Always Be Humble & Kind

Today is World Kindness Day. In truth, before I logged onto Twitter this morning, I didn’t even realize today existed.

But, boy, I’m glad it does.

Active kindness is something I have been striving for lately in my own life. It’s really been put on my heart to pursue kindness in my pursuit of the Lord, and I think that bringing this day to light for me is just another way that He has been justifying that this is the right path.

Granted, I am hardly here to proclaim that I am perfect when it comes to practicing kindness. I mean, I’m not perfect when it comes to anything, but that’s just what comes with the territory as humans.

But, truthfully, I have been trying, very hard, to override every quick judgement that I may make with an kind alternate. Now, I’d love to say that it’s the easiest thing in the world to always think kindly about everything. You’d think it would be. But sometimes, it’s surprisingly easy to catch yourself being less than kind about things, even if it’s just something silly, like me not liking someone’s outfit choice. I’ve been trying to call myself out, even silently, wherever I may be too quick to make a call, or if that call is particularly catty. So what if those aren’t the leggings you might wear? I force myself to think. They’re rockin’ them, just look at their smile. 

I have found that it is much easier to practice verbal kindness once you force yourself to be more aware of your internal monologues. And, generally, I do think that most people try to be nice to one another, on some level. I mean, it’s the golden rule, isn’t it? Treat other people how you’d like to be treated.

But to go back to where I said that I’m not the perfect, constantly kind child of God that I’d love to claim that I am. The reality is, I’ve certainly done some unkind things in the past, and I’m sure that I will do some unkind things in the future. It’s not like I’m planning on it, but again, human nature and whatnot.

When that happens, the best thing we can do is practice asking for forgiveness.

Yes, you read that right.

Asking for forgiveness is something we can practice.

My stepdad used to tell me not to say “I’m sorry” about everything. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to truly understand what he meant. If you apologize for everything, even when you don’t necessarily mean it, how is anyone supposed to know when you are being truthful? Then again, if you need to apologize that much, maybe there’s something else you should be evaluating — like what you’re saying to upset someone in the first place.

But circumstances will arise when you need to give a genuine apology. And I think that learning how to be earnest in asking for forgiveness is one of the kindest things we can do. Because, let’s face it — we aren’t the greatest when it comes to humbling ourselves, to admitting our faults, to saying that we were wrong and that we need to be forgiven.

And yet, humility and kindness tend to walk hand in hand.

Now, I’m no expert — in life, especially, and I never expect to be. I’m not here to tell you what to do. But, at the same time, I look at how much my own life, and my own outlook, has improved since actively trying to be more kind, and more humble, and I can’t imagine not sharing that good news with other people.

So, today, on World Kindness Day, even as it winds down, all I’m here to tell you is that it’s so easy to look at how we are being kind in our own lives. One change within ourselves can have such an impact on the people around us, and the people around them, and the people around them. It’s called a ripple effect for a reason.

And instances where we end up being a bit too human? Where we may be a bit unkind?

Forgiveness is key, and asking for it is just as important.

Happy World Kindness Day, and here’s to years of kindness ahead of us. What kind thing did you do today?

Almost Heaven

Without intentionally planning it that way, I was out of town every weekend in June. The first weekend was another spontaneous day trip, this time up to Flagstaff. The second weekend was a mamma-daughter cabin trip (unexpected, but much needed). Then, I’ve spent the past two weekends on an incredible vacation with my boyfriend and his family to parts of the country I’ve never seen before… but I’ll get to that in a minute. The point of this paragraph is: I’ve been gone a lot lately, and the trend appears be continuing into July. I head out this weekend for a best friend reunion trip in Denver, and then it’s back to the cabin.

So much for not being a travel blogger, right?

(Just kidding.)

Anyways. I can’t complain: not only do I have the incredible luxury and blessing of being able to travel as much as I have lately, it is also an incredible time to be anywhere but Phoenix. Have you seen these temperatures?! 124! There were melting trash cans! (I’m serious: click here.)

And, of course, I got to spend the last week exploring new parts of the United States with my favorite person and his wonderful family. I know that everyone’s first question is not about the traveling itself, but about the traveling with the boyfriend’s parents part of the equation, and I’ll just say this: I am so lucky. Spending a week with his parents (and aunts, and uncles, and cousins, and third cousins once removed) was not only incredibly easy, but it was incredibly fun. He has a wonderful family – which probably explains a lot about him, huh? 😉

Okay, okay. Enough with the mushy stuff. I can feel Jen’s eye roll all the way from Denver (#ShiningTwinShoutout).

We started our trip in Pittsburgh, and if you know me, you know that I’m a city-oholic. I love skyscrapers and skylines – especially when they’re by water, and since Pittsburgh is smack dab between two rivers that merge into one, there was certainly plenty of water to ogle at. And can I just take a second to rave about how green it was!? Being a desert rat with roots in less-brown places, I live for any opportunity to see a different color scheme. Don’t get me wrong: Arizona is beautiful and God graces this state with a lot of incredible masterpieces, especially in the sunset variety. But sometimes, in the dead of summer, brown gets boring,.

We also caught a Pirates game while in the city of bridges (and steel). I’m a bit biased when it comes to the best baseball stadiums, and I still maintain that it’s hard to beat AT&T even when the Giants are sucking as badly as they do right now. However, PNC Park certainly wowed me. The atmosphere is awesome. Throw in the fact that it was both Father’s Day and Cubs game, too, and you can say that it was a picture perfect day at the ballpark.


We only spent one night in Pittsburgh before heading out to Oglebay. Now, if you haven’t heard of it (and I’ll bet you haven’t), I must agree with the boy’s dad and tell you that it is the best kept secret. It was donated by Mr. Oglebay to the city of Wheeling, West Virginia, for recreational use, and the city has certainly kept that vow. There are acres upon acres of lush rolling hills, championship golf courses (which, yes, I did attempt… in sandals), nature observatories, and ducks!


We stayed at the lodge on the property, which was certainly interesting in terms of hotel decor. The whole place was rooted in relaxation and history, though, so I’m not complaining one bit.

JT’s dad took us all around the Ohio River valley, which is where he grew up. We got to see the house he lived in as a kid, the college he went to, and eat his favorite local pizza (if you ever find yourself in Wheeling, West Virginia, I do highly recommend stopping by DiCarlos.) It was a lot of driving around and looking at things, but that was the best part of the whole trip. I’m from California and Arizona: I don’t have a clue how the Industrial Revolution shaped the most crucial parts of America beyond my history books. Or at least, I didn’t. I definitely do now, and it was fascinating to see all of these tiny towns, filled with the nicest people you will ever, ever meet! We snuck into race tracks, college dorms, and football fields, and no one cared! In fact, some people even showed us easier ways in. That’s not a thing that happens on the West Coast.

It was also just really interesting to learn more about their family, and the many different people that shaped it. Maybe it’s the history nerd in me, or maybe it’s just because I’ve always had a soft spot for small town life, but I loved learning about previous generations and the eras of history that shaped their lives.

I was in for even more of that as we headed down to Athens, Georgia, for a wedding on the other side of the boy’s family. Now, I’ve never been to the South before this. I mean, I’d been to Orlando, but does that really count? And I’d been to Nashville, but I think that city is a culture entirely its own. After all, it is basically Hollywood with a touch of twang.

But Athens, Georgia was definitely the South, in all its biscuit-baking, SEC-college-town, drinks-in-mason-jars glory.

And it. was. awesome.

I’ve always harbored a romantic idea that I would do really well in the South, and after spending two days there, I can at least say this: I would have done really well in the South in college. Athens is a cute little town with a sprawling campus at the center. We toured the campus, learned about the Confederate roots of much of the place, and checked out the gigantic Greek row, mainly so I could take a picture for my mom.


If we had more time there, I would have loved to explore other places, because now I have a sweet taste of the South and a craving for even more.

Overall, it was a great trip. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to see new parts of the world and country, and even more grateful that I got to go with the people I got to go with. They say it’s really your companions that make or break a trip, and I can certainly agree with that. But my travel partners definitely made this trip, and they made it incredible.

10 Days In

Here we are, a week-and-some-change in to a New Year, and already I’m slacking on my resolution to #BeABetterBlogger.

However, I’d like to think I have a pretty decent excuse.

I’ve been busy.

The first ten days of 2017 have been more of a whirlwind than I ever – and I repeat, ever – could have imagined. I’d like to pause here and insert a shout out to J & M, who have been incredibly supportive of said whirlwind. I’ve spent the first ten days of 2017 feeling a bit disoriented and a lot of a mess, but I think that the past few days have really solidified that old saying that “every storm runs out of rain.”

Let me offer a little background here.

I kicked off this year in the most wonderful way. I’m not a big New Years person, but this one was a good one. I’ll leave it at that.

However, despite the wonderfulness that was New Years Eve, right before 2016 came to a close, I got hit with some bad news. It’s not my news to share with the blogosphere, but suffice to say that it certainly rocked me a bit, and it sent my first few days of the new year into a tailspin. I found myself reexamining some decisions, questioning priorities, the whole 9 yards. It was as if God had put a big old, flashing sign up that said WAIT, and I had no choice but to obey.

And damn, I’m glad I did.

The results of that news gave me an opportunity to revisit some lingering “what ifs.” As some tough and, frankly, shitty decisions have made their way to me in the past few months, I’ve been stuck with this endlessly nagging feeling of wondering, “What if I chose differently?”

I prayed a lot about it. I prayed for guidance and for trust in that guidance, and I was lifted up by sweet souls who reminded me that God’s plan and our idea of the right plan are not always in line – and that’s the point. And so I kept trusting in His plan, or at least I felt like I did. I thought I was wholeheartedly trusting in the decisions I was led to make, but then this news came and shook me to my core and I very quickly realized – I wasn’t wholeheartedly trusting anything. I was still wondering, and, gracious as He is, God offered me the opportunity to look back at the lingering what if.

And you know what?

He proved Himself to me… yet again. By allowing me to retreat into the alternate reality of a different choice, He showed me that it would have been, flat out, the wrong one. It would have caused me more stress and heartache than I ever could have imagined, even if it might have been wrapped in a pretty little package.

It’s just amazing to me how, even in what seems like the most petty of problems, the most ridiculous of situations, and the least necessary priorities, He shows himself. And when it comes to the bigger things, He shows himself even stronger.

All of this realization came when I finally – finally – got back to church last Sunday.

So, basically, this is my long-winded way of saying that I’ve decided to completely revamp my New Years resolutions. Instead of focusing on a list of goals of things I want to accomplish this year, I’m going to put my entire energy into one thing: trust.

Trust in Him. Trust in myself. Trust in the plan. Trust in guidance.

2017 will be the year I learn to open my heart to trusting in what matters. Because there’s no point in wondering what if.

Thank You

Can I just be honest and throw something out there?

It’s been a really ridiculous week.

I thought last week was bad – tensions were high, people were upset, things were just generally feeling a little bit off-kilter across the nation. I thought this week was going to be better.

I was wrong.

This week was long. It’s only Thursday, and I can’t wait another twenty-four hours for my weekend to begin (but, of course, I have to). I know part of it is the anticipation of the holiday next week, because, let’s be honest, when you’re anticipating anything, it makes it harder to wait for it.

However, as stressful and busy as this week has been, it has also been pretty eye-opening.

Guys, I don’t say “thank you” enough. Not when it really matters.

Heck, I can’t even keep up with an Insta-challenge for #30DaysofThanksgiving (yes, you caught me – yes, I’ll own up to it).

I’ve had some conversations over the past week that have just really opened my eyes to how incredibly blessed I am. I have a support system securely in place and that’s something I need to be more aware and openly grateful for. I thank God for it every night, but I don’t openly say it enough. So that’s what I’m doing now – I’m saying thank you. To everyone who helps get me through weeks like this one… thank you.

To my morning barista, who knows that I hate the little chunks from the almond milk floating in my iced coffee, thank you for understanding and putting up with my ex-barista pickiness.

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To my boss, who consistently reminds me that she’s looking out for my best interest, whether it’s with a Twix from her kids’ Halloween stash or a calming conversation in the conference room. Thank you for being the #bestboss.

To my dad, who sends me “good morning, have a great day” texts, thank you for those. I definitely don’t say that enough to you, but I appreciate the random tokens of love more and more every second.

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To my neighbor, who brings me tamales and tells me how much he loves to see the cat poking her head out every day, thank you for taking on the neighborhood watch role, and for reminding me that random acts of kindness are definitely still a thing.

To the group of people I spend every Wednesday night with, reflecting on the Word. Thank you for keeping me grounded, and for reminding me that reflection, praise, and worship is not just for Sunday mornings. Thank you for the hour we spend talking about everything else – from pageantry to the newborn babies in the group – and for all the laughter and support I’ve found since joining this RC.

To the entire fam-damily, who I feel like I don’t see nearly enough. Thank you for being my Bravermans, and for always giving me something to look forward to. Thank you for always rallying together, no matter what’s going on. Family over everything… always, every time.

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To my partner-in-crime, who has no problem spending entire nights drinking wine, eating chocolate, and exploring little Scottish towns (or reminiscing about those days). Thank you for being one of the greatest people in my life, and for always reminding me that there’s peanut butter and adventures to look forward to.

To the coordinators of the Redemption Kids ministry, thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend 90 minutes, every other Sunday, with the cutest kids around.

To my mom, thank you for… well, this list could get incredibly long. Thank you for putting aside time in your day to let me call you, crying about #adulting. Thank you for getting on board with watching Gilmore girls. Thank you for your example. Thank you for everything, to infinity and beyond.

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To my office parking lot attendant, who always waves whenever we enter or leave the garage. It’s a little thing, but it’s nice to know you’re paying attention. Thank you.

To my best friends, who get excited about the most random things and who plan semi spontaneous reunions in the middle of the country. Thank you for understanding me at my best and worst, and for being the most solid foundation I’ve ever had.

To the girl I went to high school with, who I got to spend a lovely dinner with, and who always makes it feel like we can pick right back up where we left off. Thank you for showing me what true strength is, and for helping me realize just how blessed I am.

If I tried to thank everyone, this list would be never-ending. And if you skipped to the bottom for the tl;dr condensed version: thank you. Thank you to every single person who, big or small, makes every day a little bit brighter.

It’s Different for Girls

My friends and I hate that song. You know, the Dierks Bentley one. It talks about how “it’s different for girls, when their hearts get broke. Can’t tape it back together with whiskey and Coke.”

Okay, okay. Just listen to it, here:

I love Dierks. I really do. He’s a hometown country boy and being a country-loving Arizonan, it’s part of my obligation to like him.

But dang it, I hate that song.

As I drove “home” tonight (and I say that in quotes because my home for the weekend is a cute little townhouse nestled into the Ahwatukee foothills, complete with the cutest, fluffiest dog), that song came on. At first, my normal irritation arose because – to quote my best friend here – we sure as hell can tape ourselves back together with whiskey and Coke. Though, I will admit, I prefer tequila or gin.

That, however, is not the point.

The point is, after my initial flood of irritation washed over me, I thought about it for a split second longer than I normally do.

And you know what?

It is different for girls.

But, disclaimer. It’s not different for girls in the cute, fragile, damsel-in-distress, can’t-nurse-a-broken-heart-back-together kind of way the Dierks unfortunately paints a picture of.

No, it’s different for girls because that picture is exactly what society expects. Weakness is assumed. We are not supposed to put ourselves back together with whiskey and Coke because that’s just not ladylike.

You know what else isn’t ladylike?

Independence. Ambition. Courage. All things that have gotten women to where we are today.

Don’t get me wrong. Heartbreak hurts. I get it. I 100% understand – I have been there. I have felt as if someone had wrenched my heart straight out of my chest, stomped all over it, and feebly handed it back to me with the lamest “We could still be friends” ever. (FYI: that never works.)

But I have also felt the freedom that comes from putting yourself back together. Maybe there was no whiskey and Coke involved and maybe I didn’t go out and get with someone else and then act like it never happened like the song says – but I didn’t do that because I’m me, not because I’m a girl.

I really wish anyone else sang this song. I honestly do.

But, dear Dierks, please rethink it.

After all, it’s not like you want to be held to the expectation of turning into a world-class, whiskey-swigging, playboy jerk just to get away from your problems and forget about the one that got away, right?

Didn’t think so.