Battling Depression · College · Counseling · Finding Purpose · Singleness

Get to Know Me… Since it’s been a little while

For once, I feel that it is I who should be welcomed back, not you my dear readers! It has been some time since my last post–time that was completely and unequivocably necessary.

If you are new here and haven’t read any of my old posts, I am a Jesus-loving gal who has a few, serious family issues (two, to be exact) and aching bouts of loneliness that drive me into a deep, depressed state. Further, I am guilty of trying to plug the holes of my heart with food, specifically, in the form of binge-eating.

A perfect recipe for disaster. (Get it? Recipe? Okay, I’ll stop.)

In all seriousness, however, this time away from the ministry of my blog and our wonderful community has produced an incredible amount of wisdom and spiritual growth (which I will get into later). Before my hiatus, I was not responding to comments as I ought to have been and was not posting with regularity–both of which I plan to correct now that I am, thanks to a good Abba, in a mental state to do so.

And if you’ve made it past my lengthy re-introduction to this point, I graciously applaud you! Now, we can get into the meat of this post: I thought that a “Get to Know Me” segment would be rather fitting. Sort of to honor my over-due re-entry to this online world you guys are a part of creating.

I wasn’t sure how many questions to go with, but 10 always sounds like an informative-but-not-quite-boring number, so here goes with a–hopefully–interesting 10 tidbits about me!

  1. Where are you in your education? I just finished my two years at a community college and transferred to my university a little under a month ago (*squeals*). First, I’m going to be getting a Bachelor’s in Psychology, so that I can then pursue my Master’s for Middle School Counseling.
  2. Are you an only child? Nope. I have a younger brother who just graduated high school this past May. If ever there were two siblings more different in temperament and personality, I have yet to meet them. (No joke, I know most siblings say they don’t get along, but all my friends who’ve seen us together completely agree with me.)
  3. Do you have a boyfriend? Another nope. At times, I am blissfully content in my singleness and couldn’t imagine living life differently, having less time to learn about God and cultivate my creative passions. Other times, I have to fight that bitter loneliness that rears its head when my gal friends talk about their college beaus. But, honestly, I think that’s natural. And I don’t think that makes someone any less grateful for their life, so long as they don’t wallow too long in the bitterness.
  4. What hobbies do you enjoy? Hmm… I haven’t necessarily “perfected” any, like, at all, but I’ve dabbled in a few things here and there: writing, drawing, painting, blogging, reading, and Bible journaling.
  5. What types of exercise do you actually enjoy? Trust me, I know. For some, weightlifting is just the thing; for you, a “traditional” workout routine may seem like a contagious disease. I haven’t tried ’em all, but after lots of experimenting, these are what I’ve found I like the most: walking my pups, yoga, dancing, and the occasional weightlifting.
  6. How old are you? I turned twenty this past July. (Whoever said turning eighteen makes you an adult clearly doesn’t know a thing; I am still a child, just with more responsibilities and debt.)
  7. How tall are you? I know it can be kind of hard to “visualize” fellow bloggers, even if the anonymity does have its safety purposes. So, here’s a little description, if it helps: I am about 5’6″; I have dirty blond hair; alabaster skin that, no matter how many sunburns I’ve endured, refuses to tan; blue eyes; and a quick smile.
  8. What’s the farthest you’ve been from home? I live in Virginia and have only been to a handful of other states: Florida, Georgie, Maryland, and North Carolina, all for either vacation or family reunions. When I am older and, you know, no longer a broke college girl, I plan to see much, much more of this giant playground God has given us.
  9. What’s your favorite genre of books or movies? Goly, I’ve been an avid reader all my life, so I can’t pin it down to a mere one. I like fiction and fantasy best with a main romance, but I can’t just read romance. As far as movies go, I’m in love with almost anything Disney; also, Christmas movies are near and dear to my heart.
  10. What is something that many people are obsessed with but you don’t see the point? Sports. Not playing sports, that’s great, healthy even. What I don’t get is how fanatical everyday people get over players they will very likely never meet in person. At times, I find it amusing, but when I see people fighting each other about it, I have to shake my head in baffled wonder.

And that’s it! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments if there’s anything else you’d like to know about me 🙂

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤️

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Battling Depression · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: You Are a Piece of Art

This Friday, I submitted some of my drawings into my college’s art show (which was, you know, the first time I’ve ever publicly displayed my drawings…ever. No big deal haha). The part that really stood out to me was that Thursday afternoon, however.

I walk in the door, and it’s a flurry: people at desks, in chairs, whizzing back and forth between tables, materials strewn everywhere. I only knew one girl there (bless her beautiful heart, she literally helped me with everything). So, I walk in to this artistic madhouse and–while Emma cuts foam board and matting to frame my drawings–curiously observe these artists, people-watching from my own little corner of the room.

And I notice something.

It started when I had to hand over my drawings to Emma and then a girl I didn’t even know. Now, again, I’ve never done this before. So, I wasn’t expecting the maternal instinct to kick in over a piece of dead tree alright, but boy did it ever. If you’ve ever created anything (art, poetry, a book, your blog even) and had to entrust it to someone else, you know what I’m talking about. You suddenly realize, “This is my baby” and don’t want to let it go. You worked hard on your baby. You hand-crafted it, you shaped it, you molded it, you designed it’s very being.

In order for the world to see my babies, my drawings, I had to let them go. I had to conquer fears of self-doubt, unworthiness, vulnerability, and remind myself that they are worthy.

Which was scary. But it opened my eyes in a way I never would have imagined.

As I handed over my drawings, and watched as dozens of other artists prepped their pieces for display, I saw the enormous love each one had put into his or her work–the same love I had put into mine. Watching all of them sweat over and perfect their art, I realized, this is how God must feel for us. He uniquely and individually crafts every single one of us, and then lets go of His beautiful creation into a crazy world–a world that judges and tears down and hurts. We even judge ourselves, nitpicking and degrading the parts of ourselves we hate, like God somehow messed us up.

I started to compare my work to other drawings, I won’t lie. The doubt started nagging in my head that maybe mine really weren’t good enough and why was I even thinking about entering them into the show? But looking around at the art, I stopped.

Every single piece was different. And to its creator, every single piece was beautiful.

To the Creator, it doesn’t matter what one person might look like next to another, like when I compare myself to another girl or when you compare yourself to someone else. Because to Him, each piece, each person, is art anyway–there’s no “better than” or “more worthy than”, we’re all just art.

Beautiful, worthy, special art.

You’re art. You are beautiful, you are worthy, and you are loved. I just want you to know that. ❤︎

Battling Depression · Finding Purpose · Monday Mantra

Monday Mantra: Life’s a Fairytale, Just Don’t Forget the Dragons

As a professed Disney lover and fan of Happily Ever After’s, too often I hear the sarcastic reply that “Life isn’t a fairytale” by friends and family members.

I beg to differ.

Because you guys seemed to like my “Monday Mantra: Fairytale Edition” post, I thought I’d do a sequel of sorts. (And because, you know, when aren’t fairytales post worthy?)

When people commonly argue that life isn’t full of Prince Charming’s or fancy palaces, I think it’s because they look at it from a strict, story book perspective. So, yes, if you’re expecting to see Princess Aurora on your doorstep, asking for somewhere to crash and take a nap, you’ll be waiting a long time. (Unless you live near Disney World…)

That’s not to say that life doesn’t have other fairytale aspects, though.

Now, I understand that most of us don’t face fire-breathing dragons in the literal sense (but hey, if you do, I’m expecting an invite!). But how many of us battle obstacles every single day? They make not come with scales or wings, but they are obstacles nonetheless:

  • Rude boss
  • Messy kids
  • Bills
  • Marital discord
  • Class stress
  • Uncertain future
  • Need I go on?

So, chin up buttercup. You’re a knight in shining armor, facing off some serious dragons, just without the uncomfortable chain mail and heavy sword. And better yet, you’ve got something the story books didn’t have when fighting their dragons: a God who is fighting for you at every step.

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Body Image · College · Finding Purpose

Fitness Re-evaluated

It has been a hot, hot minute since I did a post that was fitness related–and with good reason. The past two months I’ve been doing nothing (physically speaking) outside of walking the pups or yoga.

Now, I don’t regret this time off from exercise whatsoever. Taking the focus off of the workouts allowed me the necessary time to re-evaluate my meal planning and the food side of things (which, to me, is more important than any workout anyway!). I’m working on a post that goes over how God’s been working through my meal prep, but what do you think: do a general spiel or maybe provide an example of what I eat in a day? I could even do both if you’d like 🙂

Anywho, as I mentioned in my post “Fitness… or Fun?“, I have tried a lot of different workout routines in the past year and a half. When you’re starting a health journey (notice that I didn’t say diet or weight loss; this is your body, for life, not a fad’s get-fit-quick scheme ❤︎ ), I think it’s important to test the waters. Even if you don’t like it, at least you tried it! There’s all sorts of workout options out there: running, weight lifting, yoga, karate, zumba, hiking, sports, and many more. The important thing is that you give it a chance–say, four weeks or so, before deciding you don’t like it or that it’s not your style.

So, after my recent reprieve from all things exercise, I’ve once again turned back to lifting. When I started lifting for a few months this past summer, I was towards the beginning of my health journey and honestly didn’t really know what I was doing. Now that I’ve experimented and taken time out to work on form, I’m ready and excited for the growth ahead.

“She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence, and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand.” Proverbs 31:17

The further I get into this renewed fitness journey, the more I’ll share about the Biblical reasons I believe God wants us to exercise our bodies, but right now I want to share my former mindsets about exercise–in case you have ever shared similar insecurities.

As I’ve been putting together a weekly lifting schedule, I realized that in the past, I was holding myself back from giving my workouts my all out of fear.

Fear I wouldn’t achieve my dream physique.

Fear I would become obsessed with my appearance.

Fear that God would give me an injury if I started obsessing over my body.

But fear comes from a misunderstanding of God’s love for us.

I didn’t see working out as a form of worship when I started this journey. I didn’t understand how I could grow in Spirit while I was growing in physical strength. So, I never gave it my all because I feared that our Heavely Father would smite me where I stood.

Oh, how he must have sighed at me.

When I drew closer to Him, spending more time reading the Bible and praying, He showed me how askew my rationalization really was. He loves me–He hand-crafted this very body and is delighted when I want to take care of it. He’s not going to punish me for exercising it. The more I know Him, the more I know His will.

And if I’m living for His will, I don’t have to be afraid of anything. Because when I’m constantly in communication with Him, I’m not obsessed with outward appearance.

Sure, the temptation’s there. Do I want sleek, toned muscles? Who doesn’t haha?! But I can balance my goals–God already knows I want a stronger physique. If I believe and put in the hard work, the victory is already mine, not because of me but because He’s the God of all.

Physical training is good… Spiritual training is even better.

It’ll take time. It’ll require hard work, patience, sweat, discipline, and dedication. But doesn’t our faith require the same things?

God can use your body and workouts as praise. Just ask Him to show you the first step you need to take.

I’m still tweaking my new workout routine, but I can tell you I already feel SO much better! Sitting all day doing homework and going to class just takes a toll on my body, so adding a half hour to an hour of movement is incredibly rejuvinating. I’d love to provide extra encouragement or tips if you’re just starting out on your healthy journey! Know, however, that I am by no means a professional and I’m still learning, just like you. I wish you the best my dreamers! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression · Body Image

You Go, Girl!

Good evening my readers 🙂

Now, as most of us know today is International Women’s Day, which means most all of my men followers probably are sick of reading such related posts and will be ignoring this one–understandably so lol.

But you wanna know something?

I’m sick of them too.

Not your regular feminist attitude, is it? While I have nothing against women’s rights (obviously, I rather enjoy my life as a young American woman), I have never considered myself to be a feminist. Thus, the endless articles and posts about women’s strength were honestly a little tiresome and overdone to me. (No offense to any of my beloved followers who posted on the subject!)

The theme behind modern strength is that women are their own superheroes and don’t need anyone else.

I get the idea, the sense of empowerment that comes from embracing womanhood. No, we as women do not any man to complete us.

That’s because we need the man.

Sure, we don’t have to swoon for every Prince Charming. But we also don’t need to slay our own dragons, we don’t need to do it all on our own, and we don’t need to shoot down every many in sight while we’re at it.

Yes, we as women are strong–only when our strength comes from the Lord. I recently came across five steps for being a woman of God, and I want to share them with you tonight, as steps for gaining biblical strength–an unfamiliar or even uncomfortable concept in our era.

The strongest woman you’ve ever met still has a breaking point. The God backing her up doesn’t.

A lot of our definitions of strength stem from outward appearance or climbing the ladder. Strength of faith and quiet self-confidence is far overlooked:

  1. Seek God first: Before the car, house, job, career, money, friends, family, or husband
  2. Speak faithfully: Let nothing pass between your lips that does not bring you or others closer to God
  3. Show true beauty: Any pop star can get on a stage in today’s hottest fashion; it’s the real woman that has none of that, but can still shine, that exemplifies beauty
  4. Stay humble: In a world that goes on and on about you, it takes real strength to step out of the spotlight and serve others
  5. Serve the Lord: When we aim to please God, things like being selfless towards our family or lending a hand to a stranger start to bubble out from us unconsciously

In case you’d like to check out the website where I found these 5 tips, here’s the link.

I by no means have these to the -t, or am anywhere close. But, if you put in the effort and prayer every day, you’ll see–like I have been–that each day brings you more wisdom and value to life than you could have possibly imagined.

So, the strength I’m talking about gaining with these five steps isn’t exactly what the majority of the world is thinking of today, I know.

I’d like to think that strength of character is of more value than any feministic strength our culture roots for anyway.

I hope you enjoyed my outlook on this subject dreamers! And I pray that these steps bring you closer to God, because there is no strength like knowing who’s there for you at your weakest. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression

Voices in My Head: Buyer’s Remorse

Like my mom, you may have a shopping addiction. You may be past it or barreling through it. Or maybe you’re reveling in it with blissful ignorance until the final “What have I done?” hits you like a very real freight train.

You may have a shopping addiction. But we’re not here to talk about you.

We’re here to talk about who you hurt.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll realize that shopping hasn’t really come up on my blog, unlike a lot of young women bloggers. Makeup, shoes, clothes, books, the whole shabang. That’s no coincidence.

Because what I haven’t told you guys is that my mom has put us 50 grand into credit card debt with her shopping addiction.

$50,000.

And counting.

I cannot tell you, have you fully comprehend, the severe damage this has wrought on our lives unless you’re living it too. Everything is broken: my parents’ unloving marriage, my mom’s depression, my education and tuition, my brother’s prospects of college, and my mental stability trying to keep it all together by my frail human hands. Now that I’ve opened this door, I may do a post about the negative impact parental money disputes have on kids. This is a tough subject for me though, I won’t lie.

Not 15 minutes ago, I was in my car (parked) crying because of it. You see, her shopping addiction doesn’t just spiral her further down a depressed road–because she can’t see what she’s doing, I’m trying to pick up all the loose corners and it’s tearing me apart.

book open

I honestly didn’t realize how scarred I was by this, not in the world of shopping at least.

This afternoon, after an English test (that’s two major assignments down for the week, I’ve got one paper left before Spring Break!) I decided to hit up Barnes and Noble. My EDU professor kindly brainstormed with me on how to tweak our lesson planning so that I could try a counseling lesson plan instead of teaching. (I know I know I know! I owe you guys a post, but I write–er, type–based on what God has put most pressing on my heart, so it’s coming–eventually haha!) Which meant I got to peruse B&N for some little kids mindfulness books 🙂

My first lesson plan is a Wreck-It-Ralph self-esteem lesson, and I was ridiculously excited planning it!! I won’t get to carry it out lol, but as a memento, I wanted to buy the Little Golden Book version of the movie! They didn’t have it… bummer. (If you know where I can find one, lemme know please!)

It was rainy and overcast today, you know, one of those perfect cuddle-with-a-good-book days, so of course I stayed in B&N a little longer than planned. (I’d rather spend hours in a book store than shopping for clothes, anyone else?) I meandered and wandered, until I came up with three books: a photography book for my brother, which I plan to give him for his birthday (he’s a butt, but I love him); a daily mindfulness book; and a “Let God fight your battles” Christian lifestyle book for me. They were all in the clearance bin, so they were $2, $7, and $5 respectively.

I wasn’t even out of the door before the voices hit.

“You don’t really need them.”

“$14.50? How can you spend that knowing you can barely afford gas as it is?”

“You’re not going to be working with little kids, why would you even buy that?”

I don’t get buyer’s remorse over important things, like tuition or vehicles or houses. I get buyer’s remorse over every single little thing.

That $50,000 my mom dug a hole with? All of it, every penny, was on useless trinkets that 90% of have been chucked already. I recently discussed her wastefulness with my dearest friend Maggie, and how it twists my insides every time. But I’m the child. I was raised with very strict parentage where you say “Yes ma’m. No ma’m.” and never dare to voice your thoughts. (Just for the record, I totally agree with instilling respectfulness in your children! But in my household, my brother and I cannot respectfully share our ideas–on anything, for fear of my father’s temper or my mother’s defensiveness.) So she continues to shop, and I continue to pick up the pieces.

Shopping addiction breeds buyer’s remorse. Just not where you’d think.

I didn’t make it outside before those voices picked back up again, and I barely made it home before the tears started pouring. When I’m shopping, I’m constantly in a mental haggle–like something out of a movie (picture a stereotypical accent, of course). Half of my brain is justifying the purchase and the other half is my shopping-accuser. I can’t tell whose voice is mine, my mother’s, my father’s, or even God’s.

And it scares me.

I’m so desparate not to be like my mom that I’ve begun fearing purchases, and I didn’t fully realize it until after buying those books. There was absolutely nothing wrong with getting those books, no selfish intent or obsessive motive, and yet I’ve been contemplating returning them since I got in line to purchase them. That’s not healthy. And I’m honestly not sure how to go about fixing this obviously, very broken part of me.

“But perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

I’ve got a very big God who knows much, much better than I how to go about fixing all the broken parts of my life. I know that, and yet I still try bandaging it all up by myself. Sometimes it takes the things you can’t bandage to remind you that He’s been patching you up all along. I took a pretty big hit today to be reminded of that. I know I’ll need that reminder again and again.

But He’s okay with that. People like to think God is going to smite us for asking questions and making mistakes; on the contrary, I like to think He smiles when we ask Him, because if we didn’t ask we couldn’t grow.

If you do suffer from shopping addiction, I sincerely ask that you take the time today to evaluate what areas of your life are hurting because of the addiction. It is every bit as real and harmful as any other addiction and needs to be addressed, please. Thank you very much for reading, I know this one was kind of heavy today. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

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 ❤︎