Living with the Season: Fall

Hi Friends! Happy Fall Y’all!

I love fall. The crisp cool weather, the tasty treats, the layering options of scarves and boots, and of course the gorgeous leaves changing color. The start of fall is the perfect time to check in with yourself and take note of some shifts you should take. The weather obviously tells us things are changing, so we must too.

And don’t worry, not all change is bad! From my experience, if you allow it, most change can be good.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the season of fall corresponds with the Lung* and it begins the transition of the summer (yang) time to the winter (yin) time. The way you transition during the fall can either help your qi or add some extra work for your qi.

Recommendations from the Yellow Emperor for the season of fall:

  • Go to bed with the sunset and get up with the sunrise.
    • In theory, this sounds great, but we all know this may not be possible. Either way, it’s helpful to try to get a little more sleep.
    • As we enter more of a yin time (opposed to yang) we require more rest.
  • Eat warm, cooked foods.
    • Anything we consume our Spleen and Stomach have to digest, transform, and transport. The Spleen and Stomach are like a melting pot. Everything has to be heated to be used. If you consume a lot of cold/ raw/ frozen foods and drinks, especially during the fall and winter, your Spleen and Stomach are having to work extra hard.
    • This can result in digestion issues, fatigue, and illnesses.
  • Stay warm.
    • It’s tempting to want to get the last wear out of your favorite summer sandals and t-shirts, but be sure to layer up with scarves and sweaters to keep your qi strong.
    • All of the main acupuncture channels start or end in your feet, so it’s also important and helpful to keep your feet warm.
    • Be sure to layer up, especially around your head and neck to protect the very vital area where External Pathogenic Invaders (EPI’s) can invade the body.
  • Take time to gather one’s spirit and energy.
    • With the transition from yang to yin, now is a great time to take stock of where you are, how you’re feeling, and what you need to change in your life to live your best life.
  • Remain calm and peaceful, and try to avoid feelings of depression or grief.
    • The emotion of sadness belongs to the Lung and fall time according to TCM.
    • This also may correlate with people reporting more sadness and feeling down due to the less sun time.
  • Stay focused.
    • It’s easy to get scattered and spread too thin. During the fall is a great time to evaluate life choices and stay true to your course.
  • Keep the Lung energy full, clean, and quiet.
    • Do so by practicing breathing exercises to enhance Lung qi. There’s so many wonderful breathing exercises, feel free to research options that best fit you.
    • I personally find great benefit purely from breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts. Repeat as often as possible, but at least a couple times a day.

It’s always important to live with the season, but especially with it being 2020, I feel it’s even more important to live with the season!

Pick 1-2 points and focus on them for the next few days to a week. Once you’ve established those recommendations, add in another one. Continue until you’re feeling well and balanced! And don’t forget to always be looking for ways to add in a little extra joy into your life. Because friend, you deserve it!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman

*When practitioners of Chinese Medicine talk about organs, it does not necessarily mean the physical organ. Rather we are talking of the channel of the organ and the properties associated with the organ according to Chinese Medicine. 

Living With the Season: Summer

Hi Friends!

Oh summer. The hours of sunlight are lengthening and the temperatures are rising. It’s the perfect time to check in with your daily habits and lifestyle to see if you are adjusting for these changes. Just like everything in nature needs to adjust to the season, so do we.

“In the three months of summer there is an abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy descends and the earthly energy rises. When these energies merge there is intercourse between heaven and earth. As a result plants mature and animals, flowers, and fruit appear abundantly.”

0075_ The Yellow Emperors

According to the Yellow Emperor, now is the time to:

  • Go to bed somewhat later (compared to the Spring Season), while still getting up early.
  • Refrain from anger.
  • It’s important to be happy and easy going and not hold grudges so the energy can flow freely and communicate between the external and internal.
  • Stay physically active to prevent the pores from closing and the qi from stagnating.
  • One should not overindulge in sex, although one can indulge a bit more than in other seasons.

These things will help prevent illnesses in the fall.

orange lily

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

“The transformation of yin and yang in the four seasons is the basis of the growth and the destruction of life. The sages were able to cultivate the yang energy in the spring and summer and conserve the yin energy in autumn and winter. By following the universal order, growth can occur naturally. If this natural order is disregarded, the root of one’s life will be damaged and one’s true energy will wane.

Therefore, the change of yin and yang through the four seasons is the root of life, growth, reproduction, aging, and destruction. By respecting this natural law it is possible to be free from illness. The sages have followed this, and the foolish people have not.” 

I really appreciate the awareness to realize we are part of nature and nature is a part of us. Therefore, we need to live our lives accordingly. Our bodies are able to withstand all sorts of stress and imbalances, but imagine if you just chose one thing to focus on this summer to better live with the season. I would be very interested to see your observations about the quality of your life.

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman

Lemon; Lemon Essential Oil

Recommendations for Spring Health

Hello Friend!

It’s mid may and it sure is looking and feeling like spring. The trees and flowers are budding (all on their own time), the weather goes from 40 degrees and rainy to 70 degrees and sunny (that’s a big change for our bodies to handle!), and we have more daylight hours! Such a wonderful transition from the winter. As mentioned in Oh What A Spring about living with the season of spring, while winter was a time of yin, spring begins the shift to yang.

The properties of the Yin Yang Theory are:

  • While they oppose each other, they also support one another.
  • Neither can exist without the other.
  • They are infinitely divisible in each other.
  • They are dynamic.

These principles are visible in our every day world: in nature, in our own bodies, and even in the emotions, feelings, and experiences of life. This is nicely explained in chapter four of Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold… (which I plan to blog about in the near future :)).

Between Heaven and Earth Book; Bird Image

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Specific Examples of Yin & Yang: 

Yin: cold, dark, female, hard, heavy, hidden, midnight, moon, still, water (element), winter

Yang: hot, light, male, soft, light (mass), revealed, midday, sun, movement, fire (element), summer

With it being in full swing of spring, we need to ensure we are living with the season, and not in opposition to it. We are moving from yin within yin (winter) to yin within yang (spring).

Something I truly appreciate about Traditional Chinese Medicine is the theory… behind everything. Really, you look outside, and there are the elements and principles which one may find the patterns of your own health and wellbeing. While it takes years of studying to master, the medicine itself is intuitive once you know it.

Spring= Wood= Wind=Liver/ Gallbladder= Green= Anger= Eyes= Tendons

So, friend, spring is the perfect time to help support your Liver health.

The Liver is in charge of free flow of Qi (chee) throughout your body. As explained in Between Heaven and Earth, “The Liver Network is to monitor flow, maintaining evenness of emotions and clarity of judgment, giving grace and flexibility to the physical and mental body.” As you could imagine, if your Liver Qi is imbalanced, all sorts of issues may occur. That being said, living in modern America, it’s very common to have an imbalance of Liver Qi due to our busy, hectic, constantly moving lifestyles.

Some ways to help smooth your Liver Qi:

  •  Breath
    • Honestly, everything could be improved upon with breathing!
    • When you do slow, deep, belly out, inhalations you are allowing your lungs to expand fully since you’re helping your diaphragm move the way it’s intended.
    • The Liver can easily get tight and tense. And the Liver Qi, as is all Qi in the body, is impacted by the breath. The breath fuels our lungs with the oxygen it needs to keep us alive. When our body has the oxygen it needs, it will be less tense and more relaxed.
  • Drink your water!
    • Oh water. Something that is so healing and nourishing, yet so many people seem to forget all the amazing benefits of simply drinking water.
    • Basically we’re about 70% water, so we need water to survive and thrive.
    • The Liver will benefit from ample water intake due to having enough hydration in the body to ensure proper flow of fluids, lubrication of joints, flushing of the system, and plump organs.
  • Dry Skin Brushing
    • This is a wonderful method to help the lymphatic system of the body.* When you help the lymphatic system, you also assist the Qi in moving more smoothly throughout the body. When you help the overall Qi of the body move smoothly, you help the Liver.
    • You can purchase a Dry Skin Brush at most local health stores or online for $10-20.
    • You want to dry skin brush only on completely dry, closed skin.* Before you bathe is usually most ideal. It’s also recommended to dry skin brush in the tub, to catch any dead skin that may flake off.. I know I know… sounds lovely, but it feels wonderful!
      • Be sure to start at the hands and feet and work towards the heart.
      • For your stomach, back, and armpits brush in a circular clockwise motion.
      • You can do anywhere from 5-15 passes on each section.
      • Use enough pressure to feel it, but don’t rub your skin raw… that’s NOT the goal. It should feel almost like a good itch. Be sure to go gentler on more sensitive areas.
      • Continue with your shower and moisturize appropriately.
      • Repeat every few days to every day, depending on your need.
      • Even if you only remember once a week… do it! Once a week is better than not doing it at all.
    • *People with open or inflamed should avoid dry skin brushing. Never dry skin brush over burns, rashes, infections, open wounds, etc. Always consult with your health care practitioner before adding this into your routine.
  • Lemons
    • Lemons have amazing benefits for overall health and wellbeing.
    • Lemons can help your body with it’s natural detoxing abilities. And when you think of detoxing, you think of the function of the liver.
    • You can use the food (a slice), the juice (~1tsp), or the essential oil (1 drop)* per glass of room temperature water.
  • Massage
    • When you move your body, you help the Qi move.
    • Passive movements of your body (as in when someone else is doing the moving for your body) provide wonderful benefits to unblocking stagnation within the body and helping to open up the channels.
    • Plus it feels amazing!
  • Mindset/ Prayers/ Reflection/ Appreciation
    • Yes, mindset/ prayers/ reflections/ having appreciation can help your Liver Qi!
    • The thoughts you think create your feelings and emotions.
    • When the Liver is imbalanced, the emotion you may be feeling more of is anger, irritability, rage, and/ or depression.
    • When you can take stock of your thoughts, you can observe what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. From there you can shift your thought to more accurate thinking or more positive thinking- whichever is better suited for you.
    • Traditional Chinese Medicine realizes that emotional issues can cause physical issues and physical issues can cause emotional issues.
    • So when you take your thoughts and emotions into account, you can change your physical health, and improve your Liver Qi.
  •  Move & Stretch
    • The Liver governs the tendons, so the health of your tendons are a reflection of your Liver Qi.
    • When you move and stretch, you strengthen, lengthen, and nourish the tendons. This will help balance the Liver Qi.
    • Moving/ exercising/ having an active lifestyle will help ensure your Liver Qi is flowing smoothly.
    • When you are stationary, your Liver Qi can easily get stagnant.
    • Human beings were made to move.
    • Move your body = move your Liver Qi!
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
    • Acupuncture
      • When you insert needles into the body, it creates a micro-trauma. This micro-trauma signals to the brain to increase it’s healing mechanisms.
      • Acupuncture helps the body heal itself.
      • When utilizing needles/ laser/ pressure, a licensed acupuncturist can help direct the flow of Qi in the body.
      • If your Liver Qi is imbalanced, your practitioner can help detect this and perform the proper treatment.
    • Herbs
      • Taking herbs is like having a daily treatment specifically to your needs and patterns.
      • Herbal formulas are wonderfully balanced in their ability to help regulate the energy of the body and bring the body back to homeostasis.
      • Herbal formulas should only be prescribed by a qualified herbalist.
    • Check out FeelGoodClinics.com to schedule.
    • Check out my blog post to find a licensed acupuncturist near you!

Needles on Wood

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Those are my top suggestions to help balance your Liver Qi. I suggest adding one thing at a time to see how it works for you and to establish more of a routine, but feel free to do what you need.

I hope this offers some support to your health during the season of spring!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

*The suggested uses in the above post apply only to the use of therapeutic grade, Young Living Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are the same! Be sure to consult with the product label or healthcare practitioner for correct usage of essential oils. 

Reliving My Trip to China

Prince Gong's Mansion

Prince Gong’s Mansion

In my second year in grad school I had the amazing opportunity to travel to China for a school trip. We were in China mid April to early May. This was the first time I traveled overseas and I remember never being so sore from just sitting! It was nice to get to watch many movies but for someone who needs to move regularly (to move my Liver Qi)… the flight to and from China was intense!

The moment we landed I think we all felt like we were on another planet. The air was a yellowish smog color and we apparently landed in a section of the airport going under construction, so it was vacant and it felt very eerie.

I kept a journal during these 3 weeks so I will provide some insight to where we went, what we learned about in the hospital, cultural lessons, random happenings, and some of my thoughts. Journal entries are bulleted:

  • It’s already an overwhelming experience.
  • I feel completely out of it.
  • After a nights sleep I feel a lot better and ready to take on Beijing!

BEIJING

Prince Gong’s Mansion

  • Buildings have a step at the doorway where you have to step over it, with your right foot, to ensure you keep the devils out!
  • One building would have been stocked full with 4,000 tons of gold!

Prince Gong's Mansion

Prince Gong’s Mansion

 

Prince Gong's Mansion Ceiling

Prince Gong’s Mansion Ceiling

National Theater

  • Huge dome building with a moat around it.

National Theater with Tao

National Theater with Tao, quite windy!

Forbidden City

  • Amazing… hard to grasp all the history it’s seen.
  • Crazy busy.
  • People taking pictures of us and with us.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

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Bei Hai Park

  • Gorgeous area with willow trees lining the lake, such beautiful flowers.
  • Music and dancing! We had a blast.
  • I almost got ran over by a little vehicle.

The Great Wall

  • I forgot to count the steps!
  • Jenna and I did a handstand at the top of the Great Wall.
  • A classmate brought her hula hoop so we all hula hooped. 🙂
  • It was basically a big party on the Great Wall.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

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Lock of Love on The Great Wall of China

Lock of Love on The Great Wall of China

The Jade Factory

The Jade Factory

Pretty Trees at a Tao Temple Beijing, China

Pretty Trees at a Tao Temple Beijing, China

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The Silk Factory

  • It was so awesome to see the silk worms and the process. The silk feels like clouds.

The Silk Factory

The Silk Factory

The Market

  • Wow, needed some warning for that… You had to bargain for everything. They totally crowd you. It was intense. But I got some good purchases.

The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven

TIANJIN

First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 

Topics we learned about in lecture and in the hospital- in and out patient:

  • Wen Jing Decoction “Warm Menses Decoction”
  • Treatment of stroke: They will treat inpatients two times a day for stroke with great results.
  • Depression
  • Pediatric Tui Na
  • Knee Osteoarthritis “Xi Bi”
  • Skin Diseases: acne, herpes zoster, verruca plana  (HPV), alopecia, psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema
  • Fire needling… it’s as it sounds!
  • Scoliosis
  • Prolapsed lumbar disc
  • Muscle meridians
  • Back pain
  • Orthopedic care
  • Herbal treatments: topical patches, treatment tables with venting areas for herbs under the table to vent up to treat the patient
  • Lung cancer

Entering the Hospital

Entering the Hospital

Cultural Lessons

  • The traditional four closed courtyard is where people live. The north side (facing south) is water and where the elders live. The east side is wood and where the son lives, to grow big and strong, wealthy, and to eventually leave. The west side is metal and where the daughter lives, to stay and have wealth but to get married. The south is fire and no one lives there since fire ruins things, but guests may stay there. The courtyard is earth and where they have apricot and pear trees, a pond and a bucket of fish.
  • When taking photos, the peace sign is a very common sign. It represents “victory.” If you do a thumbs up, that means “great.”
  • Beer is a staple at every meal.
  • People sit in the front seats of the cab even if they’re by themselves.
  • The fashion is either really trendy or really interesting. 🙂
  • People spit and pass gas whenever they feel like it.
  • When an American is introduced to a Chinese person, they say their American name first. But we always asked for their birth name. 🙂
  • When they present you with a little shot glass size of alcohol at the beginning of the meal… this is NOT A SHOT. You’re supposed to sip it with the food. Our teacher/ supervisor was a little surprised we all took it as a shot. Ha!

Tianjin Food Market

Tianjin Food Market

Beijing Olympics Building

Beijing Olympics Building

Random happenings

  • The first day, after we exchanged money we went to a little shop to buy water and a little boy at the store hugged my leg, he kept hugging me, so cute and random. It lifted my spirits.
  • A man grabbed a friend’s boob as we were walking.
  • Bikers don’t wear helmets or have lights on at night.
  • It took forever for us to find a cab in one situation. One man in a suit said he could take us in his unmarked taxi… yeah no.
  • I ate a scorpion- crunchy, crispy, salty… not bad!
  • After our first week in Tianjin it was the Tianjin Parade! We were in the parade, we were gifted sweatshirts to wear and given blow up angry birds mallets. We were a little confused but did as we were told.

Tianjin Parade

Tianjin Parade

Tianjin Parade

Tianjin Parade

  • We visited Bei Men Hospital, they presented us with a presentation and then a performance. Like a legit performance: dancers, singers, acrobats, gymnasts- very talented.

Bei Men Hospital Performance

Bei Men Hospital Performance

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  • Observing in the clinic, there was a tv crew following us around talking pictures and videos. I was photographed cupping a patient (yes, my parents have a copy of the newspaper clipping hanging up at home :)) Due to Kate and I having the lightest colored hair, we were interviewed and our Chinese buddy, Maria interpreted for us. We were on the local station that night.
  • One of our free days we tried to get lunch at a restaurant. They sat us in the corner and ignored us. Eventually we left.
  • 85 degree Celsius bakery is delish! It was a common stopping place, maybe even two times in a day. The bakers began to expect us.

85 Degree Celsius Bakery

85 Degree Celsius Bakery

  • Night cruise on a river that runs through Tianjin. It used to have cargos that would sail on it. It has 72 curves in the river!

Tianjin River Boat Ride

Tianjin River Boat Ride

  • Learned how to test if pearls are real.

Pearls

Give me all the pearls 🙂

  • One of our last days we went out to a couple bars and clubs. Dancing in a foreign country with people from literally all over the world to cultural music was seriously my happy place!

My thoughts: 

  • This food is amazing.

Breakfast in Beijing

Breakfast in Beijing

Amazing Chinese Food

Amazing Chinese Food

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

Delicious Chinese Food

Delicious Chinese Food

Colorful Chinese Food

Tao ordered this soup for the group to help keep us healthy. Tasted like an egg drop chicken noodle soup… delicious and nutritious!

  • I constantly feel people staring and taking pictures.
  • It’s weird not having any idea what people are saying.
  • The city is really pretty at night.
  • It’s cool learning about all their history and reasonings for things… too much to write.
  • A week in, my mom and dad called. It was so nice to hear their voices. I about teared up. They were so excited to talk, as was I! They were just making sure I was in China… haha!
  • Starbucks is our oasis: jazz music, clean, and comforting familiar drinks.
  • It’s amazing learning about Chinese Medicine in China!

Original Acupuncture Tools

Original Acupuncture Tools… No Thanks!

Herbal Department

Herbal Department

  • Never have I seen so many cars, bikes, walkers and not one accident! It’s really quite amazing.

Anyways, that’s a little taste of my experience in Beijing and Tianjin China in 2013. It was truly unforgettable and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. I truly believe the more you travel the more you get to observe humanity and all the variations of this amazing life we live.

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

Baking Tea with Cup; Plant

The Meaning Behind: Being Well and Balanced

Hi Friend!

I know it sounds like a simple name but I would love to share with you why I chose Being Well and Balanced. The definitions are from Google:

Baking Tea with Cup; Plant

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

BEING: “existence, the nature or essence of a person.”

I intentionally chose “being” because in today’s society of “doing” I wanted to create a conscious awareness about “being.” There’s so much to do, there’s so much to not do, and I know it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all the options. So I invite you to “just” be for a moment. You, “just” being, is enough. You are enough because God created you as so. He loves you, not for what you do, but for who you are because He made you in His image. This is soooo difficult for me. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I greatly associate what I DO with who I AM. So this name reminds me every day, be who are you and the rest will follow. 

WELL: “in a good or satisfactory way, in a thorough manner; in good health, free or recovered from illness; sensible, advisable.”

Sometimes I use the fanciest words I can think of, other times I appreciate the more simple words. My mission and message to empower each and every person to live their best life needs a simple, thorough, sensible word. A word everyone knows and can relate to. It’s even better that the word “well” also pertains to health, as in being in good health and free from illness. When you are well, you’re more likely to live up to your highest potential.

BALANCED: “arranged in good proportions; taking everything into account; fairly judged or presented.”

There are so many sides to every story. While there is a universal truth, many other things may be relative. This is a huge theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine, while there is yin and yang, there is also yin within yang and vice versa. And variables are always in motion and constantly changing. This makes balance a goal, but at sometimes also an illusion. A podcast with Dave & Rachel Hollis talked about how balance is an illusion because things are always changing and you most likely will never be balanced because it’s a journey. It’s not a destination. You don’t wake up one morning and go, “I’m balanced. There is nothing more for me to do.” I believe, as long as we are on this earth, we will be constantly striving for balance.

Being Well and Balanced, Blooming Tree Image

When strung all together, to me, it means:

Being your true, authentic self.

Being open to learning, improving, and growing.

Striving for your own balance, one moment at a time. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and also the reasons behind the names you’ve chosen for your website, company, blog!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

 

Sidewalk Chalk Art to Brighten My Day

Hi friend,

Have you been getting outside? Depending on your location, the answer can vary greatly. I’m thankful I get to take the pup out for walks. During these walks I’ve noticed an increase in sidewalk chalk art. And I’m very thankful for all the artists who take the time to color the sidewalks for us walkers, joggers, runners.

Keep up the inspiration!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

Something To Ponder: What Saying Do You Hate?

I know, I know, hate is a strong word. But the first time I heard this saying from Yoga with Adriene, it caused an emotional reaction in me. I thought, “no, this can’t possibly be true.” It brought on so many sad and angry emotions, I couldn’t get my head around the truth of it.
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everything is as it shoudl be
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After a couple years of reflecting, meditating, and praying, I can say I now find great comfort in this same saying. As a Christian, I know my comfort comes from trusting that God does have a plan for each and everyone of us. Our life and situation of events may not be what we want or what we think we deserve, or even what we would think would be kind, but if you look at it as exactly what you need, you’re able to start to suffer well. Suffering well is a whole other topic, more on that later.
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Every event and opportunity (whether good or unfortunate) allows you to pray for mercy, to find grace, to learn the lessons- so you may become the best version of yourself.
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I have to admit, I questioned whether I should share this, with all the current events happening (ahem, COVID-19). But if this saying is true for the good things in life, it has to be true for the bad things. 
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So whatever your life situation is right now, I pray you have some peace that God has your back, and everything is, as it should be. If this saying is hard for you to believe and brings up some terrible feelings, that’s ok. Please know you’re not alone. Reflect, meditate, pray, or just set aside some moments of silence. Sometimes the most productive thing we can do is nothing.
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If this saying resonates with you, wonderful! If not, that’s ok too. We’re all on our own journey. This is just something that has proven helpful and life changing for me.
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What quote or saying has been or still is difficult for you to see the truth in?

Living Intentionally in 2020

Hi, I’m Emily, and I like to set New Year’s Resolutions. 🙂
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I know it may seem totally cliche, but I’m thankful for the very obvious time to pause, reflect, and make decisions to improve your quality of life, do things you’ve always wanted to do, and reduce things you know are toxic to your mind, body, and soul.
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0020_ Books
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Usually people give up by mid January or February… It’s March. How’s your intentions going?
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For 2020, my main focus is to live intentionally. This may look different to different people. But for me, this means being fully present in each moment, intentional with my time and thoughts, and reducing my multi-tasking ability. I know, I know… we’re all SOOO good at multi- tasking… while we may think this… there’s actually evidence to suggest otherwise.
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So while I may listen to music or a podcast while I drive or do dishes, or watch tv while I fold laundry, I’m really working on fully being present for any and every task I have to complete.
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A day where I was not intentional enough to not lose my earrings, but intentional enough to know exactly where they were was a great show of balance. Being intentional 100% of the time is difficult. We are programed to kind of go in auto- pilot. But being able to consciously check in with yourself and see if you’re truly experiencing this moment is a great start to living intentionally. And the more you do it, the easier it gets.
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Now, I’m not going to ask you what your Resolutions are for 2020, but I would sincerely recommend you check in with yourself.
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  • How was 2019 for you? 
  • What are some things you loved?
  • What are some things you could do without?
  • What are some things you’d like to include or increase in your life?
After reflecting on those questions, decide which area of your life you’d like to focus.
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  • It may be helpful to start small.
  • Pick one area of focus/ one word/ one intention.
  • Write it down, say it out loud, share with friends and family.
  • Emotionalize with your intention, feel what it would be to have it be so.
  • Be sure you’re thinking about it and feeling it daily.
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Watch how this “little” area of focus/ one word/ one intention, creates a ripple effect.
It will have the power to change your environment, your life, your community, your world.
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Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Benefits of Traveling

Oh vacations! While most people love to take vacations, I’m guessing most people also don’t get to travel as much as they’d like. Vacations are amazing for so many reasons. This past week we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to St. Augustine, Florida, and it was absolutely perfect.
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When you travel, I hope you
  • get to experience something unusual to your everyday life;
  • are able to witness and be a part of another culture;
  • have quality time and wonderful connections with your family, friends, or self- depending on who you’re traveling with;
  • eat amazing food;
  • are able to sleep well, rest often, and move regularly;
  • relax your mind from work and your usual daily life;
  • get an emotional reset;
  • have a lovely spiritual experience.

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What are some of your favorite things about vacations and traveling!?
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IMG_8270

St. Augustine, Florida

IMG_8254

St. Augustine Catholic Church

IMG_8266

IMG_8268

St. Augustine Lighthouse

IMG_8469

Castillo de San Marcos

IMG_8529

IMG_8541

Midday

IMG_8354

Sunset

IMG_8556

Post Sunset

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Sunrise

National Time Refund Day

February 29th! Leap year means you have an entire extra day in 2020. What are you going to spend your extra time doing? I sincerely hope you’re able to spend it doing at least one thing that brings you joy!
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0019_ Books Plant and Salt Lamp Banner
However, I know the reality for many people will be another day doing the daily grind. At least it’s a Saturday so hopefully people feel they can celebrate a little bit. You don’t have to have a crazy party (but if you want to, don’t let me stop you!) but just be aware of the “extra” time, be thankful, and do something fun.
Your time is valuable. As my gal pal Rachel Hollis says, “If it’s not a HELL YES, than it’s a NO!” And no, I’m not gal pals with Rachel Hollis (how cool would it be though!?) but her advice is sound. And this really got me thinking about things I just say yes to because I feel I should. I know throughout the years this has totally been me… a yes girl. But I’m working on being grounding, having clarity, and strengthening my backbone (which my dad has always encouraged his girls to have).
I pray you:
– Know your value
Be thankful for the time you have
– Do at least one thing every day which brings you joy
Happy National Time Refund Day!
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Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch