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Taking A Leap

Recently, in my psychology class, we were learning about self-esteem and self-image.

Me being me, I didn’t really stop to think about my own personal self-esteem/image. It wasn’t until I reached a portion of the assignment where we were required to write a whole alphabet of positive adjectives, that we would use to to describe ourselves.

Also, get this: For each letter of the alphabet, it had to have TWO positive describing words. TWO. I can barely think of five positive words to describe myself, under normal circumstances, but to come up with fifty-two positive words about me??

Sitting back in the uncomfortable, wooden chair, I let out an exasperated sigh as I read the instructions once more. Ya’know, normal people would start whippin’ out compliments for themselves, left and right; key word: normal. Not that I’m not normal, I’m just really awful about positively describing myself. Sitting back once more–mentally, this time around–I realized that the fact that I could not come up with more than just the five generic words I had, was a teensy problem. Self-evaluation time.

After doing a little research (and when I say research, I mean a five-second Google search), I was able to find a starter list of different words (seriously, God bless Google). For whatever odd reason, I was slightly taken aback by some of the words. Just the mere sight of them made me really think about the type of person that I am, and the way people would describe me, if they were given this exact same list of words.

It was this thought that made me realize that there’s so much more to me than just, “the five generic words.” This thought has also motivated me to be a better person overall.

When people think of me or describe me to others, I don’t want them to describe me as rude, timid, or boastful. No! I want to be known as kind, bold, and sacrificial! How do I expect to reach the world if I’m someone who’s bitter and fearful? It was this heart-wrenching thought that inspired me to step out, a little.

I’ve always wanted to do some type of blog where I can just ramble about whatever is on my heart or mind, but I’ve always been so fearful of what others would say; if they even read it! Well, that, and I’m just so bad with procrastination (haha). However, wanting to scrape away that “fearful” label, I decided to start the said, “blog.”

I don’t claim to be a great writer or someone with perfect ideas to write about (God knows I’m not!), but writing is something I’ve always had a passion for. So if, by some miracle, this, “blog,” makes it onto the screens of other’s devices, I hope they acknowledge that I’m merely trying to reach my world in a way that I know best.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

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What Does Your Blog Title Say About You?

To take a little step back from all of the seriousness circling my blog, I thought that this would be a fun topic to discuss.

Blog titles are sort of a big deal, aren’t they? They’re essentially the first thing that a reader sees and it gives them an idea of what they’re getting themselves into. Your title also either has the ability to catch one’s attention or it doesn’t. It was those few, out of many, thoughts that pressured me to choose the “perfect” title for my blog.

When I first registered for an account on WordPress, my mind was completely void of meaningful names to call my blog. I wanted something that would stand out and would resemble my current standpoint, in life, but I didn’t want anything “cheesy.” I mean, yeah, you can change your name, but I wanted a good foundation for the start.

As I mentioned before, I wanted perfect. Not perfect as in lacking flaws or impeccable–whatever you want to describe it as–but perfect for my blog and my needs. It had to fit me, perfectly.

For the most part, I knew I’d be talking about my personal life experiences, my thoughts on various things and possibly a few posts on my hobbies. I’ll admit it: I even looked around at other blogs, for inspiration. Honestly, I think I sat there, staring at a wall for 15 minutes, just trying to figure something out.

And then it hit me.

My take on life, my stories, my feelings…it’s all the outcome of my walk, in this life.

I’m still learning how to “do life,” and that’s what I wanted to depict to anyone that gave my blog a chance. I’m just a young woman, stumbling about our world, and attempting to figure out who I am.

I also chose the word ‘stumbling’ simply because I am not graceful, in the slightest. I’m clumsy, I make mistakes and sometimes I’d rather wear a shirt that’s two sizes too big, than my own. That’s life, though, isn’t it? No one’s journey through life is as easy as pie and requires no effort; we’re all stumbling around or tripping over the sidewalk, at some point.

I wanted to remind people that we’re all going through life, at the same time. No, we don’t all walk the same walk, but we’re all moving about. Either way, we’re not alone.

Showing others that I’m struggling, too, is my way of humbling myself. Being prideful won’t get you anywhere, but if it does, did you really establish meaningful connection with your readers? Did you truly make an impact on their lives?

That leads me to why I close my posts with, “Always desire to inspire.”

We live in a dynamic world, yes. It’s always changing–WE’RE always changing–and society is constantly developing. But, as I’ve spoken on before, those changes start with those who are brave enough to take those steps. Before they make the choice to be brave, however, they have to be inspired. Nine times out of ten, I make a change because something motivated or inspired me to make that change.

My goal is to motivate my readers to inspire others; it’s like a chain reaction. I was inspired, which is why I publish my work for others to see. Within that work, I try my absolute best to inspire those who read my posts, in hopes that they’ll take what I have to say and run with it. You have no idea what you could change, simply by providing inspiration.

Thus my motto: Always desire to inspire.

To those of you that own a blog, why did you choose your current title? What does it mean to you? I’d love to hear from you, as always!

On a side note: I’m catching up on my comments, little by little. I take a little longer to respond due to life and not wanting to dispose of you with an insensitive, “thanks.” I hope you understand!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Choices

Do you ever have those moments where a song will just randomly pop into your head and then it’s stuck there for days? I am currently suffering from that very thing–not that the song sucks, or anything. 

In the midst of all of my thinking last night, coincidentally as I was trying to sleep, an old song was brought to mind.

George Jones is an artist that was introduced to me by a past friend. He immediately became a personal favorite, solely because he’s authentic. If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you’ll understand how much I value realness. With Jones, he doesn’t leave any emotions out; he expresses his sadness, his mistakes, his happiness…real-world events and emotions and not “meeting people in a club and then hooking up that night.” He also has a pretty great voice, so that’s a bonus.

As I laid in bed, thinking about my past, the song ‘Choices’ came to mind and the lyrics immediately resonated with me, emotionally, at that moment.

“I’ve had choices

Since the day that I was born

There were voices

That told me right from wrong

If I had listened

No I wouldn’t be here today

Living and dying

With the choices I made”

Excerpt of ‘Choices’ by George Jones

We’ve all had choices, have we not? In fact, we still have choices that we are able to make, each and every day. To be specific, the average adult makes, roughly, 35,000 choices a day. Although, for women, it’s probably a little more because, ya’know, we can be a tad bit indecisive (Kidding ;))

35,000 decisions a day; that’s good and bad decisions, too. The question is, though: what do you do with those decisions?

I do not claim to be perfect, whatsoever, because God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. Like George sang, in regards to his life, I had people around to tell me what was right and what was wrong, but I made the choice to not listen. Because I decided to use a few of the 35,000 choices, I make in a day, on bad decisions, I had to reap the consequences for quite a while.

I tarnished the trust between myself and a few individuals that I love, I ruined potential opportunities for myself and I even partially damaged my reputation–something that is a challenge to fix. All of which, previously mentioned, were the outcome of several different occasions where I chose to make the wrong decision. It wasn’t until I was nearly 16 that I realized just how much of an impact each and every decision you make leaves on your life, whether it be big or small. Small decisions add up, too, so be wary of how you act on them.

It took a lot of work to bounce back and re-earn trust, but I made it. Despite bouncing back, however, I will still have to live with the choices I made, until the day I die–and even then, they’ll still be with me because choices follow wherever you go.

The point that I’m trying to make to you is that every choice you make matters. Whether you choose you to eat one thing over another, take up a job offer, drive across town or even walk your dog; they all impact you, someway, somehow. Because of this, you need to be careful with how you decide on some things, no matter how small. Being conscious of your decisions allows you to really think about each possible outcome and will, hopefully, help you avoid some nasty, potential outcomes.

Another thing you need to be aware of is how your decisions affect others. Every single one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that one, in one of my parents’ lectures, but I’m so glad that I finally understand just how true it is.

I used to sit and think about different scenarios, in which I make a random choice, and how it would end up affecting others. Every time, I’d come up with at least one person being affected. You can try to work around it, but it’ll end up coming back to show you. Trust me.

35,000 choices a day. How will you choose to make your choices?

From personal experience, it’s so much better choosing to make the right decisions. You save yourself from the hassle of trying to fix bad-decisions-gone-wrong and it really improves your way of living.

Try it out; make a good decision today and watch what follows after.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Learning to Love Yourself

If you thought that I couldn’t be anymore cliche, I’m here to prove you wrong.

No, but, seriously. This is something that I, personally, have been working on and have a few things on my mind, in regards to.

Self-love is something that is often overlooked, when speaking on self-confidence and self-image. It’s almost like most people don’t even realize it’s possible to love yourself and completely disregard anything that would help their self-esteem, thus creating a miserable and insecure mindset.

I should know; I was one of those people. 

I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while and, coincidentally, my friends were talking about it, this morning. It was then that I began reflecting on my own confidence and self-image, as they spoke on how they wanted to be able to say that they were actually ok with themselves, for once. Hearing that my broke my heart because I know what it’s like to wonder when that day is going to come; when will I finally love myself?

You see, loving yourself is so much more than simply looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you,” to your reflection. Loving yourself is looking in the mirror, even on your bad days, and knowing that you’re worth something. I mean, you might even add in a wink or a flirty comment because you’re just feeling that good! When you love yourself, you don’t care how “weird” you can be.

Think of it in terms of loving someone else; when they’re happy, sad, angry or even excited, you love them; when they’re smiling, frowning or making funny faces, you love them; when they’ve upset you or made you angry, you love them; when they think they look absolutely awful, you think that they’re the most precious thing that you’ve ever laid eyes on because you love them.

What a day it’d be if everyone suddenly realized how special they are and how much they have to offer. They’d treat themselves the same way they treat that loved one and they’d value themselves like never before, because they’d understand the concept of loving themselves.

Loving yourself unlocks so much more than you’d think. It gives you power in situations that you’ve felt weak in, allowing you to take control of your life, and it gives you more confidence than you could ever imagine, allowing you to make choices out of love. Those choices could impact others more than you think, if we’re being real. When you’re full of self-love, you choose to love others, too. When you’re broken and insecure, all you think about is the broken pieces and how you’re going to survive until the next day. When you love yourself, you’re more confident in yourself, giving you the ability to focus on others and their needs.

When I was at that point of self-hatred, I was vulnerable, weak and wondering when it’d be my chance to have happiness. Now that I’ve grown to love myself and my imperfections, I choose to love and help others because, in doing so, it only makes me happier.

How do I even start?”

I can’t tell you that learning to love yourself will be easy, but I can tell you that it’s worth it.

When you wake up in the morning, feeling your absolute worst, you’re going to have to ignore all of the flaws and focus on the parts that you love about yourself. Each morning, little-by-little, you’ll find yourself loving various flaws that you once poked and prodded at.

When you laugh so hard you snort or make a funny noise, you’re going to have to ignore the temptation to say, “ew,” and apologize for laughing. Don’t apologize for your happiness and your way of expressing it; the world needs more people who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

When you’re out shopping and you try something on and it doesn’t fit, you need to avoid calling yourself names and purposely seeking out imperfections to scrutinize. That’s a big one, I know, but part of loving yourself is realizing that you might have those moments and it’s ok.

When you’re hanging out with friends, say, at a restaurant, you have to avoid publicly shaming your eating habits. It’s okay to order dessert, I promise! No one is going to sit there and stare at you, judging you for every bite you take of your dessert, because everyone is doing the same thing!

These are just a few things, but each of them could create yet another opportunity to love yourself.

When you get to that place where you’re beginning to feel the love, you’ll walk a new walk, stand a little taller and realize that you can conquer so, so much.

Do yourself a favor and choose to love. Happiness will soon follow and you’ll be filled with a new purpose.

I believe in you!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Unkept Weeds

Weeds.

Such dastardly little things they are, am I right?

You could spend hours, or even DAYS, planting and tending to various plants and flowers and the unexpected presence of one little weed could destroy your whole garden. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating for the purpose of writing, but weeds really do have the ability to destroy your hard work, if you don’t take care of them.

I can remember, whenever my mom was in the mood to garden, my brothers and I would spend hours pulling weeds and cleaning out the garden. Let me tell ya. There’s nothing more annoying than spending hours pulling weeds, only to step outside the next day and find the weeds beginning to sprout up again. AGH.

Before you know it, those pesky weeds can begin to take over your humble, little garden and, unless you’re an avid gardener, your garden will soon be filled with those unwanted nuisances. Then what? Most of the time, you’re too busy to get back out there and pull them again, so they grow and grow, and soon enough, you’ve got a garden full of weeds. How appealing…

Much like these weeds, infected relationships can do the same.

Picture this:

You’ve recently done some self-evaluating. Your life is at it’s peak and you’re feeling great. Your confidence is even higher than it’s been, in a while! And then you get a text from a friend, telling you that another friend had said some pretty degrading things about you, behind your back… Uh oh. 

That, my friend, is an unkept weed. You see, if you had evaluated your current relationships a few weeks prior, you would have seen all of the signs. You would have noticed that something was off and you would have corrected it. However, you chose to leave it be and now you have a messy situation that needs handled, with a snarling weed towering over you.

You may not have even seen it coming and, honestly, most people don’t. It’s how you choose to react that defines the situation.

Do you, A, choose to be oblivious to the obvious infestation in your life, or do you, B, cut that weed out? You can’t expect your garden to bloom if you have weeds taking over. 

Learn from your mistakes, evaluate yourself and your relationships often and make no room for weeds in your life. This goes for bad habits, as well; thus the reason it’s important to self-evaluate, regularly.

Let your flowers bloom and you’ll be amazed by how beautiful your garden can become.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Why Do I Write?

“Why do you write?”

Many who don’t understand the joys of writing often ask me this. Recently, I realized that I’ve never really thought about it.

Why do I write?

Much like musicians, or those who love music, run to music in times of need, I run to words. While they search for an answer or a solution in the lyrics, the beat or even the instrument, I seek out my solution through the act of writing.

For as long as I can remember, reading and writing has always been my way of escape and communication. When my spoken words fail me, I can count on those that are written to be there to “catch me.”

I recently tried to have a conversation about reading with someone who doesn’t read, at all. They expressed to me how they felt reading was pointless and it really gets you nowhere, in life. Those words, for some reason, came as a shock to me. It’s almost like I just had it in my mind that everyone around me is as equally obsessed as I am with reading.

I may not read as often as I’d like or as often as I used to, but I know I can confidently say that I am who I am because of all of the reading I’ve done in my lifetime. From the moment I was old enough to understand libraries and how they work, I’ve been checking book after book out and hurrying back to get another.

Reading is truly something else. It can take you on so many different adventures, to so many different places. When I was at a place in my life where I hated who I was, reading gave me the ability to pretend I was someone else, even if it only lasted for as long as the book did. It was my way of escape from the self-hatred.

Reading has also been a teacher for me. It’s taught me things that really only books can teach, but it’s also expanded the knowledge I’ve received from schooling. Without books, I wouldn’t possess the knowledge that I do, either. Many people think that my personal lexicon is mostly composed of words that I use to, “sound intelligent.” I’m like…no? If you actually read or tried to understand words outside of our present-day slang, you’d likely be, “using big words,” too. Anyways.

I feel like my love for writing was spawned from my love for reading. If I’m not mistaken, it started as telling and writing my own stories, as a kid. As I aged, though, and my emotions and feelings developed, I began feeling the need and desire to write out those feelings. Now, I really wasn’t much of a consistent journaler, but I wrote when I felt like writing.

As puberty approached, writing became my lifeline. I can remember crying, while writing in my “diary,” in the most cliché way possible. It’s pretty hysterical to look back on, now, but I was slightly emotionally unstable, now that I think of it…yikes. Thank God I’ve got it (pretty much) under control, cause, man…my poor parents.

So, after summing up how I began writing, I feel like I have a decently good idea as to why I still write.

Many people have a way with words, but they don’t really have to think about it; it just flows. Me, on the other hand, (those who know me can testify to this) put me on a stage or even in front of 2-3 people and I’ll ramble on until I awkwardly close; it really is a mess.

Writing allows me to think about what I’m saying and to string those thoughts together into something meaningful, without sounding like an idiot.

Being someone who sucks at expressing their feelings, writing allows me to express myself.

Being someone who is also not the greatest at handling stress, writing has the ability to bring me peace.

The same goes for anxiety and depression; when I feel either creeping up, I write. I put so much energy and emotion into my writing that, when I’m finished, I’m completely at peace.

Lastly, being someone who desires to create in an, more often than not, artistic manner, writing is something I always run to.

Writing is a part of what makes me, me. I simply wouldn’t know how to live without it, as dramatic as that may seem.

What about you? What’s your story and why do you love to write?

Also, don’t worry! I read each and every comment, but I’ve just been a little busy the past few days, so I’ve been unable to respond. I’ll get to them, though, I promise!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Music Speaks

Before you dive into what I have to say, I’d just like to mention that this isn’t a, “when words fail, music speaks,” based post–although, that is a good idea.

Have you ever thought about why you add a song to your playlist or why you aren’t into a certain song when you first hear it, but then you hear it later on and it’s like where have you been?? Yeah, me too.

Self-evaluation time.

I read a thought-provoking question, somewhere; the reader was asked: what does your music playlist say about you?

Did you know that your choice of music, book, movies etc. can actually say a lot about you and your feelings, at that time. For the purpose of this post, I composed a list of the last 10 songs that I listened to. At the end of the list, I’m going to attempt to psychoanalyze myself and you are going to consider doing the same.

Shall we?


1. Let You Down by NF

2. Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly

3. Seeing Blind by Niall Horan

4. Made A Way by Travis Greene

5. Intentional by Travis Greene

6. Overcomer by Eddie James

7. Pure Love by Ronnie Milsap

8. Choices by George Jones

9. Why Don’t We Just Dance by Josh Turner

10. My Adonai by Indiana Bible College


First of all, my music taste is very diverse, as you can see. I do also listen to classical, 50’s and 60’s, some R&B and so on. I’m just one of those people who can develop a taste for almost any kind of music–I think it comes with being someone who’s fairly adaptive. Honestly, when you’re homeschooled or even have a lot of spare time on your hands, you have the ability to just sit and listen to different genres of music.

It is said that you listen to music based on what you believe your social identity to be. Because my music choice is so diverse, I feel that I am (slightly) subconsciously unaware of my identity. I know that I am intelligent, but I also have a love/hate relationship with the current, “Biggest Hits.” I was once someone who loved pop music, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve preferred songs with meaning over those that solely focus on relationships, sex and even drugs. It’s just not really my preference, ya’know?

Looking at the different tempos of the songs, it is also clear that I have no specific preference for how fast or slow I like songs; it really depends on my mood, if I’m honest. When I’m feeling stressed, tired or I just simply want to relax, I listen to softer, slower songs. When I’m studying, working or need a little “pick-me-up,” I listen to faster, more upbeat songs.

The lyrics. Ahhh, the lyrics. I feel like the sole reason I even listen to a song is because of the lyrics. I also feel as though because I am someone who has the ability to empathize with others’ thoughts and emotions, I can understand the emotion in a song, on a different level, compared to a casual listener. Because of this, I also tend to lean toward songs that stimulate emotion, in the listener.

I’m unsure about where I read it, but I once read somewhere that your music choice may even reflect on your career choice. I’m working towards becoming a nurse, so I can see where being someone who empathizes with certain music can be seen.

I’m not going to get too into it, but the titles of the songs you listen to can also say a little about who you are, as well.

It’s crazy how much the music you listen to can say about you, isn’t it? I’m sure there’s more, in-depth questions I can ask and reflect on, in regards to the music I listen to, but I kept it short.

Your turn!

Compose a list of a few songs, that you recently listened to (it doesn’t have to be 10, like mine), and really analyze the genre, lyrics and reason you chose to listen to it. What does it say about you? Are you someone who listens to songs for emotions or the structure (meaning the sound, beat, instruments, etc)?

I’d love to hear from you!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Thanksgiving Photography Shenanigans

To say I ate enough, for an entire week, would be an understatement.

My day, yesterday, was utterly perfect, however.

I took a few pictures of my parents, myself and my cousin and I also managed to get a photo of me and my dad.

We arrived around two o’clock, in the afternoon, starving because we were saving our appetites for the food. My family isn’t the only family who does that, are we?? I greeted everyone and immediately went out to take some pictures because the weather was that perfect.

I actually have a camera, now, so the pictures turned out much better than they would have if they were taken on my phone!!!

I had another post planned for today, but I was just a little too excited about some of the shots I got, so I just had to share them with you. I’ll keep it to a minimum, though 😉

All of these photos were taken with my EOS Rebel T5i. I am still learning how to use it and produce the best photos, but learning takes time. Any advice is appreciated!

I’ve been watching YouTube videos, like crazy, and I’ve been practicing on random objects (in terms of settings and what different buttons/adjustments on the camera do).

On a side note: I’m not sure if anyone was wondering, or not, but my featured images are always my photos. Each photo used on my blog is taken and edited by me.

So what do you think? Do you see any areas that need improvement, whether it be the photography, itself, or the editing?

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean