How I Use the #LoveBlog for Self-Growth

This was my second year co-hosting the #LoveBlog. Each year I’ve discovered more about myself through the challenge and have expanded on my writing. The prompts are thought-provoking and motivating. I absolutely love reading the other participants points of views on the topics and seeing other perspectives. It is such a growth opportunity! 

Through participating in the #LoveBlog, I expand my ways of thinking and discover new views on the world, relationships and life. I am pushed to spend time for deeper thoughts and self-discovery. I am inspired to make my writing style more personal and connected. And the deadlines organize me to be more disciplined with my time.

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from this year’s link up. I am looking forward to next year’s #LoveBlog!

Some of my favorite Posts from #loveblog2018 Link-Up:

Solitude; Let your toes burrow the sand from Sarah Nderi

Intent vs. Impact: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions from Belle Brita

What I love about solitude from The Blonde Pond

Balance from Sarah Nderi

When Life is Unbalanced from Belle Brita

The Six Dimensions of Wellness from The Blonde Pond

When Your Self-Care Routine Looks Different from Enduring All Things

Love & Wellness: Secure Yourself Before Assisting Others from Join Me In Transit

Self-Care: Lessons from a Chronic Illness from Belle Brita

7 Guilty Pleasures That I’m (Mostly) Not Ashamed Of from Provocative Joy

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty about the Small Pleasures in Life from Belle Brita

Is Self-Care Selfish from Mrs. Imperfect

Round-Up of My Favorite Posts (That I wrote) in the 2 years of #LoveBlog:

The Truth in the Vulnerability of a Break-Up: A Story of Loss and Finding

10 Awesome Things I Do for Health, Happiness & Balance

Setting Healthy Boundaries: Simple Tips for a Happy Life

10 Signs of a Healthy & Happy Friendship

How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keeps You Happy

How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keep You Happy

Guilty Pleasures.

I’m sitting here eating my third piece of cake this weekend thinking about what I want to write for my #loveblog prompt, guilty pleasures. Yes, third piece of cake. Saturday it was a rollerskating birthday party for my son’s step-cousin with a gorgeous unicorn cake with amazingly delicious fondant and icing, Saturday night it was the fried cheesecake I finished off for my son after his birthday dinner, and tonight it’s the slice of Oreo Blizzard cake to belatedly celebrate my son’s birthday from last week. Yup, I did it all, dove right in. I can’t say I won’t feel the affects of it when I step on the scale tomorrow morning but I’ll say it felt good to let loose this weekend and gobble it up! Guilty pleasures don’t have to be life ending, actually I think it’s healthy to have some guilty pleasures, whether it’s just on special occasions or it’s something that you can make part of your weekly routine, it’s important to have some of those that you can indulge in, something that makes you feel good. I think having a (healthy or not-too-bad) guilty pleasure is good for you. Maybe it’s long, relaxing bubble baths, or allowing yourself to buy that expensive bag you’ve had your eye on for a while (saving up for it of course – I’m not suggesting you skip paying a bill to purchase it), or having that dessert once in awhile, it’s important to allow yourself to have things in your life that really bring you joy. We call them guilty pleasures but do they really need to be? Do we have to feel guilty about something that brings us pleasure? (Now all this goes with saying that it’s not something that is destroying your life…I’m going to be frank here, if it’s harmful to you or others then it has lost its shine and it’s stepped past the boundaries of just being a guilty pleasure.) I’m the kind of person that believes that our lives should be lived with passion, pleasure and joy. We should be setting out to do things that feel rewarding to us, that make us smile, that bring light to our eyes.

I drink way more hot tea than I probably should in one day – like 8-10 cups per day is kind of my normal.

I can Netflix binge for days on if I didn’t ever have to leave the house.

I have a bit of a collection of paintings I’ve done filling corners in my bedroom and I’ll keep on painting and stacking them up.

I love brownie batter…so I just don’t keep the mix in the house too often…like I’ll mix it up just to eat the batter, I am perfectly happy skipping the cooking part.

I collect quotes like it’s nobody’s business…they’re in all of my notebooks, scribbled in my planner, taped on my wall…anywhere I can write or stick a quote I will.

I kind of like the word sh** – maybe it’s because I was a Navy brat and well it was my first word, in context from what my parents have told me (my toy wasn’t working so out of frustration I slammed it down and yelled “sh**”)…it’s just stuck I guess, I’m sorry…come on, it could be worse.

The truth is, my guilty pleasures can vary from day to day or week to week, it depends on what presents itself, it depends on how my day is, or what’s happening in my world. Sometimes after a long week, my guilty pleasure is turning my phone on silent, staying in bed and disappearing from the world for a bit. And I’m okay with that, sometimes I need that to recharge. I need to give into my guilty pleasures now and then, I need to allow myself that freedom, that flexibility to be me and only me.

What guilty pleasures do you have? How often do you allow yourself to give into them, to enjoy them?

Tonight’s post was prompted by my participation in Brita’s #LoveBlog2018! I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate again this year! This series has opened some wonderful thought processes for me in which I was able to learn more about myself and tell my story to my readers in a new light. Check out this year’s prompts here

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

FacebookTwitterInstagram 

PinterestBloglovin

 

 

Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

FacebookTwitterInstagram

PinterestBloglovin

 

Ivana from provocativejoy.com. Ivanna is a registered nurse who loves expressing her creative side. She enjoys thrifting, learning about sustainable living, and anything purple. She writes on Provocative Joy about living unconventionally, and loves to inspire people to realize their potential to be world-changers.

FacebookTwitterInstagram

PinterestBloglovin

 

 

Link Up


My Thoughts & Realizations about ‘Adventures for Your Soul’

I spent January reading ‘Adventures for your Soul’ by Shannon Kaiser. This book was filled with reminders of how to push towards your dreams and live to your full potential. She reminded me that to truly find our passions and live them we have to be true to ourselves, we have to love ourselves honestly and openly. Shannon outlines ’21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential’ breaking it down into action items for the reader to put into place right away, creating new, positive thought patterns. She shares examples in how she actively changed her life to a life she loves by sharing her story and how she overcame her challenges. I loved how Shannon included notes of awareness of habits that are creating blocks of the happiness we desire and motivational mantras.

Some of my favorite parts & Lessons:

“Emotions are the way that you assess or react to a situation. Emotions are rooted in assessing situations, whereas feelings are grounded in truth in the moment. Emotions are often in your head, whereas feelings are inspired by your body and heart……Distinguishing between the two is an important step in moving forward in life with clarity and confidence.”

“We lean into love by recognizing that everything is in our life for a reason, that we are in those situations to help us grow and to learn……They lead us to new opportunities and to new doors that may open, but life is an ever-expansive journey where we are growing, changing, and morphing into what we want to be based on where we have come from.”

“Accept where you are fully to reach where you want to go faster. You are not broken; there is nothing to fix.”

“……it doesn’t matter what our life “looks” like, it matters how our life feels.”

“…….ask yourself what you want, and what feels good for you in the moment. Aligning with your own truth in each moment will help you become who you want to be.”

What I realized reading this book is that I shared so many of the beliefs Shannon was sharing in her book but I have been limiting myself. I have only been going halfway in. I need to commit to my beliefs, my passions and my dreams, go all in, allow them to lead me in my life. 

You can check out more about the book here.

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page.  
post

7 Ways to Build a Strong & Healthy Mind

Building a strong and healthy mind is a key factor in leading a happy and healthy life. We must constantly be challenging our mind to expand to new ideas and new ways of thinking to keep growing. The saying goes, “Life is what we make it”, and that all starts in the mind. Here are seven ways that you can expand, challenge and teach your mind to be strong and healthy. 

  1. Read and practice daily affirmations. – Reading and reciting daily affirmations or mantras will help you train your min to perceive the world from a positive view.
  2. Journal and brain dump. – Journaling helps you release thoughts and feelings from swirling in your head. This helps you process them so you don’t get stuck in one spot. Brain dumping (or list making) is a great way to get racing ideas out onto paper. I find doing this every night before bed helps me fall asleep quicker and get a better night’s rest.
  3. Listen to podcasts. – There are so many podcasts out there that you can tap into. I find these are a great place to learn new things and new, positive ways of thinking.
  4. Read. – Reading not only is a great mind-strengthening task but it can expand your imagination and grow your thought process.
  5. Minimize negativity in your life. – When you minimize negativity in your life you give your mind the space to focus on more positive and progressive things. Unfollow those Facebook naggers.
  6. Try something new routinely. – Take a class, try new foods, visit somewhere you’ve never been.
  7. Meet new people. – Meeting new people opens you up to new points of views and new ideas.
post

How Yoga Changed My Life

I awoke that morning filled with energy. I climbed out of bed without the aches and pains I had felt so many mornings before. I could stretch my arms above my head without feeling sharpness in my neck, standing tall without the soreness in my knees. I stood in front of my closet that morning trying to find something to wear, none of my clothes fit……they were too big.

Two years ago, I would wake up in pure pain all through out my body. Each day I started exhausted and filled with anxiety about the day ahead. Then I found myself without a job. The main stress driver in my life had been lifted off my shoulders. Without all of that in front of me I saw what I had become. I was 50 pounds heavier, worn out and my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia had stripped me of some many things in my life. That’s when I knew it was time. I had the chance to reinvent my life, my body and how I chose to feel every day.

I had bought a yoga mat a several years back and it sat stored on the top shelf in my closet, still in the wrapping. I started doing yoga at home twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before bed. I started with just 10 minutes a day using a Yoga app I found and downloaded to my phone. A month later I attended my first class at a yoga studio. I was amazed I could do tree pose without completely falling over, though I still wobbled (and still do today). Six months later, I was down 40 pounds and off the pills and injections for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I found myself filled with more energy and happier. I had a thirst for life and adventure again.

Today I’m two and a half years into Yoga, still learning, still growing, still consider myself a newer yogi. I have fallen in and out of daily routine and each time I tell myself the story of how Yoga changed my life to remind myself why I practice.

Photo Credit: Anthony Machcinski. Check out more of his work here – Photos by Anthony Machcinski. His work is beautiful and each photo has a story behind it.

10 Ways Art is Therapeutic for Your Mind, Heart, & Soul

Today’s #ArtThursday is brought to you by me…and the benefits of Art Therapy. Did you know that practicing art or even by doing a craft it can act as a meditative practice for you? When we channel our energy into creating something it can have many therapeutic properties.

1.) Art is relaxing and has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and decrease worry.

2.) It can teach us insight, empathy and acceptance.

3.) It promotes self-expression and can help us express and process emotions or stress that we may have suppressed.

4.) Art therapy stimulates the mind.

5.) It can encourage self-discovery, self-observation and encourages the discovery of our subconscious.

6.) Art empowers us.

7.) It helps teach us constructive ways to deal with tough feelings and traumatic or stressful situations.

8.) Art Therapy improves emotional, cognitive and sensory processes.

9.) Art can help us see beauty in rough times.

10.) It provides us with many learning opportunities and provides a sense of worth and accomplishment when we complete projects.

Now it’s your time to share! Link up your current artwork and projects! DIY Arts & Crafts, thoughts on art, Art Bucket List, all welcome!

What kinds of art and projects do you do to relax?


12 Powerful Ways Meditation Benefits You

Meditation quiets the mind, opens the heart, and lets the soul speak. It is a place where we can find answers, heal our hearts, souls and minds, and a place where we can find peace away from the chaos of our worlds. 

– Helps you with focus and awareness.

– Helps you manage stress and anxiety.

– Increases your energy levels.

– Clears you mind.

– Teaches  patience, discipline, and self-control.

– Can increase your creativity.

– Improves sleep.

– Makes you happier.

– Teaches you how to control your breath.

– Helps you manage pain better.

– Increases self-discovery and self-awareness.

– It strengthens your senses.

Meditation can come in many forms. 

12 Ways I Meditate:

-Sitting still for moments and focusing on only my breath-

-During Yoga-

-Art Journaling-

-Earthing-

-Laying with my crystals placed and listening to meditation music-

-Singing along to my favorite songs-

-Moon Bathing-

-Coloring Mandalas-

-Laying in the grass looking at the sky-

-Guided Meditation Series-

-Mountain Pose in the shower-

-Painting-

Why Working Towards Minimalism Is Important To Me

I see a lot of posts about minimalism that focus on owning less stuff and de-cluttering, this isn’t what minimalism is about for me. For me, minimalism is more emotional than functional. Minimalism is about learning to make room for things that have meaning to my life, things that bring value and joy to me, and about letting go of the things that don’t. It’s about clearing space for better things in my life, allowing space for things to grow. It’s about following my heart and soul’s desire to have more in life, more than just stuff, things bigger and more inspiring. It’s about filling my life with adventure, love, and about filling a fiery desire to live life to the fullest. 

When my Grandparents passed away I found myself in a very emotional state, I became almost materialistic in a way that I needed to possess all of their material things so that they would always be there with me. Maybe this was how I was coping at the time but in the end, having all of their stuff didn’t help me mourn any better. Time is the only thing that can heal a sorrowful heart. 

I grew up with the idea that having stuff meant you were making it in life. I had all of these ideals in my mind that in my life now just don’t make sense any more. Minimalism is about having less stuff, but not in a way that whoever has the least stuff is a better minimalist. It has a much deeper meaning than that. Moving towards minimalism is freeing for me. It is a process of letting go, learning to be detached. It is about letting go of clutter that I thought was providing me safety but really was creating chaos. It is about letting emotions flow through me and not staying stagnant within an object. It is a journey for an understanding that living with less can mean that I’m living with more. 

I have been working towards minimalism for about 6 months now and I’ll be honest, I still own a lot of stuff but I’ve also let go of a lot of things as well. My thought processes are evolving and that is why I continue to work towards minimalism. I am finding more joy and less confusion in my freedom of being able to let go. Yesterday, my Mom’s new puppy climbed on my dresser and knocked down a whole bunch of things, most of them breaking as they hit the floor… a couple of years ago I would have been a mess, one of those items being an oil lamp I inherited from my Grandparents and other treasures I had collected over the years…but in the moment, I wasn’t worried about the stuff, I was worried about the puppy cutting herself on the glass. It is just stuff after all, it is not breath or the essence of life, just stuff. 

As I learn to let go, I find myself less stressed and happier. Calmer in the things that happen in my life, both good and challenging, both big and trivial. I find myself watching less tv, only buying clothes I love (even though I’m still struggling to let go of the clothes I still have), and more focused on working towards the things I really want out of life – like checking off a gigantic bucket list! I am by no means a role model for minimalism but I’m proud to be working towards it and someday I may just get there and some day I will feel as if I can truly call myself a minimalist but for now I’m okay with being a “minimalist in training”. 

Powerful Lessons of Discovery from Confusion

I found this poem in a folder from my childhood. This poem speaks of how I perceived confusion as a child.

Confusion is the dark gray of a stormy sky

It sounds like the crying of starving children

The taste is of stale crackers

And the smell of a salty sea

An evil curse upon a prince I see

Confusion makes me feel as if the world

Has turned against me

I think that confusion in many ways feels the same to me today as it did to me as a child. Confusion can stem so many more emotions in our lives. It creates frustration, doubt, and sometimes even anger. As adults, we like to control the things and experiences we have in our lives, and confusion steals that power from us. I have learned that confusion also has its purpose though. It leads us to discovery, to lessons that need to be learned. Confusion can push us to look deeper into a situation, to see larger meanings. I am learning to take steps back when I find myself enveloped in confusion. I try to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn and to grow, asking myself what do I need to know that I do not know now. Confusion does not mean we have failed, it means there is more to know, more to understand.

Even though it is uncomfortable, I choose to embrace this opportunity, I choose to learn.

How Powerful Core Beliefs Will Guide Your Life & Happiness

Our beliefs can transform our lives. Many of my beliefs I have carried with me year after year,  helping shape me into the person I am today and the person I strive to be. These beliefs have continued to inspire and motivate me in each of my days. They give me strength and hope and the fire to keep going no matter what obstacles or heartache come my way.

Your beliefs become your perspective. 

What you put out into the world is what will be returned to you. Life is a circle, if you send good energy out, that is what you will be returned with. Although not all things in life will be roses, choose not to only see the thorns. Each experience that you have in life is preparing you for something much grander. If you chose to believe that, then you can be at peace in knowing that good things are coming no matter where you are in life right now. Keep your head up and keep pushing forward towards your goals and dreams and you will arrive when the time is right. Creating a positive mindset will help you get there. We each have the ability to change our way of thinking, to control how much power we give to negativity and circumstances, and the power to not allow situations or people control our emotions, feelings, and outcomes.

Create strong core beliefs and hold on to them to get you through anything.