simplify

In this day in age simplifying is not “in”.  It’s easy to be a sucker to the endless advertising and marketing, but I’m always comforted when I realize I actually feel much better with less.  Slow down and read these awesome reminders…

moments

reduce

simple

minimalist

little things

give

The last one I included because living in a self-centric society can make it hard for me to not fall into selfish tendencies.  Ideally if I’m simplifying my life then I am better able to give to others, win-win.  🙂  For another post on simplifying click here.

 

the better part

For my birthday Mike got me a prayer book that I’d been wanting called The Better Part:  A Christ Centered Resource for Personal Prayer by John Bartunek.

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I ended up liking it so much I thought I’d do a post on what it’s all about.  It’s written by a Catholic priest, but any Christian could use it as a daily meditation tool.

Format – The first section is a detailed guide to Christian mediation.  Basically a how-to.  And it breaks Christain meditation into 4 categories:  concentrate, consider, converse, and commit.  The second (and main) section is divided up into small units including a passage from the Gospels and a four-part commentary based on the same four themes throughout the book:  Christ the Lord, Christ the Teacher, Christ the Friend, and Christ in My Life.  It’s easy to commit to reading and meditating on one of these units a day.

Additional Guidance – After each small unit there are also questions if you were to use it in a group setting.  There are also suggested Catechism readings after each unit for further examination.  Two indexes are included.  One list the units in the order in which the Gospel passages appear throughout the liturgical year.  The second lists them in relation to virtues of the spiritual life.

This book has a lot to offer.  The first section of the book I found to be very beneficial.  It’s a great reminder of things to remember while praying to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your prayer time.  Think of it as a miniature ‘how to pray better’ boot camp.  Having that part to refer back to while reading through the small units will be handy.

So if you’re in the market for a personal prayer resourse, check this one out.  🙂

26 things i’ve learned in 26 years

1)  Always celebrate your birthday

2)  Most of my problems can be solved by telling myself to relax

3)  Family and friends are priceless

4)  Spilling nail polish remover on a wood table is bad news

5)  Sometimes people judge others because they aren’t confident with what they’re doing in their own life – don’t be that person

6)  Having an active lifestyle is good for my health and mood

7)  If a book isn’t good 30 pages in, don’t finish it

8)  Giving IS better than receiving

9)  Not having a response to an ignorant comment can be more powerful than having one

10)  Care labels on clothes are there for a reason

11)  Working hard makes life easier, oh the irony

12)  Don’t let birds nest in a wreath on the front door

13)  Flossing is important

14)  Cable TV isn’t worth it when trying to save money

15)  Don’t be afraid to try new things

16)  Everyone wants to feel important and loved, be kind

17)  Don’t make decisions in life soley based on money

18)  Best way to improve a snow cone, add nerds

19)  Never go to the grocery store after church

20)  Go to church

21)  Say your prayers

22)  Drink plenty of H2O

23)  Remember the importance of ports while playing Settlers of Catan

24)  Don’t waste too much time feeling sorry for yourself

25)  You’ll never regret eating ice cream (but see #6)

26)  Be thankful

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Wild birthday celebration, not sure what’s going on in the background.  🙂

desiderata

One of my favorite prayers is the Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann.  The entire prayer is so helpful to me, but I’m particularly drawn to one of the first few lines:

“Avoid loud and aggressive person, they are vexations of the spirit.”

A vexation of the spirit sounds like something I really don’t want to be.  Vexation meaning something that provokes irratibility, anxiety, or distress.

I wouldn’t say that I surround myself with people under this classification, but when I read this I always hope that I’m not falling under that classification either.

Before that line is this:

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.”

I think if I’m able to do this I can avoid being a vexation of the spirit. 🙂

rose

And the last paragraph always brightens my day:

“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.  With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Stive to be happy.”

Amen!

having faith

Another inspirational post for the week!  Having faith is usually the answer to many problems.  Here are some nice reminders.

let god

We’ve all seen this before, but it’s true!  And very comforting.

mustard seed

Matthew 17:20.  When I read this I remind myself that it’s not asking much to have a little faith.  I can handle having faith as small as a mustard seed – which are 1 to 2 mm in diameter in case you were wondering.

pray more

Easy peasy.

big god

Many times when I’m worried about something having a little perspective helps.  Lucky for me my problems usually aren’t nearly as dire as I think they are.

just breathe

Again…easy peasy.

unseen

This verse is the inspiration for my blog title and extremely helpful in keeping faith.

Hope this post cheered up your day!

power of positive thinking

This is something I’m always trying to remember, because it is so true!  For some, being positive comes easier than others.  But I never want to be the person that makes people feel exhausted and drained from a bunch of negativity.

To me, negativity comes in many forms but basically it’s anything that doesn’t benefit my growth as a person.  If I encounter people who thrive off negativity I usually describe them as “toxic”.  And that’s the last thing I want to be, so here are some good reminders.

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  • No Complaining – The big kahuna of negativity that permeates everyday life is complaining.  I’ve posted this quote before, and it’s a great thing to remember.  Do I want to be the person that complains about traffic, or celebrates the beautiful weather?

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  • But Seriously, Stop Complaining – This deserves two bullet points.  We all do it way too much.  Sometimes I ask myself, would I be embarrassed to be complaining about this in front of someone less fortunate than me?  99% of the time the answer is yes.

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  • Stop Complaining (again) and Pray – Whining never makes me feel better, but praying does.

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  • Fake It Till You Make It – Sometimes we have days where we just aren’t feeling it.  It can be hard to muster all that positive energy.  That’s why faking it till you make it is a great tool.  It’s incredible how easy it is to trick our minds into doing what we want them to!

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  • Strive To Be Happy No Matter What – This reminder, to me, is the epitome of positivity.  If you can be positive no matter what happens in your life I want in on your secret.  It’s the ultimate thing to strive for; joy no matter what the circumstances.

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  • Have Simple Pleasures – Having small things throughout the day to look forward is very helpful for staying positive.  So if you don’t have those, make room for them!

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  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Beating yourself up doesn’t make you a stronger person, it wears you down.  To be a positive person you have to think positively about everything, including yourself!

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  • No Worries – Easier said than done, but important.  Worrying doesn’t solve problems, action does.  And if it’s an issue thats completely out of your hands, lucky you, that means you should let it go completely!

I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting this post in the future.  Hope it helps!

how to simplify life

In our day and age we all have tons of things competing for our time and money.  Here are some things I try to remember when I know I need to simplify.

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I Can’t Do/Have It All – I think that having a good sense of self helps when nothing seems like “enough”.  An easy way to narrow my focus and keep things simple is by making a list of all my interests.  The key is making sure the list isn’t ridiculously long, that’s how you run into trouble.  For example, if I was interested in photography, cooking, reading, golf, scrapbooking, fashion, and going to concerts I’d be, first of all – broke and secondly – overwhelmed.  Try to narrow your list to 4 or 5 things that you like to do regularly.  If there are things you like to do (i.e. shop for clothes, go to movies) but you don’t do them regularly, no need to include them.

Prioritize – The key to living simply in my opinion.  How important are those 4 or 5 things in my list to me?  Am I spending time & money on things that don’t matter as much to me?  What things should I really be doing but I haven’t been?

Be Cool – Slowing down and taking a breather is another great way to simplify.  Sometimes my own actions complicate life, and I end up needing to take a time-out.  For example, getting worked up over small things or buying a bunch of unneccessary stuff adds disorder to your life.  Take time to chillax.  FYI – being cool only helps when I’m about to add chaos to my life, not when there is something that actually needs to be attended to.

Consistency – Prioritizing and consistency go hand in hand.  Whatever you do consistently is what you prioritize.  If I want to prioritize saving money then I would not shop consistently.  If I wanted to prioritize being healthy then I’d cook at home and workout consistently.  If I wanted to prioritize organizing my home I’d consistently get rid of things and clean up after myself.  You get the idea..

Prayer – I’m at my best when I slow down and pray.  It helps me to think clearly and gives me perspective.  And when I’m able to do that life always gets much simpler..and happier!

Everyday Simplicty – A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth by Robert J. Wicks is a great book to help you lead a simplified life.  I strongly recommend it.

everyday simplicity

Living simply isn’t “in”.  We place too much value on what we have or what we will have in the future.  That’s too bad, because we end up missing out on the things that really matter in life.  I think that life is much more fulfilling when I take out all the excess and keep it simple.