4 Ways to Reclaim the Simple Life Right Where You Are

A friend of mine is about to begin a long-term program in which, among other things, she’ll learn how to farm, bake bread, make cheese, dip candles and more. It’s hard to imagine that such a life is still possible in our modern world, isn’t it? To me, the notion of living off the land and cultivating routines around the seasons tends to conjure up images of the past and inspire a sense of almost wistful nostalgia for a life most of us have never lived.

In essence, it sounds like an actualization of that elusive “simple life” that we all dream of — free from the stress of nonstop emails, meetings, workouts, social events, etc.

Yet, as fulfilling as such an existence sounds, I also wonder if and how the so-called simple life manifests itself outside the farm and in our own lives. Is the simple life something we just relegate to our imaginations, as a thing of the past? Or is it possible to live a full, successful and simple life without giving up our careers or home responsibilities? Continue reading

Celebrate Your Beauty

Propel Women - Celebrate Your Beauty
There’s something about wearing a swimsuit in public that brings out insecurities we didn’t even realize we had – a phenomenon I witnessed firsthand on vacation in the Caribbean a few weeks ago.

I overheard countless women’s murmurs of negative self-talk all over the beach: “Wait, we can’t take group pics because I’ll look fat next to her.” Or, “Ugh, I have no butt whatsoever. I should’ve done more squats before this trip.”

In this digital age, we’ve all seen countless images of what our culture considers “perfect” bodies. Whether we’re flipping through a magazine, watching a movie, or just scrolling through Instagram, it can feel impossible to escape the stream of filtered, posed images around us – and the pressure to measure up to them.

Our bodies could be in perfect health, but still would never be good enough if looked at through our culture’s lens. We’ll either be too thin, too fat, have too much cellulite, or too little muscle… the list goes on. Continue reading

Creating An Environment of Authenticity

Whether we’re chatting with a stranger or hanging out with our bestie, one of the beautiful things about human relationships is that different people bring out different aspects of ourselves. Some people bring out the extroverted, talkative sides of personalities, while others draw out our more reserved, pensive qualities. It all depends on how we feel around a person and what we deem is expected of us.

Have you ever considered what aspects you bring out in others? Do you make people feel accepted, comfortable and loved enough to be authentic in your presence? Or do people leave you feeling scrutinized, judged and exhausted? Often times, making people feel loved enough to be their truest self– even on a subconscious level– is an art.

So, how do we ensure that our presence is uplifting to others? Read more on The Fullest to discover simple ways to encourage authenticity. 

Image via Instagram

Q&A With “Love Lives Here” Author Maria Goff

For fans of Bob Goff and his bestselling book, “Love Does,” Maria Goff — or “Sweet Maria,” as her husband refers to her — needs no introduction. The wife, mother of three, and now author is beloved for creating a career out of loving those around her.

In her debut book, “Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want,” Maria reflects on what she’s learned about living with intention, dealing with loss, and loving others like Jesus does. Full of warmth, grace, and humor, she shares vivid personal stories that invite readers to stop and reflect on their own lives and discover how to make them more meaningful.

“I didn’t write this book because I think we need more information, more steps, or more instructions on how to lead a meaningful life,” she writes. “Instead, I think we all can benefit from times of honest reflection.”

Continue reading

Mastering the Art of Listening

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend when he made a somewhat off-kilter religious remark. Given the nature of it, I assumed he was joking – until I looked up at his face and realized he wasn’t. Here was someone I’d hung out with on countless occasions– getting coffee, hanging out at the beach, going biking – and I had thought we were quite similar in our beliefs and world views. Yet the more we unpacked that conversation, the more I realized how wrong I’d been in that assumption.  Continue reading

How to Tell If You’re Content or Complacent

Let’s think for a moment about the last time each of us experienced pure contentment in our lives. Chances are, scenes from our respective “highlight reels” are materializing: laughing with friends at last week’s beach bonfire, journaling while watching the sunset, waking up to a kind text this morning…

What about the moments in between, though? Are those marked with the same contentment? Or… complacence?

There’s a fine line between the two, and it’s one worth evaluating. A content life is the one we strive for, of course. It is one filled not just with happiness, but with a sense of peace and satisfaction stemming from our acceptance of ourselves and our present life. A complacent life, on the other hand, is one in which we find ourselves settling for less-than-ideal circumstances out of resignation, discomfort, or even just laziness.

The two sound different enough, but it can still be difficult to distinguish between them sometimes. Learning how both reveal themselves in our lives, though, can help us learn to be more content while avoiding complacence. Continue reading

Do Small Things With Great Love

Do small things with great love.

We’ve all heard this before. One of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s most beloved axioms, this quote serves as a beautiful reminder to infuse all that we do – even the smallest, most mundane tasks – with love. When we act from self-centered or ambitious motives, our professional and societal achievements – no matter how great – are worthless. It is love alone that transforms and uplifts our actions, and there is no value in whatever is done without it.

This sounds simple enough in principle, but what does it actually look like applied to the regular happenings of our lives? How do we sweep the kitchen with love, shop for groceries with love, or sit in traffic with love? Continue reading on The Fullest to find out. 

Image via Sonya Khegay

What If We’re Looking at Our Limitations All Wrong?

We all face limitations in our lives. Perhaps we’re coping with a broken relationship, experiencing financial struggles, dealing with an illness, or feel stuck in a dead-end job. Perhaps we’re facing several challenges. The truth is, we are creatures of limitations — confined within time in frail bodies, with exhaustible resources. No matter how hard we seek to avoid them, these obstacles are a part of life and we’ll experience them at some point or other.

Yet, while we tend to think of such limitations in negative terms — as the things holding us back from our desires — they can actually be something worth being grateful for. You see, if we let them, our limitations can act as the very framework for our goals, directing our aspirations and actions toward the course we need to take in order to achieve them. After all, in reminding us of what is not possible, limits also serve to show us what is possible. And once we understand what’s in our control, we can focus on that and seek to make the most of it. Continue reading

Life As An Artist: Q&A With Abbey Holden Studio

I met Abbey Holden on the first day of fourth grade, and even then, I knew there was something special about her. She’s gorgeous, kind, personable, and, as evidenced by the pics below, uber talented. Even as a kid, Abbey had a clear gift for art, so it should come as no surprise to learn that she studied it further in college and became a print designer for Lilly Pulitzer (!!!) after graduating. Her most recent endeavor, though, has been starting Abbey Holden Studio, which sells the absolute dreamiest paintings on the planet.

Check out my Q&A with Abbey to learn more about her paintings, what it’s like to be an artist, and how she started her own business! Continue reading

Releasing Rejection And Living Loved: An Interview With Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst, Author of Uninvited
Whether we were turned down for a date, didn’t get the job, or just feel overlooked, rejection affects most of us more than we’d like to admit. According to author and Proverbs 31 Ministries president Lysa TerKeurst, “We are all either trying to get healing from past rejection, dealing with present rejection, or fearing that an unexpected rejection is just around the corner.”

In her new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, TerKeurst addresses the topic of rejection in depth and offers practical strategies for coping with it. In sharing her own personal experiences with rejection, she gives an honest look into its roots, shows how it can poison our relationship with ourselves and others, and provides faith-based insights into where true belonging is found. Continue reading