Lessons I’ve Learned Taking a Break from Blogging

Hi my Shining Stars!

I just returned from finishing my second year of college. It feels so strange being a junior at college. How does time fly by so quickly? So much has happened these past few months. (I’ll talk more about those things further down in this post.) It’s been a few months since I’ve posted on my blog, but the break has been good for me. I have found greater balance in my life and have learned so much. Here are some lessons I’ve learned during my break from blogging:

“The key is to not prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Do the important things first” (Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

When I read this quote for the first time, it inspired me and changed the way I approached organizing my time. As a full-time student, tutor, Student Living manager, teacher assistant, Sunday school teacher, friend, and roommate, my plate was full most of the day. Even though my schedule was busier this last semester than it ever has been before, I felt like I had more time and could accomplish more. And because of it, I found it easier to accomplish and fulfill my responsibilities while still having time on the side to have a little fun.

I also learned about the importance of delegation. With my schedule, I couldn’t accomplish everything that needed to get done by myself. Thankfully, I had assistants with the student living who helped me watch over the girls in the apartment complex. One day when my schedule was a mess, my roommates volunteered to take care of my clean check. It was a huge burden lifted from my shoulder, and I really appreciated their willingness to help me during a difficult time.

Another strategy I have used to manage my time is to keep a detailed schedule on my phone. I plan out almost every second of my life. (When I’m not in school, I’m more lenient with my time and do a more general list; but, during the semester, a detailed plan is the only thing that keeps me focused.) “Wakeup, pray, shower, read scriptures, prepare for day, 9:00am NUTR350 class (Sport’s Nutrition), 10:00am NUTR150 TA, 12:45pm HS331 class (Women’s Health), 2:00pm ESS375 (Exercise Physiology), 3:15pm Chem101 tutoring, homework …” was a typical beginning to my day at school.

On my chest of drawers I also used sticky notes (one column per day, one sticky note per assignment, one color per class) to help me stay organized. Each weekend I would record the assignments I needed to accomplish the next week on my sticky notes, and as I completed an assignment, I had the delight of taking the sticky note off, tearing it to pieces, throwing it away, and “burning it” (or at least I felt like doing that sometimes), never to have it in my life again. (The recycle bin definitely filled with colors…)


Put the Lord first, and everything else falls into place.

With all my assignments that piled up on a daily basis, sometimes during the semester it seemed like I had no time to do anything I wanted to, let alone pray and read my scriptures. However, I could feel a difference on the days I prayed and read my scriptures first thing in the morning and the days I didn’t. By making the Lord my highest priority – before my school work, miracles transpired. I have learned that my spiritual nourishment is just as important, if not more, as physical nourishment. By praying and reading my scriptures before tackling other responsibilities, somehow I vanquish the mountain of assignments for the day. It amazes me, and I know it is the Spirit that helps my mind stay clear. The Lord uses my time better than I can, and He helps me use my time wisely. When I put Him first, I find a few seconds to catch my breath between classes and get to bed at a decent hour. On the days I don’t start my morning with the Lord, I struggle to accomplish anything, let alone focus on what I’m learning. By showing the Lord He is first in all I do, He helps me stay on course. He uses my time better than I could ever imagine. It almost seems like I have more time during the day than normal. His companionship is the greatest gift I could desire as a crammed college student.

Be patient. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV).

I was a strong-willed child. My parents had the worst time trying to get me to try new foods. I refused to eat anything new, and they had to almost literally force it into my mouth. Then, after I had tasted it and liked it, I was a happy baby and wanted more. When I was an infant, one woman had observed me and told my mom that I would either be the President of the United States or a mafia boss. (Haha, I’ve always wondered why she said such polar opposites.) When I went to day-care for a day, the care-givers said that had I been there for another day, I would be running the place. I wasn’t afraid to say things as they were. When my parents found me with cookie-crumbs around my mouth and asked me if I had been in the cookie jar, I was the two year old child who would look them straight in the eye and say, “You didn’t see me do it.”

It’s a natural tendency to want things to go our way. A few years ago I had “established” plans for my life – what I would major in, when I would leave for my mission, who I would marry, where I would live, how I would do that, how I would do this, etc. Nevertheless, despite these plans, the past few years have brought many changes to my life and have shown me that the Lord has greater plans for my life than I could ever imagine. I’ve learned that patience throughout the journey is key. Yes, the sights may look nice from a distance, but sometimes when you reach that place, you’re not ready to jump out yet and settle. That’s what I’ve found. Earlier this year I determined that I would leave for my mission after I finished my third semester in April and had my birthday in May. However, when that time was approaching, I didn’t feel ready to leave. Despite my plans, I had this feeling that I needed to stay for another semester before I reported. It was a painful decision. Leave and return sooner so I could see a friend, or stay and leave later. Change is hard. It’s natural to want life to go as planned, but life has many turns and bridges that can appear unexpectantly along the road. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that things don’t always go my way and aren’t always best if they do go my way. Here I am now, with retrospect on this previous semester, and I’m grateful I followed that feeling to stay for another semester (despite how difficult it was). Apparently, my roommate had prayed for a friend like me. I took a class that opened my eyes to a new possibility of a career. (See more below.) Students I tutored told me they were grateful I had stayed and not left yet. My testimony was strengthened, and I feel more prepared to share my testimony. And I got to know and spend time with a particular guy friend I met my third semester. (And now I really like him. See below for more details.)


Though I had to wait, waiting was best for me. I now have experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life. Sometimes, taking the scenic road is the most enjoyable. Now, I have been called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been assigned to labor in the Utah Provo Mission, I report to the Mexico MTC (Missionary Training Center) August 20th to prepare to share my testimony of Jesus Christ in the Spanish language! I am so excited to learn Spanish – it has been one of my goals to learn Spanish, and knowing Spanish can increase my capacity to serve others. I took a Spanish class in high school, but I did not retain much of what I learned. (I could pronounce words and had an okay understanding of phrases I read, but I could not carry a conversation or understand much of what I heard.) Now I am reading my scriptures in Spanish, and it amazes me how much the Lord helps me as I strive to learn to help others. After I received my mission call, I went to the temple and made sacred covenants with the Lord to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Ever since then, my desire to share my testimony, feast upon the words of Christ, fast and pray, and serve others has increased. I never tire of helping others, which is one reason I love my college degree of Health Promotions.

Right now, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be, and that feeling helps me press forward, despite the waves of life.

Be open to new possibilities. You can enjoy chocolate as well as vanilla or strawberry.

During my first semester at college, my professor for my Personal Health and Fitness class told me I should look into becoming a PA (physician’s assistant). As a college freshman I smiled, told him I didn’t handle blood well, and put the thought aside. The next semester I took Anatomy and Physiology I. I became more interested in the body, and I loved learning about how the brain conducts neural impulses, how the skin protects the body, how bones grow, etc. At first, I only needed to take A&P I class for my degree, but I felt impressed that I needed to take A&P II as well. However, I was scared. I told my mom part one was “hard enough.” However, she then reminded me of my experience in first grade. As a child, I loved math. When I was bored, I would give myself math problems to solve. In school, my teacher had math flash cards she would have us complete, and I was soaring through them. But, one day, they became harder, so I completely stopped doing them. My teacher told my mom what happened, and that night my mom had a talk with me, and years later my mom reminded me of that lesson: I can do hard things. I am more capable than I think, and it is by facing challenges that I can break mental boundaries and realize my true potential.

The next semester, I took Anatomy and Physiology II, and I loved it. I loved how I could apply the concepts I learned in A&P I to understand how other parts of the body function. It was one of my favorite classes I have taken so far, and through this class I became increasingly interested in how the body functions. Then, this last semester, I felt prompted to take HS320 – Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases. Though, at first, I didn’t understand why I was taking it. I had to learn the description, etiology, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of over 200 diseases, and obviously I wasn’t going to use that information afterwards with nutrition. However, throughout the semester, I prayed for a love for the class and prayed that I could find meaning in the things I was studying. And then it happened. I found a joy for the concepts I was learning. Studying those diseases became something I wanted to do instead of just something I had to do. And the assignments and tests became fun – I felt like a detective trying to figure out what a patient was experiencing. And with this increased love and joy for the class, the tests became easier. (The class was still the hardest one I took that semester, but it then seemed not as arduous.) My teacher asked me about my plans for the future and told me I would become a great PA. This time, I listened. I researched it. And as I considered it, I felt like I could see myself doing something like this. It requires only two more years of school after my bachelors, and I could still earn my Health Promotions degree if I took the pre-requisite classes my PA school requires. It can actually work. It will take work on my end though, talking to my supervisors, petitioning to take certain classes, but it can happen.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for nutrition. This subject has fascinated me since my youth, and since I’ve been at college, I have taken 4 out of the 5 courses available. (I’ve taken Essentials of Nutrition, NUTR 150, Nutrient Metabolism, NUTR 200, Nutrition in the Life Cycle, NUTR 330, and Sport’s Nutrition, NUTR 350. I only have Nutritional Biochemistry, NUTR 400, left – even though it will be an elective, I feel that understanding how nutrients work in the body can help me become a better PA and be able to educate individuals in a healthy lifestyle.) Ever since I was young, I believed that before we prescribe medications, we should analyze the nutritional and aerobic status of an individual and see what could be improved. Perhaps they have a nutritional deficiency that if corrected could solve the symptoms present. (For instance, lacking copper, folate, B12, or iron could result in anemia and decrease an individual’s amount of energy.) Perhaps exercising regularly could reduce an individual’s need to take pain pills for their back or leg to sleep at night. A healthy lifestyle improves fertility, self-esteem, body composition, sleeping patterns, blood pressure levels, and insulin sensitivity and simply helps people feel better. After their lifestyle is addressed, then we could consider medications if still necessary. (Don’t get me wrong – I highly respect medications. Medications have saved and continue to save millions of people every year. However, I feel we shouldn’t be so easy in prescribing them. Medications have their time and place, and they also have their potential adverse side effects.)


In addition to my school studies, I have also learned that there is not one soul mate in the world for me. I have grown to care for another guy. I never thought this would happen to me. Before I came up to college, I thought there was only one guy in the world for whom I would care and like, like what the fairy tales show. However, as I interacted with him in class, I found myself filled with butterflies whenever I was around him. I loved being with him. I looked forward to that two-hour class every single week. He made me feel so happy inside. He knew how to make me smile, and we worked well together and loved helping others understand what we were learning in class. I loved taking walks with him and simply talking. Whenever I received a message from him, I got all excited inside and had the biggest smile on my face. (My roommates can attest to this.) He also gives the BEST hugs. (Gosh, I never wanted those hugs to end.) Ultimately, I could see myself happy with him.

However, these feelings also just make me feel confused inside. As I reflect on these two guys, I could see myself happy with both of them for different reasons. Sometimes the hardest decisions aren’t between right and wrong, but deciding between two good/right things. One thing I am grateful for is that I will have some time away and will continue getting to know both of these young men through letters, and when I return I can find out how this story will continue.

Whether I marry either of them or a different guy altogether, the lessons I’ve learned through knowing both of them I will cherish forever.

Live in the moment. Be present.

There is so much in life to enjoy.

Earlier this year, I just wished my life would move faster. Having friends (especially one particular guy friend) in foreign countries serving church missions, I find myself daydreaming about when I’ll see them again, wishing for time to just fly by and make that reunion come sooner. It’s been over twenty months since I’ve seen my guy friend, and I’m only at the half-way mark of when I’ll see him again (as I’ll have already left to serve an 18 month mission when he comes back to the United States). I email him every week, but I still miss him, more than I want to admit. And now that this other guy has entered my life… More than once I’ve wished for 2016 to just happen so I can see both of these guys again, and tears have soaked my pillow on more than one occasion. I truly admire individuals who have family member(s) serving in the military overseas and are away from them for long periods at a time.

On one of those tearful nights, I poured my heart out to the Lord, telling Him the confusion I felt. Then, I felt a loving, peaceful feeling embrace me, like His arms were around me, comforting me and reminding me to press forward. It then hit me: despite my wishes for the calendar to speed up, I don’t want to waste the next couple years. I want to make the most of these years and not just lie around moaning. I need to live in the moment. I still miss my guy friend who is serving a mission, and I will definitely miss the guy I got to know these last two semesters at school. It hurts to leave, but I know this is the path I need to take before I start the next chapter in my life. They are both dedicated to serving God and others with their whole heart, might, mind, and strength. They are away right now, and I’m here. They have lessons to learn where they are, and I have lessons to learn here. There are friends to strengthen, students to serve, feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, and hearts to inspire. Life isn’t meant to just be lived – it’s also meant to be enjoyed along the way. I don’t know what my life will end up after I return. Time will keep ticking on, and I will see them again, but I can enjoy the wind in my hair, the sun shining on my back, and the rain sprinkling down on my face as I wait.


Life is always full of more lessons to learn. Learn to love learning.

As I accomplish the classes for my degree, I’m amazed at my capability. As a child I learned the basics of ABCs and 123s, and now I utilize those symbols to convey concepts in Chemistry, Anatomy, and Physiology. Since my childhood, I’ve learned line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept. For instance, the first time I read a scripture, I may have a certain understanding of it, but the more I study, ponder, and pray about it, the greater understanding I can have of the verse. Likewise, the more I apply and make connections with what I’ve learned, these concepts comes to life. This is how I’ve learned since I was a child. It’s like a painting. An artist starts with the base colors and builds upon it brush-stroke by brush-stroke, layer upon layer.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Every person on this planet is an expert – we have great understanding in differing areas of knowledge, whether anatomy, psychology, baking, flying, listening, astronomy, comforting, teaching, speaking, cleaning, farming, selling, or parenting. We each have our own set of strengths and weaknesses, and we can share what we’ve learned with each other so we can all benefit. Even after I feel like I’ve learned a lesson from life, there’s always more to learn. Even after I finish a class, there’s more I can learn from and through it. Yes, tutoring can be stressful at times, but seeing that light in the student’s eyes when he understands the concept makes every second worth the effort. Grading assignments can get tiresome, but giving feedback to other students helps me apply the knowledge I’ve acquired to assist others cultivate deeper comprehension of the material. When I share with and teach others what I have learned, I develop a greater understanding of it.

Even in my nutrition class I have learned concepts that have changed the way I look at food. For instance, we analyzed the chemical profile of HFCS, and what I learned is that HFCS in itself is not the issue. In my Nutrient Metabolism class, we learned about how they create HFCS. They take corn starch and add the enzyme that breaks down the starch molecules into individual glucose molecules. They then split the batch, keeping half of it as glucose and adding an enzyme to the other half that turns it to fructose. They then mix the fructose back into the glucose, making HFCS. HFCS actually has a similar nutritional chemical profile that regular table sugar (sucrose) has – they are both made of glucose molecules and fructose molecules, though HFCS has a slightly higher content of fructose (I believe about 55% fructose and 45% glucose, compared to sucrose’s 50% fructose and 50% glucose ratio). There is an association with an increase in obesity rates with an increase intake of HFCS, but is it necessarily HFCS that is causing the increase in weight, or is it simply an increased intake of processed foods (that just so happen to contain HFCS)? HFCS is definitely a processed ingredient and I would definitely suggest honey over it (since honey at least has some nutritional benefits). However, they are both sugars and should be used sparingly. Excess empty calories, added sugars, and solid fats are the true perpetrators – not necessarily HFCS.

I keep learning more every day. I love being in college, and I look forward to continuing my learning throughout my next semesters and afterwards. The nutrition professor I worked with these past two semesters gave me this Love of Learning figurine and told me to “hold on to your love of learning. Continually fuel that fire. Reach for the sky and soar.”

I love how this figurine is holding the book up to her heart and looking onward. Taking what I learn to heart, holding on to it, embracing it – that is how I feel towards learning, and I believe all of us have the potential to soar.

Family is important.

In the end, my family is the most important part of my life. They are always there for me. Though I will be thousands of miles away from my family, they will always be close to my heart. Love makes distances seem shorter.

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I am so grateful for my blog and the years I’ve been able to write through it. I have not found a perfect balance with myself, but every day I find a better balance than I had the previous day. Right now, the plan is to become a Certified Health Education Specialist and become a Physician Assistant afterwards. This blog has a soft place in my heart, and I will forever cherish the memories I have through it and the people I have met. After I return from my mission, I hope to either continue this blog or begin a new chapter in my life. Either way, I will let you know.

I wish you all the best! Keep moving forward – you can accomplish great things in the world one step at a time. 🙂

With lots of hugs,

Kathleen

Is Barbie The Ideal Role Model For Young Girls?

The other day I heard and saw a commercial that startled me. The commercial started describing someone who is a girl’s best friend, her support, and always there for her. At first, I thought this was going to be an inspiring message, reminding me of the importance of my mom and the women I look up to. However, to my utter horror, their answer was an object. BARBIE!

Shopping this past Black Friday, I was again startled at the Barbie dolls lining the shopping aisles at the stores. They all appeared anorexic and wore skimpy outfits. At eye level of little girls, to me these Barbie dolls were telling all the little girls who saw them that if they want to be pretty, they have to look, dress, and act like them.


(source)

This, as well as the Barbie movies I have grown up with, has gotten me thinking. There are many women I look up to, and they are all beautiful to me, nevertheless, NONE of them look like Barbie. But is that really the ideal for any of us? To look like Barbie? Girls look to Barbie as a role model.

Barbie is not real. She’s an image the media is trying to sell as “perfect” beauty, yet only 8 people OUT OF 3 BILLION people on this earth look anything like her! Using percentages, that is less than 0.000000002% of all the people in the world. How can that small percentage be the standard for all beauty?! Almost NO ONE looks like her, yet advertisers, magazines, and the media bomb girls with the deceptive messages, clearly trying to convince them that they can only be beautiful if they are thin — trying to sell them that they have to look like “Barbie.” Do we have to have a certain color of hair, be a certain weight, or be a certain size to be considered “beautiful”? Society pressures all of us into believing that we can only be beautiful if we are “xyz,” yet this xyz isn’t safe or reliable.

via Rehabs.com

Some other interesting facts I found on Barbie (through Google) include:

  • Barbie’s body would have room for only half of a liver and only a few inches of intestines, as opposed to the usual 26 feet. This would result in chronic diarrhea and death from malabsorption of nutrients and malnutrition.
  • Barbie’s neck is twice as long as the average human’s which would make it impossible to hold up her head.
  • If a woman had the same measurements as Barbie, she would not have enough body fat to both menstruate nor bear children.

“In 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came … with a set of pink bathroom scales, permanently set to a rather scrawny 110lbs (50kg), and a diet book instructing her on how to lose weight, with just one instruction: ‘DON’T EAT!'” (Source)

It’s not only Barbie dolls – it is only one little portion of the issue. Many other girl toys could be argued to have the same issue, which could include Bratz, Monster High dolls, Lalaloopsy, Polly Pockets, and perhaps even the Disney Pixi-Hollow Fairies. In a study conducted by a European hospital, the researchers considered mannequins from different decades, and even mannequins are dangerously thin. While female mannequins from the 5o’s had measurements that would allow for menstruation (if they were real people), modern day mannequins utilized today would not have enough body fat to menstruate. (source)What are we teaching our children? Is this really what we want our girls to think is the “perfect” body? Four out of every five 10-year-old girls are afraid of being “fat.” Forty-two percent of 3rd Grade children report they want to be thinner. (source) This scares me.

Furthermore, some young adults look to fashion models as their “figure of health” and strive with all their might to become and look just like them. Some take it to dire extremes. Magazines like to feature images of very thin models, and unfortunately many of these models go to dangerous limits to stay skinny. These kinds of habits can lead to eating disorders.

Many girls feel they have to look a certain way and fit a certain set “model” to have any beauty and be of any worth.

Many of the “plus-size” models wear sizes 6-12, which do not reflect the average costumer size, since most plus-size stores don’t even carry sizes below a 14 (source). Since when was a size 6 or 8 plus-sized? Is the media reducing the size of “plus” in order for us to focus on unreal expectations of thinness? Why do we even have to use the words “plus-sized” to describe sizes above 14?

The scale, our dress size, and the models’ runway photos don’t portray the whole and true picture. Images are photo-shopped. Commercials are biased. Listen to the voice inside you. Stay in-tuned with yourself and how you feel. Regardless of how the media and advertising might try to make us feel insignificant, we are more than sexual objects–their play-things–their sources of mere profit. We are beautiful. We are loved. We are divine. We can make a difference.

Let’s begin with one little step. Let’s change our focus away from the lies magazines and TV ads to the potential we have as women and individuals. One little pebble can make one big ripple.

That one compliment, that one smile, that one pebble — we can change the way girls see themselves and help them see themselves for who they truly are. We can change the course of history.

Do you think Barbie is the ideal role model for young girls?

With lots of hugs,

Kathleen

If you want to read more on this subject, here are a few other articles I found interesting.

  1. http://www.nycastings.com/dmxreadyv2/blogmanager/v3_blogmanager.asp?post=that’s-a-plus!
  2. http://www.rehabs.com/explore/dying-to-be-barbie/#.UpplFMRDvaj
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/galia-slayen/the-scary-reality-of-a-re_b_845239.html

Is Balance Possible? Can Wellness be Achieved? Things I’ve Learned This Past Year.

Over the past few years, I’ve been striving to find balance with myself. This past week, I’ve thought about what I’ve learned over the past years about what seeking balance means to me and how I can obtain overall wellness.

Some of the things I have learned include:

1. Wellness is not one-dimensional.


In my own life I have witnessed how health wellness involve more than just the physical aspects of eating nutritious food, exercising and strengthening muscles, and sleeping/resting. Wellness also involves social health, emotional health, spiritual health, environmental health, mental health, and occupational and financial health in addition to the well-known physical health aspect. Each of these aspects of health interconnects and directly or indirectly influences each other. The things we do every day have an effect on each category of wellness – not just one. We have to look at wellness from different angles to get a better picture of the whole situation. In my own life I have found that I may do doing well socially, but if I’m not doing well spiritually or mentally then I feel sort of “sick,” lacking in one area or another.

2. Balance, Health, and Wellness relate but differ in their meanings.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Balance is “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance” (source). Thus, if I am striving for balance, I need to set priorities, make sure each area of my life has the right amount of focus/importance, etc. Family, work, school, health, friends and relatives, blog, life, home, finances, goals for future, etc. There’s a lot to find balance with in life, but that adds to the fun of it. 🙂

Health is “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially:  freedom from physical disease or pain” (source). Nonetheless, I don’t think life is entirely without pain or disease. Some individuals may have a disease beyond their capacity or control. Intolerances, Allergies, Conditions, etc. I think being “healthy” involves finding what works best for your body, determining how your body reaches its balance best, and then following through with it.

Wellness is “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal” (source). I really like this definition. Wellness is an actively sought goal.

So, is wellness achievable or is it just a goal? Is wellness maintainable? I think wellness has to do with the homeostasis concept: its level doesn’t “stand still” and act passive., but it also isn’t exactly in the same stage at different times in life. It can stay within the same “realm” of wellness though. (Does that explanation make any sense? If not, let me know below.)

3. Stress can be a good thing and a bad thing. 

The difference is how we use and react to that stress. Through school, stress helped me focus on my schoolwork and give me motivation to do my best. However, it could also have a negative effect if I didn’t use properly. For example, if I have a very stressful day and don’t work the energy out of my system, it can build up inside, want to explode, and not let me sleep. I know that when I have a stressful day, working out that energy building up inside me is one of the best ways for me to relax, refocus, and calm myself down.

Some of the best ways I’ve found to relieve stress include: exercising; calling up my family on Skype; putting on my favorite music and singing along; doing my favorite hobbies (I love baking, frosting and decorating cupcakes, cross-stitching, coloring/sketching, playing the piano, blogging, etc.); going out with my friends; playing dress-up (yep, I still do it – I love mixing and matching different outfits and picking out different things to wear that week); doing a manicure/makeover/”spa-day;” watching my favorite videos on YouTube; etc. Sometimes I just need a little peace and quiet, so a walk can do the trick.

4. Starvation can occur on a macronutrient and a micronutrient basis.

If I don’t feed myself the nutrients my body needs, it will still be “hungry.” I believe this concept also resonates spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and occupationally (to an extent). One of my beliefs is that the modern world employs too much effort in curing diseases than preventing them. Don’t take me wrong — there has been a lot of good that has come with modern medicines, but I also think modern medicine has its place. I feel we should try to balance our bodies (nutriently, exercising, relieving stress, etc.) first and then consider medications instead of just popping in the pill.  I do wish doctors would solve certain nutrient problems in a more natural way to get some individuals off of medications they are taking unnecessarily. Truly, if all the benefits of exercise could be put in a pill, it’d be the most prescribed medication on the planet.  (Btw, always talk to your doctor before making changes in the kinds and amounts of medications you take.)

QUESTION: Does balance mean having the self-control not to eat the cookie because you know it is not micronutriently nourishing, or is balance in relaxing and allowing yourself the cookie without feelings of guilt? What does having a balanced diet mean? What do you think?

5. “Crying is not a sign of weakness. Since birth it’s been a sign of life.”

I must admit: Sometimes I don’t allow myself to cry. Sometimes I just hold it in, bite my lip, and keep the tears in. Maybe someone forgot I was there and skipped over me; maybe someone said something that hurt; maybe I miss someone and wish he or she was there – whichever the case, I typically hold it in. I tend to be a quiet person, especially when I feel hurt or alone. When I cry, my stress and emotions tied in with those tears flow out instead of building up and exploding. I feel better. I feel more at peace. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes they are happy tears; other times they’re sad. But either way, they are a part of life.

6. Laughing is the best kind of medicine.

Even though there are times to cry, most of the time it’s better to focus on the positive. The world has a lot going on now. Wars and rumors of wars, chaos breaking out, man’s care and concern for his fellowmen failing – it can fill an individual with a lot of despair. I find it hard to read the news. It’s just filled with so many sad things happening in the world that it hurts to read or hear about them. But then again, as my mother emphasizes to me, it’s important to know what is going on and be aware of the circumstances. When I have these sorrowful feelings, looking for the good in the world can change my whole perspective. Yes, there is dark in the world, but there is also light, especially the grandest Light of all.

7. Sleep is an important nutrient.

With college classes, it can be easy to find excuses for staying up late and not getting to bed at a decent hour. Stuff to do, things to write, items to look up – the lists gets longer and longer until – oh gosh, it’s practically morning! With my experience up at college, I know I am always more productive throughout the day when I get a good night’s sleep the night before. I focus better on my readings for class and understand with better clarity the things my teachers are saying. I study more efficiently. I’m more “alive” and less grouchy. I also always sleep longer and better when I get to bed at an earlier hour. If it’s past midnight when my head finally hits the pillow, I’m lucky to get 6-7 hours of sleep. However, if I get to bed by 10:00 p.m., I can sleep 9 hours and wake-up at 7:00 a.m. easily. Honoring my body’s signals that she’s tired (not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally too), I can take better care of her and allow her to rest so she can bloom.

8. “When we stop learning we stop growing.”

I’m far from perfect. The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more to discover and learn. Actively learning new things on a daily basis feeds my mind. Feasting upon the words of Christ feeds my spirit. Recycling, choosing less processed foods, and picking natural products over more commercialized ones can help nourish the environment. Reaching out of my social comfort bubble and serving others helps me become a better friend. Recognizing the blessings in my life and thanking others for their generous love and care towards me increases my ability to see the good in the world and not take things for granted. Every day is another day to try a little harder to be a little better. I’m only a sophomore in college. I’ve learned a lot up to this point about life, myself, things bigger than me and things beyond the sight of the eye; and I still have a lot to learn in the next years of my life.

9. Setting goals has an incredible impact on our lives.

I’m not talking about those bucket-lists of things to do, but actual goals you want to achieve. It’s amazing how setting and writing down goals in a place I can see them regularly motivate me and stimulate my mind to think of ways to achieve them. For instance, one of my goals was to become a tutor at my college and a teacher assistant for my favorite professor. When I set those goals, I started planning in my head how I could achieve them and then took the opportunities as they came. A few of my other goals include: learning Spanish, working at the wellness center on campus, playing all the hymns in the hymnal, earn my Bachelor’s degree, becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (as well as a Certified Work-site Wellness Coach and Health Coach), certifying in CPR and First Aid, earn a Master’s degree, and many more. Goals keep me motivated. I love checklists where I set goals for the day and I can check them off as I achieve them. That feeling of scratching them out is the best! This goes along with the learning and growing point above. Setting goals helps us grow and accomplish things we never thought we were capable of before. It helps us see we are stronger than we think.

10. Quality is better than quantity.

I’ve been pondering this one a lot recently. Whenever I’m at the store, I’ve found that getting only a few pieces of clothing of higher quality is worth more to me than multiple items of less quality that I’ll never wear. (Another reason I love the thrift store – I can find some amazing quality pieces while spending less than I would at the department store. I don’t care for the brand name of the clothing – the quality of how it’s made and what it’s made of is worth more than the name on the tag.) Whenever I’m spending time with my family, I want the time we spend to be more than just passively watching television and not talking. Talking, laughing together, doing activities together, growing, learning, giving of my time – love truly is spelled “t-i-m-e.” Whenever I’m studying for my classes, I quality of my study is better than staring at it for hours on end not taking in the information. (That’s one reason why I made sure to go to the Anatomy and Physiology Open Lab each week before class and study the muscles/bones there. I would learn as much there in 30 minutes as I would at home in 3 hours trying to do it by myself.) I want to live within my means, be the best mother I can (when that time comes in my life), share the light and joy I feel through Christ with others, and provide for my family and future family in the best way I can. I know that through the Lord’s strengthening hand, I can learn from my experiences, develop the talents He knows I can develop, and find balance with my body, my spirit, and my mind.

11. My body is a temple.

And it deserves to be treated like such.


Remember: You are loved. You are special. You are of worth. ❤

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I would love to hear your opinion, thoughts, and/or experiences with seeking/striving for balance and wellness in your life. What are some of the things you have learned this past year? What are you are grateful for? 🙂

With lots of hugs,

Kathleen