Good role models aren’t the ones trying to influence people.

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Instagram influencers. Political influencers. Bloggers even.

If you scan the internet it seems that people aren’t just sharing their lives with you, but they’re trying to get you to live more like them. Whether it’s by changing your lifestyle, buying brands, or changing your opinions, there are a lot of people who want you to change. Maybe they want to be the standard that you’re reaching for, maybe they just like the fame. Whatever the case, the people who are trying hard to influence and be role models… they’re not normally the people you should aspire to be.

The best role models are ones that guide you through life. Their values are set and admirable and their life, despite it’s struggles, has joy in it on a really fundamental level. The best role models are moral ones. They are the content ones. And they are the ones we’d still like to be like when they are in their seventies. Good role models aren’t hard to find, despite what people say, there are a lot of good people in this world. Of course no one is perfect, but a good role model doesn’t pretend to be. They wear their flaws and they work on bettering them.

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Bald Head Island Photo Diary:

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Chris and I went to Bald Head Island for our Honeymoon. It’s an island I’ve really grown to love over the years. I went first as a child when, at the time, a family friend had a house there. I then went again for a photography course in college. We went then in the middle of the winter. It still held my heart. So when we were looking at places to go on our honeymoon I couldn’t help but suggest it.

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It’s a beautiful island off the coast of North Carolina. It makes me love my home state even more than I already did. Something about having the mountains in one direction and the beach in the other is truly beautiful.

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The need for habit refining:

20190402_172743.jpgEvery once in a while I realize that I haven’t cleaned up my habits recently. I know I should be always working on refining and editing my habits, but I don’t know how realistic that is. We call them habits after all, they come naturally, we do them without thinking.

It’s also why they are hard to change, not that I’m telling you anything new. Bad habits die hard, they are something you really have to fight with. It takes a long time to establish new habits. I know they say 21 days, but lets be real, some habits are easier to form than others. It’s not all simple math.

It’s hard work, which is why we aren’t working on them all the time, we have other problems to deal with, life takes over. Self refinement can wait.

Until it can’t. Until we have a rude awakening. Then we get back to it trying to edit and chip away at our bad habits while we lay ground work for new ones.

Well I’m back with my rude awakening. My pants are tight, my diet has been terrible lately. I’m snacking on anything that’s not nailed down. I need to be eating better and less. I need to be taking better care of my body. I need to be getting more exercise.

When you have one of these rude awakenings it often doesn’t end there. You think “oh I need to fix my diet” but then you realize that you need to exercise, but then you realize that you need to fix your posture from working at a desk because it’s leading to back aches when you work out. Then out of nowhere you realize that you’ve abandoned a hobby that you need to pick back up and stop spending time in front of the T.V.

I say its out of nowhere, because it seems to be, but really it’s not. Once you start working on improving yourself you start to see things that you need to improve everywhere. It can be a bit disheartening, but it doesn’t need to be. Finding things to improve means you’re growing and a lot of people don’t put enough effort into growth. It’s not that other people don’t have as many things to improve, it’s just that they’re not doing them. You’re already on top of the game just by seeing these flaws, these bad habits to fix.

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It’s Mrs. Smith now.

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Photo by Sarah Warden Photography

Hello! Sorry for the time off, I was a little busy getting married and going on my honeymoon. It was a busy week before the wedding, we had a house guest and we had a lot of prep work to do. But despite any stress leading up to the event the wedding itself was perfect. It was everything I could have ever imagined. My only complaint is that it went by too fast! I wish I could go back and relive it.

Marriage is a big life event, it’s one I’ve been waiting and praying for. I have responsibility for more than myself now. I am two parts of a whole and I am 100% in. There is no half-assing anything at this point. I’m excited to go on this adventure with Chris and I’m excited to take on the world with him at my side. It feels exactly like it’s supposed to. Or at least, how I imagine it is supposed to. It’s hard to say for sure, I’ve never been married before and I’ll never be married again.

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Learning hobbies and skills as adults:

 

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I’m currently reading The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (along with about five other books, but I regress). I was struck last night while reading by the adult drive to master a craft. I think we all have a tendency to believe that creativity is something formed when we are young. We either had it nourished or we didn’t. It’s easy to believe that when we ask amazing artists when they started painting and they answer elementary school, or the novelist that answers high school.

Maybe it’s because kids don’t fear failing, maybe it’s because if you’re bad at art in elementary school nobody is going to ask why you still bother to draw. You have permission to enjoy something even if the output isn’t worthy. It’s one of  the most amazing things about being young. We have room to fail and with that we have room to grow.

We still do some of this as adults, we all take on tasks at our jobs that we don’t know how to do and flounder around with it until we figure it out, and we keep figuring it out until we master it. But when it comes to things that are vastly seen as hobbies, our drive to work on them seems to be stunted. It suddenly becomes a waste of time. It’s not making money and it’s not getting things done so it’s not worth it.

But we all know it’s not true, we all know what creative outlets do for the soul. We all know that you could in fact turn this into something that profits later on (or not, but it’s an option). You’re not wasting time because as you produce bad works over and over again you are improving, slowly, but steadily.

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I ran out of one of my bipolar medications…

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I ran out of one of my bipolar medications, and not in a “I wasn’t paying attention” sort of way, but in a “my doctor was on vacation, I switched pharmacies, and spent hours on the phone only to finally get my medication after four days of not taking it” sort of way.

After two days of not having it I noticed something, a hint of self loathing, then the next day a large drop of despair. A taste of where I would be without my medication. I don’t understand why, I’m at a really really good place in my life. Things are going great. If I would have guessed I would have thought that if I stopped all my medications I’d be manic, but I was faced with something else, clearly, after my little medical mishap. I’d be depressed right now.

I don’t know if that was what startled me most over these bits of mood turbulence that came from only four days without just one of my many medications, was it that I would be depressed now without them, surrounded by all the current joy I have, or was it the fact that this is all it took for me to feel those ends fraying, me losing control over my emotions?

The reality of bipolar isn’t an easy one, even for someone like me who isn’t a control freak. I’m not in control of my own emotions; perhaps I’m painting with too wide a brush. I am in control when I’m also in control of taking my medications.

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Appreciating the little things creates a better big picture.

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You know when you have a cold and you regret not being amazed by the fact that you can breathe out of your nose 99% of the time. It’s crazy how much of life is like that- over looked, under valued honest to God gifts.

I think we take too much for granted. I think I take too much for granted.

We all begrudgingly admit that we’ve taken people and larger opportunities for granted, we can see them easily with clear eyes. We tend to see those when they hit us in the face. We hate it when it happens and it makes us try to reorganize our lives so we don’t do it again. We think big picture, and it helps our mental health, to think about everything on a larger scale, to know how important these people and opportunities are to your life.

But even if we are trying to take care and appreciate all our big items, even if we are cherishing our loved ones and trying to take every hand that’s reached down to us, we can still be stuck. We can still feel overwhelmed. We can still feel like we’re on the losing end. Maybe we don’t have that many loved ones, maybe the tasks before us are too big or simply not enough. Things happen and life often falls short of what we want it to be, even if we are trying to appreciate the big things. Even if we’re trying not to take anything for granted, but the fact is, when we’re doing these things we aren’t being overwhelmed with how amazing the little things are.

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