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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

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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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If You Can’t Be Kind, Be Quiet.

Being rude is easy. It does not take any effort and is a sign of weakness and insecurity. Kindness shows great self-discipline and strong self-esteem. Being kind is not always easy when dealing with rude people. Kindness is a sign of a person who has done a lot of personal work and has come to a great self-understanding and wisdom. Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time because kindness is a sign of STRENGTH.

This week I came across a few instances and reminders of how important it is to be KIND. Most importantly, I was reminded how important it is to be kind, even when someone isn’t being kind to you or has done something hurtful or rude to you. YIKES is that a hard one or what? You know me, and my likelihood of being a positivity promoter, but how can you do that when someone is rude or mean to you?

It isn’t easy!

There is someone in my life, whom I care a lot about, that sometimes falls in the category I mentioned above. Every once in awhile, they cross that line of no return: they say something that is mean, rude or insensitive, and it leaves me wondering:

what the heck did I do do deserve that?

So when I tell you that I KNOW being kind to a rude person is not easy, I mean it. How can you turn the cheek when it’s someone close to you and also, how do you turn the cheek when it’s someone NOT close to you (maybe a boss, co-worker, person on the street, acquaintance, social media troll etc). I’ll touch on both of these topics:

  1. Someone close to you. I just paused and sighed as I wrote that. This is probably the worst. I am a firm believer in that if you allow someone to continuously treat you a certain way {good or bad}, that they will continue to do so, because it’s a learned, established behavior. In my adult life, I’ve never had a problem with confrontation, nor do I view tough conversations as negative, because I believe they’re important to reach a positive outcome. I expect, that if we’re having a mature conversation, that two adults should be able to come to a resolution, even if not right away, {or if there’s some screaming and yelling}, because they both should have the same desired outcome- a resolution. If the other person isn’t on this same page, or isn’t open to mature discussion (right away or ever), the Road Less Traveled here, is Kindness. I think this is most applicable with people who might not be being anywhere (family, bosses, co-workers etc). People do not have to be on the same page as you for you to be kind to them. By being kind, you’re respecting that they aren’t where you’re at and whatever position it is that they have in your life. My advice, you remain calm and kind to these people. Be the example of how they should act, and remember, being kind always puts you in right.

2. Someone NOT close to you. These people ALWAYS get 1 of 2 things from me: a quick witted (but KIND, sometimes sarcastic) response OR a smile and no response at all.

Because sometimes, being KIND also means keeping your mouth shut.

Especially when you know it won’t help make the situation better. In my career, it’s not uncommon for me to have hard conversations with employees, and every once in awhile, a rude, unnecessary comment gets directed toward me. Sometimes it’s public, sometimes it’s behind closed doors, but it does happen. I would say 99.9% of the time, it has nothing to do with me, and more about the issue at hand, so I always try to remember that. This might be an occasion where I smile and not say much, or I respond kindly and try to understand their view. This is also where I practice keeping my mouth shut. Is there someone in your workplace bothering you? Can you try harder to keep a smile, and focus on yourself? It’s not easy people, but I’m telling you- It’s Worth IT!

I think another place we see this is in our own communities and day-to-day interactions with strangers. It is SO important to remember Kindness, even when we are in a rush or having a bad day. Why? Because of the ripple-effect not being kind can have. Imagine the impact you can make in someones day by going out of your way to be Kind, rather than the opposite effect of what being rude, mean or frustrated can create.

I’m going to leave you with inspiration I’ve gained over the last week. I began following Real Talk Kim on Twitter and think she is one of the realest, most genuine people on there! She’s all about keeping it real, while also promoting positivity, faith and being Kind. I also listen weekly to the Podcast of my favorite Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe  and her guests this week, Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, are the creators of the Kind Campaign. This campaign focuses on girl on girl bullying, and it’s lasting effects, while also taking a preventative measure, focusing on forgiveness and KINDness. It’s truly remarkable, and I encourage you to check it out. I’m passing along the inspiration I received from them, so help keep the chain going!

What a difference we could all make if we chose to treat one another with Kindness, even, and especially when, it isn’t easy.

And remember…

Now go spread some Kindess!

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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Of All The Things That Happened, What Didn’t?

C7C2C468-050D-4046-B613-FDA41CB94E98Sometimes you need to thank God for what didn’t happen. Thank Him for the things He’s stopped that you knew nothing about.

How deep is this? Trust me, I know. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, especially as we head into the time of year thinking about things we are thankful for, spending time with loved ones, exchanging gifts etc. We all have the scenarios in our lives that we wish played out differently. Maybe it’s a lost relationship, a negative situation or argument or even that one job you wanted to get that never worked out. God’s plan is so much bigger than ours that we can’t begin to fathom it’s greatness and complexity.

And let’s talk about gratitude- It’s so much easier to be thankful for something when you wanted it and now appreciate having it. How about the things we never had to endure or go through because God stopped them from happening? There are very few times in our life where we can see something almost happened and didn’t (and we become grateful), but what about the things we can’t see? I’ll tell you what- these thoughts alone are enough to make me grateful.

To know that God has had my back my whole life and continues to do so, regardless of my continued praise and appreciation that I may forget to show sometimes. How amazing it is to have the ultimate spiritual, mental, emotional and physical bodyguard, even if you forget to say thanks every once in awhile.

Thank you for all the things that didn’t happen.

-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