Tag Archives: life



This weekend I bowled, climbed an alpine tower, flew in the air connected to wires and a harness, picked up trash from a local river, played kickball, shared a meal with friends, roller bladed and did homework outside. I got to play. At the end of the day, when I hopped into the shower I could see dirt running off of me, little scratches appearing on my arms and legs and splinters on my hands. I felt like I was nine again and my mom put me straight into the bath after spending an entire day outside. This weekend was perfect. The sun was shining, it was warm, all of my friends were in town, and it was just what I needed.

On Sunday evening, when my weekend began to wind down, I realized how much of a gift it is to simply play. To lay in the grass, to get too much sun on my shoulders,to fly through the air,  to scream of excitement while I tried to remember how to rollerblade, to eat tacos with friends, to slide into second base during kickball, to get my clothes muddy. What a gift, and what a gift to have friends to do all of those things with.

Weekends like that can be hard to come by at the end of the semester. The weather gets better, but the homework gets harder. As I look at both the weekly forecast and my weekly schedule, it looks as though I will be inside, appreciating April showers, and turning in assignments. I am holding on to this past weekend, cherishing those moments, and using the motivation of having more just like it to get my homework done.

a fisheye life


As I mentioned, my Dad gave me a fun little camera with a fisheye lens for Valentine’s Day. I have been having lots of fun snapping some shots. When I uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I realized just how much got in the picture. My shoes, the person beside me, my neighbors house…things I didn’t intend to be in the picture. The view through a fisheye lens is a little (more like a lot) wider. In other words, I can get a lot more in the picture. So, I got to thinking, shouldn’t we all see the world more like a fisheye lens, with a wider view of the world around us?

I asked myself, “Hayley, how can you make your life more like a fisheye lens?” So, I made a list, (what else would I do in class?) and came up with ways I can challenge myself to have a wider and broader scope on life. Here is what i came up with: caring for other people, paying more attention, appreciating what I already have, trying new things, breaking stereotypes and reading more. Pretty ambitious, huh? I came across this quote

” I live my life in widening circles,

that reach out across the world.

I may never complete the last one,

But I give myself to it. “

— Rainer Maria Rilke

That last statement really stuck with me, “But I give myself to it.” I like that. In my opinion, we can never stop broadening our view, especially as travelers. So, lets give ourselves to continuing the widening of our eyes and our hearts.

For this week, I am going to work on one of these, this week i am going to read more. I have some National Geographic articles to catch up and a few other magazine articles that I have been wanting to read. And by read, I mean actually read and re-read, to soak up the information and really let it sink in.  Next week, I will tackle another challenge. Stay tuned!


Challenges and Challenge Courses

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I loved challenge courses as a kid and as I have gotten older I have spent time working on and operating them. But, somewhere along the way they began to lose their value because I was so comfortable on them. A few weeks ago I found myself leading a group of highschool girls to The Blue Ridge Learning Center’s challenge course. I knew it was going to be a great day because the weather was BEAUTIFUL with temperatures averaging in the mid 50s. What i didn’t know was that I would be so engaged and challenged myself. This day was supposed to be mostly for the high schoolers. I was just there to make sure everybody was doing what they were supposed to and assist the other staff, right? Wrong. Shortly after arrival I found myself in a harness and helmet, flying through the air on the challenge course. This particular challenge course was like nothing I had ever been on before. It was the Hogwarts of all challenge courses. It was a three tiered challenge course, took us over 2 hours to finish and ended with a zipline to the ground. Some of the elements physically kicked my butt.  Mid air swinging monkey bars?? Nets you have to crawl across? I have to jump how far to the next platform? Needless to say I was sore the next day.

This day spent at the challenge course was a reminder that no matter how comfortable I may feel with something there is always a new way to be challenged. These last two weeks have been challenging. Just when I thought my calendar was perfectly set, life threw a few curve balls at me. A few curve balls actually. However, these challenges have served as an opportunity for me to grow. I haven’t quite processed these last 2 weeks, and specifically the last few days, but what I am remembering are the words of Martin Luther King:

“The true measure of a (wo)man is not how (s)he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how (s)he stands at times of controversy and challenges.”

I hope you find rewards in your challeneges and a silver lining in every cloud.

Taking Time

These past 2 weeks have been wild and unfortunately, my blog has had to take a back seat. Having a blog isn’t all sunshine and rainbows people. After doing school work and completing things for internships, I basically want to go throw my computer in the snow because I can’t be on it anymore. WHO IS WITH ME?? However, tonight, I realized just how much I missed it and how disconnected I feel from my blogging friends.

Like I said, these past 2 weeks have been a whirl wind, especially this past week. For reasons I won’t get into, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions. Today I had a break to rest, think and take time to be alone. I walked to and from campus alone and went snowboarding alone. It was great and just what I needed. I think that some solitude and fresh air hold the power to rejuvenate a tired spirit. I am really excited to for what lies ahead in the next week. Tomorrow I am headed to the Biltmore and the Grove Park Inn, Sunday I am headed to a conference and then Friday begins my Spring Break!!! I am in need with some time with my family! Stay tuned for more posts and pictures to come soon. Until then, check out Jamie and Polly. I am on their blogs this week! They are two of my favorite bloggers. Happy weekend friends!

Peace Out–HayUp

My Auto Biography—In 500 words or Less

For a recent internship application I was asked to provide an autobiography….in 500 words or less. This assignment came as a little bit of a surprise to me but, I am thankful for a chance to show their company just exactly who I am and where I come from. I wanted to share this with you.

My Autobiography 

I am from Wilmington, on the North Carolina coast, about as far east as it gets. I grew up in a brick house with a white picket fence where I lived with my parents, older sister and a blonde cocker spaniel, that I so proudly named Snuggles.  I spent my summers kayaking, swimming, tubing, surfing, traveling and spending time with my family.  From Kindergarten until the 8th grade my mom and I went to school together. I was known as “Mrs. Upton’s daughter” which was a title I wore proudly until about the 6th grade, when I realized the boys didn’t want to talk to the teacher’s daughter. She was a legendary teacher in my county’s public school system, and she even had her own television show on the local education channel. My mom, along with my Dad, a professional photographer, seemed to know everybody in Wilmington, which is not a small town. From a young age ,I have been very outgoing and friendly, and this is an attribute that I cultivated from my parents.

I give my parents and my youth group all credit for who I am and everything I have today. When I was twelve years old, I started attending my church’s youth group, which was one of the largest and most active youth groups in Wilmington. It was through my youth group and on our mission trips that I traveled to Colorado, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, Arkansas, Bimini, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and numerous rural places throughout North Carolina.  It was during these seven years that I became a woman of Christ, acquired my love to travel and was taught to find what made me “come alive”.

On the opposite end of North Carolina at Appalachian State University in Boone, where both the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway run, is where I am an early senior in college. Much of my time is spent hiking, biking, hammocking, snowboarding and exploring. Living in both the mountains and on the coast, I realize that I truly have the best of both worlds. I  am constantly in amazement of the Lord’s vast creation. When I graduated from high school and came to college, I wanted to find a major and career path that would continue to inspire me to find what made me “come alive.”  Now, I am a Recreation Management major because I want to see the world and encourage others to do the same. Jesus came so that we may have life and live it abundantly, and I feel that it is my passion to encourage people to leap outside their comfort zones, as challenging as it may be, and come alive.

join the fun

Coming Home


Do you like my new mug??

I have been home a week now and this is the longest I have been home at one time in 6 months and boy does it feel good. I am pretty proud of myself because I have yet to spend an entire day sleeping, eating and watching TV. I have managed to be productive and spend real quality time with my family and close friends. I have decorated countless cookies, walked my dogs, finished my Christmas shopping, seen movies, eaten at my favorite restaurants, visited friends and family and okay, maybe caught up on some television.  However, I have noticed that I am a much better blogger at school than at home. I tend to blog along side of doing homework, when I am in a very productive state of mind. Now that I am on a little break from school my mind isn’t quite as efficient. Hey! After getting straight A’s a girl needs a break!

What I have begun to realized is that coming home is a constant reminder of how long I have been gone. When I was a freshman in college it was much easier to stay in touch and keep up with things happening in my home town, 5 hours across the state. As i have grown older, spent my summers away from home and made a life for myself in Boone it grows harder and harder to stay connected and keep tabs on people. Many of my friends were either in Wilmington this summer or were back and forth between Wilmington and summer school but I was only home for a very small window of time, much of that was spent packing, unpacking and preparing to move into my apartment. My only mode of staying informed have been texts from my parents, letters i received in Maine or when something is posted on facebook. Over the past week I have used the expression, “ WHAT??? Why didn’t anybody tell me”  numerous times and had to asked, “Who is that person?” because I hadn’t been around to meet new members of our church or additions to my friend group.

My Mom has assured me that this is a part of life and this is something everybody goes through. Despite this I still can’t help but feel a little guilty that i am missing out on some important milestones in lives of those who I grew up with. I have no intentions of moving back into my home town anytime soon and I am beginning to get a glimpse of some of the downsides of being a traveler. I now have so much respect for all of the bloggers out there living as expats in different countries and I think I might have some growing up to do before I graduate.

This has only made me appreciate this break even more. I have come to really appreciate Christmas parties (the ones i dreaded as a kid) because it has been so fun getting to see everyone. I always tell myself I will just drop by but this year I have found myself being the last to leave. I am feeling so much love and support from those who I have gotten to catch up with and even though I have been asked the same questions 100000 times I am thankful for my friends and their parents taking a genuine interest in my future.

I am home for about another week and I am very excited for Christmas, my mom has done a great job decorating the house….even without my sister and I. This will be my last post until after Christmas so Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all a joyful day to celebrate a joyful season! It’s Monday and below are my Weekly Wishes for the nectar collectives week link up.  ___________________________________________________________________________


1. To read my National Geographic December Issue: With exams and the holidays I really have not had the time…and sadly the desire….to sit down and read my December NatGeo. This is usually one of my favorite things to do each month but, once I set down my bookbag I haven’t picked it back up. This week I am hoping to hit my favorite local coffee shop and find some time to read it.

2. Help my sister with her Blog: My sister is a great writer and she wants to start a little blog about married life and her attempts at being the perfect hostess. I am no expert but she has asked me to help her get her blog going.

3. Sing my Heart out for Jesus: At my church’s Christmas eve service tomorrow night I am making it a personal goal to sing my little heart out because I haven’t gotten to sing classic Christmas hymnals at all this year so…Christmas Eve is my chance.


93 (and counting) Years of Blesssings

At 93 years my Granny is my oldest, sassiest, longest and closest friend. Some of my earliest memories are of days spent at her condo and car rides to my dance classes. She gave me my love for tulips and never fails to tell me like it is. She even made a guest appearance at my sweet 16 and held her own out on the dance floor.  

For a recent assignment I was asked to interview someone in my life that I considered to be wise. So, naturally I gave Granny a call. I already knew the answer to many of the question I asked but, I wanted her to tell me again, this time i was recording it.

As she looked back and reflected on her life thus far I listened intently, took lots of notes and as I looked back at my webcam footage of the recorded phone call i realized that for most of it i was smiling. Her words made me grateful and proud of the family I was born into. A family that prioritized the Lord and encouraged me throughout my life.

She said, “I rely on God for a lot of things and do a lot of praying. I think he has been very good to me because I have lived to be 93 years old. I feel like I have had a very, very good life.”

This gave me the chills because she said this without hesitation. She was able to see her blessings and appreciate her life. Isn’t this the goal; to look back on your life and be able to say that I have had a great life rooted in the Lord?

As a Recreation and Tourism Major one of my core beliefs is to live a full and abundant life, just as the Lord has commanded in John 10:10. Hearing my Granny speak about her abundant life I was so encouraged and inspired in my own life.

Who inspires you in your life?

My Granny and my Aunt sending me off to my Sr. Prom