Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful

I am eternally grateful to every person, near and far, who has shaped me into who I am today, new faces and old.

I am thankful for the struggle, the hurt, the pain and anguish; it is because of these things I am stronger today than I ever have been. 

I am thankful for the blessings, the love, friendship, and support I was able to experience in life; it is because of these things that I am still standing. 

I am truly blessed for having a family, great friends, and my fur-babies (pets) for they have made life a joy to live. 

I am thankful for a body that moves and functions and every sense in my being that has helped me discover the life around me; the sounds, the sights, the smells, the touch, the feelings that enrich the very life I live.

Finally, I am most thankful to my God who has given me an opportunity to live this life. He has seen me through my sorrows, carried me through my struggle, and has given me a dream. He has given me a song to sing, a story to write, and a chance to make a difference. 

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 30:11

For all this, I am thankful.



Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

20 Signs to Know if You're Bitter or Better

Did someone ever do you wrong in life? Chances are, the answer is yes. If you're tired of feeling upset about it, now's the time to change. If you still need a little convincing, here are some tell-tale signs that you're still not over it and it's time to turn a new leaf.



1. The thought of this person makes you cringe - He or she may be out of your life, but just thinking about him/her is enough to make your blood boil.

2. You think about the terrible things you should've/could've/would've done to him/her had you the chance - If you could only turn back time, how different things would be. 

3. The thought of revenge sounds appetizing - Revenge is a dish best served cold. Did I just stir the pot for you?

4. You can't stop bringing up the past - If you're still talking about the incident like it just happened, chances are you're still not over it.

5. The problem keeps replaying itself in your mind - It's all you can think about. It's a broken record that keeps playing over and over and over...

6. You blame others for your disposition in life - They're the ones that got you here! They made you this crazy!

7. You have a hard time trusting others - Life is so much better alone, right?

8. You complain. ALL. THE. TIME - What's got your goat today? Who did what this time? Blah-dee-blah-dee-blah.

9. You have control issues - It's my way or the highway. Can't you read the sign?! 

10. You're no laughing matter - Anyone that makes a wise-crack at your expense is sure in for a rude awakening. You're the one that makes the jokes, not the other way around.

11. You are always sizing up the competition - No one's gonna beat you today! You've got so much more going on for you than the opposing party. IN YOUR FACE, jerks!

12. You can't be happy for anyone else - You got a promotion? I'm so happy for you (cue the sarcasm).

13. You secretly wish you were someone else - He/she has such a better life than me. My life sucks.

14. You think everyone is a hater - Don't hate me cuz you ain't me.

15. No one's problems are as bad as your problems - Your grandma just died? Need I remind you that my cat just died last week? Pull yourself together, it's not the end of the world.

16. You party your life away - Time to chase that disco ball around 'til you don't remember...

17. You think everyone is out to get you - I mean, c'mon! Did you see the way she looked at me?! I'm definitely the victim here. 

18. You're a social media stalker - Still hoping to catch him/her doing bad. Karma, anyone?

19. You have an excuse to throw a pity party for yourself any chance you get - "I never go anywhere nice because I never have any money because my job sucks because my boss is an idiot which is why my life's in shambles and why my cat died and why I got divorced and why I don't have a house...etc."

20. And you have every excuse in the book as to why you can't change - No time, no money, no drive, no friends, no help, no life, etc.


If you relate to one or more of these scenarios, then it's time for a change because you're as bitter as 100% dark chocolate. Sure, you might look great from the outside, but one bite of you and people are spitting you out of their mouths. 

It's hard hanging around someone so angry, defensive all the time and I'm sure you're sick of feeling it too. Trust me, I know from experience. I've been on both the sending and receiving end of bitterness and neither is a fun place to be.

The one thin I've learned along the way, however, is that Jesus takes my burdens and carries them for me. I'm no longer enslaved to my self. I realize that I haven't given all my hurts to him for healing and this is why I struggle with bitterness still.

No one's perfect and I'm no fortune teller, so it is because of this reason that I need outside help; someone who can see the road ahead and guide me down it. However, trusting God means that I need faith - faith that He knows what He's doing, faith that He'll help me even when the going gets tough, and faith that I have no control of the world around me...but He does.

Still unsure about how to get to that point? Here are a few steps that helped me:

1. Understand that you have a problem.

You're not immune to the pain of the world which is how you got this way. It's always better when you're honest to yourself and admit that you don't have it all together.

2. Accept the way things are/what happened. 

This is your life. This is where you truly are. People aren't perfect and hurt people hurt people.  Until you can accept that, you'll always be bitter.

3. Realize that change is possible.

I've changed and I've seen others change. It is the willingness to change that gets anyone anywhere.

4. Stop making excuses.

 It's going to take a lot of effort on your part. It's not easy and it never will be, but you get stronger somewhere along the way. 

5. Perseverance counts.

You're going to fail, but as long as you don't quit, things will look up.

6. Look UP.

God is the underlying ingredient for change. People can go their whole lives trying to change without God and they may be successful for a while, maybe even a long while. But humans can only change what's within their control (which isn't very much when you think about it). It's what isn't in your control that you're going to need outside help with. God is GREATER than you. He created you and the world you live in. It only makes sense that you look to Him for help when you're lost. God leads His followers in the direction that they should go and it is never for their harm, but for their benefit. It's not always the easiest way, but it is always the better way. Remember that.

7. Meditate.

Read the Bible or a devotional. Take one verse that spoke to you and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Talk to God like you would with anyone you enjoy talking to. He's a loving, forgiving, Father. He'll understand. Don't know where to start? Try Psalms or Proverbs.

We are all a work in progress and bad habits take years to break. Hopefully this list helps you get started down the long road from bitterness to better-ness!


Anyone else have something they'd like to add to either list? Let me know in the comments!

That's it for now! Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Friend Zoned


Being a girl isn't always easy. For girls like me, it was plain tough.

As a child, I was nothing short of the "nerdy" stereotype. I was a tall, lanky, brown thing with long, curly naps, and glasses that took up half my face. I was awkward in every form of the word growing up - quiet, shy, laughed with my hands in front of my mouth all the way up until the end of 8th grade, and clumsy as all heck (I have a great story for that later...). My clothes were never really in (however, my "nerd" clothes are coming back full-circle these days) and I had a crazy obsession with the '70s. While other little kids were playing Nintendo, I was outside looking for aliens in my patterned bell bottoms singing along to "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne.

While I was never really in-tune with other little children of my generation, I was always willing. I, like many other children, desired to be accepted by my peers. I just wanted to be friends with everyone! I think most kids, if not all, desire that.

Sadly, not all children understand compassion at a young age. Not all children share, not all of them befriend the lonely, nor are they accepting of children they deem different from the rest, which is usually where I fell back then. While not all children were unfriendly, there were some that were just plain mean and to this day I can still remember the unkind words spoken to me.

Most parents can only hope and pray that their children never have to face these difficulties growing up, but this is usually not the case. Somewhere along the way, a child's heart is broken, even just a little, by the words and actions of people unaware of how their behavior can have a lasting impact on others.

Thus, an inaccurate sense of self is born, often maturing into insecurity, self-loathing, and shamefulness. As a result, children get older and get better at building walls for themselves. When you're an adult, however, you realize that the walls never seem to be tall enough or strong enough to keep the pain away.

So what do we do then? Build bigger walls, of course, in hopes that the new wall will do better to keep the hurt on the other side. But it never, truly works...

As I grew older, I tried harder to fit in and make friends. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I found that it was almost 10 times harder to be friends with girls! The more I tried, the more they distanced themselves from me, it seemed. It was like I just wasn't cracking the code or that I was speaking a totally different language! It didn't get any better out of school either.

There were many girls that walked out of my life as quickly as they had come in and many of which had taken some kind of advantage of me. I was the nice girl that had something to offer them for the time being, but was never interesting enough to keep around. I was the listening ear, the word of advice, a prayer to God, and the giver of gifts; yet they never stuck around.

I used to get so depressed about not being able to keep a single, solid friendship with girls that I decided to shut them out altogether. If I felt like they were getting too close, I'd find a way to distance myself. If I thought they were using me, I'd ignore them. I stopped returning texts, screened phone calls, and pretended I disappeared into oblivion because that's what I really wanted anyway - to disappear.

I hated girls. I couldn't understand them. Every time I tried, I just couldn't find my way into their world. In fact, I had such a hard time feeling truly comfortable with girls that I felt like a man. I was just as clueless as most men are when it came to understanding what it was they wanted from me and that's what made me hate them more.

There were a number of things I hated about them - they were catty, gossiping, cliquish, expensive, hopeless romantics and boy-crazy, dramatic, show-offs that were judgmental, crush-stealing, backstabbing, fake, fat-fearing, jerks. Why in the world would ANYONE want to be friends with a girl?! Just thinking about them made my blood boil.

I figured if I wasn't worth a moment of their time, then they weren't worth ANYTHING to me. I grew tired of trying and eventually came to accept that I would never be friendship material. I eventually became neutral in all of my acquaintances with girls and learned not to expect much from them...ever. I treasured my alone time instead. Any girl that tried getting in the middle of that would be cut off. All I needed was me.

Then one day, it hit me - perhaps I was looking at the problem from the wrong perspective. All I ever focused on was why girls never liked me, when in fact I was the one that never liked me. I hated myself. I hated everything about me. I hated my appearance, my personality, my disposition in life - everything. I just couldn't see how or why anyone could enjoy my presence when I couldn't even stand it myself and I'm sure that attitude leaked into all of my prospective relationships.

I began to soul-search to figure out where all of this self-loathing started and realized I had held onto the terrible things said and done to me throughout the years - most of which were done by none other than girls. It was because of these incidents that I had gotten so good at building walls. I figured if I remembered that girls were the enemy, it would keep me from getting hurt by them; yet I still expected to be friends with them? With this logic, friendships would never work!

Hating myself was the result of holding onto the bad things I experienced in my life. In reality, what people say to and about me shouldn't matter. Now, I am in no way negating the fact that pain doesn't exist, however, I am saying that it is possible to walk away from it. Often times we think that by holding onto pain it will keep us from getting hurt by others, but when we look closer, what is it that we still have? Pain.

Girls will always be girls, but hurt people hurt people. Our pain always shows up in our actions. This explains why I was hurt so often and why I continued to hurt others in return. There are plenty of women that were never healed from their childhood and I was one of them, but I didn't want that to be the end of my story.

****

Once I started the journey to loving myself again, God sent an amazing sister my way. She reminded me that there is still hope and love in this world, even for girls like me. She never judged me, always listened to me, and validated me in ways that I needed; in ways I wish more girls could do with each other. She's understanding, kind, faith-filled, weird and dorky (like me!), and everything I had ever wanted in a friend. And while she and I have A LOT in common, there are things she and I can learn from each other as well.


As I'm enjoying the blossoming of a beautiful friendship, I am slowly learning to let go of the bad experiences I've had with girls. I am on a mission to loving myself and girls the way God does. My hope for this mission is to be able to spread love and healing to women everywhere; that they would realize the root of their pain and how it spreads like a cancer to other women; that we could all be united as one - beautiful, wild, and free... And hopefully to end "friend-zoning" amongst females once and for all. 

Has anyone else been "friend-zoned" by girls? It could be anything from indirect bullying to fake "friends." How did it make you feel and what did you do about it? What do you wish could have been done differently? Let me know in the comments!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Mana Monday

So, if you're not my friend on Instagram or Facebook, you are probably unaware of the fact that Tim and I bought ourselves a NEW PUPPY! Her name is Mana (strength in Hawaiian) and she's a 6 month old (almost 7 months) blue-nose pit bull. She is the sweetest, most docile dog I have gotten the pleasure of owning and we are so glad we have her!


Of course, having a dog can be quite a task, especially when it's your first one and Mana has definitely been a handful. Most of our issues came from potty training her. We were fortunate enough to have bought her already potty-pad trained, however, the pad situation was getting really old, really fast. 

Tim and I live in a small, one bedroom apartment right now and we live on the 5th floor - not exactly walking distance from the ground. Did I mention Mana actually prefers to pee on hard surfaces? She hates going on the grass and won't go unless she's held it in for hours. We figured we could train her to potty on her pads on our lanai, but it was getting so smelly and sticky after a while that we needed another alternative. 

Tim and I ended up buying the Porch Potty which ended up being perfect for apartment life. Mana's been doing well on it and it's been saving us a lot of time cleaning up oceans of pee on the floor. It does have an odor to it, especially since we can only get the synthetic grass here in Hawaii due to agricultural purposes, but I figured out a system that makes it smell less. I'll share my review on the Porch Potty in another post.

Other than that, life with Mana has been an adventure and we still have so much growing, playing, and loving to go! 





Anyone else own a pit bull or have advice for new dog owners like us? Let me know in the comments!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Fall!

Happy November, All!

I can't believe it's that time again - the air is crisper, the sky is darker, and the smells of cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin are all around. Ahhh, sweet bliss.

It is also most importantly the time for family and friendship, which means lots of traveling, shopping, eating, and beating the "holiday rush."

Most families, like mine, enjoy taking yearly pictures to send to other relatives around the world. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, but without the right angle or editing, sometimes the only word for it is - blah.

To avoid boring, old pictures, I started using PicMonkey to edit our photos. There are so many possibilities! It has all of your basic photo editing features like cropping, filters, and text, but it also has other great options like collages and holiday themed features.

Here are a few pictures that I edited using PicMonkey.






Pretty simple, right? 

They're only small edits, but they make all the difference when you're sending them out to loved ones! They give a more vibrant and timeless feel to the pictures and they come out beautifully in print. 

What are some photo editing sites that you use? Share with me because I could always use more ideas!

That's it for now! Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!