When it isn’t Well

I was raised to be a positive person. I’ve been told before that I’ve been annoyingly positive in certain situations. But I’m about to be real honest here – lately, I haven’t been too positive and I’ve caught myself in moments that I haven’t even wanted to be around myself. Ouch. Yikes. 

I’m having more trouble than I thought I would adjusting to life in Maine. Nobody says “y’all” and I can’t seem to stop saying it – not that I’ve really tried or that I really want to. It’s colder here than I’d like for it to be in June or that I’d really like for it to ever be. All my friends are home together and I’m 1300 miles away on an island with limited things to do. Needless to say, I’ve struggled with being homesick these past three weeks.

I mailed a package home to TN when I was still in Utah and it seems to have gotten lost in the mail. It had a lot of important things to me in it and I’m still hoping and praying it gets to TN or to the return address in Maine.

I got an email from an online journal declining a couple of articles I’d submitted. My creative writing teacher had assured me they were polished enough to publish and the editors of this certain journal would love them. False. Rejection isn’t pretty. 

My housing plans for the fall have seemed to fall through and it looks like I won’t be able to live with my best friends. Don’t worry – we’re still best friends, some personal things just  came up. 

So needless to say, it isn’t well with my soul. 

I’m in a slump. We’ve all been there. Probably more than a few times.

It’s okay though, right?

Yes, it’s okay because it has to be. Going through slumps are inevitable. They’re apart of life and they always will be.

The test of faith isn’t in avoiding these slumps, but rather in working through them.

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When I was getting ready yesterday morning the song “It is Well” came on and I immediately started singing along

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

I listened to this song the entire time it took me to walk the mile into work.

Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You

Life isn’t always good, but thankfully, I serve a God that will always be unimaginably good. I don’t have to be strong and positive all the time because Jesus grabbed my hand and promised to take on all the dirty work 2000 years ago as He hung on the cross.

Far be it me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

So when it isn’t well, it’s okay. What isn’t okay, is allowing it to stay that way. Pray it out; go for a walk; write in your journal until your hand cramps up; talk to a friend, just don’t sit in your slump and throw a pity party because that will never work. Celebrate the good things in life because I can almost assure you they are there.

How To Win Friends & Influence People

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At my training, I got the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I will admit that the title is captivating, but it isn’t something I would have picked up on my own and started to read. When I first began reading it, I was worried I was going to be bored with it because it was going to be all about business, but thankfully it wasn’t and I definitely wasn’t bored while reading it.

By the way, I love getting books as presents. If you want to send or give me a book, I will welcome it with open arms like I’m seven years old and it’s Christmas morning. 

But anyways, the book is broken up into four parts and each part has different principles.

PART ONE: TECHNIQUE IN HANDLING PEOPLE 

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. 
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. 
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want. 

PART TWO: WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

PART THREE: WAYS TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING 

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. 
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

PART FOUR: WAYS TO BE A LEADER

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. 
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person ‘save face’.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. 

While I read this book, I learned a lot more than I thought I would. I’ve even applied a couple of these principles to my life and I was pretty happy with how the situations went.

My mom has always been a big fan of the ‘golden rule’ : treat others how you want to be treated. I know, I know, I always say when she reminds me. Yet I just read an entire book on how to actually do that. My mom seemed to have mastered most of this without having it laid out in the format of a book. Superhero, I’m telling you. 

I encourage everyone, whether you’re a big reader or not, to grab a copy and read it for yourself and see how much you can take away from it.

“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives for within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.”  -Dale Carnegie 

Acadia National Park

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I’m a sucker for fun hikes and pretty views. Anyone that knows me shouldn’t be surprised that I fell in love with the national park up here.

My first day off work I was planning on sleeping in, doing laundry, and finding a peaceful place to read, but when one of my roommates told me that she wanted to go to Acadia, I wasn’t about to turn her down.

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Our only way to get places at the moment is by foot. We’re eventually going to have bikes, but for now we’re walking everywhere. It’s hasn’t been bad since it isn’t too hot up here yet.

Around 11, with full water bottles, tightly-laced shoes, and big smiles we set off towards the park on foot. The walk to the park entrance was about seven miles and it took about two hours to get there. My roommate grew up in Washington and has never been in the south; I grew up in Tennessee and hadn’t been out west until my training in Utah. You can only imagine that we both had a lot of questions about how the other person grew up. I talked a lot about my family, greasy fried foods, sweet tea, and my love for books. She talked a lot about the weather over there, her travels – including studying abroad in Spain, and her family’s love for hiking. It was pretty cool to get to her know her a little bit better and see the differences in how we grew up.

After seven sweaty miles, we made it to one of the park’s entrances, only to find out that you needed a pass to enter. We had been told that you only needed a pass if you were driving and since we were on foot, we hadn’t bothered to look into the rule anymore. We explained to one of the rangers that we were living and working in Bar Harbor for the summer and we had just walked seven miles to get here. Did I mention we walked those seven miles? Yeah? Okay. My feet were starting to blister and my water bottle was nearly empty. Reluctantly and thankfully, the ranger let us in. PRAISE. 

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The main place we wanted to go was just inside this entrance of the park: Sand Beach. When we got to the parking lot, the most amazing smell in the world hit us. It was a mix of salt, lemons, pinewoods, fresh air, and sunscreen. I wanted to bottle it up and make it into a candle. When we finally got to the water, I ripped my boots off and ran to put my feet in the water. It was still pretty cold and I had on capris, so just my feet in would have to be enough.

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The air had the perfect amount of salt in it. The water was so blue and peaceful. The mountains and rocks that surrounded the beach stretched for miles. I felt like I was in the scene of a movie. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how beautiful it was. I didn’t mind the seaweed. I didn’t mind the tourists – that definitely didn’t appreciate these views as much as I did. I didn’t mind my aching feet. I was in absolute paradise. I still can’t get over it. Was that real? Did that really happen? YES! I’m living in the coolest place.

After all of our pictures and more exploring the beach, we laid in the sand and attempted to get a little bit of sun. There was a mild breeze and it was the perfect temperature. The seagulls were flying around, but they weren’t landing all over you and driving you crazy. The sand was made of tiny broken pieces of shells and felt so good. Not a care in the world crossed my mind.

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I was exhausted on the walk back, but we agreed that we deserved to stop for ice cream. During the trek back into town, we didn’t talk much, just kept our heads and walked pretty quick to be sure to get back into town with plenty of daylight. The thought of two scoops of mint chocolate chip on a waffle cone kept me putting one foot in front of another the entire seven miles.

After we got home that night I crashed and slept really hard for about ten hours – I felt like I could have easily have slept double that. I also decided to make a bucket list of things that I wanted to do – not just for the summer, but over a time period much longer. I made sure to put on the list to visit all of the national parks. Road trip, in the future, anyone?

Limitless

A year ago if someone would have told me I’d be able to travel around the country at nineteen years old and get paid to do so, I probably would have laughed at them. Now I’m laughing at myself for thinking that limits exist. Sure there are some limits. Two big ones will always be time and money. But as life goes on, I’m learning that the only true limits are ones that you create for yourself. Excuses are huge limits that we make for ourselves.

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But here I am, at nineteen, living a life that a lot of people only dream to live. And I’m not trying to sound conceited, believe me, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is that if you have a dream or a goal, then there are ways to make them happen. There are ways to do what you once thought was laughable.

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The companies that I’m interning for this summer are amazing. Let me just tell you a little bit about them because I could probably talk about them all day.  Cariloha is a store that sells products that are only made from bamboo. They’re most famously known for their sheets and other bedding products. They have incredible mattresses, pillows, towels, and clothes that are made from bamboo. The best part? It’s environment friendly and affordable. Del Sol is a company where all the products change color in the sun. They have tee-shirts, sunglasses, nail polish, keychains, and so many other things. The environment in the store is super fun.

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While these companies have incredible products, they’re about so much more. Cariloha and Del Sol are all about the experience. Having energy, fun, and a positive attitude are some of the things this company strives for. It was crazy actually, the CEO of this incredibly – well profited company took time out of several of his hectic days to teach and talk to a group of interns. What other company does that? 

All the people that work at the corporate headquarters absolutely love their job. They wake up and they’re excited about going to work; they’re excited to learn something new every day; they’re excited to interact with their coworkers. What other job is truly like that? 

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While I’m doing my internship in Maine, I’ll be working at both Del Sol and Cariloha selling their products. But it’s so much more. I’m making sure the costumer has fun and enjoys their vacation; I’m promoting quality products at an affordable price. All the while, living in paradise. The company takes care of their employees and at nineteen years old, I’m truly treated like an employee of a successful company. It’s been an amazing experience and it hasn’t even technically started.

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I love seeing the world and meeting new people. Who doesn’t, honestly? But I would never get to do these things if I hadn’t taken a chance. I took a chance and applied for this incredible opportunity, very unsure of if I even stood a chance among the other 1600 applications that were turned in. Yet here I am, typing this from my new apartment for this summer in Bar Harbor, Maine- where I get to stay at rent free.

I’m learning not to create limits for myself and for my life. I’m learning to take the opportunities that I want, even if it means risking being uncomfortable or even a little scared.

 

A Day of Solo Traveling 


Disclaimer: this is the third time I’ve typed this post. The wifi at my hotel and at Starbucks doesn’t like me very much, but hopefully this time around works. 🙂 


After I hugged both of my parents goodbye for three months, I didn’t turn back around as I walked away. It didn’t even occur to me to look back until an hour or so later. As I waited to board my first flight of the day, I wished I would have looked back and caught one last glimpse of their smiles and took a mental image. 

I knew I would be traveling solo. That didn’t scare me or even make me nervous. As I looked around, it seemed like everyone, besides me, was in a group or a pair, and it made me sad for just a second. Turning around and going back never crossed my mind. It wasn’t an option for me. But I did wish I would have gotten one more hug. 

When I boarded my first flight, it was mainly full. I got stuck in a middle seat near the front between two older men. The man in the aisle seat put in headphones and immediately fell asleep, but the guy by the window was extremely friendly and talkative. He had a thin mustache and an awkward goatee. His glasses were more like goggles because they wrapped around his face and connected in the back with a black strap. His breath smelled like mushrooms, which was odd to me since it was 6 in the morning. We talked for most of the four hour flight. He traveled a lot for work. His daughter was around my age. He lived in Texas. He’d been to nearly every state besides Maine. He answered my questions about flying and my next flight. 

Best friend number one. 

When I got to the airport in Phoenix, I had about 45 minutes before my next flight. I wasn’t sure how long the walk was or how long the bathroom line was, so I walked pretty fast. A guy on a trolley pulled up beside me and yelled, “Hop on! I take you fast!” So I hopped on and he took me fast. 

“College?” he asked. I nodded. 

“What’s your major?”

“Communications,” I told him, grinning that the answer “undecided” no longer followed that question. 

“Oh! On tv? I can see it! You’re a doll!” 

Best friend number two. 

My flight from Arizona to Salt Lake lasted a little over an hour and I slept most of it. Neither of my seat mates had much to say and I was perfectly okay with that. 

I got a ride to my hotel and arrived there around 11:30 am. My check-in wasn’t until 3, but I had no where else to go. I had two suitcases and I was exhausted. I plopped down in the “lobby” – two small chairs and a wobbly coffee table – and planned to read until three. I think the lady at the front desk felt bad for me because she ended up letting me check in around 12. 

Best friend number three. 

I took a glorious three hour nap in the lumpy, stiff bed. 

Best friend number four. 

When I woke up, I unpacked a couple of things and it was around 4. I decided to walk to the place where I’ll be doing my training all week. It was only a 20 minute walk and the weather was perfect. When I got there, I didn’t really plan to go in, but I did anyways. When I walked inside, the first face I saw was the woman that I’d  been in contact with since applying. I recognized her immediately since she’d also done my Skype interview. I’ve never met a nicer person. I helped set up tables and stayed and talked with her for a little while. She told me about Trax – the train system that takes you downtown. She ended up giving me a ride to the Trax, drawing me a map, calling her husband to double check she had everything right, and telling me she’d pick me up at my hotel in the morning to take me to training. A couple of hours later, when I was downtown, she text me to make sure I was good and getting around okay. 

Best friend number five. 

After I explored Salt Lake for a couple of hours, I came back on the Trax. It was around 9 and I didn’t feel like walking the thirty minutes to my hotel, so I called an uber (which is one of the greatest inventions). The guy that picked me up was nice, but we didn’t talk much. He ended up turning down the wrong road and nearly hitting a car head on almost giving me a heart attack. I won’t call him a best friend, but at least I made it out alive and didn’t have to walk. 

It was a great day and I’m so excited for training this week and so many cool adventures the rest of the summer! 

Eight Short Days

This week has been a strange one. I took my last final last Friday and finished up my freshmen year. What an awesome feeling. I spent my last weekend in Chattanooga packing up my dorm and spending as much time with my precious friends as I could.

I was a lot sadder than I thought I’d be when the last box was sealed shut and my room was empty. When I got to Chattanooga in August, I didn’t give much thought to my dorm. The white concrete walls weren’t very inviting or visually appealing. But as the year progressed, I became more and more attached to my small, white-walled home. Pictures of family and friends were taped to the walls and scattered on my desk. A book was shoved in every nook and cranny, creased from having been read or eagerly waiting to be read. My bed seemed to become less stiff the more nights I slept in it. I stopped being so aware of the blue sunlight that crept in my room due to my poor choice of a curtain. It became homey and familiar in eight short months and as I emptied my closet and stripped my bed, I couldn’t help but feel like I was leaving a fraction of myself behind in Johnson Obear 216 C. I know I get too easily attached. 

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been wrapped in bear hugs by friends and family. Each day I’ve made a trip to visit a grandparent or squeezed in a lunch or coffee with a friend.

Everything has changed, but nothing is different.

I have so much excitement as I unpack, do laundry, and begin to repack my bags for the summer. But I also have a lot of butterflies floating around.

Three whole months?” I asked one of my friends. “What was I thinking?”

“You clearly weren’t,” he said laughing.

Oops. 

My best friend is in Ethiopia for the summer doing an internship. She’s doing amazing things, changing people’s lives even. But she’s been homesick some. She’s facetimed me a couple of times, with tears in her eyes explaining some of the things she’s already faced in the short time she’s been there. She’s sent me pictures of pages of her journal that I’ve read several times, with tears in my own eyes. Seeing her do so many incredible things, but knowing she’s still longing to see her people’s faces makes me nervous about my own journey.

Being home with my people for eight short days makes me not want to leave them again. It makes me wonder if seeing the world is worth it if I’m going to be leaving so many people that are counting down the days until I’m home.

I’m sad, but I’ve never been happier. I’m torn, but I’ve never been more sure that is this something I should do.

Lavina Spalding writes:

“Select moments, recognize them when they come to you, and gently catch them.”

I’m praying for safe travels, new friends, my family’s sanity and and peace of mind, and to gently catch moments that are thrown my way as I set out on the greatest adventure I’ve yet to go on.