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blessed by stress

Today, I thought about how blessed I am by the stress in my life.

All the stress, the crazy schedule, the busy running, and the never-ending amount of homework or club meetings or attempting to eat or work out or sleep or get to church… when those loud elements of life begin to hush, I feel the most blessed.

I am blessed to have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, classes that are preparing me for two majors that I love, clubs and organizations that I am proud to be a part of, and people who hold my hand or encourage me to take a leap of faith along the way.

In the quiet moments, when I take my ‘introvert time’ to recharge myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually…I feel so blessed. College has been pretty surreal, showing me time and time again how introverted I am. My definition of the term is that I recharge by being alone. I need quiet and peace and chill vibes. I need to organize my planner with my colored pens, and listen to Andy Grammer, and get off campus, and laugh, and sit in my bed at 10:30 with my twinkle lights around me as I blog. In these moments, I feel blessed.

However, I can’t function by myself. I’m an extroverted introvert. I need to fuel my day with people and recharge my internal batteries by night. I have friends who laugh with me, guide me, support me, eat food with me, go shopping with me, tell me their stories, listen to me, and make me feel at home in this crazy place. (Lookin’ at you, #suitehearts301)

I have classmates who help me through classes I don’t quite belong in (Thanks for the help, Ian). I have classmates who’ve been by my side the entire way through (AnnaLee). I have classmates who hate science right alongside me (Bailey). And so many more that make each minute in the classroom that much more meaningful. (Barb K.)

I have a person in my life who consistently brings a smile to my face and butterflies to my stomach — a person who knows that I’m stressed by how I sigh, a person who willingly gives of his time to make me feel better on a rough day. This is a person who knows that a perfect recharge weekend is not complete without time in the hammock on a beautiful fall day. A person who loves endlessly and cares wholeheartedly. (I love this person.)

Amidst the stress, I have found many ‘little blessings’ that I have compiled in a note on my phone over the course of the semester thus far.

Here goes:

  • first day of school pictures
  • chacos
  • indian food
  • quick visits from loved ones
  • state fair // ferris wheels
  • a familiar face in a large classroom
  • deep breathing
  • music (favorite song right now: She Sets the City on Fire – Gavin DeGraw)
  • flannel
  • belly laughter
  • windmills
  • the words ‘i love you’
  • motivational text messages
  • stimulating intellectual conversation
  • dancing
  • girls’ days
  • food that tastes like home
  • late night cupcakes (Christine, you’re the best.)
  • weddings
  • getting your nails done
  • a cute outfit (all my outfits get cuter in fall)
  • watching pageants
  • a comfy couch and a midday movie
  • making a difference
  • fresh sheets
  • giving a speech
  • late night drives // jam sessions
  • phone call to mom
  • pinning home decor on pinterest
  • getting a good grade
  • a good makeup/hair day
  • a church service that helps you feel connected
  • fall leaves
  • hammocks
  • love. (that’s not a little blessing though. that’s huge.)

Despite how crazy stressed I have felt so far this school year, I have also found time in my (color-coded) schedule to feel insanely, immensely, incredibly blessed.

And just think… these are only the blessings I compiled in a note. It’s crazy that they’re abundant if we only take the time to realize it.

 

(Here’s some photos of some blessings!)

 

 

Why I ‘dress up’ on a Monday

Today, I decided to wake up and throw on a lace three-quarter sleeve tunic over a pair of jeans, a scarf, some earrings, and my tan combat boots.

As a classmate of mine said earlier this semester, “It takes the same amount of clothes and efforts to look nice as it does to put on sweats.”

I was happy with the clothing decisions I’d made, and I decided to throw a few curls in my hair like usual. I felt good. I posted a photo to my snapchat story with the caption, “Monday: let’s dance” with everyone’s favorite little tango lady emoji.

So I answer the dooming question: “Why/How do you dress up on a Monday?”

  • Why not?
    • “I’m tired” is not a good excuse. It’s college, everyone is tired. Waking up and doing something with myself makes me more energized for my morning classes and my day in general.
    • “I’m lazy” is also ridiculous. Refer to the quote above. I threw on the same amount of clothing as everyone else. It didn’t take me more time or effort, truly.
    • “Sweats are more comfortable” … I can’t argue with that, but read further.
  • I feel good. I feel better about my day, the challenges I face, and myself when I throw on more than the usual t-shirt and jeans. I feel confident and powerful. I can conquer the day.
  • Compliments feel gooooood. I absolutely love when people share kind words with me. Who doesn’t need that on the Monday before finals week, or every Monday?
    • Side note: give compliments. make someone else’s day 🙂
  • Monday is a fresh start, and you can take control of your week right from the get go.
  • Who knows when you could bump into Mr. Right? It’s college, and who knows what cutie could be standing in line for pasta at the same moment as you?
  • You can feel no regrets in using the diva emoji, or the sassy tango lady.
  • Mondays suck, and you can make the choice to demand control over your day.

I saw a photo on Twitter a few weeks ago. Here’s what it said:

Dear Monday, 

Thanks for having the word ‘mon’ in you. That’s French for “mine,” in case you weren’t aware, Monday, but it makes me think of you more as “my day,” and frankly that sounds like a much more promising start to the week.

  • So there you have it, folks. Happy Monday. There’s still time to change out of your sweatpants and carpe diem.

 

my medicine & drug of choice

Today I had a moment that I loved so much that I had to write about it. I probably have a moment like this at least every other day. Maybe that’s what makes it so great: it can reoccur so frequently.

The moment that I’m talking about is that moment when you’re in the middle of laughter. Head back, loud cackle-turned-belly laugh, double chin, abs aching, right before you begin to wheeze and maybe even cry a little bit and at that moment you’re not even sure why you’re laughing but everything is just funny… yeah, right smack dab in the middle of that. That moment. There’s nothing on your mind at that moment, not even the thing that was funny.. it’s just pure joy. That’s why I like the picture above. Hair-mustache, wind, laughter, lake water, good times, sunshine… (and cute accessories on my super tan skin. Man, winter can be a bummer sometimes). Captured laughter just reminds you of the good times. It’s perfect.

Today, as my head is back and I’m laughing out loud, I feel that happiness.  Of course, this laughter is due, in part, to the amazing people I surround myself with who constantly have me laughing out loud. I laugh and I forget all the crap in the world, in my life. I’ve even been told I have an ‘ugly’ laugh when my good ol’ cackle comes out to play. To me, it’s like the sound of a symphony. Laughter is happiness.

Laughter is the best medicine, as cliché as it sounds, and that middle-of-laughter moment is my favorite. It’s almost as if time moves in slow motion so you can soak in that feeling for just a little while longer. I want to have that moment every day. When time stands still and your heart is filled with light and joy and friendship and silliness… that’s my medicine and my drug of choice.

I hope I have this moment again tomorrow, and possibly every single day of my life. & I hope you do too.

•••

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
― Audrey Hepburn 

the power of one.

“If I teach you nothing else, let me teach you this. When you find something absolutely intolerable – something that you hate. Like I’m-so-sick-of-this-bullshit in my world hatred. That’s life telling you to step up to the plate and change it. The day you were born in the Western world, you have 250 times the power of a child in Bangladesh. You have a voice people will listen to. You all have a choice. You can all make a difference.” – Kim McCullough

Today, my Human Geography teacher shared this with my class. The passion that fueled this conversation impacted me immensely. Hatred – the most negative emotion possible, in many opinions – can absolutely fuel something beautiful: Power. Voice. Choice. Difference.

I have no idea what I will do that could possibly change the world. Absolutely none. I’m not going to college to major in super hero-ism or to cure cancer or stop global warming. But I believe in the absolute power of the ripple effect: one movement can change everything. One smile, one connection, one word. One. 

I am one person. I can make one choice. I can make one difference, no matter how big or small. So that’s my goal each day. Because if I can make one choice, voice my opinion, or make a difference just once a day, who knows what those 365 days in a year can do. Or the people whom I touch – where will their ripples lead?

In Human Geography today, we spoke about how humans are constantly changing and shaping our world since the beginning of time. This forges the question: why not us? Why not me, right here and right now?

I was so absolutely moved by the words of my professor, and I chose to share her words today. There’s my one.

What are you doing to change the world today?

maybe you don’t even realize it, but you changed the world today. One kind greeting, one exchange of conversation, one thought that starts a ripple in your life, one question voiced in class, one cackle of laughter that forces someone else to smile… you make an impact.

Be you. Have a voice. Make choices. Make a difference.

We can change the world.

thankfulness.

Today, as we’re gathered around the table before our Thanksgiving meal, my dad smiles and says, “I’m just so thankful that we’re all here together.”

Of course, at first, you might just think its because my brothers and I all live a few hours from home, or the fact that last year one of my brothers couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving. Yeah, that’s maybe one part of it.

But when my dad squeezed my hand and looked at me.. I knew that wasn’t quite what he meant.

I’ve been wondering where to start as I write about how grateful I am to be alive.

I could start by saying that my dad did months of research before buying my car. I could start by saying it was just a normal, happy day. I could start so many ways. But I’ll start it like this: I was in a car accident last February. It was the absolute worst day of my life and a day that I’ll never forget. I’ll say that it breaks my heart to think about it, and I’ll admit that it was a day that changed my life forever.

I deal with flashbacks, nightmares, and the after effects of traumatic stress. I deal with gritting my teeth as people make jokes. I deal with the thoughts causing my eyes to fill with tears. I deal with unsympathetic people. I deal with the fear every time I open my car door. I deal with all of that because I am so, so, so lucky to be alive.

Of course, I struggle with the ‘ifs.’ What if my dad hadn’t done the research? What if I’d left just five minutes earlier? What if, what if, what if. Sometimes, it caused me to question God’s plan for me.

Today, I’m beyond thankful for family, food, friends, fellowship, and faith. I’m thankful that I’m here. I’m continually changing, growing, learning, coping, strengthening. I hit rock bottom on that horrible night last February.

God has a plan, I’m sure of it now. He wanted me to tell you this story: to remind you all the be just a little more thankful for your good health this holiday season, to wear your seatbelts, and  to remember that you are absolutely blessed.

I’m here this Thanksgiving, and for that I am eternally thankful.

 

harsh words & strong foundations

Isn’t it crazy how a few words from someone else can completely shift your perspective on anything – even yourself? A few simple words. I’m always surprised.

I’m a pretty confident person; I like to think I’m pretty thick-skinned and not a lot of stuff gets to me. I’m also horrible at knowing what to say to compliments. I always end up making some sort of bad joke and attempting to laugh it off. Reversely, however, laughing doesn’t make those few simple harsh words go away, or hurt any less, or stop the overthinking in my brain.

Those thoughts of “I’m not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, funny enough, cool enough,” really, truly suck. The only person I have to be “good enough” for is myself. I know that. I know how fabulous I am. I say it nearly every day… but it’s always followed by a laugh and a smile.

It’s the words that don’t cause a laugh or smile that cycle in my brain on repeat, tearing me down.

I’m confident. Maybe not today. Maybe not because of that something that one guy or that one girl said.

But maybe, just maybe, this moment of self-doubt will help me to be more confident than I was yesterday, or the day before that. Maybe those harsh words tore me down so that I can build a stronger foundation.

 

 

 

 

quiet thoughts.

I’ve been wondering what to do with my rambling thoughts. I figured I’d try this out. I like to say what’s on my mind. I’m not sure what I have to say will mean something to you, but it might.

Word of the day: quiet. 

I’m not a quiet person. Still, sometimes, the quiet just fuels my mind and makes me wonder about everything: situations, people, relationships, the future, who’s life is changing at this very second.

As I hum to myself in the quiet of my room, I can’t help but appreciate the calmness I feel. Lately, everything has been rushed and frantic and stressful and oh-so “college.” Right now, however, I only feel peaceful and content.

So yeah, I may not always be quiet.. but I sure do appreciate it when it comes around.