How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

 

Something that gave me a little spark of happiness today was rediscovering a song I fell in love with months and months ago. Other things that have given me that same feeling lately include:

  • drinking a huge cherry limeade from Sonic after going to an hour of yoga in a studio where the A/C decided to stop working
  • getting a text message from a friend reminding me that I’m worthy and loved
  • packing up my first box and realizing that I am legitimately moving to Boston, Massachusetts…city of my dreams…it’s fine, it’s not a big deal, I’m not hyperventilating, thank you…

The song is the title of this post, and it’s by the almost-too-incredible-for-life Florence + The Machine. I was out for a walk, and it came up on the “My Favorites” playlist. Thank you kindly, Apple Music. I don’t know if you’ve heard it…if not, then here. Do yourself a huge favor and listen. The instrumentals in the last two minutes are guaranteed to make your soul take flight.

 

This song. It takes me out of my smallness and opens up my heart. It makes me want to gaze upward. It makes me feel good and grand and exciting things. It makes me ache to see the world and to love with a big love. I hear it and I’m reminded to soak up every little bit this life has to offer. THAT is why I love this song.

In honor of this gorgeousness, I want to share some pretty pictures of the ocean + sky that I’ve taken in the past few years. It seems fitting, yes? I also just got back from a whirlwind trip to California, and I miss the beach and the Pacific already.

Enjoy the view and the background music, my sweet readers and friends! Oh, and if there’s a song that you love and want to share with me, please leave me a comment! I’m always up for suggestions.

xo

The Lyrical Bay

Okay, you might be wondering what on earth that title means. Truth be told, I have no idea. I found a “Random Romance Novel Title Generator” and that’s what I got. Here’s why.

I’ve been volunteering at the library for a number of weekends now, and I seem to have found my niche in the Romance section. Yes, the passionate INFJ who is not so secretly obsessed with Jane Austen and Taylor Swift music ends up in the Romance section. Not on purpose, really. That’s where I was needed during my second visit, and I just kept going back. Come on, I’m a creature of habit.

I find the busy work of sorting and alphabetizing to be soothing. I leave the outside world behind, and all my inner machinations shut off for a little while. Hours pass like minutes there amidst the stacks, and the time I’ve spent with the likes of Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich has turned out to be rather nostalgic.

I categorize Harlequin and Silhouette publications and I’m reminded of my Great Granny. She always had a few of those paperbacks on her bedside table in the nursing home next to her TV set and lipstick tubes.

I broke a sweat organizing Danielle Steel hardcovers on their shelves yesterday. Seriously, there were so many. I’m reminded of my Nanny Jan. She had Danielle Steel hardcovers on her bookshelf too, and she always let me pull one down to pore over when me and my family went to visit her and my Papa Don.

My eyes fall on book covers featuring busty blondes and bare-chested rogues, their titles referring to some type of passion or fire or temptation. I can’t help but laugh, and I’m reminded of the house we moved into when I was 11. It was an old place with creaky wooden floors, a musty smell hanging in the air, and a shadowy closet in the basement where the water heater rumbled away. It was deliciously creepy. When we were first looking at the place, I found a box of old romance novels in the formal living room. I started digging through it while my parents were touring other parts of the house, naughty preteen girl that I was. Curious, I flipped through the pages to find the racy love scenes that were strategically placed every few chapters or so. Then I set the book back in its original spot when I heard footsteps coming closer. I did my best to appear casual, even though my heart was racing from my scandalous endeavor.

I haven’t read a proper novel from the Romance section since high school. I guess my taste has changed, or maybe I was left jaded by the Twilight series. But the memories attached leave me with a lingering smile as I follow their threads back to my girlhood, to relatives I loved and stories I craved and places I treasured.

xo

Kinzie Turns 21

A couple of nights ago, a group of us got together and threw our sweet Kinzie a surprise birthday shindig at Holly Hop here in Lubbock. If you know anything about K, you know she’s one of the kindest and most selfless people you will ever meet. You would also know that she loves Batman, so we definitely had to incorporate that into our decor. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures from our little celebration 🙂

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4.19.17

I rediscovered this journal entry from last month and I’d like to share it with you.

First, some context: The past several years have brought their fair share of difficulties my way. My parents divorced. I graduated from college and moved halfway across the country having next to no clue what I was doing. (It turned out to be an immense blessing, but that’s another post for another time.) I fought hard, ugly battles with crippling anxiety and chronic insomnia. I swallowed the bitter pill of my pride and sought help through professional counseling. I lived on my own for a year and discovered that while independence had its perks, a lot of the time it was just lonely as hell. I’ve had my heart broken on more than one occasion. I experienced a crisis of faith that devastated me and left me reeling. I’m still picking up the pieces even as I write this.

Those situations made me feel, more than anything, isolated. So if you’re here and reading this and you’re going through something that is dark and confusing and painful, I’d like to tell you that I don’t have a vast supply of answers or good advice. More importantly, I’d like to tell you that you are not alone, you won’t always be in that place, and you are loved. You are truly loved.

xo

//

It’s a beautiful evening. Still, but living. The birds chirp and chatter. Voices of family members starting to slow down for the night sound through open windows and doors. Air is cool, and sun is setting into a buttery yellow against a pale blue sky. Colors of spring. It’s peaceful, and I close my eyes to bask in it, to let it embrace me.

These different sorrows and pains have met me and changed me in indescribable ways…I wonder how I’m sitting here, how I’m breathing, writing, thinking, feeling. I did not expect this to be the look of either mercy or grace. I am beginning to understand how very little I understand. I have seen something of my own frailty and unreliability, and in turn something of Your love, forgiveness, and faithfulness. 

The light of this day is fading quickly. I know I will need to go soon. But I will draw out this small selah for as long as I can.

I wept today as I read through “A Grief Observed.” Lewis said it well, as he often does, that sorrow cannot be mapped. It is a process. Each day is different. We never know what landscape might be around the next bend in the road.

Tonight, I know You are here. It’s not that You left. There’s just been so much noise and force and chaos on my end. But You are not in the great wind or the flame or the quake. You are the small voice that comes after. I just had to quiet down enough to hear You.

The former things have passed away. Can we, can I, agree that they have served their purpose? That I don’t have to live in fear or in their shadows? So I can move forward a little more each day into a life that is not guaranteed to be easier or happier, but will be a life that is different. Not cyclical. Not bound in shackles. 

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blah blah.

 

I present to you a balancing word to my first two posts.

I’m tired. I’m grumpy. The creative juices are not flowing. Yet here I am, itching to share something in my small corner of the Internet. I’m downright restless.

43c01936d02bfd007d67eab9986b2e72*

That about sums me up today. I don’t know exactly what “it” is, but I’ve got to get “it” out somehow. Even if it’s a few measly words. No genius idea or elegant prose here. The idealist in me cringes.

Life can be thrilling and adventurous. Life can also be warming up leftover Indian food and watching the Pride & Prejudice mini-series. And that’s okay.

On a brighter note, I start volunteering at the library this Saturday. I’m really looking forward to that. Lots of books and meeting new people is a cheery combination.

*I found this image via Pinterest. How does one give credit for photos found there? Must look into this…

xo

90 (or so) Hours in Boston

 

The second “go” at something new is always the hardest for me. See also: my former attempts at blogging…or working out…or eating healthier, etc. It’s like all the excitement and razzle dazzle has worn off. This is the less glamorous part. Where actual routine begins. But anyway, here I am. Almost a month later and I’m writing out my second post. Because, by golly, I am going to show up and TRY. Also, I’m paying for this domain, and I want to get my money’s worth. Ha.

I visited Boston, my soon-to-be new home, last week. I had the most fantastic time. I’m sososo excited to move to this city! I definitely learned a few things during this trip, and I hope they’re applicable to you too if you’re ever in the area!

//

Wear. Comfortable. Shoes. 

I swear, my vanity will be the death of me. Well, that might be too much. But at the very least, it will be the source of pain and potential infection.

I don’t dress up in Lubbock often. My job allows/requires me to be informal and comfortable, and outside of that I prefer to dress casually most of the time. BUT, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to get glammed up when the occasion calls for it. In the name of workin’ it, I planned some real cute outfits for my trip. For the sake of space in my carry-on — I wasn’t feeling the $25 fee to check my bag, and I couldn’t justify bringing my larger suitcase for a 4-ish day trip — I only packed a pair of flats and wore my black knee-high…and not broken in…boots onto the plane. So I left on Thursday, and everything was great until Friday. You wanna know how many miles I walked? Five. Five miles. I was staying in Brookline, a suburb of the city, and here’s what I did. I walked from the house I was staying at to a nearby coffee shop. From there I walked to a bookstore (Brookline Booksmith, if you must know. It was luh-git.) I walked back to the house and changed into the boots because my feet were already feeling tired. I then walked to the Museum of Fine Arts. Google Maps tells me this is a 1.4 mile walk from where I was staying. And after the MFA I walked to Simmons College, which was thankfully only a couple of blocks away. I showed up for my campus tour sweaty and walking a wee bit pigeon-toed. I trust I made a very good first impression with my student guide.

Side note that is more than a side note
– I loved my campus. Loved it. It’s cozy, taking up little more than a street block. Both my guide and my admissions advisor were friendly and helpful and cool people, in general. And y’all, WE HAVE A BOOK NOOK. Yes. Here it is, right here. A little corner filled with an assortment of children’s and YA books. A place to go decompress and chill. If ever there was a sign that I’m in the right place, this was it.

Back to reality. I will not continue to tell you about all of the places I walked. It’s a lot of detail I’m assuming you don’t care about, and I think you get the idea. Just know this: By the end of Friday night, my feet were swollen and and a little bloody and I was missing part of my left heel. Not a lot, calm down. But it ain’t pretty, even five days later. (I’m re-reading this and wondering why I didn’t just buy different shoes while I was there. *eye roll* You live and you learn.)

Moral of the story: Bring some good sneakers along for the ride. Boston is totally a walking city, and there is so much to see in a relatively small area. Which leads me to my next point…

Sightsee! As much as you can!

Do I even need to say this? Probably not. I’ve only been up here twice — once in crazy blizzard weather a couple of years ago, and this time in idyllic spring, and duh, I’ve barely scratched the surface on all the things to see and do.

This trip’s places of interest included:

  • Caffè Nero- A local coffeehouse chain with pleasant ambience. Staff was personable, and I enjoyed my bacon & cheese croissant with a nice view out the window.
  • Brookline Booksmith- Worth repeating. Two floors of book goodness. Bookness? Gookness? No? Okay.
  • Museum of Fine Arts- I could have stayed here for hours. It was too cool to see the portrait of George Washington that was eventually used for his likeness on our $1 bill. Fun fact- Adults pay $25 for admission, but included in that is a one-time free visit within the next 10 days. Worth knowing if you’re sticking around for a little while and want to go back again.
  • Tatte Bakery & Cafe- So. Many. Pastries. So little time, and not a high enough metabolism. Cool place to catch up over yummy desserts and coffee.
  • Boston Public Library- Pass the smelling salts. This was the library of my dreams. I have a feeling this will become one of my haunts over the next couple of years…
  • Newbury Street- I ventured here twice in two days, much to my delight. Pavement Coffeehouse is probably a place I would order from to-go in the future. It’s a tight fit inside, but man, my Turkey BLT was so good. My friend Mel also swears by their Spanish lattes. Ate at an Italian place called Piattini on Sunday night, and their lobster ravioli was spot on.
  • Boston Public Garden- Blooming and beautiful in the spring time. There were tulips everywhere! The well-known and darling “Make Way for Ducklings” statues are here, as well. Only downside is me, Mel, and her husband were all congested and sneezy later that night. So if you come during this season, arm yourself with Benadryl!!

Some thoughts on public transportation…

Ah, The T. You know, I actually like the T. Its novelty will most likely wear off in months to come, but my experience with it has been just fine so far. I doubt that I’ll have my car when I move, which unnerves me, so me and the T will need to be on friendly terms.

Remember (This is more me talking to me, not me bossing you around…hehe):

  1. You need a CharlieCard.
  2. You need to put that CharlieCard in the ticket slot with the orange arrow facing up and in, or else you’ll stand there for about 10 excruciating seconds looking like a moron and holding up the queue.
  3. It’s not exactly fun getting on an overcrowded train that reeks of B.O. during rush hour and getting whacked in the butt when the door closes on you, but hey, it makes for a good story.
  4. Maintenance happens. At inconvenient times. And it will make you late for your dinner plans. So read the signs in the stations and pray that your friend has patience + time, or get an Uber.

That’s all for this round, friends. Thanks for dropping by!

xoxo

Hellooo, Sonoma County!

Eeeek, my first blog post! How fun. Let’s do this.

(Click play if you’d like to tune into my travel playlist while you read!)

Am I right in speculating that most of us have at least one happy place? You know, a place where you can go and exhale the fifty pounds of stress and tiredness you didn’t even realize was sitting on your shoulders? Where you can hit the eject button on life and recharge your battery, even if it’s just for five minutes?

For me, sometimes it’s the Mahon Library in downtown Lubbock. Sometimes it’s the quiet of my car as I drive to my nannying job before the sun has even peeked its head into the sky. And sometimes, on beautiful and rare occasions, it’s Northern California.

I recently took a few days off of work to visit some dear friends who live in the Santa Rosa area, a place I had both the pleasure and honor of being introduced to just over a year ago when I was there for a gospel outreach trip. I might have to do a throwback post for that one. It was incredible on so many levels.

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I managed to fit four days worth of stuff into my baby purple carry-on and a tote bag (y’all, this is good for me…I’m not an economical packer like 96% of the time) and THIS BOOK. I cannot. I won’t spoil anything here, but let me just say I was too thankful to be curled up in an armchair with a cat purring on my chest as I was finishing the last couple of chapters. Tears fell. I felt things.

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I picked up my obligatory chai. And I couldn’t resist snapping this one. Starbucks’ new cups for spring are too stinkin’ cute.

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I got into Santa Rosa’s airport — named after Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, by the way — late Saturday night and was greeted with a big smile and a bigger hug by my hostess. This was my view from her backyard the next day. Sigh.

In a nutshell, I spent three days catching up with old friends and making new ones. I got my bubble tea fix. I walked through a butterfly garden tucked into the back of Sonoma State University…and I walked out sneezing so hard that I legitimately worried a guy that was passing me. Thx, allergies. I let plane rides and ocean breezes carry away some of the dead weight my heart had been carrying around. I came back refreshed.

I like this excerpt from a Thought Catalog article by Alex Brueckner, and I found myself musing over it before and after my trip:

“The best part about airports lies in what they symbolize. Airports are places of bookends: new beginnings and long-awaited endings, arrivals and departures, hellos and goodbyes. We start in one city to end in another hundreds or thousands of miles away. You enter from a desert and exit into a blizzard. In from winter, out into summer. In from familiarity, out into something completely foreign. Or vice versa.

An airport is a place of transit, and not just geographically. I wish there was some sort of time-lapse to show how people change between departures and arrivals. When I arrive back home from being away, I’m never the same person as when I left.”

True dat. I’ll leave you with a few more photos from my little retreat. And my friends, if you’re feeling worn down, I hope you can make it to your own happy place. Wherever that may be.

Until next time! xo