Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beginning Again

The renewing of the school year; I cannot believe I am a sophomore in college. I cannot believe I have made it this far.

Thank you to all who have brought me here.

This coming semester I have so much I am hoping to learn and to accomplish, not only academically but personally as well. My hope is to do this gracefully, and while I will aim to do it perfectly, I will likely fail or muck up at least once. I hope for the patience I will need when this occurs.

I hope to become more and more a woman of God. I hope for Jesus Christ to be the love of my life and the one on whom I depend. (Not a boy, not myself.)

I hope to be more present in where I am, less focused on where I am going or what is to come. I hope to trust even more in the God who is proving over and over He is worth and desires my complete trust.

I hope to remember the truest forms of blessing are not things (material possessions).

I know I cannot be perfect. God knows I will try and desire to be.

I know I have amazing opportunities. God knows I may forget and need to be reminded of this.

Please pray for me this year if you are reading this. That may seem quite forward of me. But I believe and trust in the power of prayer. And I would love to be even more interconnected to other human beings by just this writing.

Goals for this coming year...

-Going to swing dancing more frequently.

-Making my bed every morning. (This is actually a habit I sadly have not developed. When I had a top bunk it wasn't worth it.)

-Eat mindfully. (Eat when hungry, stop when full. Savor the flavors.)

-Stay active.

-Make time for relationships, for fitness, and for rest.

-Take care of yourself. (Dress nicely, have self-respect, nap when you are tired, know when to take a break, know when to say no and be willing to say yes, be gentle.)

-Make church a priority.

-Appreciate your imperfections as your beauty and/or your humanity. ("Perfection is annihilation. It paralyzes us from working from the heart. Humans by nature are not perfect and imperfections are what make the world beautiful.")

Blessings and my best to you,

Erin E Duffy

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Letter to My Sixth Grade Self

Dear Twelve Year Old Me,

You will have two "boyfriends" next year, one freshman year of high school, another sophomore year, and yet another junior year, and then you will sort of date a guy. You will be asked to junior prom, and ask him to senior prom.

In seventh grade you will get braces. It will feel like a whole new mouth, but they will be off quickly. (Relatively speaking). Then your mouth will feel new all over again, and on life goes. (Just keep wearing the retainers and you'll be fine).

Your school friends are not people who you will speak to in the future. Not even next year. In fact, your taste in school friends is quite poor, and will get you into a lot of trouble. This is okay.
The most valuable friends you have at this ripe age of twelve are those from church (Alli Clark and Jessi Dalrymple), who will continue to pop in and out of your life even to college.


I could try to give you advice, but I know you would not listen to it.

I could try to give you reassurance and boost your self-esteem, but I know you won't feel it.


You are not ready yet for all of the changes that will come into your life to finally alter your perspective of yourself, the world, and the Lord of it all (who loves you so much).

I want you to know though, that although I cannot change your perspective now and in this moment, and although I cannot warn you against all of the heartbreak and mistakes and moments of poor judgement you will face, in the end you will be walking toward the woman God created you to be.

You are shaped with a purpose. There is more for you, and ironically it will come when you think about yourself less (not less of yourself).

The Lord has so much in store for you and He will never leave you.

It is enough to be a child of God.

Maybe not yet, but in the future you will be described as beautiful, patient, kind, positive, calm and purposed.

Maybe not yet, but in the future you will belong somewhere and have a home and people who honestly, tenderly care for you and your heart.

Maybe not yet, but in the future you will know that nothing is inherently wrong with you (however wrong may have been done to you).

Maybe not yet, but in the future you will be heard.


As you endure braces, awkward first kisses (oops, spoiler!), irregular periods, weight changes, food binges, teenage rebellion, not-the-best boyfriends, style stages, being caught in (and told) lies, you will also be blessed. You will be blessed to gain a quality education, understand heartbreak, be resilient, be okay alone too, see the transformative effect of books (funny story with this one!), have some great teachers, support friends, be kissed (well!), and wake up every morning able to start the day and get through the day until finally, in the future, things get a little better.

In the future, I am sitting here wishing in some ways I could take all the heartbreak and pain away from you. A little girl should never have to feel so much hurt and pain. But as I can't do this for you, the next best I can do is reassure it will all transform you into the lovely, kind, and strong woman who God needs you to be.

With all my love,

Erin Elizabeth Duffy

(Inspired by Darling Magazine's article

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I have a really lovely room-mate.

Kimberly is a positive little bubble of energy with a love for people and for service. She doesn't take herself, or anything else, too seriously. This goofy and wild nature has helped make me a more goofy and wild person myself.

Something truly amazing happened by God's hand when we were placed as room-mates. Somehow we have slowly been inheriting the best traits of one another, transforming into better balanced people ourselves. Somehow an original dislike and impatience with one another has turned into a better understanding and a friendship in which we don't have to be "best friends" to know the messy versions of ourselves and the other.

Kimberly (or Kim) is a gifted organizer, listener, smiler, skateboarder (sort of), motivator, and team member. She is also a bit of a neat freak (but thanks to her insistence, no one's room is as clean and spacious as ours), a bit emotional (I am too!), and a bit wild (to encourage risk-taking and pressing past discomforts). Her flaws, which once led me crazy levels of disdain and irritation, are now so beautiful to me because I see how they too have brought transforming power into my life.

Kim, thank you for urging me to love myself more. I miss this most about you now when I am at my house in New Hampshire without that encouragement. Thank you for encouraging me to "say yes" and participate and get out of the room and my comfort zone. Thank you for being trustworthy and for listening without judging. Thank you for being patient. Thank you for reminding me to look at the positives and the different perspectives. Thank you for rooming with me again this coming year.

I hope to not forget when during those last few weeks of finals Sophie looked at me being calm and relaxed over studying and you being in the zone and reminding us of how balanced out our original positions had become between one another.

I don't know what God has planned for us. I don't know why He so insistently placed us together again and why He enabled us to remain in Chase. But I see the work that He has already done for us, and I know it will be great.

My best to you,
Erin Elizabeth Duffy

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I'm Back :-)

I have not written a post in quite a while. I keep going through phases of deciding I do not have the time to write, then bouncing back with phases during which I have an urge to write and plenty of time, yet ignore this or decide I must be a perfected writer already continue.

This blog should not be about perfection. This blog should not be about another way to attempt to portray a perfect image of myself, which covers my every flaw, and my more immature thinking, which I then present to the world.

Isn't that what we so often do? We create our ideal images on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter pages. (I think I may consider Pinterest an exception since it exposes what really matters to us; our dreams, our style, the words that hold meaning to us.) We try to only choose the best photographs to post, the most quippy, humorous, or meaningful words. And I think there is a logic to this. Our future employers very likely WILL look at these pages, and I for one would hope my page portrays the best of myself rather than revealing my worse moments.

I think it is okay to want to portray the best of ourselves. However, as we do this we must also admit we have flaws. I think we need to balance our desire to look beautiful, with a humble realization we were already created beautiful with our perceived imperfections.

God loves that birthmark near your left cheekbone, but you blur it out in photographs. God heard those tearful words that yes, you probably never should have posted on social media, but it is beautiful that we have hearts that cry out and attempt to reach out to others.
If we knew those viewing our pages so openly accepted our imperfections as our Heavenly Father, we would have much less to be afraid of. But this is not the reality.

I understand we are afraid to be seen as flawed. I understand we want to be beautiful (or handsome), perfect, successful - many things. But I also understand we cannot be perfect before the time comes, that mistakes can be transformative, and that flaws can be lovely.

I pray that through continuing to write God will continue to transform my perspective of others and myself from one with a tendency for judgement to one of humility and compassion, willing to see past my perception of "flaws."

That was a long explanation for my decision I have made to continue posting!

My best to you,

Erin Elizabeth Duffy

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hard Truths

Gossip is a struggle for me.

I think a piece of me has always grow up within this mindset that in order to fit in and have conversation, I need to have words to say about other people. Those words always seem to be negative, and this is a long-enduring issue.
The words come out negative due to my own insecurity, my disparity to appear better than another in order to fit in, and my own human brokenness. And it is something I need to work on.

The Lord stands with and beside me as my advocate.
I want to stand with and beside others as their advocate. I do not want to be the critic, instead I want to focus on the beauties of these people. I want to share in their joys and sorrows and be reliable.
I want to do this because the Lord is reliable to me.

(Once again, this is a post inspired primarily by a Darling article.  )

I love Janelle Whitaker's short list near the end of some practical applications of exemplifying love and advocacy for others. "Speak kindly of others. Support the dreams of those you love as they strive to be the best version of themselves...Invite someone to coffee and ask how you can serve them or fulfill a need they might have."

As I strive to retire my habit of gossiping about those I love, I know I need God's security.

(Sink My Feet by Jillian Edwards)

What are other practical ways I could serve rather than slander?

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Since one post was simply not enough, and more inspiration has been yielded to me, there is a second this week.

About Laila.

I simply could not write without talking about her. The woman is lovely. I had the blessing this weekend of sitting down with her over one percent and skim coconut mocha lattes, in the plush orange armchairs of Apotheca, and soaking in her wisdom and joy.

Dearest Laila,

You inspire and drive my work to become a teacher with a heart brimful of sweetness and gentle discipline for her students. Your stories you share with me of your own babies, reminds me how much I have to look forward to when I will have my own students. Your vivacious energy is contagious to me.

Laila is an inspirational and faithful wife, daughter, sister in Christ, mother, teacher, confidant, and child of the King. I am everlastingly grateful to my Lord and Savior for bringing me into a world where she named me, and leads me on to trust in your glory.

“A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred.” -Amy Carmichael

My best to you,

Erin Elizabeth Duffy


I am a truly imperfect person, and this is beautiful.

But the irony is that I am a perfectionist.

Making mistakes, having flaws; I find these chips beautiful and of value in almost everyone else but myself. Many times. And what I am trying to accept is that these chips and rough edges can make everyone - including myself, including those I need to forgive and those I am holding prejudice toward - beautiful.

However it depends on how we treat our edges. If we run the sharpness across walls and leave scars all over because we can't reach acceptance and see the beauty in imperfection. If we allow our emotion toward our mistakes to dominate and dictate who we become and how we interact, then our damage doesn't do us good. But damage can shape us into an even more developed and endearing image of who God created us to be.

Being a perfectionist, my recommendations to anyone struggling with the meaning in their mistakes would be:

Try to slow down or stop for a moment. Don't let your emotion toward the mistake dominate you. Breathe. Do yoga. Take a shower. Go on a run. Hold a cold ice pack for two minutes. But don't let that emotion overpower you and destroy you. It is natural to be upset over making a mistake. But seek out a healthy method of finding calm. Note: Sometimes it can be useful to combine skills. For example the ice pack, then a gentle yoga session afterward.

Figure out what needs to be addressed. Sometimes what upsets us is a  mistake we would be better to smile at (if we can) and move on from. Learning to smile at smaller mistakes (tripping down the stairs, falling out of a yoga pose) helps with being able to move on from the more mortifying mistakes we make (forgetting to pass in that paper, sending an important text to the wrong person).

Choose to let go of the emotion toward the mistakes where it doesn't need to be addressed. For example embarrassment or guilt for forgetting to hand in that paper or sign up for the lecture. Then deal rationally with the aftermath. Could you contact your teacher and ask for extra credit? Could you sign up for a different lecture or course? Then act on it.

Some situations, our emotions need to be addressed. Like the shame over gossiping about your roommate on a bad day, or the sadness and anguish over your uncle's diagnosis. Try writing down a chart with what you feel and think on one side, and what the facts are on the other. Fact: I gossiped about Kim behind her back. Feeling: I feel guilty and know what I did was wrong. Fact: My uncle has cancer. Feeling: I am afraid he will die. Then find the truth and act. Truth: I gossiped about Kim and since I know it was wrong I feel guilty. How can I move forward to speak differently in the future? Could I talk to her about what is bothering me and find a solution together? Truth: My uncle has cancer and I am afraid he will die. Who can I talk to or pray with to find peace over this?

Action and reaction. Take your steps to make it right, then choose to truly let it go and move on. This is the hardest part. Stand your ground. Your emotion may try to pull you right back into its vortex. Allow your mistakes to be beautiful and shape you for the better, and find your value apart from the past.

"The truth is, we are much more than our mistakes and are valuable apart from our imperfection. While it is crucial to learn, grow, and move on from our mistakes, wearing them as scars will not serve us personally or relationally." -Nicole Zasowski

To better help you, here is an article from a professional, Nicole Zasowski, who explains this much more eloquently than I just did.

My best to you,

Erin Elizabeth Duffy