June 26, 2014

Weekly Wisdom

In an effort to keep the blog going while keeping busy with an internship, job searching, and working on various writing pieces, I thought I would try something new. 

Whenever I have instances where I'm too busy to write a full blog,  or just don't know how to put these thoughts into words, I'll go ahead and share these little snippets. Some might be from Instagram (where in that case, I will do my best to give credit it where credit is due), but most I will often come up with on my own.

I post a lot of these things on various social media handles, so feel free to follow me on PinterestInstagram, or Twitter! 

Inspired by a conversation with one of my closest friends that took place before the start of last semester

This was all created using an app called Quollective, which can be found in the Itunes app section. 

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

June 23, 2014

Music Monday

Every so often I like to share a little playlist of what I've been listening to as of recently. Here are my picks for this particular segment!

Yeah-Joe Nichols

-Personally it's not as good as "Sunny and 75" (which I absolutely love) but it comes in close second!

Slave To The Rhythm-Michael Jackson

-This might seem somewhat suggestive if you read into the lyrics, but I still danced to it while watching the Billboard Music Awards a while back.

Sing-Ed Sheeran

Lee Brice-I Don't Dance 

I definitely wouldn't mind being spun around on the dance floor for this! It's just that adorable.

Somethin' Bad-Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

-Can I just say that I wish I was Miranda? She brings out my inner sassy lady and no one messes with her!

Have a great week!

All videos are from Youtube!

photo credit: Fotografik33 via photopin cc

June 20, 2014

Something To Ponder

I've only been a college graduate for a month, and yet I feel like so much has happened already. Maybe not in the way of a job offer or other particular "Real World" milestones, but definitely a lot where I have grown and have a lot to be grateful for. 

My grandmother took this picture during the ceremony; I have never actually seen my eyes so full of light and wonder. Leading up to the end of the semester I was incredibly down and depressed, and the very thought of closing this chapter seemed unthinkable. I practically burst into tears every time somebody brought it up. It's a big change and I can't say how I'll feel once I move out of my apartment for good. But in those two and a half hours, it was like things were coming together. Thus far, I have never felt more proud and blessed than I did during that commencement. It was truly a celebration and a victory. 

As I continue the transition, I find myself wanting (and ultimately experiencing) more joy. I've talked about happiness versus joy before, but not so much the other emotions that factor in when we tend to least expect them. How do you lean into or acknowledge something without wallowing in it? Growing up, it seemed like you always had to be on one side or the other. You were either extremely happy or in pain, and the former was obviously better than the latter. 

But now I know that it isn't that cut and dry, mostly because you can't predict what will happen or how you'll react to it at first.  In other words, the choice isn't what to feel, but what to embrace. I don't believe that anybody is happy all the time as much as I believe that they're good at keeping their struggles under wraps. Thankfully I no longer subscribe to constant happiness, because happiness isn't constant. 

Instead, I find it more important to be anchored. 

Like it or not, bad things do happen, and you can't get around that. You're going to walk through fire or experience some kind of storm and most likely you won't be able to control anything about it. And when you do, the best place to be is grounded in something greater than yourself. For me, that is my faith. I don't always know what that looks like, but I desperately need it. 

When looking at it from a broad perspective, our culture is the way it is because we live in fear; in fact, we're practically enraptured by it. Almost every article I come across has something to do with a list of what's bad and why. There's always a negative or cynical connotation to it, with little to no counter argument. The headline might as well read "How to Avoid Actually Living Life: (insert subject here) Edition. Even faith, love, and connection, which I consider some of the most wonderful aspect of any stage or chapter, seem to operate out of fear. 

At the heart of it, fear and worry are ways of trying to control what isn't ours to control in the first place. This is especially true when another person(s) is involved. I'm not going to argue against the fear of trusting too much too soon. The fear of being taken advantage of. The fear of looking back and berating ourselves over what could have been done differently, wondering if the risk was even worth it. I understand that we all have different experiences and to different degrees. For me, the prospect of missing out on something (or someone) great because of what might go wrong far outweighs the prospect of getting hurt in the end. 

It's natural (and normal) to wonder about the possibilities. But what if there was another way, aside from being weighed down by what has already been or what has yet to be?

Be cautious in order to be aware and fully present in whatever you're doing. 

Take your time so that you can appreciate the process of getting to know people and hearing their 

Don't protect your heart for the sake of not letting someone else in. Let God be the one to guide it, and trust that He will heal it in seasons of pain or sadness. 

Allow yourself to be happy, even if the reason is temporary. Let that joy radiate, even it in means looking childish and goofy to the rest of the world. I would have saved myself a lot of stress had I just embraced that side of myself early on, particularly as a teenager. 

Looking back on these last four years, I didn't just get an education, but an experience. My advice to anyone and everyone is this: whatever you do in life, be all in. It may only be for a season, but there's always a chance of your life changing in the best way possible because of it. Be in the present moment. Take a chance. 

Don't worry about getting everything you want. Rather, focus on becoming everything you want. 

While I still have room for improvement, I'm humbled to say that I did that. 

And I'm glad.

June 13, 2014

Friday Finds

Every so often I like to post links to great articles, videos, and other things that I find around the internet. Here are a few that I've come across over these last couple of weeks. 

A Newlywed's Advice to Newlyweds (via Paul Perkins)

Very eye-opening, particularly during wedding season

On The Flip side of Love (via InCourage)

A gentle reminder about the only way to truly experience love (romantic and otherwise) 

Three Things Every Woman Needs to Survive... (via The Identity Project)

I love this because I'm starting to hate all those articles out that there are basically just lists and don't always apply to everyone. I'm tempted to write something that says "here's the most important list you'll ever need" and then all it says is "quit trying to prepare so much and just roll with it!"

Connected, But Alone? (via Youtube)

One of the best TED talks I have ever watched (thus far) and a great precursor to a blog post that I'll be writing soon!

I Remember You 

This Sunday marks the one year anniversary since a friend of mine from high school tragically passed away. I wrote a tribute to him back in December, and I thought I would share it again.

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: Matt Peoples via photopin cc

June 10, 2014

Claiming My Life

These words have been on my heart for a long time, but I didn't know how to express them. This is not about bashing anybody; I love and respect these people I am referring to very much and I am not purposefully trying to attack anyone. This is my way of acknowledging what I've had to overcome in circumstances, and how I don't want the pain of the past to dictate my future.

Claiming My Life

We all have a history
Each one of us
Days filled with triumphs and leaping forward
Seasons that encompass heartbreak, loss, and stepping backward
Together with family by blood
And friends who became such
People who hold us up
And those who push us down

My first twenty-one years
A wave of accomplishments, yet unconventional
I was born early and bloomed late
Fighting for all that I wanted and dreamed about
I try not to ask why, because it is what it is
I only wish I hadn’t absorbed certain habits
Exposed to unhealthy dysfunction

Hope put in empty promises of different circumstances
Surrounded by those who broke their backs to break bread
Resulting in memories mixed with joy,  exhaustion, and resentment
And ultimately all left broken in the process

So I hid in the comfort of change
Easily picturing who I could become
If only I tried hard enough
I could be happy all the time
And then I would be loved
Leading me to conceal not only my pain, but also my joy
For a fear of being left behind

Wholeness only became real when I surrendered
Having become a mess of “still trying” and “not good enough”
Taking it all down to being human and a child of God
One not seen by the dozens, but seen nonetheless

I’ve come to a crossroads
Between what has been and what has yet to be
Not just defined by independence and maturity
But creating a life for myself
One that involves freedom instead of fear
Embracing rather than hiding
Ultimately owning and being aware
despite the mistakes having been made

Claim your life
Take care of yourself for the sake of your sanity
Look beyond projections and predictions
Love whole-heartedly despite the risk of being shattered
Not everyone will agree
But it’s not just about them anymore

Grateful for my roots and the road I've taken thus far
Yet it's time to set my own path
I'm not without love and respect for those that have been examples
I can't be the center of someone's world or their reason for happiness
They must choose it for themselves

And I must choose mine

June 02, 2014

Music Monday

Every other Monday or so, I like to share a "playlist" of songs/artists that I've been enjoying lately. Since both summer and wedding season have kicked into high gear, I thought I would honor both of those aspects. With that said, this list might be a little longer than usual!

Who I am With You-Chris Young 

Cue the happy tears whenever this gets played. It talks about what I've always believed about falling in love with another person; that he or she should always inspire you to be the best that you can be. It's not about making each other happy all the time, but teaching each other how to live well. 

Love Never Felt So Good-Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake

The King of Pop plus the President of Pop equals magic!

Riverbank-Brad Paisley 

I'm guessing this will be a strong contender for the song that everybody gets annoyed with because it gets played on our family lake trips so much. It's still fun though!

I Don't Dance-Lee Brice

Seeing the title, I thought it would be annoying and one of those typical "I'm just going to sit here and drink into oblivion" type songs. But it's honestly just freaking adorable. And what do you know, it's playing on Pandora just as I'm typing this.

Let The Groove Get In-Justin Timberlake

It's not popular on the radio (yet), but it sure is catchy!

You Make My Dreams-Hall and Oates 

I heart this whenever I listen to the Billy Joel station on Pandora. My generation probably isn't familiar with it, but they should be! 

Sunny and 75-Joe Nichols

It's a repeat, but that's because I listen to and love it so much. It just makes me flat out happy and brings an instant smile to my face. Take note of that. 

Have a great week, everyone!

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc