Christmas Doesn't End Today

Christmas Doesn't End Today

Spread a little love every day
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Now that Christmas Day has officially come and gone, it's important to understand that the holiday doesn't and shouldn't end here. You see, as many of you have probably noticed, with the Christmas season comes the immense desire to give, the desire to go out of your way for others, the desire to brighten someone's day.

This is what is so special about this particular holiday. People put aside the drama of both their lives and the world and simply focus on the positivity around them. Homes are filled with warmth, laughter and love, restaurants are packed with families visiting from near and far, quaint streets and towns are bustling with loved ones taking in the beauteous sites and decorations.

Now, if we had this all year, of course it wouldn't be as magical as it is when the season finally arrives; that's part of what makes this time of year so enjoyable and so highly anticipated. However, why does the kindness, the "going out of your way" for others, and the desire to spread smiles have to end as soon as we lay our heads down to sleep on Christmas night?

After all, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the words of the widely used phrase, "What Would Jesus Do?" we must stop to take a moment and think about how He would not want us to limit our good will to one month of the year. Our kindness and good intentions should be used constantly throughout the entirety of the year; that's indeed what keeps the world spinning.

You don't have to go crazy running around buying coffee for people or making a different person cookies every day; it's the little things that mean the most. Letting someone know you think they're doing a great job, supporting a friend in a time of need, showing up to an event you really don't want to go to but you know it means the world to someone you care about. It's not difficult to put in the tiny bit of extra effort to make someone's day better. What goes around comes around, too.

When you give freely and openly with no expectations, you start to appreciate the things that people do for you more as well. You see how good it makes people feel when you give to them, and in turn you're able to understand that feeling when people give back to you.

The Christmas season is all about giving, but please, let's not limit the love to one month out of the year. The world needs a little TLC, and you can be the first step in spreading it.

Cover Image Credit: http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/creativecontent/images/cms/456283_1280x720.jpg

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?

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Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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