CALL TO ACTION : A HAPPY LIFE

One of the lessons I learned this summer, is to take better care of myself. I tend to get busy with too many projects or over commit to help someone else in need; only to find myself stressed or with several alarms triggered by my worn out body.

Over the last couple of months I have come across many wonderful sources to help my very unbalanced lifestyle, but two very particular ones have proven truly insightful. The first one of these; a cleverly written book, The Happiness Project, by author Gretchen Rubin. I am only half way through her writings; yet, from the very first chapter I was forced to think of the ways in which I could improve my quality of life, and therefore that of others.

I know that helping people and being there for them when in need makes me deeply happy, but not when that takes me to the extreme of neglecting my own self, so I made a commitment to gain some 'catch up' time from here to the end of the year.

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I had been making small changes into my overall routine; yet another providential find made my resolutions even more concrete. I ran across a recorded conference given by Matthew Kelly on the topic of Becoming the Better Version of Yourself. I began listening to it and it all came to a full circle!

Matthew Kelly describes the four areas which need to be balanced in order to be happy and the best version of ourselves. He touched on the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, and it made me realize that some of these had been somehow neglected by my 'busy' days. I realize that although my life is great, it could be a lot better and I could have so much more to offer to others.

I have been thinking about concrete means for each of the four areas, and this morning I realized that in order for me to be encouraged through the process, I would commit to doing one thing to help myself and another to reach out.

To give you a better example, allow me to share a bit on the physical agenda:

~to myself:

  • I commit to eating healthier meals and not skipping any of them
  • I commit to exercising every week in order to feel less stressed and energized

~to others:

  • I commit to contributing to an organization that provides meals to those in great need
  • I commit to contributing to an organization that values life and the dignity of a person/body from conception to death.

I am convinced that this will have an effect on multiple lives and therefore create beauty. Please stay in touch as I plan to share more information on my new little plan for life.

Lovely image by photographer Trent Bailey via firefly events

CHILD-LIKE BEAUTY

Yesterday I met a little girl, her name is Edith; who as she finished her doctor's visit, stopped by the building's cafe in order to ask for a giant muffin. As I paid for my capuccino, I saw her walk towards a little table with two of her dolls in hand and a princess tote on her shoulder.

You would think that Edith is a girl like many others; who likes sweets, dolls and the color pink; except, this little one is much older, I would say in her forties.

She gladly shared pieces of her life and with that she added that her disability was due to the fact that she was dropped as a baby; which caused brain trauma and other severe damage, including convulsions for most of her life. She also added that these convulsions might lead to the need for a wheelchair, which she spoke about with great excitement; the one you usually see in young children.

I was fascinated by her way of seeing life; childhood is after all, one of the most wonderful stages; one where everything is happy and exciting, so I continued my conversation with this amazing little soul.

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I learned that she had a princess bed, and that soon she would get a pair of pink glasses, but more than anything, I learned that she had the wonderful gift of joy and simplicity that every one of us must keep within, despite the need to mature and be responsible.

She left me with a joie de vivre that I had not experienced in quite some time; perhaps because I take myself too seriously, and so the inner child came back.......

lovely image by Vicky Starz via Style Me Pretty

CONQUERING FEAR

What started out as a plan for a ski trip, turned into a vacation not to be forgotten. As we sat at a coffee shop bringing up details, our blind friend was the first to jump into the plan. At first some disbelief that she could even dream about skiing. I myself have my reservations when at the slopes, so to witness her fearless attitude began to give us courage.....

A ski school for the blind was our next search, and to our disbelief, they do exist, so the questions wandered through our minds of the huge responsibility this trip would entail. A different kind of vacation; one where we witness our courageous friend conquer the snow! She is truly one of a kind, blind from birth, she has conquered her fears, gone through college and a masters degree, plays the piano, socializes on fb, and totally ready to hit the slopes.

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Everything was planned, it was a matter of days; however, unforeseen events forced most of us to cancel the trip. Regardless of this, our friend was determined, jumped on a plane on her own and met with a friend that lived near the mountain so she could fulfill her new goal. Doing incredibly well, she returned home triumphant, giving us the clear sense that this was a different type of vacation; one where we got to experience snow through a whole set of eyes.........

closed eyes image (source unknown) found via pinterest

snow heart found via spin news magazine

A REFLECTION OF BEAUTY

Every once in a while you wonder if any life situation would keep you from viewing the

beauty of life itself. Coming across the story of Stephanie Nielson (nienie), I can only confirm once again, that beauty is to be found, no matter what, and that difficult experiences may offer the opportunity of making you more grateful and appreciative of all that, which has been given.

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Surviving a near-fatal airplane crash, which burned 80% of her body, Stephanie cherishes the fact that she is alive and is able to be present in the lives of her loves: Mr. Nielson, Claire, Jane, Oliver, Nicholas and her newest sweetheart, Charlotte, as she lovingly describes them.

What a beautiful example of love and simplicity. I cannot help but be inspired by her courage and determination to reflect beauty, against any other reflection.

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Images by Justin Hackworth for Parade found via nienie

Stephanie and her beautiful family were featured on Parade magazine; take a look at some behind the scenes action:

A book written by Stephanie with the accounts of her story will be released Spring 2012, this little video has a beautiful introduction:

How lovely to see so much beauty around Stephanie; just take a look at her little ones, truly a reflection of whom she really is:

ON LIVING WITH DIGNITY

When I was 12 years old, I visited a small town where houses were built out of cardboard and tin, and as I met some of the members of the community, I noticed a little hut where dishes piled up and dust abounded. I was then prompt to ask the lady within the little dwelling, whether I could help to 'beautify' her little home. She agreed, and I gladly set out on a mission.

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I began by taking care of the pile of dishes and sweeping the entire little hut. I then proceeded to rearrange the few pieces of furniture available to achieve the proper balance and make it more pleasing to the eye. The final touches were given with little things she had available and voila! A quaint little place to call home.

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I remember vividly the excitement and gratefulness from the lovely lady. She thanked me by giving away some of the candy that she sold for a living and I left fully convinced, that no matter how many or how little resources one is given, one can make a home truly dignified.

I believe that when we are surrounded by beauty it is easier to remember our worth and dignity, and carry ourselves according to that truth....

lovely images image found via pinterest

A BEAUTIFUL LIFE

It is great to have you visit this little space where beauty is to be found ~ in every life circumstance. From a young age, I was fortunate to have received the gift of perceiving beauty, even when subtly disguised, and this little space is my way of sharing that perspective with the hope that it will be helpful and beneficial when applied to your own life.

We live within a world surrounded by both natural + superficial beauty; contrasted by suffering + lacking. We are therefore called, to look deeper and with a new disposition, in order to discover true beauty everywhere around us; including the most unlikely places and situations.

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While looking at the above image I can see that despite the bits of imperfection or missing elements for each flower, their beauty is preserved both through their essence and by the help of the sketches which fill in the blanks and allow us to see that which might otherwise be missed.

magnolia images found via pinterest