I’ve moved!

Howdy folks,

Lest you think I’ve fully abandoned blogging… I probably should have shared this awhile back, but I’ve moved to a new site!!

Come read and subscribe over at http://jordanmtaylor.fistbump.press/ to keep up with all my writerly adventures! You can also visit my facebook page where I update with new posts!

Thanks for subscribing here, I hope you’ll join me at my new home!

–Jordan

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all the things (11.26)

all the things

Happy holiday season to you! Hope everyone out there had a good Thanksgiving, but it’s time to move on to CHRISTMAS!  I love this time of year. Christmas carols, snow, giving gifts, Christmas crafts, advent… it’s my very favorite.

 

My little corner of the internet: 

I finally wrote my October edition of Jordan Reads Things!

Two Five Minute Friday posts: one last week, and one this week!

Words from the internet I liked: 

The Hidden Legacy of Eugene Peterson: I’ve never read Peterson’s books, but his Message translation of the Bible has helped so many people understand and identify with scripture. For me, as someone who’s struggled with understanding scripture, The Message has been a huge blessing. I loved reading this personal essay from a family friend– it let us all see a different side of Peterson that normal folk wouldn’t see. And learning about how he uses his money– pretty sure there’s a lesson for all of us there.

Tracee Ross Ellis is living for Herself: I. love. This. And more so, I love HER. She speaks truth in a blunt and humorful way and is point-blank honest about her decision to not get married or have kids. As someone who doesn’t know if she wants to marry or have kids herself, it’s so nice to have someone else admit that they’re OK with this. That they’re not struggling with singleness like sooo many people/articles say they are (esp in Christian circles). I’m not struggling with singleness! I’m cool with it! Like Tracee said: MY LIFE IS MINE. My sole purpose is not to be married off and have kids. If it happens later, cool. And maybe in a few years my thoughts on singleness will change. Heck, they’ve changed a LOT as a 25-year-old. I go back and forth on wanting the whole marriage+kids deal. But right now, I’m not struggling with singleness. And I’m okay with that.

I look back and think about all the ways we’re told that those two
#goals: being chosen and having kids, are what makes you
worthy. I mean: Nursery Rhymes. Fairytales. Books. Movies. Sixteen
Candles
, every love song, and even Black-ish—all reiterating this
narrow story of “husband plus child equals woman”. And the
patriarchy—the patriarchy is not pleased with me right now. I’m
failing at my function.

If you saw my message why didn’t you respond? 

I follow Sarah on Twitter, and she hit the nail on the head here. I could’ve written the same post! (except focusing on text messages vs facebook messages). While I’d much rather have a text conversation vs. face-to-face (or worse, the dreaded phone call… *shudders*), I also freak out if I don’t get a response from someone (if the text deems a response, obviously). I try hard to stay connected to people, and when people don’t respond I start to think that they don’t want to take the time to talk to me, or I said something that hurt them, or if they don’t want to be my friends… anxiety and technology weave a complicated web, people. When people see your messages, or your questions, and just don’t respond? It makes me second guess myself about every conversation I’ve had with people. I know people are busy, but at least take a minute to say something. Don’t leave people hanging when they’re waiting on the other side of a conversation.

But, the little thing that reads “seen” at the end of a Facebook message is problematic because it reminds you that you are not that important. If the person sees your message and doesn’t say anything you are left wondering if you offended them, they’re busy, they don’t want to talk to you, or many, many other things.

Yes. This. I felt so frustrated by the 3 Swings and a Ring culture at Lipscomb. Gotta get that MRS degree, right? Except I didn’t, nor did I want it. Part of me didn’t feel the want/need to get married; part of me felt like it was expected of me because everyone else around me was wanting it. I quit counting how many friends ended up married during or right after graduation. This culture that pushes marriage at a young age hurts people that don’t end up married by the time college ended– I don’t even know if I want to get married, yet it felt like it was something that was *supposed* to happen magically in college. I’m happy for the friends that got married during our college years, but I’m more than thankful I wasn’t one of them– I could not imagine it for my life right now, no matter how much this culture tells me it’s what I should be aiming for.

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

It’s Christmastime, which means… GIFT GUIDES GALORE! A few of my favorites:

Perfect Gifts for Writers: This was written by my friend, Kate! It has so many good things for the writer in your life. The most needed items for me from this list include this Waterproof note pad (all my best ideas happen in the shower!), this Spiritual Writing Book, and money to go to a Writers Conference (Festival of Faith and Writing, PLEASE?!?!). I’d also add: a subscription to Grammarly Premium, a custom blog design/domain makeover, and a subscription to Spotify Premium!!

College Girl Gift Guide: I’m not in college anymore, and I don’t agree with all these things (no makeup needed here), but: All. The. Giftcards. Please!! And allll the fuzzy socks. And a new blanket to match my new bedspread sounds lovely!

Speaking of bedspreads: I have found the one my soul loves. And bonus: it was designed by Joanna Gaines! SCORE! I’m either going to buy it with my next freelancing check or I’m asking for it for Christmas. They’re currently running a deal where you get $50 off $150 purchase AND free shipping over $75! Yay for online Black Friday deals!

 

How Sweet Eats always has the best Gift Guides. She has a great Cookbook gift guide (i want them alll, especially her new one, Joy the Baker’s brunch cookbook, and Pioneer Woman’s newest!) and a kitchen supplies gift guide (i also want all the things here).

She Reads Truth has a good Gift Guide for their products, including some new ones! (I love the calendar and the SRT/HRT Starter sets!).

Sarah Bessey’s Gift Guide to Empower Women is AWESOME. All products are from small businesses that help women and children around the world. And everything on it is beautiful! And there’s a coupon code for almost every product!

other non-gift guide things from the internet:

*NSYNC Holiday Merch: My *NSYNC and Christmas-loving heart is so happy.

I have my eye on this nativity from Trades of Hope– isn’t it adorable?!

My favorite baker from Season 4’s Great British Bakeoff released a baking cookbook— and it’s all comfort food! I can’t wait to get it. (also, she has a pug, so I’m hoping for Dennis the pug pictures in the book!!)

Also: Amazon has their annual book deal going on now– $5 off a book purchase over $20! I used it to get a book for part of my mom’s Christmas gift (she’s obsessed with this guy) and a new fiction book for me!

DaySpring has some great deals for Cyber monday coming up! 35% off ANY PURCHASE using the code MONDAY17 (only until Monday at 11:59!), $5 Journals and Mugs, Markdowns up to 50% off certain items, and BOGO on certain items (including the IF watercolor set+ other bible journaling supplies!!). Definitely a great sale for all the things on their site.

I picked up Let it Snow for a fun read during the holidays! My former supervisor, Sarah, gave it to me for Christmas last year. It’s 3 different short novellas (~100 pages each) written by 3 YA authors. The only author I’d read before was John Green; I finished Maureen Johnson’s story last night and really enjoyed it! They’re all based on the same town/same basic storyline, which I didn’t realize until I started reading John’s story. Such a clever idea! Can’t wait to finish it.

Redeeming Love is one of my favorite books of all-time. LifeWay just recently released a brand new edition with a stunning cover! AND it’s on sale this weekend for $10!!

Sleeping at Last is doing an Enneagram song project— he’s releasing a song and accompanying podcast for each of the 9 Enneagram numbers. He just released the song for Twos (which is what I am) and it may have made me cry just a bit. IT’S SO ACCURATE. It brought every quality of my number (both the good and bad) to life in such a beautiful way! If you’re a 2, a 2 wing, OR just want to know your 2 friends better, please listen+buy+listen some more. The One song was also highly relatable (I’m a 2 with a 1 wing!)

 

Val Marie Paper has $5 flat shipping today for all their products! I’ve been using the undated prayer journal for a month and love it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to invest in a yearly sometime soon!

Day Designer also has free shipping this weekend! This is huge since shipping for their planners is hella expensive. I had one of their BlueSky planners last year and it was the most productive a planner has ever been for me! I want the real thing this year.

I think that’s it for this week. Follow my writer page on Facebook for more writerly updates and sometimes funny things, among other amusements.

 

Thanks for reading, y’all!

 

**affiliate links have been used

this life feels familiar. (five minute friday)

Happy Five Minute Friday! No party this week due to Thanksgiving, though *I* was around (no Thanksgiving celebrations for me– I stayed home!! *praise hands*).

 

We do have a word though, and of course I thought of what to write about as i was going to bed. *insert eye roll emoji here*

Anywho, the word is:

My life feels all too familiar right now.

I’m scared to go to sleep.

I have random aches and pains that make me think something’s wrong. Every ache and pain I have scares me into googling my symptoms, turning to WebMD and forcing the spiral of thoughts even further.

I feel shaky and cold one minute, hot flashes and heavy breathing the next.

The thoughts of dying. The “well if I wake up tomorrow, I’ll…”

The paranoia that causes me to fear sleep, thinking I won’t wake up the next day.

This season of life is all too familiar. 

I’m transported back in time to 2014.

To my first panic attack. The first night of a new life I didn’t want, a life of anxiety and exhaustion.

To when I thought I was having a heart attack, but instead started a 4-month long season of nightly panic attacks, anxiety-induced insomnia, and dreadful fear of dying in my sleep.

It was the scariest time in my life.

And while I’m not 100% there again, the feelings of panic and dread are creeping in more than they have since my GAD diagnosis 3 years ago.

I’m transported back to 2015 when I first started medicine and therapy for my diagnosis and started feeling human again. The need to increase my meds again keeps coming up daily, especially with my serious bouts of depression the last 6 months. But that scares me too, for other reasons.

But I need help again. I know it.

I can’t shake this familiar feeling. And it scares me.

This song has become my anthem as a mentally ill Jesus-follower.

 

Edited to add: For those that don’t about my mental hell (health) journey, hop over to this post for details. I’ve written here and there about it, but this was from the beginning. 

Jordan Reads Things (October)

 

bloggraphic-jordanreadsI’m back with Round 2 of Jordan Reads Things! Better late than never, right? I didn’t read quite as much in October (all the launch teams are over! PTL!)  But I did read a few things/started a few books I wanted to share here:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green:

51j8ClOJzoL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Y’all. John did it AGAIN with this one.  My life is better for reading this book.

I read this one in about 10ish days– took a little longer than normally I’d read a fiction book because life. But when I was able to read it, I could NOT put it down. The story was odd but fascinating. It was fast-paced but drawn out. I loved all the different relationships in this book, and the way Green had characters interact with each other.

I’ll share the Amazon synopsis because this book is hard to describe:

“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.”

What the book doesn’t outright say: Aza has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and is trying to live her life in spite of being stuck in an ever-spiraling spiral of her own thoughts. She lives in constant fear of getting sick, and in the book, you see her interactions with her own brain, her rabbit trail of thoughts that play constantly in her head.

In a lot of ways, Green makes Aza’s thoughts their own character, as Aza dialogues with her brain and tries to fight against the voices.

There were so many times I read Aza’s words or thoughts and said: this is me. This is my struggle, personified in a book. Finally, someone that thinks like me.

I don’t have OCD (or haven’t been diagnosed with it), but I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a lot of Aza’s experiences mirror mine. So many of the descriptions John uses to illustrate Aza’s struggles and innermost thoughts echo a lot of mine as well. It’s nice to see a character that I fully related to. John has shared that the book stems a lot from his own personal struggle with OCD, and I’m so grateful he used his platform to shine a light on mental health and normalized things like therapy and meds.

When I finished the book, I literally sighed. It was just good.  I felt satisfied with the book and how it ended. Definitely a must-read.

(I loved this one so much I wrote about it for The Mighty. )

“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness. It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.”

“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”


Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly 

41K0tspiKXL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I feel like I’ve been talking about this book for months, and it’s finally here! Y’all. It is so good. And SO needed. It was not an easy, light-hearted read– it was full of hard truths and honesty from Jess, saddled alongside Bible study that really transformed my thinking. I’d never really thought about holiness in an intense way until this book– I’ve always been a rule-follower, but holy? I thought that was reserved for special Jesus-y people. But it’s not. Grace and holiness are already in us because of Jesus– and Jess talks to us about ways we can live out this grace and holy life in our world. She uses her real-life wrestling with these topics and her passion for scripture studying to help us understand grace, holiness, and mission in a whole new light. So much wisdom. So much truth. And Jess is a Bible teacher at heart, so there is some awesome Bible study wedged into each chapter– and has an awesome Study Guide +DVD to correlate with the book filled with more Bible study. It’s a study unlike any I’ve seen, and I really want to get a group to do it with me! (any local friends, holler at me!).

DSR is not a fluffy, feel-good read. It is a book our hearts are needing, longing for.  It really opened my eyes to what holiness is and isn’t, and what we as women of God GET to do as we dance in abundant grace, stand our holy ground, and run on the mission God has set before us.

I hope this book helps us understand holiness not as something far-reaching and scary, but as something we get to live in RIGHT NOW because of the grace of Jesus. Living life striving for grace and not living in the holiness God has called us to leaves us feeling like something’s missing, that there has to be MORE to this life than this. DSR illustrates the missing piece of the puzzle.

I’m still wrestling with a lot of the thoughts in this book, and have some writings stirring up from it. It was a must-need for me, and I think it could be for other people too. Definitely worth checking out!

“The great news of the Gospel is that as women of God, we never have to walk into a room praying someone saved us a seat.”

“I don’t want to ask other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be taking the soul answer to them: Jesus. If we’re going to change the world and stop being changed by it, we’re going to have to acknowledge that we already belong, we already have a place, and we’re already accepted. Not by humans or community or the kind gals we do life with, but by Jesus.”


41oSTuslHFL._SX358_BO1,204,203,200_-1She Reads Truth Bible

I wrote an extensive review here, but I’ll share again: A beautiful Bible inside and out, with scripture prints, maps, and charts that are as useful as they are stunning. The devotionals in it are timely and well-written, like the ones from their site. The CSB translation is new but really simple and easy to read. I love this Bible! It’s become my go-to for my nightly studies. It’s a beautiful addition to my life.


100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs:

51W4KwarEkL._SX403_BO1,204,203,200_Not finished with this one (because 100 days!), but as I’ve written before, I looove me some Annie. Her thoughts on bravery have stirred me and helped me grow so much since first reading Let’s All Be Brave back in 2014 (back when I was in the middle of my mental breakdown). Her books feel like I’m sitting across from her in a coffee shop, and she is laugh out loud funny mixed perfectly with amazingly honest and thoughtful. Devotionals are my favorite thing in the world (it’s pretty much the kind of book I want to write/publish someday), and I am so far loving this one. it’s challenging me in all the best ways and is so lovingly written.

If you need a shot of bravery in your every day, pick this one up. I’ll report back after the 100 days with a full review 🙂


That’s it for October reads! (2 weeks late, oops). I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Reading People in November (I’ve been combing my way through it slowly because it’s rich in wisdom!). I haven’t started a new fiction book yet, but I need one. (Suggestions welcome). Until then, happy reading!

 

September reads here.

 

**affiliate links have been used in this post

this thanksgiving, excuse yourself. (five minute friday)

Holaaaaa. It’s FMF time! I actually chatted this week. Victory!!

This week’s word:

Hmm. Interesting!

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving.

Excuse as in this definition of the word:

release (someone) from a duty or requirement.

(I always forget about this definition of the word).

Excuse yourself. Release yourself from the burden of having a perfect, picturesque Thanksgiving.

Release yourself from trying so hard.

Excuse yourself from doing so much for this holiday that you forget to enjoy it. Things will get done, and if they don’t, that’s okay too.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving, if you don’t enjoy the family time or it’s too much for you.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving if it’s not what you expect it to be, or what you want.


I dread Thanksgiving and other family-gathering holidays. They stress me out so bad. I feel like I have to perform– put on my fake “everything is fine and dandy” face and make small talk about my life (yes, i am 25 years old and live at home while pursuing a writing career, nope still not driving, thanks for asking family!). I have to hear comments about how much food I’m eating or what I’m eating. I have to sit through the ignorant political talk that hurts my brain and breaks my heart. I get bored playing on my phone while my family yells at football on the TV instead of actually being a family.

I’m used to it. Doesn’t mean I like it all that much.

Last year I sat at the table and ate by myself. Not by choice– because I got picked up late and everyone else had already eaten by the time I got there. Family had already left. Dad was too consumed in a football game to take me home, so I sat and played on my phone. It was absolutely miserable.

And this year, my dad won’t even be there.

I hope every year is different. I hope it gets better– and last year, i even tried to make things better with some ideas from my counselor. They failed.

After last year’s Thanksgiving, I’ve learned to release my dreams for this holiday. I’ve also released the trying so hard. Because I can’t change them. And I excuse myself this year from trying.

This year, I’m excusing myself. Excusing myself from the guilt of not enjoying this holiday. Excusing myself from trying to act perfect for my family. Excusing myself from not feeling the feelings of disappointment I know I’ll face when things are the same old next week.

It’s time to excuse yourself this Thanksgiving. If you enjoy this holiday and all that’s in it, awesome. i wish I could say the same. If you don’t: take heart. Give yourself grace. Excuse yourself from the table when it becomes too much. And excuse yourself from the expectations and hopes placed on this day, especially if you know they won’t happen. It’s okay. At least I’m preaching it to myself this year.

(this took longer than 5, whoops)

 

I’m a very thankful person for a lot of things this year, and as always, this community lands at the top. So grateful.

Audrey’s latest. Love the Celtic feel!

 

all the things (11.12)

all the things

My little corner of the internet: 

My 3rd post for The Mighty went live on Friday! This was a hard one to write, but it also involves John Green so that’s fun. If you haven’t read Turtles All the Way Down, SPOILERS!

No posts on the blogstead this week. My energy/motivation has slowly been re-appearing, but I’ve been focusing it on freelance articles instead of blog posts. This week, Jordan Reads Things will be live! Promise.

The Mighty also featured my post from last week on one of their Facebook pages. So fun.

Words from the internet I liked: 

You’re okay.: Hannah Brencher’s one of my faves. Her Monday pep talks always get me geared for the week, and her words pump me up and get me all in my feels. I felt like this post was sweetly whispered in my ear: you’re okay. I needed the reminder that it’s okay to not be on my A-game all the time (rather, it’s impossible). Her words are smooth and truthful, and they got me on the right track for a better week.

Perfection is a conspiracy theory we’re all believing in. Perfection is a paper town. We still chase after it because it looks like other people, people with more followers and more kale on their plates, have somehow attained it. Let the myth die: not a single one of us knows what perfection feels like.

The Membership of the Living: the common anxieties:  I felt myself nodding along to Lore’s thoughts as I read, so achingly true they all were. It was a strikingly simple string of words, but a powerful one on the lost art of listening.

Rarely do we stop to consider how alike most of us all are, deeply wanting to be loved (or even liked), deeply desiring the full experience of being alive, and deeply wanting to be found faithful. And how most of us just want the comfort of another person acknowledging the pain of life on this orb, and then simply saying, “I’m sorry. I think I get it a little, but not all the way, but I want to sit here with you in it.”

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books to Empower Everyday Women:

Sarah Bessey is my favorite. Always. And her book lists/gift lists are always on point. This one has some great books on it– some I’ve read (including Shalom Sistas, hollaaaa), and some that have been on my wishlist (like A Woman’s Place by Katelyn Beaty), and some I’d not heard of but are now on my never-ending TBR list. Man, I just love books. (and all of SB’s book lists are linked at the end of her post!)

11 Missing Days: Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery:  Umm, this is fascinating. While I doubt this is the greatest mystery Christie’s known for (a little extreme considering she’s out-sold every novelist in the world with her mysteries), but still kinda crazy thinking a mystery novelist was in a mystery of her own. I’ve only read one of her books (wonderfully written, but mysteries aren’t my thing), but I’m so intrigued by her now.

This Is What I Need In A Partner Because Of Anxietywhile this article is about dating, I think it could be extended to friendships as well (at least for me, the girl that doesn’t date). And I don’t think I necessarily need all of these things, but some of them are on point for me as an anxious person (texting back, following through w/plans, being on time/letting me know if you’re running late, consistency, listening…) basically, I need someone who isn’t going to leave, and is going to follow through with what they say. I will always second guess myself– my responses, my questions, my words, my actions… I need someone who won’t feed that guesswork. I will never stop worrying if I’m a good enough friend/human and need people to validate that in me.

When you have anxiety you are someone people can rely on simply because you hate the feeling of being let down yourself. (YES THIS).

When You Can’t Fix Your Weary Soul: I really loved seeing this on (in}courage. I’m hoping the tide is changing for our discussion on things mental health in the Christian world, because there are too many who still see it as a sin problem/something you can only fix with prayer/etc. I’m thankful for Sarah’s honesty and her real-ness. The reality of mental illness is that it might be fixed, the pills or therapy or whatever can and might help. But even if not, God is still God. And He still loves me. Even when I’m drowning in the weight of sadness or in the spirals of anxiety, He is near.

I am faithful and I am sad. I am obedient to the best of my ability and I have a downcast soul. It may or may not go away, but it doesn’t change my status in God’s Kingdom. I am His child. And I am hurting. But He is gentle and kind and is with me in this.

It Only Took 56 Years, But Now You Can Actually Have Breakfast At Tiffany’sI’ve been an obsessive Breakfast At Tiffany’s/Audrey Hepburn fan since… high school at least? It’s one of the few movies I prefer over the book (Not Truman Capote’s best, imo). I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I will someday purchase something that comes in a little blue box. Not anytime soon, but someday! And now there’s a cafe where you can literally eat breakfast at Tiffany’s and my obsessive heart is just filled with joy and Tiffany diamonds. Anyone wanna plan a trip to NYC with me?

Thoughts and Prayers: I ‘met’ Heather through her blog right around the time her son James was born (so a little over 4 years! wow!). She’s a hilarious writer and blogger, and her thoughts on grief and living after the loss of her daughter, Maddie, are honest and thoughtful and helpful to those of us that haven’t walked that road. Maddie would’ve turned 10 on Saturday. In light of recent events (shootings et all), we see a lot of people offering “thoughts and prayers,” to no end. But Heather points out that while thoughts and prayers are great, even necessary and helpful, they are not where we should end. Thoughts and prayers should compel us to do something. I’m a believer in prayer and think God can move mountains, but I think he uses us, the praying people, to do the moving. Prayer should compel us to action– whether that be service, donations, whatever it may be depending on the situation.  I also think a lot of people use the “thoughts and prayers” as a way to not do/say anything. Saying you’re going to pray and then not thinking about it again does nothing to help people. If you believe in the power of prayer, use those prayers to do something. That means a lot more than an empty offer of thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts and prayers should be a beginning, not an end.

New augmented reality mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite announced:

Think Pokemon GO, for Harry Potter fans. I AM SO EXCITED SOMETHING WORTH LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR!! I’m literally grinning, I’m so dang giddy about this. We have to wait until 2018, but I don’t mind waiting.

 

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

Harry Potter 12 Days of Socks Advent Calendar. I need it. Unfortunately it’s pretty much sold out right now (bah humbug), but hopefully, Target will restock soon. They also have Disney and DC comic versions!


Someday I will own this nativity set from Noonday Collection. It’s beautiful and handmade!


Amazon has their own furniture collection now, and it is very pretty.


I just recently partnered with ThredUP, the largest online secondhand shop, to do some sharing/blogging with them. I’m awaiting the last few items from my purchase before I write, but what I’ve gotten from them so far (that fit) I’ve gotten some awesome compliments on. There were a few sizing issues (plus-size probs) but now I’ve exchanged everything and hopefully, this last exchange does the trick. *fingers crossed*


Stay Home Pillow: I would never spend this much money on a pillow, but I need it.


Sacred Holidays Advent Study! Only 10 days left to get SH’s study in time for Advent to start (11/22)! I did their Lent study and it’s awesome. Their studies are very detailed and thorough, but not overwhelming. I love the theme for this year, “For All.” They have a women’s, men’s, and family study, and use the code FRIENDSGET10 for 10 percent off!

I love love LOVE the ladies behind this product, and can’t wait to use it for Advent this year. Also, follow Sacred Holidays on social media for updates and other ways to help make your holiday season a little more sacred. Find them here: Facebook, Sacred Holidays Tribe,  Instagram


TOMS. Anyone that knows me well knows I have a slight obsession. If only they’d quit coming out with cute ones! I care nothing about shoes, except for Toms.

On the top of my list this year: Glitter. Toms. Need I say more? #alltheglitterallthetime

Also glitter, but rose gold glitter. yes, please.

Not glitter, but stars. My other favorite. So pretty.

Vintage floral. I love the sunflowers!


DaySpring currently has a 70% off sale going on for some of their awesome Illustrated Faith products! I need to stock up on black and white alphas while they’re so cheap, and the new Created to Create 2 and Word Nerd kits are $5 off! So tempting. These watercolors are 1/3rd the price they usually are! Great Christmas gift idea right here.

While on DaySpring, check out the new Bible Journaling kit, Defiant Joy, to go with Candace Payne’s new book Laugh It Up. Candace is known to many as the Chewbacca Mom, and she just released this book last week! I can’t wait to read it, and the journaling kit that she and DaySpring put together is so awesome.


Well-Watered Women released their new/updated Give Me Jesus journal! I have an original GMJ journal I bought in 2015 and still use it in my studying. (It was technically a 40-day journal, but I’ve been able to stretch it! haha). This one is even more beautiful and they’ve completely updated the inside of the journal. I’ve loved having a guided journal (that has sections for prayer, scripture study, etc., but a lot of the sections in the old journal felt a little moot to me– so I ended up just using them as space to do more study journaling. The new journal looks different on the inside, and I’m excited to see the difference when I can get my hands on one!

 

They also have a new journal called the Redefined journal, which looks like an awesome journal to have on-hand if you’re struggling with anxiety/depression etc. It has different sections for different things you can write, such as “Lie vs Truth,” “I Feel…But I know…” and so on. Looks super awesome and useful.


I think that’s it for this week. Follow my writer page on Facebook for more writerly updates and sometimes funny things, among other amusements.

Thanks for reading, peoples.

 

 

 

**affiliate links have been used in this post

all the things (11.5)

all the things

Hola. It’s kind of looking like this weekly blog post has accidentally become bi-weekly… last week was kinda awful and I barely got out of bed. Couldn’t force myself to write anything fun. But I’m gonna try to get back on track for weekly posts next week. Here’s to hoping.

My little corner of the internet: 

My 2nd article for The Mighty got published yesterday and was featured on their front page! That’s always fun. I wrote about how the weather/seasons have begun affecting my depression.

1000 word ramble: literally a 1000 word depression and anxiety-induced ramble because I spent most of this week practically drowning. Needed to write it, but it was hard as hell to hit publish.

My FMF post this week: on wants and needs and when they intertwine.

I shared my review of the SRT Bible last weekend. If you don’t have one already, you definitely should put it on your Christmas list. 🙂

Words from the internet I liked: 

I haven’t read much this week because… well, life. But I read a few things last week I’ll share!

The Hidden Grief of Singleness: I was introduced to Lore through She Reads Truth, and have fallen head over heels for her lyrical writing and soothing words. I have truthfully never thought of singleness from this perspective. I am 25 and have always been single. Somedays I think about being a wife and a mother, but it’s not really what I’m searching for right now. Honestly, some days I wonder if having kids is in my future at all (as a former daycare teacher, I go back and forth on the idea. ;)) Nonetheless, this perspective is beautiful and heartbreaking, and she writes about grief and loss that really challenge me in other places in my life.

I might be the odd one out on this subject, but I’m okay with singleness and lack of motherhood, honestly. I’ve never really expounded on my thoughts about the subject, and maybe I will someday, but it’s never really been one of my top goals. But I do daydream sometimes. Who doesn’t?

The Bible gives us permission to weep deeply over the life we hoped we would have, and to not feel ashamed of that hope or disappointment. It is okay to grieve those losses and feel that pain.

This is Us Recap (Brothers): Full disclosure. I have not watched this week’s episode (bc bad week). But last week they dropped a bomb plot twist RIGHT AT THE END AGAIN. STOP IT THIS IS US WRITERS!! This interview breaks down a lot of what happened in the episode and unpacks it all a bit. This show is so layered and deeply thoughtful. The way the characters parallel and reflect on each other (in good and bad ways) is so lovely to watch. And sooo much is going on between the lines. It’s such a fun and moving show to watch. Also, I love how thoughtful they were with Toby’s coffeeshop dance scene (you just gotta watch to understand).

Honestly Talking To Friends About Depression: A great piece for The Mighty that hits home. I’m always afraid to burden my friends with my every struggle– if they knew every struggle, man, I’d never talk about anything else. They’re unending these days. But this hits home with what I’d say, and what I need in this low-ness.

“I don’t need advice. I don’t need you to talk. I just need you to sit quietly with me. I just need you to sit next to me. To hold my hand. To help me up. I just need you there so that the loneliness and the sadness and the despair doesn’t drown me. I just need some help treading water for a little longer.”

On the Days I Just Can’t, This is What I Need: Another Mighty post that hit home this week. Literally, haven’t left my bed much this week because I just couldn’t. The world was just too much. I have so many coping skills, so many things I do to help me get out of this place, but none of them have helped this week. None.

“I know what to do to pull myself out of my funk, and I use skill after skill after skill when I feel myself getting low. Many times the skills work. But there are times it feels like all the skills in the world will not help me.”

‘Neopets:’ Inside Look at Early 2000s Internet Girl Culture:  One of my besties from high school shared this; we’ve bonded over our shared Neo love for our entire 10-year friendship.
I’ve played on Neopets pretty much on/off (mostly on) since childhood. I’m 25 and play it, umm, every day these days, no shame. I took a long break from it in college but still checked in from time to time.  My current account is almost 9 years old, and I have found community there, making many friends from the game (some I’m still friends with today!).
I play it for stress relief, an escape from reality… but as this article shares about, I’ve actually learned a lot from the game. I learned how stocks work, how an economy works (or doesn’t work), and how to buy/sell/trade items. Plots taught me about how to tell a story and problem solve/think critically. I learned a lot from writers/artists on the site that used their pets as a muse, and it encouraged me in my own character design and my own creativity.
But mostly, I learned about design, graphics, and coding– things I never knew about until Neopets came along. I didn’t have a clue how websites were built, or how to make things online. I just thought you designed something cute/pretty and then boom! it was online. Coding was just a mumbo-jumbo mix of letters and words and symbols. I had no clue how they worked.
I finally decided to start learning when I could never find layouts I wanted– and I wanted to start making banners for my guild. I taught myself, using SunnyNeo (a Neopets fan/help site) and other various coding help sites how to code basic things… first how to do certain things, like how to add a text box or hyperlink to a website or a picture on another page. then I learned how to code a banner or button. then a picture. then finally, with the plentiful help of SunnyNeo, I designed and coded a guild layout. I was so dang proud of myself.
It gave me plenty of headache, and I knew it was something I’d never want to do career-wise (because I am the most impatient human with codes), but I knew I could do it. And Neopets, a silly kids website, taught me that. Every time I need to change something in the coding of this website or create links on my portfolio, I think back to Neopets and that guild layout. It hurts my brain, but I feel dang proud that I can do it.
Like just now: I couldn’t figure out why the spacing went all wonky in the bottom part of this post, went into the HTML and fixed it! (too many divider codes) Thanks Neo!
It’s amazing how life-changing a virtual pets site has been for so many people– especially the ladies in this article, whose careers were built on the coding knowledge they got on Neopets.
sorry for writing basically a whole blog post on this article but apparently i had thoughts. haha
“I didn’t start coding because I thought it’d be a promising career,” Kanna explains. “I just wanted to create something really cool, and on Neopets, you could do anything you wanted. From there I just started tinkering around and experimenting.”

Cool things to buy on the internet: 

-Pioneer Woman has a new cookbook out. I needs it. Also, she has a new holiday collection at Walmart and I just want to buy all the things, dangit.

-A few friends on the internet have shared this new devotional by Christian Piatt, and y’all, it looks awesome. a mix of liturgy+ scripture+resources/explanations that bring it down to Earth. I struggle so much with reading scripture and understanding it and looove me some liturgy, so I’m ready to own this.

-Speaking of devotionals, I’ve been using my girl Annie Downs’ 100 Days to Brave, and y’all, it’s awesome. Everyone needs it, in my opinion.

-Still on the hunt for a bedspread. (check my last all the things post for my bedspread desires/wishlist). Still haven’t found one I loved that was in my price range. Zulily has some cute ones but haven’t found one that’s what I exactly want.
Add this one and this one to the dream wishlist– so pretty. so expensive. but so pretty.

-The Illuminated Bible: Y’all. This Bible is STUNNING. Rebekah Lyons shared it on her instagram and it is just plain gorgeous. (Dana, who designed all the prettiness in this bible, designed Rebekah’s book covers). I really don’t need another Bible in my life(i’ve got like 5!), but if I did, it’d be this one.

-Williams-Sonoma released a Harry Potter cooking tools line... and honestly, I’m a tad underwhelmed. I want more than just House-themed Aprons and Spatulas (not to say I don’t want the Ravenclaw version of both). I wish HP items weren’t just regulated to Hogwarts houses– there’s plenty more in the world of Hogwarts to base items off of.

-I’ve been listening to Kelsea Ballerini’s new album Unapologetically pretty much nonstop since it came out Friday. It very much reminds me of the good ol’ TSwift days (before she went cray) except with more relatable lyrics and a more powerful/ beautiful voice. A good mix of silly-sweet fast-paced songs and soulful ballads. In Between, Miss Me More, High School, and I Hate Love Songs are my favorites. Go listen!

-Target officially released Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, their Joanna and Chip Gaines collaboration. I am in love with it all. It’s perfectly them, and the prices are pretty decent! Now if they would just do bedding so I could alleviate my bedspread hunt…

-I finally finished Turtles All the Way Down. I have a lot of feelings, enough for a post of its own (my book post for October will be coming later this week!). It is so good. And I’m already missing being lost in a fiction book, so I need recommendations. If you’ve read a good get-lost-in-it fiction book lately, please share with me.


I think that’s it for this week. I’m not promising much in the blogging world this week (I’m still pretty low), but I’m working on my Book blog for October, so be on the lookout for that. And follow my writer page on Facebook for more writerly updates and sometimes funny things.

Thanks for reading, peoples.

(affiliate links have been used in this post, yo).

wants and needs (five minute friday)

no chatting tonight. lurked instead. too tired. too mentally drained.

this week’s prompt:

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You can’t always get what you want, as the old song goes… but what if what you want is what you need?

I’ve had a brutal mental week. I wrote about it last night, if you dare read my rambles from 1 in the morning.

It started last week, after being disappointed and a little brokenhearted about something… then disappointments and broken promises and more disappointments piled one on top of the other, and I just gave up and dwelled in the sadness of it all.

I want to be mentally healthy. I need it too. I need to have some semblance of normalcy: a normal sleep schedule, instead of staying up half the night and sleeping til noon;

a normal meal schedule instead of grazing all day;

a focus on writing or looking for writing jobs instead of just giving up after rejection hits me square in the face;

a motivation to get up and get stuff done, instead of forcing myself out of bed just to go to the bathroom;

I want a lot of things. But right now, I need them too.

My wants and needs are intertwined right now: What I need most is what I want most, too… normalcy. Peace. Community. Motivation. Energy. Focus. Joy.

I’m struggling to get my needs met. I feel like I’m drowning in sadness.

I don’t just want to be well. I need it. But I don’t know how to get there right now.

 

I’ve been listening to Audrey Assad a lot this week… her voice is soothing. This hymn is a favorite.

 

untitled 1000-word ramble.

i’m craving rest, but my body is restless.

my mind is racing, but it’s completely blank.

I’m sweating through my clothes, but am getting chills intermittently.

my body aches. my head and back throb.

words are going in one ear and out the other. i hear things, but nothing is being comprehended.

a deep wave of anxiety hits every few seconds, leaving me paralyzed. i need to get out of bed. i need to take my medicines and get ready for bed. but I can’t move.

I can’t stop shaking. my body feels completely off kilter. everything feels like an out-of-body experience. even typing this feels weird, like I’m not doing it, but my body is. none of this makes any sense.

I’ve cried daily this week. Sometimes for actual reasons, actual disappointments or things that made me sad or frustrated. But mostly because I’m just low and sad this week and have no one to help me get through it. Silence has been louder than loud, and the loneliness of this season has been deafening.

I’ve gone to bed before midnight almost every night this week. Not because I was tired or sick, but because it felt like there was no point in staying up. There wasn’t a point in anything. Everything feels moot right now, useless. It’s useless to eat when nothing is satisfying; it’s useless to play games online when I can’t concentrate; it’s useless to read when the words all run together.

No reason to write unless words come. I’ve stared at an empty screen more than once this week, unable to pull words from my brain. I have blog posts I need to write, articles I could be working on. But the words are elusive.

Even now, I stare at the screen, unsure if any of what I’m writing is making sense. But my brain won’t shut up long enough for me to lie down. Thoughts consume me, but I can’t make sense of them. They just keep hitting me, piling on top of me like a blanket I can’t unwrap myself from. I’m being swallowed up by my own thoughts, the spiral tightening around me. I can’t squeeze myself out; the grip only gets tighter the more I try to run.

I feel stuck.

I feel overwhelmed.

I feel fearful.

I feel sad.

I feel disappointed. Discouraged.

Yet I feel nothing at the same time.

My energy is zapped. And yet sleep eludes me.

I hear music, but it sounds more like background noise buzzing around my head and less like music. I know the words, but my brain isn’t computing enough to actually say them.

I don’t remember what life was like before depression anymore.

I don’t remember what life was like before anxiety, either.

I’ve lived with both to a degree most of my life. The darkness started swallowing me whole as a kid, but it became more apparent as an adult, as I tried to actually live.

The voices have always played in my head, reminding me who I am and how crappy I am. They’ve gotten louder as I’ve gotten older. The ones that have been playing this week:

You’re stuck here forever. 

You’re never going to get out of here. 

You’ll never be able to be out on your own. 

You’re never going to make it. 

You’ll never have a career. 

 

No one cares. 

No one’s listening, so quit texting/posting/sharing. No one’s going to respond back, even to check on you. 

Why do you think you matter?

You’ll never get this figured out. 

You’re clueless. 

This is useless. You are useless. 

Quit trying. There’s no point. 

Is there even a reason you’re trying? 

These are just from this week. This. week. This is what I’ve been up against.

It’s a battle between me and my brain, and this week, my brain has won. I have shrank back inside myself, not texted people for help for fear of burdening them with my problems again and again; I have canceled plans, unsure if I could even hold a conversation without crying. I haven’t read or written, haven’t done any of the things that usually bring me joy, because there hasn’t felt like a point.

I’ve numbed myself with candy and Netflix and naps, and even my numbing tools are irritating me. nothing is making me feel better. not sleep. not food. not tv. not music. not jesus. Nothing’s working, and I’m scared all my ‘fixers’ are giving up on fixing me. I’m scared I’m beyond help.

I know I need a medicine increase. I know I need to get back into therapy, it’s been too long (since June). but I can barely think about getting out of bed, let alone anything else.

I should be this vulnerable with a friend, not the internet. But I don’t have a friend I feel like I can be this vulnerable with. Who wants to hear this shit? Who wants to read a text about my tears and frustrations and disappointments this week that led to this spiral? Who wants to hang out with the perpetually sad and anxious girl? No one, my brain says. No one you know cares, my brain reminds me. So I just will put it here, and hope that maybe someone will be willing to listen. Or maybe I’ll delete this later, because people will read it and think I’m weird or frightening or whatever. I worry more about what people will think when I publish this than I am about how I’m actually feeling right now.

September was a brutal mental month. October wasn’t great, but it was better. I need November to turn up, and we’re not off to a great start. I just don’t know where to even start.

What I do know: I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I will never understand why this is my hellish cross to bear. I will always long for a life without mental illness. I want to feel normal. I want to feel things for as they are, not as I fear or perceive them to be. I want to feel more than numb.

But I don’t know how to get there.

I’d love to end this saying that I’m okay… but I’m not this time. But maybe now I can sleep.

Studying Scripture in a Beautiful Way (SRT Bible Review)

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I’ve been a She Reads Truth fan since nearly the beginning. I’ve written a few posts about their studies before.

I didn’t grow up in church and didn’t really know how to engage in scripture– SRT helped me by providing thoughtful devotions and corresponding scripture to study– and they did so in a way that was beautiful and thoughtful. I was a part of their launch team for the SRT Book, and have participated in countless studies by them for over 3 years.

So when I heard about the SRT Bible, I was ECSTATIC. It looked stunning from the outside, and I knew it would be as beautiful from the inside too. And I was not disappointed!

I was equally excited when the B&H Bloggers program had one on their site up for review purposes. I hadn’t had the money to splurge on an SRT Bible just yet, so it came at a great time!

I actually missed the cutoff for this review copy, due to a technical error, but the people at B&H are so nice they sent me one to review anyway! (shout out to Andy for being awesome!).

So here are my thoughts:

First off, it is gorgeous looking. Isn’t it?! I love this color (I was thinking I’d get the grey one per the review copy, so was over the moon to receive the poppy colored one!! Squeal!!)

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key features–maps, charts, etc

Now honestly, does scripture and the Bible have to LOOK pretty for us to engage with it? Nope. But doesn’t the beautiful word of God deserve to look as beautiful as the words within it are? I’d say yes. Jess Connolly made this point in one of our Dance Stand Run launch team live chats about her book– the cover is stunning, but it doesn’t have to be– but God deserves our best. He deserves beauty! And so does His word, to extend her example. The Bible is inherently beautiful, but making it look as beautiful outside as it is inside glorifies God all the more, in my opinion. 

And truthfully, it makes using this Bible all the more engaging: looking at the beautiful scripture pages at the beginning of each book, studying the stunning maps, charts, and timelines that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are a valuable resource in learning about the whens and wheres of the Christian world. Especially charts. I’m a chart/worksheet kind of girl.

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Chart from Proverbs

 

I get bored fairly easily reading the Bible, if I’m being honest. So making it captivating with design, helpful tools to understand it better, and devotions to bring it to life help me so much. Case in point:  the “How to read the Bible” and “This is the Gospel articles at front of Bible– super helpful for beginners. The “How to read the Bible” article helped me immensely, honestly.

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Letter from Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, founders of SRT and editors of the SRT Bible

An aside: Now, if anyone knows me well, they know I am one of the messiest humans on earth. My books are typically very loved looking (meaning they’re worn out, dog-eared and usually falling apart by the end of the reading from being in my purse) because of this. I kind of love that about my books, because it shows you how much I love my books (which is a lot).

I’m not letting this happen with my SRT Bible. I love it by keeping it nice; I don’t want it to be dog-eared and messy. I don’t let myself have food/drink around it, it stays in its box when I’m not using it, I have a special place it goes with my other Bibles/journals/study tools that I put it back in EVERY night. It’s worth it to keep it pristine to me. I write in the margins w/ a sharpie pen, but haven’t highlighted due to the page thinness (more on that later). Back to the review!

I appreciate the different Bible study plans (pic on left)– both one for digging into each book of the Bible, and one for reading the Bible as a whole.I haven’t used one yet because I’m doing a study on 1&2 Samuel right now (with SRT of course, duh) but will definitely use one in the future. The book introductions (pic on right) are thorough and useful, a great tool as I engage in books I don’t know much about.

I love all the devotions I’ve read so far, though I wish they hadn’t been ones that were used on the SRT website already. (I doubt they all are, but the ones I’ve read so far I’ve read in previous studies!) Eg: I’m doing the Life of David study, and two of the devos in the Bible were also the study on the website. I also wish they’d write who wrote what on the devotion instead of having a directory of names in the back.

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Features detailed// info on CSB translation (with key to footnotes on back)

As for the Bible’s version, it’s a new one to me-the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I like this version! This is my first time using it. It’s very clear and easy to understand. The footnotes are a bit confusing though– I know there’s a key at the beginning of the Bible, but I wish they were easier to engage with and understand what they mean in relation to the scripture. For my study Bible, I use NLT, so this is a great companion to that (and the occasional reading of The Message for a fresh take on the wording).

The wide margins are great, especially as a Bible journaler– though I don’t intend on doing much artsy journaling in this Bible. I like using the margins to write out scriptures that stand out as I read them, or notes from my study.

I’ve read a lot of complaints on the thin pages– and I won’t lie, they are thin. I’m afraid if I move through them quickly I’ll rip one! But as far as the thinness in relation to reading the scripture, it doesn’t bother me too much. I can read it just fine. The only pages that it bothers me is on the pages where there’s a devotional on one side, and scripture on the other– the design of the devotional pages does make it a little harder to read the scripture. I wish they’d put devotionals on both sides of the same page to avoid this problem, but it’s more of a slight annoyance than anything else.

Example:

What it looks like when I write a long passage (front and back of same page):

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I use a sharpie pen in my SRT Bible and can see some shading on the back, but no major bleedthrough has occurred from my writing.

What the pages with devotionals on one side, scripture on the other look like:

See- because the outline/ design of the devotionals are different from the scripture pages, it looks wonky. Again, it’s merely an annoyance, not something to write home about.

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Key Verses– one of the favorite aspects of the Bible. 1 from each book, intentionally chosen together.

Overall, I LOVE this Bible. It’s beautiful to look at, easy to read and understand, and thought-provoking in the additional details it provides. I’m a fan of most everything the SRT ladies put out there, but am especially proud of this product by them.

Proud to be a member of the SRT Community, and grateful for the way they use their beautiful designs and thoughtful studies to bring women into the word of God every day. I hope this Bible does that job well for women around the world– it’s doing so for me! 

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There’s a more succinct version of this review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Happy reading!

(Amazon affiliate links have been used in this post)