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My Birthday Weekend Away + Dallas Bound

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

Okay, I think it is fair to say that October weather is kicking my butt. My allergies are terrible but I am steadily feeling better. I won’t get into to all the yucks, but I am already on it by taking care of myself. Besides medicating, I bring my vitamins with me and drink lots of water. I also have about nine 😳days missing from Blogtober and I don’t intend on going back and writing them so I will put my energy into my future posts.

pumpkins, fall, lifestyle post

I am still very excited about Fall weather. In fact, when I walked out of the house this morning, I took my sweet ol’ time waltzing down my stairs just so I could stare out into the trees and listen to the leaves Fall. I legit wanted to go change my outfit into something more cozy. I didn’t. I got my happy self in my car and drove my happy self to work, ha!

pumpkin, fall, lifestyle

This past weekend, I got to visit a Lavender Farm for the first in my life ever! It was so fun. My husband and I spent hours walking around looking at the beautiful landscape. The lavender fields were obviously not in full bloom but the farm grows other things like irises, pansies, and violas. We got to see a few of the lavender bushes still in bloom and that was enough for me.

The pumpkins were absolutely adorable! There were so many sizes to choose from!

pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

alpacas, pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun
(First place chili cook off winners in 2015! Chili was SO good!)

We got to sample taste chili too! There were vendors lined up and down the isles ready to serve you their chili. I believe most of them were broth and tomato sauce based. I have never had that many variations of chili before. I love Texas!

alpacas, pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

pansies, violas, pumpkins, Fall, lifestyle, fun

(None of this is sponsored or advertising -- Just some fun things from the farm I really enjoyed. If you are interested or desire to know more about this place or a particular vendor, I will do my best to get the info to you. Thanks!)
www.heycedes.com

A Formula for Success: Persistence and a Kept Promise

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
workout, persistence, promise-keeping, self-love, self-care

I was listening to an audible book called, Girl Wash Your Face the other day. She talked about keeping a promise to yourself or the lack thereof in such a unique perspective. We do our best to take care of others but when it comes to our own lives, not so much. It isn't because we don't want to. Life happens and we get caught up in it.

As I mentioned before, one of the things I incorporated back into my life was exercise. I made up so many excuses as to why I should hold off. Everything from the membership fee to the look of my workout clothes and if I had someone to go with swirled around in my thoughts.

I finally had enough. I got up one morning before my alarm went off, got dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, prepared my work clothes, and headed out the door before I had a chance to change my mind. There was ZERO planning for any of it. Planning out a schedule and workout routine came after this crazy morning. It worked!

Now I work out about three times a week before work. This is a small step in the direction that I desire. On days when I am dragging, I bring my clothes to go after work. The promise I made to myself to be healthy exceeds losing weight. It is an evolving lifestyle of better choices I make on a daily basis.

"Whatever standard you’ve set for yourself is where you’ll end up . . . unless you fight through your instinct and change your pattern." Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

manageable schedule has really helped me become persistent. Even on days I messed up and ate what I wanted, I knew that I still would have to go to the gym. I knew that I would have to work off that candy bar I ate or the Chic Fil A I picked up earlier. Even when I eat what I am supposed to, I am going to the gym. Three times a week for now.

When I look into the mirror, I see a girl full of life. I see a girl that wants to travel the world and impact those around her to be the best that they can be. I see a girl that is beautiful and loved and wanted and is just as important as the others around her. This girl has scars from hardship, rejection, pain, and low self-esteem. She wears her scars with grace and her soul is full of light. To be this girl on the inside and out is my standard and I will not accept anything less.

Rachel's insight went beyond health and fitness. It can even be applied to other things in life like relationships, professional settings, productivity, and so much more. This is my starting place. What is yours? Do you often find yourself on the back burner? Do you feel overwhelmed? You may not be the only one.  Share it in the comment section below.

Note: The book mentioned in this post is just a really great book. I would recommend it to everyone! The opinions and perspectives are my own. Thank you for stopping by. Until next time!



Random Thoughts After a Long Day

Monday, October 1, 2018
positivity, blogtober, self-love, self-care, happy

This is a little different from my normal posts but I am going for it. Today I have really struggled with keeping my thoughts together in general. I was distracted or super focused and at some point my eyes glazed over as I watched the screen. Brain fog is what some call it.  It is like I could find a reason to complain about anything. The scariest part is how easy it just came out into words.

I woke up in a great mood. Nothing was exactly wrong. At some point, my energy drained and I was helpless to recover. Although it had been raining all day, I made a decision to go to the gym. I brought my clothes to work and I debated because of the rain. Luckily common sense won me over. If I wanted to feel better, sitting around sulking wasn’t going to help me.

I made it to the gym and went directly upstairs to the cardio machine. I pulled up my favorite workout and got the ball rolling. I chose the one closest to the window so I could stare out at the traffic and cityscape surrounding me.

As I scrambled to figure out how to get my bluetooth headphones to work, I noticed an older lady next to me kindly watching me fumble around with the earpiece that was supposed to go around my head and into my ear AND in order to get the machine to work I had to move quickly or it would cut off. Yeah, it was basically a circus show. I told myself that it was okay if it made her giggle a little. At least someone got a laugh in today!

positivity, blogtober, self-love, self-care, happy

The workout I chose alternated resistance levels and strides in one minute intervals. By level twenty, I was feeling it. My breathing was thinning out and I could feel my heart beating fast. It is amazing how half an hour on a machine could take your mind off of things.

I took a break and chugged down some water. I got closer to the window to watch the rain glide down the glass. Little prisms formed when rays of light came through at just the right time. To think I spent the day being so negative about the rain earlier. In that moment I took it all back! Anybody else just needed some space to see things clearly? Comment below and tell me how you got through it.

I am sure working out helped. I am sure to feel it in the morning. Maybe that is all I needed was to step back and enjoy the little things. Less complaining. I look forward to tomorrow. A new day!

Self-love: Defined by Resilience

Sunday, September 30, 2018
self-love, self-care, personal-growth

There is nothing more heartbreaking than falling short of your dreams. Everything that you worked so hard for just gone before your eyes. I've been there. I understand the pain. I wince when I reflect back on a very tough lesson learned. Although they are part of life, it does not make them any easier.

A couple of years ago, I was let go of not one, but two temporary positions within a couple of months of each other. I was also in school full time and I had other responsibilities like wedding planning, college ministry, and a new position as president over a student organization that needed to be fully overhauled. I was in over my head and the last thing I needed was to be let go of. I confided in a few trusted friends but it seemed to make matters worse because I felt like no one understood.

I was surrounded by people and felt totally alone. I knew I needed to take a few irons out of the fire as one put it, but I certainly wouldn't have chosen for it to happen the way it did. I wanted to give it my all but I wasn't taking very good care of myself. I experienced anxiety frequently because I was worried everything was falling through the cracks. I finished out the semester. I got married in the summer. I secured a full time job with benefits shortly after but it still felt like hell.

In this ugly transition, I also stopped doing what I loved-dancing. I had been dancing since grade-school. I did everything from tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. I danced at church. I danced at school. Drill-team. Studio. I made room for it where I could. Life did not seem as simple as it did before. I noticed a gap forming in my life and a ten month depression followed.

Once I stopped licking my wounds, I realized that I did not want to stay in a stagnant position. I had experience failure and I did not want to return. Fear is the driver behind the emotions that paralyze you. Fear makes you think that there is emptiness in your future and shame in your past.  I am here to tell you that it is far from true. Though our human nature is flawed, we are also very resilient.

Usually it is the journey that makes us feel like we have failed. It may just be the route we took, decisions we made, or who we entangled ourselves with along the way that make or break accomplishing the dream. That is why I call it a lesson-learned. It does not mean that we cannot explore and try things differently. I knew that if I continued to try the same things before, I would end up in a worse situation. I could not control the outcome of everything, but I could control me. I responded with change.

When difficult situations occurred, I found out what I was made of. There were some characteristics I was proud of and some not so much. I took that as an indicator of what I needed to work on. One of them was realizing that life is full of surprises and at some point I would have to accept that.  As an A-type personality that plans and plans for just about everything, it was hard to comprehend because there is always a plan B, or C…. right? I mean right?? 

Well anyone can plan and I am of course all for it but please know that the tighter you hold on to something, the more the burn will hurt when it is ripped away even for a moment. It took a while to get back on track. Thankfully, I am in a place in life where I am able to sort things out. I definitely prioritize my life better than I ever have.

From Me To You,
It is never too late to start over again. Do not allow fear and indecision to become a barrier in reaching your dream. If no one has ever said it, I will. I am sorry for all you have gone through. I know it hurts. You may feel all alone right now, but this too will pass. When you are ready, wipe your eyes and look up. Dust the dirt off and rise up beloved. A new journey awaits you if you will just try again.



October Challenge: Blogtober

blogtober, october, fall

So I was going through some blogger groups on social media reading about this awesome idea of Blogtober. The basic idea is to write once everyday for thirty-one days. Some people like to have series or themes. Some even go by keywords. There are no “official” rules. I have decided to participate in for several reasons. Not to mention that it is my birthday month! Whoo!!

Why Blogtober?
  • To become a better writer.
  • Increase organic traffic to my blog
  • Practice taking more pictures with my digital camera (...help it lols)
  • Try something new
  • Explore and expand my blog niches
  • Challenge myself as a blogger overall
I don’t have an exhaustive list of things I want to write about everyday per say. I have topics for each week in October. Things like Fall Favorites, Personal-Growth, Blogging, Wellness, Lifestyle etc. I am really excited about it! Fingers crossed I make it all the way through to day 31! Stay tuned!

Self-care: Finding Emotional Balance and De-stressing

Friday, September 28, 2018
emotional health, personal-growth, self-care
Okay, with the holidays around the corner, I am certain that my good mood pendelum is going to swing full force. The worst thing I can do for myself is to let it smack me in the face on the way. As much as I love the holidays, I don't like feeling overwhelmed with the many to do's that come along with it. This is why I feel like a self-care check up is necessary.

Thankfully we have not made it that far yet. My focus right now is connecting with my body to make sure my feelings aren't deceiving me. I think it is good for everyone to do this. It doesn't have to be when something bad happens. Part of living a positive lifestyle is to understand overall health mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is emotional balance? It is the ability to experience an emotion without self-judgement. When I accept that I can feel a certain way and the emotion passes without me holding it captive, I have alowed myself to find emotional balance. Avoiding or stuffing down strong emotions can cause illness to the rest of our body over time.

I realize it is most helpful when what I feel is tangible. I need to name it. I need to understand the origin. I must choose to allow myself to process it in a healthy way. When I do allow my emotions to go unchecked, my body will let me know. This will usually manifest in a headache or stomachache. I am noticeably cranky too! Not all emotions are bad. This can still happen if I am overly excited about something.

We are meant for connectedeness. 

Sometimes I know exactly what I am feeling and other times I don't. Usually I will talk with a friend that I trust to help me figure these things out. One time I was overwhelmed with emotion because I felt pulled in several directions at once. I was happy for the opportunities but scared to death that something would fall through the cracks and not get done and people would be mad at me. All it took was for her to acknowledge how I felt. She basically just told me what she heard and asked me to confirm and it all clicked together.

When I am not able to talk things through, I usually have my journal or phone on hand where I can write out what I am feeling. That way I can go back to it later and reflect. I write about the circumstance that led up to me feeling a certain way. I write about whether or not my breathing changed. If anyone was involved, I write about our communication. Generally this will give me an idea of where I am.

emotional health, personal-growth, self-care

Here is a list of things I have done that help to de-stress:

1. Create a calming environment by turning the lights off. Light a nice smelling candle and meditate/pray.

2. Journal unapologetically. Seriously. Do not sensor anything. Worried it will be read? Find a hiding place and stash it.

3. Get some sleep!

4. Practice breathing. Youtube breathing techniques that have a guided voice to help you get used to breathing correctly.

5. Practice emotional distance. As soon as you feel yourself about to react to something, take a step back and allow the emotion to leave you.

6. Create a relaxing playlist. I usually go for jazz, instrumental, or classical.

7. Kick something off of your plate. Delegate a task. Go home 30 minutes early.

8. Exercise. Get some deep tissue action going and it will help ease the tension.

9. Laugh often. Humor is medicine to the soul.

10. Find a few minutes in your day to center your emotions.

emotional health, personal-growth, self-care

Faith Post - Making Sense of My Purpose

Thursday, September 27, 2018
faith, personal-growth, self-love

I cannot recall a season in my life where the weight of this world was not insistent on breaking my spirit. The many attempts have often felt personal and as a result my heart hardened over time. I picked apart my life little by little assuming there was some big aha! moment that I would discover and life would finally make sense. My best guess is that I believed having a solid answer would soothe the pain in my soul. I was wrong. All it led up to was me chipping away at my own authenticity. 

I felt like healing was far away. I believed lies like I wasn't the right fit for anything and being from a broken home meant I would always be broken. Lies like my past was who I was bombarded my thoughts. Some of these horrific lies came out of the mouths of others. Some of them from the enemy. Some of which I told myself when I felt like it was impossible to move forward. The idea of closing up shop and starting over was more appealing by the day. 

I used to think that putting the needs and desires of others before my own was more important and in some twisted way I would finally be loved for me. Later I would come to understand that the denying of self is deeply intertwined in a message of love from the Father; rather than the religious mindset I early in life.

Storms exposed the dwellings of my heart. When I chose to give my life to Christ, I knew that I would be made new but no one warned me that my soul work would be a process- and not an easy one.I knew for certain that I believed that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for me (1Peter 3:18). I knew I was certain that scripture clearly says that God is love and perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

I laid down perfection. I knew that if I really wanted to experience the peace that surpasses my understanding, I would have to let go and trust His will for my life. As much time as I spend tracking goals and planning out my life, I know that at any moment, those things can change.

I learned to love myself despite what others think of me. Everyone will always have an opinion of what my life should look like, what I should look like, and even how I should pursue my relationship with Jesus. People can be fickle. What I think about myself will manifest in the natural. I am confident. I am worth all the love God has for me. I once had a very noble pastor say something so profound. I never forgot these words," If you live by their praise, you'll die by their criticism."

Not everyone will understand. Not everyone will care about the scars you bear from your past. I stopped singling myself out. God will intentionally put safe people in your life but it will take time to build relationship. Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have a book called Safe People. It explores the ideal safe person's character. It also talks about how to become one. I read this book and it completely changed my perspective about people. I learned that it would take me some effort to open up and get to know others even if they don't believe or think like I do.

I gave myself permission to breathe and accept my perfect validation from Jesus Christ. He loves me and all of my scars. He loves my very form (Psalm 139:15-17). The greatest thing of all is that He will never run out of this perfect love. He can cause the storm to cease and give you peace within. Trust him.

I have not figured out all how it all works but I do know this: My purpose in life is to love wholeheartedly out of the abundance of the Father. As I draw from Him, all of the cracks and crevices of my broken places shine brightly because of His light within me. I am not my past. I am not a slave to people's opinions. I am not bound by low self-esteem. I am a confident daughter of Jesus Christ because greater is He within me than He who is in this world (1 John 4:4).

 I don't share these things to preach at you or to have a come to Jesus moment. I write them because feeling lost is a feeling I never want to experience again. I would never wish it on anybody. I want you to know that even if you don't believe like I do, you are not alone. Making sense of who you are and why you are on this Earth can be rough. As a believer, it is part of sanctification which is life-long. 



Self-Care Morning Prep for the Fall

Sunday, September 23, 2018
self-care; morning routine

Helloooo lovelies! I cannot say it enough. I absolutely love the Fall! I just have this warm cozy feeling in my chest when I wake up in the mornings followed by a wonderful cup of coffee. The other day I managed to wake up early enough to go to Starbucks for a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte, yum!!

Let's just say I have been experimenting with my morning routine because I work out in the mornings now and that requires me to be up earlier than usual. The earliest I've rolled this body out of bed is a whopping 5:37am. That may be nothing compared to some schedules but that is definitely a win for me. How I treat myself in the mornings really does give me a boost in energy for the day. Here are a few practical things that I do in the mornings:

Nourish Your Body


Eat Breakfast

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I know if I eat well in the morning, my meals throughout the day are smaller because I am satisfied from the first meal. I like to eat apple cinnamon oatmeal with fruit. I usually eat about two cups. I don't count calories. Maintaining portions are more important to me. On the weekends, I like to be fancy and make pancakes, bacon, and oatmeal. I like eggs too sometimes, but not so much if I don't have salsa. Most of the time I forget to pick it up when I've gone to the store so I usually stick with oatmeal. I've not done this in a while but I used to buy bagels and toast them. Once they were nice and warm, I would add blueberry or regular cream cheese and it was oh so good. It is also quick and easy. It tastes just fine without toasting it too.

Your breakfast can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be just as long as you have the time to prep it and enjoy it. Your body will thank you. Also, for those of you that do not like breakfast and pigs will fly before you eat that early in the day, detox water is a good alternate. A mixture of water, cucumber, and lemon is really refreshing. Top it off with mint and it is super yummy. It will wake you up! Need something hot? Green tea has natural caffeine and will get your metabolism going.

Ten Minute Stretch

Back in college I had a roommate that was a life guard at the university pool. She would wake up and stretch for ten minutes exactly. It helped her prepare for the day mentally and physically. By the time she walked out of the front door, she was ready to face the day without all of the grogginess. Let's just say our demeanors were noticeably different at 8 am! 😅  Now I find that on the days I don't burst out of the bed like a ray of sunshine, I stretch and it helps me to feel centered. After years of dancing, all of the tips and tricks I have under my belt do not stand a chance against this simple activity. All it requires is a few minutes of time and concentration. I usually have water nearby to replenish. Don't forget to hydrate!

Skin Care


Texas weather basically has a mind of its own. Since I live near the gulf, the humidity is terrible. I have combination skin so my skincare routine will change every so often. Currently I take a warm wash cloth and press it lightly on to my face. I then use my cleanser to get rid of excess oils. I rinse the cleanser off and use my exfoliator. I rinse the exfoliant off and then I use my toner. I let it seep in a few minutes and complete the routine with a moisturizer. Afterwards, my skin looks and feels super clean and smooth. I do have a black charcoal peel off mask that I use a couple of times a week as well.

Side note: I am debating on buying one of those hand-held skin exfoliators but I am terrified of it tearing my skin. If you use one and have had good results, please comment and let me know which one you use.

skin care; self-care

P.S. I love this stuff. Just add water and it turns into a nice foam. I usually purchase this scrub from Ulta. This is not a sponsored product. I have used it for over a year now. 

Refresh Your Mind


Finding ways to stay focused on a positive lifestyle can be done in several ways. When I incorporate an uplifting activity in my morning routine, I set myself on track to a successful cycle of thinking. Even if my morning has started off roughly, I can refer back to prayer, a book or podcast to push my way out of being stuck in a funk from a setback. 

My morning could be going great and I spill coffee on my clothes as soon as I drive into the parking lot (which has happened more than I would like). Words slip out before I have a chance to take in what happened. What then? Sometimes things arise that we have zero control over. How we react will make the difference. We aren't asked to be perfect. The emotions will pass. Sometimes it isn't the event that took place, it is the lingering emotions from my reactions to them that make or break my day. As imperfect as I am, I still like having the freedom to choose how my day is going to go. Don't you?

Engage 


This may sound silly, but one of my favorite things to do is smell flowers. Not only are flowers beautiful but the fragrance of a rose or bluebonnet can take my mind off of stress. I don't know why or how but they do. In my previous post, I have a pin with a quote refering to autumn leaves and fall breeze. I love to walk around and listen to the rustle of leaves. The hum and rush of the wind can stir them up causing this beautiful nature song to occur. Its magical to me. Taking notice of the beauty happening around me just puts me in a good mood. I tend to slow down and really engage.

Speaking of good mood. I have to remind myself to smile. Sometimes I am not aware of the faces I make in public. It isn't because I am trying to prove anything. Some of the time I am deep in thought. Other times I am thinking about my next meal. You can really change the atmosphere by smiling. Sometimes, that is all anyone needs is to see a smile. Let's make this Fall count!



For the Love of Fall!

Monday, September 3, 2018
...and then there were 4 months left in 2018! Fall is my favorite time of the year. I may be a bit partial because my birthday is in October and because Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks AND the chill in the air is here to stay for a little while meaning I get to wear all my cute fall/winter clothes. I also like Fall because I get to cozy up and finally finish a few books, binge watch Gilmore Girls and Doctor Who. 

I love the sound of the wind whirling through the trees. I  love that we have multiple holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas! Y'all just wait for December. Y'all will really and truly find out how much I love gingerbread. Officially our Fall begins on September 22nd but I guess it doesn't hurt to start early! 

Fam Life
When I wasn't planning, I spent time with family and friends. I cherish the time I spend with them because we are always all over the place at any given time due to work, travel, and mismatched schedules in general. This year is THE year of transition for myself and many people in my life. 

Thankfully, everyone seems to be in a good place. It is hard because I got so used to seeing familiar faces. So when I spend time with them, my full attention is devoted to checking in and actively listening so I won't miss out on all that is going on. It feels good to connect with people you love.

Working Out
Besides that, I have taken up working out at the gym. I did this for a few reasons. One of the niches to my blog is self-care. I needed to incorporate a physical deep-tissue action that helped me feel good about myself. Back in the day, I loved outdoor sports. I was also into Pilates, Yoga, and running. On top of a busy schedule, there was no shortage occupying my body with necessary exercise on any given day. 

For a couple of years, I stopped for various reasons including depression and simply just not making the time to do it. Now I am back at it and I LOVE how I feel after a really great work out. Mental clarity is another reason I go. I desperately needed something to get me going in the mornings. When I do not sleep well, it takes all of my energy to be productive and stay afloat the rest of the day. For the last few weeks, I have not struggled with fogginess which is a major blessing! For once in my life working out isn't just about weight loss, it is about being healthy. Period. Talk about a mind shift!

#Shelftember
Let's talk Shelftember! I first heard this term from Jordan Page aka Mama J at Fun Cheap or Free on Youtube (she also has a website here). She is a knowledgable and fun frugal mama who shares practical ways to living in finances, scheduling, cooking, and so much more! Shelftember is about cooking nutritional meals from the items already on hand and adding fresh items like produce as needed from the groceery store.

 If you already do this, comment below and tell us how long and what you have gained from participating in Shelftember. We are only a couple of days in but I have implemented this method for three meals meals so far! I plan to do this for the rest of September. Not only do we want to save money but we like to travel. It would be great to put back money we did not just blow on fast food and just eat well at home. Shelftember is a win-win! 

Blog Life
Last month I was definitely missing out on blogging because my schedule got pretty packed. I knew it was going to happen so I spent most of my time jotting ideas, planning outlines for posts, compiling images, and really thinking about my blogging goals. I want to write about what I love. I find it way too easy to get caught up in the logisitics of things. Let's be honest. The earlier you educate yourself on how to run a blog, the easier it will be. 

So I am not bashing the dedication and hard work it takes to run a blog, but I am saying this: If I do not love what I write, I will not expect you to love it either. So I will be updating my blog as I research and learn the ins and outs. One of the things I have enjoyed about blogging is getting to know other bloggers through Bloglovin', Facebook groups, local bloggers and more. These individuals become supportive friends. It is so worth it!


I am so excited about this season! I feel like I am off to a great start. What do you love about the Fall? Comment below and let me know! Happy Fall!! 🍁🍂🍁🍂🍃


Knowing Your Tribe + What To Expect

Monday, August 13, 2018
friendship, personal-growth

Finding your tribe can be difficult. The older we get, maintaining the ones we already have are our primary focus outside of the new ones we make in our circle of influence. This can be at work, church, online, and within the community.

As mentioned in my previous post, one of my life goals is to be healthy in all ways. This goal includes having healthy relationships. As I have grown, so have many of the relationships around me. Some have grown closer and others have grown apart for the better. Among social media, there is a trend in learning what it means to find your tribe.

I have stayed up reading article after article learning about attraction, prayer, manifestations, self-help how-to's, and goodness knows what else really trying to understand if I've found mine or have just completely missed the bandwagon my tribe was on. 

When I think about a tribe, I think of people who have the same interests as me, similar goals, they are authentic people who love their lives, and themselves. I have also found that many believe that you must be the person you want to attract. I agree with this to an extent.

My reasoning is simple. The depth of the friendship, in my opinion, can adapt to fit the season of life for both parties. For example, the friendship may be built off of common ground. You may really enjoy doing activities together. From those activities, you both share more about who you are.

Eventually, bonding occurs. Friendships that withstand the test of time typically have an ebb and flow of fun times, mentor, and mentee roles which is totally okay because we should be constantly growing as individuals. Iron sharpening iron, right?

At some point the friendship does find a healtlhy balance and both parties grow closer. That kind of relationship is basically goals! So I assume that most of the content is for the initial stages of a tribe and that is a GREAT place to start.

I feel like many of us have experienced what it is like to end up in the wrong tribe and if you are like me, just needing some reaffirming that you haven't completely lost it trying to figure it out, there are ways to help you make a determination!


Connection
Many of the longtime friends I have today are intentional friendships. Communication is a large part of it. You do not spend all of your time trying to decipher what the other person is trying to say or do. You do not have to wonder about the intent of the other person.

Someone is always scheduling a call, text, coffee meet, or Facetime to stay in touch. I think this is so important. It doesn't matter how busy you are. When you care to find the time, there will be time.

Safety
There is freedom to express who you are and what you believe without backlash. There is no fear. There is no anxiety. No sugar-coating necessary. It is a level field. Why? Because of mutual understanding and respect.  A judgment free zone does not mean automatic agreement on everything but you know you have each other's back.

Freedom
We cannot make everybody happy. Reality is, people who love you dearly will still have other interests. Other interests mean spending time with other people. I promise you it does not mean the end is near for your friendship.

Whether you adapt to get to know a different side of each other or just simply continue to spend time together, you are confident enough that your friendship is not threatened by the "other".

Inspiration
You feel empowered when you are around each other. Personally, on days that I need encouragement, I know that I can call my friends and they will remind me of who I am, Who's I am, and the goodness I am capable of. They know the same applies if they need me. You simply bring out the best of each other! 
"I hope you find someone who speaks your language so you don't have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit." -Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis 


Keys to Staying Focused on What Matters In Life

Friday, August 10, 2018

Life can bring about a variety of experiences. We are shaped and molded into who we are today by them. We leave our footprints in the sand and go about our lives unaware of the impact we have on each other and this Earth.

Time passes and we look up and realize what is really important and what matters the most. Over time, I've come to learn more about myself. When my focus shifts to what is truly important to me, I recognize how beautiful growth can be if I let it.

When I sit down and think about the life I want for myself, I usually insert healthy in just about every goal I have. I can admit to holding on tightly to relationships, jobs, and situations that caused more trouble than they were really worth.

I would like to think we all have some sort of internal clock within us. It allows us to sense when a season of change is in sight and when another is ending. When there is resistance to change, our symptoms are like rope burn. We experience pain. Then there is a healing process that takes place to get us to where we need to be. When we choose to let go, we may be holding our breath on the way but we eventually find peace in the season ahead. We reap the good fruit of going with our gut!

If there is a secret formula out there that will teach you how to live in the present while accomplishing goals, I have not found it. In fact, I haven't even looked for it if I am being honest. Winging it isn't an option for me either so I kind of stuck with the ol' work hard play hard mantra to avoid hitting every metaphorical stair along the way. Losing sight of what matters blindsides us and leaves us vulnerable. 

If you find yourself losing sight of what is truly important, don't worry. All is not lost. There are many things you can do to set yourself up for success. 

Create a vision board.
This is a board you can be really creative with. You write down your life dreams, add pictures, cutouts, you name it. It is for the purpose of keeping you motivated. Have fun with it! Think about what you value. This board should make you happy.

If you find that your emotions hit a snag along the way, it is okay. All that means is a part of you requires a little more attention and healing. Don't let it be the reason you do not complete your board. Visualize yourself accomplishing everything on that board!

Consider Time.
Sometimes we all have to do what needs to be done for the time being. It is a place of temporary survival. When you look up 20 years later and you've made that temporary position long-term, that is what I consider wasted time especially if you had not planned on staying there.

Make a list of manageable goals to achieve your dream. You can even confide in a friend to keep yourself accountable. Allow them to follow up with you every once in a while. Don't let time pass you by.

Speak life!
Do you ever feel crappy after complaining about something? I know I do. I think about the words I just released into the air and I cringe. When you feel those words about to spew out of your mouth, stop and recollect yourself. You will have a good day.

You will get through that hard task. You will accomplish that goal. You will do well for yourself. You are successful. You are smart. You are capable! Breaking the habit of being negative will bring clarity to your perspective. 

Find balance. 
Disconnecting will help you find your center. Find time to clear your head. You can do this through prayer, meditation, silence. Shutting off social media for a time helps too. Let your people know that you will not be available during those times to minimize distraction.

 Not only will you gain insight on what you are processing but you increase the measure at which you are capable of helping someone else. 

Keep dreaming. 
"If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough." Quoted by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Dream big and wild and free! You have to give up on your dreams to live a decent life said no one ever. It is never too late.

Look at that vision board really good and ask yourself if your dream needs to be bigger. If the answer is yes, add some more goodness! The only impossibility is the hindrance you create in your own mind. 


Life Changing Secrets of Happy People

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
coffee; happy; conversation
Have I mentioned how much I like coffee? Well, I kind of love it. Y'all... it is so good! Coffee is not just good. It is great because it has been a conversation starter in most of the meaningful conversations I remember having through the years.

I enjoy listening to people talk about what they love about life. To sit across from someone you know or someone you are getting to know can be the most interesting experience. I tend to look for smile lines on people's faces. When we talk about family, friends, and even a passion, I tend to see those lines more often. Here are some common attributes for a lot of the happy people I've encountered:

Gratefulness
They never fail to say what they are thankful for. It does not matter how big or small it is, ALL will know! They also like to know what you appreciate in your life and they celebrate with you. These people remind me of what life is truly about. #lovefirst

Joyfulness
These people are encouragers. They are more interested in seeing the good in life. They tend to make your day brighter with a smile, hug, and kind words. They like to make people laugh too. You find yourself enjoying life a little more because you have spent time around them. These kind of people are gold.

Authenticity
They are not interested in making their lives a copy of anyone else's. These people are usually bold. They are not afraid to take a risk. They humbly embrace imperfection because they recognize their humanity and they are not afraid of it. They know that within their imperfection lies an unshakeable strength. We need these people!

Memory Makers
They are always up for capturing the moment to reminisce about it later. These are the people that will snap a photo and post it just because they want to remember how hard you both laughed at a joke. They will share it to your timeline and laugh again later because it was a memory made with you! They value their people!

We could all use a little more joy in life. Sometimes we get bogged down with getting it all right that we forget to stop and smell the bluebonnets (Texas, Y'all😉). Consider these things the next time you have a conversation. Look for the gold in others and you will find it. 

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The Truth About Procrastination and Why You Should Stop

Sunday, July 29, 2018

At some point or another, we have all been guilty of putting off things that needed to be done for the sake of having a few more minutes of peace. Just one more minute of watching your favorite TV series, finishing a chapter in the book you can't put down, eating out for the umpteenth time to avoid cooking, etc.

Many of us know what procrastination is (to intentionally AND habitually put something off) but we really don't look into why we do it. Procrastination is usually a symptom of a root issue. Procrastination can be brought on by many things including:
  • stress
  • burnout
  • laziness
  • self-doubt
  • fear
  • perfectionism
  • anxiety
  • lack of motivation
  • negativity
Just to list a few root reasons why. I can say that I have experienced each one of these things personally and each one had their own set of consequences. This included the last-minute adrenaline rush to meet a deadline rolling in on fumes! Have a few of these in a row and tell me how you feel. I'll be here!👋😅  Once I identified why I was procrastinating on getting stuff done, I assumed I needed a quick fix to get out of it and this is the worst thing to do.

Our short-term memory can hold up to seven items at a time due to its limited capacity. Read more about it here. Depending on how long we are consumed by another task, we can easily lose this information because our brains are hard-wired to produce what we believe to be important and forget about the rest.

As adults, many times our brains fire off in multiple directions because we have a lot on our plate. We have families to take care of, a job to go to, a social life to maintain, a social media presence to consistently update. Something eventually falls through and whether we like it or not, most of the time things end up on our shoulders to deal with. I am not advocating that you don't take time to take care of yourself. That would defeat the purpose of many of the things I choose to write about.

What I am advocating for is to really understand why we end up in these dysfunctional patterns and how to stop them. Procrastination isn't the major cause (I can't necessarily say what is), but it does affect our daily function. I believe the reason we procrastinate is that we do not insert time to care for ourselves in a way that we feel refreshed and revitalized. So when we finally get a few minutes to ourselves after a long day, it is super easy to over-indulge and we forget that we have a routine to carry out the next day.

 The key is to find a middle ground through manageability. If I add on major changes such as waking up at 5 am, making a to-do list as long as my body, exercising morning and night until my legs fall off, I would only put myself into a bigger hole to crawl out of. How many times have you made promises to yourself to do better and end up right back to square one? You feel worse than you did before.

Let's say you've taken the time to figure out your why. Now you focus on manageability. Instead of snowballing into another fantasy land where you create high demands for yourself expecting a great outcome, manage your expectations with small changes. Those small changes produce a more satisfactory outcome that you want to repeat. You are basically conditioning yourself AWAY from your old habits. Who knows, maybe one day you will be able to fly high and get up at 5 am or complete that really long list and still have energy. You have to start somewhere!

Everyone has a different life experience. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa but there are a couple of things that I keep in mind when I am overcoming procrastination in an area of my life:

Why have I not accomplished my goal?
Take some time to scroll back to the mini-list of reasons why people procrastinate.  You are responsible for the goals you set. If you are not where you would like to be, do yourself a favor and make an adjustment that you can manage. Maybe go to bed half an hour early. Log out of social media to avoid scrolling an hour straight. Get to work twenty minutes early. Start small, repeat, re-evaluate a month later and see where you are again. If you are actively trying, expect a good outcome. 

What am I working towards?
When I am without a vision for something I would like to check off my list or even just do better, I am not motivated and it won't get done. You have to know where you are going in life. I have also learned that when I have a vision for something, I am much more graceful with myself if something does not work out especially if I have done what I can and asked for help to get there. 

Cited Sources (MLA)
  • McLeod, S. (2009). Short-Term Memory. Retrieved July 29, 2018, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/short-term-memory.html
  • "Definition of PROCRASTINATE." Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's Most-trusted Online Dictionary, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/procrastinate.

Words of Encouragement to the Tirelessly Busy

Monday, July 23, 2018
personal-growth, self-care, encouragement

Sometimes, life feels like one big test after another. You are constantly growing, fixing, maintaining so much, by the time you look up a huge chunk of your life has passed. I have to remind myself that as much as I want to get things right the first time around, I need to be intentional about living in the present too. At the end of the day, you know that you are doing your best and that counts for something. Life is not meant to be full of sorrow. So the next time you feel overwhelmed, take time to remind yourself of a few things:

Accept yourself. The good, the bad, the quirks and all. For once in your life forget about the opinions, comparisons, and judgments and fully LOVE who you are. Look at your face in the mirror and remind yourself that you are wonderfully made and there will never be another like you. Do this until you believe it because it is the truth! Anyone can find ways to boost their self-esteem but if you don't love your being from the core, emptiness will still be there. Start with YOU!

"Someone else's opinion of you is NONE of your business."-Rachel Hollis

Look at all you've accomplished. I know it feels good to be at the top but be proud that you have come so far. When I am grateful for the things in life, a confidence takes place on the inside of me and I feel like I can do so much more. It is okay for you to revisit the times you felt good about reaching a goal. Let gratitude become a part of the journey you've worked so hard for.

Do not feel obligated to keep up with others. We all cross paths of people who are meant to be in our lives for a season and a few for a lifetime. As this occurs, different pathways are created to take us where we need to be. This is a natural process. It isn't about quickly accepting this as fact, it is all about gracefully accepting it with peace and understanding. You are not behind. You are right where you need to be in life!

Speak well of yourself. One of my good friends pointed out to me one day that I never said thank you when someone complimented me. I gave explanations or downplayed it like it wasn't a big deal. By the time I was done, it really wasn't. If you do this, please stop. Just a simple thank you will work. If they have questions they will ask. If there is an awkward silence, fill the gap with something positive like, "Thank you. I appreciate you noticing!" Avoid negative communication fillers at all cost.

Not everything or everyone deserves a reaction. Let's be honest here, there are some things and people in our lives that absolutely drive us up the wall crazy. Most of the time we express frustration and as a result we make the situation worse this way. This is because we do not know what our triggers are. This is where self-care comes into play. Yes! Know thyself! When you have made time to listen to your body and what it needs, the less you will allow drama in life to affect you. You are in authority over how you respond in high-stress situations. Explore ways to diffuse those situations by taking care of yourself so they don't get the best of you.

Recognize your own strength. Don't allow others to make assumptions on your behalf regarding your values, beliefs, desires, and necessities. You are responsible for how you feel and respond. When you allow other people to do this, you release that power to them. This does not mean disregard relationships that sharpen you. It is wise to listen to those who love us and want the best. Distinguishing your thoughts from someone else's is to think for yourself. You can make your thoughts known to those who are able to discuss things in a healthy and safe environment.

Let yourself off the hook. No one is immune to failure. A past consists of successes and lessons learned. You didn't get where you are by perfection. You got where you are by pushing past fear and doubt. Hope was and is inside of your heart. Your life alone proves everyone who has ever doubted you wrong. When you were expected to quit, you took another leap forward. When you were pressured to accept judgments against you, those ugly words rolled off your back and you remembered your worth! They will remain exactly where they need to be- in your past! You are allowed to grow up. So, let go and dust yourself off!

Take a deep breath and relax. We are just getting started. You have your whole life to look forward to. It may not always be the way we planned, but we live it well-intentioned one day at a time. I hope you feel encouraged. Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comment section.