February 25, 2014

Embrace Your Inner Cog!

Hello! How have you been lately? What's your favorite part of the day so far? Let me know in the comments! Personally, I've been going through ups and downs but lately my heart has been on its journey to being where it will be happiest, and sometimes that's just all a girl really needs to keep trekking on.

And that's a little bit of what I wanted to write about today. I know the title sounds pretty goofy, but sometimes there can be a lot weighing a person down--even the happiest people go through experiences that make life become tedious, difficult, and mundane for a period in time.

I remember at high school graduation, one of the speakers told us that although people often tell us that we are unique, amazing individuals, we must also remember that we are essentially cogs in a machine.

Cogs in a machine? What? Why would anyone want to think of him/herself as something like that? I get what you're thinking; initially, it sounds somewhat depressing to think of oneself as a cog in a machine, probably most likely because it's a bit on the dehumanizing side. It's not very exciting and, well, it's boring. People aren't really boring.  

However, it is essential to embrace your role in the greater purpose. You may feel like an insignificant cog, but without one single cog--even if it's the tiniest one that goes missing--the machine cannot function properly.

One piece gone, and it stops working.

I sometimes struggle with this concept. There are certain days when life is completely hopeless. Have you ever been in one of those sad moods--without really knowing what's made you sad in the first place? It's on these days when I lose sight of my role in life. I lose sight of my purpose. I feel like a boring little cog, that just spins on and on without seeing much of a point to it. Have you ever felt anything like that?

Well, even though it gets difficult, I try to pray, that God will remind me of my place. I guess you could say that a cog isn't on the same level as the operator, but the operator still cares about each part of the machine. And when the "machine" is the world, my purpose doesn't sound so bad anymore.

So if you're a student, do your absolute best to study hard. If you like playing an instrument or a sport, practice every day. If you're a son or daughter, tell your family you love them. If you have a job, do your best to be kind to the people around you and to do your work well. If you have a dog, take him/her out for a walk. If you like to cook, share a meal with your neighbors. And when you're doing all of this, smile and know that you are living the life that was perfectly handcrafted for you!

It sounds awfully cheesy, but yeah--EMBRACE YOUR INNER COG! Start by having a good rest of your day. :)

Take care,
-Riley XO

P.S. The photo of the cogs that I found reminded me of this song. (Because the cogs are golden.) I find that it puts me in good spirits and relates quite a bit to this post so I hope you like it too!

February 18, 2014

Take Flight

Hello hello! Do you ever follow any of those Earth Porn, World Porn, or Food Porn sites on Facebook? Well, I think that Earth Porn is the best type of porn there is, and hopefully one day it will be the only type of "porn" that anyone looks at! I just love scrolling through my feed and seeing pictures like this to start or end my day:

Crater Lake
"Like" the Earth Porn page by clicking here!

It is wonderful seeing all of the beauty that surrounds us in this world.

Yesterday morning, I saw this image from a World Porn page and it sort of made me stop a bit and think for a moment, so it became something I wanted to share with you.

It personally made me think specifically about what goals I've set in place--where I want to go in life. We truly have everything that we need to chase and achieve our dreams, even more so with technology. One of my dreams is to hopefully help brighten someone's day, or inspire another person, and look, this blog has allowed me to do so right now (you're reading this, aren't you?). 

Don't just have dreams. Don't just use your wings to get up a tree--use your dreams to fly to great places! 

Set a new goal for yourself today, or refresh your resolve to continue pursuing a goal that you've already made. Write down the steps you're planning to take to reach that goal. 

Where do you plan to fly? Please share in the comments!

Fly high and do great things,
-Riley XO

February 11, 2014

What Would You Do?

Hello there, are you doing well? Thanks for visiting, and just for a little bit of background: I had this faith-based experience last Thursday. I can't say that I am the strongest Christian (or am even a strong Christian, for that matter), but this little anecdote just really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you because it presents a challenge for Christians fairly well and I thought it was pretty cool. I'm a part of the Navigators, which under my interpretation is basically a Christian ministry that is focused on sharing God's love with others. The Navigators have a presence on campus, and I attend their Bible study groups and enjoy listening to some of their talks.

Today, I just wanted to share with you about the last session I attended with the Navigators. The topic was basically on being a laborer for Christ, but the speaker surprised us with a common topic that I hadn't seen framed in this manner before.

He asked: "What would you do if Jesus walked right through there and came to this room, right at this very moment?"

This wasn't a rhetorical question, though. He wanted answers. What would you do if Jesus came for a visit? I thought that I would be absolutely shocked, and then fall down to my knees. It sounds somewhat dramatic, but I feel like it's actually the opposite... These actions reflect my brain drawing a complete blank.

Then, the speaker continued on with his hypothetical situation. "Let's say that Jesus walks up to Taylor and says, 'Hey, how you doing, Taylor? I haven't seen you in a while. I was thinking maybe I could buy you some coffee tomorrow morning so we could catch up. Would you like to meet at Starbucks before your classes?' What would you to say to that, Taylor?"

"Of course!" exclaimed Taylor.

What would you do the next day when you saw Taylor after lunch? What would you ask her?

But he wasn't done with this little string of situations and questions yet. "What if the next day, you see Taylor at the dining hall, and ask 'How was it? What did he say? What was he like?' but then Taylor says, 'You know, I was really looking forward to it, but I forgot to set my alarm last night and overslept... Then when I got up, it was already time for class so I just couldn't make it.'"

An awkward silence fell around the room.

He captured the thoughts that were running through most of our minds. "What were you thinking? How could you do that? What's wrong with you?!"

"But you know what," he continued. "This is happening to us. Don't you see that God is inviting you to listen to him every morning? All you have to do is open his Word, and discover all he has to say."

Now is the chance to open up your Bible and spend some quality time with Jesus, the best friend a guy or girl could ever have. I hope this post challenges you to remember that meeting with God doesn't have to be taken for granted.

Take care,
-Riley XO


February 4, 2014

The Virtue of Happiness

Hello there, how have you been? Last week, I had a philosophical moment in one of my vlogs, which is embedded here below. (It begins toward the end if you wanted to fast forward to there.)

I'm currently taking and introductory ethics course, and my professor describes the content as "learning how to live your life." She is probably one of my favorite professors this semester; she has a cat, loves clean chalk boards, and does her best to be kind to all of her students.

We're currently studying Aristotle, whose Nicomachean Ethics describes living a happy life. How does one define happiness? How is happiness attained? How do we know if a person has achieved living a happy life?

Well, there are many interpretations for the definition of happiness, but Aristotle says that it is essentially living a full life. His term for this sense of a flourishing life is eudimonia.

Although happiness can be attained through many ways, eudimonia is something much more distinctive. Aristotle would argue that humans are unique from all other things of the universe because they are able to practice eudimonia. Plants and animals live and experience pain and pleasure, but only humans can pursue a full life. Humans have a working conscience that sets us apart from the world. This is so important because this is our purpose. Since we are the only ones on Earth that can think intellectually, it is up to us to improve our knowledge constructively.

On Aristotle's terms, we must exercise rational activity in a virtuous manner. Basically, virtuous person will do the right thing at the right time for the right reason and in the right way. Virtue is done for its own sake, and good people exercise virtue for its own sake.

And what is virtuous can be pinpointed through the Doctrine of the Mean. (Mean as in average, not rudeness.)

Take confidence, for example. If you have too much confidence, you're arrogant. But if you don't have enough confidence, you will miss opportunities that you otherwise have the skills to attain. This could apply to nearly every personality trait, and it's unique to each situation or case.

There's something really harmonious about the Doctrine of the Mean. Do you think it's a good way to find happiness? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care,
-Riley XO
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