Stay Gold

Stay Gold

What makes you gold, that radiates you in your happiest moments?

Life is tough; it was never meant to be perfect, it was never meant to be easy, it was never meant to be black and white. Life is full of so many possibilities and adventures and feelings. Life is filled with colors and colorful people. Life is not simple, life is complicated and quirky and grand. And when Life hits with a gut-wrenching force, do not lose what makes you gold.

As humans, we have a mental capability that allows us to do so much more than we ever could’ve imagined, and we have more freedom in pursuing the things we desire and dream about. Our minds are each filled with different patterns and colors and art that make each of us unique. There is no perfect, but there are so many different perfectly imperfects. There is no one right, there is no set code for how to be a human and how to behave, what to say, how to please, how to be. One thing that is certain, is that we are each living our own lives according to our own experiences, and we are each trying to find ways to make us happy. And when we feel happiness, we turn gold and that gold radiates.

Gold is literally found in miniscule traces in every person, so it’s no surprise that people glow when they’re happy and that they feel as light as a feather, after all, that’s how the actual metal is. People radiate this hidden gold through their smiles and comfort, through words of support or compassion, through the softest touch or biggest of bear hugs. It lights up in a person’s eyes and echoes in laughter. It’s always there, it’s always trying to shine.

The question to ask yourself is,

What makes you gold?

Is it the messy room with paints scattered across the room, stains over the floor, a half-completed canvas on a table with paintbrushes stuck in dried up globs of goo? When the music is blasting in the background, making your feet tap and head rock side to side, as the notes swallow the room and drown out any worries and concerns? When the smell of freshly made food lingers in the room, and your tummy feels satisfyingly full, but there’s still room for your favorite dessert?

Is it the time spent helping others who can’t help themselves, whether they’re sobbing in your arms or asking for a hand to hold as you walk them down the street? When they’re looking into your eyes with pain and you look back with a reassurance that makes them crack a subtle smile, feeling comforted by your actions and words? When a simple compliment to them makes them blush sheepishly, and you get embraced into an unexpected hug?

Is it dancing alone on a Friday night when no one is around and all that matters is keeping your balance while the moon and stars watch you, laughing, through the crack in the window? When you take that first sip of coffee, crack your knuckles, sit down, and start writing the day away, feeling refreshed and content, like you’re accomplishing something for the day? When you hear someone tell you how much you matter, when moments before you wouldn’t have thought you did, so you break into a bright grin and warmth tingles through your body?

What makes you gold?

Every person has their own gold; some people may not realize when they tap into it, or they may be afraid of doing so, but it is always there. It can come out in the smallest of ways, shining just a little or blinding someone with its intensity. But it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be allowed to shine. Everyone has a right to their happiness; some just experience happiness differently than others.

Life works in mysterious and wild ways, and sometimes happiness is hard to find and feel. It can be like a raincloud hovering over your day(s), making everything slow down and feel dull. It may place a path of fire and smoke before you, suffocating you until you can’t think you can take it anymore, that at any moment you may break. Other times, it may shoot arrows at you from afar, trying to pierce straight into your soul and drive you away from what you want or think you need. It brings you pain when necessary, whether you know it in the moment or not.

But that doesn’t mean Life is completely cruel. It knows there is a gold within you, and sometimes it doesn’t know what to do with that, and sometimes it feels the need to steal it away from you. But gold doesn’t leave that easily, and sometimes Life actually wants to you to let the gold out and shine. We find ways to make good out of the bad times; we find ways to smile when we want to cry; we find ways to have strength when we feel like we can’t move on. We all have that gold that reminds us that we are okay, that life is grander than the bad moments, that happiness is there if we hold on long and hard enough.

Tapping into what makes you gold is harder than it seems, but it’s not a journey to take alone. We find gold in ourselves when we recognize the gold in other people and in ourselves. We are more likely to acknowledge our gold when we don’t have to actively search for it, and rather when it just bursts through and radiates outward, which does mean it can be tricky recognizing that we are radiating our gold when we can’t actually see it glowing off our skin. And we are more likely to radiate our gold when we are surrounded by people who feel the gold in themselves and let it out freely and happily.

But most of all, we all have our own unique gold that radiates through and drives us towards happiness. It gives each of us our own spark that helps make us such different but interesting and creative individuals. Our gold gravitates towards those who feel their own gold as intensely as we do. It’s not the only this metallic color that makes us who we are, we each have our own set of different and myriad colors that combine to create a color palette of our lives. It just so happens that we all share different variations of gold on our own palettes too.

Above all, keep true to your colors, embrace them, and let them lead you to paint a canvas of your life. But keep in mind, that you have gold on that canvas, that you always will, and to utilize it as best as you can, either for yourself or for others. There’s always something brighter, whether you realize it or not.

In the toughest of times and darkest of moments, stay gold.

(And here's the song that for several years now has lifted me up and remembered to keep this spark of gold and, most importantly, to stay gold)

Cover Image Credit: zFootage

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10 Reasons Your Big Sister Is The Best Person In Your Life

"There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you."

As much as I hate to admit it, my big sister might be sort-of, slightly, cooler than I am.

Sometimes. She's the one I call when I can't call mom and the only one in the family who can properly handle my attitude. Big sisters are the people you'd choose if they weren't already family, and here's why.

1. She is your first and truest friend.

Big sisters are (literally) there from day one. They see every dirty diaper, every bad haircut, and every melodramatic breakup. They deal with every bad day and drama queen attitude and still love you in the most unconditional way.

2. Her closet is your closet.

For some reason, her clothes always look better on you. Funny how that works, huh? With a big sister comes a big closet, and who doesn't love having a double wardrobe? I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the clothes I will never give back (but I'm not really that sorry).

3. She knows what it's like to deal with your parents.

Anything you could possibly be going through, they went through it first. It's kind of like having an instruction manual or a key to the future. Either way, it's always nice to have someone who will always understand the struggle.

4. There are no boundaries.

Wanna dance around in your underwear all day? Cool. Life talks while she's on the toilet? Also cool. There's no awkward moments or changing in the bathroom with the door locked. There's just the kind of freedom that only comes with siblings.

5. Thanks to her, you know about all of the cool movies/music/fashion trends from years back.

Thanks to my sister, I have every Too $hort and Ludacris song you could ever think of downloaded on my phone. I've seen every cheesy '90s movie, and when a fad from 10 years ago comes back in, I already have the hookup.

6. She tells you like it is.

We all have those friends who tend to sugarcoat everything. Yeah, sisters don't do that. She's the first person to tell me when I'm making a terrible decision and that I really shouldn't triple text that boy again. She keeps it real with me and deals with my attitude, and that's why she's the best.

7. Her home is always open.

Sometimes you just need to get away from life and binge watch Netflix, and sometimes you need all of that plus your sister. She always has her door open when you're two seconds away from losing your mind, and she also has good takeout and a dog.

8. She knows what you're capable of.

My sister knows exactly who I am and what I can do. She knows when I'm not doing my best, and when I need to be set straight. She's always there to remind me who I am and what I'm capable of accomplishing. She's always been my biggest fan.

9. She's a lot cheaper than therapy.

For some reason, my sister always knows just what to say. Even if I don't see it at the time, she's usually right (don't tell her I said that). Big sisters are like wizards, somehow they always magically make you feel like life's gonna turn out alright in the end. If she wasn't already awesome at everything else, I'd suggest she be a therapist.

10. She will always be your go-to gal.

No matter the situation, she will always be by your side. There is nothing you could say or do to make a big sister leave, and that's why they're the best. Whether it's a speeding ticket, a mean girl or you just need to laugh, big sisters are always going to be there to lift your spirits and set you straight.

I couldn't make it without ya sis, I'm sorry for ratting you out on Thanksgiving that one time, and for running away at the zoo. Thanks for taking me to see Aaron Carter even though he's way too old to still be singing "I want Candy," and thank you always for being the best role model, sister and friend I could ask for.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!


So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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