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.

I Pledge to Always Eat Cake

DSC_0293Birthdays are a funny thing. For about the first twenty-one to twenty-five years we get excited as our birthday month rolls around. We count down the days until the big celebration. It’s a day full of cake, streamers, decorations, presents and flaunting your new digits. However, people then tend to enter into “the dark years” where they try to keep their birthday hidden from their co-workers, dread the hundreds of Facebook notification and lie about their age, in an attempt to not feel old.

On my twenty-first birthday, I had a woman say to me “enjoy your day, it’s the last ‘fun’
birthday there is.” Granted, this woman did not know me. This woman did not know that I have been a huge Taylor Swift fan for the past ten years. This woman DID NOT KNOW that to me twenty-one only meant that I was one year closer to “feeling 22.” However, recently I’ve been thinking about birthdays and why the transition into the “dark years” occurs for so many people.BirthdayCakePhoto0296

When you’re young, you can’t wait for your birthday because it means more privileges. (Ten = double digits, thirteen = teenage years, sixteen = drivers license, eighteen = officially an adult/buy lotto tickets/gamble at win-star/buy cigarettes, and twenty-one = weekend in Vegas) After that, birthday’s just make you feel more ancient by the year.

However, while you could look at each birthday as another year gone, another year closer to the grave, I choose to take a different approach.

Each birthday is a celebration of another year God blessed me with life on this earth. Another year of memories and accomplishments. Some people don’t make it to their 21st birthday. Some are lucky to see 60. So each birthday should be a bigger celebration that the last.

Today I’m making a pledge in-front of the entire world (well to the 8 relatives and 3 friends who will probably read this blog post) and I hope you pledge along with me. I pledge to celebrate every birthday with as much excitement and joy as I did my sixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-first. I pledge to always be proud of my age, eat way to much cake and let anyone and everyone wish me a happy birthday.

Just remember, like wine, some things are better with age.

Happy Birthday to all the July birthday babes out there. “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!”

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September 12th

13644232_10207208854481573_1977416454_nIt’s said that the best day of a women’s life is her wedding day. It’s a day when she gets to dress up like a princess, throw a big party, be surrounded by hundreds of flowers and her family and friends. It’s a day when she gets to marry the man of her dreams and start their forever.

Thus far, the best day of my life was September 12, 2015- my big brother’s wedding day and here’s why:

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. I used to love nothing more than curling up on the couch and watching the latest Nicholas Sparks movie or reading another one of my countless romantic novels. However, in the years leading up the September 12th I had grown very cynical. I began to doubt “True Love,” deeming it as a mere fairy-tale. Whenever my “someday wedding” was brought up, I would shut it down, saying I was never getting married. However, September 12th opened my eyes. It made me believe again.

On September 12th, 2015 I watched my big brother marry the women of his dreams. As I stood up at the front of the church and watched Nicholas see his bride for the first time- I lost it. {For those of you who were at the wedding, I apologize that you had to see my ugly crying. ;D) I had never seen him that excited, that nervous, that happy…that in love, in my entire life. Instantly I knew, true love did exist because they had it.

On September 12th, my big brother gained a wife and I gain13644281_10207208855961610_592260887_ned a sister. I now have someone who I can vent all my boy problems to, knowing I’m going to have the most logical advice come my way. I have a sister who’s always there to give me fashion advice, and tips on how to be a successful women in the business world. I have a sister who texts me saying she misses me and reminding me to stay safe on my nights out with friends. Most of all, I have a sister who makes Nicholas take cute photo’s with me (thanks again for the Fourth of July photo. ;D).

When they got engaged I was overjoyed with excitement for them.However, I was also selfishly scared. I thought I would be losing my brother. He’d start this whole new life, with a whole new family. However, the exact opposite happened. Not only did I gain a sister, but I gained an entire new family as well.

This past Fourth of July weekend I laid on the back dock, staring up at the stars, with my eyes filled with tears. I had just had the most amazing day. I went shopping with my sister-in-law and her mom and ran around on the beach. I watched dolphin’s swim and jump through the bay, and as I sat on the boat filled with my brother’s new family they felt like my family too. I had watched Nicholas and Rosalyn bring out the best in one another. I watched them love each other AND their flaws and hoped I would find a love like that one day. I laid there staring at the stars thanking God that he sent Rosalyn into our lives.

Maybe someday my “dream wedding,” will become a reality. I’ll be at a church in Italy, wearing a white dress with sunflowers in my hand, about to marry the man of my dreams. Maybe someday THAT will be the best day of my life. However, for now September 12th is my favorite day because it’s the day I learned to believe in love again. I gained a sister. I gained a new family, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

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Only love can overcome hate 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome to world!” John 16:33 ••• Thursday night hatred struck the city that I love. Hatred struck the city I call home. The Dallas Police Department protects me every day on my commute to work. The Dallas Police Department helps keep me safe every time I venture into the big city I love. They make the concerts, festivals, and fairs-possible. They put their life on the line to keep their city safe. Thursday night was an act of pure hatred and evil. I’m praying for the hero’s who’s lives were taken and their family and friends who will surely miss them. I’m praying for Dallas- I’m praying for the world. Violence is never the answer. Only love can overcome hate.