Choosing A Season Of Joy

I’m baaaaack! A lot has gone on in the week and a half I took off, but I’m ready to write again and update you all on some new developments.

It’s been crazy rainy lately and my POTS symptoms seem to get aggravated during changes in weather. Something interesting about POTS is that it affects a bunch of important organs, and has trouble finding homeostasis when even minor changes are introduced. My physical therapist takes my blood pressure and heart rate every single session — before and after and sometimes during my workouts — and it’s crazy to see that whenever I feel symptomatic my blood pressure is super low, and my heart rate is higher than usual. One cool thing about people with chronic illnesses is that we really know our bodies well. I can almost always pinpoint what is physically wrong with me because of the way my symptoms are behaving. We are going to start looking at the barometric pressure and my blood pressure throughout the day, just as a little test to see how they compare since both of us have noticed this trend. I can’t wait until POTS has been studied better and we can just look up a million and one facts about it, and one day there can actually be a cure.

Which leads me to my next point. I have been trying to be really cognizant of the blessings I have in my life lately. It makes every obstacle a whole lot easier to tackle, and I have felt more peace and joy by looking at the great things God has given me, rather than focusing only on the pain or discomfort. Today, for example, I saw a sweet little bunny outside on our front lawn. He was eating part of our flowers, but I sat and watched him until he was ready to leave before I walked past him. While I was sitting on the porch I saw a little red robin fly into a puddle next to our yard, and he started to fluff his feathers and bathe himself. These two little moments made my heart so warm the rest of the night.

As far as wedding planning goes, we keep making slow and steady progress. Robert and I got our wedding bands this week and they’re absolutely perfect. I keep putting mine on every time I go to his house because I love it so much! I am super sentimental, so I love that he picked everything out for me, but it’s also just so me. I love his too, and I think he looks super handsome with a wedding band. I wrote a little message to him in it so he’ll always be reminded of how I feel when he looks at it. 🙂 Despite all the stress of planning, I keep realizing how fast this time is going by and reminding myself that the primary feeling of this time of engagement should be joy. We have four months to go as of today, and I am so, so excited.

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My Resolution To Be Fearless

We are over 4 months into the new year and I decided to reevaluate how I am doing on my resolution to fear less in my everyday life. I wouldn’t quite say I am failing, but I’d give myself a “C” on this front, and I am not okay with that.

Having a lifestyle blog for anyone in the world to read is a little nerve-wracking, but the fact that any of my friends, family, and acquaintances can read about some of my deepest feelings and thoughts is a whole lot scarier than strangers following along my journey. My best friends know what kind of beautiful, fearful, and thoughtful desires are in my heart, but putting it on paper for those who don’t know me very well makes everything feel a whole lot more intimidating. Ink is permanent and words are sometimes interpreted by readers differently than the writer intends.

I know people like to talk about what others are up to sometimes. I do think about 99% of my readers are kindhearted amazing people who genuinely want what’s best for me, so despite having a good number of readers on this little online space, I believe it’s safe to share my heart with you all. I also know how easy it is to make snap judgments about others on social media, though. This blog showcases a small piece of my life, despite my best efforts to share meaningful things with y’all, and it can be difficult when friends make an assumption based on one, three, or a dozen little posts from a couple days of life. Feelings can be long and drawn out or incredibly fleeting, and I write a lot about both. 

After thinking about it a lot, I’m not going to say I’m done with being afraid — because I’m totally not, and there will be times I won’t share a lot of what’s going on in my life — but I am going to use the next few months to put a lot out there and cross off some of my goals without worrying so much about what other people might think. I will continue to work to “fear less” every day so that one day I might be able to call myself “fearless” in pursuing my dreams.

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To The Creatives Of The World

Your work matters too.

Having a chronic illness makes me so, so thankful for people who are different than I am. I appreciate the people who can handle blood and unhinged joints, and those who have brains that work for chemistry and biology. I’m not wired like that; I enjoy using my hands to write and create stories. I like painting metaphorical pictures for people, and I love resurfacing feelings from my heart and putting them on paper for others to read and relate to.

Something that really kept my spirits up when I first got sick with POTS was watching The Food Network and reruns of The Office. Laughter is often some of the best medicine, and despite not being able to do very much physically, I was able to laugh and dream. I learned as much as I could about food and health, and I lived each moment in the present as the room spun in circles around me.

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Every chapter of my life has included a soundtrack. I hear an old favorite song and it takes me back to a memory. I often do my best writing while I am listening to music, and will play a song on repeat until I have spilled old feelings on the pages in front of me. Despite not having the same ones anymore, I have a perfect memory for feelings. I know them all so well and even though I can’t remember dates, numbers, or physical details, I always remember how my heart felt about something. The best part about my writing is that it strikes a chord with people. With each blog post I get messages about how someone could relate to my own thoughts and feelings, and I take a lot of joy in knowing I can make others feel less alone by sharing my life with them.

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There are a lot of people in the world who get credit for their practical work, but I think creative people sometimes get left out of the thankfulness. I’ve written posts about how great I think people like doctors, physical therapists, nurses, and researchers are — without them I would be a complete wreck — but I’ve conveniently left out the people I understand most. The artists, the writers, the actors, and the comedians who all make life just that much brighter and more beautiful. The world is a really cool place because we have such a vast mix of humans who care about all of the other kinds of people. Without the left brains we wouldn’t be able to fix painful everyday problems, and without the right brains we wouldn’t have all the entertainment options we do. Both types of people bring more joy to the world, and we are all are a piece of the puzzle that makes for a happier society as a whole. No matter what your talent is, use it to make the world a better place.

Today’s lesson: Just because you can’t cure sicknesses or fix things doesn’t mean you aren’t important to the world. Laughter and bringing joy through the form of creativity and entertainment is a very important job. Keep practicing what you do best and giving back to the world with your own unique talents.

An English Major’s Love Language

Who else was excited that Ed Sheeran got engaged this weekend?! I was super excited for a few reasons. First, I absolutely love love. I want every single person in this world to be happy, and falling in love is something I think can really add a different element of brightness to your life. Second, I am stoked to hear all the new music he comes out with now. One of my favorite things about listening to artists I really enjoy is knowing who songs can be about. Taylor’s breakup music is fun, but the tracks about being in love and spilling her heart out in words is incomparably beautiful. I am excited to learn more about Ed’s fiancée, Cherry. Lastly, I like having a face to put to his song Perfect. The lyrics are some of the sweetest I’ve heard, and I absolutely love that he wrote such an amazing song for the girl he wants to spend forever with. That is just the “cherry” on top of the most wonderful words that have been put together.

Oh my gosh, this really gets the waterworks going. As if I needed any other reasons to love this song, knowing that each and every word written is real and raw makes me so, so happy. Something I enjoy most is knowing that the feelings in Perfect are real and raw. Being a fellow writer — though far less eloquent — I know exactly what it’s like to feel like your heart is about to burst and overflow with all the love it’s trying to contain. I also know very well that the only outlet for us to really express a deep love is putting pen to paper. Even though I don’t really know Sheeran, I feel like I’ve gotten a peek into his heart, and he’s been able to bring up my own feelings and experiences, despite being really descriptive about his own, too.

 

 

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Me interviewing Sheeran at the Jingle Ball in 2012. If you click the first link in this article you’ll see a picture of Cherry wearing this sweatshirt. I guess when it comes down to it we all love stealing our guy’s clothes.

I know that there’s significance behind “dancing in the dark,” and that they’re not just meant to be carefully crafted lyrics.  I know that there was a night where he whispered, “darling you look perfect tonight,” and I can picture him blushing happily while dancing with his sweet new fiancée.

These memories bring up my own. I think about dancing to Sheeran at a friend’s wedding with my own significant other. I think about how perfect that moment was, and going home to write this in my journal:

“Our first dance together was magical. We smiled at the newly wed couple happily, and our eyes danced as they met one another. We knew we were thinking the exact same thing; we are similar in so many ways, and we both feel touched deeply by true love — though Robert might not as openly admit that.

We swayed back and forth and I got lost in the twinkle in his eyes. For a moment I felt a little self-conscious that we were having such a moment in front of other people, but my nerves were quickly put at ease when I realized how comfortable Robert was. The way he was looking at me I knew he was peering deep down into my soul, and our two moving bodies became one. My heart hadn’t ever felt so warm, loved, and bright as it did in that very moment. It was as if all the love that had ever been in our relationship was piled into this one dance, and I didn’t want it to end.

‘I guess our first dance is to Ed Sheeran,’ Robert observed. His eyes were still smiling at me, and the twinkling lights in the barn around us were just background noise; he was the star of my show. ‘I don’t hate it.’

We continued to sway to the sweet lyrics until the song ended. I didn’t want it to come to end, but I also knew in a way it wouldn’t. I would have this in my heart forever, and that dance will be one of my favorite memories of us for the rest of my life.”

I remember having a feeling of pure bliss because of how innocent and special sharing a slow dance with the love of your life is. I think further back to being pulled close in the kitchen and listening to his heart beat while we swayed back and forth to silence. I wonder if he remembers this too, or if these moments are only preserved in my own heart and journals from before the deployment.

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Writing, to me, is the most beautiful love language. Words of Affirmation aren’t listed as my #1 love language, but they are the most special to me in so many ways. They can make my heart sink or soar, and I use them to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others. I have screenshotted text messages from years ago that made me so happy that I couldn’t imagine just letting them disappear into thin air. I save every note someone who is special in my life sends to me, and I treasure certain words that are said in my heart forever.

I want to collect thousands of “I love you’s,” and hearing about what I mean to someone is the best gift that could be given in this world. I look at words as being sacred pieces of the heart, and despite using the “L” word freely, it also means very different things to each person in my life. When it comes to romantic love, there is only one person in the world who hears “I love you” in the giddy way that will always signify true love, and for me, that person is Robert.

Congratulations to Ed and Cherry; they’re definitely going to be people I ‘ship while wedding planning and thinking about how beautifully special two people coming together to create a life with one another is. I can’t wait for the next sweet single to come out, and in the meantime I’ll continue gently taking words from my own heart to keep writing about the things I love in this life.

Taylor Swift Is My Spirit Animal

I’ve never been able to relate to the whole spirit animal thing. I don’t think there’s really an animal that I can compare my personality to. I wish I could just make it simple and say a dog, but I don’t think anyone can really say that; dogs are just too good for us.

Taylor Swift is someone I can completely relate to in so many different ways, though, so I’ve adopted her as my spirit animal.

That’s such a funny sentence because if you look at her life compared to mine it couldn’t be more opposite. She is in the public eye and has 105 million followers on Instagram, compared to my account just scraping the surface of 1,000; far more people read the songs that journal her feelings than these blog posts. Taylor has all the money in the world to spend on whatever she wants, owns my dream apartment in Manhattan, and gets to utilize the best makeup artists in the world for anything from red carpet events to just going to the gym. She has celebrity BFFs and can meet whoever she wants, but her heart still beats like a normal human being’s. She still has the exact same feelings as us, and articulates them so darn well that you forget what her reality is. Love or hate her, you have to admit Taylor is the queen of feelings and can bring them out in our lives despite living in very different circumstances.

I listen to Taylor Swift to get inspiration for different blog posts and they help me bring back feelings when I need to describe how I felt at any given time in my life. If you asked me about any of my experiences, I could tell you which Taylor song I was obsessed with in any significant chapter of my life.

For my first breakup I listened to, “All Too Well” on repeat — mainly because I loved one of the last lines of the song. It reminded me that broken promises aren’t something that make for a lasting relationship, and even though the song didn’t sing the tune that I would fall in love again, I knew that there was something bigger and better to come. “Begin Again” was the song that offered hope that I would one day meet someone who loved me despite the hardships that life might throw our way, and that I might not actually know what true love is yet.

Meeting Robert and falling in love with him confirmed that to me, and “Enchanted” soon became my new favorite song. He doesn’t know it (Until now, that is), but sometimes when I feel like my heart is going to overflow with love I’ll dance around my room and sing it at the top of my lungs. I think about the countless times he picked me up before he went overseas and drove me to and from his little apartment in the city just to have a little bit of time together. I remember how I felt when he wondered aloud how he met someone so compatible to his own heart, and I remember thinking about how he didn’t know quite how strongly I felt about him because I had my guard up. I blushed when he told me how he felt, and I tried my best to bottle up the words, “I love you” that were just dying to spill out. I remember the day I couldn’t contain myself anymore and decided to tell him how I felt. There hasn’t been a day we haven’t said those three little words since.

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When we started doing long distance for his deployment, the song “Ours” really touched my heart. I remember driving to my favorite local coffee shop one day and pulling to the side of the road to cry when that song came on the radio, as it brought up so many of the delicate feelings I had been having since he left several months before. I still can’t watch the music video without tearing up a little.

The really difficult feelings from my past have disappeared, but I can still remember them all so well. My heart remembers feelings the same way minds keep track of numbers, dates, or formulas. I don’t try to; I’m just programmed to rely on my heart more than anything. This is why I want so badly to reach out and let other people know that the hard emotions that you want to forget will disappear one day and be a distant memory. I want to share my experiences about falling in love and caring deeply about people because that’s what makes life so worthwhile, and we can all have those kind of feelings in our lives if we’re willing to put ourselves out there and risk getting hurt. Love is the one thing in the world I think is worth risking everything for, and when you find the person who’s heart beats to the same rhythm as yours, all the pain and heartache from your past begins to disappear. 

New Year, New Me?

“New Year, New Me.” We see it year after year after year and I’m honestly not really quite sure what it’s supposed to mean.

Making resolutions is such a fun thing. Normally I spend New Year’s Eve at home in my pajamas with a glass of sparkling cider in one hand and a Sharpie in the other. My favorite thing is making new goals, adding to my dream board, and checking some things off my bucket list from the entire year. I wouldn’t say a new number on the calendar means that I am going to be an entirely new Krista, though.

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Photo Credit & Makeup: Audrey Denison

My heart still beats for the same people, I still have my same core values, and I am still trying to figure out how to change the world with my thoughts, feelings, and writing. Even if some of my habits change, I’m not going to be a different person.

A few of my goals this year are:

  • Writing more and doing a better job of posting regularly on here.
  • Going back to my gym routine and continuing to heal and kick as many POTS and EDS symptoms to the curb as humanly possible.
  • Planning a wedding with the help of two of my favorite people in the entire world.
  • Eating well and saving money on necessary evils like food, medical expenses, and getting married.
  • I want to make a trip back to New York City. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss living there sometimes, but who says you can’t pretend to be a local again for a weekend?
  • Lastly, I want to start going to church again, but more importantly I want to develop habits that bring me closer to God. I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him, however I fall short every day — and I don’t see that changing drastically since I’m only human. I want to learn how to better love the way Jesus does, and I want to be able to rely on Him, even in the things that sometimes feel hopeless or scary.

I have a few secret goals I will unveil at some point on this blog. One is something I want to do for Robert, one is something I want to learn for myself, and the last is an exciting surprise for a bunch of people I care about deeply.

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2018 has such a beautiful ring to it. Those four numbers somehow look even more beautiful than the last. I know many of us love the feeling of a blank slate for the new year, and I’m certainly not exempt from that. I am going to be slowly rebranding parts of this site, and I do think this new year will bring health and interesting opportunities with the habits I will be forming.

This blog is still going to be heavily focused on relationships and health, but now I will be adding some wedding planning and marriage posts sprinkled throughout. The thing I love so much about this community is that many of my readers don’t really care about the content as much as they do about the heart and soul that goes behind the words that are splashed on the pages. Thank you for letting me be myself and for cheering me on while I do the same for each and every one of you.

So even though most of us aren’t changing who we are, here’s to the imaginary blank slate each of us has that is 2018, and here’s to a wicked awesome year.

2018, Fearless

Fear is a great motivator. It stifles our light and often keeps us from doing really meaningful work merely because of the off-chance that something bad may happen. When we look at someone else’s fears we don’t always see the validity of them and wonder how in the world they are letting something so hypothetical stop them from living their lives; however, our own fears feel very real and valid because they are scenarios that could really hurt us.

I have a small arsenal of writing that I have done but kept to myself because I’m afraid to share it for one reason or another. In 2017 the word I chose for the year was, “strong,” and I feel like despite some tricky circumstances, I have been able to live up to what this word means. Going into 2018 I want my word of the year to be Fearless. The dictionary defines this word as,

Fearless: adj, “without fear; bold or brave; intrepid,”

but I think when you break it down the word simply means, “fear less.”

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Fear in life is inevitable. It can be a healthy feeling, as it keeps us from doing stupid things, however it can also keep us from reaching our full potential. Think of how much you could accomplish in life if you didn’t base so many decisions on fear. The times I have moved forward with actions despite being afraid of the outcome I think my writing has been much more dynamic, raw, and real than when I am merely trying to come up with content.

This is the opposite of what I want to do right now. I’ve had a few things happen that make me want to crawl back into my shell and hide, and the last thing I want to do is continue creating posts that reach deep down into my heart to spill words on these pages for anyone in the world to read. This year I’ve learned that people don’t always want what’s best for you, and their intentions can be malicious and manipulative. I’ve learned that not all women want what’s best for other women, and my heart has hurt because of it. Something else I’ve learned, though, is that it’s really easy to look at the bad in situations. For some reason it seems to be human nature to hone in on the negative. Knowledge is power, and after taking my first step of realizing this, I have learned that the majority of the people who read this blog are kind, caring, and genuine. They want what is best for me, and they don’t have any ulterior motives from reading the diary I keep online. One person in over a thousand should not dictate the way I share my life, and most of us are here to cheer each other on and make every journey easier by being there for each other. This is a time for celebration, and I am so, so excited about my future with Robert, and with writing all about my life and the content of my heart.

So here’s to diving in head and heart first, fearless.

Give A Piece Of Your Heart To Someone

I’m always seeing little graphics that say, “tag someone who needs to hear this,” or, “tag a friend to let them know you’re there for them,” on Facebook and Instagram. While the person who created the thread means well, as do the friends who write, “@insert_name_here” in the comments, that just doesn’t cut it for letting your loved ones know you care about them.

November is a month for thankfulness, so the next few weeks I’d love to challenge you to write love letters to friends and family you care about. A letter is one of the most intimate and personal things you can offer someone; you are giving a piece of your heart and spilling out your feelings on a permanent page.

Is letter writing not really your thing? Then I encourage you even more to sit down at your desk and write a few letters. Often some of the most beautiful notes I get are from people who have scribbly handwriting or don’t use the most eloquent adjectives available in the English language. I realize that these letters are truly written from the heart, and that someone was sitting and thinking about me for an uninterrupted amount of time while they put pen to paper.

If you don’t quite know where to start, some of the subjects you can touch on are why you love the person you are writing to, how they have made an impact on your life, and what they do that you happen to think is incredibly amazing about them. You love them for a reason, and all you have to do is write that down so they can see that and cherish it forever. If nothing else, I challenge you to write three letters in the rest of November. Then, see who really appreciates the note, and make a habit of sending one letter every month. It only takes a few minutes, but is a gesture that can mean the world to someone.

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Bonus: Write a letter to sweet little Jacob. You can count this toward your three for the month, and I promise this will be an effort that won’t be in vain. As someone who saves special letters from readers and loved ones, this gesture means more than you could imagine.

Shifted Dreams

It’s funny how dreams in life change with the circumstances.

Ever since I was teeny tiny I’ve wanted to be a journalist. As a kid I made my own little newspapers, magazines, and short stories. I was homeschooled for a few years, and I always begged my mom to let me get ahead on my English homework. We had these little editor workbooks where I got to find and correct grammatical errors, and I would take them to my room to play with when I was done with my schoolwork.

When I finally went to college it was really easy picking my major. My school didn’t have a journalism program, but we did have communication with a concentration in journalism, so I declared my major the very first semester of school. In my free time I still enjoyed writing, and kept several different blogs throughout my college career. I took writing classes as my electives, and I worked for the school newspaper — both as a reporter and as an editor. I went back and forth from wanting to do television or print journalism, and held internships in both fields. My first was with FOX News’ national network, and my second was with Seventeen magazine. I was never very interested in politics, but these internships made me realize how in love with writing I was. I had a fire in my heart to help teenage girls feel less lost and alone in the world, and I worked extra shifts at Seventeen just so I could make a greater impact during my time there.

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Living in NYC was such a dream to me. I am someone who absolutely loves the energy it gives off, and every day felt like an adventure.

Little did I know, the internship that segued into a job would be very short-lived, because I got sick just a few weeks before moving back to the city.

After the initial shock of getting sick quieted down a little bit I realized my life had just changed forever. Four years later I know my dream of moving to New York isn’t going to come true, but I’m really grateful for the months I did have there. New York will always have a tiny piece of my heart, but the rest of it goes to my loved ones… Which brings me to today.

My dreams today are so much more simple than they’ve been in the past. I don’t want to be on television or be famous, and I don’t care deeply about whether or not I get to live in New York again how often I get to travel. My heart is with my family and loved ones, and I have accepted that my career path has drastically changed. I don’t have the strength or stamina to be a journalist — or even work a “normal” job — so I’ve improvised. I’ve actually been really happy working as a consultant for Rodan + Fields. it still fulfills my dream of building other women up and helping build their confidence, and I love that I’m making new friends in the process. I joke to my friends and family that my dream now is to be a stay at home dog mom, and it’s kind of incredible that this dream is quickly becoming a reality.

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What I’m doing with my life isn’t as wild and crazy, but it’s actually turning into a bigger blessing than I could have ever created for myself. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have met Robert. I wouldn’t have found an opportunity to be my own boss and have time to spend with him during the week. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have thought outside the box and found a job working from home with the two sweetest puppies on earth. None of what makes my heart so joyful today would have materialized, so in a very strange way I feel blessed that my own dreams didn’t end up working out. God truly does have a greater plan for me than I ever did for myself, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me next.

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My Journal Entries

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’ve had bad writer’s block lately. Partly because I can’t think of what to write about, but the other part is that I’m scared to write about what my heart is calling me to. Writing in 2017 is different than twenty years ago because of how many people you can reach on a little platform like this. I don’t have over 1,000 friends in real life, so where are all of my readers coming from? Not everyone who follows this little corner of the Internet knows my heart, so I feel like I need to be careful to not collect labels from strangers. On the other hand, though, I shouldn’t care what people think if they’re wrong. I know my heart, and more importantly the Creator of the universe does. He knows my heart’s greatest desire is to love and be loved, and that I care deeply about every human I meet — even if we don’t become friends.

From today on, I’m going to try to open my heart more to you all. This space shouldn’t have room for pride, and I think more people can relate to my own life than I would imagine. Be patient with me and I’ll slowly continue to open up more; that is, as much as I can while still giving the people who have been a part of my story the privacy they deserve.


To start, I can offer a little peek into what I’ve been up to lately. Drum roll, please…

SUMMER CLEANING!

I’m trying to get rid of all the clutter in my life, and it’s proven to be a pretty big task. The other day was my biggest purge so far. I found flare jeans in the back of my closet, my homecoming dress, and a million and one letters from pen pals. I also found all of the journals I’ve kept since I was in elementary school. It was hilarious reading the older ones, and really fascinating reading the journals I kept in college.

On our fourth or fifth date Robert gave me a really beautiful leather journal. He told me that he was just thinking about me while he was at drill in Staunton, Virginia, and went shopping during his time off to get me a little gift. Robert never forgot to remind me that I was special, even in the very beginning of our relationship, and I liked that he spoke my love language of gift giving.

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I just finished the last page of that journal last week, and it was incredible seeing the difference between entries I wrote about guys in my past, versus the way I write about Robert. Robert is someone I’ve never wondered about or questioned if we’re supposed to be dating or not. We’ve definitely been through our fair share of hardships — much of my journal’s pages were filled during the deployment — but I’ve never once wanted to leave this relationship or face my trials with anyone else. Life isn’t always easy, but it certainly brings you peace knowing you’re fighting through hardships with the right person.


Some of the next things I will be writing about are when to — and not to — listen to your friends about your dating life, a few things you should definitely feel about your significant other, and how to make a relationship flow as smoothly as possible. Thank you for being patient while I dig myself out of this little writing rut!