Thursday, February 28, 2019

BEGINNINGS | Q&A Interview with Nabila About Blog Beginnings

Today on the blog we have a very special treat: To conclude February's theme of BEGINNINGS, I interviewed Nabila (who blogs over at Hot Town Cool Girl) about the beginning of her blogging journey and what she has learned! Please give Nabila a warm welcome and check out her answers in the segment below. Happy reading! 

Q: What sparked your interest in blogging?

A: My friend! She had a blog and was showing it to me. At that point, I didn't have any social media and neither did any of my friends. The thought that you could have this space that was truly yours that you could do anything with made me so, so happy.

Q: How did you go about creating your very first blog?

A: When I came home from my friend's [house] that day, I immediately asked my parents [if I could have a blog]. They said yes! They knew a bit about it because they also had blogs for work. I named it "Nabila Eve." It was very dark and had about a thousand gadgets.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self about
beginning a blog now that you have more experience?

A: Design really counts. Also, proofread. I think one of the most important things, though, is to reach out to people! In the beginning, I thought I was a lonely blogger and there were no other bloggers around my age at all. When I actually found other bloggers and started talking to them, I felt so crazy accepted and they helped me so, so much.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a blog?

A: Just do it! So many people want to do things but they never do because they're too scared or anxious. Also, write about stuff you're actually passionate about. Don't start a blog just because you think it will be popular or you will make money off it.

Q: What is your biggest blogging victory?

A: I haven't done anything amazing with my blog like go to New York or get some award [but] I think one of the biggest things that has come from my blog is it has helped me find myself. I used to think I was boring and had no skill. With writing my blog, though, I found out that wasn't true. I have lots of skills and people actually like me? Like what?  

Thank you again to Nabila for the fantastic interview! It was so fun getting to 
read your answers and share the story of your blogging journey.

What about you? What kind of advice would you give to current bloggers and/or your younger blogging self? I remember when I first started blogging, I crafted an entire post dedicated to Pi Day. You read that right, folks. Share your embarrassing blog beginnings stories with me below!

This is the last post in the BEGINNINGS series! (Boo hiss.)
Click here to browse through all the posts in the series.
I'll be back in March with a new theme for you all soon. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

BEGINNINGS | Learning to Replace Negative Thoughts with Biblical Truth

I will be the first to admit that a lot of the time, I struggle to believe what is true.
I could blame it on our culture and its constant stream of media, but that wouldn't really be fair. What is more often the case is that I choose to listen to my own thoughts instead of what I know my family and friends and the Lord are all saying to me: good, beautiful things. Why is that?

Years ago when I spent a week with tanned legs and bandanas galore at summer camp, I learned that to get rid of one thought,
it helped to ruminate on another.

That was a big part of me beginning to realize just how I could shift my mindset
For every negative thought I had, I found a Bible verse to replace it, so when I was feeling angry, insecure or doubtful, I could read what the Bible had to say on that particular topic. That was also probably the same summer I came home to show the weird and (literally) campy program videos to my non-camp friends and learned that one should never, ever do that. BUT I DIGRESS.

Those verse cards helped me learn how to swap bad thoughts and replace them with truth. Which is something I find myself needing to learn again now as an adult, interestingly enough.

My friend Jenny also created a similar resource for me when I was still in middle school. Jenny is the best, I seriously have to give her mad props for being a mentor to me at a time when I was 13 and hyper as heck. The little card she made me is still taped inside my Bible front cover to this day and has a list of all the things God says about me (and you). Cards like this have been such a help to me over the years, so I thought I'd share it with you:

Loves me: Isaiah 43:4-5
Cares about my feelings: 1 Peter 5:7
Knows everything about me: Psalm 139:1-10
Is close to me: Acts 17:27
Forgives my sins: 1 John 1:9
Is my friend: John 15:15
Died for me: Romans 5:8
Never changes: Malachi 3:6
Comforts me: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Hears me when I pray: Micah 7:7

All credits go to Jenny. I was so blessed by these both then and now, my heart.

What about you?

Do you ever struggle with negative thoughts, and if so, what do you do to feel better? Did you ever go to summer camp and make weird memories? And what is one thing you're looking forward to this weekend? Thanks for reading, friends.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

BEGINNINGS | Beginning Again: Dealing with Change and New Seasons

The journey from 2018 to 2019 has been such a wild ride. I know we're already more than halfway through February, and really the new year isn't so new anymore, but I can't help but still feel in awe at how different everything feels from last year. All the change. All the forward momentum. The direction I'm going in, where I'm headed.

Yet sometimes, I don't see how far I've come until I look back.

On my lunch break a while ago, I wrote out my thoughts on this, on the back of whatever paper I had at the time (scraps of card stock and the back of an envelope). 
I never published them, but the sentiment still rings true: Change is sudden, but it also happens slowly, and then suddenly, the things that scare us don't scare us anymore. That's the best way I know how to summarize this new season, jumping into 2019 after a crazy 2018.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Life is weird because you can feel like you aren't moving forward, but then all of a sudden you look back and you can see how everything has changed and is different now. The people I surround myself with, the church I attend, my confidence in myself and at my job. How the Lord is surprising me with His 100% better plans for my life, when I was so busy focused on my own. Things I was so nervous about don't freak me out as much. When God provides, He also provides peace.

I remember the beginning of college, and my very first day.

I remember that feeling of absolute terror I had, waiting in my mother's idling car in a one-hour parking space for Creative Writing class to start. And then, how over time, without my even noticing it, that terror transformed into intrigue and joy, and then routine. And now I can't imagine that I was ever afraid.

Maybe there will always be new fears on the horizon, and maybe it will still be difficult to navigate new seasons with faith and trust.

But if there's anything 2019 has taught me so far, it's that God's got me. He can take a weary spirit and a scared soul and calm all the fears, doubts, insecurities and worries you have and turn them into something beautiful. He can give you a fresh start that you didn't even know was possible. He can walk you into a new season of life that only He could have provided, and hold your hand along every step of the way.

Here's to a new, beautiful beginning.

What about you?

What has life been like for you lately? I genuinely want to know. What kind of season are you in: a beginning, middle or end? Also, major shout-out to my sister for letting me borrow these stellar photos. Happy weekend, friends!

Miss last week's BEGINNINGS post? Check it out here, my dudes!
Or click here to browse all of the posts in February's BEGINNINGS series.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

BEGINNINGS | Introducing February's Theme & Some Quote Love

Before we move any further into the already super-short month of February, allow me to introduce this month's theme: BEGINNINGS. It may seem kind of counterintuitive to post about new beginnings and fresh starts in the second month of the year, after all the New Year's inspiration for goal setting and reinvention has somewhat cooled. But that is exactly the point!

This February, I am finding myself in search of balance, rest, and restoration.

The Lord has shown me that with Him, I can begin again and again and again, and that He always has grace for my mistakes. If that looks like a fresh start on February 10, and not the super shiny January 1 #BestSelf I craved, then so be it. I am longing for that new life that the Lord can breathe into a familiar routine as He helps me navigate this season of life.

To start off BEGINNINGS, I compiled a list of inspiring quotes and lyrics about rejuvenation, time, beginning. As I feel refreshed and encouraged to move further into 2019 in God's strength, I find that I am still looking for my own words to share. So please enjoy these lovely little bits of goodness, in a new segment I'm calling Quote Love, woop woop, cheerio, pip pip and all that:

Quote Love: BEGINNINGS Edition

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
- Oscar Wilde

Oh dear, is this one ever true. Knowing yourself and prioritizing time to preserve the person that you are is vital. No one is perfect but working on yourself and learning and growing are the best steps to take in becoming who you want to be.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
and next year's words await another voice."
- T. S. Eliot

I could snap, this is poetry in motion. Gone now are the words and the thoughts of even five minutes ago. So long as we have breath, there is always a chance for us to start over again. Now is the time to lean into a fresh goal, perspective, head space or moment of grace for ourselves.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning,
great is Your faithfulness."
- Lamentations 3:22-23

There is nothing I could possibly add to increase the impact of this phenomenal passage,
so I write only to say that it's a promise, and we can cling to it. My heart!

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
- Winston Churchill

I don't even know why but this one hit me so hard, I actually said "OOF" aloud. 

"Woke up in the corner store, someone saying my name,
Everybody moving around, acting like nothing had changed,
But something had changed in me."
- Bleachers, "Good Morning"

I will never cease to be amazed by this song, or Jack Antonoff's music in general. To me, that whole second Bleachers record feels like moving on, starting over, saying goodbye. It hits me in the heart. My fave, my fave, my fave.

What about you?

What kinds of things do new beginnings bring to mind? Does anybody else struggle to live up to the pressure of a January New Year's #BestSelf? And do you have any Quote Love to share with me?

This is the first post in the BEGINNINGS Series!
Stay tuned for more posts in the series coming atcha real soon.