Eric Thomas and Motivation

“WHEN YOU WANT TO SUCCEED AS BAD AS YOU WANT TO BREATHE, THAT IS WHEN YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.”- Eric Thomas

I will admit that some motivational videos are extremely cheesy, but these particular videos of Eric Thomas’ motivational speech are two of my favorites. Eric Thomas is a renowned speaker, author, activist and minister. You can learn more about Eric Thomas on his website at http://etinspires.com. I just wanted to share the motivation.

 

Motivational Video P1

 

Motivational Video P2

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Life is like a box of chocolates.

This post is dedicated to my parents. 🙂

For those still getting to know me as a blogger and as a friend, I must share one VERY IMPORTANT thing with you. I am whole-heartedly in love with chocolate. I love all shapes, sizes and flavors of chocolate. My most favorite chocolates are dark chocolate truffles and mint dark chocolates (just in case you happen into a Godiva store and want to get me a treat. JK). Another important thing I need to share with you is that Courtney Carol Tipton, me :P, will own and operate her own chocolate factory one day. Point being, I like to make a lot of chocolate references and analogies…this post being one. So bear with me. Haha.

Imagine a box of chocolates laying before you waiting to be opened and tempting your every move. This box filled with an assortment of delectable chocolates is just staring at you. It almost seems like it’s whispering to you to indulge yourself.

Now, imagine that each chocolate within the box represents different kinds of days in your life. We go for the chocolate of our choice unsure what it’s going to be like once we bite into it. Once we’re one bite in, we make the decision whether we like it or don’t like it. For me, that’s how life is sometimes. We are all faced with a box of life, and within this box we are presented with the days of our life. (I am obviously figuratively speaking because if I was literally speaking…that would be one enormous box. Haha.) We never know what the day is going to be like until we bite into it. Sometimes we find our days to be quite nutty while other days are rather smooth. Some days are just sweet while others are bitter. We have colorful days, fruity days, interesting days and the list could go on…But that is the best part about seeing life as a box of chocolates (thank you Forrest Gump for the wonderful analogy), we “never know what we’re going to get”. We just have to be prepared to take the day on one bite at a time, no matter how delicious or disgusting. 🙂

To my parents, I know that you have tread rough waters lately with issues at home, but never lose sight in the beauty of your box of chocolates. 🙂 I know that is super cheesy, but you know…that’s just me. I love you both very much, and wish more than anything that I could be there to take some of your burdens off your shoulders. You have been through so much this past year, and I just wish I could come across that perfect chocolate in your box to make your day! 🙂 With love, your baby girl.

Always have faith.

Transition is never easy because transition means change. By nature, I have never been open to change. I am only human and we as humans, more often than not, are creatures of habit. Fortunately, college has “changed” my mindset on change and transition. I credit college for humbling me and forcing me outside my comfort zone. Although I still resist change at times, I am open to new things, new people, new places and new adventures. My point in all of this is that today I took a leap outside my comfort zone.

I attended a wonderful church this morning, Riverbend Community Church in Lexington, South Carolina with two of my friends from my graduate program. Now, you’re probably wondering why I said that today was a leap outside my comfort zone, so let me explain. I wasn’t raised in a family that went to church. Granted, I was raised Christian, but I didn’t grow up in a church community. In high school, I explored my faith and would attend church with friends every so often, but I never got that feeling of belonging. Plus, it was difficult not getting to share those experiences with my family. Furthermore, when I moved to Tampa, I had a difficult transition with friends and involvement in a toxic relationship. I always say that first year in college was my “all time low”, but those moments of weakness teach us more about ourselves than our moments of strength. I learned a lot about myself that year, including a lot about my faith. The following years as an undergrad, I took up an interfaith initiative at my university and attended a First Presbyterian church downtown. I usually went to church solo because that was most comfortable for me. I didn’t get too invovled in the First Presbyterian church other than attending Sunday worship services, and I was very non-social with members of the church community.

When I moved to Columbia this summer, I made a promise to myself to explore different church communities in town and to socialize with its members. Today, I did just that! Not only did I go to church with friends, but I socialized with members of the church. I met so many wonderful people. Like I said, the church itself was wonderful. It’s a non-denominational evangelical church committed to leadership in the church, a better sense of community through interpersonal relationships and outreach locally, regionally and globally. I truly felt a connection with the people, the church and with God. The message really spoke to me and the music gave me a deeper sense of connection. I am thankful for my experience today with Riverbend, and am appreciative of the kind and welcoming people of the community. I will most definitely be returning.

Anyways, I don’t mean to go on and on about my experiences. I just hope that for my readers you are able to experience that same kind of awakening. I hope that you maintain hope in finding your church home, or place that you can build a stronger relationship with your God. My advice to my readers, follow your heart. Your heart translates what is being said in your soul, and your soul is a direct connection with God. So just listen and follow. **And for crying our loud, don’t be afraid to socialize. People want to get to know you, they want to be resourceful to you and most importantly, they want to support you!**

“If you desire intimacy with God, go to Him in prayer. He is waiting. He will rejoice, and He will treat you with tenderness and compassion.” (Isa 40:11)

A Summer of Memories

Happy Friday beautiful readers. 🙂

This summer has been a summer of remarkable memories. College graduation being the kick-off. I am the first of my family to graduate from a four-year college, and walking across that stage on graduation knowing my parents were there watching me receive my diploma was the proudest moment of my life. Through the sea of people at graduation, I could practically see the smile radiating on my parents’ faces. I could feel in my heart that they were so proud. My favorite moment of the entire ceremony was looking up to find my parents in the crowd as I first walked onto the green to take my seat. I am almost positive I saw my dad crying…but he would never admit that.

Saying goodbye to mentors, advisers, professors and friends was hard, but I knew it was the beginning of a new journey. My loving boyfriend helped me pack up my car with all my crap, which was not an easy task. For those that don’t know me, I drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse… therefore, packing all my stuff up in my car wasn’t an easy task, especially since I have so much of it. Haha Regardless, we got everything stuffed into my car and surprisingly had enough room to fit us, too. Our trip home was draining, but comforting knowing we were together. After a long nights drive, we  had finally reached the Nati. The one city in Ohio that will always hold special memories.

To explain, the city of Cincinnati will always hold a special place in my heart. I fell in love with the man of my dreams sitting on a rooftop in Cincinnati. Hand in hand, with our legs dangling off the edge, I looked into his eyes and knew at that moment he was the one. The feelings racing through my mind and heart on that rooftop can only be described as true love…and I promise, no skyline will ever compare to the Cincy skyline that night. It was a skyline that painted a picture of love, hope and a future with a man I would dedicate my everything.

Sorry to get off track, I always feel the need to explain why Cincinnati means so much to me. 🙂 I stayed in the city with my boyfriend for a few days before venturing back to my stomping grounds, Lancaster, Ohio. My parents hosted a wonderful graduation party for me that next weekend with great food, loving family and close friends. It meant so much to me that everyone came out to celebrate my accomplishment. The most memorable part of the party was when my parents met Benjamin’s parents for the first time. (We are going on two years of being together, so our parents meeting each other was a really big deal for us.) Overall, the party was wonderful.

That Monday, my mom and I were off to Hawaii. I wrote a more detailed version of our vacation below with pictures to illustrate our good times. The mother-daughter trip was more than I could have asked for. Last summer, my mom and I traveled to Italy together. This year, keeping with the summer travel tradition, we went to Hawaii. What I love most about my travels with my mom is seeing her so happy showing me around and spending that valuable time together. It’s just that quality mother-daughter time that I know she misses with me being away.

The weekend we returned from Hawaii was a bit chaotic with me packing everything back up and saying my goodbyes, but it was a beautiful ending to my time at home. I spent that Saturday afternoon with my boyfriend at Dawes Arboretum walking around, talking and soaking in the calming effects of nature. That evening, we went to Confluence Park with our best friends Kyle and Sarah for an amazing dinner on the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers. Dinner was followed by the Funny Bone, which you could imagine had us laughing our asses off.

Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to Ohio yet again because this girl was headed South. Since I have been here in Cola, I have had an amazing time. South Carolina is definitely a new culture shock, but I love the people and most importantly the food. Haha. I have been working at the university, meeting new friends, networking, adventuring and taking time to myself. It’s been great. My boyfriend came down to visit for the week as well as our two best friends. We all took a weekend adventure to Charleston, which was so much fun. We walked all around downtown Charleston, checked out some delicious restaurants, shopped at the market and spent some quality time on the beach. 🙂 I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

Now, I sit here sipping on a fabulous glass of wine while I  bore you with the details of my summer. For that, I apologize. I am just so unbelievably fortunate for the people in my life that bring me bundles of happiness. And yes, I just said bundles. I love the new people I am meeting (shout out to Lauren Adams, Tim Davis, Ashley Ellis, Joseph Santangelo and Kayla Lisenby). I am so excited for my new roommates to get here (shout out to Supaphen Niroula, Kelsey Jarrett and Chanda Postel). This new beginning is off to a great start and I can’t wait for the months to come.

Ya gotta love summer! 🙂

The RSA’s Video on the Changes in the Education Paradigms

In your spare time, please take the time to watch this short video. The RSA is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. I have linked their website here: The RSA.

This informative video captures the issues of today’s educational system. It’s rather interesting to see how The RSA illustrates the changes of the educational system over time, and how those changes are effecting the way students are being educated today. It’s a direct correlation to children diagnosed with “ADD” and “ADHD”.

After you watch it, I would love your feedback.

The nature of expectations…

Court’s opinion of expectations.

Dictionary.com defines the following:

Expectation- the act or state of expecting.

Expecting- anticipating the occurrence or coming of.

Reality- the state or quality of being real.

Expectations drive us. We have expectations of ourselves, of loved ones, of friends, of strangers and of our environments. We live expectations everyday. They play on our morals and give us a framework for our values. Expectation is the power of government, the communication of parenthood, the standard for relationships and the survival of youth. We do what is expected of us and assume what is expected of others. It’s a societal norm to live up to expectations… but what happens when we don’t live up to those expectations?

I have struggled with the nature of expectations for a very long time. My expectations for myself and the expectations of others have dictated my actions over the years and have influenced me in more ways than one.  I have always used expectations to guide me in making the “right” decisions, and when I don’t make the “right” decisions I feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment. Disappointment only induced by the pressure of meeting and/or exceeding expectations. Granted, expectations help us set standards for ourselves, but what is the difference between personal expectations and expectations of others?

Personally, I think expectations of yourself are a must. You can’t challenge yourself if you don’t have expectations to achieve your goals. You cannot achieve your goals if you don’t have expectations to be motivated and ambitious. But there is a fine line between having expectations of yourself and having expectations of others-especially unrealistic expectations. When someone doesn’t live up to your expectations of them, you are instantly disappointed. Disappointment leads to uneasy emotions, and those uneasy emotions are toxic. My issue with the vicious cycle of expectations is, who is to blame for the disappointment? Time and time again we blame the people who “disappointed” us, but aren’t we the ones who disappointed ourselves? Whether others know of our expectations or not, we are the ones that put the expectations in place. Therefore, if someone doesn’t meet our expectations of them and we feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment…. it is our own damn fault.

The point of my post is to bring a new perspective to expectations. We have all dealt with our own personal experiences with expectations and disappointments, but maybe it’s time we re-evaluate how we react to expectations. They always say, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. By no means am I saying don’t have expectations of others, but don’t react with disappointment when they don’t meet your expectations. After all, the expectations were YOURS in the first place- not theirs. Don’t take it personally. The only expectations you need to worry about are the expectations you have of yourself. Those are the expectations that mean the most and have the biggest impact.

Let Go…Let God

Dear Readers,

Happy Sunday evening. I hope the weekend brought you the relaxation you most certainly deserve, and I hope your summer is off to a great start. For me, it’s been a summer of transition and change in environment. I just graduated in May from the University of Tampa and after an amazing two week vacation with my mom, I  moved to Columbia, South Carolina. The reason for my move to SC is because I am starting my graduate work at the University of South Carolina come fall. Until then, I am interning this summer in the Leadership and Staff Development Office on campus, which is part of the Department of Student Affairs (the career field I am pursuing).

After the chaos of graduation and moving, I have been trying to keep up with my blog and post things that bring happiness and inspiration to my readers, but I feel I have been rather disappointing in my efforts. For that, I am sorry. Tonight, I  have been racking my tiresome brain of things I can write… Then this picture came to me.

It’s quite humorous how things just come to us sometimes. Things like this are just reminders that we’re not alone. He is always watching over us. Even in the hardest transitions of our lives, He never leaves our side. We sometimes take for granted His comfort and assurance. We don’t always listen to His reminders or look for His signs. We question His grace, and doubt His blessings. But at the end of the day… when we truly look within us, we must know He is in our hearts. When we feel His warmth in our hearts, that is when we know we need to let go and let God.

I hope this is something you can carry into the new work week. Remember, when we are at our busiest, this thing called life happens. But no matter what, we must let go and let God.