Music Wednesday: An Introduction

Alright friends, by now I don’t think it’s really a secret I am OBSESSED with music. So I’ve decided to start sharing my song of the week. Yeah, I’m aware it’s Wednesday so it’s the middle of the week, but who says it has to be at the beginning of the week? Besides, come hump day I think we could all use a little pick-me-up!

These songs will be fun, random, and most likely reflect my mood for the week.

Here is my hump day song for this week – Rooftops by Jesus Culture. This is their live version and I think it’s awesome. Enjoy!

 

 

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All You Need Are Smiles

Random thought of the day – sometimes we all needs things that do nothing else except simply make us smile. Things that make our hearts warm and give us that little crack on the side of our face while still somehow creating a sparkle in our eyes.

Getting my computer back from the Apple genius? You bet I smiled. Finding an episode of Criminal Minds I had never seen before? I definitely smiled (while I texted my dad in shock). Yet one thing that can always, and I mean ALWAYS, make me smile (though sometimes cry) are videos of soldiers. Soldiers coming home, soldiers sending shoutouts to their families, you name it and I will watch it. I guarantee you I will be beaming with happiness the entire time.

Not too long ago, I saw one video that absolutely takes the cake. It combines my favorite things – this nation’s military and worshipping God. Better yet, it’s the U.S. Marines worshipping God! Few things are as awe-inspiring as watching people worship their heavenly Father, especially seeing men so excited and unafraid to proclaim their love for God!

So here it is, the video that made my day and makes me smile every, single time I think about it. Members of the United States Marine Corps singing The Days of Elijah, which (of course) is one of my favorite worship songs. I would have loved to have been with the ones of the front row clearly having a blast! Who doesn’t love a song with hand motions?!

 

P.S. My heart goes out to those in Texas and across the South who have been affected by these crazy storms. Know that we are standing behind y’all!

Christmas Eve Gift

CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!

For those of you who know what I’m talking about, considered yourself gifted. For those of you who have never heard of Christmas Eve gift, well there is no better time to learn!

The whole point of Christmas Eve gift is to say (more yell) it at someone before they say it to you. Most people say it in hopes of receiving a present of some sort. My family does it simply to do it. Basically a game of tag, it’s a fun tradition my family works hard to keep around. Of course, I am passing it on to y’all!

Today is Christmas Eve and in honor of Christmas Eve, I have decided to share some of my Christmas favorites. First things first, we will start with my top 5 favorite Christmas songs:
5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – What a perfect way to begin this list! Christmas truly is my favorite time of the year and this song can make anyone smile.

4. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – as The Nutcracker is my all-time favorite ballet, this one HAD to make this list. A beautiful song to go with a beautiful dance (also one of the hardest dances I’ve ever had to learn).

3. Carol of the Bells – I’m not sure if there is anyone who doesn’t love this song, right? Especially the Trans Siberian Orchestra version. Though I do tremendously love the original as well. Enjoy!

2. White Christmas – There is just something about this song. Is it Bing Crosby’s voice? Is it the fact that I love snow? I may never know, but I love, love, LOVE this song!

1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – This song is my favorite Christmas song ever. Like ever. Singing this during the advent season at church. The music. The lyrics. The meaning. Purely amazing.

Next, we will move on to my favorite Christmas movies. This one is a tough one, but these are classics which will never get old to me:
5. Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 version, though the ’94 version is good too) – If this isn’t the epitome of a feel-good Christmas movie, I’m not sure what is.
4. A Christmas Story – I will say upfront my dad is probably sorely disappointed in me for having this movie so “low” on my list. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie with HILARIOUS dialog, this is certainly the one.
3. It’s a Wonderful Life – A classic movie that will never get old. Maybe it’s Donna Reed, maybe it’s George telling Mary he’ll lasso the moon for her (AKA hopeless romantic relationship goals). If there were ever a Christmas movie I wanted to be apart of, this would be the one.
2. Elf – This movie had to be at the top of my list. This is THE hilarious movie of my generation. I die laughing every single time I watch it. And remember, the yellow one’s don’t stop!
1. White Christmas – They just don’t make Christmas movies like this anymore. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are truly unparalleled. Vera Ellen makes me feel inadequate as a tapper, but that is perfectly okay. I HAVE to watch this movie every Christmas. It’s perfect.

Lastly, my favorite Christmas traditions:
5. Watching Christmas movies – Every Christmas Eve my family watches Christmas movies and we love every minute of it. They are a perfect way to get into holiday cheer!It's a wonderful life
4. Decorating – Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year. I dance around my apartment to Bing Crosby with the biggest smile you will ever see on my face.FullSizeRender
3. Baking – For as long as I can remember, I have baked all day on Christmas Eve. Sugar cookies, gingerbread, sausage balls, peanut butter balls, and tons of other fun treats.FullSizeRender(3)
2. The candlelight service at church – The highlight of every Christmas Eve. Hearing the Christmas story and singing Silent Night to a candle lit room will always be special to me. FullSizeRender(1)
1. Family time – No matter what, Christmas brings so many memories to my family. Our time together at Christmas is unlike any other time and I will always cherish it. FullSizeRender(2)

So Merry Christmas Eve from my family to yours! May your days always be merry and bright, even if your Christmas can’t always be white (I do live in Texas after all).

Godly Dating 101

I am about to take a leap of faith and do something I never thought I would be able to do. I am going to open up my heart and share my views on dating. I have learned a lot lately, and I am not saying I know everything there is to know, but I want to share what I have learned.

I am often known as the girl with high standards. Just the other day my mom joked with me that when I finally bring a guy home she will know it must serious for me to have finally deemed someone worthy. While my family and I joke about my dating life, there is still one aspect about dating that I keep at my core – I will not date just to date or have a boyfriend. 

Since the ending of my relationship almost two years ago, people often ask me if it’s hard being single and if it’s hard seeing my former boyfriend date someone else. To answer these questions, we have to dig deeper to the root of the situation. Is it hard seeing the young man I thought I would marry one day date someone else? At times, absolutely. Are there times it’s hard being single? At times, yes. Does this mean my life is hard or incomplete? Absolutely not. While there are times my heart may long for the affection and infatuation of another, I will not pursue a relationship in efforts to obtain the desires of my heart.

Too often I feel people find their self-worth in relationships. Society will teach people that relationships are created to complete us, fulfill us, and make our worlds go round. I feel this is especially hard for those my age. I also feel this is one of the biggest lies a person could ever tell. I do not agree with the idea of finding a “soulmate” and I believe a relentless pursuit of this idea will only let us down. 

We can pursue relationships like the world will end tomorrow, but if we fail to consult God every step of the way, we will find ourselves as disappointed as our soulmate search. In their purest form, relationships ultimately glorify God and God alone. If I am not in a relationship that displays something greater than myself and the relationship I am in, then I have missed a step along the way. 

Overtime, the biggest lesson I learned concerning dating is that when I pray to God he truly wants to know everything, and I mean everything. I realized that even if I had the tiniest crush on someone, God wanted to know. Not only was I sharing my heart with Him, but I was also seeking His guidance in the process. By asking my Father if the feelings I felt developing were from Him or not, I began to save myself from a world of hurt. This was where I decided I would never pursue a relationship unless God gave me the green light first (though there are still times this is hard). This was also where I desired if it were in God’s plan for me to marry that my future husband would do the same for me. 

I learned I can tell God all day long how much I want a guy who is tall, country, and loves baseball as much as I do, but if he is not a man of God, if he does not desire to grow and challenge his faith daily, if he does not have the servants heart of Christ, and if he cannot be courageous for his Father, then he will never be a man worth pursuing. I understand this is a lot to ask of someone, especially since I am a very, very flawed person. However, these are all Godly aspects worth pursuing (and I am talking to myself as well). I cannot expect only his love for baseball to be the missing puzzle piece to make our relationship whole. I cannot expect these earthly qualities to complete me because my completeness is not of this world. 

Our Heavenly Father makes us whole in ways no one else can. I learned no one, not even my high school sweetheart who I loved more than life itself, can complete me the way I long to be completed. To reference C.S. Lewis, my heart longs for something greater than this world, and this longing can only be filled by God. When I finally learned this, I found joy. Being single wasn’t “hard” anymore because I realized being single was serving a greater purpose in my life. I firmly believe God is using this time in my life to further transform me to look like Him, and ultimately further His kingdom. 

As far as relationships are concerned, the only relationship currently worth pursuing is one with my Father. Beyond that, I simply must have faith when that right person comes along, God will reveal him to me and he will run toward God with me. Since I was 15, I have had the phrase “a girl’s heart should be so close to God that a man should have to seek him just to find it” written on my bathroom mirror. I will forever stand by this statement. I only desire a relationship that will draw me closer to God. I only desire a relationship in which he and I can serve God together. I only desire a relationship that is from my Father and will ultimately return the glory to Him. 

That Good Old Baylor Line

  That good old Baylor line! That good old Baylor line! We’ll march forever down the years, as long as stars shall shine. We’ll fling our green and gold afar to light the ways of time, and guide us as we onward go; that good old Baylor line!

Three years. Three months. 27 days. That is how long it had been since I started school at Baylor University. I can guarantee that three years, three months, and 27 days ago I did not expect my college experience to be so unbelievably perfect. 

Three years ago I came to college ready to simply grow up and move on with my life. Three years ago I thought I knew exactly how my life would turn out. Three years later I have never been so thankful for an incredible time in my life. 

My college experience consisted of a colliding of worlds. The experience was a time of self-discovery. I had to journey down the sidewalks of fountain mall (which finally has a fountain again) day in and day out, facing both friends and unfamiliar faces, to become the culmination of the person I was created to be. Whether it was studying Latin in the laundry room of SoRo, discussing post-modernism in Tidwell, sharing donuts with Johnny Jefferson in the BSB, or accidentally pulling all-nighters in the library, everything about college led me down a path, though sometimes winding and broken, to the realization Baylor is my home. I will always cherish the memories I made at Baylor, both the good and the bad. 

Beyond the red, brick walls, hidden rhinos, and always freshly watered sidewalks of this beloved campus, there is something more profound and historic to Baylor than having the NoZe brothers interrupt chapel or sitting on Judge Baylor’s lap, and I’m not talking about how Baylor was a university before Texas was a state. Baylor’s Christian value undoubtedly had an affect on my life. My faith has reached the strongest it has ever been during my time here. This would not have been possible without the people currently surrounding me. 

My journey has ended. Though I counted down the days, hours, minutes, and at times seconds, I’ve never felt so thankful or happy in my life. Yet, to think I reached this moment on my own would be ludicrous. While the campus I have loved so much since my tour back in 2011 (or even my cousin’s doctoral graduation if we wish to get technical) has always been there to warm my heart, beyond the Baylor bubble exists a world extremely real and entirely my own. A world of flesh and bone, utter love, complete inspiration, and far superior than Baylor could ever give me.

To my friends – thank you for always standing by my side. Thank you for loving me in different ways. Thank you for simply being y’all. Whether it was Caroline and I fitting in a XXL dress, Michelle and I complaining about Texas Rising, Haley and I having entire conversations in Gilmore Girls quotes, or Kaelan and I playing 1 to 10 every time we go to Chuy’s, something tells me the relationships I have made will last a lifetime. 

To my family – thank you for always supporting me (and Baylor). I know a select few of y’all are thankful I didn’t to go to A&M. Y’all were always ready to watch Baylor sports with me, and always willing to throw sic ’ems with me, except for the one who still prefers to hook ’em (looking at you brother-in-law). I am blessed by each one of y’all and the time we have shared throughout this journey. 

To Rachel – I’m not even sure where to begin. There is no other person I would rather call my best friend. You stood up for me at a time I needed you the most. You are always there when I need you. I cannot imagine a day without you in my life. To reference one of our favorite quotes you are bold and fearless, and you have a loving heart; you are poised and graceful, and so wonderfully smart. Thank you for being my sister. 

To Momma and Daddy – If being at a loss of words with Rachel was hard, then this is going to be near impossible. Thank you for promising me a bachelor’s degree so many years ago, none of this would be possible without you. Y’all are kind and unfailing in love. You have been twin pillars that have supported the crazy dreams for my life while remaining a voice of reason when my head gets stuck in the clouds. You have always picked me up when I fell and pushed me to become something greater every day. Whether it’s mom and I singing Sweet Dreams or dad and I arguing about the bourgeoisie, my life has consistently been filled with joy because of y’all. While you may have raised an incredibly stubborn and independent daughter, please know I will always be your baby girl. With tear-filled eyes, I thank you for the unsurpassing inspiration y’all provide for me in this life. 

Three years, three months, and 27 days. My journey at Baylor has ended but I am filled with excitement to see where life will lead me next. The road may continue to be winding and broken, but that is what fills life with such great adventure. No matter where I stand on this road, I will always fling my green and gold afar. I have never been more proud to be apart of that good old Baylor line!

Sic ’em class of 2015!

  

How PR Changed My Life

In one of my very first posts, I spoke about how I think I was always meant to do something with PR. As time has gone on, this feeling has further driven itself into my soul.

When I came to college, all I wanted was to be a historian. All I could think about was getting my Ph.D. in History and working for the Smithsonian. As my college career is winding down, all I can think about is how I am determined to make my public relations minor into a career.

At the start of my PR minor, I fell in love with journalism. I can recall many days where I would text my dad to give him updates on my classes. Whether I wanted to admit it or not (since often times I am stubborn and do not like admitting what I know is happening), I knew I was onto something in the journalism department. Even during my 2000-level Reporting & Writing for Media class I knew something just felt “right.”

The feeling began to change, however, when I took my Editing and Intro to PR courses in the same semester. These courses were the first time InDesign was placed before me and all I can remember thinking was I would never be able to use a system like CreativeCloud. My self-confidence was so low I don’t even think you would be able to find it in the tunnels under Baylor’s campus.

I was falling in love with the journalism department, but I needed to prove to myself I could handle what was placed before me. Much to my shock (though I’m not sure anyone else’s), my mock communications campaign for Editing over Wounded Warrior Project received nothing but praise. On that same note, my communications campaign for my Intro to PR course got an A. I still keep the plan book I helped create in the back of my portfolio.

Along with gaining self-confidence, it was during my Intro to PR course I realized how much I wanted to work in public affairs. While I was still learning what PR was, I didn’t realize how much it surrounds the world we live in. So much of the world we interact with is involved in PR somehow. The more I explored public affairs, the more I learned this could be the way I combined the two things I loved in college, and in general – history and PR.

This past semester I completed my final two courses for my PR minor. While Media Programming & Planning was a good class, the course I was most worried about was Advanced Public Relations. APR had quite the reputation and it scared me. I will admit I had an anxiety attack the first week of class. All I would think to myself was PR was my minor so I cannot possibly compare to everyone else. I convinced myself I did not have the skills or the experience of the PR majors. Again, I lacked self-confidence.

Going through APR was hard. I was attending school full-time and working as a full-time intern. Everything was much harder than I ever expected it to be. On top of that, I was also trying to volunteer with Veterans of Baylor as much as I could. However, if it had not been for APR, I would have never received real-world experience in the workplace.

Whether I was planning events, managing a social media account, or writing, I was continually refining my skills. My entire internship at Allen Samuels DCJ was defined by communication with clients and I loved every minute it. I spent my internship standing outside hotels talking to potential customers, sharing coffee with vendors, and attending events as an Allen Samuels representative. These are things I would have never imagined to be doing at 21-years-old.

While things were stressful at times, I enjoyed my time working in business development for the dealership. I experienced new things and everything was extremely rewarding.

As my internship is winding down, I know I am ready to move forward into the next phase of my career, wherever that may be. I love history and I’m so thankful I chose history as my major for college. My time in Baylor’s history department has been nothing but rewarding, yet, being a historian is no longer what I desire for my life. Combining history and PR, working in public affairs, this is what I desire.

I have learned to stop trying to guess the future, so I have no clue how the next five, 10, or 20 years of my life will play out. All I know is whether I am a PAO in the Navy or a federal civilian employee, I am determined and driven to make these desires a reality. History gave me the background I needed to reach this point, and PR will be what will take me to the next level.

P.S. – I do still wish to receive my Ph.D., but it will probably be in something like International Relations or Law, if not both.

December 7, 1941

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“December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy – the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost…Long will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.”
-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy. These are words I have heard uttered throughout my entire life. These words cut like a knife as I remember the onslaught against this great nation. These words represent pain and destruction. These words truly do represent a date which lives in infamy.

While I may not have been alive on December 7, 1941, there is something about the occurrence of the attacks on that Sunday morning which lives within me as alive as the attacks on that Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.

The attacks on the Hawaiian Islands were more than an attack against the American people – they were an attack against the American spirit.

The Empire of Japan sought to dismantle American forces with this surprise attack, while fronting talks of peace in the Pacific with the United States government. The Empire of Japan hit the American people in the heart. The attacks appeared to never stop. For a moment, it was as if the Empire had won. For a moment, it was as if there was no hope. But this lasted for only a moment.

The heart of the American people, the heart of the forces which lived on Pearl Harbor is something that cannot be penetrated. While the Pacific fleet was lost on this dark day, while many innocent lives were taken, and while the pride of America was hurt, the valor which exists in this nation continued on.

World War II required the greatest mobilization of this nation’s troops. Both before and after Pearl Harbor, the greatest generation rose up together while making inconceivable sacrifices along the way. A brotherhood was created among these heroes, even among those still entombed in the USS Arizona.

The attacks on Pearl Harbor, the war, changed America and the world. America was hurt but America channeled that hurt into strength. Our nation was tried and our nation overcame.

December 7, 1941. A date which live in infamy. A date I have heard uttered throughout my entire life. A date which represents pain and destruction. A date that also represents valor. A date that would forever change this nation.

To the greatest generation who fought aggression both in Europe and the Pacific – thank you.

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory…With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbending determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”