Category Archives: Living a Good Life

Choosing joy.

[I began writing this post in February and left it in my drafts. But I’m revisiting it and sharing it with you now! Lucky you.]

This year — 2014 — was supposed to be an amazing year. I know because I decided last year in December. 2013 ended rather poorly, but I was filled with motivation as we rolled over into the next year. I was convinced that every moment of my final semester of college was going to be flawless and thrilling, and that nothing was going to hold me back from living my life to the fullest!

Boom. Then life kicked in.

Continue reading Choosing joy.

Am I a feminist?

I was recently asked if I am a feminist, and the question made me pause and carefully consider my answer. Am I a “feminist”? I surely hesitate to apply a label to my ideas on such a fluid subject; one of the first points I learned about feminism is that the ideology is not the same as it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. So I don’t know that I am a “feminist” in the same way that you, reader, would define it. But I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to lay out what I believe on the subject of women’s place in the world as it becomes an increasingly discussed subject in our culture today, from the #yesallwomen hashtag to accusations of a rape culture.

You see, I think any woman would tend toward ideas that empower women if she had ever been treated by men in her life as if she were an object that they deserved, or if she had been desired for purely carnal reasons.

Continue reading Am I a feminist?

On sweet little moments.

College is busy. Really busy. And if I allow it to be, college can also be chaotic. Assignments, meetings, shifts, and exams attack rapid-fire for the entire duration of each semester, and it’s so easy to be swept up in the rush and scarcely take time to breathe. Some days, I’ll look around and realize, “It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t even had the time to sit down one time today.” But amidst the whirlwind pace of a college senior’s life, I can look back and see moments when time seems to slow down, and each second feels sweet and bright. When I break out of the monotony and catch a truly beautiful moment, the rest of the rush doesn’t feel quite as important.

Continue reading On sweet little moments.

So much more.

Close your eyes and imagine something with me. (Actually, maybe don’t close your eyes, since you need to keep reading. Maybe try to do both. I don’t know, figure it out.) Imagine you woke up one day and you couldn’t remember anything about yourself, about your friends, or about the human race, but then you stumbled upon your social network accounts. You have to try to figure out what your friends are like based on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Worse yet, you have to figure out who you are based on social networking. What would you decide about human nature?

Maybe you’d discover these things:

  • Everyone spends the weekend in groups of people, having fun and partying.
  • People typically look happy, put-together, and well.
  • Everyone attends awesome, fun events constantly.
  • Your friends who are dating have flawless, happy relationships; your married friends have well-behaved, cute kids.

But then, forgetful, confused you would wander outside into the “real” world and look around… and you wouldn’t see everyone sitting around, looking picture-perfect at coffee shops. Because that’s just not life.

Continue reading So much more.

On people.

People are incredible. Every single one of them. Did you know that?

I have had the privilege of copy editing the memoir-style collection of short stories for a woman who is nearing the end of her life over the past few months, and I have just finished the project. She has documented the stories of her family, from her romance story with her husband to the stories of their children, grandchildren, pets, aunts, and uncles. This author has a creative imagination and she has stylized several of the stories so that she tells the history from the perspectives of family cats and household items, but each of the dozens of stories contains a snapshot of her family’s history. When she passes away in the near future, her children and grandchildren will have a permanent record of every memory that otherwise would die with her. And after reading (and re-reading and marking up) each story, I have come to feel like these people, none of whom I have ever met, are my family. And I’ve also realized something else.

Each of these stories – from the death of her little brother to the wildfires that raged through California during her lifetime – contains a piece of her heart. I have never met this author, but I imagine that if I did, I would not know about most of these stories or people in her life. Even if I spent hours sitting and talking with her, I might only hear a few of her stories, while many more lie hidden underneath.

Continue reading On people.

Serving God and nothing.

One lazy summer weekday morning as I lounged in my bedroom, scrolling through endless Facebook posts about the thrilling adventures of all my friends, I experienced a sudden burst of motivation.

I am wasting so much time on Facebook, I thought. I ought to fast from it for a while.

And just like that, I posted a status boldly proclaiming that for the rest of the month of June (about 2 weeks), I was going to stay logged off of Facebook so I could enjoy the valuable time I have in these precious, warm summer months – time to spend with family, read more, and grow with the Lord. If friends needed to get in contact with me, they could text, call, or email. But no more of this silly Facebook scrolling habit. I resolutely deleted the app and closed the window. Once I was logged off, it slowly dawned on me that I had little other reason to be on my computer, so I turned it off and read a book instead. I read my Bible before going to sleep that night (not a consistent occurrence, I must admit ashamedly), I slept wonderfully that night, and woke up feeling great about my life.

That afternoon, I slyly logged back on to see what I’d missed in the past 18 hours. I logged off before anyone could catch the little green dot beside my name and hold me accountable.

Continue reading Serving God and nothing.

On times when the truth stings.

Do you remember when you were younger and you fell and scraped your knees? If you had a caretaker similar to my mama, you were held down as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol was poured or dabbed onto your wounds. I always preferred hydrogen peroxide because the bubbles that would erupt as they killed infections fascinated me. But oh, did it sting. I kicked and screamed, crying and fighting and trying to resist the bitter treatment. But as a result of that pain, my knees never got infected from the dirt and pebbles that had the chance to hurt my skin.

Recently, I made a mistake. My attitude poisoned those around me as I wrestled with the consequences of my choices. I was filled with excuses and prideful denial, and my only goal was to protect my own skin, when I should have been thinking about how to make the right, God-honoring decision.

Continue reading On times when the truth stings.

Your headstone.

We always hear that life is short. But what if it really is?

This morning, I had the privilege to spend a few hours at a local nursing home in Lynchburg. Our service project (which was really just my idea of an enjoyable Saturday morning) was to sit with the patients, talk with them, build relationships with them, and simply love them with the love of Jesus. I sat with 93 year-old Isabelle, who hates her name but loves her son in California. I sat with Mary, who was overflowing with happiness and slightly nutty. She told me as I sat with her, “You is kind.” I told her she was wonderful.

When we left the nursing home, I told them that I would see them next week. Maybe I won’t – because maybe they won’t be alive. When you’ve been alive for 93 years, you don’t know anything for certain anymore.

Continue reading Your headstone.

It’s my pleasure.

[Note: Written sometime in 2012. Just now finished and posted.]

This past work week was unique for me. I typically spend my eight hours Monday through Friday behind a desk and talking to people. It’s where I thrive – I get to talk and laugh with people in the office and members of my gym. It’s a great, fun job that I genuinely enjoy.

I also help out in other departments of the gym. This week I gave one of the hardworking employees in housekeeping a week off and spent my 40 hours folding towels and maintaining a clean locker room and restrooms throughout the club. It’s not glamorous work, and it doesn’t involve interacting with members, but I am able to stay productive and busy, and I was able to help out a dear coworker of mine.

Continue reading It’s my pleasure.

The Fast.

Today is day four of my 47-day fast from the websites Facebook and Tumblr. Last year, I abstained from non-Christian music while observing an informal version of Lent (you can read my blog posts about it here and here), which was a great experience, but this year I decided to step it up a bit. Unfortunately, a Facebook and Tumblr fast was one of those decisions I made on a whim, mostly because I realized it was Ash Wednesday and I hadn’t planned to give up anything yet, but then I opened my big mouth and told the whole world that I’m doing it and now I know I have to stick to it. I hate when I do that.

It needed to be done, though. I came up with a list of ten reasons why fasting from these sites is important and necessary for me. I’ve written it out and it sits on my desk, in the event that I need the reminder (which I believe I often will). I also posted it here.

But it’s been going well so far. I learned how to temporarily block my computer from accessing those sites, I deleted the apps from my iPod Touch, and I wrote up a contract of sorts and emailed it to my best friend. If you couldn’t tell, I don’t trust myself to simply log out and not type the website into the address bar for 47 days without a problem. I’ve broken the Facebook fast once to write down all the birthdays and events that are occurring from now until Easter into my planner, then promptly signed out again while avoiding eye contact with my news feed or the little red flags that come up at the top of the screen.

I’d appreciate any accountability you, the reader, can offer me. I need all the positive peer pressure I can get. I’m excited to take this journey and finally free myself from an addiction I have denied for too long, while growing exponentially in the process.

In Christ,

Carissa