lifestyle

Love Yourself First

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Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! I’m writing this message as a personal plea to Love Yourself First!

Around this time last year, a friend and I were sulking together‚ÄĒrelishing in the fact that we would be single for Valentine’s Day. ¬†We saw how pitiful we were acting and decided that instead of giving in to the Hallmark Holiday that is Valentine’s Day, we would celebrate “Galentine’s Day”‚ÄĒa day devoted to friendship and self-love.

¬†The creator of the holiday, Leslie Knope, from the television series, Parks and Recreations,¬†describes Galentine’s Day as a holiday for “Ladies celebrating ladies. It‚Äôs like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas”.

Spending Galentine’s Day with my best friend was immensely more fun than spending it consumed in the stresses of buying material goods that represent an overcommercialized view of¬†love. ¬†In reality, we must love ourselves before being able to truly accept the love of others.

To love ourselves is to accept our flaws, and ignore the criticism of others.  Your self-worth is not defined by the surface of your personality.  You go so much deeper than people are willing to dive in to…all of us do.  Criticisms are based off of a small amount of knowledge that again, does not define a person.  The criteria that others put in place for you is not the guide in which to live your life.  Be a confident and strong individual, and do not conform to what others expect you to be.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday meant to spread love and kindness, but it has turned into a commercialized monster. ¬†Love is shown in many other ways than through monetary value. ¬†Instead of focusing on the stress of Valentine’s Day, focus on yourself. ¬†Find ways to love yourself and find your self-worth, rather than spending time and money on a holiday that should be celebrated every day. ¬†We should not need a holiday to tell us when to express love. ¬†Show love when you feel the need rather than when a holiday tells you it is a requirement. ¬†Love others, and learn to love yourself.

~ ‚ô° Presley

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lifestyle

Be Present for Friends in Need

IMG_7003.jpgOne of the hardest things for me is knowing that someone is hurting, but not knowing why or how to help. ¬†I find myself poking and prodding until the person eventually explodes, which is obviously not the right way to handle things. ¬†How can we empathize with someone if we don’t know what’s going on in their lives? ¬†How can we be present and lend a helping hand?

First of all, it is important to not overstep. ¬†Even with close friends and loved ones, we need to accept that sometimes, it’s just not our business. ¬†Constantly pushing a person to spill out their obstacles almost always results in anger and even damage to relationships. ¬†It’s okay if you don’t have all the details‚ÄĒyou can still be there for that person.

Giving love and support is sometimes more powerful than advice.  Telling a person that you love and care about them is often all it takes to provide comfort and security.  It is hard, especially for me, when it seems almost impossible to console someone due to a situation that you have no control of.  This is when offering your support and time is the best thing to do.  Ranting and/or getting things out in the open is a great way to blow off steam, and it makes anyone feel better to get something off their chest.

When all else fails, be present.  Being there for someone, whether it be in person, on the phone, or even over text, giving up small amount of your time and energy to listen or console a person is the best thing to do.

Isaiah 41:10 says:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

All will be well when you have trust in the Lord.

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Christianity, lifestyle

A Year of Growth

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Hi everyone! I hope you all had an amazing Christmas filled with laughter and joy! I, thankfully, was able to spend the week in Georgia with my extended family. ¬†Now, it’s time to prepare for the New Year!

This past year has been a roller coaster filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and even rushes of excitement. ¬†When I started 2017, I was at the height of my sophomore year. ¬†I was on top of the world with my loving friends and successful school life. ¬†I had just gotten my first ever lead in a musical, and I was spending almost every moment doing something I loved, whether it be rehearsal or going to my favorite coffee shop with my best friend. ¬†I never expected to be told that once again, I was going to have to move accross the country away from what I viewed as home. ¬†I’ll be honest, I was heartbroken at just the thought of moving for the sixth time; moving in the middle of high school.

If you would’ve told me a mere 10 months ago the mental place that I’m in today, I would have not believed you. ¬†I felt depressed and completely drained. ¬†I felt that I’d never be as happy as I was in Montana. ¬†I was wrong. ¬†Little did I know… I would find incredible loving friends only a few months into the start of school.

Today, I am beyond blessed.  I am a part of a fantastic youth group filled with like-minded kids who share an intense love for the Lord, I have friends that I love and trust, and I am all around a happier person.

As I said, 2017 has been a rollercoaster, but it has also been a year of growth. ¬†Moving my Junior year has made me a stronger person, and after much contemplating, I am grateful. ¬†I owe it all to God. ¬†Moving from Montana was a blessing in disguise, and I never would have expected to be thriving here. ¬†God is so good and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2018.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” ‚ÄĒ 2 Corinthians 4:17

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Fashion, lifestyle

Hoping for a Winter Wonderland

This past week, all of my friends up North got completely bombarded with Snow!  Watching the weather from the comfortable 60 degrees that Texas has been hovering at has made me miss snow more than I ever thought possible.  Snow is a beautiful and exciting phenomena that I always took for granted living up North.  Constantly checking  the weather forecast has only made me jealous of my friends who are getting inch after inch of snow piled on.

My winter wardrobe is home to my favorite articles of clothing, and I look forward to swapping out my closet every year.  Winter seems to bring about a fresh new light to life, especially when it snows.  A snow-covered ground is quite literally a blank slate just waiting to be stepped in to.

Cozy sweaters, blanket scarves, and even comfy beanies make winter worth while. ¬†Though I’ve never really been a fan of being cold, I love when the weather outside is conducive to a hot cup of cocoa and staying in bed without a care.

Though I miss living up North and the special connections I have with the snow, moving back down South is a definite change in pace when it comes to both life and weather.  After all, living in a place like Texas makes getting snow all the more special.  I hope that I am able to see some snow this winter for even just a few days.  It truly is magical to see a blanket of white over the normally colorful world around me.  When I look at such a serene image, time seems to stop in a soothing manner.  The snow and the North will always hold a special place in my heart, but for now, watching from a far is all I need.

Get a similar sweater HERE

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Christianity, lifestyle

My Life in a Picture

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Over the past year and a half, photography has become an almost essential part of my life. ¬†I love to go out with friends and take photos of and with them. ¬†I don’t know where I’d be or what I would be doing if I did not have photography in my life.

While living in Montana, I earned an appreciation for the beauty of nature due to my close proximity to it. ¬†One of my best friends introduced me to photography the beginning of my sophomore year when she decided that we should go out one weekend and take “fall portraits” of each other. ¬†I agreed because I not only loved being in front of the camera, I wanted to know what it was like to take photos myself. ¬†My love of photography as well as a lifelong friendship developed the very first time I went out for those portraits. ¬†After that day, my friend and I went out every weekend we had free to take pictures. ¬†It was amazing‚ÄĒa golden era in my life, and a development of an exciting hobby.

Montana had immense opportunity for photography.  A close proximity to Yellowstone National Park as well as unique rock formations, rivers, and colorful fields filled with flowers made photography easy and fun, whatever the subject happened to be.

When I moved away this past year, I thought that it would be difficult to continue the hobby in an area with not nearly as many interesting choices in scenery.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  God blessed me with friends who love to go out on the weekends to take photos, and areas close to home that make for gorgeous subjects.  I am also beyond thankful that I am able to look at things in a new perspective to make a seemingly boring subject into something beautiful.

Finding the beauty in a seemingly ‘boring’ or unappealing subject is not only important in the eyes of a photographer, ¬†it is also crucial for everyday life. ¬†Looking at things in a new perspective can put a positive spin on almost anything. ¬†For example, if I had looked at moving from Montana as an adventure rather than a hardship, I would have saved myself so much grief and been in a much better mindset. ¬†I am so excited to be in this new chapter of life filled with joy and excitement.

 

Throughout your week, try to look at daily hardships in a new light.  Capture the beauty of a moment in a happy thought.  Stay joyful and live life fulfilling your passions while using the talents that God has given you.

Turn your Unappealing Hardships into a Beautiful Picture with a simple change in perspective.

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lifestyle

The Joys of Relaxation

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The past nine days for me have been less than exciting.  Though I enjoyed every minute of Thanksgiving with my loving family and getting an early start Thursday night in preparation for Black Friday shopping with my mom, my week was pleasantly relaxing.

Typically, my immediate family travels to Georgia to spend Thanksgiving with aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, and distant cousins twice removed whom I’ve never seen in my life. ¬†Thanksgiving dinner in Georgia is compelling in its own special way. It is, however, anything but mellow. ¬†Waking up at six in the morning to prepare enough food for a small army of starving relatives has its own hidden perks, such as spending quality time with my grandmother and learning little tricks around the kitchen while watching the Macy’s Day Parade. ¬†But, spending Thanksgiving at home was a nice change of pace.

This year, I slept entirely through the Macy’s Day Parade and did not have to worry about helping in the kitchen. ¬†This year, my family decided to go out to dinner for Thanksgiving in order to prevent a mass of dirty dishes and leftover food. ¬†It was spectacular. ¬†After an amazing dinner without¬†any further cleanup, my mom and I went Black Friday Shopping at 9 PM on a Thursday. ¬†Though there weren’t any ‘out of this world’ deals, spending quality time with my mom made for an exciting outing.

My the days prior to Thanksgiving were spent taking photos and spending time with friends I love dearly. ¬†It was such a blessing to be able to spend time with the people I do not typically see during this week of the year. ¬†I am so grateful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving at home this year, though I’m already ready for the manic Thanksgiving that Georgia has in store for next year!

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Christianity

Thankful

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Happy Monday!

After a long week of school, I am so thankful to have the week off for Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I have so much to be thankful for!

Moving away from all my friends right before my Junior year of high school was one of the most difficult things that I have endured.  I remember constantly questioning God, asking him why he forced me to move across the country.  I was angry, and had no idea how I would possibly restart the process of making friends and finding my place at a whole new school.

It is now a little over 5 months later, and I feel as though I am thriving. ¬†I have made incredible friends who I love, and gotten involved with several clubs and activities. ¬†My mom always says, “grow where you’re planted”. ¬†This quote rings true to anyone, but especially to those who feel as though they have been placed into a new life. ¬†Moving a thousand miles away from my friends felt as though I was ripped from the ground. ¬†However, if I could go back in time and show myself who I am today, I feel as though I would save myself an immense amount of grief associated with moving. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends more and more every day, but my relationship with Christ as well as myself has changed for the better in ways I would have never expected. Moving here was certainly a¬†Blessing In Disguise. ¬†After being “planted” in a new state filled with new people, I feel as though I have gotten the chance to grow stronger than I ever have before.

“You must prosper where you are planted” Dani Johnson

I am so thankful for the many blessings I have been dealt in the past few months.  I am so blessed to have amazing and loving friends who I can count on for anything, I have found incredible mentors and leaders who allow my relationship with Christ to grow and thrive, I have a youth group filled with like-minded people, and I have a family who loves me unconditionally.  In the season of Thanksgiving, showing appreciation for the ones in your life that mean the most to you is especially important.  Love unconditionally, and live life with a full heart.  You are a beautiful creation, grow where you are planted, and live life fruitfully among whatever circumstances you are given.

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