Intentional Life with Commentary


Meet Kira

If you've clicked around on A Nap in the South before you are probably aware of just how much The Engineer and I have wanted to get a dog. We've spent many a Saturday over the last year visiting animal shelters to get our pet fix and to fall in love with all the animals we couldn't have... breed restrictions at our apartment complex, etc.

Well, we bit the bullet so to speak and adopted a furry little pup. This is Kira.

She's a mystery mixed breed! Her paperwork says "Tri-color Labrador Retriever Mix" so she probably does have some lab in her. Perhaps also some blue heeler, border collie, shepherd... who knows! Maybe one day we'll get a genetics test done on her to find out.

Kira is a rescue. She was taken out of the shelter by a local rescue organization on the last day before she would have been euthanized. We don't know what all is included in her sad past all we really know is that she has recovered a great deal since her rescue!

She is a sweetie and has turned out to be a great dog to have in an apartment. We've had her for five days and I have yet to hear her bark. She loves walks around the neighborhood and has even enjoyed exploring the nearby greenway. As I write, she is nestled in her kennel twitching and sighing while running around in dreamland. It's adorable.


Hopes: Rising & Falling

Resiliency is often unbelievably hard to embody. We all love to hear stories of triumph over challenges large and small. I mean, how many movies or novels out there are NOT about overcoming some obstacle?

It's so easy to pinpoint one area of life that just isn't 100% to my liking. This one area has been glaring at me for almost a year now and I'm always hoping to change it.  It's one of those elements of life that is partially in my control -  I have to take action to bring about the change - but once my part is done it is out of my hands. (I could be talking about SO many things right now, right?! It's amazing how many of life's challenges fall into a similar pattern.)

With the possibility of change, I begin to water the seed of hope. I practice healthier self-talk when I'm nurturing hope and I view the future through a rosier lens. I make tentative plans based on the hopeful outcome all the while recognizing the possibility of the disappointment if my hope isn't realized.

When disappointment does fall into my lap the waves of grief are painful no matter what I do to lessen the blow. I can pretend it's all good and fine if I want, but it doesn't mean that it is all good and fine. I can give into the lowness of spirit and know that it's okay to not be okay. (It's just not okay to stay there.)

The cycle will continue: I'll allow hope to rise with possibility, I'll feel crushed when my hopes are disappointed. Though it's hard to be resilient, I know that without taking the step that gives me hope, I won't have the opportunity to celebrate in the instance in which disappointment is not the result.

And that's all I have to say about that. #vaguestpostever


So You're Going to College

My littlest brother moved to college this weekend and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. (Babies don't go to college!) In celebration of this new adventure in his life I decided to bust out my big-sister-has-advice-whether-you-want-it-or-not party hat. It's a fun hat - mostly for me.

Three pieces of advice for your first year:  
1. Allow yourself to feel okay about your anonymity. You were a super-star in high school and that's cool! Now you're just one of the seemingly 8 billion other valedictorians on campus all of whom are just as new to this whole college thing as you are. While this might make you feel like you're nothing special, think of it more as a nice little dose of reality: you're not always going to be the best and that is just fine! This doesn't give you an excuse to aim for mediocrity. It allows you, instead, to build confidence in your value on a quiet but powerful level independent of your high school reputation.

2. You're an adult now: own your decisions. This is one of those awesome yet maddening aspects of growing up. From here on out the decisions you make are yours to make - woohooo! Independence! - but the catch is that the responsibility for the result of those decisions is yours to bear - oh. An example could include something relatively inconsequential: you can choose to blow off the reading for the next morning's class and nobody's going to force you to do otherwise. Isn't that great!? But then when the professor decides to use a reading-quiz as the class' attendance for the day or you are called on to start off the class discussion by stating X, Y & Z from the reading, make sure to recognize that you just experienced a(n) (admittedly sucky) result of your choice. Don't act like a victim!

Here's a weightier example: If you take the opportunity go into significant debt in order to pay for school, that's your choice! Living on loans feels rather like free money when you're 18. But when you've been out of school for a few months and the grace period on your loans has ended you will pay for every single cent of that "free" money and then some. Even if you are blessed with a great job after college you will still feel the weight of your loans, perhaps to a lesser degree, but you'll feel it nonetheless. If you don't believe me here are a few sources: this article, this article, this article, and pretty much any article that comes up when you google "student loans and the American Dream" or "student loan crisis." Not to mention the life of your very own sister... that's me!

3. Lean into the college experience as YOU experience it. I think there's a lot of hype out there about what the "college experience" is supposed to be. High school teachers and administrators might build it up to be this glorious season of splendor, parents might tell stories of their college days dripping with nostalgia, older siblings might overemphasize the tales of miserable all-nighters in the smelly library and the professor of doom who had it out for them. ;) All this could understandably lead to a conflicting idea of what the college experience is supposed to look like. Here is a handy little snippet of advice to carry with you this year: this is your college experience it might be exactly what you pictured, it might be the very opposite. Either way it's yours so embrace it.

Top image of Vanderbilt University taken from this Buzzfeed article and c/o Vanderbilt University.


Reading: Past, Present, Future | Part Two

It's been six months since my last bookish rambling so I think it's about time for another one. Don't you? As the title suggests, you'll find the books I've read in the last several months, the books I'm reading now and the books I want to read next all neat and tidy-like in this post.

In an effort to keep the page nice and clean, you can find all this and more right below the jump! ......


Autumn is Welcome!

The Engineer and I have a habit of doing fun things together and completely forgetting to bring a nice camera. Were it not for the existence of the camera phone we'd have absolutely no documentation of our first year of marriage - or much of our dating life for that matter. I know I must sound like a broken record because I've talked about this before

This weekend was beautiful: temperatures in the low 70's, sunny with gigantic white clouds, a cool breeze. It had to be celebrated. We did so by taking a long stroll along the nearby greenway and talking about the things we're looking forward to in the Fall. 

AND I TOOK A FEW PICTURES. This is noteworthy and I'd like you to celebrate these baby steps along with me. :) 

I have to say this Fall and all its possibilities are looking pretty dang great. 


One Year - Prelude

The Engineer and I celebrate one year of marriage this weekend. I have several snippet-style thoughts to share and some essay-style thoughts too. (Okay, probably a little heavier on the essay-side. ;) But for now I'll boil it down to this:

Marriage is a great adventure.


Oh, Skittles

I mentioned in this post that I have the most adorable cat named Skittles. I got Skittles in the Spring of my 8th grade year so she's getting up there in age but you can hardly tell because she's such a little spunk nugget! She's been such a valuable part of my life so I wanted to introduce her to the internet at large. :)

Internet, meet Skittles. Skittles, meet internet. (Sorry guys, she doesn't seem to care.)
She has one green eye and one blue eye - both of which have the ability to drill right into your soul. She always wants something from you and those eyes do the dirty work. "Feed me! Love me! Snuggle me all day! Don't even touch me! You smell! Feed me...Now!" say the eyes of Skittles.

She's a gifted sleeper. It's one of her true talents. She sleeps best on anything dark because she thinks it makes her left-behind fur shine like stars in the sky. (She can be pretty whimsical like that.)

She must be a central part of every snuggle session. It's a house rule.

She dreams of catching those baby birds in the nest waaaaaay up near the rooftop. (Sometimes she forgets that she doesn't have front claws or any hunting skills to speak of.)

On rare occasions, she just really values her privacy. Nobody looks their best when they're asleep and she get's tired of always trying to sleep with a smile.

She's not too keen on early morning wake-up calls.

She advocates comfort over correct posture and has perfected the "lean."

Then as soon as you make fun of her for her posture situation she shows you what's what.

She's remarkably adorable....

... and quirky.

But she has her emo moments too. Especially when Sarah McLachlin plays in the background.

Yet she really isn't up for sharing with others. (Her selfless empathy only goes so far.)

The Engineer and I miss her a whole lot because she's just the sweetest, cutest little button.

But no matter what, she'll always be my little fuzz muffin even if she's thousands of miles away.

(Okay, crying in a corner today! Moving across the country is the pits sometimes!)