life

More Life, Less Rush

More life, less rush. #simplicity Today's post is a quickie but it's something I really wanted to share with you guys. This past Saturday was my birthday (yay!!!!) and I turned 20 :) One of the items on my 101 in 1001 list is to write a letter to myself to open when I turn 30. As I was contemplating what to write to 30-year-old Brittany, I realized a funny thing about birthdays.

Growing up, I was always wanting to be older. I couldn't wait to be 14, then 16, then 18, then 20. Now I find myself longing for the day I'm 22 and out of college. But looking back, I realize how fast my teenage years seemed to go by. Even now, I feel like I'm rushing through life, trying to get things done so I can move on to the next part. Where did enjoying the simple moments of life go? Do they only belong on Tumblr photos?

These thoughts caused me some lack of sleep last night because I long to live a simple and authentic life full of meaning, as do many of you. So what can we do to change this?

One, realize that you aren't required to hustle.

[Tweet "You are not required to hustle 24/7."]

While hustling can be a good thing (get that dream business started!), many times it can cause us to feel overwhelmed and overworked. Don't let hustling cause the quality of your work to decline or cause you to not be present in everyday moments.

Thriving and being successful isn't just tied to how hard we work, it's tied to our own definition of those words. Don't let others tell you what you need to do to be successful. You're doing just fine at your own pace. There's no need to rush through life.

Two, sometimes we get so focused on 'what could be', that we forget what is right in front of us.

We're constantly looking forward to what's next, always dreaming of the future. While I do believe that having big dreams is important and that we should work really hard to make them come true, sometimes we let those dreams cause us to believe that our current life is boring in comparison when it really isn't. The idea of the perfect life overshadows the beautiful life we're living right now.

So this is what I want to encourage you to do today, and every day to come:

Be content with where you are in this moment.

Whether you're still in school, moving across the country, getting married, starting a business, or welcoming a new baby, take 5 minutes each day to simply pause and thank God for the life He's blessed you with.

Life will always be messy. But it's your beautiful mess.

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Simplify Your Routine

Simplify your routine by trying these simple things to set you up for a successful week. Tired of waking up to busy and frazzled mornings? Or just wishing your life was a little more streamlined? Sometimes all we need is to change one aspect of our very busy lives to make things easier. Try these easy and quick ways to simplify your routine and make life more manageable.

Let sunshine brighten up your day.

Even if it's a beautiful sunny morning, closed blinds or shades can make you never want to leave your bed. Get a head start on the day! Open the blinds and let natural light stream inside your home to awaken and brighten your spirits.

Find a regular, simplified beauty routine.

Creating a simplified beauty routine can make getting ready less of a hassle. Instead of having 3 lotions to choose from and a drawer full of makeup you hardly use, find your core pieces and keep those only. Your skin will thank you for the simplicity and you'll be looking and feeling your best!

For example: moisturize entire body, wash face with a gentle cleanser, apply SPF moisturizer, concealer, light foundation, blush, a dash of eyebrow color, a simple neutral base to your eyelids, eye-liner, and mascara. Finish with some deodorant and your favorite perfume, and voila!

Pack your lunch at dinnertime.

An easy way to get lunch packed and ready to go in a flash is to use dinner leftovers. As you’re cleaning up dinner the night before, pack or make your lunch. Your morning just got a little more free.

Lay out your outfit in advance.

Get rid of the whole "I don't know what to wear" dilemma and pick out what you're going to wear the night before. Pull out everything you’ll need for your outfit: tops, bottoms, undergarments, accessories, shoes and socks.You can even hang it on a special hook to hold your outfit, stylist-style. This way, you’ll be able to get dressed without having to worry about what to wear.

Plan a menu for the week.

Not only does this save you money, but it helps you use your evening time efficiently. Begin by making an ongoing list of grocery items you've run out of and need to purchase. Then sit down once a week and decide what meal to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day. Maybe saturdays are pancake days and Friday is pizza night. Great! Schedule that in. Maybe your lunches are last night's leftovers. Perfect! One less meal to make. Add any ingredients you need to your shopping list and get cooking! And don't forget dessert ;)

Give your purse a makeover.

Stop frantically searching the dark depths of your purse just to find your phone, keys, or wallet. Instead, create a system of organization that works for you.

Use bags within your bag and assign each one a category: makeup, snacks/gum, pencils/pens, receipts, chargers, etc.

Dedicate an interior pocket to just your glasses or sunglasses. That way they'll be easily accessible.

Charge electronic devices at night or at the same time each day.

Hate realizing that your phone is going dead, right when you need it? Get into the habit of charging your phone and any other electronic devices at night so that everything is charged and ready to go.

How are you going to use the above tips to simplify your routine?

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5 Ways to Live Life with Intention

Cherish the simple things, love unconditionally, and flourish in the life we are given. Let's live life with purpose! Last week I wrote on how the death of a girl I never knew changed how I live my life. Her legacy has inspired me (and thousands of others), to live our lives with intention. We need to cherish the simple things, love unconditionally, and flourish in the life we are given. My dream is to help people live a life of purpose. Don’t waste away your days, because you never know if it's going to be your last.

[Tweet "Cherish the simple things, love unconditionally, and flourish in the life you are given. "]

5 Ways to Live Life with Intention

1. Don't become set on routine

Routine is good, don't get me wrong. I love feeling comfortable about how I go about my day. But sometimes we can get so stuck in a routine that we lose focus on the simple (and even more important) things. Break out of your routine, whether it be by going somewhere new, eating something different, or even just taking more time to relax. Get out and do something fresh, new, and exciting! You'll be surprised at how refreshed you'll feel, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

2. Be grateful

I can't emphasize it enough. Gratitude changes everything. Keeping a gratitude journal was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Not only do I have an ongoing, comprehensive list of everything I'm grateful for, but it causes me to take time each day to pause and reflect on the simple things I appreciate. Those simple details can get overlooked in our busy lives. Sometimes the best things are the simplest things.

3. View the glass as half-full

Optimism is catchy. :) Unless you're the type of person who is never happy, seeing someone with a positive outlook can really make your day. Maybe it's the way they smile at everyone, marveling at how nice of a day it is. Or maybe it's the way they find something good in trials and setbacks. Let's fill our lives with less complaining and more complementing.

4. Give back

Your generosity can have more of an impact on someone's life than you might ever know. If we all just give back even a little bit, imagine what an awesome place this world could be, how much fulfillment we'd get, and how much happier we would be on Monday mornings! Give back to the world you live in and the people who inhabit it. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pay for someone else's meal
  • Leave a large tip
  • Volunteer
  • Sponsor a child in a third world county
  • Donate (clothes, hair, time, etc.)

5. Try something new

Learning new things helps broaden your knowledge and opens up your mind to new possibilities. Get out of your comfort zone. This post on how to make learning and personal development a regular part of your life is amazing!

How do you plan to live your life with intention?

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P.S. 8 ways to simplify your life!

#MaddyStrong is a Beautiful Way to Live

#MaddyStrong As I write this, it's 7:22 p.m. I'm on winter break. I'm supposed to be finishing up my scheduled blog post. I'm supposed to be having amazing weekend adventures with my best friends. Instead, all I can think about is a girl I've never met.

Three days ago, a girl from our sister college, Walla Walla University in Washington, was hit by a truck while riding her bike near campus. She was airlifted to a hospital in Seattle with numerous severe injuries. News of the accident spread rapidly through social media, and people from around the world began to lift her, her friends, and her family up in prayer.

But a day later, Madison (Maddy) Jewel Baird passed away. She was 20 years old.

When the news of her accident spread to our campus that Tuesday evening, we all gathered together to pray. Even though Walla Walla is states away, you'd be surprised at how interconnected the Seventh-Day Adventist (my religious denomination) community is. I have friends from Washington that knew Maddy, one of which is my roommate; she and Maddy worked together at a camp in Oregon in the summer.

Now, a day after Maddy's passing, my Facebook feed is filled with videos, pictures, and memories of her. Just by reading these posts, I can tell that she had a warm, happy vibe about her that affected everyone she met. She'll be greatly missed.

But why do I care? I didn't even know who she was before.

Well, I care because it could happen to me, it could happen to you, it could happen to anyone. Your life could change in the blink of an eye. We live in such a fast-paced, materialistic world that we don't even take enough time to marvel at the beauty of nature and simple things in life.

But Maddy did.

A link to her blog, Sisters of Simplicity, was shared on Facebook. The first post on the homepage was enough to make me cry:

A home A structure, a building, a cage, A piece of dirt that outstretches from within the earth; We put a price tag on it. We build upon the land and call it ours The mountains, the valleys, the ground It is more than money can ever offer. its not just a structure, it’s our home In the midst of building the world up The earth sits waiting and rejected God’s canvas is put on sale. The worlds beauty sits among the ruins. The rainforests cry out. The ground shakes out of anger Yet, will anyone here their plea. Let us not forget the beauty of the earth, Do not forget.

Because of her story, I want to be #MaddyStrong. This is the hashtag being spread on social media as a result of her accident. It's meant to be an encouragement to live life to the fullest, just like she did. She's inspired me spread happiness wherever I go. I want to be a light in this dark world. These 7 principles are what I've learned from her:

1. Get outside and experience God's creation.

2. Eat healthy. Your body is a temple of God.

3. Be creative.

4. Never underestimate the power of a simple smile and "Hello!"

5. Beauty is often overlooked when it becomes part of a routine.

6. Sometimes the best things are the simplest things.

7. Breathe in the beauty of a new day.

This earth we live in is such a beautiful creation, but it's covered in sin. I can't wait for Jesus to come back, when Maddy and others will awake to the voice of Jesus and all mourning will end. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

So even though I never met her, the legacy that she left behind causes me to look up and remember why I'm here on earth. 

Let's rediscover the beauty of God's creation. Let's cherish the little moments that make life so meaningful.

Let's be #MaddyStrong.

Finding our Way By Madison Baird

“Lot’s of coffee shops Some silent talks an old gas pump beauty disguised as a grump broken and slow the car has nothing to show waiting and hoping laughs and joking lost and stranded not sure quite what we’ve been handed This is life Empty, confused and filled with strife people try and make plans Truth is it’s all in Gods hands I’m waiting Empty handed and contemplating. We gotta just enjoy the ride for soon we will run out of time.”


To get the complete story about Madison Baird, please visit here.

For more information on what Adventists believe, visit this website.


 

3 Easy Steps to Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a great alternative to doing a brain dump. It can help you brainstorm ideas or solve complex problems. Do any of you do brain dumps onto a piece of paper? I do.

Although recently, I've discovered something SO much better than just writing down a list of the random thoughts that float around in my brain all day. It's called mind mapping.

I've been using this process for the past week or so, and I've found that it helps me keep my random thoughts organized in a fun, colorful way. Technically it is still a brain dump, just a more outlined, visual one. Mind mapping is such a useful way to think about new ideas and simplify complex processes. You can use it for school projects, your business ideas, product ideas, blogging, or just your daily life in general.

[Tweet "Mind mapping is the new brain dump. @britthouchins"]

Making a mind map is really very simple. First you must choose whether you want to write it out on a large piece of paper or use an app. The app makes the process much faster, but writing it out by hand is good if you want to personalize it and be more precise. Listed below are a few different mind mapping apps I've found. Check them out and see which one you like!

Coggle (Website)

MindNode (Mac / iOS)

XMind (Windows / Mac / Linux)

SimpleMind (Windows / Mac / iOS / Android)

If you're new to mind mapping, here are three easy steps to help you begin and get the most out of it!

1. Write and don't stop

The first step to creating your mind map is to just write anything and everything that comes to mind. Don't spend too much time on one item; just write. If an item is related to something else, keep them connected by creating branches off of the original item. If you think of a totally unrelated/different/random topic, create a new "main" stem (in MindNode, you just right click to create a new "node"). The goal is to get everything out of your system.

How to make a mind map

2. Add steps

Second, take a look at the items you've listed. Are there any goal items? To-dos? List any sub-steps needed to complete that item by branching them out. Check them off/delete them once you finish them!

Add steps to a mind map

3. Select your top three

The great thing about mind maps is that they give you the ability to see the big picture. The not-so-great thing about mind maps is that sometimes being able to see everything can cause you to lose focus. Once you've finished making your mind map, choose the top three items you want to focus on. If you listed sub-steps, start tackling them! A mind map used in the right way could help you even more than a to-do list.

Have you ever used a mind map? Which you you prefer: a brain dump or mind map?

 

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8 Ways to Simplify Your Life

This list of 8 things to do to simplify your life today will help you begin living a happier, more balanced lifestyle.

There is joy in simplicity. It brings balance, freedom, and happiness. Simplifying your life can really make a difference in your mood, productivity, and health. I'm striving to learn to live with less. This list of 8 things to do to simplify your life today will help you begin living a happier, more balanced lifestyle.

Single-Task

In a world where multi-tasking is considered normal, even admired, people still aren't getting stuff done as efficiently as they could. Simplify your to-do list by learning to single-task. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move on to the next. Here are a few tips to help you become the master at single-tasking:

  • Focus on having only one tab open at a time so you can truly engage with what you're reading and learning. (This is hard for me. I currently have 22 tabs open...)
  • Keep your desktop clean, clear, and organized so that you aren't distracted or stressed out throughout the day.
  • Avoid distractions by turning off the TV, putting your phone away from sight, and closing the door.
  • Prioritize by focusing on what is most important first and moving to the next task as you complete them.

Evaluate Your Commitments

Take a minute to look at everything you're committed to each month and write it down. Work, family, friends, personal projects, everything. What's most important to you? Highlight those things and consider what can be dropped from that list.

Say No

This is the one tip that can help you cut out 99% of the events and tasks that clutter your life. Release yourself from time commitments. It's ok to say no. Opportunities will come and go, and there will always be more.

Spend Less Time Online

Media affects your life more than you think. It has a great impact on your attitude and outlook and can dominate your life if you let it. To truly appreciate the influence of media in today's world, you need to take a break from it. Step back and turn it off. Your mind will be refreshed and ready to take a new look at what there is to offer.

Be Mindful of What You Say

Use fewer words and keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip and anything that adds unnecessary drama to your life.

Stay Out of Debt

Debt adds stress to your life, and that stress won't be gone until the debt is gone. Start today. Do what you got to do to get out from under its weight. And once your are free from debt, be mindful of your purchases.

Nurture Real Life Relationships

Social media puts a real dent in real life correspondence. Facebook, Instagram, and texting clutter your life with surface information about others. Go meet with a friend in real life and talk with them face to face. Take a moment to slow down and cherish the relationships you have with others.

Declutter Weekly

Every week set aside some time and choose one thing to declutter in your life. Take a look at the things you own, your wardrobe, your pantry, your papers, your computer files, emails, and apps on your phone. Remove the things that are just adding instead of simplifying.

What are some of your tips for simplifing your lifestyle? 

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P.S. I made a 101 in 1001 list! Do you have one?