And Then Life Happened

It’s been some time since my last blog post. . . but in that time a lot has happened. As I thought about how much time it had been since writing I initially felt bad, thinking, “Wow I’ve just disregarded this for X amount of time…” and then I stopped and said, “But life happened.”

Since my last post, I’ve taken more initiative to grow my passion for art- currently working on a 15 canvas order and another in the works. I’ve seen my diligent running efforts take fruit in the form of a 10 minute drop in time as I returned to run a race that last year I thought I couldn’t do again. I’ve felt a sense of pride, busting my butt late every night studying GRE concepts and practice problems tirelessly to get the score I needed for grad school. . .  life has just been happening and it was only when i took a moment to think about it this morning, that I realized the power of it.

I get so caught up in the day to day, that it’s only after several months pass and I look back on them, that I feel the amazement of “life”. Time makes you feel like you’re stuck in neutral often, like it’s the slow as molasses process, but when you look back and hyper speed through – it’s a pretty amazing thing.

Some days I definitely struggle with a sense of direction, feeling as if I’m not sure what I’m really doing- but when I see it from the larger perspective that is “life”, I feel stability and happiness. I see my growth, tenacity, and fullness, all things that matter so much to me in these young adult years. I feel so much pride for the steps I’ve taken and the direction I’ve put myself in- it makes what once seemed far away feel very close.Loan payments aren’t as scary, grad school feels more within my reach, my art gives me a sense of empowerment, and I’ve run through feats I never believed were possible.

So life has happened, and for those of you that were enjoying the chapters- I’m sorry my story was at such a stand-still- but then again it wasn’t. It’s always been writing and editing and changing, and I’ve finally written my story into a place of true satisfaction. I hope all of you are working to do the same and life is happening for you as well. Take time to see all your accomplishments and moments of pride- they delineate the rough patches and allow the seed of hope to continue growing for tomorrow.

|| Cheers everyone ||

The Beginning of A Dream: Art Supplies & Running Shoes

Another 2015 resolution I made with myself was to invest more time in reading/ learning and pulling away from social media more [leisurely I mean-not business or blogging]. So I read up on a couple book lists for “Every 20 something to read” & I’ve actually had a couple of good finds. [Feel free to recommend books below!]

The one I’m reading right now is all about Life After College & Strategic Balance of All “Real World” Elements. Last night’s chapter focused on individual passion & recognizing there’s a lot of time to still do what it is that you’re drawn to after responsibilities are taken care of. For me this is definitely painting and running.

The book went on to advise a process for really honing in on what makes you tick- one suggestion being to be more observant of where you find yourself when not upholding a necessary job- such as the sites on the Internet you surf, the stores you shop in, the TV shows you watch. All about the culture and feel of these places, evaluating what draws you to them.

I did some thinking on it late into the night- knowing that I already have opened a virtual business: Homegrown Hoosier. But then I pondered about how running could fit in. And ultimately how can I make these things my life, not just my hobbies. Then it clicked.

I had this epiphany, this visionary moment where I saw exactly what I would really love. A small little shop out west [crossing my fingers for Oregon, Colorado, or Washington one day] named “The Art of Running: An Athletic Arts Shop” with a huge window front and an open door. [Try to imagine with me if you will the inside.] One part of the shop set up with art easels and large islands where people can sit as groups and learn/ paint [modern with a rustic touch mostly gray,coral, and green]. The other strewn with running slogans, pictures, decor, and items for sale near the front. But toward the back- a cool lounge area for runners to meet before a group run, or someone to sit and be consulted on fitness goals. Along the far wall of this side- a track strip for testing [a large part of the wall with chalk paint, the rest still green & gray]. The whole shop playing a fun collection of vinyl records.

Sounds a bit far-fetched I know. Definitely still a pretty rough outline of a shop idea. But this was the first manifestation of putting the things I love together in a setting I can enjoy them every day. I’d love to have people come in to paint or come in for running advice/ to run with friends after work. Especially all while playing vinyl record music- because I absolutely love my vinyls.

My perspective of myself is that I’m a runner. I’m a painter. But last night I felt affirmation that I’m also an entrepreneur. This kind of business idea, bringing to life things that shape large portions of my being, makes me feel so alive. In all honesty I’m more passionate about this hypothetical business than I have been about anything post-grad in awhile. That to me is pretty powerful. A simple idea that creates so much direction.

So it’s got a ways to go [a long ways…] but it’s a start and a motivator. I’ve got a lot to learn about business [please post advice/ sites to read below!] and it’s going to take time, but the happiness the thought alone brought me- will make it all worth it.

I encourage you all to take time today to reflect on how you spend your time, where do you find yourself when not at work, and then ask: how can I make that passion something bigger.

Leave some love my way and have a happy Wednesday friends!


The Craziest Decision I’ve Made To Date: Boston.

When I rebelliously got my first tattoo, I thought that was crazy. When I went sky-diving, I thought that was even crazier. But last night when I decided I’m going to begin training to try and qualify for The Boston Marathon, that was my craziest decision to date.

As I was finishing up an interval drill, my boyfriend and I were talking about how to speed up pace & the impact interval runs have on that [interval runs are awesome for bumping up pace btw]. And then he said to me, “I really think you could do it. I think you can qualify for Boston.” To which I replied, “I’d have to run 8 min miles…and run 8 min miles 26.2 times…” But then I got to thinking about it and I decided why not.

What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t qualify- so then I try again. I mean I’ve put more at risk jumping out of a plane strapped to a person I didn’t know free-falling than I will on the ground running trying to qualify. So I guess why not.

I think part of the fun in saying yes to crazy stuff like this, is that it gives me a HUGE goal to shoot for- one that I might miss my first try but that I can keep getting better at. Another part that’s fun- is imagining if I do. That’d be the coolest thing ever- to run in THE Boston Marathon, to know that I can keep a pace that opens doors of opportunity to me that I never really planned on. I enjoy the high I get from committing to things like this that both intimidate and invigorate me. Some don’t- but I’m pretty sure that’s why I said yes.

But with saying yes, comes the training and the big HOW will I make this happen? So for those who read this or follow me- what advice do you have? What kind of specific training styles, regimes, etc. have helped you accomplish milestones that seemed a little out of reach? Any tips, advice, or suggestions are all welcomed!

I’m excited to read and learn about what each of you do! While running is the common action, the ways that we run/ train/ compete all vary & I find that to be another neat dynamic of running itself.

So please do share your thoughts and thank you in advance as I set out to train for the next 123 days to prepare for my latest crazy adventure.


[As always- feel free to check out my business: Homegrown Hoosier for cool custom & hand-painted art!]

The Stamina of a Runner

I’m sure many of us have fallen short of running goals here and there. Whether it’s a distance or a time, we’ve all probably been there a few times more than we’d like to admit.

But regardless of our shortcomings, the stamina of a runner is an amazing thing. Something all runners should take a lot of pride in. And I’m not talking just physical.

While on the treadmill yesterday, I watched the movie “4 Minute Mile” on Netflix. Pretty typical sports story plot and climax so it wasn’t really special by any means, but the messages of the movie rang very true.

Two movie quotes that I felt any runner can appreciate are the following:

“No. Running is not just running. It is not just a physical thing. It’s in your head.”

“Patience. It takes a lot of it to be a runner.”

Both of these really stuck with me and I thought a lot afterwards about the “stamina” of a runner. The mental strength within to fight back against your body’s desires to quit and instead keep going. The patience to stick with something that’s very trying and not always immediately rewarding. Two things that have manifested through running, but have taught me a lot about myself.

Take a moment and think about your greatest distance. Remember the emotions of exhaustion, frustration, and fatigue as you pushed yourself to the end. Remember how it felt the moment it was over and you registered that you’d done it, your greatest distance to date. The elation, pride, and satisfaction that felt irreplaceable in those moments. That right there is the mental game. That’s the side of being a runner that many people don’t get if they’re not. It’s the internal war of taking one step further or stopping dead in your tracks. It’s a trait that carries over into all that you do because you crave the sweet taste of victory over being satisfactory. You keep going not because it’s easy, but because falling short isn’t an option. That’s the “stamina” of a runner.

Now, take a moment and reflect on your greatest race. Recall all the runs, conditioning, and mental preparation that when into it. Recall those times when one of your training runs felt like a fluke and you thought to yourself, “How can I do this- can I make it that far?” But you still pressed onward-continuing your training and having faith that you would make it through. Then the race happened, and you couldn’t be more proud. All you could think is, “That was awesome. I did awesome. I’m so glad I did it. YES.” That right there is the patience. It’s putting trust in persevering without knowing what will happen; being patient enough to wait for that moment when all your hard work peaks in the glorious moment of finishing the race. “Good things come to those who wait”, every runner knows that you’re 99% likely not to have the exact outcome you want upfront, but you’ve got enough patience to wait for that single moment when it shines through. That’s the “stamina” of a runner.

Running is about so much more than the physical successes. Yes, breaking records & shaving times feels pretty darn good-but it’s about how running shapes you. How it carries over into your every day life off the trails and roads. It gives you “stamina” for life. It reminds you in tough times to take another step instead of stopping and to have patience for the things you can’t see in the moment. Running has been one of the best ways to get to know myself & I’m sure other runners will agree. Whether it’s the escape you need some days to organize your thoughts, or it’s in your moments of success/ failure that you learn more of who you are- that’s all the “stamina” of running. It’s a lot more than meets the eye.

Maybe today was a tougher run for you or you’re questioning why the heck you signed up for that race- remember it’s all part of that “stamina”. You’ve gotta be in it for the long haul. Lift is full of feats and challenge, it’s the stamina to take the next one on that will make all the difference.


Rules of The Road

As my boyfriend and I were finishing our enjoyable but chilly 8 mile run this morning, we stopped to wait for a cross signal and caught a man taking a picture of us from his car.

We didn’t have enough time to do much- him being in a moving vehicle and us on foot. But when we got home we both were talking about different situations and lessons we’d learned since we began running through town. A couple of these I feel are relatable & valuable to share with other runners.

1) Crosswalks Don’t Guarantee Safety…Ever: I don’t think I can count on my hands the number of times people roll through turns or don’t seem to grasp that the walk sign is ON, meaning it’s my turn. Regardless, always do a double take because some drivers aren’t.

2) Keep A Kean Eye: A group in a car once threw objects out at me, thankfully I thought to look at their license plates and went home and immediately reported it. But keep an eye out for people doing those things & how you can proactively help stop them.

3) Snapchatters, Gawkers, and Pointers: For some reason it really perplexes people that anyone runs, it’s a novel concept that continually amazes them to the point of staring, pointing, and sometimes “snapchatting” it to friends. Be aware that they’re out there and dish a little humor with it. I enjoy making faces, commenting about them pointing, etc. just to reinforce how “crazy” runners are. So have fun with them.

4) Appreciate the Supporters: I always make sure to wave, say thank you, or smile at the people who stop for me/ look out for me as I run by. Always be appreciative!

5) In One Ear & Out The Other: A girl driving by once had the audacity to yell out at me “Run a little faster fat ass!” Now mind you I weigh 130 lbs, so that was my first thought. But my second which is more important- is that I’m out here getting better, what is she doing? Don’t let what people yell impact your run/ desire to run. Brush them off & remember why you do what you do because at the end of the day they chose the car & you chose the run. That says something.

I hope these tips are helpful to new runners and that any experienced runner reading this chuckles a little & agrees.

Be smart, be humorous, and be proud to be a runner!


My Slice of Happiness: Homegrown Hoosier


Good Morning World!

For months now, I’ve been hovering this line of “Should I?” and “Should I Not”- Yesterday I decided I should.

Along with running nearly every day, I find painting & crafting to be my other stress reliever- but my problem has recently become that while I use this to relieve stress, I’m collecting too much of it. So I’ve decided to share it with others through my new Etsy Shop: Homegrown Hoosier.

Majority of my work in this shop are painted on canvas or refurbished old candle/ generic jars. If anything appeals to you but you’d like it custom designed– such as a canvas painting that maybe you’d like a different logo or image for a family friend as a gift- just let me know and it can be done!

I’ve got my fingers crossed that others find my work appealing because otherwise I’ll be forced to continue giving my immediate family & friends “gifts” so that I have some space to create!

As a side note, for anyone reading this thinking “Maybe I could do the same thing . . .” YOU CAN!

Here’s a couple sites I browsed through to get started and get a better understanding of what Etsy is.

All 3 of these helped me through the general premise questions of how Etsy operates.

I hope some of you find my creations enjoyable, maybe even worth purchasing! Regardless, thanks for taking time to support me this morning in my endeavors just by reading this blog.

Happy Thursday Everyone- Friday is right around the corner!

Disconnecting to Connect


Last night as I was sitting watching a documentary with my boyfriend, I looked over at him and watched as he scrolled through different social media accounts [Twitter, Facebook, Instagram] and then looked down in my lap to realize I’d been doing the same thing. Although we were “watching” a documentary together, we were only half checked-in while our other halves were subconsciously streaming social sites.

Before we went to sleep, I asked him sarcastically, “How did we ever survive before social media? It’s so much of our daily lives now. . . could we really disconnect from it?” And then we both put our bets in that we would give it all up for 3 weeks [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram] It felt really exciting, maybe in the days to come I’ll struggle, but it was liberating to voluntarily disconnect from all of this.

I think in the disconnect from these things, it’ll allow for more connection to things I get side tracked from- such as reading, blogging more, painting, etc. So often it’s easier to sit and surf through everyone else’s lives than it is to tune into our own- I compare social media to constantly window shopping. You’re always looking in on other people’s lives, what they do, what they have, and then comparing yourself to all of it. It creates & feeds a lot of dissatisfaction. It distorts our happiness into continuously analyzing if our mundane monotonous 9-5 is good enough; and truth be told mundane is ok. It makes you appreciate little changes more- but if we spend all our time comparing to the lives of others, I think we miss out on more of those moments.

The more I’ve given this all thought, I also think social media has turned into an addicting comfort. When I was in my undergrad, I recall a lot of friends/ peers saying they just needed a “5 minute Facebook break”. . . a what? It’s as if we’ve replaced the 5 minute smoke break with binging on updates of others. Rather than take 5 minutes to connect with people in the same room as us- we were disconnecting to keep updated on lives of people we didn’t even share the every day moments with. And I do believe this is addicting- as I’ve been reflecting on this, I recall that I would even surf social media out of habit and as a comfort to mentally separate from what was around me [studying, work, demands, etc.]

But I’ve decided to stop all of it. I want to commit more effort to connect with MY life. My every day, my family and friends, my passions/ dreams- none of those will stay in tact or improve if I continually distract myself with social media from them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s value in social media- it let’s you see what Aunt Sallie in Fresno is up to and it opens some windows to places in your own backyard you maybe didn’t know existed. I see this side too and appreciate the convenience created through social media.

Yet, I still believe we over-use all of it. And I guess I’m hoping that by “quitting cold turkey”, when I do return to it- I’ll implement more self-control and evaluation of my time when using it.

My hope is that for those of you who read this- maybe you can disconnect a little too. Maybe it’s not 3 weeks, maybe it’s a day or getting rid of one form you just don’t need, but I hope this bring some perspective & encouragement for those who have considered it.

So here’s to my own challenge to change [and hopefully winning the bet!]. Please feel free to leave comments, feedback, and even shout outs!

“Disconnecting with technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom”

Post Graduate Life: Realizations & Reflections

Post graduate life is not a single state of being or thing. It’s a multitude of feelings, phases, and stages.

When I graduated, I expected some magical new stage of life- maybe with some streamers and music- really kicking off this new adventure. But that didn’t happen.

The reality has been that while school was challenging, this has been my most challenging feat thus far, specifically because there’s no defined “next step”. From elementary school all the way through college we’re guided in our paths & decisions- then it just feels like the rug gets pulled out from under you or you’re shoved into this foreign stage of life that comes with no “How to Master The Real World” handbook. For a couple of weeks after I graduated, I struggled with it a lot- no one has “the” answer. For once, you can’t go to someone and say “Make my next step for me” because all they’ll say is, “What do you want to do?” . . . and when you can’t clearly identify that yourself, it’s overwhelming.

Post-Grad decisions make me feel as if I’m in a game with myself- such as chess- thinking through strategic moves and what those may or may not result in, but never safely certain of any move. And the hardest part of committing to any of those moves, is the new “no safety net” concept associated with the real-world. You can make all the moves or steps you want- but there’s a high risk of eating shit associated with them. In school, if you misstep [such as a test] you know- “It’s ok I can save my grade with this and this”- not in life. These falls are in my opinion similar to rug burns, not life-threatening by any means, but they really sting. [The upside to them is that they’re rough enough to learn your lesson, but they generally heal over and give you the opportunity to do it better the second time around.]

So what is there to look forward to in these mixed internal & external struggles?

Evaluating what you want: I guarantee as you sit in the 3rd month of your job- you’ll be able to pin point a couple things you do & don’t want. That’s something you can’t process in school because you’re so busy learning that it’s hard to get enough experience to begin determining “What makes you tick”. It’s oddly satisfying to begin feeling a sense of defined life goals. And believe me this is only the beginning-it’s a process, not a two-hour brainstorming session. And slowly but surely, we’ll all get there.

It’s realizing big dreams are beautiful things- but they have to be given diligent time, effort, and care. For instance, I’d love to have my own little art shop with all of my paintings and Pintrest creations- but that shop takes money and knowledge of how to really own & operate a business and strategically planting seeds of support to grow my dream into a reality.

Post-grad life has taught me patience. I won’t make enough money to pay off my loans and start a business overnight [or probably within a year for that matter]. But have patience & faith that the timing of everything is what it is for a reason. It’s not easy to accept this when you have so much fire & passion to really begin a journey, but keeping the faith that the stars will align has gotten me this far.

We’re all on our own track. It’s a struggle to see friends go right on to grad-school, move away, take a sweet job with lots of cool travel pics and know that that’s not you at this moment. Not because it won’t be- but because we all have different designs. I’ve found that the more I’ve devoted efforts to cutting my own track and not to comparison, the easier I’ve found it to be genuinely happy for my friends while staying on top of what I need to do.

The confidence to take chances. Because life is so unwritten, it becomes whatever you want it to be. I’ve embraced that mindset and in turn have reaped some seemingly small, but huge personal benefits. I began openly sharing my passion for painting, running, creating, and exploring with family & friends and through social media [such as this here blog- a new 2015 adventure!] and I’ve finally begun to reap benefits. People now ask me to paint them different things, have asked me to run with them and take time to discuss ideas with me that I otherwise wouldn’t converse about had I not had the courage to just try.

So all in all, post-grad life does come with some serious rug burn-and no one will get out of this stage of life unscathed. But put some band-aids on, remember it won’t last forever, and make your new stage of life whatever you want it to be. We’ll all look back on these uncertain years someday, I plan to do so laughing a little and smiling a lot.

What’s In A Workout: 80/20

A good physique is 80% what you give your body to work with and 20% how you push performance.

In other words: Workouts don’t just happen at the gym.

Some of you may read this and say [DUH!] others may say [Please do explain…]

There’s a very large misconception “if I just burn 1000 extra calories it won’t matter what I do this weekend.” [at least in this college town] that I’d like to try and lay to rest- YES.IT.DOES.

Sure, you’ve created a deficit- bravo! [really- great job!] but the “workout” doesn’t stop there. After a strenuous workout, such as the one noted above, your body craves nutrients and wants to be rewarded for the work- but not with mixed drinks and drunken runs to T-Bell at 2 a.m. It’s asking for all of the natural goods- like fruits, veggies, complex carbs it can break down and use to build strength.

Ever wonder- “Why am I working out SO hard but nothing is happening.” Many times, it’s not your lack of effort at the gym, but rather what happens after the gym. It’s not enough to eat salad only after workouts and pizza for other meals- it takes discipline and a desire to commit to bettering your body. For many this “all-natural” commitment seems very daunting but fear not, it’s very manageable and easy to incorporate into your every day schedule.

I’ve put together a few personal tips below that really keep me aligned with rewarding my body properly for it’s work each week:

  • “Complexing Carbs”- When making your weekly bread selections choose “Whole Grain” aka Complex. These complex carbs are best for you specifically because whole grains contain it all- the bran, germ, and endosperm [a.k.a. not mechanically altered] meaning no high fructose corn syrup. Whereas whole-wheat or white enriched flour have been modified and in turn are lower in fiber & have a higher glysemic index–> which can raise blood sugar–> which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. This doesn’t mean never buy these things, because as someone who lives on a budget I get it! But make an effort to go complex first whenever possible.

**I also enjoy a decent amount of rice- always go brown > white- brown is the equivalent of “whole-grain”.

  • Become a Coupon Queen“- by no means should you spend countless hours searching ads- but do look! So many times different produce items are on sale and if you’re sticking to a budget, this could really help you! I generally look through ads, find what’s on sale for the week- then plan my meals around those items. With how accessible Pintrest is, many of you may surprise yourself with what a savy Chef-Boyardee you can be!
  • Indulge With Discipline“- For all you 20 something’s reading this, do you know what’s been quoted as a top “unnecessary expense of 20 something’s”? Alcohol. I’m no saint, I enjoy a beer or drink here and there- but by disciplining the excess of this you really will be AMAZED at the money you save and the difference it makes for your body. Alcohol is detrimental to any “diet” because not only does it have an excessively high caloric intake [7 calories/ gram] but it also inhibits mTor [M what?!]. mTor is what promotes muscle growth through regulation of cell growth/ repair and protein synthesis. Alcohol [and trans fats] prohibit mTor = no muscle growth/ proper recovery. SO if you were to go to a bar for drinks and wings after working out, you’re essentially cancelling all that hard work. This doesn’t mean you can never drink again- but do so with discipline if you’re serious about your diet.
  • Ingredient Novels“- The more ingredients on your box, generally the more processed it is; in turn the worse it is for you. Strive to keep it simple. For instance, here are some of my weekly items: apples, whole-grain pasta, oranges, spinach, greek-yogurt, chicken thighs. These don’t have much to them- pretty self explanatory right? That’s how you want it to be- always read the labels! For instance, I saw “Greek Cream Cheese- 3x the protein as regular!” When I read the label: “3g of protein”… Ok DUH it has 3x the protein- because there’s only 3 grams! Don’t be fooled and don’t doubt that YOU can make things just as delicious as the store bought style [again embrace the inner Chef Boyardee here].
  • “Rest Easy”– Diets aren’t just about food, you need to get adequate rest as well. Your body exerts an extreme amount of energy to those “caloric deficit” workouts, thank your body with proper amounts of sleep. You’ll not only wake-up feeling refreshed/ energized, but while you sleep your body is releasing natural growth hormone. So if you’re sleep deprived/ not giving your body what it deserves- you’ll have a harder time recovering and more likely experience D.O.M.S. [Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness].

I hope many of you have found this both informative & helpful. I also wanted to reiterate that I practice what I preach, I’ve been able to shed inches/ (20) pounds and maintain this weight because of diligent discipline [see photo below]- never doubt your abilities!

**I’d also like to thank my boyfriend, Zane Yeager, for all of his knowledge/ input regarding the specifics of the topics in this blog & recommend that anyone who reads this seeking dieting/training assistance reach out to him []! As an ultra-marathon enthusiast, he’s been a fantastic personal trainer thus far and has even lost over 100 lbs himself!

We’re 21 days into the New Year- What have YOU done to be a better you?

“Let food be thy medicine.”Hippocrates

Wake Up With Love

Choose Love

So often I hear people say, “ahhh yea just another day blah blah blah.” Seldomly appreciating the little things that bring them to life that day.

Not really much to this early morning post- just a simple message I wanted to share with & encourage my followers/ readers to do: Wake Up With Love.

This morning as I looked out my window into the faint shades of light coming through the trees as I was getting ready for work- all I could think is how blessed am I to be here today with a beating heart and a full day to make a difference.

It’s not always easy to say this or see past the mundane but I’ve noticed changes within myself. Changes that I don’t find coincidental with research about the power of positivity but that I find to be really amazing. How awesome is it that choosing happiness can reap so many benefits- it’s such a simple choice right? It seems like a no brainer- but for so many it’s difficult. The weight of life often weighs us down, seeks to find ways to keep us ball & chained to whatever is going on. But in those times I turn to self reflection & God.

Self-reflection is a very effective free technique that gives you freedom you didn’t know you had. It forces you to look at you- no surroundings, just what’s looking back at you in the mirror and truly ask “What am I doing to make things better? What am I doing that’s contributing nothing beneficial to what’s going on in my life? What can I do to change?” Those aren’t easy questions- in fact many times they hurt, but for those who take action upon those questions, that self-reflective pain fades fast as you see change happen around you.

As a recent college graduate, the stress of student loans, finding a job, and more importantly finding myself has felt overwhelming. But I finally got to a point where I had no choice but to look at myself and question what was going on & what I was beneficially and harmfully contributing to it. From that self-reflection came 3 important truths: I have to pay my loans, I need a job, but most of all I need happiness. How could I make happiness on such a stringent life budget happen? It was A LOT easier than I had made it- I picked up a couple side jobs to deflect the impact of my loans and I found a local job that’s been a large learning curve but has also provided me with income. But the best thing I did was start taking time on a weekly basis to figure happiness into work- I asked more friends to just come over to visit, I rented Redbox movies and enjoyed them with my boyfriend & his grandma, I made a point to laugh and love.

The second thing I recommended and wanted to touch on is turning to God. If you don’t believe in higher powers, that’s ok too- but for me it has given so much priceless peace. I pray to God each day on my way to work & before I go to bed at night, it’s not an elaborate outspoken prayer, it’s a personal conversation with God asking for daily guidance to choose happiness, be a better person, and give over my concerns [Proverbs 3:5-6]. So often this is the best therapeutic gift I could ask of God to give me because it let’s me process things and remind myself of all the blessings I’ve been given. And when I do these things- I realize how small my worries are & that as life continues on, circumstances may change [hopefully never for the worse] but that with each trial/ day I grow into the person he has created me to be-that’s the best feeling of all.

So maybe this morning will become your morning to change, maybe today you will self-reflect or strike up a conversation with the Big Man after many years, but what I hope most for you is that today you’ve woke up with love. You’ve taken a minute from the daily shuffle to think of all that you are blessed with and furthermore how you can make others feel that same love too.

Change is never easy, but I promise if you wake up with love- happiness is sure to follow.