WordCamp (My Experience in Journal Form)

Never pass up an opportunity to learn how to be better at what you love.

I love content creating. I’ve always been an artist in many ways and I put myself out there not knowing where it would take me. I never imagined it would take me on a trip at 5 am to Dayton, OH to sit in a room that gives me flashbacks of all the lectures I failed in college for two days. But here I am enjoying every minute of it. And I really mean enjoying. I am soaking up every bit of knowledge I can. To me, that is confirmation that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I thought that I would try a different kind of post where I journal my experience at WordCamp Dayton as I go along. I will give you the dates because this will probably go up a few days after the event since I am stubborn and don’t like to move my scheduled posts around.

*Sidenote: Would you guys be interested if I did a post about starting a blog? Let me know in the comments please.

Here I am on May 18th (I’m actually writing this while sitting on the floor in WordPress 101 class. So far, I have learned a lot. While this conference is for anyone who uses WordPress to build their website, I feel like as a blogger there has been a lot of valuable information so far (although I am certain there will be more). The 101 class has been a perfect place to start. I only had to google one thing so far! I’ve been blogging for 9 months and I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing but that’s ok! Thats why they have these conferences. I even raised my hand and asked a question!

Lately I have been completely on fire when it comes to blogging. If I’m not at my day job, you can bet I’m doing something blog related (and honestly sometimes there if I have nothing else to do. Shhhhhh…). So far, coming here was the best possible thing I could do for myself as a blogger.

Now, I am on day 2 (May 19th) and I have to say, I stayed in the absolute sketchiest hotel ever last night -in the middle of a cornfield, boarded up preschool next door, only a gas station and a KFC nearby, straight-out-of-a-horror-movie type of place. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get killed in my sleep with an ax. But its day 2 and I am ready to take on the day.

 

I skipped a couple classes today because I didn’t wanna overwhelm my brain with information that didn’t necessarily apply to me at the moment. We have free rein of the whole library so I decided to work on some posts and apply some of what I’ve learned so far to my site. I’ve also started savagely looking for places to leave my business cards around so if thats how you got here: hi! Today has been wonderful for networking though. Turns out my favorite speaker was from like a town over from me at home. Who would have thought?

Overall, I had a really great weekend and I learned a lot. I am quite excited to implement some of the things I learned to start creating even better content.

You Can Still Be Loved Without Loving Yourself

A couple months ago, I shared this post on my personal Facebook:

This is always a thought I have had but I have never heard anyone else express it so naturally, I assumed I was in the wrong and brushed it off. Okay, okay, that’s a lie- you know me. I didn’t brush it off. I never brush anything off. I’m still haunted by situations I was wrong in when I was in elementary school for crying out loud.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “no one will love you until you love yourself”, I’d have enough money to pay off the therapy I’ll need for the rest of my life to recover from everyone telling me I am undeserving of love because I don’t love myself.

Let me tell you this: YOU DESERVE LOVE FROM OTHERS REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF. As a matter of fact, sometimes you need to experience love from someone else to help you discover the most lovable parts of you.

It’s okay to question your good qualities.

It’s okay to not know exactly who you are.

It’s okay to be dissatisfied with choices you’ve made.

What’s not okay is allowing other people’s opinions of how you view yourself dictate whether or not you deserve to be loved.

You deserved to be loved. I love you. Whether I know you or not, I love you simply for being you.

My Heart for Travel

When I was 16, the travel bug hit me like a ton of bricks. I was given the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic with a church group and it changed my life. Two years later, at 18 I got to go back to the place I left my heart at age 16. The purpose of the first trip was to work with an 
organization called Caminante. Caminante helps provide shelter and education to children who may not otherwise have the opportunity. The trip opened my eyes in many ways (we literally witnessed sex trafficking in our own hotel). I had been to Canada briefly before but it was my first real time out of the country and the first time I travelled without my family (other than a mission trip to Kentucky). I am choosing to tell this story because most people don’t know these stories as I don’t talk about them much anymore (even though I really should. I am overcome with memories of joy as I write this post in Starbucks on a Sunday morning). Most people don’t even know that there used to be a time when I was very involved in mission work as I haven’t attended church or had any active involvement in a community of faith in many years.

Exploring such an unfamiliar way of living sparked something in me that I had no idea would stick with me for the rest of my life. Almost 9 years later, I still long to go back. I don’t want to go back to the resort part of the Dominican Republic though. I want to go back and visit the people who stole my heart 9 years ago.

When I was 18, I visited Foundation for Peace in a different part of the Dominican Republic. During my visit with Foundation for Peace we worked on many different projects including construction, visiting retirement homes and hosting vacation bible school. Both times I was there I also toured Santo Domingo and spent a little time at the beach. These experiences are the experiences that put travel in my heart and sparked the desire to make a difference. Over the past few years I have learned a few things: I am not a good teacher, I don’t enjoy working with children and patience is definitely not a quality I was blessed with. I need to use the skills and knowledge I have and not force something that wasn’t meant to be. I have since found my purpose in helping others who struggle with the same mental health obstacles that I do, which is why I blog.

I wanted to put my story of how I learned I had a passion for travel and making a difference out there as an example of the fact that everybody starts somewhere and life has a funny was of evolving. I never thought that teaching vacation bible school in very broken Spanish at age 16 would be the reason I blog about traveling and combatting depression at age 24 but here I am. I am thankful for that spark.

life is blurry

I took this picture while I was watching the sunset in Aruba one evening.

I was sitting at a restaurant on the beach marveling at the beauty that is the country of Aruba. The sky looked beautiful and I wanted to snap a quick photo to remember it but no matter how many times I tried to take the picture, it came out blurry. I took the picture on my iPhone 8 plus, which normally takes excellent pictures so I am not sure why this time was different. Maybe it was the universe sending me this message:

No matter how many pictures you take or rules that you break, memories will fade.

One day, I won’t remember this moment as vividly as I do right now.

That doesn’t make it any less significant.

That doesn’t make this sunset any less beautiful.

That doesn’t make the thoughts I am having right now any less valid.

Some of the most important moments of my life are now a distant memory but that doesn’t change the impact they have made on my life. Just because you can’t see something clearly, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.