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

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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 television...it'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?