Finding Purpose

Why You Shouldn’t Share All Your Resolutions

Hey there 🙂

Welcome back to my blog faithful followers, or hello for the first time to any newcomers! I hope you decide to stay and chat awhile with me. Today, we’re talking about, you guessed it, resolutions.

january-first-new-years-resolution

By now, you might be a little sick of the word (don’t worry, I am too–I actually don’t believe in the whole resolution thing, but that’s another story). Whether you wrote them off a week ago, banned them from your life, or are still strictly sticking to ’em, resolutions are pretty much everywhere right now.

Your’s may be a health journey, mentally or physically–or both. It might be a promise to quit an addiction. A vow to your significant other. Goals for your blog. Whatever it may be, it is a resolution or goal that you’ve set for you.

That’s right. For you.

Which is why I want to caution you against sharing your goals with just anyone and everyone.

In a lot of cases, accountability is a great thing. Going to the gym, for instance, is a whole lot easier and more enjoyable when you’re implementing the buddy system.

But when your resolution, your goal, is just a wee itty bitty baby, not even taking its first steps yet, sharing it with the world could actually damage it.

book_writing

Just today, when I got home from school, I made the mistake of sharing a new character idea for a book I’m writing with my brother. I ignored that teeny voice in my head that was warning me not to, because I was so desparate for someone else’s affirmation. Here’s what was wrong with sharing this part of my goal (i.e. writing a book):

  • Yes, I have mentioned to both family and friends (and on here with you guys) that I one day want to write a book. Though I have been very vague on here, I’ve been sharing with my immediate family the details of this book. I don’t know about you, but my family is very critical. And when these ideas for my story are precious newborns, if I rely on my family’s approval to determine whether they live or die, it is so detrimental. The problem is that I am seeking other’s justification for what I am doing for myself. My goal is for me–just like your goal is for you, no one else. It’s tempting in the beginning to share, I know. It is so hard not to spread your enthusiasm with every ear in listening range. And that’s a good feeling! I’m glad you’re excited–as well you should be 🙂 But protect that excitement from the cold of the outside. Don’t let your newborn baby freeze to death before it can even crawl.

You will face opposition. You will face judgements. People will ask why in the world you want to do that, they’ll rub their noses at you and tell you it’s no good, it’ll never work out.

That’s what my brother did.

Against all better judgement, I presented this newborn character idea to him–nonchalantly on the outside, like I didn’t care what he thought, though I was, of course, begging him to like it on the inside. Like any wonderful, loving younger brother, his answer was “Cool! You’ve got this sis!”

Yeah.

Right.

No, like any real brother the first word’s out of Danny’s mouth were: “You know how hard it’s gonna be to get them to publish you right?” (I’d told him the specific publisher I have in mind. Another mistake, obviously.)

baby_steps1

That one question, paired with his bad attitude, came this close to squashing my poor baby into oblivion. All because I was sharing what I shouldn’t have been.

Until you have grown the maturity to back up your resolution or goal, don’t share it with everybody. Maybe don’t even share it with your family–maybe especially don’t share it with your family. If you’re going to share it, only share with a select few people you trust to both give you honest feedback and kind encouragement:

  • You see, constructive criticism can be a beautiful thing for a goal–it can transform an inkling into action, a newborn into an infant. The right criticism can open your eyes to some of the mistakes you may be making. But because the criticism is coming from the right person/people, it builds you up where others might tear you down.

Right now, I don’t really have anyone to share my manuscript with. Not anyone who would build me up, anyway. While I’ve got–and you’ve got–a Father who delights in every single one of our dreams and cheers at every baby step we take, for now I can’t share my goals with anyone else. You may not have anyone else either.

And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s better to let our goals grow bigger and stronger before we let them walk on their own. If not sharing your resolutions means you won’t be at risk of letting somebody else destroy them, then it’s not a bad thing to keep them to yourself. It’s actually a beneficial thing–it’s not their goal anyway, they shouldn’t get to tear it down!

I do believe in the power of friendship and community, even if it didn’t sound like it I promise lol. And because of that, I am asking for a little help. (Which is taking more guts than it probably should.) The book I’m writing is geared towards young adult girls, like 12+, but I don’t have anyone that age around me to read and contstructively criticize. What are your suggestions? Anywho, thank you all so much for reading! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

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Body Image

5 Tips to Combat Overeating

You did it again.

You’re sitting, staring at an empty bag of chips. An empty tub of ice cream. An empty pie plate.

You don’t know how it happened again, but it did. Now, all you know is the guilt sitting as heavy in your stomach as the frozen lump of mint chocolate chip.

I’ve been there too. For me, it was triggered by a cranky sweet tooth and a severe case of boredom.

First, I’d have a bite of the chocolate bar in the fridge. One bite would turn into half the King size bar. Second, it’d be a couple chips to combat the sickly sweet with some salt. Then, next thing I know I’ve eaten half the family size bag, some crackers, and a handful of pretzels. And I don’t even remember what most of it tasted like. After the flavor faded, it became purely mouth feel, eating to fill the void.

Do you want to stop the vicious cycle? Do you want a healthier relationship with food?

I know I did, every time I found myself staring at the decimated remains of my binge–which was, naturally, followed by forbidding myself from eating anything else the rest of the day. But if you’ve been there, you know it’s not as easy as simply stopping.

It’s taken me a year to develop a healthy relationship with the food I put it my body. A long, long year of so many trials and a much larger number of errors that I can’t possibly name them all. And because I know people just like that me, people like you right now, suffer that same cycle of eating-and-punishing, I want to give you some tips I’ve learned to combat overeating:

(As always my friends, I am not a professional, certified health expert or dietition. These are just my own opinions and things that have worked for me–and will hopefully work for you.)

Out of sight, out of mind:

This was, and still is, the most essential to me. If you get home from work and there’s a box of cookies right there on the counter, how much more likely are you to just grab a cookie… and then two… and then three, before you dig into the fridge for something healthy? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Make your home a safe zone. There are enough temptations on your way to school/work, at school/work, and then on the way back home again that you shouldn’t have to also fight them at home. During a moment of sheer willpower, toss out all the chips and cookies and crap that’s sitting around. If it’s not there, you won’t be able to eat and then binge on it now will you?

Don’t wait until you’re starving:

Your stomach’s announcing the mating call of a humpback whale. The TV is blaring doughnut ads. Your coworker is chowing down on Domino’s. Then, he offers you half.

What do you do?

See, when you’re hungry, those brave resolutions you made somehow magically vanish. Poof! Your self-control weakens to a point of nonexistence. This is the thing that can still get me today if I’m not careful. Therefore, I don’t go more than two hours between meals. For some of you, this might sound crazy–and for you, it might be. I eat a bunch of smaller meals throughout the day, but you may need the routine of a standard “three meals a day”. Find what works for you. Just let it be what keeps you satisfied enough between meals that you can, even reluctantly, say no to that sprinkle-covered confection.

Change of scenery:

You know the spot. In my case, it’s the end seat at the kitchen island. This spot is where every single one of my binges have occured–and can still occur, if I’m not careful. Maybe it’s your sofa, your bed, or your dining room chair; wherever the spot, pinpoint where you tend to be when you fall prey to your unhealthy eating habits.

Now, you know the spot. Next, walk away from it. Leave the binges there. Leave the cycle there.

Find a different spot. I merely moved one seat to the left at the island. Sounds silly, right? But it works. You see, you play with your brain when you eat in a different location. You’re no longer at the “scene of the crime” anymore, and if you don’t repeat the bad habit you started out with, your brain won’t know to send the message to mindlessly stuff your face with Doritos. It sounds so small, but try it. You’ll see the difference it makes.

Take a breath:

One of my dad’s most common statements throughout all of my childhood was “Breath Jordan! Taste your food.”

I wish I had listened sooner.

I don’t know if it was because I didn’t want my food to go cold, I don’t know if I constantly had something else I wanted to do after my meal, I don’t know why, but for some reason I have a horrible tendency to shovel food in without thought. This is something I’ve only very recently begun to battle. However, the importance of chewing more and pausing for breath is highly significant.

When we’re just shoveling food in mindlessly, we’re not truly paying attention to what we’re putting in our bodies. Food is fuel. A bag of Lays honey-barbeque is not going to nourish you or energize you for the day. But if you sit down on the couch, TV on, one hand scrolling through Instagram and one hand immersed in a chips bag, you’re not going to think about it. You’re going to grab, chew, repeat.

The purposeful mentality you’re attempting to cultivate is so much deeper and I won’t go into detail here, but it all starts with a breath. Take five seconds–that’s it, five seconds.

1… 2… 3… 4… 5.

Stop and actually think about what you’re eating. Think about if you want to continue down that awful binge or starvation spiral.

“Put the spork down”:

Rio 2 had it right here.

You can even time it with your breaths–every time you take a breath, set your spoon/fork down. Or vice versa. Whichever. The point is to disengage your fingers from the utensil. This goes right along with purposefulness, mindfulness, and taking breaths.

Meals were never meant to be mindless snacking. Filling the void. Repairing a broken heart. These are all holes in our lives Jesus wants to fill with his love ❤︎  These are not holes meant to be filled with food, but somehow, that’s what happens. I am just as guilty of it as you. I’m going to do it again, I’m going to mess up–and so are you. Sure, you can look up all the “Quick Fix”‘s you want, try all the diets, and buy all the fitness programs. But until you make the choice for yourself to eat healthier and love your body, none of it will work.

It’s not a quick fix. Mistakes are as much a part of the process as the workouts and the healthy eating. Heck, they might even be more important, because that’s how we learn. You will fall. It won’t be easy.

But it will be worth it.

Let me know if any of these tips helped you! Health journeys are hard, and all the diet fads choking us on social media today aren’t helping. You’ve got this though; I believe in you! You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

 

Battling Depression

8 Promises for Your Suffering Today

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
  4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  8. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Hey there!

So, as some of you may have noticed, this week has been a busy one for me! It was the first week back to school–new classes, adjusting schedules, handling our mini-farm, new people; pretty much sums up the transition into a New Year, don’t you think? We enter January with this bubbling, “Get it done!” attitude–which makes it so much harder when things go downhill.

As most of us know, the post-Christmas season is the most depressed season of the year (“It’s the sad, saddest season, of allllll”). Winter blues combined with a dose of debt does not a happy you make (what is that phrase from anyway? do any of you know?). So, when we’re already stressing about money and bills and wondering how things could possibly get worse…

You guessed it. They somehow do.

Even if you’re one of the few who are feeling fine and things are going great, I know you have still suffered at some point in your life–whether you’re 13 years old or 73 years old. And no doubt you’ll suffer again (sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound as gloom and doom as it did, I just mean that we all know life ain’t easy).

For those of you not feeling so fine, I am right there with you. My parents are fighting–either yelling or not talking, with me as mediator–, my brother just went through a “mutual” breakup with the girl I honestly could’ve seen him marrying (which means, surprise! he’s extra moody with me), and the control freak in me makes me think it’s all my fault and I’m the one who has to fix it all.

Sure, your problems may be more severe than mine; mine may be more severe than your’s. Regardless, we all hurt. We all suffer.

But we are never suffering alone.

You may not believe in God the way I do, and I won’t try convincing you on whether he exists or not today. That’s ultimately up to you to decide to put your faith in him or not, so I won’t push. But since you’ve made it this far, I’d like to expand on a few of those eight promises (otherwise known as the “Beatitudes”) I listed at the beginning and for you to hear me out–just for a little while. All I ask is for your attentive eye, lest I bring you a small amount of comfort in your hardship today.

I’d like to specifically highlight the two that spoke out most to me, in my personal pain:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Poor in spirit.” Worn down. Broken. Tired. Hurting. Does that sound a lot like how you’re feeling, even right now as you read? Yeah? Me too. I can’t give you an explanation to why you’re suffering–I can’t even give the reason for my suffering, because I just don’t know it all. But I can give you the words of Jesus. Jesus promises one day, those of who are hurting will have eternal rest in heaven, peace with him, if we but only ask him into our hearts. Even more, we can receive that peace right here, right now, if we let him in–whether you’re sitting in your office chair, laying on the couch, sitting on a bus, or in the school library.

Yes, the things in your life will still hurt; he never promised life would be easy, and boy do we know it’s not. But if we focus on the blessings amidst the struggle, just one at a time, slowly we can build up an inner peace that no earthly trial can tear down. Think of your daughter’s smile. Your dog’s wet kisses. The coworker who held the door open this morning. That stranger’s smile. While the bruises from life’s punches are still very real and very there, they can be gently bandaged, one bandaid at a time, when you start to say a thank you to God for the little things.

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

“Mourn.” Weeping over a lost loved one. Broken-hearted after a really bad breakup. The situations are endless, but the word “mourn” speaks heavily and clearly across them all. To mourn is to reach a state of sorrow wherein it feels like there’s no hope left, there’s no happily ever after. When we’re mourning, we’re reminded that we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow, a happily ever after here on earth–on earth. There is, however, the hope of eternity in heaven, a happily forever and ever in the arms of a father who cares so, so much about you. Yes, little ol’ you. Hurting you. Broken you. Angry you. Mourning you. He looked at this great big world with grand canyons and breath-taking mountains and roaming hills and decided it needed one of you too. Because he loves you. Rest in that love. Be comforted by his love.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I have certainly not perfected this practice myself–nowhere close! I had a point yesterday where all of life’s punches seemed to come into mind at once, and bam! suddenly I was crying–really crying, you know the sobbing, breath-hitching, uncontrollable kind that seems to pause for a moment and then starts back up again full force. In these moments, I imagine God with wings–yeah, yeah, I know, it sounds a little weird, but hear me out: I like to imagine God with these HUGE wings, bigger than any birds you can think of, that can wrap all the way around me with room to spare. For me, it’s the perfect visualization of God’s comfort when I’m hurting: he is not only holding me in his wings, close and warm and loved, he is also blocking out the pain from outside–all the negativity and despair and depression and cold. And when I’ve finally stopped crying, I can smile a little (even with the tear stains, running nose, and red face), knowing that the pain brought me closer to him.

That may just sound like I’m messed up in the head and all sorts of whacko to you, I dunno. Wings may not be your thing, but they sure work for me–and if it helps you, I knew it was worth sharing, even at risk of sounding crazy lol. I do hope this brought even the smallest measure of peace to you today, in your pain, even if it’s just in knowing you’re not alone.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead. Even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”

1 Peter 1:6

You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

 

Body Image

Fitness… or Fun?

Welcome back dear readers, or hello if you are new to my blog 🙂

As we are still in the throes of the big New Year’s resolution hoorah, I thought it might be fitting to discuss the basic meaning of a health journey and fitness methods/exercise regimes that I’ve experimented with in the past year.

  • Of course, I am by no means an expert or professional loves, this is just a list of things I’ve tried or that have worked for me.

A little fitness background I suppose I should share about me is that I’ve only been on this health journey for a year. My family–mother, father, brother–lives a consistently unhealthy lifestyle: the only time they move is to get into their vehicles or fridge; their diet consists of chips, potatoes, and sodas; and, most importantly, they hate their bodies.

I’m not bashing anyone who lives a similar lifestyle, nor is it my goal to be harsh. My point here is that there’s a cycle: my family members take very poor care of their bodies and feel like crap about themselves; because they feel like crap about themselves, they turn to junk food to fill the void of denial and despair. It’s a vicious cycle and one I am, slowly, attempting to change.

  • Slowly. Throughout this post, throughout your own health journey, take it slowly. Baby steps. It’s cliche but it’s true: you did not get where you are overnight and you will not get where you want to be overnight. Have love and grace for yourself in the present.

I’ve not made it too far with my family yet, but you can bet I’m going to keep trying! You see, it’s not because I want to change them–their personalities or what makes them, well, them. It’s because I love them that I want them to live their lives the happiest they can be, not stuck in a cycle of self-hatred. This can be applied to any situation (drugs, alcoholism, gambling) you’re trying to change in a family member: it’s going to be slow, it’s going to hurt a little, and it has to be their choice ultimately.

Just like your health has to be a choice you make–for you.

So here is a chronological list of things I have tried this past year and the lessons I’ve learned:

Beach Body 21 Day Fix:

If you’ll take a moment, you’ll notice how I’ve said “in the past year”; as in, I started my health journey last January. Yep, the “New Year’s weight loss resolution” fad sucked me in too! I got into fitness for all the wrong reasons: hating my body, feeling hopeless, wanting to impress others, and wanting that “perfect” body. But I’ll get into how my mentality changed later.

  • I know legitimate fitness experts will probably bash the whole concept of “get fit in three weeks”, but I’m being honest, and this is the program that got it all started for me. Now, I won’t recommend this for the long run. This program is based on a pretty strict restrictive mentality and working out almost every day of the week–which is not realistic for most. But it can be an efficient boost to get you started on your journey: it’ll introduce you to workout and eating plans.
  • I did thisprogram for about 5 months–so obviously it didn’t take me three weeks.

Weight-lifting:

During the five months of 21 Day Fix, I was getting into better shape, but my relationship with food and my body was still very much askew. I would still binge on chips or ice cream and then exercise as a severe form of punishment against my body, so I wasn’t getting the results I could have been and I was still stuck in a negative mentality.

  • The end of my five months coincided with the end of my first year of college for summer break. I was burnt-out on the program and I needed a break. This was when I turned to the smith machine in our basement. Keep in mind, I had no instructor to ask for help, so I didn’t experiment a whole lot to prevent possible injury. I researched A LOT before hitting the bar. But weight-lifting a couple times a week was the necessary mental break I required–and it made me feel like I was truly growing any time I found I could go a little heavier or do one more rep.
  • I stuck with this about 4-5x a week for two months.

Lifesum and Macro Counting:

School hasn’t started back up again yet at this point, and my eating habits are still off. I’d gotten a little better and starting to appreciate the strength of my body. However, I was using a calorie/macro tracker app called Lifesum.

  • First, this is a GREAT tool for beginners: it will educate you about the truth of the things you’re eating. Instead of guessing (ohh, this scoop of ice cream is only a hundred calories), you get the hard facts–and it really can be a hard truth to swallow (get it, swallow? because it’s food? 😉 sorry, going on). You will be more aware of your basic macros (fats, carbs, proteins) and what to put into your body.
  • Second, if you have the slightest tendency towards OCD or perfectionism, be warned. After the first few weeks, I started to use this as an excuse to binge off junk and restrict myself later, just to fit it into my set number of allowed calories. Eventually, I had to stop using it altogether, to get out of that harmful spiral.
  • I used these, in correlation with my now 3-4x a week weight-lifting schedule for about a month and a half.

Kayla Itsines BBG:

A week before school started I did a complete 360: I stopped weight-lifting, I cut off the calorie tracker, and only did yoga or natural exercise like walking (I’ll get into yoga more later). At this point, I was still feeling stuck and hopeless when it came to my poor eating habits, as I’m sure you have felt too at some point.

  • If you visit my “It’s Okay–They’ll Think Santa Ate Them!” post, it breaks down in detail the food plan I learned from one book–a food plan that has changed my life.
  • In reference to the workout aspect though (also in my post), about a month and a half into the Fall semester I started going to my school’s fitness center every Monday and Wednesday, working out at home on Saturday, and taking my dog on a walk every day between.

That’s really all it takes. It sounds like bogus, and if you’re going for ripped hunky machine, then this probably is bogus for you. But for the average human being, exercise 3x a week paired with natural movement and healthy eating will get you in the best shape of your life. But to enjoy your new body you need to grow your mentality.

Yoga:

This is it. This is THE THING. Not the weights, not the running, not the programs, not the calorie trackers, not even the ab lines I see in the mirror–that’s right, abs will not make you love your body. Yoga in combination with my faith is the single, most imperative component to why I love the skin I’m in.

  • Every morning after I read my Bible, I do yoga. It can be 5 minutes or it can be half an hour–sometimes I have that luxury and sometimes I have five dogs demanding attention, so you know, I totally get the busy schedules. But whatever the time, I have dedicated those minutes to me.

Yoga teaches a mindfulness that hurling yourself through a workout never will. Sure, it’s not going to burn as many calories. But you become aware of the very breath you bring in… and every breath you exhale out… You become aware of what all those “thunder thighs” do for you each day: chasing the kids up the stairs, jogging with the dog, lifting you from your chair at work.

You learn to love you–the you right now.

Not the you of tomorrow. Not the you of your golden days. Because you make today your golden day.

As of right now, I’ve taken a brief hiatus from the typical “workout routine” and am focusing solely on yoga. “Yoga with Adriene” is the perfect thing for beginners, but my favorites are Christian yoga channels: while you move your body, you get inspired with messages of love that will resound within you all the day long. I challenge you to try it for a couple days and see the difference it makes!

There is nothing like it my friend. Once you love your body, you will want to eat healthy foods to fuel your body, because it will make you the best you that you could ever be 🙂 It’s a long road. I’m one year in, and not only do I still struggle with body image issues and food temptations, I can count on my hands… your hands… and probably your friend’s hand the number of times I messed up this year.

But mistakes are beautiful opportunities for growth. I pray you recognize that today and take one step closer to the you you’re capable of becoming.

I know this was a long one, and so I give many thanks to the brave soul who read all the way to the bottom! Remember dear one, you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

Battling Depression

New Year’s Food for Thought

Hello and good day! 🙂 (I would’ve said evening, but who knows, you could be reading this in the morning–don’t wanna set the wrong mood now do I?)

How are those resolutions going? I wish you the best of luck if you set any for yourself–but only in the healthiest, most mindful of ways. I don’t want you to be starving yourself or overexercising or anything! Drink a little more water, eat some greens, be more mindful, and get moving. Don’t overthink it, simpler is better 🙂

I’ve done quite the overload in cleaning the past few days, and this morning was Project Bedroom: book shelf was completely rummaged and reorganized, drawers were dumped, and school supplies were sorted. During my bout of cleaning, a thought came to mind…

In the spirit of resolutions, all of us will–willingly or not–be in a fiercely “year-long” mindset, looking ahead to results and achieved goals and the such.

We may, in the process, forget about the beauty of today. We may forget to “stop and smell the roses”. So here is my thought:

If you only had tomorrow,

what would you say?

What would you do?

What would you change?

Now that you know this, now that you’ve figured it out for yourself…

What’s stopping you?

I think this thought says enough my dears, so think on it for me–but more importantly, for yourselves. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎

 

Battling Depression

Stop. Look. Listen.

Hello dear ones 🙂

Well, today’s the day. The day where students are returning to school, parents are now fully immersed in the doldrums of everyday life, and resolutions are beginning to feel more like repressions than renewals. The mood of celebration and mirth has caved in on itself, and a greedy beast of discontentment roams the streets freely–joyously overstuffed on our daily complaints.

I don’t feel this way, but I know so many of you do. And it breaks my heart.

My own parents are crumbling to the will of this beast as I type. They had yesterday off, so today is their first day back to work since Friday, which would be manageable–if they didn’t both hate their jobs. My mom will spend her day at work with a fake smile on her face until the moment she gets in her car to come home; when she finally arrives, she will unload all the stresses and complaints onto us, her family, before she goes and revives herself off of soda and junk food in her room. My dad will spend a stern work day before he gets home and unleashes a foul temper on us for something we had no part of, then will sit down in front of the computer for the next five hours.

That’s no way to live.

I pray that none of you go through life in this monotonous, weary, miserable mode of existence, I really do. It’s sad and lonely and hurtful–not just to you but to everyone around you.

We only get one life, and it’d be a sad shame to waste it on unhappiness.

Now, I get it. I’m only nineteen years old, what room do I have to begrudge you your despair and complaining, when I know nothing of the things you’ve been through? No room, you say. And you’re right: I know nothing of your own experiences.

But I’ve had my own. And I too could rightfully wallow and wail, if I so chose.

However, I’m not going to. I refuse to feed that mangy beast and let it sap away my days–days that are filled with goodness and beauty, even outside of the pain and hurt that is tangible in the air. I want to be happy and joyful and spread that joy to those around me every day of my life, for as long as I live. I want to be happy. I want you to be happy.

So, how do you fight the beast of discontentment? You fight it, with contentment.

Every night before I fall asleep, I turn out my lights, tell Rocky our Rottie to lay down on the floor (though every morning I wake up to find him on the bed; tell me, how does a 140 pound dog silently creep onto my bed?), and turn out the light. I lay down on the bed, do a little 5-10 minute yoga routine for digestion (the best yoga is when you can lay on the bed to do it, am I right?), and just stay there when I’m done, curled up in a ball on my back.

And I pray.

I used to start my prayers with, “Please help me fix this, this, and this,” and sometimes still do. But recently, I’ve been starting my prayers with a Thank You, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it. Every night I lay in a ball on my back and try to find gratitude. In doing this, I feed the blossom of contentment with my thankfulness, simultaneously obliterating that gluttonous discontentment.

I made a little list last night as I prayed of things I wanted to thank God for, and I’d like to share it with you:

  • Sunshine warming the back of my eyelids
  • Rugged mountaintops
  • Muscles rippling beneath a horse’s flesh
  • Warm fuzzy socks
  • That really good first stretch of the morning

Once you start, I think you’ll find that the list just continues to grow and grow, even if you didn’t really feel grateful in the beginning. It doesn’t have to be anything big. When I’m upset or in a bad mood, it’s honestly the little things I feel the most gratitude for anyway.

I invite you today to make your own list–to start small, with your baby’s gurgle or your coworker’s laugh, the food on your plate or the warmth of your home during a cold night, whatever it is that brings a smile to your face and heart.

Cultivate gratitude. Annihilate discontentment.

Stop. Look. Listen. Live the beautiful, unique life that’s been lovingly given to you, and you alone. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Live a life that will bring you joy to look back on.

Thank you very much for reading dear dreamer, I hope this brings you comfort today. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤

“But Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

Christmas 2017

New Year–Not New You?

Happy New Year dreamers! 🙂

I, for one, did not stay up to watch the ball drop (it’s on my bucket list, so I’ll stay up for it… one day lol), but if you did I hope you enjoyed watching it with your loved ones! Maybe even snuck in a kiss 😉 It symbolizes the marking of a new year, new beginnings, new opportunities…

But I want to pause the new for a moment.

I want to remind you to celebrate the old you and the present you.

At the stroke of January 1, 2018, millions–if not hundreds of millions–of people around the globe will be listing all the things about themselves they want to change, to improve, or to erase completely. Addictions, obesity, and bad habits will be at the top of these lists, naturally; unfortunately, these goals will often come with obsessive and even dangerous solutions: starvation, over-exercise, you name it. Now, please don’t mistake me, I applaud everyone seeking out healthier lifestyles–it truly is a beautiful change!

However, most people will seek this change because of something they hate about themselves.

You are a beautiful person, hand-crafted and eternally-adored. Sure, you’ve made mistakes; who hasn’t?! We all fall off the wagon, and while New Year’s resolutions are a convenient push to get us on track, they put a certain amount of… shame on our bodies, the way we are now. I mean, don’t they? All the diet and fitness ads we’ve been seeing on TV since November imply that we aren’t good enough now, that we won’t be good enough until we’ve done [    ], whatever that thing is we’re striving to obtain.

You have worked so hard in your life. You have done so many wonderful things. You are one of a kind.

So have a little love for yourself right now.

Before you lose the weight. Before you quit smoking. Before you stop bingeing. Before you get that promotion. Before any of those “to-do’s” become checked boxes. Before any of it, respect the you that’s made it this far–because I know it’s been one heck of a journey, with plenty of ups and downs. Sure, you can make some changes, but do it for you–to live life to the fullest; to enjoy each day, the good and the bad; to be more present for those you love.

I’ve got a few tips I think coincide with many of your goals for the new year, but in a healthier light:

  • Fuel your body with food that helps you keep up with your rambunctious kiddos.
  • Take baby steps to overcoming addictions: they didn’t happen overnight or even over a year, so don’t kill yourself willing them away immediately.
  • Do more of what makes you happy 🙂 Take five minutes out for your secret hobbies and passions–not to impress anyone, but simply for yourself.
  • Move ya’ body!” Just find a little motion you enjoy; forcing yourself to do three hours of cardio is a grueling torture none of us envy you! If you like yoga, meditate and get some stretching in first thing in the morning. If you love weights, rack in some squats after work to burn off the stress before you get home–win win for everybody!

I love you guys, and I hope you remind yourselves to have a little love for you too. You deserve it.

And as always, you are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎