January 5, 2017

A Beautiful Ending

Years ago I read a writing prompt that said, "If this is the last post you will ever publish, what will you write?" And in the past year, I've come back to this post over and over again, wondering if, without knowing it, I had already written my last blog post. 

But even for me, the most undedicated of all bloggers, I'm finding the need to come back one more time and give These Beautiful Ramblings a proper farewell. Because yes, indeed, it is time. 

Partly, I've grown tired of the blogging community. The internet seems oversaturated with bloggers just trying to make a buck, not realizing that money in this world is hard-earned and much harder-earned than it was ten years ago. Not realizing that blogging, successful blogging, is a full-time job. 

And partly, because I've grown tired of the noise. Tired of opinionated rants disguised as "thought pieces" or the overly-or under-censored articles. Decency, at times, is hard to find online.

Yet, even as my inner-skeptic roars, I have been reminded of the kind and incredible community I have found through the blogging world, and I've had to check my own negativity at the gate. The realization that I was burning out, when in reality, so many people are trying to make the internet a much more positive place - was my wake-up call to take a step back from this platform. 

So for over a year I have puzzled over the future of TBR. This was the space I created when I moved away from home at the tender age of eighteen to work for a mouse. This is the place where I muddled through my thoughts as I explored independence, faith, college, newlywed life, living abroad, and the beginnings of my career. This has been the place where I have revealed pieces of my heart to an anonymous world. I am proud of this blog and I am proud of myself for taking a leap of faith and putting my words out into the wild. 

But still, as my career has grown and I've gained experience working in the world of digital strategy, marketing, and content ... I've grown decidedly unhappy with what TBR is today. I've reevaluated who I want to be in a place as vulnerable as a personal blog, and where I want to go. For now, that place is offline. 

If this is to be the last blog post I write for TBR, then I will say this to you, whoever you may be: use your space of internet wisely. Whether it's Facebook or a website with 100,000 monthly visits, ask yourself before you post, "Is it good? Is it true? Is it necessary?" 

Don't feel the need to "finally start a blog", believe me, there is no pressure. Your thoughts are beautiful, valued, and worthy to be shared - but consider where you want your platform to be. Don't hide behind a screen when a coffee shop with friends and good conversations might change the world. 

But if you do want to write and share it with the world, I beg you, do it with gusto. There is far too much mediocrity on the internet these days. 

If this is to be my final farewell on These Beautiful Ramblings, something I'm fully aware is far sadder for me than for anyone else ... then I would be remiss if I did not say, thank you. Thank you to the readers who journeyed through Disney with me. Thank you to the friends who were always kind when they read my words. Thank you to the pastors and publishers who saw value in me and have told me to keep writing, even in the midst of my cynicism. 

And of this is your first time ever reading one of my posts, a hundred heartfelt thanks for jumping into my journey, even now. I'm off to live offline for the time being, and perhaps, learn how to write for myself again - without even the slightest thought of an audience. Perhaps not for forever, but at least, for today. 

Oh, and one last thing, just for fun. Here are a few of the top-ranked posts on this blog, which also happen to be a few of my favorites. The words still ring true to me years later. Enjoy. 

It's been a pleasure, TBR, thanks for being home.


October 6, 2015

Change Is Good

Life has the strangest tendency to happen in the moments when you're not looking. You blink, you turn around, you pour a cup of tea...and suddenly, Life with a capital L sweeps onto the scene and shakes your world like a snowstorm in a snow globe.
I love the unpredictability of life. You can plan for a hundred years and the execution of your plans will never go as imagined. You can dream, work hard, shoot for goals...and life can still surprise you with ups and downs, new faces, new phases, and new adventures.
In the past five months I have stood on a strange precipice of life, a period of anticipation, boldness, and unknown journeys. A mixture of knowing where I'm headed and having no idea where I am going. It's a weird realm to live in, let me tell you.
In April/May, I came to the 100% positive conclusion that it was time to move on from my social media job and search for greener pastures. I am so thankful for where that role led me, but I was bored and unchallenged, holding onto my position simply because I wasn't ready to let go. It was my first "big kid" job, and I felt as though I "should" have been content, but I wasn't. I specifically remember the moment when I decided that enough was enough. It was a quiet night in the house, with a cup of green tea beside me, and I wrote down on a piece of scrap paper, "If I stay, I stay because I'm afraid and I'm comfortable. If I leave, I'm scared of not being good enough or getting into something worse than where I'm at. If I stay, I'm unhappy. If I leave, I'm unknown." I remember looking at those scribbled journal words and thinking, "Fear is not going to be the foundation of my life's decisions."
Fast forward to June and I was accepting a new role at a new company and turning in my two weeks. I stepped out of in-house social media and stepped into a digital marketing agency as a content marketing specialist. In the midst of so many changes, I have such joy and such assurance that this was absolutely the right time and the right decision to make. Also, I'm writing and creating content for a living, so that's really awesome.
As these decisions were being made, I was vary aware of the fact that August would bring a round of new  changes, some that felt even bigger than a job transition. After a year of planning, testing, and paperwork...I stepped back into the role of student and began my venture into b-school. It was (is) a brutal transition, as I learn how to balance an intense workload as well as thrive and do well in my new career. While these first few months have been long and exhausting, I know in two years time when I have another little piece of paper to stick on my wall and a few new skills to apply to my career, it will all be worth it.
And so life goes, in quiet calm periods followed by sweeping rushes of newness and unknown. My heart is settled in the peace of knowing I am where I am supposed to be in so many different ways, my head is tired and still doesn't really understand the hypergeometric probability distribution, and my hands are anxious to get to work and do they best job they can possibly do.
It is in the insanity of busyness that I watch life spin around me and I want to laugh and cry all in the same moment. We are just flecks of star dust in the span of the universe, but these moments, the quiet ones and the crazy ones, are everything. Our terminal bodies are meant for so much more than a short-sighted future. We are kingdom builders, world shakers, lovers of humans and all their messiness, their potential, their heartaches and heart joys. As life spins faster and faster, I am reminded over and over again that these steps I walk are for a purpose. These friends I make are so much more than temporary. This world we live in is not our home.
My words on this blog might come fewer and farther between in the upcoming months. I won't apologize, because I always feel sorry for the bloggers who think they need to apologize when they are absent. This space of internet has been my home away from home for almost 5 years now, sometimes I visit it daily and sometimes it stays absent for weeks on end. Life is happening in the moments we step away from the screen. I love the readers sitting behind their screens right now (hi mom), and I know your lives are filled with adventures and big moments and small moments and a hundred other wonderful and sometimes messy things to steal your attention away. So thank you, for allowing my words to be a part of your moments, and thank you for your graciousness in knowing that when I write, I write with heartfelt sincerity...and I refuse to force that process along in lieu of quality content.
Life is happening in the blinks of an eye, in fast forward motion and slowed down to the speed of a first dance. I have blinked and my world has shifted, the snow globe has been shaken and the landscape appears so differently than it did just a few short months ago. It is new, strange, beautiful, and frightening...but after all, this is Life with a capital L...and I expect nothing but the unexpected from it. Thank you for being a part of my story.

June 28, 2015

3 Lessons Learned from a Capsule Wardrobe

Simplicity is the ultimate goal in so many areas of my life. Finances, food, possessions... my organized heart skips a beat when everything is clean and simple. With this thought in mind, the idea of a capsule wardrobe captured my attention from the beginning. I stumbled across the blog Unfancy and determined myself to begin a journey of minimalism.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is simple. Limit the number of pieces you own, plan them well, make sure they're fairly complementary, and don't buy anything else. At this point in my journey of simplicity, I have deleted a lot of excess from my life and I haven't replaced much. After a few months of no shopping and much cleaning, I now know the pieces I need to purchase to complete my closet.  Part of minimalism, as it refers to a capsule wardrobe, is owning fewer pieces of higher quality. Defining your style and sticking with it to avoid impulse shopping and causalities of a "good deal".

While I am nowhere near the end of this process, I am far enough along into my journey to want to share three of the biggest takeaways this process of simplification has brought to me. And maybe somehow, if you're looking for a way to bring simplicity to your life, this idea will strike a cord and resonate with your heart and you too will begin to take a good hard look at what you own, what you need, and what really makes you happy.

1. An emptier closet is easier to navigate.

   Less clothing means less clutter. Less clothing means fewer distractions. Less clothing means more of what you love and more room to find what you need. When the only pieces in your closet are pieces you love, finding something to wear is a happier experience.

2. Creativity thrives in a minimalistic atmosphere.

    If you want to really figure out how to become creative with your clothing, take away everything you don't like and just work with what you have. Suddenly, you find new combinations to wear and new ways to style your tried-and-true favorites. Like so many other areas of life, when you take away all the clutter, you can think clearer.

3. You need so much less then what you think you need.

Raising my hand in shame, openly admitting that I am guilty. Guilty of thinking that I need to stay on top of the latest trends. Guilty of thinking that I think I "need" something new. Guilty of feeling dissatisfied with material possessions. My journey into a minimalistic closest has begun to erase these ideas and replace them with the slap over the head knowledge that I need so very little to be content. My worth isn't in the latest trends, the clothes I wear, or the brands on the label on my back.


My step into the conscience process of "less" is becoming a beautiful journey into "more". More time to drink a cup of tea in the mornings. More energy to put into making breakfast or sweeping the kitchen floor. More confidence in how I carry myself on a daily basis. More room to grow and evolve in so many other areas of life. If I had known that donating three-quarters of the shirts off my back would feel so liberating, I think I would have done it a long time ago.