12224518_999926390027468_1319818625_nThe word “meaningful” has been tottering around in my head for the past couple weeks. (tottering?)

Sometimes words and their meanings just stick and won’t go away until I’ve properly dwelled on them. Pondering and dwelling and constantly thinking about stuff is basically my life. Some might call me an introvert, but I decided that I actually am not a big fan of labels. So I’m decidedly a: “whatever the heck I want to be at the moment.”

Back to that word: Meaningful.

The term is deeply personal. But incredibly important.

Living a meaningful life means you live your life with intentionality and purpose. Living on purpose. If you read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey you’ll know it by the term, living pro-actively instead of re-actively.

A huge desire of my heart is authenticity. And that takes true effort. A proactive lifestyle means you aren’t constantly putting out fires and reacting to problems. Instead choosing proactivity, meaningfulness and authenticity means that you are ready for the curveballs and the changes, you’ve prepped your heart and life to get the most learning and joy out of everything you can.

Life I said, a meaningful life is a personal thing. I can’t tell you what it looks like for everyone. But to give you an idea for yourself, here’s what mine looks like:

Time set apart to spend with Jesus every day. A focused prayer life and prayer journal. A decision to be a blessing. And a commitment to go and do where the Lord leads.

And organized priority list. The other day I made a chart of the things that are important to me and the main things that I need to focus on right now. For whatever reason, some things that I was doing didn’t make the list. Maybe they weren’t important enough. Maybe they didn’t put me in the right mindset. Maybe I was spending to much time on them instead of the things I deemed more important. Whatever the reason, away they went. Seeing those decisions on paper solidified them, even if just for this season.

Once I have my priorities, let everything go. I tend to be an easily stressed out person. Definitely not something I’m proud of. However, I’ve accepted this about myself and decided that a big part of my life needs to be letting go. Take a breath. Don’t worry about it. This keeps me focused on the here and now, instead of worrying about tomorrow’s problems. It’s a constant practice for me, but it definitely helps me create that meaningfulness in my days.

Letting go of those worries allows me to focus on the little moments. What is life without little moments?! Seriously. I don’t know. Need an idea of what I’m talking about? Read these posts on 10 Sweet Little Moments and don’t tell me that this mentality wouldn’t help a person live more fully. I have made lists of these moments since I was 12 years old. Even now, I could mindlessly be typing on my computer or I could get in tune with my senses and feel the soft sheets under my toes, hear my essential oil diffuser bubbling, see the soft sunshine come through my window and smell the coffee warm in my cup. For me, it’s these moments that give my day beauty.

Visualize the person you want to be and go be it. I like the way that The Avett Brothers said it in their song Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, “Decide what to be and go be it.” This visualization gives you a goal to strive for, it helps with decision making because you know what you want the end result to be. (This is definitely subject to change as the Lord leads.) For me, apart from the spiritual aspect (which is constantly changing and evolving), I want to be a healthy, artistic, creative mountain-hippie woman. || Someone who savors good food, good music, good health and the beautiful outdoors. Someone who brings sunshine and flowers into her home. Someone who takes the time to make homemade Christmas presents and yogurt in the crock pot. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of “stuff” taking up space, but revels in the margins. Someone who cares about the earth and the people in it, making sustainable decisions for her home and life. Someone who loves beauty, but doesn’t need perfection to enjoy life. Someone who dresses well, but doesn’t obsess about her appearance. Someone who cooks delicious healthy meals, but doesn’t freak out if she burns the quinoa. Someone who sits quietly on the mountain top to look up at the sky and feel God. || Now every decision I make today should point to this woman I want to be. Should I buy that $3 glitter phone case made in China? Probably not. A. glitter. yuck. B. doesn’t sound like a fair-trade option. who was hurt so I could buy a cheap item? C. Maybe I shouldn’t even have an iPhone, it sure does take up a lot of mind space. (I told you, I think a lot.) Having that vision in my mind helps me to make decisions that fit the desires of my heart.

Don’t be afraid to be “Weird”. Maybe you’re the only person you know without a facebook. Maybe you feel guilty for eating meat but everyone calls you crazy. Maybe you don’t want to go to college, but instead want to spend the next 4 years serving as an international missionary. Maybe you’ve researched GMO and now can’t let another non-organic vegetable touch your lips. Let me tell you a little secret, there are some really weird people out there who make decisions for their lives based on the convictions in their heart instead of what everyone around them is saying and doing. And I have mad respect for those people. Add that to my “visualization”! Be a person that lives with conviction.

I fail at these practices daily. I have a conviction to live sustainably and naturally, but I still drink hot chocolate from a non-recyclable carton and have been seen buying $3 shirts from H&M. Even though I fall short from the person I’ve decided to be, I still am closer to her today than I was yesterday because I have her in the front of my mind. Having that vision makes me google “healthy natural hot chocolate recipes” (even if I don’t end up making them) and keeps me searching thrift stores for second-hand shirts that aren’t screwing up the economic system. One step at a time, guys. Decide what to be, and go be it. Be a person that lives with conviction. Go out and live your most meaningful life. 

{Discovering Minimalism} Live Local.

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Last night brother and I walked around downtown Burlington at dusk, taking pictures and being generally awesome.

unnamed (6)Our train station.

unnamed (4)Our theater.

unnamed (5)Diner.
unnamed (3)Christmas lights.
We got coffee at the Co-Op.
And as we drove home, we noticed a live drive-through nativity at a local church. So of course we stopped and checked it out.
This is the sweet life, friends.

As small as my little town is, I love it. The people aren’t specifically cultured, the nightlife ends around 6:30 and 90% of the establishments are “cash only” – but this place is ours.
One of the lifestyles I especially love within the “wellness culture” is the locavore movement. The concept of “eating local” means only eating and purchasing foods that were grown and/or created within a 100 mile radius from your home. {I definitely don’t do this all the time, I wish I did!} People’s reasons for doing this usually varies. From my research (Pinterest baby!) a couple reasons I found included: reducing carbon footprint, better quality produce (since you’re forced to eat seasonally, and seasonally always tastes best) and the confidence of being able to know where your food comes from.
I definitely agree with those things, but I want to go further…

I don’t only want to eat local – I want to live local.

– When I go out to eat, I want to go to a restaurant owned by one of my neighbors.
– When I shop for stocking stuffers, I want to buy homemade pepper jelly from someone at my church and a beanie made by one of my friends.
– When I am looking for some weekend fun, I want to research my town’s downtown events and go to the Christmas festival, check out the lights at the City Park or go listen to a local band.
– Looking for beer or wine? Something about buying local brands just tastes better. And you know what it tastes like? Community.
– When I need some fellowship I want to invite my friends and family into our small home for a simple meal, some of that local beer and lots of laughs.
– Looking for a venue? Look no further then your surroundings. I was married in our Downtown Historic Depot, no more then 5 minutes from my house. Now I get to see that place almost every day, the sweet memories flooding back to me.

It’s a community thing. By living local, you’re supporting the local artists, farmers, musicians, salespersons and chefs – those people who are trying to make this place a little better. You are enriching your surroundings.

Yes, we have the totally hipster Saxapahaw and downtown Durham within 100 miles – but I want to cultivate my town. Burlington is definitely not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I just give up on it. If more people supported their local community, then that community is only going to get better and better.

So next time you make an effort to eat locally, don’t forget to live locally as well.

{For more fun locavore information and inspiration check out my pinterest board: Locavore.}

P.S. this doesn’t mean I’m a hermit that doesn’t like to travel. I love to travel. But believe me, there’s no place like home!