Ultimate Fall Checklist!

fall

I think we can all agree that fall is a pretty marvelous time of year.  With winter around the corner, I wanted to provide you with the ultimate fall checklist to make the most of this beloved season!

If you do any of these let me know!  Is there anything missing that you think should be on the list?  Leave it in the comments below!  Make sure to pin this image and share the fall spirit!

Follow me on Instagram to see the fall activities that I’m up to.

 




My Focus Words for This Season

season

Fall is upon us!  With September comes the changing of seasons.  For me, I am now fully in the season known as my sophomore year of college, and it has certainly been a transition!  I am sure many of you are entering new seasons of your own.  I’d like to share with you something that may make all of our transitions a bit easier.

This past summer I decided on two focus words.  One word I would be giving up, the other I would be incorporating into my life.  I knew that choosing these words didn’t mean an immediate change in my life.  I knew I would fail at times, but this was something I chose to go through with God.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”  -Romans 12:2

Changing our character is not something we can do by our own power.  God wants this to be about how He can change us into better versions of ourselves.  Choosing focus words for a season is simply a way to channel our thoughts and focus our actions toward something specific.

My Words For Last Season

This past summer I knew that God had to do some serious work on my heart if I was going to do my job as a Bible Camp counselor.  I was feeling completely drained from my last semester of college and I found it hard to invest in my relationship with God.  I didn’t feel like I was in a place to do God’s work.  My focus words were a way that I could reconnect with God.

Resentment

In a college setting, you are bound to run into people that you don’t understand.  No matter what you are studying, I guarantee that you will be running into people that you don’t get along with.  However, I thought that the resentment I was so ready to give out to others would suddenly go away once I got to camp.  The camp community is the best community I’ve been a part of, so surely I wouldn’t resent any of my coworkers, right?  Wrong.

If resentment is a problem for you, you must first realize that it is your problem and not anybody else’s.  This resentment I was harboring was poisoning the relationships I was building with my coworkers.  I grew continually concerned about how I was feeling towards.  The reason I found it easy to resent my coworkers was because I was used to resenting others.  I had allowed resentment to be a part of how I understood people, and that didn’t change just because I wasn’t at college anymore.

So resentment was the word I chose to give up to God this summer.  Every time I felt annoyed with someone, I would pray for God to take this resentment away from me.  Before long, I found that the familiar feeling of resentment was gone!  I can vividly see how God answered my prayers and changed my heart.

Spirit

Going into this season of my life, I remember believing that I was not someone that God spoke to very much.  This was false thinking on my part.  I now firmly believe that God speaks to everyone, we just have to learn to listen to him.  This summer I wanted to learn how to listen to God.

So I prayed to become closer with the Holy Spirit, and wouldn’t you know it, it worked!  I recently read that we should pray as though God has already answered our prayers.  This is especially true when it comes to knowing God more.  That is all He wants for us: to be continually pursuing Him!  While I experienced a lot of growth in my relationship with God this summer, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop praying for the Holy Spirit in this new season.  I am much more aware of how God talks to me now, and I can’t wait to see where we will go together!

season

My Words For This Season

Now I am in a very different season of life.  Every new season deserves a new focus.  For me, it seemed obvious that these are the words I am meant to focus on this season.  I know it won’t be easy, and I will definitely fail at times, but with God’s help, I know anything is possible!

Shame

I think this is a more prolific word for embarrassment, or in Delaney-terms, awkwardness.  I don’t want to be embarrassed about living out my faith.  The challenge is that I don’t really know what that looks like.  What does it look like to truly live a life without shame?  I am excited to see what God does this season as I surrender this word to Him.

Peace

I am so excited that this is the word I will be taking on this school year!  I have already witnessed a whirlwind of emotion and stress with me and my classmates, but I have chosen to focus on He who give us peace instead!  When I feel the weight of this world (or at least the weight of my classwork) I cling to this verse-

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -John 14:27

I am so excited to see what God will do in this season of my life!  Is this something that you have ever done?  If so, I want to hear about what it was like for you to choose focus words for a season of your life!  What words have you chosen for this season?

season

Where Am I This Summer?

 

where am i this summer?

Here’s the warning: Laughs Without Fear is on hiatus for the summer.

I really hate it, but the fact of the matter is that I simply will not have a lot of time to work on the blog this summer.  This makes me pretty sad because blogging is a blast and I will miss so many things about it.  I love interacting with readers and sharing tips with other bloggers.  I LOVE finding new blogs to read.  I am particularly fond of the college blogging community that I have grown to be a part of.  Not to mention, I love seeing my traffic increase, which certainly isn’t going to happen while I’m away.

The good part is that I get to go back to camp!  (Insert happy-dance here!)  For my second summer at camp, I am pretty sure it’s going to be twice the fun!  Camp is amazing, but it is a full-time commitment.  The camp I work at is an overnight camp, so the staff lives on site and we always work on the weekends.  In fact, I may only have the chance to go home one or twice the whole summer.

But the thing is, being at camp is hands-down the most fun way to spend the summer.  Over the course of last summer, I became best friends with my coworkers.  I got to work outside and go to the beach every day.  Most importantly, I got to spend the whole summer talking about God and experiencing him touch the lives of hundreds of people.  Plus, the food is superb.  How could I not be excited to go back?

Living the camp life isn’t always easy, though.  For example, we work some pretty long hours.  When you live in a cabin with your campers, you are basically working 24/7.  There are always projects to work on and places to clean.  It can also be a very emotionally taxing job.  We strive to create an atmosphere where kids are not afraid to talk about their lives and their relationship with God.  Sometimes these kids have been through more than I could ever imagine.  Lack of sleep and emotional roller-coasters make for a pretty tough, but fulfilling job.  If you are thinking about working at camp, here are 10 Reasons Why You Should Be A Camp Counselor.

Here is what a typical day at camp looks like:

7:00am- Staff devotions.  I think it’s so important that we have this time together and with God to prepare for our day at camp.

8:00am- Breakfast with the campers.  Depending on the number of campers, meals can take a long time.

9:00am- Rotations.  The counselors and campers do some activities around camp like boating, hiking, low ropes, etc.  During this time, the kitchen crew cleans up breakfast and the lifeguards do work projects around camp.

10:30am- Chapel.  I love this part!  During morning chapel, we usually hear a staff member give their testimony and from someone about a mission trip that they’ve been on.

12:00pm- Lunchtime!

1:00pm- Afternoon game.  Usually involving face-paint and a lot of running.

2:00pm- Free time until dinner.  Campers can go to the beach, the craft cabin, rock wall, or any other activity around camp.  Staff is usually working at one of these activities or on their break.

6:00pm- Dinnertime.  Before dinner, anybody who has received mail has to embarrass themselves in order to get it.

7:30pm- Evening chapel.  For this chapel session, we get to hear from the amazing speaker that stays the week with us!

9:00pm- Night game! Again with the face-paint and running, except it’s always more exciting in the dark.

10:30pm- Cabin devos.  Counselors are with their campers in their cabins or somewhere around the camp.  Lifeguards, kitchen crew, and other staff usually have some adventure at this time.

11:00pm- Lights out.  Maybe.  Pranks are always a possibility.

So, in case you’re wondering what I’m doing this summer, this is the gist of it.  I couldn’t be more excited to return to camp, but I will miss working on the blog.  I may be posting every now and then, but I will really have to see how things work out.

What are you guys up to this summer?  If you are a blogger, what are you planning to work on?

Meet My Cats!

cats

In the short time that I have been home from college, I have been spending so much time with my feline friends, whom I missed very much while I was away.  Since this blog is about my life, I decided to introduce them to you!  During this last semester, I only got to go home once, and that was only two weeks into the term, so I went for months without seeing my cats!  What’s worse is that I barely left campus during this time (except for my trip to New York City, which was a blast!) and I had no animal interaction at all.  I believe it took an immense toll on my sanity and I am glad it’s over!

My dad is a veterinarian, so it’s safe to say that animals have been a part of my life from the very beginning.  My dad has been running his own practice for several years now, and we adopted most of our pets because of somebody who came into his clinic with an animal in need of a home.  We are thankful for them every day, so let me introduce you!

 

Barty Crouch

meet my cats! -barty crouch profile

Yep, you read that right.  We named him after an obscure character in Harry Potter, just because we love Harry Potter!  Although, there has been some debate as to whether he was named after Barty Crouch Sr. or Barty Crouch Jr.  Not that it really matters, because he has made a name for himself!  He is by far the naughtiest kitty in our household.  He relentlessly tries to eat everything in sight.  Furthermore, he remains unphased by our attempts to shoo him from the kitchen.  He is constantly getting into trouble!

meet my cats! -barty crouch naughty

Did I mention that Barty only has one eye?  He makes up for it with personality.  Barty came into our clinic as a tiny kitten.  He was brought in by a Humane Society that intended for him to get all fixed up and ready to adopt.  Unfortunately, Barty’s left eye was badly infected beyond the point of saving, and so my dad had to remove it.  If we hadn’t decided to adopt Barty, I’m sure he would have been picked up immediately by another nice family looking to care for a half-blind kitten.  In that case, we would have cursed somebody else with his naughtiness and he probably wouldn’t have been named after a Harry Potter character.  Still, he can be awfully sweet and he was an adorable kitten!

meet my cats! -barty crouch kitten

 

Ruthie Mae

meet my cats! -ruthie mae profile

We adopted Ruthie Mae about 10 years ago, and she has changed our family completely!  She is probably the sweetest and most sensitive cat you will ever meet.  She is also quite the chatterbox and hunter of socks.  When Ruthie Mae was brought into our clinic, she was a shy stray cat that had been caught in the woods by a client.  After a while, she warmed up to our entire family, and the rest is history!  Ruthie has tons of personality, which you can observe on her Instagram account!  Follow Ruthie Mae here!

One time my mom bought this bowl that she was planning to use as a fruit bowl.  Almost as soon as Ruthie saw the bowl, she decided that it was hers.  Ever since then, the bowl has been known as Ruthie’s bowl. 🙂

 

Jasmine

Jasmine is my cat.  I found Jasmine when she was just a kitten and I was only 8 years old.  Ever since then she has been my cat.  She is not very cuddly and she doesn’t really like to be petted.  She tolerates other people and animals only at the best of times.  But she is still my favorite!

meet my cats! -jasmine profile

Isn’t she pretty?

meet my cats! -jasmine window

 

… And Bow

Ok, I couldn’t leave out Bow.  Even though I am much more of a cat person, I do love the family black lab.  Bow is about 8 years old, but he still acts like a puppy, and sometimes I think he wants to be a cat.  We tease him for his lack of intelligence, but he is still a friendly dog.

*Update* -Bow unfortunately passed away in August of 2016.  He was unexpectedly put down due to an abdominal tumor.  As much as we teased him, we adored this lovable dog.  It was incredibly sad to see him go at such a young age, but I’m glad we got to be the family that loved him.

meet my cats! -bow profile

Thanks for checking out my critters!

Why Everybody Should Be A Diva

why everybody should be a diva

What do you think of when you hear the word diva?  Chances are you think of someone who is really stuck up, covered in expensive couture, and bossing people around.  The word “diva” has come to mean someone who is generally pretty dislikable, but still seems to get everything they want.

Hang on.  Here is the dictionary definition of what a diva is: a famous female singer of opera.  That’s it.

The term diva has evolved over time, and it is still evolving to this day.  It used to simply mean an accomplished singer, but I frequently hear it being used as an insult or descriptor word of somebody that is pretty high-maintenance.  But as the word has continued to evolve, I think the term diva has come to a completely different definition altogether.  I think the best and most relevant definition of a diva is a person who values their creativity, respects themselves as an individual, and draws attention to themselves because of their authenticity rather than their ego.

Some classic examples of modern divas would be Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé (duh).  These people have achieved diva status not only because of their amazing talent but because they are truly one of a kind.  There are many other singers you may not be aware of who actually do sing opera, and sing it very well.  These people are first-class divas too.

This kind of diva sounds like someone I want to be.  In fact, I think anyone with a creative bone in their body should aspire to become their own brand of diva.  Since I aspire to be both a singer-diva and an overall-creative-diva, here are some steps I’m taking that may help you become a diva as well.

Divas don’t try to copy others, they love being themselves

Has anybody ever become successful by copying others?  No matter what field you are attempting to achieve diva status in, I’m sure you have people you look up to.  However, aspiring to be exactly like these people isn’t your key to success.  I think it’s wonderful that there are so many incredible people that feed my inspiration, but if I’m ever going to be that kind of inspiration for anyone else, I must be totally confident in being myself.

They look fierce all the time

Of course, it is natural to assume that divas “look the part” all the time, but that is not necessarily true.  Real divas own whatever they are wearing because they don’t get their confidence from the clothes they wear or how their makeup looks.  Divas wear whatever they like, even if it doesn’t conform to current trends.  In modern terms, these divas are called trendsetters.

Divas value their own creativity

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is selling themselves short.  It’s easy to compare yourself to others and see that you haven’t accomplished as much, but give yourself credit where it is due!  I am so guilty of undermining my success, but it is something I am working on improving.  Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself.  So don’t sell yourself short!

Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself. Click To Tweet

They may have fear, but they don’t let it stop them

Obviously, you can’t be a diva if you are constantly checking for approval from others.  No one can truly escape fear, but that doesn’t mean you should let it control you.  Any good diva will look fear in the eye and move on with her life.

Divas lift up themselves by lifting up others

One of the problems I have with the popular definition of a diva is that it seems to imply that divas don’t care about other people’s work, or will even slam the work of others to build herself up.  Divas are of course honest all the time, so when she sees something she likes, she will, of course, say something!  Take every opportunity to praise other divas; they will surely return the favor.  True divas are not threatened by the success of others.

True divas are not threatened by the success of others. Click To Tweet

They don’t need the approval of others to be happy

Divas sing or act or write or paint or do whatever because they love it.  Of course, it’s always nice to have the approval of others at hand, but take it or leave it because you should only be trying to make yourself happy.  If your work can make others happy, great!  But your work doesn’t need the approval of others to survive.

Divas graciously accept compliments and critique

Do you ever find it hard to accept compliments?  I know I do.  Sometimes all you need to say is a simple and sincere “thank you” and leave it at that.  When people compliment you, it’s because you earned it.  So like I said before, don’t sell yourself short and simply accept the good that others see in you.  Likewise, critique can be equally hard to accept, but the same procedure applies.  Whether or not you agree with the critique, smile and say thank you.  It’s the least you can do, and it may help you improve yourself.

While I am still aspiring to become a singer-diva, I am taking these steps so that I can become a diva in all areas of my life.  I believe that divas are a powerhouse of confidence, which they exude in all areas of their life.  In fact, I’m sure we all know plenty of divas in our own lives that are pretty fierce!  It might be your mom, or your best friend, or one of the upperclassmen at your school.  Either way, I believe we all have the power to be a diva.

Oh, and I also think guys can be divas too. 🙂

So, what do you think of this?  Do you like this new-and-improved definition of a diva?  Let me know in the comments what you think about aspiring to become a diva or some divas that you might look up to! 🙂