Adventures of a Bookworm: Love Does #3

“You know what it is about someone that makes them a friend? A friend doesn’t just say things; a friend does.”

I’ve been so extremely lucky to experience this type of love in a friendship.  Everyone has the friendships that are about convenience to spend time with you when it fits in their schedule or when there is no one else.  A friendship where love does though, turns the idea of convenience inside out.

I met my best friend our freshman year of high school.  Four years of being best friends, and then the college adventure began. Both hundreds of miles away from home.  Both hundreds of miles away from each other.  We knew we were going to stay best friends though, and today, four years later, I can honestly say that’s true.  And you know why? Our friendship is where love does.

As you’re graduating high school, you have the friendships where you say, “we’ll text all the time and Skype once a week!” or “we’ll always be there for each other!” But that’s just talk.  And until you’re actually apart do you see how the friendships that were meant to last will.

While love may take effort, I personally think the “love does” that Bob Goff describes is about a type of love where effort doesn’t have the negative connotation that can be associated with it.  You do things because it’s genuine.  And most of all, you take action.

My best friend has decided last minute to fly to my school to visit me for the weekend.  My best friend has driven more than an hour to spend the night catching up, and then driven that same distance the next day to watch me compete.  My best friend and I text almost every day because we genuinely care about taking the time to know how the other is doing.

My best friend DOES so many little things, that add up to a great big LOVE that I wouldn’t trade for the world- all of which reminds me that

Magic is hidden in the simple things.

Adventures of a Bookworm: Love Does #2

“I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all the right stuff or obeying a list of rules.  It’s something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice.  Perhaps that’s why Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel- ‘God is with us.’  I think that’s what God had in mind, for Jesus to be present, to just be with us.  It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people.”

The first word that comes to mind when I read this passage is “comfort.” God is always with us.  Jesus is always with us.  We should always be there for others.  How comforting does all that sound?

I think a lot of people are turned off by faith and religion-thinking it’s too strict or they don’t know enough to get involved.  They think following Jesus means obeying a certain set of strict rules that don’t allow you to live your life to the fullest.  But really, it’s the exact opposite.  How freeing is it to think that God is always with you? That if you live a life for Jesus that you’re always there for others? Sure, it’s a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice for the better.  Then I think there’s others who are very religious, and still think that faith is all about living your life a very particular way.  That doesn’t sound very freeing or comforting to me.

God is with us.  Jesus is with us. What if you lived your life based on the feeling that someone was always with you-through the highs and the lows-that someone was right by your side, there with you through every moment.  How would you live? A life of joy? A life of gratitude? A life of giving back and being there for others?

That is what faith is all about.

Adventures of a Bookworm: Love Does

Love Does. When given this book by my friend, I was drawn in by the title…love does? Love does what?

And it’s this question that Bob Goff answers, and perfectly I might add.  Not only does he answer this question, but he makes it a statement.  Love does.

God challenges us every day to live out the idea of love. Bob Goff puts the “do” in faith, as he says in his introduction.  I think in a time when less people are attending church and more people are questioning the existence of God, I think this is what faith and religion need to be all about.  Faith in God is simple.  It’s about love and it’s about putting love into action.

For me, religion is that simple.  It’s about loving life because God has blessed us with so much.

So, as I begin this book, I can’t wait to connect his stories to my life, and discover ways that I can too live in a way where “Love Does.”

After all, Magic is Hidden in the Simple Things.

Adventures of a Bookworm

Welcome to my new sub-blog. Adventures of a Bookworm. Do you ever read a book and just want to write a bunch of quotes down so you’ll remember them? Or take pictures of pages and send them to your friends? Well maybe that’s just me, but I’m starting this sub-blog for that very reason- to remember the books that have impacted me and share them with others.

Ready to take on the adventure with me?

Everything Happens for a Reason

I say it all the time. I believe it too.

Everything happens for a reason.

But this past weekend just reminded me all over again that it’s true, and I should never doubt that God has everything planned out.

I missed qualifying for our practice trip by one shot.  One shot.  After a month in Florida practicing and working on my game and feeling confident.  At the time, failing to qualify for a trip always feels like the end of the world.  I try to look on the bright side, but especially when I end up being the only team member left home, it’s tough.  And then the trip rolls around, and you see pictures, hear stories and mainly just feel left out.

This time though, a couple days after figuring out I didn’t qualify, plans magically fell into place for my best friend who goes to school in Texas to come and visit for the weekend.  All of a sudden, I had something to look forward to, instead of dreading being home without my teammates and seeing how much fun they were having in sunny Florida.

The weekend rolled around and things continued to fall into place.  I worked out my practice schedule to have optimal time with her. And the weather forecast looked amazing for winter in Kansas.

Now, I’m sitting here hours after she left to return to Texas and everything about the weekend makes me believe that it was all meant to be.  I got to see my best friend for the first time since August.  Not only that, but we had quality time together and I got to show her my college world.  We had the opportunity to catch up in a way you can only do in person. She also got to meet my boyfriend, and the time we all spent together was priceless because they both mean the world to me.

I also wasn’t alone at the golf course.  I practiced with the men’s team and felt included like I hadn’t expected.  Family.  It isn’t just a publicity stunt for our university or athletics department.

I was also student athlete of the basketball game and had my best friend there to see it.  I experienced going out on the court and throwing t-shirts into the stands and having my face on the jumbotron.

On top of everything, the weather was incredible.  Shorts weather on Sunday, despite it being February.  It was like God was showing us he planned this weekend and wanted it to go perfectly.

I wouldn’t trade this weekend for anything.

Late night chats with my best friend.  Laughing until I cry.  Dancing in the arms of the guy I love.  Perfect weather.  Eating a bacon bomb in the middle of Aggieville with two of my favorite people.

It all came together and reminded me,

Magic is Hidden in the Simple Things.  

Giving All You’ve Got

“Try your best.”

It’s the three words that every child has probably heard from an adult at some point in their life.  We grow up trying.  We try our best to make the Little League baseball team.  We try our best to ace the science test.  We try our best to learn how to play the piano.  Parents, teachers and coaches engrave “trying your best” into our brains to make sure that we live up to our fullest potentials.

I have come to believe though, that there really is such a thing as trying too hard.

College golf is unique-you compete against your teammates for the top five travel spots.  For me, I tend to put more pressure on getting one of these five spots than I do the actual tournament.  And this pressure, leads to trying really hard.  In fact, as I’ve recently discovered after many frustrating rounds and some discussions with some people in my life, it leads to trying too hard.

So this battle is firing shots back and forth in my head.  How do I make something that means so much to me, not have as much meaning? Or how do I just play golf without thinking about the outcome? How do I try my very very best, and not have that turn into forgetting all the things I’ve worked so hard on?

That’s when it hit me.  Forget try.

Why would you want to try? What’s Nike’s motto, Just Do It? I’ve changed “try your best” to “give it all you’ve got.”  I’ve had people tell me how I’m always trying my best, but what I really think the vision should be is that I’m giving it all I’ve got.  If you’re giving then you’re putting in the time, effort, thought and passion.

There can’t be a try if you’re planning on doing something.  That goes for anything.  If you decide to go to Med School, you aren’t going to try to become a doctor.  You’re going to put in the study hours, passion for learning the subject, and time in the field.

If after all the giving, you feel like you gave all you have, then you’ve succeeded.  All your time, energy and passion- if you’ve given the most you could towards doing what you set out to do, then you’ve given it all you’ve got, and no one could possibly say you didn’t “try your best.”  In fact you did more than that-you worked and gave your best.

A motto says, “Success is a journey, not a destination.  Focus on the process.”  The process is the giving.  If you haven’t given anything then you can’t receive the feeling of success.

That process and journey is made up of a bunch of little things.

And magic is hidden in the simple things.

The Plan of Happiness: And why it isn’t always happy

all our lemmony things

The Plan of Happiness.

I thought over this phrase as I listened to the heart monitor beside me, beeping with each rise and fall of my chest. My eyes were pinned to the ceiling and the pain medication turned the tiles a sickly green.

Ha.

Sometimes the plan is anything but.

That day–just a few days ago–I spent the day pinned to an I.V., waiting to hear the diagnosis that my Endometriosis is getting worse *hence, more painful* and surgery is the only option if I ever want to live a pain-free life or have a chance at children. I laid there wondering, why in Heaven’s name do we call the Plan of Salvation the Plan of Happiness? How is that synonymous whatsoever? Because goodness gracious! Life has its moments. Some of those moments extend to weeks or months or years. Some of those moments just don’t…

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A question I’m asked quite frequently

“How do you ever watch golf? It’s so boring!”

With the British Open coming to a close yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about this comment that I hear on a regular basis from my non-golfing friends.

Now, I’m not here to suggest everyone should love watching golf or insist that it become your next regular hobby. I am here to explain why I enjoy watching the sport that I love and maybe give some perspective into my mind when watching golf.

I will admit that golf doesn’t always excite me. There are times that I have to be multitasking in order to stay entertained. But the major championships, seeing all the best golfers in the world play their hearts out on a challenging course, will always be the weekends I put on my calendar to turn on the TV.

One of the main reasons that the major championships have such draw for me is the excitement of the back nine on Sunday. Literally, anything can happen. I’ve watched the best players in the world shoot ridiculous scores to win, while at the same time other great players lose a five shot lead. And when it all comes down to it, I feel an ounce of the pressure and adrenaline the leaders are feeling. I know I have no where experienced all the emotions the professionals are feeling in the most prestigious tournaments in the world, but I can say I have experienced it in my own way. The final putt to win the State Amateur, needing par to win a playoff and teeing off in the U.S. Girls Jr are just a few examples.

Another huge reason I love professional golf in general is understanding the extreme talent they have. To watch Rory McIlroy hit a 380 yard drive like it’s nothing, is amazing. To watch Tiger Woods (who I believe will still win more majors), get up and down out of a bunker with one knee on the ground and the ball on the lip, is incredible. To see all of their great strength and ball shaping abilities is just unbelievable to watch. Many amateur golfers expect those shots and expect the professionals to never falter, but they’re human just like the rest of us.

So I challenge you: not to make watching golf your next hobby and not to start enjoying watching golf on TV. Everyone has their own opinions. But before you complain and question how anyone could ever watch such a boring sport like golf on TV, I challenge you to take the perspective of the athlete, the human, walking down the 18th fairway about to achieve one of the biggest accomplishments of their life. Think about the hours of work that they’ve put into getting better every day. Think about the amount of pressure and adrenaline they are experiencing. Think about even the players not in the top 10, and how even they could be playing some of the best golf of their careers. Think about every moment they’ve been through to get to that point.  Compare all of this to the work you’ve put into getting the big job you want and what it would feel like to achieve your wildest dreams. Those kind of dreams were exactly what Rory McIlroy was achieving on Sunday at the British Open.

It’s the adrenaline, hours of practice and people by your side that all add up to make the moment so magical. It’s the little details.

After all, magic is hidden in the simple things.

“You don’t know what you have til it’s gone”

The saying goes,

“you don’t know what you have til it’s gone.”

I’ve always believed in counting your blessings and recognizing the many good things in our lives, even when it seems like everything is going wrong. I’ve always associated this quote with people that don’t take that perspective and fail to appreciate the simple things around them.

Recently though, I realized that although I may be thankful for my health, I may not appreciate it to the extent that I should. I’m an athlete; it’s basically my life right now. Between practice and workouts, my sport fills a good portion of my day. This expression hit me full on though when for a few days I was experiencing some back pain. I knew it wasn’t critical, but the feeling of not being able to spend my days like I normally do, created the belief in me that once I was pain free, I wouldn’t take a second of it for granted.

And surprisingly, it wasn’t just the fact that I couldn’t play my sport. I realized how much I enjoyed working out, regardless of whether it was to improve my golf game. I also realized how even simple actions like going for a walk outside on a nice night or spending a day with my friends, was impeded by not being completely healthy.

These simple actions I realized I could never take for granted. I also came to appreciate hobbies in my life that I never realized were truly passions, such as running and working out.

After all, magic is hidden in the simple things, and we can’t take anything for granted.