Kindness In the World

Hey friends! My bucket list challenge has been going really well so far! It’s been really fun hearing from some of you who are doing it with me, so it’s kind of like a little community we’ve got going, I love it! Keep sharing and so will I!

One thing that I really do find helpful (in any situation, really) is to notice the good things. Notice the kindness, the beauty that’s still left in this world. I feel like lately so many people are only focusing on the negative things, which don’t get me wrong, are valid and we need to notice them in order to change them; however, we can’t lose sight in the good things. Those are the things that keep me going. I can still see that this world is good and beautiful and worth being in. I see people spreading kindness, offering help to strangers, going out of their way to support someone. No matter how much hurt a person inflicts on another person, I still truly believe that everyone at their deepest core, is good. One of my heroes, Anne Frank said it best: “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”

I believe that life throws us experiences, lessons, hardships and it’s what we do with those that make us who we are and how we treat others. That’s on us. Not the world. Not other people. We can either take those experiences and let them make us bitter or better.

If you can look at the ocean, mountains, lakes, rivers, valleys, peaks, wildflowers, forests, wildlife, the sun, the moon, the stars and still say this world isn’t beautiful, then I’m not sure what else to say. If you can witness a complete stranger buying groceries for the elderly man behind him, or seeing a stranger console a single mother who is overwhelmed and not feel a bit of hope and love, then check your heart. Maybe I’m just sappy or too much of a dreamer, but even a simple smile to someone in passing or buying someone’s coffee can take someone’s day from bad to good in a second. I know, because I’ve been on the receiving end of those things and even a smile can make me feel better. That’s why I always try to do something for someone else because I know what it’s like to feel low, sad and hopeless.

We are here to love and support each other. If someone says “it’s not my job to make them feel better. It’s theirs.” That’s just not true. At least, not to me. Yes, I do believe that there is a lot of internal work that needs to be done, but we are not here for just ourselves. We are not the center of the universe. We are for each other. We were made for community. I’ve always believed that since I was little.

I hope this encourages you to take one step to do a random act of kindness today for someone. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. You could quite literally save a life.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Lady Like,” Ingrid Andress

“Mandolin Rain,” Pam Tillis

“Kids,” One Republic

Bucket List!

Hey friends. You know how I always talk about being vulnerable and open so that others can be, too? Well, tonight I’m going to get raw and vulnerable. This might sound more like a journal entry than a post to the public, but it is what it is.

Social media has made somewhat of a fake world. I mean, the experiences that are posted are real (I like to think) but when you scroll through someone’s Instagram posts, 80% of them are versions of themselves that they portray as being the “perfect life”. Because, really, who posts about the nights that they spend crying themselves to sleep, or wake up in the middle of the night anxious, or the insane amount of pain their heart is in? We live in a world that craves the “image”. And then we crave the comparison of that image. If I posted every single time I had a sleepless night or every time I cried myself to the point of almost throwing up, it’d get old pretty quick.

With all of that said, this is me not portraying the “image”. This is me showing the pain and the hurt. I think in the last three weeks, I have gone on the worst rollercoaster of emotions I’ve ever been on. I went from having so much hope and things falling into place in a certain area of my life, to WHAM! slap in the face, the complete opposite. All in a matter of a couple of days. I feel used. Confused (beyond confused). Betrayed. Lied to. Pain. So much pain. Someone I thought I knew better than I knew myself, is now someone I feel like I’ve never known. You know I’ve been bullied pretty badly in my life, but this feels so much worse. I literally am having to make assumptions because I don’t have the truth. I’m having to try to figure things out because nothing makes any sense. And that shouldn’t be my job. I shouldn’t have to sit here and try to put pieces together, and try to figure out what’s going on. I’m going through a lot of hurt right now, and trying to pick up the pieces. And it’s hard, and I hate it.

I do have an incredible support system, but this whole thing has made me realize just how much I need to love and respect myself more. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. To be perfectly honest, I caught myself the other day saying something so horrible about myself. That’s when it hit me: things have to change…NOW. Enough is enough.

So, I’ve decided to talk about it. Not in detail, but just let you know that if you’re struggling, I’m right there with you. You’re not alone. I’ve also decided to do something else about it. I’m starting a 30 day bucket list challenge. It’s so easy to sink into the sadness, so I wanted to do something that forced me to live my life. I’m not the type of person who wants to numb the pain with alcohol, drugs, junk food, filling a void with another person, running away, stuffing the pain down, etc. I want to face it head-on so I can feel it, really feel it. To me, that’s the only way to really heal, and heal is what I need to do.

What better way to heal than to do it through living a full life? I want to take 30 days to check things off my bucket list. I have a bucket list for my life, but trying to create one for 30 days is actually more challenging than I thought! So, starting February 1st, I’m kicking this off, and I would love for you to join me if you want to do your own! Yes, I know that there are only 29 days in February, but March 1st will be the “bonus” day 🙂

I am still deciding if I want to blog about each day, or just random check-ins here and there. I probably won’t post my list, but I will give updates.

I am super excited about this! I also know this: God uses pain. So, if you’re going through something, just know that your pain is never wasted. You may not know the reason for it right now, but one day you will. I promise. Just keep holding on. We can get through this together.

If you want to join me in this challenge, shoot me a message. You’re not alone in your pain. And, I guess with this post, I kinda want to feel like I’m not alone, too.

xoxo.

What I’m listening to:
“Belong To You,” Iron Bells Music
“My Back Pages,” Bob Dylan
The ENTIRE A Star Is Born Soundtrack

What I’m reading:
Defined, by Stephen Kendrick

 

New Year, New Decade!

Friends! Another year is coming to a close. A decade is coming to a close! There’s something about New Year’s that gets me super excited. It’s like opening a brand new journal full of blank pages, just ready to be written in with fresh ideas, lyrics, hopes, dreams, experiences, heartbreak, pain, love, joy…you get the point. I love setting new intentions for the year, and picking a word of the year.

Another thing I love to do is reflect on the year and what happened—good and bad. What can I improve on? What went well? What didn’t go well? Where did I feel the most pain? Where did I feel the most alive? Where did my heart jump for joy? And where did it break?

I will say this: 2019 was an incredible year. I learned so much about myself, life and everything in between. I found out who my true friends are, set some healthy boundaries, went out on some limbs and guess what? I didn’t die. I took chances and didn’t die. I traveled a lot this year, spoke out on bullying and suicide at two capitols, checked things off my bucket list, made new friends, strengthened my relationships with my friends, family and most of all-God.

When we start to reflect on all the things we’ve done, it’s so easy to say “Look at me! I did all of this!” But, if I’m being honest, God did it. I didn’t. He gave me the opportunities, the courage, the faith, the hope, the means to do it all. He lined it up for me. He put the people in my path. He gave me desires to do it. He gave me past experiences to speak about. He prepared me. I can’t take the credit, it goes to Him.

We aren’t here for ourselves. We are here for His glory, His kingdom. To use what He gave us for His glory, and His glory alone. Now, I’m not saying you can’t be proud of what you’ve accomplished—you absolutely can and you should! But, at the end of the day, it should go to Him.

I learned who I truly am, and what I truly deserve from myself, from my family, friends, etc. There’s something else I learned this year. You know the saying “you got this”? Can I just say-yuck? I hate that saying. You DON’T got this. None of us do. God has this. God has whatever we’re going through. Not you. Not me. God. When you say “I got this,” you are taking away God’s power. You are denying Him of His power and goodness. God died for you and me, so I think we can trust Him to handle whatever is coming at us.

This New Year, I hope you sit down, take stock of your life and where you want to be. Set intentions, goals, pick your word of the year but don’t forget to let God take control of it all. Pray over your new year. Ask Him to reveal His plans for you, in His time, and with his vision. You can do anything you want with Him. ANYTHING. Ask Him to show you your true identity, and say no to anything that isn’t that. Say no to pretending to fit in, like whatever someone else likes, act in a way so others accept you. You are already accepted, you already belong and you are already beautiful in His eyes. Once you believe that, you will be unstoppable.

Here’s to another year of growing together! Thanks for being along with me in this journey. I hope you all have a safe, beautiful and happy New Year.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“New York,” Ed Sheeran

“I Lived,” One Republic

“Seventeen,” Sharon Van Etten

Thankful!

Gratitude turns anxiety into joy. Gratitude turns darkness into light. I’ve been focusing on this a lot the last couple of months, and it’s so cool. At the end of each day, I like to sit down before I have my nightly Date With God, and list out my joys/highlights of my day. Usually, when I tell myself I just need to think of one, I end up thinking of about 15! When you really stop and think about things, there really is a lot to be thankful for. And since it’s Thanksgiving time, what better time to count our blessings! I thought I’d share some of mine (though I’m sure if you’re reading this, you might not even care), but my hope is to try to get you to think of what you’re thankful for!

  1. God. This is a no-brainer, but sometimes we can take Him for granted. Or, worse yet, not really even acknowledge Him in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes we think of Him when things get hard or dark, but then kind of forget about our dependence on Him when things are going well. I am forever thankful for what He’s done for me in my life, and what he continues to do now and in the future!
  2. My family. We are so close, and no matter what happens in life, where we live, etc, we always will be. And I love that. We’ve been there for each other through thick and thin, and I am glad God gave me them!
  3. My friends. I couldn’t do life without friends. I’ve never really had friends until a couple years ago, so it’s new for me. Whether we talk every day, every month, when we can…I love knowing I can call them up and chat about anything and everything.
  4. Choices. I hate making decisions-everyone knows this about me. BUT, I am grateful that I get to make I know how lucky I am and I don’t ever want to take any of it for granted.
  5. Opportunity. The fact that I have opportunities to do things, travel, help people…makes me super thankful. Helping people is part of my core, who I am…without that, I wouldn’t be me. I am thankful I can help others—whether it’s making them soup (ok, bringing them soup, because come on…me making homemade soup? I don’t think so) when they’re sick, sending a gift, spreading encouragement…this world is hard enough. Why not try to brighten it a little bit?

Find joy in the little things, too. Having a car to drive. A phone to use. Running water. A stove to cook food. A bed to sleep in. Shower. Clothes to wear. Even in the dark times, it’s really hard to see things to be thankful for. Trust me, I know. It’s HARD. But, if you can, try to start a tiny little gratitude ritual every day. It will change your life.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

CHRISTMAS MUSIC! All! OF! IT!

Also, “Daylight,” Taylor Swift

🙂

Paying It Foward!

Hey, friends! You know how you know you have amazing friends? When you look at your phone and have an audio text message from one with a prayer. I just got one of those and oh man! It literally brightened my day. I wanted to share and pay it forward by letting you all know how worthy you are, too.

When society is telling you, you are too fat. Too thin. Too quiet. Too loud. Too strong. Too weak. Too courageous. Too fearful. Too anxious. Too bold. Whatever it is, you are enough. Just as you are. Right now. Not a year from now when you’ve lost ten pounds. Not when you’ve graduated college and landed a job. Not when you have x-amount of dollars in the bank account. Right now, this very moment, you are enough. (and FYI—you are not anxiety. You have anxiety, but you are NOT anxiety. It is not your identity)

You were created ON purpose, with a purpose that God designed just for you! YOU! He spent time on you! Your hair, eyes, voice, feet, ears, fingers, toes…everything! He knew you before you were even born. He knew what steps you would take, where you would live, who your friends would be, what choices you would make, what career you would have. And he created your heart. Your heart was created to be soft, tender, gentle and loving. Not bitter, angry, resentful or guilty. (Let that sh*t go!)

This world is sad and hard enough as it is, why would I want to add to that? I want to make people feel better about themselves. I want them to leave a moment with me, feeling better. Why would you want to spend time with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself? Why would you want to spend time with someone who told you, you weren’t enough? Who told you that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself? That made you feel less than? Don’t do that to yourself! You deserve to have the best, most nurturing, loving, gentle and kind relationships. You are worth it. Even those people you follow on social media—make sure they are inspiring you, instead of draining you. I did a huge overhaul on my social media and didn’t realize how it really had affected me!

Life is too short to not surround yourselves with people that make you feel good. Check your heart, check your tribe. You are worthy of being loved for who your heart says you are. (because that’s who God says you are!)

Okay, so here’s a challenge for you today: pay it forward. Tell someone else they are worthy and loved. It will make you feel better about yourself, too.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“What Could’ve Been,” Gone West (every single word, especially the line: “a couple more simple I’m sorry’s, a little less trying to be right.” Gets me EVERY. TIME!)

“October,” Alessia Cara

“Good Life,” OneRepublic (in my top ten favorite songs)

Make It Stop

Hey friends. It’s dark, rainy, cold and dreary out. And I’m just not in great spirits. Not to be a downer, but yeah—that’s just where I’m at. I just read two families stories of their children’s suicides. Two different families; one with a seven year old little girl who took her own life, and another 14 year old boy. Oh, and another one that hit a little too close to home.

Guys, I have all the emotions right now. I’m sad, angry, frustrated, crying my eyes out, and then getting upset. All the feels. All the emotions. And I’m exhausted. All I wish for is for people to know they matter. That they are loved. (sidenote: I know this post isn’t going to have proper grammar and right now, I don’t even care.) Call me cheesy if you want, but I wish I could hug everyone and tell them they matter and that they have a purpose in this life. That the world is better WITH YOU IN IT. WE NEED YOU. We need your talent, your knowledge, your skills, your heart, soul, mind, laughter, hugs, and shoulders when we need to cry. WE NEED YOU.

This world is so dark sometimes and it’s so easy to get swept up in it. But, there is still beauty in it, if you look around. Look at nature. The stars at night. Wildlife. Mountains, hills, oceans, lakes, rivers. Of all those things, the most beautiful in this world is YOU. Don’t believe me? That’s fine, but I will make it my mission to keep telling you until you do believe it. OR, you can borrow my eyes and see yourself the way I see you.

I don’t know, guys. Somedays I’m super hopeful, and I see a ray of light at the end of the tunnel that something amazing will be done in regards to suicide and bullying…but then I hear news like today’s and my heart just breaks. It is not okay to treat others this way. It is not okay to use harsh words to anyone—ANYONE, including yourself. You have no idea what the other person is going through, or has gone through, and just because it might be easy for you to brush off words, it might not be easy for others. Stop and think about that for a minute. You have the power to save someone’s life, and words can drive them to the brink. (Proverbs 15:1)

Why is it so easy for us to be angry? Why does anger seem to take off like wildfire, but we have to push and push so hard just for kindness? WHY???? And yes, I get the irony that I say that as I am angrily typing. But you guys, it shouldn’t be this hard to be kind. Check yourself. Check your heart, because that’s where everything flows from. Is your heart angry? If so, why? What’s the root of it? I can guarantee it’s not because of the person you’re hurling harsh words to. And if it is, then talk to them without harsh words.

YOU MATTER. YOU MATTER. YOU MATTER. YOU MATTER. Please, for the world’s sake believe that. That’s really all I want. Never for a second think that you don’t have a purpose in this world. YOU DO. WE ALL DO. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, talk to me. Message me. Letsallbefriends1@gmail.com

I don’t care if all you do is vent and complain. I can be your ear and outlet. I can lift you up. Because you know what? Today, I need someone to lift ME up. And I’m not afraid to admit that anymore. Let’s build a community. Let’s be here for each other. That’s the way to healing.

Your life is precious and a blessing. Don’t let anyone else take it away from you. You have too much to live for. YOU MATTER.

Authentic

Hey friends. It’s been pretty hectic around here lately with school and studying! Sorry for being a bit MIA lately.

I wanted to talk about the word authentic. This word came up this morning in my quiet time, and it really stuck with me so I prayed more about it and what God was trying to tell me about it. Here’s what was pressed upon my heart: stop trying to fit a mold of those you’re around just to be liked, and start being your authentic self, the one I created you to be.

Wow! I mean, yeah, I know that’s what we should all do, but sometimes when I’m with people I don’t know, my immediate action is to try to fit in…mostly because I did it for so long that it has just become a habit for me. But, I’m done with that. I’m not here to fit in–no one is! That’s the beauty of being an individual; we are all so different that it’s beautiful! What a boring place this would be if we were all the same, right?

So, this morning I talked out loud to God and literally said “I am going to fully be the person You created me to be. The quirky, nerdy (in a good way!), weird, goofy me. And if someone doesn’t like it, then oh well.”

If you don’t know me, I can be pretty quirky. I talk to myself sometimes. I love going to tacky gift/souvenir shops and spending hours in them looking at stuff other people might think are “junk”–to me, I love that stuff. I love going to the zoo and channeling my inner five year old, and buying something to commemorate it. I love zoning out on coloring books and geeking out over new gel pens to use. I love Lookout Mountain/Rock City in TN like crazy. I love trinkets. I love buying school supplies. I love flowers. I love watching my favorite childhood movie over and over again and feeling like I did that first time I ever saw when I was little. I love going to county fairs, state fairs, eating way too much junk food at them (hello cotton candy and corn dogs!). I love touristy things. Road trips. Traveling. I love buying an abundance of blank journals, even though I have a stack of them waiting for me at home (best gift ever, btw). I love autographs. I love getting excited over little things–seeing a rainbow, a cardinal, a bluebird, a super cool thrift-store find (I LOVE thrifting!). I love being giddy with excitement and squealing like a little kid. Basically, I am still a kid. But you know what, I like that about me. And I don’t ever want that to go away. I used to hide parts of that because I thought people would judge me or think I was “weird”. But you know what? If those things make me weird, then I’m proud to be weird. This is part of who I am and I like it! No more hiding, holding back or being scared of what others will think…because, the ones who are meant to be in your life, will stay no matter how quirky you are. They will accept those things about you.

Instead of talking about the things we don’t like about ourselves, I thought I would take a second to talk about some of the things I do like about myself. I would love to hear the things you like about yourself, too! Shoot me a message, and let’s build each other up. I’m for you ❤

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:
“Light On,” Maggie Rogers
“Beyond,” Leon Bridges
“The Man,” Taylor Swift (her entire Lover album, tbh)