My 9 Favorite Instagram Posts from 2015

InstaCollage.jpgMy two favorite social media platforms are this blog and Instagram. I love capturing a quick snap shot of life on Instagram, and then going into more detail on this blog. Above are nine of my favorite Instagram posts from my account in 2015, and below are the reasons why!

1. Pumpkin Patch with my friends Michaela and Jenna. I had so much fun picking out a pumpkin this past October, and the pictures turned out so vibrant and fun!
2. Daria and Julius sitting in the front yard, looking like old folks. These two little kids I watched in Germany over the summer cracked me up all day every day. I will cherish every photo I have of them!
3. Seattle’s waterfront. This photo captures my little brother and I’s trip to Seattle this past August. I fell in love with the city, and could totally see myself there one day.
4. The first picture I took in Hildesheim, Germany. I went on a long walk through town the first day I arrived, and was in awe of the greenery! I had never seen so many trees and flowers in one place.
5. The Pope in his pope-mobile. I snapped this from the crowd of the Vatican. My friends and I were in Rome one weekend in March, and happened to over hear that the Pope was making an appearance.
6. Top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. I fell head over heels in love with this city, and the hike to the top of this mountain with panoramic views was a religious experience.
7. Lara, my sweet German friend. She was the little sister I never had, and we spent so much time together this summer! I miss her.
8. Little cousins on Thanksgiving day. My four little girl cousins dressed up as pilgrims and posed for an adoring crowd of relatives in Nashville this Thanksgiving. My heart melted.
9. My tattoo. I am so happy I decided to get my tattoo in 2015, as the word Gentle came to take on a new meaning during this season of life.

P.s. You can follow me on Instagram at msmicahlynne or by clicking the Instagram icon in the sidebar on the right!

Reflections on 2015

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2015 has been a year of transitions. I feel as though I lived two different lives this year– one in Germany and one in America. Sometimes I can’t even believe my experiences in Heidelberg and Hildesheim happened this year. Everything about my life there was so drastically different than my life now, it’s hard to integrate the two. Change and transitions are good, but hard. It’s been a long readjustment process, with more than a few road bumps along the way. I am still processing my time abroad. Somedays I miss Germany more than I can bear, and other days I can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world but Pepperdine. That’s the thing about change: it’s unpredictable. I’m not sure how my heart will feel in the future. But in the midst of all this transition, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about life and myself that will stick with me forever. Here are a few if you’d like to read:

1. It’s okay to be sad. I used to tell myself, “Don’t be sad because there are people in this world who have it so much worse!” I thought I was being bratty for feeling sad. But sadness is sadness, so matter the reason. There is no gradient, it can’t be compared. It is perfectly normal to miss Germany (or whatever) and mourn the loss of something you once had. It will pass.

2. It only takes a few close friends. For some reason, I grew up thinking I had to a have a large group of friends to feel genuinely happy and loved. I tried to please everyone and get to know a million people. But then I realized that is just not realistic. It only takes a few close friends to feel valued and loved. I would rather invest deeply in a few select people than spread myself too thin and not reap the rewards.

3. You’re not supposed to know the future. Why do I so easily fall into the trap of thinking I have to have the future figured out? It’s supposed to be unknown. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the future! Duh Micah. This year I am trying to embrace the uncertainty and let it excite me instead of terrify or frustrate me!

4. Patience is hard. Waiting is hard. Patience doesn’t come easily to me. I wish my desires were granted right now. But I know everything happens in its time, not a moment before. I am trying to accept that truth!

5. I am enough. No one expects me to be more than I am. Sometimes I think I’m lacking something, but that is not true. I was created perfectly. Earlier this year, I designated the word Gentle as my “Word of the Year.” I have not always been gentle with myself or others this year, but I am trying!

Question of the Day
What are a few lessons you’ve learned or reflections you’ve had about 2015?

A Little Thanksgiving Film

Hey friends! It’s been too long.

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was one for the books. My immediate family and I flew to Nashville last Saturday to spend the week with my extended family. Our clan is spread out through all ages, but right now we have six little kids under the age of five! As you can guess, this makes for ample amounts of fun and equal amounts of chaos. I adore spending quality time with them and watching them grow up year by year. I was blown away by the difference one year can make. It is truly a special experience. This year, we decided to dress the little girls up as pilgrims, straight off the Mayflower. America is in good hands with them! Be sure to watch this little film I made above to see their cuteness in real time.

Have a good one friends, and if you find yourself stressed out, just remember that Christmas is right around the corner.

P.s. More Nashville Thanksgiving posts to follow soon.

Happy Weekend!

DSC_0331.JPG Hey there friends! I’m sorry it’s been a bit quieter around here this week- my life definitely hasn’t been quiet, that’s for sure! There are seasons where school is all consuming, and others where I have a bit more time on my hands to pursue my passions, like this blog. Hopefully I will have a bit more breathing room next week to whip up some killer posts! In the meantime, enjoy these photos I took last night when I should have been studying :p

DSC_0358.JPGDSC_0396.JPGDSC_0468.JPGWhat are your plans for the weekend? Mine include pumpkin carving, a halloween party at which I will be dressed as Little Red Ridding Hood, and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. I’ll meet you back here on Monday before we know it!

Happy Weekend Friends

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Last year I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayd, a personal account of her solo-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, where she walked over 1,000 miles from the Mexican to the Canadian boarder. When she started out on this journey, she was utterly broken in every way- newly divorced, unemployed, sleeping around, using Heroine, and deeply grieving the loss of her mother to cancer. By the end of the trek, she had walked herself back to wholeness. She had wrestled with her demons and won, rediscovering the woman her mother always wanted her to be. At one point along the trail, Cherly remembers something her mother always used to say, something that originally annoyed her but now brought her comfort. She said, “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can choose to be there for it – you can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

And that’s exactly what I did this week. I chose to wake up early to attend Surf Convocation, a weekly gathering of christians from my school who praise god on the beach during the sunrise. As difficult as it was to drag myself out of bed at 6:00am, I am so glad I put myself in the way of beauty. Sometimes creation demands to be marveled in.  IMG_9993IMG_0006IMG_0004IMG_0008IMG_0013IMG_0017IMG_0018The rest of my week included bowling night, work, essay writing, and more work. Fun stuff. This weekend is shaping up to be pretty busy as well, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Bring it on! I wish you focus, productivity and success these next two days. But above all, I hope you cross paths with beauty this weekend!

Question of the Day
Have you consciously put yourself in the way of beauty lately? What keeps you energized and refreshed during the week?

Amsterdam: A City Guide

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Have you seen the movie The Fault in Our Stars? In the film, the main characters take a trip to Amsterdam to meet with one of their favorite authors. They wander the canals hand in hand and fall madly in love, all to the tune of an awesome soundtrack. And honestly, I can’t blame them! Amsterdam is charming, chic and romantic. I didn’t have another person to fall in love with (insert tears here), so I fell in love with the city. Keep reading as I share more about why I enjoyed Amsterdam so much, and a few tips and tricks to make your visit equally as enjoyable!
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Why Amsterdam? How much time do you have?!  I could write about the reasons to visit Amsterdam for hours, but in a nutshell, Amsterdam is unlike any other city I’ve ever traveled to. It’s a mix of old and new, chic and industrial, energetic and peaceful. It is centrally located, well connected, and teeming with culture. Plus, who doesn’t want a pair of wooden clogs to wear around the house?IMG_7229IMG_7231IMG_6994

Transportation I took a five hour train from Hannover, Germany to Amsterdam Centraal station. From there, you can easily walk to most of the popular sights in the city center. Everything is very well marked with signs on nearly every corner. If you’d rather not walk, here are a few options:

  • Bike– Riding a bike in Amsterdam, although it is a bike friendly city, is still very intense (and this is coming from a girl who grew up driving the Los Angeles freeways). I almost got taken out several times while crossing the street! Plus, I am not the strongest bike rider, so I opted to pass on bike rentals. But if you decide to go for it, there are rental shops on nearly every corner that can’t be missed.
  • Tram- I mainly walked or took the tram. It coset 2.50 Euros per ride, so you may want to look into a day pass, which you can buy on board. The signage is clear and well market, and you can hop on right in front of the central station when you first arrive.
  • Boat- Travel by boat is not a major way to get from point A to point B, but I do recommend taking a canal tour. I took an hour and a half cruise through the main canals, and the captain pointed out sights and shared about their history. It’s a nice way to get your bearings and see things you might otherwise have missed.

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Accommodations It might feel impossible to visit Amsterdam with out declaring bankruptcy, but I promise it can be done! It is not a cheap city by any means, but there are always cheaper options. I rented a room in an apartment through the popular hosting website Airbnb. The place was twenty minutes outside the city center, and since everything is so well connected, I would highly recommend looking for something a bit further out to save some money. Also, many museums have discounts for kids, families, and people under 19 years old. You can buy tickets to several attractions online in advance, which saves time and money.
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Must See Spots
1. Anne Frank House– This is arguably the most popular sight in Amsterdam, and for good reason! The tour through the Frank’s hiding place and attached museum at the end are very well done. The line to get in can wrap around the block and stretch on for ages (like Disneyland!), so I would recommend checking for tickets in advance online if possible. I didn’t have tickets, so I showed up at 8am, an hour before it opens, and was admitted around 9:15.
2. Van Gogh Museum– If you are an art nerd like me, this museum is heaven! It is extremely comprehensive and interactive, and features not only a vast collection of Van Gogh’s work, but also the work of other artists who influenced him throughout his life.
3. Rijks Museum– The Rijks museum is right next door to the Van Gogh museum, and the building alone is a masterpiece! This museum features art, crafts, and historical objects from the years 1200 t0 2000. The famous IAMSTERDAM sign is directly in front of the museum, so be sure to snap an iconic picture perched atop one of the letters before heading in!
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What to pack I visited the first weekend in July (along with the rest of the world), and it was crazy hot. I seriously considered jumping into a canal for a quick cool down swim. So if you visit in the summer, be sure to pack a sunhat and sunscreen! Also, wearing comfortable walking shoes is always a good idea (duh, Micah).

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Anything Else? The majority of these photos were taken along the Prinsengracht Canal, the third and outermost of the three main canals. It marks the start of the De Jordaan neighborhood, filled with beautiful 17th century houses and shops. When you think of Amsterdam, this is the scenery you probubly picture. Be sure to take you time to wander through and experience the charming atmosphere. Lastly, don’t leave without trying a delicious Dutch pancake!
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^The leaning tower houses of Amsterdam!
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^Be sure to check out the Albert Cuyp flea market on Saturday morning from 9am-5pm.
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^The Rijks Museum.

So, after reading about this amazing city, can you blame me for falling head over heels in love? I may not be in The Fault in Our Stars Cast, but I definitely share their affinity for this beautiful place. So what are you waiting for, friends? Hop online and book a ticket to Amsterdam…or better yet, book two so I can come along!

Amsterdam: A Short Film

Dear Amsterdam,
I think I’m in love with you. Your narrow cobblestone streets, innumerable canals, and charming architecture have made me fall head over heels. I’m positive I’m not the first person to fall in love with you, and I certainly won’t be the last. In fact, I think it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with you. There is a contagious energy about you, dear city, one that every visitor is bound to catch if they’re not careful. I made this short film in an attempt to capture your beauty! Thanks for the great weekend Amsterdam, let’s do it again soon, ok?
xoxo,
Micah
P.S. Stay tuned for an Amsterdam City Guide coming soon to a theater blog near you. Oh, and the music is “Let Me In” by Grouplove.