On Anxiety

On most days, I pride myself with the ability to keep it together - to maintain a calm, cool and collected facade. I've always been able to do this - giving speeches in high school, auditioning for plays I desperately wanted a part in, or now into adulthood interviewing for jobs or leading that one intimidating meeting at work. I think most of us can relate to feeling nervous on the inside but "keeping our cool" on the outside.

For me it's always been a bit deeper than general nerves. I've always leaned more towards the anxious end of temperaments. As early as I can remember, there was always something to worry about. My parents foreboding (and then impending) divorce, school, money, job security - you name it, I've woken up in the middle of the night about it. And I've always mentally pushed it aside as 'not a big deal,' thinking that because I haven't had a full fledged panic attack yet, there's not really much to deal with. 

Have you ever been plagued with something that felt just moderate enough that you believed you didn't deserve a better reality?

I think that's where I'm at. I've been believing the lie that I can't live a life free of the gripping worry I know isn't normal. I think I've allowed myself to believe that where I'm at is good enough, that the inherent thought patterns I've repeated throughout my life are unbreakable and that I'm destined for this to be my one of my vices - that it's in part just who I am.

The thing is, for us who believe this about our lives, about ourselves, or about our present circumstances, this deeply grieves our God. For all of the beautiful things I know and love of God, I know He didn't create a world to place us in that left us feeling isolated or alone or unfulfilled or purposeless or [insert adjective here]. You see, it grieves God when His kids can't hear His calling of love, purpose, and joy that He whispers to those willing to hear and receive. 

I think I'm starting to realize that my anxieties, while maybe not wholly tied to, are partially tied to the amount of time I spend listening to Jesus. The less time I spend with Him, asking Him to speak words of purpose and love and adoration into places of my soul I need it most, the more time those 'soul gaps' turn into sleepless worries. 

So I'm starting slow - 5 minutes of mindful listening for the voice of Jesus a day. Most days, I don't hear anything and I think that's okay. Psychologists and marriage counselors alike say time and time again that listening - true listening - is one of humans greatest struggles. So I'm practicing listening, knowing in great belief that He's always speaking and that it'll just take time for me to hear and receive and that praying for grace upon grace, mostly grace for myself, is an okay prayer to start with.

Cheers.

PS: The new logo work is all thanks to my friend Sarah Gillihan. She just launched her photography and graphic design business, Braevin, a few months ago and I am so excited to follow her journey as she listens to the call of God to partner with people in bringing beauty to their dreams.

Free and Easy Friday

I cannot believe it's March. The older I get, the faster time seems to go and this year has truly flown by so far. Here are some of my favorites to round out the week:

1. I've been dreaming about Spring since it last snowed. All I want is a long weekend away with some of my favorite books, poolside, and a continuous supply of smoothies. I've had my eye on this sweet swimsuit for this summer. I 100% do not wear two piece swimsuits. It's not a morality thing or even a body image thing (well, it may be a little) but I just prefer the way they look. They always have a retro vibe to them that I love, and I love the scalloped trim on this one. 

2. Have you seen the show Friday Night Lights? Almost all of my coworkers have seen this show and had amazing things to say about it, so I decided to start it. So far, I'm loving it and that's a lot to say for a girl who was never really into sports.

3. Sweet husbands. I have to take a minute to brag about my husband, Taylor. Earlier this week, I asked him to pick up an ingredient I forgot to pick up over the weekend that we needed for a dinner I was making that night. I came home to not only that ingredient, but also a box of coconut la croix, a bottle of honey, and some flowers! Nothing's sweeter than truly knowing the one you love and the ways to their heart.

4. SNL. Okay, (disclaimer) I know this humor generally errs towards smut, but there's few things in this world that actually make me laugh out loud and this is usually one of them. I love the release of a good belly laugh - one that makes you cry, so this is almost a guarantee winner for that. I will always and forever love the Weekend Update segment. 

5. Cooking. Something that most people don't know about me is that I actually love to cook. To me, it's such a release at the end of a long day. Sometimes I follow recipes and sometimes I don't, but regardless, so much of my life is structured and organized that it feels so good to leave things a little chaotic and unplanned in a recipe and to think on the spot how different flavors can come together in a delicious and unique way. One of my favorite cookbooks is actually by Oprah because so much of it is southern influenced and that's a food genre I'm not as familiar with. If you're more an online gal and big on instragram, go follow Jenna Rammel on JennasKitchen - she posts amazing recipes that are simple and delicious and she's also just a precious-seeming human being.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

Free and Easy Friday

Has anyone else's week flown by?! (insert hand raised emoji here) Seriously, I cannot get over the fact that it's the weekend! Our weekend plans consist of binge-watching HGTV, like any good weekend should. It's supposed to snow here so I'm going to go curl into a hole and promise not to come out until the sun does. Anyhoods, here's five things I'm loving lately:

1. Ben Rector. Why is 2017 the first time I'm being introduced to him? Seriously, so good! Go listen to his song "Fear" - it's twangy (in an urban-hipstery kind of way...the best kind) and divine...two things that every song should consist of. I also can't help but tear up to the words to "The Men that Drive Me Places." And I'm NOT a crier.

2. Almond milk. Okay, this one's a little unconventional I know but I just recently self-diagnosed myself as dairy free and so I've been trying to find alternatives that taste good. Being dairy free is probably one of the worst not-important-in-the-grand-scale-of-life things that could happen to me. I love cheese. I love milk. I love yogurt. But I write this as I just finished an only-cheese enchilada and it's slowly ripping my insides open as it tries to digest so right now, almond milk is sounding like the superior option. It's actually not bad, and I can feel better about drinking it because it's actually one of my only options to drink and not just because it's the latest health trend. I might make my own but I probably won't. It's just a fantasy I keep coming back to. 

3. Daylight when I leave work in the evening. Nothing else needs to be said.

4. Overalls. I don't own any but I'm thinking (and I never thought I would say this) that I could envision a pair in my closet. The benefits seem endless - loose around the middle so I can eat extra tortilla chips and I can wear heels, flats or boots with them. I could get into that. I'm loving these ones lately and I won't buy them because that's $150 hard earned dollars spent on a fleeting trend (see...they're sold out in two sizes! Madewell...you're onto something, friend. I'll get them a couple years from now at Old Navy for $34.95).

5. This app called Apptive. There's hundreds of different workouts led by professional trainers and they vary anywhere from strength training, track workouts, elliptical cross training, and stretching sessions. It's $9.99 per month, but you can try it for free for 7 days. I haven't been this sore in awhile! 

Now go blast Ben Rector in your cars and let his sweet melodies carry you into the weekend.

Cheers!

Free and Easy Friday

Happy Friday! This week was both busy and a bit calmer. I didn't have as long of hours at work, but still had plenty to do. Taylor and I are still trying to figure out a work/life balance and craft moments of restoration into busy weeks! Here's some things I'm loving lately: 1. Valentine's Day! This is my favorite holiday next to Christmas. We never do anything elaborate, but this year we made a nice(r) dinner at home and exchanged gifts. Taylor has all these old-school records he's had for years, but no player to play them on, so I got him a record player. He got me a few nice necklaces that I can wear to work and I love them! 'Twas a good day.  2. Real Simple Magazine. I fully acknowledge that I'm about 40 years younger than this magazine's target audience, but I just love it! The tips! The recipes! The pretty pictures! It's a classy magazine for classy post-menopausal women everywhere (and me). 3. This face wash. If you'd like to close your day out by washing you face with velvety roses, then get this. My skin is pretty dang sensitive and so there's not many products I have to pull from that I can actually use without breaking out in a rash. This one has a hefty sticker price, but I literally use a pea-sized amount, so it'll last me more than a year for sure!  4. Book Clubs. Okay, secret confession: I've always wanted to be a part of a book club. My aunt has been a part of one for years and hearing the books she's gotten to read and the rich traditions she and her friends have made over the years just sounded really nice. So instead of hoping for one to find me, I decided to go out on a limb and ask some of the women I work with if they'd be interested and they said yes! I'm so excited to be able to share this experience with some pretty lovely women!  5. Motown Music. I've always been a huge Motown fan. Next to indie music - the kind where the single male vocal mostly mumbles his way through his song (see: Sufjan Stevens) - Motown is what I listen to most. It is literally the best way to cap the day (especially Friday!) and is full of soul! If you're new to Motown, try "Respect Yourself," by The Staple Singers. Claaaaasssssiiiiic. This weekend we're taking it easy, having some family over for dinner, and trying to sit on the couch as much as we possibly can. Cheers!  

Happy Friday! This week was both busy and a bit calmer. I didn't have as long of hours at work, but still had plenty to do. Taylor and I are still trying to figure out a work/life balance and craft moments of restoration into busy weeks! Here's some things I'm loving lately:

1. Valentine's Day! This is my favorite holiday next to Christmas. We never do anything elaborate, but this year we made a nice(r) dinner at home and exchanged gifts. Taylor has all these old-school records he's had for years, but no player to play them on, so I got him a record player. He got me a few nice necklaces that I can wear to work and I love them! 'Twas a good day. 

2. Real Simple Magazine. I fully acknowledge that I'm about 40 years younger than this magazine's target audience, but I just love it! The tips! The recipes! The pretty pictures! It's a classy magazine for classy post-menopausal women everywhere (and me).

3. This face wash. If you'd like to close your day out by washing you face with velvety roses, then get this. My skin is pretty dang sensitive and so there's not many products I have to pull from that I can actually use without breaking out in a rash. This one has a hefty sticker price, but I literally use a pea-sized amount, so it'll last me more than a year for sure! 

4. Book Clubs. Okay, secret confession: I've always wanted to be a part of a book club. My aunt has been a part of one for years and hearing the books she's gotten to read and the rich traditions she and her friends have made over the years just sounded really nice. So instead of hoping for one to find me, I decided to go out on a limb and ask some of the women I work with if they'd be interested and they said yes! I'm so excited to be able to share this experience with some pretty lovely women! 

5. Motown Music. I've always been a huge Motown fan. Next to indie music - the kind where the single male vocal mostly mumbles his way through his song (see: Sufjan Stevens) - Motown is what I listen to most. It is literally the best way to cap the day (especially Friday!) and is full of soul! If you're new to Motown, try "Respect Yourself," by The Staple Singers. Claaaaasssssiiiiic.

This weekend we're taking it easy, having some family over for dinner, and trying to sit on the couch as much as we possibly can.

Cheers!

 

Free and Easy Friday

Happy Friday! Growing up, Fridays were the days my mom and I kicked up our feet and really settled into the weekend. We'd always always order take out, get into our pajamas the minute we got home, and watch at least one movie or 4 episodes of a show we were into at the moment. Fridays have always been a cause to celebrate for me - a day to be proud of the week that came before me and settle into a few days of rest and rejuvenation. A day of free and easy livin'.  

One of my favorite things is sharing things I love with people I love. So every Friday, I'm going to share five things that are pretty, enriching my days, challenging my heart, or all of the above! Here's the inaugural post of what I'll always call, Free and Easy Friday.

1. The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. If I could only recommend one thing for the next year, it would be this. I now look forward to my commutes! This podcast gives me all of the good feels. Each week, Jamie sits down with other Christian women who are authors, speakers, pastors, business women and some are all of those roles rolled into one! You can download it for free on iTunes and some of my favorites are with Jen Hatmaker and Shauna Niequist (for all of the obvious reasons). 

2. This candle. I'm a sucker for candlelight. I think it's because in college, I always lived in places that didn't allow burning candles. When Taylor and I moved into our first apartment, they didn't allow them either and I was devastated! Now that we live in our own space, I burn one almost every night! This one is the perfect scent to transition between winter and spring!

3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Memoirs are my favorite genre and this one is so raw. It covers topics like poverty and education, upward mobility and the haunts of our pasts that never really leave us. I so recommend this book! 

4. Culinary docu-series. I literally don't care which one. If there's food and it's being filmed with a voice over, I will sit my butt and never leave. Some of my favorites are Anthony Bourdain and Chef's Table.

5. Pearl earrings. I'm no fashionista or trend forecaster, but I'm fairly certain that with the onslaught of The Crown (I'm obsessed, I'm obsessed, I'm obsessed), pearls may or may not make a comeback. I love this modern take on the pearl earring (but LOL on the price).

May your pj's be waiting for you, your Netflix cued, and a nice glass of wine poured to ring in the weekend.

Cheers.

On Starting New Things

Starting new things is hard. Habits are both hard to pick up and put down. It's why we look forward to the promise of New Years. 

Writing didn't used to be hard for me. In college, I used to write every single day it felt as though words just flowed. I don't think I've written since college and boy, do I feel it.  When I chose to be an English major in college, I always said I wanted to be an editor (the practical choice) but if I was really honest with myself and others, I wanted to be a writer (the flashier choice). Now I'm both neither of those things and left with the question of "Now what?"

I know that God calls us into more than "Now what?" He calls us into an exciting life that is both with Him and for Him, and in that, asks us to draw on the talents He so perfectly knit in us with the intention that those talents, expressed and exercised, will draw more to His perfect Kingdom. Is it a sin then, to not live into the calling of the talents He's generously given to us? This is a question I wrestle with. 

God both calls and gifts us into different reflections of His perfection. Where some express His deep empathy, others express His loving, perfect justice. Where some exercise His loving-kindness, others speak His truth boldly over others lives. So what I'm asking myself lately is: How is God calling me to express His Kingdom and why am I scared to live into that? What is He asking me to let go of so I can live into what He's called me to?

What has God called you to? Is He asking you to let go of something in order to take up more of His kingdom? 

Cheers.