Seven things:

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  • These beautiful pictures of microscopic plankton make you realize where we’ve been pulling our ideas from for science fiction films. They also make you realize how little you actually know about the ocean and it’s stunning creatures. It really is a whole new world down there.
  • I’ve been looking for the perfect black cardigan and I’ve found it at Loft. It’s the perfect length, cut, and it’s super soft.
  • This article is about the seven essential behaviors of creative people rings true. Learn how to help channel your creativity!
  • Bringing back this blog post from last year talking about five ways to beat the winter blues because lets face it, this time change started bring them out a few weeks ago.
  • This Christmas video is the kid version of drunk history. Kids tell the Christmas story, adults act it out. Super cute!
  • I’ve been loving this Instagram account (especially her stories). Lynzy is a mother of three in the medical field and her page is lifestyle based. She covers a lot but she does try ons at different stores each week and I’ve enjoyed them because they always gives me really good outfit ideas.
  • Samaritans Purse released their holiday giving catalog. It has a TON of amazing causes to give to, and they’ll send you a card for it if you’d like to give a donation as a gift to a loved one!

Why it’s important to go off of mental health medications the right way:

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There is a common theme I see among people who are on mental health medications, they’re all willing to go off of them when they are feeling better.

Mental health medications can be vital for people with mental health problems. They can make or break people’s lives. I, for one, would not be a functioning person without my bipolar medication. I learned young that I needed to be on them and luckily never questioned it afterwards, but because of the shame that can be associated with mental health prescriptions, a lot of people are eager to go off of them if they think they no longer need their help.

There are multiple problems with this, but the main one is that a lot of people think they no longer need the mental health help because their medication is still actively working. If you’ve been on an anti-anxiety medicine for years and haven’t had anxiety since that first year you were on it, it’s easy to say that maybe you’ve grown out of it, but it’s also a big possibility that you haven’t and that the medication is the reason you’ve been feeling so calm. Going off the medication often brings back all the anxiety that you had been treating.

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We’re losing major support systems: let’s help bring them back.

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You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, it takes a village to do a lot of things. It takes a village to support health mental health. It takes a village to overcome debilitating illness. It takes a village to do almost anything difficult, because humans are herd animals and we aren’t meant to go at it alone. I’ve touched on this before, talking about how isolation feeds depression and ways to defeat loneliness in your existing social circle, but I didn’t touch on the kinds of support systems that are rapidly falling apart. It’s like this for everyone, and as these communities become weaker, people are feeling the results. We haven’t found good replacements for these systems and it’s because we weren’t meant to.

Family

Family is supposed to be the biggest building blocks in our support system. As family life deteriorates with broken homes, problems with addiction, and divorce, our idea of what family is has taken a hit. It’s no longer viewed by everyone as a goal worth having. Family relationships are being replaced with friendships, and while everyone needs amazing friends, the two aren’t supposed to be the same.

It’s not to say that if you have a broken family you are all out of luck, or that your friend family doesn’t count as a huge part of your support system, it’s simply to say that the need for a family hasn’t been completely filled because friendships and family relationships are different. It’s not simply over for those without one though, it’s a need that can be filled. You can start your own family unit, or marry into a family that calms you as your own. Some have found that even though their immediate family is lost they can still be welcomed by extended family. Some have found that in reaching back out to siblings and grandparents relationships can be reformed.

The point isn’t that it’s impossible to do without a family, it’s that having a family is a support system that we need to give our kids, and that we should uphold ours if at all possible.

Neighborhood relations

Neighborhood relations still exist, some people have great ones, but some of us don’t know the people we live beside. We haven’t made efforts to connect. Nobody notices when we go out of town for a week. There isn’t a support system there because we only wave and say hello. It might not be the biggest deal if you live with others, after all, your roommates can fill that void, but for people my age who live alone, not knowing your neighbors is a big loss.

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You are capable of evil, acknowledge that so you can foster goodness:

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When I was in college I took a basic physiology class, there was one girl in the class that objected to everything. If there was decades of studies proven that humans tend to do this terrible thing in this circumstance she would scream about how she would never do that. At first you could excuse her outburst, it’s hard to process that we are all capable of doing terrible things. It’s hard to process that if you were in a different situation with a different upbringing you could be a killer, or a rapist, or whatever else. Nobody likes to think about it, but it’s true for everyone. Humans are capable of terrible things, and therefore you are, no exceptions.

Her outbursts weren’t just at the beginning, they weren’t even rare, they were present after every topic, a few times a class. They got more and more defensive. It was frustrating, but it’s not unusual. Scrolling through peoples responses to level headed articles about how everyone contributes to evil you’ll see that she was not an outlier.

People honestly don’t believe they are capable of bad. They don’t think their group is capable of the bad things a different group did. They don’t acknowledge that we can all be manipulated to others gain or demise if someone took the time to learn how we tick. People don’t want to think about the fact that the media they are taking in influences them, and that if they slipped into reading more extreme outlets they they too could become the extremists. They don’t want to talk about the terrible things they might be willing to do if they supported the outcome of them.

I mean, who would?

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Life update: I’m engaged!!

Yesterday the love of my life asked me to be his wife. I’ve been in a daze all day, and I mean that in the best way. I’m so overjoyed that my body is having problems processing it. I’ve wanted this since I was little, and Chris, somehow managed to be everything I didn’t know I needed. He’s my match, he’s so good to me, and I’ve never felt more at home with a person. To say I said yes would be a giant understatement, though I’m pretty sure that was the only word out of my mouth. I was caught off guard. It wasn’t how I saw my Thursday night going. I actually didn’t cry till later that night because it hadn’t fully hit me. It’s still hitting me in phases if I being honest. I’m just now wrapping my head around the fact that we have to plan a wedding now. I’m going to be Mrs. Smith!! I’m so beyond excited.

I’ll let you know how it happened:

Chris proposed right after my horseback lesson, which was perfect because the farm has always been one of my favorite places on earth. I saw my parents and I was confused then it hit me and I went “is what I think is happening happening?” I stumbled off the horse, my foot getting stuck in the stirrup. He asked me I said yes, we hug, everyone cheers. It was magical in more ways than one, and I’ve been watching the video all day smiling.

The ring was custom made with my moms help. It is from the same jeweler that my dad bought my mom’s ring from. It’s absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s stunning. Chris was planning to propose this weekend, but once he got the ring in his hand yesterday he decided that he couldn’t wait. I’m glad he didn’t, I wouldn’t change a thing, though some natural light would have made for better pictures.

I’m so overjoyed, I’m so beside myself. Congratulations keep pouring in and I keep pinching myself to prove that this is all real and happening.

The date is to come, but let me tell you, it can’t come soon enough.

A different kind of holiday gift guide:

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There is a lot to think about when it comes to gifts this time of year. Some of it is logistical, figuring out what to give people, figuring out who is exchanging gifts and who isn’t, figuring out what you can afford to do financially. But I want us to put the logistical questions aside for a second and really think about gift giving as a whole.

As we get older we begin to see Christmas for what it is really worth. We start to see it as a celebration of our Saviors birth, a celebration that we get to enjoy with our loved ones. We see it as a time of merriment that is about more than just gifts, but that doesn’t mean the gifts stop being an important part of the season. We know that, because in America holiday spending alone is used to determine the state of our economy. People spend more money during the holiday season than any other time of year. We sink billions and billions into this time of year. Clearly the gifts have become important, whether they were meant to be or not.

If we’re spending that kind of money on gifts for this short holiday season I think it makes sense to take a really good look at what gift giving means to us. So I’m going to pose a few question:

  • If you were to give gifts and not receive any in return would you be okay with that?
  • If someone went out of their way to make you feel special, would that be enough of a gift for you?
  • Do you have a set number of gifts you want to give your children or loved ones? Why did you set it?
  • If someone were to give to a charity in your name would you be happier than if you received a gift yourself?
  • Would you opt to give a gift instead of a charitable donation because your afraid it wouldn’t be received well?

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A giving of thanks:

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I know everyone and their mother makes a post about what they are thankful for, but I love it, whether it is repetitive or not, because I love reading peoples posts and finding other things that I fail to be grateful for on a daily bases. It’s so important to give thanks and I’m glad we’ve created a holiday around it, after all I believe gratitude and perspective are two big keys to happiness.

So without farther ado here is what I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving:

2018. I’m thankful to be alive in this year. No matter what bad we have going on, (there is always a lot of it) I’m thankful to be alive at a time where the global poverty rate is dropping faster than it ever has. I’m thankful to have transportation, technology, grocery stores, medication, vaccines, running water, organizations that help the needy, and organized systems of living that improve our quality of life.

My family. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I’m thankful that no matter what happens I know I can lean on them when I’m weak. It’s wonderful to have this much support and this much love pouring in from the very people who know me best.

Love. This year has blessed me with romantic love, something I’ve been praying for for a while. I’m beyond thankful that Chris has walked into my life and that I have a partner to take on the world with. I’m thankful he is the kind of man I’ve always needed, not to mention wanted. I’m thankful God didn’t listen to me when I tried to take control of his timing during my dating years.

Growth. I’m thankful that we aren’t stuck in our lives or our opinions. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to grow my opinions, change my stances. I’m glad I can move on from things not meant for me. I’m thankful that I’m not stagnant, that I’m not who I was a year ago, or ten years ago. I’m glad I get to keep getting better, and if I get worse, that I’m able to correct it later on.

Work. I’m thankful to be able to work (I wasn’t able to for a long time) and I’m thankful to be working a job I love. I’m thankful for good co-workers and good bosses. I’m thankful to be able to make my own living and not have to rely on a system that often fails. I’m thankful that I can see the benefits of my labor.

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