An Addiction to the Superficial

One thing I’ve caught myself doing is falling into the materialistic cycle of today. Since I’ve started working at the tower, I recently caught myself falling into the trap of the materialism mentality of the corporate world. Walking in to BOK each day, you see everything from Louis Vuitton purses, brand new mercedes and range rovers, gucci shoes… you name it.

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Walking from the tower to lunch, you see a parade of material possessions strutting through downtown. The ladies slipping on their ray bans and designer purses, walking in gorgeous heels, talking about their new range rovers and soprting beautiful diamonds. It’s very hard not to get caught up in the materialism. It makes hard to figure out when it is too much.

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Personally, I like nice things. I like to dress well. I like to be in what is trending. That is the way of our society, today. But when is it too much? When do we draw the line?

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Personally, I was brought up very poor until about the age of 14. I mean when I was 5 I lived in a trailer with holes in the floor that momma would make a game of jumping over to get to my room. We had NOTHING. Around the age of 14, it was like everyone in my family finally started making money. My mom was finally doing well for herself, my dad’s construction company was taking off finally, my meme moved home from ALabama and took on her CEO position. In third grade I had moved over a handful of times and attended over a handful of schools. They were typically smaller schools. In third grade, we moved to Broken Arrow. Living with a single mother I was fortunate to have everything I needed and up to that point, everything I thought I wanted. Once we got to BA, it was awful. I got made fun of all the time because I didn’t know what Abercrombie & Fitch was or Limited Too, etc. and I definitely didn’t have any clothes from there. We didn’t live in a house in Forest Ridge or belong to a country club, in fact I got made fun of for living in the “ghetto” in a house over by North Intermediate. I was at the bottom of the food chain and all of the mean girls made sure to point that out. However, I am thankful I didn’t have those things. My mom worked her butt off. She joined the military at 17 when I was just a baby and to this day is still in the National Guard. She became a police officer, shortly after moving to BA. She worked countless side and security jobs just to make sure she could pay for food on the table and a roof over my head. Before we moved to BA and she worked in other fields, there were days when she wouldn’t eat lunch so that she could give me money for lunch. To say we scraped by is on point. Looking back, I have so much respect for my momma. She was a single teenage mother, growing up as she was raising a child, she didn’t ask for handouts, instead she worked hard and did whatever she had to do to make ends meet. She wasn’t out partying and having fun every night… she knew she couldn’t… she had a responsibility.

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As I got older, in BA schools, I was constantly embarassed. Having to walk to school from the “bad” neighborhood and not having the clothes that were cool. I hated it. Girls are mean and viscious and it was miserable. Once I started working when I was 16 any money I earned, or any birthday/holiday money went to clothes. I had an addiction. I had up to 3 closets full of clothes at one point. I hoarded clothes and it went beyond that. I started this addiction of obsessing over personal perfction. It even got to the point I would starve myself to be skinny and seen as more attractive. After all that time of not having what was in or being made fun of for what I was “lacking,” I decided I’d show them. What I did was start a horrible cycle of retail therapy and a shopping addiction. As I got older, when I was upset, I’d go shopping. When I felt inadequate, I’d go shopping. Every time I’d go out with my friends, I thought I had to have a new outfit because I couldn’t be caught wearing the same thing twice.

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I still struggle with it, but I am getting better. I try to frequently go through my clothes and resale &/or donate them. I try to limit my shopping or retail therapy. Working in the corporate world it is hard. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I like nice things. I work hard and I like to buy nice things for myself but I think there has to be a line of when it is too much. We get so caught up in keeping up with the trends and having to have what everyone else has or wants. Social media is a huge contributor as well. You see the new purse she bought and have to have it. You see the new car he bought and you want a new car. You see people out partying on a boat every weekend and now you want a boat and to live that lifestyle. It’s a never ending cycle.

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The biggest issue with our generation is not only the materialistic nature, but it is entitlement. We think we deserve it. Even when we haven’t worked hard to earn it. That is one thing I am thankful to have gotten from my upbringing. I know the value of hard work and it was instilled in me. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and put in the work.

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When I was younger, I remember having to help bottle feed the calves, wrestle the calves with my stepbrother and sister to get them in the pin, go out and hay the cows, cutting down trees and lugging the pieces off. Going to work with my dad and snapping chalk lines or looking througg the view finder to make sure it’s level. Going and sitting in class with my momma while she was taking college courses. She didn’t have a sitter but I knew to be quiet and color or keep myself entertained.

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Thinking back to conversations with my great grandpa a few years ago, a lot of things hit home. His generation was focused on looking their best at all times but they weren’t obsessed with material objects. They had so little but were so thankful. More importantly, they valued people and relationships more than anything. Today, that is not the case. One girl is over there obsessing over all of the material things her boyfriend doesn’t buy her or the things she doesn’t have. That guy is over there obsessing over a boat or a truck or whatever toy he has or wants. Physically, we are constantly getting plastic surgery and doing crazy things to perfect ourselves and compete with someone else. We wonder why relationships or even just friemdships aren’t as stable or as strong today. It’s because we focus all of our effort and energy into materialistic things. If we focused just 3/4ths of our efforts and energy into relationships that we do into material things, we would be a much happier society, not just happy on the surface.

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The rat race for material possessions and perfection is bad. Not only is it bad, it’s depressing. What happens if you invest all of your time, effort and thoughts into material possessions like clothes, shoes, purses, boats, etc. You are left being seen rich in possessions, but poor in life, poor in love, poor in relationships.

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Our society has to start making an effort of being more devoted to bettering our lives and relationships with others rather than being obsessed with things, otherwise we are all going to continue to be miserable and feel unfulfilled. Give back to others, get involved with your community, donate money to good causes, spend more time investing in other people and those relationships… we’d all be much happier for it.

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“Funny how a melody sounds like a memory”

I think there is a reason Eric Church’s song, Springsteen is such a big hit. It drives home a connection we all have to music and memories. It takes us back to another time we may not have thought about in a long time. It’s like a highlight reel immediately initiated in our mind.

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“What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head.”

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It’s crazy to me how hearing a song, one you may not have heard in years, instantly takes you back to some other time. What’s even crazier to me is how strong those memories are that accompany that song. For me, I hear a prevalant song of my past and I’m instantly right there. It’s so vivid I can hear see in detail everything going on around me, remember the weather, the feelings I was having, everything. It’s intense.

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I think the majority of people have had an experience like this. What I didn’t know was how prevelant the music-memory connection truly is in the brain. I started reading some articles on the connection and it’s fascinating.

There’s even research showing that Alzheimer’s patients who have significant memory loss can still recall songs from their distant past.

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I always gripe about how I can hear a song a few times and I’ve got it memorized yet I can’t remember the answers I’ve studied for my media law final or random AP style rules. I also find it interesting how I can not hear a song for years and once I hear it, I can still recall all of the words and even a memory that coincides with it. After reading some articles, I found out the prefrontal cortex is where this all takes place and that is one of the last parts of the brain to atrophy. That is amazing to me. It just goes to show how important music is. It makes sense that people talk about how important it is to teach children music and to play an instrument even, because it is such a powerful and long lasting part of the brain. I think there will possibly be some major studies done enabling some correlation between music and memory and possible treatments for people with illnesses such as Alzheimers. It’s fascinating to me.

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I think that’s why I love music. I have thousands of songs on my iPhone/iPod/mac/old cds etc. I can’t get enough of music. It takes me to a whole other level of happy. It transports me to happy places, good memories, bad memories, you name it. But I’m happy to still have a connection to those memories.

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Positive energy & a drive for success

I love working downtown. There’s something about the energy. It excites me. I can’t get enough.

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The first day I came to the BOK Tower for orientation while I was actually working at another location I knew I wanted to work downtown. Sara, the girl who was hired on with me in my old position, was walking with me and I told her, I will work here soon. I don’t know what it is. Something about it feeds into my drive for success. The tower is beautiful. The bank of elevators is even pretty.From the coffee shop to the flower shop and everything in between, I just love it.

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Maybe it’s the combined energy of all of the other driven people. When you get around that many power players and determined people, it creates a completely different feel. My old position with BOK was alright. I excelled and enjoyed it for the most part. I loved the management but the energy was awful. It was like a cave and I dreaded going to work.

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When the internal recruiter called me for my new position, she told me that Mindy chose me because of my energy. Not only did she like my good energy, she liked that I had drive and wanted to make my way up and Mindy said she wanted to help me do that. I was and still am flattered. I was nervous for something new, something out of my comfort zone and beyond my experience. I quickly realized I had nothing to worry about. I think as long as you try to get ahold of as much knowledge as you can in your career, dedicate yourself and work hard, it will always pay off. I get to work everyday between 7 and 8. I usually work through my lunch and then I stay late most nights. I want to show my dedication and how willing I am to work. I guess it makes it easy to be dedicated when you are surrounded with such great people.

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With my new position, it’s like someone opened a huge set of windows. It’s bright and fun and relaxing, even in the stressful moments. My boss is incredible. She is this petite woman with such a big personality. She isn’t overly friendly to everyone and keeps to herself some but she talks with me and certain others. She is hilarious. She is fashionable and she is brilliant. she knows banking like the back of her hand.She is also quite the match for all of these macho men and stands her ground very well. I can’t wait to learn everything I can from her. I’m always asking her questions and picking her brain and she probably thinks I’m crazy but I feel like she has so much to offer.

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The lady who has mentored me and helped me get on my feet is Tiffany. She is the head of onboarding and training for certain areas of wealth management. While I am Mindy’s asssitant, I also support Tiffany. She is amazing. She is happy and positive and so funny. She lets me ask her a million questions, even dumb ones, and is so patient with me. She is a very caring person and has such a sweet soul. I love getting to be around her and work with her.

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I think no matter what it is, you have to find something you enjoy doing. Not necessarily something you are the best at, but something you can find a passion in and then grow. Too many people think about money or staying within their comfort zone and then they end up being miserable. The place you work is where you spend the majority of your time. Why not find somewhere and something that you love.   

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I walk into my job every day thinking I am building my career and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I come in excited and hopeful wondering what I am going to learn today.

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I haven’t decided if I want to stay with my original plan and eventually venture into corporate communications within BOK or if I’d rather take another path. I think I have an abundance of options and no matter which direction I choose, I will be happy and successful. BOK is one of the best companies to work for.

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Bring some sunshine to others, let your soulshine

 

Sometimes you go through something and it makes you regret. If someone causes you pain, you think back to all of the people you could have possibly caused pain to and you regret it. Well, I know I do.

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There have been times I have fallen into the trap of mean girls. I have been the victim of mean girls and I have been a mean girl. I was never viscious like some but I have spread drama and rumors and I am sure I caused someone some grief. Knowing that, kills me.

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People matter. Not just you, not just me, everyone. Being mean to people doesn’t make you stronger, it doesn’t make you right, it makes you mean.

I feel like today, people don’t care how they hurt others. What’s even scarier are those hurting their best friends behind their backs. They plot against them, they spread rumors about them, they say horrible things about them but are their best friend to their face. I can’t say I have ever really been in that situation but I have seen it happen to other girls. I still see it happening to other girls. It finally comes down to asking yourself, if they are able to sit and talk about someone who was their friend for years, what makes you think they are not doing the same about you? It’s sad.& I was part of that cycle once as much as I am ashamed to admit it. It’s harder to stay away from the drama. It’s harder to not get involved. It’s harder to say positive things. But it is worth it.

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I used to be caught up in the drama of going out and being in everyone’s business. I even had good intentions sometimes but it still wasn’t my place and I should have kept my mouth shut. Life is about living and learning. I’m not perfect but I can acknowledge when I screw up or make a mistake and change the behavior. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the stress or the hurt or any of it.

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I’m investing my time in people. In relationships. Showing my friends I truly care about them. Making decisions that are healthy and positive and giving way to growth. I want to make amends with anyone I’ve ever hurt. I want to build people up. I want people to know positive things about themselves. Everyone has a past, everyone makes mistakes but those don’t define them. They help them. They can learn from them and grow.

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There is one person I struggle with doing that. I have tried. I put my pride down and tried to make amends but it never worked. I would finally think things were at a neutral ground and then I would get blindsided again. I have resentment still in my heart for that person but I am trying. I pray about it. I pray to have strength. I pray to rise above it. It’s so easy to lower back down in the trenches but I know at the end of the day it isn’t going to get anywhere. It’s really hard to ignore. It’s stressful and hurtful but if I can get through it, I’ll be better for it.

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I have a big heart. My friends tell me I wear my heart on my sleeve too much. I care about people immensely. My friend Jackie tells me all the time how nice I am. Whether it’s to her sweet cousin Cory or the stressed out lady at Panera, I am nice. I have been made fun of for being too nice and too naive but I am ok with that. I would rather be nice than mean and hurtful. I would rather tell people something nice and make them feel better for 5 minutes than give them a night worth of stress. I have made that mistake before. I have gotten caught up in something and said something I shouldn’t but I am making a conscious effort not to.

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Life’s hard. It’s hard to know who is genuine and who isn’t. My new goals are to be genuine to everyone I encounter and then I won’t have to worry about anything on my part. It’s never too late to start fresh, to make a change. I wish more people would realize how much better it feels to be nice to others instead of attacking them. It does wonders for the soul.

Bring a little bit of sunshine into everyon’e life that you encounter, let a little bit of your soul shine  

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Manipulative People … the Hidden Puppeteers

There are some people in life who can’t let go. They want something you have, they don’t want that girl to be happy with him, that idea wasn’t theirs so they don’t like it, they talk bad about everyone. It’s their own personal problem, deep inside but they can make the lives of others very miserable. They have to be in control. As one girl said it to me recently, they have to play the puppeteer.

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The definition says, “a puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object, such as a puppet, in real time to create the illusion of life. The puppeteer may be visible to or hidden from the audience.”They want to be able to manipulate everyone and everything in accordance to their own agenda. What’s even scarier is the ability to hide from the audience. They get into people’s heads in such a way, the people who are being manipulated aren’t even aware of it. They talk so slanderously of other people to make themselves look and feel better.

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Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves

They hope to plant a seed in someone else’s mind and with enough manipulation and control, see that seed grow into a flower of their own desire.

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James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

 

These people create relationships in their mind because they want them to be true. They manipulate situations, causing hurt to others for their own greed. These people come in all forms but what remains the same in them all, is the devil deep inside controlling them. Many of them are even “christians” and go to church, yet these same people cause so much hurt and pain to othes. They think if they can’t have their way, other people need to hurt too. Where on earth is that in the bible? Last time I looked, you are supposed to forgive others,do good deeds with no expectation, wish well to others, have good intentions and good actions, speak well of others, etc.  

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

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I am beginning to realize no matter how hard you try to withstand these people, they just won’t stop. If you’re passive and don’t acknowledge it, they continue and call you a coward. If you stand up for yourself and confront them, they call you dramatic. There are both men and women like this, but I think it’s primarily women. And these women are full of vengence, hate, jealousy and they attack with full force. It is sad because they even manipulate their closest friends. They put on a front of loyalty and friendship yet they are tellling secrets about them, getting in their head and planting different ideas causing them to be someone they are not. They pretend to have nothing to do with any drama, while they are secretly the ones manipulating the strings from behind the curtain. They have to spend so much of their time trying to prove they’re not the source of drama, because they are infact the source. The spread slander about those who don’t fit into their plan or do as they choose. These people never have relationships of their own because they are so busy sticking their hands into other people’s lives. They are focused so heavily on creating turmoil in other people’s lives, they lose sight of their own and do not start creating a life of their own. They don’t invest in their own relationships or or dating because they are too hell bent on influencing someone else’s relationship. They choose to prey on vulnerable, sometimes younger people to have as friends so that they can more easily manipulate. It is sick.

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I’ve finally started realizing that these people can’t be beat by me. I can’t go head to head with them.So instead, I took some advice Stasi and John Eldredge in Captivating. Instead, I will bow out of situations. Let them feel they are victorious, but I will pray. I will pray to have the strength to keep from sinking to their level. I will pray for God to destroy my enemies. I will pray for their true intentions to be revealed. I will pray for God to remind me these awful words they speak are a reflection of their own evil unhappiness deep inside. I will pray to stay strong and remind myself that the false words they speak don’t change me or have an affect on me. I pray most of all that the people who they are manipulating will one day open up their eyes and not be prey to it any longer. & what I will pray for most, is for these people to open up their eyes and realize the hurt, pain and struggle they push onto others..

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The scariest of wolves is the one dressed in a sheeps clothing.

Insecurities, comparisons and social media

I  am blessed.

There’s no doubt about it. I don’t have everything I WANT but I have everything I NEED. Sometimes, I forget how blessed I am.

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I feel like in today’s world it becomes a habit to compare yourself to everyone else. Not only do you compare physicalities but material possessions and even good works. Everything is on display, largely in part to social media. Social media culture is bragging about what you have or what you do. I have definitely been one to do this myself. Its an easy habit to slip into. When you see others posting, you become comparative or even jealous.

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It is silly really. You see photos of a new purse that was bought for a girl from her boyfriend and two things happen. First, you think I want that purse. Next, you think well why doesn’t my boyfriend buy me a new purse. It sounds silly but it happens. And it is dumb. We only see the surface level of that dynamic. Just because someone portrays a fairy tale love, does not mean it is.There could be a whole war going on behind closed doors. But since we see the fairy tale on the surface, that is what we compare our relationship to. It’s unhealthy.

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There is a whole culture of jealousy and envy today. I think the largest contributor is social media. I read an article the other day about the high increase of plastic surgeries lately. They are attributing it to selfies. Yes, selfies. As in, let me hold my iPhone at just the right angle and make myself look perfect through filters and then post it to see how many people think I’m pretty. I used to be the Queen of Selfies. In some screwed up part of the back of my mind, I wanted to see if people thought I was prettier than the other girl who just posted one. I’d get more excited with the number of likes and comments I got. Uhm, what?! Is this real life? No, actually it’s not. It’s a fairy tale, social media version of life. I will say I have greatly cut back on the selfies. I realized I didn’t need likes on a photo to feel good about myself. I learned that genuine connections and friendships with those I care about makes me feel better than anything.

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I love to do things for people. I love to buy presents, I love to write cards, I just like to do things for people. It makes me feel good to let them know I care. I used to think in I had to blast that on social media. If the world didn’t know I bought a gift for her, it’s not a good deed and doesn’t matter. Yeah… that is dumb too. I finally realized it is more important to do something for someone and not need or expect any recognition for it. I mean don’t get me wrong, if my boyfriend has dinner ready for me and the house clean and spends a great evening with me, I want to brag about it. I think it is healthy to do that from time to time. Publicly showing your appreciation for someone let’s them have a little sel-esteem boost and shows them you want the whole world to know you appreciate them. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

We see things happening to or for other people and we think why isn’t that happening to me. I want those things. I need those things. Sometimes we forget there is a bigger plan than what we realize. In today’s instantaneous world, we expect things immediately and when we want them, we want them now. That is where a lot of us go wrong.

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It’s all about finding a balance and avoiding temptation. Temptation is hard when you’re tested repeatedly, but it gives way to strength. “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.” -James 1:12

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The reality of relationships

Relationships are hard. Let’s not sugar coat it. There’s no instruction manual. It’s a lot of trial and error. Some people have never seen or been in a functional relationship in their life. Those people struggle the most. They may have all of the love in the world to give but if they don’t know how to give it in the right way, it can ruin any potential.

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Today’s world is full of problems. One of them being, when something is broken, people don’t fix it anymore. It’s a mindset to just toss out the broken things and replace them with new ones. That is a temporary fix, yes but what happens when that new thing breaks too? You get a new one. And then when that one breaks? It’s a never ending cycle. How can you ever learn to build something worthwhile, when all you do is toss everything out that isn’t perfect or completely intact anymore?

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Relationships aren’t easy. Nothing worthwhile is easy. If you want to have a good physique, you have to work at it everyday. If you want to learn a new skill, you have to work at it everyday. If you want to eat healthy, you have to make choices everyday towards that goal. Things that are desirable and sturdy don’t just fall into your lap, they don’t just manifest themselves.

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It’s sad to see that people think if something isn’t working, they just want to give up. How sad of a life that is.

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You can’t expect someone to know how to love you. You learn together how to love each other. It is a process. You learn what makes them tick, what they need, how they love and they you learn to make adjustments, sacrifices and changes for each other. That is love. Being willing to put in the effort, that is love. It’s not always going to be easy and you’re going to mess up but if you are still there at the end of the day, telling them you’ll try again tomorrow and truly seeking out ways to improve, that is love.

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How sweet it would be if everyone could find this in someone they loved. How sad it is to see people who aren’t willing to do so. Ultimately, those who keep saying they’ll try again, keep forgiving and keep trying to learn are the happiest. They accept the fact that they are not perfect and either is the other, but they know that in order to get to a true state of happiness, they have to work through the struggles. Pushing the boulder up the hill is tough work. If you have someone willing to help you bear the load and push it up with you, what an awesome reward it will be when you get to the top.

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