April showers bring... Giveaways! (Ok, cheesy...I know) I am very excited about this giveaway! (And I know, "Mackenzie you always say that," but it's the absolute truth!) I have been talking with this wonderful lady, Laurel, on Etsy...she makes absolutely gorgeous...and INSPIRATIONAL!!! canvases! I was practically drooling as I scrolled through her page- I mean guys, I just did an inspirational board video... So it is pretty obvious these pieces are right up my alley! Go check out all of her pieces over at ElmStStudioPrintables. Seriously do it, you will be wanting to pin every one of them on your Pinterest. And guess what (if you weren't able to guess, I'm worried about you)... She is letting me do a giveaway here on my blog! And GUESS WHAT AGAIN (I don't expect you to guess this one), she didn't offer to giveaway one piece, she offered two! How amazing? She herself said, "I'd also love to go ahead and giveaway 2 to the winner." So not only are all of her pieces amazing, she is as well! I decided to wait until April to do this giveaway because I thought this is the perfect month for us to add some inspiration into our lives- there isn't many things that are more inspiring then the month of April, being able to see the switch from winter to spring clear as day... the flowers blooming, birds chirping, it's as if everyone gets a new, clean slate, a new chapter. I love it, putting all the burdens from the winter months behind us, and only looking forward as the sun glistens down on your bare face. And now what you guys have been waiting for, the rules for the giveaway! You have a week to enter, you can comment under this blog post... Or you can go onto the Breathe Easy Facebook page and like the status talking about this giveaway! Then I will pick all the names randomly! Once a winner as been chosen, you can go pick out which one you want on her Etsy account... As for the second piece, I am going to let Laurel pick that one! Hope this brings some inspiration back into your Monday morning!
I use this blog to talk about inspiration, how inspiration is the key to my own happiness. I talk about things one can do to keep themselves inspired, like the inspiration boards, but I don't really specify who or what it is, that causes my inspiration. This post may be a little cheesy, so go grab yourself a (few) glasses of wine, and enjoy!
Ok, lets start with the more expected means of my inspiration…
They motivate me, yes, but they also inspire me. I see how hard each one works to reach their own goals, always making sure to put forth their best effort no matter what endeavor they are jumping into. I see how much support they give to one another, having no expectation of gratitude in return. I watch them express love so openly, without a second thought. It is beautiful to see people who display raw, authentic, and purely genuine intentions. Seeing them display these characteristics daily, inspires me to be these best person I can.
I have lost and gained friends throughout the years. I have felt betrayed, I have felt loved… But I think I can finally say, with confidence, I have finally formed a group of friends who I know will stick with me until the end… and if I do say so myself, I pick em good. All jokes aside, my friends are a main source behind my inspiration. They, like my family, love me without expecting something in return. They love me… that's it, no because, no reason why, they just love me. I see how hard they work at their own lives, fighting to reach each of their goals, and not falling apart when something doesn't go as planned. They perfectly balance work, friendships, family life, and do it with such ease. Each day, without a doubt, they inspire me to work for what I want… to never quite, and realize that NOTHING is going to come easy, but thats ok.
I know you are probably like, what? But it is true, seeing a person I don't know, working hard.. whether that person is working at Starbucks, McDonald's, or as a CEO of a large company… when they can do their job, and maintain a smile on their face no matter how hectic things can get… I can't think of many things more inspiring then that.
I still go onto Ashley's blog every now and again, and read some of her past posts she wrote while in Cleveland as she waited for her new lungs. Her uncanny ability to say all of those painful words with such ease, is still awe-worthy. Each sentence I read inspires me.
I also follow other blogs of people whom I don't know, and I find some sort of inspiration in many of them.
Long car rides by myself-
I find myself on many occasions, jumping into my car, blasting some of my favorite songs, and driving with no destination in mind. I love those long, peaceful drives. I have the window ever so slightly cracked open, letting the sun sneak through to find a resting place on my cheek, creating the perfect scenario for inspiration to be born. After all, when do you think I came up with this blog post?
Finding people who hold these traits. People who are themselves, flaws and all, play a big part in my own inspiration, they push me to appreciate the person I am.
Finding someone who, no matter what hardships life has thrown their way, is genuinely happy. People that realize life is going to have many of its... 'when it rains it pours,' moments, but still stands tall in that rain until the sun peaks through again.
Getting things accomplished-
Whether it be a small, minute accomplishment, or something on a larger scale… each accomplishment grants me the same amount of inspiration.
Doing something to help others-
Say's it all right there. Nothing more inspiring then helping someone out, to then see the smile YOU put on their face.
People who started from the bottom-
To quote Drake, "now we here." But really, people who came from nothing, and preserved through it all, and are now doing exactly what they've always dreamed. Reaching heights they thought were unattainable.
The notion that, "if he/she could make their dreams a reality… so can I"-
Think of someone you idolize, they are a normal person like you and I… if they could become what they are, what is stopping you from doing the same?
It is finally April.. Let me repeat that, it is finaallllllllly April! I think to say that us in the North East are excited about that, would be the understatement of the year. Even if it isn't the warmest of weather, it is currently around 50 degrees, anything is better than the tundra like temperatures we are coming from- I think this was probably one of the worst winters I can think of, how wonderful it was my first winter back from Auburn. I did have Auburns weather still saved on my iPhones weather app, and let me tell you how many let downs I experienced when opening the app to see 65 degrees... Only to realize I hadn't swiped over to Boston's weather. Anywho, it's now Spring! I can hear the birds, I can see the pavement... may not be exciting for some of you, but for us New Englanders, we are sick of seeing white stuff we have grown to hate so much. Ahhh, just feel spring in the air. But this month doesn't just bring the joy of knowing winter has come to an end...no, it brings another, more emotional, feeling for me. April is Donate Life month. I've seen my mother,father, three of my aunts (one donating twice) and myself, all donate an organ to save a life. It is the greatest gift a person can give to another. But what happens when they can't do a living related transplant (like the ones my family had done before) well, you must wait for a cadaveric transplant (from the deceased) and this is where the importance of other people checking yes on their license, comes in. I watched my sister die while waiting for a second set of new lungs, she was number one on the list, but died all because those lungs never came. But people were continuing to die everyday...How could this be that for six months lungs never came? That question began to haunt me. The anger I felt after realizing the answer, the lack of organ donors in our world, motivated me to push the importance or organ donation and how crucial it is for people to become one. If you haven't seen the need first hand, that doesn't make the need any less real- just look at my families story. So check yes to being an organ donor... You could save a life. If there were more organ donors out there... I would still have the person I had planned, for as long back as I can remember, as the maid of honor in my future wedding. I would still have that person whose future children would have play dates with my own, while the two of us sipped on a glass of wine, chatting and bickering like sisters do. Instead, I have to find a way to incorporate her memory in my wedding, I'll have to show my children pictures of someone they will never meet, and I will sip on a glass of wine myself as I look through a photo album of her pictures. You can check out the guest blog I did all about organ donation, here Here are some scary facts from organdonor.gov During your visit to organdonor.gov, someone may have been added to the waiting list. It happens every 10 minutes. Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants. However, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. People of every age give and receive organ donations. In 2012, 28,051 people received organ transplants. Here’s the number of recipients by age group: 1 Year Old: 277 (252 deceased, 25 living donors) 1 – 5 Years: 520 (422 deceased, 98 living donors) 6 – 10 Years: 280 (220 deceased, 60 living donors) 11 – 17 Years: 695 (539 deceased, 156 living donors) 18 – 34 Years: 3,105 (2,010 deceased, 1,095 living donors) 35 – 49 Years: 6,386 (4,809 deceased, 1.577 living donors) 50 – 64 Years: 12,155 (10,096 deceased, 2,059 living donors) 65+ Years: 4,633 (3,839 deceased, 794 living donors) Someday you may not need your organ, so give it someone who does. Prevent someone else from watching their loved one lose a battle they could have won. Become an organ donor by just checking yes. If more people did, my older sister could have been sitting next to me right now.
A week ago I was contacted by Heather; a women whose story shows true strength and perseverance. After hearing all that she has been through, and the continuous courage she conveyed through it all, I knew I needed to highlight her on my own blog! She is filled with exactly what I preach, inspiration. Her story, like mine, can save lives.
Just eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. She was exposed to asbestos as a child due to her fathers occupation as a construction worker. Something as simple as her wearing her fathers jacket, a memory she use to smile about, has now caused her so much grief.
She got this terrible diagnosis after giving birth to her daughter. One of the most beautiful moments of her life, giving birth to Lily, quickly turned to one of the worst… she was given only fifteen months to live. Thankfully, Heather received a life saving surgery, which included the removal of her left lung. Her story ends on a more positive note, but there are still so many in our world today who are battling this malicious disease, and many of whom, don't win that battle.
She informed me that Asbestos Awareness week is right around the corner and she is determined to get the word spread about this terrible mineral. After clicking on her page, I could't believe all that I was reading! Asbestos is still being used in many areas of the United States, some areas include office buildings, building materials in homes, and naval ships- it is absolutely terrifying that there is still an allowance for the use of Asbestos, knowing how deadly it is. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational cancer, hearing this hit close to home. My grandfather lost his life due to mesothelioma, which was caused by Asbestos from his work. My grandfather lost his life in 1990... and in 2014, the US still has yet to ban it.
Something has to be done to stop this, and that is what Heathers mission has become. But she can’t do this alone, and therefore we need to all come together and spread the word, our voices can stop this.
Heather told me that after her lung removal 8 years ago, her and her family celebrate with a day they call “Lung Leavin’ Day” where they write their biggest fears on plates and throw them into a fire. Her sister and husband came up with the name, and it has helped them all get through their fears and hardships! I loved hearing this, and definitely see it as something I might do on the anniversary of the kidney transplant. Click here to learn more about 'Lung Leavin' Day'
I was just reading an article that focused on how girls have been given this label of "crazy." How females, if they show too much interest in the opposite sex, become less attractive... less desired. I just had to write my opinion on this, more than accurate, depiction of how our generation works within the dating… oops I mean "talking" world... I need to steer clear of calling anything a relationship now a days..because that borders on being way too CLINGY.
I have helped write texts for my friends, to the guys they are interested in, trying hard to make it sound like they are actually not interested in them at all. I've tried hard to depict the meanings behind the one word responses they get in return, or I try to dissect the ignored "what's up" they sent. I've calmed my friends down from thinking they were at fault for simply saying, "hey what are you doing tonight?"by reassuring them that it didn't come off too clingy. And I have tried my hardest to understand why these guys will come back a week later wanting to hang out after acting so distant. So when I read that blog post about this given label of "crazy," I had to add my own thoughts.
I've heard guys refer to females as "crazy," or just use the cop out that they have "major daddy issues," on more than one occasion- actually, it's the main insult guys divert to after a break up, hook up.. or if they stopped "talking" to someone they had been "talking" to for longer then two weeks (any adults reading this, the new thing is to never say you are DATING, literally the world might end if you do, so instead, call it talking. Funny how guys hate labeling relationships but have no problem labeling the opposite sex) I digress.... tossing around these names, crazy and clingy, makes me want to ACTUALLY go crazy. It makes me want to punch whoever uses them, square in the ball….ehem..face! ANYTHING a female does that shows even the slightest bit of interest in the opposite sex, constitutes her as too desperate, or too clingy… it becomes a "turn off." Sorry that there are some females out there who are genuinely interested in seeing a relationship progress, actually I am not sorry that you find that type of thing obscene. When did relationships become taboo? And WHO is writing these guidelines about what is too much or too little when it comes to a girl communicating with a guy..because I find someone like Jeffrey Dahmer crazy, and don't see how a girl texting a guy, "what's up want to hang out," puts her in that same category. And maybe you are a guy sitting here reading this, disagreeing, but this is certainly what society has made us believe.
And I know guys hate having their egos bruised, but news flash... not every girl who initiates a "what's up" text, wants a relationship. It is normal for girls to really just want to know exactly what the text said-what's up....There are no hidden meanings, no between the line messages, and certainly we aren't sending those messages while simultaneously thinking of what we will name our first child, and where we should get our matching love tattoos. Stop thinking every girl that initiates a conversation is interested in dating you! They may just want to do exactly what you want to do- hang out, have a good time. There is a huge gap between 'whats up' and 'when can I meet the parents?'
So I had to get some of my guy friends input on this topic... And these are the things I heard, "It's just sooooo (this word was really emphasized) unattractive when a girl doesn't put up a chase!" and "She can't seem too interested, or I'll get bored. But she also can't be too disinterested." Excuse me? So you are telling me I have to act interested and disinterested all the same time. I'll do that then, because God forbid you get bored! I mean girls were put on this earth to make sure you are never bored, right?
Really though, what kind of world are we living in where we are taught that we need to show no interest, wait at least 3 hours to respond to a text, always make sure you wait for him to text first... And if he doesn't text you first, wait a few days and then initiate small talk (going beyond small talk after initiating conversation seems too aggressive)... so you pretty much have to act like you hate them, with a hint of interest, in order to form a relationship with them? If you follow all of these... absolutely ridiculous... steps, you've won him over! Now he will stop acting like a confusing asshole (until the honey moon stage is over, at least) And you will also no longer have to give your friend your phone so she can edit that, what you thought was a simple "what are you doing tonight" text, to make sure it doesn't have any mixed meanings.. or to check that you added just the right amount of exclamation points so you don't give off the wrong vibe. And if he ignored that text.. Yes that simple what's up text, and then texts you three days later asking what your doing... Don't fret, it's completely normal and you shouldn't be confused by it, ha. Guys I want you to read all of these "rules" and then ask yourself, are girls really "crazy" or are we the ones driving them straight to crazy town?
I do get this isn't always the case, and I do get people can get way too attached way too quickly... I've had my fair share of stage fivers... But that doesn't go for every single girl. But to make every single girl think and act this way, because they fear that they may come off too clingy or "crazy," is going to just diminish real relationships, real friendships (YES GIRLS CAN BE JUST FRIENDS WITH GUYS) and real love. I certainly don't want to put in that much effort to get a guys attention.. By not giving him attention? Here is a theory... Let's be honest with each other. "What's up, want to hang out?" Example answer if you WANT to hang out.. "Yes definitely, what were you thinking?" You don't have to ignore us, or try to look cool by saying your busy- that was cute when we were 18... In our twenties, it's honestly just annoying. We don't have time to beat around the bush! Here is an example for if you are not interested: "No thanks, I think I'm going to stay in."And even if you aren't really staying in, and just used that as an easy way out- that's better then ignoring us, plus you should never underestimate a females intuition... We will get the hint and probably stop communicating with you! But then do not text us a few weeks later asking to hang out, because thats when the confusion comes back in! It's really that easy... No need to throw all of these signals Into a blender, inevitably confusing the shit out of us. It's not that we are crazy, you guys just have crazy expectations.