An almost graduate’s advice to surviving college

As I approach my last few weeks as a student at TCU, I have realized that sadly college is coming to an end and so will my antics here at this wonderful place I’ve called home for the past four years. So, to bid y’all adieu from my collegiate-self I’ve decided to create a list (gasp) of things you should and shouldn’t do at TCU and/or college in general I guess. Nostalgia has taken over my mind and therefore I must purge my words.

Do:

  1. Take all the free food and t-shirts you can get.
  2. Join a sorority. Kappa Alpha Theta is the best. I say this from a non-biased standpoint, I swear.
  3. Don’t be afraid to sign up for potluck roommates. Finding your future roommates through Facebook is overrated.
  4. Go to the free events hosted by your school. TCU has SPORTS, concerts, free food, 5ks, comedians, speakers and even petting zoos. Don’t be afraid to look for things to do on campus.
  5. Speaking of sports, go to every sport your school offers at least once. Obviously the must see sports are football, basketball and baseball. Try to see a couple tennis matches, volleyball games, soccer games and more. And as always, Go Frogs!
  6. Wear your school apparel everywhere, especially when you travel. You will literally meet so many cool people from all over the world. Trust me, people love to talk about their alma mater.
  7. Go completely out of your comfort zone. Do something spontaneous, like be in a random music video or road trip with new friends that you may barely know. The best stories come from trusting your gut and exploring with adventurous people on a whim.
  8. Go to class.
  9. Skip class, sometimes.
  10. Go to parties. When you graduate you won’t remember the nights you stayed in and studied, but you’ll remember the nights you got to celebrate college and being young with your best friends.
  11. Learn how to study. Whether it be writing notes, using quizlet or talking it out with a study group. D’s may get degrees, but A’s will get you the job you want.
  12. Get summer internships. Trust me, it will be so much easier to get a job after you graduate. Something I should have taken note of earlier.
  13. Journal. Sometimes there are things you don’t want to talk about with people. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about at all. Write it down. Read it. Leave it alone. Come back to it. See if you can work it out yourself or if you need to talk with a friend or mentor.
  14. Suck up to your teachers. Whatever, be a teacher’s pet. More times than not your professor will give you the benefit of the doubt. Borderline grades are usually decided based on a students’ attendance and effort in the class. Make sure your profs know your education is important to you.
  15. Ask for letters of recommendation early. Oops.
  16. Take classes with friends. Double the notes and double the fun. Plus, shameless competition is always interesting.
  17. Say yes to dates. Dinner dates. Mixer/Party dates. Even if it is with someone you don’t know. What is the worst that could happen?
  18. Call your parents. Actually, call your whole fam. Give them an update on life and tell them you love them.
  19. Kiss the random hot guy at a party.
  20. Go out to dinner and happy hour with your squad.
  21. Have occasional wine nights with the girls. Who needs house parties and bars when you have vino, movies and PJs.
  22. Find a friend with a dog. Life hack: you don’t have to pick up the poop, give them baths or pay for their food. You can still get your puppy fix whenever you want.
  23. Go to Vegas for your 21st birthday.
  24. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  25. Go to church!
  26. Sign up for intramurals with your friends. You may tear your ACL for the third time, but at least you have a story to tell.
  27. Find time to be alone. I have yet to actually succeed in this because I am a social creature and I hate being alone, but it is important so do it.
  28. Make college bucket lists with your friends!!!

 

Do NOT!!!:

  1. Ignore your health. I guarantee you will get sick your first two weeks at school. Chug airborne and try to get enough sleep. Stress can lower your immune system so make sure you know how to alleviate stress and see a doctor when you need to. Don’t ignore your mental health either. College is the first time we are sent away from our parents for an extended period of time. Our late teens and early twenties are a prime time for mental illnesses to become present. Do not be afraid to seek for help. You are not alone.
  2. Pull multiple all-nighters to finish one season of Friday Night Lights in two days. Also, don’t watch scary movies before you go to bed.
  3. Do your laundry on Sundays. Everyone does their laundry on Sundays. You will not find washers or dryers in the dorms. You may also find that your roommates are better at doing their laundry in a timely fashion and will beat you to the chase.
  4. Forget what time your night class is. You may miss your first test by an hour, like I did.
  5. Post pictures to social media that you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see.
  6. Forget to plan all your spring breaks and never make it to Cabo.
  7. Buy random expensive clothes you’re only going to wear once. Get creative.
  8. Ignore the friends that are always there for you. Popularity isn’t a contest in college.
  9. Let dumb boys dictate your happiness. And don’t compare yourself to other girls. After all, they say that comparison is the thief of joy.
  10. Sit back and let the four years roll by without putting in the effort to make it all worth it.

My lists aren’t extensive and will be added to later (maybe). Feel free to share with friends or high schoolers. I just wanted to relive all my good and bad experiences by jotting them down to share with others. It has truly been a blessing being here at TCU. I will never forget the exciting people I’ve met on my path to adulthood. Even though I am completely terrified of the real world, I know my experience here has prepared me both emotionally and academically. Today, I ordered my diploma and cap n’ gown. What a whirlwind it’s been. From the carefree freshman to the sophomore slump. From the junior academic to the inevitable senioritis. Thank you TCU for all the mems and friends.

TCU Tuition: $$$

TCU Diploma: Priceless

Peace out world,

T

It’s a Story to Tell…

It’s a story to tell… it’s the motto of the day. 

            These past few weeks have been filled with adventure, insanity, and chaos. It has been crowded with set backs and terrifying moments, but significantly outnumbered by the infinite amount of incredibly blessed moments. The beginning of each year introduces a new rhythm that sets the pace for the upcoming semester. I have a feeling that this year is going to be unbelievable in a hectic, but good sort of way. Here is long-story-short breakdown of how things have been going so far.

            Where did I leave off? How about I just start off with recruitment.

No surprise here, recruitment was off the wall crazy. It was way more fun than I thought it would be so props to my girls Aubree and Kelly for being the best recruitment chairs ever. Workweek and recruitment week are the two most insane weeks of the year. It is crazier than spring break…. For those of you who don’t get to experience the whole TCU recruitment process, you have no idea what its like underneath it all. It is incredibly hard to explain. Like when you ask someone who studied abroad (because like everyone did this summer), “how was it?” and they can only respond with one-word answers like “amazing.” How would I describe recruitment? Crazy. But it is so much more than that. Imagine cheer camp mixed with boot camp combined with an uncanny amount of estrogen. There is no real way to explain this week of drama and excitement. All I can tell you is that THETA is the best sorority and my sisters are truly talented and remarkable girls. TLAM!

            Next, school begins… of course. My schedule really couldn’t get much better. I mean two night classes AND a Friday class. It’s awesome. Alright, even though my calendar is not all that great, so far my classes have proved to be promising. Class is my favorite place to meet new friends. It gives me chances to have unattached relationships. I like knowing people that no one else knows. I don’t mean for that to sound creepy in any way, but I hope some of you will understand. For me I like it because it gives me a new viewpoint and perspective of everything that’s going on around me. It keeps me balanced and open-minded. I like that

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            With that in mind, I would like to share my indescribable experience in the music industry thanks again to my good friend Aubree who always provides us with a good challenge. This week’s was a music video. A legitimate one, kind of. An MTV2 music video that we were asked to come be a part of. I will spare you the details, but share some pictures that will explain the “it’s a story to tell moment.” It is one worthy of being told in person, but hard to explain in written words. I guess you’ll have to tune in on MTV2 to catch yo girls making a cameo in Willstrumental’s “Bout It Bout It.”

        Mixed with all this craziness with new beginnings and hectic schedules, I have found some lovely silver linings. A worthy list of breathtaking and delightful experiences. Through these past weeks I have strengthened relationships and bonds with new and old friends. I have been reminded about why I chose Theta and why I chose TCU and my friends. I have entered the long path of classes needed to complete my major. I have met with friends and family that I haven’t seen in forever and I finally got to settle into my new house with my unique and awesome roommates. Speaking of houses and family and friends, I have one more little adventure to share.

            Lucky for me I was able to travel down to San Antonio to my grandparent’s house to see part of my extended fam. Cousins and cousins and more cousins and aunts and uncles. The whole shebang. You’d think it would be one of those over the top family gatherings, and you’d be right because it was exactly that. I can’t believe that a group of 20-something-year-olds would get together and wreak havoc. How many girls does it take to open a trundle bed, to finish a basket of candy, to overflow the pool with an abundance of colorful floaties. It was nuts how many absurd activities brought us together. We wrapped up each night with looking at old photos from when we were little kids and then we would begin the next day with reenacting the pictures.

            During this great weekend, I was overwhelmed with all the fun and awfully tired from the sun. I was exhausted and unable to comprehend the call I had received from my dad. You can imagine how unbelievably shocked and panicked I was when I found out my mom was seriously ill in another country. I tried to stay calm and show how brave I was, but that night I crashed a little earlier and prayed a little harder. I prayed my little heart out for her. Thank you to everyone who sent her out in their prayer groups. Cid, you are doing great and have a strong support group that never stops praying for you. I love you! It’s your “story to tell.” 

 

Finally, throughout this entire crazy and emotional short journey I was able to experience some precious moments of solitude (believe it or not) and enjoy alone time with my homeboy, Jesus. My biggest “oh snap” moment was when I reread my Jesus Calling book for the reading of August 29. Yes, I’ve read it multiple times to understand it and then believe it. I’ll leave you with that. Remember through all your craziness, there is always an anchor. Find it.

 

“DEMONSTRATE YOUR TRUST IN ME by sitting quietly in My Presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence. This act of faith–waiting before working–is noted in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens principalities and powers of darkness.

The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near to Me. When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more.”

 

Luke 12:22-26; Ephesians 6:12; Proverbs 16:3

 

Enjoy your week!

Tara McQueen

Words of Encouragement

I am feeling very thankful today. I notice that sometimes my ego blinds me from seeing everything that is good in life. Often, I forget how amazingly wonderful my friends are. Sorry, friends! The past few days have been kind of hard for me. Seeing that my entire Instagram feed is full with pictures from amazing adventures around the world, especially Europe… especially Paris. I am jealous. Very jealous. As this weekend was my first “free weekend” I thought it was going to be absolutely wonderful. Nope. It wasn’t. It was nice, but not wonderful. I’m so jealous of everyone else’s escapades that I forget to plan my own. Lately, (the past two days) I have been feeling kind of lonely. I wait for a text, for a call, for the doorbell to ring or a knock on the door. Nope. Nothing. Nada. But then I realized, I did get those texts, calls, and knocks on the door…  it just wasn’t to hang out, it was better.

“How are you doing?” “I miss you!” “Where did you get that maple bacon donut?”

and my favorite one from my little: “I hope you had a fun day at the fair and that it was your perfect fair day that you have always wanted.” Oh yeah, I went to the fair with my best friend… and even though we complained together the entire time… I mean we were at the fair so I wouldn’t necessarily say that life was that bad.

another favorite from a good friend: “You know I am a big Tara McQueen fan (blogger, person, advice giver, good friend.)

 

Thank you, friends! I know there were plenty more that I didn’t stop and think wow thank you. I regret not appreciating these little notes and I am making a pact with myself to notice the small things. You’ve heard the little things are the ones that matter most or how bout stop and smell the roses, right? How cliché am I? I just want to give a shout out to all my friends who continuously make my day. Thank you for always being there for me. I’m always here for anyone. If you are feeling down or just need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate. I am here for you. If you are too shy or embarrassed you can always use my tumblr account to stay anonymous. 

Look up Philippians 4:8 if you are in need of some extra faith. 

Stay lovely,

Tara

Dear Abby,

DEAR ABBY – THE PURGED WORD

http://thepurgedword.tumblr.com/ask

Hey guys. This is awesome. Thanks to everyone who posted questions to the link above. The first day went really well. Below are the Dear Abby questions and responses. Let me know what you think. Keep continuing to post on my ask page. Y’all are awesome.

***If you feel like you want to view a more immediate response, please check this page http://thepurgedword.tumblr.com (its the same page but without the /ask). I will try to respond as quickly as I can. At the end of each week I will take all the questions and responses and pile them together and post it here! Thanks for being patient.***  


September 4, 2014 — The new batch of questions slowly trickle in.

 

Dear Abby,

How can I approach someone with whom I share a literal distance barrier? How can I effectively bridge the gap and present myself?

Dear DistanceDistressed,

If you are attempting to capture the attention of a potential significant other, the challenge can be more difficult when you are unable to have face-to-face conversation. However, that is not to say it cannot be done. First, you should probably find some type of bond or similar interest you have in common with that person and attempt to expand off of that. For instance, maybe you have the same major and were curious how they got that intern… that you heard about from a friend, of course. Just to give a basic scenario. Whatever the case is, you must be the one to start the effort if you feel inclined to let them know how you feel. After the initial connection, take a step further and keeping talking and showing off your true personality and more getting to know them and then eventually try to occasionally meet with your “crush” for lack of a better word; if the opportunity arises. Until then make sure you are always on their radar. I am sure you can use your imagination and be creative enough to figure out small ways to do that. Just remember, don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zones. If you want to make something happen… go out and work for it.

Good Luck!

Love, Abby

June 13, 2014 –I apologize. Most of these posts are from early May to recent. I caught up on my tumblr, but I just now got to adding them to this wordpress. Enjoy. Don’t be scared to ask more! 

Dear Abby,

I am a freshman in college and have a boyfriend that I adore and love very much. I am nervous if I am not “supposed” to have a boyfriend right now at this point in college. People have influenced me to think that I should not have a boyfriend and that I should see what else if out there because I am so young. What do you think…

Dear CollegeCutie,

College is a time to explore and go crazy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be single. Yeah, it’d be fun to keep your options open and see what’s out there, but if you like how things are don’t let someone persuade you into thinking that’s not okay. Just remember college is the place to make new friends and new memories… Find bridesmaids! So let yourself have the freedom to do that. Don’t be attached at the hip with your boy, but if you love him you don’t have to break up with him. It’s your life; don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Enjoy your college years cutie. Live it up!

Love, Abby

Dear Abby,

I’ve only taken one final but I am already over studying. How do I stay on track and focused for the rest of the week? Sincerely, expert in procrastination.

Dear Expert in Procrastination, 

You just have to take one day at a time. Designate 30 minutes of hard work on one subject and alternate to keep your brain alert. Don’t jumble it up too much though. DO NOT FORGET TO EXERCISE. I know it feels like there is no time to get in a work out when you are cramming for finals, but leave the book at home and hit the gym for 30 mins… Or even better run or walk outside to get some fresh air. One other tip I find very helpful is finding a new place to study, but not somewhere that will distract you. If you are from Fort Worth I would recommend Brewed… It’s my favorite place to study. And lastly, turn off your electronics for AT LEAST an hour worth of studying. GOOD LUCK!

Love, Abby

Dear Abby,

I am not the biggest of my friend’s boyfriend. I fear that he is subconsciously making her do things she does not want to do. How can I help her without losing her more to her boyfriend?

Dear BoyfriendBan,

Instead of calling her out for complying with her boyfriend’s wants. Ask her what her wants are without her boyfriend’s opinion. You have to help her see the problem herself without directly telling her to look at it from your view. In the meantime, invite her to do fun things with you all the time and she will cherish those moments and it may even open up her eyes to help her use her OWN choices on what she wants to do. Try not to attack the bad boyfriend, attack the problem. Good luck!

Love, Abby
P.S. If this didn’t make sense ask again in a week. Finals are kicking my butt and Abby isn’t at her prime currently.

Dear Abby,

When is the honeymoon stage in a relationship over?

 Dear Honeymooner,

The honeymoon phase is over after the first 3 big fights. Just kidding! I think it’s something you and your partner will figure out as time goes on. I can’t say when it will be in your relationship or anyone else’s either; but give your relationship the time to have it’s ups and downs and I think you’ll have a better understanding of what I’m trying to say. Happy honeymooning ;)!
Love, Abby


April 19, 2014

Dear Abby,

How long should you wait to say I love you in a relationship?

Dear LostLover,

The big three words are rarely ever planned. In most cases “i love you’ naturally slips out, whether it means to or not. Make sure than when you do say it that you mean it and that it is not forced. Don’t be caught up in the honeymoon-dating phase and jump the gun. Wait long enough to see if it is love versus infatuation. Infatuation is finding your lover to be flawless while love is knowing your lover is flawed and loving him/her anyway. Choose wisely, not timely.

Love, Abby 


 

April 17, 2014

Dear Abby,

Last night my boyfriend and I had plans to hang out, but around 11 he told me he was too tired to hang out. He always does this. What can I do? I don’t want to sound like a needy girlfriend. Please help!

Dear LonelyGirlfriend

It is hard to not seem clingy when all you want is to hang out with your boyfriend whenever you have free time. Sometimes boys don’t get that you just want their undivided attention for a while. Remind your boyfriend that you need some TLC, but give him space to do his own thing every once in a while. Make it clear that he doesn’t always have to say yes when you ask him to hang out and that will make him seem less flakey. You don’t want to be waiting all night for him to come over if he is going to keep pushing it off and then bail last minute. Manage your own time and don’t depend on his word if you think he is going to flake out. I hope this helps.

Love, Abby.


 

Dear Abby,

is eating a bowl of ice cream before bed every night beneficial to ones health?

Dear IceCreamFiend,

As long as it makes you happy. Being happy is always good for your health. However if you want a professional medical opinion I would ask somewhere else.

Love, Abby


Dear Abby,

What are your views on homosexuality and Christianity?

Dear CuriousChristian,

My opinion is exclusive to my faith and I am not here to advocate my reasoning. From a traditional Christian standpoint homosexuality is frowned upon. Interpret this how you will. I don’t have a particular opinion about how I feel, but this is what I believe to be what I know so far. Stay curious and ask questions before boasting about your opinion.

Love, Abby


Dear Abby,

I’m stuck in a rut. I long for “best-friend-like” friendships as well as I’m longing for guy friends. Help!

Dear FindingFriends,

Some of my very best friends are guys. I feel more comfortable telling them my secrets more so than I do tell my girl friends sometimes. To make a friend you have to be a friend. Make a long lasting relationship by committing to being the best friend you can possibly be and more than likely that friendship will succeed. Find the best of both worlds! I hope that helps!

Love, Abby


 

Dear Abby,

I long to be loved, but I am comfortable living in a simple life. Do I need to push myself out of my comfort zone to “find someone” or should I wait for “Mr. Perfect” to come to me?

Dear Mrs.Perfect,

It is always a good idea to branch out of your comfort zone and meet new people. However, don’t push yourself into a relationship that you’re not ready for. Remember though, you have many Mr. Wrongs to go through before you meet Mr. Right. As for now search for love from your friends and family and don’t be afraid to add some flavor to your life by meeting new people. Goodluck!

Love, Abby


 

Dear Abby,

What if you are trying to respect the boundaries of your married kids and never show up unannounced or uninvited (and rarely do invites come) but when they do, you show up gladly and then 5 years later they say they feel ingnored???

Dear UnrequitedInvitations,

Patience is a virtue. With time, good souls will find their way back to home and love will be returned. Don’t dwell on the could haves, you’ve done your best. If you feel like asking for invites is crossing a boundary, instead offer the invitation on your premises more frequently and the invitation will eventually become reciprocated. I know it is hard to be walking on eggshells, especially when you are trying to express love that feels unrequited. More often than not, claiming to be “ignored” is a way to seek for attention. Give it the attention it needs and be patient as things will find themselves being pieced back together. Stay strong and optimistic.

Love, Abby

If the Shoe Fits, Why Not?

(disclaimer: this was written on tuesday, 2-18-14)

I have learned during the past weeks I’ve spent here that adjusting doesn’t always mean conforming. Yeah, TCU girls on their way to class are a big fashion faux pas. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. You run into that new boy you like, sorry, but you look like a mess. This is the part I refused to adjust to at TCU. Yes, I conform to the Greek life culture; I do not conform to oversize tee shirts that make me look 30 pounds heavier than I am. I will admit as I write this that I am wearing a long sleeve (non-figure flattering) Endless Summer shirt paired with black lulus and blue converse. Not at my peak, but I did wear a sassy business dress for a good majority of the day. And now it’s cold, so forgive me for dressing accordingly to the weather for just a second. Sorry students in my Lab class, but I am not trying to please you right now.

But all this is beside the point. As I am adjusting to the new college culture, I have learned to conform from identity to identity. Yet I am still able to maintain a stable identity of my own. Am I not making sense? Here let me make this clearer by using an example.

Conforming in the sense of adjusting.

I show up to my chapter meeting and my seating is not in its usual order, I am not squeezed next to my talking buddy who I used to sit next to for every meeting. Am I going to make the best of it instead? You betcha. Lucky for me I get to form a bond with the new ‘sisters’ I get to sit next to. Adjusting to change, conforming to sorority sisterhood expectations.

Well speaking about sisters, Caitlin (yes, I consider her a sister) and I decided to play into the role of Texas Californians. Does that make sense? We embraced our California mentality and explored the artsiest of neighborhoods we could find in Fort Worth.  It was totally worth it. Adjusting the California mindset to what Texas has to offer.Image

Naturally, during our spontaneous adventure we thought the only rational way to end this day would be to go to Billy Bob’s to see Scotty McCreery in concert. Now I am not gonna lie here… I am not country music’s biggest fan, however, when in Texas…, right? I kick on my cowboy boots and head to the rodeo, pretending to be the real cowgirl that I am. Conformity? Yeah, probably. Fun? AbsolutelyImage

It sure seems like Caitlin and I had a crazy cool weekend. Even on Monday it continued on. Caitlin was super stoked that her Eno hammock came in. I committed to helping her set it up and try it out. Given it was a pretty boyish color (puke green and brown) us to girls added a little pizazz to it. We hung that bad boy up on a tree and climbed in, both crossing our fingers. If this sucker falls down, that is for sure a broken tailbone. Am I usually adventurous like this? No, not necessarily as much as I’d like to think. So yeah I pushed myself to meet Caitlin’s expectations of hammock chiller.

Overall, I’d say this whole experience has been successful. It may be altering your perspective or altering your actions, but being able to stay true to yourself and opening up new and different doors for yourself really isn’t that bad.

I could ramble on and on, but assuming some of y’all have as short of an attention span as I do… I’ll spare you the time and wrap it all up. What I am trying to get at here is that you can ALWAYS change yourself into who you want to be.

With Messy Hair and Eager Eyes

You know that one song that you hear, it comes on every once in a while, and it’s the one that makes you feel invincible. It takes you away from drowning yourself in other thoughts. Let’s replace that song with living exactly how we envision our lives would be when hearing that melody and inspirational lyrics.

1. Free yourself from expectations. Go find a new friend who has nothing in common with you and talk until you’ve become best friends.

2. Go out for a walk by yourself. Not a run. A walk. Take your time. Don’t rush to be back with friends or get back to studying. Seriously, take your time.

3. Don’t brush your hair. Even if you care, pretend you don’t. This one may be a risky one, but maybe avoid public places unless you are going to the beach.

4. Fall asleep to peaceful sounds. Maybe it is the crashing of waves on your favorite beach. Maybe its rain. Just do it.

5. Eat the second bowl of ice cream. (AJ would agree with this one.) Count the calories? Absolutely not. Be happy, not crazy.

The point I am trying to get across is simple. Color outside the lines. Conformity is comfortable, but being yourself should be the easiest thing to do. 

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 book titled 2014

Its only page 22 of this crazy book

Life isn’t always as scary as it looks

We fall and we cry but we get back up again

We laugh and we smile to feel the tingling of our skin

 

Page 22 it’s too early for mistakes

For men or for life to be taken away

Too early for giving up or saying no

But it’s not too late to say “hello”

 

Forget your fears maybe pretend you don’t care

And soon you’re already half way there

Tell that bitch to take a hike

Don’t give in to the things you dislike

 

Now is your chance to start brand new

Remember it is only page 22

You have 343 more to go to find yourself

And save yourself from your personal hell

 

This is a happy song to renew your soul

A private book for only you to know

Jot down your thoughts

Let your mind speak free

Don’t lift your hand of that paper

Find out what its like to be who you really want to be

 

Page 22 and time is turning

Don’t forget to stop learning

Listen closely and look to see

What’s in store for page 23.

#blessed

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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.