Resolutions in Review: Six Months In!

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The picture above is a list of my New Years Resolutions that I framed exactly six months ago. Amazing. It’s hard to believe we’re already half way through 2013, and only six months away from Christmas and 2014! Where does the time go? I decided I wanted to reflect on this, when I looked at my list again last week, and realized I was accomplishing some of these things, and incorporating them into my life, while others, I haven’t kept up with, or tried to improve for myself.

1. Drink More Water. Ugh, this has been the hardest for me, because I haven’t made it a priority. Water is everywhere. I need to take my consumption more seriously, as it helps with your health, cleansing, skin etc. I’ve decided I’m going to bring a gallon (yes, and actual gallon), of water to work each day, and promise myself I’ll bring it all within the work day.

2. Spread Positivity and Upkeep My Website. YES. This website has been a godsend thus far in 2013, and helps me to feel more connected with all of you. THANK YOU for making this website a success and for spreading the Sparkle and positivity along with me.

3.Be Punctual. I’m getting there!!… So much better than 2012! I’m going to continue incorporating more time into my day to ensure I get to places on time. The biggest issue I find with this is allowing myself an appropriate time to sleep each night. I’m going to challenge myself to get more rest, so I’m not dragging as much in the early mornings.

4. Get More Organized (Plan!) This is something I work toward every. single. day. and I feel that it’s getting better with time. Planning, strategizing, organizing– all of this comes easy to many people, I’m not one of them. Haha, if you’re a planner, good for you!!!… I’m going to continue to work on this long after 2013 passes.

5. Be Yourself. This one means the most to me. It’s only two words, but it carries the most meaning. I can’t say that I lived a life where I wasn’t myself in the past, but I began to notice that too often, I was worrying about what others thought (too much) and would dim who I was or my personality, to yield to the needs/expressions of others.

I think #5 is something I’ve worked on through the creation of this site. The Weekly Sparkle is 100% my thoughts, feelings, topics, areas of interests and things I want to share with all of you and get your opinions, thoughts etc.

What do you do to become more in touch with yourself and who you are? I have more plans to better myself for the rest of 2013, which is why I’m glad to have visited my New Years Resolutions again and remind myself of the promises I made six months ago.

Are you keeping up with your Resolutions?! If so, congrats. It’s an incredible feeling to follow through on goals you set for yourself. If you’re struggling, it’s okay. You have six months left in 2013, which is plenty of time to make the improvements you were hoping for.

Happy New Year,

Aurora

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Spilled Milk

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A few weeks ago an old classmate of mine at Penn State contacted me via Facebook and asked me to read and review her book that was coming out soon on Amazon. After seeing current updates of her new baby, and reading about her happy marriage updates, life events etc, I was very interested and happy to hear she had a book coming out.

I by no means am an avid book reader, but the idea that someone I knew put out a book, immediately sparked my interest and I wanted to support if I could. While I told myself I would make sure to try and have the book read within two weeks, I was shocked to find that I couldn’t put my iPad down, and read the entire thing within three sleepless nights. I’d tell myself, “only one more chapter, then you have to sleep,” not once noticing the hours fly by each night.

Spilled Milk is about a young girl and her struggle to discover what real family life is, after growing up in a household where the norm was distorted and abusive. Brooke, the main character in the book, plays the role of mom majority of her life, and at night becomes a slave to her father’s sexual abuse for as long as she can remember. Even when times seemed the hardest for Brooke and her siblings, she would never tell of her abuse at home, because she believed she would be destroying her family, or putting her other siblings at risk of receiving the same treatment from her father.

Spilled Milk is a story about resilience. The strength of the human mind and will power to live a better life, is what makes Brooke such an amazing character in this book, and makes the reader cheer for her along the way. Once she discovers that her life at home isn’t normal, she finds the courage to take a stand against her father and to get help that she and her family deserve.

I firmly believe that Spilled Milk was written for a purpose. As you read the book, you will find that a strong supporter of Brooke, Midge, saw all along that she was meant for greater things in life. I know that this book is a testament to that belief, as I feel like it could really inspire those in a similar situation to Brooke’s. Some of the outlets and resources Brooke used to face her abuse are some that others could use as well in their local communities. Spilled Milk is proof that there are plenty of lifelines and people out there who are able to help at any moment if you or someone you know is being abused.

This book would prove to be highly beneficial to those studying in the mental health field, guidance counselors or educators working with children, summer camp workers, or even parents looking for knowledge surrounding the thought process of children being abused. The key to all of this, is knowing what the signs look like, with hopes that abuse like this can be prevented, or stopped sooner than it had for Brooke and her family. Brooke was a star cheerleader in high school. She was beautiful, at the top of her class academically, and would appear to have everything going for her. None of the “signs” that many of us would assume pointed to someone as perfect as Brooke Nolan. Not one.

I’m humbled, and proud to know someone as strong as Brooke, as I would never have guessed she had been through such hardship in her life before I had even met her in college. I strongly encourage you to download this book on Amazon today. For $4.99, it’s a must read that you won’t want to put down.

Brooke, this weeks Sparkle is dedicated to you. You did it!

Xo
-Aurora

Graduation, Success and Looking Ahead

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“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
– Steve Jobs

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I had the opportunity to watch this video a few days ago, and I knew it was something worth sharing. Steve Jobs is someone I have grown to admire over recent years, as it seemed like his influential and motivational speeches, comments, conversations etc came more to light before his passing. I lump the lessons I’ve learned from him with some of my other favorite, inspirational people, like Oprah, Ellen and classic go-to, Confucius.

Last weekend, I walked in my graduation from the University of Scranton where I received my Masters degree in Community Counseling and Mental Health. While I finished classes months ago, I knew I wanted to walk in the ceremony, as the sense of accomplishment and success hadn’t fully set in since completing my course work. This is probably how I stumbled across this video. Each year around graduation time, all of these videos, commencement speeches and books surface to inspire the grads as they move ahead in life. “Sky’s the limit,” “Oh the places you will go;” “Let your dreams and ambitions come true,” are all sayings and motivation we offer to those graduating in our lives to show them we believe in them and know they have the power to accomplish great things.

In hearing Steve talk in this segment, I’m inspired by the not-so-common approach he takes when looking at achievement and success in life. He says, “…life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” I LOVE this. He’s right. The world we live in tells us what our successes can amount to and what is expected of us as we strive toward greatness.

I guess what I gather from this mainly, is that we are the ones who can define for ourselves just what greatness is. This is why I’ve begun my journey and created The Weekly Sparkle. This is what my site and definition of Sparkle is: become your best self in the way that YOU define it. Go against the grain. It is so easy to fall in line with what society tells us and expects of us. I am by no means saying we shouldn’t want a family, good career or to “stay in the lines.” I’m simply saying that the greatness within you can be one that the world has never seen; spinning a new way to influence others and add value to the world we live in.

My desire in life is to break the mold, be different, inspire others and leave the world a little bit brighter, just because I was here and impacted the lives of others. As I reached another great milestone in my life, I’m reflecting upon the amazing experiences I’ve had so far, where they can take me, and the blank pages ahead of me that are open for my interpretation and ability to make a change.

I want to continue to pass the Sparkle to all of you, and challenge you to do the same for those in our life. Go against the grain, and be bold.

Sparkle strong,

Aurora

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