Journal Prompt on Finding Moments of Transcendence in your Everyday

Looking back to your personal life experiences, write about 3 moments of transcendence you have experienced. Then, write whether they were experienced through a major life event, a risk or adventure you took, or if you experienced that particular state of transcendence during a “uneventful moment”.

Here is the link to my post, Finding Moments of Transcendence in your Everyday, here.

Finding Moments of Transcendence in Your Everyday

The mystery that is life surrounds us. As we go about taking care of our responsibilities throughout the day, we can choose to take a few moments to be with what is greater than ourselves and revel in it (HuffPost).

What is Transcendence in Simple Terms?

What’s a moment you go back in time that you will never forget? A moment of pure stillness. You remember everything about it. It was as if time stopped. Your constant stream of thinking ceased. You weren’t focused on your problems or all the other things you had to get done that day. You were fully in that moment, basking in all the beauty and joy right before your eyes. Some memories from my life that are the most profound are the birth of my three children. The moment I held them for the first time. Looked into their eyes for the first time. Felt the touch of their skin next to mine. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about those moments! These were moments of transcendence.

Moments of Transcendence are Rare Experiences for Many

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

The problem is many of us can only think of a few moments in our lives where we have had these moments of transcendence. Many times, it takes moments of rush and excitement, such a skydiving or climbing a mountain, that brings you into a state of transcendence. On the flip side, perhaps you have experienced moments of immense sadness where time stopped and you were forced into a moment of transcendence. Thinking stops, time is not a concern, your never-ending to do list is washed away, and it is just you, and the present moment. These moments are rare for many people, through our fast paced, constantly rushed way of life.

Live Moment to Moment to Experience Transcendence

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The good news is, you don’t have to wait till you jump out of a plane to experience a moment of transcendence. You can experience these moments of depth in your everyday by slowing down and living in the present moment.

  • “First, move into the present moment by taking a few deep breaths.”
  • “Second, you can step out of the stream of negative thinking by placing your attention on the feeling of aliveness in your body: in your hands, your arms, your legs, and so on.”
  • “A third method you can use is to place all of your attention on an object in your environment”. (Eckhart Tolle)

Examples may be looking at a flower, watching a sunset, observing cloud formations, gazing into a loved ones eyes, meditation, or a variety of other daily practices. When you enter into a state of transcendence, you will feel a consciousness behind your eyes, beyond your thoughts. “That which remains when the stream of thinking subsides (Eckhart Tolle). That is entering a state of transcendence.

It’s vital to live fully even in the most mundane daily experiences. The feeling of hot water on your skin, the way clothes feel as you fold them, the touch of the carpet on your feet, the creak of the steps as you walk on them. Using your 5-senses to observe each moment allows your thoughts to calm and for you to focus on the current moment in time. By pulling your attention to what you are currently experiencing allows you to live in the present, which is the entryway to transcendence. Taking moments to soak in what you are doing, rather than the thoughts in your head, allow you to take a break from your recurring and incessant thoughts and to fully soak in the now. “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).” 

Time to Practice

The gateway to enter into a state of transcendence is to be aware of the present moment. Pay attention to your breathing. Focus on observing objects and people around you, not judging or labeling them. You may noticed there is anxiety, fear, excitement, joy within you, but you become the space for it. Being able to experience the state of transcendence in your everyday life is like finding a treasure many have been searching for their whole lives. It is what you have been missing, through living in a rushed state. It is realizing the “being” dimension within you, which is the spiritual dimension. It is the purpose of why you are here on this earth. To discover your inner being, the energy and vitality of your true inner self.

All you know is there is an underlying sense of presence, of being-ness, that is at once still, alert, and vitally alive (Eckhart Tolle).

Click below to begin a journal prompt on state of transcendence.

Check out my post, The Realization that Changed my Life, here.

Life is too short to not experience moments of transcendence in your everyday. Let’s start now!

Talk soon!
Merr

The Realization that Changed My Life

To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually” (Eckhart Tolle).

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links (paid links).

I was so upset. I sat down with my sister for lunch to tell her what was going on. I was actually pretty ashamed to verbalize what I had been struggling with. I was having a lot of anxiety about negative, fearful thoughts in my head. The thoughts in my head were causing me to lose sleep. These negative thoughts were running rampant. I was not controlling these thoughts, they were controlling me. They were like weeds in a flower garden that were not maintained. The more energy I spent focusing on how much I wanted to stop them, the more frequent they became! It was a never ending cycle. I was becoming so drained and I didn’t know what to do. I felt defeated and helpless. I was allowing my thoughts and their associated emotions to control every aspect of my day. I felt trapped.

A few months later I stumbled upon the author, Eckhart Tolle. I decided to read a couple of his books. Eckhart Tolle’s, The Power of Now and A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose were life-changing books that helped me realize my thoughts are not connected or apart of the true me, my inner being. “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity (your thoughts) . The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of intelligence. You also realize that all things that truly matter–beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace–arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken“. (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).

The Monkey Mind

Have you ever had a strong urge to do something, you decide to do it, then your mind spends the rest of the day making you feel bad about it? This happened to me the other day when I decided to pick up a cheeseburger, large fry, and massive coke from McDonalds. Before I made the decision to do this, my thoughts were convincing me how delicious the cheeseburger would be, how hot and salty the fries would taste, and how fizzy and sweet the coke would be. Immediately after I ate the meal, my thoughts started to convince me that I made a horrible decision, and I should have just ate the left overs from dinner the night before. Wait, first my thoughts were saying to go get the fast food and now I should regret my decision?! My thoughts took a complete 360! It’s seems completely ridiculous when you really observe the behavior of your mind. Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains the of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness” (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).

“Zen Buddhists refer to the constant chatter of the mind as monkey mind. The Buddha held that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around, and chattering nonstop. He meant that our minds are in constant motion” (Marelisa Fabrega). Thoughts consist of jumping from thought to thought from what you’re going to do next, to fear, anxiety, stress, judgements of self and others, and confusion. “We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong” (BJ Gallager, HuffPost).

Never-Ending Thoughts

According to Newsweek, “the average person will typically have more than 6,000 thoughts in a single day, new research into the human brain suggests.” Most of us are jumping from one thought to the next with no rest in between. All day, everyday. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it! Often, people spend much of their thoughts on obsessing about past mistakes, stressing about the future, or thinking about what they plan on doing next after what they are currently doing. Before we know it, many people spend their entire lives looking to the next moment or stressing about what they are thinking about instead of soaking in what they are currently experiencing, right here, right now. I noticed I was doing that in the shower just a few minutes ago; I was thinking about how I was going to blow dry my hair and then get cozy in bed to type this post. I had to stop my thoughts and take myself to the present moment, awaken my five senses, and allow myself to soak in the hot shower. I was allowing my thoughts to wander, preventing me from enjoying the present moment.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

If you wish to truly live a life of peace, the number one step is to realize that you are not your thoughts but an observer of your thoughts. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not ‘the thinker” (Eckhart Tolle). This was a true life changing moment for me when I realized this. I was so attached and controlled by my thoughts that I thought they were the true me. I was convinced that if I was having negative thoughts, I must be a bad person deep down. By thinking this, I was only adding more energy to these negative thoughts, which resulted in me feeling even worse. “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them” (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, Awakening Your Life’s Purpose). My thoughts are not me, they are not who I am in my being. They arise and they fall, but they are not of my essence.

How to be liberated from your thoughts:

  1. Begin listening to the thoughts inside your head as an observer.
  2. “Do not judge or condemn what you hear” (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).
  3. Focus on observing your thoughts, and allowing them to dissolve without reaction.
  4. Bring yourself back to the present moment by activating your 5-senses into what you are currently experiencing. I will get more as well as other tips and tricks to help with non-stop chatter in your mind in another blog.

Let’s Wrap Up

The science is now showing that the brain can be rewired from incessant thoughts with practice, now that is good news! I truly believe everyone deals with anxiety and stress from nonstop mind chatter but most do not talk about it. I hope this helps lessen the chatter in your mind so you can experience the beauty and peace of your inner being that arises like a bright light out of the darkness when you stop giving all of your focus and attention to incessant thoughts. You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This “I am” realization, the sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).

Click the links below to view The Power of Now or A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose on Amazon.

More on this topic to come!

Xo,
Merr

The Magic of Going Against the Grain

Do you ever stop and wonder why am I doing this, this is totally unfulfilling or unhealthy for me? During much of my journaling time, I have been bothered by many things that our society has normalized that are completely and utterly unsatisfying for us. But unfortunately, so many of us do these things like it’s our job. I believe many of us are just going through the motions each and everyday without realizing how destructive certain things can be to our physical or emotional health. There are three unfulfilling and mindless habits I’d like to focus on: muting our opinions, constant technology use, and regularly eating highly processed foods. Read below to find out why these habits drive me crazy and ways I try to combat them myself.

Muting our Opinions

We live in a world where speaking your opinion can be a very hard thing. Many of us are afraid to stand up for what is right in our hearts and fall back to the option of staying silent. I always think about what we ask our own children to do. Wouldn’t we want our kids to speak up if they or someone they knew was being bullied at school? But yet, many of us don’t model that own behavior to them. Voicing our opinions as an adult is on a different level than a child’s, but in the end it boils down to the same principle for a child as it does an adult-do you have the courage to use your voice and stand up for the right thing? In my last job, I had a couple of coworkers who made it a very toxic environment for me to work. They were constantly whispering about me and talking negatively about me to other coworkers. I felt alone and defeated. But one day, I decided enough was enough. I went up to them, asked them why they continually talk about me in a negative manner, and said I was tired of it.

This left my coworkers speechless. Although it was difficult and uncomfortable, I also felt so empowered I stuck up for myself and voiced my opinion. “If you’re striving every minute to make everyone happy, then you’re not making yourself happy, and you’re not saying and doing what needs to be done to live a successful, fulfilling life (Forbes).” And who wants to make everyone happy anyway? Let’s not just go along to get along. Stand up for what you believe in. Your voice is important and our world needs it!

Constant Technology Use

For many of us, picking up our phone is the first thing we do when we wake up, it’s the last thing we do before we go to sleep, and screen time fills up much of the time in between. “Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily” (Techjury). That is shocking and also scary when you factor in the fact that the average American sleeps 7 hours a day. So that’s 30% of your waking hours on the phone. So many of us are living in a mind-numbing state for a large portion of our day. You aren’t going to look back at your life and wish you had checked social media more but you may wish you were present to your surroundings more. Such a downfall to this is many of us are missing out on our life’s purpose because of it. Instead of chasing after our dreams we are just going through the motions of life, much of which includes constant technology use. Technology use is a huge hurdle generations in the past haven’t had to worry about. But for us, it is a major hurdle to jump over.

Think about your mindless triggers on your phone. For me, mine was always social media. One step I took to lessen social media use was I took the apps off my phone so I would have to log in with my username and password every time. This small step made it more time consuming to check my social media and so I ended up not checking it as often. I’ve also made it a habit to ask myself if I am doing something productive on my phone or am I just checking it because I am bored. Am I using my phone to call a friend, send a message I need to send, pay a bill, or am I using it to do something that serves no purpose? These addictive habits have been developed for all of us over many years and they are hard to break. So think about ways you can begin to cut down on phone use and I guarantee you, you’ll be happy you did.

Constantly Eating from a Paper Bag

I get it! Sometimes you have no other option and sometimes it’s nice to have a little junk food but this has become an everyday thing for many of us. So many of us our tired, low energy, and grumpy and many times this is linked to our diet. New research from UCLA points to the former. Eating sugary, processed, and high-fat foods can actually cause tiredness, a lack of motivation and decreased performance” (DrOzShow). I can speak for myself, when I eat junky, I am grumpy, tired, and have no desire to be productive. Another interesting fact is that health or disease all begins in the gut. “All disease begins in the gut” – It’s a quote attributed to the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates nearly 2500 years ago. Well he wasn’t far off. Every time we eat or drink or expose ourselves to chemicals and hormones, we are either feeding disease or fighting it! Isn’t that amazing” (Lucy Frew, nutritionist). Naturally healthy foods grown in a garden fight disease while highly processed, sugary foods in bulk and overtime lead to sicknesses. Let’s get back to eating the foods that consist of the colors of the rainbow and cooking delicious home-made meals. Let’s start planting gardens again and enjoying the fruits of our labor. We will be happier, healthier, and more productive. We only have one life to live!

Conclusion

All of these changes are hard. It is not easy to speak up to others, limit your technology use, and cook and eat healthy foods-but life isn’t meant to be easy. Those who work hard, challenge themselves to grow, and make choices that are sometimes uncomfortable are the people who live the most fulfilling, abundant lives. So if you’re ready to see the world from a more fulfilling lens, one of joy, excitement, and discovery, try pushing back on what society pushes on you. You’ll be happy you did!

Check out my post, No More Excuses! Simple Practices to Prioritize Health in 2022 from Former Fitness Competitor Turned Super Mom, to read about implementing healthy practices into your everyday routine.

Read the article, All Disease Begins in the Gut by Lucy Frew, below.

Hope this gets you thinking about ways you can push back to live a life of health and wellness!

Xo,

Merr

My Go-To Healthy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

I love to cook but sometimes the meal planning part of the week is a drag. I want to make sure I am cooking something yummy but also healthy. I have a few go-to healthy weeknight recipes that I cycle throughout my meal planning. They are simple and quick. Check them out below.

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links (paid links).

1. Chipotle Beef & Avocado Bowls

40Aprons

I found this recipe on 40aprons by Cheryl Malik. It is simple, filling, and so delicious. It is basically rice, ground beef, a smoky sauce, and guacamole. If you’ve never made homemade guacamole before, don’t be intimidated. It honestly takes about 5 minutes max. We make ours with 2 smashed avocados, the juice of a lime, a squeeze of sour cream, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cheryl has a quick guacamole recipe included as well. We typically substitute the cauliflower rice for white rice, but either would be delicious. We also don’t add mushrooms because Ray doesn’t like them. It’s still super delicious without them. I don’t add all of the smokey sauce so it’s not too spicy for my kiddos. Having a rice cooker on hand makes it that much easier! I linked the one we use below in case you need one. Ours was cheap but works really well.

Click here to go to check out the recipe.

2. Fried Rice

fried rice
PARKER FEIERBACH

I found this recipe on Delish. I love it because it is so quick for a weeknight when you don’t have a lot of time to cook and also need something filling. Only takes 20 minutes! Our kids also love this recipe. They always gobble it up when I make it. There are only 7 simple ingredients. I like to cook the chicken earlier in the day to have ready to cut up and throw in the rice later. Just like the recipe above, grab a rice cooker for your weeknight meals. We almost have rice for every meal and it is just so easy to throw the rice to cook in the cooker. This makes it even simpler during the busy evenings!

3. Harvest Chicken Skillet with Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts

wellplated.com

I found this recipe on Well Plated. I love this recipe because it is so healthy and has so many yummy foods in it. Such a pretty dish! The author recommends bacon but I’ve also added summer sausage to spice things up a bit. I also do not add the cinnamon since we usually don’t want it to taste sweet. This recipe takes a bit longer than the two above but it is worth it! Click the link below to check out the recipe.

4. Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala - 10000x better (and faster) than take-out! And the chicken is perfectly tender with the creamiest, most flavor-packed sauce ever!
damndelicious.net

My entire family loves Tikka Masala. We first tried it at a friend’s house and fell in love with it ever since. It is a perfect dish to make on a cold, winter night. It will warm you and your loved ones right up! The one ingredient we had to pre-order on Amazon is garam masala spice mix so I attached a link below for that. I also buy premade naan at the store to go with it. We love the Stonefire brand. Some Tikka Masala recipes can be super time consuming but I found a simple one on damndelicious. Below is the garam masala spice mix link and the recipe.

Who says weeknights can’t be delicious, healthy, and easy?! Your family will be drooling and begging for more. Can’t wait for you to give these a try!

Xoxo,

Merr

A Step by Step Guide to Actually Make Your Dreams a Reality

Based on: You Are a Badass-How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links (paid links).

“If you want to live a life you’ve never lived, you have to do things you’ve never done”. -Jen Sincero

I am not kidding you, I am obsessed with Jen Sincero’s book, You are a Badass-How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. It was inspirational, motivational, and hit so many key points on how to find your life’s purpose and just go for it! It’s the perfect book for people who haven’t even thought about their life’s purpose, to those who are working towards their life’s purpose, and even those who have conquered theirs (even though we are never done serving our life’s purpose). Jen Sincero’s humor had me constantly entertained and her content was right on. She hit the key component of spirituality on the head along with other topics everyone faces when following their life’s purpose such as fear, procrastination, people’s opinions, motivation, doubting yourself and how anything is possible if you truly believe in it. Read below for a step by step guide to help discover your life’s purpose.

If You Want to Know What Your Life’s Purpose Is, Wake Up Early Every Morning

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

There is no way you are going to break the code of your life’s purpose unless you wake up earlier than you’re comfortable with and sit in quiet. Why? Because there is no way you have plans at 5 in the morning (unless you work super early). We live in a world filled with distractions. From Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, news, text messages and phone calls-you wonder why so many of us miss our calling? Distractions are constant and everywhere. You are not going to be able to hear your life’s calling while watching The Bachelor or filling up your Amazon cart. Ya gotta work for it. Ya gotta get uncomfortable. It’s a lot easier to sleep until 7 than wake up at 5. But let me tell you, its worth it. Now, when you do get up early, do you pull out your phone and begin the endless cycle of distractions? That would be missing the point! Right when you wake up, your mind is relaxed and you are more at peace, which allows you to connect with the Lord. Do the opposite of what society has taught us to do. Sit in silence and meditate, get a journal out, or write down your thoughts. You can also invite the Lord to sit with you. Can you believe the creator of all will join you at anytime you ask him to? The source of all knowledge craves time with you. That is unbelievable in my mind!

Matthew McConaughey spent 52 days alone in the desert with no electricity to write his book, Greenlights. How was he able to do this and why did he do this? No distractions and a calling to pursue! Now I know living in the desert for 52 days is not possible with work, jobs, and kids but you know what is? Getting up early before the chaos begins! Stop giving out excuses like, “I’m not a morning person”, “I can’t get up that early”, or “I have young kids”. Yes you can! Once you start the habit of prayer and meditation in the morning, you will crave it. It will invigorate you. All it takes is for you to start the routine of early mornings. How badly do you want to discover your life’s purpose?

The more I meditate and the more I give attention to this invisible superpower, the more effortlessly I can manifest the things I want in my life and do it with such specificity and at such a rapid rate it makes my hair stand up”. -Jen Sincero

Once You Have the Idea of Your Life’s Purpose, Take Action

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Once you have pinpointed your life’s purpose by spending time meditating and listening, it’s time to make your dreams a reality. You may have felt a calling towards something in particular for a long time and you haven’t taken that first step forward. Or maybe its a purpose you have discovered through spending time with God. Now is time to take action. This is what will make you stand out among the crowd.

Everyone has dreams and aspirations, but many do not act on them, they remain dreams. So take that first step to start working towards your goal. It might be making a nerve racking phone call for a job you’ve always dreamed of. It could be going to the bank and taking out a loan to start your new business. Or spending ample hours creating your new website. Whatever it may be, take that word procrastinate out of your vocabulary. It is time to move! If you choose to wait till next year it may never happen. I’ll never forget the morning the idea of my website came to me in quiet time. It was like my pen couldn’t stop moving with all of the ideas for my website. My brain was like a computer downloading information from my thoughts and I was trying to write them down as quickly as possible. From there I took a few mornings to pray about where to begin. I started praying for a name and Overwhelming Joy came to mind. Once I had the name of my brand I contacted a graphic designer to help me with my logo. From there, the ball was rolling. It was exciting and still is! All it takes is the first step of action and remember that it takes time! But if you work on it everyday, build your purpose brick by brick, your dreams will become a reality.

Poo Poo to People’s Opinions

Photo by rhoda alex on Unsplash

Once you step away from the herd and let your true self shine, you’ll probably find yourself in front of the opinion firing squad (especially if what you want to do is extraordinary and outside of everyone’s comfort zones), which is why so many people run screaming from the lives they’d so love to live”. -Jen Sincero

Once you begin stepping out of your comfort zone and begin pursuing your dream, you are going to have many people doubt you, try to persuade you not to go for it, talk about you, and judge you. Not everyone but some. Do not let them sway you to turn the other way. Keep going! It makes people uncomfortable to see others take risks. Your moves to make your dreams a reality makes others take a look at their own lives. And many times this results in people acting out towards you. You’re strong and you can handle it. Put a blind eye to the negativity and keep pushing forward. Keep a constant eye on your end goal, and keep chasing the carrot. “What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them”. -Jen Sincero

Ignore Thoughts of Fear and Doubt

Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

You are going to have thoughts of fear, doubt, worry. You will have days you feel like you are not worthy. Be aware of these thoughts and release them. They are not true. They don’t deserve your time. And they are there to distract you from your life’s purpose. I know I am on the path towards success when my subconscious tells me I’m not worthy of amazing feats. It’s all a trick to keep your hands tied. Let these go and move on. “Face your fears with the truth, that they are all in your mind, and they will lose their power over you.” -Jen Sincero

Keep Pushing Forward

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

There are going to be many obstacles you will face once you begin the journey towards your life’s purpose. Not only are you going to have to deal with fear and doubt in your own mind, you will deal with other’s negative opinions, and even obstacles that are brought on to slow you down from achieving your goal. Do not give up. Keep working towards your goal, moment by moment, step by step. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your dreams be. It’s going to take time, dedication, energy, and hard work. Trust in yourself, you’re capable of all those things.

Anything is Possible and Available to You

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

In order to truly raise your vibration, you’ve got to believe that everything you want is available to you. And the best way to keep this strong belief is by staying connected to the source energy.” Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero talks about the law of attraction and how we are all attracting energy to ourselves. If you are grumpy, angry, envious, spiteful this is what will be attracted to you. If you are living a life full of gratitude and joy, positive and fruitful experiences will be brought to you, And a life of joy and gratitude is amplified with a close relationship with the Lord.

Conclusion on Step by Step Guide to Discover Your Life’s Purpose

“One of the best things I ever did was make my motto “I just wanna see what I can get away with”. Jen Sincero

This should be everyone’s motto. Life is meant to be fun, exciting, and adventurous. We are not going to experience that by sitting out the couch eating Doritos watching Netflix. Get out of your comfort zone and go explore! Take adventures into the great unknown. Put yourself out there. Talk to strangers. Make people laugh. Write a book. Do whatever you want to do! There is no one stopping you but you. Have fun in this thing we call life because you only get one shot. Let’s do this!

Click the link below to purchase You Are a Badass-How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. It is a must read!

Check out my article, The Alchemist Quotes: Finding Your Life’s Purpose, for another blurb on another must read book regarding your life’s purpose.

Start working on making your dreams a reality today!

Xo,

Merr

The Best Non-Candy Valentine Ideas for Early Elementary

Are you looking for some fun Valentine’s Cards that are not the typical candy-filled treat? I’ve been on the search and I’ve found the perfect ones. From bugs galore and slimy dinosaur Valentine’s gifts geared more towards the sweet boys. To glittery slap bracelets and rainbow keychains for that special girl in your life. The best part, all items are found on Amazon, for easy delivery.

Follow the links below to check out these fun Valentine Card ideas for that special little one. This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links (paid links).

Rainbow Sequin Slap Bracelets

I am obsessed with this Valentine’s gift idea. Such a perfect, colorful Valentine class gift for that girly-girl in your life.

Sensory Toy Keychain with Valentine Heart Boxes

My kiddos are lovin’ keychains right now. Perfect accessory for any backpack to give it that extra burst of flare.

Valentine Rubber Bracelet PreFilled Hearts Box

You kiddo’s classmates will be rockin’ these cute Valentine’s themed bracelets. Such a great alternative to the typical candy gift.

Love Bug Card

Your little bug-lover will adore these creepy-crawly bug themed Valentines. The bug jar card is such a cute touch.

Foam Airplanes Valentines

How cute are these foam airplanes? Cute gift for the little aviator!

Dinosaur Hatching Egg Filled Heart Valentine’s Day Cards

My boys and I were scrolling through Valentine card options and this was their absolute favorite. So fun to watch the dinosaur hatch out of the egg. Love this idea!

Whichever one you choose, your kiddo is going to love it, and so will their classmates!

Check out my post 3 Affordable, Screen-Free Toys that will Entertain Your Preschooler for Hours, if you’re looking for something fun and engaging for that special little one in your life.

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Xo,

Merr

5 Powerful Steps Towards Truly Forgiving Someone

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

We’ve all been there. Someone close to you did something to you that made you angry, upset, hurt, or sad. Maybe it was a one time offense, or perhaps it’s a hurt that’s replayed on a repeating cycle. We all have a choice on what to do next. We can choose to hold onto the hurt with spite in our hearts or take the steps towards forgiveness. The thing is, only one of these options leads to a life well-lived. I know this because I’ve held onto unhealthy and toxic feelings towards others that have hurt me. When I have chosen this route, I’ve had to reverse and do a complete 360 to head down the road of forgiveness. Why? Because the path of unforgiving lead to a day-to-day life of bitterness. My hurt and resentment was what I thought about and talked about. I was being robbed of joy of living in the now due to past offenses that had no bearing on my today. Unforgiving is like carrying a load of bricks on your back everyday. It stirs up unwanted and unpleasant emotions from the past and recreates a fresh wound daily. Unforgiving makes you feel grumpy and angry on days that God has planned many joyful moments for you to see. Below is a guide on how to begin the steps toward forgiveness, to live a life free from the chains of unforgiving, and how to cut the chains from negativity and spite. Lastly, to live each day in all the glory God intended for you.

Talk to God

I’m a pro at talking to my closest family and friends about hurts that have been directed towards me. After spending the day voicing my frustrations, sometimes God is the last person I talk to. That is a big mistake! Our all-knowing God is the only one who can leave you with a sense of peace and direction. If you ask him, God will direct your thoughts, show you which way to go, and will calm your anger and frustration. If you take the time to talk about all of your frustrations with him, you will be blessed with a clear mind, your anger settled, and your emotions released. He will direct your steps forward. All it takes is that initial step, invitation for guidance, and time to talk to him.

Forgiveness Needs Humility

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“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

When I have decided to chose the path of forgiveness, Jesus has humbled my thoughts on how I was involved in the situation I am trying to forgive. His approach isn’t accusatory but gently reminding me of times I could have been better. Softly showing times where I may have hurt this person in a way I wasn’t aware. Through this process, I am reminded that I am far from perfect myself and Jesus is showing me ways that I can better myself and change for the better. The process of forgiveness isn’t all about what the other person did or said, but recognizing your part in the interaction. There are also times where you have no direct involvement but are blindsided by a ricochet shot that hurts just as much. Either way, there are often parts of our actions and imperfections that we can improve upon, too. Ask yourself a few questions: How might my actions have contributed to the situation? Am I looking at the situation from all angles, all points of view? The proud may never admit any fault, but the humble are brought into the light on how they can grow and change during the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness Doesn’t Happen Overnight

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There are so many times I am so upset about a situation, I can’t even fathom forgiving. But over time, my heart is softened towards the other person involved. God does not expect you to push away all feelings of anger and sadness immediately. But he does ask that you don’t make these resentments the focal point of your everyday. If feelings of bitterness and regret are eating away at you everyday, you are the one who is suffering. Ask God to soften your heart towards forgiveness and to allow time to free yourself from living in disgust and frustration.

Setting Boundaries is Okay

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“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it” (Mandy Hale).

If someone is repeatedly hurting you or bringing you down, boundaries are okay. There is no reason you need to put yourself in the line of fire with someone who has repeatedly hurt you with no end in sight, or any seeming empathy on their part of understanding how they make you feel. You don’t need to grant complete access to your life to anyone, especially those who bring you down. If you have a family member or a friend who continually hurts you and whose path continually crosses yours, as best you can, limit your interactions with them. This does not mean you have chosen the path to not forgive, you’re simply making the conscious decision to protect your heart. It is okay to protect yourself from any future hurt by limiting time with people who don’t make you feel loved and supported.

Monitor Thoughts Replaying Feelings of Anger and Regret

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up” (Allen Klein).

You are in control of your thoughts. You can control what comes in and out of your mind. If you are constantly replaying a hurtful situation over and over in your mind, it is going to be very hard to forgive. It is imperative to release the situation from the confines of your mind, and in return, negative feelings will be released as well. This will allow you to joyfully live in the present moment without constantly looking backwards at a situation that caused you hurt. In the end, if you are dwelling on the hurt, you are only allowing hurt into your everyday which causes you to miss the joy in the now.

Conclusion on Forgiveness

The evil one does not want out to forgive. Why? Because when you don’t forgive, you hold onto feelings of resentment. In return, this steals joy and light away from your present day. In the end, not only does not forgiving hurt the person involved, it actually ends up hurting you more over time. When feelings of resentment and anger bubble up, allow them to come, and when you are ready, release them. Don’t hold on to frustration and miss out on the gifts of today. Allow God to soften your heart. Let go of your anger and hurt and joyfully begin the road towards forgiveness. “I am happy to say that everyone that I have met in my life, I have gained something from them; be it negative or positive, it has enforced and reinforced my life in some aspect” (Walter Payton).

Just writing this makes me feel lighter and brighter. I hope that you feel the same and begin the process of forgiving any hurts you have experienced.

Begin your own path towards forgiveness by trying out my journal prompt on forgiveness. Check it out below.

Check out my post, 3 Secrets to Complete and Utter Happiness, here.

Xo,
Merr

Reflection on 5 Powerful Steps to Truly Forgive Someone

Write about a situation where you have not completely forgiven another person from hurting you. Write about feelings that come to mind when you think of the hurt. Write about the next steps you want to take in order to free yourself of any hurt and resentment.

If you haven’t read my post yet, 5 Powerful Steps to Truly Forgive Someone, you can check it out here.

Xo,

Merr

3 Affordable, Screen-Free Toys that will Entertain Your Preschooler for Hours

Have you gotten in a toy rut where you buy your kiddos a toy and they play with it for about 5 seconds once you get home from the store? That is the worst! Not only do you have another toy to add to the overflowing toy bin but it’s also like lighting your money on fire. I have a 4-year old and a 5-year old and it can be a challenge to find an activity they are both interested in. My 5-year old loves legos and my 4-year old could care less about legos! Let me tell you, this causes a lot of arguments in the Target toy aisle. I was on a mission to find a few toys my boys would both be interested in, without breaking the bank. The three toys listed below have entertained my kids for hours without having to turn an I-Pad or cartoon. My boys can play with these toys by themselves if I need to get some chores done and they are also fun for me to join in when I have a few minutes of down time. Check them out below.

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links (paid links).

Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin: Ocean and Sand – Fine Motor and Sensory Toys for Kids

My boys have absolutely loved this sensory bin. One side of the bin is filled with sand and the other with water beads. Included in the kit are digging toys and plastic sea animals included in the kit. When you open the package you will need to soak the water beads for a few hours for them to expand and fill with water. Other than that, it will be ready to go and easy to assemble. Not only will this keep your preschooler busy but it will also build fine motor skills and promote sensory development. Once I got the bin ready, the boys played with the sensory bin for a few hours and consistently asked to play with it for weeks. It is a great activity for them to play together and also individually. Perfect for boys and girls. Best part, you can get it on Amazon prime!

Wiggle Car Ride On Toy

Wiggle Car Ride On Toy – No Batteries, Gears or Pedals – Twist, Swivel, Go – Outdoor Ride Ons for Kids 3 Years and Up by Lil’ Rider (Red)

This thing is awesome! I recently visited my friend, Breanne, and her kids were zipping around these things like crazy. Although it was snowy outside, her kids were able to get their cooped up energy burnt off by rolling through the house. I’m not gonna lie, I ordered one of these the moment I got home. They can be used in the winter indoors, and in the summertime zooming down the side walk. It is ideal if you have hard floors if you are using indoors, it would be hard to maneuver around on carpet. These are a great way to spend some time movin’ around after being indoors for too long. Click the link below to check it out.

Trouble

We’ve all heard of the board game Trouble but have you played it recently? Especially with your kids? It is a blast! Not only that, it is great for practice with numbers and counting. My 5-year old begs us to play as a family everyday. He honestly can’t get enough of it. Another bonus, there are not a lot of parts, it is easy to clean up, and easy to store. Trouble has kept our family entertained for weeks. Not only is it fun for our kids, it is fun for Ray and I, too. As soon as we accidentally break the bubble in the middle, we will be buying a new one! Click the link below to check it out.

Conclusion

We have spent so much money on toys that our kiddos use just once or twice. You won’t have that issue with the toys listed above. If you are looking for an activity that will entertain your kiddos without screens, you’ll love these. Not only will they stretch your preschoolers mind and encourage learning, they will also provide movement and exercise. Great for parents who need entertainment for kids to catch up on a few chores or fun for the whole family to join in on. Hope you have a chance to check them out!

Check out my blog, Joanna Gaines’ Advice for Curbing Phone Use Amongst Kids.

Xo,

Merr