2018: God Searching

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Welcome to 2018!

I’ve been journaling a bit more lately. Some would call it soul searching. I’d prefer to call it God searching. While I’ve been a Christian for sometime, my words and my actions didn’t always portray that fact. During college, I usually skipped church more than I went. Drank a bit more than I should. Lost touch of friends when I should’ve stood by their side. My priorities were off.

I’m starting to see that without God as the focal point of my life, my actions turn selfish, my words turn angry and my heart turns colder.

Now, I don’t want this to be just a realization. With thought needs to come action, thus I’ve been spending more time in the Bible, more time in prayer and less time trying to “get ahead” in life for my own purposes.

You might have noticed that my Instagram bio has changed, that I’ve been posting longer captions and more quotes. With a soul change comes a presence change. Partnering with my presence in real life, I’m changing my presence online as well. My goal is to inspire others to place God in the center of everything.

I’ve created a hashtag #DaughterInGrace. Feel free to use it when posting Bible verses, inspiring quotes or when reposting from this page. Christianity is a community. Let’s feed each other.

Below are a few quote graphics that I have made. Please repost if you feel that God is calling you to do so.

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x,

Rebecca

Good Books + Cozy Things

My favorite fall weekends are spent curled up in a heavy blanket, sweater and fuzzy socks with a good novel that warms the soul. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWhile boarding an airplane weeks ago, I ordered a few books on Amazon and have been itching to crack them open and explore the stories within. I’m on a holiday reprieve from traveling so I spent this past weekend diving into different worlds. Two paperbacks ended up being fantastic reads, both for contrasting reasons.

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Sisters First 

by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush

This non-fiction piece details the lives of the Bush twins, first daughters of President George Bush. Heartwarming, each page is filled with stories of youth, life lessons and family traditions. It gives an inside look into the world of the First Family – a privilege and responsibility not given to many.

Recommended for those who need a sweet, true story or for those interested in White House behind-the-scene anecdotes.

Love Her Wild

by Atticus

Short-form poetry at its best, this book is filled with sayings that awake the adventure in every spirit. Atticus, an Instagram poet, keeps his readers inspired with fanciful language and well thought out ideas. Full page pictures co-exist with paragraphs of rhymes.

Recommended for those who enjoy inspiration from few words, coffee table reads and Atticus’s Instagram.

This months reads are inspiring, calming and create a lust for adventure. Perfect for cuddling up with a cup of hot cocoa on a brisk fall day. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

INSPIRE: Finding Everyday Beauty

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Welcome to the next installment of the INSPIRE series where anyone can share their outlook on life. This piece is by Jessica. Enjoy and share! Editors Note: All featured posts have been edited for length and clarity.

Positive Mind + Positive Vibes + Positive Life

There are always life events that can make us look at life in a negative way. One small thing can have an impact on our daily lives. I have learned over the past few years that it’s better to live life in “Find Positivity In Everything” state of mind than to let negativity take over my day.

I have more to be happy about than negative.

I was recently on vacation in Belize. I was swimming in the ocean and decided to go snorkeling. I noticed coral where I was swimming, but didn’t pay attention to the danger. I felt a sting in my ankle and returned to shore. I looked at my ankle to see that it wasn’t a small scrape.

I had two options: to call it a day and sit in the sand while everyone else splashed and enjoyed the beautiful crystal turquoise sea, or clean the cut, put on a bandage and enjoy the beautiful paradise in front of me.

Life is too beautiful and a huge blessing not to live it in a positive way!

I chose to be positive. I chose to not let negativity take over my day. There is always a reason to smile and be positive I hope y’all can always find it.

-Jessica Tristan

Jessica is a proud southern belle from Texas where she spends most of her time living a positive and happy life full of color. Some of her favorite things to do include traveling, crafting, taking Instagram photos and having a delicious scoop or two of mango sherbet! Make sure to follow her on Instagram @Missjessicabellexo. 

 

INSPIRE: 6 Steps to Becoming an Effective Leader

Welcome to the next installment of the INSPIRE series. This piece is written by Matt, a driven leader who wants to share his insight with others. Enjoy & share!

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I say this in two parts: first, the overarching theme that I am about to share with you is not groundbreaking, though it is my goal to shine it in a different light through my experiences. Second, and most importantly, I have failed numerous times in individual opportunities to lead others effectively; however, without these trying moments I would have never gained some of the most valuable lessons that I have to share with you. I do not claim to be a perfect leader, but I do claim to be an individual who strives each day to serve others better than I did the day before. The following are just a few of the lessons that I have learned. I hope that they help you as much as they’ve helped me!

“An effective leader will always pass the recognition onto the general body…”

  1. Leadership is a mindset. Many people will claim that “leaders” posses a certain talent or skill. However, I have found that leadership is more so dependent on a state of mind. While personality traits such as confidence, innovation, and decisiveness may enhance an individual’s potential to be a great leader, even the most skilled individuals may not be able to lead if they aren’t willing to put others before themselves. Effective leaders shift the focus from themselves onto those whom they are serving. Every action that you take within your role should be taken with the intention of benefiting the people or organization that you are serving.
  2. Find your role. As a leader, you will have a large influence in determining the direction that your organization takes. The question arises: How can you effectively lead without knowing your own role? Without a true understanding of your position, your potential as an effective leader will remain untapped because the time and energy that you invest into the organization will lack structure. Luckily, many organizations have a written description of their positions and the roles assigned to each. Read them. Additionally, ask your fellow members how they would like to see you integrate your leadership abilities in the organization. No matter how established your organization may be, your members will be satisfied knowing that they picked the right person to represent them if you let them play a role in determining how you lead the organization.
  3. Set realistic goals. After you have defined your role as a leader, take some time with your members to facilitate the establishment of the organization’s goals. These goals should be measurable and under the control of your organization. I recommend setting no more than five goals at a time so you will be able to pay proper attention to each of them individually.
  4. Follow through. Once you have listed your organization’s goals, now comes the time to plan out exactly how you are going to accomplish them. Though it may seem odd at first, I have found an approach called backwards planning or backwards goal-setting to be extremely helpful in completing daily tasks and long term goals. This mindset puts the focus on where you want to be at some point in time rather than concentrating mainly on where you are currently. To use this approach, first, picture your organization accomplishing a specific goal. Then, ask yourself what your organization would need to do just before that moment to reach the specific goal. In doing so, you have set a subgoal that will occur just prior to accomplishing the final goal. Repeat this step over and over again until you find yourself where you are currently. Retracing your steps from the finish line to the starting point will provide you with a roadmap to success by breaking down even the largest goals into smaller, more attainable pieces.
  5. Build individualized relationships in your organization. No two people are exactly the same. So why would you use the same approach to motivate members in your organization to accomplish a desired task? Your members are driven in their daily life by various factors, which will come into play when fulfilling their responsibilities in your organization. Thus, an effective leader will take the time to get to know each of his or her members on a personal level. By discovering the different reasons that each member joined, not only will you gain a better perspective of what they would like to see in the future, but you will also identify ways in which they can be inspired to help the organization reach its goals.
  6. Recognize others and share thanks. Oftentimes, the leader is looked to as the face of an organization. This can be a very humbling experience for many leaders, as you will be congratulated for nearly everything that the organization accomplishes, regardless of how involved you were with the process. An organization’s daily operation requires the hardwork of many people working together and thus an effective leader will always pass the recognition onto the general body or to those who were responsible for the feat.

Organizational leaders go to phenomenal efforts to see that goals are met and deadlines are reached. There may be times where you feel overwhelmed and overworked, but never let a day go by that you don’t thank those around you for the unconditional support that they offer you. In due time, you will see the work that you put in pay off through the positive impacts that you make on your organization and its members.

 

For the past year and a half, Matt has served as the Chapter President for Phi Delta Theta – Missouri Iota at Lindenwood University. Along the way, he has gathered countless pieces of information on how to be a more effective leader from personal experiences, lessons from other leaders, and many missteps.

INSPIRE: Life’s a Lake

Welcome to the next installment of the INSPIRE series. This metaphorical piece relates a lake to life. I hope you enjoy this article by the artistic Jen as she takes you on an inspirational journey. 

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Growing up, most of my favorite summer memories were on the lake. I was one with nature and I was in my own paradise. I would just float in an inner tube for hours. Rain or shine, I was on the water. The lake would just set my soul on fire.  This is where I would be the most relaxed, where I was my true self. Being surrounded by gentle waves and warm rays of sunshine, adventure was endless.

“You can make your corner as clean and colorful as you want.”  

Think of life like the lake. You are surrounded by all things good and natural. Every day is a new story, a new adventure, a new start.  You control the vibes the water send you. You are in control of letting the bad vibes drip down the pier and sink to the bottom of the lake. You will receive the vibes you give out. The lake is just a canvas, in which everyone has a piece. You can make your corner as clean and colorful as you want. Why make it dark and gloomy?

Sometimes things get in the way of our happiness in life. The water will carry toxic relationships, depression, or accidents. We let this pollute our lake. We forget how amazing our lives are and how fortunate we are to live in a world of adventure and love. The dark clouds of anger and hatred may cover the warm rays of sunshine, but we have options. Wait for the clouds to pass, or look past them to the horizon. Life is our lake, and we only have so many days to make the most of it! Don’t spend your days inside, hiding from the rest of the world.

“Take some time to focus on you.”

What does your lake look like? Do you need to clean up a little? Take some time to focus on you; it’s okay to take some time to clean up your lake. Come out and enjoy the sunshine. Life may get you down, but you can either stay at the bottom of your lake or swim up to surface. Surround your lake with only the best people for you. The water carries vibes both ways. This is just some inspiration for a lovely life.

 

Jen Wunder is a junior at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri. She is an Interactive Media and Web Design major with a passion for branding. Jen also writes for the Odyssey Online, and is currently interning with the River City Rascals. In her free time, Jen is usually found at hockey games screaming her heart out. She loves Disney vacations, Gingham’s pancakes at 3am, and heart-to-heart talks with her Tri Sigma sisters.