My Artist’s Bucket List – Exploring New Territory

As an artist I am always looking for ways to grow. I have several forms of art and artistic expression that I am eager to try.

Oil Painting – my go-to paint choice has always been acrylic, in the last year I’ve expanded into water colors but I still have yet to give oils a try so that’s most definitely on my list!

Macrame – The beautiful wall hangings and jewelry that I’ve seen come from this wonderful craft are beautiful. I think this is a skill that will take more patience but I think it will be relaxing and rewarding.

Pottery – Think “Ghost”. How could you not want to try this? I’m a Virgo, meaning I’m an Earth sign and it absolutely intrigues me to be able to create something from such an earthy substance. I cannot imagine not liking the feel of building and creating something within my hands.

Figure Drawing – I’ve started dabbling in this as I explore with oil pastels but this is something I would like to really take the time and dig into. The art of the shape of the human body is beautiful and I truly want to be able to depict it on paper.

Weaving – The intricate designs and colors that can be captured within a woven piece is amazing. How each piece can tell a story of its handcrafted journey.

Calligraphy – I am a quote and inspirational words fanatic. I think this would be a wonderful skill to master to share that love.

 Screen Printing – Old school style. I tried this out when I was in school and it is so cool putting your artwork onto the fabric. I would like to revisit this skill.

 Dance – I have had dance on my bucket list for a while. The expression that can be shared through the art of dance can be quite powerful. There are many forms of dance that can be explored.

 There are so many forms of art out there. What kinds of art do you do and what’s on your bucket list to try?

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”. 

Inspiration & Motivation For When It’s Tough To Keep Going

I was browsing through some old posts, doing my monthly reflecting thing, and I came across this one. I wrote it in September of 2014, a true turning point in my life. With Easter soon here, it brings thoughts to mind of hope and new beginnings, a thought of how true pain can bring upon us glorious resurrection. I can’t say that my life became easy, or that heartache stopped to exist in my life after this turning point, and maybe some days I still don’t take it in the best stride, but I do come back from it every time, stronger than I was before. I can’t help but imagine that I am being trained for something so much greater out of this life. In the last three years, I’ve suffered more loss and held greater heartaches but I will not give up hope ever. I refuse to believe that life is anything other than a gift, that our suffering is anything other than lessons. I refuse to roll over and lay. My spirituality has shifted some as I grow but my core beliefs remain the same and I still believe. 

We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I have experienced many trials, challenges, and heartaches in my life (so far) but I do not look back at them with regret or resentment.  A couple of years ago when my ex left me three months before our wedding I was crushed, the very center I had built my future around had been shattered. Though I didn’t know it then, I had been saved. When my Grandmother passed away, I was deeply saddened, but with that sadness I found strength and courage. When my son was angry and told me he hated me I felt as if my heart had been pierced but it gave me focus and motivation to show him how much I loved him, to be a better Mother.
We will all have tragedies in our lives. Some we bring on ourselves, some that are dealt to us, but do not look at them as defeat, for there is no such thing as defeat. These are just twists in our path.

If it wasn’t for my heartaches, for the challenges I overcame then I wouldn’t be where I am today, or who I am today (or have the relationships I have today). Some hurdles I soared over, some I barely climbed but I can say with pride and boast that I survived them, I survived. The Universe does not break our lives but will always be there to give us strength to survive. We will be given the tools to rebuild. Life will always have tests – tests of strength,  tests of courage, and tests of faith.
Having faith isn’t about knowing what the outcome will be, it is about trusting that in the end it will all be well. I used to have a close friend that would always say, “It will be okay and if it’s not okay, then it is not the end”. Those words still linger in my mind. I truly believe that we are placed (or sometimes walk ourselves into) situations so that we may grow, that we may better ourselves. Ten years ago I didn’t have that same belief, I thought the world was against me. But then I learned some valuable advice – what makes us strong, what makes us happy, and what makes us wise is not what happens to us but it is in how we  react to it. I choose to be happy, therefore I am.

I don’t know what all will happen tomorrow but I do know that I will have faith to make it through and that I will come out a better person because of it.

I Choose to be, Therefore I am.

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. 

How to Let the Needy Friend Go

Sometimes we have to let people go just as we have to let things go. It can be hard, feelings of guilt or remorse can seep in. Sometimes we outgrow people, sometimes they aren’t healthy for us, sometimes it is just time to move on. We must let free all things that no longer serve value or purpose in our lives – things, people, jobs, habits…Just as a tree drops its leaves so that it may continue to grow we must also.

Dear Lost Friend,

You may think I don’t care, that I’m selfish or insensitive, but that isn’t the case. I needed to let you go. I needed to set us both free. I needed to make myself the priority and not you, not because I don’t care but because I cared too much. I needed to become the example so that I could be your teacher. I needed to stop being the shoulder you cried upon. I needed to show you how you have to put yourself first – not your wants or your desires, but your needs. I needed you to see how being alone could be a sanctuary, a place for you to heal and to rise again, stronger.

You have a piece of my soul with you always, and a spark, a connection to you, will always live inside of me. In so many ways we were the same, but placed in different worlds, different lives with different views. You are stronger than you would show, stronger than you knew, and I could see that in you. But you needed to step onto that ledge alone to find it. I couldn’t let you lean on me anymore. I had become your crutch, which wasn’t healthy for either of us. In separation we made each other stronger, more resilient, and brighter. 

Even though I am not by your side today, I still believe in you. You were meant for great things and I love you.

Always Sincere, xoxo. 

 

How To Be Kind With Tough People & Situations

Life can be tough. It can be complex, and sometimes the people that you encounter can be challenging to communicate with. But even in moments of frustration, kindness will always prevail.

How to be Kind Even in Tough Situations:

1.) Take a deep breath before you respond. Use the breath to slow your words, control your body language, and let it flow through you calming your thoughts.

2.) Change your perspective. Maybe their fight isn’t really with you. Maybe they’re frustrated with the situation as a whole or maybe they have a whole separate inner battle surging through them. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Remember that patience is a virtue. If the tables were turned, would you hope someone would be patient and understanding with you?

3.) Ask questions. Questions are a very powerful tool in building healthy communication. Ask with the genuine intent of understanding.

4.) Choose your words wisely and from the heart. Don’t attack in response. Use positive and encouraging words in your conversation. Keep an open mind.

5.) Choose your battles. Sometimes you just need to give up and leave the fight. It may not be the time for the solution to present itself, it may need some sitting time. Or even in some cases, there is no solution.

6.) Allow them to have space to take responsibility for their own emotions. We can’t fix people, we can’t save people, and we can’t make people happy. We are each responsible for our own emotions and moods and we each deserve the room to move through them and process them on our own sometimes.

7.) Breathe again…and keep breathing. Breathing deeply will keep your heart rate down and help you stay in control no matter how tense a situation gets.

We cannot always control what happens in life or who we have to deal with but what we can control is our reactions and how we respond. This is what will set you apart, this is what will make you stronger, calmer, and happier. Discipline yourself to be kind in all situations. 

My Plans for Lent 2017

Last year I gave up all meat for the six weeks of lent – which resulted in me replacing it with carbs – I wasn’t as disciplined as I should have been and I didn’t get what I wanted out of Lent last year other than proving to myself I could not eat meat for six weeks. This year I want to practice in a way that is truly meaningful and purposeful to me and to my life. I’ve been feeling rather in a bit of a rut the past couple of weeks and Lent couldn’t have come at a better time. This year I have chosen to not only give up but to also add to my life during Lent.

– No Clutter: Each day I will rid an item that doesn’t bring value to my life.

– No liquor: Just don’t need the calories or the trouble it can bring.

– No Meat on Fridays: I’m going to go traditional on this one. I think the practice will be good for me to understand the sacrifice of Lent and will also push me to be more creative and explorative with my meals.

– No Negativity: This is the biggest driver of stress in our lives. I don’t want to live my life stressed out and anxious. So for Lent, I will give great focus to turning every negative thought into a positive outlook and opportunity.

– I will add Meditation daily into my routine.

– I will exercise daily.

– I will read and recite an affirmation or mantra daily.

You do not have to Catholic, or even Christian to practice Lent. In today’s age, many people practice Lent as a community, or to improve their own spirituality and inner strength. I respect this holiday and practice as a whole and I believe we should be able to openly share it. 

How will you be practicing Lent this year? 

Setting Healthy Boundaries: Simple Tips for a Happy Life

Boundaries. This is something I give a lot of thought to, something I’ve quite struggled with in the past – in relationships, in friendships, with family, and at work. It’s led me to feeling drained and burnt out many times. I know setting boundaries with those we care about can be tough, in fear of letting them down, but if we don’t it can lead to complete exhaustion, and even resentment. 

Setting personal boundaries is a very important aspect of taking care of ourselves and in building strong, healthy relationships with others. Boundaries are also key in keeping our lives balanced and keeping ourselves strong, physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you eat junk food too many days in a row, your body feels it. If you work too much overtime consistently, eventually you will burn out. If you are giving so much to everyone else, when and what are giving to yourself?  

Learn what limits you need to set (and stick to) in order to keep yourself balanced, healthy, and happy. I have learned that before I commit to something, I stop and I ask myself is this within my boundaries? Don’t be afraid to ask your night-owl friend not to text you after eleven because you have to get up early in the morning. Be honest with your boss if you’ve reached the total workload you can handle. Need some alone time? Then rain check on girls’ night out. Be honest with your partner if it bothers you that he teases you in front of your parents. In the end, being able to communicate your boundaries honestly will earn you respect, make you feel stronger, and will keep things more level for you – you’ll be happier you did! 

 


Another great link up for #LoveBlog2017! Today’s prompt was ‘Boundaries’. Why are boundaries so important to you? How do you stick to them?

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Laurisa is one-third of an incredible team of women at Total Addiction.  Their mission is to encourage, uplift, and minister to other women. They collectively blog about their addictions to fashion, beauty, life, positivity, inspiration, and most of all, Jesus. When Laurisa isn’t at Total Addiction, you can find her at home with her hunky husband and their four delightful offspring.

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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 their lives. She has been blogging for about 6 years now, more recently finding her glorious niche’ of sharing her stories and thoughts of life and daily inspiration.

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The #LoveBlog2017 giveaway starts 02/01/2017 and runs through 02/28/2017. While we love our international readers, this is limited to US residents only due to legal restrictions. To learn more about all the sponsors, check out Belle Brita all month long!

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Celebrational Thoughts Of National Serpent Day

Today was National Serpent Day…On this special day I am reminded of the great power that this animal represents for us in our lives bringing about healing and change, growth into a new beginning. It brings forth great self-awareness and spiritual guidance leading to an awakening of our life force, nudging us forward to our destiny and abundance.  It symbolizes the shedding of an old life and old habits and unleashing great personal power. It gives us the ability to sense our surroundings more sensitively so that we may navigate through our lives in a more purposeful and intentional manner to make wise decisions in our direction. 

The serpent reminds us of the power of change and transformation. Even though change can be difficult and at times messy it is necessary for our journey. Even if it may cause discomfort, just as a snake sheds its skin we must also shed things to grow. Change will in the end make us stronger and more vibrant as we are meant to be. 

              My pup with her new snake toy