Living Simply

flowerOur culture is constantly go, go, go! What is the latest style? What’s the hottest new movie? Who can I be texting? What’s on Facebook? Though a lot of this seems important today, by tomorrow it’s something that we have already forgotten. With all the clutter that is consuming our lives, sometimes it’s easy to look past the things that truly matter. We accumulate more stuff and our minds are constantly being filled with what we see on a screen. These aren’t necessarily bad, but should be done in moderation. How can we give more attention to things and people who are important to us, without being distracted by everyday things? Here are a few ideas to simplify your life!

Get Rid of Things- Do you have stuff (especially clothing) that you haven’t used in years? I know there are some clothes that I have only worn once, but are still in my closet for some reason. Instead of convincing yourself that a moment will come where you will someday wear that freshman homecoming dress again, use your willpower to get rid of it! My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t worn it in a year, get it out. Sometimes it’s easier to go through with a parent or a friend; if they have never seen you wear it, it’s a good sign that you never will. Invite your friends to do the same and then have Closet Swap with your friends! You may even snag a few adorable things from your friends and get rid of yours as well! Then at the end of the swap, bag up all the extra clothes and donate them to a local thrift shop!

Take a Break from Social Media- If you are like me and check Facebook multiple times a day, even though there are never new notifications, it might be a good time to limit yourself. Get a friend to take a social media fast with you. Have them change your password, and maybe start off with just a week. When you get bored, instead of going to the internet for entertainment, try something different that you normally wouldn’t do! Write a poem, take pictures, spend time with sibling, learn an instrument, there are plenty of options. Do something that you will remember, because chances are you won’t look back and think of so and so’s status update. If you like the week off, you can try it more often with maybe longer periods of time!

Look to Others- Everything seems more complicated when we are stuck thinking about our problems in life. It is easy to be consumed with what we need and want, yet forget about friends and family who are going through similar things. If you find yourself being anxious and worried about something going on, remind yourself that it really isn’t about you.  Think of ways to direct your mindset from off yourself and onto the needs of someone else.  Call up a friend or family member and ask them how they are doing. Chances are you will feel less stressed when you’re focused more on caring about others!

Struggling with Fitting In at School? Have Hope!

Going through middle school and high school can be tough sometimes, especially if you are a girl. Things are changing and we all go through these awkward stages. During this time, you are learning who you are and how that looks. Comparing yourself to everyone at school is tough and you may feel like you don’t measure up to the “standard” that is placed before you. Magazines, honestly, don’t help at all. There are impossible standards for how you look and what you do and wear out there and it can be overwhelming at times. You may feel like you are the only one who doesn’t fit in; however, rest assured that you are definitely not the only one that has felt or is feeling this way!

ImageSome of our favorite celebs struggled in school to fit in and now look where they are. For example, Demi Lovato told People magazine that her years in middle school were anything but a breeze. Those in her school would make fun of her pursuing music and would make “hate petitions” and have people in the school sign it. Demi is now a beloved star who has really taken a stance against bullying, giving hope to those who feel alone every day at school.

Even Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, struggled to fit in while growing up because of the size of his ears. Michael shared he would wear baseball caps in order to hide the size of his ears from those around him.

You are not alone in your struggle to fit in. Even those that are famous and “have it all together” have struggles. There is hope beyond your years in middle and high school. If you are struggling in school and feeling like you don’t fit in, have hope! Be yourself and learn to love the ways that you are different. Someone will love you for it later! Surround yourself with people who see your value and love you for who you are! They will be the voice that keeps you grounded and who will be there for you, no matter what happens or what you do!

Ask Abbey!

Dear Abbey,

My mom and I used to really get along. In fact, she was one of the only persons that I could talk to about things going on in my life. Ever since I entered high school, things have changed. I have been spending a lot more time with my friends, and she has been busier at work. I feel like we have been getting in a lot more fights lately too. How do I fix my relationship with my mom?   -Sarah

Sarah,

Unfortunately, there is no formula to that will magically mend you and your mom’s friendship. Every person is different and needs certain things in order to feel loved by another. It sounds as if time with you is something that is important to your mom. Since you both have been busier, your relationship has been wounded.  I would advise that you set aside some time in your day just to hang out with just your mom! Take her out for ice cream , go on a walk together, or just do the fun things you used to! This will show your mom that you value your relationship with her. She will see that you want to use your time to be with her, which makes anyone feel special! You can always just remind her that you love her and show her by helping out with things around the house. Also, it is really important to be thankful for what she does for you. Make sure to show her your appreciation. Though your relationship with her will not exactly become perfect overnight, small steps are what it takes to change something! Image

Spring Time!!

Image

With all the beautiful weather for the past week, it’s hard not to want to go outside and soak up some rays while you can! Sometimes it is hard to think about fun and creative ways to spend your time after school and on the weekends! Lucky for you we have a list of things that will be sure to help you make the most of your time in the sunshine!

Find a park and have a picnic!

Grab your friends, make a sandwich and go to a park! There are so many things to do at a park that can be fun! Spread out a blanket, grab a book and tan a little bit! Or grab a Frisbee and toss it around with a friend!

Plant flowers!

Do you like flowers? Why not plant some flowers in your yard and have something to watch grow throughout the next months! Seeds for flowers are cheap and you should see something starting to spout in just a few days!

Do something kind of your family members or a neighbor!

If the sun is go help your mom or dad out and wash their car for them! Have a friend over and have them help you with it. It’s fun with friends involved and faster too! Ask a neighbor if they need help washing their car or planting in the yard. They will enjoy the help, and who knows you could make a new friend!

Pick fresh berries!

Berries are coming out and there is not much better than having a handful of fresh picked berries on a warm spring day!

Out with the old and in with the new!

Go through your closet and dresser and purge the clothes you never wear. It’s hard, I know, but if you have had that same shirt for 3 years now and still haven’t worn it, you won’t. Let it go and take it to a thrift store. While you are there take a look around and maybe pick up a super cute shirt that you find! Sometimes perusing is good for the soul. So take some time and peruse.

Whatever you do this spring, have fun and find someone to do it with! If you come up with more ideas, comment below! Don’t forget to check out Youth Outreach Pinterest Board for more spring and summer time ideas here: http://pinterest.com/YouthOutreach/

Homecoming Part 2: Before and After Plans!

Yesterday, we covered some essentials for the Homecoming dance on Saturday: the dress and the date(s)! Now lets talk before and after plans! 

Many people go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, but what if you don’t want to wait for an hour to get seated or spend a ton of money? A money saver tip is to make dinner for your group! Plan a dinner at someone’s house in your group and you will save yourself a ton of money! Honestly, who doesn’t love a homemade meal? Take a gander at your cupboards, combine all available ingredients and try your hand at cooking up something delicious! (Note: Spaghetti is always great and easy to make). Your group or date will love that you took time to make something just for them. Make sure parents or family are around, they can help with cooking and make great picture takers to capture all the moments, staged and not!

Now you are off to the dance! Kick your shoes off, dance, sing, and have a blast! Spray enough hairspray that your hair will stay, and let loose! Do the Chicken Dance and sing “Call Me Maybe” at the top of your lungs! You may feel dumb, but hey, I bet you aren’t the only one out there feeling silly!

So the dance is over, now what? You could go home and sleep…OR you could extend the night! Go bowling or play arcade games in your homecoming dance gear at Big Al’s in Beaverton, have a movie night with munchies, or head to Shari’s in Newberg for milkshakes to end the night! Whatever you do, make sure someone knows your plans and that you are sure of your curfew (don’t want you to get in trouble!) and you are safe.

If you go to a party and have too much to drink, don’t drive home. Call a family member or a friend that you trust. Don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking, no matter how much they seem to be okay to drive. It’s not worth get in a DUI, accident, or worse! The trouble you may be in will be remarkably better than the outcome of drinking and driving!

Remember to have a blast and make some memories! High school is a time to make memories, so make good memories!

~Danielle

Homecoming Part 1: The Dress and The Date!

Homecoming is this weekend and you may be in a panic for a dress, date, or even before and after the dance plans! Well look no further, here are some suggestions from a girl who has been in your shoes and can help!

So  you are still in need of a dress and don’t want to spend much or any money, well get together with some friends and have a dress exchange! Have each girl gather all their dresses, lay them out, and borrow each others. This is a great way to wear a new dress but not spend ANY money! In addition, have everyone bring jewelry, shoes, handbags and shawls to go with the dress. Mix and match and voila you have a beautiful new dress for the dance without spending anything! If you don’t come out of this with a dress to wear, go to Velour or Goodwill. Sometimes you can find great things if you take time to look!

Now that the dress is covered, you are wondering who you are going with? Do you go with a date or do you go with a group of friends? Going with a date can be fun, especially if you go with a group of other couples. However, if you end up with no date, don’t fret girl, gather a group of lovely ladies and go together. You can make the night fun with or without a date, so choose to make it the best night!

Check back tomorrow for Homecoming Part 2 for ideas and tips for how to make before and after the dance plans cheap and fun!

~Danielle

Summer Lovin’

How many of you have noticed that people always seem to couple off in the spring?  It’s as if everyone is trying to get ready for Grease style summer lovin in some dreamy, perfect beach-themed romance.  I have had at least five of my close friends get into a relationship just since spring break.  Now if you are one of those happily coupled people then congrats! Having fun and being with an awesome guy over the summer is great! However, what if you aren’t one of the girls who will be getting high on the memories of cool breezes and sandy toes with the boy of your dreams for the rest of the cold year?  I know how you feel, I’ve been there! But the tricky thing about love is that you never know when its going to last or not.  It can be so scary learning to trust a guy, and so heartbreaking if it doesn’t work out.  And even though its fun to get the butterflies and to know that you’ll have someone to hang out with all summer when your other friends are with their boyfriends, finding that dreamy awesome love is not always in the cards.  Now I know skeptics say that, that one perfect love doesn’t exist… but im skeptical that the skeptics are just heart-broken whiners.  I say the awesome kind of book and movie worthy love exists, it is just NEVER the same in real life.  Lots of people find happiness in their relationships, but that comes after a lot of heartbreak and loneliness that you never really feel when you read the romance novels.  But no matter if your summer lovin is with the boy of your dreams or your favorite ice cream flavor and the TV while your friends are on dates, no that love is just complicated, and there is hope for everyone!

Break Time Chick Flicks

For most of us spring semester in school can seem to drag on for forever.  Do you realize that after christmas break there is only MLK day and Presidents day to give us a break from school.  This means that for 10 long weeks straight we have ongoing classes, and homework and a rigorous schedule in the dreariest and rainiest months of the year… this is no bueno! So, to keep from going crazy with the stress of school and terrible weather of the past ten weeks, its time to sit back and enjoy some quality relaxation.  And what’s better for relaxing then a good chick flick?  So grab the popcorn and pick one of these must see chick flicks that I’ve always loved:

 

1) Made of Honor-

This is an awesome comedy about a guy who is super non-committal but then realizes that he is in love with his best friend while she is away on vocation.  He plans to tell her about his newly realized feelings for her when she comes home.  But then she shows up engaged! He is shocks but acts nice about it.  SHe makes him her maid of honor (hee hee) and then a whole lot of trouble unfolds as he competes with her dazzling fiance to win her back! I loved this movie.  When I watched it for the first time I almost cried from laughing so hard!!!

2) Bride Wars-

How do these best friends go from

to

?

Watch this super fun flick and find out.  These two best friends struggle to both plan their dream weddings at the same time when all drama breaks loose!

3) The Proposal-

Watch this one to see how they two most unlikely people end up having to trick everyone into thinking that they are engaged and accidentally fall in love in the process.  The movie is set in both NYC and Alaska (the two most beautiful locations in the world in my opinion lol) and is deep, romantic, and hilarious!

SO! If you like any of these options you see then take a break and check them out.  It will be the best relaxation time you’ve ever had!

Modestly Sexy

It’s a classic bitter-sweet scenario when the nice boys who would be wonderful and caring boyfriends get left behind by the guys who are total jerks. Well, likewise guys tend to be attracted to the girls who flaunt their bodies and have the best moves instead of the ones who are smart, nice, a respectable. However, most girls are unaware of how different guys are in the way they think about scandalous clothing. It’s hard to imagine a mindset where physical intimacy is purely physical and doesn’t affect someone’s feelings for the other person. That’s why a lot of girls like the attention of wearing scandalous clothes, but in the long run they don’t like the result. Because while guys are distracted by their revealing clothes and the body underneath, they aren’t thinking at all about getting to know the girl or caring about her like she hopes he will. Girls ultimately just want to be loved, and when being immodest ruins the chances of that they end up just feeling used.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being sexy and feeling attractive. But you should ask yourself what your intentions really are with the clothes you pick out every morning. If what you really want is to get the guys at school thinking about how creat you look all day, chances are they’re not going to respect you very much. Guys need to respect girls in order to love them. So if you’re dressing to look nice, but with the awareness that there is a lot more to you that can attract a guy than your body and how well they can see it, then that’s the look for you. The girls that guys want a real relationship with and imagine a future with are the ones who expect them to listen to what they have to say and look at their faces, not their bodies.

Don’t get caught being hurt because you tried to snag a guy with the wrong hook. Wearing scandalous clothes only seems to get girls positive results, when in the end they are the girls hurting because guys don’t take them seriously. But if you respect yourself, know that you are beautiful without having to show off, and that any guy would be lucky to have you, then you will be the person the guys dream of being in a real relationship with.

~Charis

Spread the Love

Valentines Day is coming up soon and it tends to be a partially controversial holiday.  It’s not as big as christmas, or humble as thanksgiving, but it is wrought with tons of emotion.  Celebrating love, especially romantic love can be awesome.  This holiday can be a beautiful reminder to every person with a significant other that they should appreciate him/her and to keep the chemistry alive in the relationship.  However, this very significant day has also managed to earn itself a new name: “Singles Awareness Day.” Because it serves as a very different, slightly more unpleasant reminder for the singles of America.  People have also had issues with the holiday because of how commercialized it is (however, I have a theory that the haters who aren’t single are just to lazy to celebrate the holiday, so they’d rather argue about it). 

The important thing to remember about Valentines day is that love is for everyone.  It’s awesome to get romantic sometimes, but don’t forget to tell your best friends, and your family that you love them to.  It’s easy to get caught up in the happy whimsical romance of it and forget about those people in your life who get to watch the holiday pass by without anyone to look them in the eye and tell them that they are cared about.  And, for the single people, dont mope around! Love yourself!!! Life’s to short to spend time thinking about the guy you wish you could have, or the one who got away, or the one that was never there to begin with.  Know that you are awesome, and you can stand on your own two feet without having someone else to prop you up.  Even when you’re in a relationship its important to know that you are capable of being happy and feeling good about yourself on your own.  But, of course a little love never hurt, so go for it! Spread the love this Valentines day (to everyone)!

~Charis