Wednesday, September 28, 2016

filled with wonder // 7 ways to restore your sense of wonder

I think that as we grow older, it is easy to lose our sense of wonder and to become disillusioned with the world.  We change; we see more things, good and bad, and find the things we once were inspired by to be ordinary.  I often go through a day, only focusing on the things I need to get done (and how much I don't want to do them) and then bury myself in Netflix and social media.  I'm not going to lie; I can be pretty cynical sometimes.  I feel like this past year I've found I have more questions than answers, more doubts than beliefs, and probably a ton more fear than love.  That's one of the dangers of growing up, you experience frightening things and you put up walls to protect yourself, but at the same time, you shut out a lot of people and things and experiences.  As someone who is still trying to figure everything out, here are a few things I've found that really restore a sense of wonder and faith in humanity.

1) Think good thoughts: Sometimes I let the littlest annoying moment in my day affect the rest of a perfectly good day.  Have you ever had a morning where you woke up late for school, and you burned your espresso because you were stressed, and then you snapped at your sister for something that was mostly your own fault.  And then, even though your teacher let you off easy on a late assignment, and there was ice cream for lunch, and someone complimented your outfit, and the sky looked gorgeous, it was a perfectly horrible day?  I'm pretty sure everyone has had a day like this, but I think the amount of days I've ruined for myself this way is inexcusable.   And really, the power of a good thought is very strong!
Roald Dahl:
2) Be Genuine: I don't just mean telling people that they look bad in yellow, or blurting out whatever you think.  I mean telling other people, and yourself, the truth about who you are.  There is nothing more damaging to a friendship than trying to be someone you're not to fit in, and then having your 'friends' figure out who you really are, and shunning you for it.  Believe me, it happened to me once before when I was about ten.  The thing I didn't realize at the time was, I wasn't just deceiving others, I was deceiving myself.  I made myself think that I wanted to be like them, to have their mannerisms and airs.  Honestly, now that I look back, it makes me laugh to think what a pretentious peacock I was trying to be.  If I hadn't been lying to myself I would've seen that that wasn't me, that wasn't who I wanted to be; I just wanted to be accepted.  You may wonder what being genuine has to do with regaining a sense of wonder.  It has a lot to do with it.  Do you remember when you were three and you weren't scared to express yourself as you really were?  Do you remember knowing that someday you would do the impossible?  By trying to be someone else, you diminish the possibilities within yourself. I think that in order to fully enjoy the world, you need to see it through your own eyes, by being genuine.  
You are unique and wonderfully made! Anything that tells you otherwise is a lie. You are created in the image of God Himself and there are parts of Him that can be seen in you and only you. When we discover who we really are and live it out we show people the truth about God. When we live genuine as children of God people take notice and want to be around us. You dont need a special anointing or to be called a pastor or evangelist to minister to people. Your life lived authentically will ministe:
3) Do something nice for someone else... and then forget you ever did it: Nothing takes the joy out of giving of yourself as much as a sense of waiting for something in return.  When we think of it in a sense of something for something, we don't really think of all the amazing things we receive as gifts, but rather as our due payment.  It's especially sad since what we receive out of life in return (in my personal experience) is so much more.  Which leads me to my next resolution.

Because: | Here's Some Uplifting Graffiti If You're Already Having A Bad Day:

4) Say 'Thank You': I think that part of losing our sense of wonder happens when we start to take everything for granted.  That verse about counting your blessings isn't cheesy, it's pretty legit when you actually try it. Someone told me once that when you thank God for all of your blessings, he increases them. Maybe it's true, but one thing I know for sure is, the more you are thankful for, the more blessings you realize you have. Maybe you say thank you out of politeness because it's been instilled in you from a very young age, but when was the last time you said it genuinely?    I dare you to say a genuine thank you everyday to someone, whether it be your mom, or the lady who opened the door for you at the store, or God, or anybody.  Just mean it.  

Gratitude Chalk Art and a Free Printable Version:

5) Say 'I Love You': I know I don't say this enough.  Just like 'thank you' it's sort of become a way to end a phone call.  Do you ever have those moments when you look at your Mom and think, 'Wow, everything she's done for me is unbelievable'? Or do you ever have a conversation with a friend or partner where they're so supportive and helpful? Or maybe you just randomly want to give your sibling a hug.  Don't pass up these opportunities to say I love you.  I think that sometimes, just like other blessings in our lives, we take the people we love for granted.  Life is short and it's better to risk being vulnerable than to risk not saying all the things you wanted to say.  Vulnerability is hard, but it makes life all the more wonderful.

"Cuando abrazo a otras personas, el cielo es claro; pero cuando te abrazo a ti, salen las estrellas.":

6)Do something that scares you: When we're little, there are all kinds of scary rites of passage that we have to do to make it in life.  Like riding our bicycles without training wheels for the first time, or talking to strangers, or even just difficult things like learning to dress ourselves or make a PB and J sandwich. I think the fact that little kids are always trying something for the first time gives them a sense of awe that we often forget when we get old and wise in the ways of the world. A lot of times we make the decision to stop taking risks because we no longer have to to survive.  The sad thing is, it can lead to a sense of lost wonder.  If we continue to ask questions and push our limits and learn new things, I believe that sense of wonder will continue to grow.  You know, I don't think it's a coincidence that the verb to wonder can mean the desire to know more as well as to marvel at something amazing.


7) Take a walk, read a book, bake some cookies, jump in puddles...:
And last but not least, slow down and do something old that you haven't done in a while.  Dance in the rain. (It's okay if the neighbor's laugh, they're missing out.) Try making your mother's oatmeal cookie recipe or read your favorite picture book from when you were a kid.  It's surprising, what a sense of wonder, nostalgia can bring back.  You'll probably wonder why you stopped doing those things...


If you've made it all the way through this post, phew, I applaud you. (-; This is actually a post I started working on ages ago, but pushed to the back burner because I felt uncertain about it.  I wouldn't say I'm suddenly confident, but I feel like this is something close to my heart and I just wanted to share it with you guys.

Stay wonder-ful!


What's something that never fails to fill you with wonder?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Y'all Got a Special Mention in My Latest Odyssey Article...

So I recently started writing weekly articles for a website called Odyssey, which allows students to create and share media with potentially thousands of viewers.  (BTW, if you're interested in something like this, you should check with your school to see if they're involved, it's a great program.) Anyhow, the reason I'm writing about this is to tell you that the last article I wrote was about what blogging has taught me about friendship (y'all got a special mention).  I guess it's kind of to make up for the fact that I totally missed my blogiversary... Oops!
If you recognize this from my first post, you rock!
What have you been writing recently?


Saturday, September 3, 2016

saturday reflections

I poured milk in my tea this morning and watched the creamy clouds billow up from the bottom of my cup, stormy at first, and then placid and uniform like a lake.  It sounds weird, but it's the little things like these that keep me going. 
 During the week, life pushes me along in a swift current of sound, and light, and social interaction, and deadlines.  It's all hurry, hurry, hurry, don't forget, hurry.
via pinterest
And when the weekend comes, I withdraw into my shell and avoid human interaction. I watch my tea while I pour milk into it and I revel in the hours of freedom from duty.  A pile of books.  My latest knitting project.  A story plot waiting to hatch.  My latest wild idea forming in the back of my brain.  It's one of the best feelings in the world.

It's not that I don't love my crazy life, my classes, my friends.
It's just, the day isn't long enough to write for an hour, to read for an hour, to sit on the hammock and stare up at the light filtering through the leaves.

via pinterest
And by the end of the week, I am exhausted, not physically really.  It's more like my soul needs a vacation from this concrete, rushing, unyielding world.
Before it fades into a shriveled shell.  Forgotten and abandoned.

But sometimes I feel bad for retreating and hiding.  This is a rare opportunity to spend time with friends and family.  To catch up on assignments from the week before.  To clean my room and make dutiful phone calls to people who don't know my name or that I might literally die without books.  
And I feel like a bad friend for making up excuses for not going out and avoiding conversations with strangers and not wanting to leave my cozy little den.
via pinterest
Sometimes I wish I could split myself into two people.
Me, and the person people expect me to be--the person I need to be for other people.

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