The Sweet Smell Of Spring

The Sweet Smell Of Spring

Transitions that are warmly welcomed.
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It’s that new smell. Fresh air. Warm wind. Bright flowers and chirping birds. You’d think it would get old after years and years of the same thing. We’ve all lived through season changes. I’ve seen more than one spring. But it still surprises me. I still get caught off guard, walking down the sidewalk, and all of a sudden realizing it's here. It’s gradual but sudden. You don’t realize the seasons are changing until they’ve changed.

Winter is always the longest season for me. The days are shorter and you can’t sit outside and you get snowed in and everything just feels stagnant. There’s no growth, nothing changes. This is why I love the season of spring. Everything is new. Everything is changing and growing and being planted and nourished and budding. The sun was there all winter, but its warmth felt far away. Now with the start of a new season, it feels close. It feels personal. There’s a difference between Winter sun and Spring sun.

Time is funny like that, too. It comes in the middle of the night just like the changing of the seasons. It catches me just as off guard as the transition from winter to spring. But just as one season changes to the next, so too does life ebb and flow and transition and change. And just as the sun is constantly shining in the winter and the spring, so too is God constant then and now.

If that’s not comforting, then I don’t know what is. First off, that no season lasts forever. But even more so that we get to serve a God who is present in all seasons, the cold ones and the warm ones and the piling up of snow and the bright new flowers.

So even though winter may have been full of winter things, of snow and layers of clothes and never getting warm enough and days feeling all too short, wpring is here; longer days and that sweet new smell and the reassurance that the sun brings that no dark thing lasts forever.

In the middle of the semester how comforting it is to be reminded that there is more than just these patterns of life that become mundane and repetitive. But there are adventures and road trips and sunny days ahead. So winter, thank you for lessons and dark days and the beauty of the snow. Spring, I am excited for all the newness that you bring, the breath of fresh air that you provide, and the promise of warmth ahead. Until then, I’m taking time to not let the transitions of the seasons go unnoticed. I’m watching the flowers bloom and smelling the wind that blows by as the old heads out and the new rushes in. In more ways than one, transitions are good. They are sweet reminders of all that these seasons mean and all the ways that time is moving and the sun is shining. The transitions provide time for reflection and the opportunity to leave things behind. But you can’t do any of that if you forget to recognize the seasons and all that they are. So winter, I am happy to leave you behind for a few months. Spring, I am excited for all that you bring.

Psalms 104:19 He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows it’s time for setting.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

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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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Forget The Beach, Do These Things Instead

These 25 thing won't break your bank this summer.

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When you think of summertime you think of the beach. Going to the beach usually involves a lot of driving and necessary spending. These 25 activities are perfect for summer and will not break your bank.

1. Take A Walk.

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As simple as it sounds, take a walk. Walk around your town or neighborhood; you'll be amazed at all of the little things you normally miss whenever you're driving by.

2. Have A Picnic.

Nothing says summer like a picnic. It can be at your local park or even in your backyard; just don't forget the watermelon!

3. Roast s'mores!

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Everyone loves a good s'more, and the nostalgic smell of the campfire.

4. Make your own ice cream.

Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on the hot summer day, but it can also break your budget. Homemade ice cream is fun, delicious, and will not hurt your wallet.

Here is a sweet recipe!

5. Blow bubbles.

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I mean come on, who doesn't love blowing bubbles.

6. Watch the clouds

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Whenever you're having a stressful or sad day grab a blanket and head outside and watch the clouds blow by. Make a game out of how many different shapes you can identify.

7. Pick some berries.

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Find a local strawberry or blueberry field that allows customers to pick their own berries, it is a lot more fun than it sounds trust me.

8. Go to a minor league baseball game.

Hot dogs, ice cream, and fun memories are all to be had at a local baseball game.

9. Go to a parade.

Your town or a neighboring town most likely has a holiday parade on Memorial Day, 4th of July, or labor day. Go to these parades, you'll get to see all of the local youth organizations, support your community, and maybe even get some candy thrown your way.

10. Watch the fireworks.

Really watch the fireworks, don't try to take pictures that will come out blurry. Live in the moment.

11. Watch the sunrise

It may involve an earlier bedtime the night before, but it will be worth it.

12. Watch the sunset.

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13. Make a slip & slide

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Tarp+water+soap=endless fun

14. Paint with bubbles.

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This takes blowing bubbles to a whole new level. Add your favorite colors of food coloring to your bubbles grab a piece of paper and blow onto the paper; you'll come away with a masterpiece.

15. Make a bird feeder.

Give back to mother nature by building a bird feeder.

16. Catch lightning bugs.

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AND THEN LET THEM GO!

17. Build a fort.

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Let's be real, everybody loves a good fort.

18. Tye-Dye something.

Shirt, socks, blankets, it doesn't matter what it is as long as you have fun.

19. Read.

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Go to a local bookstore, run your fingers along the spines of all the books and pick the one that calls to you.

20. Color with chalk.

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Unleash your inner artist on your driveway and/or sidewalk.

21. Pick up litter.

Go outside and help clean mother earth, it will not only benefit you but everybody around you as well.

22. Have an absolutely epic water gun battle.

Swim Pool Boy Water Swimming Summer Water Gun

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Grab your friend, enemy, kid, neighbor, parents, whoever you can find and challenge them to a water gun battle.

23. Go camping.

Get back into nature in your backyard, or at a free campsite.

24. Volunteer.

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Many of us have extra time in the summer so volunteer your time in your community!

(Dog walking at the local animal shelter is always a great choice)

25. Find joy.

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Find what makes you happy, and never stop doing it.

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