Maybe It’s Not Perfection We’re Searching For After All

I read in a survey that the average American only has 15 “perfect days” per year. When I first came across these words, my eyebrows furrowed. A “perfect day”—What does that even mean? Is it the same for everyone? Different? Is it measurable? And why are there so little of these days that we’re truly experiencing? Continue reading

19 Small Things I’ve Grown A Wild Appreciation For

1. Cell phones.
The ability to pick one up, and in seconds, be connected to someone else across the country, even across the world. The ringing dial tone and anticipation before I hear the man I love’s voice on the other line and how that fills my chest with warmth, every single time. The way I feel so close to the people who are really far away, and how strange and beautiful is it that time and distance no longer bear weight?! That I can fall asleep to someone’s voice on the receiver. That I can ring in a quick moment find safety. That no matter where I am, I am never really alone.

2. Dogs with good breath.

3. The way my boyfriend says “I love you,” when he rolls over, half-asleep.

4. The first sips of ice water.

5. Non-humid afternoons.
When the sun dips just behind the clouds and the air is still warm, but soft, not heavy. Continue reading

Stop Searching For Happiness—It’s Right Here

We are all so desperate to find happiness, to hold it within our palms, to tuck it away in some corner of our minds our hearts, to claim it as ours. This is human, natural. It’s not wrong to want to experience joy, to grab onto it for as long as we can.

But have you ever noticed how much time we spend searching? Have you ever stopped to see that perhaps you don’t always have to be looking, running, living in frantic pursuit of what you don’t yet have because what you do have is enough? Continue reading

Repeat After Me: I Am Blessed, I Am Happy, I Am Thankful

There is a baby I am nannying laying in my arms, eyes half-closed, fighting sleep. There are dishes in my sink back home. There are piles of paperwork I have to go through on the kitchen table, pamphlets I have to read, websites I have to study to learn how to start my business from the ground up. There are notifications buzzing on my phone, friends I need to call back, family members I need to email back today. There are six different to-do lists, each three pages or more long.

There are not enough hours in the day.

And yet, as I rock this little baby, hear the hum of a lawn mower across the street and the birds floating and singing lazily in the cloudy sky, I know one thing—no matter the items on my lists, the stress I’m feeling, the weight the world sometimes puts on my shoulders—I am blessed. I am happy. And I am thankful.

I am thankful for moments like this—when nothing goes my way, when I can’t catch a break, when all I need is a few more hours to breathe, to sleep, to think, to be still. I am thankful for the baby that cries, teaching me to slow down, to be patient even when that’s the last thing I want to be. I am thankful for the moments of peace where I can grab a quick drink and write from the heart. I am thankful to be here, even when ‘here’ is a little helter-skelter.

Right now, even though my heart is beating far too fast, even though everything feels like a landslide ready to fall with the tiniest, pebble-sized movement, I know I still have so much to be grateful for.
Continue reading

I Believe In Happiness

I believe in laughter shared between two people. I believe in smiles, extending across the distance of strangers and filing empty spaces. I believe in light and how it flows freely from us when we touch one another, when we kiss, when we speak words of encouragement aloud.

I believe in happiness, and that it is all around, inherent within us.

This world is dark. There is no denying that. There is no pretending pain does not exist, evil does not triumph at times. There is no acting like innocent people aren’t dying at the hands of ones who are wrong, or that sin is not present. There is no escaping the heavy truth that death is looming over us, and sadness often hovers like a cloud.

But even in a world of emptiness and pain, there are still hands reaching out to hold us; there are still voices telling us ‘yes, you can;’ there are still jokes to be told and cheeks to kiss; there are still celebrations and fireworks and success and good careers and mornings waking up to a warm body, whispering ‘I love you’ into the morning air.

There are still sunrises. There are still ice cream cones and forgiveness and second chances woven into our limbs. There are still children to play with and unconscious smiles to flit across our cheeks. There are still memories to be made, ones where we’ll throw our heads back and laugh, spin in circles, and kiss with the taste of beer still wet on our tongues.

There are still an infinite number of moments where joy exists. Continue reading

6 Ways To (Guiltlessly) Prioritize Yourself

1. Create a self-care schedule.

Life gets busy—from calendars and planners to schedules and online appointments—sometimes we need to keep ourselves and our commitments organized. In the same way that you plan and book meetings or events, create a self-care schedule. Write on your calendar spa dates, gym time, nail appointments, nights out with friends, solo movie dates, etc. Whatever your daily life is lacking, whatever you long for, whatever you need to add in order to prioritize yourself, do so by writing these physically into your calendar.

When you do the physical act of writing, you will intentionally block out time for those activities and can make plans around them instead of skipping them. You won’t feel guilty, either, because what’s on the calendar is a committed plan, rather than a lofty idea.

2. Make healthy boundaries.

Prioritizing yourself sometimes means learning to say ‘no.’ Whether that’s missing out on Tuesday Trivia and drinks with friends in order to get some well-needed rest, or cancelling (in advance, of course!) on a coffee date so that you can catch up on your work alone, feel empowered in creating boundaries for your self-care.

You only have one life, and though you should always be excited about, and take advantage of opportunities—sometimes it is just as beneficial to your body and soul to say ‘no,’ to stay home, to work late, or to do ‘you’ in order to rejuvenate and get back to your inner fullness. Continue reading

Be So Filled With Love That It Flows Freely From You

There is nothing wrong with being someone who loves deeply. I can’t say this enough. In modern dating we’re cautioned to be careful, to be guarded, to not show too much of our hearts, and while I agree with the idea that we can’t throw all ourselves at someone before we (or they) are ready, I think we’ve conditioned ourselves to be so hesitant that it ruins the potential of what could be.

Instead of going with how we feel in the moment, we hold back and send mixed signals. Instead of telling someone what we’re thinking, we reshape our wording to appear removed and disinterested. Instead of letting our natural reactions and emotions happen as they will, we keep people at arm’s length under the guise of ‘strength.’

But all we’re really doing is weakening our spirits and learning how to stay alone.

I don’t think this is right. I don’t think we should spend our days being careful, being cautious because there’s far more we miss out on when we don’t give people a chance. I think there’s something to be said for foolishness; of course we shouldn’t walk blindly into connections, or date someone who doesn’t respect or honor us. But when it comes to taking a chance on someone, when it comes to stepping into a relationship that feels right, when it comes to being vulnerable, and open, and getting back into the scene after heartbreak—we must. We must. Continue reading

Sometimes We Search For Happiness So Much, We Forget It’s Right Here

Sometimes you’re fifteen, staring out the window of a car, pressing your nose against the glass as the highway blurs past your vision. You’re wondering whether he loves you, what you’ll do if he doesn’t. You’re imagining yourself years down the road, maybe in your own car, driver’s seat. Perhaps you’ll finally have it all figured out, maybe even be happy. A warmth bubbles in your chest and you hold onto that feeling as long as you can. One day, you think, one day.

Sometimes you’re twenty-three, washing dishes in a five-bedroom house, your roommates walking around in guarded silence, everyone far too busy to sit down and talk. You watch the weeds dance in the summer wind right beyond the kitchen window. You wonder what you’re doing here, what you’ll do next. You’re wondering if you’ll ever get over him, if that hole in your heart will ever heal. You’re thinking of yourself somewhere else, maybe a house of your own with windows overlooking the ocean. One day, you think, one day. Continue reading

Being Positive Does Not Mean Ignoring Your Pain

There is a difference between being positive and masking your pain, a difference between ‘putting on a good face’ and genuinely letting your soul dance, even in the worst of circumstances. There is a difference between hiding your emotions and setting them free, between pretending and allowing yourself to feel.

And I am here to tell you that being a person who shines with joy does not mean you have to walk around with a smile plastered to your face. It does not mean that life always goes your way. It does not mean that you’re a ‘better Christian,’ ‘stronger person,’ or that your life is ‘simpler’ in comparison to the person standing next to you. It does not mean that you don’t feel pain, or that it’s easier for you to let things go.

I am here to tell you that everyone will break, and bleed, and ache, and hurt. And being a positive person does not mean you don’t experience or feel those things. It just means you choose to continue, to find beauty and hope, to believe you will survive, and then, as a result, begin to heal in the best way you can. Continue reading

I Want To Live Like A Child

I want to live like a child—eyes closed, head leaned back, tongue reaching for the raindrops as they fall from the sky. I want to be the way I once was, silly and unafraid. I want to stare the unknown in the face and laugh like the way I would have when I was younger, never looking beyond the asphalt in front of me as I roller-bladed full speed, as I danced in the puddles, as I lay and made shapes of the clouds.

Sometimes the world is in such a rush to grow up, to make sense of the ‘whys’ and ‘why nots,’ to understand who and what everyone’s intentions are, and whether a certain something or someone makes sense to pursue. We’re calculating—every step, every word—instead of jumping. We’re measuring the risk before we even step foot on the ground.

And I don’t want to live like that anymore, always guarded, always hesitant, always evaluating the outcome before even making an attempt. Yes, there are things of this world that require attention and care, moments where it makes sense to be patient, to take to decide.

But the vast majority of this life is not meant to be experienced with fragile steps, with tender hands, with choices made long after the passion’s gone.

There are many things that are meant to be felt in the moment—open arms, bright eyes, eager souls. There are people who are supposed to be loved with full tenacity—not evaluated, not calculated, not understood. There are memories that need to be made with caution thrown to the wind—not in foolishness, but in joy and abandon. Celebrating, rather than over-thinking. Experiencing instead of withholding.

So I want to live like a child. Continue reading