Peace out 2014. It’s been real.

Here, I sit with a bun on my head and an appalling amount of green clay I’ve globbed onto my face. I call it a “mask.” Here, I sit basking in the light of my beautifully decorated Christmas tree, soaking it in while reminiscing on the past year. Tis the very end of year number 20, for moi. And as usual, I like to recap all the things I’ve experienced, both good and bad. The year 2014 started off hopeful, with the knowledge that nothing could be worse than 2013. And that has held true so far. When 2013 turned the corner and I saw 2014 as the light at the end of the tunnel I knew things would be far better than I could have hoped for…and I can’t say that I was wrong. Although 2014 brought its own new challenges, like living off campus, finding a place to park, actually working my butt off to get good grades, and trying to find a place to fit in…. I found that 2014 also brought its own new blessings, like learning how to get creative when I know I’m about to be late for class, and discovering how to position things in my room to block out the light of zooming cars out my window and the beeps, caused from less intelligent people driving on the wrong side of my one way street. The year brought much greater blessings than these, and the ones I’ve ignored are much too good to even try to put into words. You’ll just have to take my word for it. It was a splendid, lovely year. Now that I’m (partially) done bragging I have to review my bucket list and see if I actually did the things I told myself I would. Fingers crossed that I accomplished all (or at least most) of that list.

Voila! I’ve found it.

  1. Find a Hike: FAIL. To be completely honest, I don’t even think I tried.
  2. Accumulate vintage items: SEMI-ACCOMPLISHED. I bought an old Polaroid camera, that worked for only about a total of 4 pictures, the rest was just wasted and incredibly expensive film. I also got an old ring from my Nana, which is gorgeous and much more practical then a crappy camera, no offense. I’m stilling praying it will eventually work again.
  3. Bookstore: ACCOMPLISHED. I found a few, actually. Apparently Words on Wheels was a hit for me.
  4. Favorite book: ACCOMPLISHED. Jesus Calling. I read it everyday and so far no book has been better.
  5. Musication: SEMI-ACOMMPLISHED. I love having random songs sent to me, and I’ve received an assortment of music from an eclectic range of people. The most memorable songs of the year, for me, are: Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez, Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton, Who Do We Think We Are by John Legend, and more that I’ll have to share in another post. Warning these songs are not really normal.
  6. Write a song: FAIL. I write them in my head… Does that count?
  7. Drive in theater: FAIL: Still waiting for someone to take me on a date to Coyote Drive In….
  8. Attend a concert: ACCOMPLISHED! Thanks to my great friend Lesli who won free Justin Timberlake concert tickets. Love ya, Les. And also Stagecoach, and of course Stagecoach again next year is already booked.
  9. Dress up: ACCOMPLISHED. I stuck to it. Rarely ever dressed poorly (or at least what I considered poorly, don’t ask my roommates if they agree), partially because I stopped working out the past 3 months because I was sick and kept pushing it off and I knew even if I put on work out clothes I wouldn’t make it to the gym. Next year I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  10. Get a job: ACCOMPLISHED… let me repeat. I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At least I get my own binder and my own business cards. I have to brush up on my persuasion skills because as a new TCU Student Media Account Executive, I have to sell ads like there’s no tomorrow.

And so, I’d like to think I had a very well rounded year. Stayed in the grey area for the most part. I guess I finally realized that not everything is black or white. And while that may be kind of boring, it was exactly what I needed before entering my next year, my 21st. Cheers!

Preview For Next Blog Post: I plan on doing a short year recap with a couple pictures and ending with a list of tips I’ve learned throughout the past year. For readers who are actively paying attention, let me know if there is anything else I should (or shouldn’t…) post. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

Cheers to Capri

Cheers to Easter and getting a small break off of school. I am not going to Capri anytime soon, but springtime is still peeping through this bipolar Texas weather. Thanks to my nana and her wonderful taste in scents, Cheers to Capri limoncello candle is the brightest way to hop into spring. Hop Hop Hop. While I am stuck here at school for the three day break I plan on sitting in my room with the pretty yellow candle lit and buckling down to finish those three papers that are all due the day we get back from break. Lucky me. And though I have been feeling defeated by this treacherous turmoil they call college, this little candle brings light to my life, yes… physically and metaphorically. Since Nana has given me this gift I have had a little pep in my step. Today I told myself that I was not going to awkwardly avoid someone that I kind of know. I was going to smile at them and say hi. For the most part it went pretty well and I was in a good mood for the entire day (rare occasion). Yes, there were a few awkward moments when people may have not recognized me right away or that I hadn’t talked to in a while, but in the long run I think people appreciated my outgoingness and I could tell it put a smile on some of their faces. And that was the goal. Smiling is contagious. The little yellow Cheers to Capri brings sunshine to my life just with a sweet scent and I hope to share that light with people just by shining a quick smile. Another highlight of the day was showing Caitlin the sweet little New Testament booklet that some people at TCU had handed out the prior week. I snuck into her room and asked if I could have it. She easily gave it away without a second thought. But then she asked if I actually read The Bible. I said yes I do, every night and most mornings. She told me she had trouble comprehending what she reads from The Bible, well technically she said articulating, but I knew what she meant. I told her that I knew someone who sat down with me to examine just one scripture, line by line, word by word, just to break it down and understand its full meaning. I had never thought I would have time to dig into the meaning. I usually take the short cut and just assume what it says is essentially the meaning and think no more than it. But, I have found it important to actually discover our own interpretation of The Bible. Tonight, Caitlin and I decided that every night before we go to bed we will get together and read a piece from that little New Testament booklet. We plan to discuss it with each other and understand it from our own perspectives. I am grateful to have a friend who shares the same faith and the same curiosity as I do. I will keep you updated on what we have discovered together. Here is a little sneak peek about what we looked at tonight. The topic was stress and this is a recommended verse.

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

-Psam 27:5

  Caitlin and I decided that it means God will find a way to keep us from the stress that finds its way to us. He will set us high on a rock where we can look out at life freely and see the greater picture of living and understand that the things that stress us out are minor compared to the greater gift of life.   Share with us your interpretations of the Psalm 27:5. Any suggestions for tomorrows Bible reading? Let us know.   Here was my verse of the day for this mornings reading. Enjoy!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

-1 Thessalonians 5:18

Home Sweet Home

Today was the first time I called my room in my TCU dormitory home. I don’t exactly remember the sentence it was used in, but I do remember stopping and thinking wow it feels nice to be back into a place I can call home. TCU has been such a lovely place to me in the past few weeks and I have always felt that this atmosphere was exceedingly inviting and lovely in a close-knit family (or just my sorority family, love you big) type of way. I always thought of TCU as my home during my freshman year. I thought it would be the same sophomore year. But as I returned to school uninterested in what I would title it, I realized that adjusting back into a routine and undecorated room was unfulfilling. I was lacking in some aspect and I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly that missing puzzle piece was.Image

I was extremely close to God at that time as I was searching for some comfort and stability in which I found in Him. I am grateful that I had a permanent reminder of his presence infused into my own skin. I seek out to Him in fear, hope, praise, and gratitude. He responds slowly by offering up a token that has been incomplete in prior weeks. First, He granted me with the gift of gratefulness. I am utterly pleased with the classes I am in and the stimulating and challenges professors I have the opportunity to learn from. Thank you, baby Jesus. You rock.

Next, I was granted with the blessing of faithful friends. It bothers me to say that I wasn’t initially content with the way things were going with my friends for the first week and half of school. I love them and I just did not feel that the love was reciprocated. Well, I was not surprisingly wrong. I was quick to judge and wrongly assume that the way we express fondness and affection can be drastically different. Unexpectedly, this was the hardest blow for me to overcome. I was jealous of the tight bond I once was a part of and upon my return I felt left out, like I didn’t belong. That only caused me to retreat. Luckily, I was finding that backtracking and neglecting the problem were not going to make things better. From there on out we decided to allow each other to openly express our feelings in an all-understanding way. I appreciate that communication and I now find myself in a comfortable and harmonious relationship with the friends I can confidently call family.

So far my finalizing gift is the ability to overcome extreme worry.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22 NIV

Exactly what I needed to hear and I feel responsible for sharing it with others, aka you readers. Do not worry for He is always present and always guiding your path. Recently while just starting to read Eat Pray Love, I discovered a quote I found interesting and maybe a little abstract.

But why must everything always have a practical application? I’d been such a diligent soldier for years—working, producing, never missing a deadline, taking care of my loved ones, my gums and my credit record, voting, etc. Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty? In this dark period of loss, did I need any justification for learning Italian other than that it was the only thing I could imagine bringing me any pleasure right now?

This popped out at me. I am not quite sure why yet, but I feel like there is more to it than what’s on the print and paper. Sometimes when you are feeling lost it is necessary to be your own devil’s advocate. Find yourself, ground yourself, and assure yourself. Life is made for you; you are not made to conform to societal pressures. You are capable of finding what makes you happy, what makes your mind climb higher than its limits, to let your words flow freely. Life is what you make of it. So incredibly cliché it almost makes me cringe. I can’t portray that in a more straightforward way. We mustn’t worry so much about what others think or what we are and are not capable of. We are capable of anything and stressing about it can only hold us back. My challenge for the week (maybe year, maybe lifetime) is to let go of the worry and let God guide me to my given path. Easier said than done, but always worth a try.

To tie things together I examine what I am blessed with here at TCU and what I look forward to receive throughout my time here. I smiled at myself when I heard the word “home” slip out of my lips today. I am content. I am finally home.

A Powerful Playlist

So my friend’s college fellowship has established a theme for their 2013-2014 academic year. It’s called Personal Spiritual Playlist, which is essentially a “playlist” (or set) of “songs” (or activities) under different “genres” (or spiritual disciplines) that bring 1. joy and 2. me closer to God. 

1. Prayer/ Worship
. Continue finding bible verses that directly affect me per each day. For instance when I am feeling alone and scared I pick up my bible and read Psalm 23. I write down a few words that remind me that God is always there for me and then I continue to write a small prayer thanking him for his guidance and asking for his forgiveness and help for the upcoming day. I have never done this before, but this past week and a half have seemed much more lovely with God by my side.


2. Service
. Similar to my friend’s service I plan to fast for one day a month. For me it is to act less selfish in life and prove my will power to be a strong believer of God. I am choosing to do this on the 13th of every month, as it has an important meaning in my life and I need God to always be with me on that day to give me strength and hope.

3. Obedience. 
I plan on keeping my friends on track with our weekly routine of going to church. I vow to be a strong believer and behave like a Christian rather than just saying that I am one.

4. Rejuvenation
. I recently have been cleared by my doctor to run. I find that running is typically one of my best stress reducers. I will encourage myself to “run it out” when I feel that I can’t handle the pressure of the world. Like my friend I too enjoy writing, whether it be for this blog or anything else really.

5. Fun
. I think this may be my hardest challenge on this playlist. I wish there was a secret recipe for fun, but because there isn’t I am deciding to make one. I’ll keep you updated when it starts looking like it is complete. Wish me luck!

6. Belief. When I find my self in times of trouble I need to remember to hold my wrist. Feel God’s presence there on that cross and remind myself that I am never alone and I can make it through whatever situation that comes my way. Believe in Him and believe in myself.

7. Heaven. I promise to be the best angel I can be. I promise to listen to and help my friends and family, be there for them through thick and thin. I hope I can go above and beyond and constantly remind them how much they mean to me.

Perfection

Image

Polished nails. Professionally blown out hair. Tanned skin. Toned Stomach. Proper posture. Intelligent. Sophisticated. Poised. Respected. Ambitious.

 We strive to personify our own perspective of perfection. We can’t deny it. I do it all the time. As much as I hate to admit I care what other people think. It is a form of security to get validation from our peers. A gold star in other words. Am I living for myself or are my friends puppeteers gradually stringing me on from one impossible task to another?  My precious alone time is the single ounce of freedom I get hiding from this discombobulated world.  It is the one place I am not looking for the ever so lovely gold star. Without the intruding thoughts of others and that is when I am content. Alone. I suppose that seems rather depressing.  I absolutely hated the idea of being lonely. I have recently discovered that being alone has a small relation to being lonely. In fact I feel more content and secure. I am not obsessing over the small things that dictate my life. When I am alone it as if everything is possible even the ability to change some of the things I can’t control. I am absorbing the solitude and letting go of the expectations.

As soon as I unravel from my cocoon of self-worth, I step out into the intimidating universe before me. I enter this judgmental door to the outsiders. I let in all the criticism, pessimism, and nihilism that society holds us with. How silly and presumptuous are we to have the audacity to even try to label this world and their assumptions and societal views of perfection. We can’t be perfect at everything. We have to remember to share ourselves with the actions and fill ourselves with the thoughts that better suit us and not anyone else. We can try to want to love running or rigorously working out till our bodies ache, but do we really love running or the idea of it. We should no longer pretend to be something we are not. It can’t be healthy to pretend in front of ourselves. We have the ability to love whatever we want and we are capable of making our own decisions and following our own plans for living the way we ought to.

If you are a believer of Christ I have a word of advice that I was blessed with hearing the other day. If we are followers of societal nature what is holding us back from following the Lord’s plans for our future? We may not seem perfect in the eyes of our peers or even our own eyes; but the truth is we are perfect in God’s eyes and that is always enough. 

#blessed

Image

My happy place. My jetty.

As The Little English Girl reminds us how technology continuously distracts us from the life we ought to be living, I am truly inspired to experience life without the constant nagging of my beeping iPhone. I fall into the trap of FOMO countless times during the day. I feel bad about myself for not being invited and constantly intruding and invading the things in life that the older generation would consider “personal.” Why must we share every detail of our day? I don’t have enough reasons to qualify why it could really be that important. I am blinded by the constant adoration of sunsets I missed and jealousy of activities my friends get to do without me. Instead of going out to my favorite place on that sweet little jetty I sit on, feeling the cool wind in my hair and the saltwater mist splashing on my face, I spend that free time opening every possible social media outlet and torture myself into overthinking. So thankfully my eyes are opening, without the glare of my iPhone staring back at me, and showing me how truly blessed I am. As a common trend in social media #blessed is a constant reminder. For me it reminds me of how grateful I am to have a loving family. A family I can count on at any and all times of the day. A family that will laugh at my awful jokes and pretend to laugh at the constant Tumblr text posts I find hilarious. A family who seeks out ways to comfort me in times of doubt. A family who brings me peace when my world cannot. And a family who consistently brings me closer to God and shares my faith with me. I am also extremely thankful for my crazy friends. My friends who tolerate hearing my stories even if they’ve already heard it a hundred times.  My friends who patiently wait for me to stutter out the words my mind thinks but my voice can’t quite express. My friends who will stick with me through my highs and lows. My friends who trust me and my friends who I trust back. I am so blessed by the beautiful places I live in that I constantly take for granted. I remember how I used to say I’d never miss a sunset that I had time to see. Living right on the sea I sometimes convince myself that I don’t need to go sit on that jetty alone and watch the sunset, that I have done it enough times. However, during this beautiful winter season of sunsets I am reminded that each time I watch a sunset a small hole in my heart is refilled with peace and happiness. It is not an effort to go see these sunsets, but a blessing. We are not guaranteed a supportive family, we are blessed with one. We are not given life long friends, they are a blessing to us. So I thank God for the constant blessings in my life that I get to experience daily. I have not thanked Him enough and I am forever grateful for His blessings.