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Pause & Be Grateful

The last few months I have been researching gratitude and prayer journals because I knew my life had been:

Go Go GO

… and I wanted to slow it down. I’ll be the first to say I know I have a blessed life, so stopping and being grateful for the goodness around me is something I wanted to make a priority. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, just a few pages where I could visit each day and jot down what I was most grateful for. The other thing I wanted to be more intentional about, was my relationship with God & taking a few moments each day to write out what I was praying for, focus on a verse that stood out to me and lastly, write out what I’d like God to help me learn/work on in my life.

Guys- I found the jackpot!!!!

These journals serve as both my person gratitude check and check in with God… & um, they’re GORG!!!! 😻

They’re perfect! I plan on using them both starting tomorrow morning as a way I want to start my day. Beginning each morning with a grateful heart and open conversation with God is something I know will start my day off on the right, positive note. If you’re looking to increase the happiness in your life, you can start by looking at all the blessings you already have!!

The Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal & My Prayer Journal are two great (and inexpensive!) ways to begin your daily gratitude journey! Do you already practice doing daily gratitude? If you don’t and you’ve been thinking about it, here’s a nice way to get started:

I think it’s so easy to fall into negative patterns and lead a life that feels pessimistic and like there’s a rain cloud constantly over your head. Sometimes I find myself going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of negativity, self doubt and gossip. I believe that when you have a grateful heart, put God first and are open about your struggles/needs/imperfections, you can truly begin to see a change in yourself. This is my hope anyway, since this is going to be a practice I start today in search of that!

Don’t have a relationship with God (or any higher power)? That’s okay– if it’s for the simple fact that you don’t know where to start, I’d say this journal is a great beginning mark. I also downloaded This Bible App, because it’s free, offers daily verses and inspiration and sends you daily notifications to remind you it’s time to get your God Time in! ☑️ Honestly, it’s great.

I know we’re all on a journey to better ourselves (I’m sure that’s how you made your way to my page), so gratitude is where I want to focus next. It’s all a part of my wanting to Live Intentionally and form a life of gratitude, reflection, growth and living my best life.

I’d love to hear if you use a gratitude journal or practice gratitude in your own way in the comments! I’ll be sure to write a follow up on how the journaling is going…

To being grateful for (and aware of!) life’s blessings,

Aurora ✨

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Me… 10 Years Ago Vs Now #10YearChallenge

Happy Sunday friends! I went along with the other couple million on social media and completed the #10YearChallenge a few days ago. If you have been hiding under a rock don’t know what I’m talking about- the concept is simple: you find a photo of yourself from 10 years ago and one that is current, and you post the side by side views.

WOW

The intention of this challenge was to show how different we all look after 10 years. At 31 however, I found myself looking at the girl on the left, and thinking: “WOW, if I could talk to this girl, the things I would tell her about her life to come.”

So I posted this photo on My Instagram (Click to follow) and I wrote the caption:

What would I tell Aurora Boo 10 years ago if future me had a chance to speak to her? YOU LOOK AMAZING, STOP THINKING YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH AND THAT YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT. Oh, and THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE IS ON HIS WAY, HANG TIGHT GIRLFRIEND❤️ {& keep your signature picture pose- it’s gonna be a hit later down the road}! I can’t believe the #10YearChallenge just inspired my next blog post! See you all on Sunday! 😘

So here we are…

THINK about this, where were you 10 years ago and what did you think of yourself? Were you in school? Were you in a relationship? Did things feel awful? Did things feel perfect? Now I ask… how different does it look than you thought it would?

Did you think you’d be married? Did you think you’d have kids? No kids? Did you think you’d be advanced in your career? Or are you in a career you never thought you’d be in? Did you think you’d be retired already? My friends….

This is called, LIFE!… & growing up/ growing old

BUT!…. I have to laugh when I think back to myself at 21. Didn’t we all think we’d have kids in a few years and consider our 30’s being OLD? I certainly did. Never did I think that at 31 years old, I wouldn’t have at least 2-3 kids. Why did I think that? Because my parents had me and my siblings when my mom was in her 20’s… and we’re supposed to be following the footsteps of our parents, right? Man, I’m literally sitting her smirking thinking about what I thought life would be like and how it is.

I truly, wholeheartedly, love my life. Every aspect of it: the people in it, my marriage, my relationship with God, my career, my accomplishments, the life lessons (difficult and positive), and where my life is headed. It just looks so different than how the girl on the left thought it would look.

So, what would I tell the girl on the left at 21, that I know now at 31?

I would pat her on the back and tell her she’s doing a great job, even though sometimes she doesn’t feel good enough or that she’s on the right track. I would tell her that it’s okay to challenge people you love, even though you worry it’ll be perceived as disrespectful and that growing up comes with forming your own beliefs, non-negotiables and boundaries… but that kindness is imperative. I’d tell her that one day the people she’s challenging will actually appreciate her for that, and thank her for helping teach them a thing or two along the way. I’d tell her that it’s okay if you’re not 100% confident that your current relationship is the forever relationship, and that what you’re feeling in the relationship is valid, and should be heard. I’d tell her she can have more than one deep love in life and that her soul mate is out there. I’d also tell her that she’ll find him soon and to go with her gut. Lastly, I’d tell her it’s okay to say NO sometimes.

Things I would want to tell her, but I wouldn’t, because they gave her the best life experience and growth: Don’t take out more student loans than you need- future Aurora will thank you. Drop the friends that make you feel bad about yourself, or cause too much drama in your life- they’re using you for your energy, and this will eventually burn you out.

It’s amazing how this fun internet challenge really inspired me to think a little more inward. What I gained by looking back is something I will take with me looking forward: Things that are paining me now, or keep me up at night, will all iron themselves out over time, and stressing about them now, and feeling negative about them, won’t make them go away- they’ll just continue giving me stress and worry. So, looking into my next 10 years, I will try harder to shake the things that worry me, and instead focus on and LOVE the heck out of the things/people in my life that bring me joy.

Did you complete the 10 Year Challenge? If so, what would you tell yourself 10 years ago if you knew what you knew now? Would love to hear it in the comments!

Love,

Aurora ✨✨

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How to Live Intentionally

Living with Intention. As I wrote in my last post, I love a new year. I fall in the category as many others do- I believe it’s a fresh start, a chance to make changes to your life that you’ve been wanting to make and using this clean slate as the opportunity to do it. So as I got to thinking more about 2019, and my hopes and dreams for the upcoming year, one word came to mind over and over again- Intention. I wanted to kick off the new year living each day intentionally and define for myself what exactly that meant for me personally, before the new year kicked off. What does intention and living intentionally mean?

Intention = Awareness.

Intention is to be aware of your daily actions, behaviors and words spoken to yourself and others, and what outcomes they are creating in your life. When realizing these outcomes, it’s important to ask yourself: Are these outcomes aligning with how I ideally want to live my life? And if the answer is NO, do you have the courage to make the changes necessary for this to happen? Living with intention means to also be present in your daily actions/thoughts, which will help you make changes where needed. Living intentionally helps you to declutter the things in your life that are stopping you from living your truest, BEST life.

For example, let’s say you have an intention/goal to become more healthy, and feel going to the gym will help you achieve this. You know your nights are busy, so you intend to go to the gym in the morning before heading to work or school. You may set your alarm, but hit the snooze button a few times, and wake up too late to work out. This becomes a pattern, and eventually going to the gym in the morning simply isn’t happening. Something in your plan of working out in the morning is not aligning with what you’re able to make work, so therefor your intention of getting some work outs in, is not becoming a reality. If you really want this to happen, living with intention means you’re willing to look this problem in the face and make changes needed to make it work. It means you’re going to work through the obstacles and rework your plan to achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself.

Why do I, Aurora, want to live Intentionally? It’s simple(ish)- I want to choose how I spend each day and night, where I spend my time and with whom, and where I pour my energy, knowing it’s contributing to my own happiness and fulfillment in life. That may sound like the more deep response, but ask yourself: Do you like where you currently are in life? Are you happy with your current circumstances? Remember how in my last post I said I was waking up some mornings feeling like, “UGH,” and had to shake that feeling each morning before beginning my day? WELL, living intentionally made me ask myself:

‘WHY AM I WAKING UP EACH MORNING SAYING ‘UGH?’

What is draining my energy, not making  me feel more positive in the morning and robbing me of starting each day with a grateful heart and kick-ass attitude? I realized a lot of this stemmed from giving too much of myself and my time to others, putting myself on the back burner, spreading myself thin with commitments, not allowing for me-time, no longer giving as much time to my creative outlets that make me happiest, etc. The list honestly was long. BUT, through asking myself these questions (thank you Simple and Soul) I was able to begin climbing out of the hole I didn’t even realize I was digging myself into:

  1. What are the top three priorities in my life?
  2. Does my current lifestyle match those three priorities in the proper order?
  3. How would I relive today differently if given the chance?
  4. What would a life bordered by your priorities look like (imagine your ideal life what do you feel, what do you do)?
  5. What do you need to make your ideal life your actual life?

 

I’ll leave you with this, the watered down version of how you can begin living an intentional life: try being present in choosing the things that are BEST for you, not the EASIEST, set boundaries for yourself with people/things that demand time you may need for yourself and your own goals and lastly, the hardest one for me (TRUST ME), learn to say NO.

The topic of living intentionally is not over with this post for me. I plan on threading it through future posts as a theme over the next year as I try to master incorporating it into my life. I challenge you to do the same… we can do this! In a future read I’ll talk through more personal things that lead me to wanting to live intentionally, but for now, I wanted to share how I began.

If you’ve been successful at this, or have any tips/thoughts/suggestions, please leave them below for other readers and myself!

Happy Sunday Fridays!

-Aurora

Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Networking · New Year · Self Realization · Uncategorized

::::2019::::

Happy New Year Friends!! ✨✨

I love the first day of the new year- I think it’s because of the endless possibility and motivation for change! Something about a new year feels clean and fresh. And I love that feeling! It’s like you can do anything because a new year has started. Of course, you can begin anything, any day you’d like, but the power of a new year is magic. ❤️

So while we begin this new year… any resolutions out there?

Mine is to continue spreading positivity, write content for my blog and blog Facebook page weekly, choose kindness when feeling negative and lastly, to put myself and my own health (mental, physical, spiritual) first! How exactly am I going to do this? By trying to live and INTENTIONAL life!

I can’t wait to talk more about this in my next post!! For now, I would LOVE to read some comments about what your resolutions are!

Cheers to an amazing 2019!

Sparkle on,

Aurora ✨✨

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Sunday’s Are Hard…

Maybe if we all sit extremely still Monday won’t be able to see us.”

HAS. ANYONE. ELSE. SEEN. THIS. AND. THOUGHT. OMG. THIS. IS. ME?!?! Ugh! 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

I have this thing that I call Sunday night before we getting into Monday… want to know what it’s called?

Yes… The Smonday feeling is real over here! But here are some things I do to try and not let my last bit of weekend end in the negative…

1️⃣ Prep your week! What’s coming up? Do you need to food shop/food prep/pack clothes. Do it!

2️⃣ Do something you enjoy today! Sunday is still the weekend and you deserve spending (even if only a little) part enjoying it! (Wash the car, go window shopping, order something off AMAZON or TARGET!

3️⃣ Take a breather. Watch your favorite movie, clean if you like cleaning, do some laundry- just make sure it’s something you can relax doing and breathe.

4️⃣ Have a moment of gratitude. Sometimes when I’m feeling down or negative, I think about the things that I’m grateful for giving thanks for them. Unhappy times doesn’t have to mean an unhappy life.

5️⃣ Lay your clothes out for tomorrow. I don’t do this half as much as I should, but when I don’t have to pick an outfit in the morning, it makes my morning start off a little easier.

Happy Smonday my friends! It’s officially 7:52pm here in Pennsylvania, so the Monday blues could be settling in… but instead, I’m gonna relax with the husb and watch our new favorite show on Netflix.

To realizing that Sunday’s aren’t so hard..

✨✨Aurora

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Celebrating YOU on your Birthday

I love Birthdays. I’ve said this before on this blog and I will say it again.

Your birthday is like a personal New Year.

It’s an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and to look forward to things you want to accomplish. I spoke about this idea 2 years ago in my blog titled, The Importance of Birthdays, where I talk about why I feel we need to take the day (or week or month) and celebrate YOUR life. At that point in my life, I was about to turn 29 and reflected on how far I’ve taken this website and where I want to go. This time around, I’m taking a look back at all of the amazing things year 30 brought me (new home, new job, amazing times with family a friends, a new niece, Godmother-hood and so much more), and thinking about my hopes and dreams for what 31 has in store.

31…

I’m going to be married with a few kids and be well into my career…

LOL… how many of us thought that?! When I was 15, the thought of being in my 30’s meant I was OLD and obviously living life as a mom with a million and one kids. I would say that my generation however, is the first to show that this isn’t the norm anymore. Yes, many of my family and friends began a family in their 20’s, {which is great}, but it’s socially acceptable to not start a family now until you are in your 30’s, where before it was looked down upon. While age is “only a number,” history has taught us that certain things need to happen in certain years, and that idea has faded quite a bit. For me, I’m enjoying every single year and appreciating the things I’m learning, the paths life has put me on, the people I’ve met and the difference I’m making in the lives of those around me.

Since today is my birthday, I’m feeling extra reflective about where the last year has taken me, but am even more excited to see what the year ahead has in store. The one thing that I know I’m looking for to is the constant and ever changing project of bettering myself.

What good is a New Year if you don’t have resolutions, right?

In year 31, I’m going to be more forgiving of others and project more positivity and warmth to those around me than I ever have before. I want to work on the inside so it reflects even brighter on the outside.

What are your feelings on birthdays? Do you like celebrating them? Do you need to show yourself a little more love on your birthday? If my vote counts, I say you go all in and celebrate that amazing life of yours! Whether your 15, 18, 25, 37, 52, 60, 71 or 100, every new year offers us the opportunity to do things we want, say what needs to be said, travel, change, date, get married, start a hobby…

W H A T E V E R   W E   W A N T

Use your birthday as the launching pad to the life you want to live.. even if it’s for this year only!

Happy birthday to you, and happy birthday to me!

Cheers,

-Aurora

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Think 3 Happy Thoughts

This Weeks Challenge:

 

4d3ec6ebf91b935a403d5ea267d3b94d.jpg

Why you ask? Because it feels better than beginning the day with negativity, anxiety, stress or an ungrateful heart.

My challenge to you is that you TRY YOUR HARDEST to take a moment and reflect on 3 things you are grateful for EVERY morning!.. and project your gratitude on the day ahead of you.

Did you know…

 

That 98% of the things we worry about DON’T EVEN HAPPEN? It’s true!! So why not start your morning on the best foot possible and make the most of your morning and day. Here are my 3 gratitude reflections:

I am grateful for…

  1. My supportive husband
  2. My job, where I feel supported, respected and appreciated more than ever
  3. That my dog didn’t lay ontop of me the entire next last night (like this whole past week!), so I could get a full nights rest!

What are you grateful for?

Cheers,

-Aurora

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Casting Your Insecurities On Someone Else

I could really take this post so many routes, but I’ll stick with the title: Casting Your Insecurities On Someone Else. What does this quote me?

Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours shine any brighter.

I’ve seen this thought so many times and always look to it as one of my favorites. How many times have we, or someone we know, put down something about others because it’s meant to downplay an insecurity that we or another have.

I’ve had a lot of examples in my own life lately that bring me back to this quote. I’ve seen people I’m close with put down a thought or an action of someone we know, because (in reality) it’s making them feel better about a shortcoming or insecurity that they have about themselves.

I guess when I think about this, my conclusion is, before we tear someone down or judge them, take a second to think inward. Nine times out of 10, critiques and negativity toward others stem from our own insecurities and things we want to change (or don’t like) about ourselves.

Can’t you think about a time where you blew out someone’s candle to make yours shine brighter? I bet you can.

To blowing out less candles,

-Aurora

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Why you can Begin, Again

I’ve thought about these 2 words, almost obsessively, for the last month and a half. Begin Again. Aurora, you can BEGIN.AGAIN. 

It’s funny, a new year starts and all of a sudden you’re given this feeling that everything can start fresh. 11:59 changing to 12:00 on January 1st sparks something that gives you the feeling that you can do anything this upcoming year. For all of the social media posts that I see stating things like “New Year, New Me,” Or “This Year is My Year,” I also see the ones telling us that we don’t need a new year to start something new. That we don’t need a new year to wipe the slate clean, start over, get a new job, leave that lousy relationship, lose the weight, begin the hobby etc. I always fell in the category of the first group of people, because the new year, to me, felt like an auto-delete of anything you’ve been unhappy with, and provides the (whether you like it or not) birth of something new.  It’s a fresh start.

This new year was different for me though- I didn’t make many changes I was hoping to, to jump start 2018. I began the year sick, had a sudden loss of someone close to my family and found that after all of this died down, I wanted to rest. Rather than propel myself into my “New Year New Me” attitude, I wanted to take a breather.

And the above, really got me thinking.

What are the things I want to change this year? Why do I want to change them and what’s the motivation to do so? Why did I have to start January 1st, and why can’t I start anytime? While the excitement of a new year has always been something to motivate me, the reasons WHY I want to make these changes should be enough to motivate me to get going. To begin, again.

So starting with the publishing of this post, I’m giving myself permission to BEGIN again. It’s not 1/1/18, nor did the clock turning to midnight last night mean anything spectacular… it just meant it’s my day to be ready to press play. What am I pressing play on?

  1. Lent begins tomorrow. That means, for Catholics, preparing for the death and resurrection of Jesus. AKA I’m gonna continue attending church weekly and being more mindful of prayer and the big G!
  2. I need to get my work out on!  I know when I’m stressed or feeling low, that a good work out can boost my energy and help me feel more productive throughout the day. This means, 3+ more gym visits a week and minding my diet. I also think this will include runs with my pup… because she loves that!
  3. Reading my mountain of books at home before buying more. I’ve been averaging 1 every 2 weeks, so, so far so good.
  4. Reestablishing connections with the family and friends in my life that I haven’t spoken with as much as I’d like to. Sometimes you have to be the one to initiate, and it’s better to help build than to wait. My brother is doing this one too, so having that reminder helps too!
  5. Get more sleep. There is no explanation needed here.
  6. Lastly, I’m going to put my positivity and inspirational attitude to the test. I’ve always been proud of the way I carry myself and engage others with my warmth and excitedness for life. Some things in my life have gotten me to feeling a little unlike myself, so I’m going to work harder to put my best attributes forward.

Is there anything you need to Begin Again?

I encourage you and pray that you do it… because you owe it to yourself to!

To beginning again, cheers.

-Aurora

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The 12 Days of Positivity & Self-Care

5A531D3F-91DC-4660-B448-E884D6D7D596.jpegChristmas is around the corner, and I truly believe this is the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Whether you still need to shop and wrap, you’re counting down the days until school and work are over OR you’re relaxing and blasting Christmas music all day (that’s not just me right? 🤷‍♀️😹), this 12 Days countdown is for you!

While the 12 days of Christmas usually begin Dec 25, my 12 Days of Positivity and Self-Care are kicking of Thursday Dec 14, and will last through Christmas Day! Check back each evening around 8:00 EST to see the next Days theme or idea to get your heart and mind ready for Christmas! Please share with someone who loves Christmas or needs to get in the spirit! Visit The Weekly Sparkle Facebook page for more as well! Day 1 will be posted this Wednesday 12/13 @ 8:00pm for Thursday’s kick off! Please see the tab at the top of the Website for the 12 days updates!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Please tag #Sparkle12Days on your social media to get others involved!

To the MOST wonderful time of the year! 🎄❤️- Aurora