Recently I came across this list of questions from Elder Ballard and I couldn’t help but share them with all of you. Honestly this list really made me think and evaluate my own life.
Have I really been spending enough time truly studying the scriptures, or have I simply been content with a few verses each day? Have I really been spending my time as wisely as I think I am or do a spend a few too many minutes mindless scrolling through Instagram? At the end of each day I am going to go through each of these questions and honestly evaluate myself. My hope is that overtime I will recognize where I can improve and be humble enough to do so.
We challenge you to do this with us and please let us know if it works for you!
Read more HERE.
Last week I returned from what might have been the greatest trip of my life. My little brother recently returned from from his LDS Mission to Tampico Mexico, and in less than one month my other little brother will be leaving on his mission to El Salvador, and Belize. This trip was somewhat of our last hoorah with everyone in my cute little family together before my brother takes off for two years.
For our trip we decided to go on a cruise. We wanted to check out a bit of Mexico since my brother had just been there so going on a cruise was a fun (and cheaper) option. We went on a Carnival Cruise from Miami Florida that traveled to Key West and Cozumel Mexico. Honestly, it was FANTASTIC!
Now, since this was my first cruise, I was a little naive about what to pack. So, I headed straight to Pinterest to gain some knowledge and learn some tips. In this post I am going to share with you a few that worked, a few that didn’t, and some of my own that I discovered along the way.
Check out all the photos from our cruise HERE.
One of the most popular packing tips I found was to roll your clothes rather than fold them. I was a bit skeptical at first but everyone seemed to be raving about it. The claims were that rolling clothes was not only a great way to save space, but that it kept your clothes from getting wrinkled.
After doing this myself I can honestly say that I am completely sold. The space I saved was unreal and my clothes really were so much less wrinkled than normal. You aren’t allowed to take an iron on the cruise ship and they don’t have any there so to help get rid of any potential wrinkles we brought some Magic Wrinkle Remover. This stuff really works and it smells amazing!
After rolling everything I organized them into outfits and packed them together. When I was packing I wasn’t sure exactly what to bring since it was my first cruise. I ended up packing WAY more clothes than I ever would have needed. While it was nice to have options, it was a bit excessive. I brought all kinds of clothes for every situation. I realized throughout the trip that I kept going to the same clothes. Comfy clothes. It was SO hot during the day, but at night it would get a little breezy. When packing, go for light, airy, and comfy. Bring a few items for chilly nights but for the most part you will want clothes that will help keep you cool in the heat.
To help keep everything together I packed the outfits into plastic bags. This also helped to keep everything clean and compact. To keep my clothes smelling fresh I threw a dryer sheet into each bag. I also kept the bags slightly open to keep them aired out so they didn’t smell stuffy.
I was so worried about packing my hats because I didn’t want them to get squished and ruined. I had nearly decided to not bring any until I came across this awesome tip. If you stuff your hats with something (I used socks etc) then it helps your hats keep their shape. This is also another great way to conserve space in your suitcase.
One of my all time favorite packing tips is for jewelry. Honestly, this tip has changed my life. To pack your necklaces and keep them from tangling, thread the necklace through a straw (as pictured above). Since I have been doing this I haven’t had to deal with ANY tangled necklaces. This tip works for certain bracelets as well if you are worried about them getting tangled. Just cut the straw to the size that will work for you.
Taking cases or baggies for your sunnies might seem like a no-brainer, but I ALWAYS seem to forget one. This was a super important item to bring to keep my sunglasses protected, especially during traveling and at the beach.
One of the travel tips I was most interested in trying was for all my lotions, sprays, and liquidy substances. To avoid spills or leakage while traveling you unscrew the lids, put plastic wrap over the opening, and then screw the lid back on.
The lotion pictured above has the plastic wrap under the lid. This tip worked really well... for a little while. It was a fantastic way to keep everything from spilling or leaking. But over time it got a little messy. After a few uses, the plastic wrap started getting really messy and even began ripping.
To fix this I started putting the plastic wrap over the top of the bottles and securing with a small elastic band (pictured above). This worked SO much better! I avoided any spills or leaks and everything stayed so much more clean.
When traveling, especially if you are going on a cruise, space is very limited. Make the most out of your space by using a hanging toiletry kit. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful this was. The photo below is from my cruise cabin. Both hotels I stayed in also had little hooks in the bathrooms where I could hang my kit. The hanging travel bag I brought is from Mary Kay. It was so convenient on the cruise and rolled up perfectly for travel.
In the photo above you can see a few bags in the corner. I used old bags from Urban Outfitters (the ones you get when you check out), an old Toms bag and a Skull Candy bag to store all my lotions, sprays etc, and hair tools, (curling iron/straightener). They also made for awesome totes for the beach. The fabric was durable and dried super quick.
One tip that I really wish I had taken more seriously was SUNSCREEN. I kept reading over and over how important it was to use sunscreen but since I’m not really prone to burning I thought I would be fine. Guys, I seriously roasted. The tops of my thighs were in SO much pain. One day my shoulders were actually bubbling. Not cute. If there was one tip I wish I had listened to sooner it would have been to wear sunscreen EVERYDAY. Not just after you have been completely toasted.
These are just a few packing tips that worked for me. I hope that some of these work for you. Even if you aren’t going on a cruise, these tips are great for any travel.
What are your favorite packing tips?
Roadblocks on our personal journey come in a variety of ways. Maybe your current roadblock was brought upon by no fault of your own. Or maybe this roadblock was created from your own personal decisions. Either way, these roadblocks in life can make it seem difficult, or even impossible to move forward.
In 1 Nephi 8 in the Book of Mormon we read about Lehi and his dream. In verse 23 it says, “And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.”
In this particular verse, Lehi is depicting the “mists of darkness” that are causing the people to fall off the path and be lost. In this example it is a literal mist that is drawing them off the path. While our “mists” might not be literal, they can still cause very real “roadblocks" on our path.
One of the definitions of “Mist” is: “Something that dims, obscures, or blurs.” So, if we are considering a “mist of darkness” and a “personal roadblock” to be one in the same, then it is safe to say that one of the roadblocks we may encounter in our life is having a dim, obscure, or blurred vision of reality.
Each one of us is a royal son or daughter of God. We are absolutely valuable and have a great work to do. If we could truly comprehend the power and potential that we possessed, nothing could possibly bring us down.
However, unfortunately, we are often misguided by the mists that beset us. Our vision of our worth becomes dimmed, obscured and blurred. This deceived perspective may overtime cause us to minimize our purpose. We may feel defeated, undeserving, and of little worth.
For many of us, social media can become a “mist of darkness”, causing us to compare our life to the lives of others leading to an obscured perspective of ourselves. It can also become a distraction that leads to a lot of wasted time, leaving us feeling unaccomplished.
Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, the summertime itself can become a “mist of darkness”. I find myself becoming overly concerned about my physical appearance. After all, it is swimsuit season and because of that it seems nearly impossibly to avoid falling victim to the world's “expectations”. This can create a mist that blurs our vision and causes us to see ourselves in a negative light. Instead of seeing a beautiful, God-given gift, we see our bodies as flawed and imperfect.
By allowing these deceitful mists to obscure our vision we lose our ability to see ourselves clearly and we no longer understand our true identity as children of God. We need to understand that these mists do not need to be our downfall. That roadblocks do not need to halt our journey or our progression. You can press forward THROUGH the mists. Regardless of your circumstance, you can progress. Do not allow a roadblock to become a stumbling block. You are truly a child of God, He loves you and knows you personally and He SEES you perfectly.
They say people teach what they need to learn. Now, I may not be a teacher in the formal sense of the word, but I still have found this statement to be true in my own life.
I am one who struggles with insecurities, doubts, worries and fears. I have very real battles with understanding and realizing my own worth. Yet, I am the owner and creator of a blog and online magazine with the sole purpose of uplifting and promoting self-worth.
I am one who struggles with feelings of defeat and discouragement. At times I have even felt as though I had no power or control over my own life. And yet, I am the youth advocate at a high school where my main goal is to empower my students, lead them to success, and motivate them to never give up.
With all this being said, it almost seems as if my entire life is a paradox. Who am I to think I am qualified to “teach” self-worth, empowerment, overcoming obstacles, or dealing with insecurities when I have my very own? Right? Wrong. Actually, the real question is, who am I to not?
If you have feelings of low self-worth than one of the best things you can possibly do is promote the importance of understanding worth. I have gained more confidence and been better able to accurately see and understand my own worth as I have studied and “taught” the topic. When I have looked for ways to lift others up and help them feel of their own worth, I in turn have felt of mine.
I have learned more about setting and accomplishing goals as I have taught the concept to my students at work than I ever could have hoped to on my own. I have experienced very real situations where I was able to empower myself and take control over my own life as I have worked with my students in taking control of theirs.
Do you struggle with insecurities? Do you feel “unqualified”? Do you think that because of your own imperfections you are less likely to make a difference? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you my friend are EXACTLY the person qualified to make a difference. It is through your imperfections you are more likely to become humble and teachable. Those who are both humble and teachable have a major advantage in growing, progressing, and influencing, over those who are not. YOU are perfectly qualified. YOU have what it takes to make a difference.
I have such a strong desire to empower others because I know what its like to feel powerless. It is because I have experienced feelings of doubt and insecurity that I understand how real it can be. Do not give up because you feel like you are not “enough”. As I have strived to “teach” others these principles, I personally have gained more knowledge of them.
As you learn to embrace your imperfections and allow your weaknesses to become strengths, remember YOU are enough.
While I know I often promote limiting our time on social media, this post is actually going to be a little bit different. In fact, this post was inspired by two women who I discovered on social media.
So much MOST of what we see on social media are the highlights of everyone’s lives. I often refer to this as the highlight reel. We see the awesome vacation, photos of the “perfect weekend with the besties”, and countless gorgeous selfies. What we don’t see are the 35 less-than-gorgeous selfies it took to get that good one. We don’t see the boring days spent at home alone or the struggles that others actually are enduring.
This week I felt especially overwhelmed. The details as to why really aren’t necessary, but the point is, I was stressed. Even though I knew better, I found myself scrolling down my Instagram newsfeed observing all the “perfect lives” of those I was following. Then I stumbled upon a photo with a caption that I really related to posted by one of my newest favorite IGers, @mstarabrooke [check her out, you won’t regret it]. The caption read,
“I had a mini breakdown this afternoon after a few too many things brought me to my breaking point. My best friend came to my rescue, scooped me up and fork fed, yes, fork fed me ice cream and fixed one of my mini disasters for me. He told me to not stress over the little things, and to just do the best I can. Isn’t hat what we are all here for? To do the best we can? I needed today to remember to shake off the things that don’t matter and to do my best.”
I loved the realness of her words. We really are all here just to do our very best.
After reading that I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew and taken on one too many projects for one little girl to handle. So, I did what I needed to do and rescheduled what I could. At first I felt like a failure. I couldn’t hack it. But in reality, I was doing the best I could. Sometimes doing our best requires taking a step back. I needed to recharge before I could really put my all into anything.
Taking a step back and putting what I could on hold was really what I needed to do. However, even knowing this made me feel like I was falling behind. I was frustrated with my current situation and again, felt like I had failed. Then, as if the flood gates had opened, in flew the negative thoughts. I felt defeated. It probably didn’t help that again, I was scrolling through Instagram. It didn’t take long before I stumbled upon the darling Allyson Rowe, Miss Washington USA 2014’s account, @allysonmrowe.
This girl is such a lovely human. Like, she is literally gorgeous. It wouldn’t be hard to feel inferior to her. However, this girl isn’t like every typical pretty blonde. This girl is incredibly inspiring. In fact, every time I see one of her posts, I leave it feeling better about myself. Not something very typical with Instagram. I found one of her videos from awhile back and the caption said,
“Your current situation is not your final destination.”
It isn’t overly common for me to feel so inspired after being on social media. In fact, it often has the reverse effect. However, in one week, I had two lovely girls help me in a way that I’m sure they were not anticipating. They didn’t only share the perfect parts of their lives. They were real. Tara let it be known to the world that she too has less than ideal days and Allyson constantly uses her social media to bring others closer to Christ and feel of their own infinite worth.
Just like these darling girls, YOU too can be an influence for good. YOU too can inspire others. Social media does not have to be a place where we leave feeling “less than”. Social media can actually be a force for good. Be real. Share positive and inspiring posts. Strive to lift others up. Leave a positive comment. (And for the record, “Like, can I be you?” are not the type of comments I am referring to).
Let us all strive to be more real, stop comparing, and choose to use our own social media as a force for good. Maybe you too can have a positive impact one someone else just as these two lovely ladies did for me.
Who has inspired you on social media?
How can you use social media as a force for good?
To say that I am excited for Spring would be quite an understatement. To say that I am excited for this Summer would be an even bigger one. I feel like once this time of year hits nearly all I can think about are the warmer days ahead.
Being excited for a certain season is fine. However, looking forward to the days ahead can cause us to lose sight of the now. To be completely honest, I am not a fan of Winter. There are very few things about that season that I enjoy. During those cold months I have a choice. I can choose to be miserable and complain or I can choose to enjoy and be grateful. Although it can often be hard to find, there truly is beauty in every season.
You might currently be going through a particular “season” of your own life that causes you to look forward to better days ahead. You might be wishing your time away wanting nothing more than for this season to pass. It might be difficult to find anything beautiful about this specific time in your life. However, just like there is beauty in every season of the year, we can find beauty in the seasons of our lives.
Often that beauty is simply the growth and strength we earn from enduring. Nonetheless, that is still something beautiful. Instead of wishing your life away, choose to be content in the “season” that you are in.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” PHILIPPINES 4:11