reasons why today is awesome

1. sunshine
2. warm weather
3. almost March
4. great outfit
5. great boots
6. great jeans
7. cooperative hair
8. eyebrows
9. cooperative makeup
10. Mikelle brought me Swig
11. substantial food for lunch
12. there are actually other students here at work today, so I’m not just the lonesome little secretary surrounded by real adults
13. no class after work
14. it’s Friday!
15. I actually feel like being social today, which is way good, since I have to be social tonight, and feeling un-social is usually my typical daily mood {#introvertprobs}
16. I get to talk to Caroline Beth after work today
17. I actually have stuff to do at work
18. gym this morning
19. killer leg workout
20. seeing one attractive person at the gym today
21. seeing another attractive person at the gym also
22. everything bagel with cream cheese for breakfast
23. all the attractive men in the world were out and about on campus today {are you picking up on the common theme yet?}
24. optimism about the future…despite the despair that marriage prep class brings to me haha
25. the Tanner Building…enough said.
26. seeing people I know on campus
27. good music on the radio
28. talking to myself in the van
29. peanut butter
30. ice skating tonight
31. the Econ test is over! {at least until the next one…}
32. attractive Econ TA
33. Mikelle Beth Taylor is at work today!!!
34. water is always good
35. New York City exists in the world
36. reading through my blog archives and realizing that I actually had some deep stuff to say 2 years ago. I miss substantial writing. if you need something thought-provoking to read, my 18 year-old self had some good thoughts in this post {actually I think I was 17 when I wrote that one} and this post and this post.
37. I’m publishing a blog post!!! Which really does warrant ridiculous amounts of celebration. Let’s eat some oatmeal.

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Other places to find me (a.k.a. let’s be friends!):

Bloglovin’ >>> Life and Loveliness

Instagram >>> @tessabrynnk

Twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

Pinterest >>> Tessa Kohler

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building this life

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Happiness…goodness that’s a bit of a deep topic. I’ve had a whirlwind of thoughts up in my head lately about happiness, and just last night they seemed to be actually making some progress in a definite direction, so I thought I’d maybe take the time this lovely, rainy, Sunday morning to try to make sense of them all.

I am the owner of a little yellow, square magnet that was given to me as part of a graduation gift. In the absence of a magnet board in my current room, the little square sits propped up against a jewelry box on my headboard. On that little square is a quote that always seems to be relevant to whatever life-season I’m in: “You do not find the happy life. You make it.” -Camilla Eyring Kimball

I feel like at this point in time in my life, I am so crazy happy. Everything seems just about perfect, and I’m sort of sitting at the edge of my seat, almost unsure if I’m okay to settle in or not, almost wondering if it is too good to be true. I’m significantly optimistic about life, so I’m not really doubting the substance of the happiness, but it’s more of a “Holy cow, is this real? Everything is so amazing! What happened?” In some ways, I feel as if I’ve just randomly found the happy life. I’ve stumbled onto it through what seems to have been a not-quite-blind, mostly faith-filled search for light. And that search has brought me here. And I love it. 

But then on the other hand, a person can’t just blindly stumble around and expect to find happiness. Like I just said about two sentences ago, it’s a search – a conscious, calculated, guided search at that. As I look back on the past few years, it’s crazy to see how every tiny little thing has added up. I can say that I’m just living my life, but then when I think about it, that almost suggests a passive motion through this existence. It almost seems more accurate to say that I’m building this life. I’ve built this life. Am I allowed to say that I am proud of it? I look around me every day and try to take stock of my blessings and I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that somewhere along the line I must’ve gotten something right. That sense of gratitude is coupled with a huge appreciation for all of the amazing people I’ve been blessed to know and learn from as I’ve grown up and found my way. And there’s no way I could leave Heavenly Father out of the picture – I’m beyond humbled that I am able to be so blessed. I know for a fact that I have been guided by Him, and He is the real builder behind the scenes.

I’m no expert on happiness, but I would venture to say that it’s a gradual journey. And it will always be a struggle of choice. You choose happiness, whether directly choosing to be in a happy mindset, or by making small choices taking you in what seems to be the overall right direction. Happiness doesn’t just happen randomly. The happy life is a calculated one. Happiness is a choice.

And then there’s the question, “What is happiness, even?” Sometimes I wonder that to myself – I guess I’m happy, right? This is happiness, right? This happiness thing has become much more real to me over the past few weeks. It’s probably different for everyone, and it’s far from being a concrete concept, but here’s what it is to me. Happiness is peace, and calm. It’s a pervading sense of light throughout every day – a sense of light that cuts through occasional negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Happiness is assurance – assurance of the present and the future – that although they won’t always be perfectly perfect, there will be joy in the midst of the occasional clouds. And for me, happiness is the gospel of Christ. Everything that the gospel stands for and speaks of and promises is happiness. The gospel is my ultimate source of light. There is no way in the entire universe that I would be where I am today, sitting in my little apartment, typing some random words and grasping at the meaning of happiness if I didn’t have the gospel. One of the many, many things that I love about BYU is that here everything is taught with a purpose, and that the role of God’s power is able to be discussed in every class, no matter the subject.The hand of the Lord is everywhere. Nothing just happens randomly.

Knowing that every single one of my blessings – every single amazingly delightful thing – came from Heavenly Father fills me with gratitude. I think that the knowledge that you aren’t alone, and that there’s an omnipotent, loving being out there that wants to bless you as much as He possibly can, brings happiness. It wouldn’t be quite the same if you had to do it all alone – if everything you’ve earned in this life was just from your own power. How unsatisfying would that be?

So today I’m full of gratitude. I’m so grateful to my Father in Heaven, first and foremost. Everything that I have stems from Him. He keeps his promises. I’m beyond grateful for Christ, and for all that He did for me. I’m grateful to those that have gone before me that have made it possible for me to be where I am today. I’m grateful for my parents, and my church leaders, and my friends, and for the scriptures, and for music. Slowly, with help from so many sources, I’m beginning to think that I have made the happy life. Or, more correctly, I’m making it – I’m not done yet I know that there are blessings in obedience. Obedience brings happiness, as does reliance on Heavenly Father. And ultimately, the gospel is the place to make the happy life.

I hope you have a beautiful Sunday!

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

instagram >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

so i have a thing for snow…

so in idaho, um, it snows here. not as much as other places around the world, but we get a decent amount of the good white stuff every year. it seems like i’ve mentioned all of this amazing snow a lot in blog posts lately, but i. love. snow. i don’t even ski or snowboard or anything fancy like that, but i have this super enormous love for snow nonetheless. i can’t remember being so excited about it when i was a little kid, but somewhere around age 12 or so, this snow-love really kicked in.

the past few days around these parts have just been snow, snow, snow all over. and this hasn’t been sissy snow…nope, it’s been the thick, wet, snowman-making kind that blankets the houses and cars and buildings with cold goodness. i took myself on a walk yesterday morning, sporting a lovely combination of sweats and riding boots and my winter coat and an interestingly-colored beanie with a pom-pom on top and a white crocheted scarf from my crocheting phase a few years ago, aaaand armed with my camera. i rarely just go take a walk (my reasoning being, why spend the extra time walking, when you could just run?), so this was nice and refreshing. also, i’m terrible at remembering to take pictures, so this was a good exercise for looking for things to photograph. i’m not the best at including pictures with my posts, since it’s so much more natural for me to just write, but whenever i do make myself take pictures, i find that it actually turns out somewhat well, and it {hopefully} makes the words more interesting. so keep scrolling down for some prime snow and tree pictures (because trees always seem to look extra great against the backdrop of that greyish-white snow sky), plus some more words intermittently dispersed throughout!

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footprints and a tire track
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my favorite ducks!

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there’s a bird at the tippy top of this huge tree!
so yeah, this thing that i have for snow. it floats in and takes the world by surprise, landing wherever it pleases, and transforming the world into something picturesque and softer and smoother around the edges. and along with making the present beautiful, it also bring an air of nostalgia, of memories – of happy childhood days of making forts with friends, of white christmases long past, of good food and good company cozy inside while the snow cascades outside.

i thrive off of the remembrance, and the transformation, and the magic. there is  something so special and lovely about a field or a backyard or a sidewalk completely covered by pure, smooth, untouched snow, blanketed heavily with this thick,yet still light, whiteness.

i love the way it collects in the nooks and corners of trees, and the way it clings to pine-needles, and the way it outlines the tops and horizontal posts on fences. there is something about snow that just clicks with me.

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the view from under the bridge
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just another awesome tree…
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the prettiest tree branches
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white, white, white
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more tree-ness…
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snow in small places
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thorns by the water

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romantic bridge…
i was thinking the other day that even though snow means cold, and sketchy roads, and wetness, and shoveling, and quite a few other sometimes-unpleasant things, i don’t know that i could ever live somewhere it doesn’t snow. florida and hawaii and all of that sun does sound very nice, but there’s something in me that needs that white stuff that floats down through the sky.

i need a winter, and a contrast to brightness and heat. there’s probably an essay hidden in that truth somewhere, if i take the time to dig it out. but anyway, there’s a part of me that needs the cold and the stark whiteness and the transformation into snow-land. it sets me up with a vibe of fulfillment that no other weather can bring. so today i’m grateful for snow, and the beauty that it brings to my world.

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grasses peek up through the whiteness

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aaand lastly…one of the whole package
are you a fellow snow-loving person? or does the year-round warm environment click with you more? 

other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

happiness is…?

i think the overarching concept of happiness is something terribly deep and hard to put a single finger on. for me, my faith is what brings my absolute, true happiness, hands-down. but in addition to that, my life is so unbelievably chock full of little bits of happiness to add to the huge mix. everyone always says, “it’s all about the little things,” and as over-used as this phrase is, it is so, so true. it’s those small, tangible happenings that make me appreciate how truly good life really is. i dare you to look for those things around you, those little pieces of life where you find your happiness.

so in the life of tessa kohler, happiness is…

…writing. this has been something that i’ve kind of stumbled into the past few months, but i really do love it. i wouldn’t complain too much if i could quit school and just write pretty words all day.

…daydreaming about romance. 

…unexpected snow. when you wake up to find those gorgeous thick flakes cascading down the sky, especially when they’ve already done a thorough job of coating the whole world already, that’s goodness right there!

…savoring rich moments with family.

…hot chocolate. lots of people drink tea or coffee…mmm yup i’m hot chocolate all the way. in the winter, in the summer, all year long. i’m pretty sure it is a drink full of magical powers. or maybe that’s just sugar…

…being pleasantly surprised in little ways. 

…running in the morning. i’m terrible at waking up early, or even semi-early, but when i’m able to drag myself out of bed for an early-ish morning weekend run, it’s quite stellar. i love running when there’s a little biting chill in the air and when the world hasn’t quite woken up yet. i just let my mind wander around and around and by the time i walk in my front door again my thoughts are much clearer.

…when people you love start to turn their prospects around for the better.

…bright lipstick. yep, you’ve already heard a lot about this one, so i’ll just keep it at that. (if you’re new to the blog, read this post for an introduction to my obssession!)

…talking to people you haven’t seen in a long time. this goes for communication in person, or communication over the internet. either way, it’s a lovely thing indeed to be able to catch up with people you can’t see on a regular basis.

…when pandora gets it spot on. sometimes pandora radio just knows, ya know?

where do you find your little bits of happiness?

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right!?):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin (a.k.a. the best site ever to follow all the blogs your heart would ever want to follow…i’m obsessed) >>> life and loveliness

also! if you’re new to the blog and want to do some fun reading, i recommend going up to the top of this page and clicking on the “about” tab, or on the “favorite posts” tab (if you’re reading this on a mobile device, click on “menu” at the top of the page first to get to those additional tabs)!

this post was inspired by the Daily Prompt (albeit an eternity late)!

what the kids need to know

so the other day, when i re-discovered kid president and went on a little youtube spree of watching his videos (i mentioned him in my favorite things last week), i came across this video…

in the video he gave a challenge to bloggers, youtubers, and really anyone else in the world to write about what the kids need to know. inspiration struck, and i thought i’d take him up on the challenge!

what the kids need to know

dear kids,

there’s some good and bad here. life can be a pretty tough place, and it’s not all smiles and sunshine, but i’m a firm believer that the rough spots contain some special bits of light of their own that make everything simply awesome. so here’s what ya gotta know!

forgive. sometimes people don’t behave exactly how you’d like them to. actually, people usually don’t behave exactly how you’d like them to. but life sits so much better when you shake things off, let it go, and move on. hard feelings just rot and turn moldy until they creep into even the far corners of your life. and moldy corners are just gross!

give people the benefit of the doubt. you never know exactly what someone else is going through, so i’ve found that it’s always best to forge ahead and accept people without questioning. yup, this is a hard one, especially when the world tells you that it’s a waste of time to make excuses for people, but i’ve found that when i do make those excuses, it always pays off.

read. a lot. pick up a book, any book, and just try it out! the value of a good, solid book is slowly diminishing as we speak. reading will open up your world and stretch your dreaming-mechanisms to the farthest corners of the sky and beyond in a way that is so uniquely enriching. reading books has made me a better writer and a much more open-minded person.

do what you love. search out what you are passionate about in life and chase after it. just do what makes you happy!

find the happiness. i pinkie promise you, it’s there. the entirety of what i write in this blog could be essentially boiled down to this one idea {for example, this post, this post, this post, my “about” page, and this post}, so i won’t dwell on it too long, but just trust me on this. at times you may have to do some digging, but those gold nuggets of goodness will always turn up.

eat the cookie dough. because cookie dough is delicious. maybe i really shouldn’t be telling you this, because i doubt that salmonella poisoning is very fun, but i haven’t gotten sick yet, so i’d venture that most of the time you’re probably safe. just do it.

life is a party. some pretty crazy things happen in life, let me tell ya! life is weird, and fun…and it’s just simply a party! complete with fireworks and presents and lots of celebration! dance and sing at the top of your lungs and laugh until your sides hurt as long as the party lasts.

you. are. awesome. people don’t give you guys half enough credit! i teach a bunch of you kids piano lessons, and you’ve got more up in your heads than adults like to admit. you are smart, and unique, and capable. don’t ever forget that.

so, yes, the world is tough. it will make you work and sometimes cry. but it will also make you happy. so, so, so happy. this life isn’t always picture-perfect, but it is blessed. remember that.

i wish you all the best, and lots of smiles and magic!

sincerely,

tessa

what do you think the kids need to know?