Time for a Confession…

Yes. I have a problem, and it’s time for a confession:

Time for a Confession...

I am a notebook addict.

The addiction is tempered by my college student budget and penchant for buying coffee, books, and things I don’t need on Amazon. I don’t go shopping often, but when I do, I find myself wandering down too-familiar aisles, reaching for something new. Charming covers. Soft leather. Luxurious paper. Classy details. I’m drawn to them, and even before I own them, my mind spins with dreams of how I’ll fill them.

I have notebooks designated for a wide variety of uses. Journals. Daily notes. To-Do lists. School. Work. Inspiration. Writing.

The happy little books clutter my shelves and my heart with endless handwritten memories. Page after page filled with scribbles, sketches, and stains from carelessly sipped coffee or tea.

Some of my notebooks line my bookshelves, nightstand, and desk like devoted little soldiers, long after their pages have been filled. I pull them out occasionally to relive or remember. Others are thrown away when their usefulness has run it’s course.

As an aside: This post is prompted as I’m struggling to get rid of some of my old notebooks. Half used but well loved, they’ve taken up too large of a drawer for too long. Does anyone else develop attachments to journals? Apparently I do, because this weeding out process is difficult.

It helps that I know that next time I go shopping, I’ll end up with more notebooks in my cart, whether or not I intended it. I’ll give them a good home, and fill them with ideas and love.

Here’s a peek at some of my favorites!

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A breathtaking leather notebook given to me by my boyfriend. He knows what I love!

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Bold. Italian. A Christmas gift from my lovely friend Rachel.

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A gift from my grandparents. It’s so beautiful and ethereal. I’m filling it with story inspiration!

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A beautiful leather journal given to me for graduation by my youth pastor. “Smells like cow!”

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A lovely, soft, Celtic notebook. Actually, this was given to my brother. He wouldn’t use it, so he gave it to me! Huzzah!

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I bought this one for myself… because it’s a good reminder!

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I haven’t found a use for this one yet, but I’ll get there. For now, it’s adorning my desk.

Plus many, many, many more. 

Long Distance Friendship

“Friends come and go. So do best friends. But best friends always find their way back.”

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Melody Bellora and I have been best friends since we were four. We grew up together. I remember the sweet, carefree days of scooter club, Christmas plays, and wearing fuzzy slippers to church. We watched Disney on Ice for my 10th birthday, had craft nights, and went camping.

We shared all aspects our lives, big and small.

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Then she moved away. It was the summer we were both 10, and I vividly remember laying my head on our dining room table and crying when mom broke the news. They were moving to California; which, to my young mind, seemed like Siberia.

I convinced myself they would move back in a couple years, and things would go back to the way they always were. No dice.

It’s been 9 years now, and the Belloras are still happily settled in San Diego, with a wonderful life and community there. They’re as likely to move back to Michigan as my family is to move to California. (Hint: Not very.)

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Melody and my lives have changed incredibly since we were 10, and in some ways I feel that I can’t be even remotely the same person as I was back then. How do we still connect so easily? At times, we’ve gone long stretches without talking… to my chagrin. Somehow, however, every time we see each other, it is as if she’s been here all along. We talk as easily and enjoy each other as much as we used to. We have similar interests, tastes, and senses of humor.

Can friends be made for each other? If so, we are.

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We seem to have developed in some strange parallel way. We have both changed, but our friendship has remained the same. I am so thankful for Melody, and the friendship we’re able to sustain over 2195 miles.

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Moments Like These

Isn’t it so often the little details that are most memorable?

You notice the smallest things about a person when we fall in love. Family reunions aren’t measured by the agenda or itinerary, but by the hugs and laughter. Years after the fact, you may not remember a specific race, but I bet you’d remember crossing the finish line!

It is a precious day indeed that is full of those memories. Yesterday was one of those days for me. 

Moments Like These

It was a normal day at work, and really, nothing that happened was terribly out of the ordinary. But yesterday, it all seemed so significant. So sweet.

In the morning, Little Man helped me build endless block towers, which Peanut proceeded to knock over. Every time a tower would topple, both boys would be sent into fits of giggles, like they had never seen anything more enjoyable.

After both boys had eaten lunch, Peanut and I were sitting on the porch watching Little Man ride his motorcycle around and chase the dog. He came back grinning and holding handfuls of dandelions in his chubby fingers. He presented them to me proudly, dropping them one by one into my hands. “I picked you flowers, Erika!” He held one up to his nose, sniffing it dramatically. “Mmmm, I smell it! Smells good. Smell a flower!”

And of course, I did.

When it was time for his nap, we cuddled in his tiny toddler bed together and read a book. When we finished, he lay down and asked for a song, a hug, and a kiss. I obliged. As I slipped out the door, his little voice followed me. “I love you, Erika! Goodnight.”

Be still my heart. When did Little Man turn into a charmer?

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It’s moments like these that remind me how much of a blessing my job is. How much I adore these little boys, and the precious time I have to spend with them. Someday, they’ll grow up and I won’t see them anymore. They’ll be men, and they might not remember their nanny. I, however, will always have these memories. I’m storing them up in a special place in my heart—a place for happy things.

My heart is very full.

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A Weekend with the Girls

A Weekend with the Girls

This past weekend, I was able to take a weekend off and road trip down to Louisville, Kentucky, with my friend Rachel (hand pictured above). The point of the trip was to go visit Lauren, (who has been on the blog multiple times before, notably here.) She’s getting her Culinary degree at Sullivan University, and as her school is on a quarter system, we haven’t seen much of her for the past year!

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It was a wonderful, relaxing time. I know we all needed it! Rachel and I arrived late Thursday night, and we all stayed up talking much later than we should have. No surprise there.

Friday, we spent our morning drinking coffee and catching up, then went out to adventure! We explored Louisville a bit, specifically a nice area around Bardstown road.

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One of our stops was a great little coffee shop, named Quills. We relaxed, enjoyed the air conditioning, and took photos. Of course. We also ended up getting some delicious sort of espresso drinks for free, many thanks to chatty and welcoming baristas!

If I lived in Louisville, I would definitely go back. Actually, even though I don’t live there, I may end up visiting again!

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That evening, Lauren made dinner for us, we relaxed, and edited photos from the day. Later on in the evening, we got to Skype my brother! It was nice to see him, and hear his voice.

Saturday started out with work, for all of us. Lauren had to go to work, so Rachel and I spent a few hours on our laptops in another coffee shop (Heine Brothers’, this time). The air conditioning was far too cold, but the coffee was good and the wifi was strong, so we enjoyed our time!

After a failed thrifting attempt, we headed back to Lauren’s apartment, then out to take some pictures by the lake near her apartment.

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Isn’t Rachel absolutely stunning?

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Her eyes are incredible.

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Many thanks to Rachel for this photo, and the last one of Lauren and I.

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Oh, my friends are lovely.

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And I love them very much!

Even after the cameras had been put away for the rest of the weekend, many more memories were made. We had some wonderful conversations, hard conversations, and we laughed endlessly.

Oh the way home, Rachel and I stopped in Indianapolis for lunch and coffee. We chanced on Mo’Joe, and the awesome baristas there were able to suggest a bunch of delicious, local places to eat lunch! We talked with them for probably ten minutes, before walking down to Mass Ave. and settling on Bazbeaux Pizza. Man, let me tell you – it was a good choice. Thank you, barista-whose-name-I-did-not-catch!

All the best,

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P.S. Lauren is a wonderful person, and has written her own blog post on the weekend here. I recommend checking out her blog! She’s got a great thing going. 

Can Dreams Die?

My dad spoke at our church once. He titled his message “When Dreams Die”. I honestly don’t remember much of the content (give me a break, I was probably 13), but I’ve always remembered the concept.

And it always scared me.

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Can dreams die? Yeah, they can.

Ever since I was about 6, I wanted to be a writer. Not just a writer, but a novelist. That idea was so captivating. Sure, I explored becoming a firefighter, gymnast, dancer, musician, carpenter, ranch owner, chef, and the First Lady (not much luck there), but I always knew I wanted to write books.

As I grew, it was a source of pride, in a way. Not that I wanted to be a writer, but that I knew what I wanted to be. So many kids didn’t. I already had a plan. I knew where I was headed. Didn’t that make me settled, mature, and well on my way to literary success?

I thought so.

At about my junior year in high school, I hit writers block. Hard. 

I began to doubt myself. Am I really a writer? What if I’m never going to be published? Am I writing the right genre? What if I’m not good enough? You can’t make money writing fiction anyway. There are so many people better than me. Is this where God wants me? What am I going to do with my life? I’m probably going to be broke. Will I have to work at McDonalds? Maybe I’ll just find a nice box and be homeless under a bridge somewhere.

Woah, Erika. Slow down girl. 

Yeah, I tend to over-think things just a bit. But all the same, it was a legitimate cause for concern. I’m on the verge of launching into a career, and I wasn’t sure if I was headed in the right direction.

Last summer, someone approached me about interning for him in communications at our church. I’d been praying about an internship, and it seemed like God had dropped one in my lap! Needless to say, I accepted. From September to May, I learned a lot about communications. In March, I started working for Shining Light Marketing, first as a copywriter and web design assistant, now as the communications manager. The owner of Shining Light Marketing just happens to be the woman I’ve been nannying for over the past 2 years. Coincidence? I think not.

The funny thing is, the more I’m working in and learning about communications, blogging, web design, and branding, the more I could see myself loving this for a long time. I’m able to weave together my love for writing, photography, and people, with threads of design and art. It’s holistic. It’s creative. It’s where God wants me. It makes my heart happy.

My job has become a joy.

The part of my brain that is resistant to change still screams that I’m supposed to be a novelist. Maybe I still will be. But for now, I’m content in allowing my dreams not to die, but to change.

I’m changing too, and I think I like who I’m becoming.

All the best,

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