Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Introducing...A BRAND NEW BLOG!

Hello all you lovely people! I know it has been a tragically long time since I have written anything here and I am so very sorry. But, there's good news! Some new ideas have been taking place and I am excited to let you know that I have a brand new blog!

This new blog is called Love, Wildflower and I would love for you to stop over and check it out here. It will be a place where we can encourage and uplift one another and share in lots of beauty and joy along the way!

I am so grateful for all of you readers who have stuck with my over the years and I would love for you to join me as I take this step in a new, exciting direction. So much has changed over time and God has worked in my life in so many ways! I have so much to share with you!

I truly hope to see you all soon! Love to you all!

Monday, August 11, 2014

thoughts on beauty.

Lately I've been seeing a "beauty challenge" going around Facebook and Instagram. Basically, you post a collage of pictures of yourself that make you feel beautiful and then you challenge other girls to do the same thing. I was challenged tonight by one of my best friends and figured it was a good time to share some thoughts on beauty. Especially after this week. Being secure in ourselves and our body image has been a major topic of discussion between me and my girl friends this week. So instead of posting a bunch of pictures of myself, I decided to share with you a few things about the average girl's struggle with beauty. Here are two things that really test my self-confidence.

~Being told I look young and the graceless way people tend to address the fact.~ The night before my cousin's wedding, some of us bridesmaids were talking about how people mistake us for teenagers on a normal basis. A week rarely goes by that I don't get told I look like a teenager or people ask me how I got to my destination since I couldn't possibly be old enough to have my license. And honestly, it's frustrating. Being told, "Oh, you'll love looking young when you're older and everyone else is getting grey hair!" doesn't make it okay. The next morning I went in to get my makeup done for the wedding and you know the first thing the stylist asked me? How old are you? I answered back that I was turning twenty-three in a few days. Her response: What?! You look seventeen. Oh, and laughter. Yes, she laughed. Do you think being laughed at for your looks is a build up or a tear down? That would be the latter.

~Being shamed for being thin time and time again.~
All girls should feel confident about their size, especially if they are living a healthy lifestyle and doing their best to take care of themselves. All sizes are beautiful. I don't bash people bigger than me, so don't bash me because I'm small. Comments like- Are you anorexic? You're such a stick! You need to eat something. You need to gain weight. You shouldn't be working out. You're not allowed to feel fat. Size zero is disgusting.- I've heard these comments since I was a little girl. Somehow society has determined that if someone is skinny, you can make rude comments and get away with it. I don't know who decided that's okay, but it's not.

Feeling beautiful and confident in your skin isn't always easy. People can tear you down even when there intentions aren't always to do so. If I left my sense of self worth or beauty in the hands of the world, I would be in a lot of trouble. Sure, there are many many times that I fight insecurities of feeling unwanted, or too skinny, or ugly, or my hair is too big, or my teeth are too crooked, etc. But let me tell you, when I take all those thoughts away---I feel beautiful. Not because of how I look, because we all know I'm no supermodel, but because I was created to be exactly how I am. Why would I want to be anything else? I have one of a kind hair, eyes, skin, and body shape. I am ME and no one else ever will be. And you are YOU and no one else ever will be.

So whether you look eight years younger than you should or eight years older than you should, don't let that change who you are. If you feel too skinny or too fat, don't let that change who you are. If your eyes are brown and not blue, if your hair is too frizzy or too flat, if your feet are too big or too small---just stop. You are beautiful just how you are and please don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Friday, January 17, 2014

let gratefulness outshine!

My days have recently felt empty and hollow and lacking joy. Lame, right? Tell me about it! But guess what? Those feelings can easily be suppressed by all this beauty around me! My heart is overwhelmed when I think about all these blessings!

I live in a beautiful city. And there is no snow on the ground. Perfection.

My brother is the best. He does things like picks me up from the airport after midnight, brings me a house key when I lock myself out of the house, and makes me laugh with all his weirdness and wittiness.

My sister-in-law is also the best. I'm glad God gave me the big sister I always wished I had growing up. God bless her heart for marrying my crazy brother! She has become one of my best friends. My shopping buddy, the first person I go to about almost everything, my fellow Starbucks/Adrians/sugar addict, and so much more. I love this girl.

My brother and sis-in-law allowing me to live in their home with them. I mean, seriously? Not many people would be willing to let someone live with them. Especially when having a baby in the house and busy lives to keep up with. They do SO much for me. I try to return the favor whenever I can, but I feel like nothing I do could show them how much I appreciate what they are doing for me. And FYI...living with them is a blast.

I have the best niece in the world. She is so full of joy. Nothing puts me in a better mood than being around her. Her giggles and smiles are so incredibly contagious. Even when she is grumpy, I don't mind. Her mommy and daddy like to apologize when she cries in the middle of the night, but I hope they know that I could never be upset with that baby for waking me up with her tears. Baby girl is loved.

I have a job and super awesome co-workers. Those girls have become like a second family to me since moving here. I mean, we do spend every waking minute together! ...Or at least it feels like it sometimes! Work is so much better when you have a great boss and great people to spend your days with!

I have a loving family back in Wisconsin. Even though I can't be with them, it's always so nice getting unexpected texts and calls from friends and family telling me they love me, are thinking of me, and praying for me. I miss them and it's good to know that when I come back home...whenever that may be...they will be there waiting for me with open arms.

I have friends across the globe. Sometimes I hate this because it means I don't get to see them very often. Just this past week I was trying to set up a Skype date with my friend in Ireland...never happened. Dang time difference! Even though this can be a pain sometimes, I realize how blessed I am. And might I add...more excuses for taking trips! I am in the process of planning a trip to Rhode Island to get together with some college friends and I am stoked! Just this past weekend I was able to spend time with one of my best friends from school. I get to have phone dates often. It's fun when friends drop in unexpectedly, and it makes it more special when I actually do get to see/talk to friends...the list goes on. Long distance friendships can be really hard, but they are such a blessing at the same time.

And as always, I am thankful for over-sized t shirts, leggings, fuzzy socks, fluffy pillows, and fuzzy blankets. My happiness summed up right there for ya, folks. Simplicity.

This list goes on. It's so easy to become consumed with life and work and "the norm" that the beauty in life gets taken for granted. It feels good to just pause and think about all the wonderful things in life. The beautiful parts in life do a great job of outshining the ugly. I am blessed...and so full of joy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

alive in our hearts.

There are days in which I look around and all I see is beauty. I can talk to a homeless man on the street and feel nothing but love and compassion. I can walk outside on a rainy day and smile and dance and twirl--just because I can.

But then...oh, but then there are those days that come creeping in. Those days in which I feel nothing but coldness. I have no room in my heart to love how I should. I feel uncomfortable and annoyed and alone.

I have been praying about this a lot lately. Confused about how I can feel so full of joy and life one minute and so worn out and sick the next. I have begun to realize that how I feel doesn't have to do so much with circumstances as it does with the depths of my heart.

What we allow to live in our hearts will become what we live for.

I was driving home the other night; it was late, dark, and rainy. It was just me and God in the front seat of the car. I had the radio on and a song of praise came on that I couldn't help but sing along to--at the top of my lungs might I add. Those moments happen a lot for me. Singing praises to God as loud as I can, dancing around my room with so much joy in my heart that I feel as if I could burst. It has been in these moments the last few weeks that I have really become aware of what I have been harboring in my heart.

Although I have been able to experience the love and forgiveness and hope that comes from knowing Christ, I still have a whole lot of ugly hiding away inside my heart and mind. There are rugged pieces of shame. There are sharp little fragments of insecurities. There are shreds of doubt telling me that I'm not good enough. Negativity. Lies. Compromise. Selfishness. Loneliness. Fear. Bitterness. My heart has had these ugly, nasty pieces hiding away just making me physically sick and emotionally drained. And what made matters worse was that instead of trying to rid my heart of these things, I was feeding them. Sure, I was feeding the good parts too, but it's surprising how much more attention the ugly pieces get than the good pieces.

I want to be sold out for Christ. I want to be burning with that joy and love and hope and peace with every fiber of my being. I want to feed these things so much that there is no room in my heart for the ugly pieces to survive.

Whatever I focus my time, energy, and thoughts on, and what I surround myself with are going to come out in my attitude and mindset every morning when I wake up. It's time to decide, and I choose to go down the path that will draw me closer to Christ. The path that will let others see Himself shining bright through me. Oh, how I will never tire of the freedom God shows to me time and time again...

Freedom to twirl and dance and sing and be
full of joy.

Let now our hearts burn with a flame, a fire consuming all for your Son's holy name.
-Hillsong United, "Saviour King"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

embracing change.

There have been days I found myself dragging my feet because of all the weights I was carrying. A pound of doubt on one shoulder and a pound of inadequacy on the other. Add to that a few pounds of loneliness and a constant search for belonging and there is just a fraction of the weight. Life has had it's share of changes lately. Moving to a new state, a new home, starting a new job, and making new friends. Wonderful changes, but change is still change. It's tiring and brings out all your weaknesses. If I wrote a guidebook on life, I would put a giant warning sign on the chapter on change:

"Beware of twists and turns and ups and downs around every corner! Approach with caution!"

The chapter would be terrifying and most people would probably choose to avoid change at all costs. They would probably decide to take the safe, cozy, comfortable route. Stay where you are all warm under the covers and do not move. Ever.

But that would be a devastating mistake.

The first part of the chapter is exhausting and terrifying and can tempt you to break down and quit. It makes you feel uncomfortable and forces you to see parts of yourself you would rather deny. But don't close the book yet. Keep reading. You see, exhaustion teaches endurance. Being scared teaches dependence on Christ. A lack of comfort teaches you to try new things. And seeing the worst in yourself, well, that is the best part of change...the whole purpose of change. It forces you to grow and understand and develop. The change going on around you is a small thing compared to the change going on inside you. Chances are, if you're not feeling a little scared, inadequate, lost, or uncomfortable right now...you're probably not doing a whole lot of living. If you want to go anywhere, you have to push yourself. Discomfort is not a sign to give up, but rather a sign to keep going...pushing harder than ever.

Life right now is feeling a little uncomfortable, but honestly...I'm loving every minute of it. It is an exciting adventure and that is exactly what I wanted. There are moments I want to hang my head and just quit, but there are twice as many moments of blessings and laughter and joy. Those moments are found in new friendships and strangers I meet on the street and worship I sing in church and trying new restaurants and spending time with my precious niece and her fantastic mama and daddy.

Change is terrifying. But even more so, change is exhilarating and vibrant. It gives you a chance to live fully and freely.

Embrace it; you won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Onto the next thing...

Well folks, I made it through college! Seven semesters of classes, tests, projects, and papers are all things of the past! I am so excited about being done with the work part of school, but I already miss being at school...and I've only been home for a week and a half. Maybe it's just that summer hasn't really kicked off yet. I'm sure once the hot weather comes (and stays) it will feel more like summer and I can start really enjoying it. Being done with school is weird. I don't think it will fully set in until the fall comes and I'm not packing up the car for another semester. I do have some exciting news though...

I'll still be packing up the car, just not for school. I'm moving south!!! =) South Carolina to be more specific. I'll be moving in with my brother and sister-in-law...and very very soon to be niece! I am so excited to finally have myself a grand adventure! I have lived in Wisconsin my whole life and even stayed within the state for school. Moving to a different region over thirteen hours away is going to be crazy. It will be hard leaving my family, friends, and my hometown...but I need this. I need to fly. I'm craving it.

I can't wait to find a job, a church, and settle into my new surroundings. I also have some friends who live in the area so it will be awesome getting to live near them!

As for right now, I want to soak in these next three months here in Wisconsin. I'll be going down to South Carolina in a few weeks to see my niece once she is born and as soon as I come back I will start work for the summer. I want to have as much fun as possible (on a poor girl's budget, that is). Beaches, concerts, fun-runs, fireworks, parties, bonfires, late nights...ahhhhh summer is here. =)

Friday, May 3, 2013

beautiful chaos.

Life consists of extraordinary chaos. On the surface, chaos appears as a dirty film that we desperately try to wipe away from our safe little lives. We seek a way out of the confusion, the busyness, and the uncertainty. Panic enters into the depths of our hearts and we soon begin to slip into a blurry abyss of confusion.

We find chaos around every corner. Life is a continuous merry-go-round heavy with shifting plans and perplexing decisions. Security drifts into something of the past and a mandatory vulnerability takes its place. 

Something I have learned--and continue to learn--each and every day I am privileged to experience, is to find beauty in the chaos. Beautiful chaos is something that has always captivated me. Rainy afternoons compel me to do nothing short of letting my hair down and dancing barefoot in the misty air. I could look at the pouring rain and sloppy puddles and let the chaos overpower me, but instead I choose to embrace the chaos. I am in constant pursuit of turning chaos into something beautiful.

Sometimes this pursuit puts a guilty weight on my shoulders. I feel like when the world is hurting, I should hide away and give in to the chaos--almost as if shedding a smile would prove myself insensitive and inconsiderate. I have decided that if chaos cannot be avoided, it might as well be transformed into something lovely and beautiful. Chaos might be a dirty film that overtakes our peace and quiet, but under the mire is something so unbelievably wonderful. I am determined this is true.

I'm not trying to state that chaos doesn't hurt. Life throws curve balls. Even when the chaos is expected--like the fact that I am graduating in a week and I have to make some life changing decisions--it takes a toll on you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is okay to hurt and it is okay to wrap yourself up in your giant blankets and plushy pillows and tune out the world for a few moments. I am simply trying to say that there is always always always something beautiful in the works. We might not see it through the dusty mire, but it's there--we just have to discover it. The hope, the bigger picture that is coming, the blessings surrounding the present situations--it's all right there.

We can let the chaos bury us or we can shed some light on it and discover the beauty that is sure to follow.

I choose beauty.