beauty

Origami Owl - What it means to me.

8:39 PM


I've been getting Origami Owl Core charms from my family for a while now. I love how simple they are, and how they each mean something. Each charm comes with meaningful quote attached, and they are all small reminders to me throughout the day.

The glittering star represents what's "in the stars." "The hands that created the stars created your destiny" it reminds me.

The dream catcher is a constant reminder that my dreams are real and can be achieved, even though I'm not a little kid anymore.

The fox represents intuition. I'm the kind of person who has a strange sense of what's right and what's going on in any given situation. This charm reminds me to trust my gut.

The fairy comes with a mantra of "believe in yourself."

The big dipper, which you can't see in this photo because it's bent upward, is called kismet. My friends and I have a deal with kismet- which means fate. Everything happens for a reason, says kismet. We decided to name out house next year "Kismet" in honor of our friendship.

The anchor, "Captain of my soul," is one that I look at often. The anchor reminds me that I am anchored in Jesus Christ, and that there is more than this world. It reminds me to center myself on God and His son.

The rose-gold tag on the end actually says "Thy will be done," which is pretty self explanatory. It reminds me that it is God's will, not my own, that will prevail.

The origami elephant simply means "remember." This charm pretty much states the purpose of the bracelet: remember who you are.

The open rose-gold heart says to "open your eyes & open your heart to feel what you cannot see." This is yet another reminder to me of God's unending love. I cannot often see it, no, but it is there. As long as I keep focused on that, I am doing well.

Each of these charms hold stories for me. It helps that they're all rose gold, gold, and silver too. I love looking at them and simply being centered in my values and who I am. I highly recommend that you check out their brand, because I really enjoy their bracelets.

beauty

february favorites {hip hip hooray for alliteration and sun}.

6:55 PM



Hello everyone!

Switching it up from the usual life posts! Today I'm going to be writing about some of my favorite things this month. I think it's nice to look back and reflect on what's been great about life lately.

Starting off...

The 52 Lists Project. 
This is a book filled with lists for every week of the year. There's always something new to list, like people who brighten your day or your favorite characters. Plus there's another journal prompt at the end for you to write about related to the list. I really look forward to doing my list and journal every week.

Rimmel London Match Perfection Concealer  
I'm not the kind of person who spends lots and lots of money on high-end beauty products. Sometimes I'll splurge on something nice, but a majority of my makeup products are from the beauty isle of Target, Meijer, or Walmart. This concealer does what it says: match. When I put concealer on, I apply it to all of the spots over my face, and by the time I'm ready to press it in, it's nearly blended to the color of my skin. Sort of like a chameleon.

Perfectly Posh Honey Honey! Healing Body Crème
This stuff is magic. First of all, it smells like a sweet lemon drop dipped in honey without being too much. Second of all, it lasts all day. My skin feels the same softness after application at night as it does in the morning and throughout the day.

Perfectly Post Sleepy Sleep Stick
The Sleepy Sleep Stick is a miracle working. It smells of lavender and puts me to bed in minutes. Well, maybe not minutes. But it definitely helps to calm me down after a long day and put my mind to rest. I rub it on my temples and occasionally behind my ears as well.

Words I've been trying to live by this month:

Thanks for reading!




lifestyle

I can't live like this anymore.

11:20 AM


Have you ever said that to yourself?

"I can't live like this anymore."

Life seems to be taking me limb by limb, second by second to the next thing, the next event, the next activity. And soon I begin to realize that life is pulling me away and I don't even feel as if I'm living it. I'm just doing these things because people expect me to. I realize that I don't even like doing half of it. Why am I living this way?

I begin to question what it even means to be living. I ask myself this nearly every day. It never occurred to me that one person's way of living life to the fullest could be different than another. I always pictured "life to the fullest" as someone who is always having fun, always going out, always with friends, always happy, always something.

But life isn't like that for everyone, and it doesn't make the value of your life any less if it's not. For one, different people enjoy different things. If I were always with people, or always partying, I would be miserable. To me, living life to the fullest means spending it with people that I love; talking to God every day and focusing my inner center on Him; reading until my eyes feel dry; writing a blog post on a Wednesday night; calling my mom when I need her; volunteering to hangout with people who just want to feel loved and accepted; being able to cry with someone; creating a killer lesson plan; or laughing with my boyfriend about how ridiculous the girl at the table next to us sounds. Sometimes, it means doing absolutely nothing; just listening to the sounds around me- my housemates downstairs, the train passing by, and occasionally (at the best moments), absolutely nothing.

Life doesn't determine what's good, or what's full. You do. And if you're me, God does.

God creates a blank canvas for your life each and every day. He commands the sun to rise and fall, the stars to shine and he asks you to live by His word. Not Sarah's word, or Emily's word, or John's word, or Charlie's. Don't conform to the pattern of this world, he says. Be yourself, he says. Use your gifts to make this world a better place. Not someone else's gifts.

Don't let someone else's definition of "fullest" take you to places where you're uncomfortable. I promise you, you will begin to utter, "I can't do this anymore."

The words will haunt you each and every day, and if you're like me, you'll lose sight of what really matters.

And when you can no longer do it, slow down and look back to God; he will tell you that it's okay. It's okay that you can't handle the job, the classes, the sport, the club, the society, the organization, etc. It's okay, he says, because he's right there with you. And what you're apart of makes no difference. It doesn't change your heart. And just like that, you will know what matters again.

More and more you should be able to say, "I can do this."

Create your own version of "fullest" and model it after your beliefs and your likings. Follow it forever, and you will never regret the way that you live your life.



lifestyle

Being a cat person in a dog person world. An introvert in an extrovertworld.

5:56 PM

My name is Brooke and I am a cat person.

I repeat, my name is Brooke and I am a cat person.

That's right, World. YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT. I'm tired of being shamed for loving cats, and I'm here to take a stand on it. I'm sick and tired of being called a "crazy cat lady" just because I like cats.

I think this is a bigger issue than just cats vs. dogs, though. I think it's more of an introvert vs. extrovert kind of debate. Each side is good, but the extroverts know that their way is better.

It's hard to be a cat person in a dog person world, an introvert in an extrovert world. The truth is, this is something I've struggled with my entire life. As an introvert, I've compared myself to extroverts since middle school, and still do today in college. I wish my mind would shut up for just two seconds about "you should say something more," or "they probably think you're weird for not talking," and "be a little more bubbly, like her."


For some reason, society shames introverts. They pin us as shy, boring, and stiff. In reality, we're thoughtful, observant, and intellectual. It's hard to understand what's going on beneath the surface with an introvert, but there's a lot under there. When I take myself into consideration, there are stories, compliments, analysis,  questions, facts, etc. all inside. If you get close enough to me, you might be able to know those things.

It's become very hard for me to see past what society labels me. Shut-in. Antisocial. Quiet. Boring. Weird. But I'm getting better at it. I'm learning to say "no" to more things, especially the things that aren't me. Trying to fit in only makes it worse. Instead, I focus on things that make me happy: reading, writing, the Internet in general, painting, baking, doing crafts. When I do those things, I feel my self-confidence go up. Partially because I'm good at these things, and partially because they make me feel good. When we, as introverts, attempt to act like extroverts, we feel miserable and we fail. We must do the things that bring us pleasure.

I'm not blaming the extrovert here. It's not your fault/decision that the world chooses to value your natural qualities more than mind. But I do wish that more extroverts could begin to understand why we aren't like them. Or just accept it and move on.

I'm glad that we have both kinds of people, who prefer either dogs or cats. Without my extrovert friends, I'd have far fewer experiences to write and think about. Without my introvert friends, I would have far fewer people to relate to and talk deep subjects with.

But just to be clear, I'm an introvert and...I like to go out (sometimes); I like to adventure; I like to hangout with friends; I like to talk (if we're going past surface level); and I also like to get reading for bed at 8pm and read until my eyes can't open; to eat dinner alone in my room; to write in the early hours of the morning; and I love cats because they're chill and not as overwhelming as dogs.

I'm sure extroverts like that stuff too, but could you stop shaming me for liking it a little bit more?








faith

Let us go out without knowing.

11:18 PM

2017 will bring a lot of things.

It will bring me moving into my first house.

The start of my last year of college.

My teacher certification in two subject areas.

And a whole lot more that I cannot foresee.

Can you feel the anxiety of the unknown? I feel it very often. Much more than I would like to admit.

The future can be a very scary thing. I like to organize and plan my life as much as I can in order for it to go exactly my way. I look into future jobs, try to control where I will be, save as much money as I can, etc. But none of this makes me happy right now. It just makes me feel a little bit comfortable, and even more anxious. And with all of that, it won't make me happy when the time comes either.

This morning, will all of these worries still heavy on my chest and shoulders, I opened my devotional. At the top of the page it asked me a very important question: Will you go out without knowing?

My instincts tell me not to. But I know that my instincts are not usually matched with God's desires for me.

Worrying about our lives won't do anything. We must "go out" and live every day devoted to Him, on the track He has put us on, and focus on only that. God will never tell us what His plan is. But the more that we rest in knowing that He has it, and give up on pursuing the answers, the more we will be amazed at His beauty and wonder.

"He went out, not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8)

I know a few things that will happen this year. But I don't know a lot. I want to live this year like my devotional has written in, and hopefully ingrain that way of life forever. I want to "go out" into the world with eyes for God, His beauty, and His grace.

Thanks for reading. I hope everyone has had a great season :)


lifestyle

Winter Favorites 2016

9:07 PM


The snow has started to fall here in Michigan, which means a lot of things, but it also means Winter Favorites!

Favorite verse:


Galatians 1:10 -

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

This last year has been a season of great transformation, from a life of little meaning and thought to one of great complexity and growth. I've realized along the way that I cannot people please or placate as much as comes naturally to me. When I do things, I need to ask myself whether it's for others or for God.


Favorite food:


Raspberry chocolate chunk cookies. I make them and they are delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Maybe I'll share the recipe on this site soon :) 


Favorite memory:




This feels tough for me to think about right now. I've just gotten home from college for Christmas break, and looking back on this semester it all seems a haze of good and bad moments. 

Sometimes the good moments are hard realizations. What's really important. Who your real friends are. What you believe to be true in the world. I've had a lot of these hard moments this semester, and they've both worn me down and built me up. 

This season I have enjoyed the simple things: making things for loved ones, eating warm food, long drives home, grace, patient and helpful people. 

Favorite book:


As mentioned in my previous post, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist has been a very transforming book for me this season. Holy cow am I grateful for that piece of writing. 

Favorite quote:


"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." 

Favorite song:



Currently Reading: 


Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys: A story of a girl and her family taken away by the Soviet army during World War II. So far, it hasn't been bashful or shy on the horrors of this war. It shows a side of WWII that most people don't hear about, the other side of the evil. It's one of those books that you just can't put down. 

Thanks for reading! I'm hoping to make a few more blog posts while I'm home for the holidays, see some friends & family, and take some visits to others around the state. 


books and reading

"Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist / Book Review

9:04 PM


A friend of mine gave me Present Over Perfect last week as a gift. She knows me well; I don't even have to tell her when something is wrong, she just knows. She knows my deepest struggles, which is why she bought me this book.

The struggle with having it all together, trying to please everyone but those who I truly love, and not having enough time in the day for God is very near to me.

I picked this book up at the perfect moment. I'd just finished having a meltdown, thinking about next semester and all that it will bring. I teared up, but I didn't let them drop down on my cheeks. I simply blinked the pain back until I could contain it, numb it.

Little did I know that this book would hold the answers. Or maybe not the answers, but a path. A path that I believe God wants me to be on. I've been paving a way for myself that I thought met His needs, when I actually didn't have enough time for the most basic thing God asks of me: to walk with Him, to talk with Him, to have a relationship with Him.

I haven't been doing that.

Shauna Niequist wrote the book that tells people how to slow down, how to appreciate life for all that it is and not all that we want to make it. She shows us how to focus on our body, soul, and relationship with God. She emphasizes relationships with our family and friends versus a "busy" life that prevents us from cultivating meaningful relationships.

This is a book about living life the right way, they way that I've struggled to pinpoint for so long.

I highly recommend it to anyone who feels like their life is too hectic, who regrets not creating meaningful relationships with those who matter, or anyone who just wants to slow down.

It's not going to be easy, that's for sure. And not everyone is going to agree with the decisions you make regarding making peace in your life. It's not about them, though. It's about you and God.

The one thing I didn't like about the book was the unorganized feel it had to it. I understood the goals of each chapter, but not necessarily how they were interconnected within each part of the book.

Besides that, I give it 5/5 stars. What a great way to start the New Year.

And yes, that is my mermaid blanket underneath the book in this photo.


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