Sunday, June 30, 2013

52 in 52: Week 12 and 13

Question 12 and 13 of 50 "Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live with purpose, live for others, and be grateful.

 Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Depending on what type of law I would be breaking, yes. 

Hello Blogging World,

I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I was able to head back to good ol' Wisconsin for a family visit. I can't describe the feeling I get when I am amidst family and close friends. Here are some snapshots from the wonderful few days back at home.  

P.S.-The bottom right picture is where we will be getting married!! :)

So what were the challenges for the past few weeks? 
I would not nessessarily classify them as challenges, I would describe them more as experiences. 

Week 12: Have a meaningful conversation with a stranger
I definitely didn't intentionally set out to accomplish this goal this week. While at the nail salon, I had a wonderful conversation with the lovely lady doing my nails. For those of you who read my previous post about religion, know that I have recently been diversifying my faith experience by becoming more familiar with religions beside my own. This woman, Lori, was from Vietnam and is Buddhist. She is marrying an American man and is converting to Catholicism. This is not her choosing, but her love for her future husband expands far beyond a religious affiliation. I admired her love for him, her respect for a family that does not seem to be very supportive, and lastly her ability to see the potential and good in any person regardless of his/her religious affiliation. She explained the importance of one concept: Religion doesn't create a good person, but instead good people can make a religion. Now, I do believe that having a faith base can enlighten a person's life and provide perspective on the meaning and purpose within a person's life. However, I know plenty of generous, loving people who do not affiliate with any religion. I also know plenty of religious people who are not as loving, generious, or moral as you would expect a person of faith to be. 
We all have the choice to live for something larger than ourselves. Identifying with a group of people or preaching your beliefs does not make you a good person, your actions do. I felt inspired and enlightened after talking to Lori, a complete stranger. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I talked to someone I love about some of the things we talked about. When was the last time you talked to someone about your religion or fatih, relationships, family, or culture? 

Week 13: Run a 5K
Cross it off the bucket list! I had high hopes for training for this fun 5K called The Glow Run. Unfortunately, I only ran about 5 times in the few months leading up to the big day. My only goal was to run the whole thing, and I DID IT! It was at about the pace of a walker, but I still count it. I now understand why runners run; the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a race is pretty awesome. This run was pretty unique, we ran with about 9,000 other people decked out in glow sticks and neon. Black lights and blaring music accompanied our running. If you are a beginner running, looking for a fun/different race to do, this run comes highly recommended. 
My advice for those of you who aren't runners/dislike running, like myself, run in at least one race, it's worth it. And if you think positively and set a good pace, you can definitely run a 5K (with very little training)!  I liked it so much I'm thinking about signing up for another one! :)

Get ready for some DIY projects to be uploaded soon! :) 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

52 in 52: Week 11

Question 11 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?

I would say, "I'm sorry that you feel that way about so-and-so. S/he is actually a good friend of mine, and I have never noticed those things about her/him." I would then go on to say what I admire about this close friend. Addressing that their judgment is wrong is not my place, I can only offer what I know and have witnessed. 

I think this situation actually happens very often. We are all guilty of talking about those we do not care for, spreading gossip, or being judgmental. I believe that there is a direct corration between these things and a person's happiness. If you are so focused on what a person does wrong or how a person irritates you, you will waste precious time being bitter and unhappy. Choosing to ignore these temptations, writing about them, or only venting to a close friend/family member is what I strive to do. I also choose to acknowledge my anger/frustration and the effect it has on my current state, I then realize it is not worth it, and let it go!

Week 11 of 52 Weeks: No Complaining

This week's question and challenge go hand-in-hand. I found myself complaining and being negative more over the past few weeks, and thought that it was time for this challenge. Complaining is a habit, and it is therefore very hard to monitor. I have no doubt I complained numerous times throughout the week. We don't even notice when we do it, and we do it quite often. Something that has helped me with this challenge, is to have visible reminders of how blessed I am. I also remember to keep my perspective on what is truly important-people, my faith, and becoming a better person. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gifts that Give Back

Over the years, I have become more invested in making homemade gifts or purchasing gifts that give back. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite sites to find unique and meaningful gifts. 

A new cause every week, this week is Liberty in North Korea
Womens Flowy Raglan
Count your Blessings T-Shirt $28

 18 x 24 inch Print
Give your Life Away Poster $24
 Giving Key
The Giving Key Neckalace $39

Dedicating to connecting our communities here to communities in Africa
Father's Day Mug + Journal Bundle
My Dad takes Care of Business Mug and Journal $15
Africa Tote
I need Africa more than Africa needs Me Bag $9
"I Need Africa" Heather Black T-Shirt
I need Africa T-Shirt $15

  • We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life
  • We believe that a worldview bound by borders is outdated
  • We believe that stopping the most extreme forms of injustice anywhere
is the responsibility of humanity everywhere
Women's Power of Love
   Power of Love Shirt $35
Kaleidoscope Glass Ring
Glass Ring $19.50
IC Logo
Invisible Children T-Shirt $25

"When you buy a pair of Tom's shoes you are also helping improve the health, education, and well-being of a child"
University of Wisconsin Women's Campus Classics
Badger Toms $48

Embroidered Floral Women's Classics
Embroidered Floral $58
Neon Lime Crochet Women's Classics
Crochet Lime Green $59

Although I enjoy all of the Lush Cosmetics, the Lush Charity Pot is the true gift that gives back. Charity Pot proceeds support organization that align with the views Lush hodls onenvironmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights issues
Charity Pot pricing ranges from $5.95-$22.95

Since 2007, we've donated more than$4,000,000to over 350 GRASSROOTSCHARITIES in 31 countries.
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. 

I Am Powerful Women's Black T-shirt
I am Powerful T-Shirt $20.99

I Am Powerful Tote Bag
I am powerful Tote Bag $12.99

For those that enjoy tea and teavana, you would be happy to know what 1% of all Teavana's proceeds go to CARE.

If you want unique, handmade gifts, Etsy is great! :) I have never been disappointed with my purshaces through this site and with various vendors. I specifically like the uique wedding gifts ideas and hand lettered posters. 

Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

  • We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
  • We plan and build for the long term.
  • We value craftsmanship in all we make.
  • We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
  • We keep it real, always.

If you are anything like me, you want to find the perfet gift. I have found that looking at the perseon's Pinterest boards has been very helpful in discovering the little things that s/he may want, but won't ask for. 

Happy Shopping! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

52 in 52: Week 10

Question 10 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

If you do the right things, will you better at doing things right? I'm not sure, but I try not to worry about either of these things. There are multiple ways to do things "right" and I think that by putting others before myself, being genuine, and having faith I will be able to do the right things. 

Week 10 of 52 Weeks: No Facebook
It has become habit to login to my email and then facebook for so long, which is what made this challenge difficult. It was a nice break from a distraction, and led to a rather productive week. 

52 in 52: Week 9

Question 9 of "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I do indeed have a very specific purpose in life. I don't know what that is yet or what the reasoning is behind everything that happens in life, but I know that over time and by living an authetic life I will get there.  I believe that we do have control over our lives and the choices we  make, and are ultimately responsible for that. With the help and  guidance from my family, friends, and God I believe I have learned to appreciate the appreciate the good and bad-seemingly less controlled-times in my life. These have helped me live a more purposeful life. 

Week 9 of 52: Read a self-improvement book in a week

Well, unfortunatly I didn't achieve this, but I DID start one. It is called "Redisover Catholicism" by Matthew Kelly.  I was given this book by the priest at my local church about 9 months ago. I scheduled an appointment to talk some difficulties I was having.  I appreciated his kind words and guidance, and he left me with a book, "Rediscover Catholicism". I read the excerpt on the back of the book, which read:
At a time when many Catholics are disillusioned, questioning their faith, and filled with doubts about the relevance of catholicism in the modern world, the voice of one man crist out to the world's largest faith community with a clarity that is rare and inspiring. 
I didn't understand what this book had to do with my situation at the time, and therefore placed the book on my bookshelf. I didn't look at it again until this past week. I am at a time in my life in which I question aspects of my life. Is this what I believe? Is this what I want to raise my future children to believe?  What is it that I actually believe? Is this what I'm supposed to believe? I recently began feeling this way as a practicing Catholic. I wanted to learn more about Catholicism, and if it is truly the religion that I was meant to follow. I was lead back to the book, "Rediscover Catholicism". I have really enjoyed reading it;  it has provided guidance in my faith pursuits. Although I am still uncertain of where it is I stand, I do know that God is the route to living a purposeful and authentic life.  I decided to highlight important excerpts as I read, and here are the ones that I have found most valuable.

When are you most fully alive? When you are changing and growing and exploring all you are capable of becoming. 

In every situation in my life, in every problem, in every difficulty, I know that if I allow the values and principles of the Gospel to guide me, it will turn out for the best. It will not always turn out as I wish, but I will be a better person for having lived the Gospel in that situation, and because of that, my future will be richer. 

The adventure of salvation begins when we stop asking, "What's in it for me?" and turn humbly to God in our hearts and ask, "How may I serve? What work do you wish for me to do with my life? What is your will for my life?"

The attitude with which we approach our work is crucial. 

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world. 

"If you are what you should be you will set the world on fire." Catherine of Sienna. 

Each moment, she [Mother Teresa] looked only for the next opportunity to love. 

He [Thomas Moore] was a man who found the grace necessary to live with integrity when it would have been convenient not to. 

Every moment of life is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself.