perfect places

the hip squares of instagram motivation tell me
poke me, prod me
with this idea:

“you cannot find happiness in the same place you lost it.”

but what if that place

was home?
your car?

a theatre crowded with people
all in /their/ happy places?

do you reconcile with those spaces?

do you let them burn?
do you let them be?

do you sit with them
_____ wait with them
___________________patiently?

 

when you love

who are you when you love?
____a million pure breaths that fill up your chest and make you feel
____like you’re soaring above

who are you when you love?
____A radiant grin, lifted chin even amid
____frustration
____when it’s hard,
____or raining again.

who are you when you love?
____someone reflected by all their collected
____best mirrors
____projecting a pure, sure and whole soul
____forward

I love who you are when you love.

july.

A little over 6 weeks it’s been, and it feels as if my summer has been transformed into something…something of the likes of a Slinky Dog– strangely elongated, but regrettably compressed at any moment, simultaneously.

I had waited and wanted for so long to get to Ireland-– and to write all about it [if you’re curious, I’ve hyperlinked my adventures]–and now I’m home again and it’s crazy, it feels like it was yesterday and yet 1 year ago.

I watched an interview with Billie Eilish on some YouTube binge recently– she tells her younger self to “never put your feelings on the internet. Ever. EVER.” Of course, I saw this *after* I had temporarily taken down this site, this space, littered with a variety of crap from the ages LOL.

But I’m thankful to have taken the time away. What a lovely time to learn big lessons– observe ourselves from the inside out trough the lens of a different culture… It’s very easy to be caged in and consumed with what’s here, what’s around, what’s immediate.

It was time for a break.

And being in a different country was a *huge* help, huge change of pace, lovely opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. And what a wonderful thing it was to step back, re-evaluate, and reconcile. And even scold myself a bit for unnecessary dramatics. #y i k e s

I also got a taste of “school stress” [it wasn’t just a tourism trip, after all], but I feel like I gained back a lot of the productivity that I lost, a lot of the passion I had lost, for learning, among other things. Finishing the “semester” with good grades again in a while felt good.

read/reading // 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.
I bought this book [along with another one I’ll start shortly] at one of the big bookstores in Galway, Ireland. This is a *delightful* mix of “abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion, and personal anecdotes”. Right up my alley, in my genre of shame [nah, my genre of UN-shame]: The Self Help Book. This guy has absolutely NO chill and straight up disses Elmo. Among other things. I find his bluntness and personal anecdote style personally hilarious. I’m trying to work through a chapter or so before bed cuz a) good habits I guess but also b) a steadfast way to get through the book. And I don’t mean “get through”– it’s a great book. A page turner not in the way a fiction read would be, but more in a sense of “oh I’m excited to see what he has to say about this next” kind of thing.

writing // here! But also a bare-bones outline of a sermon. I was asked to say words about my “mission trip” at my home church and I have all these ideas and concepts and phrases and moments swirling around my head to touch on [maybe?] but they just need to settle, and work their way into coherent, somewhat English sentences.

learning // the art of seeking positive intent, the value of listening deeper to others [and generally talking less]. Also learning to slow down, to take time, as well as learning to pay closer attention to my body and emotions/thoughts that pass their way every day through my skull.

doing / working on //

  • getting my sleep schedule back on track! I know I’m past the getting over jet lag phase but like I need to stop sleeping at 1 am and still waking up early!
  • doing design for a multitude of clients, all which are slightly different mediums, so it’s a lovely and challenging variety I’ve got to look at 😀
  • Going outside more and trying to be healthy
  • Seeing John Mayer in concert again!! What an unreal experience. No opener, just pure Mayer. Perhaps one of my favourite moments was him shredding on the guitar for “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room”. He’s honestly just so stupid talented. And then I find out for his NY show he just played through the entirety of the album Continuum…just because he could. What a Mayer thing to do.
  • shaping up my portfolio
  • looking into some re-arranging/rebranding!
  • trying to finish off my travel blogging series of my last weeks in Galway. It’s funny– Henry David Thoreau writes in his culminating thoughts in Walden:
  • “It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves.”

  • And I *felt that!* Well, before I left the US obviously… But even in Galway [!!! we were there for 4 weeks out of the whole 6]– I felt myself falling in, getting settled, growing used to a novelty that had previously shaken me upon arrival, and it reminded me– reminded me to keep writing, keep processing, even as I kept “adjusting” and getting “too comfortable” because it would be over soon.
  • trying to keep up with a daily gratitude Trello board as a budding mindfulness practice [because who am I kidding I suck at writing things down on paper sometimes!]

eating // yogurt! spaghetti! oatmeal! apples! and LOTS of PRINGLES LOL [so idk why, but being in Ireland, and being able to secure Pringles in Ireland just SET OFF a craving for them… the sour cream and onion ones, that is…WEIRD.]

drinking // more water. And coffee. I swear, I was dehydrated for 6 weeks, and I’m *just* now getting to correct it. Can’t mess it up now!

listening // to a whole host of things. A lot of GOOD music just dropped recently, and I think this playlist highlights at least a good chunk of it, mixed in with some of my older, guiltier pleasures that I treasured both here and abroad:

[https://youtu.be/23R7BcjWU_Y]

being inspired // by the memories I have from Ireland…now stored as photos, detailed stories, and academic work. I am also constantly inspired by the work people are doing around me–whether that’s philanthropic work, musical work, artistic work…Idk. Everyone, it seems, is falling into their creative grooves and I am HERE. FOR. IT. 😀

laughing // aloud at the newest horoscope meme instagram pages I have discovered. There are times where I’m reluctant to accept my Aries-ness but this page just seems to reinforce the nuances every. single. time I scroll through. It doesn’t help that my friends enable me too, sending stuff that’s too relatable. XD

thinking // about how some days are better than others. Some days it’s easier to just launch yourself out of bed and say “OKAY! Let’s DO THINGS! X, Y, Z, GO!”, and then some days are absolute balls of mud [whatever that means].

trying // to stick to my to – do list! Er, “accomplishments” list. Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. I’ve started keeping a list of all the things that need to get done in one place, titled with the date and “accomplishments”. Somehow, “accomplishments” feels a bit lighter and more distinguished the slogging-through-the-day connotation of “to-DO list”. Ugh. Just sounds weighty. Accomplishments sounds so much more…accomplished? Idk. Just a new thing I’m trying.

hoping // to have the time and patience to catch up on all those uh…aforementioned “accomplishments”. There are a lot of puzzle pieces that need to fall into place before I can say I can start a successful fall semester… between the bills and my car being a pain in the patootie and the scheduling I am trying to make work in the next weeks– patience and discipline will be the key for these.

loving // the bursts of energy and semblance of a routine I’ve been able to utilize recently. It’s getting me pumped up and feeling ready to tackle senior year [!!!??!!howdidwegetherewowhelp]

praying // for my friends. For my family. For those who are in transition right now. For those who are going through a tough time. For those who are having trouble seeing past the darkness. For those who feel unworthy, under-appreciated, and unloved. For those who are working towards their goals. For safety as I embark on these next few weeks, for moving back to school, for patience, for those watching, for motivation and a renewed sense of purpose, for tact, and for resilience. And I pray for peace– that the peace I’ve found over the last months remains something light and easily carried.

xx

steph

may.

And just like that, I’m done.

When I say done, I mean primarily done with school. Exams have come and gone and BOY am I so thankful for that. This year kicked my ass (in a great way) and I’m ready for a new perspective, especially this summer.

I’m now toggling between life at home and packing up an apartment and it’s been pretty fun so far.

You don’t really realize how stressed you’ve been until all of it is lifted almost entirely at once. Sure, it hasn’t completely gone away, and there are a new genre of stressors to worry about (all the prep for going out of the country, etc.), but for some reason these are *insanely* preferable that those of academia.

read/reading // Finishing Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey, one of my all time faves. For a time that requires energized focus now more than ever, this book is getting me back on track.

writing // down my packing list. And trying to come up with a reasonable plan for what this space will hold in the coming months.

learning // that it isn’t going to be 100% all the time. You can’t be on all the time, you can’t be hot *all the time*, you can’t expect perfection. Sure, there are spikes of highs and lows, but what’s important is to be ever cognizant of where you are and how you’ll connect your current step to the next, and how you can do the best you can with what ya have (:

doing / working on //

  • packing! [my life up at school and bringing it back home, then from home for abroad]
  • doing design for an upcoming conference in October about teaching learning technologies!
  • PACKING for my STUDY ABROAD IN IRELAND THIS YEAR!! 😁😁😁🎉🍀
  • Going outside more and trying to be healthy
  • shaping up my portfolio
  • Recording instrumentation and vocals for the first time ever in studio for a university project [!!] I was able to work with such talented, committed people and I am so proud of the work they put forth and how it turned out!

eating // too much gelato [can’t complain!] Not enough actually healthy things. Can’t wait to get back into the flow of things before I ship out, cuz we all know that Europe may not put on the Euros but will put on the pounds *weak laughter*

drinking // yikes  Not enough water! Again! Wow! Surprise!, Peach (and lime) daiquiris, milk, and my favorite local mochas (((:

listening // to a whole host of things! Please see below: [*Disclaimer: I put the new Taylor/Brendon song on here almost ironically, let me know what y’all think, but it’s just too gosh darn catchy and I don’t know what to do now that it’s in my consciousness]

being inspired // by the weather, the art my friends are creating, and travel blogs [!!!]. Also by the athletic/fitness ventures of some of my people ^_^

laughing // at the weirdest videos I used to make as a kid.. just last night my best friend and I found some really OLD shit that I had created [for school and otherwise] and WOW what a trip down memory lane HAH.

thinking // that “life is far too simple to be complicated”. So I’m thinking that I need to simplify more. De-clutter. Drink more water. Eat less complicated things. Spend less time on social media. Not let people unworthy of your time live rent-free in one’s head. The usual. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

trying // get down to it! To re-align the goals, and focus on the positives ahead. There is so *so* much bounty right in front of me! Why let the past creep up all obnoxious-like if it’s just gonna be is detrimental to growth, to seeing the bigger and better that is the here and now [huh crazy]? And with a whole summer program and senior year ahead??

Come on Lily, get your head out of your ass.

We ain’t got time for that.

There’s a line straight out of the Compline prayer that has traversed my lips countless times:

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

It’s like John Lennon stepped into the book of common prayer y’all and slapped some sense into the evening meditation, whispering words of wisdom:

We’ve been there. We know what we know. We saw the warning signs.

We know the patterns that will likely follow (sending prayers in advance), where the line of tolerance is, where facades of character broke down, what better looks like, and the better that lies ahead, and what we need to get *done*.

Letting it be is peace.

Letting it be is freedom.

hoping // to have the time and patience to amend my taxes, finish some leftover coursework, get some more time in outside running, get back into a blogging regimen and spend more time in the sunshine (:

loving // this somewhat consistent warm weather, the absence of academic deadlines [!!!] I’ve been able to run a lot lately and it feels. So. Good!!

praying // for my friends and family, for those who are in transition right now, for those going through a tough time, for safety as I embark on these next few weeks, for patience, for those watching, for motivation and a renewed sense of purpose, for tact, and for resilience.

Here we go, May. 

Damn, I’m excited.

xx

you Cough

Lingering in my lungs

sticking to my insides

dimming my spirit

stifling my laughter

despite the elderberry

Wine

sudafedwatersleep™

tempting me not to show up

daring me to arrive anyways

even though I could just sit out

Just this once

I’m tired of you.

you Cough

enthrall me against my will

without warning

grip my heart

and strangle my breaths once again

garnering looks

all sorts of tilted mouths

and crumpled eyebrows

You see me

You have me

and I don’t know

why I came anymore.

april.

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

This March just felt like a bucking bronco the whole way, though.

And just like that, it’s over.

Crazy.

It’s been a while since I’ve put things here. I like to think that it’s because I’ve been busy, out there learning and doing and getting caught up in being excited again, rather than brooding on old things.

So.

Without further ado.

read/reading // writing //

READING this brilliant book. It’s called Note to Self by Connor Franta. It’s a series of photos, short essays, and poetry– all deeply *deeply* profound and something I found myself resonating with quite a lot. 13/10, would recommend.

Image result for note to self connor franta

Also reading this adorable book a bit every morning: Have a Little Pun, written and delightfully illustrated by Frida Clements.

Related image

learning // about a lot. Both personally and academically. I’ve been trying to keep a list of things I’ve learned every day on a personal Trello board of mine… but I’ve been a little remiss in keeping up with it ):

One thing I will say though, is that after the conference I attended RE: mindfulness and contemplative practices in higher education, I got hit with a wall of truths.

One of which I had read somewhere before, but only realized earlier this month.

They say you shouldn’t publish things you’re still working through. No books, no passive aggressive tweets or blog posts or articles.

Well YIKEs.

I think about depression, I think about heartache, I think about relationship troubles… And the reason for that is this: it’s because we’re still processing. Everything we’re feeling, everything we know, and everything we don’t know quite yet hasn’t quite fallen into place. And we don’t have the capacity to be judged harshly by others quite yet.

I think about my bouts of angsty wanna-be poetry *wince*.

I think about the outpouring of emotions I’ve committed to this space, perhaps before they were actually ready.  And I find myself torn between deleting a phase [“it’s not a phase mom!”] and keeping it for reflection, as a gauge to just check in with myself and see the results work in progress, and just how diligently time presses me to move past, move forward.

doing / working on //

  • climbing mountains!
  • self-care. It’s a continuing process. And I feel like I’m starting to make steady progress!
  • furthering the hunger initiative at my university’s campus ministry
  • doing design for an upcoming conference in October about teaching learning technologies!
  • raising funds for my STUDY ABROAD IN IRELAND THIS YEAR!! 😁😁😁🎉🍀
  • Going to the gym. Ha. Who even am I LOL

eating // the Girl Scout cookies and Sourpatch kids I was blessed with in the mail (,:

drinking// coffee [though I gave it up for a solid week there for a sec!], milk, and not enough water! AHAHA!

listening // …to not a lot lately. I realized this today, actually. I think it’s because I’ve been without my headphones for a bit now… but here we go regardless:

being inspired // by my collegiate community. On March 28th, 2019, a fire broke out in an apartment complex just down the road from me. Many students lost absolutely. Everything. Someone started a GoFundMe and [pardon the pun I’m terrible] before you know it, it spread like wildfire. In just about 3 hours, my school managed to raise around 30k for these students. It absolutely blew my mind. Right now they’ve raised over 90k.

The next day I went to the place they were taking donations and when I walked in my jaw almost hit the floor– there were boxes piled up so high on the first and second floors, full of donated goods, gently used goods, and brand spanking new items as well. I really had no words. It was amazing. And the volunteers were working tirelessly throughout the evening.

laughing // so much this past weekend. It was so beautiful out, my birthday held *THE BEST* weather. I had friends come in from all over to celebrate getting old with.. and it hit me harder than ever how important good people are in this life, in my life. How thankful and lucky I am. ❤

thinking // …still about my financial responsibility, about the framework I still need to set for this summer, and how everything is going to work out. I’m thinking about my grades [even though I know they aren’t the be-all, end-all] and how I can finish this semester out strong. I’m thinking about my social circles, what I can do to spread love and positivity amongst the people I love most.

trying // my best to push forward, not according to the words of others, but according to what I am feeling, what I am meditating on, what I am perceiving to be the best course of action.

hoping // to buckle down and do my math homework, prioritize effectively, and take more advantage of the nice weather that is scheduled to come up.

loving // all of the beautiful opportunities, people, passions, and causes I’ve been blessed with. It’s so hard sometimes to stop. So hard to just put things down and take in what’s happening. But I swear. Just one moment of looking up and looking around in the immediate surroundings… it hits. Almost without fail. The cognizance of the abundant that exists right. There. In front of you. ^_^

praying // for what my February self wanted: clarity, peace, focus, and energy. I’ve felt it, I know I have. I’ve had a taste of what I can do, uninhibited and my focus laser sharp on what matters. However, I know there is still work left to do. So I’m praying for strength and patience, and mindfulness, too.

Here we go, April.

xx

scrambling.

You know what’s crazy?

How much can pass in such a condensed amount of time.

Recently I’ve been scrambling. I’ve been scrambling to class, scrambling to work, scrambling to show up.

Scrambling to please, scrambling to “prove myself”, scrambling to figure out just what exactly is going on.

It’s hard to believe that all it took was a meeting for coffee in which I ordered nothing and a sermon quite clearly calling me out on my lack of peace that threw a wrench into all of this scrambling.

I’ve saved so much in the way of Instagram posts from uplifting accounts and inspiration from friends and others and there’s one that comes to mind right now:

Sometimes we forget that we totally have the capability to, much like walking through a store and deciding we don’t want an item, put it back on the shelf… and then just walk away.

Just like that.

Of course, I’ve had this told to me countless times before, and if anything has jumped out at me these past few months, it’s that this stuff isn’t easy. Sometimes we can’t just decide we don’t want it, put it back on the shelf, and then go check out.

It may take a couple dips in and out of the shopping basket, some brief bouts of hesitation, just as it’s out of the confines of the hand-held plastic before we decide.

And sometimes, hell, it takes us all the way up to the fricking check out line, we we literally put it on the conveyer belt and then realize “SHIT I actually can’t afford this anymore??¿¿”

I’ve been there. In the snacks aisle. Losing a battle to garden salsa SunChips. Putting them back and taking them back and putting them back again. Or taking them and then realizing “whoops” and then putting them somewhere completely different than the snack aisle oops I know I’m terrible *wince*.

But no matter how many of these hard stops I’ve made…I realize every single time that I’m not alone. That this isn’t all happening in a vacuum. It’s so hard, putting stuff back on the shelf eventually but let me tell you the end result is *so* fricking rewarding.

So fun story.

My priest actually talked about laying our dark sticky at the foot of the cross and then coming back saying “oh wait, but I need this part!” Earlier on in the day I listened to another sermon devoting to loving our enemy. …And when I couldn’t hold back tears from hard-core relating to the second sermon that day, I knew it was time.

I knew it was time to just stop, collect my thoughts and events and sort through everything I had within my heart and my head one last time, organize the hell out of it, realize what I did and didn’t need, and put it away.

I’ve no doubt that the urge to re-open will come again, that the urge to sneak back a bit of forgiveness will bite at my ankles… but I know that what has brought me to this very moment is so much stronger than those urges.

At the start of this year, I felt unstoppable. Everything felt new. Alive. I willed it into vibrant being. I even sauntered into a coffee shop confrontation to triumphantly “assert my dominance”. Crazy.

It didn’t stop there. I pared down my closet. Tremendously. I laid the framework for minimalist choices that have, in the long run, saved me much time and money.

I built up daily habits that didn’t actually actively work to destroy my body, such as drinking water every morning, shutting my phone off to airplane mode and keeping it on that mode until I was completely ready and walking out the door for the day the next morning.

I gave up coffee for a solid week and a half.

I took stock of my pantry and have tried to only eat what was inside it before I bought anything else. It was simplification calling my name, a desire to just rid my life of clutter I didn’t need anymore.

With spring (hopefully?) approaching and the looming time difference looming I realize that there’s so much power in the “starting over” vibe that we get with new seasons, new years, new months, new weeks, even new days. It makes me cognizant of the fact that there is always a “now”, there is always a time we can shed some light on where we are currently. It’s easy to say we can “just choose happiness!”

Sometimes that’s…not the easiest. I can tell you there’s something to be said for being addicted to sadness.

But what we can do is observe. Notice our beautiful, love-giving friends. Take note of a nice day. Smile back at someone. Offer to help with something. Contemplate in silence. Rediscover something you used to love.

But whatever small thing it takes to help us move out of that place of feeling stuck? Try to nudge it. Try to pick it, see where it leads. We fall down, so ridiculously hard sometimes. I can pinpoint two moments in the past 30 days where I was like “yep wow okay so uhh… *that?Whatever that was?* Needs to never happen again.”

We can learn from those times. As disgusting and squirmy as they may be, we *can* brush ourselves off, give it a whopping “yikes,” reconcile, say thank you, and keep stepping forward.

xx

// mom’s coffee

I made mom’s coffee today

after picking up

then putting down

a small plastic cup that would probs

end up in the ocean anyways.

I read grandmother’s letter today

I could hear her words

through the tight lines of flowing cursive

always apologizing for hurting my eyes

with her meaningful, delicate strokes

if only she knew.

How much the joy triumphed over pain

combing through her letter.

I realize I’m becoming more

like the best parts of my mother every day

and cherishing the parts of my grandmother

that are tucked therein also.

I add creamer from the packet

and pour in my my two-minute microwaved water

toss in some sugar

and sit down

and remember.

// non, je ne regrette rien

Is it crazy of me

To want to go outside among the mist

Of cars racing past

Their wheels kicking up water from the dirty street

To want to feel damp to the bone

And watch as the raindrops

Dance down the windshields of the cars under the street lamps

Is it crazy of me

To want to fly down the road

Windows down

With the rain pouring in

A complete and utter blatant disregard for the saying of old

You’ll catch cold out there!

Especially if

I’m already sick

I’m already cold

I’m already catching it.

Is it crazy of me

To want to start everything at once

And then unabashedly decide

That I want none of it

And then just revert

To watching old Ellen re-runs

Until I muster up courage

To try again?

Is it crazy of me

To repeatedly put my independence on hold

To reach out again

In solidarity

In friendship

Towards a brick wall

That avoids communication of any kind

Mistaking caring

for interest

And understanding

For desire

Is it really that crazy of me

To hold on to the sliver of hope

That we can civilly come to terms

with who we are

And what we want?

xx