Battling Depression · Christmas 2017 · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: A Christmas Reminder

Psst.

Yes.

I know we’re not in December.

But hey, now that that’s cleared up lol, good morning! 🙂

In honor of this new-ish series dedicated to bettering your Monday mornings (and mine, Mondays can be a struggle for me too. I’ve got 2…3? exams, two essays, and who knows what else coming up this week to prep for), I wanted to pop in with a quick reminder.

Think back to Christmas.

Now, we all know how the holiday season works: big hullabaloo the two, maybe three, months preceding Christmas–all the fanfare, sparkling lights, and smiling faces. Christmas Eve the anticipation mounts, children can’t sleep for dreams of white beards and red noses, until, finally, Christmas Day at last! Families gather together, presents are exchanged, and the trees glow.

Then… it’s over. Done. Nothing.

Those generous thoughts, the optimistic mentality, that kind approach just… vanish. Everyone goes back to their “normal” routine.

Why can’t that be the normal though?

If you’re a few years (cough, decades–hey, no shame! That just makes you wiser than us youngin’s) past your childhood, it may not be as vivid, but do you remember what it was like waking up on Christmas morning as a child? Excitement ringing through your body, like nothing could go wrong this one day? How nice it was that, just this once, nobody would argue–and if they did, they’d have to put it away for the rest of the day because it was Christmas?

I’m gonna let you in on a big secret. Huge, completely mind-blowing. A total epiphany I had this past Christmas. You ready?

You can live like it’s Christmas every day.

One choice. One selfless instead of selfish. One smile instead of a frown. You choose.

Today and every day, you have the power to make the day great. I promise you, if you fill your happiness meter with God and ask for his peace and joy, nothing can take that away from you. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose for you. Jesus was born for you. That gives you a free ticket to live every day like a birthday party, no matter who is pooping on your party.

I’d say it’s time to start celebrating, how about you?

The-Star-for-Website

Also relating to Christmas (what can I say, it’s my favorite holiday!), mom finally bought the cartoon movie The Star! If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it–especially if you have little ones. Or, you know, if you’re just like me and are a little one at heart. Whichever. Thank you so much for reading and for all the support! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Advertisements
Battling Depression · Body Image · College

Confessions of a Not-so-Former Binge Eater: Forgiving Yourself

Good evening everyone 🙂

With this being the “looove” month, I wanted to take a different approach on the profound concept of self-love as February comes to a close.

Obviously the resolution fitness ads on TV have died down significantly, but we are still in the beginning throes of 2018–meaning exercise and diets are still a hot topic (and to some, like my mom, hot as in branding-iron you don’t want to touch or think about!). With all the hullabaloo TV places on “looking your best” and being “bikini ready”, I find it sadly ironic how much we start to hate our bodies because of those same messages.

While I’ve briefly mentioned my past food struggles in a few of my past posts (“5 Tips to Combat Overeating“), I’ve never gotten terribly deep into those struggles.

Tonight, I’d like to.

You see, I’m a very empathetic person–to a fault. When my father makes a dinner large enough to serve an army, in our small family of four (with some very picky eaters), a lot of it won’t get eaten. With his tendency to guilt trip (“I didn’t want to cook you anything anyway”; nice, right?), my overdeveloped superego kicked in full force and I’d end up eating enough for three of me–no joke. I would eat past the point of content, full, uncomfortable, to painful. All because I didn’t want my dad to feel like we didn’t appreciate his cooking.

Then, the binging took a turn.

What had started with me–rightfully or not–compensating my eating for my dad’s feelings invaded all my other meal patterns. Snacking? I’d crave a little sweet… so I’d eat a piece of chocolate, and then another, and another until I had the entire bar. Then, to ward off the sickly-sweet nausea welling up in my gut, I’d be craving something salty… so I’d eat a chip, handful by mindless handful, until I’d eaten the whole bag. Dinner at a restaurant? You could count me in for the appetizer, my entree, every bite my dad offered me, and then the last crumb of dessert. Afterwards, I felt greasy, gross, and like my pants had shrunk a good three sizes in one sitting.

But none of that compared to how much I would hate my body after the binge.

If you’ve never experienced binge-eating for yourself, then there’s really no way I can describe the vehement, loathing, degrading thoughts that come after a binge. I just can’t. There are no words to explain how you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror.

How the thought of eating makes you want to hide, like it’s some shameful, dirty secret.

How you can’t bear to touch your own stomach, because you’re so ashamed.

It’s not a pretty picture. There are people who would pass binge-eating off, saying it’s nothing like anorexia or other severe eating disorders. I, of course, am not by any means downplaying their significance either, but I don’t want the severity of binging to go unnoticed–or worse, casually dismissed as no big deal. Yeah, you may not be able to see the effects of binge-eating like you can with starvation, but it doesn’t make it any less damaging.

The reason I bring all this up is because binge-eating isn’t something that’s “once and done”. You don’t just binge at one meal and then go about the rest of your life carefree–at least, that’s not how it is for me. This battle has been one that is slow and very, very hard.

It’s hard because it’s never been just a physical battle.

Binge-eating is always rooted in emotional pain, one form or another. With that pain can come a lot of shame, regret, and self-hatred. Forgiveness is the single last thing you want to feel for yourself after a binge.

But what if I said you don’t have to forgive yourself?

Forgiveness implies that you have done something wrong, something selfish and horrible. Forgiveness insists it was your fault in the first place.

That’s not how binging works. Yes, something is wrong, but it isn’t necessarily because of you–abusive relationships, cruel parents, work stress, anything could cause you to spiral down that dark path. For me, it was a combination of factors. I tried for awhile to convince myself to “forgive myself”, but it never worked because I thought I was to blame. I thought, because of my binging, something in me was messed up, something about me was wrong.

You’re not messed up because you binge. You’re not dirty or gross because you binge.

You are, however, in a place of hurt and in need of some serious love–and, yes, even forgiveness. The sort of forgiveness you need, though, comes from only one place: Christ. To correct the emotional turmoil that causes binging involves learning how worthy, valuable, and cherished you are, a knowledge that can only be found after long study in God’s word. He will forgive you, you need only ask. Even when you can’t stand to see your reflection, He always loves you and thinks you are the most beautiful creation in the world.

“I loved you at your darkest.”

Romans 5:8

Reflect on that. Heal in that.

If you don’t struggle with binge-eating, I hope I discouraged you from that path! And if you do, I pray you find solace today in God’s arms. I’d love to share any tips I’ve learned to recover from a binge, even if you’d rather email than publicly comment. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: 5 Inspirational Quotes to Start Your Week

Today’s Monday motivation comes from my own struggles, my own indecision, and my own pain. Like me, you no doubt have gone, are going, or will go through some painful things in your life.

What you feed your mind in these times of hurt makes all the difference. What you put in is what you will put out.

If you listen to songs or watch vidoes that make you sad, how do you think this will make you feel for the rest of the day? The rest of the week even? I’ve fallen victim to that trap a hundred times, and have realized the importance of replacing this negative input with something positive.

choose_happiness_1400x.progressive.jpeg

So, here is short list of quotes, verses, and thoughts that have helped me create my own sunshine in life’s rain, and I hope they help you too:

  1. Choose happy.
  2. “Be kind and polite and the world will go right.” – Paddington
  3. “Faith, it does not make things easy it makes them possible.” – Luke 1:37
  4. “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.” – Proverbs 16:24
  5. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

If you’d like an extra dose of peace, there’s this meditation video I found on YouTube by Positively Britt that you can click on here. You don’t have to be seated on a yoga mat or anything; I simply play it when doing homework.

(By the way, most of these came from Pinterest. What really helps me is if I just type “bible quotes” or “inspirational quotes” into the search bar, that way you can really get flooded with uplifting messages as you scroll.)

I wish you a blessed week my friend, one devoid of worry or fear. P.s. for those of you curious about my recent career decision, I will be doing a post about the whole decision-making process involved here soon! Thank you for reading dear dreamer. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

College · Finding Purpose

Why It’s Okay to Change Your Mind–Over and Over and Over Again

Take a look at the drink in your hand (if you don’t have one, for the sake of the exercise, pretend and follow along please lol). If you juggle the bottle around, what happens?

The liquid moves.

Toss a stone in a pond, and you get the same effect (and if you’re really talented, you can even skip the stone! But, alas, that is not part of my repertoire…). Water has a funny way of resembling life. In the same way that water moves, ripples, goes up, and goes down, as do we. We humans are never stagnant–and if we are, we feel… groggy, unawakened. That’s because we’re not meant to be still for too long. We are constantly evolving, changing, and rippling with the stones thrown at us.

And if someone expects you to stay the same forever, then they are wrong. Simple as that.

As the firstborn, I witness this enforced stagnation from my parents all the time. My father, especially, has the ultimate daddy/police officer/strict/paranoid attitude and can’t seem to acknowledge that I’m growing up. Growth is natural. Growth is necessary. Birds fly the coop and children leave the house, in order that we might learn and become the best we can possibly be. The first step comes with college, but the vital step is in choosing a career.

No pressure or anything.

indecision 1

If you couldn’t tell by my recent bullet journal obsession, I have a thing for planning. Dad and Danny call it OCD; I call it being organized (and I mean, if we’re really gonna label it, it’s CDO, duh). I’ve always been a planner, a week-ahead-of-schedule and already-on-to-the-next-thing kind of gal. I still am, and that’s how I like it!

So, you can imagine my despair at not having a career picked yet.

Lemme do a little recap so you understand my predicament: senior year of high school, I was in the clear because I at least knew that I was headed to community college first. No big deal, everybody takes the same entry stuff the first two years anyway. Well… this is the end of my second year. End of sophomore year, end of community college, preparing to transfer to a university…

Showtime. And I haven’t memorized my script.

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned my education internship: it’s a class that meets once a week and the rest is my time at the nearby elementary school. Up until this point, my “declared mjor” was Elementary Education just because all my life people have told me I’d be a great teacher and, to be honest, it was the only thing I could think of (once upon a time I’d dreamed of being a zoo keeper, but after 9 years of looking after pigs that’s a no-go lol). Chronologically, my indecisive swaying between careers went something like this:

  1. Zoo keeper
  2. Vet tech
  3. High school English teacher
  4. Nutrition advisor
  5. Elementary school teacher
  6. Reading specialist
  7. ?

(Number 7 is what I’ve finally settled on–and, who knows, it could very well change. But this is what I’m feeling led to do and if you’d like to know what my choice is, stick around to the bottom 🙂 )

If you take a look at my list, you’ll notice a theme: that there isn’t a theme. Sure, a lot of them fall under “education”, but the jobs themselves vary wildly. While this list specifically applies to those in the same boat as me right now, those trying to figure out their career plan, the point is the same for everybody:

We change over time.

Now, I’m not saying that being in a constant state of indecision and lack of commitment in every area of your life is a healthy normal. What I am saying is that you as a person will change interests, change likes, change plans, in the exact same way your taste buds change–which is okay, it’s encouraged even! You are a unique individual with beautiful dreams, and you as a dreamer do not have to squish yourself into anyone’s rigid box of limitations. Grow. Stretch. Reach for the sun. You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t give yourself a chance.

Follow your dreams. Follow your heart. Find a Jack Sparrow compass and follow it too (I had to break up the cliches, and who doesn’t love Johnny Depp as Jack, am I right?? Like, I made a whole Pinterest board about him, c’mon now). Don’t you ever let someone else keep you from doing what you love, please. You deserve happiness and adventure ❤︎

Okay, what you’ve been waiting for this entire time! No? Just here because you finally read all the way through? Hey, I’ll take what I can get 😉 For those of you actually curious haha, here it is: I’m thinking I’d like to be a middle school counselor. Pretty different from elementary school teacher huh? Well, I have been doing an INSANE amount of searching myself, Google hunting, and praying these past few weeks, and this is what has rang out to me. I may do a post on the reasons why, if you guys would be interested? Let me know what you think! Thank you so much for reading 🙂 You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Finding Purpose · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Fairytale Edition

“Every person’s life is a fairytale written by God’s fingers.”

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

As I was scrolling through a few inspirational Bible verses on Pinterest to add to my new bullet journal, I encountered this lovely little quote I’d saved who-knows-how-long ago.

Many of you, like me, have an undying love for all things Disney, fairytale, or even just plain fiction/fantasy. Many of you, as fellow bloggers and writers, have a deep-rooted adoration for a really good story–me too! (I’m the kid who always asked for a Barnes N Noble gift card at Christmas, and would get more excited about a new book than all my new clothes put together lol.)

And what are a few key truths we know about a good story?

  1. There’s a relatable main character: This is you! You get your very own, hand-written and lovingly created story. That makes you pretty darn special 🙂
  2. The plot twist is unexpected, unpredictable, and seemingly unfair: We’re outraged for our beloved main character! We think “How could this happen?? How could he/she do that?!”, just like in real life when things don’t pan out the way we think they should. God’s still painting, still writing, we’re just impatient (lemme raise both hands for a sec) and think that God doesn’t know or miscalculated.
  3. There’s a villain: (I actually have a bit of an obsession with Disney villains, call me strange, but I have “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, “Be Prepared”, and “Mother Knows Best Reprise” memorized to the l.e.t.t.e.r.) Regardless of how we feel about him, the villain always comes into play. It could be a harsh boss, a rude coworker, or even a vengeful family member. In the grand story God is writing, the villain of all villains is the Devil, who prances around as everything we could ever want but is truly everything that hurts us. Good news is that the villain never wins in a true fairytale, and God’s already won the battle against Satan!
  4. The protagonist learns and grows: Lecture time. We’ve come to class, pencil in hand, whether we really wanted to get up at the crack of dawn to be here or not. That miscalculation we thought God made earlier? As it turns out, it was the best thing for us and we are better people because of it.
  5. Happily ever after: Have you ever skipped to the end of a book, completely ignoring all those screaming voices in your head saying Don’t you do it!!, and read the ending? Didn’t it just ruin the book for you? For me, the book loses all appeal and I no longer want to read it, now that I’ve read the best part first. Similarly, life wouldn’t be the messy, confusing, beautiful journey it is without its plot twists, maniacal villains, or time.

Wait on your happily ever after. It’s coming. God’s got you in the palm of his hand and he’s not letting you go–even when you walk away to fume about the story-writing process (ahem, I’ma just own up to my little fit last week). Like me, you probably want to know the happily ever after ending ahead of time. But maybe this week, you can consider that the chapters are all a part of the happiness.

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

 

College · Finding Purpose

Productivity, Phase 2: the Bullet Journal

Happy Thursday guys 🙂 If you’re new, welcome! And if you’re an old friend (because who am I kidding, this community of bloggers is one of the friendliest I’ve had the privilege to be a part of), welcome back!

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been facing some heavy decisions and questions concerning my future here lately–just like every other young adult anywhere between senior year of high school and college graduation. What career to follow, what internships to pursue, how to handle said internships… On top of the regular homework load and all else we have to do at home, it can be quite the pill to swallow for young adults–and anyone who’s just got a lot on their plates. It can very easily become overwhelming.

Welllll, I wouldn’t be going on and on about reasons you’re overwhelmed if I didn’t have a potential solution for sorting them out!

I’m a regular agenda kind of gal: every semester I sit down with my planner and syllabi, and go through it to mark down each class’ major events. (The minor events and regular homeworks get filled in as the semester continues.) However, I always have a brief time span each semester, without fail, where I either neglect my agenda or have so much going on that I just forget to consult it. As expected, these moments can get pretty stressful–and if you never use a planner, I can only imagine what your poor brains go through trying to keep up with it all. (But hey, if planners aren’t your thing and you can remember everything you need to, you do you!)

Recently, I’ve been introduced to the concept of a bullet journal.

I know, I know. This is no new thing. Bullet journals were the hottest thing on Pinterest and Instagram like a year and a half ago, I get it. But I live in the middle-of-nowhere mountains of Virginia lol, I’m a little slow on the popular thing-a-ma-bobs wheel.

I don’t know all the ins and outs of bullet journaling, but I know there are a million and one websites and blogs all about ’em if you want to check it out! For me, it’s just been a comment here and there–first from my friend Chat, then in a sweet little post by creativeamara. The final straw in my decision to put my own twist on this whole notion was a post by my dear friend Maggie, whose organization methods inspired me 🙂

For all you photogenic people who know how to take the perfect picture, I am envious haha.

What started out as me just trying to organize my mentor teacher’s schedule (there’ll be a post about that here soon!) evolved into a schedule-inspiration journal. Of course, you never ever have to stick to it religiously or anything like that–it’s yours to morph and change with you! Life isn’t stagnant; neither will your journal be.

But anywho, here’s how I plan mine out:

  1. On the left page: Here’s where I put my daily schedule. Everything from my Bible time and yoga first thing in the morning to my homework in the evenings, all the “to-do’s” go on this side. Beside each, I have an empty little square. When it’s completed, I put a check in the box; if I’m halfway through, I put a slash; and if I had to move it to another day I put an arrow forwarding it.
  2. On the right page: Now, this is the side that gets to be all fun and girly (or handsome, I don’t wanna deter my masculine followers). I love to draw, but have not had ANY time lately, so this is a perfect way to get the creative juices flowing without spending hours on one piece. Google has hundreds of ideas for bullet journal pages, but pretty much it’s up to you. I like to have short inspirational Bible quotes, and then decorate them any which way. For example, the little jar above is a gratitude jar: there’s 28 days in February, so I fill out a heart each day when I’ve remembered to say thank you for something (another shout-out to creativeamara for the idea!).

How you do it is entirely up to you–and that’s what makes it such a novelty! Weight loss trackers, vacation countdowns, finances charts; you name it, you can have it! You can make it daily, weekly, or monthly. You can have an index at the beginning if you like (I personally didn’t since I’m incredibly OCD and trying to label an index without knowing what all I’ll be including just doesn’t work for me).

But the point is that it helps you promote productivity. These planners-turned-personal are all about aiding you in becoming the happiest, least stressed, most efficient you that you can be.

And when we take care of ourselves, we can take the next step of caring for others ❤︎

  • By the way, I didn’t go out and buy any specific kind of journal. Mine is simply a cute “Live fully. Breathe deeply. Love madly.” writing notebook from Barnes N Noble that I got on clearance lol.

Thank you very much for reading! I appreciate the patience during my increasingly-busy schedule–blogging has had to take a slight backburner, but in no way is it forgotten! I want you to know that you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Finding Purpose · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: When You Don’t Understand Why

Good morning my fellow bloggers ❤︎

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been facing a lot of “Why?”‘s in my life here lately: Why is this happening? Why didn’t this happen? Why can’t I do this? Why can’t you just tell me what to do? If you’re like me, even if you aren’t questioning now, I’m sure you have at some point.

But in the midst of doubts and questions, good friends arise to remind you that what we perceive as bad usually isn’t as bad as we think it is–and even if it is, it’s only one little stepping stone on our way to the best.

So here is a little collection of ideas I put together after facing my own set of “Why” questions, as I learn to let go of the need to know why and let God help me to the other side of the stream:

Every book requires its twist,

Every strand of hair, its trim.

Every mystery, its suspense.

Every right, its wrong.

Every justice, its injustice.

Every triumph, its trial.

Every lemonade, its lemon.

Every champion, its challenge.

Every victory, its battles.

Every comeback, its fallback.

Every road, its block.

Every cure, its disease.

Every antidote, its antigen.

Every “aha!”, its “on no!”.

Every balance, its imbalance.

Every up, its down.

Every yes, its no.

Every second, its first.

Every discovery, its deception.

Every success, its failure.

Every win, its lose.

Every answer, its question.

Every blessing, its curse.

Every peace, its chaos.

Every prince, its dragon.

Every hero, its villain.

Every life, its hardships.

Every solution, its problem.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” 1 Peter 1:6

Thank you very much for reading! I hope that these words help you face the unknown ahead with bravery and trust in our Lord. You are beautiful and you are loved  ❤︎

P.s. I want to give an extra hug and really big thank you to Maggie and “Lifeisabeaut” for their words of encouragement and love as I’ve been facing my own fears and expectations recently! You guys have spoken the right words at the exact right time, and I truly cannot thank you enough ❤︎