lessons learned in the past eight weeks

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The past eight weeks have been absolutely wonderful. Quite possibly some of the best eight weeks thus far in my life, I’d venture to say.

I think I’ve felt more myself in the past eight weeks than I have in a long time. It’s been a feeling of arrival. A feeling of ‘oh yeah, so this is what I’m meant to be doing!’ I’ve worn my hair up in a bun about 90 percent of the time, and I’ve worn lipstick a handful of times, and my overwhelmingly neutral wardrobe is performing fabulously, and maxi skirts are my favorite, and I fixed up the layout of this blog, and running the hills of Provo is turning into my thing, and it is so incredibly refreshing to be living a constant rush of new experiences.

And new experiences come with new lessons, right right? So just for fun, let’s have a party and lump those lessons into a list, shall we?

Comfort food is a must in life. Yeah, eating healthy is all great and everything, and I make sure that happens the majority of the time, but I’ve come to believe that anything rich and creamy just makes the world a better place.

And meat, for that matter. I think I’ve taken meat for granted thus far in my life. As soon as you have to make meat all by yourself whenever you want it…….yeah who has time for that?! {a.k.a. I’ll graciously accept any donations of deliciously seasoned, cooked chicken anytime. Just kidding. Sort of.}

Moments for introspection are a necessity. A strange part of me actually enjoys having to walk everywhere because that’s when introspection opportunities are prime. Especially in the mornings, when I’m nice and on-schedule for getting to class on time. But late nights + music are also pretty decent for the introspection thing. And long runs.

October is my favorite month. I can’t say I’ve ever had a definite favorite month until now, but this year’s October has settled it. There may be some more words coming your way sometime in the future about the loveliness of October, so no guarantees, but it’s a possibility! Isn’t it the best that October is a thing?

People change, and often times will have completely different sides than you expected, but you just have to love them anyway. This has been a hard one, and it’s been a lesson that’s actually taken a lot longer than eight week to figure out, but it’s coming.

Everyone should take a Zumba class in their life.

Roommates happen for a reason. I’m so grateful for all three of my roommates, and they’re exactly what I needed.

Free food is the best. I used to care about how healthy the free food I received was, but now…yeah, no, it’s free food, I’ll take it. I make plenty of decently healthy food on my own, so I figure I’m covered there.

Random moments of gratitude are also the best – those moments where I’m least expecting it, but then all of a sudden it’s like someone flipped a switch and I just want to tell anyone who’ll listen how beautiful life is. This morning when I walked out of the temple was one of those moments. There was the crisp morning air, and the clear blue sky, and the lake in front of the mountains, and Provo just laid out in front of me, and the red-orange-yellow leaves, and the flowers, and thoughts of the temple, and everything in the world felt right.

I really, really, really want to live in New York City. Actually, I suppose this doesn’t count as much of a “lesson learned in the past eight weeks.” More like a fun fact…a fun fact that pretty much everyone already knows. But yeah, after living out here for a little while, now it’s just like, “Okay, let’s bring on New York now!”

Fun lessons, right? Maybe I’ll elaborate on some of them at some point…maybe not…who knows! Inconsistency tends to be my thing when it comes to blogging, but it is how it is, and I’m a fan of blogging when there’s substance, and not just a need to have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday post or some sort of similar schedule. At any rate, October’s doing beautiful things around here, so I have some good intentions to make some sort of a post on it.

And if you want some fun things to read, here are a few lovely pieces that I’ve stumbled across this week in my various perusing of blogs…

New girl. – Beautiful insights on the nature of change.

What We’ll Miss About NYC – Part 5 –  I found this old post today on one of my favorite blogs, and I love the documentation of small, significant moments.

Creamy Garlic Mac and Cheese – Okay, does this not look like the best thing in the entire universe? Did I mention the comfort food kick that I’m on?

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Twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

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Pinterest >>> Tessa Kohler

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a hard lesson learned // accepting

Accepting life, and all that it throws at me, and all the different turns it takes me around is hard. I think that this is something that everyone naturally struggles with, since no one really enjoys falling, but I also feel like it’s one thing that is particularly hard for me. I’ve been fairly successful in school, and in many other endeavors in my life, but I almost wish that this wasn’t the case, so I would be better at accepting the times of struggle, and better at opening my heart to receive guidance.

This past fall, I had to learn the lesson to truly trust in my Heavenly Father, and in what He sees for my life, since He has everything figured out so much better than I could ever imagine.

This past fall, I had something in mind that I wanted to badly. It seemed like the perfect direction for me to go in, and I told myself over and over that it was right, and that everything was going to play out perfectly, and that it all made sense.

I had prayed about it, and over-thought every aspect of it about a million times. But what I was missing was keeping my heart open and accepting of whatever God’s path for me was. Through those months of prayer, searching for the right path, searching so hard for a confirmation that the direction I was wanting to take was the right one, my heart wasn’t truly open. When I used the logical part of my brain, the path I was wanting to take made sense in every way. In reality, though, I was tricking myself and not admitting that I wasn’t as accepting of God’s will as I continued to tell myself I was.

As I prayed all those prayers, I told myself that I would be fine the answer I received. I told myself over and over, trying to convince myself, I think, that my heart was open, and the right answer would come, and be crystal-clear. The thing is, I think I received my answer from God early on, at the very beginning of the whole soul-searching process, but since it wasn’t the one I thought I wanted, I made myself ignore it and continue searching for what must be the real right answer.

Eventually I became so confident that it would all work out, that my dreams would be realized, that my brain had it all figured out right. But then it didn’t. It didn’t work out. The opportunity I wanted to badly to take hold of, that I had worked so hard to qualify for crashed down in front of my face.

But when I failed, when that door I so badly wanted to step through closed in front of me, I actually felt deeply at peace. Deep down, the entire time I had been searching for God’s approval for the path I wanted to turn down, approval that my brain was telling me to do the right thing, I knew that He had actually already told me at the beginning that it wasn’t right. I had just continued to choose to ignore that, and move forward, and convince myself that I hadn’t received my answer yet. It was a hard thing to finally come to terms with myself and admit that it took the physical, definitive answer to convince myself that my proposed direction was wrong for me. Where had all of my trust, and my faith gone, if I was at the point where I was ignoring the truth that had been placed right at my feet? All of this caused me to step back and re-evaluate my level of reliance on my Father in Heaven, and my capacity to accept true promptings and move forward.

That day that I received my ‘no,’ I was humbled. I learned the hard, but beautiful lesson that there is something spectacular and grand going on somewhere beyond this world. Through that peace and comfort I felt that day, I received a witness that although disappointment and a dashing of hopes is hard, the magnificent way that everything will work out in the end will be so much better than any future I could possibly imagine.

This experience taught me to put my whole trust in my Heavenly Father’s plan. I learned that if I want to save myself a lot of heartache in the deciding-and-seeking-for-confirmation process, the very best thing to do is to keep my heart completely open for answers, the entire time, and to give myself over to His will from the very beginning. I’ve learned that life works so much better, and peace comes so much more consistently when I remember to trust, and to accept, even (or especially) when my original thoughts don’t match up with the larger picture. 

I learned that trust – complete and infinite and whole – always, always works.

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