brunch & a quick trip to the city// christmas break part two

It was such a joy to have my full family (meaning my mom, dad, sister and I) all home for the Christmas holiday, with the edition of my cousin that is practically my brother, my grandpa, who just moved to my hometown, three cute pups and my sisters boyfriend- who joined us two days after Christmas. My sister living out of state, while also being a nurse with crazy hours, means that getting everyone together creates quite the problem, so this was a lovely little treat- but one that went too too fast. Family is huge to me, I was raised by a wonderful family (including my extended family) that engrained within all of us that family is the most important thing and has surrounded me with an abundance of love, lessons, and support. I have been immensely blessed by this. so when I get the time to be with them I never want it to end. Having our house full of people was so fun and made the holidays even more wonderful- can I just rewind time and live in it a bit longer please?

Being home in itself is always a treat for me, but being home while also having so many people I love there with me I wanted to do a few of my favorite things to do while home. So after the holiday chaos we decided to head over the one of our families favorite places that we go to only once in awhile for a treat, normally when my grandpa would visit- the mission ranch inn, where they serve a delicious brunch of everything you could want. An omelet station, eggs benedict, little desserts, chocolate covered strawberries, salads, fruit, granola, mimosas… seriously, its amazing & self serve & all you can eat- so you go back for several rounds obviously, until you explode that is. It was so fun to go here again, after not going in so long, especially with some of my favorite people.

We ended the reunion with a short trip to the city- another family tradition when my sister and I are both home. It was a very short trip indeed as we were only there for a brief bit before taking my sister and her boyfriend to the airport. However we had some time for a few favorites- one of our favorite restaurants/ breweries, my favorite coffee shop near downtown followed (seriously- it is the coolest! if you ever find yourself in san francisco and in need for some coffee and a quaint little atmosphere- GO HERE! do it.) with a quick walk around downtown and then a sift journey to the airport for some goodbyes- not too bitter sweet for me though because I was pretty sure I would be joining them out in CO soon for a short little visit to end my break.

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A day at the beach // Christmas break part one

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I am a girl that has her heart torn in many little fragments…each little piece located in some person or some place I have stumbled across. This can make life both exciting, but quite difficult, because I am unable to settle. I want to be with every person I love, and in every place that I call home. I have this problem where the places I go steal a piece of my heart- or rather find home within my heart, and then wherever I go, that piece beckons to be reunited with itself. No matter where I go I am never at rest. I am a piece of Azusa, a piece of Monterey, a piece of Hume, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, High Sierra, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Eagle Lake, San Diego, Yosemite, all the random little places in between, and all the places I have yet to go but desperately want to. Places, just like people, captivate my heart and call a little piece of it their own. I have gone from calling myself a beach-kind-of-girl to a mountain-kind-of-girl and back again…from a country girl to a city girl…finally calling myself an in-between girl. I want a little of this and a little of that, I want to be settled but always adventuring, I want to have a home but I want to be everywhere…

I have found rest in the fact that I never will find my perfect place. But will journey here and there, wherever my God takes me to call that place home for that time- and I am ok with that. Actually excited to see where he takes me, the places Ill see and explore and get to know, the people I will meet. Because though I like to see new places I want to really see it- know it- explore it- see every little nook and cranny- go in every little charming coffee shop, restaurant, store- really live in it. Blame it on being raised as a military brat, or my God putting in me an adventurous spirit that he can beckon here or there. It is both a curse and a blessing. I am unable to truly settle- this I am working on, because though it is good it can also be bad to not have the ability to just find peace in where I am at instead of asking..ok where next?

For now though I love having the place I do have to call home, a place I always come back to with a loving family and a comfortable home and an adorable puppy, not to mention a pretty killer location. While also having a sister who lives in my second favorite state so far- Colorado, that I can go visit from time to time. It is fun to grow up and experience this world, but it can be overwhelming to realize just how big it is- and realize that you want to see it all! It can also be both fun and overwhelming when the ones you love live all over the place. So this holiday season it was quite nice to go to my actual home and have it filled with my favorite people, three pups, and holiday cheer. While also being able to bring my beach loving side to its home.

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The Grand Adventure

my heart yearns for community. people. togetherness…in the simplest, purest forms. I think that is why High Sierra was my heart and soul in a place. I want those simple moments, those raw, real moments….with people. just a simple run with a friend where guards come down and discussion unwinds, a moment of being too overwhelmed with homework that your friend talks you into putting it all down for a moment for a midnight bike ride to the nearest hotel hot tub, trekking through the backcountry for several days and nights letting people see you in your worst which allows them to actually see you at your best…This trip was a beautiful reminder of those things. Getting a group of people together and just getting out into nature. It was filled with silliness, hiking, beautiful views, good conversation, and lovely people. and man did Arizona surprise me.

Once school was done for the semester me and 5 of my friends packed up our two cars and journeyed out to AZ for two nights camping in the Grand Canyon and then three nights at my friend Mckenna’s house to begin our winter break with some pazazz! Little bit of activity here and a little relaxation there, with a whole lot of food, laughter, sight seeing and meeting up with friends.

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December 24, 2013 · 4:51 am

Tis’ The Season

Christmas season is upon us! and though many adore this holiday, it can be really easy to let it go by without really appreciating it. So I just wanted to share this little creative spin off an advent calendar that I stumbled across, and encourage all ya’ll to give it a go. I know we are already 4 days into December. But better late then never! make this holiday season one where you focus on what is important, and really live out your last few weeks of 2013! Be inspired to love others through the hustle and bustle. ❤

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thanksgiving break

I wanted to do a post…but am in the midst of ‘dead-week’ before finals and just coming off of a vacation time at home, that I didn’t get much work done at all, but getting any done is quite the feat for me, because some is more then I normally do when I am home. However, I did snap some good ol’ pictas with my handy dandy iphone (I am eagerly in waiting for my camera to arrive that I just ordered). Anywho, I have been getting some wonderful feed back on my past few posts, which is amazing! because I didn’t really think anyone reads this thing let alone is impacted by it! It has been so humbling and amazing to hear that me just simply speaking about my life, and my troubles and my God amidst all of that has been able to speak into the lives of other people. That is my goal here, to allow God to use my trials. So expect some other blog posts about the deeper things…trust me, I am too much of a thoughts person, to much of a sharer/relator and to much of a writer to not have many more posts like the prior ones. But for now, we are going to go the lighter route, and I am simply just gonna share some photos from this past week long break at home! (is it time to go back yet…?) So here are some photos of celebrating family, the holidays, home, pretty places, lovely moments and things I love. enjoy (p.s. yes, there are a lot of my pup, she is just too precious!)

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this one kills me, to much tryptophan.

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another little sleepy head

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my little burrow- love this room

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I am in love with the monterey light

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a little taste of home, a little taste of my vacation, and a little look into my life. Hope ya’ll had lovely holidays! and soon is Christmas! ❤

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coming into my own

a rambling on being an introvert in an extrovert world & acceptance of self

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I have always struggled with the concept of “me”

it use to be insecurity held me back, I wanted to be accepted, loved, liked, admired, sought out, desired, wanted, enjoyable, funny, popular, included…many words filled that place, I want to be ___(fill in the blank)___, anything other than me. Because “me” wasn’t good enough, “me” didn’t include the qualities it took to be liked, “me” wasn’t like what other people were, and “me” was not what I wanted to be..or worse what others wanted me to be.

Above all I wanted confidence. But I always thought in order to have the confidence I had to be something/someone else. something, anything other then who I was. Maybe bits and pieces of me could stay, but for the most part I needed to re-create myself and be what fit the “mold”. These weren’t the exact thoughts that ran through my mind, but it was how I lived. Always trying to attain a version of myself I thought was the right version, the version I could be confident in. a version I thought I would just eventually become, grow into and then everything would be perfect. Id feel confident, happy, liked, and accepted. Im sure I am not alone in this.

Then I moved out of those insecure, “must fit in with the right crowd”, high school days and into college days that is all about figuring out just who you are, being able to decipher and discover yourself and truly be whoever/whatever you want. but this wasn’t any better. Suddenly I didn’t have this ideal mold I needed to fit, but endless possibilities. But I still was left with no where to fit in, because if you don’t know who it is that you are or want to be how can you expect to find where it is you fit in. And in a world where confidence is everything, how can I be confident when I don’t even know who I am?

I blamed my lack of confidence on this, that I didn’t know who I was. And I blamed not knowing who I was on not being able to find myself in high school, because I was always just trying to be that person who fit in, was well liked and accepted by not only my peers but even my friends. so then came the vicious cycle of trying to figure out just who Taylor was. And I still couldn’t break the mindset that the “me” that I was wasn’t anything to settle into or be confident in. but if only I could find the ability to be confident then I would finally feel like I fit in.

This has been a constant struggle.

Recently I stumbled across a random article “23 signs you’re secretly an introvert”. and it all kind of clicked.

Recently I have been “coming into my own” as people call it. Realizing ‘hey this is who I am, and its about damn time I accept it. embrace it, and live life to the fullest as that person. quit striving to be something else and live life as the person I am.’ I realized I needed to stop letting others define for me what I should look like, who I should be, and what I needed to work on to change me and rather just embrace who I am and build off of that. I have always been more quite, less outgoing, slow to open up. I have always had a smaller group of very close friends, and I stick to those people. I always saw these as faults. I needed to be more outgoing, more social, more energetic in meeting new people…I needed to be a typical girl that just talked and talked and talked.

However, once I was able to embrace who I am and learn how to navigate through life as that person I was able to live so much more fully. I was able to embrace that yes I am awkward in meeting new people, I get anxious when in situations a bit out of my comfort zone.. and by knowing this I could prepare myself and enter into the situation knowing this is what it will look like, this is how I will feel, this is how I can best handle it to make others feel more comfortable as well as myself…and thats ok.

I have been learning all of this over the past few years. But reading this article kind of set things off within me. All us introvert are kind of screwed over. We live within an extrovert glorifying world. We are told we must be outgoing social butterflies that are confident and exuberant. If we are not then we are seen as cold, unwelcoming, unfriendly, unsocial, boring and dull, and almost lifeless. I don’t want to be seen as these things! I want to be warm, inviting, friendly, genuine…But as an introvert in a world that really caters towards being an extrovert, this is what we are seen as, and what we are is almost labeled as wrong and in need of being fixed. Introverted-ness is seen as a negative thing. People almost don’t even know how to embrace those who are introverted.

Extroverted qualities are promoted everywhere…in our classes, our churches, our jobs…everywhere. These qualities are catered to, and us introverts are left to either conform or get left behind. It’s as though the qualities of an introvert are frowned upon and not the norm, like there is something off about us. No wonder all my life I have felt uncomfortable within my own skin. Even those closest me have had a hard time embracing my introverted qualities. And not to say us as introverts don’t need to put effort in to be better in social situations or cater towards the extroverts in our lives to meet them half way, but we need to be met half way as well. we should not always be striving to be something we are not. We are simply introverts living in an extrovert world that don’t feel capable of even embracing who we are because it is seen as though being this way is the “wrong” way. And extroverts don’t even understand us, while we are continuously striving to understand them in hopes we can become them.

But we can’t. our make-up is different. the way we function is different. and that is OK! the more I realize this, the more I embrace who I am, the more I, and those around me are able to enjoy life. I am able to see my strengths/weaknesses, my needs and how I can fulfill them, how I interact with others and can love best…

I am coming into my own by embracing myself as an introvert. and seeing it as not only ok, but totally normal and down right wonderful. There are some pretty awesome qualities of introverts, things to be proud of, celebrated…nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed to be labeled as. I use to hate being labeled as such, or allowing others to see me in that way. I didn’t want anyone to see me as  an introvert, or get that impression from me. All my life I was told confidence was beauty, but to me confidence and being an extrovert were the same thing. and since I was not an extrovert, I needed to become one in order to be confident…and therefore something “beautiful”. I always admired anyone who was an extrovert and strived to mimic them in hopes one day I would naturally just be that way. In order to be comfortable in my own skin, I needed to become an extrovert. then I would finally be content, confident, and comfortable in who I was. But heck if that ever worked…

There was more to it though. I also felt ill equipped to even be a follower of Christ because if I was not an extrovert how could I love and love well when to me loving looked like being outgoing. I was letting Christ down. I was not being a good “Christian”. When really all Christ wanted me to do was see the beauty he placed within me and be that person. embrace that person and see that he created me the way I was, and love people in the way he designed me to do so. The whole time I thought I had let him down by not being what I thought I was suppose to be. I was truly hurting him by not embracing who he knit me together in my mother’s womb to be. And hurting him by not allowing his acceptance of me and love for me to fill me, so I could then in turn pour that out unto others whether I was an extrovert or an introvert.

I will never be the outgoing one, the conversationalist, the life of the party, the one with tons and tons of friends,  the one who loves to meet new people, the people person, the social butterfly…and that is a-ok. And allowing myself to live within this, and be ok with this is making life so much lighter. Allowing myself to come into my own and embracing my introvertedness is allowing me to enjoy life so much more fully. Without the pressure to be something I am not, without the pressure to fit into the mold this world tells me I need to be, and with the knowledge that it is God’s love I need. not the title of the outgoing one, the popular one, the well-known girl. It is not these “qualities” that will make me confident, or beautiful, or better at loving people. It is embracing who I am and inviting Jesus into that.

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living & learning

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will I ever learn the true lesson?

it is funny how we think we have it right, or that we are so close to getting it right…finally.

‘if only I could change this’ ‘If only I could get to this point’ ‘if only I could be here, there, elsewhere..’, these are phrases I have lived within, always just trying to get to that next point, make a small (or major) alteration to finally get it right.

If you know me at all you know this “young-adult” stage of my life has been nothing short of crazy, indecisive, unrooted, unsettled, and a major learning period. From beginning my college education, then back at home, then in Colorado, only to then find myself back at APU….I finally came to this realization that no place will ever be PERFECT and my holy grail of places. I will never be satisfied or find contentment in a place. Though it may be beautiful (which was what brought me to wander out to CO), or a place with beautiful people//beautiful community (which brought me back to APU), it will never be all I dreamed it up to be; hoped, expected or desired it to be. it will never quite fulfill everything, or really even come close. and I thought I had learned my lesson at that.

When I left for Colorado my heart was aching for grand scenery. for seasons. for adventure. for mountains, snow, fall leaves, a place that had a distinct fall, winter, spring and summer, a place to call the home of my heart. I needed to escape this So-cal, city life into one of nature. Only to get there and realize something was off, something was missing, lacking… I had arrived at this exact place I thought was all I wanted but had left my community behind. Not that I couldn’t find a new one, but I ached for the one I already had. So I came to the conclusion that the lesson was ‘nothing beats community’, nature may be beautiful but without ones you love to explore and enjoy it with, it means nothing.

So I traveled back to the Zu (the embarrassment of my indecisive decision making is another story for another time). I arrived here and though did not regret my decision per-say, I found things lacking again in my perfect little ideal. Come forth my conclusion that I will never be truly satisfied, and thats ok. Nothing on earth will ever satisfy me because I am not made to be satisfied by this world. Not even God himself can fully satisfy me here because I am a sinful fallen being that will never fully get it. I will always constantly wander away from Him and try to shove all these misshapen “things” into my God shaped heart. I will never be fully in Him while here. But I am getting off topic, kind of.

From this then I took the lesson to be just that, that I will never be fully satisfied, so to just be where I am. Be there, find the good, soak it in, and just live while seeking God in all that I do, no matter where I am. Because that is all I can do. Just seek God and seek to bring Him Glory in all that I do, no matter where I am. I mean thats a pretty good lesson. right? yet again I was missing the key point by an inch.

I got another reality check from the heavens above. This again was not the lesson (or the main one at least) but the lesson I had been constantly overlooking. The one that maybe if I had paused to listen to a bit earlier would have saved me a lot of confusion, striving to get it all right//figure it all out, and a lot of hurt.

God finally grabbed me and did not even give me the chance to reject the command to stop and listen. Because even though I had a lot of time in CO to stop and listen I still overlooked this lesson. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, maybe I didn’t even know how to look for it…but I think I’ve finally got it right this time.

You see, now I am back at APU. I am back within that community I realized meant so much to me once I left it. A community that is rare and you don’t get to be apart of it just at any point in your life. yet I still feel empty, broken, burdened, raw-fully alone, and like I am a barren, cold, sharp, empty building like one of those modern architectural buildings now-a-days. When I long to be a worn in, cozy, warm, inviting, homey, humble, lived in, joyful, full home. I thought when I was in CO I had felt emptiness//loneliness to its core and I just had to get back to my community and Id be good, Id be full.

Wrong again.

I have that community, and I am not full, just another version of empty. The kind I felt in CO was true loneliness, this one is deep. Because in CO I truly knew no one. I was alone. Here I know many, I am surrounded by people I know and love, people who know me and love me. Because of that I am experiencing a deeper loneliness that cannot be cured by being in the presence of people.

Bring in the lesson- I cannot be satisfied, I cannot be fulfilled, I will not find peace or rest in these things I keep trying to find them in. I keep running around trying to attain that “one thing”, trying to decipher and define what is the hidden secret of finding fulfillment and satisfaction I can finally rest in. When God was standing right there all along, lovingly uttering for me to come to Him. I know this is no grand revelation. Its more so a lesson I continue to learn being brought to a whole new level of understanding.

While I was in CO, I was alone in the sense of not having a community that I could bare my soul in. But because of that I had time. Time to just be. To learn and come back to God. Time that I could do whatever I wanted and be the introvert I am and not have to make excuse for it. Being back here though and thrown back into having a community that I need to pour into, make time for, use energy in..I am lacking the side of life I had in CO. I find myself aching now for that. The time where I took to be still, to be quite, to be with my Creator, where I was mostly free of distraction. So again I am left fighting to just keep my head above the surface. Because none of these things can satisfy me, or be beautiful, or be fulfilling or what they are meant to be without God in them..without God in me first and foremost. I cannot find myself in these things. I need to find myself in Him.

I have had “the best of both worlds” almost in each place. The place in CO where I could focus on God and being with Him, but I had no community to grow in. and the place here where I have that community but I let it take my all so that I do not give any of it to seeking God and allowing him to grow me.

The conclusion? Yes, I will never find full satisfaction here on Earth, because it is a fallen, broken place and I am a fallen, broken person. But I can find Jesus, and he desperately and longingly desires to be with me and therefore made me to be satisfied by nothing other and none other then Him. And I am doing a real crap job at seeking Him lately and inviting Him into my life. So I am left feeling dry, raw and empty to the core. No amount of time with others, time on my own, time within a beautiful place, will ever fill that.

Maybe I am finally learning. But I am sure there are many more lessons to come. I will never fully get it, this I know.

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