Oh The Places You’ll Go

 

Yesterday morning was a time for reflection.

As I sat alone (well Eddie was there but he was sleeping) in a field at 6 a.m., waiting for the hot air balloon festival to begin, I began to think. I began to reflect back on all my past hot air balloon festivals- and where I was in my life.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing… (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)”

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Rewind three years and I was standing in a field with a boy that I had a huge crush on. I was trying my hardest to be cool, fun and look “on point” the entire time. I didn’t know if it was a date… truthfully I still don’t.  However, I was lonely and I wanted more than anything for him to like me back. During this season of my life I was insecure and felt unwanted. At this point in my life, I felt that I needed a boy to make me worthy.

Fast forward to last year. I was exploring the balloon festival with my favorite neighbors. We stood inside of a hot air balloon while it blew up. We ate French fries, laughed and had the most wonderful time. This season was completely different… in many ways, I had closed myself off. I was killing it at my internship, had a ton of friends, loved life, had sworn off boys and had a very distinct plan for my future. I would graduate, move to London, work in Marketing, travel Europe and NEVER get married.

As I thought back on these past few years I realized, while I’ve always been a big planner… maybe that’s not always such a good thing. The bible talks about God’s timing. When was the last time I sat back and watched his plans unfold? I’m always 3 steps ahead- planning next year, my 25th birthday and my future kid’s bedrooms. I’m not living in the present.

I spent so much time growing up worrying about being single. So much, in fact, that I felt I needed a boyfriend to make me normal, whole and happy. Now here, years later, I’m with the most amazing man. The complete love of my life.

So where am I in life now? I have all these beautiful friends, who have all moved around the world. I have a fabulous apartment, but look forward to moving into a house…. it’s never enough. I’m always moving onto the next thing. While goals are good and planning is good, are my plans and God’s plans aligning?

James 4:13-15 says “Come now, you who say “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

During this season of my life where I don’t know where I will be in 2 years. I don’t know when I will see my friends again and I am still learning how to adult… I am going to start focusing on the now. I’m not saying I won’t plan, I think you have to set goals in life, but I will plan with the hope that it is in God’s will.

And if it isn’t, I’ll trust he has something better in store for me.

I mean, the Hot Air Balloon guy didn’t work, but two years later God brought me Sam and now I’m living on cloud nine.

 

 

 

Dunkirk Movie Review

 

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This weekend my boyfriend and best friend have been spoiling me with art museums, shopping, exploring Dallas and so many surprises. However, the first thing on yesterday’s agenda was seeing Dunkirk. As I sat in the movie theatre, flinching as each explosion went off, trying not to spill Alamo Drafthouses’ queso down my dress, I felt inspired to write.

Dunkirk was by far the best movie I’ve seen this year. It’s one of those films that teaches you, inspires you and leaves you thinking back to it 24 hours later.

To be honest, history is NOT my strong suite, and I had no prior knowledge of the Battle of Dunkirk before walking into the theatre yesterday afternoon. And while I am highly embarrassed to say this… my high school crush (*cough* maybe current crush *cough*) on Harry Styles made me curious to see if he could act. (More on that latter)

History Lesson: In May of 1940, the French and British troops were trapped on the water front of Dunkirk, surrounded by German military. They had the enemy on one side and the ocean on the other. With Germany bombing the navy’s rescue ships, nearby civilians began crossing the ocean in their boats to save soldiers. Risking their lives for the greater good.

First of all, I cannot wait to watch this film win countless Oscars in March.

This film was written and directed flawlessly. Christopher Noland’s adaptation told the story of Dunkirk from the air, land and sea. I fell in love with the characters and felt as though I was in those fighter jets, swimming in that ocean and scared on that beach. The cast was phenomenal. With a script that entailed limited dialogue, there were scenes where not a single word was said, and I was left on the edge of my seat completely invested in their struggles.

To me, the feeling of “being in the movie” is what makes a film great. It’s when you get so invested, you forget that you… indeed… are just watching a film. There was one time that I found myself praying for the soldiers on the beach, only to quickly remember that this battle happened over 70 years ago.

Now a quick note on Harry Styles: Harry Styles can act y’all. He is not just some British boy band member. What impressed me most about his involvement in this film, is that they didn’t use him as an anchor. His face was maybe shown 3 times in the trailer. I thought he was simply going to be featured, but ending up being one of the main roles within the film. I love the fact that the production company focused on the story and not the celebrity showcased within.

What are you doing today? No plans, good! Now get in the car and go see Dunkirk because I promise, you will not be disappointed.

 

XOXO,

Bailey

Nobody likes you when you’re 23

Oh my, what a difference a year can make. On my 22nd birthday I wrote a blog post entitled “I pledge to always eat cake.” On my 22nd birthday I felt that life was perfect. I was surrounded by all these friends, was about to start my senior year and couldn’t have been happier… or so I thought.

22 treated me well (even better than Taylor Swift’s song lead on). I travelled to Nashville, met the love of my life, graduated college, vacationed in the Bahama’s, moved into my own apartment and began my first “big girl job.” If you would have asked me where I wanted to be a year from now, I would have said “living in a flat in London.” While my life took a different path, it’s one that I truly couldn’t have ever dreamed up… one that I wouldn’t change for the world.

The biggest difference from 22 to 23 is that I no longer think that life is perfect. I get it… bills suck, work can be stressful and #adulthood can sometimes make you want to hide in bed all day. I’ve learned that no matter how happy you are, someone will try (as One Direction says) to drag you down. I’m watching as friends move away for jobs/post grad school. I find my time passing faster and my to-do lists getting longer. However, truly being in the adult world just makes me value my time/treasures my friendships a little more. It makes those nights filled with laughter, Saturday evening dates and Sunday morning brunches all the more special.

23 is going to be a year of change. I know that. I’ve accepted that. I’ve got best friends living in Bolivia, California and Austin. I am learning how to balance my health, work, friendships and “me time.” I’m dealing with criticism from people who I thought would always have my back.

This birthday feels like a closing of a chapter: no more college and living at home. No more afternoon naps and always having dinner appear on the table (although who are we kidding… with Sam that still happens), but I’m ready. I’m ready to take on 23.

Here’s to always eating cake. Here’s to 23 and here’s to me (not to be self-absorbed… but it rhymed).

 

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College Lessons Learned

As graduation approaches I can’t help but sit back and reflect on the past four years. In some ways, the first day of my freshman year feels like yesterday… it also feels like a lifetime ago. When I think about “freshman me” it’s hard to recognize who I was. I’ve grown, I’ve changed and I’ve learned more lessons than I can count.

 

  1. Life is about balance: When I entered into freshman year, all I did was study. From sunrise to sunset because I was determined to graduate on time and with honors. However, this lifestyle sprung me into a state of illness and depression. It’s when I allowed myself to spend time with friends, watch Netflix (sometimes a few too many098A4208.jpg episodes), be active on campus and enjoy life that I was most successful… that I was happiest. Here I am 4 years later, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the UNT Honors College and I’ve seen more than just the library (thank goodness…. the UNT library isn’t very pretty).

 

  1. Love Yourself: If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to. It’s when I stopped feeling less than worthy due to my (then) permanent single status… It’s when I stopped looking for a boy… it’s when I stopped hating my body that I began to truly love myself. For the longest time, whenever I looked in the mirror I would see my big gums, crooked nose and small teeth. Now when I look in the mirror… I just see me.

 

  1. Every friendship has a meaning:

Some friendships come and go, but each one has a purpose. There are those friendships that enter your life so effortlessly. They fill your days with laughter, group texts and fun adventures. However, sometimes they come to an end. It can happen for a variety of reasons. However, each one has a purpose. Each one has a meaning and each one taught me something valuable about life.

Luckily, there are also those friends that enter your life and never leave.

Last week, as I was walking through the Denton Square with Emily, Mia and Mary, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. The four of us met on our first day at UNT. We all lived on the same wing of Honors Hall and we became best friends… school sisters. We studied together, ate together and had each other’s backs through thick and thin. Here we are, four years later. We’ve all grown and moved in new directions of life… but when we get together, it’s like time never passed. #thebrunettequartet

Then I started thinking about my friends from back home. Hannah’s been one of my best friends since I was three, Rachel since 4th grade and Katie since high school. They live all over the world now but are always a phone call away. Hannah and I are separated by nearly 6000 miles, yet we are still the best of friends. We pray for each other, skype each other and I just know… 3 to 93, she will be by my side.

There is a quote that says,

“’Best friend’ means not having to talk every single day but when you do, it’s like you never stopped talking.”

Over these past four years, I’ve learned this is the truest of the trues.

(WOW. I had a lot to say about that one…. Moving on.)

 

  1. True Love Does Exist:

Last summer, I focused solely on myself: my future career, growing as a person and learning to love myself. I entered into senior year having made a pact with some friends that we weren’t going to date. We were going to focus on school and our futures.

God had another plan for me. I’ll never forget it- the day I spotted him across the Sweetheart Tailgate tent. We talked, we hit it off and the rest was history. Now I’m with someone who loves me for all my flaws. Who compliments my smile, big gums and all. Who is there for all my cheesy picture ideas, endless puns and obsessing over my dog.

Now I’m with someone who’s taught me that true love does exist.

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  1. No matter how many years pass, Gilmore Girls will always be my favorite show: Enough Said

 

  1. Are you ready for the final lesson learned?

 

College is more than just the classrooms:

Yes, I’ve learned Calculus, Finance, Business Policy and the fundamentals of economics. However, it was the lessons learned outside of the classroom that mean the most. It’s those lessons learned above and the lessons not listed that have prepared me for the real world.

 

Now let’s just hope I don’t trip across the stage at graduation. I’m still as klutzy as ever.

 

 

 

 

Stop and Smell the Tulips

098a1979There were rows and rows of tulips, as far as the eye can see. The sun was shining, the faint scent of flowers in the air and love all around. Friends, families, lovers all walking through the colorful field, searching for the perfect tulip to add to their basket. A picture perfect day.

This past weekend my boyfriend took me on the most beautiful double date. We went to Texas Tulips with our all-time favorite couple. While this wasn’t my first visit to the Polish tulip farm, it was just as magical as the rest. With every visit, I fall more in love with these beautiful flowers and continue to be utterly impressed that they can sustain our brutal (or should I say bi-polar) Texas weather.

Texas Tulips makes the perfect afternoon outing. Explore with the family, take photos with friends or pick out the perfect bouquet with the one you love.

It was started by a polish family, who brought their Holland traditions with them to Texas
and blessed us with this beautiful farm in Pilot Point. They are open seven days a week from 9 am to 8 pm. Admission is 3 dollars a person and each tulip picked costs $2.50.

In my opinion, Texas Tulips gets 5 stars-hands down. From the beautiful scenery and kind staff, you never want to leave.

They say you should stop and smell the roses. I prefer to stop and smell the tulips… and maybe take a few photos along the way.

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Visit http://texas-tulips.com to plan your visit.

Address: 10656 FM2931 Pilot Point, TX 76258

 

*All photos provided by: Savanna H. Photo

Living with Chronic Pain

One day I’m cheering and dancing at a Mavericks game, that night I’m crying in agony as my boyfriend rushes me home. One weekend I’m running around a Tulip Farm or laughing at Dave and Busters. That following Monday I’m unable to get out of bed.

You never know when it’s going to strike, in an hour, a day, a week. Your days become filled with medications, doctors’ appointments and doing all you can to avoid the next episode.

You make plans with friends, fearful that you may have to cancel at the last minute. You spend years scared that no boy will want to deal with your chronic pain and all the baggage it sometimes results in. You worry you will lose friends, that your grades will suffer or that you will miss out on life.

This is living with Chronic Pain.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraines. Leading up to the diagnosis, my days were filled with endless excruciating pain that resulted in me wanting God to call me home. I felt helpless. Thanks to my doctors and my diagnosis I was able to introduce daily medication, emergency medication, acupuncture, essential oils and diet into my life in order to decrease the number of headaches/migraines I have each week. I’m now down to 2-3 (instead of 7 days a week).

When a migraine strikes my life goes on hold. My head becomes filled with so much pain, agony and tension that many times I become unable to function. I have to be in complete darkness, my body begins to ache and many times I begin to make no sense. There are days when I throw a pity party and wonder, “why me.”

However, I then sit back and think of all the people out there who have their own crosses to bare. There are people fighting cancer, rape victims, starving children, refugees… and millions of people with chronic pain just like me.

Sometimes I feels like I’m all alone. However, it’s when I cancel the pity party and look at the world around me that I realize how good I have it. Things could be so much worse. I have a life filled with a wonderful family, understanding friends and the most loving boyfriend a girl could ever ask for.

They say God never gives you more than you can handle. My chronic pain may be a part of me, but it is not me. It does not define me and I can handle it, one day at a time.

The fairy tales lied.

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If we rewound and asked elementary school Bailey to define “True Love” her definition would have been filled with glass slippers, love at first sight and prince charming. However, the fairy tales lied.

True loves is not about magical dresses or glass slippers. True love is not about a kiss that awakens you from a deep slumber. True love is not about turning a frog into a prince or giving up your fins to be with the one you love.

True love is so much more than the fairy tales lead on.

Corinthians 13:4-8 reads, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails…”

In 2016, I met the man of my dreams. A man who is patient and kind. A man who “always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always preserves.”

If you ask present day Bailey to define “True Love,” I would say this:

True love happens when you least expect it. (I know clique… I used to always roll my eyes when15241264_10208320026740185_1608716628914585261_n I heard it, but it’s true). It’s when months pass, the butterflies are still fluttering, the fireworks still booming, all while your love continues to grow. True love is being each other’s best friend; being their through the ups and the downs, always ready to catch each other when you stumble. True love is dancing when there is no music playing, or making your own music. True love is that smile that spreads across your face when you hear their name or that excitement you feel when they call. It’s finding that person who makes even the worst of days better. It is about loving each other’s quirks and flaws. True love is the romantic gestures, the surprise hot chocolate, the love notes, handmade gifts and simply being happiest when you’re together.

The fairy tales where wrong all along. My true love didn’t come “save me” from distress. He loves me for who I am. He brings out the best in me and makes me strive to be a better person daily. He challenges me, inspires me, encourages me, and supports me. He’s strengthens my relationship with God and continues to encourage its growth.

The fair tales may have lied. True love may not be about magical dresses or fair god mothers. However, it is beautiful. It is wonderful. It is magical and “all my wishes came true the day I met you.”

Life is like a cliff

I stood on the edge of the cliff, looking down at the water 40 feet below. I watched as the waves
crashed against the rocks, my anxiety rising by the second.  I 14264844_10207616369269188_1026049780708647232_nstood on the ledge, just minutes after
deciding I would not jump and I came to the conclusion that I had two options. I could hike back to the car or I could jump. I could conquer my temporary fear. I could cross it off my bucket-list and always remember the day I went cliff jumping in Nashville.

Life, in many ways, is life a cliff. One moment I’m standing on solid ground. Feeling on top of the world, and the next minuet I have a choice to make. I could spend the rest of my life with both feet on solid ground. However, how would I ever expect myself to fly? There is a saying: “sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.”

The problem is, everyone and anyone has an opinion. They will tell you you aren’t ready to jump, they will tell you how to jump, where to jump, that you are jumping to fast/too slow. They will tell you that you are going to get hurt. They will fill your head with their opinion’s their thoughts and their beliefs. However, sometimes you have to push aside the insecurities, you have to push aside the anxiety, you have to push aside everyone’s damn opinions and take the leapfor yourself. Yes you can jump and fail, you can jump and get hurt. OR you could jump and fly, you could jump and have the most amazing time on your way down to the water below.

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On that day in Nashville, I said a silent prayer, I questioned my satiety and I jumped. I’ll never forget the feeling of free falling. I’ll never forget the feeling of wind running through my hair as I screamed for what felt like eternity. I’ll never forget hitting the water and watching bubbles rush past my face as I moved deeper and deeper. Then there was this moment- when I stopped falling, I stopped gliding through the water and everything was still. At that moment I felt fearless.

I tried to memorize that feeling. A feeling I never wanted to forget.

I’ve reached a time in my life when everything is changing. There are choices to be made, opportunities to be seized. While the future can feel like a scary and daunting part of life, I am most scared of becoming stagnant. I’m scared of falling into a routine, not challenging myself. I’m scared I will miss out on those moments when you lose your breath and time stands still, due to fear of getting hurt, due to fear of failure.

As I swam back to the top of the water, I had a million thoughts running through my mind. However, one thing was for sure… I had taken the big jump. I had felt what it’s like to fly and while the fear of falling can be scary, you also have the opportunity (the ability) to soar.

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Where’s the rule book?

DSC_1557.JPGWhat is love? The dictionary defines it as “an intense feeling of deep affection.” The Bibles states that “Love is patient, love is kind….it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.” Everyone has their own definition of love. Mine’s still currently being written. However, the world is full of people searching to find it. Searching for that love that knocks you off your feet. Searching for their love story.

For some reason, the search for love (aka dating) seems to have these “rules,” and everyone and anyone has their opinion. I’m frankly tired of it.

I’m tired of hearing people tell other’s that their crazy for having dated their high school boyfriend throughout college, because they are “missing out.” I’m tired of hearing people chime in on how “so and so” didn’t give a relationship enough time, or that they jumped into things too quickly. I’m tired of seeing relationships being judged because of a difference in skin color or age. I’m tired of listening to “they got married to young, it’s never going to work out,” or “she’s 35, she needs to settle down.” I’m tired of men and women being judging because marriage wasn’t a path they decided to take.

God didn’t provide a rule book on dating.

Yes the bible speaks of abstinence, adultery, and love. However, there is no “10 Commandments for dating.”  

There are no rules, there are no guidelines. All you can do is put yourself out there, follow your heart and see what happens.

So let’s stop with this. Let’s stop the judging. (I’ll be the first to admit I’ve done this too) Let’s stop following the “status quo,” and lets start following our heart and not caring what other’s think. It irritates me to see my friends having to stress over what others are saying and thinking about their relationships. A relationship is between two people….t-w-o people. Only those two people know what’s right and wrong for them. Only they know what’s best.

Life is hard. Dating is hard. Love is hard. If someone finds another individual who makes the ups and down’s of life more enjoying, who makes them excited to get out bed each morning, then who are we to judge?  Who are we to stand in their way?

 

I’ve Fallen In Love

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I’ve never been “musically gifted.” Regardless of how many voice lesson’s I took, I was never going to be the next Celine Dion. No matter how many times I tried, I was never going to master the Ukulele- the supposedly easiest instrument in the world. However, despite my complete lack of musicality, I have fallen helplessly in love with music.

My father took me to my first concert when I was in the 3rd grade. I stood in the pit, surrounded by other dedicated Hilary Duff fans. I sang. I danced and I forgot about the world.

Fast forward thirteen years and I believe my father is regretting the monster he created.

Music has this way of bringing you back to a single moment in life. There is that song that my best friend and I played on repeat on our way to Winstar last summer. Every time it comes on the radio, I’m back in the passenger seat- windows down, stereo up, screaming the lyrics on the top of my lungs.

There’s that song that reminds me of a boy who once hurt my heart, and a song that brings back wonderful memories of my day’s on the stage.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Dallas traffic. There had been an accident and my thirty minute commute had turned into a two hour battle. I sat there, with anxiety through the roof. I put my car in park, grabbed my iPhone and turned on the Spice Girls. Before I knew it, I had escaped. I may have been sitting in traffic, surrounded by angry commuters, but I was singing and dancing in my own little world. As I sang and danced to Wannabe, I looked over to see a suit and tie wearing man smiling back at me from ear to ear. He mouthed “great dancing” and before I could even get embarrassed he broke out his best jazz hands and began dancing along with me. That is the moment I realized how truly powerful music is. Within moments it had completely improved my mood and transformed my morning.

This is why I love going to concerts. Wheather I’m on the floor at a Taylor Swift concert, watching Ed Sheeran rock out on the guitar, dancing along to Jonathan Tyler, or standing in 20150507_203757a mosh pit at a James Bay and George Ezra show, I find myself in pure bliss. There is something magical about concerts. Thousands of people, singing and dancing together. Everyone has different stories, different backgrounds, different struggles… but for that hour and half we all forget about the past, forget about the stresses of the world and live in that perfect moment.

When my dad brought me to my first concert in 3rd grade, I doubt he ever thought that at age 22 I would be calling into radio stations to win concert tickets and finding free shows to fill my weekends.

This is why I can say, without a doubt that I have fallen in love with music. It is an escape, a time capsule, and I can’t imagine the world without it.