Jun 18, 2017

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Photo from Lindsey Smith
We visited a lot of different spots on my recent Study Abroad Trip to Australia and New Zealand, but my favorite place by far was Doubtful Sound on the South Island of New Zealand. While we were there, we went on several hikes to see the native plants and some beautiful waterfalls and even took a boat ride out to the Tasman Sea! While those activities might get their own blog post one day, today I wanted to share my experience on a nighttime hike to see glow worms and listen for bird calls.

We split into two groups, and my group was the first to go, so we had no idea what to expect. Our guide told us it would take twenty minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, so we spent a few minutes before the hike trying to let our eyes adjust.

I still couldn't see a thing, but our guide said it was time to go, so we started walking up the gravel road. I knew there were about 15 of my classmates with me and I could hear the crunch of the gravel beneath their feet, but I couldn't see anyone - most people were wearing dark jackets that blended in with the trees and brush. We also had to remain silent so we could hear any bird calls.

It was absolutely terrifying to walk the first 100 yards (they would measure it in meters but you know what I mean).  I had no way of knowing if the person in front of me stopped or if the terrain dipped up or down. It was a cloudy night too so the little bits of sky we could see didn't offer much additional light.

Eventually, we got to the wall of glow worms and I started to believe walking in complete darkness was worth it. It was like looking into the night sky on a starry night, but I knew I was staring at a rock wall we had passed earlier that day.

Photo from Lindsey Smith
We kept walking in hopes of hearing a kiwi call and I got nervous again. I still had no idea who was walking next to me or where I was stepping. I'm pretty sure I came very close to plowing down the poor student in front of me whenever the guide stopped to listen to something.

While we were walking, I couldn't help but think about just how dark it was. I know that seems kind of silly, but I realized I don't spend much time in the dark. When I'm outside at night, there's always streetlights and car headlights and business signs. When I'm going to sleep, there's still the glow of my alarm clock, the light from my laptop charger, and the porch light coming in through my window. I really haven't experienced darkness like that in a long time, if ever.

While I was thinking about how bright my world is at home, Bible verses kept coming into my head. Maybe it's from years of VBS and Bible drills, or maybe it was God talking. I'm not sure. But I kept thinking about two Bible verse about light. I've definitely heard sermons on them before, probably multiple times.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Those took on a whole new meaning as I was walking with absolutely no lights and my eyes were still not adjusting. I realized that this was what the whole world was like before God created light. And I realized just how grateful I was that He did! I said a prayer then and there thanking God or creating the sun so long ago, so that I didn't have to live my whole life in the pitch black.

I also realized that walking in the darkness was a lot like walking through life without God. I know people have made that comparison before, but in that moment it was so real and relevant that the point of the metaphor really drove home. Without God, I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. There's no way to know if you're headed in the right direction, and it's hard to enjoy the bird calls or the glow worms or anything when you're so afraid and you feel so alone. 

So, I went on this trip to take classes about sustainability, but I learned so, so much more while I was there! I hope this spoke to you too, and I can't wait to share more of my adventures!

Jun 14, 2017

Keep Moving Forward

I just got back from studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand after the end of my freshman year at the University of Georgia

Nothing in that sentence seems like it could possibly be true but it is.

I took classes in Australia and New Zealand for the whole month of May. It was absolutely incredible and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to go! There will certainly be more posts on my trip coming soon.

The second impossible thing is that I finished my first year at the greatest university in the world. I remember writing a letter to myself the day before I moved in like it was earlier today, so it just doesn’t seem possible that it’s already been an entire year!

Between these two huge happenings I’ve felt more blessed and more overwhelmed than I could have ever imagined. God is constantly  surprising me with incredible people in my life and valuable lessons along the way.

I think the biggest thing I learned over the past year was how important it is to keep trying new things always. I had so many firsts this year: first time flying by myself, first polar plunge, first time eating sashimi, first time meditating, first time speaking French, first basketball game…

There are always new things out there to learn and places to grow. I think that’s part of what makes life so exciting. 

I feel like I’ve grown so much over the past year and I hope this progress continues through my college career. I want to constantly be moving forward. live deeper, learn more, speak kinder, love greater

Sometimes it really doesn’t feel like I’m moving in that direction. Some days it feels like I’m driving at 90 miles per hour in the other direction. But I’ve learned that sometimes that’s how growth works. It’s uncomfortable to be stretched and shape into a new person but it’s so, so worth it. 

I’m writing this for similar reasons as to the letter before I moved in last August. I want something to look back on to remember how I feel right now. And I want this to be a reminder to myself to always be looking for new things to try to push myself to grow and learn.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

May 22, 2017

Paradise Found

I scored this dress on sale from Mumu back in the beginning of the semester and I've already gotten so much wear out of it! It's the perfect spring dress. I've been so crazy about palm prints lately, and luckily they've been really trendy this spring, so pieces are popping up everywhere! 

What do you think of palm prints? What abut my outfit? Le me know in the comments below!

May 15, 2017

So Srat

I'm obsessed with this Alpha Gam wooly! It's so comfy and the perfect weight for spring! I love being able to rep my sorority in the cutest way possible! At first, I wasn't sure about them because they're not super soft like some of my other jackets, but I bought this one second-hand from a sister and I love it! Definitely my new favorite piece of sorority apparel!

Do you have a wooly? What do you think of them? What's your favorite sorority apparel? Let me know in the comments below!

Apr 23, 2017

Little Things

I had planned a lot of outfit posts for March through May, but this semester hasn't gone exactly how I planned. I haven't had any time to take pictures or write up posts like I thought I would, and I've been struggling quite a bit. 

Instead of sticking to the original plan, I'm going to adapt and write based on what's really going on in my life. There's no point in pretending my life is beautiful and picturesque and flawless when it's not. 

So today, I'm making a list of 18 little things that make me happy (one for every year I've been alive), because those are the things I've been trying to focus on lately when things aren't going how I intended. Hopefully, you enjoy some of these things too and it will inspire you to reflect on your own little things.

1. Being far away from cities and lights and being able to see the stars really clearly

2. Little girl dresses with frilly socks and matching bows

3. Walking around barefoot (especially if it's summer and you're walking in grass)
barefoot on the grass:

4. Disney movies

5. When dogs are so excited that wagging their tails isn't enough and they start wiggling their whole body to express their happiness

6. The first day it finally feels cold in the fall and warm in the spring
Image result for fallImage result for spring

7. UGA cheers and the fight song
Image result for uga cheer

8. Starting a new Pinterest board and getting excited about all your new ideas

9. Decorating for autumn, planning a halloween costume, and making apple cider

10. Old/Unreleased Taylor Swift songs and music videos

11. Planning: outfits, vacations, to-do lists, parties, futures...
Image result for leslie knope jammin on my planner

12. Mama's Boy biscuits and coffee
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13. Everything about "Blackout" from In The Heights

14. Birthdays, balloons, confetti, cake
Confetti + Polka Dot Madness themed birthday party via Kara's Party Ideas | KarasPartyIdeas.com (26):

15. How hard I laugh at this 5 minute clip from The Office

16. Driving on the empty highway/with the windows down/with good music/all three of these combined

17. Getting pizza delivered

18. Crawling into bed and watching Netflix after a long day
disney lilo animated GIF