The Benefits of Enjoying a Night Out

The rigors of everyday life can get pretty tiresome, and when a traditional vacation getaway isn’t an option, a night out on the town, relaxing and having fun can leave you refreshed and ready to get back to your everyday routine.

Benefits of a Night Out
Benefits of a Night Out image courtesy of Pixabay

Why You Should Go Ahead and Enjoy a Night Out

There’s no denying that the time you spend doing normal things and taking care of everyday life is important and is time well spent, but it can take its toll after a while if you don’t get a break.

Everyone needs balance to be a happy, healthy person, and time out of the house, having a good time is a big part of achieving a healthy work-life balance.

“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.” – Steven Covey

There are a lot of benefits of family time, including the strong emotional bonds it creates and better behavior in children. However, when you focus only on family time – or work – and don’t make some time for yourself to do things you enjoy, you can end up tired and angry and just plain frazzled.

Whether you opt for a night out alone, with your significant other, or a group of your best friends is (obviously) up to you – but making time for yourself and your friends is good for your psyche and for your health, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Suggestions of Things to Do on a Night Out in Scranton

If you’re in the Scranton area, why not plan a night out in Scranton, and enjoy the benefits of relaxing for an evening getaway?

The  Scranton PA nightlife scene includes a variety of entertaining and relaxing things to do, including:

  • Music lovers in The Electric City can enjoy concerts at indoor or outdoor venues.
  • Live performances also include things like poetry readings and plays.
  • The dinner and bar scene offers tasty things to eat and drink while chatting with friends or meeting new people.
  • Bowling (regular or cosmic) is a fun option if you enjoy active outings that let you burn a few calories while enjoying a night out.
  • Playing mini golf is another fun, active way to spend  a night out in the Scranton area.

Why not plan your next night out on the town now – it gives you something to look forward to, plus you may think of something you want to add to your itinerary in order to make the evening even more fun.

Thanks for visiting Intrinsic Vicissitude, comments are always welcome both here and on the Intrinsic Vicissitude Facebook page.

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Why You Can Feel Great About Preparing Your Dog’s Food From Scratch

When I adopted my little J-dog, I expected him to be a sweet little cuddler, and of course, he is. What I didn’t expect was his skin allergies making him and everyone else uncomfortable. Luckily, his skin cleared up when I started preparing his dog food from scratch.

Advantages of Preparing Your Own Dog Food
Advantages of Preparing Your Own Dog Food

Intrinsic Vicissitude is honored to partner with Dog Product Picker to bring you this post about helping your dog stay healthy with high quality food.

Why Home Made Dog Food Is Better for a Dog’s Skin (at Least Sometimes)

Using J-dog as an example, he has a grain allergy and if he starts eating grain-based dog food, he gets itchy and starts to lose his fur. I could pick up grain-free dog food at the store, but it often upsets his tummy, leading to “other” unpleasant problems – plus it gets pricey to get the really good brands.

The benefits of preparing your own dog food – for owners of dogs that have  allergies and skin problems – are that you get to feel good about helping your pet stay healthy, and you end up with lower vet bills as your pet grows healthier.

(Be sure to discuss anything regarding changing your pet’s diet with your vet before doing it – just to be safe – he or she may recommend a brand that you’re comfortable with.)

Now, I have to admit, this might be harder to maintain for a larger dog. Even with a small pooch, it can be a lot of extra planning. If I forget to plan ahead and get ingredients for his food, I have a backup supply of grain-free food to put in his feeder that I store in the freezer to keep fresh so he never has to go hungry.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food Recipe

I try to keep my recipes simple and not change things up too much in order to avoid giving J-dog an upset stomach. I do occasionally switch meat and carb sources, depending on what I can find on sale.

Ingredients for Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

This recipe uses a 1:1 ratio of chicken and carbohydrates, but you can mix it up according to your vet’s recommendations – or experiment to come up with something your dog likes.

  • Raw cubed chicken (1-cup)
  • Raw cubed sweet potato (1-cup)
  • (Optional) Peas or diced carrots (1/8-cup)

Directions for Preparing Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

I like to prepare this almost like a stir fry, though it also turns out nice if it’s steamed.

  • If stir-frying, spray a light layer of cooking oil in the pan to prevent sticking.
  • Put everything in the pan or steamer at the same time, and cook over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Let the food cook until the chicken is cooked through and sweet potato cubes get soft.
    • (It might seem a little bland to you, but  a lot of spices aren’t good for dogs, and bland is typically better for the canine digestive system.)
  • Let the food cool before serving it to your dog.
  • I like to cook up  a large batch ahead of time, so I don’t have to prepare a special meal for the dog every day.
    • (I don’t mind spoiling him a little because he gives us an immeasurable amount of love, but there are limits to how many extra meals I want to cook each week, you know what I mean?)

Since I put my little J-dog on a grain-free diet and started cooking the vast majority of his meals, he seems happier, healthier, (fuzzier) and he’s even put on some weight so I’ve had to shop for new dog care products, mainly a pretty new collar for his tags and a car seat harness for him to wear when we go out in the car.

If you have any questions or comments about my dog food recipe or this post, comments are welcome, and it would be great if you join the conversation on Facebook if you want to do that.

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Turn your Summer Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home

Summer vacation is your chance to get away and reset your stress levels, but it’s also nice to have some fo the comforts of home when you’re away.

Intrinsic Vicissitude is proud to partner with Chilewich to bring you these easy tips for adding some special touches that turn your summer vacation digs into a home away from home.

Turn Your Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home
Turn Your Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home image courtesy of Pixabay

Turn your Summer House into a Home Away From Home

This summer when you are vacationing at your beach house, timeshare or lake cabin, consider a few decor upgrades to enhance the beauty of your surroundings and add a warm touch.

Here are a few of our favorite picks for turning your summer house into a home the whole family will feel comfortable and relaxed in.

Bamboo Placemats

If you need a set of placemats that are simultaneously stylish and spill-proof, look no further. These indoor/outdoor placemats are constructed from a durable blend of bamboo and vinyl that give them a natural yet sturdy feel. These placemats are must-have for young kids. Use code BCJUNEGIFT to get a free set of six 100% linen ivory napkins with any purchase in June.

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Stripe Anchor-Print VelvetLoft Throw

For nights when hanging out on the beach gets a bit chilly, this nautical-inspired throw keeps everyone warm. Its 50”x60” dimensions make it a good size to take with you on your adventures or to keep at home on the couch. Grab one in red and navy to keep the whole family comfy all summer.

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Seas the Day Shadow Box

After a long day at the beach, your little seashell collectors will want to show off their finds. Instead of keeping them in a bucket all summer, this shadow box puts them on display for everyone to enjoy. This is sure to be a special piece that the whole family will remember for summers to come.

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Reasons You Should Be Enjoying a Hobby

I’ve been really thinking about why I started blogging and working on my own websites – because I enjoy it – and it’s become my hobby – or at least one of my hobbies – so I wanted to share a post that’s all about why hobbies are so important.

The Value of Having a Hobby
The Value of Having a Hobby image courtesy of Pixabay

Reasons to Have a Hobby You Enjoy

Did you know hobbies have a lot of positive benefits that can play a significant role in improving your quality of life? Read on for the details…

A Hobby Helps You Feel Enthusiastic

“Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” – Dale Carnegie

Everyday life can get you down – working – chores – all of it. Having a hobby gives you something that’s uniquely your own to look forward to and to enjoy.

Your Hobby Can Also Be Your Work

“I remember times of anxiety, ups and downs, and times of unexpected windfalls. But my parents loved what they did. And because their work was also their hobby, it taught me that work could be fulfilling.” – Rosamund Pike

You can make a career from your hobby. It has advantages and drawbacks. The main advantage is, even cruddy days doing something you love are better than the best day doing something you hate. The biggest disadvantage, in my opinion, is when you need a break, it’s a lot harder to step away because your livelihood is tied to your hobby.

A New Hobby Opens the Door to the Unknown

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” – Albert Einstein

When you approach a new hobby, you normally do it with your mind open to learning about something that interests you, but you don’t know a lot about.  That makes taking up a hobby a great way to experience the air of mystery and the blossoming experience that’s the root of all beauty.

A Hobby Increases Brain Efficiency

According to Prevention Magazine, hobbies that involve learning can change the brain’s structure and help keep your brain functioning properly, even if other age-related factors called neuropathies are negatively impacting you otherwise.

Thanks for reading, and tell me, if you want to, what are your favorite hobbies?

By: Laure Justice

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Maintaining Positivity When Moving to a New Part of the Country

Moving is a huge life change, and it can cause a lot of stress, whether you’re moving across town or to an entirely new part of the country. Browse through these easy tips for staying upbeat through the entire moving process, and share your tips for making a smooth move to new digs in the comments or on the Intrinsic Vicissitude Facebook page.

Atlanta Georgia Nightime Cityscape
Atlanta Georgia Night Cityscape image courtesy of Pixabay

Tips to Stay Positive When Moving

Avoid the Rush: Plan extra time to pack up your belongings in peace. If you have kids, schedule packing time while they’re at school or a babysitter’s so you can focus.

Use a Label-Maker: Mark each box you pack with both the room it goes to and a general list of its contents. This help keep the move organized and reduces confusion when you reach your new home.

Separate Things You Need to Have Handy: Pack the things you don’t expect to need immediately, and pack an overnight bag with the things you need sooner, like spare clothes and grooming supplies.

Know Where Your Treasures Are: Few things are more stressful and mood-wrecking than losing the things you value. If you expect to return for visits, consider putting your valuable things in a safe-deposit box. If you don’t expect to be back, consider keeping them on your person during the move.

Take Advantage of The Opportunity to Declutter: Clutter creates stress, so when you combine clutter with moving, it can really increase the amount of pressure you feel. Sell things you don’t really need on auction sites, or give away to charity for receipts you can use to get deductions when filing your taxes.

Advantages of Moving to a Big City Like Atlanta

Whether you prefer the lifestyle of the suburbs or the inner city, there are advantages to moving to a big city like Atlanta – and those advantages can add to how positive you feel.

Selection of Housing Types: When you’re browsing through the selection of  Atlanta homes for sale, it’s a breeze to find something that fits your taste and your lifestyle. You’ll notice styles that range from charming cabins to ranch-style homes, double-story family homes with porches to sit and relax, and mansions that practically ooze elegance.

Proximity to Amenities That Enhance Quality of Life: Living close to or in the city delivers advantages like being close to cultural venues, fitness activities, clubs, and people who share your interests. All these things ease the transition when you’re moving to a new location.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find these moving tips helpful and positivity-boosting! 

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How to Let Go of the Hurt When Someone Lets You Down

Sometimes, life is just brutal, and you need to get away from your troubles to relax and regroup. It’s just a fact of life that things go wrong, people you trust let you down, and awful things happen that can’t be fixed – and that’s when you NEED to do something good for yourself.

When Someone Lets You Down
When Someone Lets You Down image courtesy of Pixabay

It Only Hurts You to Stay Mad When Someone Lets You Down

When someone lets you down, and you’re upset, the one who benefits from you letting it go – is you.

I hope you’ll excuse me using my own experience for this, but I recently had an experience where someone I trusted (a close relative) let me down – completely.

I wanted to just forgive it and not talk about it anymore, but the other person wouldn’t let it go – kept saying she had to make it right – but followed that seemingly noble sentiment with the information that there is no way to make it right.

She suggested a way to make it right – would it have? NO! But, I said, okay, let’s do that – just to have it over with. She decided she couldn’t DO that. Okay. So, quit talking about it. I’m busy and have no more time for this.

She created endless drama and stress over the course of the past three days, to the point I can’t sleep and am getting behind on my work.

I went, over the course of three days, from wanting to never talk about what she had done again and wanting to just let it go, to being utterly and completely, furious and wanting her to make it right.

This person went from apologizing over and over to trying to blame me, remember, I was the one who was betrayed, for something she did. (Typical narcissistic behavior.)

So, basically, I was starting to feel sick from internalizing the rage she was pushing on me, and I decided the conversation was over. I wrote my feelings on a sheet of paper and burned it in effigy.

It may sound silly, but I felt like the weight was lifted off my shoulders by simply letting go, and there’s actual science behind the risk of holding it in when something upsets you.

Some Things You Can Do to Get Over Feeling Hurt

Everyone deals with things differently, so browse through these ideas of ways to do something for yourself to see if you can find something that would help you let go of that ‘let down’ feeling so you can feel better.

After all, if someone lets you down, it isn’t your fault, it’s theirs. You shouldn’t suffer. They deserve to own it.

  • Write it out: If, like me, putting your thoughts and feelings on paper lets you release them, consider writing a letter to the offending person. You don’t have to send it. In fact, if someone hurt you, they don’t deserve to know how you really feel. That’s why I choose to burn my ‘release letters’ – I can literally watch the smoke carry my pain and anger away. I mean, I’m still kind of peeved right now, but I’m not angry like I was, and that’s better for my health.
  • Consider a getaway: Go somewhere like a health retreat Gold Coast for a vacation or go somewhere close for a soothing spa day.
  • Exercise: Choose your favorite kind of workout, from an intense boxing session to a gentle walk around the neighborhood.
  • Go inside yourself: Meditate or pray in a quiet spot.
  • Read something inspiring: Pick up a book on a topic that inspires you, or visit websites that cover topics that make you feel better about life.

When someone lets you down and they won’t ‘let it go’ – know that it’s about them and their baggage, and not about you. If you’re the victim in a situation, don’t let the other person push their guilt off onto you.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is walk away, to the extent you can, and do something positive for yourself.

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Creating A Google Culture At Your Office

With free meals, nap pods, and on-site doctors, Google employees seem to have the best gig in the world. Google continues to be recognized as having the coolest culture of any company, and its employees can vouch for that. Additional perks Google provides to employees include free dry cleaning, cooking classes, and even death benefits. While some of these benefits may be unrealistic for every company to provide, there are similar perks you can offer that your employees will love. Here are a few ways you can create a Google culture at your office.

Creating a Google Culture at Work
Creating a Google Culture at Work image courtesy of Pixabay

Laid-Back Environment

Google’s relaxed work environment is one of the things employees report loving the most, and something you can recreate in your own office. At Google, employees don’t have to be confined to their desk all day, as there are various lounge areas spread out around the campus. To implement this into your office space, try adding couches and bean bag chairs to give your employees the option of working somewhere other than their desks. While nap pods may be unrealistic for your company, consider giving employees the option to work remotely when needed. Making your office feel less like an office is one big way to create a Google-like culture for your company.

Paid Time Off

Google offers their employees a pretty generous amount of paid time off. Employees report getting three weeks of paid time off for newer employees, and up to five weeks of paid time off once they’ve been with the company for five years. Offering a generous amount of paid time off can be extremely beneficial to not only your employees, but to the overall function of your office. A well-rested, happy employee is more likely to put out good work and make the most of their time at the office, so consider this when an employee asks for some time off. In addition to paid time off, Google also lets employees take up to three months of unpaid sabbatical, in order to travel, go back to school, or work on a passion project.

Workplace Perks

While you may not be able to provide your employees with daily meals and on-site massages, there are countless more realistic perks you can provide to show your employees just how much you appreciate them. Things like having a catered lunch on certain days, free coffee, and office snack delivery service are relatively affordable and will get your employees excited about coming to work. If the weather permits, you can also try heading outside for the day and having your employees work from their laptops. Getting some much-needed fresh air and a change of scenery is something your team will greatly appreciate. If you sense that your employees could use a pick-me-up, get creative and think of some perks that are both realistic and that your team will love.

Intrinsic Vicissitude is honored to partner with SNACKNATION to bring you this post!

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How to Keep Toxic People From Wrecking Your Motivation

No matter how much good you do for others, or how much progress you make in life regarding things you perceive as your own weaknesses, toxic people know how to swoop in like vultures and wreck it for you – but there are some things you can do to keep your cool and stay on your own path.

Maintaining Motivation in the Face of Toxic People
Maintaining Motivation in the Face of Toxic People image courtesy of Pixabay (Exercise step like the one I mention in the article – only mine is pink and purple.)

The Backstory Behind this Post About Maintaining Motivation and Not Letting Toxic People Get to You

I want to share the story of a recent trip I made to the local Goodwill store as an example of what I mean.

A random encounter with a totally toxic crone is the inspiration for these tips;

(I know, I shouldn’t call her a crone, but she wasn’t Cinderella, and if the shoe fits…) 

First, I have been exercising daily for 63 days now. I alternate resistance training with cardio, and I’m doing it for my health, and I have been looking for something to work my glutes and thighs, but I’m a budget shopper so I was at Goodwill.

My entire goal in exercising is to get stronger and be able to enjoy some active things, like hiking and riding a bicycle this summer – if I lose any weight – that will just be a happy bonus.

Whether I lose weight or not is completely irrelevant to me – I just want to be able to enjoy life and do active things without getting out of breath and wondering if my heart is going to give out.

Sure, if I do lose some weight, I’ll be happy about it, but it’s not my goal.

So, anyway, I found an exercise step at Goodwill for $4.50, and I thought, “Hey, that would be a great addition to my exercise gear!”  and I stuck it in my cart.

This short, chubby, older woman came up, looked in my cart, and asked what it was.

(What kind of idiot snoops through stranger’s carts at Goodwill anyway? That’s not normal!)

I explained it’s a step to use for exercising at home.

(Exercising… NOT losing weight – there’s a difference! Diffferent goals, different motivation.)

She replied that she had tried many times to lose weight, and her daughter had lost 80 pounds a few years ago, and they both gained it all back – and she went on to say that NO ONE EVER loses weight and keeps it off.

(Bold statement to assign her own failure and her daughter’s failure to every living person on the whole planet given there are 7.5 billion people living here, but… okay…) 

Finally, before she left, she looked me up and down to assure herself that I was, in fact, fat, then she wished me luck… and told me not to feel bad when it doesn’t work.

(At no point in the conversation had I said a SINGLE WORD about weight loss – that was this random stranger’s BAGGAGE, not mine.)

I smiled and nodded, all the while imagining myself smacking her with said exercise step – I didn’t though – I prayed for her black, ugly soul to gain some insight, for her to evolve into a decent human being that doesn’t need to crush others for no reason, for her daughter to escape her insanity, and for the toxic woman’s rotund, stubby body to gain at least 80 more pounds.

(I know, not the world’s nicest prayer, but I truly meant the nice parts, and at least I didn’t hit her with an exercise step…)

The encounter got me thinking about how many toxic people we come into contact with, and how deeply they can affect us when the only thing they are really doing is trying to reduce the pain and disappointment they feel in regards to their own pathetic lives.

If my only goal in exercising had been weight loss, though, this encounter might have sent me home crying with a  chocolate cake and left me giving up my efforts permanently.

The toxic woman would have likely defeated me if she had managed to correctly guess my goal in exercising, so I guess I was lucky that her baggage about not losing weight was different than my own.

Ways to Keep Toxic People From Wrecking Your Motivation

I’ve already hinted at the first two ways I want to suggest for preserving your own resolve in the face of abuse toxic people.

  • Pray for them, or send out good vibes if you’re not a praying person. Put your own anger aside long enough to truly wish the other person well. You can do that by praying for them or by simply sending some good vibes their way. It doesn’t matter if that person knows you wish them well, in fact, I think it’s better for YOU if they don’t. It’s for your sake. It helps you let it go of the hurt, offended feelings so you can move on.
  • Don’t own someone else’s emotional baggage. Realize that no matter how wrong they are, they just reflecting their own pain onto your situation. It has NOTHING to do with you. Sure, it’s still aggravating, but don’t pick up someone else’s baggage, let them carry their own burden.
  • Trust your own goals and motivation. Focus on your goals, and your reasons. If you don’t have a strong goal or a strong reason, think of one. Life is an ongoing process, and if you let one toxic person wreck your path, then they’ve won. You deserve to forge your own way, for your own reasons.
  • Vent and let off steam if you have to. Find a way to get it off your chest and just let it go. I’ll admit, that’s what I’m doing with this blog post, and if blogging about it would help you, feel free to snatch the idea.
  • Use what you’re feeling to help someone else. Nothing refocuses you quicker than reaching out a hand to help someone else. Use your words to share how it felt, teach your kids to eat healthier, or do whatever you feel right about to help someone else live a better, healthier, more positive life.

I wanted to turn what I was feeling after this encounter around and turn it into something positive that would have a chance of helping someone else. So, I tried to put a little humor in it.

Thanks for reading, and while I hope you don’t ever encounter anyone toxic who makes you feel small and worthless like that toxic, nasty woman tried to make me feel, if you do, keep these things in mind and give them a try.

 

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3 Super Easy Ways to Treat Yourself Better!

Life can be so challenging and complicated, and it’s easy to put your own needs last when things get overwhelming. It’s okay to treat yourself better, though, because just like a little kindness goes a long way when dealing with difficult people, a little kindness goes a  long way in restoring your spirits when thigns have been rough.

Treat Yourself Better
Treat Yourself Better image courtesy of Pixabay

3 Ways to Treat Yourself Better

It doesn’t take long to get burned out when you’re working hard and life’s challenges are kicking your rear. That’s one reason why it’s okay to be kind to yourself.

  1. Bring on the Self-Care: Doing something positive for yourself, even something small, can help you feel better about life. Just taking the time to paint your nails or soak away sore muscles in a bubble bath can help rejuvenate your spirits sometimes.
  2. Read Something Inspirational: Positive books and websites that share positivity tips offer an easy source of motivation when you need a little boost. (That’s actually why this website exists, so be sure to bookmark it or sign up for email updates to save you even more time.
  3. Make Time to Do Something You Truly Enjoy: When you’re busy, it’s so easy to push aside the things that feel less important, but you shouldn’t. Even if you can only spare ten or fifteen minutes a day on something you enjoy, it gives you a  psychological boost that helps carry you through the day.
    1. (I’m actually really bad about following my own advice on this one. I love sewing, and when I’m busy with work, I don’t make time to sew. But I should, because it re-energizes me and makes me happy. So, I’ll be working on taking my own advice.)

Why Self-Compassion Is So Important

It’s easy to be compassionate toward others, easier than it is to treat yourself with compassion and take what you need once in a while, but self-compassion is pretty important in this life, too.

“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope.” – Stephen Hawking

While not exactly about treating yourself well, that quote from Stephen Hawking speaks to why it’s so important to practice a little self-compassion.

When you’re good to yourself, it’s easier to be good to others. It inspires positive feelings that ripple outward and put positive energy in the world. It boosts your confidence. It builds hope – not just your own sense of hope, but it also builds a sense of hope in those who interact with you.

By Laure Justice



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Are You Practicing Stress or Practicing Peace?

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, more than normal, and one thing I often do when I get stressed is look for quotes about inner peace.  I found some that really touched me a couple minutes ago, and I decided to share them here for anyone else who’s feeling the stress and not the peace today.

Practicing Peace
Practicing Peace image courtesy of Pixabay

Stress or Peace?

I like this quote so much because it speaks to the fact that we get a choice and the thoughts and actions we choose affect the outcome we get.

“Every day brings a choice to practice stress or to practice peace.” – Joan Borysenko

That was it… simple… concise… the perfect reminder to just chill.

Where’s your Power?

I picked this second quote because I find it so easy to fall into the role of feeling like a victim when things pile up around me.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power lies!” – author unknown

It’s a gentle reminder that how you respond to things is where your power lies.

Your Chance to Grow

This last quote is another gentle reminder, or was for me and I hope it will be for you, that even when things seem bleak, it can be your chance to start fresh.

“Sometimes, when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” – Christine Caine

So, make of that what you will, but keep in mind that the bullsh!t that gets heaped on your shoulders (from wherever and from whomever) can be used (by you) as amazing fertilizer to grow your future.

Updated to remove the typo from the title…. oops!

by: Laure Justice

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