When the Going Get’s Tough

The tough get going right? No?

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. Life has been hard lately. I have multiple jobs (yay) and trying to balance all of the work for said jobs with having a social life with keeping up with my relationship while also trying to remain sane and have time to myself was nearly impossible.

Since when is being super busy a badge of courage? Since when is going 90 to nothing until one gets sick the way to do things? I would leave my apartment in the morning and not get back until late at night when it was time to sleep. I wasn’t active on any social media because I just didn’t have time to post or check anything.

Then I was stressed. Stressed with my multiple jobs. Stressed with not being valued. Stressed with not being paid adequately. See, we have a problem in Nashville. There are at least 100 people that move here every day. All of these people need jobs, and the number of jobs doesn’t seem to be growing. So I have to have multiple jobs to be able to pay all my bills. I have to take crappy pay, because crappy pay is better than no pay. If I don’t take the job with crappy pay, someone else will gladly walk in and take said job. It’s tough and not fair.

But you know what? I’m done with that. I know what I’m worth, and I’m going to start negotiating and making it known that I know I’m valuable. WHAT A CONCEPT.

For the rest of 2017 (can we talk about how it’s already halfway over?!?!), I’m going to do what makes me happy. I’m not going to work jobs where I’m overworked and underpaid. I’m not going to waste my time on friendships that aren’t going anywhere. I’m not going to stress about eating that second cookie or missing a yoga class. I’m going to do what makes ME happy. I’m going to put ME first.

It’s sad that this is such a profound concept that we aren’t all already participating in. But here we are. Thanks society.

I’m going back to Texas for over 2.5 weeks and I am SO FREAKING STOKED. Family time, friend time, vacation, relaxing, sleeping, and most importantly, NO WORK.

I’m excited to see how the rest of this year works out with this new mindset. I’ll keep y’all posted.

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25.

Well it happened. I turned 25. I’m a quarter of a century old. 5 years away from thirty. Halfway to fifty. I am no longer in my early 20s.

At first I was nervous. How am I this old?! I moved to Nashville when I was 22…and that still feels like yesterday sometimes. Do I know enough to be 25? Am I qualified for this? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Then I took a deep breath and realized I got this. 25 is going to be MY YEAR. I am prepared for this. 25 is not something to fear, it is a year to embrace. I have had such a peace about life and my decisions over the last couple of months, and I want that to continue over in 25. I want my friendships to strengthen. I want to get more consistent work. I want to mark more states off my list of places visited. I want to take more vacations with friends. I want to be careful with my words and not overuse certain phrases. I want to champion those in my life. I don’t want anyone to question my intentions or how much I love/care about them.

I want to look back at how awesome 25 was. I want to see what I overcame and how much ass I kicked in just 365 days.

Here’s to you 25. Dare I say, bring it on!

2016 Stats

Hey everyone!

I wanted to do a wrap up/review/stats of 2016…partly to share with you, but mainly just to have a record for myself. It will just be a random list so bear with me:

-Worked 51 shows
-23 flights
-192 instagram posts
-Read 21 books

That seems to be all the stats I can find at the moment…but I would love to know how much coffee I drank, money I spent at Vinnie Louise, and how many hours I slept, but I’m too lazy to figure some of those things.

 

Changes

Well guys. After two years of working for Essential Artist Services, I have left and am now a 100% independent contractor.

I wasn’t nervous about quitting; I knew the time had come to part ways. I didn’t have another job lined up, but I had several options in the works. Turns out, I only had to wait a couple of weeks to be offered a job, with one artist that I have always wanted to work with.

That artist is Kari Jobe. I remember seeing her in concert about 4 or 5 years ago and I have never been more moved or cried more during a concert before. It wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience.

I had the opportunity to work with Kari and her team at a Joyce Meyer conference in St. Louis this past fall, so I was stoked to be able to come back for the spring Garden Tour.

We are 5 shows in out of 30, and tonight I leave for 27 days. I have already made some incredible friendships, learned a lot about myself, and somehow gotten approximately 27 bruises. It can be hard to leave behind a city that I love with friends that I care about, but I am just so excited about this opportunity.

It’s already been an incredible 5 shows, so I can’t wait to see what happens over this month long run. I know it will include laughter, sweat, prayer, community, and love. And of course, stories that one can’t possibly make up on their own.

Here’s to new adventures with new friends!

Books on Books on Books

If it’s one thing that my time off and all the rain in Nashville has been good for, it’s reading. I’ve been able to knock off 3 books from my bookshelf, and I still have 6 more to go. I have never had this many books just sitting on the shelf to be read, and it stresses me out. I’m the nerd that will go to Barnes and Noble to look at books to add to my reading list. I have so many on the shelf already that I told myself I can’t make a trip to B&N until all those books get read.

*Side note: I use the free app Goodreads to keep track of the books I want to read and the books I have read. You can give ratings, see what your friends are reading, and browse reviews as well.

So here’s what I’ve read this month so far:

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham. Y’all. This book. I watched Gilmore Girls when it originally aired, have continued to watch reruns, own the entire series on DVD, and watched the Netflix reboot in less than 48 hours. I also watched Parenthood, mainly to see Lauren Graham again. So when I saw this book, it immediately went on my Christmas list. I read it in less than a day, and my love for Lauren Graham is even stronger now. When reading the book, you feel like you are sitting across from Lorelai Gilmore at a coffee shop just chatting about life. But just remember that Lorelai is talking a hundred miles a minute. I highly recommend this book.

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequiest. This one had been on my shelf for a while now, and I started reading it at just the right time in my life. Shauna has a way of connecting with the reader, and you feel like your struggles are her struggles. Even though she’s been married for over a decade and has two young children, I so identify with her struggles and where she is coming from. I think this book has something to say for all women, no matter what stage of life you are at.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Now here’s the deal. I’m from Texas. I live an hour and a half from Waco. Waco was the exact halfway point from my hometown to where I went to college for two years (shoutout to Texas A&M). Therefore, I automatically feel protective of Chip and Joanna Gaines. I feel like I have a leg up over other viewers because I’m from Texas. Because in case anyone forgot, Texas is the best. Anyways. I don’t remember when I started watching Fixer Upper, but it’s hard to watch that show and not root for Chip and Jojo. I was excited to get the book and see how they got started, their struggles, and how they got to where they are today. It was quite the journey, and after reading it I was truly inspired to chase after any and all dreams I have, no matter how lofty they seem or how unexperienced I think I am to accomplish them.

The Lipstick Gospel by Stephanie Wilson. I honestly can’t remember how I came across this book. I think maybe a friend had taken a picture of a stack of books she was reading and this was one of them. I had to order it off of Stephanie’s website because it’s not sold at any retailers. It’s a story of a college girl living the college life, but wanting something more. That something more becomes a relationship with God. It was an easy read, like sitting with a close friend, and I’m glad I got to support her by buying the book. (You can go to her website to get a free e-copy of the book http://stephaniemaywilson.com/lipstickgospeldownload)

I’m just about to start People of the Second Chance by Mike Foster. Mike has spoken at my church before, and we did his study Wonder Life last year. I really enjoy books that make me think, challenge my in my faith, and help me grow to become a better person and a better Christian. I think this book will do all of those things, but stay tuned for my review.

Even though I have a long list of books I want to read, what are some of your favorites? What’s on your list of things to read next? I’m always curious to see what others are reading.

Still Small Voice

I’m just gonna jump right in and get to it.

Sometimes I don’t hear the voice of God.

Sometimes I get frustrated when people’s first response is “did you pray about it?”

Sometimes I want to scream when friends and family tell me “Just keep praying!!” like something is going to change because I prayed about it for the 10th time.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Do you feel the same way? Surely I’m not alone. Right?

I had coffee with a dear friend earlier this week. I was catching her up on life and about certain things I’ve randomly felt led to do. For example, last fall I felt the random urge to lead a small group of college women at church. Umm, what?? If you know me, this is extremely out of my comfort zone. I have never been involved in a leadership role in college ministry. I have never been the leader of a small group. Over the past year, I’ve been struggling to find a small group to join…so I figured I should just start my own. I have no idea why college girls were placed on my heart, but come to find out my church really needed leaders for the college students. Crazy right? Another example was me randomly reaching out to a tour manager I worked with in September. This is just one of the dozens of emails I’ve sent over the past couple of months, most of which don’t get a response. But I not only got a response, but I got a gig! (More on that to come in the upcoming weeks).

My friend just looked at me and said “Kelsey, those were little whispers and nudges from God.” See, we have become so desensitized, that we look for grand gestures and a booming audible voice when it comes to God. Those random feelings I had to reach out about college ministry and then about a potential job, those were whispers from God. So what would it look like if we truly started looking for the little ways that God was speaking to us?

My wise friend also told me to look at rejection as God’s protection. Those emails that never got returned? Protection. That job I really wanted but didn’t get? Protection. That invite to hang out with people that I never got? Protection. That ignored text? Protection. MIND BLOWN. How much would our daily lives change if we had this outlook? I know mine would radically change.

I hope you all have a friend as wise as mine.

 

Harry Potter

You guys.

I may be SUPER late to the game, but at the end of the year I finished reading the Harry Potter series. I was in elementary school when they came out, and didn’t really have an interest in reading them. One day this past fall I was walking through Barnes and Noble when I saw the newest JK Rowling book. I immediately texted my roommate and told her I wanted to read the Harry Potter series, and she graciously let me borrow all the books.

Holy cow. The books were SO GOOD. If you are like me and have lived under a rock all these years, please go read the books. You won’t regret it. I blew through most of them pretty fast. I think the 4th book was my favorite, and I was concerned about how JK Rowling was going to wrap everything up in book 7. But she did such a good job.

I would love to pick her brain about the writing process. Did she always know how the story would go? Did she write each book as it came to her, not knowing what would take place in the next one? Everything was so intertwined that it just flowed so smoothly from book to book. I have such respect for people who can write in that sort of capacity.

I haven’t had the chance to watch the movies yet, but those are next on my list! And then a trip to Orlando to go to Wizarding World. Duh.

New Year, Who’s This?

Well 2016 has come and gone. According to social media, 2016 seemed to be the worst year of everyone’s life. Sheesh. Did I miss the memo? Why did 2016 seem to be so much worse than year’s past?

I didn’t have a crappy 2016, but I didn’t have a completely stellar one either. There were ups and downs, good and bad, joy and pain. But isn’t that normal? Isn’t that called life?

What if the reason behind everyone’s sucky 2016 was themselves? What if it was their attitude and approach to life that made things difficult? Obviously certain things are outside of our own control, but if we controlled what we can and in the right way, how much better would that have made our year?

I know New Year’s resolutions seem to be a big thing this time of year. On Sunday I was told that only 42% of people stick with their resolutions…and honestly that seems like a high number to me. I prefer to make little goals that are completely realistic, not grand overdone resolutions that there’s no way I’m going to accomplish them.

But how much would change in 2017 if we just shifted our attitudes? If we took the bad with the good and just accepted it? If we went after what we wanted, no matter how difficult it might be? 2017 should be the year we take care of ourselves. The year we make things happen for ourselves. The year we decide not to just sit around for things to happen.

Here’s to making 2017 MY YEAR.

Seasons

What season of life are you in right now?

Do you think seasons of life happen just like the seasons of the year? More often? Not as often? Or ever changing?

I’m in a somewhat difficult season of life. Thankfully I have an incredible support system around me. I have a God who loves me and wants the absolute best for me. Whenever I meet people for coffee I tell them that I’m looking forward to when we get coffee 6 months, a year, however long down the road and we can look back, laugh, and see how far I’ve come since that cup of coffee.

Until then, I will keep praying and hoping.

Purging

I have always loved cleaning and organizing. When I was younger, I would completely re-do my closet and room just for fun. Total weirdo I know.

Now that I’m in an apartment and have less space, the space I do have is precious real estate. I try to go through my clothes once every 4-6 weeks to get rid of items, but today I really went for it. My mom was in town and I had her sit down while I showed her all my clothes. It’s always nice to have someone to run options by, and I’m so glad my momma was in town!

I’m not even joking when I say that I got rid of over half my closet. Even if it was an item I liked, if I’ve never worn it or haven’t worn it in the past 6 months, I tossed it. It felt so good to donate that many items to Goodwill!

I also bought new hangers, which takes up less than half the space of the ones I had before. Plus they’re felt/velvety so my off the shoulder pieces and sweaters fit much better on these hangers.

It seems silly, but after getting rid of that many clothes I feel like a new person! I feel invincible, ready to take on the world!

Also: I would much rather give back and donate my clothes to Goodwill than try to sell them or have a clothing swap with friends. Just my personal opinion.