{wisdom}: growing

19 Things To Stop Doing In Your 20s
1. Stop placing all the blame on other people for how they interact with you. To an extent, people treat you the way you want to be treated. A lot of social behavior is cause and effect. Take responsibility for (accept) the fact that you are the only constant variable in your equation.
2. Stop being lazy by being constantly “busy.” It’s easy to be busy. It justifies never having enough time to clean, cook for yourself, go out with friends, meet new people. Realize that every time you give in to your ‘busyness,’ it’s you who’s making the decision, not the demands of your job.
3. Stop seeking out distractions. You will always be able to find them.
4. Stop trying to get away with work that’s “good enough.” People notice when “good enough” is how you approach your job. Usually these people will be the same who have the power to promote you, offer you a health insurance plan, and give you more money. They will take your approach into consideration when thinking about you for a raise.
5. Stop allowing yourself to be so comfortable all the time. Coming up with a list of reasons to procrastinate risky, innovative decisions offers more short-term gratification than not procrastinating. But when you stop procrastinating to make a drastic change, your list of reasons to procrastinate becomes a list of ideas about how to better navigate the risk you’re taking.
6. Stop identifying yourself as a cliche and start treating yourself as an individual. Constantly checking your life against a prewritten narrative or story of how things “should” be is a bought-into way of life. It’s sort of like renting your identity. It isn’t you. You are more nuanced than the narrative you try to fit yourself into, more complex than the story that “should” be happening.
7. Stop expecting people to be better than they were in high school — learn how to deal with it instead. Just because you’re out of high school doesn’t mean you’re out of high school. There will always be people in your life who want what you have, are threatened by who you are, and will ridicule you for doing something that threatens how they see their position in the world.
8. Stop being stingy. If you really care about something, spend your money on it. There is often a notion that you are saving for something. Either clarify what that thing is or start spending your money on things that are important to you. Spend money on road trips. Spend money on healthy food. Spend money on opportunities. Spend money on things you’ll keep.
9. Stop treating errands as burdens. Instead, use them as time to focus on doing one thing, and doing it right. Errands and chores are essentially rote tasks that allow you time to think. They function to get you away from your phone, the internet, and other distractions. Focus and attention span are difficult things to maintain when you’re focused and attentive on X amount of things at any given moment.
10. Stop blaming yourself for being human. You’re fine. Having a little anxiety is fine. Being scared is fine. Your secrets are fine. You’re well-meaning. You’re intelligent. You’re blowing it out of proportion. You’re fine.
11. Stop ignoring the fact that other people have unique perspectives and positions. Start approaching people more thoughtfully. People will appreciate you for deliberately trying to conceive their own perspective and position in the world. It not only creates a basis for empathy and respect, it also primes people to be more open and generous with you.
12. Stop seeking approval so hard. Approach people with the belief that you’re a good person. It’s normal to want the people around you to like you. But it becomes a self-imposed burden when almost all your behavior toward certain people is designed to constantly reassure you of their approval.
13. Stop considering the same things you’ve always done as the only options there are. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re older is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, or not having bought enough $5 lattes, or not having gone out to brunch enough times, or not having spent enough time on the internet. Fear of missing out is a real, toxic thing. You’ve figured out drinking and going out. You’ve experimented enough. You’ve gotten your fill of internet memes. Figure something else out.
14. Stop rejecting the potential to feel pain. Suffering is a universal constant for sentient beings. It is not unnatural to suffer. Being in a constant state of suffering is bad. But it is often hard to appreciate happiness when there’s nothing to compare it to. Rejecting the potential to suffer is unsustainable and unrealistic.
15. Stop approaching adverse situations with anger and frustration. You will always deal with people who want things that seem counter to your interests. There will always be people who threaten to prevent you from getting what you want by trying to get what they want. This is naturally frustrating. Realize that the person you’re dealing with is in the same position as you — by seeking out your own interests, you threaten to thwart theirs. It isn’t personal — you’re both just focused on getting different things that happen to seem mutually exclusive. Approach situations like these with reason. Be calm. Don’t start off mad, it’ll only make things more tense.
16. Stop meeting anger with anger. People will make you mad. Your reaction to this might be to try and make them mad. This is something of a first-order reaction. That is, it isn’t very thoughtful — it may be the first thing you’re inclined to do. Try to suppress this reaction. Be thoughtful. Imagine your response said aloud before you say it. If you don’t have to respond immediately, don’t.
17. Stop agreeing to do things that you know you’ll never actually do. It doesn’t help anyone. To a certain extent, it’s a social norm to be granted a ‘free pass’ when you don’t do something for someone that you said you were going to do. People notice when you don’t follow through, though, especially if it’s above 50% of the time.
18. Stop ‘buying’ things you know you’ll throw away. Invest in friendships that aren’t parasitic. Spend your time on things that aren’t distractions. Put your stock in fleeting opportunity. Focus on the important.
19. Stop being afraid.


{georgia}: some stories

Our trip to Georgia was a busy one!  But so much fun.  I was so scared to fly with both girls because with two when it gets bad...it is epic.  Thankfully they were really good!  Paisley loved the airplane and thought it was so cool to fly in the sky like Rainbow Dash (my little pony).  Speaking of which, we bought a new pony for both the trip there and the trip back and that seemed to help.  It gave her a reason to keep up with us because she knew when we got on the plane and all settled and took off that she would get her new pony (which she helped pick out before).  I also invested in lots of stickers and new fun treats and she actually stayed awake the entire drive to Vegas, the entire flight and almost the whole way!  We started off visiting my sister and her husband and 2 boys.  She loved their backyard and playing and running around with them!  They have a cute little house out in the middle of what looks like a forest!  It was really pretty!
She loved the swings!!  They went SOO high and she thought it was great.  She could not to be happier having 2 cousins to play with!
These are my 2 sisters, Michelle and Brittney.  Michelle is my half sister and Brittney is my full sister and only 11 months older than me.  (And she looks like Pocahontas...apparently we've got some native in the family).
 I am now that much more curious about what my children will look like!  After being there we all traveled to visit my biological father and his wife.  They have a gorgeous house and backyard and he's built this darling little train for the kids.  They loved it!  It was great because there was so much room for them to run around and play and chase each other and they have so many fun toys inside for all the grandkids too! Everywhere we went everyone was feeding us delicious food and we were completely spoiled.
Paisley just wanted to GO FAST!!
We also went to this cute pumpkin patch-I've never seen so many pumpkins all in one place and so huge!  The kids had such a fun time running around and the pumpkins were plenty big for Paisley to lay on them!
We also met Robin up at my biological father's house.  She is my other half sister and I just love her.  I still can't believe we both walked out of the house wearing the same shirt and didn't realize it until well into the day!
All the similiarites with all my sisters was crazy!

My biological father was really excited to have all of his girls all together.  We were pretty excited to be all together too ;)  Before we left we were able to meet my biological grandmother and she looks identical to Stella!!  It was crazy!  We figured we would probably meet who she is (she's not me or Jon!) on our trip and we did!

Finally, at the end of the trip I met my biological mother.  We brought the camera crews for that part so meeting up at a park seemed like the easiest thing to do (instead of bringing that racket to someones house).  I actually feel like I had the most one on one time with her.  We spent most of the day at her parents house (my biological grandparents) and it was wonderful to meet them.
The next day we traveled home.  It was so nice sleeping in our own bed and getting resettled before going out and filming the next day with The Buried Life.  I've heard from the camera crew and such that the episode turned out really well.  I wasn't too worried considering they're only a few minutes long, but I'm glad to have some documentation of all the madness!
They kept asking me if meeting your biological family is something I would recommend.  Honestly, I feel like one in a million with the positive experience that I've had.  I don't feel like it's often that things go so well-we truly were surrounded by so much love and I'm grateful to have met them and to continue a relationship with all of them.
We are continually so very blessed.


{update}: my life be like

It's nice being back in reality.  It's been a crazy week...good crazy but still crazy.

Back in February I spoke with my biological family for the first time.  I found out I have not only a Biological Mother (obviously) but a Father, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and siblings all interested in talking to me and getting to know me.  These people spent their entire lives wondering about me, praying for me and even celebrating my birthday.  It was an overwhelming feeling finding out that I was loved by so many people I didn't even knew existed.

Sometime last year I was introduced to a TV show on MTV called The Buried Life (we missed it on air and watched all the episodes on netflix).  I fell in love with the idea of the show and it's mission to accomplish things in your life and help people.  A few months ago they teamed up with Subaru with a contest to accomplish "The America List" and asked their fans to write in ideas that were unique to do in their town.  I wrote them a short note on a whim listing off a couple of fun things we love to do here in St. George...

A few weeks ago MTV called me and said they were interested in coming to visit and play with us. I was blown away.  I talked to them about everything and they spoke with them again, submitted some video chatting and then found out that the time they wanted to be filming was when I was going to be in Georgia meeting my biological family for the first time.  I explained that to them wanting them to understand the weight of the situation (and hoping that they would adjust filming timing seeing that I was doing something kind of huge).  Instead they asked if they could come with us!! (honestly not what I was expecting).  So they did.

We met up with my biological sisters, my biological father and finally met my mother (cameras in tow for that one on Monday), flew back Tuesday and spent all day yesterday filming with them.  They are a crazy bunch of boys and we really do just love them.  The production crew they brought was so kind and wonderful to work with...waking up this morning back in reality was so quiet compared to everything we've been through in the last week!!

I'll be posting more with pictures here in the next couple of days...but here's what yesterday looked like:
If you're not familiar with the show, watch this.  You'll love them too.  

Oh the stories...there will be more of them...
But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
—Matthew Arnold, 1852