Saturday, August 15, 2015

Much & Well // Loving

When I write, I really like for the words to sound pretty, frequenting and my dad's vocabulary in attempts to fit the perfect variation of a word into a sentence.  Maybe it's an ego thing or maybe I'm just a true word artist or something. All that to say: I'm not sure if rhythmic, syntactical perfection is where this post is headed.  I'll probably just try to write true things and see where it goes from there. Just so you know.

I know I'm so excited about words from Philippians 1:9.  In The Message translation of the Bible, that reads:

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well."

I want to hit enter a few too many times to give those words the pedestal they deserve.  Read it again.

"This is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well."

That your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well.

That you will not only love much but well.

Is it sinking in? How simple and complete that prayer is? It has been for me lately, so much.

Since I began caring about God on my own time, I've wrestled hard with and frozen up over that beast of: What does God want me to do? I drank in videos from the Experiencing God Bible study
and scoured the world around me for "signs," whatever those really are.  Before deciding to go
somewhere or do something, you better believe I agonized over whether my presence in the
graduation party, church picnic, or team sport in question was God's will for my life.  Because what if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I messed up everything forever? I don't have any stress-induced issues that I know of, but I obviously tried really hard to get some.

According to Paul, doing what God wants doesn't require such intense overthinking.  Our Creator's command, again and again, is to love.  And just that: love.

But the greatest of these is love. // 1 Corinthians 13:13

 So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. // 1 Corinthians 

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve
 got! // Deuteronomy 6:5

Love is the rule, not the exception; the place to which God is constantly guiding us.  It's simple, and my frantic brain, weary of constant analysis, rests in Paul's prayer.

"That you not only love much but well." 

As I focus on carrying out that calling, I'm quickly learning that the simplicity of the command does not equal ease in the life it dictates. Loving is hard.  The more I try to pour out, the more often I come to the end of myself.  Relying on God to give me enough to do as He asks. And repeat.

And so in the prayer for abundant, deep love I find peace and an insurmountable challenge.  May I come to a place where I welcome both.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

You, Not Me // Also, I'm Back!

Not going to lie, you guys, it feels kind of weird to be here.  My eyeballs have not beholden (beheld? beholt? Remembering why I don't use grown up words.) an empty blog post in a long, long time, my friends.  Life's been busy, and so much is happening that I've gotten a little frozen up trying to figure out where to start and how to go about writing all the words that I feel deserve to be aired on the internet.  Basically, there will probably be a lot of stories, so get excited about that. As in, actually do get excited because the vast majority of them are about how God's been working, which means that they're his stories instead of mine and should lend themselves to a higher quality of blog postage than what's been here in the past.

I'll start at the beginning as best I can, with the story that explains why I'm telling all the other stories.  So, yeah, that would probably be a good place to start.    This very first happening went down at counselor training, which occurred waaaaay at the beginning of the summer, right after I dropped off the face of the earth as far as blogging is concerned.  I'm working as a counselor for a day camp team this summer, which means that I live at home, but training was held in northern Michigan at a gorgeous overnight camp.  The grounds include all the campy things you'd expect - a zip line, lakes, fire pits, cabins, a dining hall complete with a fireplace and the occasional mystery food.  All of the soon-to-be counselors met for a week to learn counselor skills and shared bunk beds and community bathrooms and bug spray and clothing and just generally spent all of our hours from seven am to eleven pm being as together as possible.  We'd sit in lectures and decorate the margins of our notebooks or furiously copy down information all day and spend the evening performing a vanishing trick on marshmallows and graham crackers and fighting off smoke and mosquitoes.  Pretty wonderful.

Mornings started out with a meeting for Bible study.  Bleary eyes, dripping hair fresh from the showers, butts to the cold, dusty cabin floor, talking about Jesus.  Our leader helped us to focus on
Him and to dig way deeper into the Bible than I'd thought possible before 8 am.  It was there that God really started to challenge me, with my leader who miraculously said the exact words that I needed to hear every single morning.

Before training, I'd heard that it was going to be so fun (which it turned out to be), that I'd make the greatest friends (which I have) and to overpack (which I should have).  No one came to me with conspirational advice about how much I'd be forced to grow in such a short amount of time, though.  I wasn't ready for that.  I guess I understood the concept of a summer-long spent in service to God being somewhere on the spectrum of Life Changing Events, but I'd somehow expected it to be gradual and painless, you know, like huge changes in character and perception usually are.  (Sarcasm,
 you guys.) Well, guess what?  Change has to be felt, as a rule, and I felt it.  And I apparently had a lot
of changing to do, because as soon as I arrived at camp, God started stretching me and spinning me
to a different direction.  I think He was probably being as gentle as possible, but the bottom line is that I
need fixing and I'm stubborn, which invariably results in a jerky, uncomfortable kind of remodeling
for my soul.

I'm convinced that the changes God's been bringing about this summer started a long time ago, the orchestrator of the universe doing what he does best.  However, the chain reaction bumped me during one of those up-with-the-sun Bible studies, when 12 girls opened our eyes from closing prayer to find our leader announcing to us that we'd have a chance to share our testimonies around the campfire that night.  You know, in preparation for the way we'd be sharing them with young, searching souls for the rest of the summer.

Our morning meetings were followed every day by a breakfast in the dining hall, which for me consisted consistently of eggs, cottage cheese, fruit, and granola, added coffee when I needed it.  As soon as we could get the last bite down, we were free to settle into any spot on the property for solo time, 30 minutes of one-on-one time with God.  On testimony day, I brought my dishes to the kitchen and headed to what had become my favorite spot: the back porch of a pretty, historic white house that overlooks a river and faces the sun as it comes up.  As I sat and rested with God, my journal propped open on my lap, I couldn't keep my mind off the impending testimony - sharing of the evening. I imagined a ring of fortyish mostly-new faces gathered around our camp fire, eyes locked on me as I poured out my heart about the stuff I struggled with and how great God's grace for me is, uprooting things close to my heart and throwing them out for everyone to see.  Nope.  Not me, I thought. I'm not that person, the one who can open up to anyone and who bares her soul based on thirty six hours worth of familiarity.  Sorry.  That's not how God made me.

Lord, send someone else.

And then God started whispering to my heart.  Okay, and I realize that sounds so cheesy and churchy and doesn't make any sense at all.  I'm not that good at words, especially as they are used to describe supernatural beings and higher-than-me thoughts,  but I'm trying. God speaks to people, and I know that for a fact.  I know that it's not the same for everyone.  For me, it's quiet and strong.  Basically, I have a thought that is so true and brings so much peace and clarity that it can only be from God.  It's subtle, and it's right to the point of what I need, even when I don't know I need it.  Whispers to my heart.

He said: Maybe I didn't past-tense: make you as a bold story teller, as someone who loves fearlessly and without reserve.  But guess what? I am preset-perfect: making you into one.  When I said to go and tell about me? When I said to boldly proclaim?  That was for you, too, girl.  Not a suggestion, either.  A command.  Do you realize whose story it is that you're holding in your heart? That's mine.  It's not yours to tell or to not tell: that's me, my work, that you've just been the subject of.  My love, not your willingness.  My grace, not your confession.

Boom. Boom. Boom.  Truth after truth after truth.  My story isn't really mine at all, is it? My value, my identity, my life - it all belongs to God, and so I've realized that I don't get to choose whether I share myself anymore, because I am not my own possession.  I don't get to excuse myself from this mission that God has for us, to take leave on account of being an introvert, or naturally skeptical, or less-than-eloquent,  or having undiagnosed trust issues.  Those are matters too small to bring before an almighty God and say, "I would let you use me, but I'm a mess. Because of this, you can't."

And so I'm here.  I'm learning how to share God's work with my voice, too, but it made sense to me to come here and to share in a way that's comfortable and can reach people.  I have no idea what God's going to do with these stories - knowing him, probably something cool?l. All I know is that my job is to let my grip loose so that they can be used.  His story, not mine, always.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It Was Only $.99 // It's a Fine, Fine Life 6

If you followed me at @recklessoninsta, you'd already have seen this.  Sincerely, This Is How I Make Friends  

I'm resisting the urge to just sit here on the floor and let my fingers fly around about the books I'm reading and how I finally got to go to the library to pick up Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor (beyond excited to read that, by the way), because then you'll know that I have some, ahem, nerdy tendencies and my reputation will pretty much be ruined.  I'm too cool to risk it, so you can stop asking me about books right now, because it's not working. 

Shoot.  I just did that, didn't I?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Let's Talk // Meet the Blogger

In the interest of full disclosure, it's 12:03 am and I'm currently drinking sparkling apple juice and eating Frosted Flakes from the box.  I definitely don't need to be.  

A few weeks ago, my blogger friend Esme from Ezzlepops nominated me for an award post, which means that 1) I feel really flattered 2) I get to answer some questions and 3) I am very, unforgivably late about getting this post written and published.   

1. How's life?
It's a

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Letters // It's a Fine, Fine Life 5

Hey, there!  You know how I keep only ever showing up on Tuesdays?  Sorry about that.  I promise life's been busy - not like yours hasn't been or that "busyness" is any kind of decent excuse, but just know that it isn't you.  It's me.  As long as we're going with the "busyness" excuse, though, (however flimsy and illegitimate it may be), can I tell you what I've been up to?


I've taken a two A.P. tests, and I'm still here, and I think I did well.  Is it weird that the Comp / Lit test made me want to read more?  I don't think I'm allowed to tell you what book was excerpted from for portions of the test, but it was the prettiest thing ever and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Studying outside with Eddie made things so much easier!

My feet have spent their fair share of time pounding the track, usually in half-mile races.  My time hasn't gone down since a meet a few weeks ago, but, at the least, I have a distinct shoe tan line to show for my work. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Really Like You // It's a Fine, Fine Life 4

Hi! How've ya been?  On the blogging side of things, it's been kind of exciting around here lately.  I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a new URL (, tell your friends), a few new layout changes, and some subtle but so-helpful cleaning up work that Kiera's been doing for me - she's an HTML wizard, as far as I'm concerned.  (By the way, did you see her post on Saturday?  Here ya go. )  So, that's all pretty fun!  This space is getting prettier and closer to what I'm really, really happy with, which I (obviously) am in favor of.  

So, I don't know if you've heard, but I'm a senior in high school and I'm leaving home to go to college in t-3ish months.  (That was a joke.  That's pretty much all I talk about here anymore, because apparently I'm suffering from pre-separation anxiety and wayyyy overblown nostalgia and am obsessed with bringing it up whenever I can.)  I'm not going to say again how saying goodbye is hard and how basically my entire life is bittersweet right now - for that, you can refer to this, this, and this.  I do, however, have ANOTHER new observation that's come from this whole emotional trip I've been on lately.  Ready?

It's pretty cool that there's stuff in my life that I care about enough to not want to leave behind.  

I recently had a classmate ask me what I'd change about myself if I could go back to freshman year knowing what I know now.  I was surprised when I answered without hesitation:  "I'd be a lot nicer.  I'd actually meet people instead of assuming that I already knew them and what they were about." 

I have my friends and some weird life events that can only be attributed to God to thank for the fact that I'm not the same quick-to-judge, too-cool person that I was.  I mean, I didn't make that change by choice; I'm pretty sure that it would have been literally impossible for me to stay the same.  I get to be friends with interesting, wonderful people now that I'm more open to faces who don't look like mine on the surface.  Those people have taught me a truth that I've always known by words but not by experience: that people are inherently valuable and so worth my time.

As a result, I spend a lot of my time right now around people who I genuinely like, and I am so amazed by that.  All the self-help books and your grandma and psychiatrists will tell you that being happy has a lot to do with the people around you, and I'd agree with that, to an extent.  I think the key to surrounding yourself with people you enjoy might have a little bit to do with who those people are, but I think it has even more to do with how well you let yourself see them.  //

Today's It's a Fine, Fine Life!  Write a little about what's good about your life right now, throw the picture down there onto it, and share it - it's a lot more fun that way.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

To Pray . . . Or Procrastinate // Guest Post

Today's exciting because there's a guest blogger writing here!  Kiera usually writes over at Narwhal Knits, but today she and I are trading spaces to share a little bit of our faith story.  

Today, I'm going to be tackling a difficult topic. Well, not terribly difficult, but generally, the 13-25 year old demographic really loves to procrastinate. So I'll be writing this behind a tree, trying not to expose myself... too much. (; 

The idea came to me after reading this: 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Photos on the Run // Something Beautiful

I'm lucky to have a friend who lives forty-five minutes away from my house.  And not just a "oh hi, I know you" kind of friend, but a friend that I like enough to visit semi frequently, resulting in semi-frequent semi-long car rides by myself.  I love it, partly because forty-five minutes is the perfect length for a solo, vocals-only mini concert, and partly because part of the drive involves twisty roads with lakes and scenery around them.  I love me some twisty roads with lakes and scenery. 

Last Friday, I was making that drive and was in the middle of a really fantastic rendition of Rascall Flatts's "While You Loved Me" when I drove past something that made me turn the car around.  It's called: the sky was by the lake and it was so, so pretty.  So me and my very low-quality camera phone went to have a look.  

I promise that it was 34084 times more gorgeous in person. Jealous?  

It happened again on Sunday while I was running: I saw pretty things, and I had to stop and take pictures of them.  (The argument could be made that I just wanted an excuse to stop running.  I'll let you be the judge of that.) 

(There are about 30 other variations on the baby leaf / sun pictures, if you're interested.  Angles are so important.)  

As I finished my photo shoot with the leaves, I had deep, blog-worthy thoughts.  Why am I so fixated with pretty things, to the point that I can't resist parking on the side of the road or bringing my camera for a run with me?  I know that I like taking pictures, especially since I have this place to share them, but I think it's more than that.  Isn't searching for beauty kind of an all-humans thing, not just a me thing?  For years and years, cave painters and gardeners and sculptors and fashion designers have passionately worked to hone their skills in order tried to create the best beauty that they could.  In fact, artists are known for being poor; in other words, for giving up a chance to make money and live in a conventionally comfortable way in exchange for the change to create something really beautiful.  I'd even venture to guess that most people, in some way, have that same craving.  Why are we like that? 

Throughout the Bible, God and the things that He does are described in terms of their perfection and quality - their beauty.  Here, take a look. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 // He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end

Genesis 2:8 // Then God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. He put the Man he had just made in it.God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground, trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. 

Psalm 104:1-3 // Praise the Lord, my soul.  Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.

Is it possible that our search for beautiful things comes from a longing for God?  Maybe, we stand in awe of a sunset or spend hours redecorating because those things, in a very small way, let us experience a version of what our creator is like.  Maybe, just maybe, he made us that way on purpose, so that we'd be able to connect with him.  

I don't know about you, but I really like the idea that God created me to enjoy beautiful things just so that he could love me by showing me sky reflecting on the water and sun shining on leaves.  I think that's pretty cool. 



P.S. There's fun stuff going on here todat for Treat Yo Self Thursday! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When It's Over // It's a Fine, Fine Life 3

Today I'm thankful for the times when things come to an end, which isn't the easiest way to be.  It's taken some serious thinking to get here, because the good side of endings is one that my head can understand pretty easily but my heart struggles to feel.  I get the importance of the shifts in the people, places, and circumstances around me, but I still cringe a little when the time comes to give something up. 

I'm thankful for endings because of the space in my life that they leave vacant.  That empty space is uncomfortable at first, and it can feel purposeless, scary.  The truth is that vacancies are invaluable because they're full of potential - where there is nothing now, there can be anything.  When endings take away a part of our lives, we have the chance to put energy and talent and time into something new. Stable lives made up of everlasting habits and people and places don't have room for growing; the uncertainty of an ending does.  

As my mind tries to make the rest of me understand about things coming to conclusion, the part that my heart grasps most readily is the fact that a beginning, necessarily, is preceded by an end.  Nothing new can start without something old stepping aside, and I love beginnings.  That's something that I can get on board with, that I can go all in for and be genuinely excited about.  When things end, I can be pretty sure that I'm right on the edge of something new, and something that could be really, really good. 

This post is a part of It's a Fine, Fine Life, a link-up for sharing the good even if (and especially when) it isn't that easy.  Grab a button and join us every Tuesday! (And for more info, go here.)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dodge Ball & Running & Friends // Weekend Recap

Hey there!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend - you think I'm just saying that, but I mean it sincerely.  Remember when I gave away free stuff that one time? Well, we have a free stuff winner!  Huge congrats to Christy Spurlock of Spurlock Sweet Adventures - I'll be right over to help you spend your Target money.   

If you're not Christy Spurlock, I'm really sorry.  I bet you wish you had $50 to spend at Target.  I know I do - I'm not her, either. 

You may have noticed that my sidebar looks a little different today, and if you didn't, I'm very offended.  Jk.  Consider the "About Me" that's over there right now to be a sneak peek at the new design that I'm working on right now, and don't be surprised if things look a little rough around here for the next few days.  It's a work in progress.

My weekend started out with an intense study session at Panera after school and track practice on Friday.  The AP Psychology exam is in just over a week, so obviously I was all business and spent way too much time taking pictures of our smoothies.  Figures. 

Once some actually studying got done, I headed home for a little Shark Tank watching with my parents and an early bedtime to make sure I was ready for Saturday's track meet!  ( Last week I stayed up until 2 the night before.  Never. Again.)

This week's meet was great because we didn't have to be there until noon, which meant sleeping in and time to relax in the morning.  We spent most of the afternoon braving the wind and relative cold, but the sun was out by the time my brother ran his 3200.  

I will never stop being amazed at the fact that people actually volunteer to run around the track 8 times.  Bravo, all of you. 

After the meet, the younger siblings and I headed home for a quick bite to eat and then to school for a dodge ball tournament.  It's an annual event, but for one reason or another I haven't been able to play until this year.  I was pretty excited about it!  Our team had really cool matching shirts that, fortunately, didn't show how intensely I was sweating.  I had no idea how hard 2 minute dodge ball games could be.  Also evidenced by: my still very sore shoulder.  

We had two wins and two losses, with one of the wins being very close and very satisfying.  So, no, we didn't win and I may have lost a bet because of it, but it was so fun! Worth it. (Hint: If you click here or if you follow me on Twitter, you can see the play of the game, courtesy of yours truly. They laughed at me and I still don't get why.)   

Post dodge ball tourney, I spent the night with some friends.  Late night brownies, Jessa Duggar's wedding, chick flicks, and all the weird stuff that happens when you're up too late - it all happened.  So good!  I told everyone that I was going to visit them every weekend when we're in college and make them have a sleepover with me, and I think they thought I was joking.  That's cute.  

Sunday morning meant waking up early to get home after too few hours of sleep in time for church and work afterwards.  The rest of the day was spent running, doing blog and school work, and eating chocolate.  I'd be a liar if I didn't list that as a major activity.  

What about you?   What fun things did you do this weekend?  



P.S.  Pssst . . . there's a link up right here tomorrow!  Don't forget to come hang out, and bring your It's a Fine, Fine Life post with you! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Leting Myself Be Known // If You Read This Email

First things first:  a huge thanks to the people who have helped me to get It's a Fine, Fine Life started (check out their links here.) It's so cool to see this idea becoming real as different bloggers get involved. For the eleventy billionth time:  I'm pretty excited about it.  

In other news, I got mock-elected for "Best Smile" in my senior class, which means that I get to have another picture of myself smiling awkwardly in the yearbook in addition to the one that's always there, year after year.  I find the whole situation ironic because that photo over on the left is a pretty accurate representation of how smiling usually goes to me.  I promise: the vast majority of pictures taken of me look almost exactly like that one.  

That was such a humble brag.  I hate that I did that, but not enough to take if out of this post, so I guess now we know something about me.  I'm a humble bragger.  Actually, I just kind of really wanted an excuse to use that photo on the internet.

In other other news, I've stumbled on some really great internet things lately.  Here you go: the 50 most beautiful quotes in The Great Gatsby + confessions at The Daily Tay (read the comments and thank me later) + beautiful, anonymous emails.  

Especially the emails. 

Allison, who always finds the coolest internet things for me to obsess over, did it again with If You Find This Email.  It's a website that publishes the letters that were never sent - to old friends grown apart or between people who have never met.  It all started with hundreds of emails, begging to be read.  Behind those, people needing desperately to be heard.  There are long, crazy stories and short lines of really great words, and I fell in love instantly.  As I scrolled down the page, through months of emails, I couldn't help but be amazed at the sheer number of people who had so much to say and only this place to say it.   

People need to be known.  It's almost ironic that, for all the constant connection and instant updates of right now, we're still missing that.  For all that's known about us, so little is known about what's in us.  We crave being real, raw understanding and honest connection.  

And connecting is a two-way street, and vulnerability is essential.  I can think of nothing more terrifying.  Oh, I want to be known, and known well, and I want to avoid the inevitable risk of all that.  I want to only give of myself when it's safe and shrink back when fear tells me that I'm taking it too far.   I don't know if it works that way. 

Safety jeopardizes relationships.  Who would have thought?  By erring on the side of caution when it comes to vulnerability, we gamble our chance of being not just heard, but understood.  I'm thinking that if I'm going to bother knowing people at all, it might be worth the risk to really know them.  And, yeah, to let them know me, as hard as that is. //


P.S.  More blog things at Treasure Tromp, right here

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm Happy Because I Read Pretty Books // It's a Fine, Fine Life 2

Hey, there!  I'm hoping you had a lovely weekend and spent it partying or on a lake or going on long walks or something equally worthwhile.  The majority of my Saturday (thanks for asking) was spent being sunburnt and windblown and occasionally running at a track meet, which is how lots of spring Saturdays are spent and suits me just fine.  (Oh hey, alliteration.)  That was followed by a mad dash straight from the finish line of my one and only race to work, which may have included a wrong turn and twenty a few miles in the wrong direction.  That is the last time I try to make money and track meet in the same Saturday.  

Other than that, evenings been laid back and given me some quiet hours to sit on the couch and soak up some new reading material, and I couldn't be happier about that.  Actually, the only thing that's making me happier about the insides of these books is their outsides.  And I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I mean look at them!  Look at those coordinating color schemes.

They're so perfect together and something tells me that if the books I'm reading match, I have to be doing something right in life.  Not just anyone can pull that off. 

Did I mention that the words inside are so good, too? Let's talk about those. 

Maybe you've heard of Hannah Brencher? She writes here and in her memoir, but she was first known for writing love letters to all of New York City, in a way that is entirely not creepy.  

The book paints a panorama picture of Hannah's move away from her identity and into big, unknown New York City, and deals with giving things up and hoping for things that seem to big and so many things that a lot of people fight with in some way.  It's an incredibly real, inspiring story, of course.  But what's pulling me in more and more is the way it's told - girlfriend can put words together in such a beautiful way.  Here, you try. 
"I thought this would only be a story to show those children of mine how much human hands do matter.  Within a world that is always talking too loudly about what it means to "matter," I wanted this entire story to tell them the truth of it: that they will matter when the sun is up and when it is down.  When there is sunburn on their shoulders or when their shoes no longer fit.  Or their luggage never arrives.  Or they come back from Paris with a ramshackle heart and one less body beside them.  I wanted this story to convince them that they matter, always, and that the point has never been to know it but just to accept it." 
 I mean, seriously.  I could read it forever just to appreciate how good it sounds.  Keep writing, Hannah!

On the other end of the literature spectrum (but, happily, very close by as far as colors go): Top Dog by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman.  According to the back cover, it's somewhat of a staple among successful, suit wearing types - found  "in briefcases of Wall Street traders and Madison Avenue madmen" and "being debated in the halls of academia."  (Also: in my hands as I sit beside the pool with my eyes squinted barely not shut, preparing for a busy day of more lounging and maybe some beach volleyball.)  Basically, this book is everywhere where big and important things are happening. 

I'll probably read it again when I'm done.  There's a lot of information packed into the pages, most of which I could apply to the things I do in some way.  Lots of new ideas in fewer lines, which makes it both impossible to read quickly and hugely interesting.  It's all about competitions and the people who comprise them: men vs. women, those who crack under pressure vs. those who rise to the occasion, disharmonious teams vs. a group of best friends.  I'm learning so many things that I wish I'd known before, along with a bunch of names of enzymes and things (be prepared for lots of biology-related words!)  It's worth it.  It's given me a lot to think about and has challenged a lot of pretty widely-accepted ideas (yay, free speech and open discussion!)  I'd recommend this one, too. 

It's a fine, fine life for me because I get to read two really good (matching) books!  Why's your life good?  Link up and let me hear it!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Friend To // 5 Kinds of People You Need in Your Life

Hey, everyone!  Big news: Nina's blogiversary giveaway is still going on here, which means that you have the chance to win a $50 Target gift card (yes, please), a DIY coffee mug, and some delicious coffee to help the new mug feel useful.  I'll wait while you go take advantage of that, because Target and caffeine. Go ahead. 

In other news, those of you who haven't been around until very, very recently won't know that a brand-shiny-new link-up started here last Tuesday.  That happened. (The idea behind it + how to participate here.)  And it was great - several blog friends wrote posts, and it was so rewarding to see how writing about the good of life affected each of them.  I'm looking forward to where this project will go in the future.  

Before I hit publish on my very first link-up Tuesday morning, I was honestly scared that I'd be the only one participating.  Which would have been fine, I guess, if a little disheartening.  I'd sent e-mails out to many bloggers that I know, inviting them to participate, but, true to form, I'd sent them less than 48 hours before the actual link-up.  Oh.  Thank God for friends, you guys.  Some of the lovely people I've met through this little blog were right there with me, helping to make my idea come alive on short notice.  I so appreciate the ones who are there, no matter how little notice you give them.  It's good to have people like that.  

It's good to have all kinds of people, actually.  I love the people I'm surrounded by because of the way that they each a have a unique influence on me.  One friend can't handle all that I need in a friend, so they all share in shaping me and supporting me equally and well.  As I become more convinced of the indispensability of all of my people, I become convinced that there are some people that everyone needs. 

// A friend to laugh at you
You know, that friend who thinks that every single thing you do is funny.  Who laughs ridiculously hard while everyone else is groaning.  Who never lets an attempt at humor go unrecognized.

// A friend to do whatever with
Sometimes, people have weird ideas.  That's where all the genius technology things we have come from, probably.  Even if you're weird ideas aren't getting you anywhere, you need someone willing to help you make them happen, no questions asked.  

// A friend who knows
I'm bad at having this friend, because I don't like to tell people things.  As someone who deprived myself of this person for a very long time, I can vouch for the fact that it's vitally important to have a person who knows next to everything about you. Everything, from your opinion on the important stuff to how you like your ice cream sundae.  Because sometimes emotions happen and judgement gets skewed, and you need someone to tell you how you feel and hold you accountable.  Also, it's good to have someone who can anticipate when things bother you or elate you and listen or celebrate accordingly. 

// A friend who's better
The one that you love, but are secretly a liiiittle jealous of.  They show you how to be good at something and provide the inspiration to get there, wherever "there" is - faster, kinder, happier.  

// A friend who grounds you
I truly value the people in my life who tell it like it is, every time.  Some of the best advice I've received has come out of their mouths.  They have strong character and are unwavering in their actions and beliefs, even when they're alone.  In a world that often chooses the tolerate-everything path of least resistance, friends who stand firm are rare and beautiful. 

And that, everyone, is how I indirectly say all the sappy things that I secretly want to as I'm thinking about leaving for college and saying goodbye to getting regular face time with some of the best people I know.  I get nostalgic so easily it's ridiculous. 

I want to know  . . .

 -What kind of friend do you think everyone needs?  



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I Can't Actually Juggle // GIVEAWAY

A few weeks ago, Holly from Summer Sky Designs nominated me for the Liebster Award.  (Thanks, Holly!) Actually, it's been exactly a month.  I'm finally getting around to sharing with you who I fangirl over, how I feel about dark chocolate, and exactly how afraid you should be if we're in a car together.

1// What do you fangirl over?
I'm not much of a fangirl-er, because usually I like to act like I'm too cool and don't care that much (even if I'm borderline obsessed).  But the closest I probably ever come is with The Office, my first ever Netflix-binge experience and favorite show, ever.  Also, Zac Efron.  Always Zac Efron.

2 // Three weird, random facts about you?
     -I'm trying really hard to learn how to juggle. This face would be a lot cooler if I already knew how.
     - I really like to be the one to pour the cereal from the original box into the bins we keep it in after we buy it.  If anyone else does it, I get pretty disappointed.  I know, I don't get it either.
     - I came very, very close to not passing my road test.  I promise I'm a safe driver, but that happened.

3 // What are you most proud of?
My mom.  That's a who, but she's a hard worker and I respect her a lot for it.

4 // What would be your dream place to live?
THIS IS SO HARD because I like exploring and would love to live all over the place, but I think I could probably be pretty happy for a long time somewhere by the water, preferably the ocean.

5 // Favorite dessert?
I think I've probably come across three desserts that I didn't like in my entire life.  But if it involves dark chocolate, I'm usually pretty happy. 

6 //What are you doing at this moment besides writing this post?
Being in study hall at school and pretending I have nothing else to get done - oops!

7 // Do you have any pets?
Yep!  I have a dog named Eddie who's adorable and a cat named Si who I'm not friends with. She's mean to me.

8 // What superpower do you want?
Flight. It's kind of a classic.

9 // If you could meet anyone (past, present, or future; fictional or real), who would you want to meet?
Malcolm Gladwell.  He writes for the New Yorker and has a few book out, and he has met some of the most interesting people! I'd love to know what that's like. 

10 // Fruits or veggies?
Fruit! Pineapple. Mmmm.

11 // What do you want your legacy to be? In other words, what do you want people to remember you by/for?
I'd like them to remember that I was different, which I guess is what everybody wants.  So, that's going well.  That I influenced people around me for the better and did hard things and got the most out of life that I possibly could.

Also . . . for giving away free stuff!  It's Nina's 3 year blogiversary today, and she and I and a couple of her blog friends are giving away fun things to celebrate!  If you win, you'll receive:

-a $50 Target gift card
-a DIY mug design of your choice
-fresh Appalachian Morning coffee from Nina's favorite and local coffee shop

the grand adventures of me || the new wifestyle || emily finta || endliss bliss || reckless

Good luck, and have a great Wednesday!


Monday, April 13, 2015

It's a Fine, Fine Life 1 // Countdowns

And then spring break was over, and school started again with the countdown to graduation.  After a week of being away from real life and almost completely forgetting that big things are happening soon, it's all coming back and it's kind of overwhelming and exciting.  48 days until freshman orientation at Grand Valley.  56 days until leaving to begin training at the camp I'll work at this summer.  63 days until graduation.  

This is the first time that I've done this: laid out the days and counted them and really thought about the way that life's going to be changing so soon.  It scares me, and I am so thankful for that. 

Life is good always because it holds opportunities to do things that are so worth it that they're terrifying.  We get to try things that aren't easy and have the potential to turn out a total mess, to screw them up or blow them out of the water and keep going.  I like that that's an option that I have. 

Life is good right now because it's not giving me opportunities to do new things - it's encouraging it.  Doing things that aren't exactly comfortable is the norm at this stage, when things are changing constantly and easily.  I'm thankful for it.  I'd like to take full advantage of right now.  //

Today's the first day of the "It's a Fine, Fine Life" link up.  Add your post about why life's good, and keep coming back every Tuesday for more!  I can't wait to share this with you!



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Super Important PSAs // As in Snapchat and Link-ups

Disclaimer: the following post is going to be kind of advertisey BUT the good news is that the stuff it's being advertisey about is probably exciting and cool and stuff that you can participate on, so read on and try not to be too annoyed by my 4838 mentions of allie.reckless.
I have an immensely important announcement today.  For me, it's kind of life changing. 
Reckless got a Snapchat! (It's allie.reckless.) I am so excited about it.  See?

Before you tell me that blogs aren't supposed to snap (like I did to myself the first several times this idea crosses my mind) let's talk about it.
I love pictures, and so Instagram is naturally my favorite social media invention.  I've been posting pictures a little differently on my Instagram account lately - I'm being a little more artsy, and that's fun for me.  However, I realize that my account has become less personal because of that.  One of my favorite things about being able to follow bloggers on Instagram is that it lets me see a little bit of what their daily life is like.  I want to do fun, artsy things on Instagram, but I don't want to lose the personal connection it gives me to you all!  Enter Snapchat (allie.reckless).  It's like Instagram's lower-maintenance cousin.  I can post pictures really easily while I'm doing things, which makes it more personal than Instagram and a lot easier.  Instagram for trying to be artsy and cool, Snapchat at allie.reckless for having friends. 
"But wait!" you say.  "If I follow your account, allie.reckless, you can send me eleventy billion ugly selfies whenever you want, right?"  The answer to that is, yes, yes I can.  But I won't.  I don't want you to see an astronomical number of variations of my triple chin face any more than you want to see them.  In fact, I won't send you anything at all, ever.  I'll just update my story so that you can ignore or look at my pictures at your discretion. 
Speaking of PSAs and new things starting, how about that link up on Tuesday? The "It's A Fine, Fine Life" link up is happening, here, every Tuesday.  It's a chance for you to share what's great about life with a bunch of other bloggers doing the same thing.  The topic's intentionally vague to allow you plenty of creative freedom. Just link back to your host (that's me!) and make sure to show your fellow link-uppers some love! 

Okay, that's probably enough excitement for today, right?  Go back to your sleeping in or your exremely busy day (Saturdays always seem to go one of those ways or the other, don't they?)  Enjoy, and I'lI see you next week!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Five for Friday // Favorite Things of the Week

Hi, everyone.  Hi.  I hope you've had a great week!  Mine's been spent spring breaking in Texas, doing everything from acquiring a really awesome tan line by the pool to learning how to clean shrimp and spending several hours in the car driving semi-aimlessly around the hill country in search of a really big field of blue bonnets.  (I'm still not sure this place actually exists, although I'd like to believe it's out there somewhere.)  Adventure has been had.  Also, I'm re-watching The Office, which I think is almost as good of a life decision as watching it in the first place.  

In the spirit of enjoying this week of no school and extra sunshine, some of my favorite things:

// Decaf Vanilla Mocha Lattes.  That exists, and I've been drinking them every day.  Jealous? We're living at my grandparents' house this week, and they have lots of fancy coffee things that we don't have, so I've been taking this opportunity to channel the inner barista that I never knew I had.  It's been really fun and the highlight of my mornings.  So, yes, I've been feeling very grown up while drinking my decaf coffee with hot chocolate mix and steamed milk and 4+ pumps of vanilla syrup.  

// Sitting in a hammock.  More grandparent house perks.  I think that when I'm a real adult who drinks actual caffeinated coffee in the morning, I'm going to have a hammock instead of a bed.  Because that is the kind of decision an adult gets to make.  

// Time with Jesus.  Sometimes, I forget that taking a few minutes to spend time with God every day is really, really important.  Well, guess what?  It's really, really important.  As in, key-to-living-a-fulfilling-life important, and essential-to-being-remotely-okay-towards-other-people important.  

// Being a flower photographer.  When you go south of Michigan, there are actually things growing everywhere and it's so beautiful and foreign to me after 5 months of winter that I have to take pictures of all of them.  

// Eating all the ice cream. Our family has an unspoken tradition of eating as much ice cream as possible while on vacation.  (Apparently, almost anything can be justified by the words, "It's tradition.")  When we're traveling, there is absolutely no wrong situation, time of day, or price point for ice cream.  If it's there, we're eating it.  It's one of the things I love about my family.  

I'd love to hear some of your favorite things this week!  What have you been up to?


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