The Wonderful Yes and the Hard No.

I oftentimes say no when I am forced to be myself. I oftentimes say no when I want to compliment someone on something simple. I sometimes say no when the idea of a new adventure comes.

The crazy thing, though, is that in the past year or so, I’ve begun saying yes.

I’ve said yes to new places and new adventures. I’ve said yes to joining a team. I’ve said yes to being me and not being worried about what other people think.

The sad thing about no is that doors close on amazing opportunites. The amazing thing about yes is that it makes you find yourself and lets other people say yes with you. It brings joy and it brings happiness.

I’m not saying that yes is something people should say all the time, because there are definitely appropriate moments to say no and that is completely okay. But saying no to the right things comes with the confidence of saying “yes” every now and then.

I am in a season full of yes’s and no’s right now. I’ve been trying to write about it for the longest time and it’s been hard for me to write out what I feel in a coherent way. I’ve been talking about it in a lot of subtle ways lately, but I’ve never been able to write about it in the right way every time I’ve hit enter for wordpress and opened an empty document. So, while I’m here trying to be as honest as I possibly can about the yes’s and no’s I’ve said in the past few weeks, bear with me as I try to let it out in the nicest way I can.

When it comes to adventures, I get very, very anxious. But I say yes to them because I know they will help me grow and learn in a way I never would have if I said no. I decided to join a Cross Country team for the first time in my life and run with a team today. Fun Fact: I’ve been wanting to join a Cross Country team since my freshmen year of High School. I said no seven years in a row before I finally did it. Yeah, let that one sink in. Seven Years. I had the best run I’ve ever had in my life today because I said something as simple as yes to something I’ve been longing to say yes to for the Past. Seven. Years. And the best  most rewarding part about it is that I got through three miles without stopping.

When it comes to talking and saying hi to new people, I worry what they will think of me. I talk to new people and say hi to almost everyone I pass now if there is enough caffeine or endorphins in my system to make me feel good. Fun Fact: I’ve wanted to be like this since the beginning of my last Spring Semester. Why didn’t I do it earlier? I was afraid of saying yes and I was afraid of showing people who I honestly, truly am because of judgement that I know is oftentimes just inside my head. Funny thing is, most people care too much what others are thinking of them before they can even get to thinking about me or you. It took a summer of saying yes to “me” and not hiding away to get me here… It also took a moment of tears and falling to the ground at the end of this past summer to finally say yes, too.

These are just a couple of ways I’m saying yes in my life today and how I got there. Now, onto the big No. Because, it is a Big No that I have never been able to cross over to without learning what I did about myself this summer.

When it came to boys, I always wanted “yes.” I always wanted to be “the girl.” I always wanted a relationship. I always wanted someone to love me in a beautiful way. I would constantly say that the deepest desires of my heart were to travel and do God’s work globally, but I believe that was just the beginning of this realization I had about me and who I am in Christ over the summer.

Lets get real: The deepest desire of my heart will always be to have a relationship with someone who I can spend the rest of my life with and do God’s work with, whether it is globally or just here in the United States where I am right now.

It’s the bear naked truth and I won’t sugarcoat it.

I believe that God grants us the desires of our hearts and I’m not going to lie and say that it is extremely easy for me to wait on God’s timing for a relationship in my life. Right now, God keeps telling me no. No to a more intimate relationship with someone else, no to hanging out with boys who even show me an inkling of interest more than friends.

I’ve always been a wall builder. It’s not that I have always wanted to say no to a relationship with someone, it’s just that it needs to be the right person and God has already been pretty clear that the right person is not inside my life right now. It’s possible that they could be, but I am not ready to meet them where I’m at right now. Quite honestly, though, I like where I am; single and with God. Focusing solely on furthering and maybe even rebuilding the friendships God has placed in my life at this point.

I’m not ready to be close to a boy intimately. I’m not ready to be more than friends. I’m not in a place where I can see a boy standing beside me as more than a brother in Christ. I always think it’s strange when a boy wants to hang out with me all the time. I think it’s strange when a boy wants to sit next to me. I think it’s weird when a boy says he saw me running or when a guy says that I look “in shape.” It gives me a boost of confidence, but it also makes me feel extremely uncomfortable because I don’t want to be noticed by guys for what I do physically to make me feel good about *myself* and I don’t want boys looking at me as an object they want to be close to physically.

I want a guy who I’m going to be able to take part in those physical things with (like running) and someone who will recognize me for my internal traits like honesty, hilarity, caring about others, and someone who’s going to put up with, help me through, and pray with me about the crap that I’m struggling with. Someone who’s going to tear down the walls I put up and not be afraid to crack them when necessary. I’ve always understood that it is a choice to love someone and that it takes work to love someone. I feel ready to work at something and love someone, but I’m also not ready for it because I’m not exactly as whole as I feel I should be to get into something as serious as a relationship (or even dating) yet.

Anyway! Enough with that rant.

Yes and No. There are times to say yes and there are appropriate times to say no. Most of the time, definitely say yes; but if you feel God leading you to say no to something you’ve wanted to say yes to for so long…

Just say no and listen to Him. Wait on His timing actively.

It could eventually lead to The Wonderful Yes the Savior offers and get you through something you’ve been struggling with for a very long time.

Like it has proven for me thus far since the semester has started.

It’s Okay to Let Go and Still be Happy

So here’s the deal: I had the best most fantastical summer of my entire life up in Maine. I learned a whole lot about myself, what I need to work on as a leader and person, and I learned a whole lot more about God’s love, taking major steps toward beginning to accept His love into my life in a much more authentic way. I got out of myself, I was happy. A lot of things that I brought with me to camp (baggage, whathaveyou) slipped away the more I got involved in the schedule of camp and poured into children that needed love.

Camp Bubble is what we called it.

Days are sectioned by one, two’s and three’s. There is one opening day and a closing day. There is a Lord’s Day. There are off days for the staff. There is this thing called JAM which stands for Jesus and Me and not eating the type of jelly you put on your bread. There are rotations, games, free time, and clubs. Basically, it’s a kid’s and kids-at-heart heaven.  It is a place in which you are forced to be loud and silly for the kids. In turn, you learn to love being loud and silly. It is a place where kids find safe refuge and we are the leaders who give them love and silliness that they otherwise don’t get at home.

Camp Bubble is a refuge of love and acceptance, both for the kids and for the staff members.

Even though we are on schedule and know what’s next… Each day is still a new day.

We do it for the kids. We do it for each other. But mostly we do it for God and His Kingdom.

I will never walk into a Walmart again without thinking about Camp Sebago because that was the hangout spot for two hour day-breaks. I will never walk into a Dunkin Donuts without thinking of Camp Sebago because it’s where we got our energy to just make it through the days we thought we couldn’t do it anymore. I will never be able to put on Tight Pants without thinking of Fred and Graham’s skit during the second week because I then impersonated Fred the week after for the Older Girl’s Skit during Laugh with the Staff. I will never be able to think of jam in the same way without thinking “Caffeine for the Day!” and Getting out of Myself. I will forever be changed by the stories of people I worked with this summer. I will never walk into a Goodwill without thinking of Charity. I will always wear a headband because camp is the place that made me realize I actually really love wearing headbands and looking like I just walked out of the best adventure of my life. I will never think of confidence as Confidence anymore., it will always be Godfidence.

Always.

I will miss Little Brother Talks. I will miss yelling hello to Jeff when I am grabbing meals. I will miss walking across a huge field to find a friend. I will miss the community.  I will miss the Unit Leaders giving us daily announcements each meal. I will miss the laughter and the smiles. I will miss Deep and Meaningful Conversations. I will miss Honesty Day (even though I only played it once). I will miss JAM. I will miss the kids. I will miss the mundane camp hardships. I will miss Staff Vespers. I will miss not worrying about what’s next. I will miss the set aside, authentic time for God.

There are a ton of things I will miss about Camp Sebago… The list could go on forever, I promise you.

My heart is separated into a lot of pieces and I am irretrievably changed because it has been effected by the many people I met from overseas, or even from within the United States. Distance makes it hard to keep in touch daily like we did at camp, though. However, I am slowly learning that I can’t hold on. I can hold onto the things these people taught me and I can hold onto the ways in which they have made me different, but I cannot look back at the memories and hope they will come back again in the same way they have happened this summer.

Because they won’t. It hurts to say it, but it’s true.

My only choice is forward.

 

“Today is a new day.”

God didn’t intend for us to look back. He intended for us to move forward to the cross.

The cross before me, the past behind me. It pains me to think about leaving behind such a great experience like Camp Sebago and the thought of maybe not returning again hurts, too. But God calls us to let go, trust Him, and move forward. Always.

So it may come as a surprise to people who see me so happy and joyful. But it’s not really surprising to me because what I learned from God this summer is that it’s completely okay to let go and still be happy.

Let go of people.

Let go of myself.

Let go of the past.

 

Let go of worrying about what’s to come.

God is in control of it all.

The confidence I have in God comes from letting go and realizing that each day is a new day. I can do what I want with the days I’m handed. I can either be sad about not being with people and in a place that I have come to know and love or I can choose to seize the day and the moments / choices God gives me in the moment and shine His light.

I will always choose to be happy, let go, and show who I am without fear each day that comes my way.

I have Sebago, and especially God for helping me get here. It’s been a long time coming.

Ache of My Heart

My foot hits the gas pedal as I back out of the driveway. I have no clear destination, God is telling me to drive, but not to a bus station because going to the bus station was my original plan; escape New Hampshire and go to Boston. It occurs to me that going to Boston is no longer an escape but a place in which I am able to roam free, no questions asked. The last time I went to Boston with a clear purpose, it was cold and rainy, I drowned myself with ice cream and learned that I am broken.

It’s hard to admit that I am broken.

As I drive back roads to Henniker instead of highways to Concord, I know I need some green paper, so I stop at TD and then reroute the tires back to The Pancake House, a small Breakfast Place that I always need to visit once when I am home. I am lonely, but I am filled by the warmth wooden structures hold. The smell of coffee and syrup fill my nose as I take a seat. I order a coffee and look at the menu even though I already know what I want. It is familiar but not the same.

It’ hard to admit that I am not the same.

Once out of the pancake house, I make my way to the highway and consider driving further south for the day. I remember I don’t know my way off the top of my head and scratch the idea. I turn right toward Concord instead. I drive, I worship. I think about taking 89 to Burlington, Vermont. I pass the exit to go in that direction. Concord awaits me. I know what I need, I know what I want, and I am singing that His love never fails in the midst of thinking about sins and how even I sin, too.

It’s hard to admit that I am a sinner.

Cars that rush pass me by on the highway. I pass two police cars that have caught individuals due to speeding. The trees and hills remain stagnant as I keep moving. It pains me sometimes that trees don’t get the gift of Free Roam like I do, but I wonder if it’s better being rooted in one place, not able to move. I’ve heard that trees get sickness. I wonder if it’s because they get stuck, too. I wonder  how they can possibly keep their strength and dignity when they have all been given a lifetime of stillness.

Sometimes I yearn to be as strong as a tree.

I finally make it to Concord. I roam Target for a while, picking up what might help me schedule things better during the year ahead; calendars, sticky notes, pens. I think about how no amount of scheduling will help me feel more prepared. I think about how fast time moves, how so much changes in even the course of a day. I think about how today might be all I have. I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I think about events from this summer. How maybe it was only to help me prepare for what adventure lies next.

Sometimes I wish I knew what was next.

I know that in less than a week I will move back to school. I know that in two weeks, I will see a plethora of faces both old and new coming back to campus. I know that I will go to classes. I know that I will run and I know that I will write and read and be in a play and maybe some choirs. I know I will join a bible study. I know I will be bombarded with questions of  “what’s next?” (my nightmare). I don’t know what happens after a single day. All I know is this moment and that everything will work itself out.

Sometimes all it takes is a little faith.

I eventually make it home after spending an hour and a half in Books a Million. I have purchased two new books even though I haven’t finished the one I am currently reading. It’s okay. As I drive home I think about writing. I think about taking a social media and technology break. I think about letters. I think about Honduras, Florida, Maine. I think about cars and trains and planes and walking and running. How I have a heart that pumps blood and keeps me alive. How my heart is rooted here for the moment but could be rooted somewhere completely different the next. My heart is aching for much right now.

I will always understand the ache of my Heart.

A pumping mobile home inside my chest, claiming love from His forever inside a world full of maybe’s and perhaps.

Dandelion

I’m standing in a field of waist high green grass as a child. My large round sunglasses are falling down my nose and I’m wearing a white blouse with blue jeans. Nothing is bothering me. I’m picking dandelions and it’s just me, the blue sky, the tall grass and wooden fence separating me from a red barn. I’m sure my hair is all out of place, but it doesn’t matter. North Carolina is a safe haven and I am picking dandelions.

Dandelions are considered weeds. Weeds are supposedly ugly and don’t do much for a garden of pretty flowers. How can a dandelion be considered an ugly weed when it’s yellow disposition brings so much joy to a large field of green? Why are dandelions considered ugly when all kids are able to do is tell their mommy and daddy “Hey! Look at that flower! Can I pick a bouquet for you?” Little sons and daughters come rushing home on summer evenings bearing the beauty in what they believe to be a small handful of sunshine.

Children don’t consider weeds to be ugly because they see the beauty in bright yellow. They are young and they are unable to forsee what ugliness is. Children see the beauty in this world; there are no weeds inside their minds.

I miss childhood.

I still think that dandelions are beautiful.

People always told me that if you stuck a dandelion under your chin, the amount of yellow that reflected under your chin told everyone how much you liked butter. According to the dandelions, I really like butter. But I don’t butter my bread when I have it with pasta or when we are offered it at a restaurant.

That’s okay because even if the dandelions think I like butter, I know that it is only because of the yellow reflection showing beneath my chin and that it’s only bright because of the light from the sun.

Sometimes before dandelions turn to the sun, they are grey fuzzies that every kid attempts to make a wish on. The trick is to use your diaphragm. No matter how hard I tried, I was never able to gather enough air to make my childhood wish come true. I only added to the growth of more beautiful sunshine’s in a field full of tall grass.

Maybe next time I’ll blow enough fuzzies out to get my wish.

I still pick dandelions here and there, wondering how many wishes I can make by picking the littlest petals off the stem. Sometimes I count a lot of “he loves me, he loves me not’s” on the small yellow petals before I realize it always takes an odd amount of petals to get the answer I want. The petals always land even and sometimes I wish they would just land odd.

I am picking dandelions, considered the ugliest flowers in the world. Even though they always tell me I like butter and I don’t, and even though I am still growing up; sometimes there are fields of tall grass that still reach my waist and I have to look for the beauty in a weed.

But that’s okay, because yellow is beautiful.

A sunshine worth waiting for.

What is one thing you would change about yourself?

This question has been haunting me for the past few days. I was asked it last Friday and I had to come up with something quickly, so I said that I forget things very easily and that I wish I wasn’t like that. 

I feel like that’s a very cop out answer, though. Obviously, there are real people that answer things like that all the time and it is a very real answer for them, but for me, it was a cop out. It was the first thing that came to mind, seemed like the safe thing to say in front of a ton of people I don’t know well. 

So what would my real answer be? Or, answers, I guess… Because there are a lot of things I’d  change about myself. 

I’d change that I’m shy around new people and can’t let go in front of new crowds until I feel comfortable. I’d change that I am so skeptical of people because of various things that have happened in my past to make me believe that people are being foggy in their intention toward me. I’d change my over thinking tendencies. I’d change that I don’t always understand sarcasm. I’d change the fact that I am extremely self-conscious about myself physically, even though most people tell me there is no reason to be. I’d change that I tend to compare myself to others a good portion of the time. Mostly, I’d change the fact that I am often the largest contender in the judgement game I’m always complaining about.

So, yes, there is a long list of better, deeper, things than just “I’d change that I forget important things all the time.”

I think it’s important to know these things, though. It’s important to pinpoint what we dislike about ourselves so we are aware of what we need to work on… And then it is our job to consciously work on those things daily… To be a better version of who we already are.

Because there are a ton of things I love about myself, too. 

I love that I am able to listen to other people, their ideas, stories and why they are the way they are. I love that I am able to have many different friends with different personalities. I love that I am a one-on-one / smaller group person with people around my own age. I love my abilities to share how I feel, whether it be through writing, art, or communication that can often times be very difficult. I love that I have a heart for travel. I love my ability to use the body I am self-conscious of in order to run. I love that I am able to see the progress of life around me, daily improvement both in myself and in my peers. The list could go on, again… 

My family and I were talking at the dinner table about a recent blog post I wrote about technology, distraction, and communication. Somehow it ended up with my dad telling me about an old television show he used to watch about an animal that wanted to change and morph into things we wasn’t. He’d go on these adventures being things or heroes he wasn’t, and then he’d eventually ask to go back to his own self. The general lesson of the show was that “you be you” because that’s the only thing people want to see.

In the end, we’re much better being ourselves than we are trying to morph into who other people want us to be. 

So, while I wish I could change a lot of things about myself, there are also a ton of things I wouldn’t change for the world. I only see the things I’d change in myself as an opportunity to grow, learn, and move forward.

Bottom line is that we’ve all got things we don’t like about ourselves and would change whether we know it first hand or not. It’s important to know those things, but it is also important to know our strengths as well. Our strengths far outweigh our downfalls… In the end, people are going to remember the positive more than the negative, as long as we are working toward the best person that each of us can be, individually, and with purpose.

Summer Days

Between friendship bracelets, bright colors, green grass, sunshine, warm weather, and no school; summer has got to be on the top of my list as one of my favorite seasons in the world.

After being very, very anxious about being at my school for three weeks of May-Term all alone, I have got to say that it’s probably one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s different when you have a class with peers every day and know people who are living in the area a little bit better. It creates a window of opportunity to get to know one another better and build solid relationships that will always last a lifetime. For me, I have always been so much better as a one on one person, and so many doors were opened for those types of conversations and moments to happen in the past few weeks. I have been challenged, I have been surprised, and I have been able to really make deeper and more positive connections with some of the people I have been able to surround myself with. And I could not be more thankful for that.

I am thankful for learning from the past and I am thankful for the opportunity to keep moving forward.

Moving forward gives me a strange sense of satisfaction when I really think about it. I’ve always been ready to go and do things and I think I was always good at sitting still after a very busy day, but never really good at sitting still for long periods of time during the day. Looking back upon last summer, I think that sitting still for hours on end may not have been the most healthy choice on top of living alone with absolutely no friends around me that I knew super well. Luckily, I was able to learn from that experience, and as soon as I realized that May-Term would undoubtedly be different this year, I let go and started having fun.

Between making music with a friend and singing a couple times each week, stopping by Admissions at least twice a week to stop and say hi to two friends who work in the office, seeing an almost sunrise with a friend early in the morning and sitting on a cold wall on Quincy Bay under a blanket, eating more amounts of sushi than I should take credit for, laying out on the ENC lawn in the sun with my bare feet in the grass, losing my bible and having it be found, going to and from Physical Therapy twice a week and drinking coffee and making tea every now and then, discovering new products that are working for my face without the medication that I have been taking for it, and getting, bit by bit, information about my summer job that starts up in a few weeks up in Maine; I have got to say that these past few weeks have been jam packed with tons of adventures and my summer is honestly just beginning.

I am heading home in four days to spend time with family and catch up with friends from church. My sister will be graduating from High School in June, so I’ll get to experience the total awkwardness (or awesomeness) of seeing people I haven’t spoken to or seen in years from my graduating class. I will probably take a couple adventures here and there, make a few important errands, eat a lot of breakfast, and maybe catch a sunrise on my own if I can wake up early enough and find a side where the sun rises. It’s all about perspective, I think. I know going home will be a very nice safe-haven for the next few weeks, always being surrounded by people I know very well and am sure of their love no matter the circumstances.

I know home has been infused with change in the past few weeks as well, though, and it’s been heartbreaking to hear about it on my end. But it was time, and it is as good a time as any to make little changes and continue moving forward in a life that never stops. I am going home to the brown house I have known in my crucial years of growing up, to the huge backyard and pool, and to Piper barking his head off and a black cat named TC who always runs away when I try to do something as simple as pet his fuzzy fur. It could be the last time I am graced with the presence of a place I have come to love going to and from. There will always be things I expect to see, like the yellow ball of fur that is our Bailey running to greet us as we pull into the driveway, and the camper that has stood stagnant in the extra parking spaces of our driveway… But Bailey and the Camper, over time and much like it, have vanished and moved forward, either to a heaven I do not know of yet and on to a new life of being on the road with a new family that seeks adventure in the woods.

Sometimes I will smell pancakes and think of camping on Cranberry Lake, waking up to hot chocolate at 8:00 in the morning and having to leave the campsite to do something as simple as showering. I will sometimes smell home fries in just the right way and remember the taste of dad’s home fries being cooked in the morning. I will drink tons of water and always think about lugging our huge cooler with my sister to the water faucet on the road, always struggling to bring it back to the campsite because of the weight of it. So many of my good memories from being younger stem from camping with my family and our old dog, Bailey. So many of the good things I remember are when I have been going or traveling.

I find that oftentimes there is stillness within the movement around us. We don’t always have to be still in order to be still. As long as we take time to ourselves and refresh, I think that is what’s most important as long as we are completely present in those recharge moments. Sometimes getting away from the things or places we know best are all we need in order to do just that.

Summer is important. Summer is time to recharge. Summer is time for change. Summer is a time for memories to be made. It’s a time to reflect, move on, and let go. Summer is just beginning here, and I am beyond excited for what is coming next.

Shut Down and Shine Up

Shut your phone off. Turn the ipad off. Get off the computer. Read a book, listen to music. Be still for a while and return when you’re ready. The rest of this blog is still going to be here when you’re done taking a break, I promise.

- -

This week I am realizing how much I need to shut down and detox from social media. I know I say this a lot and never do it in the end, but I really mean it this time. Social Media doesn’t give me happiness or the full relationships I crave in life. Social Media only gives me something that feels good and passes time when I’m on my way somewhere or when there is no one around and I am awkwardly standing or sitting alone. Most people know this feeling and know what I’m taking about.

I was on my way to Physical Therapy today and because my phone was on the brink of death, I kept it in my small bag and people-watched instead. There was a woman half asleep because it was nearly 8:00 in the morning and sometimes it’s hard to wake up in the morning. There were some people looking around the same as me, but the majority of people on my part of the train were looking down at smart phones, so engrossed in what they were seeing in their little piece of technology rather than soaking in the life that was in motion around them.

I am a big offender at this, so I know I shouldn’t be judging other people, but it made me wonder about the times when smart phones weren’t a thing. How many people actually looked up at what was going on in the lives around them? How many eyes were looked into? How many emotions were seen through eye contact and then hidden because of fear? How many conversations were shared between perfect strangers in the off-chance that they ended up on the same train or bus? How many children actually looked up at their parents and how many parents actually paid attention to their kids? How many couples looked genuinely happy?

The thing that probably hit me most was seeing a couple with a baby in a stroller on my way back from Physical Therapy. The woman tried to get her boyfriend / husband’s attention by touching his nose; twice. I saw it as a way to get him to smile. However, he was so engrossed in what his phone had to say that he didn’t even look up at her. The disappointment on her face was unforgettable. Once he was done looking at his phone and realized his mistake, he slide closer to her and put his arm around her, as if physical touch would make things better. She still looked disappointed and sad. But, he barely recognized her emotion because he was, once again, looking down at his phone.

Try and imagine that scenario had the phone not been a part of it. I imagine him smiling or giggling at the woman’s attempt to get is attention. I imagine his arm going around her as soon as it happens and I see two people completely head over heels in love with one another, and happy. I see two people present with one another and I see no empty void filling space because the only thing that’s filling the emptiness is tangible love that can be touched and felt because the distraction of a smart phone is not necessary.

There is a video that you can see here that everyone should see and listen to. Then take it to heart. It talks about all the moments we miss if we’re constantly looking down at man-made technology. I don’t know about you, but I want to make the most of my life and be completely present. Some of the best moments I have are when I’m not worried about time or taking a photo, but when I am able to tangibly look in someone’s eyes and speak with them. These have also been some of the hardest times I’ve had to endure, but I have learned a great deal more by being present with people and talking about hard or awesome things in person rather than using the shield of a text or message. In most cases, things are solved a lot quicker if someone sets aside time to talk and communicate about what’s bothering them in person, and time is a lot more fun with someone else who is also completely present.

Social Media has given us a way to speed up and a way to make time pass faster. It’s given us a way to not feel embarrassed when we’re alone on a train or city street. But how present are we when we’re going fast? Is life worth it if we’re missing out on those awesome experiences that make us feel awkward, alone, happy, and/or excited? Is it worth it if we’re passing up opportunities of growth and conversations that could completely change us and the way we think or move forward in our lives? Is it worth missing out on real and tangible love?

(Read This).

The article I just linked to is a mothers story of how her daughter with down syndrome is “slow.” In a world now, where everyone wants to go, go, go; the author’s daughter is one to stop and smell the roses because she doesn’t know any better. Stopping to smell the roses every once in a while is a good thing, it makes us shine a lot brighter and reminds us of the small blessings that are so important in our entire lifespan. It definitely makes time go a little slower, too.

And a slower sense of timing, especially right now, is something I wouldn’t mind in the slightest.

Paper Power

Paper has so much power and I love and hate it all at the same time.

Money.

I wrote and handed in two of my own checks with large numbers on them today. While I have no regrets about either of them, I am also freaking out about it because I’m a college student who only has about a year and a half left of being debt-free unless I decide to travel the world in a year and defer my loans a little bit longer. I disliked the heavy feeling in my chest as I walked into student accounts and discussed my balance with the lady at the desk. I paid off what I agreed to pay off and I still have a pretty big balance remaining. It’s making me feel a little more stressed than I need to be at the present moment.

I’m reminded of a testimony I heard in Honduras from one of our leaders, Jason. He spoke about how money should not run our lives. While money is a huge part of the culture we live in and we should be paying off the debts we owe, it also should not define who we are and not let it control us.

Money is distracting, but it is also essential to bringing us the things we need most in life. Food, water, shelter, quality time with people we love or learn to love. The list could go on forever.

While I was paying off the things I needed to pay off today, I was also reminded after the fact about how life is not all wrapped up in money and shouldn’t be.

I was able to catch up with a friend who works in student accounts and we ended up creating music together in a building on campus. My friend played piano and I sang. It was choppy and we both were learning, but it was a reminder to me of how much I love understanding music and singing it, too. It was also quality time with someone I enjoy talking with and being around.

Laughter speaks volumes and smiles can say a million things. Quality time is so important and has more worth than money ever will in a lifetime.

Forward Motion

I am uninterested in staying in one place for too long.

A lot of my personality stems from movement. As a child, I was always exposed to so many places, car rides, and plane adventures. Most kids dread long car rides, planes that make our ears pop, and long amounts of sitting… But not me. I was always eager to take a two hour car ride to Boston to see a game, I was always eager and up the night before a long plane ride to Florida or Wyoming. I dreamed about adventure as a kid the same way I dream about adventure now.

I would always write it, always talk to strangers that soon became people that made a difference in my life thinking, always observed the people around me. Writing material was and is around me every single day and it fascinates me.

I have about a year left in the place I’m at and then I have the ability to choose anywhere I want to go. I can stay where my roots have been planted in Massachusetts, or I can get up and leave. I have no idea what doors will be opened, but I have a feeling that staying a few more years planted in a place I’ve managed to find such unrest in is not the plan.

I can dream about traveling the world in a year, stepping on the soils in other countries, or even just experiencing the beauty in my own home of America by hiking the Appalachian Trail; but none of it will happen without the drive to keep stepping forward. Stepping forward takes a lot of courage and because stepping forward seems like it’s something I’m good at, I might as well keep trying to move along the path of forward motion in my life. However, I’m trying to take it one day at a time, finding small adventures in my life right where I am now.

I am willing to go. I am planning to go. But I need to be willing to stay in the same way that I am willing to go. 

There are so many untold stories even in the country I live in. This makes me at least a little content in my time of waiting.

The adventure and idea of sharing coffee with a complete stranger and getting to know them in the small span of a couple hours completely exhilarates me. I want to know people’s real sides because often times the real sides are the sides people hide from others. I want to know what makes others crack, I want to know what makes them cry, and I want to know what makes them excited for life and happy.

Adventure is totally out there. I just have to grab it when it comes, wait for it in the process, and find a way to get to know someone who’s story might completely change the course of my life and thinking. 

I don’t underestimate the power life and stories have.

I want to listen. I want to go.

I will patiently wait and, for now, it will be a far off pipe dream that will not be shaken.