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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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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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Happy News in the Media

Every once in awhile, I come across some really amazing and heartwarming stories on the internet. Below are a bunch I’ve posted on The Weekly Sparkle Facebook Page that have touched a lot of my followers. If you need a pick me up today, here is your dose of Positivity and human to human kindness going on around us ✨✨

Truck Drivers Save a Suicidal Man’s Life

Two Men From Different Walks of Life Enjoy an Impromptu Basketball Game

Lehigh Valley Couple Creates Give Back Tournament to Help Local Non-Profits Each Year- 2018 Benefactor Announced

Women Can Hear For The First Time And Gets Proposed To

Man Gets a Surprise Thank You From Children He Saved During the Holocaust

Will Smith Talks About Who You Surround Yourself With- Who is Fanning Your Flames?

Please send more videos my way in the comments if I should add them to a future post!!

✨✨- Aurora

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Starting with your SELF

Self-love, self-respect, self-worth… There is a reason they all start with “self“. You cannot find them in anyone else.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How much of the way we view and accept ourselves relies on the way that other people view and accept us? Are you only your BEST self if others view you as such? And lastly, how much weight do we put on how others perceive us, vs what we perceive ourselves to be?

It’s cliché, and my writing it won’t let it sink in immediately for you, but it all starts on the inside. If you love, respect and deem yourself as worthy of happiness (and everything else!), then that is all you need.

The perception and viewpoint of others about you doesn’t define who you are and what you’re capable of. I don’t have great advice on how you can begin to see that, other than that you can start with baby steps any time you want.

For me, I notice when I begin going down the rabbit hole, that I literally need to close my eyes and ask God to help me through the moment and to let it pass. Of course, you don’t need God to help with you that, but I prefer having his support. It’s like my internal therapist.

So that’s a baby step I take to make sure my own self talk doesn’t lead me to continue negative thought or emotion. Of course, any aspect of your life could use a little more “self-_______” in it at any given point, but the goal is the remember that it all starts, and ends, within you.

You can’t expect anyone else to fulfill what you need on the inside to feel whole.

To working on the inside, first.

-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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Eliminating The Negative In Your Life

Let go of everything that negatively effects your life. The people, the places, ALL of it.

I have talked about this topic before… because you all know how much I love to preach the positive lifestyle, but I let some negativity in recently, and I have to tell you, the reminder to STOP and take a step back helped me so much. So much so, that I wondered how often it is that we find ourselves going down the rabbit hole and before we know it, we’re body deep, and are struggling to regain our footing.

So what happened? We all have those few people in our lives that bring us anxiety or stress, OR they serve as triggers to specific instances in our lives that brought stress, anxiety, negativity, pain, etc etc etc. When I was in the presence of one of these people recently, they did the same thing they always dothey minimized and put down something positive and exciting that I shared, to justify their opposite, negative view. UGH.

So I went down the rabbit hole…

I spent the next hour thinking: WHAT A JERK!!!!!!!!!! SOME PEOPLE NEVER CHANGE!! (Of course this was inside my head– I’ve learned to keep thoughts like that to myself, esp. in an initial response).

I let my mind wonder, doubted myself and allowed for this persons comments to make me think negatively toward myself. “Do they have a point? Why do I think this is so great? Do other people think this way?” Self doubt, self doubt, self doubt. Exactly. What. They. Wanted. See, here is the thing: I know this person typically has a glass half empty attitude, and puts others down when feeling envious, or even, jealous. So part of me is correct… this person hasn’t changed. What CAN CHANGE however, is the way I let it affect me… the way I let it go. So, after this hour passed, I literally said to myself:

This has nothing to do with you. Any negative comments or energy from that person is THEIRS- there is no need for me to take it on as mine.

So here I am… some time after this happened, and while I’m proud I was able to talk myself through it, I thought it was important to share. Negative people, places and instances are all around us. Our biggest, strongest weapon against negativity in our lives is our own ability to look it in the face and see it for what it is. And when you can do that, and you no longer feed it, you can let it go. All of it.

It’s certainly a work in progress, but I’m committed to letting go of and eliminating as much negative from my day to day as possible. When you let the negative in, you decrease the room for light, happiness, growth and my favorite (you already know), positivity.

What negativity are you trying to let go of in your life? Are they people, places, both? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

To kicking it Positive,

Aurora

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How to Start… Now.

“Whether you think you’re ready or not, start right now. There is magic in action.”

Ahhhh, this. What I love about this thought is that it’s applicable to almost any goal, dream or action you want to take in your life. If you want to re-enroll in school, start working out, get back on the dating scene, try that new hobby… there is always tomorrow,  but why not start RIGHT NOW… if because you can!

I’m going to get a little more personal here, because that’s what this blog has always been about- being open and honest about my own feelings and sharing what I think will be helpful for others who may be thinking or experiencing similar situations in their own life. In order to explain fully, we need to take a quick step back to tie this all together.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve been enjoying everything that being a newly wed has to offer, from moving in together (no, we did not live together beforehand… no crazy reason why, we just thought it would be fun to wait to move in- feel free to ask more about this if interested), spending a lot of quality time together, to adopting our beautiful rescue, Luna, and lastly, buying a new home!  It’s been a fun (at times, crazy/difficult/stressful) year, but it has been nothing short of incredible when spending it with my person- my husband, Joe. And while we’ve learned a lot over the last year and have had some amazing times, in our discussions lately, we realized something was missing (no, not a baby (yet), slow down). In the midst of binge-watching our favorite shows, going out to eat all the time and enjoying life to the fullest, we began letting our fitness and health take a back seat.

Who is Maxx Fitness and why is he hitting my bank account each month?

Image result for gym meme

Friends in a relationship, let me tell you- when your partner (or even a good friend) JOIN YOU in your fitness journey, life is SO MUCH EASIER than if you did it alone. As an extroverted person, I am motivated by others and the environment around me, so going to the gym, and with a partner, are key to me sticking with any program or routine I want to start. Beginning this week, my husband and I have began eating a little bit better and headed back to the gym (What’s up, Maxx!) This is exciting to me, because I obviously want to feel healthy for myself, but I also want to feel good and take all the positivity that a healthy lifestyle can bring, into my marriage. If you’re not in a relationship or don’t have have a close friend to join you on your journey, YOU HAVE ONE in me! Send me a message and I’d be happy to chat and share motivation with you!

So this is my journey on “Starting Now” and putting action into something I want. What’s your journey leading you toward? Here are 5 Steps I’ve created on how to start anything you want in your life, NOW.


Listen, my own worst enemy and the voice that talks me out of things I want to do is my own mind and negative self talk. Have you tried before and failed? Do you lack self-confidence? Has someone told you you’re unable to reach your goal? SO WHAT. This is not the first time I’ve run down this list of ways… and I’m positive I will have to run through it numerous times until I feel that I’ve made it to where I want to go.

So take it from someone who is beginning now… you can too. Whatever your goal is, whatever you want in life, the only one truly holding you back, is you. What is it in your life that you can start now? I’d love to know!

To starting NOW….♥

With love and sparkle, Aurora

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The Results of Giving Back 

This number is incredible... and it’s a huge example of what can happen when people come together to make a difference! When my husband and I created the Give Back Lehigh Valley Softball Tournament we never knew how big it would get and that we’d also have amazing friends who could MATCH our raised dollars!! As someone who has planned a lot of fundraisers, I’m more than happy to help anyone looking for ways to raise money for your cause!! 

We raised over 5K for both of our organizations: Nam Knights and Logan’s Heroes! It was an amazing day and I can’t begin to express my gratitude for everyone who made the event what it was! If you want to get involved next year, please let me know!!! 

To giving back to our community… ❤️

-Aurora

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Why You Should Give Back- The Power of Small Acts

Tonight is the eve of our annual Give Back Lehigh Valley Softball Tournament and I am SO EXCITED… and a little antsy! My (now) husband and I created this event back when we were dating… we got engaged there and now are married. It’s been 4 years and I can’t believe how quickly the time to passed and how this event has evolved. 

What does not amaze me, is how awesome it feels to have created such an amazing give-back event that continues to get bigger and bigger as the years go by!!! GIVING BACK IS EASY… and it doesn’t have to be something big or something that grows… it can be small acts that make a difference in the life of another.  

We began our Give Back Event to help me fundraise for our local Cystic Fibrosis chapter a few years back when I was named a Lehigh Valley Finest Under 40 honoree. That was with 4 teams, a few donations and some cool T-shirts. The event tomorrow is anticipated to have anywhere from 150-200 people and over 100 participants. 😳 IT’S amazing!… but truly, it also takes a village. 

Each year, I use the all social media outlets to plug the event, solicit sponsorship and to shed the light on how YOU can give back and together, all of our small efforts make a BIG impact. For example, this year alone, strangers have reached out to me to become a part of this and volunteer; friends from grade school that I haven’t spoken to personally or seen in years have donated product for the event; and some incredible Lehigh Valley businesses stepped up to be big name sponsors of the event. I know this has built over the years, but it doesn’t change the pure awe that I feel when I see so many people coming together. I can tell you, that as our 4th Annual event, we became completely sponsored by businesses and individuals who want to give back, right here where we live. Years ago- a lot of what made the event came out of our own pockets… which was something we were prepared for, but appreciate now that it’s changed. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many wanting to drive change and to be a positive force in the community. 

So here we are, a few hours out from the big day beginning, and I’m so excited I can’t sleep. This event is our little piece of what we’re able to put out into the world, and it feels amazing. If this day inspires a few people to give a little more than they do, then we’ve done our job. At the very least, we can provide some assistance for our local charities and organizations, and provide a positive, fun day for the community. In our last 3 tournaments we’ve raised $25,000 and hope to add another 10k to that number tomorrow for Nam Knights of the LV and Logan’s Heroes Animal Recue! 🐾🇺🇸⚾️

If you want to see more about our event, please visit GiveBackSoftball.com & please comment below if you need any inspo or help creating a Give Back event!

To helping those in your community… ❤️

-Aurora