A Little Bit of Growing Up

I’ve been very absent in the blog world lately but I’m sure that only a handful of people have noticed. It seems like every time I try to write, something juts feels off. I’m not sure if it’s because my world has been spun in so many directions these past few months or if I just needed some time to breathe and think without expressing those thoughts. Either way, I feel like I’m well over due a post.

As I accepted this internship and prepared to head out, I’m not sure what my expectations were. I knew I wanted to see more of the country; I wanted to make more friends outside of my circle; and I wanted to learn more about myself. I think that all three of those have pretty much been met. As I flipped back in my journal to the days when I first found out I would be coming up here, I was so excited. It seemed to be all I could talk or write about. I was initially disappointed I wasn’t going to be going to Hawaii or some where tropical, but I also felt like there was a reason I was chosen to come up here instead. I can’t say that there aren’t days that I wish I was laying in the sunshine on an island somewhere, because there definitley are. But I also can’t say I would redo anything if I was given the chance – not that I would be anwyays.

If I would have gotten sent to a different location everything would be different. I would have never met any of the people that I have this summer. I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the beauty of this really weird state. Not only have I learned to live with girls from different states, we’ve learned to rely on each other and be there for each other. Being 1,300 miles away from my support system has been difficult, to say the least. On days when I simply wanted to go to my sister’s room and plop down on her bed to chat, I had to instead go to my roommate’s. On nights when I just wanted my mom to cook me dinner, I had to cook something myself or make a sandwich. To say that I’ve grown up and became more independent is an understatement.

I debated a lot about throwing in the towel and coming home early these last couple of weeks. I had many conversations with my family and friends about what I should do. Do I stick it out? Do I come home and enjoy the last few weeks of summer with my people? Do I say screw my contract? Or do I honor it out and suck it up?

I’ll be honest here, I actually bought a plane ticket. I was gonna board a plane and come back to Nashville with my best friend after her visit. I was gonna do it. I was so excited. But I had a knot in my stomach immediately after I bought it. It didn’t feel right. Quitting isn’t in my blood. My parents hadn’t raised me to bail when things got tough, no matter how much we missed each other. From as early as I can remember my parents have taught me to push through difficult situations and try to make the most of them.

One night, my mom called me and told me how proud she was that I had been up here for so long when I’ve been pretty homesick. She told me that it would be okay if I ended things a little bit early. She told me she would support me no matter what I did and that she wanted me to do what was going to be best for myself. I wanted to go home and hug her so badly. But I knew I would look back and be frustrated with myself. I’d feel like I gave up, like I wasn’t tough enough to finish something that I had started. And the thought of that was greater than my homesickness right then, and that was a lot.

So I refunded my plane ticket; I put my suitcase back in my closet; I decided to suck it up and do what I’d been taught to do. As much as I love traveling and experiencing new things, I’m not sure if being away from my family long term is what’s best for me right now. I still want to see so many places and do so many things. I want to study abroad for a semester; I want to hike the AT through, but I also wanna hang out with my parents on a Friday night, laughing as my dad makes fun of my mom for falling asleep at nine pm.

In a perfect world, I could bring my people with me everywhere that I go. But life is complicated and messy and some of the things that I desire and crave aren’t the desires of the people that I love the most in this world. I guess this summer I’ve learned to be okay with.

I have a couple of weekend trips planned with my roommates to wrap up the summer that I’m really looking forward to, but I’m also looking forward to boarding a plane that flashes Nashville. 

1,300 miles away and I still feel the love and support of my people. I still have a place to call home even if I haven’t seen it in a couple of months. I still have a life waiting for me back in the mountains, even when my time here feels endless. And I’m not sure if things could get any better than that.

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Find You Here

I grew up a lot during my first year of college, but I’ve already grown so much in the short month I’ve been out of Tennessee. I guess being a thousand miles from my people didn’t really give me a choice. 

I’d be lying to you if I said my relationship with Jesus has improved since I’ve been gone, because it hasn’t. I don’t feel His presence here and I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t really been looking for it.

I had Saturday off work and I was frustrated with how the last couple of days had gone, so I knew that in order to keep my sanity and my positive mindset, I needed to get outside for a while.

So around 10 am, I started walking towards a trail. The day started out relatively warm. The sun wasn’t overbearing, but it was definitely present. The rain in the forecast kept getting pushed later and later in the day, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

As the day went on and I walked farther and farther from civilization, I began to feel better. I was going to be fine. I was going to make it through the next couple of months and make the most out of them. I was going to learn from this and grow through this. I was going to find Jesus in the midst of this chaos.

After walking for a couple of hours, I came upon a picnic area and stopped to eat my sandwich. It was the first place I had service in a couple of hours, so I began scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw that one of my favorite authors Annie Downs had posted something, I went to her profile and began going through her posts, which then led me to her podcast, That Sounds Fun. I’d listened to a couple of her episodes before and I really enjoyed them.

 

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As I was going through them, I noticed one with Ellie Holcomb, a Christian singer. I’d listened to a couple of her songs before and really liked them so I figured, why not? I was a good distance from being home so I might as well do something to occupy my time.

 

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In the podcast, Ellie talked about her new album Red Sea Road. I immediately began to love her not only as a musician, but as a person. Her love for Christ runs so deep and she’s so sure of her faith.

Annie asked her what her favorite song in the album was and she, without hesitation, said Find You Here. She wrote it when she found out that her dad was diagnosed with cancer, but still kept a smile of his face.

Wow. 

What a slap in the face. 

She found His presence after receiving potentially the worst news of someone’s life. And yet, they still managed to smile and trust Him. Why are we so quick to blame God in our times of sadness and frustration, but so hesitant to praise Him in the times of joy and happiness? 

I’ve always been envious of people that feel Jesus’s presence. I want to feel like the Holy Spirit is always with me.

And then I wondered: Am I even looking?  

Would I even realize if Jesus Himself stopped me? Or would I be too worried about the task I was on my way to do? Would I have my nose too deep in my phone to even look up?

It’s not that the Holy Spirit hasn’t come with me to Maine, it’s that I’m not looking for Him. Because let’s be honest, it’s hard. Sometimes we’d rather fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow than to talk to God for just two minutes or we skip our quite time with Him because we need an extra few minutes in the shower.

God is here, right now. All I have to do is open my eyes and look for Him. He’s right there during my walk to work in the rain. He’s right there as I look at old pictures of my family and realize how much as changed. He’s right with me, every single step of the way.

Before I left for Maine, my nana gave me one of her rings: a beautiful pearl with a gold band. I love it; it hasn’t left my hand and I’m not really a jewelry person. One morning as I stuck it back on after my shower, I felt the need to text her and told her how much I loved it and that I hadn’t taken it off and how much I loved her and missed her. I didn’t think much of it at the time, she was on my heart, so I let her know.

Later that day, my mom told me that my great grandma (my nana’s mom) had taken a nasty fall and was in surgery. I could only imagine how devastated my nana had been all morning.

It was ironic and probably not on accident that had been the morning I told my nana I was thinking about her, after all the morning when I mindlessly slipped her ring on. I can’t help but think that the Holy Spirit plays a role in things like that.

As I continue to move forward, I’m continually reminding myself to look for Jesus. He’s not going to leave you, find Him here. 

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