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 ❤︎

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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 · 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 ❤︎

Battling Depression · Finding Purpose

3 Ways to Channel Your Inner Judy Hopps at Work or School

Good evening–or morning, or night, whenever you get the time to read this!

Generally, I’m one of those young adults that her peers look at as “having it all together”: I’m very organized, routine-oriented, plan-focused, and academically driven. Generally, I am always ready with a quick smile for friend and stranger alike.

But everybody has bad days, and I am certainly no exception.

This past Wednesday, my education class received our internship placements at the nearby Elementary School (and just so you know, this will be my first official teaching experience… ever *gulp*). I had requested to intern with the reading specialist, as my preference (obviously 😉 ) lies with the language arts and I wanted so badly to be a part of the system that opens childrens’ eyes to the magic of the written word. Reading and writing permeate every tangible and, more importantly, intangible aspect of the human world and to assist a child in such comprehension would lighten my heart every day!

So, Wednesday morning we met for the orientation, a 30-minute tour given by the school’s principal. Before we left the front lobby, she reached for her list of placements, each of us an equal mix of eagerness and nervousness. One-by-one, she calls each of our names. Each girl gets her mentor’s name, grade, and subject. 1st, 2nd, 3rd… Seventh in line, the principal turns to me…

“4th grade Math and Science”.

“Math”?

“Science”?

I was stunned. Completely derailed. The next half hour, I struggled to contain my racing thoughts, for fear the principal would see my inner turmoil playing out on my face. Did the reading specialist not want me? Why not at least the V.A. Studies/Language Arts teacher? I’m the only one who didn’t get her request. I didn’t even like math or science; how am I supposed to help a kid?? We travel through the campus-styled buildings and down the third and fourth grade hallway, past Olaf-and-snowflake-decorated classroom doors…

My teacher’s door is the only one not decorated.

Confused and scared, I sat in my car for the next hour following the tour and kind of, seriously, yeah definitely have a mental breakdown.

You see, my desire is to help people; I want to show love and spread encouragement. But I have literally no clue what career I should choose, and the clock is ticking down fast. If you’re also in college or finishing up high school, believe me, you are not alone in the struggle. All my life, people have told me I’d make a great teacher.

And yet, nothing fills me with more fear and self-doubt than the thought of standing in that classroom.

I’ll admit, the past two days I’ve been in a bit of an existential crisis. Pretty much questioning my entire purpose. After a whole lot of meditation, prayer, and some internal raging, I have determined–albeit somewhat unwillingly–to let go of my control and let God, because he knows better than I. His plans are always for our good and there’s something greater at work here I just can’t see yet.

I also got the help of one sassy bunny.

Judy Hopps

While in my car Wednesday afternoon, I suddenly thought of the movie “Zootopia”. If you haven’t seen it (first, I totally recommend you go watch it!), it’s a cute cartoon packed with all sorts of beautiful messages, but the main character is a bunny named Judy Hopps who has always dreamed of being a police officer.

She arrives, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, for her first day on the job in the big city–excited and ready! Her boss, Chief Bogo, passes out assignments to each of the officers…

Judy gets ticket duty.

Like me on Wednesday, she is initially shocked, but soon recovers and overcomes this with a surge of determination I am still praying to achieve:

“100 tickets? I’m not going to write 100 tickets–I’m going to write 200 tickets! Before noon.”

I’ve never been a really “proactive” person. I’m just not the overly-ambitious type. Fierce competition was never really my thing, and because of the emotional/verbal abuse in my household, I am definitely a submissive individual. So, switching from negative to positive in a flash like Judy is really hard for me.

You may struggle to find the good in your job. School may be beyond stressful right now (I’m right here with you friend). But, with a little help, we can each find our inner Judy Hopps:

  1. Smile: Simple, right? If you’re in a really tough situation, you know this one’s not as easy as it sounds. However, by simply tipping the corners of your mouth up, you are promoting the happy feelings in your body to get grooving. I don’t know all the scientific mumbo-jumbo behind it all, but I know it helps. Give it a shot 🙂
  2. Breathe: Did you know that when we start to get panicky or stressed, we physically restrain our breaths? It’s like a literal stress band we tie around our chests, preventing us from taking in a deep breath. If you feel the stress coming–maybe your boss yelled at you or a coworker is being completely uncooperative–, take a moment to consciously inhale… and exhale. Not only will this help to calm your inner emotions, but it will help keep you from saying anything you might later regret.
  3. Don’t Worry: Ahuh, I saw the eyeroll. And belieevveee me!, I wanted nothing more than to scoff at the words that DARED tell me not to worry when I don’t have any idea what I’m doing for the rest of my life, how in the world I’m going to get through this internship, and what am I supposed to do if it turns out I hate teaching? But would you know, the phrase “Do not worry” is written 365 times in the Bible. That’s once a day that we’re reminded not to worry. It’s not because there aren’t things to worry about–it’s because we have to trust God to handle those very same things. There will always be “What if?”‘s, and if we’re not careful they will consume us. Focus on today. Tomorrow’s worries will come soon enough, don’t let them rob you of your now.

A little bonus tip I suggest is turning the dismay into a challenge, like Judy did when Chief Bogo assigned her 100 parking tickets: even though she was upset at first, she resolved not only to do the 100, but she even doubled it! I’m unfortunately not at this point yet, but I’m getting there–it’s all in the baby steps!

Thank you so much for reading! I dearly hope that this helps any of you are struggling with disappointments today. God’s got you. He is so much bigger than whatever it is you’re facing–for me, that’s a 4th grade classroom. He’s bigger than your worries too. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎