Shout Out to Mom and Dad

Today, I found myself crying in a car on my lunch break while my fiancé held my hand. Why, you ask. Well, because being a grown up is harder than I ever imagined and I miss the ease of life before I graduated college, moved on my own, and started paying all of my own bills. People always say, “I can’t wait to be an adult,” but really, they have no clue what they’re getting themselves into. And before you say this is just another millennial complaining in a blog post, I suggest you read to the end.)

You see, when you’re in college, all your friends are around you constantly. You’re never alone, and very little effort is necessary to have fun an enjoy life, because there is always free time to do whatever you want (like take long naps). Not to mention, your parents can spot you a $20 any time you’re running low on cash and you get actual breaks from life for extended periods of time. (Christmas break, spring break, summer break!) Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about cooking all of your meals, because the cafeteria, which people always complain so much about, has you covered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

While everyone was off and enjoying break a few weeks ago, I was still working my 8 to 5 job. When my friends want to go out late on a weekday and invite me, I say no because I know if I don’t sleep, I’ll be cranky the next day. Not to mention, our schedules just do not match up anymore, and it’s difficult to find time with everyone.

Being an adult means waking up at 6:30am every day and being in bed by 9:30pm so you’re not cranky. It means paying your own gas and setting up your own doctor’s appointments, which is a lot harder than you’d think. You have to call multiple places and make sure they take your insurance. Not to mention, you have to make sure you can get off of work to go to them in the first place.

Recently, I made the (maybe not so) adult decision to become a dog mom, and it is also extremely hard! I have to wake up at 3am to take my little pup outside and again at 6:30am or he pees absolutely everywhere. He has to be potty trained and I actually have to pick up his messes and feed him. I know what you’re think, duh! Dogs are like babies. They need to be cared for. But people don’t always think about how truly time consuming that will be, because they think about the more important stuff, like how cute the animal is and how much fun they’ll be to play with.

Paying for things isn’t all that it is cracked up to be either. Sure, you get to buy what you want. However, you also have to pay rent, electricity, utilities, etc. Not to mention, you have to keep your fridge and pantry stocked up. It doesn’t magically happen on its own, although I wish it did.

Oh, and laundry! I’ve definitely taken advantage of laundry in my past. Washing machines and dryers are super expensive, and when you finally do have the money to purchase them, something stupid happens, like your car breaking down, and you have to pay for that instead. (I’m super grateful to Brad’s parents for letting me borrow their laundry room any time I need some clean clothes.)

It may sound like I’m complaining, and that’s definitely not the intent. Really, all I wanted to say was a huge thank you, not only to my mom and dad, but to all the moms and dads out there. Now I know why you always have us open our windows when the weather is cool outside and why you ask us to turn off the lights when we aren’t home. I also know why my dad was always frustrated when we wanted dogs, since he definitely did all the hard work in taking care of them (and it is VERY time consuming.) I still don’t understand the magic of a fridge and pantry that is always overflowing with food. (My mom must be a genie.) I also am so grateful for parents who paid for everything as I grew up, and still help out now with things like my auto-insurance and my phone bill. Parents give and give even when they don’t have anything to give, and we don’t always take the time out of our day to acknowledge that.

Being an adult is hard–much harder than I ever imaged. It’s so sad to think about how many times I wished the ease of a younger life away so I could be an adult. It’s not terrible, but it is something to adjust to. I’m glad I had the parents I did, and that I have the adults in my life that I do, because they’ve helped me learn how to be on my own at 22. I know I can pay my own bills, be successful at my job, take care of my puppy, feed and clothe myself, and much more.

So for those of you who aren’t quite at this stage in life yet, I encourage you not to wish it upon yourself, because it will come faster than you know and it takes a lot of adjusting. And to parents everywhere, thank you for what you do for your kids. They may not fully understand and/or appreciate it while it’s happening, but one day, they’ll be sitting in a car on their lunch break and realize just how lucky they are. I know I did.

Advertisements

What are you going to do with an English Writing Degree?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by people, “What are you going to do with an English Writing degree?” And I can’t tell you how many times I had absolutely no clue how to answer that question.

I got offended when people put me in a box. I thought I could do absolutely anything and everything no matter what my degree was in.

“Oh, well you could be a teacher.” Some would say.

“So do you want to work for the newspaper then?” Others would push. My degree had to fit into a box and I definitely didn’t want it to.

“You could proof read things for others.” That’s something I already do and I don’t even get paid for it. I didn’t want it to be my career!

“No, I want to be a writer. Like, I want to write books.” People would scoff at that. They would say things like, “Don’t quit your day job,” or “You know that doesn’t pay well, right?” And even though I’m not currently doing that, I’d argue that I still want to do this. It’s all about the end goal, right?

Never in my life did I think that I would end up being Pro Support at Dell. I didn’t think I’d be working with technology. Heck, the most technical thing I ever did was technical writing. Oh, and turning my laptop off and on to write endless papers. That hasn’t stopped me from earning a job helping others fix their computers, though!

The last two days I’ve started my first 8 to 5 job in the real world. I’ve filled out paperwork for benefits and 401Ks. I’ve had to call my mom to ask about those things. I’ve learned that buying meals at your work becomes expensive and you should just pack your lunch. I’ve also learned that I am definitely no longer in the OC bubble I’ve come to know and love.

Nonetheless, I find myself using my degree, my writing degree, to excel at this very technical job. Thanks to my English Writing degree, I’ve been given the skills to research. If I don’t know an answer to something, I can find it really fast. Thanks to my degree, I have been given the ability to explain. You need me to give you directions in a clear and cohesive manner? Guess what! I can do that. Oh, and my English writing degree has enabled me to communicate clearly and efficiently with others. Not to mention, people LOVE that I have an English Writing degree at my work! Who knew?

I promise you I am not the most technical person on my team currently. There are people who were excited about putting together and taking apart a computer–I am not that person. There are people who can tell you every abbreviation and acronym off the top of their head. That’s also not me. There are people who use terms I can only pretend to understand. But I’ll get there.

I still have a lot to learn and I’m willing to do so! But since working my first “adult” job, I’ve learned in two days that my degree will take me far. I also learned that volunteering, being personable, networking, and having a good attitude will make work a lot easier for me. I’ve only been at Dell officially for 2 days, but I can happily say that I’m working towards using my degree in a way that people probably never would have imagined and that is really great! I love that I busted out of the box so many people wanted to put me in. I want to share that with other English Writing majors specifically, because I never want them to underestimate the skills they are receiving through their major. Your professors are preparing you for anything and everything, I promise.

Next time someone asks you what you’re going to do with your degree, don’t stress too much. God will direct your path. Just pray about it and TRUST Him no matter how hard or ‘out there’ it is.

XOXO,

PB

Be Still.

I’ve been stressed. Emotionally. Mentally. This semester has been much harder than any other I’ve ever faced, and I am the queen of taking on way too much and being way too busy, so that’s saying a lot.

This semester, I’m tackling 18 credit hours, directing a Spring Sing show, planning a Soundings Unveiling, helping put together the Soundings journal, working two jobs, and juggling relationships with friends, family and a boyfriend. When homework isn’t taking up every second of my free time, I’m trying to catch a moment of sanity with one of the people I love. On top of that, I’ve been working towards looking for a place to live and searching for an adult job after graduation, which if I’m being quite honest, is absolutely terrifying.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to shake off the fact that I feel like I’m drowning in everything I’m trying to do. The worst part of it all is that I didn’t have to do everything I am doing, but I decided to and due to my commitments, there’s no turning back. I’ve called my parents to vent way too many times. I’ve cried on Brad’s shoulder more than I’d like to admit. I’ve had to cancel plans on people. I’ve worn my body down so much that I even got pretty sick at the beginning of this week with a terrible cold.

“Paige, you need to give it to God and rest.” My mom told me.

Not that I listened. At least not at first, because I’m much too stubborn for that.

“I can’t,” I claimed. “I have Spring Sing Practice, homework to do, classes to attend. I can’t just stop.” Of course, I ignored my mom’s wise advice and pushed myself a little harder, even though I didn’t really have the strength do push. Day two of sickness and I was worse off than the day before.

I called my mom again.

“Did you rest?” No. “Paige, you need to trust in God and give your body a day off.” I try not to be dense multiple times in a row, so I figured I’d listen to my momma this time. So Wednesday, I took a day off. I skipped my only class. I slept. A lot. I prayed to God to heal me. I didn’t go to Spring Sing (a shocker, I know!) I just stayed in bed and when I wasn’t sleeping, I worked on homework while drinking hot tea and snuggling into my sheets.

Thursday hit and I was feeling 100 percent better. I took a day off to take care of myself, something I should probably do more often. Yet, that one day wasn’t enough. Instead, I found myself stressed out all over again. I had exams. I had Senior Salute. I had work stuff. I had homework to turn in. I had Spring Sing. And that was just in a single day. Not to mention, I’d been feeling homesick in a way I’ve never felt before, because I can’t drive home anymore. My parents are 23 hours away and that hurts a little more than I’d like to admit. It didn’t really hit me until I picked up my cap and gown and the only people I wanted to show were my mom and dad, because I knew that they’d be excited to celebrate in this small victory with me.

So dealing with the stress of my day, I called my parents again on Friday. I told them I was overly emotional. I told them what I was dealing with. I told them I needed a break. And like any good parents, they both gave me advice about how to handle my crazy life. I’d never been so grateful for speaker phone.

And if I’m being honest, my mom has been the key to telling me the thing I need to hear in this time of stress time and time again, even if I wasn’t really willing to hear it. I’m at a really difficult point in my life. Everything is changing. My brother just got engaged. He has a baby on the way! My sister is finishing up her master’s degree and living life in Kentucky. My parents are loving life in Miami. And here I am, failing at being an adult. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just want my mom and dad to take care of me like they’ve done before without having to ask them to do it. I want life to be easier and I don’t want to deal with all of the challenges I’ve taken on.

Why do I feel this way, though? I’ve never felt this way before. And then it hits me. My mom’s words. Her wisdom. Things she keeps saying, but things I’ve refused to hear.

“You have the strongest faith out of anyone in our house.” Not currently, I think.

“You should start your day with God.” I start my day running out the door, because I’m already running behind.

“Reading the Bible in the morning always makes me feel better. Also, praying to God when I first wake up.” I think about the thousands of things I have to do when I wake up. Not God.

“Oh, but I talk to God throughout the day, too. I’m always talking to God.” I only talk to God when Brad reminds me and does it with me.

And most importantly, “Trust in God. Place it in His hands. He’ll take care of you. He always does.” But mom, I’m trying to take care of myself!

As much as my mom has been reminding me, I haven’t been listening. I’m not giving my worries to God. I am not letting Him guide me. I’m not letting Him control my steps. I am being a worldly person by trying to handle all of these things on my own–a feat that no one can do!

Which is why I’m telling you that I’ve made the resolve to give it all to God. I graduate in less than 70 days and I don’t know what life will throw my way at that time. Nonetheless, I’m giving it to God.

Spring Sing is a week away and I’m nervous and excited. Soon, all the practices and craziness that have been the last month (year seems more like it!) will be over with. I will have so much free time, I don’t think I’ll know what to do with myself. (Though spending much needed quality time with my loved ones seems like a good place to start.) And GIVING IT TO GOD!

This crazy semester full of too many classes will be done with soon. Soundings will be over in April. Everything will settle down, but God will always be constant, so I’m giving it to God.

So today, I’m making time for God. I’m being genuine in my prayers and actually giving it to Him, instead of just talking at Him and trying to maintain my control. I am enjoying the sunshine He has created. I am breathing in a moment of rest and enjoying the stillness on this wonderful Saturday.

After all, God tells us to “Be still and know that He is God,” something I have not been doing. So today, I’m being still.

Will you be still with me?

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 3

Well friends, my birthday has officially come to an end. There were birthday muffins, leftover seafood Alfredo for lunch, a 4 hour car ride, Opening Night with friends, food trucks, a British Baking Show, and the end of 2015. As my birthday closes, I remember again that I love birthdays, especially when I get to celebrate with family and friends.

I appreciated each phone call, Facebook post, card, and text message. Honestly, they meant the whole entire world to me! With that being said, my social media accounts were so busy yesterday that I figured I’d post the final 6 lessons today. Here ya go!


 

  1. God’s timing is not my timing! 

    As I look at 2015, I realize that God definitely worked out my life according to His timing instead of my own. For instance, people I’d known of for over a year became my friend during the summer when I needed people the most. I was always afraid that I would lose a friendship because it was developing at the wrong time, but God new otherwise. Relationships aside, he also did this with things like my career and even paying for OC! God always does this according to His timing, which has always been perfect timing even if I questioned the wait.

  2. I will ALWAYS need my parents.I would be lying to you if I said tensions weren’t high in my household right now. Everyone is dealing with the stress of my parents move and it’s really hard. With that being said, I love having a mom who still goes to the eye doctor with me and who cuddles with me in bed for a little while. I love having a dad who will sit outside with me for hours and talk about everything and anything. I love having a dad who takes care of my car every time I come home–cleaning the windshield, putting oil and windshield wiper fluid into it, and making sure it runs well! Parents who make me breakfast just because or buy me birthday balloons because I think they would be fun! I don’t care if you are 5 or 35. You will ALWAYS need them, which is actually quite nice because they love you unconditionally.
  3. You should go outside and you should go outside often. 

    Really! There are so many wonderful things to see when you are outside and fresh air is good for you. I even have my own little spot by the lake that I like to go to. At night, I can sit on a rock and look at the stars. During the day, I love to watch the water clash against the shore. It’s breathtaking and truly wonderful when remembering how awesome our Creator is. My 20th year reminded me that walks are good. Picnics are even better! And being outside makes the soul feel good.

  4. Writing your prayers down is super helpful! 

    I’m a pretty visual person. With that being said, I’ve learned that it is a lot easier for me to pray when I write out my prayers. I stayed focused and don’t get distracted. It forces me to sit down and really think about what I need/want to pray for. Plus, I get to look back and see how God answered my prayers! Which is super neat. Honestly, I love that I started writing down my prayers, because I feel like with my type of wandering mind, it really helps me.

  5. Cooking is NOT as hard as I thought it was. Seriously, my family used to tease me and say that I could burn water (rightfully so. I’m pretty sure I’ve burned Ramen, and really, who does that?) Not anymore, however! I started cooking this summer and realized I’m actually pretty good at it. I don’t even need recipes for things once I’ve made it once AND I’ve found a love for cooking everything from scratch, because it is truly so much better that way (Something I’ve learned from my grandma and my mom!) This year, I’ve cooked complicated things and easy thing. I’ve cooked for one and I’ve cooked for 10! I’ve also learned that cooking for people you love makes cooking so much better. There is something about sitting down for a meal with your friends and family and just enjoying one another’s company. With that being said, if you can’t cook, try again. It’s as simple as following a recipe. You don’t have to do anything crazy! Feel free to start small and work your way up to the hard stuff. Also, note that gingerbread cookies are a nightmare, but totally worth it once you eat them!
  6. Having God centered relationships is the way to go. 

    I’ve had plenty of relationships with friends and family members before that didn’t always feel fulfilling. I felt like we weren’t on the same page and that we weren’t really growing towards anything. This year, I’ve made it a point to center ALL of my relationships around God and wow! What a difference it has made. This year, I’ve talked about God more. I’ve prayed for people more. I’ve prayed for my relationships with people to focus more around God. It’s been super fulfilling and I am so blessed by how God uses those relationships to grow my faith in Him! I used to be nervous about giving people Bible-related gifts. However, this year I stepped out of my comfort zone and went for it! For instance, I bought my brother his first Bible and my sister a devotional. They both loved their gifts! Also, I’ve been praying so much so that I was lucky enough to witness my dad and brother get baptized this past month. I’m telling you that when you center every relationship around God, whether it is romantic, familial, or a friendship, God will work in wonderful ways. He will grow the person you are working on a relationship with. He will grow you. The both of you will have a stronger relationship, because it isn’t about benefiting one another anymore, but instead, it is working together for the glory of God.


 

This year has taught me so much about myself. I’ve grown a lot and I know I will continue to grow as I take on 21. People say that the most change and challenges occur during your twenties. I would say that those people are absolutely correct, but I look forward to every single lesson learned.

For now, I’ll continue to reflect on my 20th year while enjoying this next milestone–21.

Blessings,

PB

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 2

I always enjoy the anticipation of birthdays and today is no different. Tomorrow, I will be spending my birthday with my friends and boy friend in OKC, so today my mom has been preping for my family birthday celebration! She purchased ingredients to make my favorite dish-seafood Alfredo (from scratch, I might add). We also traveled over to Nothing Bundt Cakes and got a dozen bundtinis and I received a free little cake for my birthday! My mom also bought balloons, which my dog is terrified of. Tonight, we will eat dinner as a family, celebrate another year of my life, and go bowling. It’s such a joy to celebrate my birthday on more than one day with people I love so much.

With that being said, yesterday, I shared the first 7 of the lessons. Today, I’m sharing 7 more! Here’s to Part 2. Hope you enjoy.


 

  1. If you have the opportunity to travel, do it.

    Two years ago, Dr. Rix offered me the chance of a life time- to go on a mission trip. I turned him down. This past year, he offered it to me again! (I doubt this happens often.) I accepted this time around, and got to explore Swaziland, various parts of South Africa like Kruger Park and Cape Town, London, Rome, and Pompeii. It was magical. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to travel more!  I was able to see parts of the world I’ve learned about in classrooms. It was amazing to see pictures from textbooks come alive. There was this constant sense of exploration. More importantly, it was really eye opening to see the difference in how people around the world live. For instance, in Swaziland, college is such a blessing because it’s a very rare opportunity for them. People eat simply and don’t spend a lot of money. Then, you travel to a place like London where everything is expensive and extravagant. It’s a completely different world. Traveling really opens your eyes.

  2. Teachers have the ability to remain a constant in your life even when you’re no longer their student.

    I have contacted multiple teachers from high school this year. I’ve received advice for my future, such as how/where to apply to grad school. I’ve been given praise. I’ve even been given ideas for things as small as a research paper. My teachers from high school still teach me even now that I am almost finished with college. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie especially remain close to my heart thanks to text messages, social media, and phone calls. I know that these people still care about me and my journey. They will continue to care as I grow older and settle down into life. It’s nice to have them around. It’s also a blessing to be able to turn to them for advice, because they’ve all lived life and can offer wise words. This is true for college professors as well who are consistent faces around campus, but whom I no longer have classes with. Even professors who have moved away still keep in contact via Facebook and email. They are willing to write letters of recommendation and serve as mentors. It’s a blessing and I believe all students should work towards building these types of relationships.

  3. Best friends remain best friends even when you’re miles apart and don’t talk often.

    My friends from high school are still my best friends now, something I am constantly reminded of. My best friend Miki sent me a beautiful Christmas/Birthday present this year with a card. She’s called me to tell me good news. She’s updated me when she’s sick. Even if we don’t talk every single day, I still talk to her. The same is true with my best friend Tori. She has had such an amazing year- getting engaged, getting accepted into grad school, and finishing school in 3 years! Each time, she’s called me to tell me the news right away and we’ve been able to celebrate. Just the same, when she had someone really close to her pass away, she informed me of that also. Friends are friends are friends. No matter the distance, I know I have these friends in my life forever and for always. (I even get to be apart of my best friend’s wedding as she starts to plan her big day!)

  4. Bills Suck. Paying for things suck. Simple as that.

    I’ve learned that bills are the absolute worse, especially because it makes it so hard to get ahead when you are paying things you owe. I don’t even have that many and it still frustrates me to have to pay money each month towards various things, like my cell phone. I think when you live at home and don’t need to buy your own groceries or laundry soap or even toilet paper, you really take for granted how much things cost. This year, I’ve learned the hard way that everything costs a lot of money and budgeting is hard. Thankfully, I’ve found some handy apps to help me track everything, though! Like Mint.

  5. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. 

    For me, coffee is greatness. Seriously, I drink at least one cup a day. I like to explore coffee shops. I like Starbucks. I even like brewing my own pots of coffee in my dorm. Coffee is where it’s at. I could drink coffee all day. Even at night. It doesn’t keep me up, but rather, it warms my soul.

    Find your coffee. What makes you happy on a rough day? What makes you excited? For me, it’s coffee.

  6. Finding a church home is both scary and exciting.

    I think prior to this year, I always chose to go to church where my friends went. It was just super comfortable and I didn’t have to make any decisions, which was great. However, this wasn’t helpful, because it meant that if my friends didn’t go to church on Sundays, I didn’t either. Somehow, I lucked out with Brad, because he wanted to tag along with me as I journeyed to find a church I liked. We tried a lot of different places. It was weird making decisions. It was weird not knowing everyone at the churches we visited. It was even weird being introduced at the places we went. Thankfully, it was also really wonderful. No matter what church we visited, people were so great! They got to know us. They told us about their church. They loved God. Honestly, it was amazing. The best part was finding a church that Brad and I both liked. After visiting numerous places, there was just one church that felt more homey than the rest. We visited a second time. Then a third. Finally, we placed membership. With that being said, this semester was the first semester of my college career that I never missed a Sunday. It’s been great and I am so happy to have a church home that I chose with Brad’s help. It is a place that focuses on community and service and loving one another. It also focuses on God and I feel like I constantly learn there. It’s great. (In case you are wondering and you are in the Edmond area, we attend Dayspring COC! If you are in need of a home, try it out.)

  7. Reading is and will always be good for the soul.

    I love reading. This is no surprise, especially given that I am an English Writing major. However, school makes reading for fun a bit difficult, especially due to all of the reading assignments I have had for classes. I really hate this, too, because reading has always made me feel better when I am feeling pretty bad. Lately, I’ve been given the chance to catch up on reading for me, though! It’s been such a blessing. I love books. I love their ability to take you somewhere new even if just for awhile. I love being able to read something quickly. I love words. I love story. I love it all. Not to mention, when you finish a book that really speaks to you, it is easy to look at life a bit differently. Reading and I will always have a special bond. I encourage you to pick up a book and get lost in it for awhile. If you are anything like me, you won’t regret it.

 

Alright, the last 6 will come your way tomorrow when I actually turn 21!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

As always, I offer blessings,

PB

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 1

The really neat thing about my birthday is that with each new year, I start a new age, too. Around this time last year, I reflected on the official closing of my teen years as I entered my 20th year. A lot of things had changed at the time and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I tackled this next step of adulthood. Though, now that I’ve lived a year of my twenties, I strongly believe that no one really knows what they are doing–at least not early on.

With that being said, my 20th year has taught me a lot. Who knew? I figured it would be nice to reflect on some of these lessons before tackling another milestone–21. Due to the length of these lessons, I’m spreading it out over the next few days. Enjoy Part 1.


 

  1. Friends you think will be in your life forever will leave and that’s okay. 

    A lot of people told me the friends you meet in college will be your friends forever. That may be true, but the first friends you meet in college won’t necessarily be there forever. I’ve realized that the friends I clung to so hard my first semester of college served their purpose, but no longer do so. Some of them moved away. Some of them stayed. Nonetheless, we’ve drifted. We aren’t enemies. We don’t hate each other. Our paths just diverted into various directions. My love for these people is still there, but I learned that I can do college without them and life goes on without their constant presence.

  2. Relationships develop at their own time. You can know someone for a long time before a friendship ever develops. It’s all about timing.

    This summer, I worked at a church with some other OC students–most of which I had known prior to the position, but never really gotten the chance to get to know one-on-one. For instance, my now good friend Chelsae and I had several of the same friends. I was even in her profile picture during rush season our sophomore year. But I had only ever talked to her a few times and we never hung out. After working together, we went to the movies and hung out constantly afterwards! We just clicked. This was a girl I had heard about constantly my freshman year, hung around once or twice my sophomore year, and now, my final year of college, is easily one of my closest friends at OC. This was also the case with Kelly, a girl I had worked on Soundings with for a whole year, before sitting down and getting to know thanks to work. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t think Kelly and I would make good friends while working with her on Soundings, something I told her. Boy, was I wrong. She is easily the greatest person I’ve ever met and knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Oh, and I can’t forget Brad. He was someone I had crossed paths with multiple times- Pi Fall Banquet, “coaching” Pi’s football team, etc. Yet, we didn’t get to know each other until we worked together. This summer brought me so many solid relationships and each relationship was with someone I had crossed paths with before. However, God developed the relationships when he felt I needed them.

  3. Family is family no matter the distance.

     This year, I officially lived in Oklahoma all year. I stayed through the summer and I’ve even been there for most of Christmas Break. This was a time of growth and independence, but I also learned that my family is still here for me if I need them. My parents are always a phone call away. I can make the journey to see them. They can journey to see me. My siblings are here for one another in times of need, even if it is simply in a group text message. We are still family no matter what. We support one another and have each others’ backs.  This is a lesson I am still learning and will continue to learn as my parents move to Florida. Distance will be hard on all of us, but we will grow through it and love each other more because of it.

  4. People don’t like to be placed on your to-do list. 

    If you know me well, you know I am the type of person who plans everything. I follow a pretty strict to-do list each and every day. I like to cross things off. I’ve learned this year that although I like to pencil people in, people like spontaneity. They like to do things spur of the moment. AND they do not like being crossed off your list–especially when that list consists of tedious things like homework, dishes, and laundry. At first, this really bugged me, because I like knowing what I’m doing each and every second of the day. However, I’ve learned that it’s much better to just go with the flow sometimes. (This is something I still need to work on.) But for now, I think healthy compromise is a thing, so I’ll plan AND have random time with friends and it will be great.

  5. It’s okay to cry. 

    I’ve always hated crying, because I feel weak when I do so. I feel like I’m being a baby. Rightfully so, too, since my siblings always made fun of me for crying while I was growing up. It also probably has to do with being super vulnerable with people and I mean, who does that? Yet, this year, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve cried to my mom, who always handles it well. I’ve cried to my dad, who always feels so bad because he can’t do anything to make it stop. This also makes him feel awkward (I think. He may disagree.) I’ve cried to my friends. I’ve cried endlessly to Brad. I’ve cried on floors, beds, in my car, in the hallway of the business building, in my professors’ offices, and even in parking lots of restaurants. I’ve had the whimpering sobs, the snotty ones, the hiccupy cries, and even the cries where I can’t breathe because the act of crying is all my body can manage. Each time I’ve cried, people have comforted me. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve realized I’m not alone. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve felt much better afterward. You see, crying lets it all out and your body knows when you need to do it. So, let it out! You’ll be a stronger person for it.

  6. It’s okay to feel your feelings.

    Actually, this is kind of funny, because I tell people this all of the time, but I don’t think I tell myself this enough. You feel the way you feel for a reason. Don’t shut off your feelings! Feel it out. Figure out why you feel that way. Then, deal with it. You have feelings for a reason. Don’t suppress them. If you’re having a bad day, it’s okay to feel upset about it. If you are having a good day, be happy about it! Just don’t dwell on negative feelings–get them out and let them go.

    (Also, shout out to the people who remind me of this. Especially those of you who throw it in my face that I say it constantly. You help me feel my feelings.)

  7. Babies will make you feel better- ALWAYS.

    This may not be a shared opinion, but I promise you that babies make me feel better. Especially Baby Parker. I’ve had so many rough days, especially this semester. Going over to the Parker’s house and holding Baby Parker instantly cheers me up. She has so much life to live and she is happy and lovely and just yes! Instantly, I feel better. Babies snuggled into you and make you feel warm inside. The troubles of your day instantly melt away. They are truly God’s greatest gift.


 

Alright, that’s all you get for now. Part 2 will be up tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed reflecting on them.

 

Blessings,

PB

A Very Different Kind of Christmas

christmas blog 1

Yesterday morning, I woke up quite early. 7 a.m. to be exact. And while this is normal for most on Christmas morning, I found myself thinking back to the fact that I haven’t woken up early on Christmas morning for quite some time. The house was quiet. No one was awake. I stared towards the window, watching the sunlight sneak through the blinds and dance with specks in the air. It was calming and brilliant–as if God was saying “Look at what I’ve created. This moment is for you.”

Those words echoed throughout the day, too. First, as I called each of my grandparents to wish them a Merry Christmas. What a reminder that as we grow older, distance makes the holiday seasons a bit harder. My grandmom Elaine was particularly reminiscent of times where children were younger, reminding me that Christmas is always better with children who believe in the magic of Santa Claus. She was spending time with some of my cousins who are still young enough to wake up at the crack of dawn with excitement for what Santa brought on his sleigh. My grandma Maria reminded me that Christmas was meant to be spent gathered with family as she prepared a feast for family members. My grandfather Brown spoke of distance, reminding me of Christmases we used to spend in the glorious mountains. My grandma Ces told me of a meal she prepared for friends, reminding me that family isn’t solely blood. My grandpa Art talked about distance, as well, specifically the distance of Florida as my parents prepare to leave.

You see, if anything, this Christmas taught me that being away from family on the holidays can be hard and sadder than I could have ever imagined. After talking to my grandparents, I spoke to my mom and dad, who I was also away from this year. Due to the move and lack of children home for the holiday, I’m assuming my home did not feel like Christmas this year to them either. My parents didn’t get the chance to put up the tree. They didn’t make cinnamon roles. We didn’t gather around the tree to pray a prayer of thanks for Jesus’ birth. We didn’t go to the Christmas Eve service together.  Dad didn’t hand out presents. Jess, Dyllon, and I didn’t tease each other endlessly. Our traditions, things that we had established years ago, did not occur this year, because we weren’t together to make them happen.

christmas blog

My siblings and I, although we didn’t talk on the phone, did text each other throughout the day. I think all three of us felt the pang of being apart during the holiday season. My brother, the only child at home this year, told me that Christmas felt weird. My sister said it was a Christmas without a dinner and without family. We all felt the absence of one another.

However, even with Jess in Kentucky, Dyllon in Texas, and me in Oklahoma, my brother still reminded me of simpler times when we were younger. In a moment of trying to cheer us up, particularly my sister, Dyllon reminded us of times when we used to search the house for hidden presents before Christmas day. Of course, that reminded me of the year my parents hid my brother’s Christmas rifle under his bed for months–something he never found due to the amount of crap he stuffed under his bed.

Then, I realized that although distance could really stink, it was not the end of the world. Because at the end of the day, I was reminded of the love of my family. My brother and sister, even in distance, still tried super hard to cheer each other up. My mom and dad were only a phone call away and wished me a Merry Christmas, which was one of my favorite holiday wishes this year. My brother and sister reminded me that they loved me. I felt my home even when I was a thousand miles away.

christmas blog 3Lucky for me, Christmas didn’t only mean long distance this year. I was blessed to spend Christmas with the Eckhart family as well. Growing up, my family spent a lot of holidays with friends that felt like family and this was no exception for me. They made me feel so welcomed in their home. They even provided me with my very own stocking–glittered ‘Paige’ letters and all. With the Eckharts, I was able to experience new Christmas traditions-pancakes, opening gifts one at a time based on age, playing a board game, and reading on a couch. I was even blessed enough to help with Christmas Dinner and given the chance to make my mom’s garlic mashed potatoes– a reminder of home when my heart ached for it so much. There was lots of love, lots of laughter, and lots of Christmas.

You see, this Christmas was extremely different than any other Christmas I’ve ever had before. Nonetheless, it was filled with endless amounts of love and care. It was full of prayer and glory given to God. It was reminiscent of past Christmases and shined a bright light on new traditions. It was full of moments that God gave me. Moments that I believe are truly special.

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that God will be given glory no matter who you’re with on Christmas. Jesus’ birth will be celebrated. People will gather with one another and commune together. They will bring one another joy and love and thanksgiving.

christmas blog 4This Christmas season I was given so many gifts that will forever fill a special spot in my heart. My brother and father were baptized. I was able to speak with each family member on Christmas. I was able to spend time with new friends and partake in their traditions. More importantly, I was able to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which is a gift I will celebrate every single day of my life.

You see, we get older and traditions change. Family spreads apart. Coming together is more difficult. But God is with us always. Not only that. God is with our loved ones always. What could be greater than that?

christmas blog 2I hope you all had a Merry CHRISTmas. Continue to remember God throughout the rest of your holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Blessings,

PB

A Plea for Help

depression-quotes

I took an online quiz today and it told me I was depressed. Normally, I don’t put much thought into online quizzes, but this one was a bit different. You see, I told my friend yesterday that I feel sad all of the time-even when I have absolutely no reason to be sad. This morning, I woke up to a text message from her with a quiz that determines a person’s level of depression.

I’m moderately depressed. Basically, I’m depressed enough to need to talk about it, but that’s all the results really said. There was no encouragement or ideas of who to talk about these feelings with. Super helpful, I know. Thus, I blog.

I knew the outcome of the quiz before I clicked submit.

Do you have motivation to do the things you need to do? No.

Do you look forward to anything during the day? No.

Do you find yourself feeling sad more than happy? Yes.

Do you find yourself feeling sad when you should be feeling happy? Yes.

Did you know it is estimated that 350 million people of all ages deal with some type of depression? It makes sense. There is so much negativity in this world. So much destruction.

More than that, there is so much to live up to. You have to be your best, the best. You are always competing against people. You are always performing and providing people with what they need. It can cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of not being good enough. If rejection doesn’t play a hand in depression, I’d be pretty surprised.

The worst part is I don’t know why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. Not really. I know I’m loved. My parents tell me how much they love me every single day. I have great friends. My boy friend constantly goes out of his way to show me how important I am to him. So why do I feel so unimportant? Why then, do I feel like I am not gaining any sort of fulfillment out of anything I do? How come I can be surrounded by people who love me and feel so unloved?

My mom and dad are moving away. Maybe that’s why? They were in Miami this week and I think it really put everything into perspective for me. I’ve never been more than 3 hours away from them. Now we will be 23 hours apart.

Or maybe it’s because the holiday season is coming and I know I’m working Christmas and my siblings won’t be home for Thanksgiving. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ll be turning 21 on December 31st and for once in my life, I don’t have my birthday completely planned out down to the second of how I want to spend it.

Maybe I’m depressed because adulthood is knocking at my door and I just can’t do it. Graduation is 158 days away. There are 158 days separating me from the next stage of my life. A life I’m not ready to tackle just yet.

The things I used to find so much enjoyment in I no longer do. I sit down amongst my peers and think to myself, “I have so many other things to be doing right now. I don’t want to be here. Why am I here?” And it isn’t because what they are doing isn’t important, because it is. It’s just not something that reaches the same level of all the other things I have on my plate, at least not in my mind.

Maybe I’m depressed because I’m overwhelmed. Projects. Exams. A Christmas Market to plan. Soundings meetings. Work Meetings. Time Sheets to fill out. People to help. People to spend time with. No time to sleep, but feeling exhausted every second of the day. 3 weeks left of the semester to get so many tasks accomplished and the whole time I feel like I’m drowning. I need help. I just don’t know what kind of help I need or how to ask for it or what to do.

And the words, “You did this to yourself” echo in my head as I replay a conversation I had with someone at lunch the other day. She’s right. I did. Not that her words were helpful in any way, shape, or form. If anything, they cut me deeper than anything I’ve ever been told before, because I did. I brought this on myself. I know she’s right.

Depression

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I’m going to share how I’m feeling. Hopefully, that is a good enough start.

I’m overwhelmed. I’m lonely. I’m exhausted. I’m busy. I’m sad. I’m hurting. I’m in pain and I don’t even know where the pain is coming from.

But I don’t think these feelings I am having make me weak. I think, if anything, they remind me of where my strength is to be found. I’m going to take this battle one day at a time, because I know God is on my side.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” ~Psalm 34:17

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” ~Psalm 40:1-3

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” ~1 Peter 4:12-13

God is with me. If you are feeling similar to me, I promise He is with you too.

I’m hoping for better days my friends. For you. For me. For everyone.

Until then, I think it’s important to count my blessings. I used to write down all the good stuff that happened to me within a day. I found myself drifting from this habit, but I want to start again. Maybe you should give it a try, too? After all, God blesses us with more than we really give Him credit for.

Blessings,

PB

 

Family Matters

Family-Bible-Verses-1

I am the most home sick I think I’ve ever been in my life. I keep seeing posts from a year ago, two years ago, six years ago even, that remind me of time that I spent with my family. My mom making dinner. Long conversations with my dad in our white rocking chairs that find their place in the garage. My brother playing video games and me sneaking in to sit on his bed for a few hours– no other sound but my brother’s random voice breaking the silence to speak into his headphones. My sister and I jamming out to indie music with the windows down as she drove with no destination in sight. Our dogs going crazy any time someone walked passed the window or rang our doorbell.

When I was younger, I wasn’t home as much as I should have been. I didn’t take advantage of the time I was given to spend with my family. Instead, I was always with a different friend, or gone for the weekends because of debate, or playing softball, or staying at the high school for long nights of theater rehearsals. And when I was home, I slept or kept to myself, because I was “peopled out!” My mom would constantly ask me if I was sticking around for awhile, and of course I’d explain to her that I had much more important things to do. I wasted quality time with my family, and I didn’t think twice about it.

I can’t help but want it back, especially now that I think about the fact that I haven’t seen my family since July. I think about how everyone else got to go home for summer vacation, but I made the decision to stay in Oklahoma and take more classes. I think about the fact that my sister is in Kentucky and that my family will soon be scattered all over the United States, because the Brown’s don’t stay in one place very well. Instead, they take the next adventure head on with full intentions of having a great time the whole way through! I love my family for their love of traveling the United States and placing their claim on new places. They open their hearts to everyone they meet and love people and help people and it’s great.

I’m homesick and I’m jealous. Honestly, I might even be a tad bit selfish. The other day I sat at my friend’s house and did laundry. Her mom loved on her and got us dinner and made me feel so welcomed. A few days later, I was with my boyfriend and his family at their home. We sat around a table, ate lunch as a family, and played an intense card game. Afterwards, we sat around the television, watched a football game, and ate pie. These two moments, although extremely nice, made my heart ache for what I don’t have while I’m in Oklahoma– my family.

I guess what I’m getting at here is not to take time with loved ones for granted. When you are younger, it is a lot easier to make time for your mom, dad, brother, or sister. But you are the one in charge of doing so. Cherish the movies you go to with your mom, or the father-daughter dates you go to with your dad. The conversations you get to have on car rides to the store- those are important! The family dinners where your mom makes you turn off the TV so everyone can discuss their day- those are necessary. Going to church on a Sunday morning and holding the hands of your parent while you pray to God, well I’d personally say that’s the best part out of anything.

God blessed you with a family. He blessed you with a home to go to. So don’t question that. As you get older, make time for the people who love you every day no matter how terrible you are to them. They love you at your best. They pick you up at your worst.

With that being said, I get to go home in 9 days and I cannot wait to see the people my heart has been aching for lately.

The Key to Success is Not to Stress

3 years ago I was a senior in high school. Life was easy in retrospect, even though I thought it was hard at the time. I remember being nervous about the next stage of my life. I was constantly questioning what move I should make. My thoughts circled around the same 3 questions: What college should I go to? What should I major in? What do I even want to do with my life? 

It’s funny to me that 3 years later and I’ve only answered two of those questions: Oklahoma Christian University and Creative Writing. It’s even funnier that with those 3 questions, I still find myself asking similar ones now that my college graduation is approaching. When April arrives, I am supposed to have the rest of my life figured out. Everyone keeps asking me what’s next, and I honestly have no idea. And once again, I find myself stuck with the same 3 questions. What Grad School do I want to go to? What do I want to get my Masters in? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? 

I find it humorous that 3 years later and not much has changed. The future is still trying to rule my life. I am still biting off way more than I can chew. Opening up to people is just as hard now as it was then. Feeling inadequate when I find myself struggling with a subject takes a huge toll on me, whether Pre-Calculus or Accounting. Extracurricular activities, although fun and worthwhile, are still extremely demanding and trying at times.

Thinking about how much has changed in the last few years, and then noticing that nothing has really changed at all feels really stagnant. I feel like there’s been a lack of growth. I want to say that I am leaving college this full fledged adult, but I’m not.  I’m still learning how to budget my money. I am still teaching myself not to procrastinate. I am reminding myself that God is important always and that He shouldn’t get pushed to the side. I have to tell myself that contacting my parents is important and making them a priority is necessary. Being a friend and allowing people to be a friend to me in return is crucial for survival.

Most importantly, I am learning that words that helped me manage my senior year of high school can help me manage my senior year of college as well. I posted on my Facebook about an assignment I have due in a few weeks and asked people to share quotes that helped shaped their lives, specifically their faith. My old debate partner and sweet friend who is just now beginning her first year of college reminded me of a quote that helped her through these last couple years. Funny enough, it was my quote.

“The key to success is not to stress.” It was words we lived by in our little debate world. We could only prepare as much as we had time for. We could only perform to the best of our ability. Everything else wasn’t in our hands, something that was hard to accept at times, but the absolute truth nonetheless. Words I told Marissa to focus on I had so easily forgotten in the last few years. I am pretty grateful for the reminder, now, as she told me that through this silly little mantra I developed to make us feel better during hard times, she was able to focus on God’s plan. She focused on God’s understanding, and not her own, something I have been struggling to do lately.

You see, my final year of undergrad is here. I am taking my final classes. I am working. I am participating in extracurriculars. I am living the best years of my life. So why am I wishing this year away by focusing on next year? Why am I throwing away these moments for knowledge of my future? Why am I fearful of messing up? Not being good enough? Not doing enough?

I have prepared myself all that I can. I have worked as hard as I can. I have no control of the future. I only have control of my present.

So today, I am thankful for Marissa, for reminding me of my own words. I was wise for living by that silly little motto of mine, and I think I’m going to bring it back into my life. After all, the key to success really is not to stress, because I know God’s got this.