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48 Daily Habits to Make in 2016

| On
December 31, 2015

As I've been noodling around with the idea of New Year's resolutions, I've been considering the idea of trying to add new habits into your life. In other words, focusing on adding baby steps every day instead of focusing on some big unrealistic end goal with no thought on how to get from A to B. So I've scoured a few sites for ideas and come up with a few of my own and come up with a list of habits for you to consider. Which of these habits will you try to add in 2016?

  • Take a walk right after lunch every day.
  • Put away technology at least one hour before you want to go to bed.
  • Drink a glass of water first thing every morning.
  • Meditate for a few minutes when you wake up in the morning.
  • Take a 15-20 minute nap every day.
  • Do a few sun salutations or a few minutes of stretching when you wake up and before bed.
  • Park in a far-away parking spot for work or class.
  • Do a certain number of push-ups, sit-ups or squats every morning or evening.
  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
  • Plan your meals for the week every Sunday or right before you go grocery shopping.
  • Brush your teeth 2-3 times a day + floss daily. 
  • Try a new food every week.

  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Give a genuine compliment every day.
  • Choose an affirmation to repeat to yourself every day.
  • Spend at least 15 minutes outside every day, no matter the weather.
  • Block social media during the weekdays, or even just one day a week.
  • Every night, congratulate yourself on your achievements of the day (even small ones count!)
  • Watch the sun rise or set once a week.
  • Set a certain "technology-free" hour every day.
  • Keep a daily journal.

  • Write a to-do list when you get out of bed every morning.
  • Plan your schedule for the following day before you go to bed.
  • Take active breaks every 45-60 minutes to stretch or jog in place.
  • Spend one hour a night reviewing the material learned that day.
  • Or review material every morning before class.
  • Spend fifteen minutes tidying your bedroom or workspace.

  • Read scripture for 15, 30 or 60 minutes a day.
  • Memorize one Bible verse a week (practice every day).
  • Doodle or draw phrases from scripture when you need a break.
  • Practice praying at certain times of the day (when you wake up, before bed, before meals).
  • Take meditative walks, focusing on a piece of scripture or praying as you walk.
  • Keep a daily list of prayer requests and praises.
  • Check in with an accountability partner daily to give and receive support for your spiritual goals.

  • Talk to one person you don't know every day, even if it's just small talk while waiting in line or a quick hello.
  • Call someone far away every week.
  • Text someone every day to let them know you're thinking of them.
  • Write a hand-written letter every week.

  • Give away one thing you don't need every week.
  • Make a budget and review your spending habits weekly.
  • Instead of eating out, cook at home.
  • Put a certain amount into savings as soon as you receive a paycheck.
  • Save a certain amount of money every week.

  • Spend a certain amount of time blogging every night.
  • Plan your posts for the week every Sunday. 
  • Comment on a few blog posts every day.
  • Share someone else's blog post on social media.

Let me know in the comments if you plan to work on any of these habits (or any others!) in the coming year! Or, just tell me about your goals or resolutions!

New Cheer / A New Year's Playlist

| On
December 29, 2015
alcohol, bar, drinks

I have a ridiculous love affair with Christmas music. I'm that irritating, overly-excited person that starts listening to Christmas music as soon as Halloween is over (I don't even wait for Thanksgiving!). Really, if you took a peek through my iTunes library, I have multiple playlists for Christmas music...because sometimes you want old Bing Crosby stuff and sometimes you want modern She & Him Christmas songs. 

That said, I always felt like other holidays, especially New Year's were a little lacking in the musical festivities. But I looked around last year and this year and put together a playlist of music that is (for the most part) specifically celebrating New Year's! 

Whether you're hosting a big sparkly party or just watching the ball drop on your couch writing out your resolutions, have a listen + have a lovely New Year!

How do you celebrate New Year's??

Do You Make New Year's Resolutions?

| On
December 28, 2015
light, person, woman

I love all things goal-setting related + so naturally I really love the start of something new, whether it's a semester, a year of school or a calendar year. I especially love New Year's because it usually is the start of a new semester of school and a new calendar year. Usually, I love New Year's Resolutions, making goals, "intentions", picking a word for the year, etc. 

But over the last couple years, I've become a little bit disenchanted with the idea of New Year's Resolutions, as I think a lot of people are. Forbes recently said that only 8% of people really achieve their New Year's Resolutions. And really...that's not a very good success rate. 

I don't want to give up on resolutions just yet. I don't know if that huge number of people failing is because people make unrealistic goals or don't have good motivation or what, but we shouldn't view resolutions as something that can't be successful. The new year is a great time to look back on the past year + consider how we can improve ourselves in the next one! 

Over the next few days, I'll definitely be thinking (and posting!) about how I want to go about my goals for the next year. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on all things New Year's Resolutions related!

12 Days of Love Letters

| On
December 16, 2015

For someone who spends an unfortunately significant amount of time on the computer, largely blogging and such, I really do love returning to the simple art of letter writing. Growing up, my mom was always a huge believer that thank you notes should be written as soon as possible after birthday parties and such + I think that was the beginning of letter writing for me.

When H and I started dating in high school, I would spent summers on the other side of the country + we started writing letters. It did feel silly sometimes, half of the time we told each other the news in the letter before the letter even got there. 

But the more letters we wrote, the more special they became for me (and hopefully him as well!). I loved getting to see his handwriting and the way he leaves out apostrophes and the dots on his 'i's sometimes. We started doodling--he would draw me jellyfish or funny stick figures and I would try to write our names and addresses in a pretty way. He experimented with different fountain pens and I always love picking out fun cards and stationery. All those little details made our letters more special than just a conversation over text or on the phone. They were gifts, and they became mementos that I still save in a shoebox under my bed.

Just in the past year or two, I've gotten to expand the way I write letters. I started writing letters to my grandmother and my friends at other schools. I sometimes just write notes to friends here with me, just for fun. But one of my favorite letter-related activities is writing letters responding to the requests on

Every two weeks, a few new requests are posted on the website--people of all ages and backgrounds who for whatever reason, need encouragement. They might be recently widowed elderly women or young teenagers dealing with struggles of growing up. But wherever they are in their lives, they could use a little extra encouragement, in the form of a letter from a stranger.

This month, in honor of the holiday season, MLL has been hosting a campaign called 12 Days of Letter Writing. Instead of every two weeks, there is a new request up every single day of someone who really needs that extra support during the Christmas season. I encourage you to read through the requests and choose one (or more!) that resonates with you and take five minutes to send that person a card or a letter. It doesn't have to be fancy--notebook paper is fine!

I chose to write a letter to Vincent, the recipient from Day 1 (though you can still go back at write him!). You can go read his story a little more on the requests page, but in short, Vincent recently lost his wife to postpartum depression, just a short time after the birth of their first child. This year is Vincent's first Christmas without his wife, raising a child on his own. 

I could honestly go on and on about why you should join in on this campaign, but I think you probably understand why this is such an important thing. Lately, I've been trying to focus on giving my attention and my care to other people, even more than gifts or money, this holiday season. I hope you'll do the same.

Let me know if you end up writing a letter to one of the requests or if you have any questions about More Love Letters!

How I'm Choosing to Reframe My Failures

| On
December 14, 2015

In the past, I never would have called myself a perfectionist. Especially in high school, I was pretty successful, quite honestly, in most of the things I did. As a result, I never had to worry or stress out about messing something up. I'm not sure when exactly that changed, when I stopped forgiving myself for getting a B or taking a lazy day. But I did, and it's changed the way I treat myself.

Sometimes, we need to be real with ourselves about our failures. We can't ignore our mistakes. But at the same time, if we dwell on our mistakes so long that we don't let ourselves fix them...we're only hurting ourselves more. That's what I've been doing lately. I've been beating myself up for anything less than perfection so much that I don't have the energy left to pick myself back up and keep going.

I know some of you probably understand this feeling--especially in finals week, when emotions run high and the threat of failure is sitting in the back of our brain just reminding us that it's a possibility. With all that fear of failure, it's easy to feel like any mistake or flaw is the one that will end it all and make it impossible for us to get back on our path of success. You feel me on this? Like if I spend an hour watching TV when I should be studying, then all of a sudden, I'm telling myself that I'm not a discliplined person, that I'm not going to do well, that I don't have what it takes to have success in life.

That's just not true, none of it.

There are a few things that I've been telling myself instead.

I heard an analogy on Gretchen Ruben's podcast "Happier". On it, she (or someone else, I can't remember) compared our own failures to a chef trying out a new recipe. If a chef, even the most skilled chef in the world, wants to try a new dish, chances are, he or she will try it many times. Cooking it different ways. Trying new ingredients. Plating it differently each time. Every time the chef starts again, they are nixing the last dish they made. But...we wouldn't call that a failure, would we? Because it's a necessary and natural step of the path to making a delicious, new dish.

And it's really the same for us. If we reframe the way we look at our mistakes and failures, we can keep them from stopping us. This is my goal now. Instead of my own mental mistreatment, I try to turn things around and even if I don't believe them at first, repeating these things until I do take them as truth.

Failing means I challenged myself.

Failing means I attempted something above mediocre.

Failure gives me a chance to pick myself up and try again, doing a little better each time.

Failure doesn't not mean I won't succeed in the future.

Failure is teaching me humility and perseverance.

Failure is building a more resilient spirit inside me.

Failure makes the victories all the more triumphant.

Every time I go through this list, a different phrase will resonate with me, and it's probably the same for you. I've been writing them down on a physical piece of paper and posting them right above my desk, because those failures will inevitable continue to come.

How do you deal with feeling like you've failed yourself?

6 Time Management Tips for Finals Week

| On
December 10, 2015

First off, I feel obligated to say that I have absolutely not been using these tips nearly as much as I should be (oops). Usually, I'm very good about staying on top of tasks and motivating myself but procrastination has been hitting me hard these days. I only have two exams left, one next Tuesday and one on Thursday, but my very last one (organic chemistry) will be a doozy. SO I've started using these strategies to keep me on task with everything I have to do!

+ Split all big, scary tasks into teeny, not-scary tasks. Specifically, take vague tasks and try to make them more concrete by splitting them into individual, specific tasks. I especially like to narrow everything down to tasks that will take at most an hour at a time. For example, instead of telling myself that I have to "study for chemistry", I can split that into the tasks of reviewing notes, redoing problems missed on old exams, doing practice problems and doing a practice exam. Each of those sections can even be narrowed down even more by chapter. This method really helps me not to get overwhelmed by huge tasks by taking things one baby step at a time.

+ Be disciplined in getting rid of distractions. I feel like this is one of those easy-peasy helpers that I know I should do...but for some reason I never do. But I know that getting rid of distractions always makes me more productive. Maybe that means blocking social media and certain websites from your computer, deleting apps on your phone (or turning it off altogether) or even going somewhere else so you're not constantly tempted by the cookie dough in your fridge (and by you, I mean me). I use a great extension for Chrome called StayFocusd. I can block a list of websites for a given time (bloglovin, facebook, pinterest, etc) or go in "nuclear mode" and turn off all internet for a time. It's really helpful to force myself to get away!

+ Staying healthy is the best way to make sure you can use your time productively. I have a friend who gets sick every single semester right before finals week--it's natural! We're stressed, we're probably not taking very good care of ourselves, so naturally our body gets tired and our immune system just can't keep up. But once you're sick or super tired, none of these tips above will help you. Keep your health up by exercising every other day, eating regular healthy meals (no skipping! no late night chocolate/cookies/pizza!) and SLEEPING eight hours a night as much as possible. Y'all. I'm serious. Sleep does not make you lazy. Sleep is a glorious thing.

+ Keep a positive mindset. Sometimes my biggest stumbling block is that I'm horrible at dealing positively with my own failures. If I make a study plan and get distracted and behind, I actually get angry with myself. I get upset and frustrated. But then, I spend so much energy getting mad at myself that I don't have any left to work on that thing that I was supposed to be doing! It becomes a negative cycle. This can alllll be prevented just by reacting kindly to whatever happens. If you don't do as well as you had hoped on something, it's okay. Take a deep breath. You can't change the future but you can keep it from messing up the rest of your day.

+ Build in regular breaks. I aim to take about 15 minutes of break after every 45 minutes of work, but if I'm doing something particularly unpleasant, I might even make that 10 minutes of break for every 30 minutes of work. You can fiddle with it and try to find a ration that feels good without getting lazy. But the trick to this is that you have to be ruthless in the timing. It's just as important to force yourself to take your whole break when it's time as it is to make sure you're working hard during your work period.

+ Take intentionally relaxing/fun/rewarding breaks. When you do get to your break periods, I highly, highly recommend that you not spend it noodling on facebook unless you just really enjoy that. Most likely, it'll feel like wasted time and you'll want to take an even longer break. What I do recommend: reading, coloring, meditating, (sometimes) Netflix, cleaning, cooking, etc.

What are your time management tricks? Any finals tips? Fellow college bloggers/blog readers, come say hi!

4 Reasons to Get Up Early

| On
December 07, 2015
food, cup, mug


Just the word strikes a little bit of fear in my heart. My fellow college students reading this right now know what's up.

But amid the craziness, I've managed to make one lovely change over the semester or so: I'm getting up early. Not early early, but a comfortable seven o'clock. I'm lucky in that my first class is at 8:30am. I know it's not what most students would prefer but I've gotten in a smooth routine of productive mornings. And there's nothing that makes me satisfied quite like productive mornings.

I'm one of those people who just has to share when good things happen--I want you to feel the early morning goodness too! But in case you're just not convinced why the heck you should get up early, let me explain why I do.

+ I get alone time. As an introvert (granted a fairly social one), I loooove spending some quality time with myself. It makes me so happy to read, cross-stitch, doodle or even watch Netflix by myself. However, living with a roommates generally makes this difficult. Especially with our schedules, we find that we're often at home at the same time and even though we don't share bedrooms, there's always the temptation to go out and socialize. Which is great, don't get me wrong--I love my roommates. But sometimes, I just need a little quiet time. By getting up early, I have at least half an hour to work on stuff or get ready before anyone else is up and doing things.

+ I have time to plan out my day. The other day, on a Saturday, I made the mistake of staying in bed until 9:45, which sounds fine, until I realized that I needed an hour to shower and get ready and then 30 minutes to allow to get to campus. And to save you from doing the math, I'll tell you that I was almost late to my 10:40am meeting. When I get up early though, I can easily plan out my morning--and even my whole day! I like to write a list of my classes + to-dos for the day, and then figure out where I can fit tasks in my day. I get so much more done!

+ I feel accomplished. This sound silly, I know. BUT we all know that getting up early is hard. Really hard. But when I get up early, I've already done something awesome. It may just be a simple mind trick, but after getting up early, I feel like the rest of my day will be easy. There's something to be said for doing something challenging first thing every day just to remind yourself who's boss (YOU ARE).

+ I make time to do things that I might not otherwise get around to. I know I don't really, but getting early helps me feel like I have a little more time in the day. When I stay up late, I'm rarely productive. But early in the morning, I'm eager to get stuff done. This means I get to write blog posts, read my Bible, read blogs or listen to music. Other days, these things just don't happen + I'm a little less happy because of it.

Do you get up early? Why or why not?

Fun and Pretty Stationery from Etsy

| On
October 26, 2015
It's no secret that I absolutely love writing letters and with that comes a ridiculous love of pretty stationery and cards. Especially since I've moved far away from the majority of my friends and family, I've found myself going through so many cards, and so I've been on the hunt for some new ones!

As I'm sure many of you are, I'm a huge fan of Etsy because it's full of creative designs that you probably won't find anywhere else and you get to support people who are doing life their own way. I really respect that!

I put together a little collage of some of my favorites + linked to them below. Which are your favorites? Where else do you get cards and stationery? 

Left to right, top to bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Any of y'all big letter writers? Aren't these adorable!! Don't worry--no sponsorships or affiliate links on these, just super cute cards.

Self-Care Solutions

| On
October 23, 2015

I was just about to start off this post by saying it's been a busy week...but when is it not a busy week, am I right? Maybe it's just this time of year or this time in my life, but there are so many things in my life that I have to do and so many things that I want to do and it all just kind of adds up. 

And when I'm really busy--even when I'm busy with good things--I've learned that I don't take time to deal with my emotions, whether they're positive or negative. I just keep plugging along, getting things done, checking things off. Which is fine...for a little while. But if I keep up that sort of pattern, eventually, every stress or worry or little hurt that I've bottled up comes out and I have a meltdown because I can't connect to the wifi. 

You know what I mean?

But I actually know how to avoid those meltdowns. I do (the problem is that I don't always do it...)! 

SELF-CARE. That's right, spoil yourself a little. In the middle of everything busy and stressful, I absolutely have to take a break and love on myself a little. 

For awhile, I thought that I didn't have time for self-care, that I was just too busy. But over the last few months especially, I've noticed that when I skip out on taking care of myself, I tend to have those meltdowns or work inefficiently or feel tired and I actually lose time in the long run by not taking breaks. Crazy, right?! Here are a few ways that I like to practice self-care. 

COOK A DECENT MEAL / This one is actually two-fold in its benefits. First off, even though I'm not really a natural at it, I do enjoy cooking. It's very satisfying for me to see a meal come together (and then get to eat it!). But also, it does good for my physical wellbeing too. When I cook food from scratch, I'm so much more likely to make healthy food that I enjoy instead of something unhealthy but convenient. And when I eat healthy food, I feel happy with my choice and I feel physically better in the long run. 

TAKE A NAP / We all know this one, but you have to be careful to do it the right way. Really, a nap longer than twenty or thirty minutes may be doing you more harm than good, especially if it makes you stay up later and messes up your sleep schedule. But on some days, you just need to reboot your day and pretend to start from scratch. On those days, I'll get in bed, put a sleep mask and rain sounds on and set my alarm for 15-25 minutes. It usually refreshes me pretty well + I don't feel groggy!

SPEND TIME WITH A FRIEND / Says the introvert! Well, one on one at least. When I need a break, I might venture out into the living room and find one of my roommates and have a little chat, or I might call H and see how his day is going. To some extent, we can totally care for ourselves by caring about other people.

SPEND TIME IN THE SCRIPTURES / This is definitely something I've been struggling with. But I know that when I make Scripture a priority, I'm that much more prepared to love on myself all day, as well as everyone around me. Scripture is valuable for so many reasons, but one is that it always reminds me of my own value in God's eyes.

DO SOMETHING LAZY / This isn't always the best option as sometimes less lazy options of hobbies (like exercise or doing a fun activity) can be more fulfilling even if they require a little effort. But sometimes, you just need to take a long bath or watch some Netflix or noodle the internet. I think it's really important to consider what sounds the absolute best to you at a given time, not just what sounds the easiest. 

What do you do to take care of yourself?
Linking up with In Its Time.

Grateful Heart

| On
October 21, 2015
Grateful Heart was a series that I started nearly a year ago...and then promptly forgot about it! My goal is to bring it back on a monthly-ish basis. The goal of this series is to take time to consciously + publicly acknowledge all the crazy blessings in my life that I might otherwise overlook. Feel free to join me!

The last few weeks have been hard, especially being sick. It's been about two weeks now since I got sick and I still don't totally feel back to 100%. Because of that, I've missed some classes, I've been hoooorribly unproductive (which is the WORST feeling ever for me) and as a result of that, been very frustrated and unkind to myself. It's been kind of an icky cycle. But these are the times that I know it's so good to reframe my perspective and remind myself of all the good things in my life.

+H visiting me a few weeks ago was so nice. I know this might not count because it was a few weeks ago, but whatever, I'm still grateful for it. He was with me for like five whole days, which is a longer stretch than we've seen each other pretty much since May. Long-distance is hard--more because I forget how much I love him and it's easier to slide into apathy than keep that love alive, so any time in person together is just wonderful.

+ I'm auditioning for a new format of fitness classes + I'm very excited! I've only been to a few step aerobics classes due to the times they're available so it's really a long shot that I'll be hired to teach it, but for now, it's been a fun project to keep me exercising and busy. But, side note, if you've never been to step class or think it's just for menopausal women, you're so wrong. It's really quite entertaining, I think + actually has some really complex patterns that are fun to learn.

+ My health when I have it. Health is definitely one of those things that is soooo easy to take for granted. Literally every time I get sick, I'll be lying in bed, not being able to breathe out of at least one of my nostrils and I'll be wondering how I ever went a day without thanking God for letting me breathe through my nose. Seriously. 

+ My big! A few weeks ago in my sorority, we had big/little reveal and I found out who my big sister is! In all honesty, she was exactly who I hoped would be my big, but I didn't think that I had gotten her, so I was thrilled! She has such a kind and caring heart and I can't wait to spend more time with her. 

What are you grateful for these days? 

Bible Verses I Want to Memorize + An App to Help

| On
October 19, 2015

To be honest, memorizing Scripture is never something I've bothered to do. I've always admired people who can drop a Bible verse for any situation at the drop of a hat, but I've realized that kind of memorization takes intention. You can't just decide you want to have verses memorized and then brush off your hands and be done with it all. It seriously takes work, y'all!

But I'm really starting to believe in the value of memorizing Bible verses and I think it's such an important thing that I've been missing out on.

I've started using an app called Scripture Typer (iPhone/Android/just the website!) that helps me memorize Bible verses in my spare time. I'm trying to make a habit of using it whenever I'm waiting in line or early to class. In the app, you can enter in a verse, pick a translation and then go through the study plan. 

You practice reading it through while typing in the first letter of every word. Then, the app will remove some of the words and you have to come up with them and then at the end, you do your best to write the whole verse. I really like it!

I've started a little collection in the app of verses that I'd like to memorize in the future. Here are some that I've been thinking about! 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [Matthew 6:33]

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. [Romans 12:9]

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. [Psalm 33:4]

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. [1 Peter 1:6]

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. [Psalm 27:14]

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart [Proverb 27:19]

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [Psalm 23]

Psalm 139 is my long-term goal but it's long so I won't post it here!

So I'm really interested to see how this journey goes. Like I said, I've never really memorized much Scripture + part of me thinks that I'll never be able to really commit much to memory long term. But we'll see!

I'd love to hear from y'all on this one. If you memorize verses, what do you memorize and do you have any specific methods? How do you keep from forgetting them over time??

Curated / 21

| On
October 17, 2015

Well it's been a few weeks since I've done done a Curated post around here! I've missed it :) Over the last few weeks, I've been pretty sick + that's really been taking a lot of the physical and mental energy. But I'm starting to feel on the up and up, which is so nice. Isn't it funny how you always take your health for granted until you don't have it? 

And now I've had a few days to myself since my roommates have been out of town. As much as I love them, I loooove having some time to myself! I've mostly just vegging out, watching TV, working on some new group fitness stuff, and hanging out with my sorority sisters. It's been nice! Here's a little recap of what I've been reading/listening to/etc.

You might have missed...

Something about the fall weather coming on makes me love the color tan and little booties. I love this combination of the two with these Splendid Hamptyn Booties from Anthropologie (don't love the price though!).

I'm loving this beautiful wall calendar from Letter Me Loved. Every month has a 'reminder of grace'--many of which are lines from my favorite hymns!

Image of 2016 Letter Me Loved Calendar - Presale

I love slightly unusual workout clothing. I used to workout in just shorts and an old tshirt but these days I'm all about cute tanks and leggings. I've especially been eyeing these, these, these, and these.

This rockin' reminder. Forget the high-powered woman part, all of us easily excuse our successes as luck or coincidence or 'whatever'. But you're earned every bit of it. I know I need this reminder sometimes!

People I've Loved - You Are Not An Impostor / Oh So Beautiful Paper

How's your week been? Found any fun stuff on the internet?

A Letter to an Unknown Friend

| On
October 16, 2015
beach, sand, girl

To you, my fellow student, who gave up on life earlier this week,

I don't know you, friend. I don't know your name. I don't know how old you were. I don't know your favorite color or what food you craved late at night or what music you listened to to pump yourself up before an exam. 

I don't know what you were studying. I don't know what you dreamed for your future, if you hadn't already forgotten how to. 

I don't know what you liked to do in your spare time. I don't know if you liked sports or the arts or social events or anything else. Did you like to go to football games? Did I ever study next to you in the library? 

I wish I did know you. I feel like I did. I understand what it feels like to be fighting things that no one else can see. I know what it's like to feel like every day is a battle, and that sometimes even if you win the battle, it feels like you're losing the war. I think everyone can understand that. 

We've all become so good at hiding everything that's wrong with us. All our doubts, all our fears, all our angers, all our insecurities, and we've packed them tightly, deep down within ourselves where we can pretend they don't exist. 

And because we first try to pretend those monsters don't exist within us, it's that much easier to forget that they exist within others. That's why we treat each other the way we do. I believe that if I truly tried to remember what kind of feelings many of us have to fight off every day, I wouldn't have given that girl a nasty look on the road the other day....I wouldn't have gotten impatient with the staff at Einstein for taking too long to bring me my bagel...I wouldn't get irritated with my friends over petty, petty things. 

I don't know if we ever passed each other or met each other. If I ever passed by you, I'm sorry if I didn't smile at you. If you worked on campus, I'm so sorry if I wasn't polite. If I ever met you, I'm so sorry if I didn't take time to listen to you. If I ever knew you, I'm sorry I didn't show Christ's love to you in a way that made you so confident about your value that you could never forget it. 

I wish I could rewind every interaction I've ever had just in case we met and just in case I could have made a difference in that moment. I wish I could have smiled at you. Listened to you. Loved you. Proved to you that you matter. 

But I can't turn back time and fix whatever feelings brought you to this point. But I can change the future. This is my promise to you, unknown friend. I won't be perfect. I won't always be kind. I won't always refrain from being rude. I won't always love others the way I should. 

But I will try. 

For you, and for people like you and people like me, I will try. 

What are Your Favorite Blogs to Read?

| On
October 14, 2015

Maybe it's just me but I feel like it's been an odd couple of months in the blog world. I've been flipping through my Bloglovin' feed (add me to yours!) and it seems like nearly 1/3 of all the blogs I follow have dropped off the face of the internet in the last six months. That's crazy!

And while I miss reading a lot of those blogs, I certainly understand that if blogging is a hobby, it certainly can take the backseat to other things in your life. In the two and a half years I've been blogging here, I've taken plenty of breaks, some of them even a month or two long. It's necessary!

That said, I'm cleaning out my feed a bit and looking for some new blogs to follow along with. And I would love your suggestions! I figure that I like my blog and you (probably) like my blog, so you and I probably have similar tastes in blogs. 

So share your favorite blogs with me! Or just let me know where you find new blogs.

3 Reminders for When You're Sick

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October 11, 2015

My boyfriend H visited me in Florida this past week and it was so so good to see him. I haven't seen him since August so I was so happy that he came to see me. That being said...he brought a nasty cold with him, which I of course caught from him. Thanks for that, babe. 

And so I'm already on life since I've been spending all my time with H + now I have to deal with being pretty sick. It's not a good place to be, right? I know we've all felt this way before and been in this situation. So here are just a few things that I'm trying to remind myself + that you may need to remind yourself sometime!

A break or a nap might be the most productive thing you can do. I'm the kind of person that will just work and work and work half-heartedly when I feel sick. I feel like I have so much to do that I can't take a break so I just keep working and not really getting anything done. Know the feeling? Sometimes I have to just remind myself that an intentional nap or break can be the thing I need to do before I can really get anything done.

Choose tasks you can still do. If you're sick, maybe let your intense workout slide down to a gentle walk. It's okay! Feel free to postpone what you can and just do what you feel like you're able to do. Pushing too hard will only put a bigger strain on your body and keep you from healing.

Prioritize where you use up your energy. It can be hard to deal with having much less energy than you're used to all of a sudden. Naturally, you're not going to be able to do everything you might have planned, so it's best to consider what tasks need to be done sooner and which tasks can really wait until you're feeling back to your old self.

What else do you tell yourself if you're sick? 

On Forgiveness When It Totally Sucks

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October 07, 2015

Recently, I was trying to sell a ticket to one of my school's football games. Students get discounted ticket but I wanted to sell it for more. Tickets were going for six times as much as we paid for them, so I figured if I could get double or triple, I'd be very happy. To me, it would be an excuse for a little shopping trip or a few meals out with friends. 

However, as I was chatting with people trying to find a buyer, I met a girl who didn't like the price that I was hoping for. But she didn't just not like the price. She decided she didn't like me. And she made that very clear to me. She attacked me with her words in all the places it hurt. 

She told me I was selfish.

She told me I wasn't a real Christian. 

She told me I wasn't a kind person.

All things that I regularly worry about myself. I'm human + it's easy to feel like I'll never be good enough. It's hard to have someone confirm those inner doubts to you. 

But then I remembered:

This girl doesn't know me. And I don't know her. She doesn't know what kind of impact her words are having on my heart, but I don't know what kind of an impacted heart those words came from. I can't imagine what kind of sadness and stress someone must be living in to lash out over the price of a football ticket. 

And so I'll pray for her. I don't mean this in a proper Southern lady way where I actually mean that I'll gossip about her to my small group (although I admit, I did vent about the occurrence to some friends). I mean that I'll actually try to love her. 

I don't want to. I want to reply with all of the angry, defensive words that appeared in my brain scarily quickly, like a reflex. 

But I will try. Because if Christ died for me and my sins, the least I can do is forgive a girl who's trying to wade her way through all the hurts in the world just like I am. 

And ticket girl? In case you're reading this...let's get lunch. I'll pay. 

Goal Getters / October

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October 05, 2015

Hello, October! It's safe to say this month didn't exactly turn out how I planned it, but that's totally cool. It was a good month all things considered, but a loooooong one. It feels like forever ago that I moved in and started my semester--and that was just a week before September started! Let's review my goals from September...

+ Time management. I think I did about as well as I could have! I had a crazy busy few days last week. Friday morning, I had two exams and a speech and then had to leave straightaway to go to a wedding a few hours away, with only about a few hours to get there. It was definitely stressful, but we made it work. It was really nice to see my family and relax a little bit with them. 

+ Get a week ahead on posts. Yeah, no. This is where the goals kind of started to go downhill. Part of time management is realizing which tasks are not essential and cutting them out when necessary. And to be honest, blogging isn't essential, as much as I love it! So oftentimes, if I'm busy, it's the first thing to go. 

+ Plan a letter-writing challenge. This is coming! Stay tuned.
+Try out biphasic sleeping. Did it for a week. I don't think it's for me right now. Enough on that.
+ Practice calligraphy twice. Nooooope. 
+ Work 25 hours in the lab. I've been waiting on my supervisor to finish growing some samples to me so this didn't happen, but not my fault.
+ Get to know my sorority sisters. I did do this one though! Love my girls. 

Yeah....maybe that was a few too many goals for one month? Obviously I didn't do so hot on most of them. Let's look ahead to the month of October (even though we're already a few days in).

+ Set hourly goals, share them and HIT them every week. I'll share a little bit more about this soon, but basically every week, I set goals for how much time I want to spend on each area of my life, but I've been slacking on them a little bit lately. Look for a both on this soon!

+ Find a Bible study plan that works for me. I've been doing a Bible-in-a-year plan and I just plain don't like it. It makes me rush through the Bible much more than I want to and I just didn't feel like I was getting what I wanted out of it. I'll be looking around the internet and Bible study books that I already have and trying to pick out a new one to follow for a little while. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

+ Find a new place to tithe. Since I'm currently visiting around different churches, I've realized that I've majorly been slacking off on tithing and have a few months worth of income that needs to be tithed. I think it's okay to tithe to a parachurch organization since I don't have a home church, but I want to find one that fits my beliefs and helps achieve what I want done in the world! I'm particularly interested in education (especially for women) in developing countries as well as organizations that do business/job training and that kind of thing. Let me know if you have a favorite organization or charity!

+ Revisit goals once a week. The tricky thing about doing goals once a month is that....I kinda forget they exist sometimes. And that's oftentimes why I don't reach them. I'll be revisiting these goals probably every Sunday and I'm aiming to post midway through the month and update y'all on where I'm at. 

What are your goals for October? Any favorite Bible studies or charities to recommend?

3 Steps I'm Taking to Eat More Mindfully

| On
October 01, 2015

You know what I'm really, really horrible at? Not eating ice cream five times a day just because I feel like it. 

You too?

That makes me feel better. 

It's really really easy to get in that habit of eating whatever you want, whenever you want, without thinking about the consequences. I've definitely learned the hard way that there are consequences to that kind of thinking (i.e. getting fatter than you want to be), but it's still a really easy trap to fall into, right? So over the last few weeks, I've been trying to eat more intuitively, focusing on what my body really wants at a given moment in time. Here's what I've been working on:

1. I decide what I want to eat before go to get it. 

If I'm bored or want a snack for whatever reason and go to the fridge or the pantry, you know what I eat. I eat everything, that's what. I'll decide that some pretzels sound good...but then after the pretzels I'll realize that what I really wanted was some leftover quesadilla...and then after that (half the time) I'll realize I was just thirsty and needed some water. 

So instead, before I go into the kitchen, I'm trying to think about what I really want at that moment. Is it ice cream? Is it some fruit or crackers? Or really, am I just thirsty? Or maybe I don't really want food at all, I'm just bored. If I really want ice cream, I'll usually have some, but only if I'm sure it's going to satisfy me. Make sense?

2. I think about how the food will make me feel in the future. 

This is actually sort of two-pronged--you have to think about how a food will make you feel mentally and physically, because those are two different feelings when it comes to food. 

Mentally, there are some foods that I've labeled so thoroughly as "bad"foods (whether justifiably or not) that if I eat them, I tend to feel bad about myself and it actually affects my food. And while I probably shouldn't be labeling my foods in that way, it's something to consider. If I'm going to feel upset at myself for eating a food, it's probably just not worth eating. Likewise, physically, there are some foods that I love but aren't worth the nasty feeling they leave in my stomach (I'm looking at you, Panda Express).

3. I'm becoming less afraid of hunger.

Oftentimes, if I know I'm going to be busy for a few hours, I'll eat a big snack, just so that I don't get hungry later. But that's really not how I'm trying to do things. There's nothing wrong with feeling hungry for an hour or two--if anything, it makes it easier to be in touch with how your body is feeling. 

Do you try to eat mindfully? Any tips for me?

A Popsicle Date!

| On
September 30, 2015

Confession: I really, really don't like coffee. I don't even want to like it. I think it's totally ridiculous to spend $4 a day on a drink + it scares me to think about relying on something to get me awake in the mornings!

But you know what I do like? Popsicles. 

There's a place near me called Hyppo Pops that sells super fancy popsicles in the coolest flavor. My personal favorite is the mango champagne but I'm also partial to the key lime pie and the orange cream when it's dipped in chocolate. Yummyyyyy. 

Soooo if you and I were to get together and chat about life, we would not go on a coffee date. We'd go on a popsicle date! And here's what I would tell you. 

+ Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the little details I have to take care of. Like about a minute and a half ago, I remembered something that I had to do, and I've already forgotten it again. I have a lot going on in the next few weeks and it's all I can do to do the bare minimum! But I'm working hard to take time to myself and to practice self-care.

+ I wish I had more time to read these days! I reserved a book at the library and didn't even have a chance to go pick it up before the time expired. And a few weeks ago, I took two books out of the library and only made it like five pages into one! How sad is that? I think once things calm down a little bit I'm going to buy a book or two for my nook and practice carrying that around with me just for moments when I'm waiting around. 

+ I've really had a hankering to go camping lately! The weather is just starting to cool down (just a teeny bit) here in Florida and it makes me want to spend allll the days (and nights) outside. If only we didn't have such busy weekends, I know I could rally some friends to make a weekend trip of it. 

+ I've been hearing God's voice so much over the last few months that when over the last week, he's been quiet (or I've been worse at listening--it's more likely the latter), it's been pretty hard to handle. Last night, my sorority had a prayer night and I just didn't even know what to pray for; I've been so overwhelmed by details.

+ On a less serious note, what is with restaurants in college towns giving out free food all the time?! Moe's gave out free queso two weeks ago, a pizza place gave out free pizzas, last night Krispy Kreme was giving out free doughnuts and coffee AND BJ's was giving out free pizookies! I mean, I'm not arguing with it, but I don't know that it's the smartest business decision since college students will literally just go in to take the free stuff and leave.

What would you chat with me about if we went on a popsicle date? Also, equally important question: what kind of popsicle would you have?

A Typical Day in My Life

| On
September 28, 2015

I've decided that some of my favorite posts to read are those in which a blogger will talk about their daily life, what a normal, super typical day looks like. It's easy to choose to mention only the big events or the exciting news, but I think it's easiest to get to know someone by seeing what they're day looks like. So today, I'm linking up with Brave Love Blog again to share what a typical day in my life looks like. 

7am: I wake up, roll out of bed and get ready for my day. Usually I try to tidy up my room a little bit and pack my bag for the day before making breakfast. I really, really love breakfast so usually I'll make eggs or pancakes with fruit or a mash of bananas and peanut butter and granola. None of my roommates are up at this time so I'll usually just enjoy a leisurely breakfast and check email or bloglovin' or sometimes I'll watch a little TV.

8am: I leave for school. I ride a scooter everywhere (#collegetown) so it takes a little bit longer to get to campus from my apartment. I've learned the hard way that there's no way to get my hair to look good after the combination of wind + helmet hair from riding my scoot!

8:30am-11:30am: I have classes in this block of time everyday. Most days, I have organic chemistry, French, and then public speaking. Sometimes afterwards I'll go out to lunch with a friend but usually I'll go on and head home.

12:15pm: I take a ~20 minute nap here about half the time and that usually gets me ready for the rest of my day! I'll unpack my bag, make lunch (usually this is my big meal of the day and I'll eat leftovers for dinner) and plan out my afternoon.

1:30pm-5pm: Homework, studying, etc. Usually some Netflix in there somewhere because I'm human. I'm on a break from working at the lab right now because I'm waiting on some samples, but usually I'd work this chunk of time a few times a week. 

5pm-9pm: This chunk of time definitely varies depending on the day. Twice a week, I have an evening class (forensics!) and the other nights of the week I might have a pledge meeting for my sorority, a Bible study, or a meeting with my accountability group. It really depends. Usually I eat dinner somewhere in that chunk of time. 

9pm-11pm: If I don't have any big events, I'll usually use this time to study or blog or do my Bible study. This is a little bit more of "my time" so I try to do a little something fun or relaxing if I'm not too jammed for time. After that, I'll usually watch about half an hour of TV or Netflix before going to sleep and doing it all over again!

This is just a usual day--weekends and days that I teach kickboxing or have a sorority event look totally different and totally crazy! But it's all fun, for the most part. What do your days look like?

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