Dear Fellow Instagram Follower,

 

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Dear Fellow Instagram Follower,

I want you to know how much I enjoy seeing your pictures. I love the pictures of your family, your significant other, your favorite hobby, and what you had for lunch that day. I mean that genuinely. It truly is fun to see what friends do with their day, how their kids have grown, the new beautiful creation they have made. Your feed and your pictures are beautiful, as are you. However, I want you to know I don’t love your pictures because they are perfect.

I love seeing your pictures, not because of the filter you put on it, or the angle you took it at, the prime lighting in it, or because of how everything is staged perfectly. I love it because it’s a piece of a glimpse into your life. I love your pictures because they show me a snapshot of your life. But I want you to know, I recognize it’s just a snapshot. Probably one of hundreds in your twenty-four hour day.

While I love your pictures, I want you to know something. I don’t know what happened right before that picture was taken and I won’t know what happened after it. I don’t know if you have had a wonderful day or today has been really hard. Because it truly is just one picture in millions of pictures that will be taken throughout your life.

However, while I know it is just one picture I also want you to know your pictures have power. I am human and so sometimes in the midst of my own hard day I have to remind myself that I don’t know the full story behind your beautifully styled home, or your precious children laughing. But sometimes friend, Instagram is just hard. It makes me believe that everyone is having more fun, lives in a more beautiful house, and has the perfect family. I want you to know that I know those are lies but sometimes Instagram (and life) is just plain hard.

So I want you to know that whether you post the most delicious food pictures I have ever seen or the cutest baby picture in the world or just a mundane part of your day, they are all beautiful. Because friend, I hope you know we are all just doing the best we can. And while we keep doing the best we can, I hope we remember that as we scroll through each others Instagram feeds and as we post our own pictures. I hope we are champions for each other. I hope we build each other up with our posts. I hope we cheer each other on. I hope we support one another through each mundane or extremely difficult day. And I hope we know that we won’t always get it right and can give grace to each other when we don’t.

Because really I believe this idea of connecting with each other is beautiful. I believe that sweet community can be found (in places like Instagram) when we cheer each other on. I believe that we can give each other permission to be real and share the realness of our lives. So whether you have four followers or 400,000 followers, I hope you give yourself the permission to be real. I hope you know that people don’t love you for the beauty of the photos you share (and well if they do, maybe it is time to find a new community). I hope you share your mess and your beauty. I hope you give yourself grace in the midst of it all. And I hope you know that no matter what you share, it is enough. Because whether you share styled photos or unedited ones you are enough.

May you share the beauty in your life and the brokenness because they are both worth sharing. You never know who may need the reminder. So keep sharing your pictures and your stories. They make a difference and so do you!

Much love for you friend,

Your Fellow Instagram Follower

 

Taking A Snapshot

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I am pretty obsessed with pictures. To say I love them would be an understatement. When I was younger my room had huge amounts of photos plastered all around it. Even today our house has quite the amount of pictures displayed in it.  Part of my fascination with pictures is that you are capturing a specific moment in time, one that can be remembered for many years through a photo. Another of my favorite things about photos is seeing people smiling. I love seeing others genuinely happy in photos and seeing them smile. However, I also know that behind these photos and smiles there can be a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, pictures do not always portray the most accurate representation.

Awhile back, I heard a quote that resonated with me, “We live life exposing ourselves through a series of snapshots…carefully edited snapshots that we let others see.” As I thought about that statement I thought back to my pictures or snapshots and how I used to live my life in a manner that only showed a nicely edited photo. And it was only this nicely edited photo that I let others take a quick glimpse at because I was too afraid they might see the real raw negative version of me if I let them see me for too long.

I talk quite a bit here, about my perfectionism and my relationship with Ed both of which were intertwined. Both fed off the desire to appear to others as a nicely portrayed unrealistic snapshot of myself. For years, I only allowed others to see the perfect snapshot and so it is no wonder that most had no idea the internal suffering and pain I endured daily. Even those who were closest to me didn’t know for a very long time how truly bad off I was.

You see, to go along with the perfect image I showed everyone, I carried around a set of rules in my head that I lived by. Never tell people that you aren’t doing okay, in fact tell them how great you are. Always look your best, never ever leave the house looking like a mess. Never show extreme emotion in public or in front of anyone unless it is a big smile. In fact, you should always wear a big smile. Try not to ever say anything about problems in your life, always minimize them. Don’t cry in front of anyone and the list went on and on. I didn’t want anyone to know the real me because I wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I seemed in fact I was really messy.

When I decided to be real, I learned that those rules were going to have go straight in the trash and the only snapshots that people were going to see were snapshots of the real me. Most days that isn’t bad at all. I actually like not having to worry about putting make up on and fixing my hair every morning. I really love yoga pants and could live in them and honestly constantly trying to create a perfect picture is exhausting. But sometimes showing the real me isn’t about how I look on the outside, it is about the way I look on the inside and that’s when things get hard.

It is so easy to skate through life letting others see the glamorized, photo-shopped versions of ourselves. It may be easier but it is not worth it. For me it meant accepting that people loved me as I was, the real me and that my Savior would never love me any less no matter how messy I was. And here’s the deal, the same is true for you too. No matter how messy how awful, how desperate, you think you are right now there are so many people who love you for who you are and will love that person so much more than the glamorized snapshot you show them. And I can guarantee that there is one girl who loves you for the messy, real, version of you that you are when no one is looking.

Much love,

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Lessons from the Lunch Bunch

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School...

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School…

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

There are certain people that know all about you, your deepest, darkest, scariest secrets. They have seen you at your saddest, happiest, craziest, funniest, meanest and they love you still. They have been with you through more up and downs than you can count and they never cease to stop holding your hand or drying your tears. These are the people that you don’t have to call when tragedy strikes because they are already there standing by your side. They are the ones who tell you when you are being absolutely ridiculous and laugh along with you. They bring light to your darkness and show you the silver lining in stormy clouds. These are your people and for me, my people will always be the Lunch Bunch.

Meg's Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

Meg’s Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

While I met each of them under different circumstances eleven years ago we all met collectively in the sixth grade. However, we didn’t form the Lunch Bunch until summer before sophomore year when “A Saved By the Bell” board game was bought and we had our first sleepover a few weeks before school started. Naturally, when we were given off campus lunch several weeks later and I had the option to bring friends home for lunch, I chose these three and there the Lunch Bunch was formed. During the next three years, we ate more lunches at my table, had more Youth and Government sleepovers, left out more boys from our lunch gathering, had more races, shared more boy stories, and ate more packs of Oreos and cookie dough than one can imagine. Sometimes it was the four of us and sometimes it was only one or two of us. While individually the three of them comprise my very best friends, together they are the Lunch Bunch.

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

This week each of us will graduate from three separate colleges (two of us from TCU at the SAME graduation 🙂 ) and so this is the perfect time to tell these three not only what they mean to me but to tell the world what extraordinary women I have as my very best friends. These three ladies are world changers. They bring light wherever they go. To me they are my best friends,  my secret keepers, my confidants, my soul sisters, my future bridesmaids and so much more but they are also three of the most extraordinary women you will ever meet. So here you are my friends, meet my Angie, Lexi, and Meghan or as I like to call them the Lunch Bunch…

My Angelita

My Angelita

My Angelita…she is the epitome of a best friend. She is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She is a natural beauty who radiates inside and out. We first became friends over her friendship necklace and later our friendship blossomed over boy talk.  So it is appropriate that she is my straight shooter when it comes to my relationships and boys. She tells it like it is out of love and while she may not think this, this is one of her best qualities and it is one I am forever grateful for. She has saved me from true heartache many of times and caught me before I made some ridiculous mistakes. She is the one I go to when I need real advice about life and she is never afraid to be real with me. She was one of the only ones that in my darkest days told me how much I needed help and that I had to get serious about it. She has held my hand through so much and she has cried with me when I was too hurt to continue on. She sees the best in me and truly brings out the best in me as well. She is the one who is not afraid to dream with me and continually assures me no dream is too small. She is the one who I go to for reassurance and she never ceases to provide it. Without her I would have been lost more times than I can count but because of her I have been able to make some of the very best decisons Together we can quote One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls, we can sing just about an 90s pop song, we can laugh about high school crushes and silly mistakes, and have some of the best phone conversations I have ever had. We have been through over eleven years together of  both our youth groups, middle school classes, high school classes, youth and government, key club, student council, birthday parties, family parties, high school graduation night and so much more. She is the person that no matter how hard I try to not tell her something, I can’t not share with her. She knows my heart too well and  I can’t hold back from her and in turn she doesn’t hold back from me. She is the person I spent the night of my high school graduation with dreaming about our future college lives and so it is bittersweet to not spend this Saturday with her dreaming about our adult lives. She is a peacemaker, a world changer,  and one of the most accepting people I know. She has shown me more love and compassion than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou… she is my soul sister and my other half. She is the girl who walks into a room and all eyes turn to her. She radiates a beauty that shines inside and out. She is one of the most humble people I know. We met at the age of eleven at a girls assembly. I fell for this girl because she rocked some sassy overalls and from that moment on I knew we had to be friends. Lexa is the person that gets me without me even having to say a word. She knows me and she knows my heart. She has been my make up artist, my fashion guru, my go to about boy advice. She is smarter than she will ever admit to and I am literally in awe of her brilliance. She is the first person to my defense and as a result some boys still talk about the glares she gave when they broke my heart. She is person that knows what I am thinking before I say it and sometimes she says what I wanna say because she knows I won’t. Together we have watched more chick flicks, had more boy stories, passed more notes, listened to more country songs and drank more diet coke and chewed more ice than I can count. She is one of the funniest people I know. In the last year I have gotten to spend more time with her than I ever imagined and I will always cherish that time together. She is the person who is always supportive and encouraging me in every aspect of life. She is the person who introduced me to diet soda, who taught me how to put on make up, how to study for a test (with songs and dances), how to craft, and how to be a true friend. She is the person who is never afraid to be put in a new situation and make new friends. Because of her I have some of the best quotes you could ever imagine. She is the person I call when I have a crazy idea and she is the one to say let’s go for it. She is one of the first people I text when I need prayer knowing she gets it and relies on a faith bigger than us both. She is the one who can tell when I am hurting or something happened and I don’t want to tell anyone. She is the one I can ask about anything and guarantee she will tell me the answer and give her best advice. She is the girl I am not afraid to be my crazy self around because I know she loves me no matter how ridiculous I am. She is an encourager, a world changer and one of the most loving people I know. She has shown me more love and grace than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Meg

My Meg

My Meg…she is known as the third child of my family. She is the most loyal person I have ever met. She has a beauty that radiates from her sweet spirit inside and out. She is the person who has literally become family. She is the girl who has celebrated every holiday with me since we became friends. We met standing outside our 6th grade school both a mess of  straight across bangs and braces not quite straight from crooked teeth, and after a science fair project together the next year I knew she was the kind of friend I would be grateful to have by my side. She has a wittiness that no one can match. She is the girl that has some dance and rapping skills that I stand amazed at. She is the precious friend who has literally slept next to and woken up with me in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep because of a broken heart. She is the only one allowed to call my daddy by his first name. She has become the best friend to my precious brother. She is the girl you want standing in your corner when the world is falling apart around you and the girl you want jumping up and down with you at the celebration of life. Together we have read more cheesy romance novels, baked more cookies, rapped more songs, been to more church events than I could ever count. She is the one best friend out of the Lunch Bunch who I will get to spend two graduations with, something I am forever grateful for. Without her by my side at TCU, I wouldn’t have made it through. She knows more family secrets and dynamics than anyone. This girl is one of the most hardworking individuals I have ever met. She has a creativity that blows me away every time I see it at work. I am amazed by the talents that this one lady holds. She has a servant’s heart and a gentleness few could ever match. She is the person who is already praying before I even ask. She gets grace better than almost anyone and gives it better than most as well. She has a heart that loves others and seeks peace. She is a giver, a world changer and one of the kindest people I know. She has shown me more love and more about true friendship than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

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My Lunch Bunch

To say I am proud to call these three gorgeous and truly amazing individuals and women my best friends is an understatement. I am more than beyond blessed with these three. I may call many people best friends but there is no doubt that these three are the real deal.  I have watched them grow the last eleven years and turn into the very best people I have ever met! Angelita, Lexa Lou and Meg, I am so proud of you for the women you are, the friends you have been and the world changers you are going to be. To all of you who don’t know these three, you should, they are the best ladies out there! To all of those out there who have shared these sisters, these daughters, these girlfriends, these friends with me, thank you I am so grateful for these three precious ladies. And to my Angelita, my Lexa Lou and my Meg thank you for blessing my life in more ways than you will ever know. You forever hold a piece of my heart. You are my home team, my family and my very best friends. I love you a million times over! Congratulations on your graduation and on all the world changing you are about to set out on and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

Just a Tiny Snapshot of a Messy but a Beautiful Picture

If you know me, then you know that I am pretty obsessed with pictures. To say I love them would be an understatement. I love both looking at and taking photos and my room at various times has had huge amounts of photos plastered all around them. These days my walls are not plastered with photos but don’t by any means think that I still don’t love them. Part of my fascination with pictures is that you are capturing a specific moment in time, one that can be remembered for many years through a photo. Another of my favorite things about photos is seeing people smiling. I love seeing others genuinely happy in photos and seeing them smile. However, I also know that behind these photos and smiles there can be a lot of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, pictures do not always portray the most accurate representation and I know that all too well…

Today as I was sitting listening to my pastor, he said something that deeply struck me. He said, “We live life exposing ourselves through a series of snapshots…carefully edited snapshots that we let others see.” And as he said that I not only completely identified with the statement but I also thought back to my pictures or snapshots and how I used to live my life in a manner that only showed a nicely edited photo. And it was only this nicely edited photo that I let others take a quick glimpse at because I was too afraid they might see the real raw negative version of me if I let them see me for too long.

I have talked a lot about my perfectionism and my relationship with Ed both of which are intertwined. Both of these fed off the desire to appear to others as a nicely portrayed unrealistic snapshot of myself. For years, I only allowed others to see the perfect snapshot and so it is no wonder that most had no idea the internal suffering and pain I endured daily. Even those who were closest to me didn’t know for a very long time how truly bad off I was.

You see, to go along with the perfect image I showed everyone, I had carried around a set of rules in my head that I lived by. Never tell people that you aren’t doing okay, in fact tell them how great you are. Always look your best, never ever leave the house looking like a mess. Never show extreme emotion in public or in front of anyone unless it is a big smile. In fact, you should always wear a big smile. Try not to ever say anything about problems in your life, always minimize them. Don’t cry in front of anyone…and the list went on and on. Sound absolutely ridiculous and crazy?? It truly was and even more it was suffocating. I didn’t want anyone to know the real me because I wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I seemed in fact I was really, really messy.

As I began my recovery I learned that those rules were going to have go straight in the trash and the only snapshots that people were going to see were snapshots of the real me. Some of that wasn’t too bad. In fact, I didn’t mind going out in sweats, no make up, and a little disheveled if I was having a bad day but other parts of showing the real me weren’t so easy. I had to learn how to re-feel and express emotion outwardly and to people who cared about me. I had to be real. I had to ask for help. And I had to lean on others and it wasn’t until I did this that I began to heal.

It is so easy to skate through life letting others see the glamorized, photo-shopped versions of ourselves. It may be easier but it is not worth it. For me it meant accepting that people loved me as I was, the real me and that my Savior would never love me any less no matter how messy I was. And here’s the deal, the same is true for you too. No matter how messy how awful, how desperate, you think you are right now there are so many people who love you for who you are and will love that person so much more than the glamorized snapshot you show them. And I can guarantee that there is one girl who loves you for the crazy, messy, real, version of you that you are when no one is looking.

Last week, I got to do an interview for my boss Lori Hanson at Learn2Balance. She is an amazing woman who in so many ways is a true Ed survivor and warrior! She has started an incredible online on community for those with Eds, who are seeking hope and a community that understands. Not only, should you check out her website at http://www.learn2balance.com but also you should also check out her Finding Hope website. “This interview was recorded to be shared by members of the Finding Hope Online Community to provide inspiration to individuals with eating disorders. If you know anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder, or concerned parents who are desperate for help, please share the information about this community with them. http://www.FindingHopeEDSupport.com.” So after you listen to the interview and hear how messy this girl was go to the website http://www.FindingHopeEDSupport.com because this is one amazing way that you can begin to show people real snapshots of you and find support from others who understand and care. So hear is the interview that I want to share with you so that you know you are not alone and that I too am just as messy as you but also that there is hope and let me tell you there is a beautiful picture waiting to be shown under all that messiness. Here is my interview I promised: http://www.byoaudio.com/play/WK8TQlVx and ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK