My Goals in 2018

I used to not participate in New Year’s Resolutions or Goal-Making. I felt it was setting myself up for failure, especially if I did not achieve what I wanted in life.  So, I used to avoid doing resolutions, almost like the plague.  However, in 2017, God has given me a greater motivation to make and achieve goals. The goals that I will make for the year 2018, I believe, not only feed my drive for success but cater to my two overarching purposes in life:

  • To glorify God in everything.
  • To show people the love that God has already constantly shown me.

Here are some of my 2018 goals and how I strive to achieve them:

Spiritual/Personal Goals

  1. Cope with my anger issues more effectively
    • Count to ten before expressing my anger.
    • Take deep breaths when anxious or uncomfortable.
    • Think about the positives of the current situation (even if it is a mostly negative situation)
    • Try to refocus on my overarching purposes in life (Glorify God and show people God’s love)
    • Try to think about the negative consequences of inappropriately expressing my anger, and so avoid becoming angry in the first place.
  2. Get out of my comfort zone to glorify God at least once a week.
    • Do something kind for another person even if it inconveniences me a little bit.
    • Don’t complain or get upset when asked to do something uncomfortable, but see it as an opportunity to glorify God and die to self.
  3. Read through the Old Testament in a year and also part of the New Testament (since I will have already read through it this year. At this time of writing, I am only 5 or 6 chapters away from finishing Revelation)
    • Read at least 2 Old Testament chapters a day, and 1 New Testament chapter on Weekends.
    • If I miss a day, do the readings on the day that I missed.
  4. Don’t worry as much about things.
    • Think of ways to solve the problem/issue at hand other than worrying
    • Memorize Romans 8:28.
    • Focus on how God will bring good out of the situation and focus on His goodness and that He’s not trying to hurt me.
    • Memorize Jeremiah 29:11.
  5. Think more positively about others.
    • Say to myself, “This person is not out to maliciously hurt me. They just want to get through the day.”
    • Remind myself that everyone has a story and is probably going through something or has gone through something that is painful or challenging. (Re: “Be kind quote”)
    • Recall positive qualities about said person or persons.
    • Thank everyone that does something truly kind for someone (including me).

Work (Day Job) goals

  1. Get a reward (a pin) by providing excellent customer service.
    • Ask myself, “How can I go above and beyond for this person?”
    • Walk the customer whenever possible to the item they are looking for.
    • Apologize if you cannot find the item the customer is looking for, and ask someone else who knows the item better than me.
    • Look for every possible way (if possible) to help customers find the item or items they are looking for.
  2. Pass the test to become a department manager
    • Learn at least 3 department manager related things
    • Be more intentional about being a “to-be leader” in my department
    • Take the test by August 2018.
  3. Get returns done in an average of less than 45 minutes
    • Walk the department before work or the first few minutes of work to see if there are any changes to the mods to know the department even better.
    • Be willing to work different areas of the store, so to know other departments too.
  4. Learn at least 3 department manager related things
    • Set up times with manager I (or whoever the manager is) to learn DM stuff.
    • Take the iniative to ask the current department manager or managers about how to do certain things.
    • Practice more DM things, over and over, until I am good at said thing.
  5. Be a trained cashier.
    • In January or February of 2018, ask to train for cashiering.
    • Train at least 2x a week.
    • Memorize and learn what is needed to be known for cashiering.

Blogging Goals

  1. Get started with affiliate marketing.
    • Find a Hosting Website
    • Join at least 3 affiliate marketing programs/companies.
    • Review products for them at least 2 to 3 times a week.
  2. Earn money from affiliate marketing (see goal #1 under blogging)
  3. Write a total of at least 200 posts (combined from this year and 2015 year)
    • Consistently write at least 2 X a week.
    • Write a variety of posts but sticking to the motivational/spiritual/social justice themes.
    • Write more poetry or how-to posts.
  4. Get up to a total of at least 500 posts total.
    • (See goal #4 under blogging)
  5. Write a blog post at least 2x a week
    • Set up a time before or after work to write OR write at least a blog post each of the two days that I am off work.
    • Have at least 10 different topics to write about each month (probably more) so I will have content to write about.
    • Write a little more poetry reflecting on spiritual/ motivational/social justice themes, of course.
  6. Get more followers on Pinterest and Twitter
    • Join more blogging groups
    • Engage more with others on these websites
    • Promote other people’s content

These are some of my goals for the year 2018. I know it is quite a hefty list, and I may not achieve all of them. However, this list will motivate me to live better and become a more engaged and motivated individual in life. What are your goals in 2018? Do you also avoid making goals like I did in the past, or do you make resolutions every year? Please feel free to comment.

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The Grinch of Christmas: Harms of Commercialization

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I want to know, what does Christmas mean to you? What do you think it is supposed to mean? For many, it means celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and all He represents.  For others, it may mean spending more time with family and other loved ones.  For still others, it means getting people the best gifts ever.

Though Christmas and the holiday season are supposed to be joyous times, many people become stressed and even disillusioned. One of the major reasons why people may be disillusioned is reflected in the results of a Pew Research poll*, where 33% of those surveyed dislike the commercialization of Christmas, and I agree with the 33%. Here is why I believe the commercialization of Christmas is harmful to the holiday and to us:

  1. It misses the point.—Christmas is primarily not about the gifts we receive from loved ones, but commercialization makes Christmas only about the material things we give and receive. Commercialization is very superficial in this aspect. Commercialization can make us so affixed to the gift aspects of Christmas, that we completely miss the real point of Christmas—celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and what He means to us.  The word Christmas even contains “Christ” in it!  We are supposed to remember the founder of Christmas—Jesus, not just see if we can get the best gifts or give the flashiest and most elegant gifts.
  2. It creates more stress than is necessary.—Besides missing the point of the true meaning of Christmas, it creates a lot more stress than is needed for this time of year. A lot of people, because we have created a society of entitlement and materialism, stress out about what gifts to give others.  They think if they don’t give just the right gift the receiver will not only be disappointed come Christmas, but also may think less of them (the giver).  Some people also stress out about how much they can afford (more on that later) and how much they should or shouldn’t give a particular person. Also, a lot of people buy and cook elaborate meals for this holiday. Now, I am in no way against people cooking good food and having elaborate meals to celebrate Christmas and other December holidays,  but sometimes they get so stressed during the preparation of the meal that they are unable to enjoy themselves or their loved ones, a lot like Martha in the Bible who was trying to prepare an elaborate meal for Jesus and the other guests there without taking the time to get to know him or anyone else there.
  3. People that are marginalized are left out of the celebration when the holidays become commercialized.—Because of all the emphasis this time of year on gift giving, people who are struggling financially or in other ways, are often left out of being able to participate in this aspect. Imagine seeing your friends being able to afford fancy jewelry for their loved ones, and you would like to give one of them to your mom who is sick or dying, but not having enough to buy it. However, if the true meaning and the more spiritual aspects of Christmas were emphasized more, the joy and the hope that Christmas has to offer would be able to be realized by even society’s marginalized!  The privileged in this society would give to those who are more marginalized because they would know and understand that everyone deserves joy and peace this Christmas, not just themselves.  More people would be less materialistic and put more time in to help the hurting and needy, and spend more time with those who matter most to them.

 

These are just some of the harmful aspects of commercialization. Of course, I am not against shopping, as I do a share bit of that myself. However, rather than stress out about food preparations and gifts to give loved ones and friends this holiday season, let’s think about the true meaning of Christmas, and cherish those we love. Finally, let’s bring joy and hope to those who find this time of year difficult.

 

 

*Source: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/18/celebrating-christmas-and-the-holidays-then-and-now/

 

Things I am Most Thankful For This Year

With the end of the year coming the end of next month and with five days until Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on things that we are thankful for this year.  A lot has happened to me in this past year, both good and bad. Many things that I have experienced this year have served to better my character and bring me closer to God, and for that I am grateful for, too.  Although I am thankful for much more than I can probably compile in a list today, the following are the people, places, and things that I am most thankful for this year and why:

  1. God’s love for me—I believe God has shown me over and over again of His great love for me. He has not only saved my life about seventeen years ago,  but He has also never let me give up on life and showered me with blessings like family, friends, a full-time job, purpose, and the ability to relate to you today.  Sadly, I have only recently realized some of the amazing things that God has given to me.  I know I will never know the depth of His love to me, but even knowing a glimpse of it gives me much joy and fulfillment in life!
  2. My family and friends—My mom, dad, and brother have helped me throughout my life, and have served to help me understand God’s love better. I am now beginning to realize how much they have sacrificed for me and for all of us. My friends have also been a godsend to me.  I feel their support and their love on a daily basis as well. We have been there for each other, and I always learn something valuable from them that helped better me as a person and as a follower of Jesus.
  3. My church and everyone there—It has been over a year since I walked into the church which I am now a member. At first, I didn’t think I would be there as long as I have, but I am glad I am a member now.  The pastors have helped me dramatically improve the quality of my interactions with God and others. One of my pastors there helped me to be able to commune with God more effectively.  Another pastor helped me through a difficult time that I had with someone, and I gratefully report that this person and I get along pretty well these days!  If it had not been for God’s love and the people of my church, I don’t know where I would be today.
  4. My job as a sales associate—Even though I get stressed out sometimes, I can honestly say I find satisfaction in my job. I love interacting with co-workers and customers, and serving them as well. I love the challenge it gives me to be Christ-like to others and to do an overall good job. Although there have been times when I failed at my job, the successes and rewards outweigh them all.   I have learned so much from almost everyone I have interacted there, including and especially the management there.  I am beginning to see exactly why I am there and what my role is to be there—to show others the love that I have received and not to keep it to myself by serving others at my job and by striving for excellence.
  5. The ability to write—I love being able to write, and that God has given me this gift to be able to relate to others. (By the way, I write MUC H better than I speak!) I love being able to express myself in this way and encourage people with my words.
  6. My blogging community—I am thankful for you, the reader, who visit my blog. I also am part of an online community where I get to read and support other bloggers of different niches. This has helped me develop an interest in many different things, which has awakened me to explore more and develop almost a child-like curiosity. This curiosity has helped me gain purpose in life and healed me from depressive episodes that I had suffered earlier in my life.
  7. My brother’s cat—The first time I got to see his cat (virtually), I fell in love with him (the cat)! Although I am very allergic to cats, I can see he brings much joy and love to my brother.  I love that about this cat!

These are the things that I am most thankful for this year. Of course, I am thankful for many more things, but that could take years to write!  All these people, places, and things have helped bring me to the place where I am today in life.  And for that, I am very, very thankful. What are you most thankful for this year? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

 

What I Learned From the Movie, Miracles From Heaven

DISCLAIMER: Contains movie spoilers!, sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_from_Heaven_(film)

Last Sunday night, my mom offered to watch a movie with me that she thought I’d like. It was called “Miracles From Heaven.” Wanting to spend a little quality time with her, I agreed. It turned out to be one of the best movie decisions I’ve ever made in my life! I learned so much from this movie about how to live life, and here are some of the main lessons I learned from that movie:

  1. Sometimes you have to go through the storms (i.e: pain) in order to see the sunshine (i.e the miracle or blessing). –10 year old Annabel (Anna) Beam started experiencing vomiting, intense stomach pains, and almost died, before being miraculously cured of her illness after falling into a hollow tree hole.  In the movie, Anna is depicted at one point as wanting to die because her pain is so intense. She no longer cared about life and became very depressed. However, after she was saved, life had a new purpose. However, if Anna had never gotten sick, she wouldn’t have seen God’s grace intervening in her desperate situation.
  2. Live life as if everything is a miracle.–Near the end of the movie, Christy Beam (played by Jennifer Garner), Anna’s mother, begins before telling about Anna’s miraculous recovery by saying, “Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, ‘You have two choices as to how to live your life. Live as if nothing is a miracle, OR live as if everything is a miracle.’ ” Because Christy’s daughter’s life was saved, Christy began to see everything as a miracle and as precious, because she almost lost her beloved daughter and almost lost her faith in the process!  I can relate to this too, as I almost lost my life three years ago when the doctors found out that I had an enlarged gallbladder (She said it was twice the normal size! ) and that I had gallstones. If that gallbladder had burst, and I had waited longer to go to the ER, I would have most likely not be here writing in this blog today! More on this story, go here.  God suddenly reminded me of this event after I watched this movie and remembered the quote about living as if everything were a miracle.  Today, I remembered that quote as I was going about my work at my job and felt really joyful because I had remembered and realized just how blessed I am to be here and to be able to meet all the wonderful people at my job. Truly, everyone I have met, especially those that I have known for less than three years or had helped me through my illness is a testament to my miraculous life!
  3. Be grateful for all those people in your life that helped you succeed or get you through life .—In the movie, Christy pays tribute to all those who helped her and her daughter Anna through her (Anna’s) illness. She thanks Angela, the waitress who befriends Christy and Anna and walks them through the ordeal so they would not have to suffer alone. She thanks Dr. Nurko who treats Anna, and the receptionist who barters for a last-minute opening for her (Anna) despite her mother not having an appointment for her.  She thanks a guy friend at Anna’s school who temporarily abandons his other friends to befriend Anna so she does not feel alone in her illness.  She thanks the guy at the ticket counter who lets Anna’s father and her siblings go on the plane free, so they can see her at the hospital.  Christy does this not to gain attention, and not because she is some holy-roller, but because she realizes that she and Anna couldn’t have made it alone.  I can certainly relate too. For instance, if it had not been for the many doctors, nurses, and the surgeon who operated on me in 2014, I would not be here today. Also, I want to give a shout out to my parents, sibling, and my friend K who came to see me a few days after surgery so I wouldn’t feel alone.  Without all these people and more in my life, I wouldn’t be where or who I am today. So, thank you everyone. And I especially want to thank God, who I firmly believe made this all possible!

This is just some of what I learned in the movie, “Miracles From Heaven.” It’s a great movie; I highly recommend it.  (If you would like to purchase this movie, please go to the links in my “recommendations” section. ) It may be slow in parts, and it may not be for everyone, but if you want to live your life with more passion or purpose, this movie is a great supplement to get you thinking about life more deeply.

Most Important Things In My Life (Top 4)

Some people have said, “You make time for the people and the things that you care for the most,” and there is a lot of truth in that.  If you don’t fall on this list, please don’t think that I don’t consider you important or loved, because you are. Sometimes, I fall and get these things mixed up with other things that are not-so urgent, but I strive not to again.  For me, I choose to live my life with these top 4 priorities in mind. These are my four most important priorities in my life and why:

1.) God–Since I was sixteen years old, God took a hold of my heart and saved me from myself and my selfish lifestyle. Yes, there were several years where I really didn’t grow much in the faith, but the last several years God has shown me so much.  However, even through the rough periods of my life, God was always there for me and didn’t let me give up completely on myself or others.  He is the most important in my life simply because He deserves first place and quite literally saved my life. I believe if God were not in my life right now, I would probably be either dead or in a mental institution. I would not have a job or be blogging today. I wouldn’t have all the wonderful people in my life that I have encountered now. Quite simply, it is mainly because of God (I believe) that I am here and where I am today!

2.) Family–My parents and brother have also been there for me since day one. Yes, sometimes they have had to tell me difficult truths about myself, but because of that I have become a better person.  We have been through so much together in my years of living.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world! They have never given up once on me, and they have always been there for me when I needed them the most. I want to be there for them and care for them when they need me. I will never turn my back on them when they need my help and love the most.  Like God, they have also helped me or at least supported me throughout my life so I could serve God better.

3.) My friends--This includes my friends at church, many of my co-workers, online friends, and other friends.  Last Friday, I had dinner with some of them, and I had a meaningful and fun time with them. Most, if not all of them, I knew from my previous church or a young adult event connected with other churches in the community.  The love and unity at that dinner was amazing! I never want to lose these, or any of my other friends. Sure, a lot of them may either move away or even eventually pass on, but I want to treasure the time I have with them and love them as Christ has loved me. All my friends have taught me so much about life and even about the power of God’s love and grace in my life.

4.) My job–The job that I have as a sales associate is very important to me too, because I believe it is the catalyst that God is using for me to show His love to the world around me. Of course, He is also providing income through my job and giving me the purpose of how I can serve Him and love others. I have learned so much in the past year that I have had my job. It’s been an amazing journey! After so many stops and trials on getting just the right job for my abilities and my joys, I believe God wants me at the place that I’m at right now.  Even if someday I have to have another job,  or move somewhere else, I will always bring what I have learned in this job and carry them with me throughout my life and to other work.  However, I really, really do want to stay in the job that I have now. For a long, long time, hopefully. However, my job pales in priority to my other top 3 priorities.

These are my top 4 important priorities in my life, in order from most important to least important. We all need to think about what is most important to us in this life, and prioritize accordingly. What are YOUR  top four priorities? Why? Please feel free to share them in the comments section.