The time of year is approaching where Walmarts around the nation will be newly supplied with freshman-dorm necessities and back-to-school check-lists. But along with these lists and uncomfortable futons, this time of year brings on a shift in everyone’s life.

For some reason, I’ve always held a grudge with Autumn. Whether it’s because I have to watch my friends leave for school, throw on an unflattering sweater, or readjust to a new schedule, I always seem to blame it on the time of year.

This particular round, though, I may be facing some crazy changes myself. I’m incredibly excited, but along with this I’m also quite nervous. From transferring to a new university, to traveling alone, there are many things in stock. But, just like any other year that I go through this, I’m reminding myself of the constants in my life.

My constants?

Well, these are the nouns (people, places, or things, for those of you who don’t remember) in my life that always stay put and help me remain grounded.

My constants include my family, God, my close friends, and the ocean.

While the ocean may seem like such an obscure constant, let me tell you:

There is no where else in this world that I can go, be silent, and soak up such an untouchable amount of joy.

Truthfully, I find that it’s almost a cleansing experience.

Hand Shells

“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.”
Steve Goodier

So, throughout all of the upcoming alterations in my life (which hopefully includes a sum total of zero futons) I will hold my constants near.

Sitting Still

Growing up, I’ve never understood how people sat still. How they just allowed every thought in their mind to trip over the barriers placed up by their busy minds. How they could allow their minds to be anything but busy.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” -Marcus Garvey

While sure, this quote sounds courageous, I’m not quite sure if my worn mind can fall for it. “…none but ourselves can free our minds!…” Bah!

My worn mind, though?

Let me explain.

Nearly two weeks ago, I took one of the wisest steps I’ve taken in the three years I’ve noticeably faced issues with anxiety and depression: I decided I was done feeling enslaved.

Sure, after time spent learning and studying from online resources I found ways to cope and get along in my day-to-day activities, but things were becoming much too difficult on my own.

I was simply mastering the art of distraction.

Personally, when I’m more stressed than usual, a huge indicator that my issues are worsening is what I do with my life and where my time is spent. If I’m constantly busying myself, and only home long enough to sleep, more often that not I’m trying to escape any chance of sitting still long enough for my thoughts to consume me. I’m busying my mind.

“‘Amusement’ is appealing because we don’t have to think; it spares us the fear and anxiety that might otherwise prey on our thoughts.” -John Ortberg

My so-called “enslaved” mind craved the emancipation that Marcus Garvey’s quote mentions. Why couldn’t I just deal with it and set myself free? I figured if I kept myself amused, and away from my thoughts, I was fixing the issue.

Sadly, though, in the process of distracting myself long enough see a blurry glimpse of freedom, I was missing simple experiences like moments spent at home with my family, opportunities to read, or even write here on this blog.

In reality, my slave had been screaming so loudly that it wasn’t able to hear anything else. Not even the nagging sense that something isn’t -wasn’t- right.

So for the first time, I confronted my screaming slave and made it quiet long enough to hear the opinion of a doctor.

After this quick interaction, and a brutally honest discussion on my spiraling feelings and thoughts, I was suggested to start on a simple medication that would level some hormones in my brain to make everything a little more doable.

Throughout the appointment, my nervous mind was growing more and more excited. “Tina,” my Dr., was so reassuring. I wasn’t crazy, or abnormal in her eyes! In fact, I reminded her of her daughter who has the same medication.

Mental health is nothing you should have to rely on yourself to cure. You shouldn’t try and “free” yourself, and especially not through distraction.

So how do I feel now?

Well, it’s been two weeks of taking a regular dose of my meds, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt so relieved. When I come home from work at night, I don’t spend hours sitting up in bed thinking of whatever might plague me that night. Instead, I close my eyes and I’m quickly carried off. Peacefully.


My mind doesn’t feel tethered to my emotions any more. Instead, I choose what I want to focus on and think about.

Now I get it: How people just sit there.

Because now, I’m able to sit still, too.


Character Development

To some degree, I hold the belief that people are simply characters in a story. It’s not as if there is any sort of plot, or climax, or even a catalyst to said story. In fact: some of us are just floating. A few, it seems, lack any depth what-so-ever. But, sometimes, these little characters are blessed with the hideously raw experience of growth.

What am I talking about when I say, “Growth”?

Well, to explain, I’d start with the idea that maybe we aren’t all contributing to the same story. Perhaps, we as humans, are feeding into multiple happy endings. Or, more realistically, dreadful let downs, depending on the POV (point of view).

Being the type of person to love easily, my heart has been let down countless times. In some moments, these disappointments lead to the hollowing sense that the particular novel of my time spent with someone left my character with the rotten bit of the ending. But, really, this isn’t the case. Rather, my character has seen and felt more than most. Truthfully, my Author has simply given me depth: Something that has to happen for a character to be likable.

Though it hurt, and I’ve spiraled in the most cliche way possible, my persona has been developed and pushed further than it ever has before.

It has grown.

*I* have grown. 

Romans 1:2-7

Valentines Day

Between exploring a local farmer’s market (and getting a stone-sculpted arrow), grossing him out with my choice in ethnic foods, tea-tasting, grocery hunting, sharing simple conversation, and finally being able to spill the beans on what we did for the other as Valentines, I’m pretty sure I had the best weekend.

Yeah- I think we’re pretty cute, too.
Might be a blurry shot, but he definitely adds quality.
Might be a blurry shot, but he definitely adds quality.
Sunday drives are a favorite of mine.
Sunday drives are a favorite of mine.
Gorgeous roses, chocolate, a sweet card, and pretty jewelry! What a guy!
Gorgeous roses, chocolate, a sweet card, and pretty jewelry! What a guy!

Karen and Phil

While Karen and Phil might’ve met on, I happened to meet them on the beach while they were laying out (thawing, probably- it was a little breezy)!

After a few moments of telling them a few stories of my adventures over-seas, I learned that Phil had been all over! Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Figi, India, Japan, Tokyo, and Germany are only a small handful of the places he’s been! Sydney, Australia however, he said, tops the rest of those places.

“It’s almost like a cross between Seattle and San Francisco.”

How neat!

Out of curiosity, I asked Karen about her travels! While she was relaying the places she’d been, I stopped her at a place I’ve been crazy-interested in lately– Chile. Something she found most memorable there, along the coast, were these huge walruses and clumps of “Madusa-like” seaweed covering the beaches.


Surprisingly, they haven’t had the chance to travel the world together yet (aside from Disney). But, I asked, and they definitely agree sharing memories around the world (besides Epcot) would be a joy!

Phil and Karen
Karen and Phil

Cheri’ Smith

Continuing my series on tapping into people’s lives around me-

I had the chance to strike up an interesting conversation with the lovely Cheri’ at the Ren fair. While Cheri’ labored over her intricate dots and swirls she was placing on my hand, she spoke to me about her interest in henna design.

Cheri’s design!

For a while, I’ve been curious if Middle Easterners would be offended if I were to wear these pretty designs that are commonly attributed to their culture. However, Cheri’ actually told me that while checking out at Publix, an Indian woman complimented her master piece she was currently displaying on her hands! Cheri’ was curious, so she researched and found that there is no actual religious significance to henna designs! Really, like she said, “It’s just like a bunch of girls sitting around painting their nails!”

How lovely!

If you’re into henna, or even if you’re not, you should check out her business, “I Dream of Henna!”


(Photos taken on the IPhone 5S)

Cheri Smith Card
Awesome wooden business card

February 7th // Renassaince Fair

Today, me and my family spent some time at a Ren Fair that’s been here for the past two weekends! At first, I was a bit skeptical as to how it would go, but I had a wonderful time sparring with my sister in the fencing ring, and chucking axes at giant stumps!

Ren Beads_Fotor
Some beads from a local vendor
Henna by I Dream of Henna
Loom edit
A snazzy loom I spotted while walking through the pretty displays


February 6th

Mermaid 2
Before a few months ago, the place allowed customers to go free with markers. A few of the crazy doodles remain, but most of the grafitti was scrubbed away and painted over.
Kaylee photo
The clouds look like wool!
Kaylee in a tree
She found a spot to take a nice photo- doesn’t matter that it was in the tree.
Colorful leaves
Beautiful leaves!

Yesterday, me and my best friend took the morning to adventure and take our rivaling camera’s out for a spin. After spending quite a bit of time in the local Starbucks, and taking photographs on the beach, we grabbed some awesome burritos from my favorite burrito joint “Dakine Diego’s.”

Emily and Austin

All throughout our lives, we’re warned to stay away and avoid talking to strangers. However, breaking that rule, I’ve decided to stop several people and ask them a few questions during my travels and everyday life.

A few days ago, I got the chance to chat with the ambitious Austin and Emily from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Sitting on Melbourne Beach, these two caught my eye while they were admiring the awesome scenery. After asking a couple of questions, I learned that both of them have started their own beachy businesses! “Beach Side Body Works,” a swanky yoga company, and “ALee Creations,” a rad surf and sailing company.

Turns out, in fact, they’d gone out surfing at 6am that morning! Whew!

Emily and Austin 3

Stopping for a few minutes to learn a little bit about someone is always great, and I can’t wait to share the rest of these “stranger’s” stories with you.