About a month ago, I had the incredible experience of getting to go home for a month. I have not been home for this long in about 5 years. I feel so lucky for this opportunity to connect with family.
On this trip I created a million beautiful little memories and I feel overwhelmed by the thought of them…
I spent some time at my grandparents.
I had a handful of incredible dinners with the family. (Including a thanksgiving dinner!)
I spent some time without electronics.
I spent some time with some of my oldest friends.
I saw snow!
I spent beloved time with my nieces and nephew!
I explored Columbus, OH with a bit more intentionality.
I went to Nashville! (Hear all about that trip here)
Christian came to town!
I failed a time or two.
& I grew in understanding of the beauty of slowing down.
I think that was the big takeaway for me…it is beautiful to slow down and really take the time to enjoy the connections in front of you. It might be slowing down enough to watch the snow fall or maybe it is looking at art in a museum or maybe just some giggles on the couch with your family, but regardless of what it is…there is magic in slowing down.
I am a person that believes if I am not dead, than I can do more. I am constantly doing more things. I always have some sort of task to do: read this book, go to this store, do this assignment, and so much more. I get so caught up in what I could be doing. But, by getting caught up in what would be, I miss the magic of what is.
This trip to Ohio has reminded me to get captured by what is. It isn’t about getting everything done (at least not always). On this trip I wanted to read two different books and finish them before I returned. But, every time I picked one up, something better to do came along. Like, an opportunity to chat with my sister or send time with my momma. And towards the end of the trip I realized what was happening…that I was failing at my to-do list…that I was running out of time. But, I decided I couldn’t give up the simple magic. It was too important.
I guess, I am just saying that maybe our priorities aren’t what they used to be. And to remind you that family is always worth it, that beautiful connection is always worth it.
Christian, the super cute rockstar boyfriend, and I have been talking about Nashville a lot within the last year. The more serious we have gotten as a couple, the more we have talked about where we want to raise a family and where we want to move to next.
Nashville keeps being brought up in both of our lives. For me, it all started over a year ago hearing about an organization that exists in Nashville. When I heard about this organization my heart leaped. It centers around teenage women that need rescuing. From that, I heard about this girl moving from California to Nashville, and followed her journey along the way. I couldn’t get away.
This holiday season I went home to Ohio for a month (more to come soon!!) and Christian came to join for two weeks. With “all this time” on that side of the country, we had to take advantage. (I put quote around “all this time” because we definitely did NOT have a ton of time, even though on paper it seemed like we did).
Despite our long trips, we did not want to take away any time from family time. We began planning a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.
We drove to Nashville early one morning. The drive was magical. There is something special about road trips and open hearts. I am so thankful to have had this drive with my boy. On the drive, our excitement continued to rise to new heights. We tried to talk about what we were looking for in a new hometown. The list was fairly short…
People with our style & style inspiration. We wanted to find people that we could fit in with: tattoos + vans. But, we wanted to find people that inspired us in the realm of style.
We wanted genuine warmth & friendliness. We wanted to feel warm in the city and friendliness with the people. We did not want the people to be too nice to the point of being fake.
We wanted small homey vibes mixed with the risk of a city. We wanted the beautiful vibe of a small-town, but the opportunity of a big city.
And the thing we were afraid of was that the city would be too flashy and would be filled with people hiding behind masks.
With our short list, we drove over the hill to see the cityscape of Nashville.
We squealed. Like, legitimately squealed.
We went to this area called The Gulch and got some brunch at a place called Biscuit Love. We were smacked upside the head with the sweetness of the south. A heaping plate of biscuits and gravy, a tall glass of sweet tea, and kindness in the eyes of the people around us. If I am honest, I was hooked from that moment.
After our delicious food, we explored the city. We walked and drove and felt our hearts continue to come alive. We saw the beautiful houses, the shiny lights of downtown, and heard the sounds of the country music. We went downtown, down music row, and explored the hills just outside the city.
We found our people at a coffee shop called The Frothy Monkey.
After hours of exploring, we went to lunch at a cute little cafe and the headed to our Airbnb.
This Airbnb was THE CUTEST thing I have ever seen. We took a nap. We freshened up. And then we headed back onto the town. Our goal was to go to The Bluebird Cafe, but that was everyone else’s goal, too. The Bluebird is this bar that has reached its height in popularity from the show Nashville, but the cafe got it’s true name from its hidden stage for new songs and it’s safety for the stars. The line was super long and so we didn’t get in, but the history of this cafe as exactly what we were hoping to find in Nashville.
We ended up at a restaurant/bar called The Row. Apparently, this place’s reputation is far less sparkly and cool as The Bluebird Cafe. It was a fairly cheesy place decked out in famous country music starts and a menu filled with BBQ and burgers. We decided to go here because there was supposed to be live music. Unfortunately, we ate dinner in the restaurant and not in the bar with the live music. But, after we finished out food we went to the bar and honestly, were pleasantly surprised. Our hopes were not high about the quality of music, considering how our night was going. But the music was great and seeing the camaraderie between artists, audience, and friends.
The next morning I had the opportunity to meet with my upline at Young Living. We chatted about the business and about making the most of this opportunity. I felt like this coffee date was an incredible representation of what Nashville could offer for us: new opportunities.
We ended the trip with another brunch at a place called Milk & Honey.
We were amazed by the beauty of this city.
It stole our hearts.
I do not know what the future will hold, but I must admit…
With the start of a new year it is a time to be fresh, new, and reinvent yourself a bit. (I have a tendency to jump on any opportunity like that…lol). I wanted to take this opportunity for all that it is worth…saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming in 2018.
This year as I reflected back to all of 2017’s adventures, I was flooded with all of the things this year held. They were definitely not all good, like the week spent concerned that my boyfriend’s dad might die from a torn aorta (although I am super thankful for the time to get to know his family) or the difficulty of a full-time college course load (including online biology). But, despite 2017’s difficult things I am so thankful for all that 2017 taught me. I learned to be strong and endure whatever I am facing. 2017 taught me to be a woman that is steadfast. No matter the problem, or who created it, I faced each mountain head-on. 2017 taught me that I am a whole lot more capable than I once thought. I realized that I have skills, abilities, & I deserve to trust myself a bit more. 2017, also, taught me that I still have a ways to go. I have more mountains to climb. But after spending this time looking back and paying the deserved appreciation to 2017, I feel ready to say goodbye & start fresh.
I want 2018 to be a year where I accomplish a few things…
I want to slow down and savor each moment. I want to live in a state of perfect peace, regardless of if there is tension, stress, or pressure around me. This is a habit I have begun to cultivate in the last few months…replacing performance for adequacy. When I decide to live in peace and with an attitude of adequacy I am able to enjoy each moment that I exist in.
I want to plant seeds of love instead of fear. Love is inviting. Love is forgiving. Love is the ultimate force. Fear hinders connection. Fear is all about self preservation. I want to forgo my protection and instead I want to embrace the freedom within reckless, unending love.
I want to nurture my body more. I have struggled with my body my whole life (check out the post all about it!) and I am tired of ignoring my body. I am an advocate for both the self love and body positive movement, but I want to press in even more. I want to give my body the nurturing it needs…good food, movement, relaxation, water, vitamins. I want more baths and more fun. I want more adventure and more breath in my lungs. I want a constant flow of good things going into my body.
I want to grow my dreams and see them blossom. I really feel the inspiration to pursue my dreams and to believe in them. I want to spend time really looking at my dreams, discovering them, and then putting in the time and energy needed in order to grow them. I want my dreams to come true and am determined to see that happen this year.
One of the resolutions for the year that I wrote in my journal was that I want to take myself more seriously. (This doesn’t meant too seriously). I want to actually believe in myself. I want to believe that the things listed above truly can happen. I have decided that in 2018 I am simply going to believe it is possible. So, with that in mind…I am settled on carrying out everything I want for this year.
I am thankful for what is to come & for the new-ness of this year. This photo is of a sunrise from inside CVG (Cincinnati airport). It represents fresh, new, and the hope within this new year. I am believing for the good things of 2018 and hope you are, too. This is our year; make it exactly what you want.
How was 2017 for you? What are you wanting to accomplish in 2018? Do you have resolutions? Leave your thoughts & answers in the comments found on the left hand-side (on desktop) or down below (on phone or tablet!)
I have spent my life bound within the prison of this body. Trapped tightly by each layer of my skin. My internal reality cloaked in darkness, despair, and disdain. I felt fire in my toes, highlighting the truths I clung to: you’re unwanted, you can’t do it, you’re ugly, you’re too fat. Everyday I experienced the burns from my lies. The pain I felt was all I had known and all I expected to ever know.
I was born & raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was a blessed little girl. I had parents that really believed in my dreams. They allowed me to chase after them, regardless of how odd they seemed. At 8 years old I was convinced I wanted to be a missionary. I dreamt of living in dung huts and being covered in babies that needed love. I chased after that dream for quite a while; it took me all over the world. I went to Mexico multiple times, South Africa, Tanzania, and Brazil. Missions, serving people, and loving on those that seemed to need it most was the only thing that I really knew I was good at. It was the only thing that made me feel slightly important.
Of course, I had moments that told me something beyond my common reality. I sometimes had fleeting thoughts of being a nice person, of being a kind woman. But, those thoughts never stayed very present. I was more satisfied by the pain inside. Instead, I could rely on my consistency to buckle under the pressure of my inner demons. Those demons hung around, day by day, moment by moment. I was never alone.
As a little girl I held onto my baby weight. I was always a little rounder in the face and stomach than a lot of the petite people in my life. At a very young age I became aware of my body and understood the societal truth that my weight matters & I have control over my weight. There are stories and memories of me lost under the pressure to be skinny. I don’t know when or how I decided that I was too fat and that I didn’t matter but I believed these things to the core of my being.
I was branded by the weight I owned. My own body had betrayed me. It believed the lies, too. Marks of stretching across my stomach, chest, and thighs. I couldn’t escape these chains.
Church was my sanctuary. Hearing of a loving God, one that believed in me and sacrificed for me, it showed me that there had to be something within me worthy. I couldn’t deny the powerful things I had seen from Him.
Battle scarred and doubtful, I discovered hope.
Those two things shaped me into the woman I am today: love & self-hate. I knew love existed and I knew that it was a ferocious force that deserved to be pursued. I knew that love existed because of my moms relentless acceptance of me. I knew love existed because of the sacrifice I had seen from sweet Jesus. I, also, knew that my personal life was laced with self-inflicted internal pain. This pain did not come from parents that did not love me, or a violator taking advantage of me, it was something I simply picked up along the way. At some point in high school I decided to forego the traditional paths after high school and instead, my life’s mission would be to pursue all of the love this world had to offer until I experienced it within my inner prison. With adventure in my heart (and a mission to replace this self-hate) I moved across the country to Northern California. I attended a school that centered around the truth of a loving God and I began to face my beloved demons.
I seemed to have found a key. A skeleton key that might possibly unlock me from my misery. With cold, deprived hands I fumbled at the locks that had become my chosen royal garments.
For the next three years I spent my time captivated by the possibility of love. I explored the ins and outs, the ups and downs. I experienced heart break and I experienced self-love for the first time.
With the bravery of the stars, I began to look at my body without those judgmental eyes. I saw the thankful things that existed too. I began to cultivate the garden of happy, of thankful, and beauty. What if all I had known had been a perfectly crafted lie? What if I didn’t deserve darkness, but was actually made for the light?
Now, I work at the school that saved me & showed me the truth about myself and the truth that I, too, deserve love. Regardless of what I have done, what I will do, or how much I weigh… I deserve to be loved. My mission is to deliver those keys to the world, to others like me. I am determined to show the world that our bodies and selves deserve love. I haven’t completely overcome it all, sometimes I still find myself stuck in my cage, but I now know that I deserve to live in freedom & love.
Have you ever struggled with self-hate? What is your greatest self battle? Comment below & lets get the conversation started about the struggles of being a human.