If You Really Want to Go

Today is poet Langston Hughes’ birthday, so in celebration, we leave you all with his words. Have a great Sunday ladies!

Original photo credit: Nina Maiores

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Snow Day Survival

Snow is a’comin for some of us. For others of us, snow has already been here and you wish it would go back home (I feel you). But either way, you must be ready! So whether you are at home with the ‘rents, in a dorm, or have your own pad (lucky you!) below are our Michaela Must-Haves for a stormy, snowy day.

1. Food and Drink
Food is a must for those snowy days. My favorite ‘snow storm’ foods and drinks are soup (potato or chicken tortilla), warm bread, hot chocolate or chai. Basically, I use snow storm days as an excuse to eat my favorite, filling, warm comfort foods. There is no good reason for this, but who needs a reason to drink hot chocolate? So, I’d advise you do the same. However, it is actually important to stock up on non-perishable foods and water on a snow day just in case your electricity goes out.

2. Technology
You must know whether or not this will be a ‘you get to stay at home and nap’ snow day, or if it will be a ‘you need to get up earlier than usual and shovel out your car and go to school/work’ kind of snow day. Thus, you need the Internet or television. Also, you may be having a ‘I need to rescue my silly roommate who drove her car in the ditch’ kind of day (aren’t you so nice?). For this, you will need a cell phone. Finally, if it is the kind of snow day where you get to stay home, then you need entertainment. Nexflix and Hulu are your friends in this case. For those of you who live in terrible cold, rural places where electricity often goes out or who love to be uber prepared, a radio, flashlight and batteries are really helpful things to have.

3. Warm clothes/Blankets/Candles
Keep the warm and cozy coming with clothes that keep you warm and comfy. Leggings and sweats are great if you get to stay home. If you want to take your laziness to the next level, drag your blanket around with you all day. Up the cozy vibe with a couple of scented candles.

4. Games!/Movies/Good Books
If you do share a home with someone, break out the Apples to Apples, Taboo, Scrabble, Dominos and movies and have some fun with your friends or family! Snow days are wonderful times to make incredible (indoor) memories. So, invest in your relationships and play your heart out. If you live at home, break out that cozy mystery and enjoy!

5. A shovel
Eventually, you will need to venture back outside into real life. Bring a shove (and preferably, some help) to clear a way for your car or shoes.

Before the storm:
Stock up on the food/warm clothes/games/movies/etc. Also, remember to make sure you have all your medications up to par, in case you can’t get out of your home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also recommends that you allow faucets in your home to drip a bit of water to prevent pipes from freezing.

photo courtesy of 123rf.com/Copyright : ximagination

Prayer for the Week

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7)

I’m a worrywart. I have spent many nights lying awake at night worrying about one thing or another. This only results in me feeling overly tired the next morning (and that leads to me bumping into things, but that’s another story) . But I’m learning that instead of lying awake at night with the world on my shoulders, I can rejoice. I can rejoice in the fact that the Lord has done so much for me and I can rejoice in the fact that He will never leave or forsake me. Even when I feel worried, sad, or stressed, I can rejoice in the fact that God is taking care of me, even when I don’t see it. So this week and always, may we remember to rejoice.

Father,

As we begin this new week, we want to thank You for Your faithfulness to us. For getting us through the storms of life, and bringing us to meet this brand new day, we thank You. For filling us with dreams and for taking care of us, we thank You. You are good Lord.

You are good.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Question: What has God done for You lately? Take some time today to  remember and worship the Lord for the blessings He has given you.

Photo Copyright: rmarmion / 123RF Stock Photo

In Defense of Awkward

I have many weird traits. One, I love dark, quiet places. So when I feel stressed (particularly during thunderstorms…which is a constantly occurring situation that leaves me feeling stressed), I like to hide in my closet. Yep, my closet. Also, I’m super shy and quiet, and often experience (and am the cause) of the totally-awkward silence in which the other person expects me to say something, but I really just can’t…So yeah…

I have no (absolutely no) sense of direction, so I am constantly going back and retracing my steps to try to figure out where I went wrong. Sometimes I have to retrace my steps several times, probably causing people to wonder about the woman who is wandering around with a confused look on her face.

Finally, I have a tendency to run into things. Particularly in the mornings. Particularly when I’m tired (see: every morning). Usually these ‘things’ I run into are street lights. Yep. While walking (and daydreaming) I have often found myself crashing face first into a street light that I hadn’t previously seen (note to urban developers: Do we really need so many street lights? They are a safety hazard). Thankfully, usually no one sees this. If someone does happen to witness me walking into a streetlight (or sometimes a car door) I quickly start walking the other way, while trying to convince myself that they didn’t really see me.

In short, I’m awkward. I’m a book-loving, clumsy, klutzy awkward woman. The awkwardness hasn’t really gone away as I’ve grown older, but (I believe) I’ve been able to hide it (a little better).

But, I’m beginning to realize that maybe hiding it is the wrong way to go about being awkward. Maybe awkward needs a defender. Because awkward is kind of cool. My awkward is what sets me apart from everyone else. I would be totally normal if it weren’t for my quirks, but who wants to be totally normal anyway? Many people don’t love my awkward traits (I spend countless hours with people who tell me I need to talk more, smile more, be more, do more…). The ‘more’ crowd would love me to be confident, bold, articulate, insightful. The more crowd would love me to always be in style, always know the right words to say, the right things to do. The ‘more’ crowd would love for me to be coordinated, to glide through life like a dancer who is always sure of the right moves.

I’m beginning to realize that the ‘more crowd’ doesn’t really love me.

Instead, I’m loved by those who see the awkward, and who know how to point me in the right direction, or not mention the knot on my forehead (courtesy of my head intimately meeting yet another pole). I’m loved by those who give me books, and those who can laugh with me at my weirdness. My awkward is what separates the people who are real and true from those who I need to stay away from. My awkward is what compels me to write, and read and dream. It’s what causes me to be vulnerable and real, and what compels others to be vulnerable and real with me.

In short, even though I don’t always like my awkward, I love it, and am slowly starting to embrace it. I’d encourage you to do the same. When you begin to embrace the thing (or things) that make you awkward and weird, you begin to see that the same things that make you awkward, are the things that make you special.

In short, be you, the weird, wild, wonderful you.

Love,

Angela

Photo Copyright: icetray / 123RF Stock Photo

Prayer for the Day

Father,

As we get ready for another work week, wrap us all in Your arms of protection. Be our guide and our help and help us to always remember you. Give us the wisdom to make good choices and the courage to dream big. May we make lasting memories and have a love that overflows.

You are good.

In Jesus’ Name,

Talk back:  What do you need to pray for this week?

Copyright: marishaz / 123RF Stock Photo

Weekend Lounge: Art, Music, Fun

Weekend Lounge is just that. A place where you can sit back and  chill. We’re bringing you the best in music, art and entertainment. Enjoy your weekend!

Poetry

Woman

woman

Dark, stooped over, fragmented piece of glass sat she
cold and alone, and void of poetry
her verse was gone, her rhythm stopped, no song to sing
she wanted to fly, but couldn’t find her wings,
This dark essence, no one to hope in her words,
hear her voice, sing her song,
stepped on, beaten by life,
stooped over, utterly alone,
for what do I do when my strength is gone?
and I have no poetry?

No one to glean from
no inspiration comes
the future looks bleak,
her body is weak,
mindless but mindful
that there’s no sunshine in store
for her
whose poetry is gone.

Her glory, her essence, her strength, her smile
has long been forgotten
and replaced with the chains
of her Mistakes and her Shame
blighted and sinful and stricken with a curse
lies this silent woman who has been stripped of her verse,
Where is her story? What has become of her glory?

She can’t see the writing of her Maker’s hand
can’t read the words, can’t find the faith to see
what her mortal eyes cannot see
they say the storm will be over
but how can that be?
for someone who has lost her poetry?

But the Writer still writes
with His holy pen
and every stormy story
has a middle and end
and even the lonely can find a Friend
in the arms of Her Maker.

‘Your story’, He says,
‘Is still there, still being written,
still under My care.
I’ve allowed this storm to come and the
fog to fill your eyes so that you could not see
My will but now you must realize, child,
the web of your life is still being spun,
the song you once had is still being sung.

Your story, my child, is telling the tale,
of one who has overcome, a storm, a gale
I’m bringing you through
When you look up
I’m still holding you.

Stand up, My Daughter, I won’t let you fall
I haven’t forgotten your voice and your call
have not gone unheeded.
You can’t believe because you can’t see
the ending of your story
but don’t look at that, look at Me,
and see my Love, and My Comfort, my Glory, My Care
I who will never forget you and will always be there
who has written your name in the Book of Life
so that she who once had no story
will forever see My Glory
she who once had no song, will forever sing Hallelujah,
with tears in her eyes, remembering the times that she tried
on vain,

to write her own story, by herself,
forgetting, to put her hand in Mine
but now this time, she has decided to trust
In her Storyteller’s care, to rest in His arms
and watch as he gently turns the page in the Book

and gives her a sweet verse.

Music

Love this video by John Legend, celebrating beauty of all kinds.

My God is Awesome Remix by Charles Jenkins featuring Jessica Reedy, Isaac Carree, Da Truth and Canton Jones. Lift Him Up!

Art

Fun

For those of us who need a little extra help at clubs and parties….tips below:



Comedian Michael Jr.

Photo Copyrights (from top to bottom):
aleksander1 / 123RF Stock Photo
szefei / 123RF Stock Photo

3 Tips for Great Summer Hair

Summer is a time filled with heat, humidity, swimming pools and rain. All of these things means that we need to approach hair care differently during this time. Here are some simple tips for keeping your hair fresh and healthy this summer.

1. Consider washing your hair more frequently

Michaela wash

Heat, chlorine, sweat and pollution (eww!) all mean that your hair may need to be washed more frequently in the summer. If you typically wash your hair once every two weeks, consider washing it every week. If you usually wash your hair once a week, consider washing or co-washing your hair three or four times a week. Regardless of what schedule you choose, be sure to  wash your hair after you get into a pool or have an intense workout . Chlorine and sweat can really dry out your hair if you let it. Also, say no to the heavy greases and opt for lighter moisturizers during the summer.

2. If you usually wear protective styles, summer is a good time to (sometimes) wear your hair out.

Michaela afro

Even though there are many things in the air in the summer that can potentially harm your hair during the warmer months, summer also brings with it much more humidity, which can be good for your hair if you enjoy wearing it out. So feel free to let your hair down a few times during the more humid days!

3. However…summer is also a great time for letting your hair rest.

Michaela braids

If you (like me) tend to go a little crazy with the flat iron or relaxers during the year, consider giving your hair a break during the summer. Braids, buns,  sew-ins and half wigs are great ideas for letting your hair rest. However, even while ‘resting’ your hair, make sure to continue washing and moisturizing it regularly. Also, if you do decide to opt for braids or weaves during the summer, be sure that your hair isn’t braided too tight (Basically, if you have a headache after a braid job, it’s too tight).

So remember that if you wash, moisturize and protect your hair this summer, you will better ensure that your hair looks great all year long.

photo credits (from top to bottom): Copyright: basheeradesigns / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: sam74100 / 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: warnerbroers / 123RF Stock Photo

We Love You!

Today, we just wanted to give a shout out to all of our Michaela Mag readers and visitors. You all are smart, strong and beautiful. In other words, you rock. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Have a great week!

Michaela staff

Ways to start your New Year off Great

Things you definitely must do on New Year’s Day

1. Make those resolutions
Making  New Year’s Resolutions is a tried-and-true way of starting the year on a great foot. But don’t just think about your New Year’s resolutions…write them down. Writing down your goals and dreams is a way of making the resolution real. Wanna take your resolutions to the next step? Then post that resolution on your wall, in your locker…or any other place where you will be sure to see it everyday. Having your resolution stare you in the face will help you to get it done.

2. Send love.
Call or text people you know to wish them a Happy New Years. This is a great way to connect with people you may not have connected with much during the past year.

3. Out with the Old…In with the New
Clean your closet. Take out all your old clothes that you no longer want to wear, and dream up the wardrobe changes that you may want to make in the New Year. Maybe now’s the time to buy that funky piece of jewelry or new sweater that you’ve been looking at. The New Year is also a good time to go around your room and discard things (like gifts from ex’s) that you don’t need cluttering up your life anymore.

4. Be grateful
Take some time to thank God for the blessings you’ve received in the past year. If the past year was horrible, take some time to be grateful that God brought you through it.

5. Dream a little
Take some time to dream big dreams and plan new adventures for the upcoming year. Then think of ways to make it happen girl!

Image credit: ilmoro100 / 123RF Stock Photo

How to Get Yourself to Study When You Don’t Want To

One of the not-great things about still being in school is the fact that I still have to study. Sometimes, when it is a class that I like, studying isn’t too bad. Other times, especially when I’m trying to tackle a subject that I find completely and utterly boring, studying feels like the worst thing in the world. So I totally get it if the thought of studying makes you want to put your head in your hands and cry a little. But here are some tips to make it better.

1. Write down your mission
The first tip for getting motivated to study is simply writing something down that will motivate you. So first think about what you want to get out of your education and write that down. Remember this is your goal. It doesn’t have to be an academic or career goal.  (At one point in my life, my goal was to do well in school so that I could prove my haters wrong). That was all. Whatever it takes to get you studying, make it a goal. And write that goal down and (if possible) put it up where you can see it.

2. Set a stop time
One of the reasons that studying sometimes feels so daunting is that, theoretically, studying can go on forever. Unlike writing papers, you are never actually finished with studying, you could always do more. And who wants to spend forever on a subject that they don’t like? So, one of the quickest ways to get yourself motivated to study is to simply plan your ending. Maybe you will quit after two hours of studying. Maybe you will quit after you’ve gone through your entire study guide. Whatever it is, plan your exit strategy ahead of time.

3. Set a timer
Don’t think you can even make it to your stop time? Never fear. Get an egg timer, or use a timer on your phone. Set the timer for a certain amount of time, and promise yourself that in that period of time, you will focus—really focus—on your work. When your timer goals off, it’s break time! Take a break and pat yourself on the back for another hard earned work sessions.

The amount of time you set to focus on your work doesn’t have to be long. Some days, I set a timer for 10 minutes. I think anyone can do almost anything, no matter how boring/hard/confusing/horrible,  for 10 minutes. One of my favorite time-setting methods, the Pomodoro Technique, advocates setting a timer for 25 minutes and taking a break every five minutes. Whatever amount of time works for you, set a timer for that amount and promise yourself that—for at least that amount of time—you will focus on studying.

3. Bribe yourself
If you’re like me and you…um…have a habit of procrastinating by doing anything and everything but studying, you know that while procrastinating is fun, it also comes mixed in with a load of guilt. You know what’s better than looking at Youtube while feeling a little bit guilty? Looking at Youtube with no guilt at all! You can do exactly this when you bribe yourself to study. Tell yourself that for each pre-set amount of time studying, that you can do whatever you like for 5 or 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat.

4. Pair studying with something you like
Music, food, hot chocolate, add whatever it is that you need that will make studying bearable. Admittedly, most experts note that it is easier to concentrate when you are only focused on one thing at a time…and I agree. But I think that halfway concentrating while studying is better than not studying at all. So pack up your own “make this situation better” bag and start studying!

studying help3

5. Study with friends
This goes without saying, but many times, studying with friends can make the studying more fun and more effective. Try to quiz each other, and consider making your study session a game. And then go out for ice cream afterwards. Win win.

6.  Make it a game
As you go through studying, quiz yourself and give yourself a point for every correct answer. When you get to a certain number of points, you’ve won (and can stop studying). Also consider studying by “teaching” a pet or even some stuffed animals. Whatever it takes to make studying more fun, do it.

Michaela-studying2

7. Study in public
You don’t have to stay cooped up in your room to study. Libraries, coffee shops, and parks are all great places to study, especially if you like studying with people around. This way, you can take breaks and people watch. So, if being in your room is making you antsy, get outside your house and get your work done!

8. Get tired
Sometimes you can be too revved up to study. If that’s the case, then do a quick workout before you sit down and study. Make the workout hard enough so that when you are done you are at least a little bit tired. This way, studying will feel like a break and your body will feel calm enough to study.

What are your favorite ways to get yourself to study when you don’t feel like it?

Image credit: kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: rmarmion / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: otnaydur / 123RF Stock Photo

Ask Angie: Should I, or Shouldn’t I?

Dear Angie,

My boyfriend’s been pressuring me to have sex a lot lately. And, I do love him (I think) but I’m not sure I’m ready to take that next step. I kind of want to, but there’s a part of me that wants to wait a little longer. But, my boyfriend says that by having sex, it will make our relationship stronger. So who’s right?

Wondering

Dear Wondering,

Actually, it sounds like you are both partially right. Having sex will bond you two together, in an intimate way. BUT…the issue here is that this is only great if you are bonded with the right person. When that happens, you will definitely know it. That little voice inside of you that is saying that you are not ready right now, is the one that is letting you know that you probably don’t need to be bonded to your boyfriend (in such an intimate way) right now. So trust yourself, and your gut, and hit the pause button on the sex right now. Know that if your boyfriend is the right guy, he will respect your wishes to wait.

Angie

Image credit: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo

Are you being abused?

Scenario A: Mario and Felicia have been dating for a while. Mario and Felicia have a pretty good relationship, but sometimes, like all long-term couples do, they tend to get into arguments. On one particular argument on their front porch, Mario says to Felicia, “Don’t talk to me bitch” and then walks off the porch gets into his car and drives home. This doesn’t surprise Felicia, because Mario often calls her names when he’s angry. He also openly criticizes her in public sometimes about her weight and the way she looks. A month ago, he started telling everyone that Felicia should be renamed ‘Fatso’ because of how much she weighed. He was joking, of course.

Scenario B: Mario really wants to go out with Candice because he knows that she has a reputation for being….well, let’s just say she has a reputation. He finally gets her to agree to go to dinner and they go to a restaurant and have a good time.  After dinner, Mario walks Candice to her dorm room. Upon seeing that her roommates have gone somewhere, Candice invites Mario inside and the two begin making out. However, as things get hot and heated, Candice hesitates and finally tells Mario to stop. However, he does not.

Scenario C: Kathy and Peter have been going out for a while. Peter really seems to like Kathy and is really protective of her. In fact, Peter doesn’t want Kathy to hang out with his friends, claiming that her friends are all “jerks.” Peter also tries to get Kathy to stop being involved in cheerleading, saying that he doesn’t want other guys to see her in ‘short skirts.’ Peter sometimes criticizes Kathy’s clothes for being ‘too revealing’, choosing instead to buy or pick out clothes for her. Furthermore, Peter feels jealous when Kathy spends time with her parents, and encourages her to spend less time with them and more time with him.

Quiz Question:

Which of these three scenarios describe abuse or an abusive situation?

Answer:

All 3. Yep, all three. Relationship abuse isn’t confined to just physical abuse. Relationship abuse can be verbal, as was the case with Mario and Felicia, it can be sexual, as was the case with Mario and Candice, and it can also involve isolation as is the case with Kathy and Peter.

Abuse describes a behavior that brings physical or emotional harm to another person. Relationship abuse, which is described in scenarios A and C, involve a pattern of behavior that emotionally or physically harms a person’s partner. Sexual abuse, or ‘date rape’, as was described in Scenario B, occurs any time a partner does not comply with his or her partner’s wishes to end or to not proceed with sexual intercourse.

So how do we spot abuse?

Abuse can be hard to spot. Michael Powers at HeartTouchers.com notes that one way to know whether or not you are being abused or are in an unhealthy relationship is to simply trust your gut. Relationships are supposed to be something that enriches our lives and make us happy—most of the time. If they are not, then something might be wrong. Oftentimes our intuition can clue us in to patterns in our relationships. For example, if you often feel sad or down after you have spent time with your partner, then that is a sign that something is seriously wrong with the relationship. Also, if the thought of spending time with your partner fills you with a feeling of fear and/or dread, then that’s another sign that everything is not right in your relationship.[1] Furthermore, if you find that your friends and family are in your ear telling you that you’ve changed (and not for the better) since you’ve gotten into your new relationship, or if the relationship is keeping you from them,  then those are HUGE red flags that something is seriously off with your relationship. Finally, if you feel less pretty or smart after you’ve entered into a relationship than you did before your relationship happened, that’s another big sign that you might be being abused. Your partner should make you feel like the awesome person that you are. If he or she does not do this, then you probably need to end that relationship.

What do I do if I or someone I know is being abused?

Getting out of abusive relationship can be easier said than done. It can even be dangerous. In the U.S. around four people are murdered by their intimate partners each day.[2] That’s nothing to play with. Also scary is the fact that the most dangerous time to be in an abusive relationship is when someone is trying to leave the relationship. Trying to leave might actually increase your chances of being physically injured by your partner…or worse.

So what’s a girl to do? The first thing to do if you think you are being abused is to check yourself. Check your gut, check with your friends and family (the one’s you trust) and check with a teacher, minister or counselor that you trust. Tell these people what is going on. Abuse is not something that you should keep to yourself. And, if one person that you go to doesn’t listen, then go to someone else. Don’t give up and don’t stop. And don’t let yourself feel guilty about any abuse or think you ‘deserved it’. No one, and I mean no one, deserves to be treated badly.

If there’s no one around you who you can trust to help, call the National Abuse Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474. If you have questions about the health of your or a friend’s relationship or just need support, you can also text loveis to 77054. Someone will text you back to prompt you to ask your question. Also, if you feel that you or someone you love is in danger, you can visit http://www.loveisrespect.org to get more information and help with making a safety plan.

Abuse is serious, scary and can be soul-crushing. But the good news is that you can get help. You don’t have to stay in a relationship that makes you feel like you are less. Because you are not less. You are so much more.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All of our examples were of heterosexual couples, where the guy was the abuser and the girl was the one being abused. Although this is the most common relationship abuse scenario, this is not always the case. There are numerous instances of girls abusing guys, and relationship abuse can also occur in homosexual relationships. If you believe that you are an abuser, it is also important for you to seek help, from an adult that you trust.

For more information, check out:

1. Love is Respect

2.Stop Relationship Abuse

Why I Go to Church

So, lately I’ve been tired of church. Yep, I said it. Tired of the small groups, tired of the guitars, and the singing and ‘friendliness’, and the endless sermons. I’ve been over it all.

But, I went to church today (one that had the guitars, singing, friendliness and long sermon aplenty) and realized that there is another reason that I go to church. Guess what that reason is?

(crickets chirping)

If you guessed that my reason is ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’ or ‘worshiping (Jesus and/or God)’, congratulations! You’ve been in church/Christian school/the midwest-south for as long as  I have! But that’s not the answer I was thinking of.

The reason that I go to church is for community.

You see, communities can do great things. Communities can build wells, and tear down walls. Communities can pass laws for justice, end discrimination, feed the homeless and comfort the lonely. We can’t do that by ourselves alone. Communities can lift each other up, cry together, laugh together, just be together. And yes, communities can also do horrible things (discriminate, hate, bully, promote horrifying law,s start wars, etc.) But it’s those big wonderful, justice-y, Christian aspects of community that I go to church for. It’s the people of God coming together to do amazing, wonderful, and holy things. That’s why I go to church.

Let us know. What’s your church community up to?

Image credit: rido / 123RF Stock Photo

Get Those Grades! Tips for Making it Happen

A new semester. A new chance to get a great report card. If your grades aren’t where you’d like them to be, here are some tips to get better ones. Get it girls!

Get a ‘To Do’ Notebook. Every day, make a detailed ‘To Do’ List to help keep yourself focused

Get with your teachers. Okay, so I was one of those students who hated to do this. But, it does help your grades when your teachers know you’re interested. (It doesn’t hurt) So ask questions, be kind to them. See how your grades improve. Power tip: Asking the right kind of questions was one of my secret weapons in high school. The class before a test (while your class is reviewing) ask a question like: ‘So what should we be focusing on for this test? Or something like that. Basically you’re asking a leading question to get info about what will be on the exam. Then write the teachers’ response down and take it seriously. This is your ticket to a better grade.

Get organized. This was always a sore point with me. And, I admit that I got pretty good grades while being pretty un-organized. But, I found that it’s a lot less stressful to be organized. So clean out your notebooks and folders and discover an organizing system that works for you.

Get a schedule. This sounds boring, but its somewhat comforting to go to the same place at the same time every day to study. It’s a lot less stressful and it will get things done.

Get a positive mindset: ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it’. Okay, so we’ve all heard that before. But trust me on this one. You will usually receive what you think you will receive. So always, always shoot for an A in every class, no matter how hard the class may be. Believe that you can and you will get an A. Think about it. If you’re doing this and you ‘fail’ you might receive a what…B? (Terrible, isn’t it (sarcasm) So shoot for the A…every time.

Get motivated: I admit I have had those days where it took a miracle to get me to study. So on those days I had some secret weapons. The first was simply music. Listening to music while studying motivated me to actually study. (I don’t do this on a regular basis, only on those days when I really need motivation.) Another trick that has worked has been the study 30 (or even as little as 10 for you who know your attention will only last for 10 minutes) and then take a 10 minute break. Or take a break when you finish each subject (or project) you’re studying.

Get Nutrition. Zinc is a vitamin that can make you feel calmer and more focused and can also help prevent colds! So take a multivitamin (ask a doctor or parent before doing so) that includes zinc. Also make sure you have plenty of water and/or tea while studying. Water helps keep you awake while studying and you need lots of water anyway, so by drinking it while studying, you are killing two birds with one stone.

Last Night

Last night I had a meltdown. It was pretty bad. It ended up with me crying in my apartment for no apparent reason. Just standing there and sobbing. No one likes me, I thought. My life is horrible. And so on thoughts kept coming and  I kept crying. I think there was a part of me that was perplexed at my sudden horrible mood, and another part of me that gently reminded the rest of me that ‘my time of the month’ was near and was responsible for the meltdown. But still, the emotional storm threw me off guard, and the next day I walked around with a ‘crying hangover,’ feeling stuffed up, tired and (yes) a bit teary-eyed.

A part of me wonders where God is when we are messy-crying alone in our rooms. I wondered last night. Heck, I questioned God out loud. “Where are you?” I inwardly screamed. “I can’t hear You.” I wish I could say that right after that, I experienced some cool miracle that would be fun to blog about. And, I can honestly say that I did feel a little bit more at peace after my ‘angry-prayer,’ but the pain still lingered. I still felt alone and afraid and ready to give up.

During times like last night, I remember that there are no easy answers. People leave us, people hurt us, and sometimes we feel like no one will ever understand us. Sometimes we question everything. And, I suppose that that’s okay. God made us to question. But it is also in times like last night, when I remember that I do believe, even though it is sometimes hard, in something, or better yet Someone,  who is beyond myself. Last night through the pain, I remembered that I still believe in hope, in love, and in faith. I believe that I am made for a purpose, that things will get better. Last night reminded me that though I sometimes hurt, I am still alive, and I am still loved. And you are too.

In love,

Angie

Image credit: kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo

The Trouble with Ugly

I think I was four when I first thought of myself as ugly. I don’t know if ugly was the exact word for it: maybe a more accurate term would be ‘different’. I definitely looked different, from my mom and my sister, and from the rest of the adults around me. Being different, with deep brown skin, a high forehead, a big nose, and kinky hair that never seemed to stay in place was not considered the best thing to be back then. And so, I remember feeling hopeless a lot, as if no one could love the girl that stared back at me in the mirror.

We do strange things when we don’t love ourselves. We may diet a lot, wear lots of makeup, and continually read beauty magazines in the hope of one day feeling as though we look not quite as bad. There’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves, but the problem with them is that no matter what happens or how we end up looking, many of us still feel like we are ugly. And even when people tell us otherwise, we still carry the ugly around with us, afraid to let it go.

What I’ve been learning lately is that letting go of things, like the ugly, takes practice and honesty. It’s more than shrugging your shoulders and saying, I believe I’m beautiful, because the truth is, if you do not actually believe you’re beautiful you will feel fake.

But instead, it’s more like trying. Like,  I will try to appreciate myself for 10 minutes today. Okay I can’t do 10, well 5 then.’ I will someway try to think of the beautiful parts of me for 5 minutes, and then I will roll my eyes at myself and this activity for the rest of the day. And maybe next week, I will try for 10 minutes.’

We can practice feeling beautiful. One tiny step at a time, over and over, until we really start to start to believe the truth about ourselves.

Image credit: imagesource / 123RF Stock Photo

113 Amazing Things You Can Do in 2013

1. Write in a journal or diary

journal2

photo by {ErinKphoto} aka redcargurl-flickr

2. Dance around your room

3. Sing in the shower

4. Send someone a secret gift

5. Write down 100 things that you are grateful for

6. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself. Hang it on the wall.

7. Hug a friend or family member

8. Give someone a sincere compliment

9. Purchase a planner and use it

10. Do something that you’ve never done before

11. Go somewhere you’ve never been before

12. Cook a new recipe

13. Jump up and down for 5 minutes

14. Hula hoop

photo by: quinn.anya

photo by: quinn.anya

15. Go roller skating

16. Smile at a stranger

17. laugh until you cry

18. Take a nap

19. Create something new

20. Have a party

21. Read a book that you’ve never read before

22. Listen to a different style of music than you normally listen to

23. Keep a secret

24. Share a secret

25. Do something daring and a little dangerous

26. Make someone smile

27. Solve a mystery

28. Change someone’s life

29. Volunteer

30. Recycle

31. Clean your room

32. Wake up early

33. Go to bed late

34. Pray

35. Do a random act of kindness

36. Visit a park

37. Take a walk

38. Make jewelry…or pottery

39. Enter a contest

40. Make your parents breakfast

41. Write down your dreams

42. Ask someone to help you to reach those dreams

43. Watch a good movie

44. Update your Facebook profile and/or Twitter account

45. Forgive yourself

46. Forgive others

47. Yawn

48. Smile

49. Do a cartwheel

MinivanNinja

MinivanNinja

50. Jump rope

51. Clean your closet

52. Redecorate your room

53. Breathe deeply

54. Give something away

55. Purchase something for someone else

56. Have a great idea

57. Hold your head up high

58. Climb a mountain….or a hill (and sled back down it)

59. Drink eight glasses of water

60. Try some food that you’ve never had before

61. Eat fruit

62. Go to the doctor…and the dentist

63. Visit relatives (smile!)

64. Take a great picture

65. Clap your hands

66. Go see a play

67. Run

68. Play kickball…or hide and go seek…or both

69. Embrace your weirdness

70. Try a different hairstyle

71. Challenge yourself

72. Challenge others

73. Make believe

74. Make a list

75. Check it off

76. Pet an animal

77. strum a guitar

78. Talk to someone new

79. Learn to knit

photo by kimadababe

photo by kimadababe

80. Read a newspaper

81. Write a note to someone else

82. Be you

83. Stand up for yourself

84. Stand up for someone else

85. Stand up for what you believe in

86. Be proud of who you are

87. Wave at the haters

88. Let go of old grudges

89. Strut your stuff

90. Believe in something

91. Believe in yourself

92. Finish what you started

93. Work hard

94. Play harder

95. Take a break

96. Spin around until you feel dizzy

97. Look at pictures that make you smile

98. Discover something

99. Keep going

100. Ask for help

101. Try out for something

102. Join a club

103. Look at a painting

104. Look at the clouds

105. Kiss someone (on the cheek 🙂

106. Be a romantic

107. Start a trend

108. Spend time in silence

109. Make memories

110. Write down old memories

111. Consider making a scrapbook

112. Be blessed

113. Be amazing

 

Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Work for You

New Year’s Resolutions–we make them every year, and every year many of us are disappointed at how little we are able to keep up with our resolutions. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips for making the most of your New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Make it small.

Make sure your New Year’s Resolution is less “I will climb Mount Everest” (unless you are a professional climber) and more “I will take a walk around the block.” The easiest way to make sure that you actually meet your New Year’s Resolution is to make that resolution small and manageable. The easiest way to make a small New Year’s Resolution is to think of the resolution that you definitely want to make…and make it smaller. For example, one of my dreams is to write for a bagillion magazines. My (smaller) resolution this year is to write for 12 magazines (yes, only 12). I think I can do that.

2. Make it specific.

New Year’s Resolutions, or goals of any type, are easier to make when you are specific about them. So, instead of making a resolution of, say, “I want to exercise more,” make it your goal to exercise at least 3 times a week (or once a week if you’re like me :). That way, you know exactly how well you are meeting your resolution.

3. Check yourself

Using a checklist is a great way to ensure that you get your New Year’s Resolutions accomplished. So, for example, if your resolution is to exercise at least 3 times per week, then create a simple checklist that you will check off every time you meet your resolution. You can put the checklist in your smartphone, using apps like GoalCheck or GoalTracker (android) or websites like http://www.42goals.com. Even better, you can print out your checklist and hang it up where you (and other people) can see it at least once a day. Having other people know what your goals are can motivate you to keep those goals.

4. Have other people check you

Which brings us to the fourth way to get your goals met. Have someone else support and help motivate you to meet those goals. For example, if your resolution is to wake up at 7am every morning, have a parent or a friend wake you up will help. If your goal is to work out at a certain time a day, have a friend meet you at your designated workout spot. Trust me, when I’ve made plans to do things (even things I don’t necessarily like doing–like studying–with friends, I’m way more likely to actually meet that goal when I’ve made plans in advance to do it with other people. Having other people encourage you or hold you accountable for your dreams is a great way to ensure that those dreams get realized.

5. But don’t get crazy.

The biggest way for me to make sure that I don’t get my New Year’s Resolutions met is to make too many resolutions. Making too many resolutions is a good way to feel overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you are less likely to do anything. So please, don’t make too many resolutions, try for less than 5. Even better, make less than three New Year’s Resolutions.

6. Have fun!

Take New Year’s Resolutions seriously, but don’t overdo it. Resolutions are supposed to make your life better, not worse. If you find that your goals are no longer fun or beneficial, then yes, it’s perfectly fine to quit them. There’s always next year!

P.S. This post is part of my New Year’s Resolution to write at least 500 words per day. One day accomplished!

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