Intentional: The Word of The year

Intentional: The Word of The year

Be intentional with your coffee date; it'll change your life


"Intentional," I wrote in my journal one Sunday morning. I thought on this word for a mere second and a light went off inside of me. Throughout the next few days, I began to find myself doodling the word every which way, with its connotation deeming itself intriguing to me every time my thoughts stumbled upon it.

This is it, it thought... I want intentional to set the tone for the new year. I want my relationships, my friendships, and all of my interactions to leave every evidence of me wanting to dive deeper, dig harder, and ask the hard questions with my girls.

Throughout the second semester of my junior year and the summer thereafter, I intentionally sought out connecting on a deeper level with my girls, and creating a Godly community that was lasting, and left me feeling fulfilled. While I have always sought out women who push me to be a better version of myself, I found myself really honing in on connecting deeper with the friendships I had already created.

To me, being intentional meant actively asking my friends what they were struggling with and responding. I'll paint the picture for you; my friend and I went over to our other friends' hotel room last week, excited to be back with her after she had left us for almost a month after graduation.

These girls are who I call my "soul sisters", the people who I run to when I just need someone to put their hands on me and pray if I'm ever struggling with something. This particular Sunday, we went straight to her pool, got a couple of drinks, and got ready to spill our guts on what had been going on in our lives for the past few weeks. After we were done conversing and the night was creeping in on us, we decided to go back to the hotel room.

Once we got in, we knew what was about to happen. We sat on the rounded chair all snuggled up with each other and went down the line actively asking each other intentional questions to see how we needed to be prayed for.

To me, that was a just a tiny slice of what being intentional with my friendships looked like. To me, that was the side of friendship that left me feeling fulfilled and not wanting more.

On another occasion, I got coffee with one of the same friends from the night at the hotel, and one that I had not connected with in a while. We had always made it clear that we wanted to hang out or get coffee at some point, but this time, I really made it a priority. We sat down, did our usual small talk, and began to dive deeper into the reality that one of our friends had been facing over the past few months — everyone knows her, everyone loves her, Reedy DeRienzo!

We went through the series of events that had happened over the past few months and how these series of unfortunate events had changed her life for the better, and how she was glorifying Jesus in the midst of it all. My friend and I, Ashleigh, both looked at each other at the same moment and said out loud, "where has she been all of our lives?" We went on to dinner, and continued our conversations up and down King Street, sitting in the reality of the amazing friendship that we had mustered up over the past hour.

To me, whether you grab a quick cup of coffee, or go hang out in a hotel room with your long lost friend, the deliberate effort to get to know that particular person and invest in them, is worth it. To know someone and to intentionally seek to dig deeper within them, is something that has changed my life for the better and will to continue to inspire me to really REALLY get to know someone.

Cover Image Credit:

Emilee Day

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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There Are Some Key Things To Remember When Trying To Counteract A Panic Attack

For the random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.


Let me add in a disclaimer first and foremost by mentioning that I am no professional and that everyone experiences anxiety and panic attacks very differently. These are just a few of the techniques I have found over the years that have worked for my random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.

The easiest way I can explain what type of anxiety I have is describing it has something situational. This means that I can get very easily triggered by either event that is currently happening, or my mind likes to convince me that a situation is ten times worse than what it actually is. So if you or someone you know seems to experience their attacks in a similar way, I hope these techniques are useful in overcoming them when they come to you in the worst part of your day.

The first technique that I like to use is what I refer to as grounding. Since most of my attacks come due to specific events happening, I like to establish my surroundings while focusing on my breathing. For example, taking a step back and focusing on little things such as each singular sound around me, things I eat today, and even facial features of the people around me seem to help a lot. I would assume this is a way to distract my mind from the attack and with how weird it is, it often does the trick.

Another technique I have found useful I tend to practice when attacks come in cases where I have been thinking about something way too much. This is most likely the result of insecurities or just worry about failure in general, so to counteract those thoughts, I think about people and hobbies. I make a list of all the people that care about me in my head and remind myself of all of my favorite hobbies. Remembering that you are loved and cared for is a great way to counteract dark thoughts that creep into anxiety attacks, so try to keep them in your mind even in the darkest of times. Hobbies are a good distraction from negative thoughts and ideas, so surrounding yourself with music, art, outdoors, or whatever else makes your heart happy is highly important to your state of mind.

The last technique that I have found the most helpful is always having someone just a phone call away. This is sometimes the most difficult technique to practice, especially when you are already buried deep into an attack of some kind. You feel like a nuisance to anyone at that moment, but try to push past those negative thoughts. Friends and family are always going to be there for you when you need them most, especially when you only surround yourself with positive individuals. Talking about what you are going through in some cases can not only make the attack go away faster but allow all your worries to be uplifted, even if it's only for a few minutes.

I hope that if you or someone you know that finds these three techniques useful will practice them whenever you need them most. Even if you experience anxiety and or panic attacks and do not find these specific techniques useful for your situation, don't be afraid to experiment and find the tools that are the most beneficial for you and your needs.

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