Force Quit on your Losing Streak

Almost a month in, and I’ve stuck to the most important of my new year resolutions: to grow in faith. At the end of last year, I was at odds with relationships in my life and wanted to turn everything over to God. Not only would dedicating the New Year to God bring me closer to Jesus, I felt doing so would also give me the answers I needed to mend the troubles I was having.

2017

In order to hold myself accountable, I made a list of 12 people in my life I wanted to either improve my relationship with or needed to forgive; I make a similar list of 12 topics I wanted to focus on, in order to be a better Christian. I decided I would consciously pray each day for the person I dedicated that month to, and would read specific scripture each day addressing the topic of the month.
The list included subjects such as my parents, my sister, specific friends, my desire for a boyfriend, and working to overcome the negative perception of news. Topics included forgiveness, jealousy, worry, judgment, and being enough for myself.

What I’ve learned in my first month is that both mending and growing relationships, with people and God, takes time. I approached the resolution with optimism and was quickly rewarded with lines of open communication between me and the person I chose for January. But praying and reading the Bible does not automatically grant me positive mending every day. I’ve learned this is a process – there will be days I feel I’ve taken a step back. Yet, overall, I feel more complete. In just one month, a peace has overcome me. While I know there will be days and months full of ups and downs in 2017, I also know I have a God that I can always turn to. And as I grow in this journey, I hope to learn how to better listen and hear His voice, in all the times I turn to Him.

 

Disclaimer: I have not stuck to my resolutions to practice French twice a week or practice piano three days a week.

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Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start

Change: Finding Who I Am

Today I say goodbye to the place and life I’ve known for the last five years. Moving out of state for college, knowing no one, was one of the best and most liberating decisions I have ever made. It allowed me to find myself and decide how I wanted to live my life.

After switching majors, traveling the state, country and world, graduating, and working a few different jobs, I’m closer to finding my happiness, and how I want to live out the next phase of my life.

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I’m moving to Austin to live out the lifestyle I love. I’ll be surrounded by young professionals like myself, exploring and enjoying life to the fullest; working jobs that teach them new things and spending evenings on the lake, at a new restaurant, or with friends.

I’m looking forward to discovering the city and myself.
Change can be good. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

The Holidays: Near and Far

The holidays can be tough for a number of reasons. Maybe you can’t see your family over Thanksgiving or Christmas, or maybe you can… but wish those celebrations weren’t so long.

Choosing a university halfway across the country has cost me the past five wishbone pulls and day-after decorating, but it has opened my eyes to other traditions. I’ve been welcomed into four homes for the famous feast since 2010, letting me in on celebrations from families near and far.
For the past two years, my extended family has ditched gift-giving in place of sending boxes of necessities and treats to active servicemen and women. I’ll be missing Christmas this year as well, but I know from last year, the change was much welcomed; no hard feelings or disruptions from the once a year catch-ups to unwrap something we don’t really need.

What I’ve learned from these two changes from the norm is, no matter where you are, people care about you. When I can’t be with my family on the holidays, other people are willing to reach out to me. And when our military men and women are away, my family does our small part to help them feel close to home. It’s hard being away, but in a sense, it’s easier to experience the real meaning of the holidays: expending love toward one another.

A look back at 2013

As the month of January comes to a close, I just now find myself reflecting on the past year. Possibly because school just started back, and for me, this feels like just as big of a new beginning as turning over a calendar.

My mother said she could never understand why people care about New Years or made resolutions because they never keep them and the day turns out just as any other. Well, no offense to my mother, but I for one love the holiday. The year 2013 brought me quite a few places. Some good, some not so much, but as I told her, a new year brings hope, if nothing else, and awakens people to think outside the box, try new things, and ultimately grow.

In the past 12 months…

…I ventured outside the United States for the first time, exploring London, England and Paris, France. I learned so much about myself as a person, how strong and independent I am, dealing with traveling hiccups on my own and learning to take things as they come. I really feel as if there is something in that European air that somehow smoothes things over. Whatever it is, I want to breathe it in again as soon as possible.

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…I interned with Indianapolis Monthly at Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, Ind.  While I have lived on my own for the past few years in college, living and working on my own outside a campus setting was quite exciting. I was able to meet up with old friends, meet new friends, find great mentors, learn countless things about the magazine world, and gain a few writing clips for my future – all while exploring a new city. I am truly grateful for all the opportunities and learning I acquired while at Indianapolis Monthly.

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…I spent a weekend in Nashville, Tenn. visiting some family I haven’t seen in over five years. Good music, good laughs, good times.

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…Got accepted into the mass communications graduate school program at Texas Tech University. While I will feverishly search for a job this semester before I graduate, it is comforting to know that I have at least one plan to follow come May.

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…I rang in the New Year at a trendy bar outside Chicago with a great friend, and then started the New Year exploring another new city, in the mist of a giant snowstorm. Even though we had to trek through foot-high snowdrifts in search for an intersection to catch a cab from, I couldn’t help but look up and catch snowflakes on my tongue. We ran through the rail station and caught our train with two minutes to departure. You gotta take life as it comes at you, right?

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So yeah, maybe January 1 is just like any other day of the year, but I have hope that 2014 as a whole will bring new experiences. And I have hope that I can take each of those experiences with a smile on my face.