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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College · Counseling

Shaking the Nerves: 7 Tips to Prepare for Class Presentations

Good evening! 🙂 I hope the week has treated you well–I’m currently bundled up in a blanket, wondering why Winter has suddenly reclaimed control over the weather lol. Due to a bout of anemia this year and just a change in personality, I’ve gone from loving all things cold weather to “Bring on Summer!!”, so these 40 degree days have lost their appeal. Oh well, it was still a gorgeous, sunny day!

It’s not quite final exam season yet, but this is what I call “pre-finals” season (and if you’re in school right now, you know exactly what I’m talking about). It’s the in-between where teachers and professors throw in all the hefty projects, essays, and extra assignments they can before we have to start obsessing over finals.

Needless to say, I’m ready for the semester to be over lol.

However, there are some enjoyable parts about this season: I got to present my first-ever lesson plan yesterday! For those of you who’ve been reading my posts awhile, you know I recently switched my career focus from teaching to counseling–so, my EDU professor let me put together a counseling lesson plan for the age group I’m interning with (fourth graders).

As a sort of memoir for these beginning days in my counseling journey, I think I’m going to do a post specifically explaining the lesson plan, if you’d be interested 🙂 Even if you don’t work in the school system, maybe you could use it with your own kiddos!

The way the lesson plan went was that my EDU class (professor included, so about nine in all) pretended to be fourth graders while I gave the lesson. I’ll have you know, that this was my first time presenting–ever! Most of the other girls have all either been in internships before or are actually working in a daycare or school system already.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a shy introvert with a dislike for the spotlight. You may be the life of the party, but I think we can all agree that class presentations are nerve-wracking. I physically shake when in front of the class! My hands get clammy, my legs get shaky, and the very tip-tops of my ears burn an unbecoming shade of lobster red.

Sound familiar?

As unavoidable as the butterflies may seem, I’ve got a few tips I’ve rounded up from past (and present) experiences that I hope can help you out. Yesterday, I presented without the shakes and stumbles, and know you can too:

Prepared not unprepared 477805217

Preparedness:

I don’t care what my guy friends tried telling me in high school, “winging it” just doesn’t cut it. (Sorry men, I’m not trying to be sexist, it really was the guys in my class.) There’s no better way to make yourself nervous than to show up for a presentation, meeting, or interview with no clue what you’re going to say. Which leads me to my next tip:

Outlining

Outlining:

I personally try to memorize my speech before every presentation. I know this comes with the risk of sounding monotonous or like you’re on autopilot mode, but there are ways to help that like eye contact, hand gestures, and intonation. But back to outlining: whether you want to write out everything you’re going to say until you have it memorized or just want a brief “1, 2, 3”, go ahead and scribble something down. It’s better to plan too much and be able to drop information–especially if you’re like me and have this wonderful knack for blanking out.

Study room

Separate work and play:

I get it. This presentation is worth half your semester grade or could land you the biggest promotion in your office. You want to do the best and are willing to do whatever it takes–including pulling an all-nighter and arriving to class or work on a caffeinated adrenaline high.

But please, don’t.

Set aside time for your project, a little every day leading up to it, so that you can avoid cramming last minute. But more importantly, set an end time. An hour, three hours, half the day–just make sure that, when you’re done, you are done. (Oh, and get some sleep.) Take time to pamper yourself or just sit around relaxing, so you’re not so burntout by the time you present that you can’t think straight. This also applies to separating yourself from distractions when working (yep, that means the cell phone goes away. When boredom kicks in and your phone is out of reach, you won’t be able to start scrolling through Instagram for the next hour. You’re welcome).

Green tea

Have a warm drink:

It sounds small, but it can go a long way. When I was prepping for my counseling lesson plan, I ended up with a scratchy throat–the last thing anyone wants before a presentation. I found that having warm tea not only soothed my throat, but it helped me to relax, especially the morning of. To take it a step further, feeding yourself right is beyond important. I know it gets to be cliche, we’ve all heard it before, but that’s because it’s the truth: what you put into your body is what you can expect to get out of it. Stay hydrated, eat your greens, and enjoy a cup of tea.

Exercise

Exercise the day before:

Now, I’m no scientist or fitness expert. I can’t tell you all the specific, fancy mumbo-jumbo behind the endorphin release that comes from working out. But I can tell you that I’ve felt it and I know it to be true. (Again, this should really be a part of your regular schedule, just like eating healthier.) Ladies, trust me, I know getting sweaty the morning beforehand just ain’t happening, which is why I’m suggesting this the day before. Taking a brisk walk, going for a run, lifting weights–the choice is yours, just get the blood pumping and limbs moving. Sitting and studying is going to leave you crabby enough without the added stress of not moving all day long, I promise.

You can do it.jpeg

Tell yourself you’ve got this:

You’re going to get a little nervous, plain and simple. It’s natural. However, how you talk to yourself during the butterflies can make or break your performance.

Thinking things like “I can’t do this”, “I’m going to mess it up”, or “They’re going to judge me” is depressing and disheartening–and certainly isn’t going to make the nerves go away! Instead, tell yourself you can do it: you’re beautiful/handsome, you’re an amazing human being, and you can rock this!

And one last thing… everybody else is just as nervous as you. You’re not alone. Before the awkward silence starts, share a few laughs with your classmates or coworkers about how one of you forgot your flashdrive, you’re already sweating, and this is your least favorite subject. Then, tell them they’ve got this too!

Bible study 1

Last, but not least, read a few verses:

It’s intimidating, I know. The Bible is a big book and it can almost seem to loom from the bedside table. If it makes it easier, just google some empowering verses on your phone–we all know your phone is already out anyway. Whatever way you go about it, I cannot tell you how much this can help you destress. Reading how God will not let you fall (Psalm 46:5), how God is always with us (Joshua 1:9), and that God Himself makes the way and fights for us (Exodus 14:14) can be incredibly encouraging when we’re preparing for something we know makes us nervous.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Presentations can be a little nerve-inducing, but they don’t have to be scary! I let God show me how much he loves me and how he wants me to be confident, laughing without fear of the future, and because of thatI had the best presentation of my life yesterday! I want with all my heart for you to know that same love and confidence, in whatever you do, every day 🙂 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 ❤︎

College

Life Happens: College 101

Hey guys!

It feels like an eternity–and then some–since I got to truly sit down and bask in the feeling of blogging. Anyone else had those days (cough, weeks, cough), when you’ve been so busy and you finally get to come back to your blog?

Well, that’s definitely me right now. First off, I’d like to apologize to anyone who has commented and I’ve been–severely–overdue in responding. I know it’s no excuse, but that phrase in my header: “Life happens”? It’s been happenin’.

College students are probably familiar with the term “senioritis”, a passionate desire to get the heck out of dodge and leave all things high school behind.

Yeah… I never got that.

What I have now is some ironically twisted college-itis. I’m at a community college currently, and was accepted into the university where I’ll be transferring in the Fall this past October… so now I’m feeling a severe case of unmotivated lol. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the overly-studious individual I’ve always been–I’m just so ready for this stage of the game to be over. (And who wants to go back after Spring Break and then consecutive snow days anyway, right??)

Rather than being the behind-the-scenes man we typically see Him as, God’s been peeking His head out from behind the curtain a whole lot for me lately: Career planning (I absolutely have not forgotten that post! I’m waiting for God’s leading on the timing, I thank you so so much for the patience!). Applying for housing. Surveying potential summer jobs. Preparing for my first trip to Radford (this Saturday, ahh!!!). Significant meal prep modifications (might be a post soon?). Juggling my schedule. Trying to truck through the final legs of this last semester.

It can seriously put your brain on autopilot.

If you’ve been through the “senioritis” phase (or are going through it right now), this may sound familiar. However, it’s pretty darn foreign to me and I’m not sure I like it haha. Half of my brain is going over all the reasons I need to stay focused and get back into the swing of things and the other half is somewhere in Guatemala, lounging in the sun (Maggie, this was for you xD).

So how do we get past this?

I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure–I obviously don’t have everything perfectly put together! I like being open with you guys though, and to me it makes a person far more real when they don’t just “grin and bear it”. So, while I offer up these tips, know that I’m in the exact same boat trying to follow these myself, friend:

  1. Take a break: Spring break coming up? Do not fill it up with extra homework you can get done–I know, this sounds like the opposite of helpful, but hear me out. Your poor brain can only handle so much late-night studying and caffeine comas before it melts. Productivity is good; overexertion is not. God instructs us in the Bible to care for ourselves–mind, body, and spirit. Caring for yourself may very well mean setting a curfew on homework, free time or no. And I’ve often found that I do even better after letting myself rest than if I’d tried white-knuckling it.
  2. Get organized: In a former post of mine, I talked about the benefits of using a planner or bullet journal or the like. When I’ve got three million things coming up, taking a few minutes to simply jot down what’s coming up when keeps me from getting overwhelmed. (Bonus: it helps prevent total brain shut-down because you’re not trying to remember Granny’s birthday cake recipe, if your brother’s soccer game hours conflict with you and your bff’s dinner plans, and who replaced Pierre-Charles L’enfant during the urbanization of America.)
  3. Me Time: While it sounds similar, I want to emphasize that this is not the same thing as taking a break. Whereas a break could be an allotted amount of time or a vacation or even just ten minutes between study sessions, “me time” is different. Think of it like a business meeting with yourself, if you will: you wouldn’t cancel on your boss, would you? This time has to have the same priority level–write it in bold in your planner if you need to. My typical “me time”, for example, can be my Bible and yoga time first thing in the morning or maybe working on my book manuscript (if writing stresses you out though, opt out on this one). Half hour, hour, or a whole day–whatever you need and whatever is rejuvenating to you. Oh, and no rushing it!

As a side note, I want to say that, though my schedule has been loaded and I am looking forward to the things to come, God has been beautifully reminding me to stop and smell the roses. These past two years, but these past two months especially, He has been cultivating my mindsets, my heart for Him, and my body in ways I’m only beginning to understand–and I couldn’t be more at peace. No, everything in my life’s not perfect. No, I don’t have it all together or know what’s ahead. But I know that, whatever tomorrow brings, God’s already there.

To all my brave college and school friends, I salute you! I know that you can make it through–even if it seems to take forever haha! I hope that these tips will help you, whether you’re in school or not, to approach the reality of life with the joy of a child and courage of a giant. God bless you, you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

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 ❤︎

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 ❤︎

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 ❤︎