General

25.

A quarter century. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t change anything about my life to this point. I’ve grown a lot from all of the ups, downs, and mess-ups (mostly from these), but I see room for improvements. Slight adjustments. Not a changing of the overall essence of what/who I am, but moving forward as a smarter, stronger, more mature and more confident me. 

25 things to reflect on during this year and going forward.

  1. Stop “sleeping on myself”
  2. Speak up more
  3. Stop overthinking – especially to the point of inaction
  4.  Stop tolerating situations I shouldn’t
  5. Smile more
  6. Stop comparing myself to others
  7. Say “no” more
  8. Read my Bible daily
  9. Write daily
  10. Pray in good times too 
  11. Take time to rest
  12. Be more spontaneous
  13. Drink more water
  14. Turn off my GPS more
  15. Be direct 
  16. Embrace my emotions
  17. Call/see my family more
  18. Seek wise counsel 
  19. Forgive
  20. Do what makes me happy
  21. Worry less
  22. Be healthier
  23. Don’t be afraid to love
  24. Find the beauty in everything and everyone
  25. “Guard your heart”

– Loni

Pangea

I haven’t had the time or clear headspace to write for awhile… and now here I am up at 1:45AM. Dark room. Macbook on 30%. I feel the magic about to happen (Update – I overslept 9am service at church).

All the way through college (if you choose to attend), we’re all on the same supercontinent. There may be some natural disasters that shake our individual countries to the core, but life goes on about the same as before. You and your classmates wake up every day, go to school, study, pass your classes and ultimately the only thing left to do is graduate. If you stay on course, that’s your outcome. That’s life on Pangea. And, while we live out life surrounded by all this structure and certainty, the dream of how life will go is developing within it. Everyone is chasing something. Their picket fence and 2.53 person household. Their happiness…

Then world starts to shift and break apart.

Instantly, you have a handful of paths to take when there only used to be one flat land to walk across. One step into the direction you thought was straight ahead could leave the husband and children in the complete opposite direction. The next direction could be fame or overnight success. The third might leave you knee deep in water where there once was dry land. So, which path is right?

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you’d like or blame it on the deliriousness from my lack of sleep, but as I sit in this dark room I feel my world shifting. In fact, it is so quiet, I can almost hear the tectonic plates of my lithosphere making their tiny adjustments. All of my constants aren’t feeling very constant and my “for sures” are more like maybes. And, the personal life events of this past week and a half created a mixture of hurt, worry and confusion; the kind that buries itself so deep inside you and leaves you unsure if you should just vomit or cry…

But would you even feel like this if you weren’t focused on a perfect path? 

True. Currently, there is nothing wrong going on in my life. I have been grasping tightly onto all the little pieces in hopes of maintaining an environment that I think will make me happy down the road.

So, why not less of the path and more of the destination?

It would be a million times easier to move if I wasn’t trying to hold a continent together… And it can be so hard to accept when familiar people and situations float away to form something completely new and far away.

But, you shouldn’t have to force aspects of your life into future existence. What (and who) will be, will be. Worry less. Grow your gifts. Pursue your purpose. 

Thats my new focus. It’s time to confidently proceed forward (praying to God for solid, dry land with every step). The path won’t be pretty, perfect, or straight, but it will be right. Who knows what potential awaits in that distant place… what kind of peace and happiness that comes with reaching my destination.


The Word I received later this morning stuck out to me in particular, so I’m sticking it here at the end. My story has already been written, and every gift I need to fulfill my purpose I already possess. It’s amazing how you hear what you need to exactly when you need to hear it.

…And maybe my 2AM pep talks are meant to be heard by more than just me.

The Juice

I had a completely different post (or 4) ready to be published, but it will sit in my drafts until a little later… I thought it might be good to lighten the mood a little.

Have you ever had a friend that has everything going for them and isn’t entertaining/talking to/dating 20 people at once? Or, have you known someone who is super popular in real life, but it doesn’t go to their head and you never would have known via their social media presence? It’s seems super rare and incredibly refreshing, right? If you answered yes, then you might share in the sentiment that the concept of juice is something you aren’t really a fan of.

For my older (and of course wiser) readers, “the juice” I’m referring to here isn’t O.J. Simpson… but O.J. in his prime definitely had it. When I say juice I mean being popular with the ladies/fellas. To further clarify, if you wanted to use it in a sentence you could say, “WOW, you dated him? He’s fine! O, you got the juice,” or “You didn’t know? G is a Juice Gawd!”

(Yes, O & G are people, and gawd is pronounced god. Just text me if you have any more questions.)

Let’s start this post off by clarifying a couple of things. First, is that I have no juice. If I did I’m positive more people would read my blog out of some unsatisfiable curiosity and I wouldn’t be extremely single. Need further proof? Then let’s head over to social media – where juice seems to manifest itself – and pull out our calculators. I average 144 likes on Instagram and have 1558 followers (there’s an app for that), which means on average 90.8% of my followers ignore my posts. The last time I received a text from someone who isn’t one of my best friends was 6pm yesterday. And, on top of that, my Dad gets more responses to his posts on Facebook than I ever have in life. Maybe since I haven’t enjoyed the wondrous splendors of being incredibly “popular”, I can’t possibly understand it. Secondly, I have no problem with people finding others attractive or being a ladies’ man/gentlemen’s woman (why is there no female equivalent to ladies’ man? Sounds like a double standard to me…), I just don’t like the importance I feel that we place on being well liked.

So, why don’t you like juice? I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you.

It’s an Assumption – Unless they are the type of person who tells everyone everything about their personal life, saying someone has the juice is largely an assumption. The way someone looks and the things you have heard about them probably gave you that idea. I touched on this some in Computer Love, but the perfect profiles on social media aren’t really us. It’s not always a sunny day in perfect makeup and a cute dress. This isn’t true all of the time. So, what if it’s not an assumption, what if it is true? I would say that the confirmation that someone has the juice doesn’t stop our assumptions at all. Now that we know they are “popular”, we (myself included) tend to have this idea in our heads of what someone who gets this type of attention is like. That’s unfair. Just because someone is a large cup of guava-berry, doesn’t mean that they are the type of person you might categorize them as. They might not be promiscuous or even care about the attention they are given at all… Let’s be honest, they might not even be that interesting either.

It’s a Deterrent – At first glance this seems a bit backwards, but if I had a dollar for every guy who told me he was hesitant to reach out to a girl because she was “popular”, I would be writing this from a yacht… Ok, I would be writing this from a decently sized boat. They must be dating/talking to/situation-shipping with someone. It’s an unfortunate mindset really. I’m sure there have been plenty of missed opportunities because of this fear of failure/rejection. I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to “shoot your shot”, but in the words of Hitch (yes, from the movie… this is my blog, I make the rules): “Any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.” And if that didn’t help then, I can more factually state that 9 times out of 10, those heart eyes under her pictures are from someone she doesn’t even know that well.

It’s Not Important – I think this is a hardest part for people to believe when I say it, but I actually don’t care about the juice at all.  Sure, it’s great feeling to have people compliment you and I’m sure it is an even better feel to nab the guy that all the girls want, but at the end of the day does it really matter? If you had whatever it was that made (insert your most attractive/favorite person here) so attractive, what would that change about your life? If I had bigger boobs, I might have more followers on Instagram, but that’s really it. Who knows, maybe with a little juice you could finally get the attention of the guy you really like, but do you want someone who is caught up in the hype around you or who likes you for you?

With juice I feel there is really only one option: if it must exist then we all need to create our own. Does it really matter who/how many people like you or know of you? Do you even like you? So, every morning after you are done mixing up your bowl of happiness, grab a big glass and get to squeezing. This way you’ll be entering into the world with a nice full glass, and it won’t matter if someone is trying to pour you a little more or if you feel as though you’ve gone unnoticed for the day, because you’re already full. I think I have a cool glass of cran-apple going on today. What about you?

– Loni

 

Random Thought #1



This week Loveli Loni had its highest views since my launch week. When I see others reposting my link and sending me positive texts and comments, I reflect back to a week or two before I launched when only a couple of people knew it was happening. My first post was already written but I nervously changed it a millions times a day. A few days after Christmas I received a package that contained a black shirt with my logo printed on the front from my best friend (who I had been going back and forth with for years about how I desperately wanted to write). When I called to say thanks he reminded me that I was a good writer, yes, but more importantly I always put my voice, my most honest self, into everything I wrote, and because of that the readers would come.

I’m glad he was right.

-Loni

Get up. Get well. Get over. Get happy.

“The scariest moment is always right before you start.”

Probably, the most accurate statement I’ve ever read. But, I went for it.

Christmas of last year I decided to share with my family that I had started to write book, and as the supportive people I know and love, they offered encouragement and asked what about. My desire to be a writer wasn’t a foreign concept to them, but knowing that the subject matter was, I slowly went on to explain how I was always incredibly insecure growing up and now having overcome that wanted to write about all the lessons I learned as I worked to overcome it… As my eyes moved from face to face they were pleasant, smiling even, but their eyes returned messages of confusion. “The girl that everything came easily to, couldn’t figure out self-confidence…” I mean, could I blame them for not understanding? I had been hiding a major part of my life for over 20 years, and all they knew of younger me was the girl who loved to bake cakes, played first chair flute, graduated with a 4.3 GPA and wanted to be an Engineer.

It’s interesting, isn’t it? How you can keep the people closest to you completely unaware of the biggest parts of your story if you want to. It was never hard for me to keep my strongest emotions inside. After all, I was an introvert and when my family assumed I was just being my normal quiet self, my mind could be going a million miles a minute somewhere very distant. Writing for me was like living life in my own personal soundproof room. I spent most of my life screaming at the top of my lungs on to sheets of paper that would later be discarded or lost. Stories of myself and of a girl much like me, stories of some made up love and of my own personal tragedies would pile up in my journals to never be heard by anyone. Simply because I was ashamed of the emotions I felt and what others would think of them, which was a direct reflection of how insecure I was about simply being me. Everything I wrote I quickly dismissed as too sad, too dark, too optimistic, or too racy…It was as if I needed some sort of justification for the way I felt and even more so to tell those things to the world.

In the 7th grade I obtained my first copy of On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft by Stephen King from the library and it easily earned a place on my bookshelf next to stories like Beloved and Invisible Man, but for completely different reasons.  Unlike the stories of Morrison and Ellison that I loved to read, it gives you the pep talk that every aspiring writer must hear to go forth and confidently create those stories that everyone else loves to read… But, even with this added confidence writing remained the door I left unopened. It just wasn’t the safe option and it most definitely wasn’t the easiest. I took the path that guaranteed a nice paycheck without the need to escape my comfort zone, and I never looked back. I packed away my journals, my daydreams stayed little clouds of inspiration instead of being developed further into poems or stories, and never questioned being a writer again… That is, until my sister bought me a new copy of On Writing for my birthday last year (it has way less character than my damaged and stained version, but what it lacks in character it made up for with perfectly timed motivation). As I skimmed through the pages while sitting by the pool one day, I landed on one of the more popular exerts:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. …this book…is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.
Drink and be filled up.”

And, right then I decided to go for it. I had once told myself that the world would be OK without ever hearing anything I had to say, but would I be OK? From there the idea transformed over the past year from a book about my Mom, to a book about overcoming my insecurities, and finally to this blog where I’m bound to touch on those items and more. But, the underlying message is that I’m going for it for real this time. Now, unlike other blogs, I will not guide you to the Perfect Lipstick Dupes and the 15 Reasons Why Your Boyfriend Can’t Stand You, because to be completely transparent, I haven’t figured any of that out. I don’t have the answers (if anyone really had all the answers to life, we wouldn’t need to read those blogs would we?). I’m also not here to sell you anything or to make you subscribe or any of that. Instead, this is 100% for me. My release. The refining of a craft and revitalization of a passion that I have left behind time after time for safer options. A blog that is truly self-help… for myself. But, if you happen to get some inspiration along the way, I’m glad you found your way here too.

I wouldn’t have made it to this point on my own. Sometimes you can will yourself right to the very edge, but still need a little push as you jump. So, thank you to my Mom for always being there as whatever it is that I need at any given moment. Thank you to my Dad who (as a younger me was far too prideful to admit) is the biggest blessing I was ever given. Thank you to my Grandma who… just gets me. Thank you to my Sister for the unintentional motivation. Thank you to my Aunt PJ who isn’t afraid to speak her mind through her many published works – a true source of inspiration; I promise to write my book some day! Thank you to my friends (D., O., and G. especially) who liked the real me before I even really knew who she was and constantly support all my endeavors. And, thanks to you for reading. I hope you continue to.

Here’s to a 2017 full of getting up, getting well, getting over, and getting happy. Happy New Year.

– Loni