Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Much More Than That - Family

Is it just me or is family super important to you? I am blessed to be a part of an absolutely amazing family, and I am very close with my parents and siblings. I love spending time with my family year round, but during the Christmas season, I feel like spending time with family is extremely important.

As you may have guessed by now, today's word is family. According to the dictionary, 'family' means "a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household."

If there was ever an award for most inaccurate description of a word, this would win, hands down. Family is so much more than a "group of parents and children living together"! Family doesn't even have to include only people that are related to you by blood! 

My family is my everything, and I do not know where I would be without them. My family is there for me at all times to encourage me, to strengthen me, to make me laugh when I need it most. My family accepts me for who I am, and pushes me to be all that I can be. The relationship that I have with my family is something that I wouldn't trade for the world.

So many times, I see or hear about people taking advantage of their families or not spending enough time with them. Starting right now, I encourage you to spend as much time as you can with your family, and try to make as many memories as possible. This time is never wasted, and you will most definitely look back on it and treasure up all of the memories that you created. 

Especially during this holiday season, take time to enjoy your family and the time that you have with them. Do more than just "live together in the same household." Spend quality time with one another, creating memories and filling your days with LIFE together. You will not regret it.

What does family mean to you?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Take Time to Enjoy the Season

Is it just me or does the end of the year feel like a whirlwind that sort of sweeps you off your feet? While this is my favorite time of year, preparations for Christmas and New Year's leave me feeling like I am constantly rushing around. I keep finding myself thinking, "How am I supposed to enjoy this season if I am always busy??" 

I think that sometimes we get so caught up in the busy-ness of the season that we forget to slow down, and really take some time to enjoy this wonderful time of the year. We get sucked into the rush of shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, cleaning, etc, that we fail to allow ourselves to simply breathe in the magic that surrounds this season.

To combat this, I thought I would share some ways that I like to take time and enjoy this season.

One of my favorite things to do during this time of the year is to sit by my Christmas tree late at night when the house is quiet. There is just something about being alone with my thoughts and the glow of the Christmas tree lights that cannot quite be described. If you've never done this before, I highly recommend it.

Another thing I like doing is taking some time to write down some of my favorite memories, accomplishments, and blessings that occurred during the year. Seeing everything written out is a fun way to reflect upon the year, and it can even help you come up with some goals for the following year.

I also love keeping certain holiday traditions because it makes it feel more like Christmas! Some traditions include decorating the tree with my family, baking dozens upon dozens of Christmas cookies, and watching Christmas movies (some of my favorites are White Christmas, The Grinch, all of The Santa Clause movies, and Elf).

Don't let the business of the season keep you from taking time to actually enjoy it. Spend as much time as you can with the ones you love, spread as much joy as possible with everyone around you, and don't let yourself forget what this season is really all about. 

What do you like to do to really enjoy the holiday season?

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Wonders of Being Prepared
Is it just me or do you tend to procrastinate on things? I am probably one of the worst people when it comes to waiting until the last minute, but I have been slowly (and I mean, like, painfully slowly) trying to break myself of this habit.

Granted, some procrastinators may feel that they need the pressure of doing things absolutely last minute in order to get them done and do them well. However, this is not the case for everyone. While I am usually able to work quickly under pressure, the stress that it causes me is just not worth it. As silly and obvious as it sounds, I am learning just how amazing it feels to not only be prepared, but to be prepared ahead of time.

I am the kind of person that will wait until the absolute last minute to do things. I don't know why I am like this, but I always have been. However, I have been trying to stop waiting, and I've realized that the peace that comes with getting things done early cannot be compared to anything else.

Does this mean that I will be doing everything early from now on? Absolutely not. I am sure that my procrastinating streak will show itself every now and again. But especially with the new year right around the corner, I am resolving to try and work towards a "me" that is less of a procrastinator, and more of a doer.

While this post is more for me to kind of jot down some random thoughts on procrastination, I thought I might as well share some of my tips for getting things done ahead of time while I'm at it:

  • Make lists, and break down daunting tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. I've talked about this before, but I find that it really does help!
  • Set smaller deadlines for yourself. Have an 8-page paper due in two weeks? Set small deadlines for yourself every few days to keep yourself on track. Plan out when you will gather resources, when you'll create an outline, give yourself a "due date" for 2 pages, 4 pages, etc.
  • Find/create a work space in which you are most productive. For me, I tend to not be able to get things done when I am home. Because after all, I can't work while my room is a mess...and while I'm at it I might as well just do all of the dishes, laundry, and dusting for the entire house too. Find somewhere that you know you are productive, and schedule some time each week (or each day, if necessary) to go there and get. stuff. done.
These are just a few of my tips on how to stop procrastination before it starts. They may seem silly and obvious to some, but I am hoping that some of you will benefit from one or more of these! 

Do you have any advice for how to beat procrastination? Please let me know!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quote of the Week - Capabilities

Is it just me or do you ever feel like treating a rude person in the rude manner that they seemingly "deserve?" The quote for this week (albeit a few days late--sorry!) is one that should be at the front of your mind always:

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming."
                                                                                       -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This quote cuts deep. Instead of treating people the way that we think they deserve, we need to treat them as though they are the kind of person that they ought to be. This is no easy task. It is much easier to see people as they are and treat them the way that they treat us. But it is so important that we see others as more than where they are in their lives at any given moment, and treat them as though they are better.

As a teacher, I find that it is easier to "write kids off" as being awful listeners or incapable of certain tasks than it is to see them as the little bundles of great potential that they truly are. But that is not right. I need to see each child, each person I encounter, as the wonderful person that they could be. By doing that, I might even be helping that person see for themselves all that they can become.

So the next time you want to write someone off and accept that they will never change, stop and think. Try to see them in a different light, a better light, and see if the way that you treat them can help them become a better person.

Do you see people as they ought to be instead of just as they are?

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Best Way Out is Always Through

Is it just me or do you ever have things in your life you wish you could get out of or skip over? Looming events or deadlines that you are just absolutely not looking forward to?

Well, you are not alone. There are times in my life, past and present, when I just want things to be over with. I dread their arrival, worry slowly eating me away day by day. 

But it is not until you actually get through things that you realize your worry was all for naught. It is not until you are on the other side that you see that you got through it, and it actually wasn't all that bad.

Sometimes, instead of trying to avoid things, you need to just tough it out and muddle through. I promise that there will be an end eventually, and with each thing you get through, you will grow stronger. Because you made it through, you will be able to look back on the things you dreaded with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Not only does going through things make you stronger, it also allows you to help encourage others when they are going through a tough time. Sometimes all a person needs is to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that things will get better. Each time you get through something, you can add it to your list of accomplishments so that, not only will you be better able to conquer the same or similar thing in the future, but you will also be better equipped to shower others with words of encouragement and hope.

So the next time you want to avoid something, realize that the best way out is through. You will get through it, and you will be better, stronger than you were before. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sick Days: Tips for How to Deal

Is it just me or do you ever feel really crummy? You feel sick and want to just lay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix all day?

I don't feel very well today, and I would love nothing more than to curl up with some hot tea and Christmas movies. But sometimes, I can't always do that. Sometimes, we have responsibilities that we have to tend to, even when we aren't feeling our best. 

I am writing this post in hopes that it will help not only some of you, but also myself! Below are some tips I've come up with to help you get through your sick days. 

1. Take a nice, hot shower. Sometimes, simply taking a shower when I'm sick makes me feel so much better. Give yourself some extra time in the morning to take a long, hot shower and wash away the sick-y feelings!

2. Dress comfy. I know for me, I don't exactly want to dress in my Sunday best when I'm feeling under the weather. Throw on something that is comfy, cozy, and makes you feel good.

3. Drink lots of water. I know I sound like a doctor here, but seriously, drinking tons of water (especially when you are sick) is really good for you. It helps your body to stay hydrated, replaces the water that it is using up, and flushes out toxins. 

4. Give yourself some time to rest. Even if you have to go out and do a few things during your day, take some time in the morning or when you get home to just rest. It is so important for your body to recoup, so take some time to just chill out.

5. Put on a happy face. While it is important to acknowledge the fact that you are sick and need rest, I sometimes find that acting happy actually makes me feel a little bit better. If I mope around the entire day, I usually end up feeling worse. Instead, try smiling a little and acting a bit happy. It just might make you feel a little bit better!

Do you have any tips for how to make yourself feel better on a sick day? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You Do You

Is it just me or do you ever compare yourself to others, and even try to be someone that you are not? I think that especially in today's society, it has become commonplace to compare yourself to anyone and everyone else. 
We see images of "beautiful" girls in magazines, movies, on's no wonder that we sometimes think we need to change ourselves in order to be "beautiful." But let me tell you something: that couldn't be further from the truth.

Since today is a gross, rainy day, I decided that big sweatpants and a sweatshirt were in order.  For some reason, I also decided that a dramatic makeup look involving lots of gold shimmer was in order as well. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I thought "I look ridiculous! I can't believe I'm going out like this!" But then I thought "So what? Who cares?? If this is what I want to wear today, then I'm doing it!"

You don't need to look to others to feel confident in yourself. You do you, and let that be enough. If you feel like wearing a big sweatshirt to school today, do it. If you want to wear super dark lipstick, go for it! If you find super comfy puppy slippers that you really want, get them and wear them proudly! (Yes, this is based off of a real-life situation, and yes, I wear my new puppy slippers proudly just about every night.) Don't worry about whatever the latest trend is, or about what other people might think of you. Just do you, and be comfortable and confident doing it!

I'm going to do me. Will you do you?

Monday, December 8, 2014

What To Do When Your 'Human' Shows

Is it just me or do you ever find yourself acting in a way that is particularly "human?" You say or do something that you aren't exactly proud of, and you feel ashamed of how human you actually are?

I know for me, I have many of these humbling moments in my life. I think it's safe to say that we all do. With that being said, I thought I would write down some advice for what to do when your "human" shows.

1. Accept the fact that we are all human, and humans make mistakes sometimes. Sure, you will mess up in your life, but you are not alone. We all have our faults and we are all so less than perfect. It's okay. 

2. Apologize when necessary. There will be times when you snap at someone in frustration and say things that you'll probably regret. You will most likely have a few moments where you do something that you wish you didn't do. Never be too prideful to accept responsibility for your actions and say you are sorry.

3. Don't be so hard on yourself. This goes right back to point #1. You're not perfect (no one is), and neither is anyone else. Apologize, learn from your mistake, and move on.

Is your 'human' showing? Don't panic. It happens to the best of us, and it's okay. Next time you have one of these "all-too-human" moments, learn from it, and use it as an opportunity to maybe be a little more understanding of others. 

Do you have any other advice for what to do when your "human" shows? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Much More Than That - Success

Is it just me or does society seem to have certain standards for "success?" It's almost as if there are these unwritten "rules" that dictate what qualifies as success, and tips for how to become a successful person are thrown at us left and right. 

The word for today is success. According to the dictionary, 'success' means "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose."

It does not say "being rich and beautiful and famous." It does not say "graduating college with a 4.0 GPA and getting a job that makes a ton of money." In fact, the definition does not specify any certain aim or purpose at all. But the world seems to label people as successful only once they have reached a certain aim or goal that is deemed "acceptable" by society.

To me, success does not mean the same thing for everybody. To me, to be successful is to be content. For one person, success may be getting a good job and making a lot of money. For another person, success may be learning to read, or write, or be a good parent to their children, or make it through high school.

Do not compare someone else's success to your own. You are not in the same situation as anyone else, and you do not know their struggles. You may not realize that the person who barely made it through freshman English studied for hours every night trying to read or write a few sentences. You may not understand how someone working in the supermarket bagging groceries feels successful, but for them, that might be a huge accomplishment.

So yes, success is "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose," but what we need to remember is that the aims and/or purposes by which we measure success are not the same for everyone. Create your own goals, work hard to achieve them, and do whatever you can to try and be content in this life. After all, it is your life, and you deserve to be successful in whatever way that might be for you.

Do you consider yourself successful?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Forgive and Forget

Is it just me or do you ever hold a grudge against someone for longer than is probably necessary? Someone apologizes, and you say that you forgive them, but deep down you still can't quite let it go?

I was a bit humbled this morning as I picked up the little boy I babysit from school. We got into an argument because he started running in the parking lot as a car was pulling out, so I quickly grabbed his arm (lightly) to hold him back. As a true man's man, this 4-year-old boy got angry with me, saying that "he could take care of himself" and "cars can't hurt him."

I know what you're thinking--*You got into an actual argument with a 4-year-old???* Well...yes I did. You try keeping your cool while a little kid uses their frustrating childish argument skills against you! I tried to reason with him, but to no avail. I ended up just getting upset and feeling mad at him. 

As ridiculous as it might sound, I remained mad for the next half of the car ride back to his house. But then, as most little kids do, he started talking to me as though nothing had ever happened. The thing that I had held on to as my reason for being mad was not even a thought in this little boy's mind anymore. He had completely forgotten about it and moved on.

So why can't I, why can't we, do the same thing? Why do we feel the need to hold on to things that make us mad? Is it for the pure fact of holding a grudge against someone? Is it a pride thing? Whatever the reason, I think we can all learn a lesson from this little boy. 

Holding a grudge is really not worth is in the end, and you truly only spite yourself in doing so. Forgive, forget, and move on. Once we learn to do that, we will all be better off.

Are you holding a grudge against someone that you can't quite seem to let go of? As difficult as it might be, try your very hardest to not only forgive that person, but also to put the memory out of your mind. In this case, it's okay to be forgetful.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Make Memories in Everything

Is it just me or do we sometimes think that we only make the best memories when we are somewhere special, like at a sleepover with friends or on a vacation? A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how you can really have fun anywhere, and today I'd like to kind of expand upon that.

Over the weekend, I went shopping for a Christmas tree with my family. We drove to the store, picked out the perfect tree, and went home. It could have easily been quite the mundane task, but instead, we made some fun memories during that time. 

Also this past weekend, my sister came home from college to visit for Thanksgiving. She had a huge project to work on, and spent most of the short break working on it. I must admit that I am very proud of her because, though she could have locked herself in her room the whole time, sulking about how she wished that she didn't have to do the project, she chose to act differently. She chose to bring the project wherever we were, and we were all still able to have a fun time with her even while she worked on her assignment. (P.S. She finished it a few minutes before she had to leave! YAY!)

There are many instances in my life when things do not go how I want them to, and so I sulk and complain and remain in a bad mood for the rest of the day. But I am really trying to work on changing that about myself. Instead of being in a bad mood and keeping myself from having a good time when I am somewhere that I don't exactly want to be, I am trying to choose to make memories in that situation and have fun. 

Don't let a less-than-ideal circumstance stop you from making memories wherever you are. If you let yourself, you might just find that you are amazed by how many wonderful memories you can make out of situations that you had previously wished you were not in.

Will you choose to make memories in everything?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Quote of the Week - Wounds

Is it just me or did you ever have something happen in your life that changed you in some way? Some event, or series of events, that wounded you, scarred you, changed some part of you?

Today's quote really spoke to my heart:

"Don't allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not."
                                                                                                                -Paulo Coelho

You may have been hurt. You may have been treated unfairly. You may have seen someone that you love suffer unfairly, and you may not have been able to do anything about it. 

Do not let your wounds change you so much that you turn into someone you are not. Do not let these wounds make you so bitter that you cannot find joy in things that you used to love before. Just because you were deeply hurt or treated unfairly does not mean that you have the right to do the same to others. Just because you have seen things that you wish you never had to see does not mean that you should harden your heart to things that are actually worth seeing.

Things happen in life that wound us, and sometimes these wounds leave scars. And while these scars may remain a part of you, they do not have to define who you are.  

With each new day comes distance from the things that hurt us. Will you let your wounds change you into a person that you are not? I know for me, I will do everything I can to ensure that this does not happen to me. Will you do the same?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Am Thankful For...

Is it just me or does Thanksgiving really make you think about all that you are thankful for? For so many people, Thanksgiving is all about the food and the time you get to spend with your family. 

While I am grateful for both of those things, there are SO many other things that I am thankful for as well. Seeing as Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I thought I would change up my typical Wednesday post for this week and simply list some of the things that I am truly thankful for. 
I am thankful for...
  • My Savior Jesus Christ who died so that I might live, and who provides me with everything that I need.
  • My loving, supportive parents who both set such an amazing example for me every single day of what it means to serve God in this crazy world.
  • My siblings, who I am so close with and whom I love so much. I would not trade the relationships that I have with them for anything.
  • My wonderful boyfriend, who is not only healthy but is almost 2 years cancer free, and who treats me like a princess every day.
  • My closest friends who have stuck by me through everything, and who are always there to laugh with, cry with, or vent to.
  • My job that I am so blessed to have, and that I really love so much.
  • My house that keeps me warm and safe.
  • Laughter.
  • Music (listening to it, creating it, etc.)
  • My life! I am so beyond blessed and I need to remember to be thankful each day that I am alive and well!
These are just some of the things that I am thankful for. If I shared everything I am thankful for, I could be here writing this post all day! Remember to be thankful not only tomorrow, but every single day for all that you have.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keep Doing What is Good

Is it just me or do you ever feel like quitting something because you feel like you aren't getting the results you want? I know that I have definitely felt like this in the past (and still feel like it sometimes now).

For example, sometimes I think to myself, "Why am I keeping up with this blog, putting so much work into it and spending lots of time working on posts, when not very many people even read it anyway?" 

I also have a youtube channel, where I put hours and hours of work into creating/editing music and videos (you can check it out HERE if you're interested). I have worked really hard to build up my channel to where it is now, but I still am constantly wishing that I had more subscribers and such. Sometimes I wonder, "Why am I even doing this? Not that many people see it..." etc.  

Maybe for you, it's not a blog or a youtube channel. Maybe you put in really long, hard hours at work and seem to get no recognition or thanks for what you do. Maybe you continually go to the gym and feel like you still aren't seeing results. Whatever the case, we have all been there, and the "Why am I still doing this?" question never really seems to go away.

While I still do ask myself that question from time to time, I have learned over the years that what I do is not all about me. Maybe the one or two or three people that do read my blog really enjoy it and look forward to reading it every day. Maybe my new song or video will touch even one person and change their life for the better. 

Just because you are not getting the results that you want right now does not mean that you should stop doing something. You should not work any less hard at your job because you feel you aren't getting the recognition you deserve. You should not stop going to the gym because you aren't as thin or fit as you'd like to be. You should not being kind to someone just because you aren't getting that same kindness in return. 

Keep doing what is good simply because it is good. 

Never give up, because you really do not know the effect that you may be having on someone's life. You really do not know how many people you are potentially encouraging. So whatever it is that you're doing, keep at it.

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and giving up? I hope that this post leaves you inspired and encouraged to keep doing what is good.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Quote of the Week - Wrong vs. Right

Is it just me or is it difficult to do the right thing sometimes when everyone around you is doing the wrong thing? Today's quote is perfect for this issue, so let's just get straight to it:

"Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. 
Right is right even if no one is doing it."

This seems like such an obvious thing, but sometimes it helps to have it written out in front of you. Just because everyone is doing something does not make it right, and it does not mean that it is OK. And just because you may be the only one doing something does not make it any less right, and you should not stop doing it because you feel like you're the only one. 

Feeling like you are alone in something can be extremely difficult. It is so much easier to just give in to doing what everyone else is doing. But you can't do that. Why? Because wrong is wrong and right is right. If you know that something is wrong, you need to steer clear of that, even if everyone else seems to be flocking to it. And if you know that something is right, you need to keep doing that and hope that you can lead others to do it too.

Figure out what your morals are, and stick to them. Don't go back on what you believe just because everyone is doing something and you don't want to feel left out. Stand strong, no matter what.

Will you join me in doing the right thing?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keep Your Childlike Heart

Is it just me or can we learn a lot from kids? I know that we are supposed to become "wiser" as we get older, and I do believe that to be true, but I also think that we need to keep some of our childlike traits as we age. 

As a teacher, I am constantly touched and amazed by how awesome kids can be. Yes, sometimes I want to pull my hair out in frustration, but there are also many times when I just want to sit back and admire my kiddies for their caring, loving hearts. And these good times far outweigh the bad.

This morning when I walked into my classroom, I found this written on my chalkboard:
(Nativity Grace is one of the characters in the Christmas play that we are putting on this year)
Since I don't teach on Thursdays, I had no idea that one of my students left me this little surprise. But let me tell you, the smile on my face when I walked in today and saw this was huge. Just the fact that one of my students thought to leave me this little note is so touching. It didn't cost anything. It probably didn't even take up much time. Yet it totally made my day! So why don't we do things like this for others more often??  

And as if the note wasn't enough, I went on to teach my next class and was overwhelmed by the kindness that I saw going on between the students. I had asked the students to work together in small groups, and reminded them that I wanted them to be kind and try not to argue. I was so proud of them, because, not only did they work together so nicely, they also surrounded each other with love and respect that I don't see amongst most adults.

I learned a lot today in a short amount of time, and I am constantly amazed by the new things that my students are teaching me

So grow up. Get older and wiser. But never lose your childlike heart. Never lose that ability to care for others more than you care for yourself. Never lose that desire to put a smile on another person's face with the smallest act of random kindness. Doing these things does not make you any less of an "adult." 

What have you learned from kids recently?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Get Through the "Tough-to-Get-Through" Days

Is it just me or are some days really hard to get through? You wake up knowing that you have a long day ahead of you, and you wonder how you are going to get through?

For me, those tough-to-get-through days are Wednesdays. I go non-stop on Wednesdays from morning until night, and I usually dread them. But this week, I tried something a little different. When yesterday morning came around, I thought to myself, "You know, today doesn't have to be a bad day. I'm going to try and make it a good one." 

And so I did.

I went into the day with a happy mentality, and instead of trying to take on the whole day at once, I focused on getting through one task at a time. This is something that I highly recommend--get through those tough days one task at a time, no matter how small the task. 
If you have to, mentally walk yourself through your day, step by step (ex: I'm going to get ready for work now. OK, now I am going to drive to work. Alright, let's get through my first class! Now the second...etc.). Doing this helps me break down my day into something more manageable, and I feel accomplished every time I complete one little "task." Doing this also helps me feel a lot less overwhelmed. 

Have those tough-to-get-through days? Try taking things one step at a time. I promise you that you'll make it through! 

Do you have any other tips for getting through the rough days? Let me know down in the comments!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Much More Than That - Compassion

Is it just me or do we sometimes get a little calloused and hard-hearted when it comes to dealing with other people? We see so much on television, in movies, in real life, that we get desensitized and forget that there are real people with real problems all around us. 

Today's word is: compassion. According to the dictionary, 'compassion' means "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others."

To me, compassion is so much more than "sympathetic pity and concern" for another. To me, compassion is lending a helping hand to someone that you don't know. Compassion is taking into account that a person might be having a really terrible day before you decide to give them an attitude at the check out counter. Compassion is putting yourself on hold to help someone else in need.

If you look around wherever you are on any given day, there are bound to be lots of people in need of compassion. Be it a friend or a stranger, odds are that someone is in need of some love, attention, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion. The need is always there; we just need to be ready and available to see it. 

We need to realize that life is very real, and everyone is going through something difficult at one point or another. Unfortunately, there is not one magical "cure" for all of life's troubles. Every person, every situation is different, and deserves to be treated as such. Compassion can take many forms, and may look different depending on the person and situation it is being used in. 

Having compassion for someone may mean buying them a hot cup of coffee on a freezing cold day. It may mean giving someone a second chance that they don't really deserve, because in reality, we all make mistakes. It may also mean being sensitive to another person's needs and meeting them where they are at.

As you go through your day, I challenge you to open your heart and look for others who are in need of some compassion. It just might make all the difference in their life.

What does compassion mean to you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Talk About Stress

Is it just me or do you get stressed sometimes? You know, that feeling when you have a million and one things to do but no time to do them, and you feel like you can't breathe and your chest is about to explode???

Stress is a very real thing, and I think it's safe to say that it is something most people deal with on a pretty regular basis. I am no expert, but I do have a few ideas for how you can reduce and possibly even eliminate stress:

1. Make a list of everything you have to do. You already know how I feel about lists, so I won't go on any longer than this.

2. Utilize your time wisely.  This is crucial when you are feeling stressed. Sometimes this means sacrificing that extra hour of sleep in the morning so that you can wake up and get something done. Sometimes it means turning down a night out with your friends so you can get things done. Either way, you need to make the most of your time so that you can get as many things done as possible!

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help. So many times, we are too wrapped up in our own world or even too prideful to ask for help. If you are completely overwhelmed and in need of a helping hand, ask for one. Don't let that "I must do it all by myself" mentality get in your way.

4. Put things in perspective. This one is huge. When you are super stressed out about that paper due tomorrow or that approaching deadline at work, think about this: Will this have been worth the stress a year from now? Odds are, it won't even matter a year from now, so quit stressing so much!

5. Remember that stress is your choice, and there is really no point to it. Yes, you have a lot of things to do. Yes, your life is so crazy that it leaves you virtually no time to do any of it. But it will get done, and everything will work out in the end.  

Do you have any other tips for how to deal with or avoid stress?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The "Right" Time

Is it just me or do you ever hold off from doing something because you are waiting for the right time? You know, that perfect moment when everything is exactly how you want it to be, and the time is just "right"?

Well, let me tell you something. If you are waiting for the "right" time, you will probably be waiting forever. It is never the "right" time for something. Everything will never be perfectly in place how you want it to be, and the situation will never be "just right."

This is not meant to discourage you, but actually to encourage you. To encourage you to go for whatever it is you are holding off on. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect; the "right" time is now.
The time to try something new. The time to go back to school. The time to start looking for that job you really want. The time is now.

I'll admit that it can sometimes feel scary and even risky to go for what you have been waiting for. But I bet that you will feel so happy when you do. Sometimes, you just have to go for things and trust that it will all work out in the end.

The choice is yours: Keep waiting for that "right" time that will never come, or just go for what you really want. What will you do?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quote of the Week - Comparison

Is it just me or do you ever find that you are comparing yourself to others? One minute, you are perfectly fine being your own person doing your own thing, and the next, you are envying someone for what you don’t have or didn’t do.

As soon as I read this quote, I knew that I had to use it for my Quote of the Week. It is too good to pass up:

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
                                                                                       -Theodore Roosevelt

Do you remember when you were little and you got a cool new doll or toy that you really wanted? Do you remember how happy you were? And then do you remember how you weren’t so happy anymore when you went to your friend’s house and they had a cooler, newer toy? This comparing doesn’t end when you grow up—in my opinion, it gets worse

Picture this: you get a brand new car and you are so excited about it. You love it and you are so happy with your decision. But then you look over at your neighbors driveway and start to compare their car to yours. Their's is nicer, their's is shinier, their's is better. And suddenly, you are robbed of the joy you had only seconds before.  

Not a car person? No problem. Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, “I am really happy with the way I look. I’ve been working really hard at the gym, I love my new haircut, I like my makeup…” But then you go in to work that day and see someone who is thinner, “prettier,” has a cuter outfit, haircut, etc. That confidence and joy that you felt earlier completely vanished the second you began comparing yourself to someone else. 

So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we compare ourselves with everyone else, even though we know that it will only take away our joy? It is no secret that society places a huge importance on looking a certain way and owning the “best” things. It is almost inevitable that we would eventually begin comparing ourselves to others. But it doesn't have to be that way.

If you focus on you and on the blessings in your life, and if you are content with yourself and what you have, then there is no need to look to others to stack your life up against. There is simply no point. And the odds are that the person you are comparing your life to is comparing their life to yours.

I realize that this is much easier said than done, but I challenge you to give it a try. Next time you make a decision about your life, try to be confident in it enough that, no matter what someone else has, or says, or does, your joy will not waver. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

10 Thoughts that Constantly Go Through a List-Lover's Mind

Is it just me or are you kind of obsessed with making "To Do" lists? I always have to have a list made, or else I feel completely lost! Call me crazy, but I've compiled a list of 10 thoughts that are constantly on my list-loving mind:

1. How can I break this task down into the most amount of steps possible? The more steps, the most opportunities to cross things off!

2. If I don't put it on my list, I don't have to do it, right? Sometimes I intentionally leave things off my list so that I don't have to do them...oops.

3. "Take shower" is not on my list. I'd better put it on there so I can cross it off when I'm done. This even goes as far as me writing something on my list even after I've already done it, just so that I can cross it off. 

4. I cannot sleep until I write my "to do" list for the week ahead. #SundayNightConfessions There's just something about knowing that my list is written before I go to bed that allows me to sleep better.

5. I'm so organized over here with my list that tells me everything I have to do. *clever smirk*

6. I'm so overwhelmed over here by my list that tells me everything I have to do. *cries*

7. Should I draw a single line through my completed tasks, or scribble them out? #thestruggle

8. I just crossed off an item, but I already have another one to add :( It never ends, does it?!

9. Look at all of these notebooks I am finishing with all of these lists! I use one notebook for my lists until I use it up, and then I feel so accomplished! Maybe I should make a list for how many notebooks I need to use up...

10. Why is my list so short? I know there are more things I can put on there... I'm crazy, I know.

This was meant to be a fun little post, and I can't be the only one who thinks these things! Do any of these thoughts ever go through your mind? Let me know that I'm not alone!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Much More Than That - Forgiveness

Is it just me or can it be really hard to forgive people sometimes? Someone hurt you or wronged you in some way, and you just can't seem to get past it?

Today's word is one that I think is extremely important: forgiveness. According to the dictionary, to 'forgive' means to "stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; to cancel (a debt)."

Now, I do not think that this is a bad definition at all, but I do think that there is so much more to "forgiveness" than what is stated in those two short lines. To forgive someone does mean to stop feeling angry or resentful towards them, but in doing that, you also let go of a weight that you've been carrying around with you. Forgiving someone else not only sets them free; forgiving someone else also sets you free. 

I certainly know that forgiveness is not always an easy thing. We are prideful beings, and I think that many times, our own pride gets in the way of us forgiving another person for their wrongs. We don't want to forgive them because we are angry that they hurt us. We don't want to forgive them because they wronged us and deserve to feel bad about it. We don't want to forgive them because we think that we have a right to be angry and resentful. We don't want to forgive them because, because, because...

But that's the thing about forgiveness: you will always find a reason why you don't want to or "shouldn't" forgive someone. None of us will ever deserve forgiveness. And that's why it is such a powerful thing when granted.

When you forgive someone, you are not only letting them know that you aren't angry with them anymore. You are also showing them that, even though they wronged you and they don't deserve to be forgiven, they get a second chance. And in reality, we all need second (or third, or fourth or fifth) chances. Life is a learning process, and I think that when you extend forgiveness to another, you are letting them know that you know they can do better.

And when I say forgive, I mean forgive completely. I do not mean forgiving the person in the moment, but then secretly still holding their wrong against them in case you need to bring it up again in the future. Forgiveness to me means starting over with a clean slate. When you say that you forgive someone, and when you truly do forgive them in your heart, whatever wrong they did to you should not even be in your mind at all anymore. 

Withholding forgiveness from someone can really take a toll on you. How much more happy and free you would feel if only you would decide to let it go and forgive the person that wronged you. 

My challenge for you? Practice forgiving those who have hurt you. Keep practicing that forgiveness and never stop. What does "forgiveness" mean to you? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Think Before You Speak

Is it just me or do you ever speak without thinking? I've heard people say it hundreds of times - "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Sometimes, though, this is much easier said than done.

But this blog post is not just about holding your tongue when you want to say some not-so-nice things. It is about really thinking before you say anything. And by 'anything,' I don't only mean things that aren't so kind. I also mean those important words of encouragement that might brighten someone's day. I mean the little compliment or words of reassurance you pass along to someone you see at work or in the supermarket.

Before you speak, think about how the words you are about to say would make you feel. Oftentimes, most people think that this "think before you speak" notion is all about refraining from saying hurtful things to others. But why should it be limited to negative things? You should think before you speak anything, especially when it comes to positive words.

You know those moments when you want to give someone a compliment, but you feel awkward or you don't want to start a conversation? Well, before you hesitate, think about how it would make you feel if someone gave you that same compliment. Odds are that it would make you feel great, and would probably put a smile on your face.

Ever hesitate before congratulating someone on something because you maybe feel a little hint of jealousy, or you don't want to boost their ego too much? Before you decide not to say it, think about how you would feel if you received those words of congratulations. You would probably feel really happy and proud.

So before you say (or don't say) anything, think about how those words would make you feel. Do you think before you speak?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Have FUN today!

Is it just me or do you ever feel like you can only have fun when you're out somewhere or around other people doing something special? 

Today at the gym, I overheard something that made me re-think this mentality. While I was doing some ab exercises, a man passed by and made some small talk with the guy working out next to me. Right before the man walked away, he turned to the other guy and said "Hey, have fun today." It was clear that the guy did not have anything especially "fun" planned for the day, but he smiled and said "You know I always do!"
This got me thinking: why do we need to wait until we are doing something fun in order to actually have fun? Why can't we just have fun every day for the sheer fact that we are enjoying life??

You don't have to wait for some special occasion in order to have fun. You can have fun around the house, at work, at school, in the car, with friends, without friends, etc. if you let yourself. It is all in the way you choose to feel (more in depth blog post on this to come soon). If you choose to, you can have a blast cleaning the house, or driving to school, or working in your office.

Moral of the overheard conversation today? Have FUN today and everyday, no matter what you are doing! How will you have fun today?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quote of the Week - Reaching Your Goals

Is it just me or do you ever set goals for yourself and then never get any closer to accomplishing them? I know for me, I sometimes wish that things in my life were different, but I never take the steps to make them different.

Today's quote is a great one to (hopefully) motivate you to begin reaching your goals.

"Ask yourself if what you're doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow."

Making and attaining goals can be a bit of a daunting task sometimes. Depending on the goal, you may have no idea how or where to begin, and even the thought of your goals leaves you feeling overwhelmed. 

But when I read this quote, I don't think about how I can reach my goals in the shortest amount of time possible. I think about how I can take even the smallest of steps forward every single day, working towards my goal little by little.

If your goal is to be a kinder person, start out by doing even one kind thing for someone else each day. If your goal is to start your own business, research how you can begin getting there and do one thing off the checklist every day. If your goal is to become a singer, seek out performance opportunities, or record songs for youtube, or write lyrics for an original each day. The results are not going to come overnight. But by asking yourself if you are taking the necessary steps towards that goal every day, and by actually following through with those small steps, you will eventually reach it. 

So I ask you, is what you are doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?

Friday, November 7, 2014


Is it just me or can you tell when someone is not really paying attention to you? You are trying to talk to someone and they are listening, but they are also texting, or constantly looking at their phone, or moving about doing something else? 
I know that I am certainly guilty of this, but recently, I have been really trying to be more mindful and attentive to people when we are talking. I know that it bothers me when I am trying to tell someone something and they are answering texts while giving me one-word responses, so why do I do it too?? It is obvious when someone is only half-listening, or when they are distracted by something else. And on top of that, it can be really annoying and frustrating sometimes. Yet I still do it. I still check my phone while having a conversation with someone. I still run around my room straightening up while a friend is sitting on my bed trying to talk to me. And I don't want to do that anymore.

People want attention. I want attention, you want attention...we all want to know that people care about what we are saying and respect us enough to listen while we speak. Think about how good it makes you feel when you just know that the other person you're talking with is genuinely involved in the conversation, and is interested in what you are saying. I know that it makes me feel really loved and cared for.

While I am not perfect, I have really been trying more and more to pay attention to people when they are speaking with me. I have been more mindful about not touching my phone, I have been trying to make better eye contact, and I have been trying to give genuine responses that show I am listening. I am sure that, just as people notice when you aren't paying attention to them, they also notice when you are. And that difference is huge.

I am taking a stand and really trying to pay more attention to people in my conversations with them. Let me know if you would like to stand with me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Importance of "Me Time"

Is it just me or do you sometimes get so busy that you forget to schedule some "me time"? You have a million and one things to get done, and so the time you have for yourself is kind of non-existent?

While being busy can be a good (and sometimes inevitable) thing, it is so important to make sure that you take some time for yourself. You need to balance the craziness of life with some relaxation and enjoyment in order to continue to function as a happy human being. 
As quite the busy bee myself, I know that finding some time for "me" is not always easy. But I have come to learn that even if I just get one hour to myself before bed to relax, or read, or watch my favorite show, it makes all the difference. And it doesn't have to be a big production. If I ever find myself with a little bit of free time, I like to try and make the most of it by doing something that I love to do; something that I know will make me happy.

Reserving some time for yourself is so necessary. If all you do is go, go, go all the time, you start to get overworked and kind of miserable. "Me time" allows you to reflect on your life, be alone with your thoughts, do things that you enjoy doing, relax after a crazy week, etc. 

And you should not feel selfish about having some time for yourself. You work hard. You are so busy all the time. You deserve a little time to sit on the couch and read, or grab a cup of coffee and just enjoy it. You are not being selfish, and you are not "wasting time" on yourself. You are allowed and encouraged to save some time for you.

What do you like to do with your "me time"?