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6 Ways to Avoid the Endless Text Conversation

  NOTE: This post is not just for girls, though it is addressed to them. It's also not just for single people or just about romantic relationships. This is for anyone who would rather have a deep, meaningful, in-person conversation than be misunderstood over text. Read on!      The endless text conversation — the one you're always thinking about answering when you're talking in-person to your loved ones.      The endless text conversation — in which you go to sleep and wake up in the same back-and-forth with someone you want attention from.       The endless text conversation. It's easier if it never begins, but if you're in one, it's time to get out.      Girls  tend to become clingy in relationships with guys, and nowhere is this more visible than in text conversations. Instead of endearing themselves to these men, too many girls are driving them away with needy texts and attention-seeking questions.      To change this, we must rethink our texting. Think of t
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How to Cope with Transition

       For the past several years, I have had the structure of semesters as a college student. Each fall, spring, or summer yielded new classes and routines with an occasional new roommate or internship.      Even when I knew changes were coming, I had to carefully ease into the new experiences. My mind, body, and soul are so closely linked that forcing myself into a new season would be jarring for all three. And trust me, freshman year I learned that the hard way.      Now I am learning to understand a transition that is not marked by semesters, calendar years, school years, or even global pandemics. It is instead marked by a new opportunity without an end date: a full-time, 9-5 job. As I anticipated this transition, I tried to be proactive in the way I arranged my January, knowing that I would be learning a lot and working even harder this month as I adjusted.

3 Lessons I Learned from Teaching Preschool

     In September, I started working at a local preschool two days a week while also completing an editorial internship the other days of the week. The preschool/after-school center was one of my favorite parts of my week.      I got to spend time with little two-year-old boys and girls, taking care of up to eleven of them all by myself and up to seventeen of them with another teacher!      While they were a handful every afternoon I was there, I also had such sweet moments every day where I would get to read to them, rub their backs to get them to sleep, or help them identify the colors of their Fruit Loops at snack time.      They soaked up everything like little sponges, but they were not the only ones learning.

How I Set New Year's Goals (& My 2021 Word of the Year)

       Every year, as December rolls around again, I get excited by online content about goals, resolutions, or intentions for the new year. When a favorite blogger announces her word of the year or Verily  and  Darling magazines publish articles about reflecting on the past year, some giddiness wells up inside me.      My process for creating a purposeful year begins with these very vague inspirational posts, but then I put the abstract ideals into concrete steps. These are the steps I take between Christmas and New Year's Day to begin January 1 with a clean slate. 1. Reflect on the previous year with journal questions.     As much as I love freewriting whatever comes to mind, reflecting on the previous year is better done with deep questions that jog one's memory and organize scattered thoughts. Especially in a year full of ups and downs as this one has been, journal questions provide much-needed direction.      Here are my favorite lists of questions: 20+ Questions for a Ne

In a Manger

  No transportation, little money, In a year that appears to never end. They walk, away, away, away. The government is at it again, Charging them with inconvenient travel Away, away, away to the city of David. With every step, he worries for her. The inn is full, she hears, They walk away, away, away in silence. Anxiety threatens her trusting heart. She has to believe the Lord and Push away, away, away, her bleak circumstances. "God my Savior, we have come so far." Rest comes in the form of a stable, The Holy One draws near after centuries away, away, away. "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, help me." A breath, a prayer, and the baby is born. She cries and rocks him away, away, away. "God of David, you provide everything in its time." Her feet carry her to the watering trough. She dips her hand in, draws it away, away, away. Today water will cleanse the One Who provides water welling up to eternal life. She washes the blood away, away, away. She is prepare

How to Avoid Holiday Overwhelm in December

       The most wonderful time of the year is here at last, and in 2020, it's what everyone needs. While the striking of the clock on January 1, 2021, will not even marginally change our situation, we are all longing for it.      I know I am eagerly awaiting the new year — but about the same as usual — since New Year's Day is my favorite, despite it being one of the most underrated holidays . I've even claimed that it's better than Christmas .

Imperfectionism: Proactively Ordering Your Priorities

  This post is the fifth of five in a series that I am calling Imperfectionism. It's about holding ourselves to a standard of God's grace, not perfection. Read 'em and let imperfection seep into your priorities.      Regret is no one's friend, and perfectionists bear the brunt of regret's pain. One of the techniques I practice as an imperfectionist is ordering my priorities before making decisions, which I mentioned in yesterday's post . This allows me to choose the most important things in my life and filter every decision through that lens.      Recently, I was taken aback by the extent of my imperfection in having properly-ordered priorities...I'm not good at this right now.

Imperfectionism: Facing the Paralysis of Two Good Options

This post is the fourth of five in a series that I am calling Imperfectionism. It's about holding ourselves to a standard of God's grace, not perfection. Read 'em and reap [excellent decisions].      Making a decision between two good options is one of the most difficult scenarios for a recovering perfectionist. These decisions may or may not be large life decisions, but they are often overwhelming and even paralyzing in the moment. That's what we're tackling today.

Imperfectionism: How to Take Perfectionistic Pressure Off

This post is the third of five in a series that I am calling Imperfectionism. It's about holding ourselves to a standard of God's grace, not perfection. Read 'em and leap!      This is the joyful part of the road. It's the road where we stop reflecting and begin practically living. The question on the table is this:       How do I take the pressure off of myself in daily life?      If you're a recovering perfectionist or are, like me, choosing to be an imperfectionist, there are a few techniques we need to learn to win the battle for our minds. Expectations, pressures, and your own impossible standards need to exit the building...but how? Enter past, present, and future selves.

Imperfectionism: Removing an Unwanted Perfectionist Label

  This post is the second of five in a series that I am calling Imperfectionism. It's about holding ourselves to a standard of God's grace, not perfection. Read 'em and keep [the lessons you learn].      Welcome to this series on "imperfectionism," a word you can definitely find in the dictionary. ;) I hope you enjoyed the imperfect poem I published yesterday. Today we'll be diving deeper into what I mean by this made-up word.

Imperfectionism: Some Days We Don't Make the Bed

  This post is the first of five in a series that I am calling Imperfectionism. It's about holding ourselves to a standard of God's grace, not perfection. Read 'em and deep[ly]. She believes in God's truth to her core, Yet everyone says She's the "good girl," And she wants to be more. More than a stamp of approval, She desires the standard's removal. More than a test, She yearns for grace and rest. Not to be too much or too little, Her life will be a bit messy in the middle. She rolls out of bed and greets the day, Without too much thought to her way. When her teachers would applaud, She wanted to shrink. "Don't give me laud, When it's of God you should think." Her life may be wrecked, Yet perfection He doesn't expect. She is perfectly sought, In freedom, she thought: "I will leave it today, A bed unmade." ~Madeline

What Is the Best Thing That Could Happen?

       "What is the worst thing that could happen?" I asked my friend on the phone.      Fear tends to cripple us with that question —all the ways we could fall, could fail . But when we speak the "worst possible scenario" out loud, it suddenly sounds silly and small.      So speak it.

My Word of the Year 2020

“Even while you wait for certain things to fall into place, may you never forget that you are free to thrive in this space; making the most of little things, making room for brand new things, fully living with all you have, even in your in-betweens.” —Morgan Harper Nichols      I have put off writing this post for nine months. I didn't want to talk about surrender . I didn't even expect it to be my word of the year.      However, my original resistance to the word in December/January spoke volumes about how much I needed to choose it and live it out in 2020. For context, my word of the year is a personal challenge to dive into discovering that word's unique meaning and role in my life.

The Promises of God: His Identity, Our Identity, and the Future

     I recently had the opportunity to participate in a silent retreat for a full 12-hour day, which was focused on Psalm 23. On that retreat, God prompted my heart with many gentle whispers, and each came back to one of His promises from Scripture. I had been reading through the Psalms for the past few months, so I was thankful to linger for a long time in Psalm 23. The Psalms calm my soul with reminders of God's daily faithfulness and love.      These promises from the Old Testament are not limited to centuries ago. His ever-present power and presence go with His children; we can cling to Him through the good times and the bad, in the times we feel close to Him and the times we feel frustrated with His plans.      If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have probably heard these truths many times, but God's promises are lessons I need a refresher on every once in a while. I know I have needed to hear these words over and over since March.

6 Ways to Live Like Adaline Bowman

      I saw  The Age of Adaline  the day it came out in 2015! Since April of that year, this has been one of my most popular posts on this blog. Today we're celebrating that with an updated version.      If you have not gotten the chance to laugh and cry at the movie theater over this character, you should!      The main character Adaline Bowman reminded me a little bit of myself, except ten times more educated, sophisticated, and all-around boss! She's flawed yet cheeky and clever.      Here are six ways to live like the one, the only Adaline Bowman:   1. Learn a new language (or Braille!). Adaline knows Portuguese and a dozen other languages. She even starts learning Braille even though she isn't blind. To Adaline's intelligent mind, everything is a learning opportunity. 2. Work at a library/an archive. Adaline has the  coolest  day job ever! She's surrounded by books and is the kind of person who could find whatever you need in a few brief moments. A bonu

Why I Deleted All Social Media Permanently

     I had been talking about taking a huge step for months. It should not have been a huge step, but that is what it feels like for most people my age. I had to get out of a relationship that was turning toxic before it actually started messing with my head. I didn't just delete the app from my phone this time. It was time to cut the cord.      On June 21, 2019, I deleted all of my social media accounts, including Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

How I Stopped Negative, Repetitive Thoughts

     About a year ago, I found myself spiraling in negative thought patterns. The same self-deprecating ideas popped into my head time and time again. I did not know how to stop them. I tried telling myself not to think about those negative things because they were not completely true, but my heart kept choosing to believe them and repeat them.      This example may sound ridiculous at first, but this is a reminder we all need when we keep telling ourselves to "stop thinking like that" or "stop thinking about that." It's the purple elephant.      Telling yourself to "stop thinking about purple elephants" just makes you think about purple elephants. You have to think about green giraffes to forget the other image in your head.      The idea is that you need to use truth to replace the lies in your head or else you'll keep spiraling and will feel guilty for doing so. My mentor at the time reminded me to counteract my negative thoughts with somethi

New Eyes and Extra Colors

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” —Terry Pratchett      I did it. In 42 days, I will graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in English Writing with a psychology minor. I have been in college for just three school years. Thanks to dual credit classes, I am graduating early. I cannot even imagine a fourth year of college at this point. I am ready to be out.      In those years and months since I went off for my freshman year, I have written 20 blog posts. Honestly, that is way more than I originally expected to write during the busy college years and more than I thought I'd be totaling up today at the end of my undergraduate career.      The aesthetic and methods of blogging embedded in my being have stayed with me throughout college as I have learned even more about

Just Do the Next Best Thing (with Giveaway!)

Back with relatable content (like wanting desperately to avoid small-talk conversation while in the process of making a life-changing decision), Emily P. Freeman tackles the beast of decision-making in her latest book, The Next Right Thing . My Short and Sweet Review      If you've ever had a decision keep you up late at night, you know that "unmade decisions hold power." Freeman answers your nagging questions like "What work is required to make this decision?" and "How does my aversion to making decisions affect the quality and speed of my decision?"      As an adult, you have 35,000 choices a day. How you make them will shape your life. Are you ready to dive into making decisions that will make your life? Realizing the gravity of decisions and of their effects on one's character will propel readers to give as much weight to how they make decisions as to what decisions they make.      The way Freeman pairs contemplation with action all

The Only Way to Defeat Fear

     Fear of someone or something is the most powerful motivator       besides love .      I believe this with all my heart, based on observation, readings, and experience.      Fear makes us hide in the corner of a room at an overcrowded party. It limits us to our habits and makes us the sum of our activities. Living afraid, we grit our teeth and silent scream in loneliness.      Drowning in responsibilities and wondering why we did this to ourselves, we wonder if anyone will notice. Will anyone notice our trembling hands, our whispers in the dark?      And fear makes your heart beat 120 beats per minute.      But do you know what else makes your heart beat that fast? Love. "Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) ~      If I say, "Don't think about a giraffe wearing a top hat," what do you think of?      A giraffe.      You can't get rid of fear by yelling at yourself to stop thinking a certain way. You must replace those fear