Book Love: Things Fall Apart

Compassion. Sadness. Open-Mindedness.

Those are the three things I got from finishing Chinua Acheb’s Things Fall Apart.

As a reader, I felt such compassion for people who seem a bit different from myself. The people in this book are different from me culturally, religiously, and linguistically. They live in tribes, have houses of mud, and beat their (multiple) wives. These people worship spirits of the Earth, fear evil spirits of the unborn, and believe that woman are worthless. The people in this book, and the man who writes it, use a language of which I cannot understand, and will probably never learn.

And yet.

We are so similar. We have loved ones who we try to protect or help. We have communities and rules that we each live by. We are all searching for the thing that will make our lives complete. For Okonkwo, he chases fame, titles, and respect. He follows his culture and is deeply rooted in their traditions, unwilling to change.

That is where  sadness overwhelmed me.

Are we not all like that at times? So comfortable in the ways things have been for decades, weeks, days?  Then, when a part changes, some of us lose ourselves, our faith, or our minds.

Time changes things. People change things.

That is the way life is; we know these changes are bound to happen.

This book is such a great example of what happens when a person is unyielding to change or unwilling to accept others. It helps bring a new opinion and point of view to those in the Western world. The book asks you to be more open-minded.

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This book is a quick read at a 9th grade reading level, but the wording is a bit hard to work through due to the author not having English as a first language.  With that being said, some parts of the book may be a bit dry and hard to get through, but the overall book is worth the read. If you have the time and want to see how other cultures view the Western world, be sure to check out Things Fall Apart.

Much love. Much grace.

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Go Giver Collective

I have exciting news, friends!

 Go Giver Blog has found an official place to call home at http://www.gogivercollective.com!

I am so happy to announce not only that this blog is an official “.com” but also that Go Giver is turning into Go Giver Collective.

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I know there are some questions as to why there would be a change, so I will just take the time to answer them right here!

Will Go Giver Collective still have the same message of Go Giver Blog? 

YES! Absolutely! This blog will still have the content you love about life, positivity, and helping others. I am just adding a bit new content to some of the posts I have started to add a little already.  The blog will have more posts about small things like travels, clothes, or books along with the theme of Go Giver. Go Giver Collective will be a place to continue to share the message of being active givers in our world instead of being major consumers in all aspects of life.

Why choose Go Giver Collective as the new blog title? 

Like I said, this blog is first and foremost about giving encouragement, truth and love to others. The word “collective” means that something is “done by people acting as a group or cooperative enterprise.” The goal of Go Giver is to not only encourage readers, but to also challenge readers to live a life of giving as well. If we all work together to share a little light to others, the world (and social media), can be a much brighter place.

Will there still be weekly posts? 

YES! The blog will still be updated every Saturday. However, there may be a few more posts added during the middle of the week as more content is added and more posts are written.

How can I get the latest updates about posts and projects? 

There are several different ways to keep up with Go Giver Collective. You can “like” the Facebook Page, subscribe to be a reader on WordPress, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Instagram. Twitter and Facebook tend to have the quickest updates about blog posts soon to be under the new hashtag #GoGiverCollective and you can look at past posts by following #GoGiverBlog.

Thank you so much for your support, this would not be possible without all of you!

Thank you for coming along on this exciting new adventure with me and the new Go Giver Collective!

Much love. Much grace.

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Oh, Canada!

Back in November Mr. Yell and I were able to visit some friends of ours who live in Alberta, Canada. It was such fun to see our sweet friends and enjoy some time in a new place. The last time I had visited Canada was when I was very young, and I was there for a limited amount of time, so it was wonderful to go back.

We visited Banff National Park in Alberta, and it was one of the most incredible places I have been. The mountains were breathtaking and the lake we visited was gorgeous.

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Mr.Yell posing with those beautiful mountains!

Since we went in the winter, most of the trails were closed and some of the roads were too treacherous for driving to make it to other lakes in the park, but this one was such a rewarding place.

If I ever get the chance to visit again, I would like to spend more time at the National Park and just enjoy the outdoors. The mountain air was so pure and wonderful… something that is nonexistent in good ole Louisiana.

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Mr. Yell and I found the Red Chairs.

The red chairs we found are actually symbolic of the most scenic places in the parks in Canada. Finding the chairs is a fun challenge and lets you know when you have stumbled onto a view not many people get to see.

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River in Banff. Look at that blue water!

I always feel most at home in mountain areas. I love the mountains but also the trees and the rivers. This one was so pretty with the blue water and the roar of the water despite the ice. The river was fairly close to downtown Banff (which is in the middle of the park) so it is pretty easy to find.

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Downtown Banff National Park.

The mountains surround the cozy downtown and made me feel a bit like I was in Whoville from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It’s always fun to see a little magic in places!

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One of my favorite stores we visited in Banff was the Rocky Mountain Soap Company.

All of their soaps are handmade and have natural ingredients for a variety of needs. I bought a bar of vanilla orange facial soap and I love it! They also carry lotions, bath bombs, and lip balms of all scents!

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Side stops with Mr. Yell are so fun!

While visiting we made many side stops just to get out in the cool air and enjoy the snow. One of the cutest places was a tiny gas station that also rented little chalets. We were able to stop in to get warm and to enjoy some yummy chocolates!

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On our way to Banff… look at those mountains in the distance!
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My yummy “Dirty Chai” from Coffee Traders

Cochrane Coffee Traders was the cutest (I know… I use the word “cute” a lot… but how can I not??) coffee shop ever! It had high rafters and a mural depicting a Canadian skyline of mountains. I got a Dirty Chai Latte which is really just a regular chai latte with a shot of espresso… SO GOOD.

Do you have any favorite places or recommendations for Canadian adventures? Do you agree with my suggestions or have any questions? Let me know in the comments or feel free to contact me in the contact section here on the blog.

Much love. Much grace.

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Wonderful times with sweet friends! We love our Bennett family!

 

Why I Love Being Married Young

There are different ways  and different stages of growth.

Being married is one of them.

Let me just preface this post by saying that I got married at the age of 22 years old. I am not as young as my parents were when they were married nor am I as young as my grandparents were. However… the average marrying age in my generation is 27 for women and 29 for men. So for Mr. Yell and I to get married at 22 years old is considered marrying very young in today’s world.

Marrying young is not something I planned on happening, nor did I particularly hope it would. Being married at 22 is something that has worked out in the best way possible for my life… and honestly my husband and I love it. 

People have asked me about why I would settle at the young age of 22 so I made a list of some of my favorite things!

  • New adventures for both of us. Zach and I love traveling, hiking, road trips, and any type of adventure. We did a bit of international travel separately when we were just dating, but being able to have a travel buddy is the best thing ever! We not only get to experience amazing things, now we get to experience them together.

 

  • New habits formed together. Let’s just be real. We all have our quirky habits and as we get older we tend to get less compromising about them. Whether it’s how you put toilet paper on the roll or how often you wash dishes, when you are younger you are more likely to alter your habits because you haven’t been living on your own as long. Being married young means that Zach and I have been able to work out more compromises about day-to-day habits than if we had been older, because let’s be honest… I would be ten times more stubborn than I am now.

 

  • Lots of dreamer talk. I am a BIG dreamer. I love making plans, researching fun trips, and just thinking about possibilities. Being only 22, Zach and I can talk about the fun things we would like to try, cities we would love to move to, and dream of building our own tiny house. When you are younger there is a sense of possibility even if these dreams don’t end up happening how we want, we are able to enjoy a fun, restful stage of life where we can dream together.

 

  • No rush to do anything! I think this is one of the biggest pros of being married a bit younger. We are in absolutely no rush to do anything. We can take our time figuring out what we want to do career wise. We are able to talk about getting Master’s degrees, the possibilities of moving, and even switching careers altogether. We can also take our time when deciding when we want a family. Zach and I feel fairly unique in this regard living in the South because many of our friends are already wanting to (or actually are) starting families at our age. While we love children, we are able to think through about what we would want for our future family and can plan accordingly. With the earlier start, we are able to  work on building our relationship together before feeling the need to add kiddos to the mix.

 

  • Learn about the Lord together. This one is obviously a biggie. No matter what, God should be the center of our lives. We each have our own walks with the Lord and that is absolutely important, but there is something to be said about being a unit. Zach and I are able to journey together in this new walk. We are learning about the Lord everyday, and what He has planned for us. Since we are younger as a couple, we don’t have solidified of ideas of who we should be or even what God wants us to do. We are learning together how the Lord wants to use our individual talents… and as a team.

 

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Photo cred: Jessica Bennett

Obviously these are all pros of young married life. I know there are cons, I am not naive or oblivious, but for those who just can’t see the appeal of young couples, here ya go! 🙂

I know we are still in the “honeymoon stage” so these points may feel a bit biased, but I am loving this stage and part of marriage. That’s the beauty of new relationships and marriage; there are so many different stages of growth. As long as we are both growing towards Christ and towards each other… there is no reason for the “honeymooning” to discontinue.

Much love. Much grace.

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New Year, New Intentions

Last year I adopted the idea of having a word that would help me to remember my ultimate goal for the year.  Just one word, not a list or  goals for the new year. Last year my word was “Breathe”. I have a hard time resting, and when I chose this word I was in the midst of planning a wedding and working on school things. With all the stress in mind I decided that for 2015 I could truly benefit from stopping every so often to breathe.

This was actually such a wonderful idea for me because 2015 WAS a crazy year for me! To be honest, there were several times that I forgot to breathe. I would get stressed or disorganized and I would allow myself to get wrapped up in the issues. But there were also times when I was able to put things into perspective by remembering to breathe.

This year I hope to do the same thing. I have chosen a new word, a new hashtag, and a new goal.

2016’s word is: KIND.

If I can be real for a second… Being kind is so hard. Anyone can be nice, but kindness, true kindness, is more difficult. I find myself being more nice than actually caring of others and this year I hope to change that. With choosing “kind”, I am choosing to be more outwardly kind with my words and actions.

I am also deciding to be inwardly kind as well. To me, kindness is a heart issue. It can be the thoughts we have of another person, the emotions we feel when we hear a person’s name, and whether or not we harbor feelings of anger or guilt about people. Kindness can be towards others, but also towards oneself. I could always be a bit nicer to those around me, as well as myself.

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So here we go. A full year of remembering the be kind. A full year to being inspired by the Lord to give me the gift of kindness to others, and myself. Which is a theme that most of us desire and need. To be kind to ourselves is a theme that I have been seeing more and more of this past week with people making new resolutions.

Let us all be kind to each other and to ourselves this year.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have a word you are working towards?

Much love. Much grace.

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