Indulge endlessly in all that inspires your soul. You’ll never get bored.

“When we submit to God’s plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God’s plan and our pleasures… Each of us has been made to serve God in a unique way… The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passions to turn your life. God is too gracious to ask you to do something you hate.”

As Christians, we are taught to follow God’s Plan for our lives, and ask for His guidance when we feel lost. Mere months after getting the promotion I asked and worked hard for, I found myself, instead, being pulled down a different, but old and familiar path. So I prayed, asking God for a sign. Days later, I read the devotional above, and knew the path I felt compelled to walk again is exactly where God was leading me.

A year ago, I left my news job in Lubbock to live out my life in Austin. “You’ll miss it,” one coworker told me my final day. Though the possibility of that becoming truth couldn’t formulate in my mind at the time, his words never left me. Now, just 12 months later, I was feeling pulled back into the newsroom. I did miss it.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose is to give it away.” I’m not sure whether to attribute the quotation to Pablo Picasso, William Shakespeare, or some other person, but it seemed fitting, reading it the same week I was offered a job back in news – this time where I feel most at home, in Austin. The process of applying, interviewing, and accepting the offer went so quickly, I knew I was not only following the desires of my heart, but also the path God created for my life.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

God wants us to thrive, so everyone sees the beauty of Him, through us. I left the news industry because I felt discouraged and distraught, but that doesn’t mean being a part of the industry wasn’t part of God’s Plan; it just wasn’t His timing. I believe God puts passions on our hearts as signs, leading us down the path He has mapped out for our lives. If you wake up each morning and ask yourself what God’s Purpose is for your life, take a moment to think about the scenarios you daydream about, what inspires you, and what persuades you to be a better version of yourself. I truly believe living in Austin and working for the news are two passions God placed on my heart for very deliberate purposes, and at very deliberate times.
And I couldn’t be more grateful that He did.

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God Bless Texas

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

It’s been six months since I’ve moved to Austin, and I’m more in love with Texas than ever before. When I moved to Lubbock 5 1/2 years ago, I questioned why all my classmates were obsessed with the state. I didn’t have anything against Texas, but their obsessive love made me defend my belief that it was “just a state,” as was every other state. Nothing special.

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At work a few weeks ago, my boss interrupted me to point out, “the girl from Ohio is wearing a Texas necklace.” The tables have turned.

A week before receiving the gold chained state with a heart precisely where Austin resides, I gushed to my cousins about how great Texas is, in an attempt to get everyone to move to my oasis. The truth is, I’ve become that boastful Texan, proud to flaunt my license and ready at any moment to talk about my Lone Star home.

But I don’t think the expansive landscape is what caused me to fall head over heels; it’s that, this place I call home, is what shaped me into the woman I am today. Stepping out from everything I knew at 18, to come to Texas for school, alone, forced me to define who I wanted to be.

Now, more than five years later, I can look back and see the transformation and growth my life has lived. I am proud of whom I’ve become, what I stand for, how I present myself, and where I foresee myself going next. Discovering myself has brought happiness to my life, and recognizing that happiness makes me want to help others find their happiness, which, spoken like any good Texan, means moving South.

Facing your Fears: Making the Big Move

If you are wondering if it will be worth it, it will.
If you question if you can do it, you can.

At my lowest point, I told myself making it to my goal and living out my dream would be great, but it wouldn’t be worth the pain in that moment.
I was wrong.

All the pain, all the doubts, all the worry that haunted me, day in and day out, vanished with the call that I had gotten a job. The next time I drove down the road and turned to see the Austin skyline paint itself across the sky, I thought: “I live here. This is my life.”
And just like that, a year worth of desire was satisfied.

Austin, Texas. Looking down South Congress.

Photo credit: Instagram @AustinPassbook

A friend recently told me how unhappy she’s become in her job and city. I’ve learned from experience, when you are in that position, everyone tells you to “wait it out.” But that doesn’t always work. Everyone tells you “it will be worth the pain,” but that doesn’t numb it.

Time doesn’t fix everything. Change can fix things too. You have to put yourself out there. Take the chance. Make the change. Flipping your life upside down may be exactly what you need to find happiness.

At church this morning, I was reminded that happiness is the greatest pleasure we experience, in Heaven. But just as often as we experience suffering on Earth, we can also experience happiness. God didn’t make us in His image to be unhappy during every moment of our Earthly lives.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Matthew 5:1-12

If you know what you want, but are scared if taking the chance will work out in your favor: Do it. If it truly is your dream to live somewhere else, or work in a different field, or date someone new – it will work out. We have a way of putting in a little extra effort toward the life we want to live.

So go out. Live your life.

Austin, Texas. Capitol

Photo credit: Instagram @EmilyPellegrini

Happiness to Last

“Is happiness merely a passing emotion, or a permanent state?”
In my daily devotion book yesterday, it explained, both states exist.

“There is happiness that reacts to events (this is temporary and volatile), and there is happiness that overrules circumstances (which is strong and lasting).”

I’ve been asking for happiness for some time now, without realizing there are two solutions to my desire – one less satisfying than the other.

Be happy... not because everything is good, but because you see the good in everything.

Events create temporary happiness: moving to Austin and getting a job. But in the days or weeks after the event, happiness can fade; it’s the lasting happiness that satisfies, and that comes from The Lord.

I think the same principle can be applied to marketing. I’ve been searching for a content marketing position for months, after learning of its lasting effects. I’ve been on job interviews that focus solely on sales and numbers, but that ideology is like temporary happiness. After a few days or weeks, you are looking for your next sale or event to make you and your client happy again.

While ultimately business growth is viewed from a numbers standpoint, content marketing works to grow businesses by creating relationships with clients. This is accomplished by writing blog posts or ebooks, creating videos or infographics, and attracting clients with a clean website.

All these content marketing strategies show transparency and build trust. Because of that trust, clients are more loyal and the numbers follow. This is a stronger foundation to build businesses on, and will create a lasting happiness for both you and your client.

Moving to Austin was great, but living here is what keeps me happy each morning. Getting a job will be great, but growing and learning in the position, creating friendships, and meeting goals is what will keep me engaged and happy walking into the office each day.

Lasting happiness comes from knowing you are following God’s path, and you are in the right spot for the time being, even if you aren’t happy at the moment. While I wish I had a job right now, I feel satisfied knowing that moving to Austin was the right decision. This weekend presented overwhelming tasks at times, but when I asked myself if I regretted the decision, it was a resounding “no.”

The happiness I experience from moving to Austin will last, and I believe more lasting happiness will come my way.

Follow your heart, and follow your head

This month, I will be leaving my job to move to Austin. This is my dream, though doing so without a job wasn’t included in my plan. A friend told me, maybe I’m supposed to go without a job, and after applying from afar for a year without success, I think she may be right. This could be God’s way of making me trust him.

Getting a job out of college in the field you studied may appear to the world that you are “on the right path,” but only you know what’s right for you. While I am thankful for the experiences I’ve had, I’m ready to find a balance in my life. I’m ready to live the life I am supposed to, discovering new things and enjoying each day, rather than simply going through the motions.
Austin makes me want to be a better person. It opens my mind to new ways of thinking. It makes me want to reach out and help others. It makes me want to grow in my faith. It makes want to live an active and healthy life. It makes me happy.

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

Will I fail? Maybe. Does that scare me? Unbelievable. But I am confident in myself, and will trust The Lord.

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A time for reflection, A time to please God: Lent

Lent is a time of reflection and a time to work toward pleasing God, and as a practicing Catholic, I love the “mid-year New Year” where I’m filled with renewed hope and a passion for bettering myself and my community. For Lent this year, I’ve challenged myself to volunteer at one new place each week, to eventually discover where I’d like to continually volunteer for the next while. I’m a little behind, so I’ll be visiting two places next week, but I went to an assisted living center one day this week – and loved it!

Courtesy: Photobucket

I’m not the most patient person, which was something I vowed to improve January 1, so I didn’t know how much I would enjoy time with the elderly, or how much they would enjoy having me around. I was happily surprised.
Being around those that are happy and thankful, in the daylight (I work third-shift. If I’m awake after work, I’m basically sleep-walking, aware of the sun) was so refreshing. I felt renewed, despite not taking a nap that day. They were smart and easy-going, not to mention quirky – they all had a unique personality. I had such a good time that I’ve already committed to volunteering more, though I’ll continue my promise to try a new place each week.
Besides putting me in a good mood for the rest of the day, it has given me the idea to apply for assisted living jobs. I’m not in nursing, but my communication and writing skills can be put to good use when it comes to activities, newsletter and volunteer coordination. I’ve seen some in the past that I pushed aside, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy them, but I’m going to revisit those options. Not only do I think I could enjoy them now, I feel like my work would be purposeful and please God, wrapping it all back around to the point of Lent.

You can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid, right?

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many life lessons I’ve learned from Sex and the City. While I don’t claim to have any of their lives, those four girls have been through as much with me as my real friends.

Promise

This week, I needed those girls. After months of trying to move to Austin because the city is everything I love, I had two potential job offers. I wasn’t crazy about either one, but was overly excited about the possibility of calling one of my favorite cities, home. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t share those same feelings of excitement, when I shared with them my future life plans. So… breakdown. Or a reconsidering of life; whichever you prefer.

Unhappy with one aspect of my life, I was ready to throw everything away to satisfy it. In my mind, Austin could fix all my problems, when, in reality, the city itself can only fix my address. After reading the article “When Risking it All for God Means Staying Where You Are” (among a number of other “signs” I purposely ignored thinking I knew better), I realized I was going to lose who I was, for a life that wouldn’t necessary make me happy or anymore “me.”

While I am afraid the unhappy aspects of my current situation will become my “forever life,” I know deep down they won’t.
You’ve heard it before; life is too short to settle. So, I’m going after what I want. And ignoring the things I know won’t bring happiness or purpose to my life.