Equine Study: Yellow and Green

Bear with me if you’ve seen this before, there was a glitch and this post got reverted to a draft, minus all my text, so I’m writing a new post with the pictures from Friday.

Today is a dreary and rainy Monday, it seems almost a lifetime away from last Friday when I took these beautiful and sunny photos. I realized that it had been a while since I had done a photo diary or an equine study, which is a real shame because my horse is one of my favorite things. I should be making a better effort to record all the things I love.

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Giving yourself more dimension: Why it’s important to explore things out of our norm.

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I wrote a post about labels this month, and my first way keep labels from working against you was to mix them up, because we’re individuals and our labels shouldn’t read them same as everyone else’s. The truth is I feel like a lot of people generify themselves so they can fit into a nice little package, whether they’re chasing a brand, an aesthetic, or simply want to be more liked.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my hobbies and loves let me fit into a neat little package, then when people get to know me they’re knocked off their feet by one of my more obscure fascinations or hobbies, not because they’re that rare, but because they never would have placed them with me. They only had a surface level reading of me and there’s always much more going on under the surface. We’re all like this, none of this new.

But what is a newer trend is collectivism, wanting to fit into to a certain group seamlessly and having all of our friends match us in hobbies and ideals. Okay, maybe that isn’t new either, but it’s growing and growing fast. I blame the internet for this, and I blame peoples insistence that you need to pick a side on everything from hobbies to politics to which TV show reigns supreme. You’ve heard of the sinking middle class, but what about the sinking middle ground? When we don’t have middle ground we tend to jump to one side as quickly as possible and leave all the stuff across the line to stay hidden or simply rot out of existence. It’s bad. That other stuff is just as important to who you are.

I hear people say “I lost interest in volleyball because I threw myself into art school and all that goes with it.” or “I lost interest in romance novels because I got my English degree and moved on to “high-brow” literature.”

It’s a common thing. Ask your friends why they dropped things they loved. Ask yourself why you stopped doing that hobby you loved three years ago. We all have our reasons, but I bet most of us didn’t spend a lot of time reviewing those reasons. If we were to, would we still think of them as legitimate enough to have dropped something we loved?

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Removing the mental health stigma without ‘normalizing’ it:

I’ve thought two very contradicting thoughts lately. One being that mental illness is still stigmatized and people are still afraid to talk about it and the other being that we’re making mental illness too normal.

I think both are true.

Let me phrase this a different way, my bipolar, your anxiety disorder, or your best friends depression aren’t uncommon and they are definitely not something to be ashamed of. We need to be open when it comes to our illnesses and our health, so that we can get better and we won’t end up another suicide or addiction statistic. It is insanely important that we feel comfortable seeking help and speaking up about these things. Stigma still stands in many people’s way of achieving this.

To counter that stigma people have tried to talk more and more about mental health, but I feel like somewhere along the way we’ve run into something we weren’t planning on, and that’s people thinking their mental illness is normal, and therefore, unimportant, something they just have to make peace with.

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Personal labels: How to use them without having them work against you

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I’m on social media a lot, it’s a big part of my marketing job, and because of that I spend a lot of time looking at peoples bios. Social media bios have always been interesting to me because there is limited space and people normally try to condense a whole lot of themselves into them. They normally rely heavily on labels.

I have a love/hate relationship with labels. I love certain ones that express my hobbies. Throwing the “novelist” label up in my Twitter bio made me feel official, even if I haven’t had one of them published yet. I felt somewhat vindicated my hard work- I’ve written seven books, I have the right to call myself that. These kinds of labels are easy to grab at, they’re wonderful and they accurately portray how we’re using our time. They’re personal, that’s what we identify as. They define us and our passions.

But labels have a flip side, they aren’t always just defining us, sometimes they’re defining groups that we’re roping ourselves into by association. Sometimes they’re describing a small part of us that people then turn into our whole identity. Sometimes using them isn’t a breathe of fresh air, sometimes they’re more of a brand, thrown on us by ourselves so that we can be put out with the rest of the cattle “similar” to us.

I think labels are important, because I think our personalities and how we define ourselves are important, and I’m not just talking about social media, I’m talking about how you define yourself out in the real world everyday. What words are you using regularly?

You want to define your labels, you don’t want to let your labels define you.

So how do you do that?

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Life Updates: About my current relationship with my Lyme Disease

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I have a lot of posts sitting finished in my drafts right now, but another one is itching to come out of me.

I’ve been sick with Lyme Disease for over two years now, a year and a half of that almost completely thrown away, wasted as I wasted away on the sofa. The disease came sudden and it came fast, but it’s been sticking around ever since. I wrote one big post about it but it hardly goes into the hopelessness. It can hardly express the pain.

Truth is, I’m doing much better now. My doctor has pulled me off a lot of my antibiotics, though recently I back slide and had to have some reintroduced. I realized that I hadn’t shared that Monday night after even more people asked me if I was finally well. I’ve been asked that a lot actually. It doesn’t bother me much, I understand that I seem well. I’m almost at a normal activity level, I finally feel like I have my life back. I’m very happy. I can see how it all could appear to mean I’m finally healed, but I’m not yet. My Lyme isn’t in remission. I’m still actively fighting it every step of the way and it’s hard. It’s really hard. Sometimes it frustrates me to tears, but more often than not it’s lit a fire in me.

I hate calling sicknesses a blessing, but God has a way of taking curses and making them bow to His will. And He’s done that with this one. He’s given me so much perspective, so much hope, and He’s taken my world view and blended it so much that even in my fear I can see how truly blessed I am.

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Trying to live as a reflection: A post about representing Christ

FB_IMG_1529958189896.jpgI passed a church sign the other day that read: “You might be the only bible that someone reads.”

Its a universal enough thought, but it really struck me hard. How many people do we pass by who aren’t religious? The numbers are growing. There is also a growing number of people like me, who try, but not hard enough. I’m not an avid church goer, though I do make it from time to time. I read my bible some, but most my Christian life is wrapped up in prayer, which is good, but not enough. If I’m like this and I consider myself a Christ follower, imagine how little others come in contact with the word.

We’re supposed to think about our actions a lot as Christians, we’re supposed to repent when they aren’t well, and pray about how we can do better. We spend so much of our lives fighting our own demons and sins. When we’re trying to be better the effort is often pointed inward, because we realize that’s were most of our bad forms. We sometimes let down our outward reflection of Christ in this battle. It’s easy to do, we’re trying to be like Him, but none of us really are.

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Most of us aren’t doing our best, but we’re still worthy

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Most the time we aren’t trying our best, let me go ahead and say that. I know that this is a unpopular opinion by the amount of vague posts I see telling people that they are. I know it’s a unpopular opinion based on the amount of times I’ve heard people sigh it under their breath when we both know they aren’t.

I know this, because I do it too. I claim that I’m trying as hard as I can, but I’m not. Perhaps I’m still trying- Perhaps I’m not for real reasons like lack of sleep and stress. Most of the time if I said the reason I’ve been failing instead of a lie about the amount of effort I was putting in people would be just as understanding, because they know as well as I do that life gets busy and messy, and sometimes we’re just downright lazy.

But let’s admit it, we’re not always trying our best. It’s a disappointing thing to hear ourselves say, whether or not our reasons are valid, because we know how much farther along we would be if we were. We know that we’d be five steps ahead of where we are if we gave it our all everyday, which is why we lie. It’s why we pretend that we couldn’t be any farther along.

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