Picture Perfect Moment 4: mother teresa


“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.” – Mother Teresa

I figured today I would share more about one of my biggest inspirations: Mother Teresa. Her way of life and humble attitude inspire me to become a better version of myself each and every day. She truly is an icon for all who seek to lead a simple life. I wanted to take this quote and break it down by each section, reflecting on how I see a tangible way for us to embody the quote.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

People may lose sight of humanity and disrespect other individual’s self-worth, dignity, or respect. Move beyond this moment of irrationality you see them perform and learn to forgive them despite these flaws.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

Despite the compassion or generosity you show to others, people may think you are cunning or trying to be the “goody-two-shows” or a show off or have the upper hand. In spite of these allegations or thoughts, continue to spread kindness and love as you go.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

The accomplishments you make in life may be met with adversaries. Regardless of the attitudes of those around you, continue to pursue your dreams and conquer your goals.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

People may lie to you or cheat you in many ways throughout your life, even if you are being truthful and open with them. Continue to face their deceitful ways with your honorable and principled ways.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

Your innovation and productivity may not be appreciated by some who would rather destroy what you spend time and hard work to create. Despite harmful actions such as these, continue to harvest your innovations and create what you desire.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

Many people may not rejoice in your satisfaction. They may be prideful or jealous, but don’t let this interfere with your feelings. Feel joy. Be happy for the reason that brings meaning to your life.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Every action or deed you do may not be remembered, documented, or acknowledged. This doesn’t mean your good deed is not valued. Continue to do good, even if it is behind the scenes or forgotten, because it may just impact one person who truly needs what only you can bring to them.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

Be the best version of yourself that you can be, each and every day. Strive to move beyond your weaknesses in pursuit of bettering yourself to better the community you are a part of. At the end of the day, it may not seem like much or that it is enough. However, in that moment you have created a better space for individual’s to thrive in. Continue to better yourself for you and for those surrounding you.


Journaling: list style

Today I thought I would bring to light a fun and quick way to journal through lists. I love lists. Perhaps it is the type a personality in me or my love of seeing things visually, but whatever the reason I think this style of journaling can be fun and entertaining. My favorite part of this is being able to review these lists throughout the years  and seeing the changes in answers as I mature with each passing season.

So why not give this a shot. Sit down, clear your mind, and when you begin your lists write down the first thoughts that come to mind. Choose one topic from each category to write lists on. Ready? Begin.

Life Goals

  • Bucket List
  • Gratitude List
  • Places to See
  • Hobbies to Try

Things to Do to Enrich my Life

  • Movies to Watch
  • TV Shows to Follow
  • Authors to Know
  • Books to Read

Healthy Lifestyle

  • Weight/BMI/Calorie Tracker
  • Yoga Poses to Attempt
  • Quick, Easy, and Healthy Snacks
  • Cardio Workouts
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Seasonal Workouts

Mindfulness Practice

  • Favorite Quotes
  • Observations of Space, Time, Others, and Surroundings
  • New Words
  • Breathing Exercises


  • Hikes to Venture On
  • Eco Friendly Living
  • Memorable Happenings
  • Items on the “To Purchase and Pamper” List

(These list ideas and topics are courtesy of Megan, over at PageFlutter.)

My Miracle Morning update: over the weekend I was able to have my partner join me on the journey that has become my morning routine. He and I completed the steps of the routine and thoroughly enjoyed it! Waking up early continues to be a struggle for me, but I am striving to keep it up. 

Faith and Spirituality: my formation

As I spoke in my first posting on faith, I am Catholic. As I indicated, however, this isn’t the end of my faith formation. To talk about my current faith life, I must reflect back on my four years of college. Attending college I knew I wanted to maintain and grow in my spirituality. I wanted to do that in three ways: connections on-campus with the Catholic community, connections through retreats, and connections with an off-campus community. One Sunday, I was invited to join a group of college students to attend St. John’s Covenant Church, a local community of individuals sharing in their Christianity.

The more I attended St. John’s, the more at home I felt among individuals who truly became like family to me. I recall the more I attended St. John’s, the more I also felt like I was cheating on my Catholic faith upbringing. In light of this uncomfortable feeling I found myself having, I had a discussion with Pastor Andy and to this day his response encourages me to continue along my faith path. He told me this: when you grow up in faith, you grow up only knowing one way of spirituality. In other words, you only know what one beer tastes like. You feel comfortable with that taste and grow accustomed to it. As you move along your path in life, you become more independent and start to branch out, trying other types of beers (i.e. types/ways of faith). This is where you find yourself–having become accustomed to one type of beer and now being introduced to a new batch of beer that you also enjoy. And that is okay. As you continue to mature and develop your personal spirituality, you will move to the third phase of brewing your own beer where you create for yourself what your personal spirituality looks like.

How powerful this conversation was. It opened my eyes up to the idea that I could attend a Catholic service while also attending St. John’s. It blew my mind. And it allowed me the opportunity to delve even deeper into what my faith life currently looks like. On an average Sunday, you will find me attending a community church AND a Catholic church. And I no longer feel ashamed about this or that I am being a bad Catholic.

Here is the thing: I find certain parts of each service I connect with more and when I think about it I begin to realize if I only attended one service over the other, I would miss out on completely forming my spirituality. For instance, the Eucharist is a crucial part of the Catholic mass that I connect with…but I can’t connect with the Eucharist in the community church I attend. And in the community church, the worship and sermon is something I connect with…but I can’t connect with those in a Catholic service. These two halves make up my holistic being of who I am spiritually.

I’ll leave you with this thought: no matter how you practice your faith on a daily basis, your faith is your own. It gives to you what no other human being can and provides you with a strong foundation to thrive. You can share in this faith with others and have an understanding that no two people will have the same faith background nor the same way of practicing faith–and that is okay. That is what makes spirituality and faith so special, beautiful, and incredible. So treasure the differences that make you unique in your spirituality and go confidently in the direction of your beliefs.

Morning Fitness Routine

This evening I want to discuss how I plan to incorporate fitness into my Miracle Morning routine, especially touching on what order my Miracle Morning will go from here forward. Fitness and eating healthy are both such crucial items to creating a better lifestyle and set an example for those around you. I am starting out slowly, but my goal is to learn new techniques to incorporate healthier snacks and meals into my every day life. And to utilize my new morning workouts to bring about the desired lifestyle I want to lead.

A few options are listed below that I will use in the morning. Although I tend to be a list-maker and a type a personality, I am learning to incorporate more variety in my daily schedule. Therefore, I have created a few examples of what my morning fitness may look like. This is my compromise of “type a personality” and “variety”…

  1. Yoga: to work different parts of my body, most likely a daily habit I aim to form
  2. 15 sit-ups, 15 jumping jacks, :35 second wall sit, 15 squats, 1 min. plank
  3. 10 push-ups, 10 crunches, 10 mountain climbers, 10 squats (each side), 10 lunges (each side), 10 calf raises (each side)
  4. 30-day challenges: a variety can be found through a quick Google search, or even on Pinterest
  5. 15 squat jumps, 10 push-ups, 25 knee-highs (each side), 5 burpees, 10 lunges (each side), 10 squats, 5 push-ups, 10 lunges (each side), 5 push-ups, 5 squats, 10 squat jumps, 1 min. wall sit, 5 push-ups, 25 knee-highs (repeat 3 times)

Hopefully you find these suggestions challenging, inspiring, and an opportunity to transform your daily energy level. You have the power to change the outlook you have and the way you perform in your activities.

A couple quotes to leave you with:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham

“You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, BEAUTIFUL enough, and STRONG enough. Believe it and never let insecurity run your life.” -Unknown

Thoughts on my third day of my Miracle Morning: Exercising first. It helps me wake up in the morning and then I shower (so I am not showering before getting all sweaty). Then Silence–perhaps in the shower–followed by Affirmations–spoken allowed and sometimes in the mirror. Visualization–which I am in the process of creating a board for–Scribing–writing letters or writing in my journal–and ending with Reading–whatever is the current book of the month or a magazine. I have found this routine to be more productive for me…and that is something I suggest for you. Find the pattern, the method, the way of your morning that makes is most productive and wholesome for you. 

College Survival Kit

My apologies this is getting posted a day late! I struggled sorting through my Pinterest to find the appropriate post…and I think this one makes the most sense currently!

Since my little sister just returned to college, I decided this would be an appropriate post. (Hopefully, she doesn’t see this post, or it might give away a surprise gift I am planning for her!)

One of the best aspects of college that I found was receiving a package in the mail, or even a hand-written letter. There is something about receiving a simple gift that makes you feel thought of and cared for. So here are my suggestions for creating a memorable survival kit for your friend, daughter/son, sibling, or random freshman college student down the hall…

  • Plastic Basket/Plastic Container (to put all the items into as a gift)
  • Laundry Detergent/Dryer Sheets
  • Eye Mask/Ear Plugs
  • Pens/Pencils/Highlighters
  • Chocolate (or favorite type of candy)
  • Index Cards
  • Ramen Noodles (or other quick meal options)
  • Cute little ribbon, or bow, with a notecard explaining contents of survival kit
  • Flip Flops
  • First Aid Kit (tums, band-aids, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer)
  • “Fix-it” Sewing Kit
  • Nail Polish/Video Game
  • Chapstick
  • Lint Roller
  • Post-it Notes
  • Tide To Go
  • Flashlight
  • Tools/Tool Kit
  • Notecards/Stamps
  • DVD’s
  • Gift Cards/Money Lei

And a quick update on Wednesday, day 2, of my Miracle Morning: I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to and I ended up doing it later in the afternoon. However, I think I found a better outline for me in the mornings. More on that in my second post of the day! (Under “Travel and Fitness”)

Picture Perfect Moment 3: my nightly routine

Today marks the first day of something BIG: I finally began my own personal Miracle Morning! Inspired by Hal Elrod’s book, “The Miracle Morning: the not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8am”, I have decided to reformat my usually hectic morning routine. Which means that my non-existent evening routine needs a bit of work as well. Hal’s Miracle Morning consists of SAVERS, or six basic principle’s to a better morning: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing.

In case you cannot wait, let me paint a picture of how day one of my personal Miracle Morning went (I’ll touch more on this later)…

5:40 am— alarm goes off, Melissa hits snooze, repeat a few more cycles of this

6: 20 am–alarm goes off, Melissa reluctantly crawls out of bed

6:25 am–shower time, plus multi-tasking of silence (I utilized the deep breathing method, saying two mantras for every breath in and out)

6:45 am–things gathered for work (myself included), laundry started

7:10 amaffirmations recited, out loud, day of success visualized

7:20 am–out the door

As you can clearly see, I am missing a few parts of the SAVERS, and that is okay! It means I need to work on improving how early I wake up, the order I do my Miracle Morning, and what it all looks like. Work in progress, and isn’t that what life is, too?

I want to focus, however, on what my nightly routine will look like, how I plan to stick with it, and why I believe it is an important part to a successful (and less stressful) morning.

First off, here is a brief outline of my nightly routine. No times or particular order attached to alleviate some of the stress. I want to be relaxed before bed.

  • Prepare for the Next Day: lay out clothes, lunch made, items gathered, breakfast planned out
  • Hydrate: one glass each of tea and water
  • Tidy the House: dishes started, counters wiped down, bedroom picked up, etc.
  • Wash Face: clean off the dirt of the day and feel refreshed going to bed
  • 8:30 pm: okay, my ONE time on this list is a reminder for me to put my electronics aside and focus on relaxing for an hour
  • Gratitude Journal: utilize my “Art Therapy: An Inspiration Notebook” journal to reflect on moments during the day that I am grateful for
  • Read: my goal is one new book a month (Pro tip: find a reading partner! Accountability is key.)

So there it is folks: my simply put and organized plan of action to accomplish my Miracle Morning.

To-Do Lists

I am a type-A person. I admit it–I enjoy being overly organized, down to the most minute detail. One of the silly things I like to be quite organized about includes my to-do lists. Yes…that is a plural lists for me. I currently have a list for house, school, and life and within each of those lists are more sub-categories to ensure the maximal organization. I enjoy (at times) trying new ways to improve my to-do list. So today, I am deciding to showcase a few of my favorite ideas I have stumbled upon along the way.

1. The Post-it Note Goal Board. This picture shows the general idea and formatting behind this to-do list. This becomes more of a long-term or short-term goal list you hope to accomplish. I like this to-do list because it gives a new perspective and meaning to the list, allowing you to remove and add new post-it’s as needed. Also allows for plenty of creativity too!

1. The Post-it Note Goal Board. Photo courtesy of http://www.babble.com/crafts-activities/10-ways-to-display-your-to-do-list/

2. Timely Manner To-Do List. This organization is great to chronologically de-stress and organize the scheduling of what needs to happen in four simple time frames: Now, This Week, This Month, Whenever. I would recommend this for those who are finding it difficult to condense their to-do lists.

3. Post-it Note Organization. This is similar to number two, except uses post-it notes, is color coded, and has three time frames: Right Now, Soon, Future. Each time frame will become assigned a color of a post-it note and you will categorize/write the to-do’s you have come up with on those post-it notes. For instance, I would make Right Now yellow post-it notes, Soon green post-it notes, and Future blue post-it notes. Then I would take my to-do list and put each to-do on the appropriate post-it note as designated by the time frame correspondence. For example, if I had a to-do list that had unpack luggage (categorized as right now), post on blog (categorized as future), and meal plan (categorized as soon), I would write “unpack luggage” on a yellow post-it note, “post on blog” on a blue post-it note, and “meal plan” on a green post-it note. You then can organize your to-do list on a wall, board, or planner switching the post-it notes around as needed. Just because something needs to happen right now doesn’t necessarily mean I want to have that at the top of my to-do list. Post-it notes allows for flexibility in planning your schedule, allowing you to make modifications as you go. (The attached link in the photo also shows another idea from Helen of how to implement a post-it note to do list.)

Most of the ideas for to-do lists have been ideas that I have seen, read about, and then modified to fit my own needs. I hope that the ideas that I now pass along to you in this post will have the same effect in your life as they have in mine–use them as I have suggested, or better yet figure out how to make it your own so that it fits into the to-do list you need in your life.

Picture Perfect Moment 2

Unfortunately I cannot combine all the photos of the friendships I treasure dearly, but these are just a few of my favorite photos combined to portray the message for today: friendships throughout our life. The friendships we form in our lifetime continuously impact the person we are, the decisions we make, and the path we walk in life. I am a strong believer that all things happen for a reason, including all the people that enter into (and leave) our lives. Each day isn’t guaranteed, just like each person in our life isn’t guaranteed to stay either, so we must choose those we wish to be with wisely and truly enjoy the moments we are given with those individuals.

A quote that perfectly sums up the idea I wish to convey today speaks volumes and is from an unknown author: “In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it.” Take time to thank those around you who are the rarity–I want to personally thank all of those, pictured and not, that continually encourage me to grow, live my life, support me, and do so much more that I cannot put into words. You all mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be where I am at today, or who I am in this moment, without you. Thank you.

Those in the Photos

Top, Study Abroad Europe Summer Reunion: (back) Cam, Parker, Anna, Me, Jill (couch) Ashley, Chelsea, Hannah, Megan, Ceci, Alex (floor) Nikki, Lucy

-Far left, Fun in Snow: Megan, Maddie, Tori, Me, Leah
-Middle: Leah, Me
-Far right, New Year’s 2013: (back) Paul, Anna, Two of Anna’s friends (couch) Sara, Ivan, Me, Megan, Lizzy (floor) Aundrea

-Far left, High School Graduation: Alyssa, Me
-Middle, Decade’s Dance: Me, Maddie
-Far right: Jacque, Me

Picture Perfect Moment 1

Lake Tahoe

Well it has been far to long I believe since I last posted! My apologies about that. In deciding which photo to share for this first Picture Perfect post, I decided to choose one from last spring. This photo was taken at Lake Tahoe, enjoying the most clear water I have ever seen. This photo reminds me of a few things: friendship, family, simplicity, and enjoying nature. At times I believe our lives become so overrun with multiple things to do. Rather than relaxing and enjoying the present moment, we become future-oriented. I don’t think it is all our fault; it is partly the responsibility of our culture we live in. American culture (and much of the modernized world) has come to revolve around being future focused, constantly moving towards the next adventure we have. No longer are we able to treasure and value the time spent on a task well-done, instead we already are looking forward to the next task we must accomplish. I think we must slowly reverse and begin to reevaluate the way we are living our lives. I challenge each of you (whenever it is you get around to reading this post) to take five minutes today to reflect upon the moment you are in. Sit down in a comfortable place and think about what you are surrounded by: the smells, the scenery, the texture of the clothing you are wearing, the taste of whatever it is you might be consuming, and the moment you are presently in. Focus on this time. Perhaps meditation is the way in which you wish to realize the wonders of the world in this moment. After the five minutes are up, remember how you felt in recognizing that time is a precious commodity that we must not take for granted. In allowing ourselves these five minutes, it is my hope you can integrate this practice into your daily life. In each thing you do, be consistently noticing the little things that are making up that moment. Henry David Thoreau quite adequately summarizes the point of this post: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is on other land; there is no other life but this.”

Monday (originally Saturday’s) Journal Prompt

Saturday’s will be a time for me to prompt you, and myself, with a journal prompt. Too often in my own life I begin journaling consistently for two weeks, then the journal sits untouched for a year, before I finally return to it. My hope is that this weekly reminder will be enough to keep myself and you motivated to continue journaling (even if it is only on a weekly basis).

Feel free to comment your thoughts and feelings about these journal prompts. It may be a response or answer, or just general feedback too.

Journal Prompt One: Take time to allow yourself to become completely surrounded in this moment. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and reflect on what you are hearing, feeling, thinking. Now open your eyes and write a quick sentence following the prompts. (Inspired by a Pinterest post, originally from Wendy Copley via Flickr)

Currently… (don’t forget to write the date and time, and possibly place too!)

  1. listening to:
  2. eating:
  3. drinking:
  4. wearing:
  5. feeling:
  6. weather:
  7. wanting:
  8. needing:
  9. thinking:
  10. enjoying:

I find this journal prompt to be a quick way to do a fast and easy journal, while also documenting what is going on around you and within you at the same time. Love the simplicity of this layout as it can be used over and over again.