9 Things That Only Happen in Movies

“Relaxing” is not exactly a top priority for Aaron and me at the moment. We are getting married in 3 weeks and 2 days. 23 days. Whoa, that’ll be fun for people with dyslexia to read.**

This past Sunday, however, we made no plans. I was smart enough to realize I’d need a whole day of recovery from my bachelorette party, which took place last Saturday. My girlfriends handmade me a crown, took me to wineries on a bus, and planned lots of games—none of which have names appropriate to share here except for the “Panty Piñata.” Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. Here’s a pic we took with a selfie stick, because why even have a bachelorette party if there’s no selfie stick?


On our glorious day of relaxation (or recovery, in my case), Aaron and I watched the two most recent Hunger Games movies. Naturally, this left us very excited for the final movie coming to theatres this weekend, so we immediately bought tickets to see it at a fancy cinema café on Friday. (Tonight!!) One particular aspect of the movie really got my wheels turning, though. Why does everyone have such good teeth? Are there dentists in District 12?

Cue eye roll and “It’s just a movie, Shannon.” True. And I’m totally cool with getting swept away by plot lines or grooming standards that are completely unrealistic. But I will always, always be distracted by these 9 unrealistic happenings on the big screen:

  1. Bed sheet explorations

There seems to be a recurring trend among the PG-13+ movies I’ve watched, which is the “girl wraps herself in a sheet to go do something after sex” scene. When has anyone done that? Pretty sure people either put on a t-shirt or just go commando to the kitchen to fetch some water. No one wants to remake the bed.

fifty shades of greymassage chair


  1. Abrupt phone calls

People do not say goodbye when they get off the phone in movies. What is that? If someone doesn’t say goodbye to me on the phone, I immediately text them to tell them they’re a jerk.



  1. Showing up unannounced

I’ve never heard of anyone except psychopaths showing up unannounced at someone’s home or office without at least sending a text. Why do people in movies literally fly across the country to talk to someone? What if they’re not home? What if they’re on vacation? Then what? Or if they’re just waiting there for the person to get home…how long have you been there? Did anyone ask you why you were just standing there? Did the neighbors notify authorities? I have a lot of questions about how this works.

showing up


  1. Not saying what needs to be said

I scream at the screen on a regular basis, because 3 out of 4 scenes go like this: “I really need to tell you something.” *Other person says a bunch of stuff that would be solved if they’d just let their counterpart talk.* *Counterpart lets them walk away without saying the crucial information.* If you know who killed my brother or didn’t actually do something I’m mad at you for, TELL ME, you freaking idiot.

face palm


  1. Venturing into dark basements

We’ve all discussed this one a million times, but here’s a friendly reminder: Don’t walk into a dark basement alone after hearing creepy noises. Call the police or hide under your covers until morning. If you decide to venture downstairs, I can’t even feel that bad for you.

bed gif


  1. Thunderstorms in dramatic moments

Sometimes, in real life, the sky makes loud noises on normal days. Or good days. Sometimes it’s not dramatic at all. Actually, it almost never rains on days I’m depressed or days when I’m kissing my significant other after a fight. And if it does rain when I want to make up with someone, we go inside.

rain gif


  1. “Effortless” Hair

Normal people do not do intricate twist messy up-dos on their way to class in college (I’m look at you, Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect) or wake up with natural blow outs. Sorry, boys.

pitch perfect hair gif


  1. Ridiculous ages

Seriously, though, if anyone in my high school looked like a 28-year-old Armani model, I’d be questioning how many times he failed, not whether or not he’d ever notice me.

cinderella story


  1. Running into people

We all secretly want to bump into our ex who lives in another state, just so we can see if they look happy and also prove that we’re doing fine. But that doesn’t happen. They’ll never be seated next to us on an airplane or be shopping at the same farmer’s market while they’re visiting town. They just won’t. At least you have Facebook.

carrie bradshaw gif


I’ll let you know how the last Hunger Games movie is after I see it tonight, and if Katniss still has great teeth after being locked in an underground bomb shelter for a few months!


**This was written yesterday, so now it’s 3 weeks and 1 day. Holy moly.

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Filed under Entertainment, Lists

Not Your Average Starbucks Red Cup Opinion

My take on the Starbucks red cup “controversy” is different than most, so buckle up. This blog post will probably make people touchy, but I’m going to do my best not to cause any freak outs. If you’re prone to freaking out, I ask that you drink two glasses of wine before reading anything past my disclaimer statement, which is:

Christians definitely shouldn’t (and from what I gather, DON’T…) care if a Starbucks cup features snowflakes or not.

Given that disclaimer, you should be aware that this post is not a bunch of words explaining why Christians shouldn’t care about The [Plain] Red Cup and making fun of the ones who do—which is basically the only take I’ve seen on this subject. Just a friendly warning.

As Aaron put it when I explained to him my idea for this post, “So, you’re complaining about the people complaining about the people complaining about the red cup?”

EXACTLY.confused gif

Summary of Red Cup Gate 2015: A random dude posted a video on Youtube about the fact that Starbucks is serving coffee out of plain red cups this winter, instead of its usual red cups with drawings of snowflakes, snowmen, sleds, etc. Somehow, he decided that meant that Starbucks is firmly anti-Christian (since only Christians love all things wintery…?). A few hundred people agreed with him. Now, a few hundred thousand people have decided to tell him and his agreers that they’re idiots.

I, personally, haven’t seen a single person on my newsfeed say that he or she is offended by The [Plain] Red Cup. From what I gather, a very small sect of people have jumped aboard that crazy train. Because yes, it is rather crazy to say that removing holiday symbols from a red cup is a form of persecution…especially since literally none of those symbols were directly related to Jesus. More on that later, though. In terms of what I’ve seen online, the only opinions I’ve actually read are not posted by offended Christians, rather they are posts making fun of Christians who were offended (who again?) or Christians defending themselves with funny memes. Has no one stepped back to realize that, just like the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, the majority of Christians are not elitists? Why was it necessary for this to become an attack and defense situation?

We’ve GOT to stop radically grouping people together. Not all frat boys disrespect women. Not all lawyers lack integrity. Not all pageant girls are dumb. Not all basketball players cheat on their wives. Not all Republicans are old fashioned. Not all Democrats are bad with money. Not all skinny people have an eating disorder. Not all fat people are unhappy. The list goes on and on and on.

From a Christian’s perspective, the only thing I find frustrating about the Starbucks ordeal is that it’s one more way Christianity is being discredited for the sake of inclusion. I do not understand why inclusion and Christianity are seen as mutually exclusive. [I’m not saying that a plain cup is discrediting Christians. I’m saying that the initial complainers, and even more so—the responses to those complainers, are discrediting Christians. Who gives 2 flips about the cup itself?] If our society wants inclusion, why can’t kids say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance at school if they want to, and omit it if they don’t? Why exclude the children who want to include God? Why can’t Christians believe the Bible without being made fun of? Why does a stigma surround people with deep biblical convictions? Why are people allowed to strongly believe that there is no God, but people are not allowed to strongly believe that there is a God? This is just as marginalizing as the other way around.

I know the argument is that non-Christians don’t “shove” their beliefs down other people’s throats. Well, I see post after post about things that are against my beliefs on Facebook…a whole lot more “shoving” of things I don’t believe down my throat than I see Christians doing. Also, stating beliefs is not “shoving.” It’s just being true to personal faith (unless it’s directly attacking another group of people). On that note, I also know the argument that atheists or other religions’ beliefs don’t harm people of differing lifestyles like Christian beliefs supposedly do. But those things that harm other people’s lives have nothing to do with Christianity. Old-school Christians aren’t racist—racists are racist. Christians aren’t homophobic—homophobes are homophobic. They may relate those bigoted stances back to Christianity, just like Jihad-extremists relate violence back to Islam, but that’s just God-awful (pun intended) interpretation…not that the religion itself is bad. See the difference?

Back to The [Plain] Red Cup. Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday at its roots. But I do not believe that the holiday is celebrated widely because Christians are asserting their dominance in our country (at least, not anymore). Far more people associate Christmas with Santa Clause and vacation now-a-days than they do with Jesus. Right or wrong, that’s just how it is. Therefore, anything with snowflakes or Christmas trees or even a manger is not some big slap in the face to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc. Those symbols are just little representations of a season that is supposedly a family and fun-filled time of year—for all.

starbucks red cup

I honestly see nothing to do with Christianity on these old Starbucks cups to begin with…I just see winter. And something that is either a space ship or a deformed turtle. Unclear.

I don’t think Starbucks removing Christmas/winter symbols from their cups was some extraordinary step in their company towards inclusion…because they were never exclusive to begin with. They’re not all of a sudden an open, modern company who supports everybody. I’m pretty sure they already fit that bill…just with a few extra snowflakes. The cup doesn’t represent all of these things the media is now making it represent. It’s just a new design (a boring one, to be honest) that probably costs them less money, but they’re spinning it to be a “blank canvas for whatever people want to associate with the holiday season.” You’re not fooling me, Starbs. You just don’t want to pay for artists and ink. Solid spin by the marketing team, though. Many props.

So instead of making fun of Christians for “their” stupidity and elitism, yet again, why don’t we all stop jumping on trains that never should have left the station. There will be a new controversy that annoys us to death on our newsfeeds each week unless we stop creating divides for no reason. Yes, the small group of Christians that got offended in the first place created the initial divide, but the divide is about 20,000x deeper due to the influx of cheeky responses.

Although I don’t have the time or energy to delve into many of the little points I made in this post, please know that I understand that other people interpret things differently than I do, and that they’ve have had unique experiences shaping their reactions to this controversy—experiences to which I cannot easily relate. This blog is written and shaped by my own interpretations and experiences, so if you don’t understand or disagree with anything I said, please feel free to ask me (nicely) what I meant or why I feel the way I do. I think that’s what we should all do when we don’t see eye to eye, instead of making assumptions and trivializing opposing perspectives. :)


Filed under Opinions, Reflection

10 Foods with Surprisingly Few Calories

I know I should be more worried about nutrients than calories and more concerned with health than weight and blahblahblah, but you know what? Sometimes I want to eat crappy food AND be skinny. Sue me.

I’m not advocating for a diet full of sugar and “bad” fat (what’s the difference anyway? “Good” fat still goes to my hips, so I’m definitely not going to give it an award for being that great or anything), but if once in a while you want to eat a mound of chili cheese fries and wash it down with a root beer float, I say go for it. If you do that every day, you’ll end up in muumuus and your heart will likely stop working, so please limit such binges to every other month—if not to feel better about yourself, then at least to save us all the headache of hearing you complain about your flabby arms and the cost of gas to get to your funeral.

Sometimes it’s less about craving mounds of food, and more about craving specific junk foods. I call it the Nothing Sounds Appetizing Right Now Except Velveeta Syndrome. Here are 10 foods that will definitely clog your arteries (minus #6), but also won’t make you fat as quickly as you might suspect:

  1. Krispy Kreme Donuts– 190 calories
  • A single, original glazed donut from Krispy Kreme is only 190 calories. You can have 2 and still come in way under a bagel with any sort of spread.donut mindy kaling
  1. Nachos Supreme from Taco Bell– 440 calories
  • Honestly, I would’ve thought this bowl of chips and cheese and beef would be like, 800 calories. Not so. You can eat this bad boy for lunch and it’s actually fewer calories than your average turkey sandwich. Yo quiero.
  1. Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King– 390 calories
  • Just forego the french fries, and you’re looking at dinner that is fewer calories than a plain chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, and a one-way ticket to skinny fat, which is at least a notch better than fat fat.
  1. Movie popcorn– 225 calories
  • Even though this is for a small popcorn, a “small” at movie theatres is still pretty freaking big. And considering it tastes like you’re eating 45 sticks of butter, I call 225 calories a win.
  1. Wine– 120 calories
  • This is not a food, but [obviously] I’m making an exception. While a glass of white is 120 calories more than water, it is only 8 calories more than a cup of orange juice. So basically, you’re choosing between OJ with breakfast and wine with dinner. Don’t be an idiot.
  1. Shrimp– 7 calories
  • We all know shrimp is the “light” choice, but 7 calories each? I am never asking for chicken or fish on my salad ever again. Shrimp only. It’s like eating little nuggets of air.tina fey shrimp gif
  1. Meringue Cookie– 10 calories
  • Yes, meringue cookies usually fall somewhere between Styrofoam and chalk on the consistency scale, but it’s still a cookie. For 10 calories. Do with that information what you will.
  1. Bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera– 330 calories
  • I would imagine a soup made up of mostly cheese and cream to be equivalent to eating an entire mini-wheel of brie cheese. (800 calories in case you were wondering…) Fortunately, a full-size bowl is less than most smoothies from Tropical Smoothie. Cheese>fruit.
  1. Apple Pie– 277 calories
  • I mean, it’s not great, but a slice of apple pie is literally half the calories of a slice of pecan pie or key lime pie (500+ calories). And in the grand scheme of things on Thanksgiving, 277 calories doesn’t scare me much. You’ll probably be eating at least half of that just in gravy.
  1. Cottage cheese– 222 calories
  • For something that looks exactly like cellulite, 222 for a full cup is pretty phenomenal. It fills you up, satisfies your inevitable cheese craving, and is lower cal than a standard cup of yogurt.

Bring on the comments that I should care more about nutrition! I do care about health, I promise. That’s why I purposefully wave to people at the gym just so there is proof that I go. But if I can eat horrible foods sometimes while still maintaining the ability to ride roller coasters at Busch Gardens, no one can make me feel that bad about it.

belle with food

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Filed under Food and Health, Lists

Essena O’Neill Quit Social Media Because DUH, It’s Fake Life.

Most of you have probably heard about Essena O’Neill by now. She was all over social media and the news this week, which was both ironic and awesome. For those of you who don’t have a lot of millennial, female “friends” on Facebook who are all sharing videos about Essena, let me recap:

  • Essena O’Neill is an 18-year-old from Australia
  • She is an Instagram model, which means she self-promoted pictures of herself successfully enough to start making money
  • She has 500,000+ followers on Instagram, 200,000+ followers on YouTube, and a ton of followers on other social media platforms that I’m too old to know about
  • She is—even by society’s ridiculous standards– very beautiful
  • She decided to “quit” social media last week because she wants to stop living in a fake world created by pictures that skew reality
  • She wants to help young women understand that pictures they see of “beautiful” people are not a reflection of those people’s happiness
  • She wants us to remember that living for an online presence is not living
  • She is more mature at the age of 18 than all of the Kardashians at their combined age of 199 years old (Kris+Kourtney+Kim+Khloe+Kendall+Kylie)

If you haven’t already, go ahead and watch this video. It has some bad language, but to be honest, I don’t even care. The message is fantastic.

I love this girl. And based on my newsfeed, so does everybody else.

The “all bodies are beautiful” movement is nothing new. And we all read memes about how people need to get off their phones and be “present.” But what is so strikingly different about Essena’s message is her ability to make us actually believe what she is saying.

Plenty of famous people post pictures of themselves wistfully standing next to a park bench, ready to go on a run, with the caption “It doesn’t matter what your body looks like as long as you’re healthy. #strongisthenewskinny.” But we feel like their words are empty, despite the fact that many of these sort of posts “promote” self-acceptance. Well, there’s a reason why those captions don’t sit well with us.

Most of us don’t tote around a camera crew and a personal stylist, so we assume that [insert model, celebrity, reality star] asked a stranger to snap a quick photo before they took off on a run. I mean, that’s how I get most of my pictures. So how in the world do they look so effortlessly gorgeous? Essena is here to tell you that basically anyone with tons of followers (I’d say 100,000+) is getting paid to market products, clothes, or simply to look carefree and hot so that advertisers will keep hiring them. And that “candid” photo took hours of preparation, dozens of trial runs, hours of filtering, and probably a couple of hissy fits. Even “self-acceptance” photos are taken to gain followers because it’s the new-wave cool thing to post “real,” “stripped down,” and “body positive” pictures.

essena oneill

Essena O’Neill and her very small waist, back when she pretended to be happy all the time and was dressed by sponsors.

Essena is O-V-E-R this façade that social media is a place for “real people” to post about their lives. That “definition” of social media is a big ole load of bologna. We all logically know that photos are just snapshots of random moments that are only part of a much larger picture, yet we still can’t seem to help but use those snapshots to make one million assumptions about the people in them.

A pretty girl posts a picture of herself smiling in a bar with the caption that she had a great night: Oh, well then she must have had a great time and people must love her because she looks so happy and surrounded by friends!

A model posts a picture of herself in a bikini at the beach with a caption written by Marilyn Monroe: Oh, well she must feel super confident and happy! And she’s so old school chic like Marilyn!

A girl from high school posts a picture of herself at the gym with a caption about feeling proud: Oh, well she must really value health and like her body!

Essena somehow took a concept that we all already knew, and broke it down in such a way that made it interesting again. Of course pictures are not reality and followers are not friends, but for some reason, we all still view them that way. Getting a behind-the-scenes look from a “master” of creating a glamorous online façade was just what just what the doctor ordered.

Essena’s message reaches far beyond the well-timed photo by a professional, though. I’ve written about this before, but social media is not a real depiction of anyone’s life. We can use mine as an example since, well, this is my blog. I am not a professional and don’t post high quality pictures (which could explain my very small following), but I’m sure plenty of people still think they have decent insight into my life. So just for kicks and giggles, I will do what Essena did on her Instagram photos, which is to re-caption some of my most recent pictures with a behind-the-scenes look:


True, Aaron and I had a fantastic day doing fall activities, but the reason we chose to have a day of relaxation is because I was literally crying constantly due to financial stress and Aaron wanted to take my mind off of things.

blogfake 4

I got so annoyed with 2 strangers in line at the wine fest (where this was taken) that I had to remove myself from the situation and go stand alone until Aaron was done buying our bottle.


I was definitely happy in this picture, but that morning I was over-sensitive and got mad at my parents at breakfast, and it took the whole day for me to recover.

Okay, so I didn’t find many recent pictures where I was conveying an emotion I didn’t feel at the very moment the picture was taken, however there is a LOT of backstory to every shot–little stories of hurt, frustration, anxiety, and embarrassment that don’t make the cut. That’s basically Essena’s message: Not only does a lot of effort go into desirable photographs and videos, but the people in the posts are way more dimensional than what you see in a final product.

If Essena’s story is not convincing enough, just look to Madison Holleran. madison holleranShe was a 19-year-old college student at the University of Pennsylvania who took her own life in 2014. Her social media accounts painted an incredibly gorgeous, in-shape, fashionable, well to-do girl with an active social life and loving family. She was and had all of those things, but in moments of solitude, she was deeply unhappy. She compared her life to her friends on social media, wishing she was as happy as they were. So she made her online presence look like she was. That is, until she couldn’t take reality anymore and jumped off the top of an five story parking garage. If this is not the most eye-opening red flag that social media is a facade– or at best, not an all-encompassing look into its users’ lives– then I don’t know what is.

This blog may not have some brand new, profound take on social media, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity to highlight the well-known fact that social media does not reflect real life. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any positive benefits, but for goodness sake, can we all stop the madness? Don’t compare your real life to someone else’s fake life. Don’t spend more time trying to get followers and likes than you do developing friendships with people who will actually show up when you need them. Don’t live in a virtual world instead of the real world.

Thank you, Essena, for your candid, unfiltered message. We needed it more than the random photos of celebrities without makeup. And more than the hundreds of Huffington Post articles written by people who have never been in the thick of it. We needed to hear it from someone who could give real anecdotes, provide tangible evidence, and reach the masses. We [sadly] needed to hear from someone thin, blonde, and “carefree” that being pretty and wealthy is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most of us “knew” that already, but an 18-year-old from Australia managed to keep the message relevant– and hopefully, influential.


Filed under Food and Health, Reflection

Beware of Social Constructs

I pulled myself over when driving last week. As in, I violated a traffic signal, and then—without thinking—slowly made my way to the curb to await my punishment. Only there was no cop behind me.

I don’t know if this makes me an incredibly upstanding citizen or just overly submissive. Both, maybe?

I was already halfway through the red light when I realized it was red. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a major intersection or anything…but I still wouldn’t call running a red light safe. Luckily, I didn’t hit a baby stroller or even a Prius, but this story definitely had potential to end poorly. It’s not my fault, though. Blame Taylor Swift.

taylor swift

Like most of Taylor Swift’s 45,000,000,000 fans, I tend to forget that anything else exists when one of her songs comes on the radio. In this particular instance, I was listening intently to “Wildest Dreams” and wondering if she does her own back up vocals. Does she have the time? Apparently I was listening with my eyes, though, because they were too distracted to notice the red light in front of me. In all fairness, it was one of those lights that is only one block away after you take a right turn, so you’re practically already under it as soon as you turn onto the street.

I don’t know why I’m making excuses.

Clearly, I deserved a ticket—as seen by my natural reaction to pull myself over. But once I realized no police car was going to show up, I drove away like a guilty, yet relieved, criminal. The feeling was akin to accidentally shoplifting, then trying to return the product, but the store already went out of business. With no option of returning the item, you have to keep it—which is cool, but also feels like you got away with a bad thing, and now karma is creeping over your shoulder planning sweet, sweet revenge. I didn’t ask for this!

When I was not busy getting fake traffic tickets this week, I was thinking a lot about social constructs. Come to think of it, road signals are kind of social constructs, but less abstract…and also safety-oriented…so really not social constructs at all. Just literal constructs. Perhaps we need a definition to work by:

social construct (Google)- an idea or notion that appears to be natural and obvious to people who accept it but may or may not represent reality, so it remains largely an invention or artifice of a given society 

The following is a short, non-exhaustive list of social constructs with which I take issue:

  • Weight
  • Make up
  • Shaking hands
  • Not ordering a bottle of wine at a bar unless you’re splitting it with someone else
  • Wedding cakes

Why do we so blindly allow our brains to accept certain ideas of “normal,” when so many of those ideas are ridiculous? Take wedding cakes. They’ve supposedly been around since medieval times, which I have a hard time believing. I got that fun fact off of Wikipedia, though, so my guess is that someone in the modern wedding industry inaccurately wrote “Wedding Cake History” on Wikipedia in order for brides to feel like cakes that cost more than a semester’s tuition are symbolic and “necessary” at a wedding. WHY. (And don’t say cupcakes are any different. It’s the same thing, only deconstructed and cheaper.)

Then there’s shaking hands. Who decided that we have to touch a stranger’s germ-ridden palm in order to show respect? Can’t we just say “Nice to meet you” or “Thank you” and leave it at that? Why am I rude if I don’t prove to you that I have the motor skills to squeeze your hand with the appropriate pressure while simultaneously looking you in the eye and saying some colloquial pre-determined phrase? What is this, a circus act?

circus act

Speaking of circuses i.e. clowns, I’ve slowly been weaning myself off of make up. (Sorry, Aaron.) Do women really need to wear sticky brown and black stuff on their faces in order to look “professional” or “put together”? Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on wearing a lot some on my wedding day and probably on most weekend nights at the local bars. However, for daily activities like work, Target runs, and lunch at Panera, why should I waste the $.75 on make up? It probably costs at least that much to put on foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara every day. Then there’s the cost of make up wipes to remove it every night, or in my case, the cost of pillow cases that end up with black smudges all over them because taking off make up is not a priority once I see my bed.

I started by foregoing eyeliner. Then eyeshadow. Then concealer. Then mascara. Now, I pretty much only wear a teeny bit of foundation and blush and call it a morning. Honestly, I feel pretty good and my eyelashes are really soft. You should try it. And to top it all off, no children have pointed, screamed, then run in the other direction. A very pleasant surprise, I must say.

Sorry that this post has turned into something of a rant, but my point is that we should step back and really think about how we see the world. It’s important to sift through social constructs that are beneficial vs. social constructs that are destructive. Clearly appearance-oriented social constructs tend to be destructive since we aren’t all clones of eachother, yet for some reason, we attempt to fit ourselves into one of three “acceptable” molds (for women): Crossfit muscle-lover, skinny psedudo-toned model, or Kim Kardashian. Ugh. So, that’s an example of a destructive social construct, but things like not farting in public and waving at people you know are probably for the betterment of society.

queen elizabeth waving

All I ask is that you think. Think hard about why you do what you do and why you like what you like. Because robots are coming, and they will likely take your job soon. Make your mind valuable. I also just want you to realize that you don’t “need” most things. They’re just things society tells you that you should have. Lastly, remember that you’re naturally pretty, because God made you. That’s the only measurement of beauty worth your attention. If you’re not literally killing yourself by downing 30 Twinkies a day, then you’re perfect just the way you are. [Cue Bruno Mars.] Everything else is just an “ideal” that society created– probably to make money. So take charge of your mind and just do you!

just the way you are


Filed under Reflection

The English Language is Not Complete

Last week, I told you that my dog died, which was sad.

Here in the Oliver family, we believe in the power of distraction, so may I present to you our newest bundle of fur and tinkle:


Hi! My name is Hudson Oliver! I like long naps, new shoes, and the Buffalo Bills!

Our middle child, Cupcake Oliver, has had quite the week. First, she lost her big brother, who taught her most of what she knows about being a dog. Now, she’s thrust into the role of “big sister” to Hudson– a role that neither she or our family feels confident she is prepared to take on…mostly because she is 4 years old and may or may not still be learning her own name. So let’s all wish Cupcake the best of luck as she tries to be taken seriously by Hudson with a name like “Cupcake,” and hope that she doesn’t get too overwhelmed by all of this new responsibility.

Okay, I’m done bragging about the new pup and anthropomorphizing (vocab word of the day) our other dog. Thanks for indulging me.

Last weekend was full of fall things, like my college homecoming (I always forget that Homecoming involves football…this year was no different), hunter boots, hot apple cider, Colonial people, and murder weapons. To elaborate, a high schooler in costume serial killer with an active chainsaw literally chased me outside the perimeters of a Halloween haunted maze. Kids these days. No rules.

While enjoying Bloody Marys in Colonial Williamsburg at 3:30 p.m. on a Sunday and discussing the pros and cons of brown-haired vs. blonde-haired babies, Aaron and I somehow made our way to the topic of linguistics. I had come across this quote by John Keating, and thought it to be very profound.

very is lazy

One thing led to another, and Aaron and I began to wonder when inventing new words became socially unacceptable. Who decided that the English language is complete? Why can’t “yoth” be a word? Or “klitey”? I don’t know what they’d mean, but they’re perfectly acceptable combinations of consonants and vowels. And, to my knowledge, no word has yet been invented to describe the feeling you get right before you fall, or the moment something bursts in your mouth, like a grape, Gusher, or shell noodle with Velveeta cheese inside of it. I think the feeling right before you fall should be called “dopp,” and a mouth burst should be called a “zazzation,” (zazz-ey-shun) present participle, “zazzating.” Used in a sentence: “That grape just zazzated in my mouth” or “Wow! That was a big zazzation.”

Brilliant, I know.

On the car ride home, Aaron and I listened to a Ted Talk about this very topic. The speaker, Erin McKean, was a lexicographer (more widely known as a “person who writes the dictionary”), and she agrees with me. Why is creativity in the English language so stifled? We encourage creativity in nearly every other aspect of life, so why not in the words we use every single day? I refuse to be bogged down by societal norms, so I created this list of words I’d like for all of you to begin using. Thanks ahead of time for your participation.

By the way, I didn’t employ any of Erin McKean’s suggested tactics for creating new words when I made this list. She said you can combine words (ex: sandcastle), mesh words together (ex: brunch), steal words from other languages, etc., but I decided to just start from scratch.

  1. Zazzation— See above. I had to include this for all of the people who probably skipped straight to this list of words because they’re lazy. They are probably the same people who use “very” a lot.
  2. Dopp— See Zazzation. [Used in a sentence: “The dopp was worse than the fall, and I’m sure my Tinder date could see it on my face.”]
  3. Lorf— A guy who holds doors on the train, making everybody else late. [Used in a sentence: “That stupid lorf made me miss my crosstown bus.”]
  4. Shrackle— The salt that gets stuck on your black boots in the winter. [Used in a sentence: “My UGG boots are even less appropriate for work because of all the shrackle on them.”]
  5. Irquate— When you can’t stop shaking your leg out of nervousness. [Used in a sentence: “I can’t help but irquate during my annual review at work.”]
  6. Weyhum— Awkward silence. [Used in a sentence: “His rant about Obama in a room full of liberals was followed by a lot of weyhum.”]
  7. Breepelate— When you can’t decide which direction to walk and keep starting and stopping. [Used in a sentence: “I was breepelating so much when I saw Chipotle on one side of the street, and Chick-fil-A on the other, that I bumped into three different people.”]
  8. Prewey— The way your hair looks when you wake up. [Used in a sentence: “Her hair was so prewey that HR had to send her home to take a shower.”]
  9. Grecking— Suggesting to someone that you grab coffee, but not intending on following through. [Used in a sentence: “I ran into a girl that was in my sorority in college, so we did some grecking, then went on our way.”
  10. Merfupped— Unable to think because you’re so tired. [Used in a sentence: “I was so merfupped that I mistook my hand cream for toothepaste.”]

See? Won’t talking be way more fun when you get to switch things up? Join me in being a trendsetter. If I can get at least 10 of you to use any one of these words in a sentence, I will submit them to Erin McKean’s online dictionary. Comment away! (If I get no comments here or on Facebook, I’ll delete this sentence in about a week due to embarrassment.)

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Filed under Lists, Reflection

Debates on Social Media Scare Me

My dog died yesterday.

He was really old and had no hair left and was 100% tumors, yet I still couldn’t help but refuse to put on make up and accidentally cry in front of my boss. Just an exemplary professional here, folks.

As much as I’m sure you secretly enjoy getting emotional about human-pet connections (Where the Red Fern Grows, Fly Away Home, and Free Willy were popular for a reason), this post isn’t about Doggie Heaven. Though I fully expect Heaven to have lots of puppies. This post is about why strong opinions scare me. I only brought up Bo—R.I.P., buddy—because he was the best, so I wanted to bestow upon him this final honor of being mentioned on the Internet. And, as any celebrity who has ever taken a naked photo has learned, nothing on the Internet is ever lost or forgotten.


Bo was quite the heartthrob in his younger days.

Earlier this week, I posted a picture on Instagram that only 10-20 people got to see before I took it down. Here it is:


Now, I personally thought this little piece of dramatic advice (stolen from @betches) was really funny and spot-on. Of course, I was interpreting it through my own eyes, not the eyes of the rest of the world. Isn’t that always when things go wrong? In this case, I innocently interpreted this life motto to mean “If you’re in a nonmarital relationship where you fight all the time and feel tons of anxiety about whether or not he’s going to text you back, just get out and move on. Letting go is hard, but so is ending up with someone you don’t get along with or trust.” Some of my followers, however, interpreted this as “Shannon thinks everyone should get divorced if things get a little rocky.” Yikesabee. That’s a rather large jump.

Actually, to my knowledge, only one of my followers came to this conclusion. But if one person thinks it, odds are that plenty of other people do, too. For instance, we all think we’ve met the only person in the world who actually likes Spam (cough my fiancé cough). And yet, it continues to be mass-produced, which points to the surprising conclusion that a lot of people [apparently] spend their hard-earned money on slimey canned “meat.” Therefore, a lot of people probably thought that I was endorsing divorce this week. Or they think I am a highly delusional bride-to-be who thinks she’ll never fight with her future husband. Not so. Just ask Aaron “what happened at the crawfish boil?” Actually, don’t. Probably best to let it lie.

To address this post specifically, let me just say that I firmly believe relationships should be “easy” in that you mutually want to “work” on things, laugh far more than you argue, and communicate openly and respectfully. If regular anxiety or drama surrounds your non-contractual relationship, consider enduring the momentary pain of separation instead of the lasting pain of an lifetime of unhealthy frustration. If you are married, go to counseling, split a bottle of wine, and figure it out.

What inspired me to write, though, was not the topic of that particular Instagram post. It was how quickly I found myself deleting a post that drew even a single ounce of controversial attention. When I saw the long comment pop up that opened with the words “this mindset is the reason for divorce,” I grew so uncomfortable that I almost started sweating, and naturally scanned the room for the nearest bottle of Pinot. Unfortunately, I was in my boss’ office, so all I had to work with was half a bag of Peanut M&Ms (they were his…shhh) and my water bottle. Not quite the relaxers I was looking for.

At first, I responded to the comment—as well as to a second comment that was not controversial, but still opinion-oriented—with a “whoops, misunderstanding, lol, love you bye” light-kind-of response. But even posting a peacemaking reply could not ease my discomfort. Since I found myself unable to concentrate on my work because what if people think I’m an overly opinionated social media troublemaker?, I had to delete the whole thing. When it was gone, the world came back into focus and I was able to begin breathing normally again, or as normally as one can breathe with a mouth full of Peanut M&Ms.

Ten minutes later, after I’d had some time to calm down and swallow, I began wondering why I am so fearful of social media controversy. Do I care too much about what others think? Am I afraid that other people will challenge my viewpoints? Do I even have strong opinions? Some people love getting into debates online, posting their opinions about [name any Republican candidate] and waiting for the firestorm of replies. When I see those kind of posts, I scroll as fast as I can past them to find the nearest meme about cats or wine or hungry porcupines.


This anxiety over conflict is only triggered by online opinions and debates. In “real life,” because—please remember—the internet is not real life, opinions and debates don’t make me uncomfortable. Why is that?

I think in-person debates are less stressful because, as seen with the rise of cyber bullying, people are much harsher on the internet. Sugarcoating isn’t necessarily a good thing, but I do think that taking on a respectful and less aggressive tone is a far more productive tactic than spitting anger and taking digs. On the internet—even when not anonymous—people are way more likely to argue with sarcastic, biting, and flat out mean voices. I, myself, have written emails or texts (similar because it’s typing, not speaking) that are way more callous than anything I would say to someone’s face.

People who love online debates or spouting controversial opinions chalk it up to “being honest” or “taking a stand,” but I’m not sure that’s the whole story. I think it’s a form of venting or trying to prove something to themselves or others. Let me put it this way: Very rarely—if ever—will someone change his or her mind about a topic just because YOU share your side of the argument online. It will just create frustration on the opposing side, leading to more divisiveness and annoyance. Additionally, people who agree with you will comment with the sole purpose of ganging up on and “sticking it” to the people who don’t agree. Where’s the productivity? Where’s the real change?

I know that some people may read this and say, “Shannon, you’re just scared of not being liked.” Well, that’s true. Call me a crazy person, but I enjoy getting along with people. It makes my life easier. I’m not going to say “I don’t care what people think!” because I think that’s a load of hogwash for anyone to say. True, we all don’t care about certain things—for example, I don’t care what anyone thinks about my face with no make up, or that I love God, or that I am occasionally awkward enough to clear an entire table. However, I do care about not alienating people I barely know on the internet by tainting their desire to be friends with me based on opinions that don’t define who I am. They just define what I think about certain topics. Those are two different things.

If you want to ask me how I feel about Obama, Ben Carson, abortion, gun control, Caitlyn Jenner, your sister’s boyfriend, or crossfit, I’m happy to chat with you in person. We can disagree, and we can learn from eachother in a respectful manner—and perhaps the discussion will even be intense! But at least we’ll be able to look one another in the eyes and remember we’re talking to a fellow human who is multidimensional, not just a blank-faced opponent.

I don’t expect online debate-lovers to change their ways based on this post. Because yes, this whole post is an opinion, which is slightly hypocritical—I know. However, anyone who reads this blog chooses to come here for my opinions! I don’t force it upon them in newsfeeds. Also, I do try to be kind with my words, which is my primary issue with most online debates. Which leads me to officially state on the record that I don’t hate anyone who posts long opinions online. Just like you might feel a twinge of annoyance when you see my 8,000 posts about being engaged (sorry!), I’ll feel a twinge of annoyance at your posts about why people who do more cardio instead of weights are stupid. We can still be friends.

Let me also say that the people who posted in response to my Instagram post were not harsh or mean by any stretch of the imagination. Their posts were just little gateways to more posts that could, actually, turn out argumentative. And that’s why I had to shut those gates by tearing taking them down.

So what is my conclusion? I’ve decided I’m not a shallow person for feeling uncomfortable with online controversy. I have my reasons for not enjoying such debates, and that’s okay. So, please remember that anything I post is not meant to be taken as a strong opinion, because I don’t post those. It’s probably just a meme I stole from BetchesLoveThis.com that made me giggle.

Like this one:


Raise your hand if you think I’m encouraging children to disrespect their parents! Anyone..? Ah, good. Thanks for understanding that I’m just laughing about the accuracy of using Google for basic survival.

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Filed under Opinions

Dress to Impress [Him] (Sometimes)

Remember gauchos? Yeah, sorry to bring that up. I vaguely remember them trying to make a comeback last year by disguising themselves under the new name “culottes,” and everyone responded with “lololololol NO.” It was the equivalent of someone wearing a Groucho Marx mask and thinking they could legitimately get away with it.

groucho marx

I’m no fashionista, but I like to think I have a decent eye. You may not be able to tell by my wardrobe choices, but you’ll just have to trust me when I say my outfits reflect my bank account, not my fashion sense. The last time I had extra spending money was 2009 (thanks, Busch Gardens Entertainment!), so I’ve chosen skip any trend that high schoolers wear, including, but not limited to, flannel shirts tied around my waist, hippie headbands, and high wasted diapers jean shorts. Looking at 16-year-olds to find out what will only be “hip” for one season is a flawless savings plan. Us practical grannies need to stretch our incomes with purchases that will be socially acceptable for more than a few months.

Although my closet only gains 1-2 new items a year, I earnestly try to avoid wearing anything that screams “I’m from 8 years ago!” Re: Gauchos, American Eagle flares, baby tees, anything that requires a cami underneath, etc. But here’s the catch:

We tend to dress not only for ourselves, but for who we want to attract. And [most] men have no clue what is “in.” They just like what they like.

Last week, my fiancé told me he’s really into girls wearing one shoulder tops. So was I! In 2010. The occasional one shouder cocktail dress these days is fine, but shirt versions just remind me of going to TGIF’s for a drink after a long night of work at Cheeseburger in Paradise during my first year out of college. This is nothing against any of you still showing off your right shoulder like it’s a third boob, sticking it in the faces of bartenders to get a drink, but that’s just something I can’t do in good conscience.

What do you do, then, when your boyfriend/fiancé/husband tells you he is really attracted to a style that brings you back to a time of Yellow Tail wine and The Black Eyed Peas? Or what if your boy toy thinks he’s “fashion forward,” so he buys you futuristic platform shoes and says “these will look really hot on you”? In both cases, you want to respect his wishes…without losing respect for yourself. Because no self-respecting woman will wear one of these (in public):


I should take a moment to clarify that a good man won’t dictate what you wear, and you never need to dress a certain way just to make someone like you. I’m simply saying that, if you’re like me, you like to take your man’s opinion into account because it’s fun to make him happy. That’s all.

Anyway, the key to respecting his opinions while also respecting your reputation is setting boundaries. If he likes velvet animal print, maybe find some jewelry that subtly pays homage to The Lion King without making you look like an 1980s sex worker. Or if he’s into white eyeliner circa 2001, use some white eyeshadow on your lid (blended into something less aggressive at the crease) as a grown up version of his middle school fantasy. If he requests jean capris with no pockets on the butt, look him square in the eye and say, “Absolutely not.”

Something like my fiance’s affinity for one shoulder shirts is a manageable dilemma. I can’t promise I’ll wear them on a regular basis, but for a Tuesday night dinner date when there’s only a 5% chance we’ll Instagram the experience, I’m happy to throw on one of my old tops and let him take a long, hard look at my left collar bone. You’re welcome, sweetie.

Maybe you have no idea what “looks” your straight, male counterpart enjoys. I highly suggest asking– if not for fashion ideas, then simply for entertainment. Besides the normal stuff that all guys can’t help but like (v-necks, bandage dresses, daisy dukes– not to be confused with the diapers shorts I mentioned earlier), you may be surprised at what he finds attractive. Who knows? He could think messy buns are the hottest thing of all time. In that case, congratulations on the easy road ahead of you. But maybe he’s into dark purple lipstick. Or Jesus sandals. These are things you should know, and maybe—just maybe—you can work with them.

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Filed under Humor, Relationships

7 Key Ways to NOT Lose Weight

I’m generally pretty A-OK with my weight. Keep that in mind as you read on, just so you don’t think this is an uncomfortable self-hate post or anything.

From my perspective, gaining and losing lbs is a straightforward mathematical game, as you may remember from a certain blogpost I wrote last year (Re: Weight Loss Solutions and Other Answers You Don’t Want to Hear). Although the general idea of “eat less, move more” is simple, let me tell you what is not simple: Putting down the fork halfway through eating Havana’s shrimp and chicken curry dish. Or continuing to run on the elliptical when breathing feels like a distant memory and your shoes keep putting pressure on your ingrown toe nail, but you’re too poor to buy new shoes or get a pedicure.

As I prepare for my upcoming nuptials, I’ve forgotten Rule #1 of Brides 101: Get as skinny as you possibly can so that you don’t have fat arms in pictures– pictures that will likely hang on the walls of your great great great granddaughter, who may or may not be living in a space station, because we all know Zenon Girl of the 21st Century was a prophesy not to be taken lightly. It may not happen by 2049, but the odds of your wedding photos ending up in space are high to definite.


But here’s the thing:

Not eating makes me

  • Impatient
  • Tired
  • Anxious

Planning a wedding in only 4 months—while fun—makes me

  • Impatient
  • Tired
  • Anxious

If I added those two things together, I’d be

  • Really impatient
  • Really tired
  • Really anxious
  • Single, because no one wants to marry a nightmare

Therefore, instead of bestowing upon you weight loss tips from a wafe-like bride with delicate wrists and admirable triceps, I am happy to share with you 7 tips on how to definitely not lose weight from a bride that looks slightly worse than she did 6 months ago:

  1. Order a milkshake whenever you can

I literally can’t even remember the last time I had a milkshake before I got engaged. Now, I have an average of one a week. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, including Aaron, I guess.

  1. Two words: Taco Bell

I hate Taco Bell and it’s gross. I didn’t eat there for nearly 15 years. Now, I enjoy a 7-Layer Burrito as a common afternoon snack. It’s disgusting and I can’t stop.

  1. Eat the same portions as your significant other

Obviously, if a 180lb athletic man can eat an entire jar of spaghetti meat sauce without consequences, so can I. Who cares if I only weigh 135lbs and my “muscles” come in the form of cheese and vino? Metabolisms aren’t a real thing.

  1. Drink up

Speaking of vino, I haven’t cut back. Also, if you’re “trying to lose weight for your wedding,” why not sample heavy ales for the first time? I rarely drank beer before now, but this seemed like the perfect time to start…

  1. Always have seconds

Because one giant square of lasagna just isn’t enough for the modern bride.

  1. Add condiments to everything

My sandwiches used to consist of turkey, provolone, and some mustard. Now, I find myself inadvertently asking for [light] mayonnaise. “Mayonnaise” is the most unappealing word ever invented, but it keeps slipping out of my mouth without warning when I’m at Jimmy John’s. Also, since when do I go to Jimmy John’s?

  1. Work out twice a week

Working out twice a week is just enough to convince yourself that you haven’t lost all hope, but also won’t make a difference in your body at all. It’s the perfect way to keep fooling yourself.

cheese fries

May we all be fat and happy together.


Filed under Food and Health, Humor, Lists

I Don’t Want to Die Alone

Ninety percent of the single, female population is worried they will end up alone. Maybe the other tenth is completely unconcerned about their romantic futures—and society clings to these emotionally blessed women to tell the other 90% how they are “supposed” to feel—but realistically, most women over the age of 25 want a steady, loving relationship. (I said most—not all. Don’t freak out.) And if they don’t have one, they’re concerned that something is wrong with them. One of my single friends is convinced that a troll lives in her lady parts, another thinks she’s doomed because she doesn’t like wearing bright colors (?), and I was the girl who was sure I had a chip missing—the one that makes people lovable.SIM card

I imagined the shape and size of this Love Chip. It was gold and looked exactly like those SIM cards in your smart phones. When creating me, God was supposed to insert it somewhere between my Frontal Lobe and Parietal Lobe, but He decided I could live without it. The exclusion was not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. He purposefully omitted this chip so that I would become an independent spinster who could channel all of her energy into writing books about some unidentified important subject that would inspire the masses. God knew I would learn to be okay with this, mostly because I’d have no other choice.

Every relationship I entered ended with the words, “I think you’re perfect and here are all the reasons why you’re the greatest, but I don’t know why something is missing.” Okay, not every relationship ended this way. Only, like, five. And by relationship, I just mean people I dated for two months or more. Details aside, the red flag during these conversations was the laundry list of all of the reasons these guys said they “should” want to be with me. Anyone who has seen the real me (i.e. the hangry girl listening to unsolicited career advice from my father), knows that the word “perfect” should never, ever, under any circumstance be used to describe me. Obviously, I was trying too hard to compensate for the missing chip, so bachelors never saw my bad side, and therefore could not pinpoint the reason why they were ending things. I should have known that any behavioral efforts to be more lovable would be futile, however. No amount of determination can replace a Love Chip. Since the men were so perplexed about the break ups, themselves, the only closure I ever received was self-acknowledgment of this missing chip.

When Aaron told me that he loves me only two months after meeting each other, and two weeks after he first called me his girlfriend, I thought he was confused. This was partly because it accidentally slipped out when he was telling a random story over Mexican food, and partly because of my Love Chip predicament. With Aaron, I had not behaved in a way I thought to be ideal. Since I knew things would not work out in the long run—how else would I end up alone?—I gave in to my less than perfect ways. I rudely complained that he needed to pay for more meals because I was poor, I didn’t shave my legs every day, and I openly told him that my friends and I looked at pictures of his ex-girlfriend. I also told him that sometimes his wardrobe choices come across kind of gay. These are not tactics I would suggest to anyone looking to nail down a solid relationship.

Here we are, 68 days from getting married, and I’m beginning to believe that I have the Love Chip, after all. The right person just needed to flip the “on” switch. Aaron really, really loves me (and I really, really love him). He makes me a sandwich every morning before work and always puts my keys somewhere I can easily find them. He gives me a professional-grade massage once a day, forces me to go to the gym with him when I’m too lazy to motivate myself, and keeps a bag of potato chips in the car for emergency situations of unforeseen hanger. One time when I was stressed out, he pulled into a Rite Aid parking lot and asked me questions about pageants because he knew that would distract me from my angry tirade at the cars around us. I regret to report that it worked. Last night, he selflessly let me watch Dancing with the Stars as he fed me chocolate cake. Today, he’s taking my car to get re-inspected while I’m at work…oh, and he handily fixed all of the parts that failed the original inspection so that I wouldn’t have to pay those stupidly high labor rates. Honestly, I thank God that all of those other guys bailed. Aaron is an enigma, and a gift you unwrap for life. (Yes, I just quoted Ian from Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette.)


Don’t worry, I do nice things for him, too. I squeeze his biceps and encourage him in his career and ignore the fact that he has 23 squirrel carcasses in his freezer. (That is not a joke.) But this post isn’t about whether or not I’m capable of loving. It’s about the feeling so many women get when they’re single—the dread that plagues their hearts with fear of never being loved back.

I use Aaron’s love as an example of why you can never assume the worst. I can’t promise that every single woman will find a really hot guy who makes the best biscuits and gravy ever and also happens to be a gifted engineer who protects our country, but I can promise that everyone’s story is different. In a good way. Sure, it may sound more appealing to meet someone when you’re 23, therefore avoiding years of third-wheeling couple friends and escaping the dark hole that is online dating. But women who are deeply happy in their marriages all have one thing in common: they are happy to have waited as long as they did for the right person. I was 26 when I met Aaron. My sister-in-law’s sister-in-law met my sister-in-law’s brother when she was 29 (you follow?). My stepmom met my dad when she was 36. I know tons of couples who met in their 40s. Some met in their 50s. And I’ve read Chicken Soup for the Soul stories about couples that met at nursing homes in their 80s. I really hope you don’t have to wait until you’re 80, but at least we know that love feels just as magical at any age and any stage of life.

I hated when people told me “your time will come.” How do you know?? I know plenty of middle-aged women who are awesome and wanted marriage, yet never met the right person. Here’s the truth: We don’t really know if or when our time for love will come. Everyone has a Love Chip (activated or not), though, so instead of believing that God intended for you to be single forever, try believing that He is doing what is best for you. That could mean your love story doesn’t pan out as you imagined, but you can still be happy.

I’ll tell you this: Even though my “time has come,” as they say, I am not instantly without fear for my future. Now, I fear losing Aaron. What if he gets cancer when we’re 40? What if he gets hit by a car and forgets who I am? What if he stops enjoying sushi and is not the man I thought he was? Being engaged or married without trust in God is just as scary as being single without trust in God. Because—news flash—we will never know the future. We’ll never know if or when we’ll find someone, if or when we’ll lose someone, or if or when we’ll even see tomorrow. So, just as I wrestled with surrendering to a life of being single each time I was dumped or had no prospects, I wrestle with surrendering to a life without Aaron, in case that is God’s will.

The only thing that can possibly give us comfort during any stage of life and love is trusting in a greater plan. One that allows us to feel joy for eternity, not just in this blink-of-an-eye lifetime. That may sound depressing—but it’s not. We can’t do anything about the fact that the future is out of our control, so how fortunate are we that there is a consistent way to find peace? This isn’t to say that you won’t feel pain if you live your life alone, or that I wouldn’t feel despair if I lost Aaron, but at least there is always a way to find the light.

If you’re single, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. (Still keep working on yourself—it can’t hurt.) And great guys do exist. Even if you don’t believe in God, I can assure you that those two statements are true. Cling to stories like mine or my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law or the 80-year-olds at the nursing home to keep your hope alive. Hoping for love is not a bad thing. Just remember that there is a greater purpose to everyone’s story. Sometimes we’ll see that purpose clearly, and sometimes it won’t be revealed to us at all, but it’s our choice to believe that it’s for some sort of good. It may be easier for me to say these words now, when I’m on a love high, but I also aim to believe them if and when I’m at a love low.

The most important thing when it comes to love is simply to acknowledge that we are not in control—and to stop fearing the worst about ourselves (or the dating pool). Instead, embrace your story. As long as you continuously strive for a positive mindset and faith, it’ll be a good one.

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/aaron-shannon-engagement

Loving this story right now <3


Filed under Christianity, Reflection, Relationships