Hi, I'm Dara!

Welcome to Living My Someday! 

Here on LMS, I share my Whole30 tips, hiking and travel adventures with my family, motivation + life  lessons, and a few blogging biz tips.

Hang out and stay awhile! 

Dear Dara.

Dear Dara.

Over at Chatting At the Sky, there's a fun little link-up taking place on Friday, September 14th. Write a letter to your teenage self in honor of Graceful, a new book from the lovely Emily Freeman.

Dear Dara,

First, let me say that I know things are a little bleak in the love department. That will continue for...awhile. In the meantime, more and more people around you will commence with the dating and the having of sex, and that's cool. You will think there's something wrong with you because the not-having-a-boyfriend thing will become your norm for...awhile. Before the teenage angst threatens to consume you, let me let you in on a secret: God more than makes up for all the tears and the loneliness and the internal turmoil, okay? He, really, really does, but you have to be patient. 

Very patient. Like, five or six years' worth of patience.

Then, a few months after you turn 21, you'll encounter The One and it will become completely obvious why no one came along before him. This is your love story, yours and his, and it doesn't unfold the way you thought it would. It's So. Much. Better. This man, this amazing man, loves you almost instantly, just as you are. He is like no one else you've ever met and you're sure your will heart will most likely be broken because he's got to be too good to be true, but he is the real deal. For confirmation, he asks to marry you after a little over a month of courtship, and the two of you wed, secretly, at a drive-thru chapel in Vegas (didn't see that comin' did ya?!?). Even though y'all are more than content with your elopement, you are blessed to have a wedding ceremony with your family in attendance...in Maui. You spend an entire week in paradise, surrounded by the people you love the most in the world. And you live happily ever after. (Yes, really!!!) For now, though, just enjoy living the life God has blessed you with. Get some sleep (you'll need it!), see a ton of movies at any time of day (that will come to an end when the children arrive), try new foods, and meet new people (but also find contentment in the quiet moments alone). Develop a love of and an appreciation for who you are. This is the work of being single, so take the time to do it. You'll be glad you did.  

Second, you are an athlete and that's a very good thing. Embrace it. Yes, right now, you are living in a time when feminine aesthetics swing between Kate Moss and Pam Anderson, and you resemble neither. Acceptance of female muscle won't really take off until around your mid-twenties so hang in there, your time will come! And those small boobs you complain about? Turns out, they're not that small after all--thanks to Oprah, you'll discover you've been wearing the wrong bra size for over a decade. Also, due to pregnancy and nursing, you get to (temporarily) sport natural D cups, only to find that you prefer your smaller, more manageable rack. Good thing you didn't spring for that boob job, eh? Lastly, a few years after Sir Mix-A-Lot's anthem, butts finally hit the mainstream. Jennifer Lopez (yeah, that one Fly Girl), Beyonce' (remember that name!), and Jessica Biel (the chick from Seventh Heaven?! Who knew what she was hidin' under those baggy sweatshirts?!) will give big ol' booties crossover appeal. Suddenly, the derriere will become a body part to be praised rather than hidden. All those years you will spend squatting in the gym and sprinting on the track will not only give you a great rear view, but more importantly, will lay the foundation for lasting health. Thus, despite your atrocious eating habits (enjoy dairy now 'cause around 25 or so, you realize you're lactose-intolerant), your body will remain strong and bounce back (relatively) quickly after your pregnancies. So, thanks for that!

Next, a note about your hair: It sucks. Ssshhh, it's okay, it's okay! Please don't cry! Most people aren't at that their best at age 15, so no one expects you to be the pinnacle of perfection right now. Which is good, because you aren't. The Wave Nouveau--or, let's be real, it's a Jheri Curl--is a bad idea for so many reasons. It's greasy, expensive to maintain, time-consuming, and it's completely destroying your hair. Kudos for taking a risk, but this was several steps backward. Now, before you completely dissolve into tears, it gets better. You will once again chop your chemically-damaged hair off, but in its place something magical will appear: Your natural hair texture. With the support and help of The One, you will cultivate a lovely cascade of locs (aka, dreadlocks, but you'll discover that is a derogatory term) that will suit you to a T. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make and you will never go back. Incidentally, there will be a sort of natural hair movement in the Black community; women from all over will begin to accept and revel in the texture that grows from their heads, and you'll unwittingly be a part of that. You don't magically become a supermodel or anything, but you begin to embrace your looks with the easy confidence that comes with age (most days, anyway).

Third, your relationship with God may not be first and foremost in your mind right now, but it is stable. You know He's there and you pray daily, but part of you believes He's distracted by other, more important things. You couldn't be further from the truth! He loves you more than you'll ever know (reread the part about how awesome your marriage is for proof!), but He will allow you to endure some bumps in order to teach you some valuable lessons. Don't fight them because you'll need those skills. You'll need to learn how to be alone. You'll need to know how to pray when you feel like you're in the deepest, darkest of pits. Stop second-guessing yourself and trust your gut. Don't be afraid to fail--it'll strengthen your resolve.

Case in point: You will have an abysmal freshman year of college. Instead of choosing a major that suits you, you'll waste a year in Chemical Engineering despite a lack of aptitude for chemistry, engineering, or even basic math. Not to worry, you'll battle back with a strength and a focus you didn't know you had. Several years later, you'll graduate with honors and that hellish first year will serve as a reminder of how far you've come. The following year, you'll have an emergency C-section with your first child--a possibility that scared you to death--but God brings you through that, too. You heal in record time with no complications, but something inside of you refuses to accept the old adage, "Once a C-section, always a C-section." Through research and word-of-mouth, you will find a community of women with similar tales of unwanted surgical births who went on to have the natural experience they desired. You'll glean knowledge and strength from their stories, and the second time around, you have a beautiful drug-free birth, riding a triumphant wave of endorphins for days afterward. I share all this to make you understand that you are strong. You are brave and resilient, and God is with you. It will be awhile yet before you really get into the Word, but there will come a time when the Bible becomes perfectly applicable to your life. I know you're rolling your eyes, but you will reach for that book and find whatever it is that you need. 

Anyway, before I go, I have one demand: Show your friggin' legs!! I know you think your thighs are big or whatever (they aren't!!!!!), but it's ridiculous for you to be walking around in jeans all summer. A decade or so from now, you'll venture out in a pair of shorts and wonder what you were so afraid of in the first place. 



Alright, because I know you and you're dying to see a picture of your future family, here ya go:

The Gang, 2012

P.S. You have another natural birth in 2014...and it's a GIRL! Her name is Joy and she's a friggin' firecracker. 

The Joylessness of Comparison

The 9/11 Post.

The 9/11 Post.