a post more coherent than the one you’re reading right now. 

Thank you for staying through my rambles. 

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Tackle Your Goals

A new way to make New Year's Resolutions: start small.


Like any well-laid New Year’s resolution, only 2 out of 5 of may come to fruition . . . if we’re lucky.


Last year I wrote down a list of 15 goals ranging from run another half marathon, learn 52 Bible verses, and get married. OK the getting married part was a “secret” goal, but that’s the only one that I actually accomplished. There were several other goals on that list that I can’t even remember because when I moved to the new house and hung up the poster of my goals, I realized I had accomplished zero of them and quickly tore it down and put it on top of my refrigerator. I don’t reach up to the refrigerator often. It’s scary, there’s lots of loose papers, and reaching that high is just an effort I’m not interested in making – especially if it’s to see the list of New Year’s Goals from last year.

So this year I decided to switch things up a bit.

I don’t make resolutions, I make goals.

I did this last year and it really helped – for the first three weeks at least.

If you’re like me, you may find that with the new year, the prospect of new change is so exciting that you go a little overboard. Suddenly you have more goals than the 10 commandments.

So here’s what we do:

Only set 3 goals at a time.

3 realistic goals that is. I’m not going to resolve to stop drinking coffee because that’s a problem for everyone involved. But what I can do is try to drink 8 cups of water a day.

My 3 realistic goals look like this:

1 – Get my house back in order

It looks like we just moved in again. While Pai did just move in, I did not. And yet every single room in our house has boxes in it. I get one room sorted out, and then I turn around and there’s boxes in it again. I fall asleep at night dreaming of minimalism (because we just watched a documentary on it while opening wedding presents. MISTAKE.) and knowing those white walls and one little succulent plant elude me. I’m a clutter bug, and that may never change.

2 – Work out twice a week

I do like working out. I really do. But if I don’t get my butt to the gym as soon as I get off work, then I’m not going. Because if you go to the gym at say, 6:30 in the evening, then by the time you’re home, you’ve eaten dinner, and you’ve showered, it’s already time for bed. Working out is a big time waster. So that’s why I have to go asap or I’m not going at all.

Bonus Tip: Know your habits. If you are a lazy person, do the thing you don’t want to do ASAP.

3 – Read 2 books

I love books and winter time is my favorite time to read. When I’m not trying to put boxes away, I’m either cuddled up with the Netflix or with a book. Pai got the new FIFA 17 for Christmas, and so far it’s working out really well for me. We can be together preoccupied with our own thing. Ahh marriage. I’m suuuuper excited about my goal of reading 2 books because a) I know it’s possible and b) I just started a book club! So that takes care of 1 book. The only way I’m containing my excitement over starting a book club is because I’m typing, and not talking to you in person.

Now that I have my 3 goals, I know where to focus this month.If I don’t achieve all 3 of these goals, that’s ok. That is what February is for.

I’m learning to accept that I am not a Superwoman. I may be Super. I may be a Woman, but I don’t have super strength or xray vision, and I’ll just have to be ok with that.

But if I do accomplish these goals. . . then February holds 3 new exciting goals.

Do you like to set resolutions or goals?
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?

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The Best of 2016

learning to thrive in a world of hopelessness

My 2016 can be easily recapped into one big word: WEDDING. That’s almost all that I thought about for 7 months of the year. But before May, I still did have a life, and that life consisted of “book dates” where Pai worked on grad school homework and I got to idly read because I wasn’t in school. Yay!

Undeniably, Hugs and Lattes suffered a little bit underneath all of the wedding stress. I thought this was the year – this was the year to monetize my blog, grow my readership, and make it all happen. I realized towards the end of this year that that kind of life isn’t just me. I was putting way too much pressure on myself. Even though I hadn’t even started the process, I was paralyzed by the overwhelming thought of it all. Blogging wasn’t fun anymore; it felt like a chore.

There was a lot I wanted to do, and there was a lot I didn’t do. But most importantly, I grew. I grew in my friendships – both old and new. I grew in my relationship with the Lord, and I grew in some areas of my life that definitely needed maturity.

I learned how to be a prisoner of hope. . . and how to eat broccoli without gagging.

I accepted that I’m not a great blogger, and also, I have a lot of questions.

I faced what keeps me from inspiration. 

chili dinner

I tried to find the balance between sharing sacred moments and keeping them to ourselves. (And honestly, I’m still trying to figure this one out.)

I learned that it’s OK to be loved in the way you best receive it.

I found ways to practice contentment and endurance.

I shared the joy of what it means to date in community.

I went on adventures.

I changed my name.

And I got married. :)

the best of 2016


What was your favorite part about 2016?

Helene in Between
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