If you struggle with hitting the snooze button and playing that game for about 30 minutes each morning, this is for you. Set your phone across the room so you actually have to get up and turn it off. Much harder to go back to sleep when you’re already up.
Hey y’all! So I decided to update my blog a little bit, and provide you all a bit more content 🙂 You’re going to be seeing a quick daily tip, just little things here and there that will help make life less hectic, or provide quick makeup and hair tricks, work day stress relief, etc. It’s really going to just cover all aspects of life, and I’m trying them all out with you. I am super focused on making some changes in my life for the better, and I’ve been taking the steps to do so, and the first one is reducing the amount of stress in my life. You know where stress comes in? When you are rushing each morning to get everything ready to go, and not be late to work. Or when you don’t have the time to exercise, because you put off stuff that you should’ve done earlier.
I hope you enjoy these daily tips and tricks, and recipes, all of which is intended to make life a little bit easier. If you try out any of the recipes, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you guys on what you’re trying out and if any of these tips are helping.
I believe that God sets us up for exactly what we need, even if we don’t always understand it or see what the bigger plan is. I had been searching for a job for about 2 years after graduating from college and was working full time in retail just to be able to pay my bills. It was tough, but I am a persistent person, and a hard worker, so I always made sure to send out about 5 resumes and applications a day, even after working all day long. I tried everything, I took time on my days off to apply for many more jobs, I went on countless interviews, and I even got a few job offers, but none of them felt “right” to me. There was always some feeling in my gut about those job offers that made me turn it down. I couldn’t really explain it, though I made an excuse for each one. “It would have me making less than I am now,” or “I’m already in a commission based job, I don’t need to switch to another one.” While it seemed odd to me to not just jump at the first job that was offered, I stayed true to my gut feeling, and stayed the course I was on. Then one day, my neighbor walked over to my mom’s garage sale while I was at work. Lo and behold, he worked for a digital marketing company, and with my mom’s amazing sales pitch, she got his email for me, and I submitted my resume to him the next day. I didn’t even know what I was applying for, but I was desperate to get my name out there and find a job in my field. Well, I got an interview with the Project Manager and Admin of the company, and I also got the flu the same day. I went anyway, after taking my DayQuil of course, and walked out feeling like a complete failure. I was certain that I answered everything all wrong, and that they had no place for me in that company, as I hadn’t gone to school for anything they did. A couple of days later I got the job offer. Without hesitation, I accepted, and spoke to my then-employer about my two weeks notice. No excuses about how I would make less money, or that it wasn’t specifically what I went to school for. No nothing, just acceptance of a job that I couldn’t have been more grateful for.
I’ve gone to the same hair stylist for years, because she’s the only one here I trust to touch my hair and not make a mess of it. Because we are similar ages, we always catch up on the latest with each other’s lives, and about a year ago, she and her family had just gone through some serious health issues. Well, I don’t know what else went on in their lives, as far as what people said or did to help, but I know a few months later, I started going through my own personal hell when someone very close to me got a cancer diagnosis and my world turned upside down. I went to this same hair stylist to cut my hair and donate what I could to someone who was fighting cancer and wouldn’t have their hair. Well, of course we started talking and I shared with her what was going on, as we all do with our hair stylists. What I didn’t expect was the woman next to me to also have had a similar experience with someone close to her getting cancer a few years back. She overheard me talking about why I was in there, and what was going on with my life, and she reached over and tapped my arm and explained that she had a similar situation, and then she asked me if she could pray with me, right then and there, and in the future. Let that sink in for a minute. This to me, was an absolutely amazing experience, and something that I needed at that moment. I guess you could say God set me up at the right moment to meet someone who would forever impact my life. I don’t even know her name, she didn’t introduce herself, but yet I feel like I know so much about her.
Now you may be wondering how those two stories connect. A few months after I got the job, that was when the health issues started. If I had stayed in the retail job, I would have gone days without pay, and I wouldn’t have been able to miss much work, because that’s the hard fact about retail. With that job that I accepted, I was able to send my boss a text when the nightmare began simply saying that we were going to the hospital. The next day, I had to send a text saying that it was cancer. There wasn’t mention of how I needed to come in to the office, instead there was just understanding and patience for someone grieving and going through a huge amount of change that she wasn’t ready for. There were countless appointments after that, and two surgeries, and with each one came this amazing understanding. I was allowed to work later on certain days to make up the hours, given the ability to work from home, to work from the hospital, to duck out suddenly if something came up. I was given an afternoon off to sleep, but wound up in the ER instead. I was given a flexibility that I will forever be grateful for, because it’s not something that had to be done. It wasn’t a requirement for me to have that time off, and any boss would have been perfectly acceptable to not allow me the time off when I asked for it. But he didn’t, and he made sure that I had a support system at work when I needed it most. I know that in retail it just wouldn’t have worked out the same way. I wouldn’t have been able to afford all that missed work time, as there aren’t sick days or vacation days when you work in retail sales. It was all a part of God’s plan to set me up in a position where I would be able to do both, where I could learn something new, contribute to my company, and still be able to help my family in that horrible time. Even though it was months out, I was being set up for exactly what I needed, even if I didn’t understand it at the time.
I guess the point of this is to trust Him. Even if something makes absolutely no sense to you at the time, even if you don’t understand why your instincts and your gut are telling you to do one thing, just go with it. It’s God’s work keeping you on the path you need to be. He won’t lead you astray, and He will always give you exactly what you need, sometimes before you even realize you need it.
Like many people, I had an eventful week last week thanks to Hurricane Matthew. When it was coming at us, it was making a direct hit on the island I live on. The news reports were crazy, saying that the whole island could possibly be destroyed, that there would be devastating damage, etc. I have never evacuated for a hurricane before. When I was younger we always just stayed at the house, and played cards, listened to the radio, and so on. With that being said, we were going to stay at the house and ride this one out, until we made the very last minute decision to leave and go more inland (It helped that the neighbors were all leaving too, and we didn’t want to be the only ones here). So we packed up the cats, and some valuables, and went over to a friend’s house to wait it out and pray for the best, to pray that our house would still be standing, to pray that we would be able to get there quickly to assess the damage. Our prayers were answered, and the hurricane wobbled away from us just enough that our island was saved from the devastating effects of the storm. Now, we didn’t walk away with no damage, our fence got demolished, but compared to what we saw in other countries like Haiti, and what we were seeing up the northern coasts of Florida, we were very grateful and blessed.
One of the best parts of that storm though was seeing how people acted. Natural disasters can either bring out the best or worst in people. Now, I definitely saw some of the worst in people who were getting ready for it, but I also saw some of the best. We got help putting some boards up on our house, which was great, because by the time we were thinking we should do that, all the screws were gone, and all we could use were anchors. Now, if you don’t know anything about the difference, or really what one does, as I didn’t, let me give you a brief summary. Anchors create bigger holes in the side of the house, and are also harder to get out, whereas screws are easily put in and out with minimal damage. Well, beggars can’t be choosers when you wait the last minute to board up, so we worked with what we had, and thankfully had a friend come help put them up. After the storm though is when we received the biggest help. As I mentioned before, our fence was demolished. Pieces were down all over the yard, and one even was leaning on the house into one of the boarded up windows. It was a huge mess to deal with, and our next door neighbor had the same issue. Well, when we were talking in the driveway, he told me not to worry about the fence, that he would pick it all up and take care of it for me. I can’t even tell you what a relief that was. There was so much to do inside and out, that just the thought of hauling heavy fence pieces was exhausting, but I knew it was something I had to do. Well, the next day he hauled away his and our fence pieces, making my life so much easier than I could have ever imagined. Now, this guy has helped me out before, he fixed a tire on my car, and the front plastic piece, and each time is such a wonderful surprise, especially when I don’t even realize it’s a problem until it’s fixed. This was no different, it actually made my day to know I could focus on emptying stuff from the garage and the back porch rather than picking up debris. Then a few days later, another friend came over and figured out how to get the boards off the walls (take that anchors!) without causing damage to the house. I am fairly handy, but not when it comes to that stuff, so I would have been so lost without his help, but instead it was completed, and he is owed a new set of drill bits, but I promise he will get one.
So what’s the point of me saying all of this? It’s that even though these people had their own houses and their own things to take care of, they reached out, and pulled together with others in the community to help. And across the state, you were hearing of neighborhoods were a group gathered with chainsaws and cleared away the damage and tree debris left by the storm, or friends who took people in because they had power, while so many didn’t. This is how we are supposed to react when natural disaster or tragedy strikes. We are supposed to band together, and help one another out, not turn on each other, or leave everyone to fend for themselves. Even when it’s difficult to find the time, because we all have so much going on, take time to help your neighbor. Even if it’s helping the elderly woman carry in a case of water, or picking up trash that got blown all over your neighbors yard. I promise you, it’ll be worth it to help them out in a time when they need it.
It’s also a great reminder that no matter what happens in your life, God sets you up with everything you need. Now, our area was incredibly blessed, but many others were not, and I pray for those areas to band together and heal quickly as well. Some of the damage can’t be undone, but we can always move forward and push on….together.
Relationships are weird. I mean, think about it. You meet someone who was, at some point, a total stranger and you just decide “hmm I think I want to spend more and more time with that person.” Then, as you do spend more time together and talk more, you realize you have a lot in common, you seem to have this “connection,” not that anyone can ever say what that really is, and you decide to date. Or he/she isn’t interested, so you get your heart stomped on. It just depends on the situation. If you’re lucky, they feel the same way about you. But it’s hard to say, some relationships take weeks and months (even years in some cases!) to develop, while others seem to happen overnight. It makes figuring out timing very difficult.
I can only speak from my personal experience and what I’ve seen with friends, so this is by no means all encompassing, but it’s my opinion. Relationships tend to be better, and last longer, if you take things slow. If you go too fast, they tend to burn out. It’s the concept of starting out as friends. I mean, if you can stand to be friends with someone for a while, they haven’t done anything to drive you off. So there’s something about them that you like. Whereas, if you jump into a relationship first, it can be more difficult to have that friendship, especially if you find some things you don’t like about them, but you’re already dating, so you feel like you should invest more time in something that maybe you shouldn’t be in.
Now, I’ve said before that if you like someone, you shouldn’t play those silly games, and I do stand by that. However, I also don’t think you should rush into something. Sure, part of dating is getting to know someone, I get that, and I think it makes sense. Sometimes you can just tell on a first date if it’s going to work out or not, and if you’re more interested in dating than a relationship, this is a great way to do things. If you’re looking for something a little more, then I suggest taking things a lot slower, and spending more time together first as friends. And sometimes it’s hard to wait, if you’ve liked someone for a while, but you’re still having a hard time reading the situation, it can be difficult, because you want to share your feelings, but no one likes being rejected. Sometimes though, it’s best to let nature take its course, and take things slowly to see what develops from it. If you’re friends, then you at least have the chance to keep your friendship intact. If you rush into things, you may not even have that. And if you really like the person, then you don’t want to lose the friendship.
Sometimes we are forced to take things slow because the timing isn’t right. Maybe you were friends years ago, and you liked this person then, but things change, someone moves or is in another relationship. So you put the feelings on the back burner, and then something changes. They somehow come back into your life again, but maybe the timing still isn’t right. Rather than trying to rush something that may not work due to geographical location or life circumstances, just keep the friendship going. Don’t push for more if you or the other person aren’t really ready for something like that. Instead, be content being friends and learning more about the other person. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. One thing I’ve learned is that if God wants it to happen, it’s going to happen. It may not be on your time calendar, but it’s on His, and He ultimately knows what is best.
We all gossip, don’t even try to deny that you do, just admit it. You gossip, I gossip, we all gossip! Woo! Now, in some cases gossip is harmless, and in others, it can actually cause issues for all parties involved. In addition, there is good gossip and there is bad gossip. Both can also have repercussions that aren’t necessarily a good thing.
What do I mean by good gossip? Generally, gossip is considered a bad thing, and it has a negative connotation, so how could gossip possibly be a good thing? Well I don’t mean that it’s a good thing, but I mean it is more of a positive thing, such as gossiping about something good. For example, I was once the subject of some gossip in my dorm my freshman year in college. I didn’t even realize I was popular enough to the be the topic of gossip, but it must have been a slow week. I was really close friends with this guy that lived in the dorm, and we also had a class together. Well, we spent a lot of time together going out to dinner, hanging out around campus, you get the idea. While we usually had others with us, we did occasionally just hang out the two of us. It wasn’t anything more than friendship, though I will admit I had a crush on him. Well, you can imagine my surprise when my roommate tackled me one day after class and yelled at me for not telling her. I had no idea what she was talking about, as far as I knew, I hadn’t withheld anything important from her. She then started going on about how cute we were and how I must be so excited, and how could I not have told her I was dating him, and on and on. It was news to me that he and I were dating, but apparently the whole dorm was talking about it. So I dragged my roomie over to his room to find out if he had heard of this and what we were going to do about. I was actually excited, thinking this was a way for us to move forward into something more. Well, while he had no issues with everyone thinking we were dating, he also had no interest in actually dating me. Must be better to just have the appearance than the reality. Oh well. So we got that sorted out, and eventually the gossip died down, but I will say, everyone was very interested in our love lives (or lack thereof) and I had so many girls that I usually just said hi to coming up and talking to me about how great we were together and how we were so cute, etc. It was actually kind of flattering, having all of that attention, and nothing that was said was bad, just that we were dating, so neither of us really cared. He made a great point that it didn’t matter what people thought, we knew what reality was, so why would we change anything. This kind of gossip wasn’t bad. It didn’t hurt any of the parties that were the subject of it, and it didn’t cause any serious damage later on. It was just people reading too much into what they were seeing. Not a big deal.
The other kind of gossip though, that’s where it gets to be a little more tricky and cause more damage. Let’s say for example that you have an old co-worker, and you mentioned something that the old co-worker used to do in front of someone else. While nothing you said was false, it somehow got back to that person and they weren’t very fond of it. Now, we all have done stuff we weren’t proud of, and it sucks, but if it’s reality, then it’s hard to fight it. Well, this co-worker then decides to start gossiping about you and your family, making up lies and spreading them to all of your old co-workers. This is where gossip becomes damaging. First of all, the co-worker spreading the lies is damaging her own reputation, as we all know that what Sally says of Suzie says more about Sally than it does Suzie. What it also does though, is damage the other person’s reputation, when it’s not deserved. Sure, majority won’t believe it because they worked with you, and they know the real you, but others feel the need to believe the lies spread by this other person. Now, that doesn’t make either of you bad people, but it definitely tarnishes reputations. And that’s where gossip gets its ugly side.
When something is said, it can’t be unsaid, but if you do feel the need to say it, it should at least be true. I personally am working on not caring what people say about me, but it’s a hard process to work through. It’s important to remember though, that if people choose to believe lies over the reality and the knowledge they have about you, then it again says more about them than about you. It goes to show that they would rather see the bad in a person than the good that they know is in there. And it can be hard, especially if this person that started spreading the rumors and lies used to be a friend. That can actually be one of the worst things. So the most important thing for you to remember is to keep your chin up through it all. And maybe try to tone down gossiping.Sure, it can be fun to participate, but you never know if what you heard and what you’re spreading is reality. And it’s not so much fun when it’s you that’s the subject of the gossip fodder.
The title of my blog is one of my favorite sayings. It goes without saying that we should encourage one another on this journey through life, yet so often we hear or experience the exact opposite. People tear each other down, just to make themselves feel better, but reality is, it doesn’t make anyone better. It just causes pain. And then it starts a cycle. I have had a few toxic friendships where this has happened, and it’s important to me to not be one of those people.
I found myself thinking about the past and people who have put me down in an effort to put themselves up. Now, we all have made snarky comments, it’s a defense mechanism. But when I find myself making snarky comments, it doesn’t make me feel better, and it definitely doesn’t make me a good person. I become the person I don’t want to be. I felt bad, and because of that, I made a comment about someone else to make them feel bad too. That’s not who I want to be, I don’t want to tear someone down just because I feel bad about something they did or said to me. That’s lashing out, and it’s not beneficial to anyone. Me saying those snarky comments is no better than what others had said to me. This led to me start thinking about toxic “friendships” I had in high school, and even in college, and some of them made me feel like absolute crap. In their eyes, and their comments, I wasn’t pretty, or talented, and they were more than happy to tell me that. Not in such an open way of course, which actually makes it worse. We look to our friends for honesty, and also for support, and instead I was getting torn down without even realizing it. One instance I remember was after auditions for a musical. I have always been interested in theatre and acting, and while I’m not the best singer, I can match pitch and blend, which is all that’s needed in high school theatre chorus. The show involved singing, acting, and dancing, and since I wasn’t terrible at two of the three items (like I said, I love to sing, but I’m definitely not the best at it), I figured I had a shot of at least being cast in the chorus and background. Well, they released the cast list during our last period of the day, and because we had an awesome teacher, and were seniors (seniors always get away with more stuff) she let one of the girls go check the list since there were a lot of us that had auditioned in the class. Well she came back and announced to the class that everyone in my group except for me got in the show. Better luck next time. Well, I was disappointed, but I wanted to see what roles everyone got, and lo and behold, when I checked the list myself, I also was in the show. For some reason, it gave this girl pleasure to see me hurting and tell me that I wasn’t good enough to be in the show. I will never understand why she felt the need to do that, it was mortifying and it was bad enough I thought I hadn’t gotten in, but to have the whole class know it too, that was really sad. Needless to say, after high school I didn’t remain friends with that group. While that was only one instance, there were definitely more times that they decided to do little things like that to put me down.
Since then, I have always wondered why women are so mean and horrible to each other. I still don’t understand the point in making someone feel so terrible about themselves. It’s mean, cruel, and the world is cruel enough, we don’t need to turn on each other. It was empowering for me to join a sorority and actually have women support me (and not in a fake way either). Of course there were girls in there that did the same things my old “friends” did, and I just did my best to avoid those girls. But there were true friends in there too, those that are supportive, and will be happy to give you a reality check, but not at your expense. They want what’s best for you, and they are happy to scream in the bleachers as you graduate, listen to you talk endlessly about the audition you went to, and celebrate when you get cast. Those are the women you want in your support system. The women who, even when things aren’t going their way, are still able to be happy for you and your accomplishments. The women who won’t put you down just to make themselves feel better. They know their own strengths, and are confident in them.
It’s so cliche to say that everyone is different, but it’s true. And it’s amazing what we can do when we support one another rather than tear each other down. If you’re an incredibly great singer or artist or writer, that doesn’t take away from another style of creativity that your friend has. There are so many variations of creativity, and no one style is better than another. You can be an extremely talented individual, while still having other aspects that you aren’t as talented in. That doesn’t lessen your talents, it just makes you a human being. I strive for perfection, but I know that I will never sing like Taylor Swift. It’s just not a reality for me. Same thing with art, I will never be able to draw or paint beautiful pieces of artwork, but that doesn’t mean I’m not creative in other ways. Don’t put someone down for a lack of creativity because their creativity is different from yours. Instead, push them up and celebrate the talents they do have.
It can be extremely difficult to remember your worth in a world that is constantly telling you what you’re lacking. We have magazines telling us we are either too fat or too thin, or not attractive enough in some way, and then we have rejection from jobs, and internships, and other career opportunities that we had our hearts set on. Let’s face it, the world is harsh. Surround yourself with a group that doesn’t make life any harder than it needs to be. Finding positive people who will help push you forward is difficult, but it is so worth it. I have a great support system of women who have pushed and succeeded in life, and help push me and others to succeed in life as well. They don’t put others down to make themselves better, they make themselves better by supporting others. They share the talents they have, and they focus on improving themselves by helping improve others.
Today has been a rough day. I had issues with clients, didn’t sleep well the night before, wasn’t able to exercise this morning, the list just goes on and on, and as I’m finally trying to de-stress and prepare for another day (it’s only Wednesday, two more days to go!) I was reflecting on what happened today, and realized there were a few bright spots, and they were completely unexpected, but helped me to feel better during some of the downsides of the day.
After having a flood of clients that had some issue or another (I’m not going to bore you with the details, but it wasn’t a slow email day, we’ll put it that way), I got one that was fine with what I said and included a smiley in the email. Now, to most, that’s not a big deal. But after having a super stress filled day, I really appreciated having that client send me that. Now, they had no idea that I was having a rough day, or wasn’t in the best mood (sleep deprivation, it’s bad), so to them, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, it made me smile and helped my mood. Sure, it’s a small thing, but it was a happy client, and that meant something to me. It was a nice gesture.
Which then got me thinking, how often do we not do something so simple as smile at someone we pass by, or wave at the neighbor as we drive past them? If we don’t know them, many of us don’t do this. Is it because we think the person may look at us funny? Or may wonder, why are they waving at me? Are we really going to be so wrapped up in our own worlds that we care? A person smiling may be what someone needs after a terrible day. Maybe they have a sick child at home, and they’re grabbing soup for their sick kid, and a smile would help them as they rush through the store. You never know what someone else is going through, and you never know what little thing could make their lives better.
There are some definite things that definitely don’t help though, even if you mean well. I’ve had bad days and had to run to the store after, and someone (usually some guy) would tell me to “stop looking so glum and smile.” Do NOT ever tell me to smile. I am a very cheerful person usually, and someone telling me to smile is not a good way to make me smile. It’s a good way to piss me off even more. So please, you can smile at someone, but don’t tell them what to do. You don’t know what is going on in their lives, I had just recently had a family member diagnosed with cancer when this incident occurred, so I really was having a hard time finding things to smile about. So be considerate, because telling someone to stop looking down, probably isn’t doing much to actually help their mood. If anything, that could make it worse.
So I challenge you: be extra kind to everyone you meet. Wave at the neighbors (even the ones with the obnoxious kid who has hit your car with a baseball), smile and say hello to the cashier at the store (they deal with people all shift long, they could be having a rough day too), and maybe do something small for someone. A little kindness goes a long way, and even if it is something as simple as a smile.
Overall though, I challenge you to stop and find little things to be happy about and grateful for. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our problems, and issues, and it can be easy to forget about the little blessings that are placed in your life. Maybe, it’s a cool breeze after an extremely hot day. Or maybe, it’s the smell of citrus in the air. Or seeing a rainbow after a storm. Sure, those are all little things that we rarely take into account because we are so busy rushing around. But sometimes, those are the little things that can help lift our spirits when life gets tough.