Monday, February 29, 2016

Rare Disease Day

I was recently contacted by Heather, asking me to spread awareness of Mesothelioma for Rare Diseases day (February 29th). Those of you who know me well know how obsessed I am with health and disease prevention, so I am glad to help spread awareness.

I don't know all that much about mesothelioma, hence the "rare disease day." It is caused by asbestos, which is scary because asbestos is still in products today. Crazy, right?! Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, lungs, and/or heart, depending on the type. It is caused only by exposure to asbestos, which is still legal in the United States and many other countries around the world. There are 3,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States alone each year, and 100% of these are preventable.

Heather's story is pretty cool-- she was diagnosed with mesothelioma at a young age and given 15 months to live. She received a ground breaking new surgery, where a section of her lung was removed. Scary! That was in 2005 and she is still here to tell her story.

Want to learn more about Heather or mesothelioma? Go here!! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oh, how he loves us!

This Valentine's Day, remember... 

photo by Melissa Dondero
Maybe you are having the most romantic day ever and someone is making you feel so  very loved. That's great and I'm happy that you feel that way because those moments are wonderful. Maybe you are feeling so lonely you feel like that you can't keep going. I'm so sorry if you feel that way. But however you feel, today and every other day, I know only one assurance that makes it all okay: He loves you. He loves you more than anyone else can ever love you. When people let you down, He still loves you. When you do something terribly wrong and no one will forgive you, He will. God has made us to seek love, but guess what? Only He can fill it for us. No one else can.

Life is messy, love is hard, and people are imperfect. How thankful I am that when everyone else let's me down, my wonderful, majestic, all-powerful God still loves me. When the world causes my heart to feel unsure, God steadies it...  

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1 

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:9-12

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Best Advice

What's the best advice you've ever heard? I wrote here about the worst advice I've heard, but just as important is the opposite side of the spectrum. I could go on and on about wonderful quotes and bits of advice I've heard or read over the years. They are endless, and they are good advice. 

But what's the best advice? I think it is perfectly summed up by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:1, Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them." 

So many people waste their younger years searching for meaning. They get closer to the end of their life, realize that everything isn't as they wanted and start seeking God. And that's wonderful, because it's wonderful for anyone to seek God. 

But Solomon reminds us of how much can be saved by serving God all your life. Imagine the peace and the assurance you could receive in your life. Knowing God is there can guide you in all your life choices. You don't ever have to feel alone, because God is there. In every anxiety, in every fear, in every joy, you can pray to Him. Does that mean life will be perfect? Certainly not. But it does mean that you have nothing to fear. Whether you realize it or not, God is guiding your life, orchestrating it so that what's best for you happens. 

Solomon spent his whole life searching for meaning. He came to the end of his life and realized that it was all meaningless. The answer had been in front of him the whole time. Serve God in the days of your youth!

Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Tips for Organizing

I love love love to organize. If that sounds weird to you, close this page now. If you are right on board, I'd love to hear your best tips!

1. Do it 
First and foremost-- the EASIEST way to organize is to deal with things as soon as your hands are on them. A bill? Pay it online right away. A stack of junk mail? Look through for coupons and then recycle. Once it is in your grasp, put it away. You can help this habit by putting your most used "folders" in an easily accessible spot. For example, if I want to file a paid bill but I have to dig through boxes of clutter to find that folder, it's much more likely that I am going to do it "later". 

2. Label it 
I have folders for everything, including things like "self improvement", "Bible study", and "marriage". That way, if I have a random article or piece of paper that I would like to save, I have a place for it. Otherwise, random papers just end up piled up, waiting for a place to go. It really helps to have a label for everything. 

3. Get it 
Okay, for so long I have tried to save money by just avoiding buying things to organize with. If you can find creative ways to organize without buying stuff, be my guest! However, I'm not that creative. So I finally convinced myself to buy a few file drawers. Buy some manila folders. Buy a pencil cup. Buy some binders. It doesn't have to be expensive and you can even dress it up if you are so inclined!

4. Toss it 
I know that this tip all depends on your personality. There are some people who just. can't. throw. it. away. Then, there are people like me, who throw away things just so that they aren't lying around. Maybe neither is ideal. Try going through all your papers and rationalizing why you are keeping it. If it doesn't hold great sentimental value and doesn't need to be saved, throw it away!

5. Tie it
If you're like me, you might have a ton of cords to different chargers all tangled together in one drawer. They make such a mess and I hate it. It finally dawned on me to keep each cord separate by putting a rubber band around them. Changed my life! 

I don't want you to get the idea that I am perfectly organized all the time, because I am not. Sometimes, my apartment is a complete wreck. But I try! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wheelchairs & Hobbies

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I had a pretty good one, considering that I had to spend all of Sunday in a wheelchair for a class assignment. It was meant to make us feel what it would be like to have something traumatic like a spinal cord injury happen that rocks your entire world. It was just 24 hours, but I was sure going nuts! We were instructed not to use our legs or move them at all. My hips are still aching from sitting in that position without moving all day. You wouldn't believe how I longed to just wiggle my toes or just stand up to go into the bathroom. It makes you appreciate what you have, for sure! So next time you feel quick to pass judgments or overlook another's plight, put yourself in their shoes. Quite literally, it might change your life. 


Speaking of gratitude, I've been looking at this handy little graphic a lot. I was trying to think of why I would be grateful for hobbies. Now that just seems weird. But the more I contemplated, I think I began to realize why hobbies are something I can be grateful for. And I really am! Daniel likes to putter around the apartment a lot, so a good portion of the time that I am at home, I'm entertaining myself. Thankfully, I don't find that hard to do. Not only that, but my hobbies are easily accessible and inexpensive. Most of them might seem pretty boring to you...

Reading (LOTS), scrapbooking, organizing, decorating, exercising, drinking coffee, writing, bossing people around (just kidding, or maybe not), making recipes from pinterest, painting my toenails, trying to make everything from scratch, listening to music, listening to podcasts, and the list goes on and on! As you can see, pretty much anything can entertain me. I'm not going to go on about it because you might think the only thing more boring than my hobbies is hearing about my hobbies. This is just a reminder to take stock. Remember the little things that matter to you. Be grateful.