Sunny Surroundings

A New Way with Words

6e9676f3f9dd138aeb61791cf36f7bf3My dear friend Hannah was visiting from out of town this week and I always love listening to her talk. She uses words that I haven’t heard since studying for the GRE, like “caustic” or “amalgamate.” I complimented Hannah on her verbose vocabulary, and then I remembered why she has such a great range with words.

Hannah is an avid reader. Even when we were friends in middle school, Hannah was always turning a page and even describes herself as a bookworm. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen what a gift it is—to have the passion to read. It has always been a little humdrum for me…something that I know I’m supposed to do, but hasn’t always been a genuine pleasure. If given the choice, I would pick a movie over a novel any day. And I think it’s a shame.

Movies are fleeting; they offer a few hours of surface level emotions. The hard-hitting movies that grab on to your soul for a few days are few and far between. But books…they build you up in more ways than one. Not only do you come away with a stronger vocabulary, you have a deeper perspective into the human mind. You can momentarily live a thousand different lives if you read a thousand different books.

So I’m setting a challenge for myself. I’m going to read every day…either a novel, a nonfiction, the newspaper…whatever it might be. Rather than just watching movies as my way to wind down, I’m going to attempt to reprogram myself to choose reading rather than watching. I am choosing to keep my mind sharp and active. Maybe I’ll even through in some Sudoku puzzles while I’m at it.

So here’s to more reading and taking the erudite approach…

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Like a Tightrope

I’ve been speaking a lot about the power of vulnerability lately. One thing I’ve noticed when I ask the audience a question, they freeze like they just took the polar bear plunge. I remember being that audience member myself, avoiding attention with all my power. Raising my hand would be like sticking my hand in a bucket of ice: unpleasantly shocking.

I think this is one of the weakest links of my generation. We fear attention. Is this because we worry that our peers will judge us? That we will look uneducated? Maybe it’s the sheer nervousness that comes with the first word you speak and suddenly one hundred heads spin toward you?

We have to be brave though. Brave with our words and our actions. We can’t let fear hold us back from speaking our truth. I love the Sara Bareillis song, “Brave” because she preaches just that, “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out. I want to see you be brave.”

That’s my wish for our generation as well; that we will be brave. That we will ask questions because we are genuinely curious. That we will apply for things we don’t think we will get…we might. That we will try out for a team we don’t think we will make…we might.

If we never ask, the answer will always be no.

Be brave with your life. Believe in yourself and trust that you will be okay, no matter what the outcome.

TightropeMy dad has used an analogy about parenting that has always stayed in my mind. Parents encourage their children to walk on the tightrope. They encourage them to take those brave steps. But if they fall, and they will as each child practices, the parents are there to catch them as a safety net. They are not a hammock to fall asleep on, rather the safety net springs you back up. And then you walk on the tightrope again, until you come to the other side. Eventually you will make it.

We need to keep taking those bold, brave steps outward and trust that even if we do fall, we will spring back up. We’re all learning.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Days at UC Davis

I’m writing surrounded by the swaying trees at UC Davis that I can see from my bedroom window.  The sun is peeking through their branches, giving my bed that dusty glow. It’s peaceful, quiet. Perfect. What a beautiful little secret haven of California. I’ve been here for over a week now and I’ve fallen in love with this little town. The modern yet personal eateries, the children watching outdoor movies at the park—and yes, the desserts. How can you not be happy here?

IMG_1892I’ve been visiting the women of the Omicron Kappa Chapter of Chi Omega for Recruitment. The girls are very sweet and it’s nice how we share a mutual love for California and the UC system. I’ll be here for a few more days and then I’m off to Connecticut—which I am equally excited about. I’ll finally get to see what fall looks like since changing leaves aren’t really a thing in California.

I always like learning from the women I meet. These girls have taught me the value of self-worth. They trust in who they are and they shine because of it. Being different and unique is not something to shy away from, it is something to embrace! I love that.

IMG_1915We toured the Make-A-Wish office earlier this week, which is Chi Omega’s national philanthropy partner. It was incredibly touching and I’m thankful that such an incredible organization exists to bring happiness to children and parents who are experiencing an extremely difficult situation. We learned that not only do these wishes improve a child’s state of mind, it actually helps with the physical treatment as well.

As much as it saddens me that I haven’t found as much time to write recently, I feel incredibly thankful to have this opportunity to travel the country as a National Consultant for Chi Omega. I am meeting collegiate women who inspire me every day and it is my hope that I can bring a positive change to their lives as well. So as the sun is setting now and the twinkle lights about town are starting to turn on, I’ll bid adieu. Think happy thoughts, friends.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook