Looking to the Horizon

When I close my eyes I think of the beach. I feel the scracthy, dry sand that flies off when walking through with sandals or flip flops on. I can feel the squishiness of the wet, but smooth sand inbetween my toes. I smell the salt in the air that sinks deep into my lungs. I hear the seagulls squeeling at each other while trying to grasp for food.
I tend to see the beach as a pawn shop or an antique collector. Broken pieces of mysterious treasures wash up onto the shore with scars that have stories. Whether they are messages in a bottle, forgotten pieces of jewelry, or toys left behind, the beach holds treasures that meant something to someone at one point.
This brings me back to moving out of my parents’ home for the first time. Packing up two years worth of stuff was more challenging than I thought it would be. I found old high school letters from my beloved teachers, pictures that dated back from my middle school days and 10 journals that I filled up since I became a Christian. These items brought memories back to life that I have long forgotten. I came across the difficulties of deciding what items were still sentimental to me and choosing what to part with for a lifetime.
When I was in high school, I had to read a short article about dumpster diving. A homeless man wrote stories about his adventures of living in a city and going through people’s trash. He would find items from old pregnancy tests, family photos, to half burned up letters written to loved ones. When reading about his experience, I was curious to why certain items were thrown away. I remember reading about a wedding band he found. I wondered if this was on purpose after a long, heated fight or if it was by mistake.
Whether one considers themselves to be sentimental or not, I believe people hold onto special items to keep a memory alive. As time passes, we forget most conversations, decisions or events that happened. But then there are memories no one wants to keep. It could be broken relationships, death, losing a job or those dark decisions that were regretted later.
Regardless of what happened in the past, we all have to come to the acceptance of embracing what happened and forgiving yourself and others that led up to those unhappy moments. Rather than throwing away those hard moments, we have to deal with it and move forward; Or else we get stuck and dwell in the past for years. Life is full of triumphs and growing pains. We need to always push forward and hold fast to what lies ahead.

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Hair Care

I am a busy person. Every day is filled with new adventures that never holds a dull moment. With my agenda filled with different goals for the following weeks, free time is very rare for my lifestyle. Yesterday, I finally put time aside to get my hair cut.

It has been over a year since I got a trim. My hair grows incredibly fast and there is no point in keeping up with a cute, short hairstyle. I maintain my mess with shampoo and conditioner; occasionally I will apply product to reduce the frizz. I have not put much thought into my hair. I always believed it looked presentable and just went with the flow.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Golden Corral  with my family. Somehow hair came up into the conversation, not finding hair in our food, but only hair styles. My dad was encouraging me to get a new style because I look like a hippy. He was not wrong. I kept thinking about going to a salon but never got around to it until yesterday.

I was driving around Plant City running errands, dressed in torn up jeans and a baggy t-shirt with a baseball cap to cover up the monster on my head. I saw a Great Clips and thought, why not? I walk in and one of the workers approaches me to set up an appointment. I sat on his chair and took down my hair and realized how gross it is. It was oily and the length was uneven. For the first time in awhile, I started to dislike how my hair looks.

I explained how I wanted a few inches off, along with some layers and side bangs. He just looked at me and said “do you know how long your hair is?” He pulled out a hand-held mirror and showed me the back of my hair. It reached down to the bottom half of my back. I was a little shocked.

While he was trimming my ends, he had me stand up because my hair was too long to cut from the chair. After he shampooed and chopped my hair off, he showed me how it looked after. It was beautiful and so much weight was lifted off my shoulders.

The man who cut my hair said “now you don’t look like you have straw for hair!”

Again, he was not wrong.

Personal hygiene is so vital to being successful. Its easy to forget those important habits because life gets in the way. Do not be like me and let yourself look like a dirty hippy. Take the time to pamper yourself. It boosts confidence and rubs off a good impression for future employers.

The Time I was dropped 126 feet

Last week I went on a college trip through the Plant City HCC. We went to Universal’s newest theme park Volcano Bay. The park was beautiful! There were numerous parks with slides that had tubes people could go down with. There were yummy taco stands and tiki-like restaurants. I felt I was on the set of Moana. What I really enjoyed were the rides!

My group went on almost every ride offered at the park. From slides that made you feel you were going to flip over or get stuck in the middle of the slide to a cute water boat roller coaster, this park kept you on the edge of your tube.

I don’t usually get scared of rides. But that all changed when my friends forced me to ride this one ride. You have to walk up exactly 209 steps (don’t ask me why I know that) to get to the ride. At the top of the volcano were three tubes- a blue, green and red one. We were waiting in line for the red one. My friends Xavier and Eric said the ride wasn’t that bad as we were crawling up the stairs. Once we reached the top, the truth came out.

The ride has you step in a tube. You just stand there while the door closes on you and you have to wait until it randomly opens a trap door and you fall 126 feet. You have to hold your nose and cross your legs the whole time. The ride lasts 15 seconds and you land in a pool that is maybe 5 feet deep. I was shaking. Universal's Volcano Bay, VB, UVB, Project 533, Water Park, Water Rides, Universal Orlando Resort, UOR, UO

I stepped into the ride and stared at the trap door I was standing on. I couldn’t do it. So I made my friend Amanda go before me. It was my turn and I almost didn’t go on. Eric was behind and he convinced me to do it. So I stepped onto the ride once again shaking and mentally preparing myself. The trap door opened and instantly I was falling 126 feet. I thought 15 seconds was a long time. But it really wasn’t. Once I hit the water my heart felt like it was going pop out of my chest.

I am glad I rode it. Would I ride it again? Probably not. But at least I can say I did it.

Did you sleep well last night?

It is 2 AM and there has been a sudden awakening in the body and you start to panic as you struggle to reach the alarm clock. You did not wake up late. You try to go back to sleep but thoughts of what needs to be done the next day pile up, filling the mind with anxieties. A discomfort feeling hits you. You are too hot with the blankets on. You are too cold with the blankets off. A dry feeling hits your throat and instantly you believe of the imaginative capability to drink all three major U.S. lakes at once. While tip-toeing to the fridge, the silence thins out while every sticky sound of each toe kissing the floor amplifies. Mission accomplished: you have filled a cup with water. Quickly you chug the water as if your life depended on it. Drips of cool water fall down onto your Bob’s Burgers t-shirt. But you don’t care. “It is just water,” you think to yourself. After replenishing your body’s water needs, you walk confidently to the bedroom, ready to take on the next 6 hours of sleep. Little did you know… your bladder is only so large.

It is 4 AM and you panic once more for the alarm clock. Disappointment creeps in as you hoped your peaceful slumber would not be disturbed. You plop back onto your warm, cozy bed but then the sensation of having to relieve yourself after the gallon of water you drank earlier hits. You charge for the restroom without a care in the world. After peace has entered the mind once again, it is time to enjoy the last couple of hours to sleep. All is well until you wake up the 5:30 AM alarm of your sister, whom you share a room with.

It is 5:30 AM, you have another hour until it is time to get ready for the day. There is no future of falling back to sleep due to the amount of energy and feeling the power to clean or read for once. That does not happen. After thinking about these productive ideas you grow exhausted once more. Your eyes will not shut so you go to the next best thing to sleep: binge-watching The Office. This feel good moment last for another 30 minutes. However your realize how tired you actually and try to take advantage of the remaining time to sleep.

It is 7 AM and you still have not gained the strength to get out of bed. Your alarm went of three times but you gave in to the snooze button. The lazy thoughts begin to hit: “Do I really need the hours at work?”
“I am usually good about going to class, I can miss this one day.”
“I can do homework after I work.”
“Do I really need a degree to do something with my life?”
“Living in a van selling duct tape wallets does not sound that bad.”

Out of the constant staring at the ceiling and traveling your mind, you are hit with an unexplainable energy and begin to finally put pants on. Plus coffee, your life coach, will be in the kitchen waiting for you. Thus the day begins.

How I fell in love with Jesus.

I talk a lot about my faith in my past blog posts. I do not think I ever shared of how I became a Christian though.

I fell in love with Jesus when I was almost a sophomore in high school. I grew up going to church but did not really understand why we went. It was part of my family’s weekly routine. I did not really go to church as often when I was in middle school. For me it was always a hassle and I just wanted to sleep in or hang out with some friends. Middle school was a rough time for due to emotional stress and bullying I dealt with. Long story short, I had very low self esteem and felt empty.

Throughout my freshman year of high school, different people would invite me to their youth groups and church events. Sometimes I would go but deep down I did not want to because people who went to church intimidated me. They still do sometimes. I thought I was a Christian but did not full understand what it meant.

The summer before my sophomore year I fell in love with Jesus. I cannot explain how or what specific day but I was learning a lot about Him through other people I trusted and started reading the Bible for the first time ever. I fell in love with Him because Jesus was so easy to love. And I knew I did not have to prove myself or try to be a “good” person to earn His love. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Its a nice feeling too.

I do not consider myself religious. I just believe and have faith in my relationship with God. And that is a lifestyle. Praying for me is like having a conversation with God. I do a lot of talking and I know He hears it all. Picking up the Bible and reading scripture every morning makes me feel closer to Him. It satisfies this feeling inside of me that feels as though I am hungry and nothing else can fix that.

I know people have so many different views on God or even if they believe we were created by God. But all I can say is I believe and although it seems crazy, I know what I know and I hold fast to my faith.

Guidance

Now that I am in a new decade of my twenties, I have put a lot of thought into my values and what is important to me. I am no longer a teen but am still young and have a lot to learn about life. But something that has been on my mind lately is how to be in relationship, the “right” way.  No I am not in a relationship, nor am I close to being in one. In fact, there hasn’t been anyone in particular that I had strong feelings for. But I have time.

Lately, I have been noticing more people close to my age entering in new relationships and engagements. My response is: good for them. But it hit me how I will eventually will want to get married one day and share my life with someone. I have an idea of what I want, like most people would. Many people in my life keep telling me in order to know what I want, I need to go on different dates to figure out what I like and don’t like. But I hate that idea.

I was talking to a friend recently and they related to me about being awkward around someone who is attractive. I am super awkward, especially around cute guys. I am embarrassing. Anyways, my friend and I were talking about how hard it was to even talk to someone who seems nice and then one of our friends walked by and got into the conversation. They were telling us about their amazing relationship and I asked “how did you even meet someone so cool?” My friend said: it was a God thing. That hit me.

I never considered asking God about dating or anything like that since I was in high school. In fact, I have not been asking God for guidance for a lot of things going on in my life. Ever since I started college, I started to believe I had to be independent and had to figure everything out on my own without anyone’s help. That can be exhausting. In fact, I am exhausted right now. The Bible always talks about rest and casting your anxieties onto Him. Maybe I need to start acting on that. It can be tiring putting the weight of the world on your shoulders, especially when there is no reason to be carrying all of that baggage.

God created everything, so why not ask the Creator for guidance when going through life?

In all honesty, I always believed I was not good enough to be in a serious relationship or to be married to a Godly man. But those are lies I have been believing about myself. I just wanted to be like the world and to maybe meet someone on campus and go on several dates before we become serious. My friend made me realize I desire for something more. I don’t want to date just to date. I want to be with someone who has the same passions for God and desires for more out of life than to live like everyone else.

This is not one of these cheesy blog posts about how God has a plan for your love life or that He will bring you someone, because I have not yet experienced that or know what the future holds for you. The whole point is God will lead you- in any circumstance. And He wants to. We just have to listen rather than only talking.

Spend 8 hours in Walmart Challenge

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I love shopping at Walmart! I also enjoy watching the hilarious videos of these two guys who build forts in Walmart in secret. I am an adventurous person and I am always up for something unique to do. So while watching these funny Youtube Videos, I am thinking of having my own challenge to spend 8 hours from 8pm to 8am in ny local 24 hour Walmart. What do you guys think of this idea? Do you think I could make it? Do you have any advice for things to do during those 8 hours, or ideas of how to avoid attention from the workers so I will not get caught? Let me know what you think. If I do go through with it, I will do it during one of my Spring Break days next week and will try to convince my friends to do it to make it more interesting. This story will definitely be posted in my blog!

Counting your blessings

I am tired of being tired all of the time. I catch myself complaining all of the time about everything. It is easy to complain about life. This leads me to always having a bad attitude and that makes going to school and work much less enjoyable. That’s what makes it harder to keep going and staying motivated to do my work. It has hit me this week that I have not enjoyed what I have been doing for awhile. The idea of doing work has been portrayed of being negative and draining. I forgot about my blessings. So I am going to write about the good things going on for me.

  1. I have an amazing family who cares and supports me through my decisions.
  2. I have made some life-long friends who hold me accountable but in love.
  3. I get paid to write! I get paid to do what I love!
  4. I have a stable job in retail and have became close with some great co-workers.
  5. I have an awesome used car that has taught me how to look for things when something seems off.
  6. I am taking classes I love and teach me how to become a better journalist.
  7. I am involved with school and see how I am making an impact on people.

God has been blessing me and I never really pay attention to it. I think we all do that. We look at the bad things in life and forget that there are good things going on for us. If we did not have problems, we wouldn’t really be living nor would we become stronger.

If you are reading this, I don’t know what is going on in your life. All I can encourage is to embrace the hardships because you will become stronger in the process. Also write out the things you are thankful for. Focus on the big picture, God will get you there if you listen.

I Hate Mornings

*BEEP* *BEEP*

This intoxicating sound screams at me every morning to kick myself out of bed.

If you are like me and do not enjoy mornings, then you can understand why I battle with the alarm clock every morning. I am a night owl and going to the gym and doing homework late at night has always been part of my routine. I also stay up late video chatting with one of my best friends. And that is what I did last night; I went to the gym, did homework and talked to Lizbeth. I went to bed approximately at midnight and set my alarm for 6 a.m.

I did not hear that alarm go off.

I woke up with my dog licking my face and realized it was 7:30 a.m. That is the time I am suppose to leave for school in Ybor from Plant City. SO… I quickly threw on some clothes, not paying attention if it looks alright, and grabbed my make up bag and book bag to get into my car.

My class starts at 9:30 a.m. but it takes me forever drive on 60 to get to the campus. If you were wondering why I don’t take I-4 it is because I have a huge fear of it from when my tire blew out while driving 70 mph.

Anyways, back to my morning. I went to Starbucks to get my coffee fix and ran out of there as soon as the barista handed me my drink. While driving and drinking my coffee, I spilled coffee all over me and had these noticeably huge stains covering my shirt.

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Once I reached the parking garage, I started putting my make up on and enjoy the 30 minutes I had to gather myself together. I decided to take my hair out of my bun to make myself more presentable. BUT my hair turned into a huge AFRO!!!! I looked horrible. I ended up putting my hair back into the bun and gave up on my hair.

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After getting out my car, I had to walk two blocks to get to my building, Because I went to the gym last night and pushed my body to the limits, I felt the soreness as I was fast walking to the school. It was not a pleasant feeling.

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We all have off mornings. I do not know a single person who wakes up every morning signing to their furry animal friends and their makeup and hair is already on point. Even though we have off mornings does not mean we should allow them to stop us from having a good day.

In me elementary school in Canton, GA the principal would always tell us on the morning announcements, “Make it a good day or not, the choice is yours.”

We do have that choice. And how we think or perceive things is something we can control during those hectic external circumstances.

Where do you stand today?