What the heck do I give up for Lent?!

_DSC0965The Catholic in me really enjoys the idea of Lent. Think about all the suffering Jesus went through for each one of us. You know the story. I don’t have to explain it. It’s a brutal one and it’s full of heartache. Deciding what to give up for Lent becomes more serious for me as each year passes. I’m constantly asking myself “What I could I possibly give up or do differently that could amount to what Jesus did for me?”

The answer is nothing. I can’t do anything to match the sacrifice He made, but I’ve learned over there years that I can do things to make myself better for Him.

So Lent…
What do I give up?
What can I do differently?
What if I forget to not eat meat on Fridays?
Or on Ash Wednesday?

I forget to not eat meat a lot actually. Reid and I tried to hold each other accountable last year. Didn’t work. We like steak too much, but this year I will try to be better. Promise.

Ok so…for the sacrifice part…
I’ve decided to give up sugar, well natural sugar doesn’t count, just the yucky processed stuff. I’m literally going to try my best to not eat sugar for 40 days. I’ll constantly have to check myself and make sure I don’t slip up. Oh man, I’m gonna need some help from above for this one.

What I’m going to do…
I’ve decided that I’m going to journal everyday and reflect on something that will better myself. I can reflect on anything important in my life…whether it be the Bible, my relationship with Cody (Hi my love!), my goals, etc. I don’t always consistently journal, the one I’m writing in now was given to me in 2009 when I graduated from Catholic school. Ha! So I’m going to make a point to do this daily. I’m making a vow to not miss one single day until Easter.

And well… meatless Friday’s will still suck. Always do. I remember my mom and I always ate bean burrito’s on Fridays during Lent. Guess I can do that again now that I’m home.

Anyways… Lent is important to me and it always will be. I seriously don’t miss going to Stations of the Cross during school on Fridays though, but I’m thankful I went to a school that allowed me to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for me, even if it was really hard being in elementary school and sitting in a pew for two hours.

I realize what I’ve decided to do for Lent may not seem like a lot, but I think it will be good for me. Last year, my good ole friend Lauren Ross gave up sleeping in her bed. It lasted a week, but she tried. In a dorm room her permanent palette on the floor didn’t do anything but get in the way. I think Jesus understands.

And to my fellow Catholics needing ideas for lent… read this… I laughed so hard. It’s geared more towards teens, but still hilarious.

I’ll leave you with that. Have a good evening y’all!

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From My Journal to Yours

With everything else that’s already going on in my life I decided… “Ok Maddie, maybe you should start journaling, too!” Seriously the best decision ever. It is fun writing this blog because other people can read my thoughts and ideas, but writing in a journal is so much more calming. I can write whatever I want. I can pour my heart out. I can brainstorm ideas for photography sessions. I can reflect on my past. I can prepare for my future. It’s awesome.

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My bff in the whole entire world, Cody Ray, has been journaling his little heart out as well. He has been asking for topics to write about… and I’ve been trying my best to come up with good quality topics for the both of us to reflect on.

A recent topic was to write about five things you like about yourself, as well as five things you need to work on. It seemed like it was both a positive and constructive topic, so I went with it and wrote about these ten things with him.

I’m going to share what I wrote down… and I challenge whoever is reading this to do the same.

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Five things I like about myself…

  • I like that I’m open minded and understanding no matter what situation I’m in.
  • I like that I work hard to get along with everyone.
  • I like that I’m willing to work hard in order to be successful.
  • I like that I love learning.
  • I like that helping people is something that comes naturally to me & I enjoy doing it.

Five things I need to work on…

  • I need to work on saying everything I feel at the right moments & not backing down.
  • I need to work on not getting worked up over small things that are out of my control.
  • I need to work out more consistently.
  • I need to work on not creating anxiety for myself by trying to plan everything out.
  • I need to place my troubles in God’s hands instead of trying to carry them alone.

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So if you’re reading this… I challenge you to take a moment to write these ten things down. Keep them to yourself or share them with the world, but at least take a moment to do it. It might make you feel better like it did for me. We often forget to reflect on ourselves when we get caught up in the craziness of life, but it’s no doubt worth it and great for the mind.

Happy journaling and have a good evening, y’all 🙂

Didn’t I just get here and why are my thighs bigger?!

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Holy flippin’ cowabunga… My freshman year of college is OVER. Life as a Longhorn has definitely made me smile, made me cry, and taught me to embrace anything and everything life throws my way.  I have learned so many things this year:

  • I love procrastinating but actually hate procrastinating
  • I really, really respect the inventor of lean pockets (pepperoni please)
  • City life isn’t as bad as I thought it would be
  • I miss Corsicana, TX (Did I really just say that?)
  • Exercise makes you feel better about your life
  • SLEEP MATTERS
  • My love for coffee might actually run deeper than my love for sleep
  • People will probably always be smarter than you, better looking than you OR BOTH
  • All you need are Nike shorts, yoga pants and tshirts to survive

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Oh the roommate, Marissa Mann.  I couldn’t have asked for a better one.  I really think how you feel about your roommate can really make or break your experience as a freshman.  Luckily for me, mine was pretty awesome.  We couldn’t be more different, but I feel like that’s what made us so good for each other.  She’s interesting and full of life – and I know she will go do and see some amazing things in the future.

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Ah the dorm room window.  It provided plenty of sunlight for Marissa’s cactus, George.  Yep, she named him George.  It gave us a beautiful view of the city, something that this small town girl isn’t used too.  And it also let Marissa and I send morse code via flashlights to my cousin Reid who lived in that big white building you see in the picture.  We still can’t believe it worked.

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You guys, I pierced my cartilage this year too.  I’m a goody two shoes… so this was pretty crazy for me.  Maybe I’ll get a tattoo next. Mom, are you reading this?  Anyways, Marissa and I decided to get a piercing on a random Sunday night (literally like 9:30 at night), which was good for us because we received the “Sunday Special” and saved like 6 bucks on our piercings.  Sounds sketchy I know, but my ear is still attached to my head and not infected in any way.

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Well there’s me.. living it up on the Duren 4th floor.  This was a Saturday night and unlike most guys and gals in this city I ws not out killing my liver and drunkinly flirting with guys.  My freshman year consisted of almost zero partying and I’m proud of that. My GPA reflected it. SWEET.  I don’t condemn drinking, I actually really love beer, but I feel like living in a city this awesome makes for so many better things to do. Like climbing Enchanted Rock – one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Or running down South Congress after you’ve devoured a Homeslice pizza. YUM.

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This year has also brought me some of the greatest GIRL friends ever.  In high school I was the girl who hung out with the guys.  Everything about me was tomboy, except for those three prom dresses I wore.  I came to UT and actually met girls I enjoyed… it was AMAZING.  I love them so much and I couldn’t have imagined meeting anyone else that could have been better for me.  They have listened to me gush about the love of my life, especially while he was away at bootcamp.  They have made me laugh when I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.  They have encouraged me to be the best I can be.  They are great girls and I am so thankful for them.

There’s no way I could ever be able to tell you enough about my freshman year here at THE University of Texas.  It was hard and my brain could explode at any moment now.  It was beautiful and full of life.  But most of all, I grew so much from the day I moved in all the way until the day I left.  I never imagined how much my life would change.  I finally got over heartbreak and the regret of wasting four years of my life on a boy who didn’t deserve it.  I finally realized that I needed to love myself more and be confident in the person I am as well as the person I am still trying to be.  Most important, I became more aware of how extremely blessed and lucky I am to be here in this place with a chance to learn, grow and make something of my life.  So far this has been an awesome ride and I can’t wait to see what sophomore year brings my way.

I love this school and I thank God everyday I was born a Texas Longhorn.

Hook ‘Em

Where have you been all my life?

I took a leap the night I agreed to meet him.  He smiled at me and I completely fell into it.  In the middle of the Wingstop parking lot.  Romantic, I know.

I watched him order his food with a big cheesy smile on my face.  I’m sure he thought I was some kind of an idiot.  Anyways, being the gentleman that he is, I probably offended him when he totally wanted to buy my meal, but I protested against it for two reasons: I had just scarfed down some pizza and I just didn’t think he should have to do that.   Of course, I was impressed by this. Some guys are cheap you know and chivalry IS dying.

We sat down and I don’t remember exactly what I said first but I know it was something awkward.

(Keep in mind: I’ve been out of the dating game for while.  I was anxious and constantly questioned why he wanted to hang out with me. Really bad four year long relationships will leave these effects on you, just so you know.)

It didn’t take long for the conversation to actually get going.  It was easy.  It flowed.  My awkwardness had faded away.  He made me feel comfortable.  He found some way to make me laugh every second. I definitely didn’t want the night to end, and to my surprise it carried on much later into the night.

Where we are from doesn’t provide for any late night fun or activities.  We grew up driving around listening to loud music way too late, trespassing on someone’s open pasture, and according to him stealing speed limit signs, stop signs, etc.  So basically, our options were limited and we hopped in his truck.

(Momma questioned that decision, but he’s a good boy and kept his hands to himself.) 

We drove around talking about all the crazy things we had done growing up.  He completely outdid me, because I was never really that crazy.  I mean I enjoy reading for fun on Saturday nights.  Get ready for one of his craziest moments.  Turns out, some local company had a larger than life plastic caveman outside of their building. (You’re probably sitting there like, “What hick town is girl from?” and I completely understand why.)  He proceeded to tell me that during his senior year of high school, he and two of his friends drug the caveman behind the building, decapitated it, threw the head in the back of the truck, and drove off.  That’s right!  People steal plastic caveman heads in the middle of the night where I’m from.  So proud.

Of course, I didn’t believe him.  I had never seen this caveman before.  But in a matter of minutes, he pulled the truck over on the side of the road and pointed towards a metal building.  There it was.  On the left side of the building, I saw that poor decapitated caveman lying on it’s side looking completely and totally helpless.  I laughed for about five minutes straight.  Who woulda thought I would think this was incredibly stupid but cute at the same time?  Not many can say they experienced something like this on the first date (if that’s what it was). Definitely one of a kind.

After that excitement was over, he turned on the radio.  I’m a sucker for country music. It’s in my roots and my goodness the boy could sing along to a country song.  I think I was sold in that moment right then and there, but that just sounds crazy doesn’t it? 😉

I sat there. I listened to him.  I sang along some. Then I listened some more.  He gave me his phone and told me to pick a song.  I went through his songs and thought to myself, “If he’s anything like his taste in music, then I’m gonna really like this guy.”  For an hour, I sat there smiling in pure bliss listening to this country boy sing while he wasted all his gas driving through town.

We ended up back in the Wingstop parking lot after a wonderful jam session of George Strait, Eric Church, and I’m pretty sure he even liked it when one of my Tangled songs came on. (HE’S GOTTA BE A KEEPER.)  At this point in the night, I believe it was around midnight. I didn’t even try to get out of the truck and he didn’t make me.  I knew my momma would be wondering where I was, but that didn’t stop me and normally it would.  We sat there and talked. And talked some more, not paying attention to how late it actually was.  Eventually, he needed to pee and was totally honest about it.  So he decided to go behind the local Dickey’s — I crossed the busiest street in town with him and that busiest street in town is completely dead at 2 AM, which sucks because I kind of wanted to play our own game of real life “Frogger.”  Small towns are no good for that though. Anyways, he peed and I was totally laughing. What a weirdo 🙂

It was freezing so we hopped back in the truck.  More talking occurred as well as some flirting. (he might of not acted like he wanted me, but he did.)  Anyways, it was lighthearted and wonderful.  So cheesy, but so true.

We said our goodbyes and I headed home around 3 AM.  In one night, I laughed more than I had in months.  My cheeks hurt from smiling.  My heart was happy and full.

Before I got home I knew I wouldn’t be able to pass him up.  I had hung out with so many other good guys, but he was different.  Meeting him reminded me what it felt like to be happy again.  I knew it was only just the beginning and I couldn’t wait to see him again.

If I remember correctly the moment I got home I sent him a text asking, “Where have you been all my life?” In a matter of seconds he responded with “I don’t know, but I’m here now.”

It may have been a little different, but I don’t even care. In one night this happened to me:

My heart melted and I was sold.