Thank U, Next.

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Thank you to my family for never giving up on me. Thank you for my California friends for loving me beyond convenience. Thank you, home, for the countless hours on the phone. Thank you, California, for shinning your sun upon my darkest nights.

2018 taught me love,
2018 taught my patience,
& how to handle pain.
It turned out amazing.
And for that I'll say
Thank u, Next.

Ready for this next year!

XO,

M

Hello, Stranger.

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Hi, beautiful readers, it has been some time. Far too long since I have written here. I could give you so many excuses as to where I have been, but that doesn’t seem as entertaining as the truth.

This whole blog process seems like a stranger. It feels foreign, writing my internal thoughts through the repetition of finger taps. I have missed it, tremendously. This was never my intention, to take a break, but life swept me up in it’s chaos.

The last time I wrote, my life was changing. I had the subconscious attitude to hunker down and survive as my life pushed and pulled me here and there. I wanted to show my strength. I wanted to show my ability to overcome. I wanted to show my bravery. So, I just faced it all head on.

Bravery is a beautiful thing, but sometimes it robs you of the power of vulnerability, the power of emotion, the power of mess.

Anyways, my life got flipped upside down and I was just trying to stay afloat in the midst of it. I lost my job. I no longer could see my immediate support system everyday. And I was no longer safe in a bubble of known conservatism. Having grown up in the church, I knew how the conservative side of America like the back of my hand. But, what happens when, in a way, I was pushed out of that safe bubble. Well, I began to discover new perspectives.

I walked, head held high, into a campus crawling with liberals, strangers, and challengers. I was pushed to the edges of what I believe, how I believe and who I am. These strangers that I walked the halls with, have sharpened me and watered me. They have created a new version of me that is more beautiful than the last.

Now, I am not saying that I have given up all my previous beliefs or radically thrown my moral compass out the window (even though I was given plenty of offers to do just that). I am just saying that the juxtaposition of my church-bubble compared to my new, daily, community of students has really made me find my own two feet to stand one. No longer am I accepting of a belief, lifestyle, or behavior simply because others want me to or because it was what I was taught, instead… I am discovering what I think.

The battle of this semester has distracted me from a lot of my hobbies and passions (like this blog). But I am back with a vengeance.

XO,

M

The Never Ending Possibilities

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Recently Christian (the boyfriend) has been talking about wanting to accomplish his goals. He has goals and tasks to accomplish that he has been putting off for, who knows how long. But he has decided to begin to cross those things off the ever-growing list of life’s to-dos. Over the last couple of weeks, I have watched him accomplish these things that he has wanted for so long.

His are as simple as building a pedal board, to as intricate as editing youtube videos, and as deep as beginning to take some online training classes. I have felt really inspired to simply go after those things that I want.

Something I have always wanted to do was create more. So, I am slowly trying to do that. I had a friend get married and so I made her & her husband a gift as opposed to just buying one. I have two big canvases that I am going to cover & repaint this summer, or at least I plan to.

I have been trying to go after new healing with my body and my attire. I have tried new styles and different kinds of outfits. I have sent multiple photos to my stylish little sister asking if I am achieving the trend/style that I am going for. But, despite my lack of confidence, I have done it. I have knotted my hair, my shirts, and bought new pairs of shoes. I have rocked the over-sized graphic tees, but also have tried to find confidence in showing off my shoulders. I plan to make small steps to continue to find creativity within my closet.

I have wanted to solidify relationships. Strengthening the ones that are already blossoming and nurture the ones that are growing. I feel like I am going out to coffee with someone every day, which is exhausting at times. But I am trying to find the balance of connection with others and connection with myself.

I have wanted to fall deep in love with pursuing my spirituality, again. It is something that I have always pursued, even when the fire hasn’t been there…but it hasn’t been something that I am always in love with. I have begun to listen to podcasts, talk about spiritual things with friends, and have begun to mediate (fix my mind) on Love.

If I am being totally honest…another goal/dream I have is to figure out my relationship with food and exercise. I hate having to share that, but it’s true. My relationship with food has been a difficult one. I have learned, over the years, that I am an emotional eater. And I have an irrational fear of moving my body. I have fought for years to grow in my love for myself and my body (learn more about my whole story here!) and I have grown so much in that. But, when I think about my goals I think about how I want to get to a better place with those things. I want to feel good in my skin. I want to strengthen my body. And I want to fuel my body with good things. But, I am scared.

Another wise moment from Christian was when he told me to stop worrying about the what-ifs. I had this overwhelming concern about the working out and the learning to eat well. What if I fail? What if I am doing it for the wrong reasons? What if I mess up?

But, what if I succeed?

I think the point in crossing these things off of our lists is not about accomplishing, but I think it is about trying. It is about trying to go after the things in front of us. The things that have been nagging on us. The things that pull on our hearts.

What if I tried to go after these things? What if I tried to find a healthy balance in my eating and exercise? What if I tried to create more?

The other day I was talking to a friend that was struggling. She is battling an intense war for her hope and she was having a hard day. I sent her a video of me reminding her that the day was almost over and a new day would begin again tomorrow. A new day full of new blessings, new opportunities, and new hope. It was in that moment that I realized that each challenge, every single one, is contained within a single day. Each day we get an opportunity to have a different attitude and perspective.

THAT is our challenge. Our challenge is to just do our best each day. Our challenge is to pursue our lists of goals and dreams each day. It is about making small steps towards crossing those things off. It is not about accomplishing everything.

So, today I created. Today, I ate ice cream. Today, I was happy. Today, I fought against the afternoon grumpiness. Today I did my best.

So, What are you trying in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

XO,

M

Y E S .

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Recently life has felt a bit mundane. It feels like I have fallen into a rut of doing the motions of what is required from me…wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. How boring. I absolutely do not want to live my life in a boring and mundane way. I want to live with vibrancy, excitement, and enthusiasm.

One of the things that has felt particularly important this season is the word YES. Every time I say “yes” I feel this extra level of responsibility. I feel this extra level of importance behind each of my agreements. I have been feeling like I really need to say “yes” more.

I have talked to a friend or two about their life and they have had a similar feeling of mundane. (Have you been feeling that, too?)

So…what to do with all this information?

I have decided to be a bit more intentional with my “yes.” (I use the word “intentional” quite a bit. So, I thought I would explain. I use the word “intentional” to mean actively pursuing or going after with ferocity.) By this, I mean that I am searching for moments to say “yes” and I am embracing them as they come. I am eagerly saying “yes” to most of the things that have come my way. And with each of those opportunities, I am sacrificing.

I am sacrificing my original plan. I am sacrificing my normal. I am sacrificing in order to embrace the new “yes.”

I am learning a ton.

What if I did not plan every moment of every day? What if I said “yes” to fun as opposed to “yes” to plans? What if I embraced my opportunities each and every day?

Some of you might be thinking…”Well, that’s a great concept Maranda…prove you’re doing it.” Well, about a week ago I got asked to attend a concert three hours away. They needed an answer pretty immediately and I had about 30 minutes to think about it. A prayer and a good song later, I was committed.

Two days later and I was in the car and on my way.

The concert was great, but the friends were even better. We heard great music, got out of town, and laughed the entire trip. I am so happy that I went. But, in order to embrace that experience…I had to sacrifice my time, sleep, and money in order to go.

Now, this is a great example that makes the sacrifices completely seem worth it. But, sometimes the sacrifices aren’t as easy to make. Sometimes, they create some discomfort. And sometimes, the “yes” was not worth it in the end. But, better to try than to question what if.

So, I write this blog post to urge you to embrace life a bit more. Say “yes” to the scary things. Say “yes” to the dreams. Say “yes” to the new adventures (even if that just looks like taking yourself out to coffee!!).

Your life is what you make it.

What is your newest (and most exciting) “yes”? What are you embracing in your life? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

XO,

M

Balancing Act

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Recently I have had kind of a bit of a rough time. We are two month in to 2018 and this year has been a challenge. I think, to sum up the year in one word so far would be balance. I have been learning to have balance at work, my personal life, my emotions, and basically everything else you could have to learn to balance.

Unfortunately, finding balance isn’t easy. But the lack of balance is even harder.

My process in searching for balance has looked a lot like me learning where I end and where my surroundings begin. My surroundings have been raging. There have been a dozen different things in my surroundings that have begged for my attention. The bummer thing is that I have given my attention, time, and energy to my surroundings. And, when I list out the things that have taken my attention externally, I understand why I have done what I’ve done. My friends, family, work, and adulting responsibilities are valid things to give my time to. But I think my problem is that I have given the best of my attention, time, and energy to these things and have given myself the left overs of my attention, time, and energy. THAT is my problem.

In January, I was really struggling with overthinking. I needed balance between the things I loved and my responsibilities. I was really caught up in my performance as opposed to celebrating who I was. I was searching for places and moments of failure. I was always looking for my boss, friends, and boyfriend to be disappointed in me. It sucked. And I felt consumed by the emotion of it all. I was crying often and became consumed with fear. But then I finally got my head out of the ground and realized that there was sunshine in the sky. I had forgotten the necessary balance needed between my innate value and my desire to grow. It took me way too long to remember that I am worthy, simply because I Am. I had forgotten that it isn’t about performance or what I can accomplish, but it is about enjoying my life and celebrating my growth. But I also had to remember to respect and honor everyone else’s responsibility to communicate with me if there was a problem. The only thing I can do is be the best version of my self– which includes asking questions for more clarity, being honest and vulnerable with my feelings and fears, and, lastly, allowing myself space to blossom to my full capacity.

And then came February and I really began to recognize the amount of distractions surrounding me. I watched myself get caught up with these nonsense things. I saw myself go from activity to activity and they all required me to pour out. I was pouring out my time and energy and I would return home with nothing left to give to my own heart. I had lost the balance of getting filled up and pouring out. I had lost my balance of valuing myself. I felt disconnected from myself and I felt a bit numb. But I realized what I was doing. I realized that my heart had not been given the time to express or breathe.

So where is balance and how do I find it?

One of the biggest keys is giving the best of my time and attention to the things that should have my best. For me, that means taking time to sit and connect with my heart and connect with The Lord. Then– my close relationships should get my time. And then comes all my other responsibilities. It is too common to give your best time and your best amounts of attention to work, yet work isn’t the most important thing that we have in our lives.

I think another thing that is super important is writing out your priorities. For me, this looked like writing out that my priority was to be the best version of myself and to strive for growth but not be consumed by it. It, also, looked like me writing out which relationships are most positive towards my heart and well being. In my moments of lack, I prioritize the relationships that fill me up.

Lastly, as weird as it might seem, I allowed my heart space to breathe. I verbalized (yes, out loud) that my heart was free to feel, free to need, and free to speak. I gave my heart space to be true to itself–which is actually allowing true Maranda to have space.

Doing these three things really helped me to find my balance (or at least move towards balance). It is allowing me space and time

Have you been feeling meh? What has 2018 been like for you so far? I would love to hear in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

XO,

M

PS: What are your thoughts on the new design?! Let me know!

Hello Twenty-eighteen

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With the start of a new year it is a time to be fresh, new, and reinvent yourself a bit. (I have a tendency to jump on any opportunity like that…lol). I wanted to take this opportunity for all that it is worth…saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming in 2018.

This year as I reflected back to all of 2017’s adventures, I was flooded with all of the things this year held. They were definitely not all good, like the week spent concerned that my boyfriend’s dad might die from a torn aorta (although I am super thankful for the time to get to know his family) or the difficulty of a full-time college course load (including online biology). But, despite 2017’s difficult things I am so thankful for all that 2017 taught me. I learned to be strong and endure whatever I am facing. 2017 taught me to be a woman that is steadfast. No matter the problem, or who created it, I faced each mountain head-on. 2017 taught me that I am a whole lot more capable than I once thought. I realized that I have skills, abilities, & I deserve to trust myself a bit more. 2017, also, taught me that I still have a ways to go. I have more mountains to climb. But after spending this time looking back and paying the deserved appreciation to 2017, I feel ready to say goodbye & start fresh.

I want 2018 to be a year where I accomplish a few things…

  1. I want to slow down and savor each moment. I want to live in a state of perfect peace, regardless of if there is tension, stress, or pressure around me. This is a habit I have begun to cultivate in the last few months…replacing performance for adequacy. When I decide to live in peace and with an attitude of adequacy I am able to enjoy each moment that I exist in.
  2. I want to plant seeds of love instead of fear. Love is inviting. Love is forgiving. Love is the ultimate force. Fear hinders connection. Fear is all about self preservation. I want to forgo my protection and instead I want to embrace the freedom within reckless, unending love.
  3. I want to nurture my body more. I have struggled with my body my whole life (check out the post all about it!) and I am tired of ignoring my body. I am an advocate for both the self love and body positive movement, but I want to press in even more. I want to give my body the nurturing it needs…good food, movement, relaxation, water, vitamins. I want more baths and more fun. I want more adventure and more breath in my lungs. I want a constant flow of good things going into my body.
  4. I want to grow my dreams and see them blossom. I really feel the inspiration to pursue my dreams and to believe in them. I want to spend time really looking at my dreams, discovering them, and then putting in the time and energy needed in order to grow them. I want my dreams to come true and am determined to see that happen this year.

One of the resolutions for the year that I wrote in my journal was that I want to take myself more seriously. (This doesn’t meant too seriously). I want to actually believe in myself. I want to believe that the things listed above truly can happen. I have decided that in 2018 I am simply going to believe it is possible. So, with that in mind…I am settled on carrying out everything I want for this year.

I am thankful for what is to come & for the new-ness of this year. This photo is of a sunrise from inside CVG (Cincinnati airport). It represents fresh, new, and the hope within this new year. I am believing for the good things of 2018 and hope you are, too. This is our year; make it exactly what you want.

How was 2017 for you? What are you wanting to accomplish in 2018? Do you have resolutions? Leave your thoughts & answers in the comments found on the left hand-side (on desktop) or down below (on phone or tablet!)

XO,

M

A New Day

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For now, I want my main posting day to be Wednesdays. My thought behind this is that I feel like Wednesday’s could use some more lovin’ and because it seems like everyone needs a pick-me-up on Wednesdays.  But, the idea of being confined to just posting once a week sounds far too restrictive. So, be prepared for weekly Wednesday posts but also, some weeks you might get a little extra lucky and hear from me twice in one week.

I am sure most of you, if not all, have seen the wave of responses to Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 Golden Globe speech or the #TimesUp hashtags. (Warning: this post is about that, too!) She became the first African American woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Award. During her acceptance speech she mentioned racial injustice, freedom of speech, sexual harassment, and the women that have fought for their lives & rights. I have listened to Oprah’s speech multiple times and each time I am moved to tears. Her eloquent, yet simple, word choices mixed with the depth within her voice expresses the intensity of her messages. (Does anyone else want Oprah to read them bedtime stories?! or is that just me….)

I do not know what it is like to be an African American, or to experience such an impactful moment for my race, but I can recognize this as one of those moments. I am moved by the honor it is to witness one of these moments.

More than this being a speech that has racial impact, this speech (and the attire color of the Golden Globes) has major gender equality impact. Everyone in attendance decided to wear black to support the #TimesUp hashtag. The black attire was to draw attention to the gender inequality and sexism that this world is, and has, experienced.

I recognize that I haven’t given either of these topics (race, or gender equality) the time they deserved. I don’t mention these deep topics to make light of them,  but to shine light on what was talked about. But also, I want to point out the fact that I am a privileged white woman. I know that because of that fact I can never know the experiences of someone that is not like me.

But, I can recognize when I see a moment that changes the course of history.

This speech created a wave that will, hopefully, change the current way of doing things. I cannot listen to this speech without feeling the impact of the women, people, and leaders that have walked before me. I cannot listen to this speech without feeling a change within my own heart. I cannot listen to this speech without an overwhelming sense of pride in being a woman.

Oprah said that “a new day is on the horizon” and I am deciding to walk within that new day. I am believing for racial equality. I am believing for gender equality. I am believing for a better tomorrow. So, I urge you to rise up and walk within the light of this new day.

This post isn’t my commentary on the topics she mentioned, but it is my response to this wave and new day. I could not let this moment pass without responding. I refuse to look back at this moment and have not responded.

Have you watched her speech? How are you going to respond to this moment? Let me know in the comments!

XO

M