Monday, October 31, 2011

Birthday Recap and Finding Peace

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Birthday weekend 2011—such a great few days. What's not to love about birthdays, families, shopping, good food, hugs, tears and laughs? A quick recap:
I spent the day on Saturday with my best friend, my mom. :) We started at my house for a parents brunch where she met and mingled with my friends (and hers). We then took a walk around campus so she could get a feel for 'college game day.' Always quite a scene—there's nothing like Ann Arbor on a football Saturday. After, we of course spent the afternoon wandering around the mall, had lunch with great friends and then came back to the house for presents.
Let it be known that I insisted on no presents this year- but my mom stubbornly resists.
On Sunday after church, my grandparents drove into town to take me to an incredible Olive Garden lunch. I tell you what—unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks is pure genius. I showed them a little of Ann Arbor and took them on a house tour. And to wrap it all up, we took pictures on the porch... a necessity for all my guests.

It was an incredible weekend. Thank you to all those who made me smile, I am so blessed with incredible friends and family.

Today, I came across something pretty cool that is pretty relevant in my own life and I thought I would share.
I'm always worried about so many different things in life—getting good grades, fitting in, keeping up my appearance, finding my niche—and I often forget that everyone else is going through the exact same thing. Life will never be (and was never meant to be) perfect or easy. There will always be things to test us and challenge us. Instead of letting these things drive us crazy, it's important to look at the bigger picture. Do these little things really matter? If we can find peace and comfort in the midst of struggle, isn't that the only thing that matters?

I encourage you to step back. Look for peace in the midst of struggle, not outside it. It's here waiting for you... and when you find it, you will feel the difference.

Besides being Halloween, it is also the day before my big 31 DAY CHALLENGE! Are any of you joining me? I would love some support :) It will not only make me think about being a better person in everyday life, but it will also encourage me to post every day! Check back in tomorrow to see what I'm going to cross off the list!

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
Psalms 34:18


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take My 31 Day Challenge!

Pin It Now! Hello bloggers!
It's almost November... which also means it's almost my birthday! :) I will be 19 in 2 days, so old. So in the spirit of November, I am starting a 31 Day Challenge and I hope you can join me!

That's right, 31 Days to be a Better Person. Seems easy, right? Wrong. It's going to be hard- but oh so worth it. So where do we even start? I've put together a checklist of 31 things I want to do in the month of November (hopefully one each day) that will help me learn to put others above myself. I know this should be a year-long thing, but you have to start somewhere. So here it is:

1. Buy someone a cup of coffee.
2. Write someone an actual snail-mail letter to remind them how much I appreciate them.
3. Spend alone time with the bible.
4. Volunteer my time for someone other than myself.
5. Actually listen to my friends' problems.
6. Smile at everyone I see walking to class.
7. Give someone a hug for no reason.
8. Deliver a baked good to someone having a rough day.
9. Give up Facebook for an entire day.
10. Leave an extra large tip for a waitress.
11. Learn something new- challenge myself.
12. Boot all of my self-conscious thoughts and stress out of my mind for a day.
13. Treat myself to my favorite foods, without feeling guilty at all.
14. Be 100% honest for an entire day.
15. Say Thank You and really mean it.
16. Find a way to be generous and selfless at the same time.
17. Reach out to my church community and get more involved.
18. Let another driver 'cut me off' or sneak in line, just because.
19. Reflect on how lucky I am and what an incredible life I have been blessed with.
20. Eat from a local restaurant, grocery market, etc.
21. Spend some time complimenting myself.
22. Think only positive thoughts for an entire day.
23. Find ways to laugh and relax, reduce the pressure I put on myself to be perfect.
24. Forgive someone and move on from disagreement.
25. Drink more water- take care of myself!
26. Go to bed really really early, and wake up feeling refreshed.
27. Take nothing but the stairs and walk everywhere for a day.
28. Wake up a few minutes early to stretch and get ready for the day in peace.
29. Include someone who may not have plans to a gathering or meal.
30. Invite someone to church or YoungLife.
31. Spend a day being entirely thankful.

Whew- there it is. Wow, that might actually be a lot harder than I anticipated. But that's why I have you to help! Whether you follow my list or make your own, I encourage you to join in. Small steps are sometimes all it takes to make a difference.
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:1


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can't Stop, Won't Stop.

Pin It Now! I have to be honest.

Life is hard. And it never really gets any easier. You're always going to hit struggle, failure, defeat and stress. There are always going to be things that knock you down... and you may not really want to get back up. There are always going to be things that scream it's not worth it, give up now.

Now let me be honest again.

I 'm actually really glad that life is hard. I'm glad that there are times I want to cry and crawl under my covers. I'm glad that life hands me really sour lemons.
It's easy to say that you want a stress-free, perfect journey in life. It's easy to look at the things that make you mad as things that keep you from greatness. But, despite it all, I encourage you to be thankful for hardship.

Woah, woah, woah. Thankful for hardship? Yes, try to appreciate what upsets you.

Take the really sour lemons and make something great. In the end, you feel so much more accomplished and thankful for the rough journey that got you there. You'll feel proud of the fact that you made it through tough times. You will appreciate your hard-work, determination and perseverance.

Although you may think that certain road-blocks in life are the end of the world... the aren't. There are usually better options right around the corner. If you open your eyes and look beyond what stands in your way, you'll start to realize that nothing ever really is impossible. Yes, it may be hard. But no one ever said that you can get places in life without putting your heart and soul into it.

Put your heart and soul into life. I promise, it's worth it.

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles."
Psalm 34:17


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Quick Break!

Pin It Now! Hey bloggers!

A quick heads up- I'm heading up north for a Fall Younglife Retreat this weekend, so posting may be sporadic :) I'll be roughing it at Timberwolf Lake... not really though ;) This camp is literally like a resort... so great for some spiritual rejuvenation. I'll be back tomorrow night!

Until then,
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Late Night Posting

Pin It Now! ...And the late night posting streak continues.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to trust myself lately. Does that mean letting go of all my fears, doubts, and insecurities? Does it mean not caring? I think it's one of the hardest things to get 'good at' in life. How do we ever know when being ourselves is good enough?

Do we ever have to be good enough- or are we essentially always good enough?
There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Love yourself.
Trust your choices.
Everything is possible.

If only is were that easy... if only we could live by these principles without any outside worry or doubt. Tonight I remind you all—and myself—that you are good enough. Simply being the person that you were intended to be makes you perfect.

Trust all of your decisions—even the bad ones lead to beauty and strength. Sometimes, the hardest things are only placed in front of us to remind us that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

"I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you."
Ezekiel 36:26


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Ever Give Up

Pin It Now! I like to consider myself an optimist... but sometimes life is just hard. Sometimes, it's easier to mope for a while and wish things turned out differently. Sometimes, it's easier to wish things went your way. We all have things in life that make us feel defeated and upset.

Sometimes we just wish that life would deal us a better hand. We think that we'd be happier if things were different.
For me, it's always been the same battle.
I've always felt self-conscious about love. Why hasn't anyone come along? Am I too picky? Am I holding out for something that doesn't exist? Am I just delusional?
While I know the answers to all these questions, and get frustrated that I ever let myself think this way, these thoughts still drive me crazy. I'm a great, genuine, happy, girl.

I just have to be patient.
Isn't that the test? Being patient when so many other people seem to be so happy and in love? Being surrounded by couples and serious relationships- it's hard. It's emotionally draining.

So here's my attempt at positivity. It will happen for me. I know it's part of God's plan—he wants more than anything for me to share my life with someone. I just have to let go and trust him. I have to know that everything happens for a reason—and when I get there, it'll mean so much more.

I encourage you to trust life. God has a plan. Relax, enjoy the ride, smile, laugh and appreciate all that you do have. You'd be surprised what can come along when you least expect it. :)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."
Ephesians 3:20

PS- Coming Soon! MY VERY OWN FULL-LENGTH MAGAZINE! :) Written, laid-out and published all with the blog as inspiration.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hey There Strangers!

Pin It Now! Wow- it's been a while. I didn't expect my blogging to stop once sophomore year started, but things quickly got busy and my writing fell by the wayside. I'm going to be honest- I really missed it. I really miss being able to pour out my emotions and clear my head.

So... I'M BACK! And I'm going to try to be better about keeping up with my Spoonful. It has truly been an important part of my life and I can't wait to get back on track!
A few photos of life on campus...

My Pledge Class on Bid Day
 The NEW Pledge Class on Bid Day
 My Beautiful Carnation Sister

The Sisters Visit for the Weekend! :)

Quick Updates- I'm about a month and a half into my sophomore year in college. Weird- I'm getting old. :) All my friends are starting to turn 20... at least I'll still be a teenager for one more year. Life is good, I love living in my sorority house, and classes are all going decently well. It's so different to be back on campus as a sophomore. I know what to expect and things aren't really new anymore. It's nice to already have friends and a place where I feel like I belong... but I do miss the exciting nature of freshman year. There is just something so special about being the youngest I think.

And... back to something a little deeper. The past few days have been a little rough. I'm getting really homesick and a few things happened to me that made me question myself and my capabilities. My message for you today is simple. 


I know it's a message I really need to hear. I hope it helps you... no matter what happens in life- everything happens for a reason and will work out in the end. The true lesson is learning to let go and move on.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

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