A Guest Post on Positivity

So today I am sharing with you a guest post written by my friend Irma and I hope you enjoy her words of wisdom.

StockSnap_IRXCCLLW9Z.jpg

Positivity. What is positivity?(Insert sarcasm here) I think everyone in this generation has some sense of the word. It means happiness and good vibes right? (what does that even mean?)

I think everyone in this generation has some sense of the word. It means happiness and good vibes right? (what does that even mean?)

I have been on a journey, and have been learning the power of positivity, but not necessarily in the way you might think.

There are two types of positivity: with and without realism. Let me elaborate.

The former is what we constantly see. Its intentions are good, very honorable. It is colorful and bright, with words like “express yourself!” and “You’re enough!

Now before I start a blow up online I would like to say that I believe in these things. But without context and without anything deeper, they leave us void and meaningless. They are pretty words without depth, blind to the pain and brokenness of the world that we live in.

“If we’re going to fight a disease let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all… indifference.”   -Robin Williams (as Patch Adams)

I came across a tribute video to Robin Williams the other day, with some of his famous movie quotes. I quite like the one above.

Positivity with realism. Now that is a challenge. But this is real positivity, it is what we call Joy. It is able to look into the world, see the despair, the hurt, the brokenness and the pain. It does not refute the fact that there are wars, starving people, and women being raped. It acknowledges the presence of the evil in the world and yet looks beyond. Joy chooses to stand in the face of fear and darkness, and say no. Not today. There is still goodness, and I choose to hope. It is having the ability to see the terrible things and yet still be kind, still be encouraging, still be happy, and still have compassion, instead of sinking into despair.

Positivity is not the absence of negativity. It is standing in the midst of it and choosing who you want to be.

 

Here is a snippet about Irma’s blog from her ‘About’ page:

 CaptureLife is a crazy beautiful ride, and every day is a new adventure. I’m excited to share with you all that God is teaching me, as well as the crazy, random moments of my daily life. This blog is a hodge podge of the things that make me, well… me. My hope is that in it you will be encouraged, inspired and that you’ll go out and share your own story.

You can check out Irma’s blog by clicking HERE.

Advertisements

An Open Letter

So I posted this letter to my personal facebook page about a month ago but due to a reoccurrence I’m posting it here as well hoping to just get everything off my chest.

StockSnap_OYEIB7P371

To the person who commented anonymously on myself and my boyfriend’s snapchat,

You succeeded. When you said that I was fat and ugly and that my boyfriend could do way better, I believed it. So as I said…

You win.

Mission successful.

10 Points for Slytherin… (or whatever your preferred catchphrase)

I’ve tried not to let it bother me but something you may not know is that most days I’m not happy with my body. It’s true, I used to be skinnier and more fit than I am now and on my bad days I beat myself up about it way more than I should because life is rough and I’m my own worst critic.
So congratulations, the anonymous friend of me and my boyfriend. You’ve successfully ruined my last few days even though I’ve tried so hard to ignore it.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me, right?

Wrong.

But despite all this, I will say a few things.

1. I’m sorry you felt the need to take out whatever is bothering and eating at you on me and you had to hide behind an anonymous username (or no name at all) to say what you really think. Honestly, if you have a problem say it to my face. I’m not angry with you…I’m just trying to make sense of it all

And 2. I honestly and sincerely hope that even though what you said to me hurt that no one dares utter those words to you. Those words that can tear apart your entire day and emotionally hurt. Those words that make you feel worthless and undeserving of the one person in SO long that has actually shown you they cared and loved you so much.
I really hope those words are never uttered to you and I say that with 100% sincerity.

And last but not least:
3.Despite everything your words have made me question and how much it hurt, I forgive you.

Sometimes You Gotta Refocus…

Rethink.

Refocus.

Move Forward.

StockSnap_O4LI1N5R7F.jpg

So I have some more guest posts coming in the next week or two but I thought I should pop in and share some thoughts with you as well as a verse of encouragment. As I’ve mentioned a little bit here and there, this year I really focused on upgrading some high school courses so I could attend college this fall and I have arrived! But with that, I want to talk about focus and priorities.

Reaching your goals takes a lot of doing what you don’t feel like doing and also hard times. And when that happens, sometimes you’ve gotta refocus. I really learned that over the last year as I had to buckle down and do work I didn’t want to do and meet deadlines that feel almost impossible to meet. As I sit here at college having survived the first week of classes I’m realizing that it’s all the same as before. Slightly harder work and lots of it but still the same. And in those moments of stress and frustration when I feel like I’m drowning in all I have to do I’ve had to learn to stop, take a minute or two to just breathe and then reflect about why I’m doing this all and what it’s for. – What the point is behind all this paperwork and daily readings for classes the next day.

Refocus on my goals then move forward knowing that this is not pointless. That there is a plan and final goal in mind.

A long-term plan.

So just remember that if you feel exhausted, or swamped with homework, studies, work or even just life to stop and take a minute to breathe and reflect on what will come from what you are doing right now.

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Don’t Give Up Hope

“What can feel like the ending could just be the beginning. Don’t give up hope.” -Third Day

-Third Day

StockSnap_OIA16DC2DP

Over the last 11 months since I moved out (I can’t believe it has been almost a year!) I’ve been learning a lot about being on my own and actually being independent out in the big wide world far from home. Throughout this last year, I’ve been greatly challenged in all areas of my life. Especially when it comes to my faith and boy, it has not been easy.

God has been teaching me so much over this last year and all I can really do is sit here and thank Him for not writing me off as a lost cause and forgetting about me cause I can be so stubborn it’s actually not even funny. (Like it’s really not)

But one thing God has really been pushing me with is my trust in Him. Trusting that he has got my life planned out and under control and believing that He created me to fulfill some awesome and amazing things that I can’t even begin to imagine and it’s been HARD. Even now I’m still working on it but as I’ve made moves to trust Him in His plans for my life I’m slowly starting to see what living like that is like. It’s not always a walk in the park and sometimes I doubt myself and doubt God about what He is doing and where He is leading me.

But as I sit here in my college dorm, having been here a whole week, I realize none of this could be anyone or thing aside from God. I still can’t believe that I made it here and even though I’m not certain about my degree I’m going for and if I’ll be at College for 2 or 4 years. I know that I need to not give up Hope when things get hard and be open to God and trust Him to show me what He wants me to do with my life and where He wants me.

No matter where you are and all seems hopeless and confusing or you just feel lost, don’t give up hope ❤

signature

Loving People Like Jesus

Hello there!

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My priorities have been to focus on my upgrades for college and now that those are done it’s a waiting process to get my marks back. Since that’s done I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of a priority on my blogging and novel writing. But today I’m gonna work on writing up some posts and finishing up ones I started so today my friend Cori has written another guest post so I’ll let her share what she’s written.

life-of-pix-free-stock-lamp-light-wall-leeroy

Growing up I learned that people are not always the easiest to love all the time. I was taught that you have to love everyone, even if you don’t like them.

One of the most important commandments is to love your neighbors as yourself. God said that himself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated is something my youth pastor would say often. Although not always the easiest route, it is the way that Jesus lived himself.

Jesus hung out with people that you wouldn’t really expect. He made friends with the liars and cheats. The outcasts. The people nobody wanted to be. I think He did this to set an example for us today. He didn’t have to love on those people. But he chose to show them the love and respect every person needs.

Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus took crap from people either. He would correct them when they were wrong, in a very polite yet clever way most of the time.

Don’t think I’m telling you to hang around a murderer and be best friends with them. But I am telling you to love that person no matter the sins they struggle with because, in the end, his sin is the same as mine. Even if mine seems minuscule in comparison God sees all sin as the same.

When I was in grade school the teachers would always pair the new kids or the weird kids with me because In my house you treated everybody the way you would want to be treated, therefor I was always the nice one in class, even when I didn’t want to be I was paired with them. Now I was a very shy kid. It was pretty hard for me to do this. But I felt the call that God put on my life to follow him at a young age and I knew it was the right thing to do.

There was this one kid who nobody got along with. I’m not gonna share her name but she was a nice kid. Just a bit strange. Once one of my friends asked me why I hung out with her so much. I simply told them that she deserved to have friends too. At the end of the school year, we went our separate ways but her mom came up to me and thanked me for being so nice to this girl. She was a bit hyper and talked A LOT but I did enjoy her company and learned to love her very much.

I wish more kids would give each other a chance rather than judging a book by its cover. It’s so hard for me to see all the bullying and abuse that goes on In schools these days. It’s sad.

I learned pretty young that it’s honestly so rewarding and worth getting to know a person no matter how much they annoy you.

Now I know we aren’t all in grade school here. That was just one example. I have another. Take homeless people for example. I have worked and served homeless people for as long as I can remember. But some people won’t even look in their direction. Some Christians don’t even see them as people.

I’ll never forget the day that I went up to a homeless man and gave him some food and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said nobody would even look at him that day. He searches in his bag for a ring he had made and he gave it to me saying that he wishes there were more people like me in this world.

I’ve given people on the streets Christmas presents that haven’t gotten anything for 25 years and they’ve broken down and asked me to watch them open it. It wasn’t much just some essentials and little things and a book but he was so thankful for his gift. He said that maybe there really is a God that loved him all because I treated him like a normal person for a few minutes.

I love these experiences. Ones with people who think they don’t even deserve it anymore. Broken people. I see them as a beautiful creation of God and it’s almost magical seeing these moments.

If people could just open their eyes and see them as people in a bad circumstance the world would be a much more beautiful place. But let’s move on to another example.

Now we’ve all had that one neighbor that everybody hates right? I have anyways. Those people are one of the hardest to love. Just the meanest most annoying people you’ve ever met right? Well God calls us to love even them. I know crazy right?! Well, I know for a fact that Jesus would have gone up to that guy and said: “I love you no matter what the sin you are struggling with.” So we are called to do the same. That’s not always the easy thing to do but sometimes the hard choice is the best choice.

So many times in the Bible the Pharisees would scold Jesus for hanging out with “that guy” like why would a guy like you hang out with a guy like them? Love, that’s the answer. Unconditional unfailing love.

I know these words aren’t really something easy to read but it’s very important. So next time you just can’t stand someone, pray for them. It not only changes them but it changes your heart towards them. I’m not saying you have to like them, but you must love them.

“Lord help me to love like you do. Help me to love my enemy’s and pray for them. Help me to go up to the weird kid and be their friend. I thank you for your love and grace on us. We don’t deserve it but you made us deserve it by dying on the cross for us. Help me to spread love through out the world and shine your light through me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen”

How To Find Peace In Your Imperfections

Hello Loves!

This week has been super crazy with work and school and my boyfriend visiting and I forgot to post this guest post by the lovely Molly Shaffer. So I’ll step aside and let her take over the blog today.

nci5n8ul3z

For over three decades, I’ve struggled with self-hate. So much so that I couldn’t stand to see the woman staring back at me in the mirror. The world said I had to change in order to be beautiful. My face, without makeup, was not beautiful. The stretch marks that etched across my body were not beautiful. The cellulite, pimples, smile lines, and God knows how many other countless flaws, were not beautiful. In fact, there was nothing redeeming about me, and beautiful was a word meant for other people, not someone as broken as me. Lies!

This past year, the infamous 2016, was my year of self-growth. My New Year’s Resolution was different from my past ones, the ones where a number defined my life. In 2016, I made the resolution to become healthy: mind, body, and soul. Little did I know that uttering those words would send me on the most gut-wrenching journey of my life. A year of pain, growth, and ultimately, the beginnings of self-love…truly, honestly, lasting self-love.

How did I do it? How did I go from an inability to stare at my own reflection to becoming my own champion? Faith, quiet time, and most importantly, banishing the negative thoughts that were at war in my head. It took a lifetime to hate myself, and a year to come to peace, but it will take a daily commitment to choose love, in order to make lasting changes in my life. This is how you begin the process. This is where change resides. Not in a miracle pill or fad diet, but in rewiring your brain. Realizing that weight is truly just a number, but health runs much deeper than beauty ever will.

 

Step 1: Recognize the lies

One morning, I woke up ready to start a brand new day. I had a song in my head and a smile on my lips, but one step in front of the mirror, and my entire mood changed. Like a light switch turning off in my head, I felt the negativity creep in. My hair was in disarray, and my mascara smeared under my eyes, creating dark circles that would make a raccoon envious. I sat at my vanity, my head in my hands, and I cried. What happened to that strong woman from a second ago? Where did the warriorNowherewhere. She was inside me at that very moment. I had silenced her with a lie.

I picked up my head, and forced myself to look in the mirror. My eyes watered, but I refused to look away. I stared until my face blurred, and I ignored the menacing voice in my head…the liar. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to make out an image. A cute button nose and full lips. Finally, a positive thought. I liked my nose and my lips. I ran with these thoughts, and as soon as the liar emerged once again, I had a weapon. Sure my eyebrows need to be shaped, but have you seen my nose. Damn, that’s a good nose. I took that first step, which lead to two more, and then, I was running.

 

Step 2: Find a Mantra

The negativity had defined me for far too long. The time had come to find my life quote…the one I could use to defeat the enemy…my war cry. I read through scripture until I came across the verse that spoke to my soul. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.” I had read this verse many times before, but for some reason it held a new meaning for me. I can do anything. Anything. Give up the bad habits. Strengthen my body and soul. Heck, I could even love myself. Why not? My life verse echoed…all things. The key word being all. I can do this. I will do this.

You may not be religious, and that is okay. Find your life verse. The verse that clings to you, or better yet, the verse you cling to. You’re going to need it, because the liar is strong in you. You’re going to need a mantra to defeat that cycle of abuse. Find your verse, memorize it, and repeat it until it sticks. Over and over again, like a song on repeat. You can do this.

 

Step 3: Phone a Friend

I have an accountability partner. Her name is Jessica, and she is my sister from a different mister. There are moments that I feel we are the same person in different bodies. Kindred souls thousands of miles apart. It’s kind of freaky how well we mesh. The best part, I can be real with this woman, and she doesn’t judge me. She pours truth into my life, refuses to sugar coat my failures, or accept my excuses. She isn’t harsh in her redirections. I don’t need a drill sergeant. I need a friend. Someone I can cry out to and laugh with. Jessica is that friend to me.

My journey will not work if I try it alone. I can talk myself into some stupid mistakes. “Go ahead, girl, you deserve a slice of that chocolate cake…no, you deserve the whole cake.” So, before I make a bad choice, I text Jessica. She either affirms my madness, or gently redirects me. Find your Jessica. She’s out there.

 

Step 4: Give Yourself Grace

You’re going to screw up. It’s inevitable. The best thing you can do when you muck everything up, is to realize you haven’t really mucked everything up. Stand up, dust off your bum, and get back on course. So you failed: who cares? That’s part of the process. Don’t slit your other three tires because you have a flat (I love that analogy). Give yourself the same grace you would give to your best friend, because after all, you need to begin seeing yourself as your best friend.

 

Step 5: Perfect isn’t Real

For most of my life, I sought perfection, until recently. I read this amazing book, Present Over Perfect, and I had an epiphany. Perfect is cold. Perfect is plastic. Perfect isn’t real. I want warm, comfortable, snuggly, and sometimes that comes with messy, flawed, and blemished…and that’s okay.

The price I paid for perfection is profuse. I spent countless hours inspecting my physique, holding myself to severe standards, and beating myself up when I didn’t reach the unattainable. Sound familiar? It’s the anthem of our world. Kill yourself so others will love you. Well, I say, love yourself and kill the negativity. Once you can see the lies you’ve believed about yourself are just that…lies…you can begin to speak truth into your soul. That’s where real transformation begins, and I’m here to tell you, life on the other side is great!

 
If you’d like to read more about my journey to self-love, visit my website: www.mollyshaffer.com. I’ll be the one with the love of words. The messy chick with a crooked grin. But guess what, I’ll be the one smiling!

Dancing Through The Pain

Now you might think the title is metaphorical but no. I mean literally…but also get ready for some real stuff and life lessons! Wooh!

 

12524156_633337886819352_5832314195581002657_n

le me Swing Dancing 🙂 ( photo cred: Swing Bridge Dance Club )

 

Something you all know about me at this point: I’m a huge lover of Swing Dance.  (Being deprived of it since I’ve moved is so hard)

BUT

Something you may or may not know about me is this: I have chronic pain in my legs (due to uneven arches in my feet.) This chronic pain affects me daily. Some days are worse than others but usually after a full day of running around doing errands and working I am out for the count and it hurts to walk or move.

 

 

Put chronic pain and Swing together and you get an interesting way of making said chronic pain worse. Yet I do it and keep doing it anyways.

 

Why?

 

Because I love it too much to stop. Now that might sound like a silly excuse but its the truth.

 

Why Swing Dance?

Swing Dance is something I did weekly before moving (I still dance around my apartment lots too. Not the same but hey I’m still groovin’ )  Not only was it fun but it really improved my mood but, for the first time in a long time, I REALLY looked forward to a new week ahead of me cause I always kicked off the week with dance.

Fun fact: Dance or Movement Therapy has been used for many centuries to improve the mental and physical well- being of a person. Since dancing is an art, it increases self-expression and helps people connect with themselves and others. Dancing is a form of art that offers a way to explore psychological roots to overcome certain illnesses such as depression. Research have shown that dancing provide benefits that can help minimize depression’s effects.

As well as it being fun there are actually a lot of health benefits of it. Swing Dancing is a fun way to work out without it really feeling like a workout in the moment. Dancing also makes you happier. Not just in the moment but also in the long run.

I’ve taken many kinds of dance over the last 4-5 years and it really does make you happier! and if I’m having a bad day I put on one of my favorite songs at top volume and just sing and dance away like no one is watching. (usually no one is haha)

Something else that Swing Dance has done for me personally is make me a little more social and confident. – I’m an introverted little human who much prefers sitting in a corner and waiting till someone approaches me and starts talking to me as opposed to my approaching them… but doing Swing Dance totally turned that around for me?

How?

Simple- Swing Dance is a very fun, outgoing, and social type of dance where, whether you are a lead or a follow, guy or girl, if you wanna dance you get your butt off that chair and go up to someone and ask them to dance.

For the first while when I first started Swing Dancing I was like ‘nuh- uh no way. Nope. I’m gonna sit here and wait for someone to ask me to dance.‘ but eventually I started going up to people and asking them to dance!

Now this might sound like a funny thing to discuss but here is the thing. If you are a introverted little human (as mentioned before) you would know that this is a scary thing! But in terms of Swing Dancing I now have NO problem (or almost no problem) walking up to someone and asking them to dance.

Where did the chronic pain come from? What can you do to relieve your pain?

As I stated above, my chronic pain affects my every day life as it is a reoccurring pain in my legs. It caused by uneven arches in my feet and when I went to go get it figured out I found out my one leg is carrying about 70% (cant remember exactly) of my body weight when I stand as opposed to having it distributed evenly. (So you can see there the pain comes from)

Essentially my pain relief comes with doing some stretches for my legs and feet as well as just not walking around and putting my feet up when I can. Other than that there isn’t much to be done.

Why do you dance if it hurts?

I keep doing dance because its honestly something I love and am passionate about. Swing Dance has helped me become more confident in myself and has also made me happier – as well as that I’ve gotten to know some amazing people who I now can call my friends.

 “Whats your point in telling me this, Adriana?” – well. Let me tie this all together here.

Basically my point is no matter what, do what you want to do or have dreamed of doing.

Don’t let anything hold you back whether it be mental or physical.

If there is something you truly love and are passionate about you will find a way to do it. For me that love and passion is swing dance.

For you it might be dance as well.

Or music.

Or painting.

No matter what it is, you can do it. If you just have faith in yourself and find the determination to reach for your dreams.

Achieve your goals.

If you set your mind to it you can do anything no matter what ‘limitations’ people tell you you have.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Over the past few weeks I’ve come to realise that things so far haven’t gone how I planned. But I guess things never really do…A photo by Rosalind Chang. unsplash.com/photos/qtIsUwoP94s

 

I’m a planner. I plan things and I make lists… I guess you could say i’m a ‘lister’ (only some of you are going to get this and that’s okay)

 

So when things didn’t/don’t or aren’t going as I hoped and planned I often feel lost and/or frustrated.

Why do I do this? Why do I make lists all the time if it frustrates me half the time?

Because it helps me feel like I have MORE control over my life than I actually do.

 

As much as I wish that my lists and planning just went how I wanted I know that’s not how life works. I can pout and be miserable about it but it doesn’t change that fact. So I’ve actually started moving away from planning every little thing in my life and just ‘going with the flow.’ Things like being with my friends and my boyfriend has made me realise the importance of just letting things happen and the relief and relaxation that comes with it.

Learning to just LIVE in the MOMENT. 

 

I’ve learned this all when it comes to my everyday life as well. (Not just more important or significant days or events in my life) ESPECIALLY during my move and the transition to moving and being in a new place. Only now as I’m slowly starting to feel like myself again after feeling not very much like myself (in this transition of moving and a new job.) as, once again, things didn’t go as I planned.

 

I still haven’t really made any friends and being more introverted is also part of my problem. But this is causing problems cause I’m getting bored and stressed out in my own tiny apartment. Adjustment is a lot harder than I EVER would have thought. It feels I’m climbing a mountain I don’t want to be or stuck in some hole going in circles over and over and over again.

 

But despite this all I’ve learned to just trust in God (I’m gonna share the lyrics to a song that’s been helping me a lot at the end of this post) and that my moving here is all part of some plan and as much as I wish I could just make a list to sort it out, I know I can’t and I have to be patient.

 

Lean on God and just let life be…

 

signature

 

 

 

 

 

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust
I will trust in You

Truth is You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

~Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Thus Begins A New Chapter

As one chapter comes to an end, another begins.

write

I feel like this last week has been me adulting like crazy.

I’ve been meeting with some of my best friends.

I’ve been setting up power and internet stuff.

I’ve been buying furniture and dishes.

I’ve been trying to change my cell phone plan to better fit this next step in life and SO much more.

 

Why?

 

Because I’m moving.

Away from home.

To a new job.

With a new apartment.

 

I will still be around and blogging so don’t worry about that 😉 but yeah. I’m moving. I’ve been living with my giant lovable family for 19 years so this is a weird experience for me as I’m also moving 6 hours away from my family. I’m gonna miss them like crazy but I’m thankful for technology so we can talk frequently and stay connected but I’m also so excited.

I’ll  be moving in with me bookworm, writer and nerdy fangirl bestie so that will make the transition a little easier so thats exciting. (Our tea and book collection combined will be envied by all for sure.) I’ll be moving to a new town and away from the nosy people I’ve had major run ins in town this summer. (#villagelife)

But by moving to a new town it means I’ll (once again saying it) be far from my really good friends, my family, and my church family. I know I will meet new people but I know that even when I do, they won’t ever replace the people I have met here.

The people who have impacted and changed my life.

It’s kinda what I’ve been dwelling on but I know that I’m not leaving forever and so my family and my friends who have become my family will see me again. With that I just want to say this:

No matter where you go, your family and friends will still be with you. Their love goes with you wherever you go. SO if you are called to go across the world then go. Or if you are called to move across town then go. If you are called to another town, city, or village, then GO.

Just do it.

Go.

Have fun. Enjoy life and know that as this new chapter in your life begins that the people you know and love go with you in your heart.

Time for a change

My blog is gonna go through a name change!

m7w3d9bn92

Why the name change?

Because people change and with those changes ones life changes. I still LOVE writing and books and will continue to post about those but on top of that there will be a wider variety of posts. Talking about the media, society, life, mental health and anything else that comes to mind. -Its still the same old me. Just giving the blog a facelift and name change to also reach out to other people too.

 

 

What is it gonna be?

I have two blog names in mind and most likely by the time you read this the name will be changed ( 😉 ) so I guess you will see what it is then 🙂

 

 

Will my posts stay the same?

Yes! I will still write about books and writing but I will just add some more posts and topics! (See above)

 

 

Other things you should know:

My blog URL will stay the same! and its still me! Just broadening and changing things. It will be great!