Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holistic Wellness in 2010

Throughout this past semester I have realized that balance is one of the hardest things to have in life. I find myself struggling with this concept constantly. Over the past couple of months I have recognized the need for balance in my life and have been researching the 6 dimensions of wellness (which as a student affairs professional...I try to instill in my students). I am not a big fan of "resolutions" because I believe we should constantly be setting goals for ourselves, not just one day out of the year. For the coming year I have quite a few goals, but one of the overarching goals that I have is to become holistically well. As I was researching for the dimensions of wellness to help set my goals, I came across this helpful information that I thought I would pass on in case anyone was interested in setting some goals in these areas or push oneself in any of these areas.

Just a quick overview in case any of you that are reading this (hopefully at least one person might read this) are unfamiliar with the 6 dimensions of wellness. The six dimensions of wellness are:
1) Physical
2) Emotional
3) Spiritual
4) Intellectual
5) Environmental/Occupational

The information I wanted to pass along is as follows. This information breaks down each dimensions and gives tips on things to do to achieve holistic wellness. Enjoy!

1) Physical

-Get a physical examination
-Current immunizations
-Be consistent with self-exams
-Regular exercise & eat balanced meals
-Dental & eye exams
-Limit or avoid alcohol & tobacco
-Get a massage to ease tired & worked muscles

2) Emotional

-Recognize when your emotions affect your body
-Express your needs, feelings & opinions appropriately
-Use humor to defuse negative thoughts or situations
-Use journal writing to relieve stress & express your thoughts
-Talk to a trusted friend or family member and vent
-Give & receive lots of hugs
-Be optimistic-believe in yourself & your abilities

3) Spiritual

-Nourish yourself through personal beliefs, morals, and/or religion
-Feel connected with oneself & others
-Find purpose in life & meaning in the little things you do everyday
-Develop a philosophy of life that you want to live by

4) Intellectual

-Find outlets that are intellectually stimulating
-Set & meet realistic goals academically, personally & professionally
-Take advantage of opportunities that may offer you different experiences
-Decide on things that help you relax & do them
-Deep breathing can help the mind-body connection
-Spoil yourself after completing a goal

5) Environmental

-Appreciate & respect the environment
-Do your part to preserve & improve environmental conditions
-Have a place you can go to relax & chill out
-Whether it's at home or work, have a welcoming space for you & others to feel comfortable in
- Colors can be a great way to spice up an area-decide which one's light your fire!
-Reduce noise & pollution
-Keep yourself & others safe-buckle up!

6) Social

-Develop relationships where both parties feel good
-Ability to interact with others in public & private situations
-Comfortable adapting to various social settings
-Can stick to values & beliefs without being persuaded by peer pressure
-Join clubs to expand your social network, it's a great way to get involved & meet others with similar interests

Reflecting on 2009

Wow....what a year! As 2009 ends and I celebrate my 25th birthday, I reflect back on the whirlwind of a ride this year has been. I am so blessed for the amazing people in my life and the experiences & opportunities I have been given this year. I was asked recently if I regretted not going into coaching right after my undergrad....I thought about it....and my answer was absolutely not!! I would not trade these last two years for anything! It has been hard but I have pushed myself harder and farther than I ever thought possible. Actually I should say that God has pushed me harder and farther than I ever thought possible. I am so blessed that God directed me into the areas that he has. He has helped me find my passion & purpose in life and He has opened doors for me that has made everything possible.

This semester has been an emotional roller coaster. I have struggled to balance everything in my life, to stay healthy, and to stay positive. There were moments where I literally thought I was falling into depression but I snapped out of it and realized how lucky I truly blessed I am. I live a life of luxury. Even though I am a struggling college student...I have everything that I physically need....and that I am thankful for.

Family life for me has been tough this year. The transition from losing a loved one takes a toll on everyone. Everyone seeks to find out who they are and that has been the hardest thing for my family. We are trying to rediscover who we are and what our relationships are going to be like in the future. I think I have finally come to the realization that life does not turn out like you think it will and everything can not always stay the same....even though you want it to. But as I reflect on this....even though it is sad and hard to see things change...without this change we will never grow...we would just stay stagnant in our lives. Even though nothing is the same as it used to is still wonderful to be surrounded by people who love me.

Even though things change...people change....relationships change.....NO ONE will ever replace my mom and the love that she gave me. My mom will always be my mom even though she is not here physically with me....I know she is above watching over me....and I hope that she is proud of the woman I have become.

As 2009 ends, I look forward to what 2010 will bring. The coming year proves to be a year filled with major changes in my life. As graduation approaches the thought of where I will be a year from now leaves me with excitement and anticipation. To start a new life somewhere is very exciting but I know that I will leave behind a lot of things. But one thing is for matter what university I am will follow me. The love of my friends, my family, and God will follow me no matter where I go. Goodbye 2009....Good Morning 2010!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Taking balance to a new level.

Sunday I visited First Baptist Church in Commerce, TX. I have been visiting the church for a little over a year and have come to really enjoy the people and God's presence that I feel when I am there. This was my first time going back to the church for a while. If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I have been so caught up on everything else the last couple of months that I haven't been motivated to attend church lately. Anyway, the message this week spoke to me. All of the things I have been struggling with were put into perspective.

The message was based on Ephesians 4: 1-6 and titled: "Learning How to Walk". This is from the New King James Version:

1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace 4 there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all , who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

I preferred the version that was used during the message but the concept is the same. The words used in place of lowliness and longsuffering were humble and patient. Basically this passage tells us how God wants us to live. Even though it is a challenge in this day and age to balance these things, that is our challenge.

God wants us walk worthy of the calling that He gave us. To do that we must be 1. humble. I loved the description of humble that was given. [ humility - I can do all things but it is because of the power of God which is at work within me ]. We should be humble in our walk, knowing that, yes, through Christ all things are possible, but it is Him working through us that makes everything possible. Doesn't this just take the word humble to a whole new level? In our walk we must also be 2. gentle and 3. patient. Gentleness or "meekness" is to live in control. To be in control of our actions, our words and our thoughts. To be patient is to not only be patient with God and the things he has in store for us, but to also be patient with those around us.

These are the critical pieces of how God wants us to live. And in the end it is all about 4. bearing with one another with love. On our walk we will come across people that we might not get along with but we must bear with one another with the unconditional love that God has shown us. It was stated in the message that we need two things on our walk 1. a proper understanding of God and 2. a proper understanding of ourselves.

All of this describes what the bible says about balance. It is not just about balancing our everyday life. It is more than just balancing our planners or our social and work life. It is more than balancing work, family, friends and hobbies. Balance is so much more than that. Balance is about living the balanced life that is talked about in this passage. If we live this way and balance these things; humble, patient, gentle, and with unconditional love; all of these day to day things will all fall into place.

I just felt compelled to share the message because I know that many of the people that might read this are in college or just recently graduated college and it is that struggle of balancing everything that is on our plates that sometimes drains us physically and mentally. Even for those who are older, my forecast is that balance is something that we will struggle with throughout life. As new relationships form, new jobs, kids happen, tragedy strikes, etc. we will have to re-learn our daily balance in life but this balance that God puts forth for us will never change.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Am Second

I found this amazing website and I suggest that anyone who is reading this to take a look at it. There are so many great stories and tools. I came across a section under Get Involved that breaks down scripture based on different topics. I was just spending some time looking through some of the different topics when I came across the topic Assurance of Salvation. I was intrigued so I read through the page and found an answer that I am been searching for over the past couple of weeks. On the topic of salvation, there was a question asked about periods of disbelief. Now I would not say that I have necessarily had periods of disbelief just more or less a lack of strong Faith. The statement that spoke to me reads:

The Bible says once you are truly born again--once you receive the new birth--you receive
an "inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you."
Every honest believer experiences periods of doubt. Doubt is not the opposite of faith;
it is the flip side of the same coin. Sincere doubt signifies a search--a search
that God honors.

This statement spoke to me, not necessarily in it's exact context, but in spoke to me in a way that I needed. In my previous blogs I have been talking about how my life has become so filled with work that I have lost sight of my beliefs and my relationship with God has deteriorated. This passage spoke to me saying that since I have been truly born again even through the times that I do not rely on God or put God at the center of everything I do, I am still saved. This same topic came up at church a couple weeks ago. The pastor preached about the narrow road vs. the wide road. After the service I was really struggling with what road I truly was on. I started questioning whether I truly was saved. This statement of scripture tells me that I am. Even though there are times that my faith is not as strong, I know that I have been born again and that I gave my life to Christ. It leaves me at ease knowing that God honors the search that we are going through as Christians. I think that the statement above can speak to many different people differently. To me the part about God honoring our search means that he is honoring and loves the fact that I am struggling to find the sense of balance that I am searching for. When we are searching we are learning, and when we are learning we are growing! It sets me at ease through this personal struggle that God honors it and it is okay to go through this because in the end I know that I am doing all of this for His glory!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Change must come.

It is time to make a change in my life. I have been going and going and going and have worn myself out physically, mentally and emotionally. I have been very unhappy lately and have struggled the last couple of weeks to figure out why. I finally came to the revelation that God is what is missing in my life. My relationship with Him has struggled this semester. I know that I need to do some restructuring in my daily life to keep Him at the center of everything I do. I now know this..but implementing this is going to take a lot of me to stand up for what I have to do for myself. I have been putting so much into my work, my time, my heart and all of my passion and energy. I love it but it has been at the cost of myself and those that I love. I have to make a change and focus on what is most important to me, which is God, family & friends, my passion & purpose, my health & wellness, and my future. This will be very hard for me because I like to be a part of everything and it is hard for me to say "no" to anything, but I have to do this for me. You know after a vacation everyone will say, "Now back to reality". I don't want my life to be like that anymore. I want to feel relaxed and enjoy each and every day that I am given. I don't want to have to wait until vacation to feel like I am living. I have realized that I have not spent a lot of time this semester working on myself and have not grown in the areas that I have set to work on. I have not felt anything. I seem to just push everything into the back of my mind and say "I'll get to that later". That is not fair to myself or anyone else around me. On the positive note, I am glad that I am able to realize this and make a change. Some people stay in jobs and relationships without realizing how they are affecting them. I am proud of myself that I am able to realize this and say "I need to make a change." I am happy to say that I have a relationship with God and have been blessed enough to see God work in my life and in others. I know it seems that a lot of my blogs have been very sad and depressing but that is just where I am in my life right now. I am truly blessed though with a wonderful family, true friends and amazing opportunities. I guess I just keep pushing for bigger and better things.

Also, people might wonder why I am writing all of these things. This is just a way for me to reflect. Other ways have worked but I have lost the motivation to write in my journal so this has become an alternative. I also feel that a purpose for my life is to tell my testimony and how God has worked in my life. If one person is inspired, impacted or comforted by this, I feel that it is worth doing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning Walk

This morning has been a wonderful start to what seems will be a great Saturday. I went on a walk this morning with a friend and enjoyed the wonderful conversation. I have come to realize that all of the things I have been thinking about lately to fill this void I am feeling (a dog, moving, a boyfriend, etc.) are all things that will fill a void, but only temporarily. These are the quick fixes you always hear about. My friend pointed out, that even if you had those things, wouldn't you still feel that void and still feel unfulfilled. And my answer is, YES!

The time in my life that I have felt most fulfilled was after my mom passed away. It seems strange but my life was fulfilled because my Faith was so strong. I felt such a strong connection to myself, to God, and to the rest of the world. I felt passion for life, a sense of purpose and a love for God's plan for me. Even though that was the hardest time in my life, I felt that I was truly living life. I was unhappy but I felt somewhat complete. It has been 2 1/2 years since my mom passed away and I have gotten to the point in my life where I have forgotten all of the ways that God worked in my life. He helped me through the hardest time in my life, He put people in my life to help me, He guided me to my purpose and passion. He was so amazing and in everything I saw Him. But now I go through my daily life forgetting all of those things and forgetting about God's unconditional love for me.

I am to the point in my life where I have lived the life of someone just going through the motions of life, not realizing the important things in life and not having a true connection with God. I have also lived the life where I was truly connected to God. I relied on Him for understanding and purpose and I praised Him for the things He was doing in my life. I am at the point today where I am in between those two. I have a relationship with God, but not a strong one. My Faith is not strong and God is not the center of everything I do. I need to get back to that point where I relied on God for all things. I truly saw Him working in my life. This is truly what I want in my life right now, this is what I need. The void in my life is not having a stronger relationship with God and my wavering Faith.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Facing the Giants

After watching Facing the Giants last night and then having the day off of work to reflect and take time for myself I have a new (or at I least I found it again) outlook on the work that I do. If you haven't seen Facing the Giants, well you should. The movie is based around a losing football coach and his team. Nothing seems to be going right in the coaches life. He hasn't had a winning season in 6 years, his home is falling down around him, and he and is wife can not have kids. When he hits rock bottom, he starts to pray and to read the bible. He studies scripture and comes up with a new philosophy for his football team, one that not only applies to football but applies to life in general. The team will serve God by using their talents that God has given them, and win or lose they will praise Him. By implementing this philosophy some of the players come to know Christ and they start winning games. I wanted to watch this movie to see if God would speak to me last night. Nothing happened last night but today it hit me. Sometimes at work we are just like the coach. We are about winning and about ourselves. We want to be recognized, we are all striving for a status. We forget all about why we are doing what we are doing. We struggle each and everyday in our job and even get to the point where we feel that it is not worth it. But if we would all just do what the coach did. He finally figured out that it wasn't about was about something so much greater. Life is about serving God and praising him in our triumphs and our failures. We all serve God in the different ways that he has led us. We are coaches, teachers, business people, lawyers, etc. Hopefully we are all in those positions because we are lead there by God. He did not lead us to those positions to make money or for the fame and status. He led us there to serve Him. It's about the lives we reach out to, the people we impact, the changes we can make while in those positions. As I go back to work tomorrow, I remember why I was led to this job. I was led there to make an impact. Not the impact that I want to make, the one God wants me to. I am here to serve Him in the ways that He has planned. He will put the opportunities and people in my life that He wants to. We just have to prepare for the rain.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's your life.

As I was driving home from a great day at work, "It's Your Life" by Francesca Battistelli came on the radio. I was listening to the words and they really spoke to me and some things that I am going through. The chorus goes:

It's your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Everyday the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It's an open door
It's your life

These words reminded me that this is my life and not to let other people look down on me for who I am. The choices I make or do not make are my decision and I should not feel bad or embarrassed for those choices. I should be proud of who I am, who I have become, and who I will be. I want people to look at my life and the decisions I make and realize that my heart beats for God. Above all he is more important than any other relationship or any material thing. I need to remind myself to focus on Him and other things will work out as He has planned. This is hard when we all want control of our lives but I have to remember and am reminded daily that He is the one in control. Like the chorus's an open door. The possibilities for my life are endless and it's just open for me to trust in Him and follow the plan He has for me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Looking Back

Lately I have felt that I need to reconnect with my past and the ways God has worked in my life. I have lost that part of me. And after church today I feel that I need to go back to that here goes. My life completely changed when we found out that my mom had cancer. I never knew it would end the way it did. We all had so much hope that everything would be fine. We found out early November and by December my mom was in so much pain and completely not herself. My dad stuck by her side the whole time. She kept getting worse and worse and as time went on I had already lost my mom. She was not herself, she could not do anything, her quality of life was saddening. It is so hard to see someone you love, especially a parent, in such pain and poor condition, having her children take complete care of her. I am still amazed everyday that God gave me that feeling 2 days before she died. He gave me that feeling and I made sure to tell her I loved her. Those were the last words that I know she heard. The next time I saw her she was in ICU holding on just so we could say goodbye. I want to believe she heard the things we were saying and all of the love that was around her in her last hours. At that point in my life, I claimed to know God, oh how I was wrong. Losing my mom was the point that I leaned on God. At that point in my life, where you just hit rock bottom, that is all I needed at that point was the love of God. I needed understanding, love, strength, and guidance. And He gave that all to me. He gave me strength and love through the people He put in my life to help me get through this time. He gave me guidance to keep living but also to really LIVE. He guided my passion in life and what I wanted to do with my life. God IS and was so amazing! I still can not believe that I am where I am today. I just thank him everyday that He helped me get through the hardest time in my life and flourish from it. There are still so many hard times now with life transitions after losing a parent. My life is completely different and its hard. It's hard for every holiday to be different, every family function to be different, to see my dad dating and having a new life without my mom. I still feel very lost and more than anything I wish I could see my mom again...and I know I will someday. I know it is going to continue to hurt as life goes on. When I get married and have kids....she won't be there. But I know she will be there in spirit. 2 and 1/2 years ago my life pretty much started's been hard but it has been the best part of my life. I have lived more in these 2 1/2 years than before my mom died. Because of her death...I came to know God and trust in Him. I know at times my Faith might not be as strong as I would like. But I know He will love me unconditionally. I have gone astray the last couple of months...putting other things before God and my Faith and that is something that I hated but could not help. I am at the point today that I know God is the center of everything I do and that the plan that He has for me is more important than anything that I could ever dream up. I need to start living that life again. With God at the center. Not as my #1 priority, yes he is the most important, but as the center. So that everything I do is centered around my Faith in God. These are my thoughts today and the struggle that I have tasked myself to work on during this next week...not that that will be as long as it takes. But this week I want to reconnect with myself, God, and my purpose that He has set for my life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God is truly leading me.

I am truly amazed at God's plan and how he leads us. I was reminded of this recently. About a year ago I decided that I was very interested in the service-learning area of Student Affairs. I decided that I would plan an Alternative Spring Break trip during 2010. My internship this semester is to plan a detailed trip including theory, curriculum and a recruitment and fund-raising plan. Over the past couple of months I have been struggling with finding the ideal location for the trip. I have really stressed about it and even lost my passion for the project because I was making no headway. This all changed. As most of you reading this probably know, I have attended Texas A&M University for going on 6 years. We have 8 American Samoa students. Their families have all been impacted by the earthquake and tsunami that hit those villages. I attended a meeting these students and truly witnessed their emotion and their pain during this time. I was completely humbled. Their passion touched me. I understand what they are going through, as I have been in the middle of a semester and faced loss. It is so hard to sit in class and carry on with college life, when your life has completely halted and all you can think about it the pain and sadness. Through this meeting I realized that God is calling me to work with these students and other students at A&M Commerce. I feel like I am being called to plan a trip to take our students there to help during all of this devastation. I will continue to pray about it knowing the size of this project and the amount of time and energy that I will have to put in to make this happen. No matter what happens I am humbled by the plans God has for each and every one of us and how it seems sometimes that he aligns the stars for us.