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It’s Loud in Here.

It is loud in my head. Always.

From the minute I wake up in the morning to the minute I drift off to sleep at night, my mind is like a noisy city made up of hundreds of individuals sounds all coming together to create the song that is my life.

For those who have composed, organized thoughts, I’m sorry that I sound insane. But for those who have been both blessed and plagued with a creative mind that is forever attempting to operate on the unforgiving time clock of life, perhaps you can relate all too well.

Some days, the real time consequences of having a brain that works a million miles per hour and a body that is limited in its human abilities is draining. If only I could do things at the rate in which my mind thinks them up. If only I could gently hush the nagging of my thoughts in a way that would still allow my ideas to stream in so I could manage them and not neglect them.

The hidden gift in a burden is that after it has troubled you more times than you feel you can bear, you eventually get to a point where you ask why it has come. What has it come to teach you?

And here is what I have found:

We were not created with gifts with the expectations that we would give up those gifts in the pursuit of different ones.

A creator does not create something only to be upset that it is not something else.

A seamstress does not create a blouse and then rip it apart because it is not a dress.

A musician would not create a song and then be disappointed that it wasn’t a movie.

An artist would not paint a picture and then wait for it to turn into a sculpture.

And so, consider that God has not created you in the hopes that you would be someone different than who you are.

He intends to use you in a way that fulfills the purpose He has made you for. The creation does not tell the Creator what is was meant for, but rather the Creator gives life to the creation in such a way that its characteristics will lead the way toward its purpose.

Some gifts are easily recognizable. Others appear to be a burden or even a flaw until we look deeply into the possibilities of their purpose.

The loudness in my head isn’t meant to be silenced…it is meant to be channeled. I am not meant to have less ideas…I am meant to give life to my ideas. I don’t need to learn detachment from my thoughts, but rather discernment from what is sent from God and what is not. The persistent calling in my mind isn’t a preview of coming insanity, it is a call to action from the God I serve.

The loudness in our heads is not new news to our Creator. He is simply waiting to see what we will do with it.

So…what has been haunting you that you’ve perceived as a ghost when in actuality it is an angel?

What have you been seeing as your downfall that may truly be the thing meant to raise you up?

Adventure of the Week – Mt. Rubidoux & Lift Coffee

Seated with Him in Heavenly Places

In committing to being more active this year, we are going to be incorporating more outdoor activities into our weekly adventures.

This week, we drove out to Riverside to hike at Mt. Rubidoux. The hike, reaching a little over 1300 feet in elevation, was easy, beautiful, and incredibly worthwhile.

Here’s the need to know:

  1. There is plenty of free street parking and entrance to the trails is free as well. As an added bonus, if you love old cemeteries like me, there is an old cemetery with the big head stones at the bottom of the mountain. To get to the mountain, simply plug in the address for Mt. Rubidoux Memorial Park into your GPS and follow the directions. (Here is the address I used : 4706 Mount Rubidoux Dr. Riverside)
  2. The trails are actually paved roads which is really nice and makes the hike a lot easier in my opinion. There are several different paths to choose from, one of which looked like a dirt trail but I’m unsure if that path leads to the top. Be sure to watch your step, as many people bring their animals on the trails and fail to clean up after them (don’t be that person).
  3. The path we ended up taking was roughly two miles round trip and it felt more like a walk than a hike. Even though the hike is up a mountain, the incline increases gradually so it doesn’t feel like you are struggling to walk up the mountain.
  4. If you are afraid of heights, I would think twice if this hike is for you. While the path is paved, there are no ropes or guard rails on the sides. I normally am not affected by heights, but there were a few times when I looked over the side of the mountain and felt a little anxious about how high up we were.
  5. The summit is amazing. Not only can you see the whole city, but there is also a huge American flag, a stone bridge with a tower, and a giant cross. There are a lot of rocks and slippery spots when you get to the top, so again, be sure to watch your step.

 

 

Naturally, we still had to get in our caffeine fix so decided to give Lift Room Roasters a try. Lift Room Roasters is located in a super random warehouse looking area, making it somewhat difficult to locate. Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised to find such a hidden gem. From the outside you would never know that Lift Room Roasters is busy roasting their own coffee out in the open for visitors to see.

We ordered two vanilla lattes (mine iced with almond milk and Julianna’s hot with regular milk) and a snickerdoodle cookie to share ($14 total). I don’t think all almond milks are created equal so my latte left a bit to be desired, but Julianna’s was excellent. She rated it a 8-9/10. There are three Lift Room Roasters in Riverside, and I would definitely return if in the area.

 

Adventure is out there ♥.

30 Days of Intentional Kindness

#30daysofintentionalkindness

Now that the craziness of the holidays has come and gone, most of us are beginning our journeys toward making this year our best year. What better way to begin the year than committing to filling the next 30 days with intentional acts of kindness.

There are over 2.5 billion active social media users. In true idealist fashion, I can’t help but think what if even just .1% of those users (that’s a tenth of a percentage, not even a whole percentage) committed to doing 1 act of kindness a day? That would be about 2.5 million acts of love each day that our world so desperately needs. 

I have listed 30 simple acts of kindness that I will be committing to doing during the month of January. I will be using my Instagram story to keep me accountable and hopefully inspire others to also participate in 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. Some acts will be done out of order, as I know that the act of the day may not necessarily fit with my agenda of that day ( for example, what if I don’t go out to get coffee on the 3rd day?). The point is to spread as much kindness as you can, not just to cross things off of a list. If you can do multiple acts on a single day, more power to you! Kindness is contagious – let’s get to it.

Here’s the list: 

Day 1 – Share a piece of wisdom – pass along something valuable to someone else in hopes of making their moment, day, or life a little better. *I have done this via my previous post from today which can be found here.

Day 2 – Donate old clothes/ household items – The beginning of the year (or month, or week, or day) is the perfect time to go through your things and declutter. Get rid of things you don’t need and even better yet, donate them and pass them along to someone who can use them. Look up shelters, churches, or donation centers like Goodwill or the Salvation Army in your area and detach from the unnecessary.

Day 3 – Buy a stranger’s cup of coffee – When buying yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or a smoothie, or whatever else you drink), pay for the person behind you as well. You never know, you could create a chain reaction and inspire them to buy a coffee for the person behind them.

Day 4 – Leave an instant inspo – #instantinspo is something my sister and I began doing back in September when Target put all of their spiral notebooks on clearance for two cents (thanks Back to School). I have a serious obsession with notebooks and needed a reason to buy them all. We bought 500 notebooks and have been leaving notebooks paired with handwritten notes everywhere we go. The notes encourage whoever finds the book to write down their goals, dreams, prayers, and aspirations and to remember how powerful they are. You might have to wait until September to get the 2 cent deal on notebooks, but they regularly cost about $1. Today, grab a notebook, write a note of encouragement, and leave it somewhere for a stranger to find.

Day 5 – Buy a song on iTunes from a local artist – Most people don’t realize how expensive it is to make music for the aspiring artist. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars of an artists own money to get in the studio, pay sound engineers, create merchandise, travel to venues to perform, and so many other expenses you would never know about if you don’t either create music yourself or know someone who does. In the age of social media, more often than not, we have the privilege of listening for free. Today, spend the $1.29 to buy a song from an artist off of iTunes. It’s not about the money, it’s about showing that you recognize the sacrifice and dedication they put into their work. Such a simple act can be a push for your favorite artist to continue creating the music you love.

Day 6 – Ask to speak to a manager to report something good – Too often, customers only ask to speak to a manager if something is wrong, leaving those who are going above and beyond to never be recognized for their positive efforts. Today, when you have a positive interaction with an employee, ask to speak to the manager to tell them what a good job that person is doing.

Day 7 – Bake something for someone – Who doesn’t love fresh baked goodies? Today, bake something to give away where you see fit. If you can’t bake, gift something store-bought. It’s the act that counts.

Day 8 – Comment something positive on a stranger’s social media post – This takes two seconds to do. Leave a positive comment on the post of a person whom you don’t know and don’t follow.

Day 9 – Send a “Thank You” card – Think of something good that has happened to you recently and mail a card to simply say thank you. Most of us only get bills in the mail, so imagine the surprise when receiving a ray of sunshine via snail mail. The card can be for anyone – a friend, a family member, a colleague, an employee at a store you visited. Pass along kindness by way of saying thank you.

Day 10 – Donate money to the homeless – Who does a couple of dollars make more of a difference to, you or a homeless person? Give with a generous heart, knowing that God stores up treasures for you in Heaven according to the treasures you share with others on this earth.

Day 11 – Pay a compliment – Tell a random person you like their outfit, remind a friend how contagious their laugh is, or tell your boss how their leadership skills have positively impacted you. Whoever you choose, give them something positive to reflect on…you never know how that may affect their day.

Day 12-  Tape coupons to appropriate items at the store – A good amount of us (at least here in California) get tons of coupons in the mail, mainly for things we don’t actually buy. Today, when you’re headed to the store, grab one of those mailers out of your mailbox and leave a coupon for a stranger to find. I mean, I sure would like to find a coupon for money off of an item already taped to that item.

Day 13 – Text someone first thing in the morning to say how important they are – Start someones day off with a quick message to say how much you appreciate them…it can set the mood for their entire day.

Day 14 – Donate old books to the library – I love the library. I truly believe it is such a privilege to have access to so many books for free. Today, support your local library by donating those books you never read anymore.

Day 15 – Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while – Take an extra few minutes to call to say hello to one of your family members that you haven’t talked to recently. We are all so busy and often forget how much of a blessing it is just to be able to call our relatives at all.

Day 16 – Tape a dollar to an ATM– Happy depositing!

Day 17 – Tip extra- When you’re dining out, leave a few extra dollars on top of what you were already planning to tip.

Day 18 – Leave something for the mail person– Our mail carriers are so often forgotten because we rarely (if ever) see them. Leave a note, a gift card, or a small present in or near your mailbox (with a tag that says it’s for them) to say thank you for an often thankless job.

Day 19 – Leave a positive review – Similar to day 6, so often reviews aren’t posted unless it’s for a negative reason. Take a few minutes of your time to post/write/call in about a positive experience you had at a store or with a product.

Day 20 – Send an “I’m thinking of you” card or letter – Grab a card or a piece of paper and remind someone you care about that they are on your mind.

Day 21 – Donate money to a GoFundMe account– Social media has provided us so many ways to help each other. Pick a GoFundMe account that you trust and support, and donate a few dollars to the cause.

Day 22 – Tape an inspirational note in a book – Leave an encouraging note in a book at a store or a library for the reader to find when they get to a specific page.

Day 23 – Go over and beyond for someone you live with ( or for a neighbor or a friend if you live alone) – It is so easy to get in a routine with the people we live with (or around) that we forget to show them how important they truly are to us. Today, do something for someone in your household (or neighborhood or whatever) that requires a little extra effort on your part. Perform a household chore for them, bring them lunch, wash their car, the ideas are endless.

Day 24 – Leave a lotto scratcher for a stranger to find – Imagine how fun it would be to find an unscratched lottery scratcher, just waiting for you to see if it’s a winner or not. Tape a scratcher to a gas pump, give one to a store clerk, or just hand one to a stranger. It’s a fun gift of chance.

Day 25 – Spend time in prayer for 10 people– Make a list of 10 people who could use some prayer today. Spend 1- 2 minutes praying for each person on your list.

Day 26 – Instagram shoutout someone who inspires you – We are all inspired by someone. Take two minutes to give a shoutout to someone who positively impacts you via social media.

Day 27 – Surprise someone you love – Take a moment to do something for someone you love. Send flowers, stop by to say hello, provide an act of service they weren’t expecting – whatever it is, offer a pleasant surprise to someone close to your heart.

Day 28 – Share your gratitude – Incorporate gratitude into a conversation you’re having, tell someone that you appreciate them, or just put good vibes into the air. Either way, spread thankfulness for what you have and encourage others to do the same.

Day 29 – Leave a “you’re beautiful” note on a bathroom mirror– Why do we look at ourselves in the mirror? To make sure we look good! Tape a note to a bathroom mirror (or any public mirror) to remind the person looking at themselves that they are beautiful.

Day 30 – Do an Instagram giveaway! – Who doesn’t love to win free stuff via Instagram? Today, give away something to one of your followers. It doesn’t have to be something crazy or big, just something to say that you appreciate the connection you have with other individuals via social media.

 

 

This list can be incorporated into your daily life or used specifically when you start to feel out of touch with humanity. Let’s start a kindness movement, one day at a time.

 

Share your experiences with me and hashtag #30daysofintentionalkindness on any of your social media posts pertaining to this post!

 

How to Have an Extra $365 at the End of the Year

How would you like a check at the end of the year for $365? What about a check for $500? $1000? The amount is up to you.

The post after this one will give the breakdown for a project I’m working on during the month of January called 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. The first day’s call to action is to share a piece of wisdom that can positively impact someone else.

The piece of wisdom I would like to pass on today is the importance of saving money and creating margin in your life. If you were to save $1 a day, at the end of the year you would have an extra $365. $10 a week gives you over $500 at the end of the year, and $80 a month gives you over $1000.

There is an app called Qapital that has totally changed the way I save money over the course of the past few months. I have previously written about it, so bare with me as this post will be very similar to one from October. This year I want to cultivate better saving habits and Qapital is helping me do it. This app is super easy to use and makes saving money a no brainer.

Here’s what you need to know about this method of saving money:

1. Install the app. It is currently only available to users in the United States, but it looks like they are working to expand in the near future.
2. Link the app to your bank account (it’s secured).
3. Set a goal, and decide which rule you would like to apply to your savings plan. This part is my favorite. There are so many rules you can choose from; pick one that best suits your goals and current financial status. For example, you can select a rule that makes it so every time you use your debit card, Qapital automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and saves that amount for you. So, if you spend $8.25 at the store, Qapital will round your purchase up to $9.00 and put the 75 cents into a secured savings for you. There are other rules that you can chose from such as automatically save a dollar (or more) a week, automatically set aside 30% of your earnings for taxes in the event that you are a freelancer, or even set up a reward system for when you hit your fitness goals.
4. You can withdraw your money at any time, even if you have not hit your goal amount yet. It does take up to 3 business days to see the money in your bank account.
5. It is free. There are no hidden costs. The company makes its money through a visa card they offer as an additional service. Qapital also has a version of overdraft protection, meaning that if there is less than $100 in your account, they will put a hold on any pending deposits until you have more than the minimum required amount of $100 in your bank account.

It’s that easy.
Realistically, what are the chances that you will miss an extra few cents when you’re already making a purchase? On the other side of it, those few cents can really add up when you save them. Imagine if you saved $3 a week using the round up rule. $3 a week x 52 weeks in a year is still an extra $156 in a year…$156 that you would have spent without even realizing it. The best part is, you are in control of how much you save. If you can afford to round up to $2 for every time you use your debit card, do that. If you can afford to put away $10 a week, do that. Even if you saved $1 a week for a year, you would still be saving money AND cultivating a habit that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
As I mentioned in my previous post about Qapital, this is not an ad. I would never endorse something I don’t actually use. As an added bonus, Qapital gives all of their users access to an invite code. This code will give you $5 to get you started toward your savings goals.
I hope this piece of information will be as beneficial to you as it was to me when I received it, and will kick off your 2018 savings in the most positive way.

100 Pieces of Wisdom from 2017

100 Pieces of Wisdom

One of the most beneficial things I did for myself this year (other than using a poster board to make a giant adventure list) was keeping a journal that I used to write down five things I learned over the course of the day. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t realize how valuable this would be to me so while I wish I could say I kept up with it daily, I did not. This is definitely a change I will make going into 2018, as I see now how much worth there is in keeping track of the lessons you’re learning.

The first 10 on the list are 10 of my personal, most noteworthy lessons from this year. 11-99 are the lessons of people whom I asked “what did you learn in 2017?” Some people answered this via social media, and some lessons are from my colleagues, classmates, family members, and friends. Some lessons are from the mouths of strangers whom I randomly selected in grocery stories, the gym, or wherever else I happened to be. The lessons are listed in no particular order.

I purposely left out any details about the speaker so we can all see just how similar we are in the things we have learned, despite any differences we may have. So often we miss out on our common ground because we too quickly assume there isn’t one. An example of that from this list are lessons number 14 & 28. The men who learned these things are different races, ages, from different socioeconomic statues, and different political parties yet they learned the same thing. Just a reminder to be open to any and every one – you never know who you can connect with and who you can learn from.

I am so appreciative of everyone who unselfishly shared their wisdom with me this year.

So…what did you learn in 2017?

1. Everything is an opportunity. Everything is an adventure. Everything is an experiment. Everything is an experience. If you approach everything you do with these four things in your mind, life is so much more fulfilling and so much less stressful. We’re here to learn and grow, not to be perfect. 

2. “What you dislike in another, be sure to correct in yourself.” For years this has been one of my most favorite quotes, but this year it really became a mantra I repeated in my head daily. This quote is basically a more poetic version of the Golden Rule. If you notice that someone does something that you don’t like, take special care to look inward and make sure you aren’t doing the same. 

3. It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up. In all things. It’s easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. It’s easy to keep up with your finances than it is to catch up once you’re already behind. It is easier to maintain a friendship/relationship than it is to try to salvage it once it’s broken. Etc, etc. Everything requires some form of sacrifice, but it’s much easier to make the sacrifice before you find yourself scrambling to resolve the issue. 

4. There are adventures to be had everywhere. I feel like people think you have to be in places like Jamaica or Europe just to have amazing experiences but truthfully, the spirit of adventure must live in the person, not the place. Be open to exploring where you are now. 

5. Know yourself and Be yourself. Fully and unapologetically. Yes, be willing to compromise, be willing to change, be willing to evolve and grow, but be bold enough to be yourself in the face of people who will indirectly try to change you because they don’t like themselves.

6. If you want to feel rich, create MARGIN. I read somewhere that ‘you don’t really have $100 until you have $200’ and it’s so true. The actual amount of money you have doesn’t even really matter…it’s more so about having wiggle room and the ability to not live from one dollar to the next. Create a savings account/savings plan and give yourself the gift of space to financially breathe. 

7. BALANCE is everything. It is also seemingly the hardest thing. All work and no play is a cause for burnout, but all play and no responsibility is empty and unfulfilling. 

8. Be intentional, be intentional, be intentional. In all things. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind at all times. Either you will control your life, or your life with control you. 

9. EVERYONE has problems. Don’t get caught up in comparisons with what you see online or anywhere else. Everyone has something going on that they’d rather no one know about. Don’t compare, do your best not to judge, just live and let live. 

10. God is real. I definitely knew this already, but every year He continues to show out in my life, reminding me that he knows me personally and intimately. I am so appreciative.

11. “You become what you believe! To own my life, be thankful, set boundaries & most importantly to see myself through my OWN eyes.”

12.”I learned that everything should be approached as an experiment. When things are an experiment, you have no expectations which equals no disappointment. Learn from your experiments, take chances. Grow and glow. Experiments are experiences.”

13. “I learned that you should not invest so much of yourself into others who wouldn’t do the same for you and (to) work more towards my happiness.”

14. “I learned that Donald Trump is evil.”

15. ” I’ve learned to let things go and just live life day by day. I feel like I spend too much time worrying about many (things) that were out of my control. I felt like I was just stressing myself out for over thinking things. Now I just let things be and I’m much happier.”

16. “That family is more important than work.”

17. “That some of the best places are the ones that are close by. Be open to going to places that are near you instead of thinking you have to go far to have an adventure.”

18. “I would have to say that love is love. I’m in a polyamorous relationship, so there’s 3 of us, and I’ve lost a lot of family and friends because of it. I’ve learned that if someone really loves you, they’ll just want you to be happy.”

19. “I learned the importance of the environment…like clean air, clean water, that kind of stuff.”

20. “Nothing. It was just a regular year.”

21. “I think my biggest lesson has been the importance of self care. We all know what self care is – making sure you give yourself care so you can keep taking care of others- but I think I’ve found it to be so much more dependent on knowing when to grant self-forgiveness. The constant voice calling yourself out, nitpicking your choices, and ever destined to make you think you either aren’t enough or you’re not doing good enough in life. I’ve learned to ask that voice what its intentions are. Is it really keeping me on track or is it the learned behavior from people of the past who always wanted to make you feel like you aren’t worth anything? You have to distinguish between the two and love the multifaceted self of highs and lows that you are if you ever want to embrace self-care.”

22. “I learned to be less rigid. and less judgmental. I’m really judgmental. and I mean, if it doesn’t affect my life, why am I even worrying about it?”

23. “Problems are a sign of life. You know how if you’re in the hospital and you flat line it’s because you’re dead? and if the lines are going up and down, it’s because you’re still alive.”

24. “Don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone is different. Just because someone you know is ahead of you, don’t rush to catch up to them. Do it at your own pace. Achieve your own goals in the best way that will be beneficial to you.”

25. “Don’t take everything so seriously. Everything is just kind of here and now.”

26. “As a nation, we need to build up our morality and tolerance. We need to be more connected and less separated.”

27. “I learned a lot about logotherapy, which is a type of therapy that helps people discover their ‘why.’ Viktor Frankl wrote a book about it and how the survivors of the Holocaust were able to make it through because they decided they had a reason to live. It can help a lot too with people who are suicidal, like you help them to uncover a reason they have to live and it can really change their lives. ”

28. “Don’t trust Donald Trump! Take away his ‘tweeter’…and I voted for him!”

29. “I learned that no matter how hard things might get or how bad things may seem it could always be worse. So have faith that it’s all a part of the process and if you believe it things will get better. Count your blessings, appreciate what you have, and keep positive thoughts through the ups and the downs. The key is be grateful.”

30. “I learned that kids are a pain in the butt.”

31. “One thing I learned in 2017 is to be patient with others and to not be so petty :).”

32. “Well, I do everything for everyone at home and I do so much for my friends and for everyone else and I realized that a lot of those people wouldn’t do the same for me. So I guess just not to let people take advantage of me.”

33. “If you’re stressed and you have a bit of a freak out, it’s okay.”

34. “I learned who my real friends are and not to trust nobody but myself, and I also learned whatever happened in the past I should forget and move on because it will make you miserable and I also learned to make time for people/friends.”

35. “Never beg for anyone’s attention…especially a significant other’s attention. It’s the easiest way to forget your worth and lose yourself. If someone isn’t willing to compromise to work on a relationship, let.it.go.”

36. ” One thing I learned this year was that I’m supposed to clean when my parents aren’t home (apparently).”

37. “Nothing has meaning except the meaning that you give it.”

38. “This year has shown me, more than anything, that the ways forward are through patience, kindness and love.”

39. “I learned not to compare anyone else’s success to my own, to not get discouraged or unmotivated. One’s journey is not my own journey. I still have days where I struggle with this A LOT, but I try my best to snap out of it and instead get INSPIRED. I’m learning to take action in my plans…I really believe in myself now.”

40. “The people you trust the most will (screw) you over the hardest.”

41. “Not to judge. Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you just never really know.”

42. “I learned that you’ve got to be grateful for what you have.”

43. “Sometimes you learn more by failing.”

44. ” The main thing that I’ve learned is that life will go on with or without me. It keeps me motivated and reminds me that I have no choice but to pick up the pieces of my life if I want to succeed. Learning who I am has also been one of the biggest lessons in my life. No one is going to live MY life so I cannot rely on others opinions to dictate my likes, dislikes, and actions. Life is ultimately a game of trial and error, and the beauty of that is it makes you more humble and enlightened about life. Last but not least, I learned that EVERYTHING that happens to me is a blessing, whether it be good or bad, it’s a blessing in the end. It may not seem like it, but trust me God will never give you a load that He doesn’t believe you can handle and he also gives His toughest soldiers the hardest battles. Hardships will reveal to you the things about yourself that you may not even have known, such as strength, integrity, and resilience. They will make you stronger and a better you.”

45. “I learned that life is short.”

46. “One thing I have learned in 2017 was to be more patient with others and not over think too much of things or problems because it will get better sooner or later. Also just to be more kind and happy with everything.”

47. “Things can get better as they slowly piece themselves together.”

48. “I learned that life is not a race and everyone will accomplish their goals on their own time. Someone my age may be further ahead in college than me but that doesn’t mean I’m behind. Everyone has their own path to follow and there is no right or wrong way to follow it.

49. “I learned I need more money.”

50. ” You can’t always make everyone happy and sometimes, in order to make the right choices for yourself, you may lose a couple of people but that’s okay because it all works out in the end.”

51. “If it’s expired, just don’t eat it.”

52. “Don’t trust anyone fully.”

53. “Sometimes the opportunities in front of you, are only for you. As a giver it is hard at times to not think of the next person who is in need, how you can “split” your opportunity to give everyone a slice – but, now it is time to accept that it is okay to receive during your harvest. So, accept your harvest. After all, after so much sowing, you should be confident in what is reaped.”

54. “I learned that God is the best dad ever.”

55. “Well, I discovered Red Rock Canyon in Vegas and I never knew that was there! It’s at the north end of The Strip and it’s like a mini Grand Canyon. It’s a 13 mile loop and you can hike it or drive it. Oh and don’t trust politicians. But I already knew that.”

56. “I learned you can’t lick your own elbow.”

57. “One thing I have learned in 2017, and that I keep learning, is to live life because time does go by fast. Also, spending time with family and friends means a lot.”

58. “A solid lesson I learned this year, is that everything you do in life is an investment. So whatever choices you make, you should always make sure it will add value to your life, or will help you somehow in the future. Pretty much I learned to stop wasting my energy on irrelevant things.”

59. “I learned that it’s okay not to be okay.”

60. “I’ve learned to focus more on life’s journey than its destination. We all get so focused on our huge dreams and goals (don’t get me wrong, that’s amazing), but we tend to forget to enjoy the journey and paths we take and the way God leads us so we can reach our destinations. I’ve learned to take deep breaths and allow myself to be present in everything that I do.”

61. “The importance of learning to adapt. I had a hard year, and I moved a lot so yea, just learning to adapt.”

62. ” One thing that I truly learned from 2017 is to never end my life just because of a situation that I feel like is never going to go away. Multiple times I wanted to just cut the cord, but I know God has something in store for me in the future.”

63. “I learned not to care about anyone’s opinion. I learned to be happy with myself in order to be happy with the world. I learned that I don’t need any negative vibes or people in my life & because those negative people are unhappy with their lives, they try to bring everyone else down.”

64. “Weddings are expensive.”

65. “The most important thing that I learned is that having a great support system such as family is huge and important. My family means the world to me and nothing feels better than seeing everyone succeed and happy.”

66. “I’m starting to realize that all my sadness and loneliness is a figment of my imagination and it’s not reality.”

67. “The life we are living now is not all there is! We all are patiently waiting for something better! and it will come this year. We all had highs and lows but look at us, we are still here alive and living life grateful for each and every day. We have to try and praise god and try to encourage someone else to keep fighting and being the best they can be! We are all human and no one’s better than the next, we are all in this race together! Nobody can do it on their own. We all need each other!”

68. “Stay healthy and don’t eat a lot of bad snacks.”

69. “Don’t be afraid to put your foot down.”

70. ” According to the girl at the hair academy who cut my hair today, you’re supposed to shampoo with hot water and condition with cold water.”

71. “I learned that your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. That what you’ve been through doesn’t mean your broken forever and that the non acceptance from man (the world) doesn’t make you any less worthy to have the desires of your heart. We go through situations to grow, to be better, to do better, and that doesn’t have to define you but choose to let it shine upon you.”

72. “You have to be good with yourself before you can be good with others.”

73. “In 2017 I learned that people come and go, but the ones who stay (through everything) are only going to keep growing with you, and make you a better person in the long run.”

74. “Never give up on your dreams.”

75. “Don’t trust anyone. I mean, it’s kind of every man for himself.”

76. “Working hard really does pay off.”

77. “I learned that things will break you and things will be hard and there are gonna be crazy obstacles to get over whether it’s getting a new job, finishing school, getting over your ex, or even working out family issues. BUT it is definitely in your hands to pick up those pieces and learn from your failures/mistakes/difficulties and keep moving forward. You could sit around and feel sorry for yourself orrrr you can get up and switch things around, do something different, work towards taking steps toward your goals. It’s a lot easier said than done but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?”

78. “I learned to live in the moment.”

79. “Dreams are worthless without action.”

80. ” I’m turning into my mother…and that’s more than okay.”

81. “That people are really mean. Especially in politics, like you can disagree and still get along. And I also learned that there are people with big hearts, you seem them helping in natural disasters and it’s like there’s hope. Mean people over here, hope over here.”

82. “Take it one day at a time with having a goal in your mind.”

83. “Not all your friends are actually your friends.”

84. “You will gain so much in life if you have self-confidence, self-love, and self-care.

85. “To not fear failure. To be okay to fail. I had a professor who purposely made the first test so hard so that everyone would fail. He curved the test so everyone still passed, but he said you have to learn to fail and then learn how to pick yourself back up. Also, that sometimes you just have to slow down.”

86. “Trade your expectations for appreciation.”

87. “I learned that my family is pretty awesome.”

88. “In 2017 I learned to just not care about the small things, and I should focus on bettering myself.”

89. “I learned how to push myself past my limits. A friend once said ‘sometimes you are like a glow stick, you can never shine until you break yourself open.”

90. “Well, I just got married! So I would say learning to be selfless. Patience is another form of selflessness, because when you’re being patient you’re thinking about the other person and not about yourself.”

91. “You can’t be stressed and grateful at the same time. When you get stressed, just automatically think of something you’re grateful for.”

92. “How to not only manage my time, but how to know what are wants and what are needs.”

93. “When you do something, it will always come (back to you) in return even if it’s good or bad.”

94. “This year I have learned that I am my biggest obstacle. I always talk about the things that I want to do and I either don’t start them or complete them. I let fear, doubt and anxiety take over instead of putting my trust in God and realizing that with him anything is possible. I made the decision to work on my blog towards the end of this year and I set small goals for myself to accomplish and it’s officially almost done. I’m learning that consistency is key and I have to just keep working towards my goals.”

95. “Forgiveness is necessary.”

96. “Some time at the gym is better than no time at the gym.”

97. “Time heals everything, and everything gets better even though it takes a while.”

98. “Different things will speak to you at different times.”

99.  “Make sure your goals align with your heart.”

100. “God’s got it.”

 

Goal Writing for the New Year

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In 2017 I committed to making no New Years resolutions.

I know not only statistically, but also personally, that making New Years resolutions rarely ever  works or leads to actual results. Instead, I told myself that I was going to focus on self-growth, allowing myself to evolve naturally through the experiences of this year.

So, as with anything else, I made a giant list on a poster board of all the things I wanted to accomplish, try, or experience in 2017. I looked through magazines, Pinterest, various websites, anything that triggered any kind of inspiration and considered what would be valuable enough for me to put my energy towards. I wrote everything down and then crossed things off the list as I did them. This process turned out to be one of the best, most fun things I could have done for myself. It kept me intentional all year long, gave me things to look forward to, challenged me, and pretty much did away with any possibility of boredom because I always had ideas on hand. A lot of people follow this same concept with pictures (as you are essentially making a vision board), but I connect better with words, hence the list.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your own list:

  1. Write it all down – Have you been wanting to try out a new restaurant? Write it down. Have you noticed a character flaw in yourself that you’ve been wanting to improve on? Put it on the list. Are there people in your life you’ve been wanting to spend more time with? Add it to your board. My goals ranged from “Get closer to God” to “Watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies” and everything in between. No goal or desire is too small or too big. Just write it all down.
  2. No pressure – This list is meant to be personal. There is no right or wrong way to do it; you are doing it for you. It doesn’t matter how many things are on your list or how many things you do or do not accomplish by the end of the year. It doesn’t matter if you share it with others or keep it to yourself. It is simply a way to remind yourself of the things you want and to keep you on track.
  3. Focus – I look at my list daily and keep a picture of it in my phone for when I’m not home. This helps me to stay focused on the things I’ve written down. You will either control your day, or your day will control you. When you have something to focus on, you are more likely to better utilize your time and resources.
  4. Include things that you have no idea how you will accomplish – If you know how everything will work out, there is neither faith or adventure involved. When you include things that are your true desires and you put prayer, positive energy, and hard work into seeing them manifest, life has a funny way of conspiring to ensure that they do. I included things like “Positively impact at least 100 people” and “Find my area of competence.” I had no idea how either of those things would come to be, but as the year progressed, I found myself in positions that allowed me to spread positivity and love in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Toward the last few months of the year I started to feel like maybe I had found my thing as far as what I feel I am best at. Two of next years goals stem from these goals and are written on my 2018 board as “Positively impact at least 1,000 people” and “develop and master my area of competence (creativity, connection, and positivity). I have no idea how I will do either of those things, I just know that I will.
  5. Don’t worry about rank or order – For some people this won’t be a problem, but I feel this is important to mention for anyone who is super particular like me. The point of this list isn’t to try to get things done in any kind of order or pattern; it is more important that you let your ideas come naturally and write them down as you think of them.
  6. Leave room for the unexpected – Through this process, I found that many of the things on my list ended up being things I didn’t really care about doing, which worked out in my benefit because I was able to disregard them before doing them and instead put my energy toward something else. I also found that there were things I ended up serendipitously accomplishing in ways different than I had originally imagined. For example, number 81 on my list read “Get a new car (Maserati Ghibli).” I didn’t end up getting a Maserati, but I did unexpectedly get a new car that is not only beautiful, but works so much better for me at this stage in my life. Depending on the length and depth of your list, leave room to be okay with not crossing everything off. My 2017 list was 123 lines long- many of the things I listed did not get done. However, I still did many additional things that were not originally listed, and I know for a fact that I would have accomplished so much less had I not made a list at all. Go with the flow, this is all a learning and growing process.

 

If you’re looking to make next year full of growth, adventures, and intentionality, grab a poster board and get to writing. May the coming year, be our best year yet.

Do You Watch Your Language?

What kind of words come out of your mouth the most frequently?

In focusing on being keenly aware of the energy I give and receive, I’ve started paying special attention to the things I say. What I mean by this is I’ve started being consciously aware of how often I use positive words and how often I use negative words.

Take your average day into account. How often do you use the words (or words similar to) “beautiful, amazing, grateful, blessed, thankful, incredible, faith, hopeful, appreciate, wonderful, great, happy, funny, inspiring, creative, love” or any other word or phrase that has a strong association with positivity?

Now, consider how often you use the words (or words similar to) ” bad, sucks, broke, hate, poor, unhappy, never, failure, sick, won’t, can’t, stupid, ugly, worthless, stressed” or any other word or phrase that is strongly associated with negativity? Which of the those words do you most often use to describe your life? More importantly,  which of those words do you most often use to describe yourself? 

Of course there are times when certain words are indeed accurate in their descriptions ( if you have the flu, of course you are “sick”), and it is absolutely crucial that we all live our truths (if you’re overwhelmed, feeling “stressed” is completely valid). I’m not talking about the words we use to describe occurrences that happen now and again; I’m talking about the ways we habitually speak about life as a whole.

Writer Anaïs Nin said ” we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” How often in your day do you intentionally focus on finding something that is beautiful? How often in your day do you say “thank you” out loud? How often do you pay a compliment? It is in the average, seemingly ordinary moments that we have the power to create our own reality. Speak what you want to see.

The more positivity you speak, the more you notice it from others. My mind has become sensitized to goodness; if you’re speaking positivity, I’m automatically listening. Consequently, negativity is less able to reach me – my brain either begins to filter it in order to find the good that can be pulled from it or it just begins to tune it out. The opposite also holds true for the person whose main focus is on the negative. You get to choose which life you will live; do you want to be tuned into positivity and unavailable to negativity, or do you want to be tuned into negativity and unavailable to positivity?

We have the power to be great and add greatness into our world beginning with the things we say.  Let’s speak life into all of our situations and then go out and flourish.