Got faith? Your story isn’t over yet.

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On any given weekend over the past several months, I’ve hung my “closed” sign, packed my bags and driven up north. Each time, these getaways prove a source of inspiration and a form of self-care. Opportunities to refresh from “the grind,” to rediscover and reconnect with who I am—a faith-filled wife, mother, sister, employee, friend, writer, yogi, hiker and dreamer. And what I desire out of this one life—simple pleasures like that first sip of liquid magic in the mornings before the sun makes its ascent; autumn’s burst of vibrant color; raw, belly laughter; music and books that stir my soul; a connection between two hearts. To be a light in the world. To make a difference. Yet even if a lone tear slips from my eye when plans fail, I still choose to be grateful, knowing it’s simply part of my story. One that’s not over yet. After all, when our faith is tested, our endurance earns a chance to grow.

How’s your faith life?

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Always in style: Happiness looks good on you

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After a recent acupuncture and cosmetic facial rejuvenation session, my practitioner regarded me and said, “Happiness looks good on you.” It didn’t matter that I wore my grungiest romper or that my messy bun hung askew, or that my mascara had long since washed away by the time my appointment rolled around. Nor did it hinge on my bi-monthly facial treatments (although if you ask me about my healthy glow, I’m happy to hook you up). The happiness she referred to—the byproduct of a grateful heart—is a mindful choice that I slip into daily as part of my morning ritual (usually as I savor my first cup of freshly brewed magic). At times, however, the sparkle dims: I might be tired, frustrated or cranky. But once I accept that happiness is not grounded on the external, I empower my inner beauty to radiate outward. Happiness is that one-size-fits-all, must-have accessory that never goes out of style and looks good year-round.

How does happiness look on you?

 

10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be: reposted (+ 10 ways to turn it around)

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This is it in a nutshell: https://thoughtcatalog.com/tim-hoch/2014/06/10-ways-youre-making-your-life-harder-than-it-has-to-be/. Plus 10 quick tips on how to make life easier (repeat after me):

  • When we continue to rehash (supposed) offenses: Let it go.
  • When we look for affirmation from others: I’m enough.
  • When our worries escalate to panic-attack proportions: It’s temporary.
  • If unrealistic/uncommunicated expectations eclipse our blessings: Be grateful.
  • Sometimes we pray, sometimes we wait but we must always do our homework: Be wise.
  • It’s okay to be picky and/or less bold when taking risks: Failure is better than not trying at all.
  • The truth on comparison shopping: The grass is not greener.
  • We cannot retrieve time we’ve lost or fast forward to the future: Practice mindfulness daily.
  • Let go of [fill in the blank]: Focus on what we can control.
  • About giving back: In the end it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

How do you make life easier?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to excel at this one life

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how-to-excel

Many self-help articles share a common theme on how to grow and excel at this one life: stop complaining. This doesn’t mean we can’t vent our frustrations, but how about a new approach? Rather than spew negativity to those around us, let’s try writing it down; i.e., spend a few minutes daily journaling our angst. Maybe your partner behaved inconsiderately or you forgot to fill up your gas tank for the week. Or perhaps the first work email of the day rubbed you the wrong way or your alarm went off much too early this morning (it can’t be Monday already, can it?) and your stomach is in knots—knowing that after an eight-hour day, a 2 ½-hour HOA board meeting follows. Once you’ve written everything down, release these thoughts and mindfully replace them with thankfulness: It’s a new day. You’re breathing. Friday’s coming. Everything is temporary. Most on-point quote (by Heraclitus): There is nothing permanent except change. #truestory

Is your MO to complain or to be grateful?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Listen up: bridge the communication gap

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Listen up

Several years ago, I wrote about how ‘When only up close and personal will do’ in cases where instant communication doesn’t do the trick. I find myself in that spot again, torn into a million tiny pieces because I cannot be with several loved ones going through their own challenges—health, relationships, financial, employment or otherwise. But I can, at least, carve time into my daily routine each morning to offer up prayers and petitions for these dear people in my life, grateful for every one of them. And I hope this affords them a semblance of peace amidst whatever chaos they struggle with. To be kind in word and deed to those in my little world is a blessing I cherish; yet, when I’m unable to offer a touch, a helping hand, words to make it right or a shoulder to cry on, I can listen—whether I’m in the same room, or halfway across the country. Sometimes that’s enough.

How do you bridge the communication gap?

Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A rebirth of sorts: happiness at last

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Re-birth
As the year draws to a close, and as I grasp tightly (kicking and screaming) the vestiges of my forties for a few days longer, I reflect on that for which I’m grateful: Those friends who have come and gone from my life—the ones who bless me daily, and those who served the sole purpose of teaching me (sometimes painful) lessons; the second chances I’ve been gifted, a new path to traverse—a clean slate, if you will. I’m energized by the possibilities, my heart lighter than ever. And as I step into this new season, I can honestly say I’ve discovered what I’ve been searching for all this time. The funny thing is it’s been right under my nose all along. Because when I finally stopped focusing on me—my needs, my expectations, my self—I understood for the first time what it means to be happy. So happy rebirthday to me… a fresh beginning to sparkle where I’m planted.

Where could you use a rebirth?

Image courtesy of Nongkran_ch at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A palms-up approach

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A palms-up approach

[Image credit: tungphoto]

It’s true what they say. Time seems to speed up as we get older. We’re already well into the holiday season and next week is December. Pretty soon the New Year will be in full swing and 2014 a distant memory. As I prepare for another Thanksgiving, I find myself pondering those things in my life—people, events, successes—for which I’m grateful, but also looking ahead to 2015. Once again, while in yoga the other day, the instructor advised we live with our palms open, releasing our expectations to avoid disappointment and to better live in the present. Yet my goals are still a work in progress. Without some kind of expectation in place, it would be harder to measure how far we’ve traveled in 365 days and where we need to make [micro]adjustments. This doesn’t mean we can’t keep our palms open—in generosity and thanksgiving—as we await the surprises the New Year has in store for us.

Are you a planner or a seat-of-the-pantser?

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