Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

Is it just me or do you ever see or hear about someone doing a random act of kindness for someone else and wish that you had thought to do something like that? You watch someone do something kind for someone and it actually makes you want to be kind as well?

Since this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, I thought that it would be appropriate to discuss how you can take part not only this week, but every day. So many times, we hear about these grand and significant random acts of kindness. I don't know about you, but these intimidate me a little bit. 

Sometimes I witness or hear about some great thing that someone did for another person, and I think, "Woah, that was really nice. I would never even think to do something like that!" or "Wow, I wish I could make an impact like that on someone's day." But you know what, I can. And so can you!

Many times, even the smallest act done in pure kindness for someone else can make the biggest impact on their life. You do not have to do some extravagant thing in order to bless someone. I know in my life, some of the things that have meant the most to me have been the smallest of deeds. 

Speaking of deeds, I think that many people think they need to do something kind for another person in order for it to qualify as a "random act of kindness." I think that these random acts do not always have to be acts. You can make someone's day simply by giving them an unexpected compliment or word of encouragement. I can't even tell you how many times I've witnessed the cashier behind the counter's face light up as I told her that I loved her nails, or her lipstick, or the way her hair looked. 

I think my greatest advice to you as you embark on this journey to do as many random acts of kindness as you can would be to actively seek out opportunities to bless someone. Sure, a moment or two may spontaneously fall right into your lap, providing you the perfect moment to perform a random act of kindness. But most times, you need to be on the lookout for ways that you can impact someone's day for the better. 

Anticipate that someone who is walking to the door with their hands full might appreciate you going over to hold the door open for them. Keep your eyes peeled for moments when you see someone that is completely overwhelmed, and instead of asking what you can do to help, just do something nice for them of your own free will. Take the time to write a note or a letter to a friend or loved one, just because you know it will make them happy.

Starting right now, I challenge you to seek out opportunities to bless someone with a random act of kindness. And don't stop after this week. Continue the movement, and you just might find that you are overwhelmingly blessed in return.

What random acts of kindness have you done?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Quote of the Week - Thorns

Is it just me or do we complain a lot? Things don't go our way, or don't work out the way we wanted them to, and so we get angry about it?

I like today's quote so much because it really teaches about the value of perspective. You can choose how you wish to view things, and that choice can dictate your entire mindset on a situation.

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
                                                         -Abraham Lincoln

Talk about perspective! We are talking about the same bush here. Do we choose to resent the thorns, or rejoice in the beauty of the roses? 

Situations in life can be viewed in a similar way. When something goes wrong, we can choose to complain about everything that is not the way it should be. OR we can choose to seek out the good amidst the bad. 

You can choose to complain about your job, or you can rejoice in the fact that you have one. You can choose to sulk because someone you love is sick, or you can rejoice because you are healthy enough to take care of them, and God can heal. The situations are endless, but the idea is the same.

Life is all about perspective. Will you choose to see the thorns or the roses?

Friday, February 6, 2015

You Can't Cry Forever

Is it just me or do you ever have those days where you just feel like crying nonstop? You are overwhelmed, or hurt, or angry, and you just can't seem to pull yourself out of that awful state?

This was me last night. I had just gotten home from an extremely long day, and I felt completely, utterly, totally overwhelmed. I cried on the way home, I cried when I got home, I cried in the shower. And then it hit me.

I already know that crying doesn't help solve anything. I think we all know that. But when we are in the moment of sadness, anger, stress, etc., it can be hard to see past the current state that you are in. But once I was able to calm myself down, I had a realization that struck a chord.

You can't cry forever. You can't be angry forever. You can't be afraid forever. Yes, things happen in our lives that we can't control. You get overwhelmed by work, and school, and life, and you feel like you are drowning in the midst of it all. Someone hurts you in a bad way, and you just can't seem to forgive and forget. Something happened in your past that is stopping you from enjoying life in the present.

Whatever the case may be, you have to come to a point where you realize that you can't stay in that mindset forever. Sure, you technically can sulk and whine for days, weeks, months, even years. But what good does that do you? There comes a time when you have to pick yourself up and move on.

Feel overwhelmed for an hour. Cry for an hour. But don't cry for a whole night. Stop the tears and realize that you have to start somewhere (see this post for more on that) in order to get anywhere.

You are allowed to feel angry and upset over a wrong that someone did to you. And you can be angry for a time. But don't stretch that time for too long, allowing that anger and bitterness to take over your life. Eventually, you have to reach that point where you realize that the hurt you've been carrying around with you is simply not worth it. Put away your pride, forgive, and move on.

As hard as I know that it is, try and see past whatever emotion you are feeling. See past all the piles of unfinished homework, past the anger against the person that wronged you, past the memory that has been keeping you from enjoying life. Look beyond all of those things and see that there is so much life and happiness waiting for you on the other side. All you have to do is pick yourself up, and begin moving forward.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses:
                 Psalm 30:5 - "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning"

Try and see past the sorrow of the night to the joyful morning that lies ahead.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Where to Start When You Don't Even Know Where to Start

Is it just me or do you ever have those moments when you are SO overwhelmed that you honestly don't even know where to begin? You have so much that needs to get done that even just thinking about all you have to do stresses you out?

I've felt like this a few times over these past few days, and it is not a very fun feeling. So where should you start when you don't even know where to start? Here are a few of my tips to (hopefully) help you feel less overwhelmed, and more motivated to get. stuff. done.

1. Breathe. Yes, this needs to be included as a tip. Not only is breathing vital for living, it also helps you calm down a bit. Everything will get done. It will all be ok in the end. Just take a deep breath.

2. Make a list. We all know how I feel about this one--I am all about lists. But seriously, taking some time to physically write down everything that you need helps in a number of ways. Making a list allows you to actually see what needs to get done so that you can begin formulating a plan of attack. Making a list also allows you to get all of your stressed out, jumbled up thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. 

3. Go someplace where you know that you can get work done. I've written about this before. Find somewhere that you are the least distracted and the most productive--be it your desk, the library, Starbucks, etc--and go there. This will help you minimize distractions and focus on the tasks before you a whole lot easier.

4. Pick one thing to work on first, and work on it until it is finished. So many times, we see this big list ahead of us and feel like our time would be better spent trying to accomplish as many things as we can at the same time. Stop doing that. Choose one task from your list, and put all of the other undone tasks out of your mind until you finish that first one. What do you do when you are done with that first task? Pick a second...and then a third...

5. Realize that it's ok if you don't finish everything right now. Sometimes, I stress myself out even more by thinking that I have to do every single thing on my to-do list in one sitting. Break down your tasks into the most urgent, most difficult, and so on. Get done whatever you can get done in the moment, and then realize that tomorrow is another day. 

Do you have any tips on where to start when you don't even know where to start? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quote of the Week - Thoughts

Is it just me or do you ever let your thoughts dictate your life? You lie awake at night, countless thoughts running through your head, telling yourself that you aren't good enough, or that you didn't deserve that promotion, or that you made the wrong decision.

As soon as I read the following quote, I just knew that I had to write a post about it. 

"Don't believe everything you think."

This quote is so powerful. So often, we let our thoughts wander and lead us into thinking things that are simply not true. We convince ourselves that just because we think something, it must be the truth, and we must believe it.

But this is just not the case. Thoughts can be very powerful, wonderful things. Thoughts can also be very powerful, destructive things. And sometimes, we feel like we have no other choice than to believe our thoughts. The reality, though, is that we do have another choice. We can choose to reign over our thoughts, and to discern what is true and what is not.

Just because you might look in the mirror that think that you are not pretty for whatever reason does not make it a truth that you should believe. Just because you made a mistake, and therefore may think that you are the worst person on the planet, does not mean that this is the case at all. 

So try, please try, to have control over your thoughts, and not let yourself get sucked into believing everything that your mind may be telling you. I think you will find that it does a world of good.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stop Watching & Waiting - Just DO!

Is it just me or do you ever watch other people do things and wish that you could do them? You waste precious time "living vicariously" through other people, never actually living for yourself?

I know the feeling. Oh, I know it well. And here is my advice to you:

Stop watching. Stop waiting. Just DO.

Watching and learning from others is good, but there comes a point when you need to realize your dreams and actually go for them yourself. Eventually, living vicariously through others is just not enough, and you have to take some action of your own. 

Stop watching others and wishing that your life could be like theirs, or that you could be doing what they are doing. Wishing doesn't get you anywhere. Bite the bullet and at least try to do whatever it is that you really want to do. If it doesn't work out, then so be it, but at least you gave it a shot.

Do you watch your co-workers going out and getting promotions or other job interviews and wish that you could be doing the same? Do you spend time reading other people's blogs and wish that you were the one writing the posts? Do you watch a ton of youtube videos and wish that you could be the one making them? (I was guilty of this for a loooong time!) Stop wishing and do it. Nothing is stopping you except you.

You will always be able to find an excuse for why you didn't do this, or why you can't do that. But now is not the time to be making excuses. Now is the time to go after your dreams, no matter what.

What have you been wishing that you could do? Tell me in the comments, and then go out and DO IT!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Proudest Accomplishments of 2014

Is it just me or can you do a lot of things in just one year? I had this post saved as a draft as 2015 was approaching, but I never posted it. Even still, as we are already a small ways into 2015, I find myself looking back and reflecting upon 2014, and I am kind of amazed by all of the things that I have accomplished last year. 

I thought it would be kind of fun to list out some of my proudest accomplishments of 2014. So here goes...
  • I graduated college with a BA in Music Education! I worked super hard for 4 years, and it all paid off :)
  • I became a certified music teacher--this was no easy feat, let me tell you, but I DID IT!!!
  • I got my first "real" job!! (I am a music teacher, and I love it!)
  • I started working on getting my Master's degree. I just finished my first semester last week!-can't wait to be done!!
  • My music channel on youtube (click HERE) reached over 200 subscribers!!! I am so excited, and I'm so proud! This channel has been over 4 years in the making, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for it!
  • I started my blog!!! I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while, and late last year, I finally did it. I couldn't be happier!
These are just some of the major accomplishments that stood out to me as being super special in 2014. It was a really great year, and I am realizing more every single day just how truly blessed I am. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me in 2015!

I know I'm a little late for this, but what are some of your proudest accomplishments of 2014?