Saturday, November 28, 2015

OOTD // A Lesson on Contentment

I woke up from dreamland, happily snuggled deep into my cocoon of warmth, still embraced by the remnants of a sweet dream involving puppies and kicking villains' butts (don't ask, I have bizarre dreams).

It was Thanksgiving Day, and I had requested several days off of work so I'd be able to drive home and spend some well needed time with loved ones. I'd been looking forward to this visit since the start of November. I reached over for my phone and turned it on, lingering in the warm sheets of my bed a bit longer.

The moment my phone came to life, it started buzzing with notifications. I opened the text messages first, as those rarely light up my phone.
"Linda - we had 8 inches of snow fall last night/ this morning! I had to take mom to work and there's ice under the snow. Advise trip delay."

I texted my dad back to find out what the situation was, and my heart fell as I heard the bad news and checked the weather report. My crappy little car was in no shape to handle the roads.

I won't be able to go home. I realized.

As this sunk in, my thoughts twisted with envy and frustration. Why was I being denied this simple joy? Holidays have never been a huge deal with my family. We had no traditions for the infamous turkey day, but if there's one thing I love about holidays it's the happiness and joy that comes from fellowship with family and those you love.

It looked like I wasn't going to be having that this year.
But as my heart gave way to the temptation of complaining and bitterness, it struck me how bratty I was being. Really? I was sitting here thinking I had it so bad?

Try and put that in perspective on a universal scale.
As my blessings revealed themselves, it hit me just how much more I had than I needed.
I have a solid education that I am continuing in. I have a roof over my head and a functioning heater that keeps me plenty warm despite the snowy outdoors. I have way too many clothes than are necessary. I have people in my life that provide a solid support system and give unconditional love.

I have so many things to be grateful for, and there is plenty of opportunities for me to visit home at a later date.

I feel that as an American, we tend to become comfortable in our overindulgent world and begin to demand pleasures as rights, when in fact that's not how the world operates. There are people out there who honestly have close to nothing - and here I am complaining I don't get turkey.

It was an eye opening moment for me and helped slam home the lesson of contentment - while simultaneously fueling my desire to help others. So instead of a loud, cheerful gathering with people, I spent Thanksgiving in my pj's, dancing to K-pop tunes, watching Netflix, and creating a unique dish using Ramen noodles. And you know what? I was content. I had joy.

I do hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and that you got to spend it with loved ones! Lord knows we need more moments like those.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 
Philippians 4:11

Monday, November 23, 2015

MUSIC MONDAY // Waterbed

I had never heard of this duo, but then I stumbled across "Sweet n Sour" and I was hooked!

If you're looking for some new tracks to freshen up your playlist, add a few songs by WATERBED. They've got a fun electro-indie-pop sound that I dig and you will too (if you're into that sound at least...).

Check them out on social media if you wish (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), as they're relatively new to the music scene and have a small following for now. I have a feeling they're going to be getting some attention soon though!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

OOTD // Grungy Fall

When in doubt, tie a plaid flannel round your waist.
That's the motto I'm living by this fall, and it hasn't failed me yet. Remember this hi-low dress? Probably not, unless you have super memory and can recall all the way back to THIS post where I was posing on some railroad tracks.

I haven't worn it since because of the self consciousness I tend to feel with the clingy material around my midsection. I can't believe I let over a year separate me from this dress though!

I've been trying to treat my body right this semester, and aside from several sleepless nights (too many things to do! all the free time at night/early morning time! too much coffee! AH!), I've been doing pretty well. I've been challenging my body's capabilities more and more, and the confidence I've gained from doing so has been very rewarding. I don't care as much if my body looks "good" in clothes - because I know it's awesome, no matter what.

I've been doing Insanity, Turbokick, new dance classes, and a few free-weight themed classes (Upper Back & Glutes followed by Upper Body Blast typically) fairly consistently since the start of this semester, and it's amazing how much of a difference it's made. Not so much on physical appearances, but in energy levels, capabilities, and like I said earlier, my confidence! I'm officially addicted to working out, guys...yeah, I turned into one of those people. I actually get cranky if I don't work out now.

I've always been fairly active, but this semester it's been cranked up a notch. It may sound odd, but I had this dream a while ago that settled a conviction about my heart on being strong - in all aspects: spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Ever since my dream, I've been doing more reading (of all kinds), self study, and physical activity than in the past few years. It's been a sort of revival of sorts, and I hope it's not some hokey facade that will fade.

Much love,

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BOOK REVIEW // H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle

So a while ago, I applied to be a part of the BookLook Bloggers program. 
(this next section is a really long backstory of my history with reading...skip to the next emboldened words if you want to get to the meat of this post already).

This semester, I've been determined to spark my love for reading again and have started picking up books in my spare time. It's been so rejuvenating! I can't believe I spent so many months without diving into a book and absolutely devouring it. I used to be known as the bookworm girl in elementary and middle school. My librarians knew me by name and always let me know when there were new books arriving. I read entire aisles of books and always longed to find the next one that would swallow me up into a new world.

Since starting college and getting swamped by the realities of life (rent, bills, the cost of living, etc.), I've neglected my bookworm ways and deeply regret it. However, since starting reading again, I've noticed my taste in books have changed. While I'll always have a soft spot for fiction and mythical storylines (that's all I'll watch when it comes to TV right now), I've started reaching for...realistic books. The story of a boy who was forced to become a child soldier in Sierra Leone caught my attention. I barely made it through, but I finished it despite the tears that were prone to escaping my eyes. The history of women and those who questioned why they were not listened to is a recent find, and one that I'm captivated by. A fresh perspective on Christianity and how it's so much more than what many think it is was quickly devoured. Basically, I'm now interested in more intellectual based books and finally growing my knowledge of the world and how we view it.

Which is why I'm thrilled to be a part of the BookLook Bloggers team!
Just so you know, they are all books from Christian publishing houses, so that influence is quite present - which for me is incredibly refreshing. I want to find books that promote thoughtfulness and help me reach my own understanding of why I even believe what I believe.

For my first book, I decided to review Brad Lomenick's take on leadership and how to be an effective leader. Stereotypically, there are a lot of "feel good" styled books out there when it comes to Christian-influenced genres, and while that's nice and all...I want something more practical. I am ashamed to say that it seems as if Christians are never taken seriously because there are so many out there who don't speak with an intellectual understanding. And unfortunately, it's always those that have the loudest voice. While my faith is number one in my life, it does not mean I am stupid.

So! As someone who's rather timid in public and often has a hard time stepping up, I felt that H3 Leadership would be a good read that could help give me some insight.

Here's my review on H3 Leadership:

Section 1: Be Humble // Who Are You?
Brad starts this book off by sharing his deteriorating leadership at Catalyst, a group formed with the goal of creating the next generation of Christian leaders. However, it took a sabbatical for him to realize just how much his original energy had lost its spark. Who was he if he was not involved in Catalyst?

By diving into who you are and who God designed you to be, Brad helps in distinguishing the difference between your calling (who you are) and your assignment (your current situation). The many chapters this section is broken down to are easily digested and help clarify what could be a complicated subject. We find that in developing leadership, you need to develop certain habits that will help you keep growing.

Section 2: Stay Hungry // Where Are You Going?
For this part of the book, Brad helps in establishing and outlining several habits that are going to keep leaders inspired and hungry to do more. By motivating yourself to innovate, to learn more, to stay ambitious, you will never stop growing into a strong leader that is very relevant to the world.

Section 3: Always Hustle // How Will You Get There?
This section was a little tougher to relate to my current situation in life, because Brad mainly focuses on business-like settings and working with a team as a leader. However, many of his points are still applicable, especially his section on developing a habit of generosity.
One of my favorite lines is found there, and I think it's something that would benefit everyone who is reading this:
"Are we changing the world, or just trying to make ourselves feel good? We have to fight against the idea of just wearing a wristband and feeling as if we've done something." 
In summary, I found H3 Leadership to be the perfect book in helping me re-evaluate how I approach ALL projects - whether it be a school assignment, making someone's coffee, or even blogging and making Youtube videos. You can be a leader in your everyday life if you develop the right habits. It doesn't happen overnight, but it's a lifestyle worth pursuing and implementing.
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