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8 Things You Might Not Know About Me

| On
August 31, 2015

1 / I absolutely hate any game that involves acting. Of course, this is on my mind because just the other night, my friends wanted to play fishbowl (a charades-type game--we're fun people) and I just poo-pooed the whole thing and decided to be a terrible sport because I can't act to save my life. It's stressful!

2 / I'm scared of moths. Not really any other bugs though! I mean I don't love spiders and roaches but they don't terrify me like moths do. And before you think I'm crazy, I have totally rational reasons for this in case you ever want to hear some gross stories. 

3 / I could live off cheese. I mean I might have some nutritional deficiencies eventually and die from that, but you know, I'd be perfectly happy with just cheese.

4 / I love online shopping...but I never actually buy things online. I'm always too scared that things will be the wrong size or unflattering or just not what I was expecting. I know, I know, I could always return things, but honestly, I have no idea how to mail packages and that sounds way too adult for me.

5 / New Year's is my favorite holiday. Probably because I LOVE making goals and resolutions all that. And it's just like an extension of all the glitter and festivity of Christmas! Plus champagne and staying up late. 

6 / I love riding on buses because I can fall asleep on them so easily! Not city/school buses so much, but like those nice charter buses that you get on long school trips. But I can't sleep in cars or airplanes very well!

7 / Even though I work at an ice cream store, I prefer sorbet to ice cream. My absolute favorite is the Haagen-Dazs Orchard Peach sorbet, but of course it's not carried in any of the Publixes near me. 

8 / My least favorite part about living in Florida is the HEAT. Whenever I tell people I go to school in Florida, I get some sort of version of "Oh you're so lucky! It's like vacation all the time!" But NO. Where I live is two hours from the nearest beach and the whole town is a literal swamp so it's basically a den of mosquitoes and it's about as humid as Satan's armpit. 

Now tell me more about you!

A Verse for an Inspired Fall

| On
August 28, 2015

I've been reading a lot on the Brave Love Blog about preparing for an inspired season in our life. Really, if you look back on your life, every season is special for some reason--whether it was an especially happy season or maybe a difficult season to get through. 

Since we're about to start a new season (FALL!! Even though it doesn't technically start for a month.) I wanted to choose a Bible verse to sort of sit with me all through the season. I want to meditate on this verse and use it to guide me through the things that I do all through this season of my life.

I thought about this for a long time and meditated on a lot of different verses and a lot of different ideas and this is the verse I came up with:

"I call to you as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." [Psalm 61:2]

I've felt lost a lot of times in the last year. I've felt unwanted. I've felt hopeless. I've felt dead inside. My heart has been faint more times than I can even count. It's not a fun place to be in. 

But even through that, as believers, we have a rock to stand on, something to hold us steady. That rock is the perfectly orchestrated plan of God for our lives. 

And in this verse, there's a surrender that I think I need to grasp in this season of life. When my heart grows faint, it's not time for me to work hard or grit my teeth and grind through it. It's time to follow God back to that place of steadiness where he's prepared to hold me together. I know I need that.

I already know that this verse will be on my mind and my heart a lot this fall + I want to live accordingly. If you have a verse that's been sticking with you lately, please share it with me in the comments! I love your comments. And if you're not a believer, that's okay, you're welcome to share any sort of guiding idea or philosophy that's guiding you right now. 

5 Mantras for Working Hard

| On
August 26, 2015
doing the work

I like to consider myself a hard worker. There are a lot of things I am not, but usually, I'm a pretty hard worker. I'm really motivated by success and seeing things turn out well when I spend effort on them. I love before and after pictures. I love change that comes from determination and perseverance.

But sometimes...I don't want to do the work--especially when it comes to working out sometimes. I want the results but not the work. I want instant success. When that happens, I really have to focus to make sure I keep working hard. 

One thing that I do sometimes is pick out a phrase or a saying and just repeat it to myself over and over and over till it becomes part of every breath and the only thought in my head. Here are a few mantras that I use:

My character is shown through my work ethic.

Choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Nothing feels better than doing the work.

Pain now, pride later.

Inhale determination, exhale excuses.

Kind of cheesy, I know, but give them a try sometime! Next time you're on a run or even just trying to get through a crappy work shift, pick a mantra or make up your own and let it carry you until you're done.

What do you think? Are there any mantras you like for hard work and perseverance?

Goal Getters / August Check In

| On
August 19, 2015

Hiiii friends. Wow, life is crazy these days! I'm writing this post on Sunday night (#justbeinhonest) because I know I have one of the busiest weeks EVER coming up. Tomorrow, I'll be packing up the car and driving down to Florida. And on Tuesday, I'll move into a new apartment AND start sorority recruitment. Craaaazyyy. 

I might die.  

I'm totally terrified of this week, but also really, really excited. I have really high hopes for this year. 

Anyways, let's talk about goals! I've finished up the first half of my month (in Michigan/NC) and I'm ready to start the next half (or at least as ready as I'll ever be!). Here's how my goals have been going...

+ Try to spend ten minutes every day in the Bible. I've been doing well with this! H and I have been doing a study in the She Reads Truth app about hymns, because we both love traditional hymns and all the history and good theology in them. I also started a Bible in 365 Days program that I do most days. So this one is a big beautiful check!

+ Keep my bloglovin' feed below 100 (check!) and comment on blogs (not so check...). But I'm definitely going to make an effort on commenting starting, like, right now.

+ Keep posting at least three times a week and get a few posts scheduled ahead of time. Well the fact that I'm writing this (Wednesday) post on Sunday makes me feel good! I hope to get a little further ahead to give me some wiggle room, but you know, I'm doing just fine.

And for the second half of the month, I'll be working on some recipes, being super outgoing, and the witchcraft that is biphasic sleep. Read more on the last edition of Goal Getters!

How are your goals for the month going??

Learning to Socialize as an Introvert

| On
August 17, 2015

I've always been an introvert, but it's only been the last few years where I've really felt like being an introvert has kept me from doing all the things I want to do. Especially now that I've been to college and had to make new friends, I'm seeing that. It's one thing to accept that I'm not naturally a super outgoing person and it's another thing to stay home all day because of that.

This was part of the reason that I've decided to rush, this fall, as a sophomore. I was always afraid of going through rush, especially not knowing anyone. But it kinda sucks to be afraid all the time, you know? 

So here we are, with me, three days before rush starts, sitting in my room in my pajamas googling how to survive parties as an extrovert. Thankfully, there are apparently other people out there like me and lots of tips out there. So I've been collecting them + I'm sharing here a few that have been helping me lately.

+ Do not pretend to be an extrovert. Oh thank the Lord. There was no way I was going to do that successfully anyways. This tip was super relieving to hear but also to realize that it's totally true. Tons of people are introverts and they want friends too. I can be myself and still socialize with other people, especially since they might be just like me.

+ Focus on your strengths. While I may not be the chattiest gal around, I'm happy to listen to other people and ask prodding questions here and there to keep them going. My strategy is to try my best to ask really open-ended questions and show people that I'm interested.

+ Give yourself breaks, but like without spending the whole night in the ladies' room. But spending a few minutes alone here and there to take some deep-lung breaths can only help (as long as you get back out there!). This is not an excuse to drop off the face of the earth.

+ Consciously recharge afterwards. Sadly, Netflix doesn't usually count. It might be meditating or reading or going for a run or praying, but something that helps you deeeeeply relax.

If you're an introvert, how do you successfully socialize and spend time with others? Also, pray for me this week. It's a LOT of social time.

August Mixtape

| On
August 12, 2015
(click to listen)

We're already halfway through August...WHAAAAT. When did that happen?

Anyways, I've got some music for ya today. As you may know, during the summers I work at an ice cream shop in a very small town. We're only open at nights, so I pretty much work from six or seven until midnight or later every night. After we close and everyone finally leaves, we usually have a lot of cleaning left for us to do, because, you know, people are messy.

At that point in the night, my staff and I are dead on our feet and the only way we get through the cleaning is by having awesome music to dance/clean to. So this is our most recent playlist that we clean to...feel free to imagine me dancing with a mop ;)

Girls Girls Girls (Made to Love) / Eddie Hodges
Great Balls of Fire / Jerry Lee Lewis
Friend of the Devil / Grateful Dead
Hold Me Now / Johnny Logan
Centerfold / J. Geils Band
Dust in the Wind / Kansas
Downtown / Petula Clark
Get Together / The Youngbloods
867-5309 (Jenny) / Tommy Tutone
(Don't Fear) The Reaper / Blue Oyster Cult
Make Your Own Kind of Music / The Mamas and The Papas
Karma Chameleon / Culture Club
Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby / Eddie Money
Blame It On the Girls / Mika
Again and Again / Mikal Cronin
Going Away Tonite / Mind Spiders
I Like You Better / Frazey Ford
Class Historian / BRONCHO
Spitting Image / Freelance Whales
Closer to Fine / Indigo Girls
Light My Fire / Jose Feliciano

What music are you listening to lately?

The Importance of Hearing People's Stories

| On
August 10, 2015
I am not a good listener. 

I admit that. It's definitely one of my weaknesses. Someone can be telling me their deep thoughts and I'll be thinking about what I want for lunch. It's bad, I know. 

A lot of times, I don't even realize what I'm missing out on. I assume everyone is just like me and that no one has anything new to say. But we all know that's not true. 

This past week, I've been working on training some new staff members so that the shop isn't short-staffed when I leave later this week. And I really did not want to do that. I have spent years figuring out how to do my job well and though it's crazy hard sometimes, I love my job. I'm good at it. I don't like feeling like my years of experience can be condensed into a few short training sessions with new staff members.

Unfortunately, I probably let that attitude show a little bit. I tried to hide it, but these two new ladies might have seen right through me. I didn't want them there. 

But then last night, I spent some time talking with one of the new ladies. She's older. She's well-educated. So why is she taking a temporary job at an ice cream shop? As it turns out, this woman has had a roller coaster of a few years. She spent her whole life in a certain group of people and a few years ago, realized that everything she had based her life on was wrong. But she courageously cut ties with those people...and lost everything in the process. 

Her story is not mine to tell, but I more want to share how hearing her story affected me. I realized that (of course!), she was not at the shop to make more work for me or undermine my work. Of course. She was only trying to make ends meet. 

By hearing her story, I was able to break outside my selfish little bubble and have new compassion for people in my life. Her story gave me so much hope and inspired me to live as courageously as she is, following what I know to be true even if it costs me everything I have. 

Have you ever had a time when hearing someone's story made you treat them differently? Made you different? 

Curated / 19

| On
August 08, 2015

I'm a day late publishing this post, but I have to say that I'm not even sorry because my sister got engaged last week! It was a big surprise and it's been lots of fun sharing the news with everyone. Other than that, this week I've just been starting to wrap up work, train my replacements and start saying goodbye to everyone before I head back to North Carolina (home) for a few days and then back to school in Florida! The next week and a half is going to be a crazy whirlwind between all of the travel and then sorority recruitment and starting a new school year. But I'm excited!

This week I've been revisiting some of my favorite past songs from Eurovision, a music competition in Europe that picks out the best song from Europe each year. Here are a few of my favorites! And you just have to watch the videos with them...some of them are quite entertaining ;)

This cotton candy sky and the caption that goes with it: "You have to be vigilant about keeping your own fire alive." -Tift Merritt
Isn't that a great quote? How's your week been? Tell me one thing that made you smile this week!

Crushing On Vintage Stamps

| On
August 05, 2015
I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I've started exploring the world of stamps. I know it sounds like something your weird 80-year-old great uncle would be into, but bear with me for a second.

First off, it all started when I found out about these beautiful stamps that you can get at your post office, right now.

They're gorgeous, right? And so I started looking around, wondering what other pretty stamps I've been totally missing out on all these years. I write tons of letters and postcards but I'd never really noticed the stamps that I use!

That's when I found out that you can use old vintage stamps (i.e. before forever stamps) and combine them to equal the value of a current stamp. I just love the look of this!

Where to Find Vintage Stamps by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Wedding Invitations by Paisley Quill via Oh So Beautiful Paper (2)
What do you think? Would you ever use vintage stamps for a special occasion? Which envelope is your favorite? I love that last one all in blue!

Goal Getters / August

| On
August 03, 2015

This month is going to have a lotttt of changes. In the next few weeks, I'll be finishing up my summer job here in Michigan, going home to North Carolina for a few days, and then moving into my new apartment in Florida and starting my next year of school! Because my month is so split in every way possible, I'm going to make goals for each half of the month.

Michigan goals (first half of the month):

+ Try to spend at least ten minutes every day in the Bible. I used to do this every day before I went to bed, but these days I'm so tired by the time I get to go to sleep that I honestly skip it pretty often. So it's just something I want to try to be a little more intentional about. 

+ Keep my bloglovin' feed below 100 and comment more often on blogs! I'm also looking to read new blogs--a couple new ones I've been reading are Ready or Not, Ever Emma, and From Roses. It's easy to feel like you've read all the interesting blogs out there, but there are really so many still out there. Comment below with your favorite blogs!

+ Keep posting at least three times a week, and work on getting ahead of schedule on my blog posts. I'm anticipating a crazy first couple weeks at school and I want to make sure my blog is on solid footing while I'm settling in!

Florida goals (second half of the month):

+ Put together a list/binder of healthy, easy recipes. I'll be cooking every meal for myself for the first time ever in my life and, well, I really don't want to get fat. I plan on taking some time to meal prep and collect recipes and make sure that I treat my body well in the way that I eat.

+ Be crazy outgoing. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I'm an introvert and that being in big groups where I don't know a lot of people sometimes makes me nervous! But I'm convinced that this is just because I haven't had enough practice with that kind of situation. So I want to make it a goal not to shy away from scary situations and events and just have fun!

+ Focus on getting in a biphasic sleep routine. I'll talk about this more soon, but in short, I'll be trying different sleep schedules in order to get up early for my classes AND stay up late for fun events. I'll let y'all know how it goes!

What are your goals for the month? Any favorite blogs to share?

Goal-Getters / July Wrap-Up

| On
August 01, 2015

IT'S AUGUST. I feel like most months I tend to say that time has flown by, but for once it seems like summer has been lasting forever. Between all the work and class, I can't say it's been all that relaxing! But that's okay, sometimes. :)

Just really quickly today, I want to review my goals I made for July. And I saw quickly because...well, I didn't do so hot on all of them. *cue that emoji gritting his teeth*

+ Read four books. I did complete this one, if you include a book that I got about 2/3 through and quit. I'm also halfway through a fifth so I definitely think that should count, right? For the record, the one that I hated was Tigers in Red Weather. I also read The Husband's Secret (terrible title, okay book) and Stiff (absolutely fabulously weird), and now that I'm trying to come up with it, I have no clue what the fourth one was. Oops!

+ Maintain good study habits with class. Pretty good! I didn't leave anything totally to the last minute and I'm almost finished!

+ Exercise three times a week. Not even close. We're just gonna leave it at that. I don't know what to do with myself without a gym. :(

+ Develop an hour's worth of kickboxing material for my group fitness class. Ehhhh I had forgotten just how much time it takes to choreograph new material. But I probably got five or six new songs done, so I'll take that. 

Enough on that. I'm still working on my goals for August but I'll write them up soon! In the meantime, how did you do on your goals this month?

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