50 Things That Made Me Smile Today

50 Things That Made Me Smile Today

sunflower

(Because, hey, the little moments that count)
  1. Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep.
  2. Waking up early enough to get a head start on life.
  3. Actually feeling awake (for the most part) when my alarm went off.
  4. Catching up on some journaling.
  5. Working out. #abs
  6. Making a check list.
  7. Checking things off of my check list.
  8. Leaving early enough to have a super relaxed drive to work.
  9. Not needing to wear a coat today.
  10. The oldies radio station. #wearethechampions
  11. The perfect peanut butter to jelly ratio on my sandwich.
  12. Taking a seriously great double chin selfie.
  13. Having a chance to just sit and enjoy being with my family.
  14. Started the laundry process…yay for clean clothes!
  15. Putting the clean clothes away immediately after drying (yay for not procrastinating!)
  16. Re-designing my room.
  17. Watching spray-paint transform old pieces of furniture into lovely treasures.
  18. My Dad good-naturedly assisting with some of my DIY projects.
  19. Someone complimented my scarf.
  20. A friend sent me an encouraging text. 
  21. Getting a compliment from “the boss”.
  22. Singing in the car.
  23. Beat boxing in the car.
  24. Dancing in the car.
  25. Playing the air guitar in the car. (Don’t worry, the car was parked.)
  26. Watching old cartoons.
  27. Hearing that a friend got a promotion.
  28. Cute animal facts. #ottersholdhands   
  29. Eating a fruit snack.
  30. Microwaving some surprisingly good mac’n’cheese.
  31. Paper lanterns.
  32. Re-reading old journal entries. 
  33. Stumbling upon old letters from friends.
  34. Realizing how many wonderful people I’ve been blessed with.
  35. Talking with a costumer about her big plans for Easter.
  36. Looking at a camp picture taken earlier last summer.
  37. The kinda annoying costumer that I had to smile at anyway because that’s my job.
  38. Choosing to eat more fruit today. 
  39. Drinking a yummy juice at breakfast.
  40. Greek yogurt.
  41. Getting excited about tomorrow.
  42. The sunshine.
  43. Seeing the thermometer read 70 degrees.
  44. Looking at the plants in the yard. 
  45. Green lights.
  46. Red lights that didn’t last too long.
  47. Babysitting an awesome kid.
  48.  Thinking about eating brownies with chocolate frosting.
  49. Writing.
  50. Wearing cozy pajama’s and calming down after a busy day. 

Goodness. Didn’t realize how good my day really was, until I took the time to write this list…huh. Interesting.

Well, anyway, now it’s YOUR turn! What made you smile today?

Blessings,

Sasha

 

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Living in an Outhouse

 

Adulting is fun. Kinda. Like, when you get a job that enables you to talk with dozens of different people each time you clock in. You never know just who you’re gonna meet. But, there is one thing I can count on: the conversation. grumpy

According to most of the people I talk to, the weather is never good enough, they hate their jobs,  everybody is messed up,  gas is too expensive,  so-and-so is a dumb presidential candidate, their new iPhone isn’t shiny enough…

To put it bluntly: Most people I talk to act like  their life  stinks more than an outhouse in the middle of summer. 

…Has it ever occurred to you that, you may be the problem?

That maybe, it’s not about the weather or gas prices or politicians–but about your thought life and the words you allow yourself to speak?

I’ll be the first to agree that cold-weather is less than pleasant and gas prices did go up and that America is most definitely in need of God-fearing leaders…

But, I have no desire to waste my life grumbling, when there’s much more productive things my words could be doing. 

Human beings tend to be excellent complainers.  It’s not that hard to find a reason to whine–most of us have been doing it since childhood.

When you allow yourself to indulge in complaints, it’s like putting on a pair of glasses, and suddenly your entire view is changed…nothing is good enough and everything seems a tad more difficult. You become glum. Discontent. Grouchy. Irritable.

Life is hard. Really. You’re probably going through some rough stuff right now–each one of us has our share of challenges and unpleasant situations to sort through…

What if you changed your words though? What if, instead of focusing on your challenges (or the bad weather or less-than-awesome news headlines) you focused on Jesus and how good He is? What if you challenged yourself to notice the small things that went well today–they yummy sandwich you had for lunch or pretty sunset on the drive home?

What if you took your thoughts off of yourself and your discomfort, and put them on the Lord, who is so faithful and so much bigger than all of it?

Sure, work may still be hard and your iPhone may still be scratched…but there’s a much bigger story going on. 

And, if for no other reason, complaining just puts you and everyone around you in a bad mood and wastes your time. God has a beautiful plan and purpose for you today! Get out  of your “mental outhouse” and go live it!

Blessings,

Sasha

(For further study, check out:  Ephesians 4:29, Philippians 2:14, James 1:2-4)

 

 

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Sit with me for a Second?

Hi there!

Been doing some thinking, and, I have a few things I want to say to you. You may not know me very well–or at all–but that’s okay. This is still for you.
Imagine we’re sitting near the fireplace. Or on a porch swing. Or on a branch of a tree we just climbed. We’re sipping some  lemonade. Or cider or something. And just talking like old chums.
Alright, ya ready? Here we go 🙂
porch swing
You are beautiful. Right now. You. Are. Stunning. Breathtaking.

It is so good that you are alive right now.
You have a purpose. Your life is meaningful and the Lord has so many incredible plans for you. You were made for amazing things! I am so glad you’re here. 
 You’re smart and funny and really interesting. Your sense of humor is great! You are so enjoyable. You are a delight to be around.  And your smile is like sunshine–it lights up the room. Your smile and laugh are contagious. You make others smile.
You are brave. Even when things get tough, you face your challenges head on. You rise to the occasion. You are bold and courageous and you can get through this. The Lord is faithful and good to you. You are one of His favorites! He empowers and strengthens you.
You are not alone. You are loved and treasured. You are worthwhile and your heart is so precious.
You are worth knowing. You are worth spending time with and listening to. You are worth fighting for. You are worth taking care of.  You are a gem, and worth treating yourself that way.
It is so good that you are you. The world would be a very different place if you weren’t here.
You’re special. Not because of anything you’ve done or will do.
Just because you’re you.
You are a masterpiece, and I’m so glad you’re here. *hugs*
-Sasha
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The Big Decision

makeupI have no clue what the heck to do with makeup.

Like, for reals. There’s all these tutorials and pictures of girls who can literally transform their entire faces. They use all these weird brushes and creams and stuff and then *poof* it’s like magic. We don’t need Fairy Godmothers anymore, Cinderella can perform her own makeover. 

Well, unless that Cinderella is me. Then please, by all means, feel free to send me a makeup Godmother. I’ve got, like, 2 classic make-up looks I go for and that’s about all I can do. 

But hey, at least those 2 look good so, ya know, that counts for something, yeah?

Anyway, we’re all familiar with makeup. It’s kinda a part of the culture. Make up hides blemishes,  highlights our best features, and can be used to transform our faces into literally anything. Have you seen some of the crazy make up art out there? Some people got serious skills.

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects to makeup, is that it empowers you to portray whatever image of yourself you want. 

Flirty? Young? Daring? Natural? Flawless? Powerful? Spiderman?

There is literally a look (or several) for every persona you could ever hope to portray.

Honestly, I think that’s kinda cool. Crazy to think how much some paint and a few brushes can transform the way someone is perceived. And, its really quite nice to have the ability to cover up(or “conceal”) pimples and to make my eyes look bigger and to color my lips so they match my nail polish or whatever.

But what about when that’s gone?

When all the foundation and concealer and eye shadow and eye liner and gloss and lip stick and bronzer and blush and who-knows-what-else is washed off?

Who do you portray when you’re just left with you?

When you look in the mirror and see your bare, totally untouched face, who do you see?beauty

No, I’m not just talking about “Do you think you’re beautiful even without makeup.” We’ve all heard that message. Like, a bazillion times. And it’s a good one–honey, you’re a solid 10, with or without Cover Girl and Maybelline. 

But what I wanna talk about right now is authenticity. Being real. Being courageous enough to be you. Not the you that you want everyone else to see or that you wish that you were. Not the you who gets everything right or has all the answers.

The real, work-in-progress, totally unique and quirky you.

In all honesty, I’m scared to be me.

I’m not nearly as confident or perky or nice or “spiritual” or cool as I want people to think I am. There’s lots of things I get nervous about. Like, I still get nervous to sing, even if its just with friends.  And lots of times I have to work really hard at being kind to people, because, in all actuality, many times I’d much rather give them a piece of my mind. There’s days I can barely drag myself out of bed to read my Bible…and sometimes,  I don’t even do it. I’ve even been known to feel frustrated at God and to have doubts. And I’m  the quirky  girl that likes listening to old music and totally ugly-cried during an animated Disney movie.

I’m not perfect. Take off the make-up on my face, and you’ll see my pimples and not-so-long eyelashes. Remove the “make-up” I’ve put on my personality, and you’ll see the girl who really tries, but is still so far from perfect.

The girl who ‘s got quirks. The girl who’s boss told her that, while she’s really growing a lot, she’s still got to be faster.  The girl who generally has healthy relationships–but only because she’s really had to work on her heart and is still consistently having to talk things out and pray for the Lord to help her love people well. The girl who loves theatre and has gotten some fun roles–but who also cries quite a bit behind the scenes, when a disappointing cast list first comes out.

Granted, there are certainly some moments it may be best to hold back–my employer probably doesn’t care to hear me cry about a Disney movie and admittedly,refraining from saying the first comment that comes to my mind has definitely saved numerous friendships.

But, even in those moments, I can still be authentic.

Being authentic doesn’t mean saying and doing the first thing that comes to mind and totally spilling your heart out to everyone within hearing distance. 

It means choosing to be real. Choosing to be honest with yourself and others. Choosing to listen to Ella Fitzgerald because you like her, even if your friends still tease you for your appreciation for jazz. Choosing to go the extra mile to serve someone or to not gossip–not because it’s necessarily what you want to do–but because you love Jesus and that’s what He’s asked of you. Choosing to do what you feel the Lord leading you to do, even if it’s different than what everyone else is doing. Choosing to be vulnerable in a friendship, even if it’s a little scary…
Authenticity is  a choice.

So I guess my  point is this: Who are you gonna choose to be today?

Blessings,

Sasha

 

 

 

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Why Europe Was Super Fantastic But Also Kinda Hard Too

 eiffeltowerI recently returned from 5 weeks of adventuring across Europe with some of my extended family. We saw so many incredible places! Italy, France, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic…Oh, and dont get me started on the food. A-mazing. French pastries are the absolute best. And the history was incredible. There’s so many rich legends and traditions interwoven into each culture we visited. Oh my gosh, and the sights! Guys. If you ever get a chance to see the Eiffel Tower at night–it’s jaw-dropping. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Swiss Alps and Mediterranean Sea.

Europe is beautiful, and I hope to go back some time! (Or maybe multiple times :)) The trip itself was very hard though...as in, I was secretly counting down the days til we left and I could go back home. Back home, to my comfort zone.

See, here’s the deal. I love my family like crazy. And my family loves me. I also love Jesus like crazy. And my family? Well, at the time of my writing this…they really really really don’t. Generally, whenever my relatives and I get together, we just talk about other things: theatre, work, school, fun things we’ve been up too, the weather…however, when you’re spending 6 weeks with people, you can only talk about the weather so many times before if starts getting old. Eventually, they started asking me questions about Jesus and my faith and convictions–all of which I was more than happy to share–that’s when I realized just how offensive the gospel really is. 

Guys, Jesus is offensive. The idea of mankind being sinful…of needing a Savior…of the things that we consider “good” actually being wicked, according to Jesus…the idea of our life not being our own…Jesus Himself discusses how many will be offended by Him and His message (check out John 15:18-25).

My adventure across Europe was full of so many incredible sights and experiences! It was truly something special. However, it was also full of a great deal of challenges–to say that I received some less-than-kind comments due to my decision to live my life for Jesus, would be a slight understatement. Each day I woke up, walking on eggshells.

It was hard.

I found myself wishing for home. Home, where it was convenient to be kind and loving, because everyone else was pretty kind to me. Where it was convenient to love Jesus when I was going to church and singing worship songs alongside other believers on a regular basis. Home, where it was convenient to “turn the other cheek” because generally the “drama”  I experience in relationships, really isn’t that dramatic at all.

But love isn’t about convenience.

Love is tested and grown in the battlefield. In the midst of trials and persecution. When you’re confused or hurt  or tired or have-absolutely-no-clue-how-to-respond-in-love-right-now-because-someone-is-really-starting-to-drive-you-bananas…THAT, my friends, is one of the best opportunities for love to grow. 

And those are the moments that we most realize how in need of Jesus we truly are.

I am a very broken human. If I’d had it my way, I would’ve given everyone a piece of my mind, tossed my hair, and stormed outta the room. Ha. I showed them. That’ll teach you to mess with a ginger.

But Jesus is so unlike me. He is kind and patient. He looks at people’s broken actions–and then goes a step further and sees their hurting heart. He is merciful. He is humble.

And He is righteous.

One day, Im going to stand before Him. And when that day comes, I want to look back and see that I chose His way. That I chose to lean upon the Lord. To surrender my brokenness time and time again. That I chose to let Him teach me how to love…even in the midst of discomfort and pain. 

Because love isn’t about convenience. Love is about consistently choosing to say “Yes” to Jesus, even when it hurts.

Blessings,

Sasha

PS Also, isn’t the Eiffel Tower fantastic??? Not gonna lie, pretty impressed with myself for that picture, haha 🙂

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Back for Reals…and Actually Writing Again, Too

travelWell, its basically been forever. So, hi!

Yes, I have really not been on top of my writing lately. And yes, I could offer you a truck-load of excuses and well-meaning goals for future blog posts.

However,assuming someone is actually reading this cause its been so long since the last post,  I’d rather skip the small talk and just jump right back into things 🙂

Hi. My name is Sasha. I like Netflix, shopping, and long walks on the beach.  I love Jesus and people and talking with people about Jesus. Im scared of snakes and could pretty much live off of pasta and chocolate. I’m currently in a “fitness phase” where I attempt to work out several times a week…hopefully it lasts this time. We’ll see.

I’ve also recently embarked on (and returned from) some pretty neat adventures, and would love to fill you in over the next few posts! Obviously, we have MONTHS of stuff to catch up on. But for now, lets stick with good ol’ fashioned bullet points 🙂

* For several weeks (August-October) I was outta the country, exploring Europe. Yeah. Seriously. Basically a dream come true, right?

*Europe is amazing. Incredible. Super cool. I loved Europe…but that trip was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Will fill ya in later.

* I ate snails–SIX of ’em. And joined a parade. And became a flamenco dancer. No joke. It was really cool.

* One day, I decided to be crazy and get a second piercing. On my ear. Like, there was one earing on each ear, and now there’s TWO. #socrazy

*Since being back home and having  a few weeks to get back into the groove of life, I’ve realized…I have absolutely no clue what on earth Im supposed to do with my future and am basically finding out Im too old to pursue my child-hood dream of being a ballerina, and dolphin-trainer is not really an option at the moment. So. Yeah.

Anywho, even though I only shared 5 bullet points, believe me–lots has happened and there is so much I want to share with you!!!! Good stuff, weird stuff, hard stuff, ugly stuff, funny stuff…you should stay tuned 🙂

Happy to be back,

Sasha

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So Ya Wanna Be Pretty?

nopeFood for Thought (Since I don’t have time to write a super long post but still really really wanna talk to you!) :

I’ve heard before that, people will only respect you as much as you respect yourself…I’m not entirely sure how accurate that statement is, but I do believe that the way we treat ourselves will greatly influence how we allow others to treat us.

I also believe that genuine confidence is one of the most attractive qualities ever. I don’t care how talented you are or how attractive you think you are/aren’t…few things compare to the glow that comes from someone who knows their identity in Christ and own it.

A confidence that enables someone to live passionately… to be secure enough in their own identity, that they can celebrate with others when something awesome happens to them…a boldness to take risks and maybe even fail miserably–but be able to get back up and keep moving forward…

Of course, this confidence has to be rooted in something much more lasting than a person’s appearance or abilities...those things can change in an instant. One bad or accident and BOOM. Mega confidence drop.

But Jesus? He’s the one constant in life. He’s not going anywhere.

He’s where I want to put my confidence. 

Blessings,

Sasha

PS Please note the picture that came with this post…if ya wanna grow in confidence, then there’s no room for negative self-talk like that in your mind, honey. Change your thoughts and your feelings will follow 🙂 

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Some Days Are Like That

alexSome days are awesome. The sun is shining, you don’t get stuck at any red lights, and everyone seems to be especially fond of you.

And then there’s not-so-awesome days. You’re running late, keep saying all the wrong things, and totally forget to turn your car lights off so now you’re stranded at your house until you can finally get ahold of someone who can help you jumpstart your vehicle…these are all hypothetical examples, of course.

Okay, who are we kidding? This is my life right now.

But ya know what? Jesus loves me. Even in the midst of my mistakes and tiredness and over-stressing the small things, Jesus still really likes me. Which says a lot because, I manage to totally annoy myself (along with everyone else) when I get stressed.

But Jesus is so much bigger than me. He’s bigger than my mistakes or changes of plans or mishaps. He’s bigger than my imperfections. Bigger than my to-do list and the number of people I’ve had to (or should) apologize to today.

Jesus is good. And sometimes, in the midst of stress-outs and dumb comments and leaving the car lights on…I need to take a moment to quiet myself and remember that. It’s really gonna be okay.  All these mishaps that seem so terrible and tragic, are nothing compared to the glory and power of God. He is so much bigger than this…unlike me, He’s not stressed at all.

I don’t know what you’re life looks like today. Maybe it’s totally awesome! And that’s fantastic 🙂 But, on the occasion that a day should feel more challenging than others, I just want to take a moment to encourage you. Jesus is still in control and is still so in love with you. So take a moment and breathe–it’s really gonna be okay.

And if all else fails, just remember “…Some days are like that, even in Australia.” ~Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Blessings,

Sasha

(*Update: My awesome father just called and is coming to the rescue. Praise God for family.)

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That One Time I Ran Into A Door

puppyrunOkay. So, like, earlier this week, I kinda thought that maybe I was having an off day and secretly bugging the crap outta everyone.

We’ve all had those moments, right? Like, where we get too much into our heads and start assuming the worst about everything? Or, like, someone responds differently than you thought and you’re totally like, “Oh my gosh. Now they think I’m a freak. A weird freak who gets easily stressed out  and can’t plan too many things over text because she gets  confused and ends up having to take a nap.”

…That’s normal, right?

Look, here’s the deal: Whether you tend to be an extreme thinker (who often crosses into over-thinking) or not, we all have moments where we feel more awkward/dorkier than others.

Like last week when I ran into a glass door.

It can be easy to let those less-than-smooth moments  cling to you for the rest of the day, lingering like the smell of old trash.

But here’s the truth. As awkward as it was for me to run into a glass door, within 5 minutes, everyone had moved on and stopped thinking about it. All those cringe-worthy moments that seem so terrible and humiliating are a way bigger deal to us than to anyone else. Really. I can pretty much guarantee you that no one else was walking around the rest of the day, re-playing my run in with the door. (And if someone else really was thinking about it that much…well, that’s creepy.)

It can be so easy to keep going over and over all the dumb things we’ve done and said. If you’re like me, you’ve probably said and done quite a few dumb things, so ya have a good list to choose from. But, guyssss…that’s only gonna drive you crazy.

Earlier today, I was getting into a bit of a funk. I’d had a couple less-than-smooth moments and was really starting to let them get to me. Like, getting waaaay to far into my head, when in actuality, probably no one else was  giving me a second thought. Really. Most people do not think about me that much. And if they do, it’s still not nearly as much as I think about myself. (How’s that for some perspective? )

So, I had to take a moment. I had to mentally step back, breathe, and remind myself–everyone has awkward moments and feels unsure and does dumb things sometimes.  Was my awkward moment today going to affect my life 5 minutes from now? Possibly. What about 5 months from now? No…and definitely not 5 years from now…

Then is it really worth getting so stressed out over? 

Most likely not.

So what about you? Run into any glass doors lately?

Blessings,

Sasha

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To All the People I’ve Mentally Slapped

balloonsEvery day, all of us come face to face with our personal challenges and struggles. I mean, unless you’re super human, you’re most likely dealing with some less-than-perfect stuff right now. Relationships are often a key place where these weaknesses are exposed.

It feels like nothing reveals my weaknesses faster than other people–family, friends, leaders, that random guy at the thrift store who wouldn’t stop talking to me about thunder storms… you get the idea.

I get offended way more easily than I’d like.I judge people and use sharp words.  I’m usually way more interested in myself than anybody else. I struggle with forgiveness. On average, I mentally slap people in the face several times a week. Sometimes several times a day, depending on my mood

Here’s the deal: People can really stink sometimes. They do and say hurtful things all the time ( you probably do it too, hun, but that’s not the point right now.) And sometimes, they’re just downright annoying and we don’t feel like dealing with them.

I can’t control what people are going to say or do to me. I can’t make someone change their behavior or respond the way I want them to. Believe me, I have tried to change people on numerous occasions, and it’s just a waste of energy. I can’t change anyone.

Except myself. I do have control over Sasha. I‘m the one who gets to decide how to respond to others. I get to choose how I’m going to navigate my emotions. I’m the one who decides what I’m going to do with conflict. Obviously, some options are better than others but, at the end of the day, God has given me the freedom to choose.

Welp, that’s great. I have freedom to choose how I respond to others…now just to narrow down all the options and freaking decide how I’m going to respond. Great. I just love making decisions…NOT.

It’d be so nice if there was a detailed guide for everything we’ll face in relationships. A play-by-play on how to handle each of our specific circumstances.

Alas, that is not so. There was no manual instructing me on how to handle the dude at the thrift store who wouldn’t stop talking about the weather…which is why I just smiled and nodded the entire time. But that’s beside the point.

While there is no specific “this is what is going to happen in your relationships and exactly what you should do and say”  book out there, Jesus did give us a one-size fits all option.

Love.

Love is always the best and most appropriate response. (Luke 10:27)

Granted, love can look really different depending on the people and circumstances. Love doesn’t always look like smiling and nodding politely. Sometimes it looks like confrontation. Like setting boundaries. Like giving of yourself to serve someone else. Like asking for help.

Love doesn’t mean that people will always agree or like what you’re doing. Crazy as it sounds, most people don’t enjoy confrontation or being told “no”.

But, it does mean that, no matter how others treat or respond to me, I’m choosing to go to Jesus about it. To trust Him with my heart. To allow Him to heal me. Choosing to lean on Him and make decisions based on His heart, not on my own understanding. Allowing Him to help me process, so that I would be motivated to respond out of love, not fear.

It’s a process that requires a lot of leaning. This whole love thing can feel mega confusing sometimes.

Yet it’s so worth it at the end.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

Blessings,

Sasha

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