The Blog

How Small Changes Will Change Your Life

For the past few months, I’ve been stuck. Stuck doing the same thing over and over again. Stuck feeling like there’s no way out and no way to change my life. Recently, however, I’ve been inspired. Inspired by random women from the internet, but inspired enough to realize that these changes that I’ve been looking for, they need to come from me. I don’t have the money, time, or resources to drop everything and travel the world like Elizabeth Gilbert did. My life is busy, and part of me stresses at the idea of adding more to my plate, but I know that this ‘more’ that I add will be a good thing.

Making Changes

Watching myself run around in circles makes me crazy. I see so many men and women out there chasing and living their dreams and I can’t help but feel envy. Envy for a life that I want, but one that seems completely out of reach.

But is the life we want really out of reach?

No. I don’t think so. Actually, I know so. But then, if the life we dream of is in our reach, why aren’t we already living it?

Chances are if you’re anything like me, it’s because you’re afraid. You’re afraid of failure. You’re afraid of people laughing at you, being disappointed in you, telling you that your work, your art, that it’s terrible. You’re afraid of all the bad things that will happen.

But what will you feel five years from now? Will you feel sad that you didn’t take that leap of faith and trust in yourself? Will you fear that because you never took a chance then, you won’t ever be able to take a chance?

You don’t have to have those fears.

Having anxiety means that I am constantly surrounded by fear, and most of the time, the fear is irrational, yet I can’t control it. But, I also realize that there are moments in my life when I have to make a choice, am I going to let my anxiety control me or am I going to take the time to learn the skills to control my anxiety (I’ll be writing another post more about this later.) But, my point is that most of the things we fear are all in our heads.

True, we will face circumstances in which we will face fear in that exact moment, but right now I want you to stop and think. Are you afraid of something? Is there any actual reason to be afraid of it right now? Most likely the answer is no, there isn’t a reason.

Make a small change.

Often, when I think about changing my life I feel the need to do something dramatic and huge. Move, change jobs, travel, etc. And these things are great, but starting today I want to see how my life can change without really changing much about my life.

I’m going to live in the same apartment. I’m going to keep my job. I’m going to struggle to make dinner every night, but for the most part, a lot of things aren’t going to change.

But I want to change.

There are dreams and passions and things that I want to accomplish in life, not tomorrow, not next month, not in five years, but things I’d like to be doing right now! Typing this out makes me feel like it should be so much easier than it actually is, but I know that it will actually take a lot of work.

But I am willing to put in the effort to make my life better, to create the life that I want. For so long I’ve been living life in a way that makes me incredibly unhappy, and I recognize that a lot of that is because of my thinking, because of how I’m spending my free time, and because I haven’t been willing to make a change.

Taking action

I’m starting with small, manageable goals that will help me take off and create the life I want.

  • Waking up at 6. I almost do this, but I sure do love just spending the morning in bed if I can. But I want to get up and get going.
  • Write for 15 minutes. A big part of my dream is to write a book (or multiple) but that won’t happen if I’m not writing. I’ve tried to set a word limit for every day, and that just doesn’t work for me. Writing a novel is overwhelming, but breaking it up into a smaller chunk of time, even if that’s only 15 minutes a day, will make a huge impact.
  • Plug in my phone at 7. Confession: I use my phone way too much. If want to hustle and make my dreams become a reality, I’m going to have to cut back on my mindless scrolling through social media. I want to make the time I do have my phone count, to use social media with more intention.

 

I want to live my life with intention.

I firmly believe that we deserve a happy life that we enjoy. So today, I’m taking action. These small goals are just to help me get started. I’m investing time and money into myself to make the changes I’ve been looking for. I can’t wait to share my journey and all that I have planned with you in the coming months.

Is there something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, but haven’t had the guts to take the leap? This is me giving you permission (even though you really don’t need any one’s permission to chase your dreams) but today I want you to commit, buy that plane ticket, write the first page of your book, find a new job–whatever it is that you’ve been secretly hoping to do, take a chance on yourself and go after it, today.

 

Still Here Book Review

Still Here sounded interesting (I’ll leave a full synopsis below) and I really really wanted to like it. Still Here is very different from any other book that I’ve read before, so I was excited to get started. I put off reading this book for awhile after I received it, simply because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. But I finally picked this one up.

**I received Still Here from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest book review, all opinions are my own.**

 

And I read the first chapter, then the next chapter, and the next. I read about 70 pages before I had to stop. It wasn’t that this book wasn’t interesting because it was, but it wasn’t what I was looking for at that moment. As I said before, I liked the idea of this book more than I ended up liking this one. A few years ago when I was reading one of Gretchen Rubin’s books I read something that stuck with me, if she doesn’t enjoy a book, she stops reading it. No regrets, no guilt, just moving on.

I recognize that I’m not going to like every book out there. I also realize that because I love to read, I want to read a lot, and I’d love to be spending the time reading books that I truly enjoy. Still Here was good, but it didn’t do it for me. I tend to read up to page 50-100 if I’m not loving a book before I decide to keep going or not. I’d like to finish this book at some point, but right now just isn’t the right time for me.

Why then, you might ask, am I writing a review? Mainly because I feel like it’s going to be awhile before I get around to reading this book again. I plan on keeping it but saving it for later. When that will be, I’m not sure, but since I received this book from Blogging for Books a few months ago, I felt that I should write my review even though I haven’t finished the book.

A few reasons why I didn’t finish Still Here:

  • I just couldn’t get into the story. There was a lot of background information which I felt we could learn more as the story went along
  • The beginning was very slow for me and being in a reading slump, I wanted (needed) something that would pull me in quickly.
  • I got bored. I didn’t want to, and as I mentioned, I think I’ll actually like this book, now just isn’t the time to read it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls “Jane Austen with a Russian soul”

In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.

Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina met in Russia in their school days, but remained in touch and now have very different American lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey’s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner, spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik, a programmer ever in search of perfection, keeps trying on different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.

As Sergey develops his app—calling it “Virtual Grave,” a program to preserve a person’s online presence after death—a formidable debate begins in the group, spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we’re gone?

 

I do hope to finish this book at some point in time, but right now, I’ll be reading a bunch of fantasy novels since they have captured my attention recently! What have you been reading this week?

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I’m Back + Book-Tube-A-Thon

Hey guys, it’s been a hot minute (like 3 weeks since I last posted — just hiding my face in my hands right now, nbd.) Anyway, life has been a little crazy and to be honest I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps, not exactly sure why. But, I’m back and I’m here to stay! (Planning to write 2-3 posts a week.)

The past few days I’ve been watching a LOT of Booktube (People on YouTube talking about books) and then I found out that this week is Book-Tube-A-Thon, which basically means you try to read 7 books in 7 days. And I decided to give the challenge a try. I’ve been in a HUGE reading slump lately (like I haven’t been reading much at all, which makes my heart sad) but I hoping this will help get me out of the slump. I guess every year (sorry, I don’t actually know that much about this challenge because I just found out about it yesterday) they have 7 themes of different books to read, so here’s my list.

    • Book with a Person on the Cover: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. I read this one last year, but it’s one of my favorite YA contemporaries and I’ve been wanting to read it again. I actually finished this one this morning before work! (I had almost 3 hours to read since the pup woke me up early) and I loved it just as much the second time around, I definitely recommend!
    • A Hyped Book: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. So many people love this book and this series. I read the first book, and to be honest, it wasn’t my favorite. I’m listening to the audio book of AGOS and so far I’m enjoying it a lot more than the first book, which I’ll take as a good sign.
    • A Book Read In One Day: I actually read books in one day (sometimes in one sitting) all the time, but we’ll see if I actually have time for this. I picked Illuminae for this challenge. Even though this book has 400+ pages, because of the way it’s written and the story line, I think I’ll be able to read this in one day. I’m saving this one for Saturday when I know I’ll be home and able to read.
    • A Book with A Character Different than You: This one was tough simply because I had no idea what book to choose. I have a few options: Of Fire and Stars is a fantasy novel featuring a f/f romance (haven’t read many LGBTQ+ books simply because I don’t know where to find them) and I’ve had this one since December or I’ll read/listen to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon has been on my TBR for quite some time now, but we’ll see if I can get it from the library.
    • Read Outdoors: This one will be a challenge, mainly because I’m inside most of the time, but I’m hoping to finish reading Furthermore (which I absolutely love so far!) and I figure that since I sit outside with the dog often, maybe I can sneak in some reading while Persephone chews on a stick.
    • Bought Because of the Cover: Okay okay so I bought this book because of the cover and because I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but I’m hoping to also read Six of Crows. This is also a pretty hyped book and I cannot wait to dig in!
    • And last but not least, 7 books in 7 days: I have about 100 pages left in The Queen of the Tearling which I’m hoping to finish either tonight or tomorrow morning!

Wow… That’s so many books! So much reading, in just a week! We’ll see what happens! On Instagram, I only posted 4 books because realistically working a full-time job means less time to be reading, but I did want to see what I could read this week. Also, I know that I don’t have a YouTube channel (but I’ve toyed with the idea of starting one…) but I still wanted to take part in this challenge. Are you joining the Book-Tube-A-Thon this year? What are you reading?

 

 

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Weekly Meal Plan

This morning is quiet. We took the dog to the vet this vet this morning so she can get spayed (no cute black lab puppies for us) and Griffin’s at work. I’m feeling exhausted because I didn’t get much sleep last night, thanks to the puppy who stole my pillow. I love her, but after a night of no sleep, my patience is thinner than I’d like it to be.

But right now I’m enjoying the quiet of the morning. I decided to write on my blog, and I’ll place my grocery pickup order from Walmart for later today. And I’ll get ready for work, praying I have the energy to make it through the day.

Dang. So tired. But that’s okay.

If any of you have been around my blog for awhile, you know that I STRUGGLE with meal prep. (And actually making dinner.) In June I had the goal to make dinner every night, needless to say, June ended and I made dinner a few times a week #oops. Dang it.

This month I hope to make dinner at least 6 days out of the week. I want to be more consistent with this because I actually like cooking, I just hate the meal prep part. But, I finally sat down and made a plan! Here’s this week’s meal plan.

Weekly Meal Plan

Slow Cooker Sweet Fire Chicken – with rice

Lime Shredded Pork + Chicken Teriyaki – these will be for 2 different nights, but both recipes are on the same blog post.

These Taco Cups look amazing! Can’t wait to try them!

Homemade Pizza! We love pizza around here, and the dough from The Girl Who Ate Everything‘s cookbook is super easy to make!

Slow Cooker Easy Chicken Enchilada Quinoa – I’m trying more slow cooker recipes because then we can still have a nice meal, without making the house feel like a furnace in the middle of summer.

I got the idea to write this post from one of my favorite Bloggers, Carrie. I don’t know if I’ll be sharing my meal plan every week on my blog, but I just might. All of these recipes (besides the homemade pizza) will be new! I feel like we’ve been eating the same 10 recipes over and over and over again and we’re both sick of all of it. To be honest, I thought meal planning was going to be a lot worse, but it was actually fun to look for new recipes, and it was easier this time since I was mainly looking for slow cooker recipes! (For more, read this.)

Tomorrow is the 4th, which means family fun and lots of food at 2 BBQ’s. Independence day is probably one of my favorite holidays, so many memories, and family traditions! Ah, I’m getting excited just thinking about it! Anyway, time to get ready for work. What are you planning to make this week? And, where do you find most of your recipes? I’m always looking for new ideas!

 

Thankful Thursday: Focusing on Real Life

Last week we were in Colorado and St. George, which was a lot of fun, but this week it’s back to real life! We’ve been struggling to get back into a routine with the dog at night and in the morning. But, it’s also good to be back home!

What I’m thankful for this week:

  • Sleeping in my own bed! I love our mattress and my pillow, plus sleeping in your own bed just really is the best!
  • The health challenge at work. It get’s me up and moving more throughout the day instead of sitting at my desk all day.
  • Persephone! She’s a big challenge (she’s got so much puppy energy) but we love her, and coming home to her and Griffin is the best!
  • Vacation! I loved heading out of town for a few days. We went and hung out with Griffin’s parents in Colorado for a few days and then went down to St. George with my family to see Newsie’s at Tuacahn! It was fun to get away, sleep in (we didn’t bring the dog), and relax.

Taking a break to enjoy real life:

So, I mentioned it on my story on Instagram yesterday and also in a Tweet that I’m going to be taking a break from social media for a few days. I haven’t actually decided how long I’m going to be unplugged, but I just need a break.

The other day I was extremely anxious and I spent nearly all day on Instagram and Twitter, getting more and more triggered as the day went on. It wasn’t until I went to bed that night when I realized what had happened. So, yesterday morning I got up and deleted the Facebook and Twitter app’s off of my phone (I kept Instagram because of the work account I’ll still be needing to manage, but I signed out of my personal account.)

I’ve been wanting to unplug for awhile now, but I keep making up excuses for why I need to use social media every day. It’s my job. I need to use it to promote my blog. If I sign off, I’ll miss what everyone else is up to… etc. So, it’s time to take a break.

I’m planning to spend more time with Griffin, read, write, and work on my relationship with God and His word. I still plan on blogging frequently, I just won’t necessarily be sharing it all over social media right away. Have you unplugged from social media recently? I read a post early this week about someone who had unplugged while they were on vacation, and it gave me the motivation I needed to unplug myself. It’s only been one day and old habits die hard, but I’m also enjoying the peace and quiet, instead of the constant need to refresh Twitter.

What are you thankful for this week?

In case you missed it:
June Goals
Life Lately
Favorite Books Read in 2017

Academic Agenda, Daily or Weekly by Emily Ley