Saturday, March 28, 2015

Removing the Just


My friend and I worked tirelessly on a Monday evening. It wasn’t an easy task for me to break down my resume and build it back up. I treated it like an old, worn out barn nestled in the country. Once a structure with use and potential was now an eyesore with no given attention. I’m not one to boost about myself so when Jess was making me sound like an A+++++ human being, I had to remind her that I’m just Carrie, from Moorhead, MN, who wants to be a teacher.

“Carrie, you’re not just anyone. You’re not just a paraprofessional. You’re not just one of the most thoughtful women in my life. You’re not just a sister and daughter and niece.”

She’s right. I’m not, we are not, just a person. We are so, so much more valuable than that. 

What if we had to keep a life resume for God? Sharing those adventures we’ve taken when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone, how we are using our talents to their full extent and on the flip side, why we aren’t lending a helping hand to those in need and what we are doing spending our money on an overly priced salad from Starbucks because we forgot to pack our lunch.


Meet yourself where you are. Break down your days past– reflect and remember and replay – and from here on out, build it back up to a life that is full of spontaneity, adventure, love, and faith. We are not “just” a body moving from one place to another. We are people that deserve genuine and true love. We are people that need to help each other navigate through the storms and buy balloon bouquets for the celebrations. We are treasures; children of God that need to not forget why we are here.


Dust off your lens and what do you see?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Power of Feeling Beautiful

I love winter for a couple of reasons but my skin saying goodbye to hydration is not one of them. There are many products on the market that target dry, cracked skin, but today I am sharing with you a brand that specifically addresses these issues in a safe, effective, and helpful way! 


Lindi Skin uses the most healing botanicals and antioxidants to give you ultra-hydration, protection, and life back into your skin. Currently, there are 12 products in their line ranging from $10-$40. As a young adult, I can swipe my card for those prices! >insert "Amen!"<


I was sent four of their most popular products to try. While spring may have sprung, my skin is still in "winter mode" so I was eager to try these and (fingers crossed) see if they made a difference. 

Lindi Face Wash - $22

"The Face Wash is a gentle alternative to soap that works to achieve optimal PH balance"

My Thoughts: I felt that the face wash did make a difference in the appearance of my skin. The smell reminded me of a pool filled with a little too much chlorine, but other than that, I felt refreshed going to bed each night knowing that I had a clean and hydrated face to hit the pillow with!

Lindi Citrus Face Serum - $40

"The Serum is formulated with the highest concentration of Lindi Skin's proprietary LSA Complex ®, replete with botanicals, antioxidants and vitamins"
 
My Thoughts: This is hands down my favorite product of the group! It is slightly comical how much I look forward to using it after the Lindi Face Wash. The citrus smell leaves me feeling calm, relaxed, and like I am getting a spa treatment within the four-walls of my little condo bathroom. I did have to put on my regular face lotion after as once the Serum settled, my skin felt a little dry, however hydration could very well not be the main intent of it?!

Lindi Lip Balm - $10

"The Lip Balm is a compact solution for lip care and easily fits into a pocket or handbag for easy access"

My Thoughts: I've never been a fan of lip balms that I have to apply with my finger, so truthfully I used this once and that was it. 

Lindi Eye Hydrator - $30

"The Eye Hydrator is designed to soothe dryness in the sensitive area around the eyes. It is an extremely nutrient rich gel that reduces puffiness and improves skin tone"

My Thoughts: I use the Eye Hydrator in my morning routine in hopes that my peers won't have the urge to tell me that I look like I could use 5 more hours of sleep. You don't need much of the gel as a lot goes a long way, making me believe this product won't need to be replaced too often! 



Whether you are dealing with winter skin, older skin, general skin rashes, allergy-prone skin, bad sun and wind burns or any other various skin-conditions, I would recommend you try Lindi Skin. To read more about the products and the founder/creator of them, check out their website.

While you are browsing their site, Lindi Skin was kind enough to give my readers a 25% off code and *free* shipping to use for ALL PRODUCTS! The company will also make a donation to the American Cancer Society's "Look Good, Feel Better" program for every purchase through May 31st. I heart that a million and one times!

Discount Code: BLOG25



Disclaimer: While this post is sponsored by Lindi Skin, I am not receiving any compensation for orders placed with Lindi Skin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Under Construction



For months my alarm would go off at 4:15am during the week and 6am on the weekends. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I would spring out of bed and put on clothes that I had set out the night before. My workouts were my escape from reality because I had control of what I was doing. I could either run or lift weights or walk. I was the one making the decision and that was important because I knew the second I left the gym, things were going to happen whether I decided them to or not.

The food I ate was raw and fresh and boring. Oatmeal, chicken, spinach; you name a healthy food and it was in my pantry or in my stomach. With a strict, “clean” diet, came episodes of intense sugar cravings and a need to shut them up. That meant an embarrassing amount of M&M trail mix at 10pm followed by a morning of regret, anger, and self-talk that would be heard for most of the day.

I would look in the mirror and be confused. How was I still looking the same even though I was working out 6 days a week and eating like a rabbit? I was tracking my calories and following a workout plan and drinking more water because apparently you need to consume a lake in one day. I was saying no when a student would offer me a Tootsie Roll and would walk that extra .23 of a mile so my calories burned were at a certain number.

“Carrie, you need to stop living this way. You may think you are doing all the right things but your body is clearly signaling that it needs a break. While your labs are being run and we look further into your current situation, you have to cut your workouts in half and find alternative activities to de-stress you.”

I hated that it took seeing a specialist to make me realize that I needed to change and stop living in a way that was putting way too much pressure on my thoughts, body, and overall way of life. But it did and it was time to put her words into action.

Finding balance when handling essential, daily occurrences – exercise, food, a social life – took a while to figure out but when I did, there is no other word to describe it other than freeing. I found that taking a walk amongst the fresh, crisp air felt equally as good, if not better, than waking up before the roosters and stressing over running a certain distance or lifting a challenging amount of weight. I now savor every bite of a cookie when given one and thank God soon after for providing us with sugar and flour. I am becoming more of a “yes” person when it comes to my social life but I also know when I need some time to myself to regroup and recharge..and binge watch shows on Netflix.

Do I still catch myself obsessing over calories? Yes.
Do I still have three too many handfuls of anything with sugar as an ingredient? Yes.
Do I still have to talk myself out of running more than I should? Yes.
Do I know how to accept these things and continue to work on them? Yes.

We are always going to be a work in progress and we must take it upon ourselves to see what it is in us that needs tweaking, sprucing up, or getting rid of altogether. The wonderful thing about our “construction zone” is that we are not alone. There are friends and family and strangers whom we haven’t met yet that are just waiting to help us reconstruct, rebuild, and make a little stronger.

Maybe what you need more of is actually doing less of what you are doing now...


Thursday, March 12, 2015

How It Should Be

I've recently been diagnosed with what doctors are calling a Happiness Hangover. I would like to think I am fairly educated, so I took it upon myself to inform you of this recently discovered illness. Side note: this is one hangover that can't be solved by waking up the next morning and immediately drinking to cover up the hangover that is soon approaching your body. 

Symptoms:Happiness Hangover symptoms make you feel like you won a Grammy and then got it revoked for lip-synching at your concerts. You will scroll through your iPhone photos to remember the fun you recently had, only to realize those photos are in the past and you're going to be late for work if you keep staring at them. Speaking of work, it may take you a while to remember that vacations do end and you will need to get reacquainted with your alarm.

Causes:Time with the people in life that just get you; doing things you love, eating things you love, drinking beer you love (that isn't sold in Coloradoyeah, I'm looking at you Michgolden). Whatever it may be, you had a dang good time and wish your calendar was filled with more of it.

Overview:Plain and simple, you had a weekend with "your people" and hey, maybe strangers you met that turned out to be pretty nice company. You laughed like you did when you were younger, watching Even Stevens, and you didn't turn down Mini Donuts at the Excel Energy Center because they were coated in sugar and according to society, that's a sin these days. 

How I came down with Happiness Hangover...


Mall of America 




Papa Stav suggested coffee before a day at the mall. He's a keeper! 


Hockey


The faces I got when I asked them to "get together and smile!"



Family




Life was how it should be. 




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part three


In the third and final part of this series, I have Patty and Jen sharing how they would answer to the question:


What would you tell your twenty-something self?





Don’t let what others say about you define who you are.  The world is full of opinions and as a young person the challenge is to learn what to do with the opinions and judgements that come your way.  Ask yourself if they are true and if they are not, let them go.  Don't let them have power over you or define who you are.  Laugh at yourself and embrace the gift of imperfection!   There is such freedom in not needing to be perfect, and laughter helps heal those not-so-perfect moments.

                                                         - Patty
* * *



Life gets better with each year. Let go of the things that aren't serving you. Walk with Jesus, develop your relationship and trust Him. Freedom comes in letting go. What I can tell you is that in trusted community, prayer and enjoying the bible, you will find the answers and direction you seek. God is your father, your protector, your healer and your provider. Explore your relationship with Him, just as you would with any person you'd like to draw near to. The desire He's planted in your heart will grow with joy and laughter All you need to do is let go and follow Him.

                                                      - Jen



A big THANK YOU to all six women who contributed to these posts! In case you missed the first two parts…here you go! 




P. S. Let's open the discussion, shall we? What would YOU tell your twenty-something self? Comment below!











Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part two


The responses I got after posting yesterday was overwhelming - my phone wouldn't stop going off!  I am so pleased that you all are enjoying this "mini series" as much as I am. Today I have my friends Mary and Vicky sharing how they would answer the question:

What would you tell your twenty-something self?






"Explore the world. Make some new friends. Take risks. Be independent. Live life LARGE! You know, I have a daily tear-off calendar and one of the pages said, "Life is not an emergency." Don't sweat the small stuff!"
                             
                                                  - Mary







* * *


"After college its normal to feel like you should have the rest of your life all figured out.  But you don't.  Not now.  Or after grad school.  Or after that first big hire.  There are so many more firsts to come.  So open your arms wider, embrace all the opportunities to come your way, and know that you'll never really feel like you have it all figured out.  And its ok.  

You think you know yourself pretty well.  When really?  You are only about half-baked.  You won't be close to fully baked until you are moving into your 30's.  Being in your twenties is the most free you will ever be.  So go.  Do.  Be.  And just know, you'll fall down 5 times, but get up 6.  Whatever you do, just keep moving forward.  Out of the experiences you garner at this age, you will learn the lessons you need to grow more fully into who you really are. 

Lean in.  When the going is rough.  When the job disappoints.  When the boyfriend leaves.  When things fall apart.  Lean into the experience, and go all the way through it.  You'll come through the other side, wiser.  Stronger.  Better prepared to tackle the next hard thing coming along.  If you learn how to do this now, you'll grow in grace and trust your emerging instincts." 
                                                                                           - Vicky, The Westra World



Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Twenty-Something Self // part one


No matter if I’m with one friend or a group of them, there is a certain topic of conversation that undoubtedly always comes up. It is the fact that not one of us has a clue as to what we are doing with our lives.

In a way it’s comforting knowing that I’m not the only person who prays each night for a sense of direction and guidance and answers. I’m not alone when I call a friend while sitting in traffic, asking for reassurance that what I’m doing today is preparing me for tomorrow...even when I am oblivious to what it holds. It is not only my set of eyes that looks in the mirror wishing to see something, someone completely different reflecting back. When I see the couple walking hand in hand at the park, what I'm blinded to is the handful of other single souls walking around the park, too.

Now that I'm in the second half of my twenties, I desire insight from women who have been where I am. I reached out to a handful of them in my life who have left an impact on my heart one way or another. One is a stay-at-home of two little ones. One is choosing joy daily while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. One has known me since the day I was born. One is part of my church family. One is whom I aspire to be like when I am a teacher - spunky, positive, and encouraging. One has two children, both grown up and on their own. I asked them all the same question: 


What would you tell your 
twenty-something self?


Today in part one of three, I have my friends Brandy and Kim sharing their "words of wisdom".  




   



"Learn to love yourself. Love ALL of yourself (good and bad) and embrace who you TRULY are. Don't compromise who you are for anyone. It's your time to shine for you. Learn to make yourself happy because, if you do, you will always be able to find happiness."
                   
                                                                  - Brandy




* * *

"Wear high heeled shoes today because at 40 something they don’t feel so great. Hug your parents, tell them you love them, thank them, spend TIME with them, and make memories. Strive to reach your dreams. Don’t ever settle - period! Be a good friend; make time for “Girl Time”. Visit a nursing home and you will realize how fast time goes by. Make a bucket list and don’t be afraid to put things on the list you think are too far out of reach, life changes. 

Finally and most importantly…. Love your God with all your heart and all your soul. Always place God first, PRAY unceasingly. I bet today I say “Thank you Jesus” at least a dozen times a day. I never did that at 20. Green lights, Thank you Jesus, just drove across the train tracks and the lights went on, Thank you Jesus, one of my kids call or text, Thank you Jesus. A friend messages me to write a little story, Thank you Jesus.

So today I challenge you to do 3 things. First is take time to listen. It may be a bird singing, it may be your child, it may be a friend, it may be silence. In silence you will find God.  Just listen. The second is to be grateful for everything. Be grateful that you have a job, a family, a car, a bike, you can breathe, just be grateful. I guarantee there is someone who has it worse than you. Lastly, Pray. Thank you Jesus is a prayer.  I think sometimes we don’t pray because we think we don’t have the time. We don’t need “extra” time to pray. Pray in your car, in the shower, at the gym. God hears what’s in our hearts."

                                                                                                               - Kim