August 23, 2012

living + enjoying.

Just as a preface, this post is more personal. It's not like a call to everyone to live life and enjoy! It's more of revelations I have been having. So please forgive all the "I's" in this post. I hate writing about myself, but this topic of enjoying life is something that I am passionate about. Hopefully it will encourage someone and it wont just be that I'm talking to a wall about my life. But if that's the way it is... I hope that wall is a good listener. And is covered with yellow wallpaper. 

Earlier this year, one of my good friends Kristen wrote this post about enjoying your life and living it to the fullest. I recommend the read. It's good. I was still in school and as I read it I nodded my head. "Yes! Yes! This is all so good! I want to enjoy life! Sign me up!" But life got away from me a bit too quickly. School! Homework! Late nights! Then of course, I went to Guatemala two days after I graduated. Quickest and most stressful transition of my life but also one of the most rewarding. 

For the entirety of the summer, I had limited Internet access, no texting, and a lot of children to take care of. My days were full and challenging. However, when I got back into my room at the end of the evening, I would lay down and feel this extreme sense of productivity and peace and satisfaction that I have never felt before. It wasn't because I had sent that email or texted back that friend who had been waiting for three days nor was it because I had finished editing a session or writing a paper. It was because that day I had picked up a hurting child and given him a hug or I had slid down a muddy and soapy water slide just because my kiddos wanted to see me try or I had laughed my head off with the greatest team in the world. The list goes on. I ate homemade bread, took a walk through the woods, had given bedtime kisses, stargazed, worshiped my Savior, laid on the ground and let a child run around me singing songs in Spanish (all the while my clothes were getting filthy). By the end of the trip I felt challenged... yet rested. I found joy in the little things in life and felt completely content to rest in them. Enjoy them. 

This summer I also spent more time in God than I had ever before. Every day was soaked up in Him. It was awesome. More breathtakingly beautiful than the volcanos we saw. More comforting than a simple word we could utter to a hurting child. More wonderful than any experience we could ever have (including zip lining... which was pretty wonderful). Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face / And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace // Helen Lemmel. I pray that's my theme song and prayer. That in enjoying life I would see the Creator behind it all, who made it all. For me to enjoy. For me to love. But for me to love Him first? That's the most important thing. I am able to enjoy life because Christ enjoyed me first. That sounds strange doesn't it? God enjoying us. But it's true. He enjoys being with us. He loves to hear us pray to Him. He delights over us with singing. Isn't that COOL? Yes. It is. 

This next year I am taking a year off, or a gap year as all of the cool kids are saying. The plan is to work, take pictures, and enjoy life. Go out for spontaneous ice-cream runs. Travel. Enjoy my family. Blog more. Be unplugged sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, I am so so grateful for technology. It is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind and I definitely use it daily. ;) But I feel that personally I could do less. I don't need to update Facebook everyday. Who cares if no one knows that I'm eating a turkey/lettuce/cheese sandwich? Or if I don't Instagram the picture of my newest creation... it doesn't matter. To me, living is more important than documenting that living. I can do both, so you will find me out there with a camera. Duh. But I hope that I'm soaking up more moments instead of worrying about what part of my day I can tweet. 


Hannah Nicole said...

Amen. I like this. And you. And am blessed by your words and heart. :)

sarah b said...

This is beautiful - something I wish I had thought of to blog. Haha I guess I had to experience it the way you did to write it like this. :)

That's what the extent of my comment was going to be before I read the last word. And now, I have to ask: you have a twitter? i did not KNOW that.

Jocee said...

utterly beautiful. and those photos? enchanting :)

Madison said...

So so beautiful, Ellie. I enjoyed reading this. It encouraged me.



Elisha said...

You are so gorgeous, inside and out. Everywhere, all the time. This is marvelous. <3

Grace said...

I love everything you have said! Feeling accomplishment and pride comes from day to day activities with people we can hug and love, not from media connections or instant messages. Lovelovelove it.

Anonymous said...

wow. so inspiring. you wrote it so perfectly!

oh!!!! and that was so fun going to get yogurt in the rain!

-liza <3

Anna said...

That sounds fabulous. I agree with you that it's easy to let technology take over and it's good to take a break by times.

Anna x

Unknown said...

This was so extremely encouraging, Ellie - it's definitely touched my heart. Thank you for sharing :) xo

Jianine ☺ said...

living your life to the fullest is just a great way to live, isnt it? This post is just so inspiring, and your photos are just lovely. x

Mal said...

So true... Thank you for sharing it with us :)

Olivia said...

this really touched my heart and hit right home with me tonight. I love your words and how you spelled this out as talking to yourself; thanks so much :)

Alina said...

Really blessed by this. Thank you so much for sharing. Your words are so real and relatable, so challenging and beautiful. I like especially what you said about not worrying how you are going to document life. I can relate. I really love to share my newest creations or just keep up to date with everyone elses, but I've been noticing while stepping away from the facebook world for a little while how much it has really sucked out of my life. When I go back to it I will have a better perspective, but I think I've just been learning how to live and to "tell" in moderation. I've been soaking up the moments and enjoying life. In the end thats what matters. Living. Thank you so much...words like these really help me to stay focused, to stay fully awake and alive making the most of the little things and investing my time and energy into what matters.
Also those two pictures are beautiful. When I looked at the second one I said to myself "wow, that's gorgeous." and I kept looking at it. Then I said "wow, that's REALLY gorgeous." With the sun reflecting on the wet pavement. Gorgeous. So beautiful.
Okay I'm done raving for now about how much I love your blog.
God bless!