Some Songs I’ve Been ~jammin’~ to

Hellooooooo internet!  I don’t know how many of you guys stick around and read what I post and I realize this blog is slightly irregular in its posting schedule, which probably contributes to an irregular readership.  If you’re just here for the song suggestions just skip this next paragraph and be on your merry way!

This blog mainly serves to get the thoughts bouncing around my head to somewhere where they are written out and I can go back to them.  There’s been a lot of things I’ve been wanting to write about this semester but I have hated almost everything I’ve started.  I have really wanted to do a post on some of my current favorite songs so I figured I’d do that now.  So here ya go y’all, whenever you listen to this playlist just picture me dancing while belting them out in my car, because that’s how I enjoy them best.

*Disclaimer – Yes, I realize my taste in music is that of a love-struck preteen.  Carry on.  Also I included a lyric with each song which I regret doing kind of but I’ve spent too long on this to erase it all sooooo here it is.  Also here is a neat little playlist with all the songs in it because I’m a kind person and want to make your life easier.  You’re welcome.

Nice Guys // Colbie Caillat // “She’s blinded by a smooth talker telling her good looking lies”

Mine // Phoebe Ryan // “I’ll pull it together and fix myself eventually”

Love Like This // Kodaline // “It’s as simple as a change of heart”

Cherry Wine (Live) // Hozier // “Her eyes and words are so icy”

Where Does the Good Go // Tegan and Sara // “Look me in the heart and unbreak broken, it won’t happen”

Roll With the Punches // Lenka // “When life tries to knock all the wind out of you, you’ve got to roll, roll, roll with the punches”

Stitches // Shawn Mendes // “Got a feelin’ that I’m going under”

Hollow // Tori Kelly // “Wrap me in love, fill up my cup”

Together // Kina Grannis // “You were the clouds and I was the moon”

I’m Yours // Alessa Cara // “But I tore down my walls, and opened my doors, and made room for one, so baby I’m yours”

Me & My Girls // Selena Gomez // “Tonight it’s just us”

Silver Lining // Kacey Musgraves // “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining, it’s gotta be a cloudy day”

Forever // Andy Grammer // “You only got two eyes, two lips so why, it shouldn’t really take long at all”

The Gambler // Fun. // “I won’t just buy you a rose, I will buy the flower shop, and you will never be lonely”

Just Smoke // Mumford and Sons // “My hands are shaking from holding so tight for so long”

Perfect // One Direction // “If you like midnight driving with the windows down, and if you like going places we can’t even pronounce”

You Are in Love // Taylor Swift // “Small talk, he drives, coffee at midnight”

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Confessions of a Girl Who Tried (And Failed) to Do it All

I’ve survived midterms week.  I began this week equipped with a lengthy to do list, coffee, highlighters, and a decent supply of ice cream.  Weeks like this are rough.  I don’t sleep well, I don’t feel well, and I feel a little crazy.  Stress and I don’t mix well, I learned that full well last semester.  I become a sleep deprived zombie with little to no energy and often feel physical symptoms of my stress.  This semester has been exponentially better in the stress department, but weeks like this come around to remind me just how bad I can feel if I don’t manage my stress well.

I’m the kind of person that tries to do it all.  I go to bed every night and set crazy high expectations for the next day.  It goes something along the lines of, “Okay so I’ll set my alarm for 6:30, so I can get up, shower, eat breakfast maybe read a little bit, and pack a lunch.  Then I’ll get to class early, ask my professor about my project, use my break in between classes to do notes in advance, and maybe apply to like 8 internships.  After I get back from class I should reorganize my whole room, work out, and then make myself a gourmet meal and then have time to talk to Person A, B, and C, do my devotions, watch 3 episodes of my favorite show, and finish all my homework and make it in bed by midnight!!!!”

Sounds awful, right?  I know reasonably I can’t (and won’t) do all these things.  But I constantly push myself to think that I can “do it all.”  And I feel extremely guilty when I don’t accomplish even a fraction of what I’ve set out to do.  I beat myself up about it, and it kind of ruins my life.  See image below:

imgfunnyI see people who seem like they can do it all, and I feel like I should be able to as well.  People who manage to sleep a decent amount, dress well, stay fit, eat decent meals, ace all their exams, work, lead clubs, and still have time for all their friends and even a boyfriend or girlfriend.  I cannot do this.  These people are aliens, probably.  Or have clones.   I’m not sure, feel free to fill me in on your secrets if you are this person.

Trying to do it all also seems to come with a friend I like to call “the fear of missing out,” or FOMO.  I have a bad case of FOMO.  I have a hard time saying no to anything because what if I miss out??  FOMO hits me hard because for one, I am a people pleaser.  I like people to be happy with me.  I don’t like to tell them no.  I also get a lot of satisfaction from being the person who is always there.  I like being readily available to help solve any personal crisis or even small mishap.  Got dumped?  I’ll be there with ice cream and a movie in 5 min and have no qualms listening to you talk about it for the next month.  Need a ride?  I’ve got you.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

But here’s the secret guys:

You can’t do it all.  You’re going to miss out.  And you know what?

You’re going to be okay.  The world will keep on turning.  And missing out isn’t the worst thing.  Sometimes you just need to sit at home and do absolutely nothing.  And that FOMO will creep in.  And so will the guilt for not being somewhere else.  But it will be exactly what you need.  And that is good, and that is healthy, and that is okay.

So fellow “do it all”ers, STOP.  Leave the superhuman strength to the superheros.  Learn from my mistakes and save yourself from the overwhelming guilt, months of sleep deprivation, and self-hatred.  You’ll feel better and your life will seem less like a list of obligations and more like something you’re excited about.  Trust me on this one, this is one experience you do want to miss out on.  🙂

The World is a Scary Place

Two people from my college died this week.

One of them was murdered, and the other is suspected of drowning.

This same week nine lives were lost in a shooting at a community college in Oregon.

What a scary world we live in.

This is not the first time students have died since I have been on campus.  Last year, Hannah Wilson, a senior, was murdered during Little Five Weekend.  My first year two freshman girls students died within the first two months of me being there.

Rachael Fiege didn’t even get to attend her first college class.  She had been on campus for only two days when she fell down a flight of stairs, sustained severe injuries, and was thought to be sleeping and never woke up.

These stories terrify me.  College should be a place where one feels safe and things like this shouldn’t happen.  But they do.  And they aren’t the only victims.  My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to suicide.  To students on campus who are raped.  To anyone who has had their personal sense of safety taken from them.  I ache for the families and friends of these students.

I didn’t personally know any of these students, but to many, these students are more than just a name you read in a headline.  They are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, peers and students.  They are people missing from lives of those who loved them, who have to learn to live without them.  An empty bed.  One less place setting at mealtime.  A vacant chair in a classroom.  These students mattered.

What can we learn from these horrible things?

We need to care for one another.  We need to extend kindness to our peers – spread a smile and let them know we are looking out for one another.  Most importantly, we need to realize we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  Hug your friends a little tighter and let those close to you know how much they mean to you.  Because I’m sure the families and friends of these victims would give anything to be able to do so once more.  Fi you think someone you know may be in danger or needs help, do not hesitate to call someone.  We are not invincible.  Never let your friends walk alone and always be sure they get home safely.

I don’t know what needs to change so these things do not happen, but what I do know is can pray for the safety of my campus and the many other schools all over the world.

Stay strong, Hoosiers.

An Old, Dusty Mirror

3571_15153_lgI’m my own worst critic.

I can easily be the person to point out my quirks and poke fun at them for others’ amusement.  It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself, right?  What’s not good is that I am an expert on everything that is wrong with me, constantly gathering information and wondering how much of it anyone notices.  It’s so unhealthy, but it’s not the kind of unhealthy people see because it’s all bouncing around my head.

I tell myself horrible things that I would never let anyone else tell someone that I loved.  “You’re ugly.” “You’re fat.” “Your eyes are too small, your thighs too big, your stomach not flat enough.”  “You’re not smart enough, ambitious enough, interesting enough, or worthy of being noticed.” “You’re disposable, unworthy of love, and an afterthought.”

There are some days I believe these things more than others.

I put an immense pressure on myself to be something unobtainable.  Tina Fey said it best:

Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall butt, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, and the arms of Michelle Obama. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

Joking aside, this is not attainable!  But we somehow think it can be if we just try hard enough.

And I don’t think I’m alone on this.  Everyone has that friend who has told you about this “enormous, horrible zit” on their face that you wouldn’t have even noticed had they not pointed it out.  Our own flaws seem enormous to us.  When we notice others however, we only seem to notice what we don’t have or wish we had.  Comparison is a dangerous game.  And it leaves you wildly unhappy with who you are.

Something I’ve had to learn, relearn, and learn again is how uniquely and perfectly I was created.  And how lucky I am.  I have a body that allows me to move, think, talk, and learn with no issue.  I come from a family whose parents are still happily married.  I am able to attend a good university and obtain a degree that provides me with a gateway to a career.  I have great friends, a roof over my head, and live comfortably enough that I am able to treat myself every once in awhile.

I am beautifully and fearfully made.  I was made on purpose, my every detail thought of to allow me to fulfill my purpose.  I was loved before I even existed.  I was loved before I knew what love was.  Jesus died for me, for every wrong, horrible, wretched thing I have ever done and will do.  He loved me before I chose to love Him back.  He sees my heart, and He finds it far more beautiful than my outward beauty.

I do not live as if I am a beautiful creation.  But I want to.  I’ve seen so much improvement in how I view myself over the past few years and have a long way to go.  And the more I grow in my walk with Christ, the more I learn about how He sees me and how I should see myself.

It’s like realizing you’ve been looking in an old, dusty mirror all your life and realizing He sees me in one that’s crystal clear.  And it’s pretty beautiful.

Two Decades

As of today, I’ve been alive for two full decades.  247 months.  7,669 days.  662,606,701 seconds.  Tomorrow I’ll go from being a twenty-nothing to a twenty-something.  Twenty years seems like an eternity, but at the same time I feel like I’ve just begun.  I’ve lived through the turn of the century, multiple “ends of the world,” the 9/11 attacks, and 4 presidents.  I’ve graduated high school, voted, and made it through 2 years of college.

I’ve listened to music on cassettes, CDs (and mastered the art of not letting it skip on my CD player), mp3 players, and online on sites like Pandora and Spotify.  I rented VHS movies from Blockbuster and was always sure to rewind them before I returned them.  I can remember when Netflix was just a service that let you get DVDs mailed to your house for a monthly fee.  I remember hearing about TIVO and how cool it was to be able to pause shows or record them for later.

I’ve seen a lot in these two decades.  I remember after 9/11 going to pick up my grandma from the airport when she came to visit us at Christmas.  Airport security had changed so much and I remember noticing, even at age 7.  I can remember sitting in front of the TV seeing the news cover various tragedies – the Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon, and Aurora.  Gay marriage has been legalized, a huge economic recession occurred, and the second wave of feminism is in full swing.

A lot has changed.  I’ve changed.  I’ve grown up from the dorky, shy little girl with glasses to a dorky, slightly less shy young woman (now with contacts 🙂 ).  Everything in my life is different than I would have imagined it to be when I was younger, in the best way possible.  I have fallen down, gotten back up, fallen down again and finally learned from my mistakes.  I’ve learned who I am and what I stand for and what I think is okay and what I won’t accept.  I’ve grown and learned and still have so much more growing and learning.  I’m finally realizing I’m happy to be who I am and embracing it.

I am so very thankful I have made it through these past 20 years – through every hill and valley.  I couldn’t have made it this far without my family, friends, and most importantly my faith.  You are the reason I am who I am today.

I look forward to hopefully many more years of living, learning, and adventures.  Thanks for tagging along for the ride.

Kelly

Update: I’m still alive

I’m ALIVE!  Remember at the beginning of the summer where I said I was going to blog a ton over the summer?  Well clearly that didn’t happen, but I am back now after a much needed summer break.

This summer honestly wasn’t eventful enough to write a whole lot about.  I worked.  I read a lot of books.  I got to spend a lot of time with my friends.  I took a trip to Holiday World.  I got my wisdom teeth out and acted like a total weirdo on the drugs.

I am in the middle of my second week of classes and now have a junior standing.  Half the time I just sit back and think about how crazy fast time has gone by.  It doesn’t seem like I’ve made the move from Fort Wayne to Bloomington 3 times already.

I typically love the beginning of the school year – I’m a huge nerd when it comes to new school supplies, it’s always great seeing people I haven’t seen all summer, and it feels nice to have a very established routine.  A fresh start.  This year has already brought so many new things!  I have a new roommate (who I love), a new job (which I’m getting used to) and a new major (which I’m hoping I will stick with).  I also managed to break my phone screen the first week of class and learned the hard way to really investigate where you get it fixed – I ended up paying way too much money!

The year does hold some constants though, as I am living in the same apartment with two of the same girls and continuing to lead a group of freshman girls on campus through Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.  This semester will also be the busiest and possibly most challenging one I’ve had so far, but I know if I work hard I can make it through.  I’m taking 18 credit hours on top of working 6-10 hours a week at my new job and all of my Chi Alpha commitments.

Junior year has already hit me kind of hard in the sense that I already feel a lot of pressure and anxiety about the future.  I turn 21 in two weeks which is just weird to me.  It’s one of those ages I guess that I really start to feel old.  Plus it’s my last milestone birthday until 30.  I have to start seriously looking into grad schools, deciding if I am going to go right after I graduate, and get ready to apply next fall if that’s what I decide.  I need to start applying for internships for this summer which is crazy because as I have learned my life tends to look very different when you fast forward to the end of the school year.  I worry that I don’t have enough on my resume, that my GPA isn’t high enough, or that I’ll end up jobless come graduation. I’ve also probably felt the most homesickness I’ve felt since the first week of college freshman year.  I don’t really know why this is exactly and it feels kind of weird to be feeling this way as a junior.

Despite the pressure I feel already, I also feel a lot of peace that I know could not possibly come from anywhere else than God.  I really do feel like this is going to be a great year and I’m excited to share part of it with all of you who read my blog.

“The Definitive Ranking of Books I’ve Read So Far This Summer

I use my summers to devour books.  I hardly have any time to read during the school year which makes me really sad, so I don’t waste any time during the three months I have to cross some books off my “To Read” list.  Which explains why I’ve read 17 books in the past month and a half I’ve been home.  For those of you who would also identify as a dorky bibliophile, this list is for you.  Let me know if you agree/disagree with my ratings and feel free to give me any book suggestions for the rest of the summer!

Note:  I tend to be pretty generous with my ratings, so here’s a Kelly rating decoder.

1 star – I somehow made it through this book (possibly by force) and hated every page

2 stars – This book was extremely painful to get through and I probably debated quitting it partway through and thought “Maybe it will get better” (hint: it didn’t)

3 stars – Reading this was a rollar coaster ride – a pretty rocky one that whips you around and you’re sore for the next few days but it was kind of fun type of deal.  You kind of wish you didn’t ride it but once you got off you convinced yourself it was better than it was so it seems like it was worth your trouble.

4 stars – A quality read but I was probably bored at some parts or there was a character I couldn’t stand

5 stars – THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING AND I ALMOST REREAD IT AS SOON AS I WAS DONE.

Note #2:  This is so long.  I’m very sorry.  In the future I will probably just do one or two book reviews per post but things just got out of control and here we are.  Please don’t hate me.

17 – My Age of Anxiety:  Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind – Scott Stossel

41bqQfRMtjL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Scott Stossel is a very smart, eloquent man.  He also deals with very severe anxiety and this book is a written account of his anxiety – his primary fear of vomiting, his various therapies and therapists, a wide range of medication he has taken, and various other phobias and facts.  I thought this book would be mostly a personal account, which in parts it was, but primarily it is a very researched work about the history of anxiety and how therapists and drug companies have evolved to try and treat it.  He goes into a lot of detail and does a very good job explaining everything, but I wasn’t very interested in that aspect.  This made the book pretty dry for me and a little tough to get through.  Also be prepared for lots and lots of footnotes.  I would recommend this book if you are really into doing some deep research on mental health, but if you aren’t looking for a bunch of definitions and backstories to various drugs, I would find something else.

My rating on Goodreads – 2 stars

16 – This Star Won’t Go Out:  The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl – Esther Earl

tumblr_myj2p33Rnm1sobxc7o1_1280I wanted to like this book.  I should’ve liked this book.  Esther is a 16 year old girl who battled cancer and lost.  She is what inspired John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars.”  I expected a lot from this book because of that.  Esther is charming – she was well loved and it was clear how much she loved her family and friends.  But this book was not what I expected, in the worst way.  Things this book contained: a lot of notes and cards Esther wrote to her parents telling them she loved them and that she was sorry she had cancer, various chat room conversations Esther had with her internet friends with lots of nerdy references to Doctor Who and Harry Potter, and personal recounts, hospital updates, and memories from various friends and family of Esther’s.  This book is probably comforting to people who knew her but for an outsider with no personal connection to her it felt intrusive.  And honestly, reading the instant messages between Esther and her friends was incredibly painful – it was like I logged on to AIM and had to reread my own weird conversations for 50 pages.  I’m glad her parents carried out her dying wish and we able to publish this for her, but this book just wasn’t for me.

My Rating on Goodreads – 3 stars

15 – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

2429135I had seen this book in stores everywhere for a few years now and saw it had been made into a movie but honestly knew very minimal details about the plot itself.  All I know is this book was very overhyped.  I don’t really know what I expected this book to be but whatever it was, it was not that.  I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book, but there was so much unnecessary detail.  I kid you not, there was a point where it goes on for like 10 pages where the main character (I honestly can’t remember his name) is just waking up and pouring coffee in the morning and looking around the cabin.  This book is very graphic at times so if you don’t like reading intense rape scenes (but really, who does?) this book is not for you.  It took me forever to get into the book in the first place and keeping track of all the names proved quite the challenge as well.  It wasn’t until about 2/3 in that I really couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know how it ended and what happened to Harriet.  I know there are other books in this series but there is nothing that compels me to read any of them.

My Goodreads Rating – 3 stars

14 – Just One Year – Gayle Forman

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The less exciting sequel to Just One Day.  Maybe I hate sequels that are just the first book from the perspective of the other character.  Maybe I hate male main characters.  Both could be true.  But I definitely skipped large parts of this book because it got pretty boring.  Yes, we get that Willem is charming and girls everywhere adore him and his family life is sad but I felt like it was 300+ pages worth of text telling me just that.  It answered some questions left unanswered in the first book, so if you are dying to find these answers out, pick this book up now.  If you would like to continue living in a world where you thought the first book was wonderful and don’t want that memory tainted by a subpar sequel, pretend you didn’t even know there was a sequel.

My rating on Goodreads – 3 stars

13 – Live Original:  How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values – Sadie Robertson

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I really like Sadie Robertson and what she stands for.  Her line of Sherri Hill “daddy approved” modest prom dresses is awesome and she is a very good role model for young girls.  But should she have written a book?  Probably not.  She tried to give a lot of advice – which was good advice – but wasn’t anything groundbreaking and at times felt a little intolerant.  For example, a girl she knew was swearing a lot in front of her and her response was telling the girl she couldn’t be around her if she kept doing that.  I understand surrounding yourself with good influences and standing up for what you believe in, but I felt like she could have responded differently in that situation.  I love how open she is about her faith and her eagerness to share what she believes, but her writing was not very impressive.  Granted, this book was probably targeted at a younger audience (think early high school) so that could be another reason why I didn’t get a lot out of it.  I am interested to see what things Sadie will do in the future, but I don’t think writing will be one of them.

My Goodreads Rating – 3 stars

12 – Follow Me:  A Call to Die.  A Call to Live – David Platt

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I had pretty high expectations from this book, but overall I wasn’t overly impressed.  The overall message was good – Jesus calls us to follow Him no matter the cost and spread the Gospel – and that gets an “Amen!” from me..  But this book is essentially that message reiterated over the course of nearly 250 pages.  There was nothing in this book that I hadn’t already known I should be doing – reaching out to more people, spreading the Gospel in unreached places, being obedient to God, and really learning to sacrifice.   I guess I expected something mind blowing or something I hadn’t thought of, or maybe a new approach to executing all these ideas.  This wasn’t a bad book, but was just very similar to many I have already read.

My Rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

11 – Allegiant – Veronica Roth

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I read the first two books in the Divergent series last summer and after I barely made it through Insurgent, I wasn’t eager to pick up Allegiant.  I had also heard the series didn’t end well which didn’t really entice me to hurry up and check out the last one.  Against my better judgment, I finished the series and thankfully liked it better than Insurgent.  I understand why the series is popular but there is something about it that I just don’t find all that interesting.  Part of it is that I don’t like the main character, Tris.  I find her to be kind of whiny and wishy-washy – one moment I’m cheering her on, the next she has lost all the strength and character development she has managed to achieve throughout the series.  I didn’t hate the ending, didn’t love it either.  The last book definitely answered questions I had had and tied up loose ends nicely.  What really didn’t sit well with me was the last chapter.  I wish it was cut out completely.  It was a nice series to keep me busy but not one I would probably be dying to reread.  Basically, if you’ve managed to get through the first two, you might as well finish the series.

My Rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

10 – Never Have I Ever:  my life (so far) without a date – Katie Heaney

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This book’s title is very misleading.  For one, Katie Heaney has most definitely been on a date, or something resembling one.  She even (kind of) had a boyfriend.  By no means is Katie lacking in relationship experience with males – granted most of them don’t work out or become official but the experience is still there.  Anyway, there were parts of this book that were hilarious and awkward and wonderful.  And then there were parts where you felt like she was oversharing or just making overall poor choices and you had to read a whole chapter or two where you just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her.  It was a quick read and I definitely laughed out loud a few times, so to me, that says a lot.  Also the cover is extremely cute, which shouldn’t matter, but it kind of does.

My rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

9 – Lauren Conrad Style – Lauren Conrad

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This was my “for funsies” read – I knew it would be a quick read with not a lot of substance but it was a fairly enjoyable read.  I love Lauren Conrad’s style – she always looks so classy and put together.  The book had some good tips and is something I wouldn’t mind owning when I’m struggling to put together an outfit, but there was nothing I read that blew my mind.  The book was very pretty to look at and concise and to the point, it took me about an hour to read.

My Rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

8 – The 5 Love Language – Gary Chapman

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This book was interesting.  I really like learning about personality, relationships, and psychology and this book was kind of all of that in one.  Almost a “How to Have Positive Relationships with People” manual.  It made me think about how certain actions or words may be more meaningful to one person than another.  I think it’s a book everyone should at least read once, but there were parts that were a little slow and some of the “real life” stories were a little cheesy and didn’t necessarily seem believable.  I don’t think this is necessarily a miracle for all your relationships like it makes it out to be, but it’s definitely something worth applying to your life.

My Rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

7 – Just One Day – Gayle Forman

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This book made me want to get on a plane and jet off and find love and eat crepes in Paris and read Shakespeare.  The writing itself wasn’t amazing but I really enjoyed the storyline.  The only part that seemed to drag was the middle – I didn’t really care for the parts where she was just pouting in her dorm room trying to figure out who mystery man was and where he went the morning she left.  I loved If I Stay and Where She Went, so Gayle Forman really knows how to tell a good story.  If you like cheesy romance targeted at teenage girls, this is for you.  If not, skip it.

My rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

6 – Not That Kind of Girl:  A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” – Lena Dunham

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I love memoirs so even though I knew next to nothing about Lena Dunahm, it looked like something I would like.  Lena is very witty and a lot of her college shenanigans were… interesting.  She jokes about often getting in questionable situations but it often seemed like she very purposefully placed herself there.  She dated a lot of duds (haven’t we all?) and I love her sense of humor.  She’s not all laughs though, my favorite chapter had to be “Barry” – read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I appreciated her complete honesty and was often surprised at how much information she often divulged about her personal life (often TMI).  It’s a quick read and I don’t really feel like I learned a lot from her or feel changed as a person or even really inspired but it made me laugh and was entertaining and kind of made me want to work in a boring children’s boutique.

My Rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

5 – Yes Please – Amy Poehler

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Amy Poehler is not only an amazing comedian and one of my favorite TV actresses, but she is truly a good person.  He book was not as funny as I would have expected, but it was actually very refreshing.  She was very real in what she shared with her readers – dealing with self-image, struggling to be a mom while working, and being very sad about her divorce with her ex-husband Will Arnett.  I love her writing style and the way she cares for her friends.  She and Tiny Fey are truly great role models for girls – they promote strength, success, and self-love.  This book ranks in my top favorite memoirs and I will probably buy it and reread it again in a few years.

My rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

4 – Paper Towns – John Green

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John Green does not disappoint.  The dialogue was smart and the dynamic between all the characters worked well.  What I did not enjoy was how similar this book was, particularly the characters in this book, were to the characters in Looking for Alaska.  Cue awkward, shy boy who has an obessive crush on a stunning, free-spirited girl.  But I did not find Quenten as likeable as I found Pudge in Looking for Alaska. Quenten spent half his time talking or thinking about Margo or reading that book of poetry over and over again, which he essentially did to find Margo.  Margo isn’t even that great!  Which I realize is kind of the point of the book, but if I were friends with him I would have given him a good whack on the head and told him to move on.  Aside from that, this book was the perfect blend of mischief and love and black Santas and peeing in bottles on a roadtrip.  Please read this book before the movie comes out.  Also, I never wish to read the word “honeybunny” again.  No one use that word to describe girls, ever.  Please.

My rating on Goodreads – 4 stars

3 – Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen

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Sarah Dessen never disappoints.  I’m a sucker for her books even though they are often cheesy and predictable.  They’re comforting to me.  Saint Anything was no different.  This one was not as heavy as some of her others that deal with abuse, addiction, or abandonment.  Sydney isn’t a super memorable character and honestly I had to look up her name to write this, but I liked her.  In Sarah Dessen land everything seems so much more fun and in this one, delivering pizzas seemed like the most fun you could ever have.  This book also made me really hungry because half the time they are eating pizza or french fries or talking about eating pizza or french fries.  It’s great.  Only I didn’t have pizza or french fries.  But I really enjoyed this book and it’s the kind of book where you feel happy and the end and just sigh and wish it was your life.  And then you pick up the next book in your stack of books to read and hope it will be as good as that one.

My rating on Goodreads – 5 stars

2 – Tiny Beautiful Things:  Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar – Cheryl Strayed

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This book is another one of my new favorites and I can’t wait to reread it.  You may know Cheryl Strayed from her book “Wild” turned into a film this past year (this book is on my “to-read” list).  This novel is a compilation of Cheryl’s work as an advice columnist.  She writes “Dear Sugar” for The Rumpust, an online work. You learn a lot about Cheryl through her responses and she conveys her feelings beautifully – I cried multiple times during this book.  Sugar is the friend everyone wishes they had, and needs.  She’s the kind of friend who will tell you to dump the guy you think you’re in love with because he’s a loser and it’s not going anywhere, but will still sit with you when you cry because you know it’s true and acknowledge the fact that it sucks even if it’s the right decision.  Here’s a small excerpt from my favorite chapter:  “Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be.  Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose.  Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go.  Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”  Seriously, just read this book.  Trust me.

My Rating on Goodreads – 5 stars

1 – Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

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I. Love. This. Book.  Seriously this is one of my new all-time favorites.  I wish I had read it before my freshman year of college because Rainbow Rowell hit the real college experience right on the nail.  It’s not always glamorous and sometimes you’re really scared to try the cafeteria food and sometimes nice boys actually turn out to be the worst and sometimes you get lonely and it takes a while to find your “people.”  I related so much to Cath – she was a writer, a little afraid to grow up, and wasn’t your “typical” college student.  She cared for others so deeply.  And this: “I don’t think I’m any good at this.  Boy-girl.  Person-person.  I don’t trust anybody.  Not anybody.  And the more I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”  Me. Me. Me. Me.  But aside from my complete adoration for Cath, I loved the unpredictability of the story.  I always thought I knew where the story was going only to be pleasantly surprised when it took a different direction.  This book pulled at my heartstrings and made me cry and hope for true love and laugh and everything you could want in a book.  The only downfall of this book was the small bits of fan-fiction Cath wrote that was included in the book, which is actually going to be it’s own book, Carry On, this Fall (I think).  I am not a big fan fiction person and this particular fan fiction is very close to being Harry Potter only it makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t care about the characters at all.  So really, just skip all the fan fic parts and enjoy the rest of the book because you will not be disappointed.

My Rating on Goodreads – 5 stars

There you have it folks, 3500 words later.  You probably deserve an award for making it this far.  Also, I promise I will be writing more often, I just needed the month hiatus to just hang out and work and establish a routine.

Until next time,

Kelly

Missing the Point

There’s been a lot of opinions expressed in the past week on Bruce Jenner’s transition to becoming Caitlyn, a lot of them from Christians.  I think a lot of them have been hateful, judgmental, and disrespectful – overall representing Christians as a whole poorly.  It is one thing to share an opinion respectfully, but quite another to do so in a way that will turn away people from Christianity.

There is a huge component of Christianity that most Christians know and believe, but fail to put into practice – loving others unconditionally.

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 NIV

Jesus didn’t say “love everyone except for those who are different from you” or “love everyone who lives in a way you agree with.”  He said: love as I have loved you.  This is how everyone is supposed to know we are followers of Christ, and isn’t it funny how we are known for almost the opposite?  Christians in this time period seem to be known for exclusion, for hate, and for intolerance.

If I wasn’t a Christian and lived a lifestyle many Christians did not support, there is no way I would want to be apart of a group who looked down upon me or told me I was going to hell for my choices.  You most certainly don’t have to agree with someone’s choices or lifestyle to be kind to them. I honestly don’t really understand how it would feel to think you were in the wrong body and be transgender or how exactly to look at it from a Biblical perspective.  What I do know is that I am not supposed to be tearing people down with my words and imposing judgment upon them.

I don’t think when Jesus went off by himself to pray he was saying, “God, I’m just not sure if I should love this specific group of people.  They just seem too bad, too far gone.  And if I hang out with them it could mean I agree with them.  And I just don’t think I can do that to my reputation.”  Instead he intentionally sought out the people that were the most overlooked, the dirt of society, the broken.  He showed them compassion and that compassion is what changed them forever.

No one on this planet spends a day without sinning and most of the time we hardly even think of it as sin – telling a white lie, thinking something bad about someone, wanting something we don’t have.  We put emphasis on things that we are uncomfortable with or are considered more immoral in our society – killing, adultery, homosexuality, etc.  All sin is equal – we are just as bad as everyone else.  As Jesus said:  “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).  This does not mean it is encouraged to lead a life of sin because we are all bad anyway, but that we should be compelled by grace and compassion to leave that life behind and help others do the same.

I am sorry to anyone who has ever been hurt the words or actions of Christians who have yet to put loving others into practice.  And I am sorry for the many Christians who intentionally love others every day but are overshadowed by the ones who only preach hate.  I have hope that Christians will soon be viewed as a loving, welcoming community as they were intended to be.

How to Love a Human Being

I’ve seen so many articles titled “How to Love a Person Who _______” or “Things You Need to Know Before You Date Someone Who _________.” I think these posts are good in acknowledging ways that people who fit into these various categories may have different or specific needs in relationships.  While this is good, I often find that more than half the list consists of things that I believe every person deserves in a healthy, loving relationship.  With that, here is my guide to loving any human being:

Listen.  Every person wishes to be heard.  Do not converse for the sake of waiting for a split-second of silence in the conversation to insert your own experiences or opinions in.  Get to know what someone likes or dislikes and their small quirks.  Not only does this make them feel good and important, you often learn a lot about who they are and what they value through really listening.  Which leads to…

Know their past.  Have they been in relationships before?  Were they healthy?  What’s their family life like?  Have they lost anyone close to them?  Do they or have they dealt with mental illness?  Knowing the answers to these questions (and many more) will allow you to better understand how to care for this person.  Every person’s past shapes the person they are today.  Various things that have happened in their past may require you to love them in ways that are different than others.  A person who was abused by their ex may be distrusting and initially averse to physical contact.  Someone who grew up in a home where alcohol was an issue may not want to be in situations where alcohol is present.  Your job is to figure out what your significant other needs – asking them directly is a great start if you don’t know what to do.

Make them feel special.  Everybody likes to feel loved and thought of.  It looks different for different people.  A visit at work could make one person’s day, where washing their car unexpectedly could be more meaningful to someone else.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly, but making it personal is the most important thing.

Let them have a life.  No matter what, never be the person that alienates someone from their friends and family.  It is nice to want to spend time with someone, but it is unhealthy to be the only person they rely on.  Let them hang out with their friends, go to the movies with their brother, or spend a weekend away with their coworkers.  They are not yours to hog and if you truly care about them you will give them the freedom (that they already possess) to enjoy having close relationships with other people.

Express decency.  Be honest.  Be loyal.  Be respectful.  It sounds pretty basic but it is easy to mess up these few things that can cause big issues.  You can try as hard as you can to cover up your tracks, but usually the truth comes out and it is a much bigger mess than it would have been if you would have come clean in the beginning, as hard is it can be to do so.

Inspire them to be the best they can be.  Tell them to take the job, go on the trip, run the marathon.  Don’t let them settle for anything short of their dreams and goals – be their personal cheerleader.  Encourage them to try new things, pursue their hobbies, and work hard at everything they do.

6 Game Changing Apps

I love my iPhone, and I love apps.  When I got my new iPhone 6 in the fall I made sure to get enough storage that there was no way I could possibly fill all 64 GB.  I am a bit of an app junkie – I have over 100 apps! There are a few that stick out for me that I use on a daily basis that I think really have the WOW factor – plus all the apps listed here are free.  I thought I’d share them here:

thWeather! by Yahoo

Although Yahoo does few things that really stand out to me, I have found this app to be superior to the Weather app that comes installed on your iPhone.  The apps give almost identical information and have not found one to be more reliable than the other, but Yahoo’s app has a slight edge over Apple’s.  The app is very user friendly and visually appealing.

11289863_10153327253678960_718506892_n 11256482_10153327253493960_1628423038_n11312219_10153327253408960_886354885_n11350237_10153327253133960_1568594635_nWeather! has the option of hour-by-hour, 5 day, and 10 day forecasts.  The app is also equipped with maps and gorgeous pictures appearing behind the data that coordinate with the city you are checking the weather for, which you won’t find on Apple Weather.  My favorite bit of information is the “Feels Like” detail. I use it to help choose what I am wearing for the day.

com.google.android.apps.mapsGoogle Maps

This is another app I think trumps the Apple version.  I have found Apple Maps is not always up to date on road changes and does not always take me the fastest way, or gets me completely lost.  Google Maps is much better for traveling in unfamiliar areas as it tells you which lane to be in which has saved me a lot of last minute scrambling to change lanes at the last minute.

11329670_10153327258788960_314983374_n 11355645_10153327258838960_1014736320_nYou also have the option to save locations as “Your Places,” such as work or home.  It also keeps track of places you have visited recently.  This app also had the names of buildings on my campus, which Apple Maps did not have, and was very helpful when I was a new college student struggling to find my classes.

Movies-by-Flixster-IconFlixter

This is my favorite app for checking movie times.  You can save your favorite theaters and easily check showing times for a particular movie.  It’s nice to have this on the go.  I find the theaters’ websites hard to navigate and using the app is much, much quicker.  You also have the ability to easily access multiple theaters quickly if you are trying to find the soonest showing.

11301379_10153327252553960_1870297630_nThe app shows Rotten Tomato ratings, trailers, movie length, and reviews from critics and average movie goers.  You can also view upcoming movies that go out to two or three years in advance.  Movie tickets can also be purchased on this app through MovieTickets.com.  I have never taken advantage of this feature, as you often have to pay a processing fee and it’s usually cheaper to just buy tickets at the movie theater.

MediaBox300x300MediaBox

I just discovered this app thanks to a friend (Maddy you’re the best!).  It is everything I have ever hoped for in life.  Okay, well maybe not that, but it does allow me to delete the many random lists I have in my Notes app and condense them to one, easy to access location.  I am a huge fan of lists so this app is right up my alley.  This app is simple, but not ugly.

11334300_10153327252728960_781349176_nThe app allows you to add movies, books, TV shows, and music to each respective list.  I use this as a way to keep track of shows and movies I want to watch and music I want to download.  I don’t use the book list, as I use the Goodreads app (see below) instead.  People are constantly telling me to watch or listen to certain things and now instead of some obscure note in my phone I will probably come across months later and have no clue what it means, I can add it directly to the list.  You simply swipe left to remove it from the “Up Next” to “Finished” list.  After completing watching or downloading, you are asked to review the item.  The only thing I dislike about the app is the fact you often have to add TV shows season by season, which can be time consuming.

212Goodreads

This is one of my favorite things to ever exist.  I am obsessed.  By joining the Goodreads community, you are able to set up an account that simply keeps track of your books:  books you’ve read, books you are currently reading, and books you would like to read.  After adding books to your “shelves” you are asked to rate them and Goodreads suggests books that suit your tastes based on what and how you rate.

11280329_10153327252593960_863687413_n11335751_10153327252573960_1588663631_nThe app is extremely useful because it allows me to add books to my “To Read” shelf while I’m anywhere – in the store, at a friend’s house, or in class.  Then when I’m at the library and trying to remember all the books I want to read, they’re right there!  I also have a shelf for books I own and books I want to buy, which is helpful when I am at book stores or garage sales because it prevents me from buying doubles of books.  You can also add friends on Goodreads.  I have mine set up to just add anyone I’m Facebook friends with automatically.  I enjoy seeing what other people are reading and often find new books that way.  Another great feature is the “Reading Challenge” – you can set a goal for the number of books you want to read in that year.   Mine is 30 and I’m almost halfway there, and have done a lot of reading in the past few weeks after finally finishing up the school year and having a lot more free time.

icon175x175SheReadsTruth

For a few years I had the free Bible app, but I recently came across this one targeted at females and love it.  I prefer to read from a physical Bible, but I can’t always carry one with me so it is necessary to have an app for when I’m on the go. This isn’t only an app, but a community you can visit online.  They have a store that has a few things I’m pretty interested in – gorgeous journals, scripture flashcards, mugs, and prints that would look great hung up or in a frame

11289913_10153327252648960_104103582_n 11297818_10153327252623960_363375050_n 11279936_10153327252663960_1565978231_nThe app itself has a very smooth, sleek interface and is easy to use, and it’s very “pretty” – which I love.  There are various reading plans (some free, some not) which can be helpful if you want to learn about a specific topic or would like more structure to your Bible reading time.  There are journaling, bookmarking, and sharing capabilities which allows you to mark and share verses with others easily.  My favorite part of the app has to be the downloadable iPhone backgrounds it comes with, as silly as that is.  The backgrounds are really clean and simple and often have a verse or hymn on them.  I love changing my backgrounds frequently as it makes my phone feel “new.” It is sometimes hard to find a background that doesn’t stretch weird or doesn’t quite center right on my phone.  This app doesn’t have as many versions as other Bible apps – but it has the basics (NIV, KJV, ESV, HCSB, MSG, and NASB) and I don’t really need more than that.

I hope you found this helpful – let me know about your favorite apps or any you like better than the ones I mentioned here!