Love One Another 14-Day Challenge

As I was browsing through Pinterest a few weeks ago I came across this challenge. At the time I was trying to find ways to prepare myself for LDS General Conference and this seemed like one way I could prepare that would be very beneficial. And ironically on the day I found this, it was exactly 14 days until Conference. I think thats what people call fate?

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I was so excited to immediately take this challenge and focus on loving others. Each morning before I got out of bed I would check the prompt for the day and tried to be mindful of it the whole day. I was proud of myself for those two weeks because I did a really good job. The fourteen days are done now and its been about a week since doing it and I’m already planning on taking this challenge again. At the end of these fourteen days I actually noticed my heart felt a little lighter, I was so much less judgmental, I felt kinder and I found it easier to love or look at people positively. I highly recommend this challenge guys. If you’re serious about it, it can change you.

Day One was showing patience with someone. I learned pretty quickly on that day that ‘someone’ would be my son. He was having a rough day and it turns out so was I. I felt my patience get slimmer and slimmer as the day went on. He’s just a baby so its not like I’d lose my cool with him or anything, but I realized I definitely could be much more patient with him – especially on tough days.

Day Two was overlooking someones shortcomings. I actually chose to overlook my own shortcomings. When it comes to motherhood I am really hard on myself and often feel inadequate. I looked past those feelings of doubt and failure and my day was actually significantly better.

Day Three I was challenged to look beyond looks. This is something I try hard to do on a daily basis because my parents taught me from a young age that looks do not define a person. It was nice to think about how important that is and it also served as a reminder to me about how I want my kids to treat everyone with the same respect and kindness no matter how they look, etc.

Day Four was kind of hard. Resist the impulse to categorize others. Maybe its just me, but I found out I do this so easily and so often. Thats horrible. I had to be actively mindful about this and I forgot a lot.. But it opened my eyes to how much I need to focus on this.

Day Five was seeing a situation through someone else’s eyes. The situation I focused on is one I’m choosing not to share. But it was moving. Its always wise to consider all sides of the story. It’ll do you a world of good.

Day Six was to forgive someone who wronged you. I had a client on this day and we got to talking and during our conversation I realized I was holding a grudge against someone for something they did a YEAR ago. I knew I needed to get over it and forgive them so I could love them 100% again without always holding on to that one thing.

Day Seven was don’t criticize actions. This was very similar to Day Four except I feel like I’m not as critical of others actions. I feel like I’m pretty good at realizing everyone has their own agency and makes their own choices and that should be just fine with me. I feel like especially in motherhood, people are quick to judge a mom for the way she parents her child. I’ve been victim of this and know how awful it feels so I try to stay far away from judging others – especially parents.

Day Eight challenged me to show mercy to someone. Another personal topic – another beautiful moment thanks to this challenge (and prayers for bravery).

Day Nine was my favorite. Give ten minutes to really listen to someone. Wild Man and I had one of the best conversations this day. We both went deep into conversation, we listened to each other and it was bonding and special. That same day one of my sisters opened up to me about something and I just let her talk and vent and it was really neat to just hear her and see how her mind works and better understand her. Listening – really listening – to people is really incredible.

Day Ten focused on speaking kindly to others. I am so non confrontational and I don’t want to sound braggy, but I’m not mean nor do I speak unkindly to others. So I just focused on making sure I was extra kind, gave extra service, etc. I absolutely could have done better though..

Day Eleven – say ‘thank you’. I realized this day that I am lousy at being as grateful as I should be. I neglect saying those two simple words far too often. I’ve made it a daily goal now and it helps me feel better about myself and I genuinely think it makes the people you thank feel good too.

Day Twelve was focusing on things you have in common with people you meet. This one was fun and helped me feel close to those around me, even the strangers. It also made me want to be more friendly with everyone and get to know them or go the extra mile to leave them with a  good impression of the person I am.

Day Thirteen encouraged you to offer a genuine compliment. This turned into a game. My husband, sisters and several family members through texts got messages from me all day. Complimenting others is a drug and is so much fun!

Day Fourteen was the most special day as we were challenged to see people as God sees them. Wow. God sees everyone with loving eyes. I know I do not even when I try, and it was really special to actively work on just loving everyone I saw that day. It warmed my heart and made me really want to be more Christlike than I’ve ever been. It also made me so much more grateful and aware of the love that Heavenly Father has for me. This one was the greatest testimony builder and the day I learned the most from.

I really do hope you’ll take this challenge. I’m starting again this week. Its so important to love one another and live with love.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

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Journaling 101

I don’t consider myself a master at many things, but one thing I admit to being ‘pro’ at is journaling. I received my first real journal at my baptism when I was eight years old from my grandparents and I have happily kept a constant, consistent journal ever since. I’m proud of that seeing as I am 25 now. Thats a lot of memories, lessons and stories that I have written that will be remembered forever. My journaling has certainly changed over the years – I have vivid memories of writing in my journal about how I was sure I’d marry Orlando Bloom one day and writing my great and detailed plans of becoming an actress (so I could meet Orlando) – and I love going back to old journals and reading all the embarrassing entries. My high school year journals are a roller-coaster. They’re corny, dramatic, full of teen angst and sob-stories, full of my mushy self gushing about how my current boyfriend was just the best ever and how we’d probably get married, then there are several weeks of depression after the breakup with said boyfriends. I am especially fond of my entries I made while dating Wild Man, the detailed story of our engagement, the detailed entry of our wedding, our marriage and the descriptive tale of H’s birth and the 9 month pregnancy before then. Now my journal is full of H stories, his milestones and cute things he does. Its my really detailed scrapbook without any pictures.

Writing in my journal honestly keeps me sane. Writing calms me down, helps me cope with situations and levels me out. I get really cheesy and ‘real’ in my entries and thats embarrassing to look back on (especially when your husband is reading it with you and he hears all the dorky, super embarrassing things you wrote about him while you were dating)  but no matter how silly it all is, I am grateful I’ve kept these journals and never really missed a beat in my journaling.

It can be difficult to write in your journal often. Its tricky finding time daily to have time to write. Its hard for me too and sometimes my posts are pages and pages long and others are a sentence or two – but to me, an entry is an entry. As I’ve been thinking about this post I’ve made my list of tips and tricks to help motivate you to write in your journal daily or even weekly if thats a more achievable goal for you. These are the tried and true tricks that I have used in my years of writing and hopefully they can help you as well.

How to Motivate Yourself to Write Daily/Weekly in Your Journal:

  • Buy a cute journal. Even if its a few extra bucks than you’d like to spend, buy it. Trust me, you’re a lot more likely to write in a journal you are drawn to than one you aren’t attracted to.
  • Figure out what style you like. I change over the years, but currently I like hard back journals purely because I feel like my handwriting looks better. But several years ago I had a strong love for soft back journals. It changes, but as long as your current journal is what you love, you’ll write more. I also must have a lined journal. I once bought a journal without lines and I hated it because my writing always got crooked and it gave me terrible anxiety. Writing in that journal became a chore and took the joy out of writing. I’ve never bought a journal without lines since.
  • Use pens/pencils you like! Is it just me, or do some writing utensils give you cuter handwriting? I have a certain kind of pen right now that I swear brings out my very best handwriting and that motivates me so hard to write write write. I have some journals full of colorful pens and some that are all black or blue. It depends where I’m at in life I think. Right now I’m all about color and I love choosing a different color each day to write with.
  • Schedule time to write. I personally write every night before bed. Usually in bed, actually. This is when works for me. You’ll find a time that works for you if you put the effort into it. Thats the key – you have to actively find/make the time.
  • Think about your kids/grandkids. Maybe this one is weird, but I love writing and thinking about what my kids and their kids will think someday when they read that specific post. I’m sure most the time I’ll be flipping around in my grave with embarrassment, but I’ll also be glad my posterity has this journal of their ancestor.

What to Write About:

  • Um. Everything. (oh, you want specifics? ok, keep reading)
  • Write about the good. I love when good, happy things happen to me during the day and I can gush and ooze about it in my journal with lots of detail so I don’t forget a thing. You should see my post about the day H was born. I literally think it is half of my journal. I wrote every detail, every feeling – everything. It was such a happy day I couldn’t bear to forget a split second of it.
  • Write about the bad. Sometimes I feel like some of my journals are super depressing and a drag to read. But you know what? At that point in time thats how I felt. I write whats on my mind, why I feel depressed and what I’m going to do to fix it or I write about how I’m too sad to fix it and I’ll just wallow in self pity. Maybe someone will be able to relate to what I wrote someday and it can help them. Or maybe it will just help them feel better about their current situation. Or maybe it will just make them think I was really dramatic and needed to lighten up, you never know.
  • Write about your brain activity. I am an over thinker something fierce and my anxiety, worry and fear are usually calmed down a little when I can write and vent about the whirlwind going on inside my head. I’m sure it sounds insane, but its therapeutic and relaxing.
  • Write down your revelations, strong feelings, spiritual moments, etc. These are my favorite things to write about and my favorite things to look back at and read. This subject is personal, but its incredible to read about the time you were prompted to start a family, or when you prayed to know if your husband was the one you were going to marry, or when you were really struggling with something and the Lord sent you comfort, or when an earthly angel helped you, when you were prompted to serve someone, or when you were really anxious or worried about something and you read a scripture/General Conference talk/or heard a talk in Sacrament Meeting that gave you reassurance that all was ok and you are under Heavenly Father’s watchful care. If you never write in your journal, at least make sure you write down these things – they’ll be the most valuable to you.
  • Be honest. Sometimes in life you do really stupid stuff and it comes back to bite you in the butt and teach you a killer lesson. I know I have a specific high school entry about being caught in a lie and having to deal with the after math and just feeling like an idiot. Its embarrassing and awkward to write about these dumb things and it seems easy to just pass writing this stuff and pretend like it never happened. But personally I believe these will be some of the entries people will benefit from most.
  • Write about your hopes and dreams. Its fun to talk about what you think your future will be like then reading those old entries and seeing if your life is turning out the way you thought it would!

Writing in a journal is work, its a time commitment and sometimes it makes your hand cramp up – but I promise its worth it!

Happy writing!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

General Conference

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Last weekend was General Conference and I am currently still riding the indescribable high that it gave me. I am 1000% motivated to be a better more Christlike person. And honesty time, one of the questions I took to General Conference with me was how can I be a force for good on my blog? I was inspired a billion times with things to write about, with messages I can share and with stories I can tell. I’ve mentioned recently that I have had writers block lately and thanks to General Conference and the Spirit, I am FULL of inspiration for the blog now. See? The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints is good for your soul, your life and your blog.

We typically go to a beautiful place called Eden to watch General Conference. My family has a condo there up in the mountains and it is my happy place. Its secluded, the mountain air is refreshing and its a perfect getaway. Then you add on top of that, we were there to watch General Conference! Perfect. Weekend.

I will say, watching General Conference attentively is a lot more difficult when you have a mobile baby. Last Conference (april 2016) H was tiny and only rolling, so I could still actively take notes and pay attention. This time around was a different story. I love taking notes during Conference but I learned pretty quickly that I couldn’t and just had to rely on my brain remembering things and the quick tweets I could send off or retweet as I chased H through the condo and saved him from sticking his fingers in all the outlets. Such is life with kids, eh?

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My overall take away from October 2016’s General Conference is this: Be patient, understanding, recognize that people have their agency and put extra emphasis on striving to be Christlike. I was reminded how important it is to continue writing in my journal. I was so excited to hear a talk about not comparing – because heaven knows how bad I am at doing that! There were also a lot of personal revelations I had and am so grateful for the answers that basically jumped out of the tv screen and smacked me in the face. God is good and General Conference is incredible.

I was also greatly reminded of how wonderful family is. I was born and raised into the best family. I married a wonderful man and we have created a beautiful, happy family. I am so blessed.

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It was a perfect weekend. My heart is full and I am so excited to start working on these new goals I have set for myself after listening to the inspired words from our church leaders.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

My Costume Wigs

Halloween is fast approaching and you know what Halloween means – COSTUMES! It doesn’t matter how old you are, dressing up on Halloween (or heck, all throughout October!!) is always fun and really adds to your Halloween/October/festive experience. While we are on the topic, lets talking about upping your Halloween Costume game. I have the perfect answer for you.

My Costume Wigs

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*i was given permission by My Costume Wigs to use these images from their website*

My Costume Wigs is a great, friendly company that sells a huge variety of costume wigs. They are dedicated to making your purchasing process easy and seamless, their Customer Service is awesome and their products are fantastic! One of My Costume Wigs great wigs could inspire a costume or it can be the perfect finishing touch to an already planned costume. I also feel it necessary to say that these wigs fit. I have a big head and very thick hair and I can still get the wigs on (though it can take some work) with the help of a wig cap, which they also sell. As an added bonus, when you visit the site you just might recognize one of their models!:)

Make sure you check them out before Halloween so you can make your costume that much better! You know you want to.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

 

 

Magical Monday: My Favorites and Why

When people find out I am a ‘Disney Person,’ 99% of the time they then ask what my favorite ride is. This is a loaded question because picking a single favorite for me is like pulling teeth because Disney’s attractions are all so great that it makes it nearly impossible to choose a favorite. So I have decided to select my top 5’s. Since I’ve really only been focusing on Disneyland and California Adventure on Magical Monday’s so far (I need to put in some Disney World posts, don’t you think? – i’ll get on that) I’m going to share my top 5 favorite rides from both of those parks and give a brief explanation as to why I’ve picked that as one of my favorites.

MY TOP 5 FAVORITE CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE ATTRACTIONS

5. California Screaming’: I feel like this ride is on the top of a lot of peoples list and I’m sure my reasons for loving it aren’t any different than everyone else’s. Its a ride that gets your adrenaline pumping, its fast, there isn’t a bad seat to be in, it has some great views and its actually a decently long roller-coaster.

4. Toy Story Midway Mania: I always look forward to this ride (i don’t always look forward to the line though..) Its fun to try and outscore your last round, be the best aim in your car and try to unlock all the easter eggs. My family is pretty great at this game, not to brag.

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3. Ariel’s Undersea Adventure: Ariel is tied with Belle for my favorite princess, so its pretty obvious that this would be one of my favorites. Its a slow ride, its a nice break from the California heat, its bright and colorful and has magical music, its a fun splash into The Little Mermaid and I would honestly be happy to ride this over and over and over.

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2. Tower of Terror: Ugh I hate that this ride only has a few months left before its changed forever (read about that here) but lets not think about that. This ride is one I look forward to long before we even leave for a Disneyland vacation.  Its spooky, its a classic Disney ride, and there is no cooler feeling than when you’re dropping and flying off your seat.

1. Radiator Springs Racers: The attention to detail on this ride is incredible. This ride incapsulates Disney magic. You are literally put into the world of Radiator Springs when you are on this ride. I never am not amazed by this ride even though I’ve been on it so many times.

MY TOP 5 FAVORITE DISNEYLAND ATTRACTIONS

5. Small World: My number five always used to be Pirates of the Caribbean until I had a kid of my own. Seeing H in this ride is enough reason to call this my all-time favorite ride. We sing this song 1,000 times a day, the ride is a classic, so clever, happy, bright and I actually like the song being stuck in my head (probably in the minority there). Its a happy, long ride thats a Disney staple.

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4. Indiana Jones: You’re told not to look into the Eye of Mara. But I can’t imagine the ride would be very fun if you didn’t 😉 This is a family favorite. We have inside jokes and lots of laugh here. The car you ride on is a special design that makes you riding experience unique from anything else you’ve rode on before. I love how jerky, fast and wild this ride is.

3. Alice in Wonderland: Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favorite Disney animated movies. I love the colors, I love Alice’s personality, I love the story (as crazy as it is). I love riding in your caterpillar car and my very favorite part is when you ride outside, down the long leaf – if you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about and you know how cute it is.

2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: “Hang on to your hats and glasses ’cause this heres the wildest ride in the wilderness!” This ride is everything. I adore it. It doesn’t matter how long the line is, its always worth it. This is that fast train ride you see on all Disney’s commercials, and yes, it is as fun and exciting as it looks. Fun Fact: The back is best. Trust me.

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1. Haunted Mansion: My all time, #1 favorite ride is Haunted Mansion! Everything about it sucks me in and I can’t get enough. Its spooky and creative, I love the storylines inside and the amount of imagination put into it. I love that a lot is left unsaid so you get to brainstorm your own stories, or stay up late and lose sleep over the frustration of not knowing the story of the mansion 😉 Its a long, relaxing ride and there is so much to look at. Then there is just the look of it all. There is nothing bad about this place and I will happily be a foolish mortal who visits again and again, forever.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles