Motivational Monday: Look Around

IMG_1519One of my intentions for the new year was to develop a stronger relationship with God. I thought that, in addition to attending church more regularly, I’d devote at least five minutes each day to reading my devotional. Using my YouVersion app, I decided to start a plan called “Love Greatly: Broken and Redeemed” not because I’m ‘broken’ or anything at the moment, but sometimes you need a reminder for when the time does come–and it will, eventually. As I started reading the first and second devotional, I realized it focused on Naomi and Ruth. If you’re not familiar with their story, that’s okay. If you’re not Christian, that’s okay too because at some point or another Naomi is all of us. A woman who was happily married with two sons of her own, Naomi lost everything in, what feels like, the blink of an eye. First, her husband died and ten years later, she lost both of her sons. Left with only her daughters-in-law, Naomi was angry. Her spirit was broken as she felt helpless and forgotten. She fought with her daughters-in-law and tried to convince them to leave her be. In the end, Ruth stays with her, but so hurt and destroyed, Naomi focuses on the weight of her sorrows and misses the bigger picture. She felt so alone and heartbroken, she ignores one simple truth: she’s not alone because when her husband and children died and her daughter-in-law left, Ruth stayed. Naomi is so blinded by her pain, she forgets to look around. How often are we so engulfed in our own misfortune and sadness that we, too, forget to look around?

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Motivational Monday: Cheers to 2018!

2018Happy Monday and Happy 2018, friends! I hope you all rang in the new year safely and surrounded by love. I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what words of wisdom or advice I could share that hasn’t already been said about how we can be more purposeful with each new year, and I can’t help but wonder what you’re hoping for in 2018? Is this another “New Year, New Me” personal promise? Maybe you’ve mapped out your goals for the year and have created a beautiful vision board? Perhaps you realized today is also a supermoon, so you set some serious intentions and followed specific rituals? Did you clean your house? Smudge your space with sage or incense to rid each room of negative energy and make way for positivity? Created a habit tracker in your bullet journal to make sure you reach your goals? Severed ties with people who don’t deserve you? Practiced yoga and meditation for reflection? Ate some greens for prosperity and black-eyed peas for luck? Or maybe 2017 was so rotten, you’re just excited for this fresh start and did all of the above? (I know I did!) Continue reading “Motivational Monday: Cheers to 2018!”

Motivational Monday: Taking Stock

Merry Christmas and happiest holidays to you, friends. It’s been quite some time since my last post, and to say my first quarter of graduate school was a whirlwind is an understatement. When I wasn’t reading nearly 300 pages a week or completing several assignments at a time, I was interning as a school social work intern or working in the admissions office at my graduate school. What little free time I had left was devoted to resting and relaxing and not much else. It doesn’t mean I didn’t think about you or have anything to say. On the contrary. This year, I leave 2017 with more wisdom and self-awareness than I thought possible. My only regret is leaving this realization to the very end–I mean, this is literally the last Monday of 2017. If I’m being honest, I think we oftentimes leave reflecting for this time of year, and that’s for better or for worst.  Continue reading “Motivational Monday: Taking Stock”

Motivational Monday: You Can Handle It

IMG_8222Happy Labor Day, friends! Hopefully, you’ve spent today lounging around instead of laboring away, especially since it is the last unofficial day of summer. That’s right! For so many of you, today is likely the day before school resumes and vacations end. It’s likely the last day you’ll get to sleep in and spend more hours than you’d like to admit on the couch binge-watching your favorite series. And it’s likely the last day you’ll get to swim in the pool before it closes for the year. Today marks a lot of endings and quite a number of beginnings, namely the start of a new chapter in your life. Whether you’re going back to school or heading back to work, this next phase brings with it a host of excitement and maybe even anxiety. Just getting closer and closer to my own first day of graduate school, I can’t help but feel those same first day/next step jitters. I think it’s normal when you enter the unknown–a new space filled with some new people, new challenges, and new celebrations, all of which you can’t even fathom. It can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and maybe even scary. Maybe you’ll start to doubt yourself and your ability. Question whether or not you belong. Wonder whether or not you can handle the rigor, the professors, the peers, the colleagues, the boss, the work itself. I know I have.

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Friday Findings: My 10 School Essentials

 

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photo credit: Robert Coates

Happy happy Friday, friends, and what a glorious day it’s been! Today I had a chance to stop over at my old school and see some of my favorite former students as they prepare for their first day of school this coming Tuesday. So many bright faces and so much energy filled the halls as they set up their lockers. I kind of miss those days, or at least the idea of a locker space–a place to call your own and store your belongings so you’re not lugging your entire life around with you wherever you go. Cherish it, people! I imagine the closest thing to that would be having an office, but what about those college and graduate students who don’t have such a luxury? I suppose we have no choice but to bring our essentials, and today, I’m sharing my own! What are yours? Comment below!

 

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Thoughtful Thursday: 6 Tips for a Great School Year

IMG_0519Happy Thursday, friends! It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I’ve been a student, and since graduating from graduate school (the first time around), I’ve now spent those five years in between on the other side as a teacher. With every new school year there comes a similar level of anxiety and excitement about what it will bring, and in those moments, I can’t help but ask myself: Will I get through the curriculum? Will my students enjoy themselves and learn the material? Will I finally strike that work-life balance? And while I’m just a few short weeks away from returning to the classroom as a student, I find myself asking similar questions: Will I learn a lot? What kind of learner am I? Will I form meaningful relationships with my professors and peers? Do I remember how to study? Will I finally conquer procrastination and complete my assignments to the best of my ability? It’s so easy to get bogged down with feelings of doubt, fear, and anxiety. After all, change is never easy. Luckily, there are things we can do to help ease the transition. Here are a few tips I’ve shared with students in the past as a teacher and will now be reminding myself of as a student. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too!

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Motivational Monday: But You Can Even

img_0758.jpgHappy Monday, friends! You know those moments when something overwhelming or ridiculous happens, and people spout the phrase, “I can’t even”?  Sure, there are the funny and outlandish times that elicit such a response–oftentimes said through tears of laughter– but then there are more serious things that happen and we respond in the same way. I’m guilty of it, and have actually started thinking a lot about the things I avoid because they’re difficult or stressful. What are my “can’t evens”? Sometimes it’s feeling like I can’t be bothered to work out any more than I already do because I’m not seeing the results I expect. Sometimes it’s feeling like I can’t sit and write a blog post because I don’t see the fruits of my labor. Sometimes it’s choosing not to speak to someone because past interactions have proved to be challenging. But when I choose to avoid engaging fully and believe that “I can’t even,” it actually does more harm than good. By disengaging, I’m missing out on really living and growing. What’s more is that it’s also a form of succumbing to pessimism and negativity.

So, what if instead of saying “I can’t even” we said (and believed), “I can”? How might we approach life and the circumstances it throws our way? Would we feel more empowered? More optimistic? More prepared to conquer? More willing to at least give it our best shot? When we shift our thinking and attitude and start to believe in ourselves and in our own power, incredibly amazing things happen. Maybe life doesn’t get easier, but you sure do get stronger, things feel lighter, and you are happier. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a life worth living. Challenge yourself to “can even” this week, especially for those heading back to school and work, and see what positive changes come your way!

Motivational Monday: Here’s to a Magical Year

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Happy Monday, friends! If you’re living in the States, then you know today is the day people have been talking about for years! It’s the first time since 1918 that we’ll experience a coast to coast total solar eclipse! Can you tell I’m super excited? Did the three consecutive exclamation marks give it away? Just as it was during last month’s new moon, today marks an incredibly magical moment, one that people (ahem, astrologists and astrology followers) believe has the power to bring about supernatural change. It’s a time when believers encourage us to set clear intentions or even capture the magic to use when we need it most. Whatever today means to you, whatever this rare opportunity may or may not bring, it also falls at a time when many students are heading back to school. I know it’s hard to believe summer has already come (or is quickly coming) to an end, and while you’ll have papers to write, equations to solve, and extracurriculars to tackle, this total solar eclipse could be just what you need. We’re nearly four months away from 2018. Have you accomplished any of your goals? What’s stopping you from reaching your dreams? Maybe it’s will-power? Maybe it’s focus? Maybe it’s direction? Maybe it’s just you standing in your own way?  Whatever it is, perhaps this is the perfect time–a special time–to reevaluate your goals, ask the universe for guidance, articulate your dreams, and do what needs to be done for them to manifest. And if you get to sprinkle a little total eclipse magic over them beforehand, then that’s even better, right? So, here’s to a magical year– may we each discover our purpose, may we make this world a better and brighter place, and may we find true happiness, prosperity, and success. May it be so.

How will you celebrate the eclipse? What are you hoping will come to pass this year? Comment below!

Motivational Monday: Embrace the New Moon and Celebrate New Beginnings

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Happy Monday, friends! It has been exactly 101 days since my last post, and while I never intended to take a break, particularly one this long, I need you to know that it was needed in a way I didn’t realize or expect. And it’s probably no surprise that my return is one day after the new moon–a point where we leave behind the old and make way for the new. I don’t think this period of the month or my life could have come at a more perfect time! Now, the break was hard, as are most disruptions and endings. But when we let go of that which does not serve us, when we leave behind the pain and suffering, we make room for peace, love, and joy. I’m feeling empowered and renewed this morning, and I’m so happy to be back, so here’s to this new moon and new beginnings. May goodness abound. And before I share all the goodness and positive changes I’ve encountered over the last three months, I feel like I need to explain my absence. In short, I no longer felt like myself.

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Motivational Monday: Trust Your Gut

 

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Being honest with yourself is, to me, probably one of the most difficult yet important things one could ever do. When we meet certain people or encounter certain situations, we get a small feeling in the pit of our stomachs. That’s called intuition. Sometimes we listen to those instincts and other times we choose to ignore them altogether. Perhaps we get a bad vibe about someone we like but choose to dismiss those warning signs because we’re curious or lonely. Maybe it’s because we want to keep up appearances, and following our gut will change the way people perceive us. Maybe it will even change the way we see ourselves. Trusting our instincts oftentimes forces us to recognize what is so easily overlooked and challenges us to not only be honest with ourselves, but also to make some tough decisions that we think we might not be ready to make. The thing about listening to your gut, however, is that it’s always right and will never steer you wrong.

 

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