A Joyful Life

IMG_9858About this time fifteen years ago, my biopsy came back positive for recurrent malignancy. I seriously thought my life was over just before my 21st birthday. I made sure I enjoyed plenty of time with my friends and had lots of fun before I went into the hospital. Having cancer is a great teacher, but no one should have to go through such a horrible ordeal to learn these valuable lessons that I am about to discuss. 

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” -Sam Levenson

I spent way too many years not loving myself. My body was not fit enough, my face wasn’t pretty enough, my teeth weren’t white enough, and my hair wasn’t straight enough. The list would go on and on. I could totally drone on with the things I thought were wrong, but I won’t. There’s nothing but self-love from me now. 😉 I learned the number one most important thing in life is my health, which is why I eat intentionally, exercise regularly, and meditate. You can read my posts on how we eat and how we supplement if you are curious. The second most important thing is living your dreams. If you aren’t happy and joyful most of the time, you can’t be truly healthy.

IMG_9844Recently, we went to visit Arizona for a week to visit different towns and look at places to live. This has been a dream of mine for over a decade now, to move to Arizona. Before this trip, I had only seen Arizona in pictures; so many people are puzzled as to how I just decided I am moving to a place I have never been in my life. Why Arizona? I think the fascination started in two ways. First, my aunt growing up was my role model. She was amazingly smart, beautiful, kind, and always impeccably dressed. She often visited Arizona (sometimes to test missiles) and talked about how she’d love to live there. (She never did get to move there before passing away.) Second, after I survived cancer the second time, I found Dr. Andrew Weil’s books and fell in love with his work in integrative medicine. He told a story in 8 Weeks to Optimum Health about how his car broke down in the desert of Arizona in 1973. He fell in love with the beauty of the desert and never left. For some reason or another, that story really stuck with me and created a seed of vision.

This trip was dedicated to enjoying everything Arizona has to offer and finding out where we’d like to start our lives out there. I have to say, it more than exceeded the expectations I had set in my mind. I felt like I was finally at home. The weather was great, the scenery was beautiful, and the food was amazing! Needless to say, we were all sad to board the plane to go back to NJ, for we had fallen in love with our forever home. We are very excited to make our way out there next year to start a new chapter in our lives.

I hear so many people make excuses for not living their life their way on their terms. When I tell people I want to leave NJ and move halfway across the country to AZ where I know no one, they often have this very similar response, “I would love to leave NJ, but I can’t because my family is here.” Well, my family is here too! I love my family, but do I really want to spend my life not pursuing my dreams to be near them 24/7? Not really. I am most joyful in the summertime, it gives me more energy. Why would I want to stay where it is cold and grey for months every year? If I loved winter and winter sports it might be a great place to be, but I do not.

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We are fools to waste our time, make the most of your time here. If you moan and complain you will only get negative energy back. If you have your health you have all the wealth in the world, you are truly blessed. Do what brings you joy, go live in that place you’ve always dreamt of, find your dream job, your dream spouse. There’s no reason not to, and if you tell yourself otherwise, it’s really just an excuse to stay in your comfort zone. So many of our limitations are self imposed. I heard a great idea, to plan your life backwards from your death, that way you will live in alignment with your true goals. I would say that works as I had to evaluate my life as if it were over any day; it creates a lot of clarity as to what is important.

You only live once; go live your dreams! Have you ever stepped outside of your comfort zone to chase your dreams? What is stopping you? 

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A Frozen Inspired Gratitude Jar

Frozen Gratitude JarWhen I first heard about gratitude jars, I wanted to make one so that I could use it to help my son learn about being grateful for what he has and also create a good lifelong habit for him. I immediately started perusing Pinterest for ideas. I wanted it to be gorgeous as well as functional so that it would spark joy when I looked at it; I knew if it was displayed we would be more likely to use it. The first thing I did was pick out the glitter paint for the jar. I found some pretty glitter at Michael’s and some Mod Podge. If you would like to make your very own gratitude jar, I have outlined here how we created ours, step by step.

Supply list:

  1. Mason Jar
  2. Glitter
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Craft sticks for mixing (optional)
  5. Coin slot lid (optional)
  6. Ribbon
  7. Stickers

Now you are ready to start making your jar!

Frozen Gratitude JarStep 1: Mix the glitter and Mod Podge together and pour into your mason jar. It will all be on the bottom. Next, start to slowly swirl the jar until it is evenly coated on the inside and the jar is now upside down. Allow the excess to drip out. Prop the jar over whatever you would like and let it dry upside down. I just left mine overnight to make sure it was set.

Frozen Gratitude JarStep 2: Decorate. Now comes the fun part! I chose sparkly blue stickers and ribbons for our jar. I kept with the Frozen theme by using snowflakes and glitter. You can decorate it with anything you’d like. Have fun with it, come up with your own theme! I used scrapbook stickers, rhinestones, and ribbons. The jar lid was replaced with a coin bank jar lid to make it easy to slip our notes into the jar.

Step 3: Coat the jar with Mod Podge after it is decorated to seal it. Let it dry and then add the ribbons. That’s it! Now your jar is ready to add lovely notes of gratitude or wonderful things that happened today. At the end of each year we empty ours and read them together as a family. It has become something to look forward to each New Year. Enjoy!

New Year’s Detox & Goals

Each year I make it my goal to make the coming new year my best year ever. This way as I progress through life I am assuredly becoming a better version of myself. I’d like to share my goals for this year with you lovelies:

  1. Drink green juices or smoothies more frequently. These help get more nutrients into your body quickly and they are great to drink first thing in the morning for energy all day. It’s also a good way to squeeze more fruits and veggies into your diet. (But let’s face it, that juicer is a pain to clean!)
  2. Unfollow people on social media who do not have a positive outlook on life. I no longer wish to clutter my newsfeed with things that do not serve me in any way. What you put in your mind is just as important as what you put in your mouth.
  3. Get to the gym before work. This one is hard for some people. I know as a former night owl, it’s painful to get out of bed by 5am. Especially when it’s cold and dark and the covers are so warm and inviting. The research shows that early morning workouts get your blood going, make you more productive throughout your day, they give you energy and help you sleep well.
  4. Journal every day and use a planner to plan your days out. This year I’m going to try the Passion Planner and see how I like it, I’ve heard great things about it. I also use the Freedom Journal to do my morning journaling. These habits have really helped me to become more productive and organized, which everyone could benefit from.
  5. Meal plan more consistently. Meal plans make it easier to get through a busy week and they help you eat better too. You can also save money by only buying the ingredients you need.
  6. No screen time one hour before bed. I am notorious for breaking this rule by reading and writing on my phone in bed. The research is pretty solid that we get a better nights sleep when we cut the lights out at least an hour before shut eye.
  7. Learn to say no to things that do not serve you. If it doesn’t feel right or help you move toward your goals, saying no to things is ok.

I hope this list inspires you to create your own list for the New Year! I’d love to hear some of your goals in the comments section. What would you add?

A Perfect World

Love

My coworker said something to me today that inspired this post. “You really want to live in this perfect world. That is never going to happen.” Well, why couldn’t it ever happen? I believe it could, but it starts with how we treat each other and raise the children.

I want to live in a world where doctors treat the patient, not the symptom.

The world where dentists do not use mercury to fill teeth, and hand out samples of toxic toothpastes, rather using ozone and nutrition to heal the body, and give out samples of natural toothpastes like Earthpaste or Auromere.

Where drug companies don’t own the government and the AMA, and every other commercial isn’t a drug advertisement for a pill that will cause you more harm than good.

A world where war no longer exists because people love and respect each other enough to leave one another alone when they disagree on their beliefs.

A world where people aren’t out to make each other miserable by gossip or betrayal.

A world where people do not poison their food and pollute the land, air, and water that nourishes them.

A world where people love to read and learn, not spend their lives mindlessly watching football or the Kardashians. (A little television is ok, but the average American spends 15 YEARS of their life watching TV.)

A world where everyone enjoys exercise and the beauty of nature.

A world where there is no hate, no bullying, no greed, no abuse, no homelessness, no one starving.

A world I would like for our children to live in. This world begins with each of us, it starts with controlling our own egos. When we work on ourselves, we create ripples of change that affect everyone around us. Small acts of kindness create great things in our world!

Am I the only one who feels this way? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!  🙂