June 26, 2013

"Love Is So Short, Forgetting Is So Long"

The famous words by Pablo Neruda. [[Click here for the entire poem.]]

As of tonight, it will have been two months since I went through that period of heartbreak. These past months have been an absolute rollercoaster. I poured out a sea of sorrows through tears, shared a moment of triumph with 400 of my peers upon graduating from high school, started this blog, registered for college courses, spent time savoring precious days with the people who truly matter...

I still think about Jay often and wonder. No answers ever come up from such wondering--yet I cannot stop this perpetual cycle. I am compelled to talk to him, to try to make amends... I hope that I will have good news after conducting this discussion that has been planted in my mind, but hope in the good in his heart is so fragile at the moment.

Even if things don't give me a happy ending in this particular chapter, the lessons I've learned in these short two months are ones that I will gladly bear for the rest of my life.

I've realized that before, I wanted to be that girl who had it all together: witty, beautiful, musical, creative--basically well-rounded and perfect.

These past few months, however, I've come to terms accepting my imperfections and instead am starting to realize the wonder of God's perfection. This is sounding a bit like a cliché "Let's Love Jesus!" book, but God's perfections are manifested in my imperfections. And it takes my breath away.

I'm still praying for strength. God has already graced me with a sense of peace that is in my heart most of these days. Yet I must continue pray for courage to be able to face my fears, to stop focusing so much on myself (my comparatively petty problems) and instead give love to all the other billions of people that share this planet with us.

Thank you for reading this post, and lease join me on the magical journey of life by subscribing by email or Bloglovin'. I hope I'll have good news to report here in the Diary Label when it comes to salvaging whatever pieces are left of Jay and my once powerful friendship, but otherwise I post many things that are inspiring, fun, or quirky and would very much like to share and connect with you the lessons I am learning in this adventure of a lifetime.

Take care,
Riley XO

June 25, 2013

7 Things To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

Hello everybody! Fancy seeing you here again. Have you ever had a day off and just wanted to spend it by yourself? Alone time is great--it can be so relaxing and spiritual if spent well. But sometimes I find that when I have such "alone time," I end up sitting in front of the TV for a few hours too long. It almost inspires a sense of guilt in me, because watching TV stimulates even less of your brain than sleep does! While it's a nice break every-so-often, it's not an ideal way to spend a lot of time doing, right?

Well, here is a brainstorm of quick, doable ideas that you can use if you're bored and would like to spice up your day. Enjoy!

  1. Call up an old friend. Remember those good ol' days in high school (or middle school, depending on your age)? Well, contact your friends! Just talk to them, ask them what they've been up to, wish them a good day. Maybe you could even schedule a fun time with a couple of these friends to reconnect. Here is a quick list of 8 things you could do!
  2. Lose yourself with a pen and paper. Okay, this one's easy for me to say because I love writing and try to do it every day. Writing is cathartic. It helps you sort through your thoughts, channel emotions, and gets those juices in your head flowing. I recommend writing a journal entry, poem, or short story. But if writing isn't your "thing," you could always try drawing something too. :)
  3. Go for a walk. Just be one with your environment. Enjoy the sky, the grass, and buildings around you. If you happen to have a dog, walks are all the more fun--Blizzard (my little doggie) loves going to the park, and seeing him that happy brightens my day.
  4. Start a 30-Day Challenge. Not a bad way to fill up some of that spare time. Watch this video for a bit of inspiration to start a new habit or end a bad one:

  5. Try a work-out challenge. I have been trying to conquer the "Abs on Fire" workout by Blogilates. My results are embarrassing (mostly consists of me rolling around the floor in pain while she continues on her happy way), so that's why I like to do this on my own.
  6. Learn something new. Watch a couple videos on iTunes U (right now I'm watching a series of lectures on personal finance...boring, but helpful), or I also like Vsauce on YouTube for little interesting tidbits.
  7. Treat yourself. Go out and buy some frozen yogurt or try a simple new recipe that's sweet and delicious. Here's a bit from Blogilates again:

So there is a simple list of possible activities you can do when you are completely at a loss. If you have any fun ideas, please feel free to share by clicking on the comment bubble at the top of this post!

Have a great day, and take care!
-Riley XO

June 24, 2013

Our Lives Are God's

Hello everybody! Happy Monday! Here are two quick quotes for you fellow Christians that are just motivational for getting through the rough times and to cherish the good ones. I'm working on a post right now called 7 Things To Do When You Don't Know What To Do, which will be out tomorrow morning.

Life is God’s initiative and can end or change suddenly, unexpectedly, and unpredictably. When we humans are ready to give up hope and resign ourselves to inevitability, God intervenes and reveals completely new beginnings. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s sign breaking through every form of human fatalism and despair. In every critical event, there is an opportunity for God to act creatively and reveal a deeper truth than what we see on the surface of things. God also can turn around critical incidents and seemingly hopeless situations in our lives and reveal light in darkness.
- Henri Nouwen

God does have a plan, and it gives me a sense of peace when I am reminded of this.

I hope your work week has a wonderful start to it today.
Take care,
-Riley XO

June 21, 2013

Monsters University

Since my friends and I live on the edge, we went to see the midnight showing of Monsters University last night.
Disney has a dear place in my heart because it basically sums up the entirety of my childhood. I grew up singing "Part of Your World" and "Hakuna Matata," and humming the tunes to Beauty and the Beast or Mulan.

Do any of you have that experience, where you watch something from your childhood and realize that there was so much more to it than you thought all along? Well, for me, this is true. When I see some of the morals, rhetoric, and--let's face it--dirty jokes from Disney movies now that I hadn't realized before, it's like having an epiphany.

Anyway, I don't want to give anything in the movie away, but it is in essence a story of finding your strengths, and persevering despite unreasonable odds.

You know, some people treat life as a gambling game. If the odds of failure are high, we often don't even try. But if it's your dream, why not try? Is life even worth living if you don't pursue your dreams? And don't the risks make achieving those goals even more thrilling?

To me, the movie was ultimately about staying true to yourself (which is a valuable lesson taught in many Disney movies, but one that I am learning constantly).

Monsters University was pretty much the perfect movie for me and my friends to watch though, not necessarily for the entertainment, but for the sentimentality effect. Monsters Inc. came out when I was only seven years old. Mike Wazowski and Sulley were characters that I grew up knowing. It sounds kind of cheesey, but Monsters University was kind of a bridge between my childhood and college, considering the timing and theme.

I absolutely loved watching this movie and would very much like to see it again.

Please do try to get a chance to watch it, and if/when you do, feel free to leave your thoughts on the film in the comments! The blog has a new format from before, so just scroll up and click on the speech bubble at the top right hand corner of the post.

Have a great day!
-Riley XO

June 18, 2013

Nice For No Reason

Hello everybody! Happy (late) Tuesday!
Quick shout-out to all the dads out there: Thank you for being such a major part of your kids' lives, and may God bless you as you continue to provide and protect your families. Also, good luck!
Well, today was incredibly busy. I had a five-hour shift at work and was surprised when my manager left me in charge of the store. Then I remembered that I'm eighteen now. My birthday was this past week, and I've celebrated it with a group of close friends and my family. It is so surreal--and suddenly here I am, getting ready for college!

As an entering freshman who is more than a little anxious about registering for classes this semester, I've spent some time on YouTube trying to take my mind off the stress. I am currently subscribed to Carrie Hope Fletcher, and just recently she posted this video:

This is a challenge I am taking upon myself, and let's see if you are up to it too!

I remember that once my friend also did a similar act of random kindness in our high school, touching the lives of the 2,000 or so kids that were in the building. It took a lot of writing and notes, but just seeing the morale of the school brighten up that Thursday morning made those hours spent on these little messages was beyond worthwhile.

Here's my idea for fellow incoming freshman--whatever university/college you may be going to. After the first two weeks of school, get a pack of sticky notes, write those nice messages, quotes, or pictures on them, leave them around your dorm, or campus, and just smile knowing that you may have brightened someone's day. Then, post them with the tag @TheHopefulNotes.

So if you're ever bored this summer, just find a pack of sticky notes and start writing positive thoughts. They could brighten someone's day in the future!

I'm planning to do this myself, and I hope you'll step up to Carrie's challenge as well!

Take care,
-Riley XO

June 11, 2013

Pain Makes You Stronger.

Hi all! Happy Tuesday :) I hope you have a great day today as always!

This post is going to be slightly more intense because it deals a little bit with pain. I heard once that pain, even though it is terrible, can also be a sign that we are human. We have the capacity to feel so much--I think that this range of emotion is a blessing. Although we feel great pain, joy is just as palpable.

But what are we supposed to think during heartbreaking times?

This post will address the matter with a quote/image today and here it is:

Here's a little heart-to-heart moment for you guys. I went through a very rough break-up last month. There were so many dark emotions in my heart. My chest felt like a pot that brewed disappointment, with a sprinkle of pain and a dash of anger. To top it off, my best friend's dog and grandmother passed away. I had to cope with a sense of loss on several different levels.

Guys, I cannot tell you that it is possible to be happy in such times of difficulty and tribulation because I have not yet found the answer. However, it is still possible to smile and see light even if everything else seems dark, and I really hope that following this blog will be able to share a bit of that.

It is important to take care of yourself. Don't let the pain overshadow the good in this world.

This quotation is true only if you let it be.

Pain, tears, and heartbreak happen to everybody, but it is up to you to decide whether to overcome adversity and ultimately become that stronger, braver, and wiser person. Don't let the trials break you, but instead let your strength teach the world a lesson of hope and confidence.

If you're going through a hard time, I hope this provides a little bit of inspiration to help you get through today; if you're not, please remember this for when you do go through a rough patch.

Take care everyone!
-Riley XO

June 10, 2013

Blessings by Laura Story

Hello friends! I usually post on Tuesdays, but as I was driving home this song played on the radio and it was a wonderful little blessing that I wanted to share with you:

I'm still mulling over the words.

See you again tomorrow!
-Riley XO

June 1, 2013

Being Active!

Hello everybody! How are you today? I'm not doing too bad myself. The other day for tae kwon do, I tested for my red and black belt. I'm not bringing this up because I'm super excited that I am just so close to getting my black belt...

Okay, that's partly the reason XD
image from mtviggy.com
However, the test was pretty intense and reminded me to get a quick post out regarding fitness, and give you a little bit of insight of how I stay active to hopefully inspire you guys to keep leading healthy lives.

I don't think I can stress the importance of working out--there's a plethora of reasons:
  • Exercise will help you live longer.
  • When you keep your body moving, you speed up your metabolism and blood circulation. This means you are more resistant to disease and diabetes.
  • The Bible says that your body is a temple. We can take this as a lesson regardless of religion. You only get one body, so this body is so valuable (like a temple). We should take care of it, make it the best it can be because we are so blessed with this life.
  • Working out increases your level of confidence. Having the motivation to get up and do cardio every day is quite a feat, after all.
  • While exercising, your body releases endorphins. Yes--you can increase your happiness through exercise!
Like I said, there is a plethora of reasons. Those five are the main ones for me personally, but you can click the link 100 Reasons You Should Work Out if you want more.

So my routine is pretty straightforward and doable. I have to tell you guys that I am a complete nerd, one who spends so much time sitting down, whether I'm studying or on the Internet or practicing my violin... I'm on my bum for a majority of the time.

The moral of this story is: if I can do it, you can too!

Here's a schedule of what I do:
  1. Wake up. I like to exercise in the mornings because it gives me a great feeling that carries me through the rest of my day.
  2. Drink a glass of water. I usually also eat a small piece of bread or a little bit of fruit so that my body has something to process and doesn't kick into starvation mode when I start working out. It's important to put water and maybe a bit of food into your system especially if you're exercising in the mornings so you don't get weak during the workout.
  3. Get in the zone. Have a routine or establish some visual cues before you work out so that your sympathetic nervous system will start preparing your body to get active. I splash some water on my face, put my hair up in a scrunchie, and dress in comfortable athletic gear.
  4. Cardio for 30 minutes. I prefer doing the elliptical because I like reading while I exercise. For me it's like killing two birds with one stone. The elliptical is also nice because you can adjust resistance; it's also easier on your knees than a treadmill is. I'm currently reading Follow Me by David Platt. (During the school year, I bring textbooks. Like I said earlier, I'm a complete nerd.) I will read for 25 minutes, establishing a steady pace. And for the last five minutes, I push myself into a sprint and finish strong.
  5. Cool down. I usually walk around, to relax my muscles and to catch my breath.
  6. Stretch! I do tae kwon do, and flexibility is important or else you can seriously injure yourself. Stretching helps get blood into your muscles so it's good for muscle tone. It also helps with posture and prevents injury. I stretch after cardio because stretching on cold muscles is uncomfortable for me.
  7. Strength training. My arms are the size of twigs and since I'm training for my black belt, I need to work my body so it will be able to do 100 squats, 100 sit-ups, 100 pushups, and 100 leg-lifts for that five-hour-long test. I give most of my attention to my abs and shoulders, so a lot of sit-ups, leg-lifts, and pushups. I also do a little bit of stretching in between to release tension.
This usually adds up to lasting an hour. When I'm done, I eat breakfast (a banana, or granola bar), take a cold shower and then I feel refreshed, in a great mood to tackle the day.

That's how I exercise in the mornings. An hour is such a small investment to how great I feel afterward. It's a pretty simple and straightforward routine, but the nice part about it is that you can make adjustments depending on your needs.

Again, being active is correlated to confidence and happiness. And you know what? Summer is the best time to be so because it's warm, bright, and comfortable.

If you have your own methods to working out or any other tips to share, please feel free to share in the comments below!

Take care as always. And happy June!
-Riley XO
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