22 May 2012

Learning: Gratitude

This one is half learning, half teaching.

Now that almost three weeks have passed since my graduation, I am (finally) about to mail out my thank you cards.

Now, after reading that, you are probably thinking one of two things:

a) Oh, thank you cards! That is so nice, no one ever does that anymore.

or, b) UGH! I hate thank you cards. So annoying.

If you are thinking a), you are probably either old fashioned or well, older. If you are thinking b), you're probably younger and a member of this technological age we're wrapped up in today. Now, I won't debate you on the fact that writing out thank you cards takes time, and that's something that I know I am always running short on. But it's not just an old fashioned gesture.

Over the past couple of years, I have had several occasions that have called for thank you cards -- my high school graduation, donations from friends and family for my trip overseas, and dinners and parties in the time between those. Now of course, my college graduation is a huge occasion, and I received probably 50 cards congratulating me on the achievement.

First of all, how nice?! It's been such a blessing to see how much the people in my life care for and are there to encourage me. Without my friends and family I am quite sure that I wouldn't have made it this far. That's where thank you cards come in. When you come to realize how much you have to be thankful for, writing out thank you cards is the perfect response.

So do it. Thank the people in your life, and not just when they send you a check in the mail. All the time, for all the little and big things they do for you or anyone else. You'll be better for it.

04 May 2012

The End of The Beginning

In seven days, I will graduate from college with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I'll be twenty-two years young.

While I can't imagine what the future holds, as bright and beautiful as it is sure to be, I can tell you about the things in the past that have brought me to this moment right here.

I stepped out of my comfort zone to go to a school four hours from home. I took classes that broadened my world views. I met people who were like me. I made friends with people who aren't like me. I read, a lot. I traveled to France. I learned about social injustice. I became an activist for the things I cared about. I broke up.  I went to China. I danced, a lot. I lived with awesome roommates. I fell in love. I saw the beauty in the Chinese language. I laughed, a lot. I took pictures of everything. I made mistakes. I learned to be a better navigator. I served people. I fell in love with mankind. I learned from people older and wiser than me. I went to Catalina Island. I prayed.  I started to understand people better. I cried. I learned the importance of obedience. I got a good job. I lived in four different dorms. I put 40,000 miles on my car. I saw my brother grow up into a real man. I learned things the hard way. I got a sister-in-law. I was afraid. I ate some unbelievably delicious foods. I was happy. I took the risk, even when it seemed hard, or foolish, or just plain scary.

And here I am.

So now, as I count down the days to my graduation and savor those last moments that make this experience one that I will never forget, I want to tell you what you should do. Not just for graduation, but for every day of your life.

Get out of the box. Learn about this beautiful crazy world we are living in, and I promise you, you will fall in love with all the beautiful crazy people around you. Travel: go to the places that you dream about, that call to you in a way you can't explain. Learn from the people in your life, old or young, weak or strong. Read, laugh, pray, cry... a lot. Be present in the lives of the people around you, especially the ones who really matter. And just do it. Don't make excuses, don't find reasons to say no -- because that's always the easy way out. Instead,  just say yes. Leave your excuses at home and step into the next biggest adventure of your life.

I'm doing it. And I'll be honest, I have no idea what that looks like, but in so many ways, that's the beautiful thing about it. Jumping, diving in head first with no idea what the bottom looks like.

Are you living it?

14 April 2012

Photos of the Week: Swag

So, realistically, that word is so misused and overused and just plain ridiculous that I hate it, but, it's kinda funny in an ironic sort of way. We heard it a lot, when my roommate Jordan and I went to see Childish Gambino in concert for her birthday! It was AWESOME. In all caps, because that's how awesome it was.

We will definitely try and see him again. He put on a stellar show.
Seen any sweet shows lately? 

13 April 2012

Life, etc.

After last summer's life-changing experiences, I figured that for my senior year of college, life would be relatively predictable. As you can probably guess, I was totally wrong! But, the unpredictable nature of this year has made it quite possibly the best year of my life. 

After being accepted for a teaching position with an overseas missions group, I spent the fall semester preparing and learning how to be the Christian woman, friend and leader God desires me to be. Then just before I returned to campus for spring semester I was introduced to a man named Brandon through some friends. From the moment we met, and in the weeks that followed, we both realized that something very real and significant was happening between us. Through prayer and plenty of conversation with each other and the important people in our lives, we happily entered into a serious relationship. Why through lots of prayer and conversation? 

"...accepted for a teaching position..." That's why. When I had come to the decision about my relationship with Brandon, I notified my future employers. Though they had advised me to remain single before leaving the country (starting a relationship before moving overseas for a year?), I explained how committed we are and the confirmation that we had both received from God about it. Despite that, they came back to me with an ultimatum, which boiled down to relationship vs. teaching position. 

I was pretty surprised, especially because of how strongly I was convicted about both situations, and so after more prayer and conversations with important people in my life, I decided to shelve the teaching position and remain in my relationship with Brandon. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and it has definitely tested some of my friendships. 

So I'm back at square one for what's next in life, but I'm closer to God than ever, and happier than I thought was possible. It's been an exercise in trust and obedience and the blessings have been unbelievable. I'll be writing more about this whole process, but I wanted to let you in on why I've been MIA lately!

How's life, etc, for you?

15 February 2012


It's a cliche, but home really is where the heart is. Excuse my lazy blogging, but it's been a busy couple of weeks! I'm home today, and this song is resonating with me. Plus, that Christina Perri is so talented and cool looking!

Enjoy :)

27 January 2012


I know that it's sort of a trendy thing right now to make a list of things you want to do before you die -- if you are on pinterest, you've definitely seen all of those hipster-y "beforeidie" things (no offense, hipsters, I love you), most of which are... well, interesting.

However, its prompted some thought for me (shocker, I know!) and after some conversations with friends, I decided that making a list of some big dreams in life would be kind of fun.

Now this list will probably grow and change as time goes by, and I don't really know that I'll be super consciously working towards making these things happen, but man, wouldn't it be great? That's the great thing about dreams: you can really get down to what brings you joy, what makes you work and live and laugh and play. So why not?

Without further ado, here's my list!

1. Appear as a guest on a late night talk show (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon or Conan)
2. Write and publish a successful book.
3. Live overseas.
4. Ride an elephant.

So, yeah, that's all I have for now. But, hey, I'm open to suggestions! And really, some of these are going to be big huge things, and others are going to be less aspirational. But like I said: if it brings me joy, why not?

Do you have a master list of dreams and goals? Or do you just do things at the moment?

24 January 2012


Maybe you've heard, but Pinterest is the best new thing on the internet. I know, you probably have heard of it, but on a regular basis, I meet people who haven't, so if you are one of those people: you are welcome!

Pinterest is essentially a corkboard for the internet. You know all those great things you have pinned on your wall: postcards, cleaning tips, ideas for decorating your room, photos of your favorite healthy celebrity? Well, now you can have it all in one lovely aesthetic pleasing website. Plus, each pin has the ability to link back to its origin, so you never have to face that awful: "Well, here's the pillows I wanted to buy, but where did I find them?" dilemma ever again.

While Pinterest is all of those things, it's more than that, too. My boards range from home decor inspiration to sewing projects to beautiful and inspiring images from around the world. You aren't restricted by anything but your own curiosity (and perhaps your job, relationships and free time -- it can take over!). As well, you are able to see what the rest of the web has pinned. Looking for a red poster? Search it, and you'll find practically ever red poster ever printed.

While it's mostly fun and games, it has also been populated by a lot of really great and inspiring images and stories, that serve to motivate and encourage. So yes, the internet has it's faults, but you aren't gonna find too many of them in practice here.

Sign up and follow my boards! I hope to see you!

22 January 2012

Learning: Psychology

It seems to me that the usual process is this: the older you get, the more you learn about the world, the people you know, and hopefully, yourself. Of course, some people differ from that trajectory, as is true of all generalizations. Some people are just really self-aware naturally, and at a young age. Others are in denial, not understanding things about themselves or others, and not wanting to.

As a christian, I spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my personality and the decisions I make. In fact, last year, during a bible study, I realized that some of my close friends were so self-aware that they could understand why they had made a bad or foolish decision, and had even begun to prevent themselves for falling into the 'traps' that they had succumbed to in the past.

I was astonished. I couldn't do that, I couldn't understand why I did a lot of the things that I did, as strange as that sounds. So I decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery! (Ha!) Okay, I didn't phrase it or think of it like that, realistically I thought: "How great to be able to understand your own decisions so clearly! I want to be more like Adriane and Jennifer!"

So I tried it. And this year, I have become much more aware of my own tendencies and feelings and thought processes. You can see that even in how my writing has changed! Part of that is my adventures into self-awareness and reflection with God, but also in the past couple of semesters, I've been taking psychology classes for fun. While there is some questionable content in the world of psychology, overall, it can be really helpful when you are trying to classify and categorize features of your personality. (And in other people, interestingly enough.)

I guess what I'm trying to get at here is the idea that people deserve more credit than we usually give them. The more I interact and get involved with people, the more intrigued, baffled and in love I am with them. We're all so different, and funny enough, so much the same.

As I slowly come to understand why I act the way I do with some people, I also begin to understand why they act the way they do, and its causing me to be a lot more forgiving. I make mistakes. And so do you. And you know what? It's not the end of the world. (Not yet, anyway! Mayans...)

So forgive one more time, but really think about it, and maybe there won't be a next time to worry about.

Do you think that you are "self-aware"? Do you think that it's important?

17 January 2012

The Beginning of the End

Well, friends, this is it. Today is my last first day as a college student.

Just like kindergarten! (read her blog, Jordan Johanna)

While I'm experiencing the euphoria that can only be caused by the realization that I'll never have to go to class again, I'm also aware of the beautiful experience that going to college up here in the great white north has been.
So this is the beginning of the end of my college career, which is great and exciting and encouraging. But it's also the end of the beginning of the rest of my life -- this is the kickoff, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
Today, I am happier, healthier, wiser and more fulfilled than I've ever been.

So here we go, huh? Let's make it count.

13 January 2012

A Social Butterfly

Yuck! First of all, I find that phrase absolutely cloying. Social butterfly? No, thank you! Okay, it's not that bad, but there are better ways to state it, I think.

My thoughts today are on being an extrovert. I've mentioned it in passing before, but I'm an ENFJ. That's the classification from the Meyers-Briggs (Jung) personality test, which you should definitely take! Essentially, like any personality "test", you answer a series of questions, and it tells you what you are like, what tendencies you have.

Since women have a million quizzes thrown at them from the pages of every issue Seventeen and Glamour from the time they are 13, I've taken quite a few. However, the Meyers-Briggs is different, and in my experience, terrifyingly accurate. (In a good way...)

One of the ways it helps to define whether you are an extrovert or an introvert is by asking a question about how you relax: At the end of a long day, would you rather stay at home and unwind alone and quiet, or would you rather go out with friends and celebrate a day over?

I already knew I was an extrovert, just because I like to be around people, but this break, I realized the extent to which I'm an extrovert. Have a bunch of people over for a party? Lets invite 20 more people. Going out for a casual lunch with a couple friends? I'd like to invite six more people. When I am home alone (which happens more often during breaks, since my parents work) for more than a day or so at a time with nothing to do, I start to get crazy. CABIN FEVER!

I need to be around people to feel energized and renewed and happy. I proved it this break, and luckily, lots of my friends are extroverts, so I don't have to pester my poor roommate too much. She's an introvert. But we love each other anyway.

Have you taken the Meyers-Briggs? What are you? Has it helped you to understand yourself or others better?

(PS: RFP hit 3000 views! Thanks friends!)