thankful for…

  • fall days that actually feel like fall
  • pumpkin caramel poke cake
  • redemption
  • terrible Christmas lifetime movies
  • dogs. all the dogs. but especially my dogs.
  • Spotify Premium’s student discount
  • fiances
  • getting the perfect amount of sleep (not too much, not too little)
  • coffee/tea/La Croix’s million flavors
  • family (immediate, extended, and future through marriage)
  • carbs
  • holiday traditions
  • surprises
  • old friends who become like family
  • big comfy sweaters
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What To Binge Watch Next

When I started grad school, I made some goals for myself, including never forgetting to let myself binge-watch a good (or crappy) show every now and then to wind down and give myself a break.

Tbh one of the worst #firstworldproblems I’ve experienced is that awful feeling you get after finishing a series and realizing your life is now devoid of any meaning. Usually, I watch the first episode of at least 5 shows before deciding on one to stick with for the long run.

I made this handy list of shows I’ve watched and loved in hopes that it could save someone from Netflix/Hulu limbo.

Enjoy.

If you’re looking for drama:

  • One Tree Hill
  • Wayward Pines
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Friday Night Lights
  • 90210
  • Stranger Things

If you’re looking for laughs:

  • The Grinder
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • The Office (duh)
  • The Last Man On Earth
  • Superstore
  • Friends
  • Parks and Rec
  • Portlandia

If you’re looking for girl power:

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Gossip Girl
  • The Mindy Project

If you’re looking for “reality”:

  • The Hills
  • Keeping Up With The Kardashians (season 1 is a gem)
  • Catfish
  • Paris Hilton’s My New BFF (don’t judge, it’s actually really funny)
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Millionaire Matchmaker
  • Any of The Bachelor franchise

If you’re looking for a throwback:

  • Saved By The Bell
  • Dawson’s Creek

The Problem With Critical Christianity

I’m going to begin this with something that might shock you: I am a Christian and I am not boycotting Target.

Lately, it seems that the most “God-centered” posts on my newsfeed are straight pride memes, racist attitudes in the name of Christianity from people claiming their token black friend, and articles about how Beyonce is the “Pagan Goddess of Secular America”.

Somehow, today’s Christians have gotten so caught up in standing against things that they forgot the single most important thing they are called to stand for: LOVE.

When we “boldly” declare that we refuse to do business, live among, or even speak to those who hold differing beliefs than us, we are not only acting in the exact opposite manner Jesus instructed us to (out of hate instead of love), but we are passing up an incredible opportunity to show the face of Jesus to those who may have been hurt in the name of Christianity time and time again. We are willingly ruining the most organic and present ministry opportunity presented to us.

Take, for instance, the Christian bakers who have refused to provide wedding cakes for weddings of gay couples. By refusing service to individuals who do not agree with their personal ideology, religion, and/or morals, they THIINK they are “taking a stand” for their own beliefs, but in doing so, are going against the most important message of Christianity: love your neighbor because Christ first loved us. Not only that, but oftentimes, these declarations of belief (which are usually declarations AGAINST something or someone else) become one instance of many where people are hurt in the name of Christianity.

I grew up being taught that as a Christian, it is my job to “be Jesus with skin on” (even though Jesus definitely had skin when he was alive… but that’s besides the point). I look to Jesus as the perfect example of a vessel anchored in God’s love, filled with His light, and consistently walking by His commandments. This is something that most Christians would say they agree with, as well. Believing this, I also look to Jesus as a picture of a perfect ministry. Jesus did not surround himself exclusively with like-minded, God-following, perfect individuals. Instead, He walked with the ill, ate with the tax-collectors, and enjoyed fellowship and prayed for sinners. He never rejected an opportunity to show a non-believer what the love of God looks like. This was His ministry. And it would’ve been impossible if he had simply hid in his corner of comfort and like-mindedness. As Christians, we are called to do the same.

I hypothesize that today’s popular Christian attitude of standing AGAINST things rather than standing FOR God’s love comes from two places.

  1. Fear

Some of us are afraid to open our minds, our hearts, and our lives to those who hold different views than us. Maybe our confidence in our own beliefs are more shallow than some of us would like to admit (personally, not corporately). Maybe we’re afraid to be seen with people who commit the “obvious sins”. Whatever the reason for this fear, it’s crippling our personal and spiritual growth. Yes, fellowship with other Christians is essential to maintaining a strong, faith-filled life, but restricting our contact to only those who agree with us is robbing ourselves of the opportunity to learn about new things and viewpoints, to meet individuals that we can minister to, laugh with, share with, and inspire, and to grow stronger in our own beliefs. We cannot let this fear win.

2. Arrogance

Some of us think that the most important aspect of Christianity is not committing sins. We like to think of ourselves as “not that bad”, while we sit around and judge everybody and their dog for every move they make. I’m gonna say something that might be uncomfortable to hear: God will not love you more based on how you vote in November, what race you are, or which bathroom you use. 

I’ve always heard that there are two things in life no one can escape: death and taxes. As a Christian, I believe there are two more things that no man can run from: our own sin, and God’s love for us.

There is nothing you can do (literally NOTHING) that can separate you from God’s love or disqualify you from His grace and mercy. And it is only by His grace and mercy that our own sin is overcome. But we must remember that sin is the great equalizer… not a single person who chooses to boycott Target over their policy on transgender bathroom use is free of sin. Not a single individual who refuses to let their kid listen to Beyonce is perfect in the eyes of God (and neither are their poor kids who are missing #LEMONADE).

In light of this knowledge and my belief in Jesus and everything He stood for, I will not boycott Target and I will not take part in the trend of Critical Christianity that is so rampant in our society (and on our newsfeeds) today. Instead, I will choose to live each day in love. I will do everything I can to direct this love towards each and EVERY person I come across. Because that’s what my God — my good, merciful, loving God — has called me to do.

G2g: OKC Zoo

Yesterday, we had our Group Counseling class at the OKC zoo… it was an experience for sure.

Besides the fact that I walked as many steps as I did when I was in Manhattan (we’re talking almost 6 times the amount of steps I normally walk!!), I got to bond with my cohort and my favorite professor, learn more about myself and the world, and see some pretty cute/awesome/crazy animals.

(Note: our class had a pretty heavy discussion about the implications of keeping animals locked up in zoos instead of their natural habitat where they can live happy, fulfilling lives. It’s selfish for us to assume they were created for out entertainment. I’ve had a hard time reconciling that with the fact that I’m amazed when I get to see such beautiful creatures up close because of situations like these.)

Anyway…

The highlight of it for me, animal-wise, was the Flamingos bc pink (duh) and they’re so awkward but people still love them, which gives me hope bc same!!

But the REAL highlight of the day was when my prof cancelled our 12 page final research paper (my friend actually shed tears of joy).

Life is good. Life is fast. It doesn’t slow down. But lately I’ve been trying to enjoy every second I get (and every person I’m with).

This time of year is always a time of endings. As much as I hate change, I have to remind myself that life has changed more times than I can count and here I am, 22 years into this crazy beautiful life (s/o to Ke$ha for those lyrics), happier than I could ever imagine.

xx,

B

“I Am So Excited To Announce”…

I know I’m not alone when I say that it seems that every week, at least 3 or 4 people I’m friends with or follow on social media get engaged/pregnant/married.

Side note: HOW ARE WE OLD ENOUGH FOR THIS??

Anyway, I also know I’m not the only one who has seen numerous tweets/posts complaining about the insane amount of engagements/pregnancies/marriages.

At first, they were funny. They were relatable. I may have even faved a few.

But then I realized something…

How freaking awesome is it that my friends/acquaintances have their crap together enough to be doing such life-changing things?

Somehow we went from crazy, irresponsible high schoolers who hopped fences to ride horses bareback over spring break (true story, don’t ask) to semi-functional almost-adults who do crazy life-altering things like falling in love or starting a family.

Yall, life moves fast. And it doesn’t stop. And somehow we’ve found ourselves at the front-end of the season of life that will be full of friends being “so excited to announce” things and people humblebragging about their successes.

But instead of getting annoyed at the constant reminder that everyone else’s life appears to be awesome while you’re wasting away studying for finals that don’t even count for your major, celebrate the successes of those around you.

Be proud that you’ve built a social circle full of such kick butt rockstars and know that one day, it’ll be your turn to announce your latest win on social media (and the “like/comment” karma gods will deliver if you celebrate others in their time of happiness)!!

xx,

B

 

Edgemere Park

 

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When I was really little, I was on a soccer team. One of my little teammates had a much older sister who always brought her friends and her boyfriend to watch our games. I would see them, the cool older kids, laying on blankets in the grass, watching the world around them, laughing together, and think about how cool it was that one day, I would be a cool older kid who could do those same things.

Fast forward a couple decades and here I am, realizing I’ve never gotten the chance to lie on a blanket with a boy I care about, watch the clouds go by, and laugh together.

Until this weekend.

It was as magical as my little mind had imagined. Feeling the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair, and seeing the world move past as the boy and I were still was relaxing and breathtaking all at once.

10/10 would recommend.

(We went to Edgemere Park in OKC, but any old patch of grass will do. Tip: check for ants BEFORE laying down… we weren’t so lucky.)

xx,

B

Dallas Spotlight: Downtown

A few weeks ago, my friend and I found a little oasis in the middle of downtown Dallas.

Literally.

Klyde Warren Park is a blooming, green patch of paradise built on top of a freeway, squeezed between high rises and rush hour traffic.

We explored the park area and then ventured out to the streets of downtown. Side note: seeing men and women walking around downtown in their business attire is so cute, definite goals.

It was pretty quiet downtown, except for some traffic. Downtown after sundown is a complete different experience, I’m sure. I’ll save that for another trip…

xx,

B

How to Win Wednesday

  • Wake up 10 minutes before your alarm and begin your day by listening to birds chirping outside your window in the rain
  • Arrive at work 20 minutes early (without getting rained on)
  • Large diet coke and grande iced coffee
  • Finally write that final paper for class (while getting paid at work)
  • Go to class, get all answers for both final exams you have to take from professor, have professor move finals week up by one week, giving you an extra week of summer
  • Work out (without dreaming about being run over by a train instead)
  • Sit by the pool and think about how small you are in such a big world after said work out
  • Somehow still have a good hair day after working out
  • Run errands
  • Make dinner for friends (balsamic chicken, lemon garlic brussels sprouts, and parmesan asparagus)
  • Catch an episode of Greys

xx,

B

G2G: the Philbrook

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The Philbrook Museum of Art: a family-owned mansion donated to the city to become an art museum, my favorite birthday spot, the site of almost EVERY local high schooler’s senior pics, and probably the most beautiful place in Tulsa.

This place has it all.

Brunch. Sculptures. Paintings. Gardens. Original furnishings. A story.

If you live in Tulsa, you’ve probably been. If you haven’t… GO. Go now.

I probably go every two or three months, and even though there’s only a handful of exhibits that change throughout the year, I discover something new and beautiful every time I go.

 

xx,

B

An Open Letter To People Who Post Open Letters Online

Please stop.

I don’t know when, but somewhere along the way, we shed our skin of innocence and it became cute to portray ourselves as deeply hurt “survivors” weighed down by baggage.

Newsflash: not cute.

This “wounded warrior” persona comes to life with the many articles (often written by some white, upper middle class contributor to the Odyssey) shared by countless friends on Facebook.

I see it all the time:

“An Open Letter To (insert some dramatic story of your relation to a person here)”.

Tbh I don’t really want to know what you would say in an open letter to “the boy who let you go” or to your “second love” (those are real articles!!)

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I believe there are some things that are meant to be kept private… or at least not posted on every social media platform available. Like the details of how some boy (who we ALL know is the guy you just deleted 38 pictures of and unfriended) broke your heart into a million tiny pieces or what “mysterious” and “insightful” things you would say to your ex (that we regularly see you subtweet).

Posting articles hinting at deep wounds is only scratching the surface of this problem I think plagues a lot of my peers.

We think it’s cool to have problems. So we broadcast and over-exaggerate the ones we do have, and sometimes, some of us even resort to making them up if the ones we’re really facing aren’t “interesting” or “deep” enough.

When did it become cool to be hurt and burdened?

When did happiness go out of style?

To the people sharing these deeply personal/dramatic/annoying articles, I’m begging you… please stop. Stop for my sake (bc there’s no way in hell I’ll actually read it and it clogs up my newsfeed), but more importantly, stop for YOUR sake. Because the best revenge you can get on that “boy who let you go”, the best way to show your second love how much he means to you, is to fill your days (and your Facebook timeline) with the authentic happiness, strength, and joy you claim to feel in those articles you’ve been sharing, without all the dramatics.

xx,

B