New YouTube Vlog Channel!

Hello blogging world! I feel like it has been SO long since I’ve updated this, and I want to tell you why! Lately, life has been really good and I’ve wanted to document it in more of an exciting way than just words on a screen-so I’ve started a YouTube channel! Below I’ve posted a link to my most recent video. This summer I took a family vacation to travel around Southern Germany and made vlogs (video blogs) throughout the entire trip.  It’s a great way for me to share my experiences with everyone and a unique way to remember what happened while there. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed being there and I promise to keep my actual blogging life up to date when someone monumental happens, but for now, enjoy!

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Where Was God?

For those of you who don’t know, I lost one of my very best friends in a motorcycle accident last Friday morning, one week ago exactly.  Even though we hadn’t gotten close until this past summer, Tyler changed my life. … Continue reading

Who To Run To When Cancer Hits Home

I found out a few days ago that my dad’s cancer came back. And you’re the only person I’ve wanted to tell. I know that somehow, looking into your eyes and saying that dreaded, six letter word would stir a reaction in you that would make my world seem somewhat okay again. You know exactly how to meet me in the middle and make me understand things that I can’t on my own. You’re patient and understanding with my emotions and that’s probably why I still love you. I know that you would ask questions about it and get me to talk instead of just mumbling the short and sweet “I’m sorry” response. And just being in that moment with you would make me feel whole inside again.

But even though I know I can go to you to talk about it, you can’t be that person for me anymore. You can’t be my Prince Charming or hero. You have to go back and fulfill the roll of my ex-boyfriend that you wanted to earn. Do I really want that to happen? Not at all, you bring me happiness no matter what role you hold in my life. But do I really mean that? Yes. We can’t keep going on like we’re actually friends and everything is actually okay. You answering every time I reach out and you reaching out on the nights I don’t…that can’t happen. Getting lunch every week and visiting each other at work isn’t normal for couples who broke up. I understand that after all this time, you can 100% say that you do only view me as a friend. But I can’t say that, and the in-between relationship we have right now only confuses me more. It takes me back to the months before we ever started dating, whenever we would hang out you called them dates and I didn’t think so. I think that’s what gets me the most, what hurts me the most, what keeps me up at night and makes me hold on to the last thread of hope.

And that’s why we can’t even try to be friends anymore. You can’t be my person.

Internal Struggle: What It Was Like Dating An Atheist

{I wrote this post in late August/early September last year, we aren’t dating anymore, but I wanted to share what I felt at the time. I should have known then this would be the reason things changed.}

He looked over and told me the three words that completely changed me: “I’m an atheist.” My world went into slow motion as I tried to comprehend what I just heard. God is the most important person, concept, believe, everything in my life; how was I supposed to accept the fact that one of the people I’m closest to doesn’t even believe that He exists? Thousands of questions and comments filled my head….How do you explain babies? What happens when you die? What’s the point of life? How do you explain the beauty in the sky right this very second? You don’t have God moments every single day? I wanted to ask them. Every single one of them. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t open my judgement, I couldn’t scare him away from opening up to me for the first time ever. Other than the repeated “wow” as I thought, the one solid phrase I knew was true was that I was so sorry. I didn’t know how to respond to anything, but I knew I was sorry. Sorry that he doesn’t feel like he is loved SO MUCH by God every single day. Sorry that he doesn’t know that God grants even his littlest desires – like the surprise tomatoes in his garden that satisfied the craving he didn’t even know was there. I am sorry that he didn’t have something he could really believe in, someone to comfort him when no one else could. I am sorry that he didn’t think life really had a purpose and that it just seemed so sad.
He feels like his questions don’t have answers that can be explained. He doesn’t think people have souls. He thinks that when you die, the world goes black and it’s all over, there’s no point in anything. You were dead before you were born, and you are dead afterwards. Emotions are just different nerves and chemicals inside of your body and the colors in the sunset are just gases and pollution in the sky. It just sounds like an awful way to view the world, and it’s so hard to try to see his perspective on things.

Everyday is a battle for me. I’m the kind of person who likes to argue until her point is proven, but I know I can’t do that with him. I’m not sure why, but there is a reason this is all happening. I struggle to avoid topics I know will make me upset and I try to not come off as too strong in my faith. I would be lying if I said there weren’t days where I find myself deep in thought about him and struggle not to cry while thinking about it all. I just wish he could see. I wish he didn’t think that his doubts about some things completely shut him off from everything else.

Occasionally, he goes to church with me on Sundays. He’ll ask questions and really challenge me in my faith. I know that I’m the only really religious person he has in his life right now, but I can only do so much. I never want to force him into doing something he doesn’t want to do, but I wish that I could at least plant the seed. Sometimes people can’t physically do anything to help others, but I’m slowly learning that prayer is so powerful. This is a constant burden on my heart, but I do know that God is looking out for me.

Prayers are always appreciated.
~E

Being Downgraded To A Sexual Object By A Man

To all the ladies out there who have ever bought any type of lingerie . . . Have you ever had a man ring you out and comment on your choices?  Specifically telling you that “Wow, I can just picture you in this right now.”  Any of you get offended?  I know that I sure do.  I get offended hearing about this happening to friends, to family members, to women that I don’t even know.  No, this hasn’t happened to me specifically, but I work in a sporting goods/hunting store, and we sell camouflage lingerie.  Yeah, it’s absolutely hideous and we joke about it, but some people are really into it.  When we sell any of it, everyone always notices.  But it’s typically that someone just bought it, not anything about the actual woman who purchased it.  But imagine my surprise and absolute disgust when, after ringing out the first woman who bought a matching bra and undies set, my male coworker turned to me to comment on it.  Let me tell you something first, this is the same coworker who asked me for pictures a few months ago so I already don’t think very highly of him.  After the woman left he turned and looked at me and said: “Man, that entire time I could not stop picturing her in that.”  Excuse me? What was that?

Am I the only one who finds this absolutely downgrading? Women are SO MUCH MORE than boobs and a butt!  We are created and designed for so much more than just a sexual objects or eye candy for men!  What’s worse? This was a few weeks ago . . . and tonight it was MY boyfriend who sold a set.  Of course he thought it would be necessary to tell me because we joke about how many we sell, but just the way he told me hits the same nerve that was hit before.  “I wanted to remind her that it’s common courtesy to dress for the body you have, not for the kind you want….” Excuse me? Again? I thought better than you! You should NEVER judge a woman on her body, especially if you don’t know her story.  Maybe she was buying new lingerie to inspire and motivate herself to make it become her size eventually, but that’s absolutely none of your business.  And you know what? You shouldn’t be looking her up and down judging her body anyways.  Oh wait, my bad, you’re just “being a dude, sorry.”  Yeah, me too. I’m sorry I thought you could control yourself better than you obviously can.

Maybe it hits more home with me than it should because I just assumed that Rico didn’t look other women up and down everyday judging and imagining what their bodies look like.  Yes, I’m a virgin and he’s not.  Maybe that makes my worries MY fault and MY problems, but it shouldn’t.  I should be able to trust and confide in him and know that he respects and treasures me.  I hate the idea of being compared to his imaginations and past relationships, and that’s such an awful feeling.  Maybe he can’t help his initial thoughts because he is a guy, but he should at least be trying to stop himself.  Not only do myself and the women around him deserve more, but he does as well.  The entire thing just makes me so disappointed.

It’s okay to appreciate a woman’s beauty, but that appreciation should be limited to how beautiful God created her to be, not letting that appreciation seep deep into the imagination.

That’s all, rant over.

~E

Why I Choose Not To Drink

Newsflash: not everyone drinks in college. As crazy as that sounds, I’m an example. Sure, the idea of letting go and just having assisted fun for the night can sound appealing, but I’m just the type of person who likes to be able to control what comes out of my mouth. No one told me that I shouldn’t drink, but a lot of people have told me that I should; it made me start thinking, so I asked myself a question: why don’t you want to drink alcohol?
After a little (or a lot) of thought, I’ve come up with my answer. I come from a reallllly big family who likes to party. Some of my earliest memories growing up deal with being surrounded by alcohol at these parties. I remember that when I went to my very first wedding, I had just gotten a brand new Vera Bradley bag. I (obviously, that thing was, like, golden at the time) never let it out of my sight. That is, until my lovely uncle came and sat next to me on the bench I was sitting on. He put his filled-to-the-brim cup of beer next to me and reached over to give me a hug. And guess what happened? While he leaned he knocked the entire thing on my less-than-24-hour old bag, and guess what, folks? The discussing smell of beer never came out of that glorious bag. Man, I don’t even remember what pattern it was before it was drenched. But in that moment, I swore it off, telling myself that that would never be me.
On a less humorous and more personal level, I remember the very first time I witnessed someone absolutely gone because of the amount of alcohol they consumed that night. At another family wedding (yeah, big family, big weddings) I remember watching one of my favorite aunts stumble around the room gathering up her things while a group of relatives collected in the corner whispering about what they should do with her. As the responsible mother of the five kids she brought to the wedding alone, they weren’t sure what to do with her and her kids. The next thing I remember is that I was in my mothers arms as she stood next to the driver side window consoling one of my oldest cousins. This was one of her first times behind the wheel, getting pushed into DD for her mother for the night, and she was crying hysterically. As I peered around my mom’s shoulder, I could see my aunt through the back window, sprawled out practically unconscious in the back of their mini van, as four other sets of eyes met mine looking equally terrified. Of course, I was just a kid, my memory probably doesn’t give any justice to what actually happened, but that fact that those bits and pieces are formed together means something to me. I would never want to get to that point, and never want to hurt or scare the people I love like she did that night. I think I may have associated alcohol and not safe together from a young age, and I can’t just take that back now, soooo here I am today.
Sure, why would my past mean that these circumstances always happen? It doesn’t. But once I got to college and was given an opportunity with a choice, I only needed to see a few more alcohol-involved instances to realize that drinking just wasn’t for me, it was dangerous and could hurt people. The girl laying with her head in the toilet as I walked into the bathroom in the middle of the night to pee my freshman year, my RA and paramedics gathered outside the door waiting to take her to the hospital. The stupidest decisions all of my friends make every weekend, the way it’s changed some of the people I’ve been closest to and how it’s made more than one of my friendships fall completely apart. It saddens me to see the effects it’s had on me in my life, and I don’t ever want to worry the people who worry about me, because I really respect when people worry about me, worrying about them. And it’s just a decision I’ve decided to make.

~E

Jealousy

This word, this word. Such a powerful emotion that can overtake your goals and desires if you don’t catch it. Jealously can motivate people to do things they regret, it can keep you up at night with worrying and wondering. Jealously effects everyone differently, and can be triggered in a thousand different ways.
About a year and a half ago I was talking to a guy who really taught me what jealousy was. It wasn’t that he was ever jealous, but that his actions forced me to become jealous. We were never anything exclusive but we “hung out” every weekend….and for awhile I believed that it was normal, I assumed we mutually agreed that we had a relationship without a title. After a few months I realized what was up: I was a pawn in his game, a card he could shuffle through. I had to wait my turn in a rotation of girls he would choose between to spend time with each day. I would see the pictures he posted online with them and wonder how he was able to do that to not only me, but all of us. I had thought that what we had was unique but looking at how he acted with these other girls, I began to doubt myself. I began to experience jealousy.
And from there it soared. Even though so much time has passed since then, I still notice it. And do you know what? It’s not my fault. I can’t help worrying about the other girls in someone’s snapchat best friends list. As much as I try I still can’t let go of the fact that I’m not in someone’s profile picture. You liked someone else’s status and still haven’t liked mine? What’s going on? You don’t feel the need to update the world saying that we’re hanging out? Why not? Who don’t you want to know? Are you embarrassed by me? Are you worried that another girl in the rotation will see and become as jealous of me as I am of her? How awful is that. That’s not the way my thought process should go as I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. It’s awful that I feel the need to compare myself to people I don’t even know. It’s horrible that, as much as I want to trust someone, what they say and do online really affects my thoughts on how they view me. Uploading a picture you took with me on a date shouldn’t be the official proof that you liked spending time with me, but for some reason that’s the way I now view it.
Past relationships and influences really have changed me as a person. I can’t help that I’m a worrier or get jealous over the littlest things. But after being dragged along as much as I have been, can you really blame me?

~E

What It Feels Like When I’m Ignored

Growing up, I was the listener in my friend group. I was the one everyone turned to for advice and emotional support. I was the one everyone trusted with secrets and the one who knew what everyone else was going through. This gave me a purpose, it helped me feel wanted and needed. However, because I was the listener, I couldn’t ever talk. I didn’t have someone that I could confide in and share details about my own life. I bottled everything up inside and locked myself up. And you know what? That’s so, so unhealthy.
Even though I’m in college now, this still happens. Just last night we had a group of friends gathered in my dorm room. As everyone would share details about their weekend, the group would comment on it and give a little positive or negative feedback about what was said….but when I talked about what I did over the weekend, it would grow silent. No one knew what to say or felt the need to say anything. I feel like sometimes I’m looked at as the one friend who’s still a little too sheltered. That person you don’t want to repeat a perverted joke to because I won’t understand it. I feel like I’m the person people look at and think that I have my morals straight and life put together, and that I don’t need to complain because I have no reason to. But that’s wrong. So, so, so wrong.
I struggle daily. I still deal with my parents’ divorce. I don’t like the school I go to anymore. I may have to drop a class this semester. My boyfriend is an atheist. School is starting to really overwhelm me. I’m learning that I really only have two or three friends. I’m so confused every day. I don’t ever feel like I fit in. I worry about absolutely everything.
I have a lot on my plate, just like everyone else. And when I finally feel like I can open up and complain to someone about it all, I do. I trust them completely. But when they leave in the middle of the conversation we’re having, and don’t reply to my texts for hours, it really makes me doubt myself. I open up, and then I’m shut out. It hurts. I understand that people are busy, but if I’m trusting my thoughts and worries with you, I think you should at least tell me that you care, but you’re busy at the moment and will call me when you can….and then do it. Because if you forget to, it makes it really hard for me to open up again, and just causes me more stress and worry about our relationship. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it’s an uphill battle you have to work with. But when I look at the big picture, I know I’ll always have at least one person on my side, and guess what? Today’s His momma’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Blessed Virgin Mary!

~E

The Outside Looking In: Change

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the inspiration behind this post came from my boyfriend, Rico! When I asked him what he would write about if he had a blog, he told me he would describe how having a brother isn’t really having a brother anymore. At first, I was confused when he told me this, but after he explained I know I feel the same way with my brother and sister. I just moved away for my second year of college, but both of them just left for their first year. Every time I call or visit home, they aren’t there. I talk to them both occasionally, but they’re typically pretty rushed with their new busy schedules. It’s hard seeing how their lives have changed so much in the few weeks we’ve been separated. I can see how much they have both grown and changed and get to watch as they get involved and blossom into their own persons. I’m so proud of both of them, so blessed that they’re both making good, thoughtful decisions and that they’re both working so hard. But it’s difficult. They’re always been my little brother and little sister – we’ve always been The Three E’s In A Pod (haha, play on names with Elizabeth, Elliott, and Emily). But now, we’re all three separate, individual people. As the oldest, it’s really hard for me to watch them grow up from the outside looking in. I’m so used to being with them all the time that it’s different to watch how they change via social media. Hearing about my brother joining a running team and meeting a girl he would eventually ask out sounds foreign not coming directly from him. Watching my sister step out of her shell and make her faith, future, and life her own mold makes me so proud. Don’t get me wrong, it’s crazy to see the pictures she and her friends upload from football games and parties…she’s growing up. And I’m learning that I have to let her. They can’t both be my baby siblings forever, they have to find out who they are just like I had to.
No matter what the future brings them, I know that they’re both prepared for it. I can’t wait to continue to see how they become even better versions of themselves, and I’ll always love them no matter who they turn out to be!

~E

Today’s Question: Would I Ever Get A Tattoo?

Hey everyone! This is one question I seem to be getting asked a lot lately, so I thought I would make a blog post about it! Tattoos are beautiful. They’re works of art that require dedication and a steady hand, they can be breathtaking. I appreciate the time and effort that goes into them, but I don’t think I would ever get one anywhere on my own body…with one exception.
I grew up with divorced parents so I really don’t know what it’s like living in a household with parents who love each other unconditionally. Even though their divorce really benefited me in the long run, I never want to go into my own marriage thinking that divorce could be an option for me as well. When I get married, I want it to be forever. In our culture today, people look at the rings and vows as optional — like it’s not permanent and you can change your mind in a few years. I don’t want that. When I say “I do,” I want it to represent forever. To show this, I want my husband and I to get matching tattoos on our ring fingers. Not anything trashy that would take the place of our rings, but just a reminder that the vows are serious, to me they mean forever.
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A lot of people I’ve shared this with think that I’m ridiculous. To me, marriage is a true commitment that you should have to work for even when the times get tough. Having a tattoo that I can’t just slide off my finger will remind me of that.
~E