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Independence Day 🇺🇸

Days like today, I’m filled with such pride to be an American. I’m always proud of my country, but on days like this, where we are all united in celebrating it, it feels even more amazing.

Today we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. Something accomplished hundreds of years ago, yet the FREEDOM still remains. To think of the impact this declaration would have on the millions of lives that came after it is nothing short of amazing. To know we live somewhere where we are truly FREE is such a blessing, especially when you know others around the world don’t live this way.

So in honor of all Americans who fought for this freedom, and those who don’t have the chance to exercise it where they live, I won’t take this day for granted. I’ll keep the fallen in my heart today and always, and pray for those who continue to fight for our freedom. We live in the Land of the Free, because of the Brave. Because of our, American, Brave.

Happy 4th of July everyone and God Bless America ♥️🇺🇸

-Aurora

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Not Taking Others Words & Actions Personally = Freedom

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” – The Scarlet Letter

Ah….. I know I always start my blogs this way when something really hits me, but, WOW!!!!! This perfectly sums up how I’ve been feeling lately- like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders- yet, I had no idea how heavy the weight was until it was gone. It literally feels like I’m viewing my life differently and in a more positive light than even a few weeks ago. My mood feels different, my energy has shifted. I mean, I feel… happy.

I feel free.

Don’t get me wrong, I try to approach life and others in a positive light as much as anyone else might, but something shifted a few months (maybe even a year back), and I was experiencing all this negative self talk. I touched on this a few postings ago in, Let’s Talk Self Talk and I really feel like this blog was the tip of the Positivity Iceberg  that I was about to meet.

(Positivity Iceberg, noun: a made up term I just created to define the beginning of feeing positive, and so much more is to come underneath it) 🙂

So what was this shift?

Let me start by telling you why the shift needed to happen. The feeling of letting others “stuff” effect your mood, actions and thoughts- this can be a killer. These feelings have been something weighing me down, making me second guess myself, keeping me up some nights and overall killing my positive way of thinking. When people would say something negative to me, or even about others, or make a “dig” to me or a side comment, it would really effect me. When did I start worrying so much about what others thought? Especially the negative things, and why did I start putting blame on myself and putting so much thought into their thoughts over my own truth? 

After overanalyzing too many situations and nearing a breaking point, I said enough. It is EXHAUSTING to think in the ways I just described. Right? I’m sure many of you reading this are probably like,”Wow… Aurora that’s rough.” While others are thinking, “WOW, I thought I was alone in this.” This blog is for both of you.

About a month and a half ago, I began doing the work to figure out why I’ve felt this way, and how to stop it. Sometimes you need to walk through the tough things to figure them out, rather than avoid and suppress them, so that’s what I did- I began walking.

 Friends, it’s every semi-corny quote you’ve ever read… it’s the ones you read and think, “that is so cheesy...” or “yeah great point but doesn’t apply to me.” And here they are:

“What people think of you is none of your business.”

“Nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves.”

“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”

“A wise man once said nothing.”

“Most people barely know themselves, so what does it matter what they think of you”

GUYSSSS…. these cheesy quotes are not BS! They’re actually true… and I think talking through how I was feeling and applying them to my own life and circumstances caused some kind of light bulb to go off… It does not matter what people think of you, especially the bad things they are projecting onto you from you own experiencing. We all have our “stuff” : Our history, the way we were raised, the beliefs hardwired into us, our insecurities and judgements. Every single person has this “stuff” that they are possibly able to project onto you. Fitting you into THEIR narrative.

THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT A REALITY.

I’m gonna say it louder for the people in the back…

THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT A REALITY.

And until you believe that, to your core, you won’t be able to move beyond these thoughts. When I’m telling you I literally feel lighter, and happier, I mean it. The thoughts I felt were suffocating me at times I now see were projections onto me of others “stuff,” not necessarily truths that I have to over analyze within myself. Understanding this has changed my self talk, and has made me feel so happy and positive approaching each new day. It’s CRAZY!!!! I get teary eyed even thinking about it.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t times where you need to own making mistakes or accept the invite to an argument you should attend… I’m not talking about those things. More than I believe in self-love and acceptance, I also believe in owning your crap and apologizing/ talking through difficult things with people who matter to you. So in these instances, I think it’s important to remember it could matter what people think of you and that it’s right to discuss what needs working through. I also think it’s important to remember when we’re projecting our own “stuff” onto others. We all do it. All of us. But being aware of it is the first step to not projecting onto others when we feel the need to.

The other piece of this is that it’s okay to feel the words and actions of others, even if they sting, but the important piece is to remind yourself that those words and actions may be more about them. Will I find myself dwelling on these things in the future, sure, but I feel more confident and feeling them and letting them go, rather than holding onto them like I used to.

All in all, friends, this feeling is amazing. And if I didn’t take the time to pause, think and talk through it all, I don’t think I’d be here. It’s only more validating when I hear close friends say they notice a lightness in me- if that’s not proof, I don’t know what is. If you feel like you’re going through something similar, don’t hesitate to send me a message. I’m happy to share more in detail about my path to help you maybe get on your own.

Ah, I feel free. Absolute FREEDOM from the exhausting and overwhelming feelings I’ve had. And most of all, I feel proud that I took the steps to arrive here.

To feeling F-R-E-E,

-Aurora

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Becoming Yourself Again

“Keep Taking Time For Yourself Until You’re You Again”

YOWZZAAAA

Did this hit me like a ton of bricks or what? WARNING: Lots of honesty in this post. Over the last few months, I haven’t been feeling much like myself. And when I say like myself, I mean, the person whom I thought I was; the person people tell me I am: happy, cheerful, positive, go-getting, someone who starts each day with a bright perspective etc. I know I’ve talked about it here before, but I couldn’t 100% put my finger on what it was that felt different. All I knew for certain was that I wanted a change, because something just didn’t feel right. So these last few weeks, I began asking myself:

“When was the last time you felt most like you and what were the things in your life that were making you happy?”

I pulled out my handy note-book where I do my “brain dumps,” and began jotting things down. When I felt the most like me, I was:

  • Getting in some kind of physical activity multiple times a week (going for walks, going to the gym, karate etc).
  • Spending time each day talking to God and feeling a stronger connection with him.
  • Getting sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. My GOSH this is a big one!! My normal bedtime these days is anytime after 11:00pm. Even on school work nights! This is partially because I like spending time with my husband and catching up on our day, but it’s also partially because I have a hard time falling sleep. 
  • Blogging regularly/connecting with readers.
  • Volunteering and giving back to my local community as often as I could
  • Eating/Drinking well. Less fast food, more fruits and veggies, less adult beverages, more Crystal Lite (hah, you expected me to say water?? NOPE)!
  • When I felt most like me I was Confident
  • And lastly, spending time with people who inspire, motivate, challenge and excite me when I’m around them!

PHEW, what a list huh? Did any of those resonate with you too? I don’t feel like I have lost any of these completely, but they were all part of my normal routine and contributed to my overall happiness… my overall ME. So in the last few weeks, and especially this week, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting some of the old me back. It’s all of the above and making the time for them- not making excuses as to why they’re not a part of my life at the moment. 

Fall in love with the process of becoming the very best version of yourself - Words of Wisdom

So I have to ask, when was the last time you felt like YOU? If the answer isn’t right now, I challenge you to have the courage to stop what you’re doing, and dig a little bit as to where you have been, and how to get yourself back.

My process began right before my last post, When You’re Tired, Rest. and is continuing each and every day. If there are things you need to pump the brakes on in your life to find you and your happiness again, do it. Break the plans, say “No” to things that get in the way of your path, have courage when thrusting yourself back into something that might no longer feel comfortable and r e l a x. It won’t all happen overnight, so remember to have patience with yourself. And if you need someone to help you figure out how, I’m only a few key strokes away. 

To finding ourselves again,

-Aurora 

This is the beginning of loving yourself. Welcome home. #selfdevelopment #sarahfreedom #sarah #freedom - Sarah Freedom Self Development - #beginning #Development #freedom #home #Loving #Sarah #sarahfreedom #selfdevelopment

Dreams · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goals · Living with Intention · Motivation · New Year · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized · Valentine’s Day

Love Yourself This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Week friends!

Ahhh I love, love. Valentine’s Day is always one of my favorite holidays because we’re taking the time to acknowledge the love in our life in a way that’s more than we typically would. I am one of those people who believe we should ALWAYS celebrate the love in our life, but I also love the day that’s devoted to it– Valentine’s Day! ❤️

There is something though, that I know many people can relate to, and feel this time of year, and that’s being alone on Valentine’s Day.

So how do you celebrate a holiday that’s focused on love, when you’re not in it?

I think an alternative to throwing a SICK Anti-Valentine’s Day Party is that you can also celebrate the love you feel in your life and the love you have for yourself. I know, not as fun and less of a party- BUT the day itself celebrates love, so why not celebrate the love you have for others (even if not romantic), and the self love you have (or need to work on) for yourself?

I think it’s so important to ALWAYS practice self-love, whether you’re in a relationship or not, so why not use the day as a treat-yo-self, love yourself, remind yourselfday that you’re worthy of love?

So to my single friends and readers, Happy Valentine’s Day- I hope you spend the day remembering that the day is about LOVE and not necessarily about being in it. I think it’s important to remember that this day is going to change meaning throughout all of our lives, so while you’re waiting for your person to enter your life, love yourself a little bit extra and remember that love surrounds you always.

To my friends and readers in relationships– I echo the above message 10 fold, and also want to remind you to use this day and appreciate, love on and reflect on the love in your life. Love is magic, and all too often, we don’t treat it each day like we do on Valentine’s Day.

On a personal note…

I’ve seen the meaning of Valentine’s Day evolve over the years in my own life. And year after year, I become more and more grateful for the love I have with my husband, our incredible family and the love we receive from close friends and people in our lives. I’ve had this day pass where I didn’t feel much love at all, and days where my heart is bursting. So this year, I’m tearing a page from all the above and just appreciating all the love I feel in my life. I know I’m surrounded by it, so that’s what I’ll celebrate this year.

My dear friends, Happy Valentine’s Day. If it makes a difference, I LOVE YOU and am sending it to you no matter where you are.

To you & your Valentines… ❤️

-Aurora

 

PS, Xerox also has these addddorrrrabblleeeeeee FREE card print outs if you want any for your friends or loves!!!

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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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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