Simplicity

Simplicity

A Life Well Lived
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What has our world come to? The mere evolution of society as a whole is mind-blowing to me. Yes, technology has had a major role in this transformation, but we have drastically changed as human beings. Our very being was founded on nothing - literally nothing. A big, mighty guy in the sky said "let there be light," and there was light, and then there was us. Things as simple as electricity, a wheel, fire, and sliced bread were deemed as revolutionary innovations at the early stages of our human development.

Today we so easily take for granted things like this and even simpler concepts such as human connection, face-to-face conversation, and life itself. When was the last time you were able to take time and sit back and actually notice what color the sky was? When was the last time you actually stopped and felt the sun shine on your skin? When was the last time you read a good book or had a meaningful conversation with a loved one? Hopefully you don't have to think too hard, but many of us in this day and age do.

We spend day to day letting the hours fly by, being caught up in our fast-paced commute to and from work. We stay glued to our phones, afraid we'll miss something even though we only refreshed our Instagram feed five minutes ago. Since when did a life portrayed behind a glass screen become more important than the real one we get to live in?

One of the most influential people in my life is my grandfather. As I get older, I find myself spending more and more time with him, having genuine conversations about life and all it entails. Both he and his wife have guided me through many trials and offered me spiritual support when I've needed it most.

He and his wife live a very different life from most people today. They don't have a computer, laptop, or smartphone. All of their important information is stored safely in physical objects such as folders, books, and journals. We can only get in contact with them via landline or the one simplistic cell phone that they share. We all joke with them about how archaic they are, and that if they had a Facebook they'd be able to see more of what all of us are up to. But, they find no urge to change what they're doing.

My grandpa explained it to me this way: he quoted Hoagy Carmichael and said, "accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives, and don't let Mister get in between." I was confused at first, but then he explained it to me. Mister represents all the extraneous things in your life. Social media, Facebook, reality TV, and all the extra stuff we spend so much of our time obsessing over. He told me that when we accentuate the positives in our life - like family and the blessings we've received - we are able to open our minds to being truly happy. And when we learn to eliminate the negatives, happiness is able to flow into our lives. But we have to make sure we don't let all the unnecessary "Misters" get in the way.

Both my grandfather and his wife choose to live a simplistic life based around accentuating the positives in their life, eliminating the negatives, and not letting Mister get anywhere between them. Through this, they are able to focus on their health, family, and happiness without spending time stressing over social media, who deleted them off of Facebook, or anything else that could get in the way of their joy. Witnessing such happiness and simplicity has inspired me to direct my life towards one of gratitude and joy.

Take time today to accentuate a positive, remove a negative, and not let a Mister get in between.

Cover Image Credit: http://vsco.co/eriluhv/media/5a5a62615acee963953ea516

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.

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We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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