UNDER THE INFLUENCE

okay so i'm about to get heavy on the writing (my apologies to the 3 people that look at this... hi grandma! wait i'm kidding my grandma doesn't even read this) but i've been thinking a lot about people who have been in my life, who have changed it, who love me, who i am, and who i'm becoming. 

TBH (lol) my life has not always been easy. but if it had been easy i wouldn't be who i am. i think it's a lot of perspective though. in certain places where i've not had things handed to me on a silver platter there are just as many places that i have (health, economic well-being, opportunity) so it ends up being gratitude that changes how you look at things and your perspective hat makes you happy--but that's a completely different topic. 

other than my brilliant mother (the queen of sparkle, you guys. and i don't mean it in the tacky sense. if you knew what i mean then you'd know.) and beyond words incredible sister (the girl has a gift for children, is patient with me/loves me a lot even when i'm not the best at returning it, WROTE A BOOK, got her masters in one year, graduated with phi beta kappa honors, etc etc), there are many people who come to mind that have strongly influenced my life, but more importantly, three people who i look to for inspiration and admiration in the way they live their lives. and here's a little about them...

(p.s. sorry i creeped on facebook pictures to get these...)



ashley--
ashley was first my camp counselor when i was 16 and knowing her throughout the end of high school and going into college was one of the best gifts of all. ashley is hilarious. no, like i laugh at everything she says because it is that funny. not because i'm having to fake laugh because i'm uncomfortable. she has always been the person she was created to be and she has an awesome sense of self--something i think many women lack. ashley has always believed in me and been there to encourage me. she is intelligent (she can speak countless languages and wrote her thesis on glee... talk about creative) but here's one of the things i love most about ashley: she takes chances and embraces the world. ashley spent last year teaching english in south korea, spent a semester at sea traveling the world, she works now at BUZZFEED in new york, spent time working with focus features, i mean i could go on and on and on but her accolades are just one of her fantastic qualities. the point of listing them was that she doesn't just sit in her comfort zone--she LEAPS out of it. i went to college with virtually no one. yeah, there were about 15 of us that went to the university with 50,000 undergrads but no one i knew very well. this summer i'll be spending 3 weeks with no one i know once again in a place foreign to me. i'm so scared. but when i look at ashley, i know that she took chances and look where she is today? living out one of my dreams: doing something she loves in the greatest city in all the land. although she was told no countless times, she didn't give up. she worked harder and found different opportunities. we had breakfast earlier this year and she said so many things i needed to hear. i love her a lot and i look up to ashley in so many ways. OH and she's never looked down on me because i was her camper, but rather treated me as an equal. she's an example in life and faith and i hope to take a little piece of her in me growing up...

maddie--

the lady of the hour, you guuuyyysss. just like ashley, maddie makes me laugh a lot. in fact i think that maddie and ashley would be very good friends. i met maddie this year when i came to college, specifically second semester. maddie is cool and i know this comes as a cliche to her, but she's exactly who she is and that's weird and clever and funny and witty and smart and i could go on and on. i had heard about maddie for a long time but i randomly got on a texting convo with her once and it was like after that we were friends. she said some really cool things and i had been feeling really low and so many of the things she said were so much what i needed to hear. just a couple weeks later we ended up having a 2 hour conversation outside our friend's  house where a creepy neighbor lost his dog and kept asking us about it (he found the dog, no worries). maddie has held faith in the Lord through some unexpected turns, and that's something i admire SO much in her (and i've told her many times). maddie loves me very well. i know that maddie and i will be friends for...well.. ever. she has so much wisdom with her own unique twist and knows what to say. we're honest with each other and she says terrific words to me. maddie is a friend to all. goodness i love her so. i pray that i get to have a little piece of maddie in my being as i grow up. she's helped me realize to continue to have faith and accept life with open arms. OH and she believes in me... which helps me believe in myself.

claire--
like ashley, claire was my camp counselor. claire is someone i can't put into words. she holds many of the qualities that i want to embody. claire has a permanent bright, white smile on her face. claire makes you feel so special and takes an interest in your well being. if it weren't for claire i don't know how well i would have made it through this year. claire takes every chance that comes her way. she's done SO many cool things in her short life, knows so many interesting people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall she's that bubbly and personable. when i think of someone that clothes herself and dignity and laughs at the future, it is claire. claire has never treated me as someone who she mentored or someone who was so much younger than her, but rather a friend. claire was INCREDIBLY busy this year/semester but she still made time to check in on me and love me and ask me questions and hold interest for me. claire is such an example of how we need to love each other and how jesus loves us. claire has HOPE and has taught me how to hope. claire has taught me about FREEDOM and has taught me about jesus, life, love, and just about everything. she is so very special to me. i hope to be friends with her for forever and maybe get to just have a little bit of her (if i'm lucky--i hope to have a LOT of claire) in the future me.


these are just three people whom i admire very much. don't get me started on my peers. i hope to feature more people on my blog. in fact i started to list every single person and give them shout outs until i realized it was just too much... i'm surrounded by inspiring people who emanate glows as they chase jesus and seize life. i have such a wide spectrum and variety of friends from one who can plan parties paying attention to every detail making it special and unique to one who has a love for design and blogs and will eat pancakes with me late at night to a friend who is always willing and up for an adventure/spontaneity even if that means a road trip to a friend who actually reads this and shares my celebrity crushes. friends who keep me in stitches laughing, people who remind me of the great things in life.

so thanks. all of you.

--p