c'est moi.

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Come sit down beside me with a dollar and a dime, we'll drink away our fortunes, here's to the meantime. -Grace Potter
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10.31.2011

quotes to live by.

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If you're feeling frightened about what comes next, don't be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness. Don't waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes; because you'll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart- where your hope lives. You'll find your way again.
-Gilmore Girls.

10.27.2011

how do you know?

2 comments
Most of us stumble through life, not really knowing where we're going or what we're doing, but knowing we've just got to keep moving. Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving on."- The guy was a genius so he must have known what he was talking about, right? In all seriousness, we all go through phases of struggle; ones where we don't know if the path we're on is the "right" one. We question our decisions, and wonder when everything will fall into place- or if it ever will. Our 20's, for example, are a particularly difficult time- and one I may have a little bit of experience in. It's a time where you are trying to establish yourself in the "real world"- you find yourself trying to establish a career, a serious relationship, and an adult life. You are trying to "grow up" and figure out what kind of life you want to create for yourself. You work on fine tuning your morals, values, and expectations for yourself and for the people you want to spend time with. Yet realistically it's not just your 20's that are a time of internal chaos. We will go through life a day, week, month, and year at a time dealing with hardship, confusion, and just trying to figure out if we're living our lives "right." Some will be easier than others, some more challenging, some we'll just want to give up, while others we'll be totally inspired. During those times of internal struggle we must remember Einstein's words. Life happens a second, a minute, and a day at a time. We spend so many of our precious minutes worrying about what's coming down the pipeline for us in the days and years to come. But the truth is, we don't know what's coming, so why do we spend so much of our time trying to figure it all out?

Many of us are guilty of living our lives by just trying to fit the puzzle pieces together in our minds and forming what we picture our future to look like. We meet someone and try to determine if they are the person that we'll share a lifelong friendship with. We'll fall in love and wonder if that's the person that we'll grow old with. We'll begin a career and wonder if it will be the key to financial security for the next 40 years. We'll invest our money into companies we hope will succeed and grow our bank accounts. We'll study something in college and wonder if a job in that field will be what we'll spend the rest of our life doing. We'll move somewhere and tell ourselves it's where we want to raise our family for years to come.

We plan and plan and plan and plan. And yet, life never turns out how we expect it to. Sometimes people walk into our lives, experiences happen, tragedy strikes, success reveals itself, perspective changes, and before we know it, that picture we painted of how we were "planning" on living our life suddenly changes. It morphs into something new.

It's a difficult line to walk. In many ways, we do need to plan and invest our time, energy, and emotion into creating a reality for ourselves that we want to be living now AND in the future. Yet in other ways, we'll dump our resources into something we can't make a guarantee on down the road. I think too often we find ourselves trying to mold something that isn't right into what we want it to be, rather than pushing ourselves to find something we won't have to "change." This applies to all faucets of life; romantic partners, friendships, jobs, career paths, living arrangements, among hundreds of other things.

So how do we know if the decisions we're making today are the ones that will make us happy down the road? Well, we don't. We don't know if that girl you are dating is the one you'll spend the rest of your life with. Maybe someone else walks in when you least expect it, and makes you doubt your commitment to her. We don't know that the job you have is going to be one you'll be passionate about for the next 6 months, year, or 10 years. Maybe you pursue an interest that you end up falling in love with and change career paths completely. We don't know that the skills we gained from that degree we got from that college will ever be used in an actual job. Maybe we'll never even pursue a career within that field of study. We don't know that our current location is where we'll want to still be living in a year from now. Maybe we'll be inspired by a new acquaintance to travel the globe and explore new places.

 Despite our best effort, we can only do so much to set ourselves up for the future we think we want today. Tomorrow we may wake up with a whole new idea of what is going to truly make us happy now and in the future. The most important part is to remember that it's OK to have invested that time and energy into something we may realize isn't right anymore- that's just how life goes. We only figure out what we want by putting one foot in front of the other, going out and taking risks, and being honest with ourselves. Spending 100k on a degree we'll never use. Burning fuel traveling the globe to only realize that where you want to be is right here. Making yourself vulnerable to a person that will only break your heart. Every single decision, choice, and experience will make you a stronger person. Every single decision, choice, and experience will bring you one step closer into figuring out what makes you happy.

Do yourself a favor consider what you want in life today. Once you've got your list, make a plan and go get it! Don't let anything or anyone hold you back from chasing your dreams and creating the reality you want. You have one single life to live, and if you aren't living with some passion for your life, then you aren't really living. 

10.25.2011

what ISN'T success?

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Instead of asking what the definition of success is, let us consider what success isn't. Success isn't a destination. Success isn't reached and then simply maintained without hard work. Success isn't permanent. Success isn't an accident. Success isn't always going to be well received by others. Success is rarely achieved without failure, setbacks, and loss. Success isn't achieved without hard work, commitment, honesty, and courage. Success isn't achieved without ongoing committed action. Success doesn't happen overnight.

What are you doing today to reach your goals? Success takes time, adequate planning, and perseverance. Anything is achievable when you accept that you will experience hardship along the way, and let every tough time motivate you to continue to push forward.

10.21.2011

quotes to live by.

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Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams. 
Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. 
Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, 
But with what it is still possible for you to do.
-Pope John XXIII.

10.20.2011

are you settling?

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We've all been told to never settle for less than we deserve. Usually it comes from our parents, family, close friends, or lovers; a group of people who cares about your happiness and well-being above all else. Often straight from the heart, uttering these words is usually a result of: 1. Witnessing specific people taking advantage of you [ie: dating someone that doesn't appreciate you, dealing with friends who don't look out for your best interest, spending time with people that drain your emotionally, letting people put you down]. Or 2. Watching you take advantage of yourself  [ie: staying at a job that makes you miserable, choosing a career path that isn't right for you, putting yourself in bad situations repetitively, living in a place you hate].

Most of us, more or less, understand what someone is getting at when they tell you that you shouldn't settle for less than you deserve in life. The hardest part is realizing that you can do far better in life than what you may be allowing yourself at this very moment. The tragedy of it all doesn't lie in recognizing the disappointment first hand, the tragedy is many of us continue to stay in a situation because it's what's easier. We stay at a job because it's a paycheck and the job market right now is a struggle. We stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend because it's easier than being alone, and having to move our stuff out of the mutual apartment would be too much work. We go to and stay in college because it's what's expected from our parents. We stay in a tough marriage out of fear of disappointing our families. We continue to let friends borrow money or bail them out of trouble because we feel guilty when you don't. We continue to feed into our unhealthy physical health because we're lazy. Regardless of what the situation may be, we need to stop thinking about what's easier and start thinking about what's best for ourselves. It's ok to be selfish in life. It's ok to want nothing short of the best. But what isn't ok is making excuses for why we aren't experiencing life to it's fullest at this very moment. We have a mere 100 years to live, and each day should be lived to it's fullest. We should never find ourselves caught in ordinary, when we can be living extraordinarily. If you are caught in mediocrity, why not push yourself to new heights? Why settle for a lifetime of somewhere in the middle?

 The important part of breaking the cycle is admitting you are settling. You have to take your head out of the sand and recognize that you are not truly happy. Everyone is capable of happiness- but you have to work for it. Happiness isn't handed to you, you have to commit yourself to creating a lifestyle and surrounding yourself with people that will help you to get the most out of life. Anything in life is achievable, and that's what many people refuse to believe. Life is too short to be pessimistic- looking on the "bright side" of things is sometimes the best way to go. The world can be a terrible, tragic, and depressing place at times; many of us know this first hand. But the truth of the matter is that your world can be comprised of less sadness than you may think. There are going to be things that happen that you cannot control. Good or bad, happy or sad. Take control of your life and your happiness. Hold yourself accountable for the life you are choosing to live right now. If you know you can do better, you can get more out of life, and you are determined to live with passion, then DO IT. You will have setbacks, roadblocks, and days you question if taking the path less traveled is truly worth it. Someday you will stop and realize what an incredible life you have created for yourself. It won't be perfect, but it will be one you can take responsibility for. You will give yourself a pat on the back for insisting on living a life of major accomplishments, happiness, passion, and personal love. If you are well on your way there already, then be proud of yourself! Too many people go through a life of mediocrity, but realistically no person should ever have to settle for less than they deserve. Set high standards for yourself, and surround yourself with people- friends, significant others, coworkers, trainers, doctors, and family- that have your best interest in mind and will support you on your quest to improving your life.


The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little. -Thomas Merton

10.18.2011

songs to live by.

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Dive In- Dave Matthews Band.

10.17.2011

pay it forward.

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Personally, I think there is no better feeling than making someone's day better, especially if it's for no reason at all. This may mean something as simple as complimenting their shirt, holding the door, offering to carry something, paying for their coffee, asking them how they are doing (and being genuinely interested in their answer!), or simply flashing your pearly whites in their direction. Maybe it means bringing someone a little treat; a candy bar, a fancy pen, a bouquet of flowers, or some freshly baked cookies. Everyone is capable of partaking in a random act of kindness. It's so simple and how good does it feel to see someone's reaction to your deed? I think we all need to get a more inspired- More inspired to be great. More inspired to be kind. More inspired to smile. More inspired to do good. More inspired to change the world. And more inspired to live a life you're proud of. Be proud this week by doing something for someone with no expectation for being repaid for it. Spreading that kind of love will not only make you feel great, but maybe it will inspire them to pay your good deed forward. And there is no such thing as too many good deeds.

"You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

10.14.2011

some KIND of perspective.

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 Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Plato

Just as you should never judge a book by it's cover, you should never judge a person by a bad first impression. We all have our bad days, one which the worst part of us comes out. There is usually an underlying reason for this, one in which others don't always take into consideration when they witness someone being rude, standoffish, or angry. Consider this: You see a woman screaming at her kids in the grocery store parking lot. The guy in front of you is driving super slow. A woman parked in your reserved spot. Someone cut you off in traffic. The lady in front of you isn't going right on red. Our boss snaps on us. A woman is walking slow in the grocery store and blocking the whole aisle. We listen to a man's rude conversations with the sales clerk.

We've probably all been in situations like these. Our usual reaction is to get frustrated, annoyed, honk our horns, or ride someones tail. We let out loud sighs, mutter under of breath, and might even make a rude comment at someone. It might ruin our day, send us into a tizzy, and cause us to take out our frustrations on someone else, as a result. Talk about paying it forward; "it" being that bad mood. And bad moods are not something to pay forward.


Now let us reread those scenarios:

We see a woman screaming at her kids in the grocery store parking lot because they spent the last hour hitting each other. The guy in front of you is driving super slow because he's on the phone hearing tragic news from a family member. A woman parked in your spot because she was late for a job interview that will make or break her career. Someone cut you off in traffic because their significant other was just admitted into the ER. The lady in front of you isn't going right on red because her friend was paralyzed in a horrific accident doing that. Our boss snaps on us because he just lost a huge business deal. A woman is walking slow in the grocery store blocking the aisle because she has an abusive spouse who's worst side comes out if she forgets anything on the list. We listen to a man's rude conversation with the sales clerk because the gadget she sold him a week before is already busted and his child won't stop crying about it.

Now, had you known that was the underlying issue that person was dealing with, would you have been a little kinder? A little more understanding? A little less apt to get frustrated? A little less likely to get angry?

Sometimes people are dealing with issues in which no outsider would know about nor understand based on a single impression. No one can really understand what would possess someone to act or say the things they do sometimes. The reality is we are all fighting internal battles. We all have moments where nothing seems to go right; points where our exhaustion, sadness, and anger get the best of us. And as a result of trying to cope, we are all guilty of taking this out on others. The truth of the matter is that life is hard. Things happen that turn us into angry balls of fire. All anyone is trying to do is make it through those bad days.

It's important to consider a scenario like the ones that are listed above from both perspectives- Are you the one cutting people off in traffic? Or are you the one being cut off? I think the most unfortunate thing of all is that bad days are contagious- I mean to say, if you are on the receiving end of someone having an awful moment, your day might turn sour as a result of having an interaction with them.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as being able to avoid bad things happening in our lives. But what we can do is try a little harder to be understanding. Don't be so quick to get annoyed or frustrated with someone that seems to just be trying to ruin your day. They probably aren't. In most cases, there is a real reason that person is acting or saying the things they are. Put yourself in their shoes. And by the same token, if you are having a bad day, try you hardest not to pass that on to an innocent bystander. I think with a little more understanding, a little more respect, and a lot more focus on the things that bring us all together (verses pull us apart), we can all battle through the ups and downs of life in a more positive manner.



10.12.2011

spread to thin.

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I have found myself, several times in my life, with just too much on my plate. And it's safe to say that we've all found ourselves in that scenario at one point or another. Whether it's trying to balance school, a career, a family, friends, a workout routine, a beauty regimen, a diet, a budget, a relationship, a social life, or any of these (plus more!) combined, there will inevitably reach a point where you sort of hit a wall. Often times, we experience heightened emotional reactions, while other times our bodies shut down and we become physically sick- think colds, the flu, skin breakouts, or cold sores. When we experience a high level of stress (especially over long periods of time- chronic stress or anxiety), we are making ourselves more susceptible to illness. It's important to focus on prevention- keeping ourselves from getting extremely worn down in the first place. This may mean sacrificing activities when our schedules become too extreme. Many of us think we are some sort of superhuman superhero, but the reality is we are not (Harsh, I know). We all have our limitations, and our daily requirements for healthy functionality- things like sleep or caloric intake that allow us to "run" properly.

Prevention is the best way to avoid hitting a brick wall physically and emotionally. Sometimes you need to learn to say "no." It's hard for some of us because we want to be able to do and have it all. We want to make everyone happy, surpass expectations, and prove to the world that nothing will get us down, oh no it won't. We all need a hefty dose of reality though; we can only perform to the best of our ability if we take care of #1 first. You can only be as good for your boyfriend, wife, family, children, boss, coworker, or workout instructor, as you are yourself. You can't expect to pass through your day with flying colors if parts of you are malfunctioning.

So how can we prevent ourselves from pushing ourselves too far? How do we know when to say "when"? How do we know when enough is enough? The truth is that no one knows you better than yourself, especially when it comes to how you are feeling on the inside. Don't feel like having to turn something or someone down because you know you physically or emotionally cannot handle it is going to be an end-of-the-world disappointment- life goes on. The only person you will be letting down in the long run is yourself, when you inevitably reach that point where you are physically ill, emotionally distraught, and then forced to sit out because your body won't let you take another step. Take a moment to consider the big picture when you commit to adding something else to your schedule or agreeing to meet certain expectations. Ask yourself if it's truly going to be worth it. Because I guarantee there will be a point where you do find yourself saying it wasn't worth it.

Tips for Prevention: Make a schedule. Be honest with others. Be honest with yourself. Set limitations. Establish boundaries. Ask for help. Verbalize your concerns. Learn your limits. Give yourself a break. Take care of yourself. Make priorities. Take some credit. Above all, just be realistic- you are one single human being, and as much as you think you can go through life constantly pressing the envelope, it will catch up with you. And recovering is much harder than preventing is.


10.10.2011

a real life reminder; mackenzie pratt.

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 A year ago today, a friend, teammate, and inspiration of mine passed away at age 21. Mackenzie Pratt grew up in a town not far from mine. She loved softball just as much as I did, if not more. She was a three-sport high school athlete, a D3 college softball star, an avid volunteer, and one of the most positive people I have ever had the opportunity to share time with. We played at summer softball tournaments as teammates, sharing hotel rooms together, meals together, and an enormous amount of laughter. "Mac," as we would call her, would be the one person you could count on to remain positive even in times of loss or hardship on the softball field. What I didn't realize was she was the same way in times of profound personal struggle. Her junior year of high school, she found a strange lump in her neck and after several tests, including one which doctors discovered a softball sized tumor in her chest, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She never let it phase her. She remained incredibly positive throughout treatments despite being physically and emotionally exhausted. That was just how Mac was in all parts of her life. Treatment allowed her to resume high school classes and her real passion; sports. She graduated and went on to attend Norwich University and join their D3 softball squad. The cancer came back a second time, she received more treatment, and continued to push forward in pursuing her nursing degree, which her disease inspired her to pursue. The beginning of her senior year, the cancer came back a third time and this time it beat her, with just months to go before receiving her diploma.

The thing I remember most vividly about Mackenzie was just how positive she was during the extremely long and trialing battle. How easily she could have given up the fight and let it defeat her years before it did. Instead she somehow always had a smile on her face, and never wanted people to feel bad for her. She kept the best attitude and fought with grace and heart. 
"She was an inspiration to young and old alike with her spirit, perseverance, and positive outlook that extended into, not only her stellar college career at Norwich, but her day to day interactions in general.  We would have been remiss not to honor the amazing young woman she was." -Geri Witalec.
Mackenzie's legacy lives on today through several scholarship funds and through the constant reminder of just how short life can be. I urge you to let Mac's story give you a changed outlook. Life is short, but tragically shorter for others. When life throws you the worst kind of curve ball; fight. Fight for those who lost the battle before you and the ones that will lose it after you. And at the end of the day let us all keep our own trials and tribulations in perspective.

10.09.2011

songs to live by.

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Dare You to Move- Switchfoot.

10.07.2011

have you heard of the 90/10 Principle?

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Consider this; 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean?  We really have NO control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in the traffic. We have NO control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%. How...? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light. However, you can control your reaction. Do not let people fool you. YOU can control how you react. 

Let us use an example:  You are having breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what has just happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your wife and you criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish her breakfast and getting ready to go to school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles per hour in a 30 mph speed limit zone.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60.00 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minute late, you realize you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.When you arrive home, you find a small wedge in your relationship with your wife and daughter. Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is D.

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened. Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say: Its okay, honey, you just need to be more careful next time. Grabbing a towel you go upstairs and change your shirt. You grab your briefcase, and you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early a cheerfully greet the staff. Notice the difference?
Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different. Why? Because of how you reacted. You really have no control over 10% of what happens in your life. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.
Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 Principle

1. If someone says something negative about you, do not be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You do not have to let the negative comments affect you. 

2. React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, or getting stressed out.

3. How do you react if someone cuts you off in the traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? (A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Who cares if you arrive 10 seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?

4. Remember the 90/10 Principle and don't worry about it. You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time to find a new job.

5. The plane is late. It is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger, why stress out? It will just make things worse. 

Now you know the 90/10 Principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. Apply it. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90/10 Principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this Principle. The result? You will see it by yourself! Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and headaches. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 Principle. It can change your life! Enjoy it! It only takes willpower to give ourselves permission to make the experience. Absolutely everything we do, give, say, or even think, its like a Boomerang. It will come back to us... If we want to receive, we need to learn to give first... Maybe we will end with our hands empty, but our heart will be filled with love... And those who love life, have that feeling marked in their hearts.

Author: Stephen Covey

10.06.2011

the view through rose-colored glasses.

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We are faced with thousands of choices every single day, most of which we don't even realize we are making. You chose to open your eyes. You chose to turn your alarm off. You chose to get up. You chose to make your bed. You chose to get in the shower. You chose what you were going to wear. You chose to get into your car. You chose to go to work. Or maybe you chose not to get out of bed. Chose not to shower, or dress, or go to work. Regardless of how you got to this point today, you are now sitting here reading this post.

And just like we choose how we go through every day, we also choose our outlook and perspective on life. We have experiences and people that have shaped us into who and what we are today. So we sit here on October 6th, 2011 and I have to ask, is your glass half-full or half-empty? Are you more of an optimist or a pessimist? We all have those days (or weeks) when we can't help but assume the worst, worry the most, complain about everything, and be the worst kind of Debbie Downer in existence. But it's like that famous quote from Blow:
"Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on."
Being an occasional pessimist can be justified- we can't expect to never get down on life. Terrible things happen and we have to cope. There is a specific process we go through including periods of anger and sadness. This is usually followed by justification, and finally acceptance and forgiveness. The point is that pessimism is legitimate in small bouts, but we shouldn't go through life in this manner- for some reason, some of us truly do. And maybe that pessimism is justified by our past experiences. Things like; My last boyfriend cheated on me, so this one will too. My parents got divorced, so real love must not exist. My sister got cancer, so terrible things happen to good people. I found a text message in my boyfriends phone from his Ex, so he must still love her. My father used to hit me, so he hates me. My best friend was killed in a car accident, so people can't be trusted. My friend never emailed me back, so she must be mad at me. My wife had an affair, so I must be unworthy. I just got fired, so I must not be good enough. I'm overweight, so no one will ever love me.

We have all caught ourselves doing this. Growing up my parents used to always say, "Stop feeling bad for yourself." I used to get so annoyed when they told me this, but in hindsight they couldn't have been more right. We are making a choice to sit there and sulk in our unhappiness, rather than trying to turn it around. 

 If you've been in a funk lately, it's time to break free. You have got to force the fact that life is too short to look through broken glasses instead of rose-colored ones on yourself. Because it is. Life is short. People come and go. Cherish what you have each and every day because you don't know what tomorrow will bring- and I mean that in the most optimistic way. You have to learn to trust that life works out. That everything happens for a reason. That timing is everything. You have to learn that you will get hurt, damaged emotionally, and it will change you as a person. You have to remember that life is hard and sometimes it feels like a roller coaster ride that's doomed to crash and burn. Life isn't a walk in the park and neither are relationships. Relationships require work. They require sacrifice and compromise. They require honesty and integrity. Trust and communication. Life requires hard work. You have to push yourself. You have to actively pursue your goals. Things don't often just get handed to you. You have to pursue new opportunities with an open mind. You will have to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Learn that you will hurt people in profound ways; whether it's on purpose or not. Words can kill. Poor choices will be made. Hindsight is always 20/20. Rejection hurts. Love is unexplainable. Hearts break. Disappointment happens. 

But at the end of the day remember this; life is too short to hold back. Wake up every day knowing you will do everything in your power to make it better than yesterday. Push yourself to great heights. If you fall, pick yourself up again. Share your thoughts with no reservations. And above all, know that the only worry you should have is that one day you will look back in regret that you never had gave yourself the opportunity to live your life to its absolute fullest. Each day should be treated as a blessing, a blank slate; one in which you have taken everything from your past, reflected upon it, and then pushed forward in the most profound way.

10.05.2011

quotes to live by.

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They take pictures of the mountain climbers at the top of a mountain. They're smiling, ecstatic, trimphant. They don't take pictures along the way cause who wants to remember the rest of it? We push ourselves because we have to, not because we like it. The relentless climb, the pain and anguish of taking it to the next level. Nobody takes pictures of that. Nobody wants to remember. We just wanna remember the view from the top. The breathtaking moment at the edge of the world. That's what keeps us climbing. And it's worth the pain. That's the crazy part. It's worth anything.
-Meredith Grey.

10.04.2011

october is breast cancer awareness month.

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In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women.

In 2011, approximately 39,520 women are expected to die from breast cancer.

In 2011, about 2,140 cases of breast cancer are expected to occur among men; approximately 450 men will die from breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman's life is a little less than 1 in 8 (12%).

We are incredibly fortunate to have so many people, men and women alike, promoting breast cancer awareness in the year 2011. Advances in technology and increases in donations for research and assistance has allowed us to save thousands of lives. The tragedy of it all is that there is no cure and there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, which is why regular mammograms are so important for early detection. Strategies that may help prevent breast cancer include avoiding weight gain and obesity, engaging in regular physical activity, and minimizing alcohol intake (American Cancer Society). Women, I urge you to contact your doctor for more information about breast cancer detection. Men, I urge you to enlighten yourselves and to share with the women in your life about the importance of being educated about this disease. Please visit the American Cancer Society Website sometime this month in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Together, we can all work towards finding a cure and saving lives.


10.03.2011

regaining self-control.

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We all know how easy it is to slip into bad habits. You stock up your candy dish at home for guests, but find yourself dipping in several times a day. Your boyfriend leaves his phone at home when he goes to the gym so it's practically begging you to snoop, right? Your Sunday football season routine went from promising you'd pass up drinking at all, to throwing back 2-3 beers every single Sunday. You told yourself you'd cut your shopping habits out for the next 2 months so you can put some dough away into savings, but after 4 weeks decided to sign up for a monthly shoe subscription. Every week when the Sunday flyer for Best Buy comes out, you drive over to buy the newest tech deal. You can't stop stalking your Ex on facebook. You went from eating dessert once/week to every single evening. Your once cut throat gym routine is practically nonexistent lately. Your promise to avoid the junk food aisle at the grocery store has disintegrated. Your post-6pm tech detox has turned into 3 hours of web surfing three nights a week.
Consider this; "A recent study by colleagues at Duke demonstrates very convincingly the role that self control plays not only in better cognitive and social outcomes in adolescence, but also in many other factors and into adulthood. In this study, the researchers followed 1,000 children for 30 years, examining the effect of early self-control on health, wealth and public safety. Controlling for socioeconomic status and IQ, they show that individuals with lower self-control experienced negative outcomes in all three areas, with greater rates of health issues like sexually transmitted infections, substance dependence, financial problems including poor credit and lack of savings, single-parent child-rearing, and even crime. These results show that self-control can have a deep influence on a wide range of activities.  And there is some good news: if we can find a way to improve self-control, maybe we could do better." (Scientific American Online)
Step One: Reconnect with why you wanted to have control over this bad habit in the first place. This means considering the BIG picture. Most likely, this habit is defying one of your larger goals. Crushing desserts, candy, junk food, and alcohol in excess is certainly not doing your goal of dropping 15 pounds any justice. Facebook and phone stalking isn't helping you get over your ex boyfriend, nor is it helping you get over your jealousy complex. Skipping your workouts is not going to help you get back into shape. Dipping into your savings account for a weekly shopping spree isn't going to prepare you for your future or an unexpected financial emergency. Surfing the web for 3 hours in the evening probably means you aren't logging any real quality time with friends, your significant other, or family. Simply slowing down, looking at the big picture, and revisiting your goals is going to help you focus on why you wanted to kick the habit in the first place and will help you take back control.

Step Two: Consider why it is you've lost your sense of self-control recently. Were your diet changes too rigid to actually follow? Are you using food or alcohol to deal with emotional issues? Are you afraid to power down because you might miss something? Are you having trust issues? Are you skipping the gym because your bedtime habits have recently changed, so you no longer have energy to get up? Is there something on your mind that you should be bringing up to your significant other? Is the jealousy monster rearing its ugly head? Is impulse shopping your way of coping with a larger issue? Is it impossible for you to pass on food if it's placed in front of you? Do you drink more because you felt awkward in front of your friends when you stopped? Once you can pinpoint what has caused you to lose your self-control, then you can put together a plan to get back on track.

Step Three: Focus on regaining control as soon as possible while considering what went wrong in the first place. If your diet plan was too rigid, consider easing up and allowing yourself a treat once in a while. If you can't walk by the candy jar or snack cabinet without picking out something unhealthy, consider not keeping those items in your house in the first place. If you struggle with curiosity as to who your significant other is in touch with, have a conversation with him/her about your concerns; most likely simply communicating with him/her will help put your worries aside. If you aren't convinced you need to save money, consider a scenario where your car needed repair, you lost your job, or your apartment was broken into; and just how much it would cost you to recover from the mishap. 

Self-control is a challenge for everyone, and we can all make a reasonable sounding excuse for every misstep. Excuses just feed into the problem. In the long run, the only person you are hurting is yourself. So the chocolate bar is some instant gratification for your taste buds, but what about for your waist line later? Peeping through your boyfriends phone may give you an answer now, but think about how disappointed he might be if he finds out later? Shopping for a new outfit might mean looking fabulous tonight, but will it do you any good when your car engine blows? That extra beer might be fun today, but how will it affect your day tomorrow? Stocking the house with treats will be great for when your friends come over, but will the goodies be half gone by the time they even show up? Surfing the web is a great way to entertain your brain occasionally, but will your relationship suffer because you do it every night?

When it's time to get back on track towards reaching your goals, think less about instant gratification and more about the long term rewards if you maintain self-control in the eye of temptation. Try not to act so impulsively. Most decisions don't need to be made in a flash so instead of indulging in that chocolate bar, the phone peeping, the money spending, the gym skipping, the beer drinking, or the mouth stuffing, think about how your firm decision now will make you a stronger person in the long run.

10.01.2011

an amazing organization; "the shine project."

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For those of you unfamiliar with the blogging world, it truly is a little community of it's own. Technology has allowed us all to become exposed to the thoughts, ideas, and lives of people all over the world, whether that's via advances in transportation, communication., or otherwise. Blogging has already connected me with so many inspirational and wonderful people strangers! How cool is that? One of those people is Ashley- you can find her over on "The Shine Project."
"The Shine Project gives daily motivation and inspiration to encourage people to go after their dreams. My goal is to influence people to do hard things, and reach out to make a difference in their communities. I believe that everyone should feel beautiful and important, and I try to create an online community where that feeling comes with every visit to my blog."
The work she has done since she founded the organization in January has been incredible and the community support has been unbelievable. Ashley is the epitome of making dreams come true, both her own and other peoples. She posts weekly challenges to inspire us all to make a difference in someone's life, whether it's through volunteering, sharing kind words, teaching others, spreading love, or simply writing a letter. Ashley reminds us of our immense potential to change lives. We should all focus our lives around spreading positive, hopeful and inspirational vibes every day.  I couldn't agree with her mission more, especially because a lot of the reason I write this blog is to inspire my readers to discover their own personal potential.

So you are probably wondering how I happened to come across "The Shine Project." I found Raven's Blog by chance and she was doing a giveaway for a Shine necklace, courtesy of Ashley's amazing organization. All proceeds from her necklaces go to the Shine Project Scholarship award, which will help inner school students pursue a college education. Well, guess who won Raven's giveaway? I checked my mailbox yesterday and look what I found.

 Now I have a daily reminder to go confidently in the direction of my dreams.