Why Pokémon Go is So Much Greater Than Just Catching Virtual Creatures

Pokémon Go. If you’re not playing it, you know someone who is. For those of you who don’t know, Pokémon Go is a gaming application that uses your GPS location and camera to bring Pokémon to life as you capture Pokémon (animated creatures) in nearby locations, collect items and train Pokémon at PokeStops and Gyms that are based at actual locations in your city (there is even a Gym at the White House), and basically let you “be the very best, like no one ever was.”

This game has quickly gained popularity and compares to Twitter in number of daily users. Personally, I’m obsessed. Friends and I have spent an unspeakable amount of time exploring around town, dominating gyms, and David and I have perhaps raced each other down the street of our neighborhood once or twice to catch a Sandshrew and Vaporeon in the neighbor’s yard. We’re adults, we promise. Judge all you want.

Anyway, Pokémon Go is huge, and for good reasons like these:

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What to Remember When Tragedy Strikes

As time goes on, it seems as though the number of bad things that happen just won’t diminish. The Middle East. San Bernardino. Paris. And now, two unspeakably horrible shootings in one weekend in Orlando. As of yesterday, 176 mass shootings have occurred in 2016 in the United States, and countless more across the world. With all the tragedy that takes place all around us, it’s so easy for us to give up. To become hardened to reality. To be apathetic toward future tragedy. To think twice about visiting a place where many others frequent. To be fearful. And essentially, to let the enemy win. In the face of adversity, there are a few things we must not forget that I hope will bring encouragement to all of us reeling from the pain of the events that have transpired this past weekend:

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What Extroverted Introverts are Trying to Say

Do you have a love/hate relationship with social situations? Are you outgoing, but only under certain circumstances? Do people always mistake you for an extrovert even though you’re pretty sure you feel much better when you’re alone? Are you totally confused about whether or not you actually enjoy being around people anyway? Then you’re probably an extroverted introvert. Welcome to the club!

When you’re introverted, you get your energy from time alone (rather than from being around others, AKA being extroverted), so you only have so much energy you can spend in social situations before you’re burnt out. It’s basically like walking around with a ticking clock that tells you how much time you have left before you just want to go home, take off your pants, and binge watch Netflix Originals. Being an extroverted introvert (or better put, an introvert with extroverted tendencies) throws another wrench into things when you love people, but they exhaust you. When you get a party invite on Facebook and always reply with “maybe” because you have NO idea how extroverted you’ll be feeling the night-of. When you enjoy being around others, but don’t necessarily love to be social 100% of the time.

And of course, as introverts, when it’s already kind of exhausting to have to talk to people in general, it’s even harder when it comes to explaining why you sorta-kinda-love-hate being social. If you fall farther on either end of the spectrum of extroversion/introversion and don’t know what it’s like to be a walking oxymoron, here’s what we’re trying to say:

 

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Seven Tips Upcoming Brides Need to Know When Wedding Planning (That I Wish I Knew)

Ah, the sweet smell of wedding season. Wedding dress trunk shows, bridal hair ideas blowing up my Pinterest feed, booming florist businesses, BHLDN sales, all the great stuff. The wedding planning process is such an exciting time, but sometimes it seems like we can get so sucked into the prep that we stress ourselves out and forget a few key things. As a newlywed, I hope that some of these tips I wish I knew and followed will be helpful to those of you in the midst of planning your best day ever!

 

photo from our wedding, taken by the lovely Yellow Bird Visuals!

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How I’m Learning to Live Abundantly in Spite of Anxiety

I’ve struggled with anxiety for the majority of my life and have been so anxious (ironic, right?) to share this with others until recently. Society places a stigma on mental illness and labels those who suffer as weak, crazy, or just avoidable. The world tells us that what we suffer from is not as important or as serious as suffering physically, largely because our pain is invisible. We are told that if we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, if we toughened up, or if we “just had enough faith,” we wouldn’t have this issue. But we cannot let this hold us back from the abundance of life that we are promised.

I want to note that we aren’t called just to live with anxiety. It’s not something we just carry around forever – it’s something we have to fight and struggle against until we overcome, whether that’s this side of heaven or the other. We are called to live an abundant life in spite of our sin, and I hope that my openness can help those in a similar situation know that they are not alone and they can overcome, too!

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How to Find Your Work/Life Balance

Flashback to about 18 months ago. Picture me with a scattered brain, unwashed and untrimmed hair (yep, gross), bags under my eyes, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, thinking I was actually getting something done and done well at my job. I would wake up every morning with a crippling anxiety about work as I rushed through my morning routine, filled up my coffee tumbler, and hurried out the door with purse (and sometimes keys after the first try) in tow. I was working nearly 50 hours per week and feeling totally burnt out. I loved my job, but I had absolutely no idea what a balance looked like between my work and my life, and I let my occupation consume my life as my relationships (including with my husband, friends, family, and God), health, and overall well-being fell to the wayside.
Here’s the thing – we crave balance. We were created to live a life of harmony and peace, but sin got in the way and we now live in a chaotic world full of people similar to how I used to be, feeling like we can never achieve an equilibrium. If only we took just a little time to incorporate a few small steps in our routine, we would be able to truly maximize our enjoyment of life in general!

Here are a few tips that I hope can help you achieve a harmonious life that doesn’t feel consumed by your job:

 

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5 Things I’ve Learned Working With Homeless Women and Children

I’ve worked in an incredible organization geared toward the homeless for nearly two years in downtown Atlanta, and it has been some of the craziest, most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. I’ve learned so many infinitely valuable lessons from the thousands I’ve come in contact with, some that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I could never list them all (like just how many uses there are for Kroger bags and that the world never has enough shower shoes), but here are five that have stood out to me overall:

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