Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Developing from the Negatives

Oh, life. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's just plain rough. The effects of our good choices, the consequences of our poor decisions. Circumstances we have no control over and situations we probably could have avoided. Life isn't exactly perfect and no one can bypass the hardships altogether. I'm sure we have all had significant points in our lives that have taught us a thing or two (if we allowed them to).

Embrace the good times, guys. When the difficulties pop up, just do your best to accept them and try to learn something as you're working through them. It's so important to take what you can from those tough moments. Don't become bitter or angry. Instead, allow those types of moments to help mold you into a better person. Try to view each difficult situation as an opportunity for personal growth. Be it spiritual, emotional or even physical. Everything you face in this life can teach you something, but only if you allow it to do so.

It's ultimately up to you to decide what attitude you'll have when faced with opposition. You can let it bring you down, steal your joy and leave you defeated. Or, on the other hand, you can pick yourself right back up, choose to have a different outlook and keep on pushing forward. The choice is yours and that's the beauty of it.

Let me remind you, God never promised that we wouldn't have challenges in life. He did, however, say He would never leave us. If you're having a hard time with something, pray about it and leave it in His hands. Ask Him to change your mindset on the matter. Sometimes all it takes is a shift in our attitude to turn a problem around.

Friday, May 26, 2017

25 Q's That Will Free Your Mind

I know I remember seeing many people sharing their answers to these 50 questions a couple years back, so I'm obviously a little late to the party (actually, I'm like 7 years late since the original post is from 2009). However, better late than never. Since these questions require you to really think and the answers can be a bit lengthy, I'm breaking them into two separate posts. I would hate to overwhelm any of you.
01. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
As in, if I had amnesia and couldn't remember? I don't know an exact age, but I would certainly think that I was older than I actually am (say that 5x fast). I've always felt older than I am, mentally.

02. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Without a doubt, never trying would be far worse. It's one thing to try and fail, but it's entirely different to have never went out on a limb altogether. How else would someone truly know if something would work out or not? Failing would be better than always wondering what could have been. I wouldn't want to live with that regret.

03. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
I'd say it probably stems from wanting to be accepted, or feeling as if you have to like certain things in order to fit in with everyone else. The sooner you find out who you are + what you actually like, the better off you'll be.

04. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
Probably. I have a very bad habit of sharing ideas or things I'd like to do without actually following through with them. Hopefully I can conquer the whole 'say less, do more' thing sooner than later.

05. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
Oh, man. Where do I even start? I wish there was a way to impart empathy into every single being that dwells on this planet. I think that would do a great deal of good. It would bring about some much-needed restoration.

06. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Anything that involves helping others, really. I believe that the most rewarding form of work for me would be something along the lines of counseling ladies who have been rescued from sex trafficking / the sex industry.

07. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
This one is a bit tricky. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle right now, honestly. I do believe in what I'm doing at this point in my life ― I'm where I should be, with whom I should be with, doing what I believe I should be doing. However, I feel as though sometimes I do settle whenever I don't a) push myself to do things that will actually challenge me, or b) believe that I can handle more than I've been doing. Does that make sense?

08. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I would throw all caution to the wind. I would shake off the worry that grips me so tightly. I would abandon the fear that often times holds me back. I would ditch any bad attitudes or mindsets that have been formed. I would eliminate all of the senseless distractions. I would live life with the ones I love, and I would live it well.

09. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
I spent years thinking I would be stuck in the same place the majority of my life. I thought I'd always be living in the same town, running my parent's company, etc. However, it wasn't until recently that I realized I do have options. I just needed to muster up the courage to stand up, forge my own path and follow my dreams. I still rely on God to guide my steps though. I know He's orchestrating everything behind the scenes.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
Both, but more so doing the right things. I try to live on the straight + narrow, as the majority of Christians do. I will never be perfect, but I'm extremely vigilant when it comes to my choices. After all, I'm the one who has to deal with the consequences whenever I do or do not do the right things.

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
With respect, I would definitely say something. I don't care who you are. Criticizing someone else is never okay, especially if it's someone that I personally know. I would show grace to the ones who were being judgemental, but I would think twice about trusting them again. If they feel comfortable enough to talk negatively about someone else in front of me, whose to say they aren't doing the same about me behind my back?

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't let this world extinguish the spark that God placed inside of you. This life can be very tough at times, but never forget that you are so much tougher with God on your side.

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Why is this even up for questioning? Of course I would! I would do anything to save the people that I love, even if it meant risking my own life in doing so. I'm sure most individuals would do the same.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
On numerous occasions, I have seen God take the madness or chaos of someone's life (my own life included) and turn it into a glorious work of art. He exchanges ashes (the wreckage of our lives) for beauty.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I feel like I guard myself a little more than other people. Some may even label me as a prude (I don't care). There are just various things that I refuse to watch or partake in. For example, I don't watch shows or movies that contain a lot of cursing (or nudity). If a movie is rated R, I'm 90% sure I won't be watching it. I've noticed when I do listen to entertainment that incorporates a good amount of cursing, I start cursing more too. And the nudity, well, I'm just not comfortable viewing it. I'm very grateful to have friends who respect my convictions.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
That's simple. Everyone is different. We all carry similar + dissimilar traits, interests, etc. I don't expect every single person to show interest in the same things that I do. Life would be so bland if there wasn't diversity. 

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
It's not really something that I want to do, as much as it's a skill I would like to attain. I would love to be a more confident person. The only thing holding me back is obviously myself. Maybe it's fear, maybe it's insecurity that I've acquired throughout the years. Whatever the case, it needs to be addressed.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
At this point in time, I can honestly say the only thing I still need to let go of is the grip I try to keep on my own life. I like to be in total control. I like to feel fully prepared for any circumstance that may arise. For starters, that's just not a realistic way to live. I don't know what the future holds. Moreover, I need to relinquish that control to God. He can't work on the things I'm asking Him to help me with if I won't hand over the reins.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move? Why?
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Georgia, hands down. I love Florida (just read this post), but Georgia will always hold a special place in my heart. My mom's side of the family is originally from the peach state. Many of our kinfolk still reside up there. I would love to move to the Thomasville area somewhere down the line.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
If I am really in a hurry, I'll push the button vigorously. I suppose it's a good way to vent my frustration without going entirely bonkers. I do understand it won't magically make the elevator appear on whatever floor I'm on.

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
Most certainly the latter of the two. Why on earth would anyone want to be worried all the time? I struggle with worrying about things as it is, and I'm no genius! Give me all the joy, please and thank you.

22. Why are you, you?
I frequently ask myself the same question, haha. No, but in all seriousness, it must be a combination of traits that I've inherited from my parents and past experiences that have contributed to who I am.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
Yes and no. I have a tendency to withdraw socially for long periods of time. It's something I'd like to work on going forward. Aside from that, I have done my best to be a good friend by showing love, acceptance, respect, patience, loyalty. I just need to work on communication. I know life gets busy, but I can't use that as an excuse.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives near you?
I have seen both of these scenarios play out in my life. Losing touch with a friend who is near is worse. When someone I care about moves away, we keep in touch ― be it by Facebook, texting, sending packages or even visiting each other. Whenever you lose touch with someone who lives nearby, it's sad because it's uncalled-for.

25. What are you most grateful for?
My family, especially my husband. I can't even begin to describe how much they mean to me. Their constant love, support, encouragement, and kindness have made all the difference. God has surely blessed me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Summer Bucket List

I know it's not officially summer yet, but this one is going to be a little bit different for me. You see, for the first time in a really long time, the words 'summer break' actually hold some meaning again. As you guys know, I'll be starting school this fall + G took the summer off too. We're both looking forward to enjoying the season to the fullest before we have to buckle down. I have a small list of things I'd love to do, God willing. I just have to go to a mandatory orientation class once a week at SPC until June 8th, then I'll be free until mid-August.

What are some of your plans for the summer?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Currently // May

EATING · All the grilled foods! I feel like we have been grilling almost every other day ― chicken, steak, salmon, burgers (both beef + turkey), hot dogs, asparagus, sweet peppers, mushrooms, zucchini.

DRINKING · Mostly coffee + water (as per usual). I did try a few of the Bai Bubbles drinks earlier in the month. The Peru Pineapple flavor was yummy! I'll probably try some of their others later on.

READING · I've been plucking away at The Cirlce by Dave Eggers. I realize it wasn't even on my reading list for this year, but I ended up taking The Princess Diarest off. I really had high hopes for that book, but I just could not get into it. So, this book has become the replacement. It was gifted to me for my birthday by Charlene (Charlene Zale). I had no idea the movie would be coming out this year, but I am looking forward to seeing it!

WATCHING · We've been in a rewatching phase this month. Started off by rewatching seasons 1-6 of The Walking Dead, then The Office, and now we have moved onto Sherlock. Aside from those, my mama and I began watching the Netflix Original, Anne with an E. I didn't grow up watching Anne of Green Gables, so I don't really have anything to compare it to. With that being said, I like the show for the most part.
LISTENING TO · New instrumental music (shocker). I like that I can think without being distracted by lyrics. I can zone out and get a lot done when I put on songs like the one below (it's a favorite of mine at the moment).

PLANNING · A mini-trip with Charlene. We have a handful of places we'd like to go explore together.

WISH-LISTING · I'm sad to admit that part of me wants to sell my DSLR, the Canon Rebel T2i, and all of my lenses. I'd love to invest in a more compact camera. I have my eye on the Canon  PowerShot G7 X Mark II. It would be much easier to tote around, especially while traveling. I need to see how much I can get for my gear.

LEARNING ·  New study skills + note-taking methods to implement whenever I start school in the fall. I've also been doing some online coding courses to get a head start with HTML / CSS / JavaScript.

FEELING · Grateful. Even on the bleakest days, I know that there are people who are going through far worse.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bringing Me Joy · Vol. 7

Well, it's been a long time since I shared one of these posts (errr, or any post that is).

Since we're adamant about saving money right now, we kept it really simple this year ― we opted out of gift-giving, chose to have dinner at our favorite little pizza joint (Cristino's), and went to see a movie. I love that we can have fun together no matter what we're doing. Always enjoy spending quality time with my boo!

So many great songs on this one. Really can't recommend this playlist enough. I find myself listening to it when I'm studying, working out at the gym or even driving in the car. It's the perfect music to veg out to.

Last Saturday, I went to a brunch hosted by my church with my sis-in-law, niece + a couple of my friends. This was the first event I had been to since I started going to this church. It was very nice (especially the message that was shared by Pastor Kaci) and I'm looking forward to attending next year as well. 

So, I'll admit, I've never seen the original (1985) version of Anne of Green Gables, but I really like the new Netflix original series that they've made. I've been watching it with my mama. 

I'm a sucker for all things coconut. I love that these aren't overly sweet. They're perfect for on-the-go snacking.

Guys! Baby Groot is so freakin' cute. The first movie was okay, but the second was much better.

Finally set up our grill after almost 2 years of having it (oops). Just give me all the grilled meat + veggies!

I'm taking two classes to start with, but I really couldn't be happier with my little fall schedule. I'll only be going to school twice a week for 2.75 hours each day (that's including the 15 minutes between the two classes). I can't complain. I thought I'd have an hour or two between each class and I was kinda dreading that.

G and I started counting macros about a month ago. I doubt that I'll ever go back to any other 'diet' again. I love how adjustable this eating approach is. I never feel deprived. Heck, most days I struggle to eat enough calories. I'm losing a pound a week, which is good with me! Slow and steady is the key to keeping it off.

The sunshine state has been a little too sunny lately. We've been battling massive wildfires throughout the entire state because of how dry it's been. I'm thankful for the rain (plus it always puts me in a blogging mood).

What are some things that are bringing you joy lately?