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Living for me.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Really feel those few, soft moments where your breath warms your belly and fill your soul.

When you find your moment of peace, can you picture the life you’ve only ever imagined?

It’s a life full of love, hope, and excitement.

Keep your eyes closed just a moment longer, you begin to see all your hopes and dreams come to life right before you. The family you always wanted, the career you worked so hard for, luxurious travels, the big white house with the wrap-around porch. The passions that make your heart skip a beat and the experiences that make you feel like a kid again.

You exhale, slowly releasing all the negative thoughts in your mind. All of the hatred and jealousy, all your self-doubt and worry vanishes, and for a moment you are at peace.

You can be you again, even just for a moment.

That moment of peace, the split-second when you find yourself able to truly let go, is something people live and die for. The hope for a better life, a life that is full, yet simple. A life where you can live out all of your ambitions and dreams. A life where you can say yes and live for you.

Imagine if you could re-live this single moment, forever.

Imagine if this dream was your reality.

I’ve spent my entire life trying to create myself, instead of unveiling myself as the woman God created me to be. We were created to be. To be as God created us, and to discover and share our gifts and talents, our hopes and dreams.

My heart is happiest when I live for me. Not in the sense of selfishness, but in the sense of self-awareness. When I listen to my heart and when I listen to God, my soul is at peace.

Featured Image Credit: Pinterest

When You Let it Go

Whether it’s a relationship that wronged you, a mistake, a choice, the opportunity of a lifetime sooner or later you will have to let it go.
I find this so powerful and intimidating. 

  • How could you possibly “just let it go?”
  • Are you a hoarder of your feelings?
  • Do you struggle to let go of things that bother you? 
  • Do you cling to your anger or emotions? 

You probably get in trouble with your feelings because you’re more vocal than others about things that bother you. The truth is, you don’t let go of things that bother you like you should because you truly care much about what other people think. You aim to please, and when the anger and the disappointment sets in, it begins to linger in your thoughts. You don’t let go not because you don’t want to, but because you feel that in order to get past something, it requires confrontation and discussing the matter. 

The thoughts consume you:

  • How could this situation have gone differently?
  • Is there anything else I could have said or done to make things right?
  • Am I wrong?
  • Do they even care?

Maybe life’s questions aren’t so cut and dry. Maybe the answers to your questions aren’t ones you want to hear.

But when you choose to let it go, your heart calms and the anger and the despair disappears. When you let whatever is tearing your heart go, you find comfort, you move on. 

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life isn’t meant to be spent angry. We’re meant to spend our lives full of love. 

Try and find it in yourself to confront your anger, to look past it, and let it go. You’ll begin to find the peace amongst the chaos that’s within your life.

Whatever thing you think you can’t do without: alcohol, shopping, that number on a scale. The pills, the lies, the affair. The money, the success, the cutting. Whatever it is that you clutch onto with angry fists, that you grab like a lifeline, when you release that thing, when you let it go, that’s when you’ll hear the notes between the music. That’s when you’ll feel the groove, the rhythm you were made to feel, that you’ve covered over a thousand times with noise and motion and fear and all of the things. When you hear it, you’ll realize it sounds a lot like your own heart beat, the rhythm of God, of life, pumping in your chest, the most beautiful song you’ve heard.

-Shauna Niquest, Present Over Perfect

Stuck Somewhere Between Patience and Pity

I know you.

You scroll through social media this morning and see yet another friend of yours: graduated, engaged, married, pregnant, buying a house, a new car, a new purse, traveled somewhere new.
Impatience controls you. It controls your mood and your happiness. You begin to define your life by memorable moments constantly skipping over your life from one moment to the next to keep up with those around you. 

When you start to think about your life, you find that your focus isn’t even on you anymore. You don’t see your success and your own achievements. Your focus entirely shifts. You become obsessed with celebrating other people’s lives, their accomplishments. You find yourself wallowing in pity and self-doubt because you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else.

I know you because you’re just like me.

If patience is a virtue, it certainly isn’t one I’ve been blessed with. I have to choose every single day to be patient. I have to consciously choose to slow my world, my thoughts, and my actions down to enjoy every moment. I have to live everyday of my life stuck somewhere between patience and pity. I have to choose if I want to live my own life or chasing after someone else’s. I have to choose to give up my pity of where I think my life should be and in exchange live my life focusing on finding a balance of patience every day.

Growing up is difficult. We are thrown into the world with little to no direction and find ourselves comparing other’s as a way to define our life: To make sure we’re “on track” with everyone else we know. 

Stop comparing yourself. You have a beautiful life and you are a beautiful person. Have patience. Push the pity and the self-doubt aside and be bold in your life. Forge your own path for your life and celebrate every day and every accomplishment simply because it’s yours. Your life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, it just has to be yours and one you find worth living. 

 

Present over Perfect

“God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful- as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” -1 Thessalonians 4:7
This is a bible verse from the first book of our monthly book club, Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, more Soulful Way of Living.
God sure did know I needed to read this book after the day I had yesterday. 

It can’t possibly already be November 1st, can it? Before yesterday, I hadn’t even carved a pumpkin. We always carve pumpkins as a family. We normally spend a night in October at the corn maze and we haven’t gone this year because it’s closed. We always go to the cornmaze as a family. I didn’t even make it to my mom’s for trick or treating this year. We always go trick or treating as a family

I was running through my never-ending to do list yesterday and was an absolute wreck because nothing was going the way I had wanted. After all, it was Halloween and I hadn’t even carved a pumpkin yet

Luckily, my super-hero husband swooped in to save me from myself. He said something along the lines of,”You can sit here and be angry all night over the day you’ve had, or we can go and enjoy the rest of the night together.”

My mind was blown. How lucky am I to share my heart with such a great man? He could see that I was going through the motions of my day even when I couldn’t. He helps me every single day be present and I didn’t even know it.

This year, it seems like Fall and the holidays have snuck up on me. I wasn’t prepared for yesterday and the awakening that my husband’s words brought to me. Everything snuck up on me probably because as of lately, I’ve been letting the “things” in my life consume me. Work is exhausting. I come home tired and stressed, and I haven’t been present for myself, for my husband, or for my family.

This book is the perfect beginning for our monthly reads because it’s an invitation for all of us to get to back to being present in our lives and for the people we love most. I know firsthand that it’s not going to be easy to set aside time for myself, but I know it will be so worth it.

God didn’t intend for us to lead messy, stressful lives, though sometimes we act like it. He intended for us to live holy, beautiful lives full of love. Today, try extra hard to be present for yourself. Do it for your kids, for your husband, for your friends, and for the things you enjoy most in life. 

Today, I challenge myself and I challenge you to be present over perfect

My Only Sunshine: Monthly Book Club

First a blog, now a book club!

The goal of my monthly reading club is simply enjoy reading with one another! I am setting a personal goal to read a book a month, and will be doing some research to find the best books around to suggest to all of you! The topics will include a range of topics: motivation, leadership, romance, comedy, prayer, and thrillers. The great thing about this is you can choose which books, if any, you’d like to read too!
I will begin the book on the first of every month and encourage you all to follow along with my blog posts about the book and even share your own feelings about the book if you decide to read along! Discussions will take place at the middle and end of the month or more if necessary!

It’s an open group, so feel free to share with anyone and everyone! The first book is up on the group, head over to find out what it is I’ll be reading in November! 

My Only Sunshine: Monthly Book Club

All I ask is that if you don’t already ‘like’ my Facebook Page or follow along with my blog that you do so!

Happy Reading!

Meg

My Life Challenge

Look in the mirror, do you like what you see? It’s taken 23 years for me to understand my reflection goes much deeper than simply my appearance looking back at me.

Take a second and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you avoid mirrors because you can’t face yourself without finding a flaw?
  • Do you take a compliment from a stranger and say ‘thank you’ or do you find yourself countering with a criticism about yourself?
  • Do you find yourself on a scale every morning and/or evening?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses for your health? Getting to the gym? Making a change?
  • Do you question God and his plan for your life?
  • Do you go through the motions of everyday wishing you could be more present in the lives of your family and children but exhaustion consumes you?
  • Do you find yourself wishing you had more money to help you solve your problems?

I know there’s been a time in my life when I could say yes to every single one of these questions.

I realize that the cause of my unhappiness during some of the darkest times of my life was myself. The way I approached every day was quickly ruining me. I chose to wake up and insult myself and the people around me. I chose to compare my body and my life to people I envied. I let doubts about myself and my life consume me, and I never let any of my unhappiness or doubt show.

I’m a different version of myself than the me that used to answer “yes” to these questions. I choose every day to wake up and be happy. I still have bad days, I still find myself at times unmotivated, but it’s a moment in my day rather than spending my whole day unhappy. I choose not to dwell on my flaws but instead work towards being the best version of myself. I believe that if you can commit to eating healthy and making time to exercise you will be a happier and healthier person.  I choose to dedicate my life to the service of others. I’m first and foremost a nurse, but I also help people regain control of their health and their finances through the vehicle of AdvoCare. I never believed in supplements or believed I could have my own business, but what I’ve found in this company is a lifestyle in which people choose to take control of their health everyday. I choose to have a life worth living and to help motivate and inspire people every step of the way. In a world where it  can feel like we don’t have a choice to escape our debts and our fears, I choose to be different. I choose to blog about my passions and share my thoughts and feelings with others in the hope to inspire just one person to chase their dreams.

We’re trained from a young age by stigma, the media, and each other to compare ourselves, our bodies, our lives, and our flaws rather than celebrate our lives and the people we are. There are officially 69 days til New Years where resolutions and dreams run wild. Have you thought about your resolutions yet, or the person you’re willing to become next year?

I know I have. However, I don’t see the point in waiting 69 days until you’re ready to get motivated to be a better person and set some goals for yourself and your family? Imagine the goals you could accomplish in 69 days! We could all use some daily motivation from each other and we could all benefit from doing it now instead of only at the mark of the new year.

My resolutions?

  • I’m celebrating myself everyday with daily affirmations because I know now there’s no one better to motivate me than me.
  • I’m building and following my budget more closely because we want to be debt free and I believe it’s achievable.
  • I’m traveling more because I believe life is made of moments and memories rather than material things.
  • I’m praying every day to thank God for everything He’s given and continues to give me. I’m praying for my husband, for our future family, and for my own family and friends. I’m praying for the people suffering in this world, for the people facing their doubts and fears and for the courage to overcome.
  • I’m taking control of my health every day by following my product regimen and exercising everyday even if I don’t want to. I’m helping others to recognize the same for them is achievable if we only just believe that there’s a life out there that’s worth living.

This ‘Life Challenge‘ is all of my resolutions that I’m not waiting for the new year to begin. I’m starting today and I’m taking anyone who’s ready on the journey of a lifetime. I’m not making any more excuses, I challenge you to do the same.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Living for moments

“Travel far enough you meet yourself” -Cloud Atlas

The more I travel, the more at home my soul feels. 

On my flight home (crammed in a middle seat, mind you) I am able to reflect on my most recent adventure to Minnesota. 

While I wasn’t blown away by impressive landscapes or sight seeing, Minnesota still managed to steal a piece of my heart. The foliage at this time of year is absolutely breathtaking. The shades of yellows and orange along the winding river that tangles through the city makes for the perfect feeling of fall. The weather at this time of year seems to be perfect. The people we met all seem to be so carefree and full of life, but then again brisk cold weather was nowhere to be found. 

I would love to go back if not only to experience more of the beauty of the state. We didn’t have the opportunity to hike or enjoy the view from one of the many lakes, but we did enjoy our time there.

Outside of Minnesota, this year I’ve also ventured to beaches of St. Lucia, the bay of California, the woods of Pennsylvania, the mountains of Colorado. Though my travels have been relatively close to where I call home, I’m not only learning so much about the other lifestyles available in our country, but I’m learning so much about myself. The hours I spend flying have given me more than enough time to reflect on my life, the places I’ve been and the places I’d still like to visit. I’ve come to a few conclusions about my love of travel and what it means to me.

Travel enlightens you. I get excited when I get to travel. Every destination, new or old, is exciting and full of adventure. With so many new places to go, people to see, foods to try, I feel 

It forces you to prioritize. This has probably been my biggest challenge and learning experience since falling in love with travel. Checking a large bag is wonderful, but if you don’t have the perks of a free bag it can be expensive. Learning to pack a carry on effectively has proven to be quite the challenge, but it’s liberating. Think about it. You’re embarking on a trip with only the opportunity to bring along one bag, what do you bring? I’m learning quickly that there is only room for the things I find most important. I also have learned to prioritize my time. If you have a plan of places you would like to attend, you sometimes learn the hard way that you just can’t seem to do it all. Prior to your trip, it can help to map out the places you’d like to see by order of importance.  

You step outside our comfort zone time and time again. Traveling in general puts us outside of our comfort zones. You’re no longer familiar with the place you call home for the time being or the food you eat. There’s rarely a form of a routine. There’s potential for so many wrong turns on a trip, so much room for error. And while the thrill and excitement that comes along with traveling, sometimes one foul moment or mistake can send your plans spiraling. 

You learn to ask for help. Maybe you go to a new place, take a new, unfamiliar road or maybe even learn a new culture or language. Either way, at some point or another you will find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to rely on someone more native to where you are. In this day and age I feel as if sometimes we aren’t so eager to ask for help. In my opinion, we all rely too much on our technology and ourselves to know the answers to simple questions we could easily ask for.
You learn to live. With every new opportunity or trip, there is a new feeling of adventure and accomplishment. It’s full of new opportunities if you so choose to take them. It is full of discovery, sometimes stress, and always excitement. When you travel, you find a new part of yourself that is willing to do things you wouldn’t normally do. 

I hope with every one of my travels, I continue to learn more about myself and that with every travel I find myself closer to the person I believe I’m meant to be. 

Minnesota | October 2016
Colorado | September 2016
Philadelphia | September 2016
San Francisco | August 2016
San Francisco | August 2016
St. Lucia | July 2016
Charleston | June 2016

My life list

We all have a “list.” A to-do list or bucket list of things we have always wanted to do with our lives since we were a little kid. Our career and life goals that were created when we were little as we dreamed of who we would be that, with time, have expanded. 

The more I reflect on my life so far in the 23 years I’ve experienced, the more I realize that we all do things that are familiar to us.

Personally, I find comfort in dreaming.  For example, I will tell you that as I look back on my wedding day, I felt an indescribable feeling of comfort and joy. I have come to realize that those feelings came along with living out my life dream I had of marrying my true love.

Just the same, lists keep me comfortable. They make me feel as if I can effectively plan for the tasks at hand and the feeling of completing a list is indescribable.

Because without a physical list, you only have a dream. And in order to make a dream a reality, you need to see it and work towards it everyday. 

So when I tell you this is my life list, I mean just that. It’s a list compiled of things I want to do and will do within the next 20 years of my life.

Go on a mission trip.

Learn to save and budget money.

Have a library.

Travel to all 50 states.

Inspire someone to live their passion.

Go to Paris.

Have a garden.

Own a horse.

Be friends with someone famous.

Work from home.

Sit first class.

Adopt a child.

Own a house with a wrap around porch.

Be debt free.

Learn to live more simply.

Write a book. 

I believe our lives are filled with little passions we still have yet to discover, and the only way to learn them is to challenge ourselves to document and reach for our dreams. I challenge you today to dream and realize and create your own life list.

Love the One You’re With

Whether or not you believe it, family is everything. It’s the people who made you, who helped shaped you into who you are to your very core. They helped to create and deepen your beliefs, mold your soul and strengthen your heart.

The special thing about family is that the meaning may be different to every person that you meet. It could be defined as traditional consisting of parents, grandparents and siblings, or untraditional which is more typical in our world today. Family may be just the people that raised you or the friends who you grew up around. And though every family may look or function differently, they all have the same purpose: to love and be loved.

They laugh with you.

They cry with you.

They anger you.

They disappoint you.

They support you.

They encourage you.

They love you.

And while our families may do all these things, we all have a special image in our head of what our family should look, act or be like. The reality is, we can’t change what we’ve been given.

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” -Stephen Stills

Love the one you’re with. Even when you don’t love yourself, your family still loves you. When they laugh with you, and maybe even at you, love them anyway. When they cry with you because when you hurt, they hurt, love them anyway. When they anger you because you don’t always see eye to eye, love them anyway . When they don’t agree with every decision you make, love them anyway. When they argue with you because you disagree more often than not, love them anyway. When they disappoint you because you set higher expectations for them than you do for yourself, love them anyway. Love them because even when everything else is crumbling around you, they support you in every wide-eyed and out-of-this-world journey you embrace. Love them because  they encourage you to chase your dreams or live every day like it’s your last. Love them because even if they aren’t always the ones you want, they’re the ones you’re with.

Every family is the way it is because that is how God intended our journey to be. It may not always pretty or the way we wish it would be. Every single person in our lives, every action, every path we choose, and every circumstance we face is as God intends it to be.

Whether it’s broken or beautiful, your family is yours in order to help you become the person God has meant for you to be.

I could tell you

[insert goal here]

I could tell you that [it’s] easy, that anyone can do it.

I could tell you [it] happens in the blink of an eye, that you’ll just know.

I could tell you that [it’ll] always be there, that you’ll feel loved.

I could tell you that [it] brings only good days, never bad.

But I’d be lying.

We all find ourselves asking questions like:

“If I could just pass this class..”

“If I could just lose 10 pounds..”

“If I could just meet a guy.”

“If I just had an extra $500/month..”

“God, if you could just give me this one thing..”

I’m just as guilty.

If I’ve learned anything in my 23 years, I have come to know that the best things in life don’t come free. I know you’ve heard the saying before, but do you truly believe it?

We have to realize what it is we want.

When your mom told you to clean your room, did you go do it? Probably not. But when you can’t find your favorite pair of shoes in the mess, you go clean it. We’re all stubborn in that way. When you find your “why” to whatever it is you’re looking to accomplish, you find purpose. We don’t do things simply when we are told, we are driven to do things from our own passions and beliefs. This purpose is the same one that will drive you when it feels like the everything is going wrong, when you feel like quitting. If you find a big enough purpose to why it is you want to achieve your goal, nothing can stop you.

We have to work hard for the things we want.

Do you think because you go to class you’ll end up with a good grade? Maybe. But if you go to class, do the assignments, and study the material, you’ll ace it with flying colors. A lot of things in life are this way. When we invest time and effort into things that we want, we can see the success happen before our eyes. If everything was easy and happened without effort, we wouldn’t be driven towards setting or reaching new goals. Don’t lose sight of dreams you have, set the bar and work harder than ever to achieve them.

We have to be persistent with the things we want.

Do you think because you did 10 crunches you’ll have a 6 pack set of abs? You wish. If you want something, work towards it with persistence. Life isn’t about where you end up, it’s about the journey and obstacles you will face along the way. Enjoy the process and learn to overcome the defeat of time. There is comfort in knowing that with persistence will come a great reward.

What I can tell you is that [it] will be worth it. 

When you work towards reaching your goals with diligence and dedication, you’ll find the race to the top is much quicker than it ever seemed. Successful people aren’t lucky. No one ever sees the hours, days, months, or years that they worked hard on end without stopping. When we learn to obsesses over the journey instead of the destination and celebrate every success and failure along the way, we begin to see our worth begin to unfold. If we never stopped to enjoy the view, we’d miss some of life’s most precious moments.

Discover your passion and fall in love with it over and over again every step of the way. “Stop asking yourself, “If only…” and put your dreams into action.  The only thing stopping you, is you.