Walk Away from Those Holiday Blues

The holidays can be tough for many people, especially when you feel like you’re completely alone in the world and are constantly surrounded by reminders of family traditions and people in love—things that might be lacking in your current stage of life.

For some, the holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and enjoy precious moments with family members and loved ones. For others, though, it can be a season of painful memories and perpetual feelings of loneliness. Even in your darkest times, though, there are still many reasons to be thankful and many ways to try to cheer yourself up, even if it’s just a little bit.

Holiday movies: Either commit hardcore, or avoid them altogether.
Sometimes, holiday movies can make you feel better. The Grinch (the one with Jim Carrey) and Home Alone (also Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, but stop after that one) are always great options of feel-good movies with a little bit of laughter tacked on there, too. And who can count out Christmas Vacation? That’s a classic for sure. If you’re feeling way too single, it might be best to steer clear of movies like The Holiday or essentially any Hallmark or Netflix Christmas romance flick. While they are the perfect amount of cheesy goodness, they also might tug at some heart strings that you don’t want to mess with right now.

Treat yo’ self.
Go get a pedicure or manicure or even a nice massage at a spa. You deserve to pamper yourself every once in a while, and a good time to do so is when you’re feeling down. Or take yourself on a date to dinner and a movie (follow the guidelines above regarding holiday movies, though). Another option is to treat yourself to a nice carriage ride to look at Christmas lights (if that’s an option in your area). Sure, it might remind you that you’re the only one in the carriage, but it’s also a good way to declare to yourself that you are worth a carriage ride, regardless of your relationship status, and you are strong and independent enough to take that adventure on your own.

Plan a trip or short getaway.
Depending on what your financial situation is, a short break from the ordinary could be just what you need. Whether you take an actual vacation and go someplace far away or just venture to a town closer to where you live, stepping outside of your day-to-day world is therapeutic and often healing for your heart and soul.

Send Christmas cards to those who are dear to your heart.
I love when people send me Christmas cards. It reminds me that people care about me and thought about me when they were putting together their lists. Years ago, I decided that my lack of husband and children wasn’t going to stop me from being a part of such a fun holiday tradition. Each year, I try to find something new and creative to do to put on a card, and then I print them out at CVS or Walgreens and mail them to all of my people. It’s now one of my favorite annual traditions! My life is mine to live, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.

While these activities won’t make all of your problems go away, they might help just a little and soften the pain of what can truly be a difficult season for many people. Just remember that, even though it doesn’t always feel like it around this time of year, you are valued and loved, and you matter more than you realize. You are special, and you are a gift.

Be brave enough to believe that and live in that truth each and every day.

Your Dreams Aren’t Silly


When I was a little girl, I had quite a few lofty dreams of what my future looked like, and although not all of them panned out like I hoped they would (it turns out that you actually have to have some glimmer of talent to put on Taylor Swift-esque performances), I never let my hopeful childish heart stop dreaming them.

The dreaming wasn’t limited to my career aspirations, though—I also wanted a husband. And I still do. Let me be clear: I don’t just want a husband to have a husband. I want to build a life with a man who loves me for me and wants to spend the rest of his forever with me.

For some reason, as we continue to get older, the dreamer mindset we once had as little kids can start to disappear. Those hopes that you had when you were 7 years old don’t seem as possible when you’re 17 and even less so when you’re 27. But why should our hopes and passions fade just because they haven’t necessarily come true in the timeline that we wanted them to? Sure, I’m not going down the path to become a successful musician, and I never will, but had I truly desired that (clearly it didn’t turn out to be a huge passion of mine), then that’s a dream that I should make sure doesn’t stay just a dream forever.

When I was in the second grade, I published my first book. Granted, it was only published in my elementary school’s library, but still. It was a big deal to me. I mean, the pages were laminated. That’s huge, people! There was a ceremony for it and everything, and I won the Author of the Year award for my grade level. Each year after that, I published another book for the library, and the dream of becoming a writer started to stir up in my heart.

Roughly 26 years later, I still have that same dream. Yes, I’m a writer for my profession, but it’s not in line with what that little second-grader did way back in the ‘90s. My heart longs to write books and speak at conferences and events—I’m not there yet, though. And this is one dream that I’m not going to give up on in the way that we often do with things that seem out of our reach for too long. I believe in my heart that I have this passion for a reason, and God is going to use it. It’s not just a silly dream—it’s a dream that’s fueled by hope and trust and perseverance.

It’s the same with my desire to fall in love and be loved by a man forever. I recently started a book about praying for your future husband, and it’s allowed me to believe with my whole heart that it truly is possible that I will find that guy someday, and we will live our own version of a fairytale that only God could have written. I now remind myself every day that it’s also not just a silly dream—it’s a dream that can be fueled by hope and trust and perseverance.

You have the dreams you have for a reason. Don’t label them silly and forget about them forever. Don’t let chances pass you by because you’re afraid or think that you’re not capable. You are capable, and you are worth the fight to pursue those dreams.

Keep dreaming, sister. You’ve got this.

Don’t Put People on Pedestals

My Post (68)

I’ve had a tendency my entire life to put people—usually celebrities—on pedestals. Most notably, I did this with Taylor Swift as a teenager—and, to be honest, I still do. I still find myself making excuses or defending actions I probably wouldn’t agree with if it weren’t her doing it.

I tend to do this with people whom I see are standing out from the crowd and, in my opinion, are serving as positive role models. The problem is that I then hold these celebrities to standards they can’t possibly live up to, and then I’m disappointed when they let me down.

I found myself going down the same familiar path this weekend. My husband and I saw Twenty One Pilots perform last week, and we’ve been listening to them non-stop ever since. I’ve always liked their music, but outside of having their songs on my Spotify playlists and what friends who liked the band had shared, I didn’t know much about the band itself.

As I researched more about Twenty One Pilots, I found myself falling into my familiar traps. God forbid I found something I didn’t agree with or something I was uncertain about in their lyrics or in a quote from an interview with the band members.

I put these poor celebrities on pedestals that they cannot always stay on. I hold them to standards that they can’t possibly meet. They’re just people, and people make mistakes. People have different backstories and different ways of thinking.

I cannot expect an artist only to release songs that I relate to or that have messages I agree with. I cannot expect Taylor Swift never to change as a person and continue writing fairytale country songs. I cannot expect that Twenty One Pilots’ religious references in their works won’t include doubts or misgivings—shouldn’t we, instead, applaud them for being honest about something most Christians feel at one time or another?

I do this with the people in my life, too. My entire life, I’ve held myself to strict standards, and when other people fail to meet my standards, I can be judgmental. That’s not fair. That’s not right.

For one thing, I can’t even meet my own standards, so how can others? Human beings are flawed, and the more quickly we learn to love and embrace others even when they let us down, the less disappointment we have to live with in our lives.

I finally had to accept that Taylor Swift and I, while perhaps at one time similar, are living very different lives. I have to accept that sometimes my friends and I will not see eye to eye. I have to accept that things are not always—in fact, most likely are not—going to go the way I think they should.

And that’s actually quite great. Because I certainly do not have enough answers to be able to dictate how my life or the people in it should behave.

Don’t put people—celebrities or not—on pedestals. No one is perfect. No one will always meet your expectations.

Just love people.

Prioritizing the Important Things in Life

My Post (64)

As a perpetual people pleaser, I sometimes fall victim to prioritizing what other people need from me rather than the things I need to prioritize.

For example, Friday morning, it snowed here in Omaha—like really, really snowed. As a Southern Californian native, I’ve never in my life driven while it was snowing. I drove on snow when we first moved to Omaha at the tail end of winter last year, but never did I drive during a snowfall.

At first, the snow seemed harmless, magical even, as I began my morning commute into the office. As I continued on, though, I heard the local radio station reporting multiple crashes and repeatedly urging people to drive carefully.

The snow began to fall harder, and before I knew it, the roads were no longer clear, and the car in front of me was swerving back and forth. Soon after, I found my own car behaving the same. At one point, I couldn’t even stop in time for a red light. I made the decision to stop trying to brake and, instead, to quickly slide through it.

By the time I got to work, I was 10 minutes late and shaking. I was terrified of what just happened. I apologized to my coworker and my boss for being late and sat down at my desk. I wondered how my husband had done on his way to work. I texted him and didn’t hear anything back. I began to worry.

He finally called me, and for several seconds, I hesitated to answer. I was worried it would look bad to be late to work and then answer a personal call. Luckily, my common sense kicked in, and I took the call. He had made it safe but had spun out at one point and had multiple close calls.

Could you imagine if he had called me after he spun out? What if he had been stuck off the freeway and needed help, and I hadn’t answered because it would “look bad”?

My people-pleasing trait had gone too far this time. Yes, it’s important to be professional at work, but mine and my husband’s safety is far more important.

Work is a huge priority in my life, but if I were to write a list of my ideal priorities, it would look like this:

1. God
2. Nicholas and loved ones
3. Work

But I think, in reality, I can let it look like this:

1. Other people’s opinion/happiness with me
2. God
3. Nicholas and loved ones

Don’t let your list look like my second one. It breaks my heart that I hesitated to take my husband’s call when we had both experienced dangerous commutes to work, and he or our dog (whom he drops off at dog daycare on his commute) could have been in harm.

Make sure your priority list doesn’t get away from you. Life’s too short for that.

Some Doors Need to Close


Letting go certainly isn’t always easy, no matter how simple Elsa makes it seem.

There are definitive moments and situations in our lives in which I think we know that we need to let go of certain things—or certain people—but, for whatever our reasons are, we cling so tightly to them that it’s as if we’ll never let go. Whether it’s fear or uncertainty or the thought of having to endure pain that we don’t think our hearts can handle, we simply can’t walk away from what we’ve known and become comfortable with for so long.

The truth is, though, that some doors in our lives truly do need to close completely in order for us to be able to press forward to what is waiting for us ahead.

I’ll be one of the first people to admit that it’s sometimes difficult for me to let a door I really want to stay open close all of the way. There was a guy in my life a couple of years ago who caused me more pain than I knew my heart was capable of bearing, and if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m still not completely over him or mended from that pain. It hurts thinking about him and thinking about everything that happened (and didn’t happen). For far too long, I tried to hold on to something that wasn’t there—I tried to keep the door cracked open, even just slightly.

But then I let it close, and I walked through a brighter one that allowed me to be where I am today.

Had I not let him go and let that door finally shut, I don’t know if I ever would have moved to California. I don’t know if I would have taken that leap of faith to pack up my entire life and driven across the country to a place where I knew zero people. You know what, though? It was hands down the best decision I’ve ever made. I know that God called me out here with purpose and intention, and I know that I needed to go through everything that I did in order to get here.

God wasn’t putting me through heartache in order to cause me pain—He was leading me through a dark time so that I would walk boldly through a new door full of unexpected opportunities and more joy and love in my heart than I ever thought possible.

Yes, change is scary. No, it’s not easy to let go. But I want you to believe this one thing right here and now: YOU CAN DO THE HARD THINGS. You can turn and walk away from something you don’t need in your life. You can let go of what you know you shouldn’t be holding on to any longer. You can endure the pain that you’ll feel when one of the chapters in your life finally ends.

And you can boldly march through that new door that is full of unexpected opportunities and more joy and love in your heart than you ever thought possible.

It’s not always easy to slam a door completely closed, especially if your heart still wants it open, even just a little. But, if it’s not meant to stay open, I truly believe that God will continue to change your heart until you’re able to let it close completely. He will continue to mend your heart and prepare it for what He has in store for you.

And it will be so much more wonderful than you could ever imagine.

You Can Start Fresh on Any Given Day

Today is the start of a new month, and soon we will be transitioning into a new season of when the sun rises and sets, as well, when we leave Daylight Saving Time behind this Sunday.

The start of each month signals the beginning of new possibilities: starting over in various aspects of life, starting a diet, resetting goals and plans to help you achieve them, and a number of other ways to hit the “play” button to get you back on track to where you want to be. While there aren’t necessarily monthly resolutions like people make at the onset of each new year, the first day of the month is often a solid starting point for a new objective.

Making changes in your life doesn’t have to come at the beginning of a new month or year, though—each new day you’re given is a new opportunity for growth and improvement.

You can change your life and your habits at any moment in time. It doesn’t have to be on January 1. It doesn’t have to be on the first day of the month. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be on a Monday to start the week off right. You can go after what you want and pursue your dreams now—there’s no reason to wait.

For me, I know that I’ve sometimes put things off so that I could start them later, when the timing was “better.” Even just the other day, I was thinking about how I needed to actually take my laundry out of the basket and put it away (my clean clothes have been sitting in it since Saturday). But it was late, and I was exhausted and thinking about how I needed to start getting more sleep. I said to myself, “I’ll start being more diligent about taking care of my tidiness and getting more sleep in November.”

But why was I set on waiting? Why wasn’t I committing to make that change right there in that moment?

I think that fear sometimes hold us back. We’re afraid of failing when we try to attain the goals we set out for ourselves. If I still can’t get my messes together and still can’t let my body get the sleep it requires, I’m failing myself. If I set a goal to go to the gym four times a week but only make it one or two, I’ve failed on my mission. If I set a resolution for 2019 to give up sweets (NEVER going to happen) but only make it to January 13 to have a cookie, I’ve already failed for the entire year, and so I have to wait until the next year to make that resolution again.

The truth is, though, that we’re all going to mess up. We all need mulligans every once in a while. And we don’t have to wait until the start of the next year or month or day or even the next hour to make the changes that we need to make in our lives now.

Don’t be afraid to set goals, and don’t be afraid to go after them in full force in this very moment. You don’t know how long you get on this earth, so seize every opportunity that you can.

And be bold enough to believe that you’re capable of achieving what you set out to do, knowing that failure doesn’t mean that you’ve failed forever.

Remember That You Get to Choose

When you’re a little kid, most of your choices are made for you—what you wear, what you eat, where you go, what you do. As you get older, more and more choices become your own. While the freedom and independence you gain are certainly benefits to that whole “adulting” thing, they can also present challenges for your mind and heart along the way.

This is especially true when those decisions you make pertain to the relationships you form.

Dating can be challenging in a number of different ways. For starters, it’s confusing at times. Does he like me? Do I really like him? Why hasn’t he texted me back? I wonder what he meant when he said that he had a “nice” time.

It also takes up a significant amount of your time and energy that you may or may not be investing in the right person. Of course, each date or relationship can also prepare your heart for a relationship with the right person.

There are many decisions to be made in a relationship—where you go for dinner and what show you’re going to binge watch next together on Netflix or Hulu and (as things get more serious) what you’re doing for certain holidays and what your future together looks like.

But there are also plenty of decisions that you make all on your own. There are certainly quite a few pressures that come along with relationships, but remember that you are the one who gets to decide how quickly you want to move and how far you want to go in certain situations. You don’t have to kiss someone before you’re ready. You don’t have to have sex before you’re ready. You don’t have to do anything that you’re not ready to do before you’re ready to do it.

Many years ago, I thought that I was interested in a guy who was interested in me. But the more time we spent together, the more I realized that I saw him as nothing more than a friend.

One evening when we went to see a movie together, he held my hand in the car. I didn’t want to hold hands with him. I realize that this isn’t a huge thing, but it was to me, and I wanted my hand free from his. He tried to hold my hand again during the movie, but I told him that I needed a free hand to bite my nails since it was a scary movie.

It might have been one of the lamest excuses I’ve ever used—and, if something like that happened now, I would simply tell the person that I don’t want to hold hands with him if I didn’t want to—but it’s what I said at the time. The bottom line is this: I didn’t want to hold hands with this boy, so I didn’t hold hands with him.

And you can also make the choice not to do the things that you don’t want to do. Life is full of so many choices every single day, and you have the ability to make the ones that are best for you.

Be bold enough to let your personal choices be your own.

Don’t Miss Out Because You’re Afraid to Miss Out


There are so many things that happen in our world today that it can certainly be easy to feel like you’re missing out on some pretty incredible events and activities.

FOMO is real, people.

But one of the big problems with being afraid that you’re missing out on the people and places where you are not is that it ends up causing you to miss out on the moments that you could experience with the people and in the places where you actually are.

When I first moved to California more than a year ago, it was a really difficult transition for me. I had lived in Dallas for my entire life up until that point (not counting the years when I was at college at Texas A&M University), and I knew exactly zero people in my new city. It was a sad realization to me that I had just left behind all of my friends and family and more memories than I could count.

I scrolled through Instagram way too often, each time feeling more and more disheartened by all of the fun my friends back in Texas were having without me. My heart ached to be there with them and experience all of the joy and merriment that they seemed to be having. I wanted to remember what that felt like, even though I probably rarely acknowledged those emotions when I was in the midst of it all.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that, by longing for the people and moments that weren’t in my life at the time, I was neglecting to notice all of the new memories that I could be creating right where I was. There were—and still are—so many places to go and people to meet where I am now, and it was silly for me to sit around sulking about what I wasn’t doing.

Don’t worry about where you aren’t—instead, focus on where you are.

I often find myself succumbing to FOMO not only in tangible moments of my life but also in the seasons in which I find myself. For me, singleness has been somewhat of an ongoing era (as in, it never ends), and there have definitely been times when I haven’t been content with that status. Rather than embrace the lot in life I currently have, I often look at other people who are happily married or dating or whatever, and I long to have that time of companionship. If I’m being perfectly honest, it actually physically hurts my heart to think that I might never find it.

But if I spend so much time letting my mind wander to what is not, then I’m missing out on some pretty incredible opportunities that God has given me to use this time of singleness for His purposes. I may not be in love, but I can still love others well. I may not be in a relationship, but I can still build relationships with the individuals placed in my life. I may not have one hand to hold, but I can still join hands with others as we strive toward common causes. I may not have certain prayers answered as I wish, but I can still boldly pray on the behalf of myself and on behalf of others with the faith that He has everything under control.

Don’t worry so much about missing out on life—otherwise you’ll actually miss out on life.

Let Yourself Receive Compliments


I’m not exactly sure why, but sometimes it’s difficult for us to hear good things about ourselves—it’s as if compliments are only meant to be given and not received.

I can’t really explain why this is a thing. I love encouraging people and telling them all of the qualities they have that make them wonderful. I love seeing smiles dance across their faces when they realize that other people notice those traits about them. Yet, for some reason, I feel weird when I receive compliments.

I struggled for many years thinking that I wasn’t enough—not pretty enough for guys to be interested in me, not talented enough for various activities, not capable enough to achieve certain goals, and simply not enough for anyone or anything. I don’t know if it’s believing those lies for so long that led me to be uncomfortable with compliments, but it’s possibly a root cause.

Here’s something that you should know, though: It’s perfectly OK to let yourself be complimented—it might even actually be healthy.

No, you don’t need to fish for compliments (this is often something many people tend to do when they are feeling insecure), but it is important to be comfortable with letting other people offer you words of affirmation.

Letting people remind you that you’re enough.

Letting people remind you that you are worth more than you know.

Letting people remind you that you matter.

And letting people remind you that they see you for the person you are, and they still love you.

My boss recently told me how great of an asset I am to our team and how thankful he is that I came to work for the company—that I’ve already changed the culture there and provided tremendous value to the work we do. I felt myself start to squirm mentally, but then I decided to accept his words as truth and let them engrain themselves into my own belief. Because I needed to remind myself that I’m enough.

And so are you.

Don’t make excuses or blame your successes and positive characteristics on luck or say they are results of accidents of some sort. Instead, say “thank you,” and believe that the affirmation you’re hearing is full of genuine truth.

Compliments are meant to be given, but that means that people also have to receive them. Every once in a while, let yourself be one of those recipients. You don’t have to become a narcissist (after all, Taylor Swift says that she never trusts one), but you can let yourself be reminded of the good things about you and the positive qualities that you bring to the lives of others.

You are uniquely you for a reason, and there’s nothing wrong with letting the encouragement and uplifting words of others further affirm the remarkable treasure you are.

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