The Most Important Job

If you’ve been reading my blog posts then you know that I have loved every second of motherhood, and being a stay at home mom (SAHM) this past year. I have considered myself so blessed to be able to see Josie hit every milestone and spend precious time with her. And while I will always consider myself fortunate for this, unfortunately, I lost sight of that a little bit. Throughout the past year, I began to feel like more of a weight in our little family than anything else. I battled such negative self-talk for quite some time, and I’m still learning how to silence it. It all focused around me deciding to stay home and not work. I didn’t realize how much a paycheck could make you feel valuable. And how the lack thereof can make you feel like you don’t have anything to offer. I would first like to say that Cody has never ever made me feel this way; that all of this negativity was created right in my own mind. There are SO many moms who don’t work, yet I always feel like I must be the only mom who has ever stayed home and fully relied on her husband to make money. This is ridiculous, I know that it is. Yet, for me it has been something that I have had to push through every month.

This has been a season in my life that I’m learning to embrace. It was almost like I ran into a wall when I had this epiphany about who this season is teaching me to be. I may not have a job that I go to outside the home, and I may not contribute financially each month. I’m not excelling in a corporate job and making connections. And part of me feels a sadness that I’m not meeting those types of goals or garnering acceptance from coworkers. But, and this truly hit me smack in the face, I have the most important job right now as a wife and mother. Of course I knew this all along. Read back a few posts and I wrote about working in the home and how important it was…but I didn’t understand it like I do now.

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This little season of my life, God placed me here, now, on purpose. I want to be an exceptional wife! I want to be an exceptional mom! And if all I can focus on is how I’m not an exceptional (whatever job title fits), then I’m missing out on what I am! I can’t look in the past or look in the future right now. I need to focus on today, this season, this year. It doesn’t matter what everyone around me is doing. I believe that social media has played into this lie I have been believing. Everything we read or see today is about success and making it. And I do believe in everyday striving to be a better version of yourself. But the beauty is that is different for everyone.

Sometimes we can get so blindsided by other’s success it is hard to see what we have because it looks so different. 

I am in such a different season of life than any of my friends. That is hard sometimes! My life looks nothing like theirs and many times it is hard to relate or even connect. But I cannot compare where I am to where they are. And sometimes we just need to put down the phone, log out, and be fully present in our own lives.

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If you have a job outside of home and you’re also a wife and mom, I wish I could give you an award! I commend you on working hard and juggling all of those responsibilities. But if you’re a SAHM and sometimes feel like I did, please be encouraged that what you are doing matters. Loving your family well matters. Creating a home that your husband and children feel comfortable and safe in matters. Showing up every day and being a nurturer matters. I promise it does. And it may go unnoticed. You won’t get Employee of the Month, you won’t get a raise, you won’t get a promotion, but you will get a legacy of being the best title you could have; Wife and Mom. And I promise that greatly outweighs any paycheck you could bring home.

 

*Photos by Madi Wagner Photography 

Sweet As A Peach!

 

March has been such a FUN and BUSY month for us! Josie Lynn turned the big ONE at the end of the month, and I also have four girlfriends who celebrate their birthday this month. That calls for a lot of cake!

I truly cannot believe that one year has come so fast. She has gotten so big and is so smart! I wanted to celebrate her in the biggest and best way, so for her first birthday party I knew I wanted to do something different, fun, and altogether sweet! I started planning her party when she was five months y’all. I got on Pinterest and looked up every little girl party theme there was. All I found was donuts, unicorns and mermaids. All cute, but overdone. I wanted something unique and sweet! When I found the peach theme I knew it was just right. So today on the blog I’m sharing all of the party details and planning preparation.

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Luckily, we had some of the party décor already on hand! Some of it was repurposed from my bridal shower, wedding, and baby shower. Saving mason jars and table cloths really helped!

The sweets stole the show at Josie’s party! I contacted someone local to do her cake, cookies and cupcakes, and they turned out phenomenal. Maxine took my vision and created it perfectly! The cake was almond vanilla with buttercream icing and raspberry compote. Yummmm! Josie’s smash cake fit perfectly on my Pioneer Woman cake stand, which just happened to be the perfect color as well!

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The cookies were absolutely amazing, and too pretty to eat! It didn’t take long, however, before they were gone!

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After choosing this theme, I realized how difficult it was to find anything the color peach. I quickly realized that even though peaches were the heart of the theme, I would need another central color. Luckily Hobby Lobby had a whole mint colored party section, and the two colors blended so well together. Most of my partyware is from HB, and they had more than enough.

55591734_279635879597288_7140298518744268800_nWe made the centerpieces from flowers found at Hobby Lobby, as well as small mint buckets. The doilies were spray pained a coral color and turned out great! I made the confetti from cardstock I found at Michaels. It was a little time consuming punching out the confetti but added a nice touch to the tables.

We served sweet tea as well as a homemade peach punch. We had the galvanized canister already and it worked perfectly! (You can find these at Wal Mart!) We used the mason jars from my wedding and tied a small peach ribbon around the rim. Again, a little time consuming but added such a sweet touch!
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I found a cute idea to display pictures on a ladder on Pinterest and knew I wanted to use that idea. I was terrible at taking consistent monthly photos on that cute numbered blanket, so I opted for her cutest photos over the year. The ladder we used at my wedding so we already had it on hand. My friend Jessica decorated it so beautifully with ivy, twine, and felt flowers found at Wal Mart.
55869298_661192931003054_6717096901235179520_nOverall, the party was more than I expected! We had such a wonderful turnout and Josie was blessed by so many gifts. I am so thankful to all who came and all who helped! I am much better at the planning part rather than execution. Cody was busy blowing up balloons and setting up tables/chairs. Everyone was so helpful!

Josie didn’t dig into her smash cake, but she did lick some of the icing off of her fingers. It was such a sweet moment singing Happy Birthday to her and blowing out her candle. The little peach on top of her cake was made out of fondant and so so cute!

55632773_445756769300942_6905955525297438720_nI’m already anticipating Josie’s second birthday party, but I guess for now I’ll enjoy the success of her first birthday and the sweetest sugars from my little peach!

Josie Is ONE!

It is hard to believe that Josie is ONE years old! Everyone said that time would fly by, but I never thought it would go this fast. It seems like yesterday Cody and I checked into the hospital to induce, and I had no idea what it would be like bringing home a baby. Turns out, she has rocked our world for the better and I can’t imagine what we ever did without her!

In one short year she has grown by leaps and bounds, and learned so much. I have learned right alongside her as well. My heart has expanded ten times the size it was, and my arms never feel full unless she is in them. It has been a joy watching Cody become a dad, and seeing the pure joy she brings him. There is no greater gift than family, and I am blessed by our little family of three.

In addition to the blessing of a baby, I am also blessed to be able to stay home with Josie. Because of this, I am able to see every milestone she reaches and bond with her in the most special way. Being a stay at home mom (SAHM) isn’t for everyone, and there are many moms who wish they could, so I don’t take the title without thankfulness, and a lot of grace!

55498121_408168736628180_4450329229602586624_nBecoming a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done, and a title I’m still not used to! However, it is a title I would never give back. I have grown so much myself over the year and I am thankful for a little girl who loves with all that she has, no matter my flaws or setbacks. I have learned that you can no longer be selfish with your choices, time, or even wants. Yet, self care is so vitally important.

It is ok to ask for help, in fact, it is needed! The saying ‘It takes a village,” is so true when it comes to babies. I look back on those first days, weeks, months, and I felt so overwhelmed. I am so thankful for everyone who pitched in to help, or even give me a minute alone. Mommy guilt is real but I’m telling you this to give you the freedom to ask for help! You deserve a walk through Target alone momma.

55684199_1088252108027896_2202578895767601152_nI can’t even imagine life without this little ray of sunshine, and I don’t want to! She brings joy everywhere she goes, to everyone she meets. Her little personality is shining through, and I know without a doubt she will grow to have the sweetest heart. I pray that she is a friend to the friendless, has a desire to share, and a willingness to learn and trust in herself. More than anything, I pray that she loves Jesus!

I know that time will only continue to go faster, and before long she will be on her way to kindergarten! While I do look forward to those days, I can wait for them to get here. I’m going to enjoy all the snuggles, hugs and love I can get while she is still offering them. I love you Josie Lynn with all of my heart!

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Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

Alright you guys, I was late to jump on this band wagon, but I’m glad I did. If you want to know the truth, I was avoiding reading the book a little. I knew it was about setting goals and chasing dreams, and I didn’t really want to do that. I also saw everyone posting about how great the book was and I didn’t want to follow the crowd. But, I finally decided to give in and download the book on my Kindle. I’m so glad, because this book was definitely the kick in the booty I needed.

I read this book in a day. One day. Granted, since I stay home I do have the time to read, but it was so good that I just kept reading. I also highlighted and wrote almost everything she said in my journal. Circled it. Starred it. Pointed arrows to the really important things. I think you get the point. I really needed to read this book.

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In the book, she encourages us to stop and look at the things we have accomplished in life. The achievements that have made me who I am, that was all me. I went to college and got my Bachelors degree in three years. I was unhappy at my job so I quit. I stepped out in faith and got my Teacher’s certification, all online, all while teaching at the same time. That was hard and scary but I did it. I got married. I moved. I changed jobs again. I had a baby. I got an epidural. Me, who is scared to death of needles and hates blood had my blood drawn time and time again and was poked and prodded, and I brought a life into this world. I think that’s pretty awesome. And even if I don’t accomplish anything else in this life; if all I do from here on out is sweep the floor and meal plan, then I think I’ve already accomplished some pretty cool things.

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And while all of that is great, I still have a desire, a dream, a goal, to write. And this blog is just the beginning. Let me tell you, even starting this has been no small feat. I am terrible at web design (as you can obviously see), and yesterday I only had two, TWO page views, so I’m not exactly knocking this out of the park. But it is baby steps. It is a start. And I’m making it a goal to NOT break this promise to myself.

“You need to set a goal for yourself and then work your butt off to get there. You need to prove to yourself that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.”

In one part of the book, Rachel tells us that in order to achieve our goals, we have to name them. Say them out loud! Write them down! Don’t cover them up, make them known. It reminded me of a conversation I had last month with a close friend. We spent the whole morning talking about what could be, what we wished was, or what we truly desired. Then I said it out loud, a small goal of mine, and after I said it we both laughed. It seemed so silly, so trivial, once it was said out loud. But it was true! What was that small goal? That I want to make pretty pies. I don’t want to own a bakery or compete on Food Network, although I think those people are pretty awesome, and I don’t even want to sell pies to you. I just want to make pies and people think that they are pretty. My MIL got me pie tools for Christmas and I was so excited! Yes, I can finally make pretty crusts and cut out pretty flowers and leaves, etc. But guess what? Nobody will ever say that I make pretty pies if I don’t get in the kitchen and start making them. I don’t really know why I like baking, or why making pies is fun for me. But it is. And if I can keep this one small goal alive then I can move on to the next, bigger goal for myself.

“Do you stop yourself from daring to try something new because you’re already positive you’ll fail?”

If you are like me and have something hidden in your heart that you want, even if it seems outlandish, far off, ridiculous, unreachable, you need to read this book. No, it isn’t Gospel, but it is definitely motivating and eye-opening. Throughout the book Rachel continues to talk about stopping negative self-talk. We are our own worst critic! And it resonates so much with me. Last year, I was so hesitant to start a blog. I had no idea how to do it and I was certain no one would read it, which according to my stats, no one really is. But that’s ok! Because I’m doing this for me. All those words floating around in my head have a place to land. I had to stop listening to my own self doubts and just go for it! I have learned a lot along the way and I’ve had fun doing it. Maybe this blog is just another domain taking up space on the internet, or maybe God gave me this desire because He has big plans for it! I believe that. I believe that God cares about my heart and the desires of it. I believe that God cares about the words I write and who reads them. And I believe that sometimes God will even give me the words to write.
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To sum it up, Rachel tells us that nobody will ever care about our dream as much as we do. It is up to us to chase after them. Sure, we have those who support us along the way. But no one is up with me at 3 am scribbling in my notebook. It’s just me. And that is why I have to keep finding ways to make this work. I hope you can read this book and feel as much fire under you as I did. And I hope you’ll shout your dreams into existence with me.

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Fun Finds + Olive and Marleys

I am so excited about this week’s blog post! I haven’t ever done a post like this before, and I hope it is something you will enjoy. I’ve really been trying to expand my writing and feature a wider array of topics here on the blog. I was so excited when a local businesswoman agreed to let me feature her shop on the blog!

If you aren’t familiar with Olive ‘N Marleys, it is located in Brady, right on Bridge St. There will you find an array of items from vintage to repurposed. Right down my alley kind of stuff. She has a treasure trove of salvaged pieces, and the way she brings them to life is nothing short of an art in my opinion. She has an eye for bringing pieces together; it is all so aesthetically pleasing!

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Norma was so kind to let myself and my friend Melissa wander around with camera and paper in tow. It is one of those places that you can’t just walk through hurriedly, or else you’ll miss something too great buried underneath something! I am thrilled to showcase her little shop and I’m hoping that you will feel inspired or even find something you need!

It all got started as a hobby twenty five years ago, and has since expanded to several different store fronts. The name, unique in itself, comes from the word ‘peace.’ On one spectrum, an olive branch signifies peace, while in contrast, so did Bob Marley. A fun play on words that brings even more whimsy to the store.

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Where do you get most of your inspiration from? “A lot of it comes from other stores like mine. Some inspiration from magazine clippings as well.”

You are definitely creative when it comes to furniture and decorating; do you find that creativity spills into other areas of your life? “Yes, I love writing my thoughts down and sketching pictures. I also bake breads and cupcakes along with the changing seasons.”
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What is your favorite piece or design element in the store? (This was a hard choice!) “My favorite pieces are anything that have rust or flaky white paint. My favorite spaces to create and design are outdoor areas. I love pieces that have a lot of texture to them as well.”

If you could add one thing to the store what would it be? “A coffee shop.”
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I warned Norma if she ever does add a coffee shop to her store, I may never leave! The ambiance is so inviting, that the aroma of coffee would be the icing on top! I think I could sit there all day and write! Add some warm banana bread to that and you’ve got the perfect setting. I think it is just what our little town needs!
52558942_2264621327144250_8202397700017094656_nWhen asked what words she would use to describe her collection, she said upcycled, or repurposed junk. (Not antiques and certainly not shabby chic.) I find that her style is in a category of it’s own, fun and eccentric. In her shop you will find items that are tattered and torn, perfect in their imperfection. Almost everything has a story to tell, of past life and old uses. And that is where her magic touch comes in; bringing it all back to life. She knows that it isn’t everyones cup of tea when it comes to decorating, but to those who share a similar vision, her store is full of great finds!

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If you haven’t ever stopped by Olive and Marleys, change that as soon as possible! I believe there is something for everyone inside, and who knows, you may just fall in love with all of it!

Thank you again so much Norma for letting me stop by! Thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us; it is inspiring and uplifting!

A Note on Authenticity

Every month I’ll be sharing ‘A Cup of Coffee’ with you and reflecting on something I read that is profound to me or resonated with me. It will be short ideas shared on the premise that you and I were sitting and sharing a cup of coffee. I hope you’ll join me each month!

If we were having coffee right now, I would share with you my thoughts on ‘authenticity.’ I just picked up the new Magnolia Journal, and of course, Jo’s words inspired me. The theme throughout the spring issue is being authentic. I think it is a word we should let roll around our hearts and minds. In this social media, image crazed society we live in, how easy is it to get caught up in comparison? I found myself guilty of it not long ago and it really bothered me. You see, online we can be any version of our ourselves we want to be. We can appear to have it altogether and be happy when we truly aren’t. The biggest social media platform I use is Instagram. I feel blessed to have the followers I do have, people who are interested in my life. But the reality is, the number of followers I have does not define me. Who they think I am may not be who I think I am. Because of this, I think it is so important to take a step back from social media. Unplug. I am so guilty of this friends. And now that I have this blog, I constantly worry about what my next post will be. How can I keep my readers happy? Is this photo good enough? I could go on and on with examples of how we ‘perfect’ things for social media, but I”m betting you get the point.

So, if we were having a cup of coffee right now, I would challenge you NOT to take a photo of the coffee and leave your phone on silent. I challenge you to be authentic this week! People get tired of seeing perfect, because it does not exist. If you want to get real with people, let them see a glimpse of your life without a filter.

Lets live in the moment. Yes, lets share our lives, but the messy parts too. Lets be authentic, its the best version of you.

“Many of us genuinely benefit from the beauty and inspiration that lives on social media…what it shouldn’t be is a means to measure our worth or compare our lot in life with anothers.” Joanna Gaines

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  • How can you be authentic this week?
  • Is there a messy side of life you need to share with a friend?
  • What keeps you from being your authentic self?

Baked Oatmeal

My favorite meal of the day is definitely breakfast. I love waking up and coffee in hand start frying bacon or put pancakes on the griddle. I can’t think of many things I love more than when mornings move slow and you can see the sun rising through the kitchen window.  I have shared a few breakfast recipes in the past on my blog, and I believe this recipe is the easiest one yet. Even if you can’t take the time to enjoy a slow morning, this recipe is quick! Not only that but it is so good. I love to make it alongside a breakfast casserole or just eat it alone. It smells amazing in the oven and I like to think it is even good for you!

I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of regular oatmeal, but this is completely different! I promise you cannot go wrong with this yummy baked recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Berries (optional)

Instructions:

Mix all together and spread out in a 9 x 13 dish. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes.

Serve warm in a bowl! I love to add sliced fruit on top, such as strawberries and blueberries. To make it decadent, pour a little heavy cream or a splash of milk over it. This really softens up the oats and makes it oh-so yummy!

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I make this oatmeal frequently at the ranch and love how hearty it is. You could easily make this over night and leave it in the fridge, so all you have to do in the morning is stick it in the oven.

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Valentine’s Day Fun

Celebrating all things PINK and HEARTS today because it is finally Valentine’s Day! If you’ve been reading my previous posts then you know that I LOVE this holiday! It is so fun to spread love, glitter, and chocolates to everyone we know. I truly can’t wait until Josie is old enough to have a little Valentine’s Day box and class parties. If you’re shaking your head thinking ‘just wait,’ believe me I can say that, I’ve been a teacher, I’ve done the parties. I know the chaos, and I also know the excitement on all of the kids faces, reading their little cards. The whole day is just so sweet, and cute. And while I know that Josie won’t be remembering anything from her first V-Day, I wasn’t going to let that stop us from getting in on the fun!

And can you even celebrate a day of love without cookies?! We had so much fun baking these cutout cookies (and eating them!) The secret ingredient that makes these sugar cookies sooo good? Almond extract!

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After satisfying our sweet tooth, Josie and I had a fun photoshoot! It can be rather difficult trying to get all the props perfect when you’re doing this solo, so no judging! These certainly aren’t professional, just fun. And what’s cuter than a baby in a basket?!

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Ok, Josie was actually over taking pictures before we even started, so I’m lucky I even got these! After taking photos we had one last thing to make- a pie!

This pie honestly took about 10 minutes to throw together! I used heart-shaped cookie cutters for the pie crust and got creative! I used cherry pie filling for the color red.

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image_67204609And last but certainly not least, Cody got me my absolute favorite treat, CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES! How can you celebrate today and not sink your teeth into a juicy berry?! You can see the excitement on my face when he handed them to me!

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Alright, that is a LOT of love! I think for the rest of the day Josie and I will indulge in all of our sweets, cuddle under our favorite pink blanket, and find a romantic comedy to watch! Happy Valentines Day friends!

xoxo Evin

 

Spread The Love

We are just days away from Valentine’s Day and I thought I’d share some ways we can show love to those around us. I know Valentine’s Day is mostly celebrated by couples, but I always think of it as another day to show everyone some extra love. Whether we admit it or not, it feels good to receive a card or just to know someone is thinking of us. Here is a short list of ways you can show those around you that you care this Valentines Day, which is Thursday, btw!

“Do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

  1. Pay for someone’s coffee behind you
  2. Buy chocolates for a coworker
  3. Leave a card in the mailbox for the mailman
  4. Donate clothes to charity
  5. Bake cookies for a neighbor
  6. Volunteer at a school Valentine’s Day party
  7. Make a homemade card for a friend
  8. Take flowers to a nursing home
  9. Take balloons to a hospital
  10. Post on someone’s facebook page 

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” John 15:12

The ideas I listed above are all very small ways to show love. It might not seem like much, but sometimes the smallest acts of kindness we do can make the biggest difference. So, even if celebrating Valentines Day means nothing to you, consider reaching out to someone this year in a different way. If for no other reason than we are called to love each other; it is the greatest commandment! You’ll be surprised to find that you get just as much out of it as the person on the receiving end. 

Have a wonderful Valentines Day!

xoxoxoxo Evin 

 

 

6 Reasons You Need to Start Journaling

Throughout my entire life I have kept journals. Maybe earlier in life I would have called them diaries, but they have transistioned through the years to a more defined style of writing. I can’t begin to tell you how many journals I have laying around our house or stashed in my closet. Countless, truly. Some are completely full, with extra pages taped inside, while others have just a few thoughts scribbled here and there.

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.” Lucy Dacus

I write about everything in my journals. One may be devoted to my spiritual life while another I track all of Josie’s ‘firsts.’ In another journal I write prayers and another still is filled with day to day life. There are no rules to journaling and it is truly just for yourself. If you’ve never kept a journal I strongly suggest you start! I believe there are so many benefits to writing down your thoughts, or even your life! 

  1. Set Clear and Reachable Goals:
    1. When you have written your goals down then you are more likely to achieve them. Writing them down makes them real and reachable! Circle them, star them, highlight them! How will you know what you’re working towards if you can’t see it? 
  2. Be Able to Reflect On Past Thoughts/Track Growth
    1. I love to pull out a journal from years ago and read the things I wrote. Sometimes I can’t help but laugh while other times I am reading my words and taken back to a place I had forgotten. Keeping record of your life through pen and paper lets you see just how far you have come. 
  3. Clear Your Head/ Express Emotions
    1. There are so many times that my emotions are running high and I have no idea how to express them other than through words. High highs or low lows, writing it down gets it out there. Think of your paper as someone listening, and hold nothing back. Sometimes I am writing about something I am so excited about I can’t get the words written fast enough. 
  4. Create Daily To-Do Lists/ Organization
    1. I love to make myself a to-do list first thing in the morning. It may be as simple as tasks like laundry and organization but I love being able to check items off once I have completed them. Creating a to-do list will help you stay on track throughout the day and helps you to see what all you have accomplished!
  5. Practice Self-Love/Improve Mental Health
    1.  Journaling can be so helpful for your mental health. Just like letting a kindergartener color red on a paper when they’re angry, jotting down everything you’re feeling on paper truly lightens your burden. If I feel overwhelmed I do a ‘mental dump’ in my journal. I write down everything that I feel; sometimes just adjectives, sometimes whole phrases. Afterwards I can look at everything I wrote down and try to get to the root of the problem. If anything, I feel as though I’ve ‘let-go’ of some of those feelings. 
  6. Creative Outlet/Spark New Ideas
    1. Writing is fun! You might not even know how creative you are until you get your thoughts out there. You may not write a book of poems, but you may find that you’re great at hand lettering! I often find that thoughts can snowball and what started as something small can turn into pages worth of ideas. 

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“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”  Anne Frank