3 Ways to Find Contentment When Life Seems Bleak | Finding contentment is possible when we shift our perspective and willingly see the good. Sometimes we must embrace the journey, rather than pine after the goals. Click through to check out three ways to find contentment, one of which is purposefully watching the sunset.

Staring Directly at the Sun (and Other Obvious Ways to Find Contentment)

Burning My Retinas

I have this thing where I like to stare directly at the sun. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the blinky spots it leaves on my eyes. Maybe it’s the allure of doing something that could possibly destroy my retinas.

Anyway, I don’t do it all that often seeing as I do value my retinas a little bit. (That and my husband gave me a good talking to when he found out I was staring at the sun like an idiot.)

Eye Love the Sun

But I really do love watching the sunset (and looking just to the side of the sun for eye-safety purposes). Almost every evening when driving home from work, my eyes well up with emotion from the sunset. It makes me feel small and reverent. It makes me see God. And if I’ve had a barely tolerable day, it helps me overcome.

Recently, I was driving home and the sunset about knocked me out. The sky was almost entirely covered in clouds, but there were streams of red light shining through. The beams created a lava-red lining on the clouds. It looked like the inside of an inverted volcano with patches of hardened floating magma. I could almost see Gollum reaching his hand up trying to catch the ring of power.

I digress. The point is: Have you ever noticed that you have to be far off to see the sunset? The most beautiful part of the day happens after the day is over when we are far removed from the source.

And it got me thinking – that’s kinda how life is. Continue reading “Staring Directly at the Sun (and Other Obvious Ways to Find Contentment)”

January Reflection and Gratitude

Like I say on my Everyday Gratitude page, practicing gratitude eliminates our need to do hours of self-reflection or soul-searching. It allows us to easily look back on areas of growth in our life and discover what our themes of thankfulness are. It helps us set attainable goals and learn who we really are as a person. And it’s as simple as saying one thing you are thankful for each day.

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my policies page for more info.

I got this idea from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. In it, Ann endeavors upon writing down 1000 things she is thankful for, and she finds that it changes her entire life. After I read the book, I decided to do the same, and I’ve on and off kept up the practice. As of right now, I keep a pocket-sized gratitude journal, and I just whip it out anytime I am thankful for anything. Continue reading “January Reflection and Gratitude”

6 Ways to Remember You Are Enough | There are so many factors that go in our self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-image. But at the end of the day, it isn't how you look that defines you. It's what's on the inside that makes you beautiful. Click through to read six ways to be content with your self-image and love yourself. Plus, get my free you-are-enough printable! | self-care | self-love | love yourself |

6 Ways to Be Content with Your Self-Image and Love Yourself

We are hard on ourselves. An entire beauty industry profits off of our lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. The industry doesn’t want you to love yourself.
Who do you want to be? Well, you can be anyone. You want boobs like Scarlett Johansson? There’s a push-up bra for that. You want curves like Beyonce? There’s a bubble-butt work out for that.

Tanning beds, makeup, pimple creams, perms, butt pads… No amount of those things can make your pretty. They might make you feel pretty. They might get you noticed by employers, the opposite sex or construction workers (ha construction workers are now a different species altogether). But they don’t make you pretty.

They cover you up and hide you. They certainly can’t make you love yourself or, more importantly, be content with who you are. Continue reading “6 Ways to Be Content with Your Self-Image and Love Yourself”

How to celebrate Valentine's Day in a sensible, low-cost way that is still meaningful.

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sensibly

Last year,  50% of Americans spent 19.7 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but that seems a little bit psychotic to me. The average American spent almost $150 on their significant other, and I’m sad to say, Millennials outspent every other age group by a huge margin. The average 25-34 year old spent $234.

I DO NOT have that kind of money. I’m surprised my Millennial colleagues do. Here I am thinking we’re all poor and jobless with no retirement prospects, and we’re out spending hundreds of dollars on a sappy, obligatory holiday. Continue reading “How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sensibly”

Change | Keystone Habits | Healthy Habits | Habit | Walking | Gratitude | Drinking Water | Sleep

4 Simple Keystone Habits That Will Change Your Life

A keystone habit is one that you do every day, which naturally makes the rest of your day fall into place.

For a healthier, more content life, there are really only four keystone habits you could ever need: practicing gratitude, drinking more water, getting more sleep and walking.

They sound like very simple things, and that’s because they are! Sometimes the simplest things that make all the difference.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of each one and how they work together. Continue reading “4 Simple Keystone Habits That Will Change Your Life”

Home | Happiness | Love Where You Live | Places | Travel | Contentment | Gratitude

Learning to Love Where You Live

Last month, Jordan and I went on vacation for 9 days. When we came home, everything in our house was exactly as we had left it, except two things.

  1. The place smelled like it did on the day we bought it. You know that empty, new house smell.
  2. Our voices echoed off the walls like before you move the furniture in.

It was an ominous feeling. I’d never realized before how much a living body impacts the atmosphere of a home. I thought furniture and rugs were what made a house stop echoing, but maybe not. They say humans shed almost two pounds of skin each year. Maybe us sloughing our skin off all the time dampens the echo or something.

Anyway, it was weird. And it got me thinking. Continue reading “Learning to Love Where You Live”

Contentment | Home | Family | Discipline | Liturgy | Structure | Healthy Habits

Contentment in the Home: Why Home is the Best Place to Implement Structure

Home is the best place to implement all the structure we’ve talked about over the last three posts. Here they are if you missed them:

Discipline and Habit: My New Best Friends

How Church Liturgy Gave Me More Freedom

How to Be Content Through Discipline and Habit

Why is home the best place? Let me explain.

Personality Traits

Our personalities are shaped by two areas of life: inherited traits and learned traits.

Inherited personality traits

These are aspects of our personality we’ve had since birth. There is some scientific debate on whether some personality traits are learned or inherited. However, I’m convinced there are just some things about ourselves we’ll never be able to change.

Learned traits

Learned traits are those we have picked up along the way whether from inside the home or out. We have the ability to change these traits, however, changing them is very difficult. Your sense of humor, ability to cook, rudeness or politeness, religion and world view – all are environmentally taught traits. Continue reading “Contentment in the Home: Why Home is the Best Place to Implement Structure”

Content | Contentment | Gratitude | Healthy Habits | Habit | Discipline

How to be Content Through Discipline and Habit Based on Science

(This is the second installment of my How to Be Content Through Discipline and Habit series. Read the intro here. Reach the first post here.)

I have one bad habit. Ok, I have plenty of bad habits, but I have one in particular that really bothers me. I rip the skin off around my fingernails when I’m stressed (or breathing or existing or at any point in time, really). It hurts and bleeds, but I keep on ripping.

I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. So long, in fact, that the healed skin around my nail beds is lighter than the rest of my fingers. My pigment gave up, I guess. It’s pitiful.

Sadly, I don’t even know when I’m doing it anymore. It’s completely automatic and involuntary, and I’ve tried stopping so many time. It’s just a really, really bad habit.

All that to say, bad habits are hard to break and healthy habits are hard to create. Both take major discipline.

Today, I’m going to lay out what happens in our brains when we start introducing liturgy intentionally into our lives – when we embark on the journey of habit making or habit breaking. I’ll also include 3 ways to be content by adding structure to your life. Continue reading “How to be Content Through Discipline and Habit Based on Science”

Liturgy is everywhere. It structures the entire world and make it turn. Often, in our society, we elevate the spontaneous individuals. For some reason it is cool to function without a plan. We think we can find freedom that way. But I'm not convinced. I think we find more freedom within structure, within liturgy.

How Church Liturgy Gave Me More Freedom

About eight months ago, my husband and I started going to an Anglican church in North Knoxville. Neither one of us grew up Anglican, yet we knew we belonged there 20 minutes into the liturgy. It felt right.

Now, I know the liturgy in my bones, and my entire outlook on life is different because of it. And I’m not talking about religion really. I’ve realized that EVERYONE (you included, my friend) functions under liturgy because liturgy is basically just communal structure.

Almost everything our society does falls under the category of communal structure.

You get out of bed, brush your teeth, drive to work, sit in meetings, answer emails, answer phone calls, take lunch, work on a project with a coworker, get in your car and drive home. The entire day was working towards whatever goal your office holds, and everyone in the office gets up and does the same thing each day to accomplish that goal together. That’s communal structure. That’s liturgy.

So in this post, I’m going to show you how liturgy opened my eyes to the importance of healthy habits and discipline. This will be the heart behind why I’m making this lifestyle change.  Then over the next couple of posts, we’ll dive into:

Continue reading “How Church Liturgy Gave Me More Freedom”

Discipline and heathy habits can become our best friends. When we bring more structure into our lives, we are not staunched. Instead, we experience freedom.

Discipline and Habit: My New Best Friends

The words discipline and habit are often met with hesitation. They are associated negatively with strict, controlled, lackluster lifestyles. But just like my soap box over the word normal, I think these words are slightly misconstrued in our society.

Think about a habitual adult (especially a millennial). She is considered uneventful. Poor woman, she can’t do anything spontaneous. How does she live like that? Doesn’t she ever do anything fun?

Sadly enough, I have actually thought these things. I thought structure made me a robot, while spontaneity made me human.

But I’ve come to believe that creating healthy habits for you and your family can change your life. I think it can teach us how to be content.

Most importantly, I think humans really have more freedom and more contentment when they adhere to structure and practice healthy habits. Let me show you how to be content in 2017 (it’s right around the corner).

Over the next three posts, we will journey through:

Continue reading “Discipline and Habit: My New Best Friends”