Thoughts on Health

I’m back from an unscheduled hiatus! It’s been a busy few months. I want to take a moment to talk about health and maybe get some tips from all of you.

I am not a twig. If you close one eye, tilt your head, and almost completely close the other eye, then I look like a twig. I had a minor revelation over the holidays that maybe I should try to be healthier. This stemmed from a conversation with my cousin, about how we are too young to be having back problems (we’re in our early 20s). Around Thanksgiving, I had to get a deep tissue massage because the knots in my back were so bad. Every little movement made me nauseous and I would spend most of my days on the verge of tears, because four ibuprofen every four hours wasn’t cutting it.

In mid-January, when my muscle knots began to return, I decided that enough was enough. I was already stretching periodically throughout the day. It was time to kick it up a notch. Now, 3-4 days a week, I get on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes, do 40 squats, 60 knee lifts (my knees no longer pop every time I squat down to pick up something at work), and use a resistance band to stretch out my arms and upper back.

I’m the same weight that I was in mid-January. I had lost a few pounds, went on vacation, and then gained it back. I regret nothing. The tortellini, tiramisu, and sipping chocolate at Cossetta’s in St. Paul is worth every freaking calorie. Also, my voice teacher informed me that we are not plus-sized women, we are goddess-sized. So I will never look at my plus-sized world the same.

I’m still not eating the best, but I am drinking a lot more water than I used to. My muscle knots continue to come and go, but they pale in comparison to the pain I was experiencing in November.

Now, I do want to ask you all for your tips, recommendations, stories etc. But keep in mind that A) I will not join a gym. I don’t workout in front of other humans. Sometimes I even get uncomfortable when my cat watches me workout B) I live at home. With my family. Any recipe ideas need to also appease a 14-year old meat lover, a 50-year old who won’t eat anything that he can’t spell, and my darling mother, who quietly judges my choices (ok, she’s not that quiet about it, but she does it in a loving manner) and C) I’m in college. I am poor. Take pity on my wallet.

Ok, that’s a lot of stipulations. But honestly, I appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you.

End of thought.


Thoughts on 2017

Happy almost-new year! It doesn’t feel like it should be December 31. The year has completely flown by. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the year that has been a mixture of a grease fire and the best party ever.

This year the world was hammered by politics and disasters of all sorts. And the world retaliated. People came together to help those in need (especially during the hurricanes). People stood up to those in power and “No more.” People everywhere have done some amazing work this year, and in 2017, I was proud to be apart of the human race.

Personally, I watched some of my best friends graduate high school and transition into college (btw, I’m super proud of what they’re accomplishing). I finally had a 4.0 semester and joined Phi Theta Kappa. My family rescued a kitten and she is all kinds of adorable. My relationships have grown and changed. Tuesdays became my favorite day of the week because I meant that I would have coffee with one of my best friends. I got to watch a dear friend discover God’s calling for her in Thailand. Another of my best friends took a new job and moved away. And with that change, I learned that you can miss someone, but it’s hard to be upset when they are where they’re meant to be.

God has blessed me with amazing friends and I am eternally grateful for the experiences I had with them this past year. I’m grateful for my education and for the amazing job I started in March. And I’m grateful for the moments of doubt, when I had to learn to trust God and my own abilities. 2017 was a year of change and growth. I am confident that those aspects will continue in 2018. And that’s not just for me, but for the world. We, the human race, have quite the year ahead of us. We have no idea what lies ahead, but let’s take it on together, as one people. Here’s to 2018. May we make it more meaningful than the years prior.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Villains

Aaannndd we’re back! The past two months have been insane. I haven’t had the time or energy to produce a decent blog post. Gotta love college.

I’ve gotten to see two movies recently and both have caused me to consider what it means to be the villain. Note: potential spoilers ahead, specifically for ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. You’ve been warned.

If you know me and know the kinds of movies I like, then you know that I usually fall for the villain. The thing about many modern movies is that the audience must now have conflicting emotions about the villain. You want to hate them because they’re bad. But sometimes they’re witty and good-looking. Sometimes they show one, small act of kindness in the entire film and suddenly your heart melts and you fall in love with them.

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Tom Hiddleston, in all his cuteness.

I love Tom Hiddleston. Like, LOVE him. I remember being in the car and hearing on the radio that he was dating Taylor Swift. I may have screamed because, honestly (and yeah, this is petty), I don’t think she’s worthy of him. Thank heavens they broke up. But that’s not the point. The point is, Hiddleston has taken the character of Loki from straight-up bad guy to some sort of hero (or anti-hero?). He has maintained all the qualities of the character that I love (the wit, the angst, the loathing/love he has for Thor) through this complicated character development. I mean, the man can act!


Another perfect example is Adam Driver. I am in love with him and the characters he creates. I had never seen a Star Wars movie until last year. I’ve come to appreciate them and their cultural significance, but what intrigues me the most is the character of Kylo Ren. Like most villains, he doesn’t believe he is the villain. Or does he? His rage and outbursts, his inner conflictions seem to suggest otherwise. Obviously the quality of the character can be attributed to good writing, good directing, and good acting. But Driver seems to fully become whatever character he plays (if you haven’t seen ‘This is Where I Leave You’, go watch it). He’s a truly brilliant actor. Also, Esquire did a fantastic article on Driver last month in which the actor goes somewhat in-depth into his process.


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Even when brooding, Adam Driver is still dreamy.

However, the point of this is not discuss what amazing actors Tom Hiddleston and Adam Driver are. The point is villains. Real life villains. We don’t tend to fall in love with the bad guys we meet. Hollywood can romanticize the bad guys all they want. What we see and find desirable on-screen cannot be found in reality. I doubt there has ever been a dictator that has the level of sex appeal and swagger that Loki does. And [insert politician who has had a negative impact on the nation] probably isn’t nearly as conflicted as Kylo Ren, nor do they have his sad puppy dog look. We hate the real villains and what they stand for.

That brings me to my next thought. In films, the villain can turn good or can be good and bad simultaneously. Can that happen in reality? Most villains are seen as good to someone. But the only villains who can simultaneously good and bad are ourselves. We are the protagonists and antagonists of our stories. Some days we belittle ourselves, set ourselves up for failure, question our worth, and bring about that good ol’ form of literary conflict known as man v. self. And then some days we push ourselves onto great things, reward ourselves for doing good, see the light at the end of the tunnel, and conquer our demons. We are purely good and purely bad colliding at once, creating the chaotic neutral we call “existence.” It’s quite beautiful when you think about it. That the transformations of movie villains are more-or-less inspired by our own internal conflict.

I’ll stop trying to be poetic now and let you get on with your lives.

End of thought.

Esquire article (seriosuly, I loved it. Read it!!):

Thoughts on Sundays

For some people, Sunday is a day of worship and rest. For some, it’s a day to get things done around the house or binge watch their favorite show while sipping coffee. For me, it’s been a bit of everything.

I went to the same church for most of my life. I made some of my closest friends at that church. Sundays always looked the same, especially in high school. Get up, go to church, go home, do homework, go to youth group etc. Even my first year of college looked liked that (huge, super grateful shout-out to Logan M. for letting me hang with the high school youth group another year. I truly needed that). And then things changed toward the end of my freshman year of college.

There were some changes in the church. I won’t go into detail, but I felt like the church was going in some strange direction that I wasn’t meant to be apart of. I don’t know if this direction is good or bad, but something was pushing me to get out. That and the fact that I was the only college student in the congregation 90% of the time, so I was in a completely different season of life from basically everyone.

Since May, I have been attending different churches and I think I have it narrowed down to two. Both are much bigger than the church I grew up in. That kind of scares me. The leadership of both churches seems to be very genuine. Both congregations are as outwardly focused (local and global outreach) as they are inwardly focused (Ex. what is Christ doing in my life). For those who don’t know, I consider myself a global citizen, so you can see how I would fall in love with this kind of teaching balance in a church. However, one congregation gives off some clique-like vibes and the other is so big, I’m worried about finding a group of people who I can connect with. Maybe I’m being too picky.

I haven’t been to church in a few weeks. I stayed home to clean, I had to take my sister shopping etc. Yesterday, I got back on my yoga mat. It had been too long. I turned on a worship playlist and found myself working towards new spaces (I gave back bends a shot. Lots of work to do there). I always end a yoga session with breathing meditation, which I have found helps my singing A LOT. Then I had a little devotion time. I keep finding myself in the book of Psalms. Some prayer, some journaling. By the time I rolled up my mat, I felt a new focus coming over me. I felt more alert and more willing to tackle the homework in front of me.

The point is, sometimes church needs to look a little different. I’ve pushed myself miles from my comfort zone just by attending churches full of strangers. I love to worship in a community, whether I know the people or not. But sometimes I need church to be me on a yoga mat, Hillsong playing softly in the background, breathing deeply and just being. Sometimes I need to let every thought, every emotion just float away and bring myself into a place where I can hear God without distraction.

What does church look like for you? Do you need a solitary Sunday? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Year Twenty

I have been 20 for a month. A month before I turned 20, I decided that I was going to start this new decade with a plan. I was going to relax more, exercise more, and slowly figure out where my life is going. Oh sweet, naive, 19 year old Emily. If only you knew…

I had my birthday weekend all planned. Except it didn’t go as planned. The Friday before my birthday, I ran to the store after work to get cat food. As I was backing out of my parking space in the crowded lot, a woman zipped up behind me and I T-boned her car. Fortunately, the paint was just scratched on both cars. Unfortunately, some people are scum bags who will try anything to get more money out of you. My life became hell for 2 weeks. The situation has been resolved, but the moral of the story is DON’T TRUST PEOPLE IN FENDER BENDERS.

The rest of the month, one major thing went wrong every single day. I messed stuff up at work. I continued to battle dizzy spells (those seem to have gone away. Probably should’ve gone to the doctor. Too late now). I had customers scream at me for things out of my control. I forgot about homework assignments/exams. My eye twitch came back one weekend (most folks don’t know that I have a twitch that resurfaces every so often. It’s probably psychological). It became more and more frequent for me to walk into a room, looking for something, and then not be able to remember what that something was.

And then guess what happened today? I GOT REAR ENDED ON MY WAY TO CLASS. I’m fine, the other driver is fine, our cars are not fine. Most of the morning I considered giving up driving. I went almost 4 years with a spotless driving record. In one month I’ve been in two accidents. Is this bad karma? Am I cursed?

Year 20 is not being kind to me. I don’t work out. I spend most of my time wanting to cry and not being able to. And I’ve been seriously considering immigrating to Iceland. I had a dream that I moved to Iceland and it’s starting to sound like a good idea.

But through this month of insanity, I’ve been constantly reminded that God has blessed me with the most amazing friends. When my life feels like it’s too much, they’re there with coffee, food, and hearty laughs. Currently one of them is working overtime to get me to take more chances and it’s kind of working, so that’s probably been the highlight of the month. In all seriousness, these people are amazing and I love them. Year 20 may be turning into a crap-fest, but they keep bringing me moments of sunshine.

So this is 20. Crazy, stressful, not-going-as-anticipated 20. It looks like I need to re-work my plan.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Solo Adventures

I used to think that it was lame to go to the movies by yourself. Turns out, it’s not. Actually, I kind of like going to the movies by myself. Note: I never go to a superhero movie without a friend. Those movies should always be a shared experience.

I saw La La Land alone. I decided that I was treating myself to a “me date.” That’s right, I date myself. I go do things that I enjoy and treat myself to little exploits. I saw Independence Day: Resurgence by myself. On Independence Day. And I enjoyed that movie, thank you very much (I have crush on Jeff Goldblum, don’t judge me. The man ages better than fine wine). The thing about going to the movies by yourself is that you can focus solely on the movie. You don’t have to worry about sharing popcorn or wonder if you’re hogging the arm rest. There’s nothing wrong with going to the movies with other people. I do it quite often. Sometimes a person just needs to be alone.

A few weekends ago, I decided to go to the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri. Some of my friends were supposed to come along, but things came up and that idea fell through. I was in a debate about whether or not I should go. At this point, the weekend had been very stressful (btw, it was only Friday night). Part of me wanted to stay home and mope (my birthday weekend was slowing turning into crap before my eyes) and another part wanted to go to the festival alone (after all, it was MY birthday weekend, I can do whatever I want). Long story short, I went to the festival and had an amazing time.

My point? I could’ve easily stayed home and moped. I could’ve binged watched Friends and eaten way too many pumpkin seed chips. But I didn’t. I chose to go to an event I had never been to, surround by strangers. I had no idea what it would be like. I opened my mind to the possibilities and discovered that this trip was exactly what I needed. I needed a solo adventure.

Spending time with people is important. It’s also important to take time for yourself. Go do something you enjoy. Do it alone. Just you and the experience. Open your mind to the possibilities and let the chips fall where they may. Adventure is what you make it. Maybe it’s going to the movies alone. Maybe it’s exploring your city solo. Maybe it’s something bigger, like taking a weekend trip alone. Or a week long trip.

I’m ever-so-slowly saving money to take myself on vacation. I’m thinking 3-4 days in Traverse City, Michigan (Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes looks cool) or Canton, Ohio (where my favorite band, Relient K, is from. Plus it looks like a really cool town). That’s my plan for next year. The following year, I’m thinking Canada. Please suggest some destinations.

Take yourself on a solo adventure. It just might be good for your soul.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Ignorance Pt. 3

This is the final part in my series on ignorance. If you haven’t read the first two parts, please do so. And as always, feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. 


For starters, you can read the previous blog post and apply some of my personal ideas to your own life. You can also:

1.) Fact check. Snopes is great at providing real, accurate information that either supports or refutes statements made by public figures and articles that are making the viral rounds.

2.) Check your sources. Fox News serves the conservative agenda and CNN the liberal agenda. Are they still providing real news stories? Typically. But they are written in a way that meets their endgame. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and USA TODAY tend to be more neutral sources. If you are specifically wanting liberal journalism, The New Yorker is one of my personal favorites. It’s one of the most eloquent news sources available in the U.S. If you’re looking for conservative commentary, Rush Limbaugh is probably your guy.

3.) Educate Thy Self. Go meet people of other colors, religions, sexualities etc. Ask them (respectful) questions. People who are different from you aren’t so scary once you start talking TO them instead of at them. But if you’re not to that point yet, there are other things that you can do.

Read: ‘If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission’, by Jo Piazza. Learn the stories of ten nuns who are out to reshape the world by reshaping the church. This is a two-for-one: educate yourself on the Catholic church and learn about different issues prevalent in our society.

Visit: Southern Poverty Law Center Not sure what a hate group is? This is the site for you. Learn about different hate groups active in the U.S. and what is being done to combat hate.

Watch: vlogbrothers Brothers John and Hank Green make weekly videos addressing…well, everything. They use YouTube as a platform for education and do a darn good job of it. The first link is to their YouTube page, the second link will be for a video that Hank did about gun sales and the environment (which I found fascinating).

There are also countless other books that address the issues we see around us and there are plenty of documentaries out there, too. Don’t let yourself become a victim of ignorance. Educate yourself, educate others. Recognize that we are all human. Love is bigger than hate.

And that, friends, is the end of this thought.

Thoughts on Ignorance Pt. 2

This is part 2 in a small series that I’m doing on ignorance. If you didn’t catch the original post, I encourage you to read that first. And as always, feel free to comment below in order to continue and deepen the conversation. 


You shouldn’t talk the talk if you don’t plan on walking the walk. Guys, I’m not perfect. Some days I feel like ignorance is bliss and I want to ignore what’s going on in the world. But that’s not what’s right.

I want to make it my goal to explain people living in ignorance the other sides to these events the best that I can, or to point them to resources that can explain it. I try to avoid logic fallacies. They discredit you and the things you stand for. I try to be open to all points of view. I believe that if I genuinely listen to someone I disagree with, they will genuinely listen to me. Listening is the first step in everything. No agreement was ever reached by tuning out the other side.

Unfortunately, there are people who have believed their ignorance for so long, it’s almost impossible to pull them out of it. Their ignorance is rooted deep in their lives and will not go easily, if it can be destroyed at all. But the biggest thing I can do not allow ignorance to take root in my kids.

If you know me, you know that I don’t want kids. However, after much discussion with different individuals throughout the summer, I have accepted the fact that that will probably change. I want my kids to grow up knowing that everyone is somehow important. There is no superior race, no superior gender. I want them to ask questions when they don’t understand. If they don’t ask questions, they will never understand, and ignorance will take root. I don’t want that. I want them to be able to have constructive conversations about opposing view points.

I want my sons to understand that women are not possessions or sex objects. I don’t want my daughters worrying that a visible bra strap is an invitation for sex. I don’t want my kids living lives determined by the social norms of the 1950’s.

My kids will not live lives rooted in ignorance.

Not end of thought.

One more blog post is coming. I promise.

Thoughts on Ignorance Pt. 1

I’m a Midwestern girl. I’m from a middle class family in a predominantly white area. And while I wasn’t directly raised under racist tonalities, I was raised indirectly in them.

There’s probably a better way to word the previous sentence, but I don’t know how. I was raised to believe that racial slurs were ok to use in our modern context because “people are too soft and need to get over it.” I was taught that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist (btw, that’s a debunked conspiracy theory). I was raised to believe that those on well-fare were lazy bums sucking money from hard working people. And while that previous statement may have some validity in some communities in some parts of the country, it doesn’t apply to every single person on well-fare. I was raised under the idea that it is ok to dehumanize anyone who isn’t like me.

Example: This morning one of my family member’s was reading a news article about a group of people recently caught illegally crossing the border. He paraphrased the article for everyone else in the house. What I noticed was that he never said the word “people.” He called them “illegals.” And it hit me. I have heard this person call Hispanics and Latinos “illegals”, Muslims “terrorists”, African Americans “n****rs”, gays “fags”, and lesbians “dykes”. I’ve never heard him call them “people.” Not once. And I realized it wasn’t just this one family member. It’s many people I know, people that I grew up around.

We continue to use slurs of all kinds because it dehumanizes those that we don’t bother to understand. We don’t want to invest time and effort in others. We don’t want to learn. We want to remain ignorant. We’re the lazy ones. We want all of our information and knowledge to come from people who look/act like us. We would rather let Fox News explain Muslim beliefs than ask an actual practicing Muslim. We are comfortable in our ignorance.

Our ignorance lets us believe that we should dehumanize others in order to protect ourselves. It’s ignorance that allows us to say that “people are too soft” instead of actually addressing the issue. It’s ignorance that allows people to say that the events in Charlottesville “were a set up created by liberals to make Trump look bad” (yeah, I heard those words come out of a person’s mouth last week).

My parents didn’t mean to raise me in and around a racist dialect. They were raised here and my grandparents were raised here etc. and that’s kind of how the middle of the Midwest is. We say we aren’t racist, but many of us are. We think it’s ok because that’s how we were raised. But the buck has stop somewhere.

What I’m saying is:

Dear Midwest,

This is not ok. Let’s address the issues and fix them. Please.


Not the end of thought.

This is the first part in a small series that I’m doing on ignorance. The other parts will be published throughout the week. If you want to continue the conversation or have questions, please comment them below or contact me. Nothing was ever accomplished by avoiding conversation.

Thoughts on My Life at This Moment

I honestly cannot remember the last time I wrote a post. I don’t remember the last time I set aside time to work on something not work or school related, if I’m being honest. Let me explain what kind of hurricane I’ve been living for the past two months.

June: I start working six days a week. I also start summer classes. Middle of June, on a Thursday afternoon, I drive myself north of Chicago (yay adult moment!) to spend a weekend with one of my favorite people. We do the tourist-y things and have some deep talks. Like, deep. We also go to a Hillsong concert and I decide that I’m attending the Justice Conference* next year. I promptly return home Sunday afternoon just to re-pack like a crazy lady so I can work at a church for a week. Note, I spend that week commuting between work and camp, which is over an hour drive. And these kids (yay, 7th-9th graders!) are a bit…hyper. Like, I’m just spending evenings with them and they are wearing me out. I cannot imagine what the other staff are experiencing all day long. The next week is my vacation week AKA take a week off of work to be at the 5th-6th grade week of camp (my favorite age group, just sayin’…). The following week I go back to my usual work-and-school routine.

July: Two weeks of work, school, and not much else. Then a return trip to camp to be “assistant to the dorm mom” for the second group of 7th-9th graders. I am, again, commuting between the camp and work. That week I am stressed, blessed, and coffee obsessed. But I wouldn’t trade a moment with those kids for anything, even if they almost outnumbered the staff 10:1. The following week I return to my world of work and school. I wrap up my summer classes, get A’s in both, and decide to never take another summer class again. My family and I take off to Saint Joseph, Missouri for a weekend. I love the things we go and do, but I kind of want to ditch my family the entire time (I don’t like travelling with them). Turns out, Missouri Western State University** is kind of cool. My dad really wants me to go there. I also finally tell my mom that I’m thinking about signing up for Mission Year*** after community college. I’m not sure how she feels about that.

August: We get back from our mini-vacay. I go back to work. It is the most stressful week I’ve had since I started this job five months ago. I go home to eat chips and watch a lot of Criminal Minds and Law and Order. Because that is what makes me happy. I go out to dinner on Friday with a friend that I haven’t seen all summer and we get to catch up.

That brings me to today. I drove to friend’s house to pick her up for a farmer’s market, but the plans changed. Instead, we lounged around on her sofa, watching the U.K. version of The Office and playing with her super cute Dachshund puppy. Normally a change of plans freaks me out, put this week has been so stressful. I am exhausted, both mentally and physically. At this point, Kujo could jump out from behind the couch and eat me and I probably wouldn’t freak out.

This upcoming week brings me hope. I have TWO days off. I’m spending one day with a friend who is getting ready to move away, which that idea is just now sinking in. The second day I hope to do an insanely deep clean of room, because it desperately needs it. I’m going to finish the book that I have been reading ALL SUMMER. It’s not even that long of a book. I just have no time to read any more. I’m also going to fill out my new Passion Planner****, which I am super excited about. I am a disorganized person who keeps every aspect of her life stored in her phone. Time to get that on paper. It’s also time to start figuring out my life.

When I was in high school, I often said no to certain things because I had to work. And while I in no way wanted to shun my work duties, I didn’t take full advantage of being high school or being a teenager. A friend of mine kept telling me that there would be time to work when I’m older, enjoy my life. I didn’t listen. I’m going to be 20 in less than a month. I will no longer be a teenager. I didn’t take advantage of that time. I spend so much time working that I don’t take care of myself. I can’t change what my past has been like. But I want to change my future. I want to take better can of myself. I want to find balance between work, school, and the rest of my life. I want to figure out what I was meant to do. The goal for the next few weeks is to lay the foundation for a new chapter in my life. I don’t plan to go into my twenties with everything figured out. But I want to go in with a plan.

I want to take a second to thank everyone who has been apart of the happy moments in my summer. Kayla and Kenzie, for letting me relish in my Chicago tourist phase. Emily, Liberty, Hannah, Bethany, Kim, and others for being my camp girls, my friends, and providing some much needed laughs (and for saving me delicious camp food when I had to rush off to work). Maddie, for being the best camp intern/nurse/dorm mom ever, and for being my confidant through those three weeks of camp. Cole and Christian, for being awesome male interns and always being ready to give me hug after a long day at work. Lexi, for letting indulge my inner six year old at the zoo. And to all the friends that I didn’t get to see but have texted constantly because why not? This has not been the best summer ever. But it has been one of reflecting, learning, and growing. I’m excited to see what the future holds. Hopefully more time to blog, haha.

Basically, thanks everyone, for everything.

End of thought.