Wednesdays in the Word – Psalm 5:1-3

This week is my last few days of class before my last finals week of college.  The end of the year is here.  I read this verse the other day and realized how applicable it is during this time of studying and writing papers.

With that, let us pray:

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:1-3

Wow!  Prayer is so important.  This psalm is a perfect example of how we need to be praying.

“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.”

We all lament.  There’s many things that we can stress about and cry over, especially now during finals.  But here’s the great thing: God wants to hear them.  He will listen to our cries.

“Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.”

In this time of struggling, procrastinating, writing, studying, testing, [the list goes on], it is important that we share this with the Lord our God.  We all need to get through finals week.  It will happen whether we want it to or not.  So let’s make studying and essay writing a form of prayer.  Offer up each subject as a prayer and make your study space holy.  Invite Jesus into your work and it will get done, perhaps a little more painlessly.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

This one strikes me as extremely important.  Prayer should be a part of our daily routines.  Jesus should be the first one we talk to when we wake up in the mornings.  This is something that I have been working on in my own life.  I have tried both first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, but it’s so easy to be rushing out the house or forget and fall asleep.  Reading this passage just reminds me all the more how important it is to pray every single morning.  Praying in the morning simply starts the day off better.

How does this verse speak to you?  How do you incorporate prayer into your routine?  Good luck with finals and praying.  I’ll be praying for you!

If you have any specific prayer requests please reach out to me, either in the comments or below.


The Importance of Traditions

Traditions are something I value very highly in my life.  We all have at least one, especially around the holidays.  My mom and I celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas by being “elves” for each other.  The Saturday night before Easter my family bakes Resurrection Cookies.  One of my favorite traditions that I have is celebrating my birthday at the Rainforest Cafe.

As I said Saturday, I drove my roommate to my hometown and we spent the weekend at home with my family.  I got to show her around all of the places that mean so Gorillamuch to me and give her a taste (literally – so much good food!) of my life.  One of my favorite things from the trip is that she got to join me for my birthday tradition (two weeks late) this year!

We went to my local mall to have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and waited extra long just to follow my tradition of sitting by my gorilla “friends.”  Sometimes the details matter, the little things.

See, when I say this is a birthday tradition, I mean that I literally cannot remember a birthday celebration without it.  Cue the photos… 🙂

















Version 3




Tara Keely RFC2I absolutely love this tradition.  My birthday isn’t complete without it.  I’m blessed to have gotten to share my tradition with my roommate Keely.  It was so much fun to show her around my hometownTara Keely RFC1 and share a different side of my life with her.  [And of course we made some time to curl up and watch a few episodes of our favorite show: The Walking Dead.]

What traditions do you have that you cannot live without? I’d love to hear all about them!

Fitness Fun Challenge

So originally I intended this post to be Fitness Friday, but I like the idea of Fitness Fun a little better.

Before I get into the details of my challenge to you, let me take a moment to talk about the little things that have happened that postponed this post.

Yesterday, I drove over three hours with my roommate to take her to see my hometown.  We got in later than anticipated because of traffic and went to dinner with my family that I put away technology to enjoy the time with these amazing people.  I’ll tell you more about our adventures at home on Monday.

So about the Fitness Fun Challenge.  The weather is starting to get nicer finally.  People are out biking, playing frisbee, hammocking.  I even managed to accidentally get a sunburn while sitting on the beach and laying in my hammock.

Here’s my challenge to you:

  • Find a friend who loves being outside too (or anyone fun to talk withfitness fun challenge)
  • For one week, exercise daily
    • go swimming
    • go for a walk
    • run together if that’s more your style
    • do something that gets your heart going and if at all possible gets you outside
  • Have fun!  Take pictures together.  Have some deep talks.  Tweet about it to @Tara_TLTBlog or instagram it to @tara.thelittlethings

I started this challenge for myself on Monday and have really enjoyed spending times with friends while being outside getting ready for the ever so quickly approaching summer.

Have fun!  Let me know how it goes!! 😀

Wednesdays in the Word – Genesis 2:1-3

One of my goals is to read the entire Bible in a year (before my next birthday).  I’ve started off the first week strong and I decided to begin a series here on the blog.  This is my first post in my weekly series “Wednesdays in the Word.”  I plan to share with you something that I read in the Bible recently and some insight and new ways of thinking about the verses.  I would love for this to be a starting point of conversations too!


So what better place to begin this new series than the beginning of the Bible.  Let’s look at Genesis 2:1-3.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

NIV Genesis 2:1-3

I feel like these verses can get passed over so easily.  Creation is done. God made the world then rested and all was good.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong.  God rested. Wow.  How often do we get wrapped up in our busy lives that we forget to take time to breath and relax?

These verses are very repetitive.  Seventh day.  Rested.  Work.  So what can we learn from this?  God is the perfect example of how we should live, and when He was done with all His work on the seventh day, He rested.  And He made it holy.

This is something I struggle with.  It’s so easy for me to put off all my work throughout the weekend until Sunday night when I have no other choice except to get it done.  But God is telling us that this seventh day is a Holy day where we can relax from the hard work we have been doing all week-long.  I should be working ahead so that Sunday can be a day devoted to resting.  Not resting by watching tv or being lazy and doing nothing, instead resting in God.  I should be spending time with the Lord, reading my Bible, praying, studying Him.

It is so important that we don’t skip over this verse and that we don’t skip our Holy day of rest in the Lord.  My challenge to you is to get your work done during the week so that Sunday you can rest in Him.  We are all busy, but God gave us everything; we can give Him back one day each week of the time He has so graciously given us.

How do these verses speak to you?  Please comment or send a message directly to me.  I’d love to hear what you have to say!  Also, share either this verse or your favorite take away from it on twitter with #wednesdaysintheword

Can’t wait to hear from you!

The Little Things in Life

God does so many things for us every day.  Both little and big.  We tend to overlook the little things to focus on the big things either that are currently happening or will be happening in the future.  This is totally okay; we all do it.  pictureHowever, it is necessary that we live in the present and take the time to notice these little things that God does for us.

Today, some of my best friends and I were matching in stripes and spent the day outside doing homework in the Pine Grove.  It was a wonderful gift from God to spend time in nature with these beautiful women and get some work done for the week.

My goal for this blog is to share with you some of these little things in my own life so that you might recognize them in your own lives too.

As of right now, the plan is to make this a personal lifestyle blog with a Christian perspective.  I would love to make this a place where we can be like friends, so feel free to connect with me on social media or in the comments here.  A little more about me?  I will be graduating in three weeks from Hope College with degrees in psychology and Spanish.  I am a born and raised Catholic and Jesus plays a huge role in my life.  I love to write and be creative so I’ll occasionally share some of these things with you too!

Welcome to The Little Things.  I’m so glad you decided to drop by.  It truly means the world to me.

What are some of the little things God does for you in your life?

21 Little Blessings

Another year has come and gone.  I turned 21 on Monday and I like to take some time to make lists based on the number of my birthday.

I present to you: 21 Little Blessings from the Past Year

  1. I discovered the joy of hammocking.  At my college so many people have ENO Hammocks.  I invested in one and spent a lot of time cozying up outside reading a good book (or doing homework).
  2. spent a month in Spain! What a way to grow spiritually and as an independent woman.  I am definitely a changed person after living with a host family, going to school, and traveling around Spain.12472255_10206668304523795_5264562585805325676_n
  3. Spending summer nights with friends.  There’s truly nothing better than sitting around a bonfire catching up with friends from home.
  4. I got asked to be a bridesmaid (for the first time) in a best friends wedding!  I was such a wonderful experience to help her get ready and pray with her before she married the love of her life.
  5. I got asked to be a bridesmaid (again) for my cousin’s wedding!  This cousin is like a big sister to me and it was such an honor to be a part of her special day.
  6. I got to have a daddy date.  My dad and I went to see Jurassic World in a theater with moving seats.  It was like we were there in the park with the actors!11667307_10203134484003090_8785817924920231041_n
  7. I feel in love with Zumba.  One of my best friends is a Zumba instructor at her school so we had dance parties in our backyards throughout the summer.
  8. I got to see Blue Man Group.  I would highly recommend it because there’s really no way to describe the experience without witnessing it for yourself.
  9. I GOT A CAR!  After a lot of hard work and much convincing, my parents helped me buy a Toyota Yaris hatchback.
  10. I have a bunch of new baby cousins, but best of all, my little cousin Kaylee Joy was born.  She’s nothing short of a miracle and still I’m holding out hope to be her Godmother.12016736_743602352451986_1852661030_n
  11. I moved into a school owned apartment.  I live with my six best friends (3 of whom are nurses) and you can almost always find us laughing and having a great time (otherwise were doing homework).
  12. I went on a beautiful retreat where I got to spend quiet time with Jesus and grow my friendship with the always wonderful Anna.12313544_10203819076596848_5722500586903504009_n
  13. I embraced the excitement and peacefulness of Christmastime.  We bought a tree for our apartment and had friends over for a little holiday party.
  14. For our annual family get together on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we went to the Chicago History Museum, dinner, and Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights.  It was a lot of fun to hang out with the family and catch up with my cousins.
  15. I got inducted to the Spanish Honors Society!  And am in the process of being inducted into the Psychology Honors Society too!
  16. One of my roommates and I discovered a Spanish TV series, El Internado, that we are addicted to and it helps us practice Spanish!
  17. I got my roommate addicted to The Walking Dead (so many psychological things to analyze) and we discovered that Universal Hollywood is going to be opening a Walking Dead Attraction this summer!
  18. In making postgraduate plans, I signed a lease with two of my current roommates to live here near Hope College for what should have been my senior year.
  19. I appreciate my friends oh so very much.  From random adventures to celebrating Galentine’s Day, I wouldn’t want to do life without them.13006518_10204564799920094_7657934362895013906_n
  20. Babysitting is the best thing ever.  I’ve recently started babysitting for some new families, which made me nostalgic for the children I’ve watched for over six years.  I’ve watched them grow up as I myself am growing up and it’s the most incredible thing.
  21. Last but not least, my 21st birthday with my “twin” of a roommate.  My parents worked with our friends to throw us a surprise party for dinner, which was the greatest thing since sliced bread!  Then Mica and I celebrated ourbirthday together on the day of with our first legal drink!

Cheers to 21 years!  I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store.

What are some little blessings in your lives? Let me know in the comments!

PS. Stay tuned next week for the all new “The Little Things” blog posts to begin!

Immersed in Hope

12974307_10204511709072227_8746176498224877243_nOnce again, time is speeding past!  It is now nearly November and I’m just over halfway through the semester.  Classes are fun and going well; they all relate to my majors so they’re what I really want to be learning.  I’ve been  trying my best to get involved in everything possible here at Hope, especially Bible study groups to grow relationships with those who share my beliefs.

One of the things that has been one of my major realizations this semester is just how quickly time passes as you get older.  As a kid, it seemed like I was always counting down the days until the next holiday, vacation, or school break.  Now it seems like they sneak up on me and the time that I used to count so meticulously is now like sand slipping through my fingers.  I feel like my time here is only just beginning but graduation is waiting for me just around the corner.  Because of this, I’ve been very intentional about taking advantage of all Hope has to offer me.

By immersing myself in Hope, I can enjoy the little things.  This has also lead God to open some incredible opportunities for me.  There is a possibility of staying here in Holland after I graduate to have an internship in my field.  If that’s the case, I would still get to live with my friends and still be somewhat immersed in Hope.  There’s also opportunity for a scholarship to go abroad for the 2017 school year to teach English in a Spanish speaking country.  These would be such incredible experiences that I pray God continues to open these doors for me.

Until then, take time to enjoy the life you’re living.  Although time goes quickly, there are twenty-four hours in a day – 1440 minutes – 86,400 seconds; much can be done when spent wisely. Give God the pen to write your story and watch it unfold.

God’s Incredible Story

It’s been a long time since I last posted and for that I’m sorry.  So this is going to be about a little bit of everything.  Where do I even begin?  I’ve been home from Spain for nearly three months already.  This summer is flying by and so much has changed.

In the past I have written about my boyfriend, but I wanted to share with you that we are no longer together.  However, I don’t want to focus on that; instead I want talk about how God works in mysterious ways.  We broke up about a month before our two year anniversary and about a week before my flight home from Spain.  It came as shock to me and was hard mostly because it caused me to feel very homesick.  Because my parents and best friend could only be there for me over the phone, I was incredibly blessed to have my roommate there for me to hold my hand and help me through my emotions.  I’m so grateful to have grown my friendship with such a beautiful Godly woman.

The lovely Kyrian

Not only this, two days later, we traveled to Granada and Sevilla.  It was incredible to me how God wrapped me up and truly showed me that everything would be okay.  In Granada, we toured the Alhambra which is this – I hardly know how to describe it – but a like city inside the city of Granada.  It was filled with the most beautiful gardens and fountains and roses and it was just so peaceful.  I seriously just wanted to sit there and be.  It was the most calm and at peace I had felt since the breakup.

The next day we went to Sevilla and we toured a Cathedral that had been converted from a mosque.  It was just so incredible.  I couldn’t tell you what our tour guide said because I was too concerned with being in God’s presence.  I was standing there looking all around me and all I wanted to do was worship, which I couldn’t exactly do because of the tour, so I started singing in my head.  The two songs that came to me were Oceans and Holy Spirit.


I wrote to my best friend, “All I can say is that was all God, answering the prayers that everyone has been saying for me.  I just felt so filled with love and at peace with whatever has to happen when I get home.”  Well I’ve been home for a while now, he and I have talked and hope to remain friends.  God has given me such clarity in that I know this is what is best for us.  I found this quote on Pinterest that I had seen in the past, but now it really excites me:

How cool is that!  God is the author of the greatest story ever told and He is going to be the author of my love story, and yours too!  How did we get so lucky!  About a year a go I read “When God Writes Your Love Story” and this year, upon my friend’s recommendation, I read “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul.”  Both were great reads and I would recommend them to you no matter your relationship status. Both books are written by a married couple and include male and female perspectives.  I have seen God’s awesome work unfold in the relationship of one of my best friends, Karissa. She met her husband at church and their whole relationship has been clearly directed by God. The beautiful couple got married at the beginning of August and I was lucky to be a part of their special day as a bridesmaid!

After my speech at Karissa’s Shower

The Happy Couple

The Big Day

I’m also incredibly blessed to be standing up in my cousin Erin’s wedding this September!  I’m so excited and happy for her; she’s like the big sister I never had.

Throwback Cerca 2001

Another Happy Couple

Erin and Mike at their Shower

I wish them all the best in their futures together.

Catch up with you soon!

Mi Vida en España

Hey everybody!  Sorry it’s been so long; I’ve been very busy. I moved out of school, got home and unpacked, only to repack the next day for my trip to Spain!  I’ve been here nearly 2 weeks now which is absolutely amazing. You can read all about it and see pictures here.  I’ll be uploading more this weekend because I won’t have computer access until then. Today I’m on my way to Barcelona. I’m excited to return and visit the Sagrada Familia again and see how it’s changed in the past 3 years.  But what I really want to mention is just how grateful I am for this experience. It has been wonderful to be living in the home of our host family and interacting with them only in Spanish, along with meeting all the other foreigners living in the house with us. I’ve met four girls from Denmark, one girl from Finland, and one guy from France. It’s so fantastic go talk with them and learn about their culture.  For me, there is one little thing that amazes me every time it happens. Many times at night when I write in English, I struggle. My mind wants to be writing in Spanish. Even now  thinking in both languages. It’s a little thing, but to me it shows that this program is having an effect. It’s changing me. I’m gaining fluency. It’s been such an incredible experience thus far and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of my trip. I’ll try to post soon! Much love!!

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.27.56 PM

Friday Wrap

Today was the last day of classes at Hope College.  I can’t believe that this semester is at it’s end.  After my finals on Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be heading home to Chicago to pack for Spain! But today, I had a chance to enjoy the surprisingly nice weather with friends before the serious studies of finals begin and leaving campus for the summer.  IMG_4649Every year on the last day of classes, Hope cancels all classes after 3 and sponsors something known as Spring Fling. Everyone spends the afternoon outside.  There is live music for a while, and a DJ after.  Lots of games: spike ball, baggo, laser tag, bungee run, bouncy house race.  Dinner is served as a picnic outside in the pine grove.  It was so incredible to see the whole campus outside having a good time celebrating the end of another (hopefully) successful school year.

My friend Molly and I attempted the bungee run and another friend snapped some hilarious pictures that are too good not to share!

IMG_4636Here we go!  Look at that leap!


I must think that I can fly!


That determination though!

So today wrapped up my second year of college classes.  (If you don’t already know, I’m planning to graduate a year early.)  By this time next year, I will be preparing for graduation and grad school!  But for today, time froze and I got to enjoy living in the moment, walking barefoot through the grass, and soaking up the sun.

Does your school do anything special for the last day of classes?  Is it already finals week for you? How’s it looking?  What helps you most during finals week?

Here’s just a little inspiration to help you get through the week:

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  -Winnie the Pooh

I know you can do this!  Stay strong and push through for a little bit longer.  Once you do, it’ll be summer!!  Best of luck in all that you do!