Monday, March 2, 2015

It's a Fine, Fine Life // Link-Up & Camp

Did I mention that I went to camp last weekend?  Because I did, and it was great. I'm sorry - sometimes I forget to communicate really important details like that with the people around me.  It's not that I didn't want you to know that I was going - that couldn't be further from the truth, because all I've wanted to do since arriving home on Sunday is to talk about what a great time I had.   I just forget sometimes.  Allow me to remember and bring you up to speed. 

Making the best time to camp meant rushing straight home from school on Friday, spending a frantic half hour packing as much as I could, and meeting my fellow camp goers in a church parking lot less than an hour later. We all piled into cars and vans and started the four hour drive to northwestish Michigan.  I spent the majority of the time sleeping, and it was wonderful because I needed it so badly.  School is hard.  

Making the best of our time at camp meant spending hours and hours and hours with cold, raw faces, racing down a snowy mountain on tubes made for doing just that. It meant early morning competitions and early morning hot chocolate to warm us, the spectators. 

                         





It looked like new friends and old ones to encourage us in what we're all trying really hard to do.  


It was captured in jumping just because and feeling so happy and so, so at peace. 




Making the best of our time at camp saw relationships built or rebuilt, now friends grown closer or old friends brought back.  


It resulted in tie-dye shirts (and hands - mine are still a gross shade of green) and one step closer to a challenge completed.  





Most importantly, though, a weekend full of time used in the best way focused on the important things.  It focused in so tight that room wasn't left for things that don't matter - a great reminder to me as I'm constantly crowded by things to do and voices to hear.  Less isn't bad: simplicity, unoccupied moments - that leaves time and opportunity for the people and things that need it.  Emptiness creates a space for rest and joy where before there was busy, occupying, life-draining noise.  

Psalm 62:1,5 // It is surely true that I find my rest in God. He is the God who saves me . . . Yes, I must find my rest in God. He is the one who gives me hope. 

Allie

P.S. Keep an eye out for this:




Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm Partying Today // Liebster Nominee Link-Up

We're partying around here today, because that's all that's appropriate at the end of what (to me) felt like the longest, coldest wintry  cebruary week of all times.  Maybe it's because I've been running outside, so the cold is just that much more real to me?  Or the fact that spring sports are almost here and so I keep expecting it to get warm and for the snow to melt?  Or the heeee-uuuge government test that I'm taking today and the hours on hours on hours that I spent studying for it?  All valid possibilities.  Whatever the reason, partying is in order.



First things first:  more party people, because I'm not really a party person myself so I need help.  Enter: the lovely ladies who I talked about last week - the ones who I'm nominating for my customized version of the Liebster Award.  They're going to hop on and add links to typical posts from their blogs so that you can meet them and see what they're like, because they're great.  Seriously, they are. 





Second things second: partying.  Like a concert party.  I want you to know that I'm being a risk-taker today, because I don't usually do blog posts about concerts or musicy things because I don't go to concerts frequently and I'm not musical.  So,  I sincerely hope that I'm not inciting your wrath forever with this one.  If you hate it, just know that it's not a new norm and please come back someday and give me another chance.

Deep breath.

Here we go.

The concert's name is Winter Jam.  Maybe you've heard of it?  It's 10 different Christians artists and a speaker that tour the U.S. for a few months during the (you guessed it) winter, and I went last weekend and it was so fun!  In other words, I got the softest free t-shirt ever and there were giant balloons involved and I found a boy band that totally beats One Direction, complete with accents and cool hair.

The concert was headlined by Skillet, which usually isn't my favorite.  My brother always blasts it in the kitchen when it's his night to do the dishes, and our house is small so you can't escape the loud anywhere.  I thought that I would unenjoy them in person as much as at home.  I was wrong.

I think it all started when Jen Ledger came out onstage before the show for Q & A with the audience and started being adorable.   She's Skillet's drummer, and she talked about her story and how she likes her coffee in the most open, honest way.  She's from out of the country, and she ended up connecting with the Skillet people in the most unintentional way in the world.  She used to have stage fright, and she likes her coffee with lots of caramel.

And then there was the actual show.  It was so good!  There was fire and Jen drummed while getting lifted up and spun and, yeah, it was loud and, yeah, there were a ton of screaming people.  I loved it.










And then Family Force Five, which was a party in itself.  I quickly identified with the band's lead singer, who walked out in this blazer and danced in almost the exact same way that I do when I'm at home and no one's watching.   He's my spirit animal.  


Giant balloons happened.  They came out of nowhere and made me forget everything other than how to get a chance to hit one of them for the remainder of the song, at which point a bunch of professional balloon poppers walked around and popped them all. 




My favorite: for King and Country.  For the thirteenth time, I don't know things about music, but I know that every single guy played multiple instruments, that the music sounded just how I like music to sound, and that they had an amazing message to share.  Here, just listen.  



Joel and Luke are brothers from Australia who are in America for over 300 tour dates with their five other band guys (you can find tour dates here, by the way).  After seeing 4 or 5 songs at Winter Jam, I've got my heart set on seeing them in August.  I couldn't get enough of their sound and fancy king-related outfits, and I'll definitely be back for more. 



The music side of the show was great - all of the artists are crazy talented, as would be expected of artists at a concert that you pay money to see.  Even better was the fact that we got the chance to get to meet them a little bit.  They all were really great about sharing stories and spent a lot of time interacting with the crowd, and they were all so humble and real.  I mean, I'm sure that everyone who gives concerts tries to be humble and real, but I've been to concerts before and this was different.  I'd recommend it, every time.

That's about it for Friday partying, unless you want to go give those songs another listen - be my guest!  Go have a great weekend and relax (or don't) and enjoy it.

See ya!

Allie















Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It's a Good Day When // 28 Things That Make Me Smile

So, it turns out that the things that you learn in school actually are helpful for real life.  Who knew, right?


I'm taking my first psychology class ever this year (and absolutely loving it,  nerd alert).  We're currently learning about memory in there, and I happen to think that it's really, really fascinating, (nerd alert: code red*) especially this weird thing that tends to happen to the things that we remember.  When we think back on a given day, the emotional high or low point tends to color the way that we remember the entire period - that's why throwing up on a ride at the fair causes you to remember the whole experience as a disaster even though you actually loved every other second, or the one nice thing that a person said to you on a first date can make it seem like the entire date was good, even though it was actually a little on the awkward side. 


 It's this phenomenon that explains why small things have the ability to "make our day."  When our teacher first explained all that to us, I was a little disappointed that my memory was so dishonest.  However, the sneaky, manipulative part of me quickly realized that I could work that in my favor.  It only takes one little good thing to make a whole day seem great, so I'm going to take advantage of that!  I'll listen to a song that I can really belt or take the time to make myself a food that I really like or find a way to trick a stranger into complementing me, and - BOOM - instant good day! 

For example, making cookies.  I love making cookies. If we're being honest, I think it's mostly because I get to eat them later, but I sometimes share.  I just made a huuuugggeee batch of no bakes yesterday, and if you made my day I might be persuaded to ship you one or several. Here, have some ideas to get you started.  It's a good day when . . .

// The Target dollar section is 70% off.  Yes, that is a real thing, and, yes, it's as amazing as it sounds. 


// A stranger complements me.  Next time you see a stranger with extremely white teeth or really cool earbuds and you notice, YOU TELL THEM and tell them I sent you.


// My current most favorite song of all times is on the radio.  And then it's on again on another station, immediately afterwards and so I never have to stop listening to it for five minutes.


// Someone makes me breakfast in bed.  Or in any location, really. My little sister has been really good about doing this for me for most of my birthdays since she's been able to pour cereal, and I don't want to say that I love her more because of it but my taste buds beg to differ.



// I feel like I have my life together.  This feeling doesn't occur often for me, but when it does, it's one of the best things ever. 


// I laugh at something until I cry. (Every day.)


// I nail a joke and it makes someone else laugh until they cry. (Sometimes On occasion very rarely)


// School gets called off for -12 degree weather and I get to bury myself back under alllll the blankets. 

// Someone follows me on Bloglovin.  (Shameless advertising? Perhaps.  But, TBH it genuinely does make my day.  If you don't care what I have to say, though, don't follow me, because Bloglovin' tells me when people unfollow me and I try not to let it bother me but it does the opposite of making my day.)

//  I wake up and my room is really clean and I didn't even clean it. It's never happened to me, but if it did I would be happy for at least a week. (Hey, mom!)

// I find out someone else's favorite something is the same as my favorite something.  I'm pretty sure that the day I found another person who's favorite color was yellow I almost cried.

// I don't have plans on a Saturday morning and have enough time to sleep in, make a fancy breakfast, do my devotion, work out, shower, and actually try in regards to my hair and makeup before going anywhere.  More often, I have enough time before I leave for school to kind of brush my hair, make sure I have clothing covering all of the necessary places (that makes it sound like I dress like a slut but I don't because DRESSCODE and MORALS), and eat breakfast in the car.

// The sun is shining.



// Friends is on TV right when I need it to be.  (AKA, while doing homework.)

// My whole entire family is home on the same night and we play cards and laugh and act like our usual happy, harmonious selves. (and I win.)

// I get to wear my rain boots.



// Someone gives me a free drink card for Starbucks.

// Anything that is a positive surprise happens.  Positive as in good, not as in absolute.  Please do not surprise me with the news that my dog died and expect me to be happy about it.  That's sick.

From my surprise 16th birthday party. See, I like it! 


// I accidentally discover something cool before everyone else and get to tell all of my friends about it and be a hipster.

// I do strenuous physical activity and don't feel like I'm going to die.

// It's a good hair day.



// I wear tights that actually stay on without falling off or riding up when I walk. (I.e., not today.)

// Someone brings surprise food to a class or to lunch or anytime during school. 

// Along those lines, when my friend offers to trade frosting with me so that I can eat a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, that's a good day.  Why do store bought cupcakes think the cake and frosting have to match?  They don't.

// I get snail mail from an actual person with actual handwriting on it.  My grandparents do birthday cards right - they write a TON of words on them - and it's the best! 

// Someone that I like gets really good news.  I'm not even trying so sound like a nice, sensitive person, because I'm actually not.  For some reason, things like that just warm my heart. 

// I accidentally get home late because of having fun.  (Except the time when I backed into a pole and cracked the back bumper in the process.) 

// It's Friday and I get my weekly Diet Coke fix after school.  It always tastes so, so good, but I can really stop anytime I want. 

On reviewing this list, I'm noticing that most of my favorites have something to do with food or surprises, so any combination of the two should guarantee you a no bake cookie or five.

Allie

P.S. What makes it a good day in your book?


*The most extreme level of nerd alert.
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