I hope this parting letter finds each of you well. I am infinitely proud of you. My heart and hope is that you have allowed your time in higher education to stretch and grow you as a leader, and have postured yourself to learn as much from engaging with your fellow classmate as you have from reading your assigned textbook.
As a final letter, I wanted to share with each of you a few of the greatest lessons that I have learned (am continue to learn) thus far throughout my collegiate and professional career (these are listed in no particular order). I hope these tips will be helpful to you in navigating your own unique journey!
1. NEVER STOP LEARNING:
Be intentional about dedicating time to continue reading and researching new things. Share the new knowledge you learn with others, you never know what a simple tip could unlock in someone else's journey.
2. CONTINUE BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Though the time sitting among your fellow classmates has come to an end, I encourage you to continue connecting with others who are willing to share their experiences and lessons with you. Learn from them, and use this knew knowledge to help you make more informed decisions in your own life. You don’t always have to make the mistakes yourself in order to learn from them.
3. LISTEN TO THE LORD'S WHISPERS
He is always speaking to us, comforting us, encouraging us when we need it most (and especially when we don’t think we need it at all). Find time to listen. Become sensitive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit in your self-reflection time, personal relationships and professional careers.
"I challenge you to spend the rest of your life finding ways to serve others with the gifts that you have so graciously been given..."
4. TRY. FAIL. LEARN.
Have a new idea you want to try? A new book you want to write? A new product you want to launch? A new job you want to take? Go ahead - try it! But first, take time to prayerfully consider it. You can also invite trusted friends and mentors into the process of accomplishing that goal (because who wants to go it alone anyway). This life is short. Never let the fear of failure stop you from creating something new!
5. LET EVERYTHING YOU DO POINT BACK TO GOD
This is right up there with the best advice that I can possibly give to each of you. Let everything you say, do, and become point graciously back to the One who gave it all for you - for us. The one who did so willingly and without remorse. Cling to His promises, and regularly reflect on if the things you are creating, the success you are pursuing are motivations for doing so are in line with this His mission and His will for us.
This life is short. Never let the fear of failure stop you from creating something new!
6. USE YOUR EDUCATION WISELY
You have been given the wonderful gift of a formal education. Never take that for granted. There are people around the world who spend their whole lives fighting (literally) for an education, and there are many are never given the opportunity. You HAVE been given this opportunity! I challenge you to spend the rest of your life finding ways to serve others with the gift that you have so graciously been given, and in whatever capacity the Lord has appointed you to do so.
I always have a difficult time with good-bye’s, so I’ll stick with a genuine “see you around.”
Please know that I am always here for you! I throughly enjoy staying in touch with my readers and providing them with guidance that will help them launch their into their dreams!
Grace & Peace,
Written by: Stasia Rose
First published at www.darlingmagazine.org on October 19, 2017
Images via Michelle Kim
Think about the times when you experienced a genuine connection with someone who wasn’t a romantic partner. Where were you and what were you doing?
Maybe you were driving down the highway together, rocking out to 90’s music. Maybe you were taking a walk around your neighborhood or nursing a glass of wine in one hand and a big bar of dark chocolate in the other. Maybe you took a spontaneous 4-day trip from Florida to Los Angeles with a friend (like I did that one time), traveling across the country and collecting memories and stories along the way.
We live in a digital age. Cellular devices that were once the size (and probably weight) of bricks, now come in hundreds of sleek and lightweight options. Cell phones and apps have become our life lines and our security blankets, our matchmakers and our plus ones.
Let’s be honest, we can hardly walk into a coffee shop or sit in a restaurant without seeing someone with a phone in their hands (or being that person ourselves). Most of us check our phones the very minute we open our eyes in the morning.
These pocket-sized sidekicks are commonly accused of hindering our ability to truly connect with others, and are said to do more harm than good in cultivating genuine relationships.
Today, we’re challenging that concept.
What if technology isn’t the enemy? What if connecting to technology could help us better connect with our loved ones? What if, instead of viewing technology as a hindrance to our relationships, we began seeking out ways to leverage its unique capabilities to deepen our friendships?
Now hold on, I’m not talking about simply double-tapping a friend’s Instagram post, occasionally retweeting an old roommate or leaving a long civil comment on an ex’s Facebook page. I’m talking about using forms of social media to create real and genuine connections that deepen the special bond we share with those we care about.
So, how do we grow in relationship with one another in this digital age?
Here are five free apps that can help us cultivate relationships with our loved ones, no matter how near or far they may be:
1. Roadtrippers Trip Planner
Create an epic road trip with friends that you’ll never forget! Map out each stop, search for hotels along the route, view road trip itineraries, take pictures and make memories. This app will have us sitting in the passenger’s side of our best friend’s ride in no time!
Music has the extraordinary ability to convey some of our most cherished thoughts and emotions, reminding us of seasons past and marking memories in the making. Spotify’s music app allows us to create collaborative playlists and share new and old music with friends. Whatever song we’re vibin’ at the moment, we can instantly share it with our loved ones on Spotify!
This app is, hands-down, one of my favorite not-so-guilty pleasures. In seconds users can create collaborative Pinterest boards with friends. Now we can work together to plan the next vacation or “staycation” adventure. Share recipes, DIY’s, travel destinations and outfit inspirations at the click of a button.
4. Map My Run
With this app we can keep our workout buddies, even if they’re a thousand miles away. Map My Run allows users to view and compare routes with strangers and friends. So go ahead, challenge someone to a workout competition or create a group step challenge … because a little friendly competition can go a long way.
5. Paperless Post
Sending a birthday card to a loved one? Planning to get the gang back together for a much needed framily reunion? This greeting card and event planning app is a must have. Choose from Paperless Post’s digital inventory of cards and invitations, add customized event details and send e-vites directly to friends and families email addresses. This app can even set reminders for when we should send cards to our loved ones each year! With its trendy designs, easy to use interface and built in guest tracking system – it is the perfect house party planning assistant!
I believe that we each have the power to utilize technology in a way that will help us continually cultivate meaningful relationships with our loved ones.
So play on – new stories and adventures await!
Written by: Stasia Rose
First published at www.darlingmagazine.org on October 19, 2017
Images via Michelle Kim
First published on www.QARA.org
Written by: Anastasia Jones
Ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? I know it might sound crazy, but you’re not alone.
Recently I returned home on a Sunday evening after a wonderful 5-day vacation. Almost as soon as the plane touched down, waves of anxiety began to wash over me. Monday was only hours away, and I felt completely unprepared.
Thoughts of the enormous workload awaiting my return, both at work and at home, consumed me. I felt frazzled, and completely ill-equipped for the work week ahead.
I was driving home, trying in vain to categorize each of my anxious thoughts when Philippians’s 4:6-7 came to mind: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
After meditating on these verses, and taking several deep and prayerful breaths, I almost immediately felt the soft waves of God’s peace wash over me. I resolved that I was not going to grant this anxiety power over me, and potentially undo the peaceful rest that I had worked so hard to create over the last five days on vacation.
I chose to respond to my anxiety by creating a new strategy, and so can you.
I made a list of 5 things I could do that evening to help me take on the coming Monday.
These practices didn’t take me long, radically reduce my anxiety levels and had me feeling encouraged and empowered to take on the week ahead
1. CLEAN OUT THE CAR
Take a moment to toss the junk mail, empty your half-full water bottles, wipe the crumbs off the seat and organize the miscellaneous items lying on the floor. Perhaps you could even swing by the gas station to top off your gas tank, and buy a quick car wash. Come Monday morning, you’ll feel less stressed while in route to the office, and if you get stuck in traffic you won’t be nervously glancing at your gas meter.
2. TIDY UP THE KITCHEN
Does your sink have a couple of days’ worth of glasses, plates and coffee mugs in it? Take twenty minutes to clean it out, wipe down the counters and load up the dishwasher. It may seem like a small effort, but when you prepare your coffee/breakfast tomorrow morning you’ll thank yourself for doing it!
3. REVIEW YOUR CALENDAR
Briefly look at your work calendar and make a short list of action items and priorities that you want to accomplish. Remember to set yourself up for success by creating realistic work expectations. You’ve just been out of the office for quite a while and it could take a day or two to catch up on your work.
4. GET ACTIVE
Go for a 30-minute walk, jog or run. It is proven that exercising releases stress, relieves anxiety, improves our overall health and makes us feel good! I recently picked up the hobby of rollerblading around my neighborhood. Not only does the act of physical exercise calm me, but it allows me to meet and greet neighbors and friends that I normally would not see as frequently.
5. PLAN YOUR OUTFIT
Monday’s are the perfect day to dress for success. Looking good and feeling good can kick-start your week off right, and give you that extra boost of confidence you need to take on those back to back meetings like a pro.
In all, completing numbers 1 through 5 took me just under 2 hours, and was worth every minute. I went to sleep swiftly, feeling confident in my ability to take on the morning to come. I recommend you make a checklist, and a few days before you travel attempt to get ahead of them. For instance, you could clean your car out prior to heading to the airport. You could plan your outfit based upon what clothes you don’t pack, that way you know the items will be clean whenever you return.
Ideally, we could all try to incorporate more time between the end of our vacations, and the beginning of a work week; however, when a vacation after a vacation isn’t possible, I recommend doing these 5 things to help you reset and recharge before the work week arrives.
Taking steps that set you up for maximum effectiveness and success is almost always worth it.