The Purple Tree

My favorite tree

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Photos from the Garfield Park Conservatory

Today I visited the Garfield Park Conservatory on the Westside of Chicago. It’s one of the city’s gems, this free green space. Local workers take lunch breaks there, and others come from around the city to explore the beauty of the cacti, ferns, flowers, and gardens. The sounds of water streaming physically relaxed and grounded…

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Nairobi Moments

Some moments are nearly perfect. Resting with my housemates on our rooftop, seven stories high in Waithaka, watching the orange sun set and taking way too many silhouette selfies with Kamau, is one of them. Being in Nairobi as a whole is incredible. The sun sets to the right of Ngong Hills, behind some trees…

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Why I shaved my head

Last August, just before the solar eclipse that crossed the entire nation, I shaved my head as a sign of mourning the sins of racial and social class inequality in the United States.  I had in mind the way poor people in this country are treated on structural levels, for example. The way black teenagers…

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To my teen and tween self: I see you

Dear Katelyn, I see you. You and the one other outcast sit alone at the lunch table. She is a caring, fun, spirited, and beautiful junior high girl, as are you, and your classmates are being jerks by not accepting you two. Keep looking up. She will help you carry on and be a close…

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My story: how fashion reflects my spirit

No matter your gender, you know what you think when you see something bright. And to me, this flash of color is symbolic of life. But I didn’t always appreciate that.

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Thick, curly hair

Thick, curly hair: Some say it’s a mane, wild like a lion, But our hair is beautiful, not beastly, not something dangerous needing to be “tamed.” Is it unruly simply because it does not lie flat? Are “tangled” locks not close to the heart of curls, which intertwine to form a loose and lovely lattice…

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Beauty in the Broken: I Have Worth

“She has great worth, and he saw that in her.” My best friend Annabelle’s mom spoke this about one of her daughter’s best friends and that girl’s boyfriend, but I immediately thought, “Someday somebody will say that about me.” This summer I have been learning that I have worth, value, and beauty. God used my…

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Beauty Week: Giving up Guys

My floor held Beauty Week this past week. Every girl who participated gave up something dear to herself with the intent that she would see her true beauty because of God’s image in her. Many girls fasted makeup, a few gave up looking in mirrors, some gave up sweets, one temporarily quit baggy sweatshirts, and…

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