On Owning It

Life is like riding a bike.

Sometimes you have to pedal with all of the might you can muster, making your way inch by terrible inch up that long hill. And other times you can coast down with no resistance beneath your tires and the wind whipping gloriously through your hair.

If I picture life as a person, I see it as a jokester. You know the type; one of those people who thinks that super inappropriate things are really funny and who laughs at funerals. Life never takes itself too seriously. It likes to present a wide variety of situations in many unexpected forms just to make sure you really are on your toes at all times. It has an affinity for showing up in ways you could have never anticipated, will pound its fists on your front door at three in the morning just for a laugh, and it loves to pitch you curve balls to test your willingness and ability to knock them out of the park. Life has a grand ole time making sure that the only thing you can expect for certain is that things will turn out differently than you planned.

Recently, I was asked a pointed question that has kept me thinking.

How do think you react to adversity?

Great question.

I like to think that I take adversity in stride. I’d like to say that I handle all things with as much grace as I can possibly mobilize on short notice. I like to think that I do the best that I can while I keep a smile on my face and my heart full of compassion. I like to think that my experiences have taught me to be a strong and resilient person, capable of triumphing over anything that comes my way. I have overcome a lot, just like each and every one of you, and I intend to keep on doing just that.

But let me tell you that when life throws everything its got at me, one curve ball after another pummeling straight at me without pause, my reaction to adversity isn’t as pretty as I would like it to be. I’ve found that I move into silence rather than speaking my truth and that I falter in my faith rather than being able to turn it all over and trust in His plan for me. My positivitiy tanks.

I doubt myself. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I struggle with feeling wrong-sized and get angry when none of it seems to be working. Am I too sensitive? Am I unapproachable?

I switch tactics. Read more books. Reach out to others for help. I milk my support system for all its worth. Believe me, keeping me strong and centered and sane takes a village.

I am consistently revamping my strategy to figure out what the best fit is. I am constantly re-energizing in order to gain momentum for the next movement, looking to level-up and press forward. This doesn’t work, so let’s change it. That didn’t work, again, so let’s try this instead. Fail. Fail. Try again.

Do you know what all of the negative, uncomfortable and challenging feelings and experiences mean?

They mean that I am human. In progress. Developing. Learning. Achieving. Reaching. Trying.

I’m dealing with people, places and things that are not on my terms and that do not conform to my comfort zone. I’m like Silly Putty in the softening process; the part where you throw it around in your hands to make it pliable enough to mold into something entirely new.

I don’t like to think that I need molding. I don’t like to admit that I have areas I should work on. Who loves to pick themselves apart and acknowledge their faults? No person I know. But the sooner I get over with the pummeling, the faster I become ready to change my form. When I am warmed up and ready for a new shape, it means I am completely willing. It means both my mind and my heart are open to new ideas and new opportunities.

Let’s face it. Sometimes life beats the crap out of us.

We can either let it shatter us, or take it as a not-so-subtle hint from the universe that things are changing. Discomfort and pain are two of the greatest motivators for change, and change is always good.

I repeat. Change is always good.

Change forces us into action. Change improves us. Change intimidates us, seems impossible and then it teaches us that everything will be okay in the end. Always. Change shows us that the unexpected can lead to glorious results. Change terrifies us and then it chides us, whispering that we should have trusted the process the entire time.

So however you react to adversity, own it. Own it in its glorious imperfection and simultaneous badassery. You’re getting your tail licked and still asking for more. You’re waking up each day and focusing on the good. You’re giving it your best shot. Embrace everything and don’t get too caught up in the details. After all, it will work out just as it’s meant to in whatever amount of time it takes.

Own your abilities, inabilities, sensitivities, strengths, shortcomings, and greatness. Own your life.

Here’s to writing your legacy.Β 



On the Pursuit of Happiness

Let’s talk about happiness for a minute.

You find what makes you happy, and you do that. Over and over again, adding new things to the list as they bring you joy.

Simple, right? Not always.

There have been years in my life where a state of happiness was not something I identified with. I knew it existed, I held hope that I would feel it again someday, but I didn’t know how to live happily every single day. I held on strong to the things that life had ripped away from me; the people and the ideals and the destroyed dreams. My smile was false, my laughter was empty, and my heart was heavy. I felt completely alone; I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t be honest about how lost I was, and I couldn’t figure out how to find myself again. I repeated the same mistakes over and over, searching in vain for different results. My world was full of chaos.

I don’t say this to shock you or to make you feel sorry for me, I say this because I want you to realize how far I have come.

Today, I am happy. Truly, honestly, blissfully happy. I laugh often, and my smile reaches my eyes. I really mean it when I’m smiling. It is now possible for me to live in a state of gratitude, where before I only felt desolation and fear.

It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen without work. I had to ask for help. I eliminated toxic people, places, and things. I had to get to know myself. I took a hard look at my past, and faced my demons. I had to learn to build my faith. I kept at it even when I wanted to give up. Finally, and most importantly, I figured out how to love myself again.

One day, out of nowhere, it hit me. I was happy again. Genuinely. Somehow, someway, the sadness had lifted. I felt more me than I had in a very, very long time.

It really is possible for anyone to turn their life in a new direction, and to finally become what they once might have been.

You just have to do the foot work.

Choose Joy

Is it always easy? No.

There are bad days. There are even terrible days. Some days I want to give up completely. Some days I am fed up with working so hard for everything, exhausted with the constant effort of trying to build the new.Β  It takes focus. It takes dedication. At times, it is incredibly painful.

Then, there are the good days. With the good days come the best days; the days that you feel completely and utterly alive, capable of achieving anything and confident that the world is full of limitless possibility. These are the days that you hold on to tightly, the ones that you store deep inside your memory for recall during the tough times. These are the days that make you understand that all the hell you have ever been through was necessary to become the person you were meant to be. On the best days it is easy to believe that you really are perfect, in every single way.

Today, I actively choose joy. I embrace being alive. I laugh. I have thirty second dance parties (all my Grey’s Anatomy fans, you know what I mean). I look for inspiration in the ordinary. I rock out to Taylor Swift. I try to help others, and to be a good friend. I look past the stress, the hurt, the mistakes, and the crap that used to hold me back. I focus on the good, in spite of the bad, because there is so much to be thankful for.

Today, life is beautiful.

Happiness, and joy, are things we can choose to welcome into our lives. It is a choice to believe that the best is yet to come, that the universe always has your back, and that things really will work out. When we choose to believe in these things, absolutely and completely, they are translated into our everyday lives.

Miracles happen when you least expect them, and a there’s a little bit of magic present in every single day.Β  Anything is possible. You just have to believe.





Travel Bug

I want to travel. I want to see the world. I want to learn more about other cultures, and learn more about myself. I want to be humbled. I want to be educated. I want to experience new places and new people. I want to see everything that there is to see, and I want to be young enough and just poor enough to have to save every single extra penny I earn to do it. And lastly, I want to do it now.

My best friend is amazing. One of the most amazing things about her is that she is fearless, especially when it comes to traveling. She has the moxy to get up and visit the places she wants to, when most people are still day dreaming about doing it. Italy, Switzerland, Paris, Ireland and London are already on her list of places traveled, and she intends to add many more. She also has an awesome blog where she writes about her faith, her life, letting go, and choosing joy. You can view her blog, Letting Go,Β  here.

Obviously, we had to join forces.

We are taking an adventure. A wonderful, life-changing, soul-enriching journey to someplace we have never been. The details are still being worked out, but the decision has been made. We are going for it, and I couldn’t be more excited. A trip across the globe, and another item I look forward to checking off of my bucket list. It’s a remarkable feeling, and I can’t think of a better person to share in this experience with than my best friend.

So, for now, it’s planning, penny pinching, and goal setting.

If you have any recommendations on places to visit, travel tips, or money saving ideas, I would love to hear them!