day 8 – change

I know, I know, my blog title might seem deceiving, but it technically is only the 8th day I have written a blog.

So, I have been on summer break for about a month and a half now, and so much has happened in such a short amount of time. While my days feel the same (I am never not babysitting) and weeks go by before my eyes, I am still amazed at the changes overtime.

Rewind a couple months to April, when I finally got to go home for Easter, which was a much needed break. The past two semesters, like I have mentioned many times before in my blogs, were a rollercoaster of emotions and events. That being said, going home felt like everything in life was right again, even if it was only for a few days. And that’s when I began to realize home is where I liked life the most, where I liked myself the most. Don’t get me wrong, Samford University is an amazing school in an amazing city with amazing people, I was just beginning to think that it wasn’t the place for me. When I got back to school after Easter, I knew something wasn’t right. Now, I know what most people are probably thinking. Why did I not have these feelings at the beginning of the semester after being home for 6 weeks during Christmas? Trust me, it crossed my mind too. But I just knew I didn’t like the way I was feeling, and I wanted to go back home right away. The semester in itself was rough, apart from all of the memories I made and fun nights I had. (I know I make it sound like my time here was terrible, but trust me I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything). Going home for only the 3rd time the entire school year – just 2 short days to be with my family on Easter – made me think. Not only was it so good to be home, but I had forgotten how much I had missed it and I had forgotten what “home” actually meant to me. I was sad at the thought but I also knew that it felt right to picture myself back at home in Dublin Ohio for my sophomore year in college. As I imagined the possibility, my friends from school immediately popped into my head…Anna, Mccall, Mattie, Lucy, Marra and so many more, like all the girls in Zeta. What about them? How would they feel? How hard would it be to leave them? To say goodbye?  As quickly as I got excited at the thought of being home for good, I got sad about leaving Samford just as fast.  Although I did not have the best freshman year, I wouldn’t change anything that happened because I wouldn’t have met the people that I did and I wouldn’t have been this torn about my decision. I learned more about myself in the past year than I thought possible. Going home became the only thing that I thought about, making it hard to focus during that last month or so of school. The worst part was, I kept my thoughts from the people closest to me, even my roommate (who also happens to be one of my best friends), simply because I was afraid of how they would react. Finally, I broke down and opened up to Lucy, scared to tell the person I had grown closest to. Being the amazing and kind hearted person that she is, she took it extremely well. A lot of tears were shared that night at the thought of not seeing each other everyday, but even more laughs as we promised not to forget all of the memories we had made together in Vail 374. Telling Lucy made me feel 100x better and it made it a lot easier to tell other people as well. The hard part was being confident in my decision, because to be honest, at that point I had no clue where I was going go to school next year, all I knew was that I belonged back in Ohio. Well, my fears went away when a month or so later, I got into Ohio State. My acceptance ultimately sealed the deal and I knew it was time to officially say goodbye. Again, by no means do I think that my freshman year at Samford University was a year wasted, but rather a year full of lessons, memories, friendships, and experiences – all of which I will never forget and will carry with me wherever I go.  I am confident that everything happens for a reason, and I am excited to see where that philosophy takes me as I enter my sophomore year at Ohio State University this fall.

-r

12 Steps to Lessen Stress

We all get stressed. It’s in our nature, right? The good news is – stress is temporary. Here are 12 things you can do to help lessen that stress. I know they work for me and I hope they work for you, too. If you’re out there feeling stressed today, let these steps be your guide. 🙂

1. take a deep breath. slowly. just breathe.

2. lay under your covers. turn the lights off. close your eyes.

3. scream into your pillow. scream until your face gets red.

4. put your headphones in. go for a walk. go for a run.

5. take a hot shower. even if it’s for 30 minutes.

6. listen to music. loud or soft. just listen.

7. re-read your favorite book. re-read your favorite line.

8. watch a funny movie. watch your favorite show.

9. go workout. go until you’re absolutely out of breath and sweating.

10. call someone that means a lot to you. vent. tell them you love them.

11. cry. if you want to. let it allll out. don’t hold anything back

12. look at yourself in the mirror. take a deep breath, again. smile. keep smiling. keep breathing.

And remember, you are ok. This is all temporary, and you will be okay, I promise. You will get through whatever you’re going through, so take that deep breath and keep going. You are alive and you are healthy and you are you and that is enough. You can do this.

-r

day 7 – yourself

Despite the ups and downs of my freshman year, I’ve come to learn a few things about life. for one thing, nobody really warned me what it’s actually like to be so on your own in a place that doesn’t quite feel like home.  how can anyone tell you what that’s like if you’ve never experienced on your own time? you can’t actually know until you’re there, until you’re away from home and on your own. I now know what it’s like. yeah, it definitely isn’t fun being so far from what you’re so used to knowing as home, but it’s also an experience unexpected. 

Being on my own for the past 8 months has been a Rollercoaster of trying to find that “undsicovered road” – my ultimate independence. when I think of independence, I don’t just think of physically being on your own; i  think of being mentally independent as well. when I say mentally independent, I don’t mean I’ve learned to isolate myself from all of society and develop mildly psychotic behaviors (although it is very possible..). when I say mentally independent, I mean not relying on other people for all of life’s highs and lows, all of the seasons of feelings, and not relying on other people for meaning or for happiness. I believe that I am on the road to showing true mental independence. I’ve known what it’s like to feel left out, to be let down, but I’ve also known what it’s like to let go. to let go of the things our self conscious selves still willingly hold onto. with letting go comes realizing truth. truth in beauty, truth in self. letting go means letting yourself show, not any version of yourself that you’ve ever known. I hate that we naturally put up a front, that we naturally compare ourselves to others, that we naturally alter our personality in hopes of becoming someone we’re not.

 A good friend of mine once told me to be myself simply because I wasn’t, and I’m not, everyone else. I am my own person, a person capable of independence. as easy as you’d think this is to realize, it was actually a huge revelation for me and my need to be independent. This person doesn’t know the amazing effect that they have had on me in realizing what it really means to be myself. so this is my message to you, to tell you all that I’ve learned in hopes that you might find true mental independence, too. so be yourself, don’t be something you’re not, because life is too short to be anyone else. be yourself cause everyone else is already taken (pretty sure this already a quote but just go with it), even the versions of yourself that you’ve learned so effortlessly to create. there’s no point in being fake. waiting on the other side of life is the you that you were meant to be. go get it, go out and find yourself. and while you’re out there running those never ending life miles, don’t forget to be yourself. today and always. 

-r

10 GIFs that perfectly summarize college

Sometimes GIFs do more justice than words, and these GIFs are a hilariously accurate depiction of what life is like for a college student.

1. When everyone goes out on the weekend and you don’t want to so you’re just there like:

2. When you got negative hours of sleep last night and you get back from class and just:

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3. When you forget to eat all day then all of a sudden it’s midnight and you’re like:

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4. When your roommate comes in at 3am and wakes you up:

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5. When there’s that one annoying kid in class:

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6.  When you see someone around campus who you had an awkward encounter with over the weekend:

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7. When you haven’t started a paper that is due by midnight:

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8. When your class gets cancelled:

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9. When it’s Monday:

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10. When it’s finally the weekend:

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Hope you got a laugh out of these gifs that I think perfectly describe College – and that you completely agree with me.

-r

day 6 – unwavering

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Yesterday, I went hiking at Red Mountain Park with one of my best friends.  Not only was it a time of experience and exercise, but also a time of reflection and rumination.  As we walked up and down the surrounding rocks, it became silent. The only sound came from the rustling of the leaves and the wind blowing through the trees. In that moment, time stopped.  I was alone with my thoughts, alone with God.  God, the one that made it all, effortlessly and flawlessly.  It was just Him and me, leading me along the path he created.  For those two hours, time stood still, and life moved a little bit more painlessly.  In this space of meditation, I realized something.  I realized that this unwavering nature, this unchanging God, is so much greater than any of our worries and any of our trials.  Miles after we walked under the trees and the setting sun behind the leaves, I realized this.  The things that we spend our time fearing and being weary about are so insignificant in the grand scheme of this land God has so effortlessly perfected. The obstacles we face and the demons we evade have no true power over the one true Author. And the even freeing thing is, this power is unwavering.  No thing of this world can stand up to the steadfast Spirit of God. Not one thing.  And I never thought being alone in the trees would make me realize these things.  How relieving it is that this world is so much bigger, so much more significant than any of the troubles we may come across.  Just when we think our world is falling apart is the moment that God shows us the exact opposite.  Just when we think we can’t take the strife of this worldly life, that’s when God tells us: There is more.  This isn’t it.  This isn’t the end. I think we tend to forget this, that the unwavering God made the trees and the leaves and the light that provides us with the day.  He did that, for us.  He had us in mind when he took the time to create nature, when he took the time to shape the places we love.  And the good news is, nothing has changed since then.  He has made everything beautiful in its time [Ecclesiastes 3:11]. Wow.  How comforting it is to know and to be reassured that the nature we see was beautifully built by God.  A God whose power cannot be measured, and it’s evident through the never-ending trees, the sun that peaks out behind the leaves. That’s what I thought about as those two hours passed under the setting sun at Red Mountain Park.  His nature is unwavering.

-r

day 5 – 86,400

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been here for 19 years, and even crazier that life isn’t slowing down for anyone. If these past 19 years have gone by as fast as they have, I can’t imagine how fast the next 19 years will go by. My life is flying by, and I don’t want to just sit around and watch it glide through time.  I want to experience everything, feel feelings I’ve never felt, meet people I’ve never met, and I don’t want to take a single second for granted.  I don’t want to live another moment just settling, I want to live my life and I want to live it best. So what’s stopping me? What’s stopping everyone, for that matter?

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. 86,400 seconds to see the world, to live your life more than you ever have before. 86,400 chances to make your life seem so much more significant than the time it takes for those 19 years to fly by.  Everyday, you’re given 86,400 chances, and you can take those chances or you can sit back and watch, the choice is yours.  But everyday, your chance starts over, your 86,400 seconds are renewed, and another day makes itself known, another day to make the most of this life we’ve been given. That’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here wondering how 19 years could just go by within a blink of an eye. That’s what I’m thinking, that no matter how fast these 19 years have gone by nor how fast the next 19 years will go by, all I can do is make the most of the seconds in front of me.  The 86,400 seconds I’m given today and everyday, that’s all I can do.  Make the most of your 86,400.

-r

day 4 – supposedly

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This is one of my favorite quotes, because it relates to me on so many levels, and I think it says a lot about all of us.

I think we so often define our time here by what messed up things we think in our minds.

We’re wrong, so wrong about what we long for, what we imagine to happen in our everyday and we say “how is it supposed to be?” well don’t ask me, being that I’m one to ask the exact same question.

However, i do know this.  I know that this is what screws us up most in life, this.  The little voice in our head saying what we expect and accept it all as “this is how it’s supposed to be” no, it’s not.  In fact, it’s never how we imagine it to be.  See, it’s always different, always unexpected, never how it’s supposed to be.  Life is funny like that.  Why our minds do this is beyond me, but be what it will, this is what messes with us, trust me. This is the thing that misses our inhibitions and messes with our expectations, until we can no longer rely on the voice in our head.  The void that has the voice and relentlessly repeats “this is how it’s supposed to be”.  For me, leaving life up to fate, putting faith in the unknown, that, that is how it’s supposed to be.  Beautifully confusing, wonderfully amusing, something that continues to surprise and arise our eyes to the unknown, showing our minds a whole new world, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

-r

day 3 – routine

I’ve been gone for 2 weeks now, and it feels like 2 months. I never realized how you can get so used to a routine in such a short amount of time. After some time, coming to school has forced me to recreate a routine and get settled into the rollercoaster of strife versus nice in my everyday life.  As I lie here in my bed, I try to sum up some of my so far days at Samford.

My roommate, looming with the strength of a loved one, loving the life of a lost one, seems even more beautiful than before.  Heart, heart is what she has and what most hurts during this time of mourn, and heart is her only hope, a hope which my heart yearns can help her see again, feel again. I have so much love for my roommate, so much pride and admiration for her sweet spirit. Everyday is a day that she is forced to face without her, and everyday is a day that she is looking lovingly down on her beautiful daughter.  Lucy, my beautifully broken and sweetly strong roommate, I have so much love for you, so many laughs to share with you, so many tears to bear with you. But losing hope isn’t in the cards. So my hardest I’ll try to keep your wings flying high, flying forever in honor of your mom.

Routine. A word that means to keep up with a consistent schedule, consistent goals in mind and high in your life.  A word that I rely so much on just to keep my days long.  A word that in essence defines success, defines the ability to follow a plan, and shapes the faith that keeps us sane, the faith that reminds us of God’s greater plan.  At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.  Whether my day went exactly how I imagined or it went the exact opposite of all my expectations, faith makes me rest in the fact that no matter what – no matter what happened during my so called luminous routine – God will always prevail. When we think we’ve got it all together and we think we can handle our routines, that’s exactly when we are wrong. That’s exactly when God shows up. Blunt and blessed, He shows up. Purposeful and plentiful, that’s when He shows up.  God shows up in places when we least expect it, that is what I have turned to learn today and everyday.  Today, and everyday, I will keep my eyes open, my heart broken, ready for God to show up, even when I think I have plans of my own.  That’s when God shows up.  Routine.  A word only God can consciously control and mold in our lives.

-r

day 2 – preparation

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This pile of clothes has been sitting in my room for the past 4 days, which just goes to show how excited I am to get back to the greatest school in the world.  But as I look at it more and more, I think it shows something else too, something greater than my own understanding.

I think it shows the plans God has for me, the way he aims to take my own plans, destroy them, and completely rebuild them in his purpose.  The season of growth he is preparing for me this next semester  surpasses any plans I could make on my own for the last half of my freshman year.  In my first semester, He has shown me love and He has shown me hate, He has shown me heart and He has shown me pain. Ultimately, He has shown me that whatever plan I make, whatever preparation I have, the will of His word will always, always prevail.  So, today, I look at these clothes a little differently.  I look at them as a sign of change, a sign of preparation for the season to come, and not any change or preparation for change that I could imagine on my own.  That’s what God does, he shows you his power in the most unexpected places, he destroys your plans to create infinitely more beautiful plans. I look at these clothes as a sign of the unknown, a sign of whatever God has in store for me this semester and this year. It makes me realize just how powerful our God is, and the magnitude that is His word. And I think that’s pretty amazing.

-r

day 1 – awoken

As I have been home from college for 5 weeks now, I have had time for many things. Time to laugh and time to cry, time to fail and time to try, time to think and time to act, but most of all time to change. When I first got home, I was in a cloud of despair so deep that I wasn’t sure had a silver lining.  With 6 weeks to go until a new season of life, 6 weeks of what I thought would be all rock bottom, I began to doubt myself and my faith. Not only had I disappointed my family and my school, but I had disappointed myself without even knowing it.  My mind was creating lies I didn’t even know I had room or time for.  Why I thought lying would somehow make everything go away is beyond my knowledge.  It wasn’t until all of my mistakes hit me right in the face that I realized my life’s been turned upside down. With nothing left but my own thoughts, I looked back on the worth that I placed in such trivial things.  Things like the attention of a guy, the temporary satisfaction of spending money, the feeling of being away from home, breaking rules and the forgetfulness and freeness that came with it.  I was finding worth and fulfillment in these things that only let me down in the end.  On the surface, I was having so much fun that it masked my inner pain and longing for something more.  Unfortunately, like I said, it wasn’t until my mistakes hit me right in the face that I realized it was time to wake up from this nightmare.  After getting in trouble with the school, spending more money than I even knew I had, and almost failing my classes, I knew that being home for 6 weeks wouldn’t feel like home at all.  You don’t know true sadness until you see the look of disappointment on your parents’ faces.  Never in my life have I seen my parents more disappointed than they were in me in that moment.  I had become so numb to everything around me that the sadness I felt then outweighed any sadness I have ever felt.  The first two weeks of my time back home were some of the hardest days I have ever known, but these last two weeks have made me think that maybe those days were actually some of the strongest I have ever known.  Not only were my closest friends there for me, but a person I had long forgotten was there for me all along. It hurts my heart to think that I could have abandoned someone as great as our God, but I believe that He has my life in the palm of his hand, and I have all the faith in the world that He is the most present in times of trial, present to test my strength and show me triumph. A certain bible verse has been on my heart recently, and I think it fits perfectly with my situation:

          “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s crazy to think that our greatest weaknesses are actually some of our greatest strengths, but with God by my side, it’s a little easier to see the beauty in defeat.  I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t put my full faith in God over the course of the past 5 weeks, but I’m sure as hell glad I’m right where I’m supposed to be.  I know that God put me at Samford with a grand purpose in mind, and I cannot wait to see what this next semester has in store for me.  While I don’t know what will happen, who I’ll meet, or what I’ll do, I do know one thing.  God is writing my story, my Samford story and my life story, and he is the best author the world has ever known.  As I woke up this morning, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t just happen to wake up, but God woke me up. and He has been ever since I first sinned, something that I will never be able to understand but will forever be grateful for.  I am awoken, broken, but I am awoken, and in constant awe of the way God is working in my life, day by day.

-r