lost

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It always baffles me how short-term my memory is. I let stress build and build, worry clouds my mind, and it becomes a weight that I carry for weeks, sometimes months on end. It can be anything – school, work, money, relationships, family – it doesn’t matter. I let it happen, and I forget the most important part of myself: my faith.

I let worry and fear and procrastination and failure discourage and riddle me until I hit a point – which is often prayer. REAL prayer. Sometimes, when I pray at church I fall into a routine that sounds something like this: “Thank you for x, y and z. Please help me with x, y, and z. I’m so sorry for x, y and z.” It’s repetitive, and sometimes it’s almost thoughtless.

The prayer that opens my heart to hear what God wants from me is the prayer that hits me out of nowhere. There’s a little chapel in the office building I work, and I go there at lunch, pop my headphones in, and listen to music. Instead of Adele, John Mayer or ABBA, though, I listen to songs in my “soul songs” or “prayer” playlist. Music is my most powerful outlet for speaking with and listening to God. It comes so naturally, and at times it feels like he is sitting next to me for awhile.

Those moments focus my mind on the only thing that matters: His plan. I can stress and worry about trivial things, I can focus my attention on distraction and material objects, but that’s wasted time and energy. Deep down I know that. I just wish I kept it at the forefront of my mind more often than these moments.

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39)

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“the essence of romance is uncertainty” – Oscar Wilde

I’m not meant to know it all. I’m not meant to know the “why’s” quite yet. They sneak up on me as tiny miracles in moments when I need them most.

I’d be lying, though, if I said these unknowns don’t bother me constantly.

Why did I not get that job? Am I meant to be pursuing something different? Why did that person make me feel that way? How am I going to get through this difficult moment? Where will I be one year from today?

Questions I’ve asked myself throughout the past few months and years never have brought me to straightforward answers. I can only wonder if my life is as intricate a web that I hope it is, eventually spinning to create something beautiful… or if it’s been a winding path filled with opportunities, and when I reach the end I’ll realize I took all the wrong forks in the road.

Time is ticking.

 

butterfly chasing

thoughts, Uncategorized

When I’m missing home while at school, or just feeling a little discouraged, I often read one of two letters my dad has written me. I think they were from a retreat I went on, but it doesn’t matter – they’re two of my treasures, and I’ll keep them forever.

I won’t share what’s in them, but I will share an excerpt that I think of quite often. In it, my dad says, “You are my butterfly chaser. It is what I love about you most, but also why I worry.”

He wrote this for me when I was 16, and I almost feel like I had no idea what he meant back then. I probably won’t fully understand what he means until much later in my life, but I think I’m finally beginning to grasp it.

I’ve chased. I’ve made mistakes and lapses of judgement. I’ve failed more than once, and embarrassed myself more than twice. But I’m okay. My chases have led me to amazing people, and crazy places. My mistakes have brought me lessons, my lapses in judgement have made my will stronger and my head smarter. My embarrassments, well, those are out there for the world to see. All I can do now is admit to them, own them, and move forward.

 

bucket list to end all bucket lists

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Ahh yes, the oh-so-cliché BUCKET LIST.

*pauses to rant about how cliché things are cliché for a REASON (i.e. they’re beautiful, relatable, fun, romantic, etc) and we shouldn’t just bash them because everybody does them or else we’d miss out on some pretty great stuff (sunset walks on the beach, any song by the Bee Gees, Nicholas Sparks novels, pumpkin spiced lattes, etc)*

Voilà. 

  • Africa
  • Disney
  • spend a night in a castle all by myself
  • skinny dip in the ocean
  • get a massage
  • sleep under the stars
  • write a book
  • swim with wild dolphins
  • go for a road trip without a phone
  • own a horse
  • audition for something
  • board a ship
  • fall in love
  • visit central/west Africa
  • play with river otters
  • solo trip
  • own a vineyard (even a baby one)
  • Christmastime in NYC
  • visit where my ancestors lived (Italy, Slovakia, Ireland, England, etc.)
  • pray with someone of a different religion
  • route 66

 

Since I currently have a total of about 7 people who (for some reason unbeknownst to me… honestly they probably got lost or something) are following this blog, I would urge the 7 of you to maybe try to make a bucket list too? Or if you already have one, put it down on paper. It feels good.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” – Walt Disney

plan to plan

lifestyle, Uncategorized

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Well, it’s the middle of July, so naturally I’m preparing myself for the semester ahead – head still spinning from finals I took eight weeks ago.

*nervous chuckle*

It probably has something to do with the fact that this is my very last year of college. It’s fine.

*pauses to violently sob*

Okay. So I’m one of those people who, if they don’t write everything down, will gloriously fall apart. Therefore, when planning my week, I must. write. it. all. I like to keep myself accountable for things – it makes it pretty tough to veer from my schedule and my to-dos. It also makes it feel pretty great at the end of the week when I can look back at all I’ve accomplished.

After a lot of trial and error, I pretty much have my planning down to a tee. I need two books – one planner and one lined or unlined notebook. Extras include my favorite pen – the Sharpie pen – and a cute sticker book. Other than that, I’m set!

I previously have owned Lilly Pulitzer and Erin Condren planners – both of which are by no means cheap – and both of which just didn’t suit my needs, no matter how much I wanted that ~aesthetic~. Instead, I hunted down a planner from Etsy (take a look) that consists of a weekly spread that is comprised of daily to-dos. My dream planner, in other words.

I also picked up some stickers to mark important dates and appointments in the future – I got them at Target in Bullseye’s Playground (AKA the cheap section) – and I cannot find a link for the life of me. While at Target I picked up a simple lined notebook (also was unable to find a link, kill me) to keep some other lists and trackers throughout my year.

PLANNERS I RECOMMEND:

If you land somewhere between Elle Woods and Kate Middleton… (Simply Notebooks)

If you’re simple, chic, and enjoy trendy things… (Eccolo)

If you’re 90% business, 10% gin & tonics… (Hearth and Hand)

If instead of a no-nonsense “girl boss,” you’re just a straight up boss… (AHZOA)

NOTEPADS:

If you find your tendencies to be deemed “extra” by most people… (West Emory)

If you’re stuck in the early 2000s and are okay with it… (Juicy Couture)

If you enjoy some flare but mostly stick to neutrals… (Studio Oh!)

If feminine, classic, and unapologetically ladylike is your vibe… (Zoomerang)

EXTRAS:

The #THICCest and best pen of all time… (Sharpie)

Dot stickers that I’ve never used but just ordered (lol)… (The Printers Cabin)

Washi tape that isn’t obnoxious… (SGDOLL)

 

 

 

21 reflections for 21 years

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1.jpg*Insert disclaimer about how no, I don’t think my life is extraordinarily interesting enough for anyone to actually want to read this ridiculous list of personal anecdotes but yes, I am posting it for myself (hence the name of the blog) as a way to look back on my short life and grow in my next year. For anyone who actually does take the time to read this: I’d also like to add that what was originally supposed to be a humorous and lighthearted post became a surprisingly moving reflection, and I’d encourage you to try the same.*

  1. I can’t imagine what it was like for my parents with baby #3, not to mention girl #3. I probably was the reason they didn’t sleep much that first year. I’d imagine I was also the reason they decided not to have another baby for six years… I guess I don’t know much about my first year.
  2. Year two. My mom told me when I was two I went to Disney with the whole family (of course, I was two so I remember nothing… *growls*) and instead of wanting to be a princess, I wanted to be Scar. From The Lion King. Of course, my older self, having watched The Lion King millions of times since then, can certainly relate. Although now I’d prefer to be a princess, I definitely enjoy Scar’s sarcasm and eye-rolling. There’s something to be said for tasteful sassiness.
  3. My third year: all my parents have told me is that I would throw temper tantrums constantly. I hope karma decides to forgo me on that one when it comes to my future children.
  4. This is the first year I can actually remember. My most vivid memory is dancing around the kitchen with my mom, singing “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews. I loved that last year at home, before school, that I spent with just her. Today, it’s one of my favorite memories to think about, and still one of my favorite songs to listen to.
  5. I won the “Most Like Jesus” award. I guess I must’ve been shy, if for only one year, because I’m certainly the furthest thing from it today. I have never won the award since – apparently Jesus wasn’t overly talkative, insanely over-dramatic or irritating beyond measure. A girl can try.
  6. Six years old and I was going into first grade. I remember meaningless things – like selling chocolate bars for school, and having “play-dates” for the first time.
  7. This year, I remember having a crush on the boy I walked down the aisle for first communion with. I forgot all the choreography (if you could call it that) during the Our Father. If that was any indication of how good a dancer I am today, it was certainly spot-on. I also remember having learning very quickly why it isn’t a wise idea to be disrespectful toward the Spanish teacher (or any adult for that matter). I was yelled at in front of the class, I don’t remember why but I know I was in the wrong – and I never questioned Señora Gulden again.
  8. This is the year I realized how bad I was at math.
  9. When I was nine, my Grandma Jo died. It was really hard for our family, she is still the closest person to me I’ve lost, though I didn’t understand it at the time. She was the first person I ever heard say the “f” word out loud, and the person who taught me how to play Gin Rummy. I only ever remember her as the 90 something she was, constantly over our house – even living with us at one point – helping my mom with all us kids and being a friend to each of us. I miss her more today than I did then.
  10. My significant memory my tenth was my best friend leaving our private grade school to go to public school. Suddenly, someone who I spent every waking moment with became a stranger almost overnight. I’ve seldom spoken to her in over 10 years, and we grew up to be polar opposite people. I also remember this as the first year I was ever self-conscious of my body. I remember my best friend at the time had lost all her baby fat and was way more girly than me, and I envied her for it.
  11. At 11, I’d decided to halt my tomboy days of mud-slinging fun with my cousins (*mourns briefly*) and start delving into my girly side. I also remember seeing Mamma Mia, which sticks out to me for some reason. So began my love affair with all things over-dramatic and even mildly romantic.
  12. At age twelve, I remember going on my first “diet.” I even have a tracker in an old diary I found, and I successfully lost weight – though looking back it’s kind of sad. Seventh grade is also where I struggled the most friend-wise. I worshiped my best friend and needed her attention, she was the Regina to my Gretchen. It was awful.
  13. Eighth grade is such a great year to look back on. When I turned 13, I remember meeting my three best friends (one of whom I still see today) at volleyball camp, finding out we all made the “A-Team” (cringe) together. I grew a spine and actually told my Mean Girl-esque friends that they had hurt my feelings repeatedly and I was going to make some new ones. That year, we had an absolute ball.
  14. When I was 14, I went to Italy and for the first time in my life felt the true gravity of the word “family.” There were complete strangers who loved me and I genuinely loved back, simply because we shared blood. No common history, culture, or language, but we were family (I guess that’s common history… but you get it). I loved that feeling.
  15. My first ever kiss! I still remember Elton John singing Can You Feel the Love Tonight and thinking I had made it. Yep.
  16. I’d like to say my sixteenth year I started driving, but my parents didn’t let me near the car for another year and a half. I can’t blame them. My sixteenth year, instead, was pretty normal – I did sports, continued with ~theatre~, and had a good group of friends.
  17. My seventeenth year… yikes. I was at peak drama queen stage. My oldest sister went away that year to live in Italy, and my other sister moved to Chicago, and I felt incredibly lonely without them. If I hadn’t met one of my closest friends (who became like a third sister), I’d have said the seventeenth year was a rough one.
  18. Going off to school changed my whole perspective on family and friendships. My parents and I grew closer, my dad and I especially. Old friendships became stronger and new ones that’ll last me forever were made this year.
  19. My nineteenth year was the first time I had my heart broken… but it was one of the best years of my life. I fulfilled a lifelong dream to go to Africa. The people, the culture, the friends I made… It set my soul on fire. I almost wish I hadn’t gone sometimes, only because it has left me constantly yearning for that fire again. “Sometimes I can hear my bones straining from the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
  20. My twentieth year started out a little shaky, but it surprised me in the best way possible. I finally feel like I’m growing into who I was meant to be.

(Behold, the most cliche thing to ever come out of my mouth.)

My next year I want to grow more confident. I want to dance. I want to plan my next adventure, and cross out a huge chunk off my bucket list. I want to shamelessly be myself, and I want to inspire other people. I want to grow tall and strong and nourish my soul with good music, great people, and tasty food. 🙂

carpe that diem

thoughts, Uncategorized

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I’ve been given one life.

One life, with no promise as to how long it will be, or what it will entail, or who will cross my path and what ground my feet will touch.

I watched France win the World Cup last Sunday (which is odd, because I don’t watch soccer). Later that night, I watched Dead Poets’ Society – an 80s movie that will always have my heart. Those two events contributed to this here drawn out musing on life.

Sometimes I think of all the things I’ll never get to experience, and I mean the crazy things that only a select number of humans have ever experienced – like the glory of winning a FIFA World Cup Final. Or what the President must feel when he walks into the Oval Office for the very first time, all alone. Or the feeling of performing to over 70,000 people, singing the words that you wrote for them. Or standing at the Olympic podium as the national anthem of your country plays.

And I want to know how that feels.

But I won’t.

No one on Earth can experience all those things, and 99.999999999% (that’s exact, I swear) of people in human history won’t experience any one of those things. So the realistic side of me says “You won’t.” But the naive 5 year old in me says “why not?” I’m going to be 21 on Saturday, and there aren’t too many things that a 21 is ‘too old for,’ but there are some things that a 25 year-old is too old for, and there are even more things that a 30 year old is too old for. The list gets longer as time goes on.

Why not try to do something crazy while I can? Why not audition for a role I have 0% chance of getting? Why not run for office on a platform I’m passionate about even though I’m unqualified and vastly unaware of what that would even entail? I don’t want to go through life with any what-ifs, and I’m quickly approaching the start of many deadlines. I want to fail, and fail HARD, just so I know I tried.

On the other hand, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary thrills of an ordinary life. Those experiences I mentioned above (winning World Cup, being President, etc.) must be incredible, but I can think of a few that might just rival them. Like the feeling of telling someone you love them for the very first time, without knowing how they’ll react and small part of you not even caring but just being so excited to say it out loud. Or the feeling of sitting around the Sunday dinner table as your grandpa tells you what he imagines Heaven will be like. The feeling of comforting a friend with a broken heart. The comforting look from a stranger who must be thinking the same thought as you. The way your heart flutters before a first kiss.

I always become reflective before a birthday… it’s something I love and hate about myself. I love to look back but I’m scared to look forward. I guess at the end of the day, no matter which moments I want to experience, I should just shut up and go experience them. Or at least try my freaking hardest.

One life.

 

“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

ease my anxious mind

hope, Uncategorized

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When it comes to a daily routine, I like to be a bit over the top. I have my planner, and then my bullet journal-meets-planner hybrid, and a separate notebook for just journaling, as well as the blog you are reading. I tend to write down almost everything. Why not? Anyway, sometimes in the craziness of the day, I find myself worrying about senseless things and scenarios – or just having an overall unsettled feeling. Thankfully, I’ve jotted down some quotes that never fail to give me some peace. Here are a few!

*disclaimer* I’m not exactly sure where a lot of these came from, or who said them, but the credit is not mine! Most were written in margins of my planner or notebook amidst coffee stains and doodles with reckless abandon, so bear with me.

 

“Don’t believe every worried thought you have. worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”

 

“Master the day. Then, just keep doing that every day.”

 

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

 

“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

 

“Fear not, for  I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you.”

 

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So, relax.”

 

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness. Nothing more.”

 

Sometimes all I need is to hear the right song, talk to someone I love, or even just sweat it out at the gym. Sometimes, I need a few minutes of silence. Most times, though, I can look at some of these quotes and they ease my mind in seconds.

 

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

strength through faith

hope, Uncategorized

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I am weak.

I cannot do anything consistently, worthwhile, or beneficial at all without God. I don’t know why it took me 21 years to figure it out, but here we are.

Throughout my life, I’ve put my mind to certain ideas, plans, projects – and 90% of them have never quite lived up to what I’ve wanted them to be. The only 10% that have are ones in which I’ve included God. I’m going to try to lay this all out for myself.

Friendships/Relationships: Is God a part of it? Do we value our faith in the same way, or at least to an important degree?

School/Work: Do I include prayer in my daily routine? Does ‘staying on task’ with what I need to do for the day in order to be productive include prioritizing my faith?

Health/Wellness: Am I thankful for every meal? Am I thankful for my health? For my body? Am I spiritually healthy as well as mentally and physically?

Difficulties: Do I look at the big picture – through God’s eyes and not my own? Do I trust in his plan for me?

If something is missing in one of these aspects of my life, I’ve usually chalked it up as something else. Now that I look back and truly am honest with myself, it’s because one of these answers is “no.” I guess I’m glad I realize it now, rather than later. Without faith as a daily, consistent discipline, I feel lost – even if just in a small way. It’s most evident, though, when I feel lost in a big way.

Of course it’s terrible to go through tough times with friends or family or just alone, but I cannot imagine how much more exponentially awful it is to go through those difficulties without God. At the very end of the day, no matter what happens – we still have something to hope for. I still have a God to believe in, and not just to believe in Him for the sake of believing in something, but because I’ve experienced his faith work in my life. For the rest of my days – whether I have a horrible life or a wonderful one, I’ve seen him in enough people throughout my twenty years to hold onto my faith forever. That’s hope.

“So we may boldly say, ‘the Lord is my helper: I will not fear. What can men do to me?”

 

on relationships

hope, thoughts, Uncategorized

th

What measure do we use to value our relationships?

Looking back on how I used to classify the “strength” of my relationships with people, it’s a little weird. I used to think the strength of my relationships was determined by how often text messages were exchanged, how much time I spent with the person, whether or not they had met my family, etc. Yet a part of getting older, I think, is realizing that those things really don’t matter.

My dearest friendships are determined not by time on the phone or visits paid, yet rather by the way I feel when I am with them: Am I comfortable with this person? Do they call me out on my mistakes and push me to be better? Would they stand up for me when I’m not around?

It’s hard to adjust this new way of thinking sometimes. For example, when I haven’t heard from a friend in a while, sometimes I find myself wondering “Did I do something to annoy them? Are they mad at me?” just out of old habit. Sometimes, I’ll catch myself thinking “oh gosh, I haven’t called so-and-so this week, I better text him/her so she knows everything’s good between us.”  Once I see that person or talk to them again though, I quickly realize how silly and immature that thought process is.

I talk to one of my best friends almost every single day, in some small way, without fail. I have another best friend with whom I barely speak to over the phone, yet we can just call or text “I’m coming over” after any period of time and hang out like normal. Both relationships are so incredibly valuable to me, and it has nothing to do with the frequency of our conversations or hang-outs. It’s about what’s underneath all that.

It’s important to have relationships that mean something. Whether it’s a best friend, a boyfriend, or a sister, focus on whether or not that person cares about what is best for you. I want to surround myself with people who push me to be better, regardless of my reaction. My closest friends are the people who I can share my values and faith with, who inspire me to become the greatest person I can be. These are my most wholesome relationships, the ones I’ll hold on to for life.

“Our greatest blessing is the fortune of good friends, being loved, and loving others.”