First of all, #NotPregnant because that is literally the first thing anyone asks me. So no, not pregnant but still excited about this big news!
Mr. Yell and I have decided to move to Seattle, Washington in August! Zach has been accepted into grad school in Seattle and we have been wanting to move there for quite some time, so we are taking this incredible opportunity to go on a new adventure.
We have been planning and preparing for this new part of our lives for a over a year and I am so excited to finally share our plans with everyone. We are both so very excited for this new chapter and doors that are opening for both of us as we venture westward.
Please feel free to share any advice with me if you have any, I will definitely take as much as I can, and if you are in the area, hit me up! Let’s be friends!
I know that I can be an optimistic person, full of love and joy and seeking friendship… but it isn’t always like that. There have been times when life was hard. So hard. There were days that turned to weeks that turned to months that at one point even turned into a couple years where I felt numb to the core. Not because I desired to be that way, but because… well, I don’t really know why. I just know that at times there is such deep darkness that it feels impossible to imagine the light, let alone see it.
I keep journals, I always have. My journals are raw and embarrassing, and I don’t really like to share them with anyone.
So it’s hard for me to share this.
Sometimes sharing our past pains can help others, and even ourselves.
“I feel numb.
I can’t feel happiness or even sadness.
There’s nothing there. Not a care about anything. I’m just numb and empty.
I want help, but I don’t at the same time. I have gotten used to the loneliness that it somehow feels more like a friend than friends do.
Searching for things to fill the empty space in my chest… in my life. It’s just such a deep emptiness… can he fill it? Can this job? Can anything?
Praying to the empty sky for the numbness to ease into feeling, but to no avail.
Will I forever be empty and numb?”
Those words, those heartbreaking and somewhat tragic words are my own. At a time in my life when I was feeling so dark and alone, and I couldn’t seem to grasp onto anything. All the things I had or wanted were slipping by. For a while I tried to catch them all, but then I became used to the weird numbness that I felt.
I am sharing this with you today to let you know that I am a believer in Christ and I have suffered with emptiness. I have struggled with things you can’t imagine. Darkness and sadness and panic and fear and anger and so many things.
Life is not easy, and if anyone tells you that, they are lying.
There is hope.
Even in the dark times when I couldn’t imagine love or light or even an emotion… There was hope for me. Even if I couldn’t feel that hope it was so there. I clung hard to that tiny, barely a sliver of hope. I clung so hard just waiting to make it to the end of the emptiness. Praying and waiting and hoping and clinging with every part of my being.
Eventually the feeling did come back. Such a force of emotion I had not felt in so long washed over me and I felt compassion and love and joy and sadness. It took a couple of years, but it came.
And there it was.
The light. The hope shining brighter than ever. The grace and mercy I had longed for was there as it always had been in Jesus Christ.
We don’t always feel His love, but it is there in a major way.
It is there for you too. You who struggle with depression or whatever your darkness is now. That tiny speck of light that you try to see and cling to is there. Even if you don’t see it yet.
Life may get worse before it gets better, but there are bright days ahead; even if it doesn’t feel like there will be. I know this for a fact.
I eat cheeseburgers. I eat french fries. I like to eat sweets. Because….
I’m not like those other girls.
Those girls who cheer.
Those girls who have to be the most popular or perfect.
Those girls who are catty and mean.
The one’s who contour or waist train. I’m not like that…
I’m not like those other girls.
Who don’t like sports.
Who don’t like comics.
Who don’t like video games. I can’t hide who I am, you guys…
I’m not like other girls.
I only make friends with guys because there is less drama.
I HATE drama.
I HATE when other girls judge me.
I would HATE to be like those other girls.
But what if… those other girls are actually just like me.
Those other girls like the things I do, but don’t say so.
Those other girls feel judged by the make-up they wear or the games they play.
They only have friends who are boys because they don’t feel like they can be friends with girls…
Because they aren’t like other girls.
Other girls… like me.
We aren’t that different after all. We are all trying to be special and unique, when all we really want is to be with each other. The more special we try to be, the more lonely we become. There are other girls like you, and like me. Let’s join forces and make a community, instead of convincing ourselves that other people aren’t like us.
I was always the kid who would be forced outside to play, and then instead of running around, I would sit and read… because technically I was still outside.
I loved nature, I just didn’t like camping. I HATED camping. I didn’t like the lack of showers, good food, warmth, or books. I wanted a cabin… not a tent.
However, as I got older I have really started to fall in love with the outdoors, and with being out in nature. I love hiking and camping now. Nature has started to become a place to relax and reflect, that alone has made me slowly but surely fall more in love with camping.
Zach and I have recently started to go camping more often. We want to work up to a backpacking adventure, but we are starting small with camping trips where we don’t pack out all of our stuff in order to try new gear and refine our skills.
One of the pieces we bought was a tent. We bought a 3 person tent that was light-weight, easy to assemble, and perfect for us.
However, it took us a bit of time to get to the end result of buying our tent.
Buying a tent is a big deal. There are so many options and variants to tents that it is overwhelming to know where to start.
For Mr. Yell and I, we just asked ourselves 4 important questions:
How many people do you want to fit in your tent? Do you need a family size? Do you want a two person tent? How much room do you take up as an individual? How much space does your gear need? For Mr. Yell and I, we really wanted a two person tent. We wanted something small so that less area would be disturbed. However, once we started looking at our needs, we realized the 3 person tent would be better. This way we have plenty of room for us, and our gear.
Mr. Yell and I are slowly getting into backpacking, so for us the answer was NOT heavy at ALL. We wanted something light and easy to pack, this way we have room for other things like… food. This narrowed down our options considerably since we wanted a pack around 5 lbs and no more than that to conserve space and energy when on the trails.
Again, since we are starting to make tent camping a bigger part of our lives now, durability was a major factor. We wanted to buy a tent we could use for a few years and not just a season. This meant looking at what our tent was made out of and how it was put together.
How much set up?
Like most people our answer was “None. No set-up please!” But also like most people we realized we don’t live in a fantasy world and will have to set up our own tent. Since I am not a master at puzzles and Mr. Yell and I knew we didn’t want to freak out over instructions, we really wanted a tent that took under 15 minutes to set up. We wanted easy and quick so that when we do start backpacking for longer hikes, we don’t have to waste much energy on our shelter. The tent that we ended up choosing promised a 10 minute set up time and it is definitely fast! The poles are already connected by bungie cords and the hooks are twist and snap to attach the poles to the fabric. Definitely a win for us!
Just remember: buying a tent can be a pretty serious commitment because of the cost, so don’t be afraid to take your time when looking, be sure to ask questions of yourself about what you want vs what you need, and ask others questions as well.
It is a tradition for me to make fun little goals for myself each year on my birthday to try new things or do more of what I enjoy. This year, I accomplished some but not all my goals could be scratched off the list.
This year I want to set different types of goals.
I want to set more meaningful goals.
I am continually growing in my goal setting because not only would I like to actually accomplish goals, but I also want these goals to bring me closer to a larger goal. Whether the goal is to be healthier, gain traction in my career, or find a way for my dreams to take shape, all of these larger goals need smaller more reachable goals. So this year I am setting realistic “themed” goals for myself.
Become more creative in my teaching.
Be more knowledgable in my content area.
Let go of anger.
Try not to expect perfection.
Be the hands and feet of Christ.
Take my vitamins when I need to (like an ADULT)
Drink more water (like an ADULT)
I am excited for what this year will bring for me and for my family. We have some exciting adventures ahead and I can’t wait to see how they all turn out!