Thursday, April 28, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Xenolith #atozchallenge


"a piece of rock of different origin from the igneous rock in which it is embedded"

I was searching for X words that could inspire me and I came across this!

What a perfect definition of me, and my life.

How amazing is it?  A rock that is different from the one that it is embedded in!

I love thinking about all the different ways that this could explain my life.  I absolutely love being in a place that is different.  My favorite memories come from moments when I didn't blend in.  Moments when I had to figure out how to live in a place and among people that were very, very different from me.

I don't always like to be different, in fact a lot of times especially in the past I have wanted just to blend in. 

I think though the more I live, and the more I experience I realize that we weren't made to be just like everyone else.  We were made to stand out.  We were made to be embedded in a place that is not our own.  To share our uniqueness with those around us.  To impact this world in a real and amazing way. 

Do you feel like you are blending in to the world around you, or are you embedded in a place that is not your own? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A to Z-Authentic Inspiration: Wild #atozchallenge

I don't know that I have been inspired by another book as much as I was inspired by Wild.  
Cheryl Strayed's story is so unique and real.  I was completely hooked the minute I started reading.  She tells the story in such a real way.  In such a way that it makes you want to go out and hike the PCT the minute you stop reading.  To go on such a journey and find yourself, find everything that you have ever doubted about yourself.

I hope one day to go on a PCT journey.  I am not sure that it will be up to Cheryl's journey level, but it will be epic.  It will be so uniquely mine. 

Sometimes I think that we need to go on an epic journey in order to truly find ourselves, in order to truly find our passions in life.  We get so lost in the list of to-do's that we forget to step back and ask ourselves where we think we should go, what we think we should do?

Sometimes the journey is just about stepping outside of ourselves.  Examining those things which we like to use to compare ourselves with others, and letting go of expectations.

Have you read Wild?  Do you have your own epic journey story? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Valleys #atozchallenge

Sometimes in life you don't get to be on top of the mountain.  Sometimes you have to silently walk in the valley.  Whether it is because you are waiting for the next mountaintop experience, or you are trying to figure out what trail to take to the top, there are so many processes that must happen in the valley. 

The valley is a beautiful, quiet place to be.  There are so many moments in the valley that need to be treasured and felt.  There is this moment of inspiration that happens when you look back at what you have been through and realize that things are so much better down here then they could be. 

There are so many different areas of life to be inspired by.  Sometimes I think that we pass by the quiet moments and don't think that there is anything in them to bring more to our life. 

Really though I think it is from the valleys, from those moments of surrender and quiet that I truly learn exactly who I am, and exactly what I am here for. 

In the stillness and quiet of valley I learn more of who I am.  I learn that I am valued and loved.  I learn that I don't have to have the approval of those around me in order to be valued and loved.  I learn that I am created to be someone that makes the world a better place.  Someone that gives of myself to help those around me.  To live in community and seek those around me to strengthen them and encourage them on their own journey.

I am thankful for the valley, for it is there that I am able to grasp the goodness that makes my life exactly what it is.  It gives me purpose and gratitude for the future. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Understanding #atozchallenge

When someone looks me in the eyes and peers deep into my soul and seems to understand exactly what I am thinking and feeling it truly inspires me.  I get this overwhelming sense that they can see straight into my heart.  I am so thankful for those that take the time to truly understand me as a human being. Those that value me as a person and want to walk with me through all of the ups and downs.  

This weekend I got a glimpse of that understanding.  Someone looked me in the eyes and saw me for exactly who I was.  A broken, human being.  They understood my hurt and pain, and they met me where I was.  

This inspires me.  It inspired me because I was able to see exactly how love should be.  It inspired me because I was able to see that there are people that actually care about others.  To me it brought this connection to another human being that I have never known before, and it was magical.  

I am so thankful.  I am so inspired.  It makes me want to be a better person.  It makes me want to share love with those that I meet by providing for them.  It has allowed me to see humanity in a greater way.  

Are you ever inspired by someone's understanding?  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Travel #atozchallenge

Hitting the open road, driving to the place yet to be determined.  It always creates this sense of excitement within me.  I LOVE to travel.  Thankfully my life has been full of travel. 

My first plane ride ever was across the ocean to India.  There was something about getting on that plane that I will never forget.  The difference that it made in my life to take that step is something I will never truly be able to completely describe. 

Traveling across the ocean has allowed me to live life in a more real way.  I have been able to see poverty first hand, grasp a child's hand as they clung to me for dear life.  I have been able to understand that what makes a person isn't  the money they have in their wallet, but instead the compassion they share with their heart.  I have heard a child's laughter and felt their hug as I spent time just hanging out with them and being their friend.  I have grown so much because of the roads I have traveled, the people that I have come across and the adventures I have taken. 

Differences inspire me.  They inspire me to take a deeper look at the person I am, and the person I long to become! 

Some of the things I have learned while traveling:

            -Everyone speaks a different language, even if they are speaking English...there are many different versions of English

            -You see everything through one kind of lens, the person you meet on the other side of the world sees it through a different kind of order to understand each other you must be able to combine the two lenses

           -Your view of the world is so small

           -Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the very BEST thing that you can do in order to become a more compassionate, understanding person

           -Other cultures are hard to understand, it takes time, patience, and strength to break down the cultural walls you have placed around yourself

            -People will never live up to your expectations, so change them

          -Love people where they are

          -Accept people where they are

           -Allow yourself to live in the moment, because if you don't you will look back and wish you had

I am sure there are so many more things...but these are just a few.....

What has traveling inspired in you? 

Friday, April 22, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Sunsets #atozchallenge

Sunsets....they inspire me so much!  I love just sitting on the beach watching the sun go down below the horizon.  There is this calm that sweeps over me when I see the last bit of light descend below the surface of the water.  The colors change as they are swept away by the darkness that continues to dip below.  Orange, red, yellow, purple all mix together to create a perfect example of a masterpiece. 

Sunsets inspire me because they are a beautiful ending to the day.  They give me inspiration for what will come the next.  Allowing me to sweep all of the messiness that has happened in the course of my day far, far away.  Sunsets show me that there can be a beautiful, calm moment in time.  Life doesn't have to be so chaotic.  Sunsets inspire me to write.  Something happens inside of me that allows me to get in touch with the person that I would love to be one day.  Sunsets are hope of things to come.  Sunsets are beauty.  Sunsets are love.  Sunsets are a future. 

Do sunsets inspire you?   Where have you seen some of the best sunsets? 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Rock Bridge State Park

Almost 2 years ago I made the decision to move back to my hometown.  I had been overseas on and off since I graduated from college.  It has been during the past two years that I have literally fallen in love with my city, and the trails that surround me. 

I grew up literally 5 minutes from Rock Bridge State Park.   I didn't take advantage of this fact when I was younger, but I totally take advantage of it now. 

Yesterday we had an early release day, in order to get grades completed.  I decided to go for a hike. 

I forget how much hiking does in my soul, until I am out actually doing it.  For me hiking a trail is a time when I can let the worries of the world slowly slip away.  There is just something about being out in nature that I find so amazingly wonderful.  To be following this distinct path, winding around the woods...and just being able to think through things.  It inspires me so much on this level that I am not sure I can even put into words. 

Placing one foot in front of the other, knowing that through the ups and downs on this trail...I will have accomplished something in the end.  I will end my journey, having worked through a lot of the mess that gets stuck inside my head. 

I am so thankful for a place to go and hike, so close to my home.  I am thankful that I have a trail that I love.  I am inspired by what I see.  I am inspired because looking at trees and flowers reminds me that there is something bigger than myself.  It reminds me that I am not alone.  It reminds me that if I keep fighting, and keep living my dreams.....that is enough. 

Do you have a place that inspires you?  A park, a trail?  How do you get out and enjoy nature? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Quilts #atozchallenge

Today's inspiration....  Quilts! 

When I think of quilts I always think of smaller pieces of something making a bigger picture.  I don't actually own a quilt.  I wish I did, but there aren't any that have been carried down from one generation to the next in my family that I know of.  I hope I get a quilt one day.  I just think they tell such a powerful story.  Each piece, a part of this bigger picture.  There's sometimes a pattern, and sometimes not. 

Isn't it the same with our lives?  Each piece is the part of the bigger picture.  We are so inclined to think that we have messed up somewhere a long the way.  Then when we take a step back, we realize that we have in fact just been directed on this amazing journey to make the picture called life. 

I'm thankful for quilts.  I am thankful for how they inspire me to keep going in life, to piece each piece together, in order to make the bigger picture! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Parents #atozblogchallenge

I don't think you truly realize in your are into your 30's how much your parents have truly inspired the person that you are. In some ways I think I resented the fact growing up that my parents had such an impact on who I would turn out to be.  I am not sure if it was really fair, but you know it was how I felt, especially as a teenager, and early 20 something year old.  You think that you know everything.  You think that you have it all figured out, and you don't realize that you don't until you have lived life in adulthood for awhile. 

My parents are amazing people.  In the midst of all the messy things that have happened, they continue to be there to influence and inspire my life. 

I see how hard they each work in order to make a living for themselves, and a future. 

My Dad has always been my provider.  He has been there to be strength and courage.  He has given so much for us.  I am so thankful for the independence that he instilled in me early on.  For the adventures that he has encouraged me to take, and the endless hours that I got to spend helping him with all his construction projects. 

My love for camping and hiking comes from him.  Seeing life with an open view, and acknowledging that we have a creator.  All of these things continue to be inspired by my Dad on a daily basis. 

I am also inspired by the man he has become in these last few years.  It is truly awesome to see him love life and live life to its fullest. 

When I think about the inspirations that my Mom gives me, I think about love and hard work.  I think about seeing the good in people.  Loving people no matter how many times they fail you, and always being willing to go the extra mile for family.  I am inspired by the fighter that she is.  I am inspired by her memories that she shares of those in her family that have passed on.  I am inspired by her kind heart.  I am inspired by the light that shines in her to touch others.  I am inspired by her giving above and beyond what she can afford to help he kids. 

Parents should inspire their kids.  There should never be a moment of the day when kids are not looking up to their parents. 

What are the greatest inspirations your parents have given you? 

Monday, April 18, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Ocean

Oceans inspire me.  The roaring of the waves.  The crashing along the shore.  How beautiful beaches are no matter where you venture all over the world.  The fact that the waves know exactly where to stop.  I love the ocean.  I love that there is a whole world beyond my eyes.  I love that there is this vast amount of water that I can look at and just feel completely calm.  I don't have to worry about anything when I look out at the ocean.  I am able to just create this space of beauty.  I am able to write and read in the silence, and know that there is so much more to this vast space then just the waves, wind and water that I see.

I am so thankful for oceans.  I am thankful that oceans continue to inspire thousands of people everyday.  They push people beyond their abilities and give a space to contemplate.

What do you think of the ocean?

Has it inspired you to do something more with your life? 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Notes #atozchallenge

I love notes!  I love writing notes, I love getting notes!  I get super inspired by writing notes to people that I come in contact with.  It is definitely my love language. 

Have you ever gotten a note that just made you start sobbing?  I have some friends that are really great at writing notes.  They allow me to understand myself more because I am able to see things the way they do. 

Have you ever gotten a note that just made you laugh, uncontrollably?  A note that just made you grin from ear to ear?  Sometimes I find myself grinning when I get a note.  Reflecting on this person and how they make me feel! 

My favorite notes are the ones that I get to write to others.  I LOVE being able to explain how I feel through writing.  I love knowing that someone has been touched by words that I write. 

I am so inspired by notes, because I think they are rare these days. 

Do you like to write notes to others?  What is a favorite note you have gotten? 

Friday, April 15, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Mandy Hale and Mountains #atozchallenge

I couldn't decide on just one M inspiration, so I am going to talk about both! 

First of all I want to tell a little bit about my journey.  I used to think that being single was this horrible thing that I couldn't live with.  It was something that I felt like I was being looked down on because of my singleness.  Sometimes I still think within certain circles that is true.  It wasn't until I truly started examining all that I have accomplished in life that I realized my singleness is not at all something to be ashamed of.  In fact it is something that I can be proud of.  My life just looks differently from those that surround me most days. 

About 2 months ago I was introduced to a book.  It was a book that changed the way I viewed myself, and those around me.  The author...Mandy Hale.  In this book I was able to just connect in a way that I hadn't connected before.  I was able to understand that the journey I have been walking is not a journey in which I should feel shameful, but instead use what I have learned to inspire me to grow and change to be the best me! 

Here are some of her quotes that truly inspire me!

There are so many more, too!

The other M word that inspires me are mountains!  I love them.  I love to climb them, I love looking at them. I love everything about mountain towns.  If I could afford to go hang out in a cabin in the mountains once a year I would totally do it.  The mountains help me to think and ponder life.  They allow me to slow my brain down, and relax.  Mountains are the majestic centerpiece that makes my life complete.  

Are you inspired by mountains, or some other natural formation?  Have you ever climbed a mountain?  


Thursday, April 14, 2016

A to Z- Authentic Inspiration: Lucille Ball #atozchallenge

I can't remember the first time I watched I Love Lucy, but I remember when I truly fell in love with it.  I was in college and it was literally one of those go to shows.  I just loved her.  I loved that she was funny, crazy, and that she wasn't perfect.  I think it has been her imperfection that has inspired me.  Her life was so messy.  It was splattered for all the world to see.  Yet I feel like she remained strong.

She was beautiful.  Her beauty showed through all that she did.  I am sure just as everyone she had her faults, but her story truly inspires me.  She made a way for herself as a woman in ways that no one had done before her.

I have loved learning more and more about her over the years.  Taking time to read about her, watch films about her, and just fall in love with her strength.  She truly is a woman worth being inspired by.

Do you have an actress that has inspired you?  Why, or how has that woman impacted your life?