Unexpected Encouragement - Part Two.

This year has been emotionally draining, physically straining, full of heartbreak & confusion.
Life changing.

I've lost faith in people, situations & circumstances, my dreams & my abilities.

I've literally had these thoughts swirl around in my head:
"I have no purpose. I'm worthless. 
The world would be better off without me. 
Well, at least it wouldn't be any worse without me."
"I wish I didn't exist. People forget I exist anyway. "
"I'm wandering around aimlessly & have no talents or gifts... so WHY am I here?!"

I might not understand life right now or be able to comprehend why I have to struggle so hard, stuck in same place... without an end in sight.
And then sometimes, when I'm wallowing in the mud, feeling sorry for myself & forgetting that I was created for a reason... with creativity, imagination, and the heart of a dreamer... a friend comes along and helps me remember with the sweetest words. Words that I don't think I deserve:

I wanted to tell you that you are not alone in those struggles. 
I'm so sorry for the tragic events that have been occurring in 
your life over the past year. 
Even in those darker moments, God is present and continually 
caring for you. 
You are an amazing artist, not just in terms of the work you produce,
but as a person. 
You are truly a shining star, and have always been an inspiration. 
Keep creating and expressing yourself.
God made you an amazing dreamer and artist,
and he has great plans for you. 


The fact that I can inspire someone who inspires me...
when I feel so lost & worthless is mind blowing.
My life goal is to continue being inspired & to inspire others.
I exist for a reason.
To create for the Creator... not to impress anyone.
Sometimes I just forget.

Thank you! 


Unexpected Encouragement.

I used to be a dreamer.
I'm still a dreamer.
But I guess I stopped believing 
that my dreams could ever come true.

I used to be hopeful... I used to be courageous!

I was creative & audacious!

I let life drag me down... and now I'm just a drag.

My hopes & dreams are still up there... dangling in the sky.

They're stuck in the clouds & I'm stuck on the ground.
I stopped building my ladder and stopped climbing way up high.

Sometimes I forget that I still have the strength & the stamina to 

ascend the obstacles in my way. 
Buried so deep inside, locked away in place 
so secret, I can't even find the map to lead me back. 

And then sometimes when my spirit is withering away... 

unexpected encouragement comes my way. 
A treasure from a gem of a friend:

You are:

brave and strong

kind and compassionate
fun and funny
smart and talented

in general, a great person to know

(even if you don't believe it!)

I don't believe it. But I used to believe it.
When circumstances keep me rooted to the ground, 
I need to soak up the strength from others & start remembering 
my way back to the place where I can dream about dancing in the clouds again.

If I keep looking down at the ground, I'll never reach the top.


A week of really rad reunions.

Last week I reunited with a few of my favorite friends! House of Heroes has been one of my most listened to bands for the last 10 years & I've known them for almost as long as I've been loving their tunes. A few years ago, we met Josh while he was filling in for Colin on drums & we were super excited when we found out that his new band, Twenty One Pilots, was playing at the Norva! 

The show was absolutely phenomenal & I can't wait to see Josh & Tyler live again next time they're in town. We hung out at the venue until after midnight for a hug & a hello... totally worth it. Love these lads. 

Less than a week later the House of Heroes boys happened to have a show in Virginia Beach too. We hadn't seen these men for over two years so it was a magical evening, full of laughs, love, and lots of terribly terrific rock & roll. 

Two stellar shows in one week left me hungry for more marvelous music! And I'm so thankful for the traveling musical pals I've made during the last decade! 


Farewell to a Fabulous Faraway Friend.

I have an absolute talent for making fabulous friends that end up moving far away. I love having pals all over the map... but it's disappointing to find a friend that shares the same sense of adventure & humor, love of art, books, and vintage treasures... and then discover that they are preparing to journey to the other side of the country. Shelley & I worked together last spring, but somehow never talked... even though I admired her fashion sense & thought she seemed like a marvelous person. This year we ended up on the same team at work & as soon as we started conversing, I felt like we had always been friends! Instantaneous BFFs!

We decided to cram as many adventures as possible into the couple of weeks she had left in Virginia Beach before moving to South Dakota. I wrote about our amazing art adventure last week. We had a Friday without work & decided to go thrifting & antiquing together. We started out scouring Goodwill & CHKD.

Here are a few of our favorite finds! Oh, the things you find in thrift stores! 

Then we ventured out to two of my favorite antique shops in the area. I can literally spend hours basking in the beauty of gorgeous vintage items & terribly terrific trinkets that used to be treasured possessions... now just memories, sitting on a shelf & telling stories about someone else's past. 

I like to make up stories about the people I see in old photographs & wonder if any of the things that I own will end up on dusty shelves in antique shops when I'm gone. 

No antiquing adventure is complete without an awkward, cheesy mirror photo! 

My last hurrah before going back to work after a few days off was meeting Shelley at the Oceanfront & walking miles & miles... exploring a few local shops, sharing french fries, and soaking up the sunshine until I had killer blisters on my feet! (Of course we hit one more thrift shop before our hang out session was over too!)

We were both captivated by the colors of the currently abandoned amusement park & couldn't help snapping some shots of the retro ferris wheel before we left the beach.

In an attempt to cheer up before she departed, we met one more time for frozen yogurt & a therapeutic dose of nail polish shopping. 

I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to cross paths with Shelley before she moved away & I'm looking forward to sharing stories & letters with my new pen pal in South Dakota! May your life always be filled with adventures & exploration, friend! 


When Stuck becomes the new normal.

I’m so tired of just barely being okay.

I remember when I was more than okay. I can almost even remember being GOOD. Phenomenal. Growing. Flourishing. LIVING.
If I reach into the dark, farthest away corners in my brain… I can feel it. When did I stop breathing, tasting, and hearing? How can I be ALIVE, but barely living? I see, without feeling… and oh, I FEEL… but I’m not really seeing. 
I don’t want to just get by… I don’t want to just exist. I used to shine & now I’m just a waste of space. I just need to get my spark back. 
I’m cold & alone in the dark. 
This is not what I was made for. 
I remember when I was more than just okay. 


The Amazing Art Adventure.

If you ask me to accompany you on an adventure the answer will always be: YES. If you ask me to tag along on an art adventure my answer will be: DOUBLE YES!
Last week one of my work BFFs, Shelley, invited me to ride The Tide with her to Downtown Norfolk to check out The Chrysler Museum of Art's outdoor exhibit, Airborne by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. 

My sister & I were way too excited to hop on The Tide & use public transportation for the first time in our Hampton Roads history. Even though we easily could have just parked at MacArthur Center for our Norfolk shenanigans, as usual.... this part of the evening added to the adventure & made us feel like tourists for a night!

We enjoyed the marvelous architecture on Freemason Street while we waited for sun to disappear & the poetry to be projected on the wall across from the Chrysler Hall.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing you up there!" said the man at the exhibit as we climbed on to the stage to make our shadows dance on the wall of words & smoke. 

"You can really tell a lot about a person by looking at their shadow," he continued as we shyly posed & moved around... causing the letters to swirl & disappear. "It looks kind of like a galaxy." The man added and the poetry faded away. 

When we were finished projecting ourselves outdoors, we ventured into the mall & found another fun interactive installation: The Sketch Mirror by Daniel Rozin. (and some pretty ridiculously named stores.)

We couldn't get enough of this clever camera that turned us into sketch-like paintings. Definitely an exhibit where technology & artistry work together as a team. 

We rode back to Virginia Beach feeling refreshed & inspired and ready for another adventure!

Ending, beginning, or a little bit of both.

I haven't posted a blog in two years.
Oh, I've thought about writing... I've started to write, but the words just didn't seem worthwhile.

I used to write everyday... about everything. I've felt stuck, stagnant, and insignificant the last few years... somehow I've convinced myself that I should only write when life is at it's best... or at it's worst. What about the in between? That's where I am right now... why shouldn't I record what's happening, or not happening, at this moment in my life?

Times have been tough since a tragic event this past summer that left my brain in a tangle of emotional turmoil... and the first few months of this year started off with a series of sad news, trials, and tribulations. As we've been navigating through a difficult journey, I've also faced unexpected change, rejection, and the feeling of being forgotten.

Maybe life is not what I was expecting... or what I've hoped it would be during my 25th year... but I am  hoping & praying that life begins to glow brighter & that I will learn lessons that help me grow & flourish through this less than lackluster time. (Yes, even less than lackluster.)

I am going to start blogging again... but for myself this time. Somehow I started believing the lie that I don't have anything worth writing about... I stopped taking photos with my camera because I've started to feel like my photos weren't good enough anymore. What does that even mean? I used to do these things as a way to express the creativity inside of me... why would I let the thoughts that others think of me... or the words they say to me, dictate the way I live?

I am tired of being weighed down by the world. I need to be free & full of joy about life again. The good cannot begin until the bad ends.

Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
So, here's to a new ending & a new beginning.
Goodbye & hello.