Social Distance, Close to God

Hey friends, how are you all doing? It would be kind of weird to not talk about what’s going on right now, even though to be honest, I don’t really want to. It seems like every conversation I have with someone almost always ends up being centered around what’s happening in the world right now. I mean, how can you not talk about it, right? How can you not be scared? Or sad? Or anxious? Or depressed? Or numb to it? Or all of the above and then some?

It kind of all feels like a bad dream. I’ve never experienced this feeling before; where I can be fine, and then all of the sudden I stop and think “wait, this isn’t real, right? This has to be fake.” It’s surreal and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

It’s hard to believe that this is our new normal and try to figure out what the other side of this is going to look like. How long will this last? What will the world look like when it’s over? Will it ever be over? I’ve had to turn off my news alerts on my phone and sign off of most social media. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had my moments of complete breakdown—bawling, shaking, scared of what could happen. Missing those I love and not being able to be with them is probably the hardest thing about this for me right now.

Everyone keeps saying that they’re scared of what this world will look like after this. I really, truly believe that this world will be better. We have the capability to be more caring, more selfless, more giving, more compassionate, more gentle. I have seen unbelievers start praying and listening to Christian music. What the enemy meant for harm, God is going to use for good. We have the chance to slow down a bit. To need less material things. Spend less money. Eat what we have in the cupboard instead of going out to eat. To prioritize family time. To enjoy the little things like playing board games (Monopoly, anyone?!), play cards, watch movies, read, write, pray. There’s time to get in touch with ourselves, our hearts and dig deep into what’s really important.

I’ve tried to lean into this time and make the most of it. I’ve gotten to know people on a deeper level by opening up and being vulnerable. All the writing I’ve been able to do with minimal interruptions (welcome interruptions, obviously!) has really felt incredible. And, to be honest, I have never appreciated fresh air and a walk as much as I do right now!

Lean into this time however you feel like it. Whatever that looks like for you, whatever way brings you comfort. You don’t have to write a novel, or create something big. Just be. Connect with yourself and make sure you also connect with others over the phone. Talk to God. He’s there, waiting for you. He is so in love with you and is just craving time with you. As much as we need Him right now, He needs us. He needs us to be his messengers. This situation is not a surprise to Him. We have the choice in how we respond right now. We need to social distance, but we can be closer to God.

Stay safe and healthy friends. I am really glad we have each other.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Better Days,” One Republic
“Lovely,” Sara Haze
“Oceans,” Hillsong United

 

Be Together

Hey friends,

What a time in this world, huh? You can’t turn on the TV, radio or social media without feeling anxious and hearing about what’s going on. I am no expert on the topic, but I do know that this world doesn’t need another meme about it, or someone mocking someone because they’re afraid. If you’re afraid, you have every right to be. In my opinion (and it’s MY opinion, no one else’s), we need to be worried about this. If you’re younger, you might think “eh, if I get it, I’ll survive. It’s no big deal.” It IS a big deal. Why? Because if you have this, and you give it to someone, it could be someone who is older and not healthy enough to fight it off. We all need to be aware and take care of ourselves, not for ourselves, but for each other. Don’t be selfish and think it’s just people overreacting. I’m sorry, but I would hate myself if I were infected and instead of heading the warnings of isolating, I gave it to my parents who are older and have underlying health issues and something horrible happened to them. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

Anyway, I’m hopping off of my soapbox now. Right now, we need kindness. We can all take this time of quarantine/isolation, and use it for something good. We can take this time to be creative! Start that project you’ve been meaning to start/finish. Get that canvas out and start that painting. Tune up your guitar and start writing. Take an online class. Learn to cook (I should probs do that, tbh). Do at-home workouts (because, going to the gym? no bueno). Send an encouraging email to someone. Pray for your friends and family who might be sick. Take time to read an encouraging book. Start a podcast. Listen to a podcast (hit me up if you need any true crimp recs). Facetime with people. Ask your elderly neighbor if they need anything, because they are the most vulnerable with this virus and can’t really go to the store. Send someone flowers. Send food delivery to a hospital for the nurses and doctors. Send supplies/food to an animal shelter. Dig deep into the Word and have some alone time with Him. Take a break from social media and do something nourishing. While it’s good to be informed as to what’s going on by reading about it and watching the news, you also need to take a break from it. Too much of it will do more harm than good. The Pastor at my Church recommended Psalm 91 to read. I encourage you to read it as well. I’ve been reading it a couple times a day and it calms me down, which is what my soul needs right now…and I’m guessing you could use some calm right now, too.

I don’t know how long this will last and I don’t know how bad it will get. What I do know is that we are all in this together, and we need to help each other now more than ever. Our older friends, families, neighbors, need US. I promise to try to be as uplifting as I can. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m not a trained counselor/therapist/healthcare provider. I do have a listening ear and just remember: we’re all in this together. Sending prayers and hugs your way. Stay safe and healthy, friends. We’ll get through this.

Xoxo.

Day 30

Hey friends, guess what today is? Final day of our 30 day bucket list challenge! This, by all means, doesn’t mean that you have to stop today. I encourage you to keep going and live to your fullest! Regardless of how long you do this, finish the 30 day strong! Go out with a bang. And of course let me know what you did and how you’re feeling!

Lots of exciting things happening over here and can’t wait to bring you along on the ride.

Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!

Xoxo

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

🙂