I hope your October is off to a fantastic start, although at the time I’m writing this, it’s almost the middle of the month, which is an incredible thought. But are we surprised time is flying this fast? Probably not. 😉
Anyway, I do want to send off an apology for my absence these past few weeks. Life has been an incredible whirlwind, and I’ve found myself busier than normal. Therefore, I promise I have missed reading your incredible posts and devoting my time to this project, so I am very sorry to have been missing in action since September. That being said, I’m excited to write again and continue to read your works. Please continue sending me any materials you wish to share, and I will do the same.
I have missed each and every one of you, and I’m excited to share new content soon!
Can you guys believe that summer 2019 is wrapping up? I can hardly believe this. It seems like just yesterday I was writing the original post, which you can check out here. At this point in my life, I feel like I should be able to recognize the fact that time moves faster than light, and there’s nothing we can do about it; however, I’m still very much shocked when I realize, “Okay, wow. That’s another season gone by.”
As this post goes live, my sweet mom and I will be traversing the United States in my final journey to Los Angeles, California, where I will finish my college experience. While I am sure that drive will need a blog post, the truth is that I’m excited and a bit nervous to finish up school and get on with my life.
That being said, we’re not going to talk about that right now. Instead, let’s go back in time, to May 2019, when I was doing the opposite trip (heading from LA to Memphis, Tennessee). That fresh-faced kid is still me, but I’ve got some updates, and I’m ready to share with you guys.
Thank you again, dear readers, for putting up with my nonsense. For whatever reason, you’ve decided to journey with me. Some of you have been here for months, even years at this point; others have been here for a few seconds now. But whoever you are, thank you.
1. WRITE AT LEAST THREE NOVELS.
Well, I kind of failed on this one. Though this summer has produced some of my best writing outside the sphere of the novel, I did want to write three books this summer, one of which was going to be a “book that matters.”
I got kind of tied up creatively, and I found myself too exhausted to produce quality content when it came to my books. For those of you who don’t know, my favorite genre of writing is the novel, and I’m normally pushing through multiple projects at once. Now that I’m flying (more on that to come) and finishing up college, I’ve got less time to pursue this #1 passion of mine.
However, I did publish one book, Church Boy, via Smashwords. That book was easy to write, thank goodness, and helped destress me during some of the more challenging parts of the summer.
Despite all of this, this blog has grown so much more than I ever thought possible. Thank you guys for supporting me on this journey, and I have felt challenged as a writer during this summer in order to share genuine content with you all. This experience has given me so much joy, and for that I will be forever grateful.
2. COMPLETE MY INSTRUMENT RATING (flying stuff)
I actually just finished my instrument rating a few weeks ago, and that took a whole load off my shoulders. My summer goal was to get this done, and it feels amazing to have it under my belt.
If you’re not familiar with the world of flying, I’ll try to offer some insight (although I am still a baby pilot, and I’m learning a lot along the way). There are different stages to flying, and I received my private pilot certificate in April. That license, so to speak, allows me to fly single engine airplanes, such as the Cessna 172.
This summer I worked on my instrument rating, which allows me to fly through clouds and poorer weather than is required under a private pilot certificate. Though my sister said, “Seriously, that’s all that got you?” this process has been stressful, as I’ve been studying a lot more than I wanted to on my summer off from school. However, you know you’re doing the right thing when you enjoy what you’re studying, and I feel very lucky to be able to fly.
After this stage I will work on my commercial certificate, which will allow me to make money for flying, instead of spending money (haha). This certificate consists of time building, in which I must make the requirement of 250 hours before I can apply and ace a check ride to become a legal commercial pilot. Right now I’m halfway there, so I’m hoping to get this done by January 2020 and continue the next phase of flying… Instruction.
3. PERSONAL GOALS
All right: As I look back at this original post, I laugh and smile to myself. Specifically I highlighted that I wanted a certain August date, an adjustment to Tennessee life, and to branch out more. While I definitely fulfilled two of these goals, the first one did not exactly go as planned.
Over this summer I unfortunately did become distracted by, well… I want to be cryptic, but I know you’re probably reading this with confusion. So here goes.
I met a chico (which means boy in Spanish, lol) and found myself a little distracted with that situation. Nothing came of it due to some very annoying external factors, but for two or so months I was pretty consumed by my feelings for him.
Now that it is behind me, I can smile and appreciate what I learned from it, such as the fact that there are some very good guys out there in this world of ours. And I really did learn what I’d like to find in a future potential suitor. 🙂
This all sounds completely corny, but it feels good being open for once.
As for the other two goals, bam: Tennessee isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty darn good state. It took me no time at all to become readjusted to my life here and throw myself into my friendships, goals, and happiness at home.
4. LESS TIME ON PHONE.
My best friend and I made a summer pact, and it has been pretty amazing. We challenged ourselves to time limits on our phones and diving deep into the Bible. While I was averaging three or four hour days on my phone at college, I’ve got a limit on my phone now of two hours. This is still a whole lot of time, but it’s much better than what I was at.
Special shoutout to Megan for keeping me accountable on those fronts!
5. DRINK MORE WATER.
Another failure here. Due to my check ride and studying and outright laziness, my addiction to Diet Coke has continued. It doesn’t help that I can get a big poppa Polar Pop for $.79 at the nearby gas station. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with American money, just know that $.79 is practically nothing.)
No excuse. I’m ready for more water again, which makes me feel healthier and makes me look healthier. (Oh, good old acne, even post teenage years!)
Enough about me. Let’s focus on you for a second. What were your summer goals, if you had some? Were you able to follow through with some of them, or did you forget to pursue them?
The good thing is that there is no better time than now. If you’re struggling with something, challenge yourself to set a goal and stick to it. It’s not easy. As you’ve seen, I’ve experienced some failures just in these silly goals, but I know what it’s like to think, “What if I’d just tried that?”
All right. Enough from me now, but please feel free to share anything in the comments below. I love every comment I receive, and you guys are the highlight of my day.
Hello, my beautiful readers! This will be a quick post, but I want to give you guys a few updates as we head into this new month.
Can you guys believe 2019 is already halfway done? Now, that’s a wild thought! Thank you all so much for writing and keeping me updated on your journeys this year, and I truly hope and pray that your year is as good-natured and amazing as you are.
In the Southern United States, we’re headed into the worst months of the year weather-wise, since the humidity is close to unbearable. But it is always nice getting a few pop-up thunderstorms to cool down, reflect on life, and read a good book. Without further ado, here are a few updates I want to give you guys!
I AM WRITING AGAIN!
This is a long time coming, but I am the happiest I have been in a long time. The past few months have been slightly little off-kilter for me, considering that I was focusing more on relationships than writing, and now that I’m free of that, I’m back to my craft!
Right now I’m close to finishing the romantic comedy novel, Church Boy. I aim to polish the manuscript and send it off to agents at the end of this month. Once Church Boy is completed, I’ve got a few other projects lined up that I am super excited to work on.
It feels amazing to be able to write again. Though I’m sure I’ll write on my struggles in future posts, I’ve learned what to cut out of my life in order to write. ❤
POETRY INSPIRES ME THESE DAYS.
Some of you know that I hated poetry back in the day. But now it is super easy for me to harness a particular emotion and put it to paper. So, it is super exciting to tell you guys this news: Starting July 8 I will be publishing two straight weeks of poetry in two one-week installments. The first week will be poems belonging to a collection on the Seven Deadly Sins, whereas the second week will be poems on the Seven Christian/Heavenly Virtues.
Why, you may ask? Well, I’m not really sure, to be honest. I came up with the idea last week, and I think it will be really fun to post more often than I normally do. I hope you guys will enjoy those poems!
INDEPENDENCE DAY IS THURSDAY!
For those of you who are not familiar with the United States, our holiday on July 4 is Independence Day, when we celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we have here. Thank you to all who have served and protected the USA and given me the opportunity to live here.
But another reason I love July 4 relates to my beautiful, strong mother, Momma J, who celebrates her birthday on July 4. While I will be a good child and not reveal her age, my mom is a beautiful, ageless woman who never fails to amaze me. She deserves much more than a shoutout on this blog, but I couldn’t post without giving her some recognition. ❤
THANK YOU GUYS!
Thank you for reading this post! We’ll get back to normal content on Friday, and then will be the two-week poetry marathon. Anyway, I hope you all have a blessed week, and I’m looking forward to your own posts.
As this post goes live, I’m traveling the American West on my way back home for the summer. It’s going to be a five-day journey, and a lot of miles are going to be put on my poor car, but I’m sure I am having fun.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a college student, and I have just finished my junior year. While this school year was great in certain ways (I became a pilot), it was also pretty tough in others. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to share my top takeaways from this year and do a little reflecting!
1. I WENT TO SCHOOL TO STUDY CREATIVE WRITING, AND I’M LEAVING TO BE A PILOT.
While I will one day offer my thoughts on creative writing courses, I am going to stay mum for now in favor of a diplomatic approach. However, I will say that I decided to attend my university for its creative writing program, because I thought it would be a great way to hone my craft.
Needless to say, I had a revelation last fall, and I decided to drop my major to a minor, graduate a semester early (so this December 2019), and get home as soon as possible in order to become a real pilot (a pilot who gets paid hehe).
This year has only reassured my decision. While I enjoy certain aspects of college, I don’t enjoy the fact that I have to take classes that relate nothing to my major or minor. Since all I want to do is fly now, it is hard going to class sometimes and trying to show a lackadaisical interest in Philip Roth or Tobias Wolff (no disrespect, they’re good writers).
Flying is expensive, and I appreciate the fact that I have the opportunity to pursue this career. However, if I could go back in time, I would have decided to pursue an aviation degree instead of following a whimsical dream like becoming a published writer that I can achieve just as easily in Tennessee. (More on this to come, I promise. I just want to make sure I’m graduated before I give my full opinions.)
2. HUMANS ARE WILD.
This year has been tough on the relationship side of things. Some friendships have soured, and other friendships have grown. In the toughest moments, you really discover who has your back, and those who don’t. However, I think this all relates to the amazing biodiversity of humanity, so to speak. We are all so different, and our personalities and ethics are exposed in what we do and how we do it.
But just imagine if everything went right according to plan, or people did exactly what we wanted them to do. Sometimes the hardest things happen so that we can see the truth, and it’s true that the truth can hurt us. But eventually our skin thickens and our hearts figure out what they really want, and that’s a pretty spectacular feeling, to look back and realize you are stronger because of the damage you’ve survived.
3. SET YOUR GOALS, AND STICK TO THEM.
While I tend to think my generation is comprised of a bunch of lazy, privileged kids (I hope no one considers me like this), there are certain individuals who really inspire me with their tenacity and drive to get things done. These people should inspire us all to set goals and stick to them, so that we can accomplish great things. We shouldn’t strive to be average; we should do everything to the best of our ability, and feast in the positive results from our hard work.
For my writers out there, this can be harder said (or written) than done. We grow sluggish when it comes to our writing, because there are a million other things we could do. Really? This is an excuse I’ve used a hundred times, and it’s a terrible one. Therefore, we’ve got to inspire each other to keep up. Some people should consider finding an accountability partner, someone who will make sure you’re doing what you should be doing. Some people do this when it comes to their faith, but I think some of you guys may benefit if someone else monitors how much you’re writing so that you’re really diving into your craft. (If you’d like me to help, I’m more than glad!)
4. DON’T LET OTHERS TEAR YOU DOWN.
There is no doubt that people will disappoint you, but you can’t let them tear you down. You deserve 100% to be heard, respected, and valued for your opinions and beliefs. I’m sure some of you who are reading this are struggling with the inability to use your voice, and this breaks my heart.
In the past few years I’ve had to speak up and stand up for myself in some tough moments. One time was against a terrifically rude American woman in an Argentine airport who slandered my friends for their political beliefs (honestly this would make a great blog post). I’m sure you all have countless experiences like this, and the truth is that we all want to say what we want to say, but sometimes we can’t bear what others have to say.
Therefore, I urge you to be yourself. Don’t tear others down, and don’t let others tear you down. People will come for you, especially if they see you as a threat, but you must be willing to respect others, while respecting yourself at the same time. Though I have always been someone who hates conflict, I do believe in my heart that we must be humble but strong.
And in all you do, be yourself.
5. GOODBYES ARE PRETTY AWFUL.
Another thing I’ve learned this year is that goodbyes are pretty awful, but they don’t always have to be. One friend mentioned this to me, and I think it’s pretty good advice: It’s not a goodbye; it’s a see you later. This kind of logic may seem ridiculous, but to me it helps when I go months without seeing my closest friends. Though college has its downs, it has its ups too, and I’ve met some of the best people through my California years.
When we recognize that goodbyes can be see you laters (okay, this is a terrible phrase, I apologize), then we have something to look forward to. A goodbye may seem final and concrete, but it doesn’t have to be. Though relationships change, the truest ones remain no matter the distance or length of separation.
Who knows if this advice is helpful or not, but it seems okay in my mind. 🙂
WE’RE ALL GETTING OLDER.
But that’s okay. Think about all the good things that have happened in your lives. I’m sure you have countless memories that would astound everyone you tell, and that’s an amazing realization. If you’re reading this, you’re blessed with the most magical gift, and that is life.
It’s our choice how we live.
Enough ramblings from me. I’ve got a road to drive down. 🙂
I promised I would admit why I have been incognito lately, and this post is going to answer that question for you. Truly I have missed blogging over the past month, and I am super excited to get back into my two posts a week schedule. I have some interesting ideas for future posts, and I’m excited to share them with you.
However, I thought it would be best if I give you a little update on what I’ve been up to, and then we will resume with normal posts on Friday.
So, where have I been lately?
1. PRIVATE PILOT (finally)
The past two months have been devoted to studying anything and everything related to becoming a private pilot, and I can say I am official! I had to take a five hour check ride in order to secure this status, and it was intense to say the least. However, it feels so good to be done, and I’m very, very happy. 🙂
As a college student I am (unfortunately) taking a bunch of classes that seem pointless at times. While I love learning, I’d rather be studying things I feel are useful (such as flying). As the school year wraps up, the amount of homework grows exponentially, and so I am in the midst of papers, tests, and presentations. That’s okay, though, because summer is just around the corner!
3. WHAT BOOK SHOULD I WRITE NEXT?
While I have some projects I am working on, there hasn’t been a book idea that really stands out to me since I finished my latest book, Yours Truly, in February. I attribute this to the busy schedule of college and flying, so I am excited to get back into the normal grind of shuffling between projects.
SHORT AND SWEET.
I know this is a baby post, but I did want to update you guys on this big news and explain where I’ve been. I’m still eager to share my viewpoint with the world, and you guys have always been so supportive of that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It is the first day of March, and that means spring is just around the corner (at least in the Northern hemisphere). I’m ready for fresh flowers, clean air, and the rejuvenation that comes with my favorite season of the year. Spring is a symbol for Earth’s revitalization, where green replaces the deadness of winter; plants bloom in full abundance; and we catch a few moments of sunny, breezy days before the scorch of summer.
So, to celebrate the first day of March, I want to briefly mention some things that are on my mind in anticipation for the springtime ahead.
1. CHANGE WILL HAPPEN, AND IT CAN BE A GREAT THING
February was a hard month, but it taught me the importance of friendship and family. It also taught me that nothing is set in stone, and it never has been. Some humans crave stability, and others desire the opposite. I think I’m in the middle here, but I’ve learned that stagnation leads to rifts in my happiness.
Sometimes we can’t control the change in our lives, but sometimes we can. Instead of wallowing in what is tossed our way, however, we must remember that we can find immeasurable growth in the darkest spots.
I’m learning to embrace the change in my life, and it feels weird and wild and natural. If life didn’t hurl mysteries our way, then we’d be chugging along in boredom. But when we recognize that things are shifting in our life path, we can harness this energy into something positive.
Life is going to be hard. That is a guarantee. Change will come, whether we want it to or not. It’s up to us whether we’re going to embrace the future, or fear it instead.
2. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, AND THINGS WILL FALL INTO PLACE
When I dropped out of my spring break trip to Hawaii, I was adamant that I needed to fly as much as possible. For those of you who don’t know, I’m working on my private pilot license, and the weather hasn’t been too great in California this past year. I’m lucky to fly once or twice a week normally. But then the skies opened, the sun bled through the clouds, and I was able to fly four days in a row. The weather was absolutely perfect, and if I had gone on that trip, I would have lost valuable time to fly.
There was a perfect window of opportunity, and I flew through it. 😉 The same can be applied to your life as well. Now I’m not going to say you should always listen to your heart. We’re only human, and we do stupid things at times, because we want what we want. We’re selfish and stubborn, and that can be problematic.
But if we never listened to our hearts, we would find no passion for the world around us. If we had no emotion or feeling, then what would be the point of anything at all?
3. WE’VE ALL GOT GIFTS AND TALENTS TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD
A lot of you guys can relate to this, I’m sure. Most of us bloggers are writers. We find value in what we write, and there’s a sort of addiction to sharing our thoughts and seeing them in the form of words.
At college I get minimal writing done, and when I come home, I’m struck by a million jolts of creative energy. Being home for the past few days has given me the chance to write, reflect, and realize that we are all given talents and gifts to return to the world.
What is yours? What makes you happiest, and what’s something you want to share with the world? We were all placed on this Earth for a purpose, and each purpose relates to the rest of humanity. I think this is an interesting point to ponder on, as there are billions of people on this planet, and even more who were before and will be after us.
What is your purpose? It’s a difficult question, but there is an answer. 🙂
THANK YOU, GUYS!
As always, thank you for reading this post. I know it’s a short one, but I wanted to share some things with you before this weekend. You all are amazing, one-of-a-kind individuals with immeasurable potential. This month I challenge you to consider that things are not always going to be what you plan, but that’s okay too. As we enter this new season, we will find strength in our weakest moments, and that is something tantamount to the human experience.
There is so much joy in the world around us. ❤
Until next time,
P.S. Today is also one of my good friend’s birthdays, so I’d love to send her a special shoutout. 🙂
As I write this, it is Tuesday night in California. As you read this, it will be a different date and a different place, but I hope you all are doing incredibly well and that you are happy wherever you are in this grand universe of ours.
One of my latest posts, “Burnout,” has received much attention due to the fact that I revealed some difficult stresses in my life right now. Your support has meant the world to me. Though I rely on my family, friends, and God for so much, I know that I have this community to help me as well, and that makes me so incredibly thankful. But since you guys are a part of my life now, I wanted to update you a little as to what’s going on.
Recently it has come to my attention that, as an INFP personality type, I let people stomp all over me. One of my traits is that I love harmony, and I try to include people on everything and everything, to the point of undermining my own mental health. This very thing has happened to the point of my breaking point. What does this mean, and what happened? Well, let’s answer these questions.
I am a pretty calm person, and I rely on zen. I’m an individualist by nature, but I crave unity for every person with whom I come into contact. Analytically I search people’s eyes, looking for hurt and happiness and all sorts of elements. It may be weird, but it’s also who I am. I rely on what I can detect, and I value intuition.
My friend group has been putting me through a lot lately. Relationships are always work. We know this. If there were no issues in our relationships, then would they really be relationships? It’s because humans want specific things, and others don’t. It’s because we value certain things, and others don’t. So now I’m going to be selfish for a second. I don’t want to admit this, but it’s the truth, and it’s something I value: I’ve come to learn that I’ve put too much of my energy into other people.
People are why the world matters. They’re the reason that things get done, societies are built, and love can spread like wildfire. They do stupid things, and sometimes they’re so ridiculous that there’s no questioning motive. But sometimes it’s the opposite. People can manipulate and stab each other’s backs. They can eat their friends alive, leaving nothing but the bones behind.
Basically, I have come to the conclusion that out of my friend group, I am the person who listens to everyone: Their stories, tragedies, and goals. I love this, because human connection is crucial to my happiness. But it has gotten to the point where I have been verbally attacked for not taking sides and, quite honestly, for being myself.
A friend group of five people is not ideal. That’s what I’ve learned, not when each person comes to the table with different expectations and refuses to listen to others. It’s especially not ideal when four of the five begin to form sides, and the fifth becomes caught in the crosshairs.
I still believe in mediation. I believe that I handled myself in the best way possible for the situation, and I stood up for myself and my values. I am not sorry to be a happy, conflict-free person. I am not sorry that I wish the best for others, though I am sorry that it sometimes harms my soul in response. I am not sorry that I canceled a trip to Hawaii in order to go home to Tennessee because of disrespectful individuals. And I’m not sorry for taking a stand and not going with the flow for once.
Growing up is a hard thing to do. It’s something we will all hopefully experience. It’s a chance to melt your skin and bloom into who you were always meant to be. Though there are tough, tense moments in this time, I am still grateful for the life lessons I’m learning. Through it all, I have found meaning in the people who have respected me and wished for my happiness. There were countless friends and family members who helped me through this time, realizing that I was jeopardizing my mental health for people who only wanted to belittle me for remaining a friend to everyone.
To those individuals, thank you so much for listening to me and putting up with my antics. You saw how hurt I was, and I’ve seen your good hearts.
Things ebb and flow; that’s life. At this point in time, I’ve realized that I’ve wasted so much time on certain relationships that have cost me other ones. (Economics and opportunity costs, anyone?) But I’m glad to have come to this conclusion now rather than later.
Sometimes we must reach our breaking points in order to find the solution to our problems. Obviously, we must handle situations with respect, but we cannot be trampled on forever and ever without some sort of blowback. Be yourself, be humble, and remember that good comes from even the worst of situations. Treat others like you want to be treated. It shouldn’t be that hard of a concept, but for some it is.
Therefore, my dear readers, I hope that you understand I am in a better place now. I am going home in less than a week for my spring break. I am flying solo, in more ways than one. 😉 I have seen so much good in people, even when I’ve seen the bad too. And I’m hurt, but I’m also working to mend myself in the process.
Do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t cost the happiness of others. And, as one of my friends sweetly reminded me, “After a hurricane comes a rainbow.”
I hope all is well wherever you are in the vast world we live in. For some of you, it is the blazing summertime; for others, it is freezing cold. So, wherever you happen to be, I hope you are comfortable and enjoying the start to an amazing weekend. Can you believe it is already February?!
It has been a while since I’ve updated you guys on what I’m working on. As many of you know, I blog once a week, while juggling my studies and a passion for writing. While I write religiously back home during summers and holidays, my writing schedule worsens whenever I am at school.
However, I have been up to some things, and I think it’s about time to share with you all!
1. Yours Truly
Last autumn I truly struggled with what I wanted to write. I’d just finished a five book summer, where I pushed myself to finishing five novels in the span of four months. I did this because I knew my return to school would interfere with my schedule–and I was right.
I struggled with figuring out what I wanted to write. I started Yours Truly as a response to my college life, but I abandoned the project in favor of a Southern drama involving an archetypical aristocratic family in the modern-day. Then I abandoned that project and found myself lost in the fray (Woolsey Fire, personal problems, and an overall disinterest in writing).
In December I returned to Yours Truly, which is a psychological thriller revolving around a writer and her stalker. While I will update you more on this project in a further blog post, I will say that I have completed the novel and am currently in the editing phase. This book needs a lot of work. Much of it is too tied to my own life (not the stalking situation, thank goodness), and the overall story is not something I am super proud of.
Therefore, I hope to be done with this book in the next month or so, and I’m honestly not sure if I will self-publish it or not. It is one of those books that I want people to read, but I’m not really sure I want to be associated with it. Frustrating!
2. Untitled Violet Hill Project
For my creative writing class at my university, I am tasked with writing fifty pages of a novel. Most of you guys know that this is not something new to me, but I absolutely dislike planning my books out, and this class is challenging me to do that very thing.
Violet Hill is a story about two sisters who return to a small Tennessee town where someone (or something) is destroying priceless Antebellum homes. I am not sure if I will finish this book once the fifty pages are done, but I will let you all know. Maybe I will even post a few excerpts on this blog in the future.
Expect more updates on this to come!
3. Church Boy
All right. We’re just going to be honest about this project. Every winter I find myself in the romance mood, where I want to crank out a rom com book and publish it like a crack of lightning. Romance books are the easiest to write, and if I follow my writing quota, I can pop them out in a few weeks. Last summer, when I was in the heat of The Flores Sisters Trilogy, a concept dawned on me.
As a Christian, I have grown up in the church, and I love writing church scenes. There is so much to see within sanctuaries, and the conflict between people is exciting and inspirational for writers. (Seriously, it is!)
So why not write a romance set in a Southern Baptist church? Oh, lanta, the possibilities!
Though I have never written a Christian novel per se, this idea has come to be an interesting one to me. All of my romance novels are clean, and Church Boy fits the bill as well. I don’t want to say too much on this book, because I’m only about five thousand words in, but I think it will appeal to an audience of like-minded people. (And I am always writing books I wish I would see in bookstores.)
THERE YOU GO.
I am still waiting for a book idea that will pop out at me. I really am. I have been struggling in my writing life since this past summer, so I am hoping that something will come soon–something that will challenge me, my beliefs, and inspire my readers as well.
I hope you guys enjoyed this update, and I promise to write more blog posts soon.
We are well into 2019 (can you guys believe it is almost February already?!?!), but I thought it would be fun to go back in time a little bit. While I hate being in pictures, I really love being behind the camera.
Photos are a perfect way to capture a moment and trigger memories, and so here are some of my top picks (top pics hehe) for you guys to enjoy.
A fun fact: None of these images are photoshopped. They are all very real, and they prove how amazing our world is. (And even in the mundane things, there is true beauty.)
Ushuaia, Argentina, is one of my favorite places in the world. Known as the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia’s hikes during summertime are unrivaled, in my opinion. This picture was taken on a four-hour hike to Lago Esmeralda, and it has become one of my favorite memories while abroad.
This picture is of my friend group, collectively known as Roach Fam (this should be a blog post of its own, honestly). We were on a trip to Patagonia, Argentina, specifically visiting Los Glaciares National Park. Why is it purple, you may ask? This is an ice cave.
FAYETTE COUNTY, TENNESSEE
An abandoned barn on a random piece of Tennessee property? This is my kind of place. When I took this photo, I was wearing shorts and flip flops, and I was pretty scared that a giant poppa snake would jump up and bite off my kneecaps. Maybe I’d see a ghost pop out of the dusky woods. The only thing that happened: An amazing photo.
One of my best friends got engaged! We decided to have a photo shoot in the small town of Williston, Tennessee. It was amazing being able to celebrate my friend’s engagement, especially since it was one of the last times I saw her before I went back to California for college.
ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO
My one-of-a-kind father loves to stretch out his condor arms. This is an incredible shot at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. My dad and I love to travel and visit random national parks across the nation, and this was one of my favorite memories of my year. Here we were, in the middle of the desert, when a summer thunderstorm crossed over us.
Here is my family over my Christmas break in December. This photo is blurry, but I really like it because we were all super happy to be together. 🙂
This is sort of a cheat picture, since it was taken in January 2019. However, I love this photo because it features Miss Givenchy, who, as I am writing this post, wants to wring my neck. I happened to see a plane while we were taking this photo, and so I was quite distracted. I also like this photo because of the green background due to winter rains (and you can barely tell a wildfire swept through only two months before).
2018 –> 2019
Now it’s time to move on to 2019 photos. The new year is here, and it is up to us to make the most of the time we have. I hope you all can reflect on your photos and find the beauty in wherever you are. If you aren’t big into photography, there are other methods in which to capture your favorite memories, so make sure to remember them. 🙂
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I almost (ALMOST!) forgot about my weekly blog post. That being said, I’m back in the game and ready to share some thoughts that have been nagging at me in the past week.
After escaping the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, I flew home to Tennessee this past Sunday afternoon. I am thankful to be home, to relax and regain peace in my life, and to take some days to recover from the stress of this gnarly November.
Though I am quite cryptic in nature, I want to be honest with you all and go over the things that are tearing me up right now, even though I know I am safe and loved and cared for.
So here we go… In chronological order.
Who knew one person could have such an effect on you?
Not to be too cryptic on this front, but if there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that just one person can change how you really feel, both in the best of ways and the worst. While I try not to be too analytical, I can’t help but regret certain actions and revel in them at the same time.
On the evening of Wednesday, November 7, thirteen people lost their lives at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. One of these thirteen souls was Alaina Housley, an eighteen-year-old freshman from my university, Pepperdine. It was a senseless act of violence that shook the entire United States, and it destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of Pepperdine.
My freshman year, I went to Borderline countless times with friends, because it is primarily a line dancing club. It was a place to bond with friends, attempt to boot scooting’ boogie without the professionals stomping all over you, and get a little country music through your veins.
But now I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering of Alaina’s family and the other Pepperdine students who managed to flee with their lives intact. I cannot understand how a place like Borderline is not safe anymore, that college kids cannot even go enjoy dancing without the worry of violence seeping in.
On Friday, November 9, I received an evacuation alert from Pepperdine due to the Woolsey Fire wreaking havoc upon the Santa Monica Mountains. The fire that had started near Westlake Village, close to the already-reeling Thousand Oaks, had jumped into our neck of the woods.
Only thirty minutes after receiving this alert, I stumbled outside with a backpack and my flight bag to discover smoke rolling over the mountains. Terrified, I hurried to my car with two friends and fled to San Diego, while most of my friends remained on campus.
Fortunately, Pepperdine was the safest place to be in Malibu, and though the flames would make it onto campus that night, it was the miraculous effort of firefighters who saved the school and protected all those college kids in the process. Though the fire was nothing less than alarming, putrid smoke followed its path, leaving those who stayed in paper masks.
The following morning, Saturday, November 10, the rest of my friends got out as quickly as they could because the air quality was so poor. Eventually, I was reunited with some of them in the safety of my friend’s San Diego home.
On the morning of Sunday, November 11, we received another alert that school was canceled until November 26. Five minutes later I booked a flight and was home to Tennessee by midnight.
The status of the fire now is on the upswing. The last time I heard, the Woolsey Fire is 60% contained and will be fully extinguished soon. Though hundreds of homes burned down and two lives were lost to this specific fire, there is much to be thankful for, especially the way the community pulled together to save the thousands who lived in the areas affected by the fire.
While most of my friends remained on Pepperdine’s campus that first day of the fire, I went to my friend’s house in San Diego, where we watched a special nature show, Earth’s Natural Wonders (not the typical college kid flick, that’s for sure), ate a lot of delicious food, went to church, and played cards. It was relaxing and a lasting memory. When we reconnected with our other friends, we felt even tighter as a group.
That being said, we received the phone call from school that Sunday, and suddenly we were all packed up and headed five directions. What was a moment of us being all together completely fractured.
Finding myself on a flight home in the middle of November was unexpected, and it affected my mood the first few days of being back, because my friends were all over the map. We are all over the map, and it felt so weird saying goodbye for two weeks when just days before we’d been going to concerts, playing video games, and gulping down horror movies. Luckily we have been able to call and do a group crossword or two. (Told you, we’re not normal college kids.)
This little unplanned break has been, well, wild. I went from a wildfire to rain that shifted to snow. 80 degree temperatures in California dropped to the thirties in Tennessee, and I was shocked to see colorful trees from the autumn here in the South. Neutral accents melted into my particular lilt of Southern, and things seemed so strange…
I think I am able to understand my feelings of confusion and stress now that I’ve been home five days: I am growing up, and it hurts just as much as it excites me. I will be graduating college in a year, and then the real world’s going to knock on the door. My friends will be split up around the country, permanently, even though I know they will always be a phone call away. College will become a distant memory, and I’ll be responsible for my future. Who knows what will come then, but the worry has been sinking its teeth into my brain for a little while now. I haven’t been writing as much, considering the circumstances, and therefore this post feels long overdue.
This is a sentiment everyone goes through, if you get the fortunate chance. It’s not something we should complain about, since so many don’t get to walk in our shoes, but there are still ups and downs with this thing called life. Sometimes we can’t control our emotions, our feelings, what drives our souls, and that can be overwhelming.
That’s when I take a step back, pray to God, and try my hardest to clear my head. It doesn’t always work, so I’ve been doing all sorts of things: Exercise, working on a new book, listening to music (check out “Freelance” by Toro y Moi).
And I know that it will be hard to leave home when it’s time to go.
That’s where I’m at now: Torn between two worlds, one of which will inevitably win over the other.
I think this describes my mood right about now: I’m split over my future, split over my present, split right down the middle. There’s so much going on in this world that my days are slipping like sand through my fingers, and this can be terrifying, not having a way to stop what’s coming.
Though this may seem like a melodramatic post, I know things are looking up. From being home I am reunited with my one-of-a-kind family, hometown best friends, and overweight guinea pig. I get amazing work done here, including 800 questions for my written pilot exam and thousands of words for a new romance novel. Being home reminds me of who I am, truly, deeply in my core; it reminds me of what I was and how far I’ve come. It inspires me to stay true to my values, and not to wrap myself in the what-ifs of my life in California.
Home. A place some never get the chance to see again.
I pray for the family of Alaina Housley and the countless people who were displaced, injured, and lost their homes due to the Woolsey Fire. I cannot begin to imagine the severity of the Camp Fire in Northern California, where so many have lost their lives and livelihoods.
Therefore, it is times like these that should remind us all of the good things that we take for granted. I need to do a better job of remembering, because memory lasts with us much longer than the present.
Hopefully my next post will be a little more light-hearted. 🙂