29 October 2014

Choosing Happiness

About this time last year, I talked about how happiness is contagious. A thought I truly believe is worth revisiting just about every day. Well, a few months ago, sweet Tara from The Brew (seriously - go check her out if you haven't - she's a doll!) starting a project on Instagram with the hashtag #100happy days. Now I had seen this one a few other posts, but I was truly intrigued by this point as to where this idea originated. So I found 100happydays.com and decided that was exactly the type of project I needed in my life, especially as busy as things have become lately in this fall season. This is how they put it:
We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.
And I couldn't agree more. I think we too often want only to post the "perfect" aspects of life, and forget to find beauty in the unfinished messes. To seek joy in every circumstance. So I ask that over the next 100+ days (starting on Nov 1) you join with me in being intentional in choosing happiness. To find joy in the little things, even in a sea of mess. This is not a project about faking happiness, but rather a journey to truly being content and radiating His joy and choosing daily to be mindful of the many blessings in our lives. For as Paul tells the church in Philippi, we can do all things through Christ, and regardless of the circumstance we can be content by relying on His sovereign grace and mercy. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Follow along on Instagram & Twitter for all 100 snapshots of finding joy in the everyday.
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15 October 2014

Finding Beauty in the Unfinished Messes

source unknown
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever have the words I need to convey all that is going on inside my mind. I scarcely believe I have any of it figured out myself, much less have the ability to pen those thoughts in some intelligible way. Recently, my mind has wandered to the reality of the weight of the written language.  How many times have I read a book, only to be immersed in the story, eagerly turning the next page to find out what happens next? How often have I been caught literately laughing out loud, or wiping the tears from my eyes while reading a story someone else has written? I have been moved in compassion, tugged by sympathy, and all too often silently whispered "me too" in response to the end of a chapter. How I long to wonderfully string together such a story that leaves the audience captured. But then I begin to doubt. To shake my head and think that I have nothing to write about. Nothing worth reading. But you see, everyone has a story, and those are the ones I enjoy the most. The beautiful unfinished messes of people's lives that ache with honesty. The stories that are raw and real and don't always have a happy ending. Those are the ones I continually come back to. 

A while back, after seeing the movie, a friend asked why I enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower so very much as, well, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. And then again with The Fault in Our Stars the question arose, and I began to wonder why myself. But the reality is that I love these stories because I can see a bit of myself in each of them. I am the wallflower who sees things and thinks the world should take notice as well. I'm one who tends to keep others at bay, lest I become a grenade of imploding sickness.  As Charlie's teacher reminds us, “We accept the love we think we deserve” and we live in a reality where paradoxes are more common than absolutes.  As Charlie reflects, speaking truth when he types “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be”,  I am reminded that the beauty of humanity is that there are trials. There are failures, but there are also victories.  There is sadness, but there is also unending joy. 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially in this new season of my career. If you follow along on Instagram, you'll have seen our big news, and hopefully you'll have seen my complete joy in it. What you may not see however, is that leading up to this point has been work. Hard work. And patience. There have been tears, injuries, stress, missed opportunities, long nights, and lots of decisions. This has been something I have been dreaming for and working towards since I walked across the stage at graduation. I found the image below and have had it as my desktop background for a while as a reminder that regardless of where I go in my career, or what my title is, the reality is that those roles do not limit me. In everything I do, my goal is to be the light of Christ to others; serving and loving as Jesus did, proclaiming His truth with my words and my actions. As a BCBA, as a friend, a small group leader, as a blogger... In this world driven by social media we have such a tendency to to show only the finished product. The perfect shot. We leave out the failures in hopes that no one ever uncovers our secret that we have fallen short. We hide behind labels, titles, and positions to define our stories, neglecting the reality that even Jesus wept and grieved, and prayed for guidance as well. We scold ourselves for not meeting the expectations set forth by others, but we miss the mark when we focus on pleasing people rather than glorifying God. It is in the unfinished mess that He works. That He molds, and creates, and shapes us into His image. If we were perfect already, then we wouldn't need Him. 

So moving forward, I ask that you join me in celebrating the unfinished messes of life. The spilled coffee, dirty laundry, sticks in the living room, unmade bed kind of messes. But also the growing to-do list, missed phone calls, cancelled lunch dates, hurt feelings, and shortcomings as well. That we would not dwell on these issues, but that we would embrace them. Learn from them. And find joy in knowing that our failures do not define us and more than our successes do. We are defined by the grace of God for a greater purpose, and for that I am thankful!
In my new role,  I know I am going to have more work to do. More meetings. Less time. More deadlines. Simply more responsibilities. But in the messy work of continuing to figure out how to balance a career, a family, and a passion, I am assured that His beauty will be made evident every step of the way. And I can't wait to see what He has in store.

How do you find beauty in the unfinished messes of life?

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07 October 2014

The Perfect Frozen Coffee Drink

Hello fellow coffee lovers! You may have read about my newest obsession in my Keurig 2.0, or followed along through our link up Coffee & Conversation, or really read just about any post I have ever done on here to catch a glimpse of my adoration for coffee in a variety of forms. I can do drink it every day, and love every form, from hot to iced to frozen, blended, and even as icecream.  SO today I want to share a simple afternoon pick me up and weekend treat I love to make! A coffee frappe worthy of rivaling even that of Starbucks! Yeah, I said it.
I made an extra cup of coffee in the morning and set it in the fridge until lunch. Then I mixed two scoops of coffee ice cream, and a handful of ice in the blender, and my special afternoon treat was completed! The ice cream makes it creamy and adds a touch of sweetness to it and it's just perfect!

How do you like your coffee?

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02 October 2014

Micheal Kors | Giveaway

If you've seen my 30x30 series (seriously, if you haven't, go check it out your wardrobe will thank you), you'll know I simply ADORE my Michael Kors watch and wear it every single day. It's seriously one of my staple fashion items that I feel naked without! Well today I'm teaming up with sweet Marquis from Simply Clarke and several other lovely bloggers to give you the opportunity to win one of your very own! Enter below for your chance to win!
 Michael Kors Watch Giveaway copy
October Giveaway copy

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30 September 2014

DIY | Purse to Pillow

In my many travels, I have obtained a variety of souvenirs from a plethora of countries. Sometimes, however, when I get jewelry or purses, they tend to work for a season and then a new one comes along. One thing I love to do is repurpose these items into artwork of some kind and keep them as a memento, even if it's not it's intended use. I love a good throw pillow, and in my opinion you can never have too many of those! So for this upcycled craft, I opted to turn two of the purses I had from my travels into pillows for our library chair. This is a super easy task (as are most all of my crafts lol!) and really didn't take much time at all! 

I had two old pillows that had begin to fray on the edges and were in need of new pillow cases so it worked out quite well. Here's what I did:

Cut off the handles of the bags (these were both hobo bags so it was quite easy)
Stuff the bags with filler (from one of the old pillows - slightly messy but necessary b/c the pillow was too large to fit into either bag)
Sew the top of the bag shut (I did this by hand)
Viola! New pillows :)

Check out the finished products:

What are your favorite souvenirs?
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