Taking Flight

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thankful to be out of the chilling daggers of Oklahoma’s winter winds, I slammed the door of my car and exhaled the breath I had been holding the whole walk from the Barnes and Noble front door. Actually, it was more of an equal parts sigh and exhale. The day before it had been in the 60s for a high. Today my car thermometer read 28 around mid-day.

After I took a moment to savor the shelter from the wind, I whipped out my phone from my purse to cue up Spotify and saw the email notification. Mini @ Book and Corner had nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award (more on what that is in a minute).

My initial thought was This is kinda cool! When I first started blogging in probably 2014, these awards weren’t a thing or at least I wasn’t aware that they were. I was a bit of an incognito blogger who maybe published once a month. I didn’t really share my posts anywhere. I hadn’t figured out the whole tags and categories benefits. I didn’t even understand or even know about the whole social media aspect to WordPress.

Then, for a couple of years I wasn’t even on WordPress. You can read more about that here. But now I’m back and I am so grateful that Mini thought of Taking Flight when she was nominating!

So here’s how this works. The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring as they spread sunshine to the blogging community. It’s a privilege to know that what I write here on Taking Flight is making a positive difference. My prayer is that God his revealing Himself through every word that is written here and I can’t help but think that this award is a small piece of proof for that.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

So let’s get started with questions!

  1. What is your guilty pleasure? There aren’t many things that I would say are my guilty pleasure. I’m pretty comfortable in my interests and hobbies, but if I had to pick something I would say a Dr. Pepper from McDonalds. Being for a more southern state, I think it’s part of my DNA to love this fizzy beverage so if I can conveniently zip through a drive-thru on the way home and grab on for just $1, then why the heck not!
  2. If given a chance to meet an author, who would you meet and why? Assuming this has to be a living author, I would sat J.K. Rowling for obvious reasons…the woman created an instant classic with the Harry Potter series that will define my generation’s relationship with literature and reading for the rest of our lives.
  3. Why do you blog? I blog because God gave me a gift for writing that I want to invest in and make more of Jesus with. However, not only do I write about faith, but I’ll also write about book reviews and my travels…which only reminds me of the myriad of posts I have floating around in my head and pending on my drafts.
  4. Describe your reading style. Are you a planner or a random reader? I would say I’m a combination of both. I don’t set out each year with a list of books that I desperately cling to, but I also have an idea of what I’m going to read next based on a number of criteria. For example, there are a few books on my Goodreads To-Read list that are coming out with a movie in the next couple of months so between now and April I plan to read A Wrinkle in Time (which I’m currently reading), Ready Player One, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I also try to always have a religious book going so I am also reading The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel (which I would definitely recommend if deep philosophical questions are barring you from walking in faith).
  5. What would you choose; Book or Internet? Book. If I’m being honest, sometimes the internet and social media grind my gears. Technology is a double-edged sword in my opinion so I will always and forever choose a book over Internet.
  6. Three things you always carry with yourself. A book, lip balm, and my phone.
  7. Where would you like to live and why? I’ve always had some weird obsession with London, England. I think the over-2,000 years of history draw me, but also some of my favorite authors are from there. Also, one of my hobbies/goals in life is to learn French so I also think living in France for immersion purposes would be need. But realistically, I have no idea where I want to live…God will lead me where he wants me.
  8. If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Assuming this were a perfect world and I wouldn’t reap the consequences, I would say pancakes. I. Love. Pancakes. So. Stinking. Much.
  9. Tell me one fact about yourself. I wrote a novella my senior year of high school for an English project.
  10. If traveling became free, where would you like to go? United Kingdom, France, Greece, Israel, Egypt, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand. That would be my short list!
  11. What is at the top of your bucket list? Learning French!

Now, it’s time for another round of nominations and questions! I don’t think I follow 11 blogs that have new content consistently, but here are the ones that I find to be positive and encouraging and all around fun to follow.

Editing Advantage

The Godly Chic Diaries

MySweetJesus

Okie Sunshine

RoamWildandFree

And I think if I could return the nomination and include Book and Corner here, I would. But I’m not sure that’s allowed. Any who, I can’t wait to see their responses to these questions!

  1. What television show are you watching right now (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, network TV, etc.)?
  2. More importantly, what are you reading right now?
  3. What is your coffee drink of choice?
  4. Why do you blog?
  5. If traveling were free, where would you like to go?
  6. If you were stranded on an island, what three people would you want with you?
  7. What is a feat that you think is really cool, but would never do (e.g. climbing Everest)?
  8. What are your three favorite books of all time?
  9. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
  10. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  11. What are your reading goals for this year?

Hope you enjoyed this break in between Thoughts on Matthew!

Sunshine Blogger

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Taking Flight

New year, new site…sort of

(Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash)

So, I feel like I should explain all this moving around and junk that’s been happening with Taking Flight.

If you’ve been following this site by WordPress Reader for like three years and wondering why I’m showing up on your feed again, then you’re questions will be answered shortly.

If you subscribed by email for forever and a day ago and you’re all of a sudden getting email updates when I post after receiving two years of nothing from me, then you’re in the right place.

If you’ve noticed that I’ve been posting articles that are old but mysteriously have never been published on this site, then just hold on to your seats.

If you’ve been keeping up with Taking Flight through my various social media channels and you’re wondering why my link has suddenly changed or why the site has a fresh new look, then stay tuned for just a teensy bit longer because I’m about to answer all the little inquiries you’ve kept in your noggin for the last few weeks.

For those who follow Taking Flight blog on Facebook (shameless plug…please hop on over and like that page real quick if ya don’t mind), you probably saw my post about going back to WordPress.

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About two years ago–almost to date–I decided I wanted to try Squarespace. I was starting to get really serious about my writing again, and I had big ambitions about taking my blog even further. Honestly, at the time, I anticipated having a full time job and being out of college at this point…or at least not going right into grad school after my undergrad. So, even if Taking Flight wasn’t…well taking flight quite like my ambitions had anticipated, then at least I would have a decent income to support my hobby until it might take off a little more.

Fast forward two years later, I am in grad school (which I love…mostly) with not a ton of time to write and not a ton of income either. Not to mention that before making the move back I took about a 5 month break from writing, which resulted in readerships tanking and social media algorithms leaving me behind in the dust. Thus, I decided that it might be time to leave my cushy and official domain and Squarespace behind and go back to freely blogging without a fee.

But there would be a downside to leaving Squarespace other than losing the super easy CMS and fancy shmancy domain–I couldn’t sync anything from Squarespace back to WordPress like I could when I switched from WordPress to Squarespace.

So, before canceling everything, I quickly copy and pasted every article I wrote and published on Squarespace to Word documents so that I could sporadically add my old articles back here. Which explains why you’ve been seeing old dates in parentheses along with some blog posts. It’s kind of turned out to be a win-win because I won’t be losing content that I worked so hard to create AND that content gets to work overtime without the pay…a great ethical tactic as long as no humans or living things are involved.

Well, there you have it! That’s what’s up with Taking Flight, and I hope you stick around to read more awesome posts to come or that you’ll jump back into Taking Flight and be part of all the fun!

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Taking Flight, Writing

Confessions of a Blogger

Confessions

The title of this post is “Confessions of a Blogger” but could just as easily be confessions of a millennial or confessions of being human.

This goes with out saying but I love blogs! I have a blog (duh!), I follow a lot of blogs on a regular basis and I read a lot of other random blogs here and there.

This blog has been a ton of fun for me! I get to do what I love, which is writing, and use that passion to share the experiences and thoughts I have as a 20-something college student. Blogs are a fun way to share what’s going on in your life with family and friends, to share ideas with people far and wide, and to learn about other people and their views.

But while blogs can be used for great purposes, there is one struggle that I and many bloggers like myself all share and that is the struggle over numbers. We struggle to be authentic and I am no different. I struggle with writing to what will get the most likes or shares. It’s not just about writing something people will like, but sometimes you just want them to love it and a lot of the time they don’t love it. They merely enjoy it and that should be enough.

I struggle to share real life – my very real and imperfect life – with y’all. There is a line between being brutally authentic and keeping some things private. It’s so easy to write the “5 things” kind of post and they can be a lot of fun to write, but people want to feel. I want to feel and I want to know that other people want to feel, too. And maybe they want to feel the same things, too.

The internet is not always the best place to share some of the most vulnerable and tender parts of your soul that are best kept between you and a friend over coffee or put in God’s hands over prayer. But there’s something to be said for being able to put into words the pain and struggles that other people can’t always express. It’s a blessing. It’s a gift. To not use it would be to disgrace God. I would be no different than the servant who was given the one talent to invest in only to bury it for safe keeping.

But more than anything I struggle with what people might say when I decide to write in a very raw and brutally authentic way. People won’t always like what I write. Some might honestly hate it – find it insensitive or too sensitive. Some people will think that I just need to get over it and not get too caught up in X, Y or Z, but for every person who thinks an article is “too (fill in the blank)” there is someone who I have encouraged, someone who feels heard and represented instead of falling through cracks of a planet with 7 billion people on it.

So I must speak. I must write and not for the likes and shares. But I must blog with all the authenticity I can muster.

What does being authentic mean in your life?

(Originally published to my former site, thetakingflightblog.com, on February 15, 2016.)

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Taking Flight, Writing

Thank You!

2015 was THE year!

The year I finally jumped into my blog head first. The year I finally made a commitment to myself and Taking Flight. The year I was determined to blog at least once a week regardless of how busy the school year got. The year I finally took this talent of mine by the reigns and mobilized it for good. The year I gave myself a voice.

I started this blog in the summer of 2014 and seriously dropped the ball, but when I returned from Europe in May 2015 a little spark to write ignited a fire in my heart. My first blog post after Europe became a promise to myself to dare to dream, live adventurously, and be unapologetic in my faith, thoughts and goals.

So I put it all out there and to be honest, I was kind of nervous. There were some posts I was so scared to publish that I would send them to a friend before I made it live. I didn’t want to come across as insensitive and I also didn’t want people questioning my sanity and asking if I was okay. I only wanted to present my point of view as food for thought.

I wanted these words to be the figurative “pot of soup” people were simmering on low if that makes sense.

My first blog post after Europe I had my roommate Jill read it. I had resolved to not only publish but also publicize my writing.

And I was terrified.

After I published and shared it to Facebook, I shut my computer dramatically and didn’t look at social media for the next 24 hours. (HUGE deal for a millennial, sadly enough)

But any fear I had was unwarranted and unnecessary and I cannot express how thankful I am for all the support I have received as I take flight. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to take this time to write out some of my thank you notes.

thank you notes

In all seriousness…

Thank you, Jill, for saying I could change the way people think with my writing when I showed you my first post-Europe post. If you hadn’t said that, I probably wouldn’t have kept writing!

Thank you, Kathryn, for always being my sounding board and photographer even though I can’t pay you for your awesome work!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always being behind me with every new article and for texting me after you read the latest post about how much you liked it!

Thank you to all of my family and friends who have personally told me how much you like my blog! I will always be writing for myself with the hope of impacting others, but it’s a blessing to know that I’m actually impacting others. You are the ones who pushed me to write during the weeks when I didn’t want to write whether I didn’t have time or I didn’t have any inspiration.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the hard-to-write articles and the fun ones, too!

And thanks be to God for giving me the ability to write! I hope I’m taking this talent to the bank (Matthew 25:14-30)!

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travel

So…it’s been a while

Big Ben

So…it’s been a while, almost 10 months since my last post on this blog. Like most people, I got busy and a blog on a myriad of topics from public relations to Oklahoma to sports just didn’t seem feasible for a full-time college student with increasing responsibilities. Not to mention my inspiration was gone and my motivation was lacking. In short, I got bored.

Yes, I was incredibly busy this past school year but that was an empty excuse at best. In actuality, I had realized that the things I thought I was passionate about were not what really lit the spark within me and it took a trip half way across the world and a conversation with one of my roommates to realize what I really loved.

To start, traveling is either the master seductress or an incurable virus or the most powerful drug in the world but more likely a concoction of all three. Foreign and far away places call like the sirens in Greek mythology and once you step foot on a new continent or country, you are forever in the clutches of the travel bug. From the moment my virgin passport was stamped in London Heathrow just three weeks ago, I was done. She had me in her grasp and my desire for more only increased. It only made matters worse when the group I was with went to Paris so my passport received another stamp and I fell victim once again.

I said to someone when I came back to the United States that now that I had finally left my home country, i just wanted to get more stamps, see more places. I already can’t stop saying, “Next time I go to London…” There’s so much I didn’t do that I wish I had done. I wished I had gone there. I wished I had seen that. I wished I had done that. I wished I had more time.

But I’m not sure if I’m more addicted to London or to international traveling. Let’s just say, you know you have a problem when you haven’t watched Criminal Minds, your favorite show of all time, in over a month, but instead you look for British-made shows on Netflix and shows that are set in London to be more specific. Now that I’ve been to London, I will watch some of these shows just to see the places I have seen and the streets I have walked on. My roommate, Jill, said it’s like I’ve seen a famous person and I quite honestly feel like I have. I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized a scene from the first episode of Sherlock was in a park right next to the flat I stayed at when I was in London. I walked through that park nearly every day to get to the Russell Square Tube station, went to the cafe in that park multiple times during my stay, sat on the benches and the grass in that park and there it all was right before me on the screen of my iPad.

#1 thing I learned about myself: I love to travel…A LOT!

Next, while I was in London, falling in love with the city and traveling, I developed quite the reputation among the other students I was with. It’s nothing bad or scandalous or embarrassing or anything like that though some might be able to make a case for embarrassing. By the end of the trip, the students of the 2015 edition of the British Media Studies class could hold this truth to be self-evident that I am in fact a complete and utter…bookworm. The last night of the trip when we were all given silly awards (and though they were given all in good fun) the awards fit some like a glove and I most definitely fall into that category. Over the duration of the 18 day trip, I bought seven books: one in Paris, five in London and one in Bristol. The number would have been greater had I not shown some restraint.

Of course when I got home, I told Jill about this and then that set us off in to a very long conversation about books. At one point we started bringing out all the books from our bedrooms and showing them off like they were baseball cards. Yep, we’re cool. We know. Be jealous.

#2 thing I learned about myself: I love to read…A LOT!

Now, more about this conversation with my roommate Jill…like I said, it was long. It’s one of those conversations you have that really lasts the rest of the day because you keep talking about the topic of interest intermittently throughout the day. But the bulk of the conversation happened within a span of an hour and a half to two hours. While we were showing off our precious babies (a.k.a. books) in baseball card fashion, I was sure to point out the treasures I had imported from the UK. Needless to say (but I’m going to anyways), we nerded out. This lead to more conversation about more books and authors and we eventually discovered that we both loved writing and that we both wanted to be writers one day. Also, we both were smart enough to know that most writers do not make enough to sustain themselves so until we make it big I have my public relations and she has her elementary education.

#3 thing I learned about myself: I love to write…A LOT!

I still love Oklahoma, I still enjoy watching sports, and I still am interested in public relations, but put a cup of coffee in my hand (or a plane ticket to Europe; it’s really all the same) and start talking about travel, reading or writing, then you’ve tapped into what electrifies my mind and essentially gets me talking.

So I write all of this to say that this is why this blog looks completely different and from here on out you can expect completely different content. Get ready for an experimentation of writing styles of an almost schizophrenic nature, reviews of nearly every kind of book, and tales of travels made.

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