I'm BACK!

Hello!! Yes, I am still here and writing but not posting. Sooooo I took a little break. Should I have kept blogging? Probably. But I didn't so I am back to update everyone on my life and what has happened since May of 2016. 

May-August 2016: So much soul searching. Trying to figure out who I am and what I wanted to do with my life: 

I felt like I was getting to the point in life where I was almost 26 and not knowing where I wanted to go. What career I was headed towards, the type of guy I was looking for, etc. Lucky enough for me, I had my Gramma to help guide me (along with everyone else who loves, cares and supports me). I quit my job to be her primary caretaker, but it was more than that. I wanted to quit my job, I wanted to spend as much time as I could with her, and I did. We went to movies, doctor appointments, dinners, got our nails done, lunches, made breakfast together, Dairy Queen runs, went to church together (where she at times fell asleep because she was at such peace, and other times it was just too early for her), were lazy and sat on the couch all day watching Hallmark movies, sat outside to watch golfers, and just enJoyed each other. Why did I capitalize the J in enJoyed? Because she was just that, Joy. She had the best advice, always telling me that I was young, I was going to figure it out, and I did. She was the one that really told me to pursue beauty school. Told me I would be great at it. Believed in me and the dreams I had. She was always proud of me and supported anything that made me happy. 

August 2016: One of the worst months of my life.

I don't know if you guys know what MSA is, but that is what my gramma was diagnosed with years ago. The MSA Coalition defines it as this : 'Multiple system atrophy, or MSA, is a rare, degenerative neurologic condition that affects both men and women, usually starting in the 50’s or early 60’s1. MSA is considered a type of parkinsonism but with more widespread effects on the brain and body. The condition was first identified in 1962 and named Shy-Drager syndrome for two physicians who reported patients showing a combination of Parkinson-like movement disorders and problems with the autonomic, or body-regulating division of the nervous system2.' After a few years of her diagnosis, she was significantly worse than the allotted amount of time they give before it gets severely worse. She was the strongest woman I knew. When it came time to bring in Hospice, they said they didn't know how she was still living. Most of her lungs had become rock solid and her airway was pretty much closed. She was strong. Stronger than I think she needed to be at times. She finally surrendered her Earthly life and let God take complete control. On August 14, 2016 she passed peacefully. God was with her every step of the way, holding her hand guiding her home to a place of a painless and perfect life. Although I miss her so much it physically hurts, I know she is in a better place and she is with me always.

August 2016 cont'd: 

About a week after she passed, I had a wedding that I was a bridesmaid in for one of my dearest friends that I went to college with. I was emotionally broken. How do I go support someones happiest day when I am in so much pain. That was where I was thinking wrong. Although I was in pain, it wasn't about me. She would've wanted me to go and live life for her. Because she loved to travel, have fun and live life to the absolute fullest. As I drove 6 hours, alone, crying for most of it I couldn't help but feel like I was doing the right thing. I was meant to be at the wedding and she was with me every step of the way. And she was. The wedding was beautiful and I am so beyond ecstatic that I was there to be apart of it. God has a crazy way of making total and complete sense in the most difficult times. Driving home from the wedding in Idaho I stopped to get gas, I hear in the background a song that I have never heard before that day. I sat down, immediately Shazam'd it (because yes I still use that app) and YouTubed the song. I listened to it for 6 hours on repeat and completely sobbed. It became our song right then. My song for her is 'Thy Will' by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family. If you haven't heard it, you need to. I will be driving around town, to school, anywhere and miss her so much, start crying and put the radio on or turn it up and not long after is that song normally playing. She's with me all the time. In the car, at home, always. That right there makes missing her a tiny bit easier. 

November 2016:

I enrolled in beauty school and started on the first of November. I am LOVING it. I have finally figured out what I want to do and it makes me so happy. It took me quite a while but I figured it out. I was too young to hate my job, or not feel like I was happy with where I was at in my life. I wanted to do something I loved to do and that brought me joy

Today, April 2016:

Still in beauty school (not a beauty school dropout like the song in Grease, which I sing when I say beauty school sometimes) and loving it. I have met some amazing people there and am learning more and more about what I love. I go to Manning Academy School of Beauty in Vancouver, WA. It has been such a learning and growing experience for me. I have grown as a person, and in the profession. Even though I am in school, I am building up my clientele and learning to be the best Hair Stylist I can be. I have leaned more into becoming a Color Specialist because I love the challenge of creating a certain color and giving someone the look they want. I get to make people feel beautiful, love themselves and exude confidence (because who doesn't feel sassy after a good cut, color, and blowout?!). I am so happy with where I am at in life and every step before today has helped me get to here, the good, bad and the ugly. 

Dare to Dream

What would your dream house look like? Dream husband? Dream career? What if all of your dreams came true? What would you do?

In a matter of hours, my "dream" came true. How is it that in a split second, your life can completely change? God's plan for us is so much greater than we can ever imagine, that's how. He has a plan. I thought I had everything all figured out. I would be married by 24 or 25, have my first child by 26 and life would be dandy. I would get my cozy cottage house with a white picket fence, my porch swing and live happily ever after with my family. Well...clearly that is not how my life has panned out; it is much greater. 

He has done just that. He made me. He has carried me and will always do so. He continues to sustain me. He will always rescue me. I can't count the amount of times he has rescued me from decisions, people, actions, etc. 

I realized that I had no idea what my dream actually was. It wasn't to follow my timeline. It wasn't to create my own future and path. It wasn't to come up with a silly "perfect" life, it was to fulfill God's future plan for me. Be the daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, friend, and person He made me to be. I was created to be those things and to be the best version of myself through it all and He would take care of the rest. Let me tell you, He did just that. How do you argue when you will never win? How do you understand when His plan is far beyond understanding? 

People, Places and Photography

photo: RP Imagery

photo: RP Imagery

I recently picked up a new hobby that I have grown to love; photography. I have met amazing people, explored some awesome places and taken lots of captivating pictures. 

For me, the joy comes from the happiness I see throughout the day. Being a photographer, you see and capture things at weddings that you wouldn't normally notice if you were a guest attending. I notice the fine details; the design of the brides wedding dress, the handmade arbor, the engraving inside of the wedding rings and much more. At the end of the day, you are exhausted, but as you are saying your goodbyes to the bride, groom and their parents, they are beaming with happiness. There are so many moments I have witnessed that make those 10 to sometimes 14 hour days worth it. 

photo: RP Imagery

photo: RP Imagery

I have been to 5 states in the last 5 months. The memories I have made and the experience I've had taught me so much about myself. This new endeavor came about when one of my best friends approached me because she needed help and she needed it quick. I had no photography experience except my photo class in high school senior year. It is amazing what can happen when someone believes in you. We had a couple quick sessions and then BOOM my first wedding approached and I passed the test. Many weddings later and now, summer is one of my favorite times of the year. Not because of the warm weather, which is amazing, but because it's wedding season and I get to spend many weekends in a row with one of my best friends/boss/teacher/photographer, Rachel. Who would have thought that through all of this I came out with a life long friend. God is SO good.

Strange Encounters With Great Outcomes

People can surprise you in the strangest ways. They can be people that hardly know you or they could be your best friend. I recently gained an odd friendship that has taught me a lot about myself. Most people know that I am super outgoing, kinda weird and love new experiences. What people may not understand is that I typically stay in a box of comfort. I don't let people in all that easily regardless of how outgoing I may be (sometimes surface level is all I expose). Dancing in public? Not my thing. Having someone shout loud expressions while in public about me? No thank you. (And many of you may not understand those inside jokes, but you get where I'm going with this. It's uncomfortable). But recently I have learned that doesn't really matter. I am not sure why for so many years I have cared what people think of me. I let their judgements define who I am. I do not want to be that person. I want to be proud of who I am and who I surround myself with. I have learned that your truest and most genuine friends will always build you up and hold you accountable. They will not tear you down and speak poorly of you. Quality not quantity. This new friendship I have gained is filled with so much joy and happiness. That's what every relationship in your life should be like. Will there be hardships and struggles? Of course. Will you bicker and argue at times? Yes. But no matter what, it should always be genuine, honest, forgiving and kind. This will help build confidence in your life. It may not give you all the confidence you need to feel happy and content, but that comes from God. You cannot find that anywhere else. It does help when you have people surrounding your life and influencing you to be better. I will agree with that. I feel like I am all over the place but that's what this is for, right? I jot down what I am thinking, how I am feeling, what is moving me and just go with it! I'm thinking y'all are pickin up what I'm puttin down. 

photo cred: RP Imagery

photo cred: RP Imagery

Be The Change You Want To See

I want to be passionate and present in this life that The Lord gifted me with. It amazes me how we can easily think too much into the future that we forget to live in the moment and be thankful for the things and people around us. After talking with my mom, and being inspired by my little brother, I realize I need to live my life in the moment a lot more than I have been. I need to be thankful for my life that was purely a gift. I want to make Him proud but also want to make myself proud. When you look at yourself, are you living in the moment? Do you approach each day as a new day, as a gift? 

Today and everyday, I encourage you to bring light and love to your own life as well to those around you. It makes the worlds difference when you can make someone else's day great by being you and living presently in the moment. 

By deciding to live more in the moment, I wanted to journal it and what better way than to blog about it. If I can reach people and relate to experiences other young women are going through it makes this more fun for me. Starting this new journey of my life is scary but also incredibly thrilling. I get to learn more about myself and who I want to be and that is super exciting. 

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/stephnlampkin/