Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks

Predictable topic given the time of year, I know.  But hey, this is a good policy all year long.  I've talked a lot about the importance of gratitude, how much a positive, grateful outlook affects how you feel and how you live your life.  I started out my Thanksgiving Day by making a list of some of the things I'm grateful for, and then I had  We went to my aunt's lake house in Georgia and shared a delicious meal with extended family.  The highlights were playing a hilarious game of "Apples to Apples" with my siblings and cousins, and the 15 min or so my adorable 84-year-old grandmother sat on my lap and we talked and laughed and caught up on each others' lives.  Even the 2 hour drive there and back was fun.  I don't know how it's possible, but my family can make even lame games like name that tune and helping my dad with his crossword puzzle a hilarious exchange of witty banter.  I settled in for the night feeling truly blessed.  If only every day could be like that...

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

Monday, November 21, 2011


So I popped over to my parents' house tonight to see what everyone was up to, and they were watching this home movie from 1993.  It was Christmas morning and our... outfits... were... awesome.
Oh the days of scrunchies and sweatpants and neon graphic tees.  Oh the perms and bangs and haircuts (I don't care what you say Mom, Dad totally had a mullet.)  We also watched a clip of 3 yr old Brittany (in the middle in this pic) feeding ducks by the lake, and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Looking back is not only fun, according to medical and psychological research studies, it also boosts memory and cognition and strengthens relationships.
Reminiscing can also help you make meaningful connections from the events of your life.  When we see where we've come from, it gives us a clearer vision of who we are and what we want.  So spend some time walking down memory lane for awhile, and enjoy the view.

“What can ever equal the memory of being young together?” 
― Michael SteinIn the Age of Love

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov 15: Live Your Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "We are always getting ready to live but never living."  How sad (and true) is that?  While looking back to learn from our experiences is good, and looking ahead to plan for our future is important, we need to learn to live in the moment as well.  This is something that comes particularly easy to me.  In fact, I enjoy living in the moment so much that it can seem that I don't remember anything or worry at all.  This is something I'm working on, a balance.
Anyway, for those of you who don't have this "gift," here are some of my tips for living (and loving) the moments in your life:
1.) Start the day off right.  I try to start every day with prayer, scripture study, journal writing, and yoga.  This always makes me feel peaceful, centered, invigorated and ready to face the day.
2.) Be interested.  Take interest in the people, places, events, music, food, sights, sounds, etc. around you.  It's the details in our lives that make them rich and full.
3.) Challenge yourself.  Whether it's mental, physical, or spiritual, keep raising your expectations.  Not too much, you don't want your goals to be unattainable, but they should be high enough that you grow in the process.
4.) Get away.  Traveling broadens our horizons and breaks down old ways of living and thinking, which can open us up to new possibilities.
5.) Take risks.  In the end, it will be things we didn't do that become our regrets.  Taking risks like going for things we really want, trying something new, telling someone how we feel, makes us stronger.  And even the risks that don't turn out the way we want will be for our learning and experience.
6.) Follow your passions.  Make sure the things you love are a part of your life in some way, on a daily basis if possible.  If your passion is Italy, you may not be able to go there every day, but you could try out an Italian meal, spend a few minutes learning an Italian phrase, or browse the internet for articles or pictures of Italy.  Even if all you do is think about your passions each day, you attract more of that to your life, which makes you a happier, more fulfilled individual.
7.) Cut things from your life that are a waste of time and energy.  (self-explanatory)
8.) Face your fears.  Courage is not the absence of fear, it is action in spite of fear.  Whether your fear is socializing, speaking in public, or spiders, facing them weakens their power over you, avoiding them makes them stronger. 
9.) Count your blessings.  Recognizing the beauty of nature, the love and comfort of friends and family, the excitement of new possibilities, and the joy of life reminds us how happy we already are.
10.) Have faith.  One reason I seem to never worry is that I know that despite any efforts I make, all things are in the hands of God.  I know His plans for me are far greater than any I could have for myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov 10: Catch Up

So between me housesitting and my sister having a life, we hadn't really talked in over a week.  And so tonight she came over and we talked for hours- out on the porch while I drank hot chocolate, on the couch when it got too cold outside, in the kitchen while we dared each other to drink Malta and try ginseng candy (disgusting).  Last night I had another friend over for dinner and a movie, a friend I greatly admire but hadn't spent any real time with in months.  It's amazing how quickly a gap can be bridged once you make the effort to actually spend time with someone. 
I was thinking about this tonight, how much we need the people in our lives, and yet sometimes we forget that, or get caught up in our own lives, or grow apart.  It's normal for us to change, we have to in order to progress.  And some relationships, if stressful or destructive, may be better left distant.  But when we have someone in our lives who brings us joy, or comfort, or who accepts and loves us for who we are, it's important that we do our part to keep those relationships alive and well.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nov 5: Get Away

I know I do it to myself.  I'm a problem solver, and I will involve myself in anything no matter how frustrating or stressful or obnoxious if I think I can help.  But lately all of my "helping" has been taking a toll on me.  At what point do we have to step back and let people solve their own problems?

Luckily for me, God often provides exactly what we need most, in the exact moment we need it.  And so I am embracing the opportunity of having two back-to-back house-sitting jobs spanning about five weeks.  My days will involve occasional time with family and friends, and tons of time to myself.  Which is exactly what I need right now.

Take some time for yourself, even if it's only a few hours, and do something that brings you joy :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nov 1: Get Serious About a Goal

There are so many things I'd like to change about myself and my life, that I often find myself paralyzed.  Where to start, when to start, how to proceed, which goals are most important, how to break goals down into manageable tasks, this is all very overwhelming to me.  After watching "Limitless," I often wish I could take a little magic pill, one that would unlock the channels of my brain, help me focus, know exactly how to proceed.  But unfortunately, there is no little magic pill.
So I am left to fight against my weaknesses and figure things out for myself.  I decided that since it November, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), I would get serious about writing again.  I signed up, started my profile, and I'm psyched to dive in. 
My challenge to you is to pick something you've wanted to do for a long time, anything from getting a college degree, to developing a new talent, to losing weight for an upcoming event.  Whatever you choose, dedicate yourself to achieving this goal, and don't let anything get in your way.  For awesome tips on achieving any goal, check out this article:

Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want.Robert G Allen