Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart.

I’ve been inspired by the song, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” since the first time I heard it on the radio driving back to Athens on Highway 78 in January of 2012 (yes, I remember the exact moment). The lyrics have been on Post-its stuck on almost everything I own, and it’s even on a canvas that hangs on my wall in Athens. It was written by Will Hoge, and is easily one of my favorite songs of all time. Some days, that song would come on the radio in my worst moments when I was tired of school, tired of classes, tired of Athens, tired of working. And somehow, that one line, “Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart,” would always remind to just keep going. To get out of the car and go to class, to get out of my room and go to work. I had to conquer the obstacles I faced in order to reach what I wanted– and what I wanted was to live a life surrounded by music and people who shared my passion for it.

Yesterday, I went to the Grammy block party, and as I stood there and listened to Will Hoge sing “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” in the middle of Owen Bradley Park at the end of Music Row in Nashville. I looked one way and saw a lot of people who are probably really important and I just don’t know it, and I looked the other way at this man on a stage singing about dreams, and it really hit me for the first time that I’m living mine. I’m living my dreams. I’m in the city I’ve loved for so long, I’m surrounded by music, and opportunity is staring me in the face.

Tonight I went to dinner and to get ice cream with my friend Emily. We were sitting in Jeni’s Ice Cream in East Nashville, and who should waltz through the door but WILL HOGE.

Seriously, is that not insane? It’s like God just plants this Will Hoge guy and his music in my life to remind me “Oh by the way, you just have to keep dreaming and wait for the crazy surprises I’ll bring you to.”

And boy, does He bring some crazy surprises. I never would’ve guessed I’d end up here this summer. A year ago, I was indifferent about life. I didn’t even care what career I’d have or where I’d end up. I just wanted to get through one day without screwing up.

But now, here I am, a year later. I’ve made a songwriting demo, and I’ve somehow managed to move my life temporarily to my favorite place in the world and jump into the industry family I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I’ve been blessed to be carried this far by a God who lets me dream SO big.

And I don’t really intend to stop dreaming big.

Ever.

————

Thank God for Will Hoge.

 

Optimism is not a personality trait.

Optimism is not a personality trait. It is a choice. And disappointment is not a crippling injury. It is a stepping-stone.

For a long time, I believed that pessimism was something uncontrollable that is ingrained into a person. I thought it could not be reversed because it was simply a part of their being. But in reality, one’s reaction to everyday situations is a direct indication of their character. 

In the event of disappointment, the things that run through your head and flow out of your mouth are not a result of your genes, your upbringing, or the situation. Your reaction to disappointment depends solely upon YOU. 

Although we may not admit it to ourselves, our hearts most often want to choose negativity. We desire attention, and often that desire fuels a self-piteous reaction when we’re faced with something that doesn’t go our way. We want others to see how miserable we are because we have the ridiculous notion that spreading our misery to others will somehow make us feel better. But in fact, in our complaining, we only make ourselves more miserable and place burdens on those around us as well. When we allow negativity to overtake our thoughts, actions, and speech, we are essentially encouraging those around us to do the same.

If our hearts choose to hope, however, the ideas flowing through our minds and out of our mouths will inspire others to have hope as well. By being optimistic, we can prove to ourselves and to others that it is entirely possible to experience disappointment and heartbreak without allowing it to crush our spirit.

Does that mean we can’t be upset? No. Being optimistic doesn’t necessarily mean never shedding a tear. It does mean, however, that we must control every thought we have and force it to be bent toward hope, not toward despair.

Does that mean we can never let on when we’re upset by something? Do we have to hold it all inside ourselves? No. Friends exist to lend a listening ear, but we must be careful to be listeners as well, and not always speakers. Instead of wallowing endlessly in our current sorrows, we must learn to focus on how we will change our situation in the future. Instead of constantly bombarding friends with complaints disguised with claims such as, “I need your advice” or “I just need to vent,” we must learn to tell our dear friends about our disappointments while never losing sight of hope for a better situation in the future. If we wallow endlessly in our current sorrows instead of trying to discern how we will change our situation, we’re giving in to the very mindset that will be our own demise. We’re giving in to pessimism.

Is it easy to remain optimistic through every situation that comes our way? No, it’s not. But does anything worth accomplishing ever get done without an enormous amount of work and an irreplaceable determination?

I am determined to make a positive impact upon those around me, and in doing so, I know that I must remain optimistic through whatever may come.

I will not let failure define my outlook. I will not let disappointment crush me. I will not be ruined.

 

High Five for Friday 10.5.12

It’s Friday, and as I look back on the past few weeks, I can’t believe I’ve gotten so many things done. It’s been a crazy ride, but life is quite good.

1. Last Saturday, my lovely sisters all came out to the Myers quad for our Sigma Alpha Omega tailgate! Food, friends, and football– always an excellent combination!


2. Carlota, Ashley, and I went to watch Up on Tuesday night. It was a nice break from the craziness of real life, and who doesn’t love Dug?!

3. I’m loving my internship at the radio station. I’ve learned some about how to work the board, and I’m also getting to see a lot of the production and technical side of radio. I came into this internship knowing absolutely nothing about radio and its operations, but after only two weeks I can already tell it’s going to be awesome!

4. Last night, my Music Business team put on a benefit concert for Nuci’s Space. Everything was student coordinated and student-run, and I liked getting that experience. I love MBUS in general, and I’m so glad it’s led me to meet all of these incredible people.

5. Today I put together a vacuum cleaner (with help from Codie). And I also ate not just one, but two bowls of ECV’s Friday salad. And it was delicious. I think that makes for a solid afternoon.

  

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High Five for Friday 8.31.12

Time for a sporadic post! I’ve got to figure out a schedule for this blog. But it’s FRIDAY!!! So here’s the fun parts of this week.

1. I’m loving SAO recruitment. I’ve started to get to know some of the amazing girls coming as potential new members, and the whole process has also brought me closer to my sisters. I’m so very thankful for the sisterhood I’ve found through SAO.

2. I was so insanely productive this week. I sat in the dining hall a couple of days when I got out of class or off work, and I got so much done. I hope I can keep up this productivity streak even after I start my internship.

3. I went to Snelling (UGA’s 24 hour dining hall) last night intending to stay only for a few minutes, but a couple of friends found me and we talked about Jesus and I laughed until my stomach hurt. It was a rough day followed by the best night possible. I’m so thankful for friends.

4. Found these on some letters at work today. The fact that they exist makes me quite happy.

5. FOOTBALL. STARTS. TOMORROW. I’m so excited to scream my face off in support of my Dawgs. Time to tee it up between the hedges! SIC ‘EM! Also, I found out on the radio this morning that RUSS IS GOING TO BE AN UGA!!! He’s being promoted and he’ll be named Uga IX on September 15th. I just love Russ, but I could be a bit biased… 😉

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High Five for Friday 8.10.12

Well, it’s been a chaotic, but productive week! I definitely have several highlights 🙂

1. Sunday and Monday morning I had housing training for my job in the Myers office. Training itself was okay, but I was so happy to see familiar UGA faces again! Ben decided we should have matching temporary tattoos…

2. I moved into my new home away from home on Monday! I’ve been unpacking and getting settled in all week, and I think I’m almost done. We painted our living room, so that will all come together soon, too!

3. Cali ‘n’ Tito’s. Two Story. Your Pie. I’m so thankful for the food I can eat in Athens.

4. Speaking of food, the newly renovated O House opened yesterday, and I went twice. IT’S SO NICE. It might even be my favorite dining hall now. I of course saw several people that I know while I was there, and that made me indescribably happy. Last night at dinner, Carlota and I met a pretty cool guy named Sam who just got home from studying abroad in Spain. Since all three of us at the table knew Spanish, we spoke all in Spanish and it turned out to be a really fun dinner time. I love making new friends 🙂

5. So tonight there’s a Phi Slam (Christian, alcohol-free) party, and it’s IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I’m sure I’ll run into people I know there, and it’s definitely a plus that I can walk there instead of dealing with the hassle of driving. I’m quite excited– first fun outing of the year!

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High Five for Friday 7.20.12

It’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick right back up and celebrate FRIDAY!!!

1. By the time this post is published, I’ll be DONE with my summer biology class!!! I will take GREAT pleasure in crossing “Biology” off my WorkFlowy! This also means I’ll never ever have to take another science class again! EVER! Here’s how I feel about that:

2. I had a successful Cow Appreciation Day 2012 last Friday! I made it to nine different Chick-fil-A stores! I ended my day where my MeeMaw lives, so I went to dinner with her and Hunter and we got to see Amanda at work. Then I spent some time with MeeMaw. We don’t get to do that very often, so I loved every minute 🙂





3. Now that I’ll be free of biology work, I have three weeks to do summer-y things, like hang out with people! And that is exactly what I intend to do. I’ve got plans to meet up with friends from all over the place, and I’m also planning to spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ house because I can.

4. I’m pretty excited to have my own little space in our “house” next year. I’ve bought some things to use in my room and bathroom, and I think with some creativity I can make it into a nice home away from home.

5. I’m missing Nashville. I know that’s where I want to be, and I want to go back and be there now. But I know that God is using this time as a test of my patience, and He’s going to refine me into the person he wants me to be when I get there. The good thing is, I can already see some pieces of that dream falling into place, and I can’t wait to see what God’s plans are as they unfold in my life. Here’s to big dreams and bigger faith!

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High Five for Friday 6.29.12 (actually it’s more like High Nine!)

Oh my WORD I’ve been slacking on my H54F posts! I might have to have more than five things just to make up for it. Sheesh.

1. Last week I went to lunch with two different friends I haven’t seen in a while, Christina and Whitney. Christina learned about my not-so-wonderful directional skills, and Whitney and I got to catch up on some lost time.

2. I spent the day in Athens last Thursday taking care of some sorority business, and it was really a wonderful day. I had lunch with a sister, and it was great to kind of get to know her a little better! I of course hung out in Myers hall for a few hours with my MCO people. I also got in SO much reading time because I had a pretty fair amount of downtime in between several different appointments. I went home and had dinner at my Grammy’s house, and that wrapped up a perfect day in my life 🙂

3. Alex and Ellis joined me for a little bit when I Skyped Vica while she was in Russia. It was good catching up with all of them! I miss my best friend, but I can’t wait until next year when we’re together in Athens again!

4. It seems I am now the proud owner of an iPhone! It was my birthday present from my parents, and so far I love it!

I was obviously pretty excited to open it…

5. I got to catch up with Codie and Charles on the phone this past week! Charles was his usual encouraging self, and I hung up feeling really motivated to do something awesome with my summer… and my life. Codie of course had interesting stories as well about his time in Texas. It was good to know I’ve still got my awesome friends even when they’re all over the world. But I won’t lie, I can’t wait until we’re all back in Athens instead of scattered all over the country and the planet 🙂

6. My birthday was AMAZING. Three of my best friends from GHP showed up at my house and completely surprised me. I literally had NO idea they were coming, and I’m sure my reaction was pretty hilarious. They took me to lunch and then we loafed around town. They never fail to make me laugh!

7. I went to the Lady Antebellum concert the night of my birthday and had an awesome time! I made some super awesome signs that I was proud of simply because they took me FOREVER to make, and then I got to the door of the concert and they wouldn’t let me take them in! 😦 So I’m posting pictures of them here so that they’ll live on in their glory, even if not for their original purpose. I went with my parents and Ellis came with me, and we partied it up the whole time. I left there so exhausted just from singing/screaming every word and dancing to every song. But it was definitely the best possible way I could’ve ended an epic birthday.

8. I’M AT THE BEACH. I’ve caught up on so much reading and sleeping and other things I never have time to do. The weather was rainy the first few days we were here, but it gave us some chill time to just relax for a change. So awesome.

9. I started a new blog. What? Why? Well, I love country music, and I love blogging, so I decided to combine the two and hopefully make something worth reading. It’s called Talk Twangy to Me, and I’ve got tons of cool ideas for it!

Happy Friday!!!

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High Five for Friday 4.27.12

Here ’tis! My top five for the week.

1. Last weekend was exactly what I needed. I spent the entire weekend with my family because we had Katy’s bridal shower on Sunday. I’m so glad I got to help put together the shower (seeing as how I have a love affair with planning), and also that I got to see the people I love for a while on the weekend. It was wonderful!

These pictures are just a few glimpses into the decorations and the actual shower. I loved every minute of it!

2. Keith Urban was inducted into the Opry last Saturday. I’m such a crazy country fan that I literally shed tears whenever he gave his acceptance speech. Before and after his induction, I watched him, Josh Turner, and Trace Adkins perform on the Opry live and pretended I was actually there. Since I don’t get the Great American Country channel here at school, I was so happy to get to watch the Opry for the first time in a while. Love it 🙂

3. On Tuesday I went to a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” themed party as an early birthday celebration for Katy. We ate breakfast foods, watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” of course, and goofed off and hung out. It was a wonderful way to start this week!

4. Traci asked me to do a photo shoot with her yesterday, so we went to the Founders’ Garden and she took lots of fun pictures. She’s a super awesome photographer and friend. I’m sure those pictures will appear on my blog at some point!!! Can’t wait to see them!

5. The dining halls were having a beach party dinner last night, so Shannon, Katie, Carlota and I went to all four dining halls in two hours. I learned that that’s apparently called a “food crawl.” We all ate at least something at each dining hall, and I know I ate SO much food last night. I think it was just one of those crazy weird college things that you have to do for kicks. We definitely had fun with it 🙂

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Get out of your own way.

Who ever said you have to wait to live your dreams? What’s holding you back from living them now? Doubt? Fear? Stereotypes? Social norms? Your age?

I don’t know about you, but I have desires and passions in my heart that I want to chase. I could wait until someone notices me to chase them. I could wait until I’ve got a little hands-on experience. I could wait until I’ve earned a college degree. I could wait until I’ve worked my way up the corporate ladder and sufficiently padded my savings account and my resume. I could wait until I’m happily married and have a stable household in fifteen years.

But why? You and I were given this day for a reason. Why would we want to waste it wishing and pining and “preparing ourselves” to live out our wildest dreams when in reality, we could jump in with both feet and live it out RIGHT NOW? You don’t have to accomplish it all today, but who says you can’t at least take the first steps today? Right now? In this very moment!

Find out more about that job you want. Talk to that professor about the research you can’t find the funding for. Ask that girl if she has plans this Saturday night. Write that song, paint that picture, and submit that application.

What’s stopping you? Nothing and no one– except yourself. So get out of your own way and start living life as passionately as you can while you have the chance.

Why reDefine?

Why reDefine?

I’ve been asked several times over the past few weeks why I chose to support and work on the reDefine campaign team, and the truth is, I don’t have enough words to begin to explain the countless reasons why.

But I’ll try.

It started with a small recruitment meeting. I went, I listened, and I loved what I heard. I knew I wanted to be a supporter if nothing else.

But God had a bigger plan.

You see, I’d been struggling with doubt and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy for quite a while. I’d been told “no” by several different organizations, and facing disappointment had made it incredibly difficult to remain positive. I was questioning whether I would ever get the opportunity to use my own skills, talents, and passions to make a positive impact on the world. I wanted so badly to do something that mattered, but it seemed that doors kept getting slammed in my face.

When I agreed to support the campaign, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had read over the platform and I loved what they were fighting for, but I didn’t know any of the candidates very well. I knew only one person who was already working on the team. But I received a phone call from Codie Haddon after I left the meeting, and he asked me to join as a staff member and help him out over the final month of campaigning.

Little did I know, that phone call was the divine intervention I’d been praying for.

The week following the phone call, I jumped in with both feet on the campaign. I was making phone calls, sending emails, and pouring my heart and soul into coordinating campaign activities. I was busy nearly all the time, but I loved every minute of it.

Just when I thought everything was looking up and I wouldn’t have to struggle with my doubt anymore, I received the biggest disappointment yet. After I’d thought my days of “no’s” were over, I was devastated with yet another one from something I had desperately wanted a “yes” from. I was beside myself; I don’t think anything has upset me that much in at least a few years.

Alex Hebdon, the vice presidential candidate on the reDefine ticket, knew I was disappointed. I don’t know how, but she knew I desperately needed a friend. She called me that Tuesday night and told me to take a break from whatever I was doing, and she took me to Yoforia. After a while, all of my rock-solid walls came down, and for hours on end, Alex listened to me cry and spill out the doubts I’d been trying to keep hidden. She listened, she encouraged, and most of all she was simply there.

There I was, an outsider who had only just joined her team a week ago. And yet, she was willing to give up an entire evening that she could’ve used to tackle some things on her never-ending to-do list just so she could help me realize that I didn’t have to be defined by the “no’s” I’d faced.

She cared about me as a person. A person—not an attribute to the team that could help her get elected, not as a freshman who could be an admirer to inflate her ego. As a person who needed another soul to stand by her.

As if that weren’t enough to make me believe I was finally in the right place, the weeks following only affirmed it more. I was given the opportunity to do more than I thought I could with my passion—planning. I have played a part in making a difference, even if it’s in a small way.

I’ve realized that their promises have been carried out before they’re even close to being in office. Just as they’ve promised to do so for the entire student body, they’ve given me a voice. They’ve given me a family of incredible relationships with candidates and fellow team members that I hope I never lose, and they’ll do the same thing within SGA should they be blessed with a victory in this election.

So, why reDefine? Because they’re not giving anyone lip service– it’s all real. Charles Hicks, Alex Hebdon, and Ellis Edwards are practicing what they preach in absolutely every aspect of their lives, and I can say the same for every single staff member on the team. The core of this campaign is not something that the candidates wrote up in hopes that it would sound good to students and win them some fancy titles. It’s the way they live their lives.

And for that reason, I will live by the standard of “#peoplenotpolitics” whether they win or lose, because it’s the least I can do to thank them for changing my life for the better.