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Chasing The Sun

It’s not that I haven’t had time to write, because I have, and it’s not that I have had a lack of events in my life lately or ideas spurring at 2am, because both are true, it’s just that I haven’t written. Which is a shame for someone who loves writing so much. Writing and creating and making something out of nothing is an activity I’ll never tire of. To put pen to paper (er, fingers to keys?) and give life to nothing and make it your own is more than a hobby, but a passion. So here’s to not depriving myself of all of that any longer. And here’s to maybe not writing all my blogs at 2am and to getting some sleep instead. Though that last part is unlikely to happen.

That being said, there has been a lot going on in life. I finished freshman year, have kept up my same summer job at home for the past month, and in a little less than two weeks, I’ll be back on campus to work full time for a month before classes begin. Where I’ll be living for that time, I have no idea. But I will be in an on campus apartment closer to classes starting, which is both exciting and intimidating since it will be a while different world than dorm life.

Speaking of dorm life, it was quite the journey moving out of that tiny room. I managed to bring a few things back at spring break, but I was mostly unprepared for just how much stuff I had. I mean, in such a small room, there’s really only so much, right? Wrong. So wrong. Because I wasn’t even sure as I brought all of my things back home that it would even fit in my bedroom. It did, if you were wondering, but just barely. And I tripped over countless bags and lived out of my suitcase for about three weeks before I finally sorted through it all.

As my first year at college came to a close, I sat back and wondered how I as a person had changed. Have I matured any? Or become more open? Less sarcastic? More sarcastic? Has this year made me a better or worse person? And what about my goals for next year? I think the answer lies in this – freshman year was a lot. It was all new people, places and emotions that I never thought I would experience. I tried to stay the same throughout the time I was away, and a lot of me did, but most of who I was evolved in some way. My ideas and wants changed, and while I may not have done everything I wanted to do, I still have three more years left. Three years to make the best memories, do the greatest things and tell the biggest stories about life. And life, as Sara Barielles puts it in Chasing The Sun, is not meant to be wasted.

“So fill up your lungs and just run. But always be chasing the sun.”

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Currently

There’s a lot going on right now. Yesterday, I went to Demi Lovato’s concert in Nashville and was fortunate enough to be able to meet her. I ventured off from good ole Cleveland with a group of girls who love her just as much as I do, which is a change from my initial idea of going by myself. 4th row, meeting Demi, jamming out for the entire night. It’ll be a day I’ll never forget and I’m so thankful I got to experience it. Though the whole Post Concert Depression is definitely a real feeling right now…

So, life in general is pretty busy right now. I’m wrapping up my Freshman year at the end of April, which is so weird to think about, and then exams go into the first week of May. I’m still waiting on some scholarship stuff to hopefully come through for next fall and that’s kind of stressful, but I’m trying not to psych myself out about all of it. Deep breaths, right? Trust in The Lord.

On the upside, I probably won’t have to take my Bible exam. In my particular class, if you have an A average and don’t miss any classes by the end of the year, you can exempt the final, which would be great. It’s not exactly a hard class, there’s just a lot of information and it’s kind of overwhelming. Second update of the day is that despite the immense confusion that had to do with next years housing, my friend Lori and I will be in an apartment together on campus next year! So if anyone wants to donate any kitchen items or living room type things, you’re totally free to give them to us. I’m already really excited to love in an apartment (that’s SO WEIRD to think about) even though I know it’ll be quite the adjustment. Especially since both Lori and I have been living in a community dorm this year That in of itself has been quite the experience.

From doing a persuasive speech on why you should take your social media seriously on Tuesday to a Sociology exam that I really need to do well on on Wednesday, this week will be pretty stressful. There’s a lot more going on and tons of little things to be accomplished, but this school year is almost over. And seriously, how did that happen? How did August and September slip away so quickly? I felt like I hardly got to do anything or be anything, it was all so quick. Though I can say that I feel like I have grown a lot in this past year. That’s what college does, right? I’m definitely not the same person I was last May.

So life is kinda chaotic. But a good chaotic. Everything’s wrapping up and moving forward and I couldn’t be more excited. Nervous, but excited.

Let It Go

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I know, I know. You’re tired of Frozen. Everyone and their mother won’t shut up about Disney’s latest film. It’s overdone and we all know how great of a movie it is, so we don’t need to keep talking about it. But man, I wanna talk about Frozen.

Or, more specifically, I wanna talk about “Let It Go”, the hit song from the movie. Like in 1991 with Beauty & The Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time”, there are two versions of this beloved song. One movie version performed by Idina Menzel (or is it Adele Dazeem? Someone call Travolta and ask. Is that joke too old?) and one single version performed by Demi Lovato. Personally, I like the single version better. Love Idina, but her voice is a little too mature for Elsa in my taste. And Demi basically my everything, so there’s that (also that bridge). I heard the single version first, so perhaps that has something to do with it, too. But regardless, there are only slight differences in these recordings (changing of words here and there, the bridges are different, yada yada), so the message is still the same in both.

Let go of what holds your captive so that you can become free.

I did a speech a few weeks ago in my public speaking class about the symbolism of Elsa’s powers, some of which are abuse, depression/anxiety, and creation. Elsa’s powers are basically the essence of depression. It’s this scary thing that can hold you back and make you hurt yourself or those you love, but it can also be very beautiful. Some of the words greatest artists and singers, Demi Lovato included, have been faced with depression. So in “Let It Go”, Elsa is releasing all of that and embracing all of what she’s always been afraid of, and it’s only then that we find she can be successful. As with depression, when you let it hinder you, you shut yourself off from the world as Elsa was shut off from her kingdom. She was kind of a mess, if we’re being honest. She wouldn’t communicate with anyone, she was very cold and seemingly unemotional. But inside she was a mess. She had this huge internal struggle and an even bigger secret she had to try and hide, and eventually it escaped her.

I could talk about Frozen forever, if we’re being honest. All of this is to say that I’ve been listening to Demi’s Let It Go a lot lately. It’s a very empowering song, no matter which version you listen to. And it certainly doesn’t lack meaning or depth. So, I’m not sure I’ll ever stop talking about Frozen, to be honest. It’s too good not to talk about.

I’ll leave you with this: All the fears you have, all the pain and the awkward in your life, is just that. It’s scary and it hurts and it’s uncomfortable. But there’s a lot of potential for beauty if you just embrace it. Elsa doesn’t have to be the only one building ice castles. Make your castle.

Be Brave

Life is… Crazy. It’s complicated and it’s scary and it’s full of heartache and battles that you don’t always want to fight. But life is always pretty freakin sweet when you think about it. I mean, you wake up every day with the chance to do something great, to do better. You’ve got this blank canvas waiting to be splattered on with the mess and slip ups and the little moments that make your day. You can either get up and smile and work at it, or you can sit there and do nothing. And it’s okay to do nothing sometimes. I’ve spent the better part of my week binge watching Private Practice on Netflix. So what? I’ve got a lot going on with tests and projects and just life in general that I’ve allowed this break to actually be a break for a while before I sat down and did some work.

And while that’s slightly off topic, all I’ve got to say is this: you’ve got the chance to do something better, be something bigger, make your day brighter. So why not take a chance and do it? Cut your hair, drive to Florida, confront a friend, get a tattoo, eat more carbs than you should. Go all in and don’t look back. Be brave. Be ruthless, be more than you used to be. Take your time to stop and appreciate what you have and decide what it is you want. Because you’re never gonna get there if you don’t try.

Now believe me, I’m all for being scared. I get anxious easily and I back out of things and I am way too good at saying no. But sometimes saying no can be harmful. Sometimes it can mean missing a chance to live a great day and tell a story later. Being scared doesn’t get you anywhere in life, but being proactive does. You don’t wanna lock yourself away and lose who you are because you don’t think you can handle it. I promise you can. And if you can’t, at least you know. And you tried and it’s okay. But life is too short not to try.

So go out there and do something, anything. You don’t wanna end up in the same place you were when you were 18 when you’re 30.

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Life Keeps Moving On

Bad things happen to me all the time. Like seriously, all the time. As blessed as I am in this world, I feel like there’s always something pushing against me. Sometimes it’s myself, mostly it’s myself, and typically it’s just a situation that does nothing but infuriate and stress me out. And as I talked about earlier, stress for me is no fun. (But really, is stress fun for anyone?)

So Friday night, I’m at home and I’ve got cookies and milk because apparently I’m a five year old but you know what, it was good. Except that my milk spills all over my laptop and bam. Black screen. Shorted out. Fried. No longer with us. Play the Mockingjay song.

Infuriating.

Amidst my freaking out, I just kind of sat there like “seriously? Can’t I ever catch a break?” Because just when things are going well with me, I spill milk on my laptop. Just when life is okay, I find out it’ll be an almost $900 repair and so I might as well buy a new laptop because even if it’s fixed, it’ll still have problems. And yeah, it’s worked out and I’m financing a new computer, but still. Thankfully my hard drive survived the fatal incident, but now I have to fork up money every month that I don’t really have because I’m an idiot.

I’ve been really trying not to worry about things as much. When I get stressed out and bad things happen, freaking out about it only makes if worse and I get this horrible feeling in my stomach and I just wanna go to sleep and make it stop. But life doesn’t work that way. You have to grow up and face your problems, no matter how much it hurts you or your bank account. All I’m holding onto is that it’ll all be better in the end. That this is just a thing that needs to happen and it’ll be over soon. So I might as well face it and move on.

To quote Ben Rector…

“Here’s the truth: life sucks sometimes. When it hurts so bad that you can’t go on, life keeps moving on.” (Listen to the song here)

Stress

Most of the time, my stress is a result from be being lazy and not getting things done. I tend to delay things to the last possible minute, but sometimes this can be of help. I can get more creative under pressure, but I can also get sloppy. I once wrote a five page paper in the duration of about 30 minutes and got a 96% on it, which was pretty great, but all of my points off were grammatical or sentence structure. So I had I done it ahead of time and not during my lunch period and had time to proof it, I probably would have gotten 100%. But still, a 96% ain’t bad.

Nevertheless, stress isn’t a healthy thing. It shortens my already short temper, sometimes causes me to break out, makes me agitated with those around me, and keeps my mind awake at night. I feel like this past year has been the most stressful of my short 19 years. As I applied for schools during my senior year and figured out what I was “gonna do my life” to moving into my dorm at Lee to now trying to make sure I get the best grades I can possible while working a new job and trying to find a paid summer internship…

Okay, even talking about it is making my stress level go up. And now all I wanna do is watch Netflix and sleep. Which is definitely a valid thing to do when you’re stressed, but sometimes it’s hard to turn off Private Practice and get things done. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who did things sooner rather than later, but I’m just not. I delay and I procrastinate, but I usually get it done in the end. So maybe that’s all that matters. 

Every once and a while, I’ll get really organized and actually use my planner. This week, I was dedicated to doing what I needed in order to have a pleasant spring break. Which isn’t going to be completely work free as I have a take home quiz, test, project, and speech all due when I come back. So maybe I won’t get those done till Saturday afternoon before I come back to school, but hopefully with the entire week at home in front of me, it won’t be too difficult. While I did get behind on a couple of things this week, over all it’s been pretty good. Turning things in, mailing what needs to be mailed, actually doing things on time. And now I have time to take an hour and catch up on New Girl, which is always nice. All while wearing really cute outfits of course, because let’s face it – I have been on point with my wardrobe this week.

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Basically, stress is no fun. And I’m trying (for the millionth time) to make life less stressful for myself. Here’s hoping it all works out.

God Doesn’t Change The Way He Makes Us

In small group tonight, we talked about a lot. We talked about trials and troubles and praising God and how our lives look in certain seasons. But then we got on the topic of value and insecurities, something I’ve been working on a lot lately, and it wasn’t until after it was over that I realized something truly amazing about God.

He doesn’t change His formula.

Okay, so it’s 2014. Or better yet, let’s rewind to the year I was born: 1994. In that year, or in any other, I don’t believe that God sat down at a conference table up in heaven with his angels and Jesus and The Holy Spirit and said “well, it’s time for another batch of humans. Now I know we’ve been making them all the same for so long, but get this – in 2014, they’re gonna all want thigh gaps. And they’re gonna all want to be a size 0 and have no acne and be roughly 5’4″ and have a really flat stomach and thin legs. So I know we’ve not done this, but let’s change the way we make people, how we make girls, so that in 2014 they can fit in to the social norms and be valued by the people around them.”

His “formula” for humans has always been the same. Very basic, standard, each with unique attributes that makes that person who they are. God doesn’t change us to fit into society. Rather, He makes us plain and simple and we then try to make ourselves fit. Not a size 0? Starve yourself. Not enough cleavage? Push up bra. Eyelashes not thick enough? Buy fake ones (good luck putting them on). We change the makeup of our bodies, we decide what’s acceptable and what’s not. He just hopes that we make the right choices along the way. Because He’s not going to suddenly change His mind and make you something you’re not meant to be. He’s gonna make you in His image and hope that when He looks back at you, it’s still His reflection and still that beautiful creation that He made.

God doesn’t change us to fit because we’re not made to fit. We’re simply made human and when we ask God “why did you make me this way?”, I’d like to think that maybe He just says, “no, why did you make you this way? I made you perfect, I made you exactly the way that I wanted. I see a glorious creation, but all you see are your flaws. And all of those flaws are getting in the way of what you truly are.” You’re so much more than the size pants you wear or the expensive makeup you buy to cover your acne. Your culture tells you it’s gross, but your God tells you it’s beautiful. And that’s where our worth needs to be. Not in a magazine.
Humans are still made the same way they were 50, 100, 2000 years ago back to the beginning of time. It’s us that’s changed. He doesn’t want us to look like society, He wants us to look like Him.