Be Still

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“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations.I will be exalted in the Earth.” – Psalms 46:10

Growing up I had ADD. You read that correctly had- past tense. How I got off my ADD medicine is a story in it’s self. And a whole lot of arguing and stubborn pride. It’s hard to stay silent and be still. Yet, it’s one of the most rewarding skills I have ever learned. We live in a society of the faster the better. We have fast cars, fast food, rewind buttons, email, instant messaging, and the list goes on. When did we become so in tuned to ourselves and what is best for- me, myself, and I that we lost what we stand for and the art of a community?

In my bible next to the verse I mentioned up above I wrote- “Stop!” and “Enough” Put down your phone, unplug, and enjoy the stillness. I don’t know about you but I swear my mind is always  full sprint- take no prisoner captive attitude. Yet we aren’t called that way. What I love about winter is that it’s perfect picture of this- calmness, still, and just a slower pace.

The question is- “how can I unplug and disengage?” Here are my 8 ways I shut down and be present and be still.

  1. Schedule: I know I know that almost sounds a little rehearsed. But I’m a firm believer in habits and creating a habit. If you don’t schedule time aside you will subconsciously “schedule” something into that time slot. I also find- if I write it down in my planner- be still. I will spend that time being still. If that means- going on a drive or laying in my bed.
  2. Prepare Your Heart: I know it’s hard to switch gears- going from going, going, going  to a complete stand still is hard. In this preparation time spend time in worship and journal. Journal what’s on your mind. What is your fears? What’s going through your mind?
  3. Undisturbed: If this means shutting off your phone and laptop do it! We all need that undisturbed time to sit, pray, reflect, and soak in the quietness. And refuel so that we can do what we need to do. It’s important to hit the gym or study for that big test. But it’s even more important to take care of your mental and spiritual life.
  4. Listen: In my experience God doesn’t have a huge megaphone yelling with a huge spotlight on Him with grand theatrical movements. If that was the case it would be easy to spot him and hear what he has to say. He whispers- if we aren’t in the right attitude or place to hear Him can we?
  5. Draw Closer: When your best friend is telling you a secret what do you do? You get closer to her don’t ya? You get closer to hear clearly what she has to say. I don’t know about you. But in those moments between God and myself I want to be closer than ever. I want to know more, I want to know what the bible says I want to hear all what God says. I don’t want to interrupt what God is telling me.
  6. Do Not Be Afraid: When I was a kid- I use to hate being in complete stillness or quietness. I always thought something bigger and worst is going to happen. In those minutes my overactive imagination got the worst of me. Enter into this moment with a clear mind and expect great things.
  7. Meditate: Mediating is a great way to begin closing off distractions and allowing God into the moment. There are some amazing guiding meditations that will help shut off the never ending to do lists in your mind. And help you be present.
  8. Give it to God- And Go To Sleep: When you are starting to feel anxious or panicked your palms are sweating, you are hyperventilating, and you are angry. Talk to God- give it to Him; give Him your fears, anxiety, the violent storm in your head. Talk to Him like you would talk to your best friend.

God is oh so good! To be honest God shows up to me in picture form. My favorite hobby is actually photography. God shows up to me while I have a camera in my hand. A couple days ago I had an itching to get behind the camera again. To go and explore and just get lost behind the camera for a while. While I’m out usually I have my headphones in and just shut the world out for a minute.

I’m a visual learner. I think this is how God communicates with me- And I can’t wait to share them with you!

Be Still: Photography Exhibit

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Hello 2017

“Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

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Just like that another year has come to a close. I’m amazed by how fast the year has whizzed by just like a movie on fast forward.  2016 has to be one of the best years of my life to date! Every month something new and exciting and last but not least something that would challenge and push me further out of my shell.

With that being said- I know 2016 was hard on people in the world with so many deaths, and the different crisis, and shootings giving people that element of fear and anxiety. I know it was almost nerve wrecking to wake up every morning and read a headline!

In my own little world- 2016 will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember when I was probably 10 or 11 I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I knew where I wanted to be at- where I wanted to attend college everything was mapped out. I was determined to get there. 2016 was the year that I had envisioned so many years ago come full circle.

I graduated from Black Hills State University. My childhood dream came true! After many late nights, anxiety attacks, and millions of cups of coffee- I had done it. I sat in the gymnasium in a cap and gown waiting for my name to be called. And before I knew it (even though it took way too long!) my name was called and I walked across the stage and just like that. The best four years of my life were now behind me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t miss the anxiety or the late nights of homework. The things I do miss is the things that I get to take with me everyday. The friendships and the lessons I learned- and the determination to chase after my dream whole heartily not caring what others might think.

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I’m a planner I love to plan things! Obviously if I knew where and what I wanted before I had even made it to high school! However; I’ve learned maybe there are things that are much better not planned to a “T”. Don’t get me wrong I still love a good plan and knowing what’s going to happen. While I was in college and a lot of my friends were getting their dream jobs and preparing to take the big leap into the career world. There was me- not sure where to turn or better yet how to even figure out- what is next. With an underlining fear of not doing anything my heart stopped. I was scared. What next? The unknown is very scary and let’s be honest no one likes not knowing what is going on.  I found maybe this unknown period of my life won’t be so bad after all. The perfect time to do a little traveling, no responsibilities, and finally learn who Emily is without being a student first.

I’m so excited and optimistic over what is to come in  2017. I’m not one for making big massive and elaborate new year resolutions. I love setting myself little manageable goals and then following through. However; this year I’ve decided to push myself a little bit more out of my shell. And focus on who Emily is and better yet what’s to come! 2016 has been an amazing start of figuring out what I like, what I don’t like where I want to go where I don’t want to go. And that’s the most fun about growing up.

However; it’s time to put that in action! Time to put myself out there and not allowing the fear to paralyze me from the expectation I had in my head over what I think it should have been to begin with.

In 2016 I graduated, moved back home, faced my fears and launched my blog, traveled, explored, laughed, and probably drank way too many cups of coffee.

Cheers 2016! Hello 2017- you are looking mighty good!

“Above all, try something” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid.

Courage means you don’t let your fear stop you” – Unknown

Merry Christmas!

Can you believe it another year has past? Holy smokes!

To ring in the new cheer. And to celebrate probably one of the best times of the year! All gathered with friends and family. And hold the ones close to your heart who couldn’t make it home. Laughter is heard, dancing in the kitchen, eating Christmas cookies- and hey maybe a snowball fight to boot! My heart is so happy as I sit and look at the faces of my loved ones surrounding me- as they are on their phones, eating food, or simply just sitting in comfortable silence as we all watch TV.

I hope your Christmas is as amazing and you feel all the love you deserve. Christmas is the best and happiest of times. So raise your glass of egg nog with me now as we cheer in the best night of the entire year!

Let’s carry the joy, the happiness, and the merriment of overwhelming amount of love you feel tonight to extend into the best year yet! Here’s to dreamers seeing their dream, for the quitters who see their potential, the content to get out and do something new, to the explores to seeing the world through a different lens, and finally here’s to you and to me as we join hands and jump into the best yet to come!

To wrap up here is one of my favorite monologues of all time

I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-corner,

And a little crutch without an owner.

If these shadows remained unaltered by the future, the child will die.

If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Your very words, Scrooge.

Decrease the surplus population

Man if man you be in heart, forbear that wicked cant.

Will you decide what men shall live, and what men shall die?

It may be that in the sight of of Heaven you are more

Worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.

You have seen the spirit of Christmas bless this poor dwelling.

They were not a handsome family, they were not well dressed

Their clothes were scanty and their shoes far from being water-proof

But they were grateful, pleased with one another, and contented

With the Christmas time. They are my children.

Have you learned your lesson?

Don’t wait for January 1st or next Christmas Eve for the lessons that could change your life. Learn from the lessons of the past, present, and future. Just like Tiny Tim says;

“God Bless Us Everyone!”

From me to you- Merry Christmas!

Off to the Mountains I go

I’m a huge lover of family traditions. The familiarity- the excitement- the memories. My all time favorite family tradition dates all the way back to thirty two years ago. And it’s my favorite day of the ENTIRE year.

I look forward to it every year. I think family traditions is one of the reasons why I love Christmas so much! The holidays scream family and friends and just being together with those who you love.

Every year on Black Friday- instead of hustling and bustling in the shops trying to get those deals and wake up at ridiculous hours of the morning. My family and I wake up when our bodies wake up and then after we awake from our turkey trances we bundle up and hop into our truck and go off to the mountains to find the best Christmas tree.

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The hike is always refreshing especially after a day of pigging out on all the Thanksgiving goodness! The quietness of the woods, and being away from civilization even if it is for a few hours is so refreshing.

I love the mountains. Everything about it- the mountain air and I always think you can always see the world better from a mountain top.

After we walk around for what feels like five minutes and stand around and ooh and ah over how beautiful the tree looks with the fresh laid snow and how it looks in the sun light (and we always choose the best looking) and how sweet the pine smells! Then we take the saw and take turns to cut the tree down! And now the hard part- the dragging the tree out and back to the truck!

Before we know it- back down the mountains, to cell service, and back to the world. But the fun doesn’t stop there! We set it up and decorate it that night- all while singing along to Christmas music and reminiscing over Christmas’s past as we hang up ornaments that tell a story of our life.

After we are done we step back and ooh and ah again and sit around starring at the beauty of the lights, ornament, and the tinsel. I love this tradition for multiple reasons- I love that I can be out in my beloved mountains, to be surrounded by my favorite smell, to be surrounded by some of my favorite humans, and finally to kick in the Christmas season on the right foot. To celebrate what Christmas is all about.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Thanksgiving Reflections

Today is November 24, 2016.

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Credit: (pinterest)

“There is always something to be thankful for”

‘Tis the season! Before the hustle and bustle of list longer than your arm and sugar highs it’s time for reflection. Life is busy and hectic. I love Thanksgiving- I mean I love food. However; food doesn’t equal Thanksgiving.

I firmly believe that food plays a huge factor in bringing people together. The world we live in is all about doing multiple things at once and “there’s an app for that” attitude. Sure the busyness is great and opportunities shouldn’t make you excited and proud. It shouldn’t limit you or cloud your judgment in where you come from. The moment that got you where you are today.

I believe that life is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. Slow down listen to the laughter, watch the Macy Thanksgiving Day parade, and dance in the kitchen. Enjoy the one thing that money can’t buy you. Honoring traditions, listening to stories of Thanksgiving past, and lastly making new memories.

In this moment of reflection I always find it good to really mediate on what I am grateful for.

  1. My relationship with Christ
  2. My family
  3. Friends who have become family
  4. My home
  5. My car
  6. Job
  7. Finishing school
  8. Beautiful sunsets/sunrises
  9. For the mountains and the opportunity to live near them
  10. Dreams/imagination/adventures
  11. For nights that have turned into mornings
  12. For my bullies that have shaped me into the person I am and who has taught me the value of forgiveness
  13. Being clothed
  14. My creativity

Once you see your blessings it’s hard to see them as anything less. Today before you stuff your face of delicious food. Collect the memories you are creating with people that are surrounded your table near or far.

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you!

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween! Truthfully I have never really enjoyed Halloween. Even as a kid I mean I loved dressing up and eating tons of candy and carving pumpkins. Yet, I don’t really like being scared and I tend to be a naturally jumpy person- ha!

As you can see that isn’t the best recipe for Halloween. However, I do love to spend Halloween eating candy (who doesn’t?) and cozening up watching a movie personally I am not a fan of horror movies my all time favorites are the ones airing on Disney Channel the cute and  fun Halloween movies that just make you get the “feels” of Halloween without the weeks after Halloween nightmares.

I hope y’all have an amazing Halloween! Be safe and be smart. What are y’all plans for this Halloween night?

Frolicking through the Leaves

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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As some of you would have figured out- Fall is my favorite time of the year, earlier sunsets, baggy sweatshirts, boots, candles…. the whole works. However; what I love most is the beauty that surrounds me. How the sun shines through the gold or  red leaves that almost looks like the tree are on fire. All very relaxing.

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However; I fear that this time of a year does a number on my mental health. I start to question everything- “Am I doing my job alright?”, “Can I truly raise my grade?”- all those new year goals almost seem like a life time ago. And I’m slowly realizing that it is almost a new year- and I still haven’t reached where I wanted to be this year.

I think it’s OKAY to be in a slump every now and then. It’s good to mourn the person you were- if that is during a relationship and it didn’t pan out or you graduated from college or you decided to move away. You do leave a piece of you wherever you go. And it is hard to do what’s best for you even when it hurts sometimes. Just whatever you do- don’t stay there. You can mourn and then start to pick yourself up.

Fall is a wonderful time  it’s the perfect time to do a little bit of inventory in your life. It’s the perfect time to put yourself first. Instead of going out- choose to stay at home and cozy up with a movie or gathering up some friends and head to the Pumpkin Patch. This time of year I feel is made to give you a restart- a refresh as you go about the rest of the year feeling happy and restocked.

Instead of feeling like you are drowning in what ifs and should have been. Go on a drive, write out a list of everything that made you happy, spend an hour or two without phone service. It’s amazing when you step back and just breathe the waters you thought you were drowning in suddenly go away. Your brain is empty- you can restart.

Hey- why not frolicking through some leaves or climb that mountain! There’s no harm in putting the pause button on every once in awhile I find it’s actually healthy to step back- jump in the mountain of leaves or go on a spontaneous hike. It’s good to have a recharge. Don’t run yourself too ragged and forget the beauty that surrounds you!

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Drive slow- take deep breaths, accept *gulps* your mistakes and your disappointments, turn up the music and live freely! Lighten your load and enjoy the moment. I guess I could be cheesy and say, “seize the day!” I know we all have obligations and to do lists that are longer than our arm- but you should be your own top priority. If everything else is above that- you will get buckled down and loose sight of what this season is all about.

Fall is a wonderful time of the year! It’s the kick start of everything festive- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years… all very exciting yet- also very stressful. Who should I dress up as? How many are coming to dinner- should we use the good china? Who do I all have to get presents for? What should my resolutions be? And the list goes on. Yet, that isn’t what this time represents!

I know this post has become a post just talking to myself. And I’m okay with that. Originally I was going to write all about my favorite fall fashion.And honestly- I couldn’t type up the words or take photos without comparing them to how I had envisioned them in my head.  I just had to take a step back put down the camera and computer and clear my mind. And let me tell you- it worked! I went out to the woods just so I could see the “pretty” colors. I had an idea to take out my camera and just get lost behind the lens. But guess what- I forgot the battery and the memory card back home. I was gutted! However; to capture a moment a phone does surprisingly well.

And then I went on a little stay-cation to hang out with some of my best friends. I think all you really need- a little drive and a solid support system and you are set. Remember as the leaves are collecting in your yard and the midterm rage is on. Slow down. Enjoy the colors they won’t be there much longer. Enjoy this season it is truly the best.

I say let’s go frolicking in those beautiful leaves!  Besides sometimes the biggest mistakes turn in the best stories!

Happy Frolicking!

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