Just Blessed

blessed1We spend so much time thinking about what we don’t have…it is time to really take a look at what we do have.

The truth is, we are truly BLESSED

I wake up every morning and see the sun and feel the fan blowing on my skin and I think to myself…He isn’t through with me yet! I am alive, I am well, I am loved, I am Blessed!

We sometimes take advantage of the fact that we have made it to the next day. Every day is a gift and we need to honor that by living…truly living that day at our best and on purpose. We wake up and know that our heart is beating…that is a reminder of a blessing and we should take care of our heart so it can continue to take care of us.

Take your time acknowledging your body when you wake…

Your eyes let you know that you still have a vision. You can see what is possible and youblessed4 have the ability to go places, not just the places you physically go every day, but the places that you have only dreamed of going. Our legs move us and if yours are working today, you can get up and go…you can leave! You can go in any direction you choose. Our lungs are filling with air and they remind us that we are alive and breathing…growing! Think of who you are. You are funny, talented, you love hard, you work hard, you have a great imagination and creativity, you are empathetic, and have great insight. You add value to others and you work on you every day…right? Having all of that brings good people and unique experiences into your life.

See, you are Blessed!

blessed3Ok, I know that there are other things happening in our lives though, I know, trust me. We have to believe that even in our hard times, even when you feel there is no hope, even when we cannot see our way through a thing…we are STILL blessed.

These trials are lessons for us. The failures and disappointments, the lost loves, frustrations, confusion, and the diagnosis…all lessons. Without lessons, where would we be? Would we have conviction, values, vision or emotion? We are blessed to have lessons that remind us of who we are…they also shape us into who we are to be. We also get to see who we do not want to be. We are blessed to have lessons. We get to realize our bad habits and to see when we have lost our empathy for others. Our lessons are also teaching us when we should walk away from bad habits, people and situations that do not serve us. We cannot grow without lessons!

Lessons heal us!!

When we receive those lessons, no matter how long it takes, they show us that we can come back from anything. We can find our footing and those hardened hearts can be made soft again. We can see the beauty in others and in ourselves again as well as the experiences we have going forward. All of the cracks that were found in our lives and blessed2believed to be too big can be fixed.

This morning when I woke up, I saw light..the sun, I immediately thank God for another opportunity to get it right. That was before I touched my phone, to-do list or the tv…just to be present with myself and my God and make sure that all was right within my heart. Just being alive at that moment meant everything to me. Every day begins the same for me.  I don’t spend time thinking about what I have to do, people I have to see or talk to, I don’t judge myself…nothing like that. I just BE…in the moment.

I work on keeping my mind on my blessing throughout the day. Of course, life does jump in there and put other things on my mind but we can find our blessing in every moment if we just stop and think about what we are thinking about. (repeat that one to yourself)

Just in case you do not see the blessings…

  • You have a roof over your head
  • You have enough money to supply your needs.
  • You have people that love you. There are people out there that you haven’t met yet that are going to love you and open your heart even more.
  • You have your health, even if it’s not optimal. You can always work on improving what you have the ability to improve. Thank all of your body parts for working to the best of their ability to keep you going.
  • You have hobbies, passions, and interests that can fill your heart with joy.

blessedThe best one is the witness of the first breath that we are aware of each morning and the sunshine to light the day. Be aware of it when things are good, but make sure you really pay attention when you are feeling down or going through. When you do, all of the things that you are worried about, all of the weight that you are carrying, the failures, the disappointments…those things will seem distant when you are reflecting on the abundance around you.

 

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Honey–Beauty Tips

honeySo in this ever-growing and changing beauty world, there are some old tricks that will never die. I use honey for a lot of things, especially in addition to my regular beauty regimen when my body needs some extra loving. Raw honey has anti-microbial, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial properties. It also speeds up the healing process and prevents infection. So here are some uses for honey to add to your nighttime routine for a healthier, more beautiful you…honey3

  • Winter is coming and that means our lips are going to need a little extra attention. For dry lips, I exfoliate with a thin layer of honey and sugar before I go to bed. Follow with Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and I wake up with soft, smooth lips.
  • If you have problems with acne, which I do occasionally, you can apply raw honey to the affected area and cover it with a bandaid. Leave it overnight and just rinse in the morning. Enzymes in the honey will draw out fluid, drying it out.
  • honey1Winter also brings dry hair for some. You can mix raw honey with some olive oil or coconut oil and wrap your hair up overnight. This will help to add moisture to your hair.
  • For beautiful glowing skin, this trick has been awesome for me. I have to skip applying it to my nose because my nose is an over-achiever in the department of making oil so I just miss my nose. Mix one part raw honey and two parts aloe vera gel. Apply this on your face before you go to bed.
  • You can use honey for scars too! Just apply a thin layer of raw, organic honey and leave it on the scar overnight.
  • Do you have blackheads? Mix some honey and lemon juice and apply it to the affected area.

The reason why these are part of my nighttime self-care is that nighttime is when we work on repairing and rejuvenating our skin. Our skin needs to be nourished and nighttime is when we should address our skin issues, like antiaging and acne.IMG_5805

Be sure that you are purchasing raw honey to receive the full benefits. Raw honey contains the beneficial compounds associated with the healing and health benefits associated with this organic food. Other benefits of raw honey are that it boosts your energy levels, helps you fall asleep faster, cut and burn treatment, treat fever blisters, soothes acid reflux, aids in digestion, boosts your immune system, hangovers, and sinus issues to name just a few.

So let’s thank the bees for hooking us up and get all of the benefits of honey that we can.

 

6 Ways to Become a More Independent Thinker

independentthinker4Do you find yourself relying on the opinions of others instead of thinking for yourself? I know that I have found myself listening to others in order to make decisions about my own life. When I hear myself say it, it doesn’t make sense, but I did it…a lot! Most of the time, the advice was ill-advised and I was left wishing that I would have just done what I was telling myself. Learning how to become an independent thinker takes some retraining of your brain…THAT takes time and energy, and a whole lot of patience. Ok, so I have a few steps that you (and I) can take to start thinking for yourself.

  1. independentthinkerLet go of your preconceptions. As an independent thinker, all of the things that were “instilled” in you or that you were indoctrinated into believing have to go. These are things that were given to you by people who you trust and you adopted the thinking. Sit down and think rationally and keep an open mind. Have you ever thought that those things that you were taught and now make up your reality may be wrong? Think about them…do this thinking without emotion and see what you come up with.
  2. Question all things! DO not just accept everything that you are told. Ask yourself WHY every once in a while. You don’t have to think the way the rest of them think or do what everyone else is doing. Just because things are being done one way now, does not mean that it will be done that way forever. Try to become more aware of independentthinker1all of the hypocrisy in your life and the lives of those close to you.
  3. Watch/listen to educational material. I am a reader and definitely listen to podcasts often, if not daily. Free education is everywhere. Take advantage of it in your free time. You won’t be sorry. And do your own research. Take your time looking for information that will help you make a fair judgment about things you have an opinion about. If you enjoy debates, you need to have information to back up your opinions. This way you can also form opinions using logic and not emotions…things get heated for no reason that way.
  4. Travel more! This is my ultimate favorite of course. For a change in perspective, we have to get out of our neighborhoods and see what things are like out there. Seeing independentthinker2the way other people live makes you realize that the environment that you live in is just a bubble, and there other ways to do things. Things are a certain way for each of us, but we should know that it is not going to be the same way for others. Get out there and see a different perspective so that you can learn more about yourself as well.
  5. Watch the company you keep. “If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”. DO you know that saying? I LOVE that saying because, for me, it is driving me to find people that are where I want to be. I mean, we all know something that we can teach to others and we should fill our lives with people who have knowledge that we are pursuing. It is especially rewarding to find others that are on the same journey or close to it. This way you all can expose each other to new ideas and lend a hand or two along the way.independentthinker3
  6. Read more! Honestly, there is nothing like curling up on the couch with a good book and escaping reality…if only for a couple of hours. Libraries are one of my favorite places, along with the book store. All of the knowledge that is waiting for us to grab! We need to continue to enlighten our minds. Reading makes us more well-rounded and insightful and The more we know, the more thought-provoking and solid our conversations, opinions, and stance will be.

Health Minute: Tumeric

turmeric1So I have been researching some natural ways to deal with inflammation. I admit that I am aging (nice and slow but it is still it is happening) and I am feeling the effects of it occasionally. So after looking at a few things, I decided to try Turmeric. And I was searching, I found a tea…I am a huge tea person so this should be perfect right?

Turmeric is a bright yellow-orangish spice that is used in curries and sauces and comes from the turmeric root. For thousands of years, it has been used for its medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties.

I had only seen turmeric in the spice or pill form, but I am finding out that Turmeric tea is one popular form of consuming the spice. It does have a unique flavor and it has some great health benefits.

  • Eases arthritis symptoms. Turmeric has very strong anti-inflammatory properties turmericthat can help ease inflammation and swelling in people who suffer from arthritis. It is said to reduce the painful symptoms. There was a study that found that the active ingredient, curcumin, was effective in reducing pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
  • Helps prevent cancer. The National Cancer Institute has recognized curcumin as an effective anticarcinogen, which is a substance that helps prevent cancer.
  • Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. There is a lot of research happening out there to find out what causes the disease, but they are finding that the curcumin found in turmeric2turmeric may help in the prevention of it. There has been research done that says that turmeric can reduce the synaptic marker loss and the accumulation of amyloids linked to Alzheimer’s development.
  • Boosts immune system. Studies have shown that turmeric can moderate the immune system. Its medicinal properties can boost the immune system, even in people with immune disorders.
  • Lowers Cholesterol. This one is part of the reason I wanted to try it as well. I have a
  • turmeric3thyroid problem, Grave’s that when it gets out of control, it throws a lot of things out of control. It has caused me to almost need to take a cholesterol med, which I have never heard anyone say that it didn’t have unfavorable side effects in their legs…not cool for me. I do not always eat the best foods so trying to control my Lower LDL without medication is a true goal of mine. Turmeric can help with that! In 2008, a study was done that found that a low dose of curcumin was associated with reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels.

This was just a few of the benefits that I have found and seen for myself in the past month that I have been using it. There were more…just do a little research to see how you or someone who love can benefit from it.

SO do you wanna try to make this unique tea?

turmeric5

  1. Boil 3-4 cups of water
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Stir
  3. Simmer for about 5- 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the tea into another container
  5. Add lemon, orange juice, honey, and milk to taste if desired

 

Are there any potential risks?

It is generally safe as long as you have it in moderation. Taking too much can cause a blood-thinning effect or an increase in stomach acidity, which can cause ulcers. I would check into it before using if you take blood-thinners or have a gallbladder issue, diabetes(may lower blood sugars) or stomach issues.turmeric4

Turmeric tea is safe for most people to drink. It can relieve pain and inflammation just the way that NSAIDs do without the side effects they cause like ulcers, internal bleeding, and a reduction in your white blood cell count.

 

10 Reasons to Vacation Right Now!

 

IMG_0300Now more than ever I love traveling! My boys are older so I am more inclined to get up and go, with or without them to get away from home and get some downtime. We all need it. We need to be able to remove ourselves from the “every day” and refill our tanks. Even if we take a day off, I don’t know about you, but that day off from work is just a day off from work. I can find a trillion things to do at home that will make me think I should have just gone to work.

vacation1I have been taking yearly vacations now for about 6 years and I need it! It is like breathing for me now. And at least one vacation is a cruise. Actually, I will be going on one soon and I cannot wait!! I love seeing new places, trying new dishes that I never would have tried at home, and getting to know a foreign culture. Now that I started this, I do not know how I did life before. I have a wanderlust spirit now and it gets stronger with every new adventure I take.

Here are some reasons why you should take at least one big vacation a year…

  1. You will get to know yourself better. You get a chance to think in your quiet times and the opportunity to see how you react when you are in different situations. I journal during my vacation to check in on my feelings and think about my life. I also record things that happen that I may forget when I return home to the craziness.
  2. You become smarter. Going to all of these different places helps you to gain moreIMG_6276 knowledge about the world, maps, geography, cultures, and languages. I definitely have a better sense of direction after all of my travels so far.
  3. You get to experience something new. Nothing can really surprise you about where you live. It is different when you get out there and travel. There will be plenty of culture shocks…and it is a  beautiful thing. Staying in one spot for me is boring…might as well travel and get out of that.
  4. You make wonderful memories. Nothing compares to that! Collecting special moments will always be better than collecting things. I mean, after a while, where will you put all of that stuff? If you spend your life in one place, every day seems the same.
  5. You may just find out what the meaning of life is. I believe the meaning of life is a little different for all of us because we are called to different things and we have different gifts. While I travel, I spend time with me and think…write…pray. I always think about my purpose and the things I want to work on or change about me and my life while I am away. Almost looking for a fresh start in some areas.
  6. vacation2You sometimes get to see places that you have only seen in pictures. When you step into a foreign land that you have looked at on Google or Pinterest, it seems so magical. It is such a gorgeous feeling to actually BE in the places that you have dreamed of being in, knocking things off of your bucket list.
  7. You will inspire others to travel. Even though traveling is not a hard thing, it can be hard for someone to begin doing it. When you decide to get out there and make your dreams come true, you will inspire others to go and do the same.
  8. You will have exciting stories to tell. Our passports tell some exciting stories! When you have gone out there and experienced other places, you will have hundreds of stories to tell. Each day of travel brings something spectacular to your life.
  9. You meet some amazing people.
  10. vacation3 Every person on vacation has a beautiful and unforgettable story. You learn and you are reminded of the fragility and the intensity of life. I will never forget the awesome people that I have met on vacation, some of them are now great friends of mine and we plan to travel together in the future.
  11. You will become a better person. When I travel, I see a different perspective on life. Since I have been learning these new cultures, I feel like it is easier to be more tolerant. I am more compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and definitely more at peace.

IMG_6233These are just some of the benefits of travel. Every time I pack my bags, I am deciding to create another adventure and leave my mark in those special places. I am no longer afraid to step out of my own little world and see what is out there. Memories and excitement are out there waiting for us…I am actually getting ready for my next vacation as I write and I can’t wait. See you out there.

 

 

Have You Heard Of Smudging?

smudgingHave you heard of smudging? It is becoming more popular as of late but Native Americans and indigenous people have burned sage for centuries as a part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space of negative energy, and to promote healing and wisdom. It has been used since Roman times to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats. The name sage comes from the Latin word “salvia”. It means “to feel healthy”.

The practice of “smudging” has become more popular in other cultures as well. Recently at the makeshift memorial of Nipsey Hustle, a young lady burned sage to rid the area of any negative energy.

It is said that sage “metaphysically un-clings the things that cling to us that are no longer needed–spiritually, mentally, and physically…almost the way a sponge does.” The medical benefits have not officially been well- studied.

Sage comes in different varieties. Most healers and herbalist use white sage. The white sage is used for purifying and protection. There are others like lavender sage, black sage, smudging3common sage, and blue sage, which is used for cleansing and healing. They all have their own unique qualities.

You can harvest sage yourself or buy it in bundles at a health food store, farmer’s market, or on the internet of course. Just make sure whether you grow it or purchase it, it was harvested sustainably and responsibly.

How do you burn sage? 

You light the end of the bundle and let the smoke waft into the air. If you are cleansing a room, you walk around the space with it. You can also just place it in a shell to catch ashes as it burns and just let it sit in the room.

smudging1Sage is a flavonoid–plant compound that has medicinal properties; lavender is in the same family. Some of these compounds appear to improve brain health and guard against diseases like Alzheimer’s. In some studies, sage helped against depression and anxiety, digestive problems and soothing upset stomachs. It is calming to the gut and mind in the same way that lavender is.

Be careful burning the sage because although there are no studies on the risk, it is just like burning incense and that has shown to give some people allergies or lung issues with prolonged burning. Burning for a short period of time should not cause any issues but if you have asthma or lung issues, I would consult a physician and get their opinion.

If you are worried about burning the sage, you can always try essential oils as ansmudging2 alternative.

Have you tried smudging before? Do you do it as a regular practice? I would love to hear about your experience and how you feel about the practice.

Why Have Boundaries?

boundaries1No matter how much I have accomplished in this life, I know that I am capable of achieving so much more. I am capable of finding what it is that I am looking for…even if I am not quite sure what exactly that looks like right now. I am definitely capable of being happier than I am now, capable of having the right people around me that add value to me. I am learning myself and understand me more thoroughly and I am capable of being the best version of myself, the one that hides nothing, whose confidence glows and she who exudes beauty, empathy, and purpose. That is my mission…what I am adopting as my philosophy. I wake up like this…with this on my brain.

Now this took a lot of work, and I am honestly not fully living this way, but I am working on it, intentionally. It took me what seemed like forever to realize that if I really wanted this I would have to honor and respect myself in a way that reflects this. I mean, if I really wanted to grow in this way, learn about myself, and create the ideal version ofboundaries2 myself, I have to behave in a way that allows me to do so. I had to get to a point where I would be free of expectations, the pressure of commitments that make no sense and negative people.

This is why I needed some boundaries REALLY bad! Setting personal boundaries is so huge for someone that is looking to become who they are truly capable of being. Without boundaries, there was so much drama…

 

 

  • I was a horrible people pleaser. It was so hard for me to tell people “no” and I suffered and complained but still said yes.
  • I took on everyone’s needs, wants and desires as my own and before my own.
  • It was hard for me to let go of dead relationships or relationships that did not add to me
  • I let people stay in my inner circle too long, family and friends, that drained my energy and all of my good vibes.
  • I let other people’s needs outweigh mine. I mean where I barely acknowledged my own needs at all.

boundaries3

I spent many years like this and as a result, I had lost my sense of self and the relationships, especially the one with myself, suffered anyway. Because I was letting all of that occupy space in my life, it took on a life of its own.

Boundaries!!!

Setting boundaries reminds you to say no to bad habits and things that are not serving good to you…mind, body, or soul. This is not just from others, but from yourself; you do not want to be influenced to do anything or be anyone outside of who you want to be or what you want to do. “No” is not a negative word….not at all! boundaries

Saying no, to someone, something, or yourself, just shows that you are being authentic and clear about what you want in your life. You are loving yourself! Doing something just for you…something you don’t have to feel guilty about or apologize for. You should never feel guilty for wanting to better yourself. We should NEVER feel shame when we are living and speaking our truth.

When we say no for our own personal reasons, there is so much power in that…the biggest thing is your truth. And you don’t need an excuse to live it. No explanation needed! That is a boundary…that is your truth. You are putting out into the world what controlyourself2your truth is…and how you want to live it.

At the end of the day, you are human and you have a vision for who you wanna be and how you want to live this life. There are things that you are not going to stand for, nothing less than what feeds your personal best.

A boundary is you having the courage to love on yourself, even at the risk of disappointing someone else. The sooner we see that the sooner we can get on with truly being happy…having joy.

Easy Peasy…just like that. Say no….stop putting up with things, people and thoughts that do not serve you. You know what is not healthy for you; what is not going to help you get to where you wanna be…yeah that….boundaries!

boundaries4I started small and just showing that little power has affected me in some big ways. Boundaries are powerful and you will grow more consistent and aggressive with them.

Things have gotten so much easier with boundaries. Once you put up one small boundary, you will see the effect it has on your life as a whole. It will give you room to add the things that will bring nothing but goodness in and push you toward being your best you…