think on these things

Disclaimer: I wrote most of this draft in January and just came back to see that I never finished it!! So much for the record (see below) ūüôā

 

I’m about to set a record here- 3 posts in one month!

I don’t really have a ton to say here, other than I am feeling pretty optimistic about life right now (and secretly I want to set my record-haha). I am still getting used to Bluffton, still a bit sad that I can’t see my friends all the time now, but I don’t want to waste (more) time being sad and complaining – out loud OR in my mind- about where I live when people ask me how it is going down here.

One of my favorite books is The 4:8 Principle. ¬†My friend Jane Ann introduced it to me, and it’s one of those books that I should just put on a yearly rotation and make sure that I revisit often. ¬†The book is based on a scripture: Philippians 4:8, which says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In a nutshell, think about the good things. I’m not saying to be in denial about real circumstances or live in la-la land and act like hard things don’t exist in life. But don’t dwell on negative circumstances and thoughts, or even worries about the future. ¬†Easier said than done right?

If we think negative things, aren’t we going to live a negative life ? For example, ¬†if I say to those around me, “well there’s not much to do here, and the beach is really far away”, it’s going to be a self fulfilling prophecy! ¬†After telling myself and my friends that time and again, I start to really embrace that belief as truth. ¬†I may resign myself to not making any friends here because there’s “nothing to do”,¬†and start believing¬†that the 30 minute drive is not worth the amazing breeze, the smell and sound of the ocean, and the feel of sand beneath my feet at the closest beach.

Honestly, I didn’t even know until a few years ago that the things that we think are a CHOICE. ¬†I believed that my thoughts just¬†happened-¬†consequently my attitudes just¬†happened, and I was at the mercy of what my brain wanted to do and how it wanted to see things!

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, so I don’t recall the exact steps that we have to begin taking in order to control our thoughts. But the point is, IT’S POSSIBLE! ¬† ¬†One example I do remember from The 4:8 Principle is this: imagine you are at the circus. ¬†As one act ends, the tent darkens and a spotlight illuminates the gal walking the tightrope. ¬†All eyes are on her, focused on the spectacle. When her act is over, the tent brightens, and everything else in the ring has been completely changed and set up during the tightrope act. ¬†What you didn’t see as you watched the gal walk the tightrope were all of the crew, dressed in black, hurrying to disassemble the old props and put the new ones into place. ¬†Why didn’t you notice? Because the spotlight focused your attention on something other than what was going on in the shadows. ¬†Focus.

The thoughts that go through our mind don’t just happen to be there. We get to choose the things that we hold in our minds, the things that we focus on. Let’s face it, we are ALWAYS inside our own heads. ¬†It not easy to control our thoughts, or pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, if you will, but that awareness of the choice we have is actually life-changing. Does it take practice? Definitely. Are negative thought patterns and habits hard to break? Absolutely! But in my very limited experience of this process- stopping a negative spiral, speaking words of truth to myself, replacing those negative thoughts- I have seen enough of a change in my own attitude and mental health – and ¬†therefore my trajectory in life!- to say YES it is worth the effort!

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My favorite to-do list

Last year was a wonderful year. ¬†2015 was the BEST. It was a big one, and a busy one. ¬†I moved out of a house I loved (traumatic!) because my dear friend and roommate Austin got married, I got engaged, planned our wedding, left a city I have lived in and loved for ten years, and got married. ¬†Four of my closest friends also got married, two got pregnant (and one gave birth last week!), and another gave birth to miracle twins! It was such an eventful, busy, happy year for many friends in my circle. ¬†Needless to say, between wedding planning and my THREE moves, I didn’t have as much time as usual to be social, have fun with my local friends, or keep in touch with my out-of-town friends.

I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions this year, because I like to really think about it and consider changes I want to make in my life, and not make impulsive, overly ambitious goals without a game plan, only to fail within a few weeks. ¬†This year we were really busy with Enrique’s family being in town, and ringing in the New Year in Orlando (hooray for Disney!) that I didn’t make the time to do it. ¬†I did get my first set of Powersheets by Laura Casey that I am planning on starting this week. ¬†My Make It Happen¬†binder¬†is going to be my¬†whole year resolution, not just the¬†new year resolution. ¬†Anyway, ¬†I know that one thing this year will hold for me is more communication with my friends.

I have those days or weeks when I get to feeling¬†out of sorts, or lonely, or thinking that my life is not much fun, I will realize that I haven’t seen or spoken to my friends in too long! And when we do get together, or Skype, or even talk on the phone, I feel so much happier. ¬†It’s such an elementary principle that you would think would not be hard to remember: talk to your friends= feel less lonely. ¬†Once when I was reminded of this yet AGAIN, I thought, I am going to write down the names of my closest friends and place it in a visible spot, so when I have a minute, I will just give her a call and say hi. ¬†It’s an odd thing in a way- do I really need to have a to-do list to call my friends?! Apparently so!

This quote from It’s a Wonderful Life came up today on my timehop from five years ago (one of my favorite apps): “Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends”. ¬†In the past, I have not had a great track record of keeping in touch with folks who are far away, with the exception of my immediate family. Even then, I feel like I am out of touch sometimes. ¬†I have made the statement “I’m just bad at keeping in touch” as if it’s something I can’t change, or that I should just accept and deal with the consequences, but I know that is not the truth.

I always read¬†those articles that interview people nearing the end of their lives, where they talk about what they would do differently if they could have a re-do. I am a huge fan. ¬†Part of the reason I like them is that it confirms some things that I¬†think I know about life. But like my grandpa always said, in principle, I know these things! ¬†But¬†in practice¬†they are not always acted upon. ¬†So for some reason, when someone who is on their deathbed, or at least who has outlived many friends, is quoted as saying, “I wish I had kept in touch with my friends”, or “I wish I had put more time into my relationships”, it really kind of smacks me in the face! I mean, our days are numbered here!

I have so many amazing individuals¬†in my life and I know¬†people are the absolute most valuable things here on this earth. I am determined to make my relationships a priority this year. ¬†Maybe it could be taken as an insult- that I have to make a to-do list in order to keep in touch with important people in my life. But it’s not as much a to-do list as it is a visual reminder that I am rich in the things that matter most.

 

At least I am consistent. . .

…in how often I write a post! Apparently I get the urge to write a blog post about once a year, in the winter. Ha! So much has changed since I first started this blog, though it is not recorded here ūüôā well, once a year is better than never, right?

I read other women’s blogs, and I think, “I could do that”! And then I don’t. What the heck. I suppose it is like other goals that I’ve had. When I picture myself carrying out said goal, I am doing it successfully, obviously, and I’m loving it, all sorts of other amazing things going on, and I’m having such a great impact on those around me.‚Ķ but I don’t actually have a PLAN or a concrete measurable goal in mind. So it never happens. And then one day I think, wow, I was so excited about (fill in the blank) when I had the idea, and then the excitement just fizzled away, partially because I didn’t take the time or make the effort of PLANNING to accomplish it. The story of my life.

My husband and I were actually just talking about that last night, on a broader scale, and it got me down for sure. I have struggled with the consequences of being a “laid-back” and “flexible” person all my life! At any given point in my life, I haven’t had TOO much of a plan, or thought TOO far into the future (besides when I married my love). The problem is, as I have grown up, lived with roommates as an adult, and gotten married, I realize that I’m NOT actually as laid back as I once thought I was! Sure, I still don’t really plan too far in advance, but I also REALLY like to have things done MY WAY and have a really hard time with spontaneity sometimes, to the dismay of my husband. So maybe I’ve been using the wrong words to describe myself this whole time. Maybe I am actually just pessimistic, or lazy, or scared, or a control freak, not very bright or . . . a combination of all of those things!

Maybe it sounds like I’m being hard on myself, and I know if you’re reading this mom and dad, that you’ll be quick to tell me how great I am ūüėČ But this is something that I’ve struggled with quite a bit, specifically when it comes to my (lack of) career achievements. In college, I studied what interested me, what I was good at, what I got excited about. I did study abroad because it was something I had wanted to do since I took my first French class in ninth grade. I took a trip to Cuba to learn about the diplomatic relationship between the US and Cuba and it’s effects. But I didn’t make a plan. I didn’t do any internships. I didn’t volunteer in related fields. I didn’t go to grad school. I KNEW (as much as any 19-21 year old KNOWS anything) I didn’t want to teach French or be in business. I wanted to help people, make the world a better place. I thought, who wouldn’t want to hire a gal who loves people and just wants to help others, who doesn’t need a big salary, who isn’t picky about what she’s doing as long as it’s something productive? Well, a lot of people, apparently. Every time I am job-searching, I think, WHY didn’t I just get an education degree to go along with that French degree, just to be prepared? WHY didn’t I get a business degree to go along with that International Studies degree so that I could have a practical way to put that liberal arts degree to use?

What-ifs and regrets about the past are tricky. This morning I woke up crabby because after that conversation last night, I laid awake worrying that I’m not doing anything important and I’ll get to the end of my life regretting many missed chances. ¬†But Enrique believes that I need to use this frustration as a motivation for my future. ¬†Use the energy that I put into feeling sad/mad/regretful/disappointed into brainstorming, making a plan, and achieving my goals. ¬†So that’s what I’m going to do. One of the many ways I’ve seen that two are better than one. And that’s the truth ūüôā

Way way back

Welllll…..almost a year has gone by since my second and most recent blog post! I was pleasantly surprised to find that I¬†had in fact written more than one post ! It is definitely fun to look back and see what you’ve written in the past, though obviously that doesn’t amount to much as far as this blog in concerned.¬† I did however keep up relatively well with a daily “journal” that I found on Pinterest.¬† For every day of the year, you have a notecard¬†that you write the events of your day. Sometimes one sentence, sometimes a near endless list of the events that transpired that day.¬† I kept up with it for about 3/4 of the year (with the help of old text messages that helped me remember what I did those days I skipped over).¬†You can continue for as many years as you have room for on that notecard and Voila!!¬† You¬†have your own¬†DIY Timehop (which incidentally I recently discovered and fell in love with)!¬† So far it has¬†been fun to look back to the events of last year and remember all of the fun things, the transitions, the new friendships I made.¬† So, wish me luck on keeping up on my cards!!

Clean

As you may know, I recently read a book called Clean.  In a nutshell, it is about eliminating toxins from our bodies that we encounter through our foods and environments and replacing them with the nutrients that heal and rebuild our insides.  I was HOOKED on this book.  The author, Dr. Alejandro Junger, explains the amazing functions that our bodies perform with the fuel we feed them.  He also explains the damage that we do with the food we eat that are not so healthy.

The idea is¬†that the food that we consume¬†now is far from the food our bodies were¬†made¬†to digest.¬† The addition of preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, genetically modified produce, chemicals, and sugars just to¬†name a few, has¬†caused an increase in obesity, disease, and cancer; if we’re not affected by one of these issues, most of us likely encounter food allergies or a number of other health problems of which we can’t quite determine the cause.

In my mind, Dr. Junger’s book can be summed up in two main points:

1) We need to eliminate toxins in as many areas as we can (a majority of them occur in our diets) and replace food that lack nutrients with fresh and nutrient dense foods!

2) Our bodies need sufficient rest from the work of digesting food to allow the natural detoxification process to occur.

So, after a few days of working on incorporating the Elimination Diet, and being derailed by (free) brownies and pizza at work, I had received my Vitacost goods and was ready to start!!

Unfortunately… it’s time for me to get ready for work. To be continued! I know you’re on the edge of your seats ūüėČ

Shhh… do you hear that?

…It’s the winds of change.¬† Today marks the end of a three year chapter in my life-my last day working at Starbucks!¬†¬†The past¬†two weeks have been a time for me to look back and see how far I have come since my first day as a barista. If you’re asking yourself how far that could really be, I can assure you, it’s enough to prompt this blog! I won’t get into it ALL now, but it’s my reason #1.

Despite my record as an inconsistent and aimless journal-er (there’s got to be a better way to say that), I realize the value in having written word to look back on. You know, the value of the moments when you re-read to what you wrote a month ago,¬†a year¬†ago, or longer, and you think, wow, I was SO smart/ crazy/ hopeful/ brave/¬†clueless back then! I love that moment when you learn something about yourself, about someone else, or about the world around you.¬†To me,¬†those moments and lessons are ingrained in us even more when we have the words in front of us instead of just thoughts in our heads. So my primary reason in starting this blog is as a record for myself.¬† I have high hopes that I will be more consistent, if not more concise in my writing.

Secondly,¬† I generally try not to engage in online conflict- political, religious, or otherwise.¬† It seems to me that¬†any given comment or opinion¬†thrown out to 650 facebook friends is bound to offend SOMEONE,¬†and my rational is this: if I write something¬†HERE that offends you, and¬†you are actually reading this right now, you are probably either¬†a blood relative¬†or a very close friend, and you will love me anyway ūüôā¬†¬†Unlike the 658-wait 657- of my closest Facebook “friends”.

Thirdly,¬†I think blogging is cool.¬† I love the community that is formed by people expressing themselves in this form.¬† I think it’s so great how every blogger has his or her own interests and experience.¬†The bonds that are formed when one person finds some reflection of themselves in another are so cool.¬† Like C.S Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one”.

And that, my friends, is why I decided to start writing. The end ūüôā