Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays.

[December 23, 2012]

To you and yours this holiday season, 

May love surround and fill you. No matter how gloom you feel, do allow your heart to receive the love that it so deserves. 

All my love.

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said:
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

The tragic, yet inspiring story behind this beautiful poem.

P.S. For all the overwhelmingly thoughtful comments, thank you. A million times over, thank you. It means more to me than words could ever express. Thank you.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Healing heartbreak.

[Munich. December 21, 2012.]

This isn't what I expected--but when, really, is anything the way we expect it to be?--it's been possibly one of the most frustrating, confusing, lonely, invigorating, edge-of-the-seat exciting times of my life.

It's been... hard. 

I didn't expect to fall so hard, so fast. I didn't expect to be crushed harder than ever before. I didn't expect to feel so lost among crowds of other people's families, lovers, friends. I didn't expect it to be December and be among nothing of the sort.

But I am. And it's tough. Yet, I can't help but think this will pass. This lonely chapter of my life will be something I simply look back on and sigh heavily while thoughts of "how did I get through that" go through my head.

Most of all, I can't wait until I'm able to say, "I'd do it all again, if was meant to bring me to you."

And today, after a stunning man locked eyes with me on the subway causing butterflies in my stomach to re-emerge from their frozen cocoon, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

It was back.

My heart is healing, becoming even more prepared to love when the time is right--with the one that's right.

Yes, it's healing.

"She believed a great happiness awaited her somewhere, and for this reason she remained calm as the days flew by."-Gyula Krudy
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The heavy questions.

Denise Daisy, Haytham
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Monday, December 10, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

Lonely is seeing something so beautiful that you feel your heart cannot contain it all by itself, that it is going to burst from the radiance that it is longing to express. It is wanting to turn to someone, anyone, and say “Look at that. Isn’t that wonderful?” and realizing that, as with so many other memories of late, there is just no one there to share it with.
— Chelsea Fagan, The Difference Between Alone and Lonely
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Like porcupines on a winter's night.

p.s. Another talk by Elizabeth Gilbert that I loved, and think you will, too.
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Monday, December 3, 2012

“She wanted a smile that was meant only for her.”

"I think I'm most scared of falling for someone who is still in love with their ex."

The words I spoke at that moment were just as new to me as they were to you. I had no idea where that fear had come from--when I had developed such a fear. I truly think it was my heart trying to warn me through my own words.

"That's absurd," you replied.

I was relieved. A little bit embarrassed to have let something like that slip. Especially when you found it to be so "absurd".

It wasn't even a month later when I found out about her.

I found out it hadn't been "years" since you were last in a relationship. Not even months, in truth. Maybe even weeks, I suspect. But I can't believe anything you say, really.

Maybe I can't be mad at you anymore. Maybe since I was the one who so desperately wanted to forget it all. Forget about her and you. Forget about any of the lies and only remember "pre-lies" you.

So I forged on. I continued to chalk it up to a fluke; not the real you.

I can only be mad at myself after the second, third, fourth ... lie.

And I am mad at myself. And I wonder what kind of shape my heart has to be in to have accepted such lies and to have made so many excuses.

Not anymore.

You can call me at five a.m.

But I will not answer.

I deserve better. As a friend. As a potential Love.

But you do not lie to Loves, or friends.

So right now, I really can't consider you either.

Even though, in my heart, I wanted nothing more.

But not now.

Not anymore.

I can't deal with your lies anymore.
And if that's all you know-
well then I can't keep trying to trust you anymore.


I know you're a good person at heart,
and I forgive you.

But now I must work on forgiving myself.

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” -Robert Brault

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{Quote of the Week.}

 {via: Better Than Fine.}
"I can tell you that you will have your heart broken more by the people you love than by the people you hate. But you must still dare to love. The rewards are worth far more than the risks."-Margaret Peterson Haddix
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Monday, November 26, 2012

She forgot to leave room.

{Munich.November 2012}|
Once upon a time I was walking down one of my favorite streets in Munich when I felt an uncertain pang in my heart.

It wasn't homesickness. No, that pang I am very familiar with. It wasn't because I was nervous, or even because I saw a cute puppy and wanted to snuggle it for years. This was one I had never noticed before.

So I found the nearest (free) wifi signal and called him.

He didn't answer. I've always answered his calls. My calls? Well they are rarely answered.

I was alone. Utterly, and completely alone. Not because I didn't have friends that cared about me somewhere in the world, I do. And my family, they are always in my heart. But this time, I was lonely, for me.

The pang would not have ceased had he answered--no, this pang had possibly nothing to do with him at all.

That sounds incredibly odd. Bordering on obnoxious really.

But it was true. I didn't even have myself to turn to.

You see, a few months ago I met someone here. I met someone and I fell hard (after much hesitation, mind you). But of course, he had me convinced, and I was trusting, and I dove in head first. I gave every ounce of my energy to not only the "relationship," but to him. I have a history of doing this. And it's not like I'm trying to say how "selfless" I was or how "caring" I am. This is not what I mean at all.

It didn't work out. Well, things have taken a turn, and by that I mean I keep caring. Here I am standing, caring, thinking, and hoping. And him--well, I'm not really sure what he is up to--he suddenly doesn't have the time to talk or write. (Funny how when he wrote me--even at my most stressed--I took the time to answer.)

Maybe in time. Or maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe it was yet another step closer to the real thing; merely another lesson learned about relationships.

While I am caring and give all my heart to all relationships--friends and loves alike--I sometimes forget about myself. So often in relationships I have thought, Well, whatever he wants to do, I'll work my life out around that. I can always change my plans.

That is bonkers.

That is absurd and I (we) need to give myself (ourselves) some flippin' credit.

We deserve to be thought of, cared for, and loved for our dreams and hopes, too.

I'm trying to treat myself a little bit better. And, as soon as I do, I'm certain the loves I encounter will treat me kinder, as well.

It's sad that this is something I'm really struggling to do; being kind to myself, learning to love myself.

It's even sadder that it is much harder said than done.

But here I am, trying every single day.

p.s. this is beautiful:

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{Quote of the Week.}

“Those who are truly enlightened, those whose souls are illuminated by love, have been able to overcome all of the inhibitions and preconceptions of their era. They have been able to sing, to laugh, and to pray out loud; they have danced and shared what Saint Paul called 'the madness of saintliness'. They have been joyful - because those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss. True love is an act of total surrender.”-Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Every little bit of it.

{via: as the sun rises over the mountains.}

For the highs and the lows. The days of being completely on my own. Days of pure joy. For those who have broken my heart. For those who have loved me more than I ever have myself. Those who have tricked me into loving them by wearing a disguise. The scary moments alone far, far away. The moments of utter embarrassment. The laughter-filled nights. The family I miss (but am always close to in my heart). The friends who've moved on and the friends who've stayed close. The tears of happiness. The tears of sorrow. And the tears 'just because'. For confusion. For clarity. And everything in between.

These are the things that bring me even closer to love. These are the things that are meant to happen.

These are the things for which I give my thanks; the things that make me love my blessed life. 
Every little bit of it.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

-is it enough to breathe.
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

The time I went to Oktoberfest in September, but didn't post about it until November.

(See! Photos! Finally! I'm terrible with any camera, friends. Painfully, awkwardly, awful with one. I'm trying to work on it!)

I went to Oktoberfest with a few friends I have stolen  adopted from my dear friends Katherine and Christian. It was everything I had hoped for and more... and then some more! But honestly, the memories will last forever. Because Oktoberfest is a magical thing. ; )
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Friday, November 16, 2012

"It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well."

I gave in and bought the new Taylor Swift album a few weeks ago when I bought my new computer. I decided it was fate. After all, how many tiny Bavarian village electronic stores carry the newest T.Swift album a day after it comes out? Not very many. It was clearly meant to be. And I'm so glad that I did, because I may be eating cheap cheese and packages of bread for a while, but at least my ears are happy and my heart is comforted. 

My favorite songs, you ask?

State of Grace
We learn to live with the pain//Mosaic broken hearts

I can't decide if it's a choice//Getting swept away//I hear the sound of my own voice//Asking you to stay

Stay Stay Stay
I just like hangin' out with you, all the time.//All those times that you didn't leave;//It's been occurring to me I'd like to hang out with you, for my whole life.

Holy Ground
Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress,//We had this big wide city all to ourselves.//We blocked the noise//with the sound of ‘I need you’,//And for the first time I had something to lose,

The Lucky One
And they tell you that you’re lucky.//But you’re so confused,//Cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used.

He said, "Look at you, worrying so much about things you can't change//You'll spend your whole life singing the blues if you keep thinking that way"//He was trying to skip rocks on the ocean, saying to me,//"Don't you see the starlight, starlight?//Don't you dream impossible things?"

Begin Again
And for the first time, what's past is past

(Ok, so really pretty much the entire album.)

Say what you will about her, but the girl has a way with words and music. Goodness.

Also, I love this.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trying to find your footing.

{via: flickr.}

The feeling you get in your stomach before stepping onto an escalator or into a revolving door sets up permanent residence during your twenties. You have to keep with the flow. You don't want to be the one that misses the first stair--smacks right into the door. Every step before you is carefully calculated, dreaded.

To you at least. Everyone else seems to have it mastered; the art of stepping in, stepping up. You don't. Before you even try your mind is filled with terrifying scenarios you're convinced are about to come true. If only you could take the damn elevator, skip it all, including this dumb metaphor.

The hot mess of a metaphor I just tried to convey is my attempt at expressing how it feels to be among peers that are getting real jobs, marrying their loves, creating babies. They seemingly took off their cap and gowns after graduation and stepped right into the next phase of their lives. I applaud that. I envy that. I definitely didn't do that.

Instead, I feel like I'm merely an older version of the person I was 6 months ago when I received my degree. Nothing else has changed. Well, I moved across the world again. But sometimes I wonder if I maybe I moved again because it bought me more time to figure out what to do post-university. It bought me time, but it didn't slow down anyone else's clocks.

Rather, I am a million miles away, reading updates about how so-and-so just got a raise and your dog's cousin's best friend just got married to her best friend.

I'm trying to convince myself it's ok to take a differenet route, a different staircase. But it's hard to keep myself convinced daily.

So instead, I'm just trying to convince myself that it's ok to feel scared, anxious--eager even. Some days all that matters is that you feel anything at all.

Even if you feel like writing a terrible, terrible metaphor for a blog post.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

To remember on even your hardest of days...

You are loved. If you took every ounce of love and poured it into the universe, the sides of the universe would be leaking with your love. You are infinitely loved.

You are wanted. There is always someone wishing, hoping, yearning for someone half as great as you to grace their lives.

You are needed. Your words, your smile, your laugh; the world needs you. So many people need you. They may never tell you the difference you make in their lives, but you don't need them to, like they need you to.

You will be OK. Some days are just tougher than others. Some days you wake up with a cloudy head and soggy heart. These days happen. For some more often than others. But these days happen to everyone. The thing about these days? These days are exactly that: days. In less than 24 hours it can all turn around, you never know. But you should know you will be OK. Don't let these days fool you. They are only days.

You can do this. You may wonder how you will ever survive, get passed the aches and pains and worries. But you have before. And you will again. You can, you have, and you will. This is your motto.

And most of all, even when you feel most alone, most unlovable, most afraid, close your eyes and allow yourself to feel the love radiating around you.

That love is to you. That love is you. are always loved.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

{Quotes of the Week.}

“When I find the person who is perfect for me, he won’t feel inadequate in my presence. He will see my light, talents, intelligence, and charisma and use it to brighten his own life. He will embrace my flaws and help me build bridges where there were once dams. He will love without condition; he will love even when he’s sad and angry. He will inspire me, we will inspire each other, and this will be love, finally.”-Samantha Willner
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Monday, November 5, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: tumblr.}
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tales of a Never Nude: I wear a swimming suit in the sauna.

I went to the spa in my apartment building. Mind you, this was after hours of summoning up the courage to do so. 

I walk in and all seems well. I go to the damp room--because I am convinced in a dry sauna you will catch on fire. My rationale is brilliant-- I KNOW.

Of course, the door will not open. NOT AT ALL. But do not worry, a man from the infrared sauna came over to help me. IN THE NUDE.

But he couldn't get the door to open. So his other (naked) friend came over and they push and pull with all their might together. Meanwhile, letting it all loose. I stand there, of course, in a swimming suit. Covered by a towel. Mortified.

After a good THREE SOLID MINUTES of fussing with the door from hell, they get it open. Of course they both had to squat down together to pull from the bottom... but don't worry, they sure weren't.

How do you enjoy a spa when you have just witnessed such a thing. HOW?

So then I think, hmm. They are about my age--I've seen them naked unfortunately--how much more awkward could it be if I asked them what they do in the town for fun, or you know, WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT AREN'T 100?!

Surely, I thought, they'd put on their towels if I politely started a conversation while wearing MY towel up to my chin.

I bravely wander over and ask. And of course they are neither from here, nor do they take the social cue about the towel. INSTEAD, they decided to stretch out, sit with their knees to their chest or, I KID YOU NOT, SIT CRISS-CROSS-APPLESAUCE STYLE. 

For the next hour, we talked about Tupac. Because my sitting there with my glasses fogged up, a towel clutched to my chin, I exude the idea that I would be a "TUPAC AFICIONADO." (Lucky for them, I am.)

I stayed. And I memorized the ceiling tiles. (There were 150 of them to be exact.)
And then I braved the whirlpool.

...and by "braved" I mean I went over to it, saw that it said NO SWIMMING SUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!! and was really put off. Because that's a bit forward. and I had my fill of nudity for the day.

I almost just did it anyway, swimsuit and all, because who is really going to come up and be like TAKE OFF YOUR SUIT---but then I remembered this is Germany, and they SO WOULD DO THAT (because they keep it real, and I admire them for their ability to do so.). 

I left.

And I reinforced the common stereotype that the Americans are incredibly uncomfortable with nudity, really even probably to an extreme extent. But that's ok. Because I clearly represent the rest of my country... (no, I don't.).

But here's the thing: I'm determined to walk through that sauna in my birthday suit like a boss before my time here is over. 

Next week I plan to try it only in a towel -- sans swimming suit underneath. But no promises.

Because these people have the self confidence I dream of. 

I believe when someone first said, "You do you, Haters gon' hate" they were German. 
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Here we go.

[Munich, Oktober 2012]
After a few weeks, a whole lot of tears, and driving through tiny villages praying for a German equivalent of Best Buy, I found a computer--(so it's all in German and the keyboard is a real booger... it'll do.)--And boy oh boy does it feel good to feel my fingers tap the keys furiously, letting my stories pour themselves out into every ounce of allotted space. So much has happened, but there is still so much to share.

I'm writing a book. Does that sound as pretentiously rude to you as it does to me? Ugh. I hate that. But it's true. And I'm doing it because, well, why not?

Earlier this week, my dear friend Lauren said that I was born a storyteller. And honestly, I'm starting to think it's true. Because after my sauna drama--oh, it's as good as it sounds. Trust me.--and making a tram of Germans laugh at something I said, (You guys, that's a feat. They're a tough audience.) I've gotta start passing these tales on. God has to be throwing them my direction for someone's entertainment.

Sometimes my life is like a Lifetime Channel television series. Not NBC or CBS, or even Disney. No, it's like a Lifetime Channel series.Yeah, exactly.

But we all love Lifetime, right? ...

Oh, it feels so good to be back. 
I've missed this.
I've missed you.

Let's do this.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012


My computer took an unfortunate turn for the worst recently so I am currently trying to sort things out!

I promise I'm still here, just missing you all like crazy.

Until soon!
(come on, little computer!)

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Friday, October 12, 2012

All the happiness...

[Bavaria. September 2012.]

I find that little kids are such remarkable resources for wonderment and ideas for writing and life. I love listening to them talk so expressively and excitedly about things we consider mundane, such as getting to capture grasshoppers later in the afternoon, or create a castle out of Play-Doh before lunch is served.

Every time we go somewhere in my car, I love to play my Mindy Gledhill Anchor CD. (You know, the one with my wedding song on it? ;) It's amazing to see how the boys settle down and just listen. The other day, after turning it on, they sweetly said "Oh, Anna. This is my favorite music. But only if you sing along with it!" (They said it in German, which made my heart melt into a puddle on the floor twice as fast.)

I wish we were able to foster that child-like wonder longer in life, rather than becoming more jaded, less satisfied by the most simple of things. The world needs more people who can explore and experience life with the hope and interest children are filled to the brim with. (This is not an excuse for adults to act like children, mind you. Instead, a perspective from which one can look when uninspired, disinterested, cynical, hardened by the trials of everyday life.)

It's easy to become guarded, weary of life. Being an adult comes with a lot of stress. But I think it's so important to keep the child-like trust and happy-go-luckiness alive and well within ourselves.

I hope you find yourself in awe this weekend about something, and that you find excitement in something we usually find so normal, (like treating yourself to an ice-cream cone, with sprinkles--because sprinkles make everything so much better) and most of all, I hope you find yourself laughing like a child this weekend. The kind of laughter that you just know comes from your heart, and is healing your pains and worries with every gasp and squeal of happiness.


I wish you all the happiness
That God gives freely if you ask
Mindy Gledhill, Hourglass
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Conversation

Have you all seen this show yet? It's phenomenal. Amanda de Cadenet interviews many famous women and asks them fascinating, open, honest questions. It's refreshing to see celebrities push the carefully formulated PR answers aside in an interview and allow themselves to be exactly that. Themselves.

It's much more interesting to hear such things from these ladies, and to learn from the lessons and advice they give. It's inspiring, really.

You can watch all the episodes here. (They even work here in Germany, so I'm quite sure they should work nearly everywhere!)

The website is now a daily read for me. It's full of great stuff.

On a slightly different note, it is Mental Health Awareness Week, something I hold very dear to my own heart.

For those of you suffering from a mental illness, please know that you are not alone. Please reach out to somebody and know that there are many, many helpful resources out there. 
People with mental problems are our neighbors. They are members of our congregations, members of our families; they are everywhere in this country. If we ignore their cries for help, we will be continuing to participate in the anguish from which those cries for help come. A problem of this magnitude will not go away. Because it will not go away, and because of our spiritual commitments, we are compelled to take action.-Rosalynn Carter 
For those who have dwelt in depression's dark wood, and know its inexplicable agony, their return from the upward out of hell's black depths and at last emerging into what he saw as "the shining world".-William Styron

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Monday, October 8, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sponsor Love: Cheerfully Charmed

Before I left for Germany, the lovely shop Cheerfully Charmed became one of my blog sponsors! Unfortunately, I have been swamped with everything being brand new and the lack of wifi in Europe (it drives me bonkers, I tell ya!). So I haven't had a moment to show off the lovely necklace they gave me!

But I will do so soon, as for now, I wanted to share the beautiful picture of the necklace above I found on Design Love Fest's blog.

Stripes + baubles = perfection every time.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Longitude, latitude, and letting life happen.

[Scotland. January 2011.]

I remember sitting in the university library and having an overwhelming urge to take a trip to Scotland. I had been following and adoring the hilarious Helen and her blog and was excited when she invited me to visit. I was just as excited when my parents were ok with the whole thing. I had been abroad once before when I was sixteen for an exchange program, but never had I spent anytime alone in a hotel. But they agreed to put my Christmas money toward the trip and that was that.

Two months later I found myself walking the streets of Glasgow, having a hotel room all to myself, and laughing the days away while exploring with Helen.

I knew this was what I needed. Time alone. Time to grow, stretch, reachon my own. It was during those ten days in the UK that I decided to search for opportunities to au pair...

What I learned, most of all from that brilliant, inspiring trip, was that when things are meant to be, they don't have to be forced; things will fall into place when you let them.

This is one of the biggest things I struggle with; "Letting go & letting God," as my sweet mother would say.

But I'm trying. Lord knows I'm trying. And so far, I think I'm making progress, or hope so, at least. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. My heart is starting to pace itself; my mind is starting to relax.

Nowafter having faith and patienceI find myself here. It's more wonderful than I could have ever imagined or planned.

And that's why I'm no longer a hopeless romantic; rather, my heart is overflowing with hope.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: tumblr.}
As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better. -Steve Maraboli
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Like the sound of the sun."

I've never really mentioned this in my blog before, though I've gone back and forth in my head often, wondering if I should share... 

I have diagnosed, severe OCD, more specifically, POCD. I decided recently to write about my struggles with POCD after having come across this article. It made me so frustrated, while these shown are phobias or quirks we all experience some variety of, it is not necessarily OCD. 

So, I submitted this article as a response and would love to share with you. It touches a bit on my struggles with OCD, but I plan on writing more about it in time. After clicking "send" and hearing that it helped some, I realized I should share my story, and honestly, I feel a little bit lighter having done so. Life's funny that way, no?

If you have any questions about POCD or OCD, please don't hesitate to ask. And if you or someone you know struggles with this disorder, this foundation and this website can help.

I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”-Maya Angelou
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where the clouds collide with the Alps.

[Munich, September 20, 2012.]

I have arrived and it is beautiful.

It's a great contrast to my last stay in Germany scenery wise, and to be able to experience both extremes is honestly a dream. Coming from the plains of the Midwest, the past two years have been a whirlwind of different landscapes and climates. I have no favorite, but seeing the Alps from your backyard is pretty hard to beat.

I'll write more soon, as for now, jet lag has taken over.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The adventures of Bill & Cathy Cambridge.

There are no words to describe how much I love this. None. Nadda. Zilch. 
-a royal love affair
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

[Munich. September 17, 2012.]

“In the history of the world, no one has done a thing that was not done for love. You must only train yourself to see it—the canny emerald strand that connects a soul to its desire and all the kinks and snarls in it, that might seem as though they tend towards wealth or power, but mean only love me, love me back, love me despite everything.” -Cat Valente
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Downton Abbey.

-images via tumblr.
I decided to find out what all the Downton Abbey hubbub was about, andoh me, oh myI am so happy I did. In one week I finished both the first and second season. Holy guacamole. How can they just up and leave us hanging like this? I miss it. So much.

At least I still have Everybody Loves Raymond. Right?

Also, here are some hilarious Downton Abbey themed tumblrs:
Downton Abbeyoncé
Downton Pawnee
Downton Tabby

and best of all:
Miss (Conan) O'brien.
(this, too.)
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11/2001


We will always remember.
Those who died.
Those who fought.
Those who rescued.
Those who sacrificed.
Those who lost so much
 that somber September day.
We remember.
We will always remember.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” -David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

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Monday, September 10, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: flickr.}
Don’t forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.-Charles de Lint
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

This is the dream I'm working on: Curing the mid-week blues.

{via Lark&Linen.}

I have a tough time dealing with evenings during the week. It's easy to be sucked into a crappy tv show and finish off a bag of chips you were planning on taking to the tailgate...
I read once that one way to fight these mid-week blues is to plan things you can look forward for during the week:

You need to make plans to see someone on a Tuesday because having a guaranteed fun activity in the middle of the week will keep you sane and give you something to look forward to. And let’s face it, we all need something to look forward to during the work week. -Thought Catalog

That's why I plan to host weekly, low-key get-togethers with friends that can give everyone a mid-week boost.

From Sequence and champagne to margaritas and Mario Cart, I think this idea is the ultimate cure to those mid-week blues.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Words from Wise Women: Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's writing not only inspires, but consoles and humbles. She has this way with speaking directly to you, when really, you know she has never met or heard of you. But still, it feels as though she is sitting next to you, giving you advice and cheering for you every step of the way. From the Civil Rights Movement to her poetry, Maya Angelou has affected so many with her words. She is a writer I admire, and a writer who always encourages us to keep on writing our story.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” 

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” 

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” 

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”  

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” 

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” 

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.” 

When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.” 

I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” 

Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift. ” 

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” 

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” 

To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.” 

“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.” 

Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.” 

“You should never make someone a priority who views you as an option.” 

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

“A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.” 

To those who have given up on love: I say, "Trust life a little bit.” 

(Trust life a little bit; I love that. Thank you, Dr. Angelou)

(above graphic by me.)
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I am simply someone who writes.

 {via: Notes to Self.}

I want to become "a writer." I studied writing (many different forms and styles). I've analyzed writing and  even had to critique others' works in fiction classes. I've also written for a newspaper and some online magazines. But still, yet, I do not call myself a "writer." For some reason, I refuse to call myself such—I feel I haven't reached that point yet. The point which I consider myself a real life, working, living, breathing writer.

Maybe it's because I fear being called a writer. I am scared of the expectations that come with that title. After years—maybe ten years—of writing everyday, maybe then I will be comfortabe with calling myself a writer. (A professor I had for poetry class always said something along the lines of "it takes doing something for 500 hours before you can consider yourself a professional." I took that to heart.)

And today, after finding this article in my bookmarks, I realized it's something many struggle with; being considered "a writer" or not. But someday I truly hope to be able to say with fervor: Yes. I am a writer.

As for now—now I say:
I am simply someone who writes.
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Monday, September 3, 2012

{Quote of the Week.}

{via: tumblr.}

“Think of how many people have sat next to you on a bus, train, whatever. Now think how many people have sat next to you on purpose with their fingers crossed in hope that you’ll talk to them. I’m sure somebody has. There’s plenty of times when somebody’s seen you and hoped that you spoke to them, but you never did because you don’t have the guts and neither do they. Don’t go around thinking nobody likes you and that you’re not loved. There’s been plenty of times when a stranger has spotted you and thought “Oh, they’re just my type” but haven’t had the courage or confidence to open their mouth and initiate a conversation. The funny thing is, neither have you.” -via.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Advice from a recent grad: What I wish I had known...

{Graduation. Spring 2012.}

This is a column I wrote for our college paper, The University Daily Kansan, for its Back to School issue. I wrote it specifically for KU students but feel college students from all over could relate to it as well. (At least, I hope so.) I hope you don't mind me sharing it... p.s. this is before the copy editor polished it. The online version is not yet available. I apologize for the errors.

As my time as a student comes to end, I can’t help but reflect on the past five years (victory lap!) while Vitamin C’s “Graduation” plays in my mind... I’m not going to put you through that, but I would like to share some words of advice.  
I’m going to go ahead and get the cliches out of the way first: College flies by. Get involved. Take advantage of the opportunities. Have fun. Study hard. Don’t take these four (or five, or however many) years for granted. Be safe. You will someday look back on this time and miss it. You will. 
Now that those are out of the way (yet, so very true) I am going to add a few of my own “what I wish I had known while at KU” lessons. 
1. The library has the best, I repeat, best resources. Learn how to use them. I’m not even saying necessarily for your projects or papers, but did you know they have an entire DVD section? Or an entire row in the stacks dedicated to Scandinavian Royals? Me neither. I didn’t know this until my last semester. They also have subscriptions to some of the raddest, most expensive websites and databases in the world. If you want a book, they will find it and help you get it into your hands. Any book. Even if it’s flippin’ Amelia Bedelia, they will make it happen. Explore your hobbies and interests now. You have the best resources to do so.  
Also, most of your Western Civ. texts can be found online for free. Most of them are public domain and can be found on google books or somewhere of the like. Wait until after you find out how much of your textbook you’ll use in other classes, then you can decide if it’s worth buying. You can always find rentable texts in different libraries and departments. Honestly, I didn’t use 85% of my textbooks.  
2. Eat at the dining hall. I know, I know, it gets old. I felt the same way. But oh, how I wish I would have listened to my older siblings when they said, “Enjoy it now, because when you have to cook yourself, it’s the worst.” Seriously. My sister would still own a pass to Mrs. E’s if she could get one for her and the rest of her family. After all, who could ever tire of a cereal bar? I think I’ll miss that the most... 
3. Talk to your professors. They are people, believe it or not, and (most) are there because they really do want to help you learn. And (most) are experts on extremely specific topics. And (most) want to tell you about what they know. Go to office hours, email them if you have questions. Know what is worth debating and what is not. That extra credit you turned in and got five out of ten, let it go. Unless, of course, they are blatantly wrong. 
4. Put down your phones and talk to the people around you. After college, you’re probably rarely, if ever, going to be around so many people in the same life stage/situation as you. Everyone is here trying to get a degree (and do so while making the best of it). We’re all on the same playing field--help eachother out. Meet people who are interested in your same hobbies. You may never again see people with the same interests on a daily basis. But don’t stick to only groups that agree with what you think or like what you like. Explore different groups and make friends with all kinds of people. This is how you learn. 
5. I think this is probably the most important thing I wish I had known: Take control of your course order. I wish I had taken more general education classes at the beginning and avoided diving into so many major-specific classes. I have more than 12 credit hours that do not apply at all to my degree. I should have been more open to the idea I would maybe change my mind (which I did, five times) before deciding on a major. General eds: Get them done. Tell your advisor you want ones that are general to many schools and can count for at least something if you change your major. Be smart about your classes. Be open to new majors. Don’t assume you will graduate with the major you started in. If you do, props. Major props (pun intended). I wish I had had my stuff together. 
But most of all get off the computer and go sledding on snow days, tailgate before games, and go to the Union movies. Because Facebook will be around ten years down the road (or so we’re told) but you won’t be on campus forever. Yes, we’re always Jayhawks, but it’s a rare time of your life when you’re surrounded by 25,000 others who hold “Rock Chalk” to heart.

I added the links for this post, not the original. ; )
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

A countdown (of sorts).

I leave for Munich in 16 days. (16 days!) I can't believe it. 

I am excited. (So excited!) And nervous. (A nervous wreck.) And really, feeling as though I'm on the cusp of something great. (Something so great I can't even put it into words.) Because this is a completely new chapter of my life.

It is, in someways, the beginning of my "adult-post-college" life.

And it feels terrifyingly good. If that makes sense?

And after reading this post, I am giddy.
So giddy to know that these things are happening.

Because when I wrote that post, way back in 2009,
I wasn't truly convinced I'd be able to see Oktoberfest in person...

But now I know I will; and it is surreal.
Surreal in the most wonderful of ways.
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Friday, August 31, 2012

No. 3

Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently talked about his role in 500 Days of Summer and his character's selfishness. Which, in turn, made me see the movie in an entirely different (yet, interesting) light.
 "He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life."
Modern Hepburnone of my favorite tumblrsposted an excerpt from the blog Spilt Milk that got me thinking a lot about the new trend/philosophy of not telling young girls they are pretty, rather complimenting them about other things like their skills and knowledge. (Honestly, I'm still on the fence on this issue.) 
"Like the fantasy of being thin, the desire to be pretty is backed by a multi-billion dollar industry and untold numbers of daily encounters with people who’ve swallowed the social pressures whole and made them their own mission to prescribe. Girls who desire a piece of the pretty pie aren’t misguided, inherently frivolous or lacking in ambition. They want to do stuff; it’s just they’ve internalised the message that they must look good doing it for it to count for anything. And that is why the right to be ugly — the right to do and be without being gazed upon and always found wanting — is worth defending."
My rad friend Mackenzie, the fabulous blogger behind Whatever, Gatsby, wrote a post about the blog-o-sphere and manages to bring so many unspoken things to light. I applaud her. And I am going to take her advice to heart. Things are gonna get real 'round here. ; )
"in some ways i find some of these blogs, like people, to be safe. they tread lightly, hoping to not rock the boat so much. i continue reading, hoping that i might learn something different; i might not have to sift through largely unoriginal material, i might not have to read (or not read) dumps of instagrammed photos without a narrative of any sort, i might not have to see blogs started four months ago with huge sponsorships and millions of followers when they spend multiple posts talking about minutiae (new wrinkles on their faces, what they ate for each meal that weekend, gratuitous pictures of their pugs). i stumble on these blogs because i hope they might have something to teach me, but quality shouldn’t be inferred by clicking on their link after seeing an overdone “ooh, cute!” comment on a favorite blog, but anyways. back at the ranch."
I recently happened upon this post on The Paris Review, an interview with Mary Karr on The Art of Memoir 1, and this excerpt resonated with me the most:
So when you’re writing a memoir, you can’t allow yourself to be an unreliable narrator?
You have constantly to question, Is this fair? No life is all bleak. Even in Primo Levi’s camp, there were small sources of hope: you got on the good work detail, or you got on the right soup line. That’s what’s so gorgeous about humanity. It doesn’t matter how bleak our daily lives are, we still fight for the light. I think that’s our divinity. We lean into love, even in the most hideous circumstances. We manage to hope.

Laura was so sweet and asked Sam and me to write guest posts while she was on her honeymoon. Sam wrote one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. (Speaking of, Laura's wedding was gorgeous. Seriously, the pictures are incredible. Also, her and Radley's vows!)
And then one day, you walk into a house party and find love. Despite the tears and all the time, it feels sudden. It's so suprising that all it took was this one moment! A moment that will forever separate the "before" and "after."  
Really, that's all we're waiting for ... just one. One moment. One person. 
Which isn't so many, isn't so impossible, isn't so hard to find.
And lastly, today is the fifteenth anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death. She is certainly missed, and will forever be remembered.
“I put it to William, particularly, that if you find someone you love in life, you must hang on to that love and look after it… . You must protect it.”— Princess Diana

happy reading!
header image via W.E
a wonderful film.

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