Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award

Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award

Look! Look! Look! You guys I got nominated for the Brotherhood of the World Bloggers Award! A fellow blogger, A- from Simply Lovely 90 nominated me for the award, and I’m so thankful and happy and excited! Go check out her blog! She blogs about everything from Beauty to Fashion to Fitness. This kinds of awards are the BEST because they promote blogs and their writers and bring awareness to all kinds of content! Continue reading “Brotherhood of the World Blogger Award”

Letter to Myself on Christmas Eve

Letter to Myself on Christmas Eve

I feel as though I need to give a bit of a precursor, before you read this next post. I recently participated in something called Challenge Day where I volunteered at the school here in Cedarville. At the end of the day, they had us write a letter, whether it be to someone who helped us through, someone who hurt us, or even ourselves. I have always been my own worst critic, whether about my writing and the blog, or my style, or just who I am as a person. During Challenge Day, I wrote a letter to myself, reminding myself of who I am. I am so proud of who I’ve become over the years, and what I’ve accomplished. Someone might say that it’s me tooting my own horn, but I see it less as advertising how great I am, and more as a self encouragement letter. I don’t need to live to please the world. I live to please myself and live to the fullest of who I am as a human who was created to be an individual. And sometimes, I need the reminder that I’m proud of who I’ve become. Continue reading “Letter to Myself on Christmas Eve”

Short Story: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

Short Story: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

As the holiday season approaches, I find myself getting more and more homesick for my family. Since the UP is so far away from Atlanta, we decided to do Christmas much like we did Thanksgiving. Alone. But I’ve especially been missing my mom during this time. She’s always so bubbly and happy and is always in the kitchen making something new. We dance around to Christmas music and watch every Christmas VHS in the cupboard. This year, it looks more like Making cookies by myself, occasionally listening to Christmas music in the car because Chesh isn’t’ a huge fan of it, and watching maybe one or two Christmas movies on Netflix. Talk about a nostalgia ruiner. I did run into this little short story, though, and reading it again made me want to be home even more. I wrote this a long time ago when I was homesick in college, and today, I’m sharing it with you. This is for all of you who are far away from your families this season.  Continue reading “Short Story: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas””

Letters to Jacqueline

Letters to Jacqueline
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thanks to Jacqueline for the photo

In my newest search to find my joy, I’ve discovered letters. I mean the real kind that need stamps and go through snail mail to get to you. It all started with a letter from my friend, Jacqueline. She wrote me a beautiful 3 page letter, telling me about her life and asking me about mine. Someone had placed in on my desk and when I saw it was from her, my day got instantly brighter. I started reading, and then read it again before I wrote my response. It wasn’t a huge piece of life changing information, but just a letter between friends, complete with inside jokes and open hearts. I started my response, and as I wrote, I found that I couldn’t stop. Even when my hand cramped and I reached for another piece of lined paper, I couldn’t put down my pen. It was like a piece of my heart had been tapped, and was now leaking all over the page. And the sight of it was beautiful. To me, feeling like I could let out some frustration and anger on the page to someone who was removed from the situation, helped.  I mailed the letter, a beautiful six pages of my word vomit, and a piece of my sadness and pain and frustration. My heart on paper.

A couple days later a received a text from her:

“I just want you to know, I love you and treasure you like none other. A response is coming very soon.”

Before I had even received her response, I had started my next letter. Who knew that putting away my phone and picking up a pen would heal me more than a thousand emojis? As a writer, I should have known.

One of my favorite writers, Karen Scalf Linament, author of masterpieces such as “Normal Is Just A Setting On A Dryer”, and (my personal favorite) “I’m Not Suffering From Insanity, I’m Enjoying Every Minute Of It!”, wrote in the latter mentioned book, about a friend who finds so much joy in writing letters to her friends. Something about encouragement and openness, bringing people together. I always loved that part, thinking that writing really does do that. It puts a piece of your heart down on paper in a way I don’t think I can always do out loud. But blogging out to the world, and opening up to a dear friend in a hand written letter, are two very different things.

Because of this, I have a new goal I’m going to work on for a while. I’m going to write letters more. Handwritten, on paper, with an envelope and a stamp, in the mail. That’s the plan. We’ll see what happens, I suppose. It’ll take some practice, and just a pinch of discipline, but I want to try it.

If you’d like me to send YOU a letter, let me know! I don’t promise I’ll send you something right away, but as long as you give me your address, I can begin working on it.


Choosing Joy?

Choosing Joy?

Who knew such a little thing could set me off? It was a piece of yellow construction paper with the words “Choose Joy” scrawled across it in blue crayon, pinned up in one of the offices. I was sitting in an armchair, staring at the offending paper, contemplating the existence and futility of mankind, when the annoyance finally boiled over.

“That’s just stupid.”

Zach, our office manager, looked up from his laptop. “Am I missing something?”

I pointed, and he followed my line of sight to the sign on the wall.

“The paper?”

“Yes. Do you realize how absolutely dumb that is? Anyone who’s suffered from depression knows exactly how impossible that is.”

Zach stared at the offensive paper for a second, then turned back to me. “I think it’s actually more about attitude and head space, than emotion.”

“Yeah, but joy isn’t something you can just turn on like a light switch…” I trailed off, annoyed that Zach was right and I was just being a grump.

“I think the ‘Choose Joy’ phrase is actually a lot more about finding the good within the bad, and not letting the bad suck all the goodness out of life. Choosing Joy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re choosing happiness or choosing to suddenly be fine, but instead choosing to see the hope, or at least choosing to search for it.”

If I haven’t mentioned before, Zach is a very wise man.

The sign (and ensuing conversation) got me thinking, though. I was so quick to find fault in something so simple, and so slow to try and see the good just because I was in a low spot. Sometimes you have to look for your joy, search for it in the midst of stress and emotional dehydration.

So, I started making a list. I’ve realized that I really enjoy lists. Having them all down in an easy tangible form is helpful, and I can continue adding to it without feeling like I have to remember everything. At first, the list began as something of a “to-do” list of things that I needed to work on that might bring back a little of the joy I was missing. I present it to you now:

  • Work on your herb garden. You saved a pin about this. I’m thinking basil, rosemary, and mint for starters. Put them in mason jars, or some fancy hipster thing like that.
  • Blog more often. You should write more. Writing gets you out of a funk.
  • Be a better wife to Allan. He deals with all your crap and your whining.
  • Finish Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans.
  • Finish Worm by Wildbow.
  • Start A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.
  • Compile a good reading list for the year. You need better reading goals. You always surprise yourself with how happy reading makes you. Dumb bunny.
  • Think about a five year plan. Also maybe a ten year plan. Or just a plan.
  • Finish playing Bioshock Infinite
  • Start a bullet journal. Your inner scrapbooking queen is screaming to be let out (just a little bit).
  • Cook for people. This is your love language, and since people need to eat, this is pretty convenient.

As you can see, the list doesn’t really have any real thought process to it, other than being a bunch of things I’d like to do regularly. A couple goals thrown in, and voila! A partially functional list. A couple joy things, a couple goal things, and a couple life things. Now, some of these I can’t really work on at camp (like the video game and cooking), but other things I’ve already started. I finished reading Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans, (which was, by the way, absolutely amazing and blew my freaking mind all over the place), and am already half way through A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I’m almost 1/3 of the way through an audiobook of Worm by Wildbow, (and considering the book is approximately the equivalent of 6 War & Peace books, I’m quite proud of my accomplishment thus far). I’ve started trying to write in my spare time, jotting down bits and pieces to later weave them into something coherent. As for the “being a better wife” part, I consider that an ongoing project that I shall continue to master until my death.

I had a conversation with my boss, Tim N., a couple days ago, and he brought up something I hadn’t thought about before. He mentioned that I seemed unhappier this summer, and that (since he had read my blog) I seemed to really be struggling more so than the past two summers. He guessed that it might have to do with my lack of people-ing. That’s not the word he used, but you get the idea. As an extrovert, I get energy by being around people. And not just being in their presence, but interacting and having an impact. As photographer, I am around people all day, but don’t have the time or opportunity to interact on a deeper level with the campers. I think he might be right. Yet another insightful piece of information to help me locate my joy.