*Simply Me* || A Link-Up

Saturday, November 28, 2015

It's been a sweet, relaxing long weekend so far! I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was absolutely LOVELY! Mine certainly was!

Tonight, I'm linking up with Liz who blogs over at Sundays with Sophie, for *Simply Me*.  It is so much fun getting to know and connect with other bloggers this way! Added bonus: It gets me writing! Always a plus :))

sundays with sophie

What was the first car you drove?  Are you still driving it now?
The first car I drove is still my car today, yes! It's a 2006 silver Honda Accord. I like it! It's a pretty reliable car!

The first dance you went to was?
The Halloween dance at my middle school. I was in the 7th grade. I had never really been a fan of dances, and middle school was not my finest time. I was verbally bullied quite a bit by both mean girls AND mean boys. But on this occasion, I kinda liked the idea of dressing up in a costume. I knew I wouldn't stand out too much because everyone else would be in costumes as well. As time went on, and I grew up, I began to appreciate and attend school dances a bit more often. 

What about your first job?
I started working at a summer day camp when I was 16. They hired me as both a counselor, AND a director for the annual summer talent show. It was so great because THAT was where I discovered that I knew that I KNEW my biggest passion in life! Passing on my love for dance and music to children. I have not stopped doing it since then! 

Tell us about the first phone you had?
AHAHAHAHA! That's funny! In high school, I had one of those motorola razor phones! The flippy ones. Remember how excited everyone was about them?? And at the time my excitement was over the fact that it was pink, and to me it looked so cool! HA!

What was the first book you read? (an actual chapter book)
That would be Charlotte's Web! My 2nd grade teacher was actually reading it to us as a class, but I loved it so much that I checked it out of the library and decided to just read ahead! That was the day I fell in love with reading!

My Heart is Here

Friday, November 27, 2015

Currently, I have about 12 topics for blog posts sitting in my "drafts"...and I'll most likely write all of them. But I wanted to take the time to talk about the blogging EPIPHANY I had last night...and kinda this morning. It wasn't a huge epiphany, mind you, it was more of a realization really. A realization of why I do this whole blogging thing.

I started blogging for THREE REASONS...
1) Writing is a great outlet for me...and I really like it.
2) To encourage people who are going through the same things I went through. To let them know that there is someone else out there who UNDERSTANDS.
3) To educate those who are willing to listen...those who may not understand, but who are willing to try.

I pretty much wrote whenever the inspiration struck. And more often than not, it wouldn't strike for days and days...sometimes weeks at a time. I would get very discouraged because, apparently, it seemed that I wasn't writing what people wanted to read. I would read other blogs written by young women around my age, who had hundreds, sometimes thousands of followers. And I have no idea how they got there. I mean, they had to start from somewhere, right? What exactly did they have to do to attract all of those readers? And why can't I do that?

I do think that writing is a calling for me. I truly think it's something that the Lord wants me to do. But the busyness of three different jobs make me very tired and run down. I don't have the energy to write as much, or as often, as some of these other ladies do. I become intimidated by the other blogs I see, and my brain has its go-to reaction of, "What's the point? I'm not as good as they are." Just like pretty much everything else in my life. I get excited about trying something, then I decide I can't do it, and so I stop. I wish I could just shut this mentality off, and I wish I could just say that I'm going to work on changing it. But, unfortunately, having mood disorder prevents me from doing that {and I've accepted that about myself}.

Even so, I don't want to hesitate to click the publish button. I want to respond to this passion, this calling, that God has pressed upon my heart. I want to follow my own advice to be authentic and real, and to produce material that will be helpful or encouraging to someone else, as well as material that can also be entertaining. I also know that I want writing to be a part of my future. So...it's time to start getting serious...to take this passion from the Lord seriously. I've given this blog a new look that I'm very happy with {simple but pretty}. And I'm no longer going to question whether or not my content is "worth" sharing. I am well aware that there are people out there who are not going to agree with what I have to say, nor are they going to understand why I am sharing it. But that's okay. They don't have to. Even though I don't necessarily fully believe in my ability to do this, I am making a conscious choice to no longer be ashamed of my heart...at least not here.


Thankful || A Letter to my Cousins

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Thanksgiving this week...and I want all of you ladies to know, I've been thinking of you quite a lot lately. 

All of those summers and holidays spent at Grandma & Grandpa's house...I am thankful for those times. Those were good times. I love being able to say that I grew up in a big family full of cousins to play with, and that my whole extended family was so close-knit.

For crying out loud, look how cute we were! :))
{And this isn't even all of us!}

I will admit, as we all got older, I had a tough time. I was definitely the cousin who was adopted. Even though the rest of you probably didn't actually remember that I was adopted {as in, it never needed to be mentioned}, but I think it was still pretty obvious. I had a lot of different personality traits from the rest of you. I was interested in different things. I was a pretty anxious child, as you will recall. I hated going on those wild tube rides with you because I was too afraid. For awhile, I was even afraid to swim with you on very wavy days in Lake Michigan because I was too afraid. I was never much of a "risk taker"...and I was sure that all the rest of you thought I was boring and "too safe". Looking back on it, I really do wish I'd had more of an open mind to pretty much everything.

Eventually, I got it into my head that, whenever I was around you, I had to change myself so that you would accept me. I tried to overcompensate for feeling left out by working EXTRA HARD to try and become a person you'd actually WANT to include. I did try too hard. It was quite exhausting actually. To this day, I don't know why, but I was so insecure, and so sure that I would never, ever be enough to be loved and PART of the rest of you. Even in age, I was stuck in between two younger, and three older cousins...and I didn't know where I fit. But I promise, this had nothing to do with any of you. It really was just all in my head. My anxiety. My constant self-esteem struggles. I can convince myself of any little thing sometimes, and I recreate things in my mind to be a lot worse than they are. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wasn't even capable of ALLOWING myself to fit in because of my self-sabotaging tendencies. You know...the vicious cycle of wanting to feel accepted, but then not feeling accepted because of being so certain that I am not worthy of being accepted. {WOW! Does that even make any sense at all?}

Just so you know...I don't feel that way anymore. Not even a little bit. 

OLDER COUSINS: I hope you know that I wanted to BE you! To be exactly like you! I was your biggest fan and greatest admirer. I wanted to read all of the books you were reading, listen to all the same music, watch the same movies, and do every little thing exactly like you did. In fact, I still wanna be you! We are all adults now, and the age gap has closed, and I'm glad for that. I'm glad we can all be closer.

YOUNGER COUSINS: I always wanted to be the person that YOU wanted to be. And, quite honestly, I'm sure I wasn't {again, always tried too hard...HA!}...but I want you to know that you are beautiful! And I hope you know that I am always, ALWAYS here for you now. Because it's so true...when you have a cousin, you have a friend for life! 

I miss all of you, and I wish we could spend more time together and less time "adulting" :))

This is a letter I've been wanting to write for a long time, but I wanted it to be "just right". And even now, writing it, it's not turning out exactly the way I wanted it to. But that's okay, because I think my point came across. Which is...I love you all so very much. I love who you are. And even though I really wish I could have connected with you more when we were young, we have so much more life ahead of us, and I cannot wait to keep connecting as adults!

Happy Thanksgiving, my cousins, my friends!
I am thankful for ALL of you!


Linking up with Emily over at Ember Grey Blog

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

A Letter to Myself...just as I am

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dear Emily as she is, right now...

Look at everything you are doing! You have so much going on and it is ALL GREAT! You love your jobs {yes, all three of them}, you're happy to still be taking ballet class every week, and you're so thrilled about singing again. It's so great to be singing again, isn't it? You forgot how wonderful that felt! You've got all kinds of wonderful people in your life. You are blessed beyond measure, and you are fully aware of that.


There shouldn't be a "but"...and still there is.
It's just one big internal struggle. Oh, you've been trying so hard to fight it. Any extra time you have, you do your best to surround yourself with people and things you enjoy. Late at night, you come home and watch movies and desperately try to distract your overactive {and I mean OVERACTIVE!} brain.

You stay very very busy, whether it's with teaching dance, teaching school, or looking after that sweet baby boy two days a week. You try to set small goals for yourself, but you rarely follow through because you come home and you're so unbelievably tired. And unhappy with who you are. Even though you KNOW it's not true, you feel very insignificant. You can't love what you see in the mirror no matter how hard you try. The unhealthy thoughts that you hoped wouldn't resurface have definitely resurfaced. All you ever want to do anymore is sleep and cry. And basically that's what happens when you find yourself alone.

Why does this have to be so hard? Why, when there is so much good in your life, are you still so sad...for no real reason at all? Why are you so sure that you will never truly be loved by anyone? That everyone, eventually, will just want to be "rid of you"?

You're depressed, and it's okay. You're anxious, and it's okay. You have an illness, and it's okay. You know that God is always good, and He knows how much pain you're in right now. He wants to heal your heart. Please let Him. Please allow yourself to get out of the way, and watch Him tear down, brick by brick, the high walls you've built up around yourself. You KNOW it will hurt, but you also know that the Lord will be there with you every step of the way.

I hope you'll eventually learn to see yourself the way HE SEES YOU. You are already loved. You are already valued. You have purpose and worth. God sees all of this, and so do other people in your life...and yet, you don't believe that. Oh, I hope you will soon. I really do hope you will soon!

I wish it was just as easy to internalize all of THESE words and believe them, as it is to internalize all of the thoughts of unworthiness, not enough-ness, and just plain sadness. But I know it will take time. Lots of time. But you'll do it. You will.

Emily as she HOPES to be, soon