Summer Snaps

Happy Monday!

Steeplechase to Bonnaroo to Alpha Xi Delta’s Founders’ Academy to Katy Perry to Beyonce to the DCC Locker Room to University of Tampa, to Delta Delta Delta Executive Office, and an incredible amount of  additional adventures –all big–because adventure is always and should always be BIG. Take no adventure for granted. 

Summer 2014 was real good. I spent a nice amount of time outside of Nashville and it was needed. Above are just a few highlights.  One of my family members believes that no matter where I go, I have a good time. He’s 98% accurate. I have the gift of finding giggles in the mundane and belly laughs in the extraordinary. I’ve become a calmer traveler and a more go with the flow guest. There’s something about taking a minute, closing your eyes, and breathing in new air. Taking in the blessing that has allowed me to get away from it all. Getting there is more than a feat of transportation. When I travel, I’m all there and nothing about Nashville weighs down my heart or mind.

My mom doesn’t fly and we only traveled by car when I was little. I didn’t fly until I was 18 and my brother never flew until he joined the Air Force. My mom marvels at my ability to navigate the air and I know that she exhales the biggest breath in Virginia when I alert her that “I’ve arrived.” I think I go on my adventures for her just as much as  I do for me.

Our students are officially back on campus and today marks the end of quiet and all that planning for the fall. Fall is here and ’tis time to put in the best work we got.

Looking forward to making Fall 2014 just as fun.  Next stop: Seattle, WA for exploring and a BFF wedding. Follow me on Instagram to keep up @clarkkn.

Lata Y’all.

College Ready or Not?: Come Back to Calm.

How do you rid your life of stress?

I don’t think I really thought about this until I was in college.  However, I was handed stress on a shiny antique silver platter quite swiftly as a first-year student.

To cope, I took “field trips” to Colonial Williamsburg to get away from all the noise. I found that running DOG Street brought me needed happiness and spending time on the elliptical machine and lifting weights made life a bit sweeter.

I can’t neglect sharing that when I was younger,I made my life “calm” by drinking alcohol. Going out and getting beyond the capacity for clear memories seemed to be the easiest way to release it all and to just forget all of my, in hindsight, first-world problems.

No judgment, if that’s where you find yourself at some point this year, but please know that your calm is not at the bottom of a bottle. If you’re going to drink, do it responsibly. Surround yourself with people that care about you. Don’t drive.  Recognize your limits. Work hard to ensure that alcohol does not become your only means of stress relief.

College brings a continuum of angst composed of grades, relationships, rejection, unmet expectations, homesickness, the realization that your professional aspirations ain’t always what they seem, speedy change, roommate woes, time management, financial crises, and peer pressure, etc. I’m not trying to frighten you at all. This is a moment of real talk. Like most things in life, college ain’t all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns.

stress break up

I strongly encourage you as you venture into your first-year of college to begin figuring out those activities/items/people that bring you back to calm and  work to keep those things a part of your burgeoning college schedule.

– If you enjoy the gym, look up the facility hours and block off  time to workout. If you’re a runner, inquire about the best routes on campus or the neighborhood in which your school is located. If you want to run in a group, inquire at the rec center about groups already in existence or chat with your hall mates about starting a group.

– Perhaps you played a sport in high school but aren’t able to or decided not to be a collegiate athlete. Check out intramurals or club sports. This is a great way to keep playing a sport you love but it’ll often be less of a commitment.

– If shopping is your outlet, then please be responsible about it.  I’d advise you to look for things that calm you that are also inexpensive and even better if it’s FREE. You don’t want to replace one stressor with another like money woes. It’s totally not worth it.

– Maybe you’re into “field trips” like me. What are places on/off campus that you can escape? Perhaps there’s an independent movie theatre nearby where you can engage in “escape by cinema”? A local park? A cool coffee shop? A place where you can let your guard down and just enjoy the space. Get off campus. Breathe new oxygen. See what’s popping outside the bubble. 

stress

– Sitting in front of the TV or computer can certainly bring you calm. Stop forcing social. Put on your favorite loungewear, grab some snacks, and chill out with familiar characters.

– Read your favorite book. I know, I know. No one has time to read for pleasure in college BUT when life gets hectic, make the time. Get back to words that make you feel whole.

– Hang with your besties. Be with those that remind you that there’s a bigger story in this world in which you play a critical role.  Having a strong support system can be key to relieving stress.

– Perhaps you’re into playing and/or listening to music. Check out your school’s music department for possible practice spaces. I’ve never been on a college campus that doesn’t have at least 2 public pianos for students to play at their leisure.

– I now know that writing is a great way for me to come back to center. This space helps me release a ton of stuff. Start a blog, public or private, and get yourself a great notebook to journal your thoughts.

– Engage in a life audit. Why are you doing everything that you’re doing? Is it valuable? Do you actually enjoy it? Has it become a burden? Do you really want to spend time in college with this particular group of people? Is this experience adding energy or depleting energy from your life? Sometimes, we just need to get back to the essentials and say a strong “No” to many of the items we have on our to-do list. Remember, the word “no” is a complete sentence. People would rather you give a strong no than a weak yes.

say no

– Go to those that know you best. For me, that’s God and then my family. Speak to Him, read His word, spend time in His house.  Call your family and laugh at all that they are and absorb their love through the phone.

So, how do you come back to calm?  What are those things that give you your wings?

A wonderful part of my job is that I think for some of my students, I’ve become a person that helps them find their calm. We engage in some ultra real talk–like some, get clear, get rid of all that unnecessary crazy talk— and lots of snort filled laughter.  Look for staff members on campus who want to help. Talk to your RA and/or Orientation Leader, student organization advisor, or a faculty member with whom you’ve made a good connection.

Sometimes your stress can become bigger  than a trip to the gym or the local movie theatre can cure. I strongly encourage to seek out your college Counseling Center should you feel that your normal tactics aren’t doing the trick. Never feel alone. If you’re nervous about making an appointment or walking over to the Counseling Center ask a staff member to help you and most of the time they will make a referral and even walk you to the building. I pinkie promise you that students use the Counseling Center on  your college campus. Never feel ashamed. You’re taking care of yourself and that is to be applauded and not maligned. Make yourself a priority. 

Regardless of how you choose to obtain calm, don’t hold stress in and don’t act like it doesn’t exist. You’re human and you get stressed out. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you real.

Lata Y’all! Enjoy the season my first-year friends.

Nesting Pt. 1

I’m not a “home” person. I often tell people that I’m far from domestic. Cooking, cleaning, decorating, building, painting, caulking, and polishing, etc. just ain’t my thing. I’m out and about or “ITS” aka “In The Streets” according to one of my friends. I’m a single woman on the go and I don’t have time to fold anything along the way.

My mom didn’t raise me to play house. She’s a single parent and had a lot going on so she cooked sometimes but I don’t possess any family recipes. We always had a nicely decorated and clean home but that wasn’t the center of my upbringing. She raised me to do just enough but to make sure that I wasn’t spending all my time in the kitchen or cleaning. There are far more important ways to spend your time was what she said. Live your life!

Domesticity only really crosses my mind when I visit other people’s homes and am blown away by what they’ve been able to do with their space, when company comes to town, and when I think about the possibility of being a wife and mother.

Lately, going out has brought me little to no excitement. I don’t want to be out past 10pm, I don’t have any desire to drink, and I don’t feel like playing the small talk game. Getting all gussied up to be bored just sounds like awful to me. Because of this, I’ve been spending way more time at home and in doing so I have come to realize that I can do much better with my space.

Rome was not built in a day, in fact, no city was built in a day, so I’m certainly not overhauling the place in 24 hours like some TLC show.

Instead, I’m taking one project at a time. I’m in a renting season and will probably be in one for quite a while because the thought of owning a home actually make me sick to my stomach. I know it’s supposed to be the American Dream but it has become Krystal’s Nightmare.

My first project:

-make my Instagram come to life

I take a lot of photos. It didn’t take me long to understand that all of these moments are floating around on Instagram and that if for some reason the site goes kaput then I’d be quite sad. I used Social Print Studio to print copies of my favorite images. Inexpensive, fast, and adorable. Memories make for beautiful decoration.

Wall 1

I simply took some tape ( painter’s tape) and adhered them to the wall. A colorful picture grid is the result and serves as a lovely view when I wake up in the morning. I can add or subtract from the grid or shuffle the order without much work.

More Instagram moments have happened since I made my first two orders so I’m hoping to order at least 2 more sets in the near future to add to the scene.

Wall 3

I’ve been in this city for 3 years and I’m 2 months into my 4th year. It makes me happy to know that I’ve been able to be a part of so many fantastic moments with some of the best people I’ve ever known.

Tip: Decorate with what you love.

Mission Accomplished.

Next Up: Tackling my entryway wall

I’m also going to stop forcing myself to go out when I clearly don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with spending time at home and taking care of it and at the same time taking care of me. Oh, and you can follow me on Insta @clarkkn.

Lata Y’all.

 

 

What are you doing in the next 1,001 days?

I took some time today to update my 101 in 1,001. I still don’t have 101 things on my list. I need to think more outside the box or just take notice of those times throughout the day when I go, “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post and Thrive, inspired me when she stated that one can easily complete a task by simply taking it off your to-do list. Magic! There are times when I put things on a list and then after a while I wonder, “What was I thinking? That doesn’t matter.” Instead of still working to get it done or just keeping it on the list and feeling like a failure, Arianna just says “Get rid of it.” Done and Done. On to the next!

This list all started with Design Darling. I read over her new list to borrow a few ideas. Check out her blog and her cute boutique. She’s lovely.

https://peculiarpearl.wordpress.com/101-in-1001/ –Check it out! Any suggestions?

Later Y’all.

 

Chasing Bubbles

I have realized that all areas of my life cannot possess a high level of focus. I mean, I already knew this BUT it still gives me a bit of anxiety when I’m highly proficient in one area and super sucky in another area. My mind and body can only prioritize one area at a time. Those things that easily consume me and put me in a state of flow also make me think that I should be doing that for a living and not mucking my way through my current career path. Hmmm…

While in NY, I helped a friend create a visual representation of the various quadrants of his life. We chatted about overlap and how much of himself he was devoting to each quadrant, whether that level of devotion actually matched his value system, and the consequences and benefits of maintaining his current state of prioritization. Getting to a state of “equilibrium” is a mindset and not an actual thing. “Balance” is a piece of poop that’s been heaped on our heads. We make choices and those choices craft the days of our lives. None of our lives are evenly split amongst all that’s happening in our head and heart. Let’s just accept that and keep it moving. Your “equilibrium” is defined by you and only you know when you’ve reached a satisfactory state. Own it.

What would your graphic look like? Here is mine. Excuse the screenshot.

bubbles2

Vanderbilt, Nashville, Family, Friends, and ME in the middle. I call these bubbles, because like bubbles, they float around (sometimes aimlessly), collide with each other (I have friends that live in Nashville that also work at Vandy), burst each other (crisis at works means no time for friends), and let’s be honest sometimes they just pop! However, bubbles can be fun but also super annoying. They bring joy but really suck if the solution gets into your eye. They also come in different sizes.

My biggest bubble right now is not probably what it should be BUT I’m just looking for some joy and by doing that I’m actually putting myself into the center of things. I’m working really hard not to apologize for this. I’m taking it as a win that I’m at least aware of my priorities and now I just have to continue chasing bubbles. Breathe.

Lata Y’all.

To Be Known & To Be Loved

Pastor Pete Wilson slays the pulpit on a regular occasion. You can find him most Sundays at Cross Point Church whether in person at the Nashville Campus or on a screen at the other 4 locations in TN. If you’re not in TN or just want to chill on your couch while you commune with Jesus, you can check him out online. You really don’t have any excuse to not listen to this message as I have also included a link to it in the post.

Week 5 of Cover to Cover

A few high points for me from this message:
– Yes, cats are going to Hell. Sorry, I don’t enjoy them.
– When I thought of the most beautiful person I’ve ever met it was someone that I thought my heart let go of a long time ago. Darn!
– Happiness is not based on ignorance, but rather it is based on perspective. It isn’t that I “don’t know” or “shouldn’t know” about my circumstances, but instead I should change my way of thinking about my current situation. I should be in the business of choosing joy regardless of what’s happening around me because God trumps ALL.
– Revelation in 3 words: GOD WILL TRIUMPH! Amen!
– Heaven is= A resurrected life in a resurrected body with a resurrected Christ on a resurrected Earth. This world is our home because God is going to heal this world and make it into the place he originally meant for it to be when he created it and put Adam and Eve on Earth.
– The three things we desire:
1. An intimate relationship with God- The concept of inconsolable emptiness is why no matter what I do, I am always unfulfilled. More of nothing (clothes, money, trips, accolades) never fills the void. When will I fully grasp that I have to stop spending to collect more stuff that only makes me feel “better” for a day or so. God satisfies and nothing and no one else can or ever will achieve that goal. We were made for another world.

CS Lewis quote

2. A purpose to live out–I never thought about “the curse” changing the nature of work. We will still work in Heaven but we will have a purpose that will fulfill us and put all of our strengths to use. Work will no longer seem like a burden and we won’t have a case of the Mondays.
3. Untainted Community with no hiding or secrets- We all want to be loved. We all want to be loved for who we truly are and not for the disguise we wear everyday to hide whatever flaws we’ve assigned to ourselves or allowed society to assign to us as we moved throughout this world. We want to be known and loved unconditionally. No judgment, no fear, and no pretense. This is me “naked” like Adam and Eve were literally and figuratively in The Garden of Eden prior to “the curse”. Actually, living the slang of “keeping it real” and not worrying about losing those who “love” you. Our greatest fear, according to Pete, is to be known and not loved. Unfortunately, that is too common of an occurrence. People show up as their true self and we turn our backs, we move away from them so that we don’t “catch” whatever ill we think they have. My friend Darren often uses this Maya Angelou quote,

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

This describes the untainted community. You really know me and you really love me. I don’t have to hide from you or “keep up with the Joneses” for you to appreciate me. I’m not afraid to discuss my woes, shortcomings, and downright failures. We have learned to walk around with a mask and for many of us that mask is what we think everyone else wants to see. I haven’t lost faith in humanity and I’d like to think that there are places in this world where you can “do you” but one has to be willing to take the risks to reveal themselves and be vulnerable. Just know, that whatever happens, God is there with you always. Just because I write a blog doesn’t mean that anyone knows me any better. I write this stuff for you just as much as I write it for me. Everyone’s got their stuff and I ain’t no exception. I just happen to have some pretty dresses to cover it all up as I prance off to work in the morning.

I strongly encourage you to watch the message and make a visit to Cross Point one Sunday. I’d love to see you there.

Follow on Twitter at @crosspoint_tv
Facebook at Cross Point Community Church

Later Y’all.

Psst…

Do you know about these things?

House of Cards on Netflix

If you have Netflix, then you’ve got to watch House of Cards. A friend of mine mentioned it in conversation and I spent the next two days watching Season 1. Kevin Spacey, politics, Robin Wright, scandal, Kate Mara, murder, intrigue, intelligent dialogue, southern asides, sex, suspense, and whatever else you need to make one helluva show. Get into it! Season 2 is in production. You have time to catch up on this gem.

Ruby Amanfu

Ever heard, Jack White’s “Love Interruption“? The female voice belongs to Grammy Nominee Ruby Amanfu. You might have seen her perform with Mr. White on the Grammys. Perhaps you saw her perform as a part of “The Collective” on The Singing Bee or are a fan of Sam & Ruby. She performed at this weekend’s Musicians’ Corner and she didn’t disappoint. Her voice is soulful, soft, and powerful all at the same time. This was her first solo performance in 10 years! I really hope I don’t have to wait that long to see her again in concert. I was also quite giddy that she favorited and replied to my tweets (squeal). Follow her @RubyAmanfu.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Another musical act that performed at the last Musician’s Corner of the summer. I’m a fan of “blue eyed soul”. These dudes from Birmingham light up the stage with their James Brownesque lead singer. He wails.

The Home T-Shirt

A cute shirt, with my favorite place on the front, and supports a great cause. That would be the Home T-Shirt. Wore it, posted a pic on Instagram and Facebook, and contributed to many new purchases. I’m a bit homesick and plans to return this month fell through :(. Oh, well I will be there again before I know it. Until then, I’ll just wear my home on my sleeve or rather my chest ;).

VA Home T

Riffraff

I’ve never been to Fayetteville, AR but my debit card has made the trip a few times. Check out RiffRaff! This boutique drew me in with the ability to order items directly from their Facebook Page. Over the course of two years the shop now has a gorgeous website. If you’re a Razorback Lover, these ladies always have the goodies for you. However, if you’re just a girl who loves fashion, check this place out. The owner is super precious and I’ve always received the best service. My two fave purchases include my red asymmetrical dress that I wore to an Ole Miss game and my flower bracelet in a golden color that is perfect for Vandy games.

Currently coveting:

TN Love

Love TN Comfort Colors Tank

Bow Sheer

Striped Bow Back Blouse

Rejoice School of Ballet in Nashville, TN

The Junior League of Nashville does amazing things in the community. I’m honored to be a member of this organization. One of our partner agencies is the Rejoice School of Ballet. This school offers reduced price dance lessons (mostly ballet) to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A girl might pay $100.00 for what would typically by $1800.00 of dance lessons. The final recital was on Friday and I had to go and support these beautiful girls who have worked hard this summer to learn complicated ballet techniques. They were beautiful and I was moved to tears more than once by their radiance. God is so good! Programs like this are exposing girls to lives outside of their everyday world. It is giving them hope and letting them know that they can be ballerinas or whatever it is they choose to be. It isn’t where you’re from that determines your destiny. As someone who doesn’t come from money, I am always supportive of programs like Rejoice because things like this opened up entirely new worlds for me. If you’re looking for a new cause to support, I would strongly encourage you to donate to Rejoice.

That’s all for now. Hope you found something new :).

Later y’all.