March 13, 2014

3 Secrets For A Happier Life!

Who doesn't love a good secret? Thankfully, this is a secret that you can share! So maybe it's not totally a secret but I've got some juicy details in here! When it comes to life, we will experience hard times. I just got off the phone with two friends who are dealing with situations so heartbreaking that I was fighting tears while on the phone with them. In the midst of all trials and in the midst of all triumphs, we must be sure to follow these three rules in order to continue to receive the best in life and to also shine the light of Christ to those we come in contact with! 

1. Be kind. 

As a child, it wasn't uncommon to hear parents stress the importance of being kind. 
"Don't hit your brother!" "Say 'excuse me'!" There were always plenty of reinforcements to encourage you to be kind. We live in a society where people feel so entitled. If you feel like hitting someone, you do it. If said person gets upset about it, they're in the wrong. Why? Because you felt like doing something so as a result, you should be able to. There's no more excuse me. We cut people off. We cut people off on the road and in conversation. We interrupt and get upset when they remind us that they were in the middle of talking. Why? Because we feel entitled. If I want something, I should be able to get it when I want it without waiting or being excused. A person who wants friends must show themselves friendly. If you are not kind, friendly, jovial, or pleasant, it's going to be very hard for people to actually enjoy being around you. They may be around you to appease you or make sure you don't go off on them in anger but the reality is that our best selves are shown in environments where we feel safe. An environment where someone is unkind is an environment of tension. If you don't want people feeling like they're walking on eggshells around you, learn to become genuinely kind. No situation, good or bad, is an excuse to be unkind. 

2. Be open. 

There is a sense of control that we all like to have in situations. Even when it comes to growing in our Christian walk, we're constantly hearing about how there is a need to SURRENDER our will over to God's and give Him full control. Most (if not all) Christians don't like the sound of that. However, being open to the concept of surrender WILL make your life better because of who you're surrendering it to. Be open to what God has to offer you because He wants to restore you and heal you. Be open to the experiences and people God will bring into your path. They will enhance your life, whether it be through a lesson learned or a friendship gained. Don't close yourself off based on fear of hurt, failure or insecurity. Give that to God because if the enemy can keep you in a place where you're closed off, you won't grow. Let the light in and be open! 

3. Be grateful. 

My senior pastor did a sermon a few years ago around Thanksgiving time. I always reference it because it really did change the trajectory of my life. I naturally look at life from a skeptical/negative view. I anticipate what could go wrong. I worry and get afraid. It's pretty crippling. However, after listening to her sermon on gratitude, I was CHANGED. She encouraged the congregation to get into the habit of being grateful for each breath and opportunity to get things right with God. We also needed to "in all things, give thanks". So when negative things happen to you (which they will), it's your job to put on the grateful lens and see the good that can come out of the situation. If you do that with each moment, you will develop a lifestyle of gratitude. Even if you have to focus on the fact that you are still breathing or that you're in your right mind, those are blessings that shouldn't be taken for granted.  Thanksgiving and gratitude are disciplines that must be developed. They're not easy but they're totally worth it!

I hope I've encouraged you to accept these three points into your life. 
May God continue to bless you as you seek Him with your whole heart!

- dani

March 11, 2014

Updates & Expectations

So, there is a ton of stuff going on in my life right now! I'm really really excited and busy which partly why the blog has gone on the back burner. So today, I simply wanted to give an update on what's going on with the me & the blog as well as what to expect in the future!

Updates & Expectations
1. One of my dreams was to become a freelance writer. I've been doing that since 2009 but the money was extremely slow. I finally have hustled my way to the point where I can do freelance writer full-time!!! I can't believe it. I am currently juggling the writing as well as other gigs but now, I'm in a position where I've developed enough clients so I can focus 100% of my efforts on writing. My last daytime job ends in July! From July onward, it's completely me full-time! Aaahh!!! I'm so excited! Praise the Lord from whom ALL blessings flow!!! 

2. God has truly been opening doors and showing me different avenues to serve and grow as a Christian. I started a dance ministry last year and it's growing! New members are joining and the old members are growing in their abilities! I'm moving a lot quicker through rehearsals and we're able to do more challenging moves which is really exciting! Our next performance is in two weeks. I can't wait.  I also joined the leadership of my church as an Elder in training. Last year, my senior pastor told me she wanted me to pray about the position and consider it. For many reasons, I knew I needed to do it. The main reason is personal spiritual growth. Our church's motto is prayer, love and service. The position has been stretching me in ways I couldn't have seen coming and it's only March. However, the stretching is a REALLY good thing for me. I'm excited, nervous and super humbled by the opportunity to serve God and my church in a way that forces me to dig deeper into Christ!!! God is really good!!!

3. My #purpleyear journey is going well! I'm taking dance lessons now and it's exciting! I started with Low Intermediate Modern Dance. Even though the classes are a blast, I need the formal education foundation so I'm going to bump myself down to Beginner ballet. I really want to learn the vocabulary as well as the techniques. It's not a journey that will be completed within a year. This is more of a lifetime journey but I'm SOOOO excited and I can't wait to see how I grow as a dancer! 

4. I looked at the bottom of this blog and looked at my feature called "popular posts". I realized that I needed to get back to the root of why I started this blog. I got to a point where I was only talking about God (which isn't a bad thing) but I wasn't doing enough exploring, taste testing, experimenting and [photo] documenting in my life. So, reviews are coming back! More DIYs are coming back and just more fun, creativity as well and more personal posts will be shared. I think it's important to share and be a little bit more vulnerable. It really helps others to break through and part of the way that we will overcome as Christians is by the word of our testimony!

5. You can pin me!!! If you hover your mouse over any image I post, you can bookmark it in your Pinterest boards (if you're on Pinterest). You can also join my email list to the right of this page. Joining the email list guarantees that you won't miss a single DSO post! And no worries, spam won't be involved! This is a #nospamzone!!! 

Three cheers for continuing to dream something up!!! 

Much love,