I’m Thankful For…


Love this thankful printable with the quote, "There is always something to be thankful for." Such a great Thanksgiving reminder. livelaughrowe.com:

For my job at Dairy Queen; for hard work I can get paid.

For the employees there who’ve treated me like family, praised my work ethic, made me laugh when I’m too tired, and simply made the job easier. Good coworkers are worth more than gold.❤

For the customers who recognize me, give me good vibes, and say sweet things.

For managing to loose almost twenty-five pounds with simple diet and lifestyle changes; it feels amazing to find jeans that decently fit!!

For James; for his patience and kindness, that we can be there for each other, and for all the ways he’s helped me become a better person this year.

For music, the old and the new; it keeps me alive, happy, and always dancing.

For anime; for the beautiful stories, the characters I grow to love as my own, and the adventures they take me on.

For pure laughter.

For earning my driver’s permit and so far safely learning how to drive.

For my amazing trip to Georgia in May and all the beautiful memories I made…and that I get to go back very very soon!

For all the moments when I felt strong enough to communicate clearly.

For God’s continued protection over my sister during her military exploits.

For God’s protection over my own life using the bus and biking to school in the spring–between almost being run over by a car and meeting some strange people, ultimately I was kept very safe and I’m thankful for that.

For my Mom and our wonderful friendship and mutual support.❤

For all the personal growth I’ve experienced within the last year.

~Jamie

My Life at Dairy Queen


I’ve been working at my neighborhood Dairy Queen for over five months now. And wow it’s such a different world from my own. When you walk into Dairy Queen as an employee, suddenly the most important things in the whole world is making sure the oreo is stocked, customers are taken care of, and the ice cream mixes don’t run out.😄

At this point, I’m pretty settled in. I know all the employees fairly well and who I like to work with and who I don’t. I have pulled exhausting double shifts; raced in to cover for coworkers who canceled last-minute; helped train newer employees; been brought into that inner circle who knows where the register keys are kept when the shifty employees are working; serviced the strangest and also the sweetest dearest people from my drive-thru window; received glowing surveys of my service………….a lot has happened for me. I live one week at a time, from schedule to schedule and it’s crazy!

I’ve climbed into the group of people who are actually deemed dependable, which seems a pretty small circle. My boss calls me in A LOT to cover for other people and knows I’m flexible and trustworthy, even though I can be a bit clumsy. But it does my spirit wonders when the dependable people all grieve aloud that we’re not working together or that I’m not on their shift.❤ And apparently I’m SUPER fast at dipping and making dilly bars.😄

I’ve made some really good friends; the mother and daughter that works there have basically brought me into their family and we’ve become quite close! We’ve gone shopping after closing, eaten out late after shifts, and I’ve even visited their grandmother’s home late at night for burritos. While I’m saving for the car, they’re sweet enough to bring me home late at night too. They were two of the first people there to praise me and seemed to really like me, and it’s more apparent than ever that they really felt that way. I care about them a lot and I’m always happy to work with them.

The new 16-year-old kid that started working not long after me has become a great friend too! I took him under my wing as a younger fellow newbie, helped him learn the ropes, and now we crack each other up terribly when we’re suppose to be working.😄 I’m always so happy when we’re scheduled together, because I know he’ll keep my spirits up the entire night.

There can be a lot of behind-the-scenes drama at Dairy Queen too. We have a couple bad apples we can’t seem to get rid of in terms of employees; the one isn’t that bad but is often late. Then there’s a girl my age, a cook specifically, who nobody really likes. She’s on her phone all the time, she takes an hour to do her dishes in the evening, she an utter fake, she often cancels and makes the day shift cook work late, and possibly stealing. It’s hard being civil with her; other coworkers have a harder time hiding their dislike for her so I try not to add to that. But dang the drama that circles around her can be insane. The books I could write from the melodrama going on in the back.😄

I still love the job–if we’re purely talking about the job, I still love it. I still LOVE being in the drive-thru! Most customers are full of happy vibes because they’re getting a treat, and that really feeds me as an extrovert. It balances the negative stressful vibes that come off certain coworkers or the boss. I can easily make almost everything now; in those terms, nothing scares me anymore. I’m slowly learning things about the kitchen. The place isn’t so alien anymore. The job itself is very fun.

Honestly, it completely depends on the crew that dictates how easily, smoothly, and stress-free the job can be. Lord help you if you’re on a crew with a slow cook… or someone with an attitude… or someone who complains about their personal life all night… or doesn’t want to pull their own weight.

I love the nights where the whole crew is made up of people I trust and enjoy being with! I’m not terrified to walk away from the register and leave it alone; I know the cook is dependable; I know that even if it gets super busy and stressful, everybody there will be doing their best and pulling their weight. When it’s all for one and one for all, it’s just so much better.

I can’t decide right now if I like day shifts or night shifts more. They both have their pros and cons; you make dilly bars on day shift but you have less help. Or you get a bigger crew at night but need to do the clean up. Honestly, as long as I’m with a good crew, I don’t mind either though.

So yeah; that’s been my world lately. In less than two weeks I’ll be going on vacation, back to Georgia for a couple of weeks, and I’m excited for the break. Between all this, and processing some personal things I’m almost ready to make public, I’ve not felt like blogging. I know you all understand, and I’m looking forward to writing more soon in the future!

And oh, my favorite blizzard? Still the Strawberry Chocolate Chunk Love, but hey, the Pumpkin Pie was actually amazing, and I’m currently addicted to the Candy Cane Oreo. IT’S SO PRETTY TO BLEND. IT’S PINK. ^_^

What’s your favorite blizzard?

~Jamie

My Forged Summer Bucket List (again)


purple, sky, and galaxy image

So last year I did this silly thing where instead of making a summer bucket list around May, I made it at the end in August with a bunch of things I actually did do.😄 It was very fun, so I figured I’d do again! Let’s see what I got accomplished on THIS summer bucketlist.😉

Watch “Stranger Things” and LOVE IT.
Visit my best friend and have a blast.
Celebrate my birthday at the Rainforest Cafe.
Make apple fries for fun.
Get a job at Dairy Queen.
Eat at Captain D’s in Georgia and die from nostalgia brought on by flavor.
Buy a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure t-shirt.
Watch Deadpool and love it.
Start driving.
Make friends at work and avoid drama.
Recreate Mellow Mushroom’s bruschetta with dollar store items.
Watch Finding Dory in theaters.
Watch Civil War in theaters with my best friend.
Go to ComiCon, high-five Deadpools, and buy more anime posters.
Eat genuine southern food while in the south.
Go swimming once.
Make a nice paycheck by filling in for other people.
Survive airport security and travel.
Have sleepovers with the little bro and VHS Disney movies.
Cook Miss Rita’s Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken twice and die from the yumminess.
Learn new crochet stitches.
Redo my purse so that nothing gets lost again ever.
Pick homegrown strawberries.
Cut potato chips out of my diet to save money , then crave salt for two months.
Soak in the tub during a heavy rainstorm.
Watch Olympic swimming and gymnastics at the neighbors one evening.
Make overall big life adjustments for the better and be happy for the future.

That was my summer; I truly was able to jump into some things I, like driving and getting a job. Meeting James was huge and amazing too, and all the little things are so wonderful I don’t want to forget them.❤ What’d you do this summer?

~Jamie

15 Memorable Things I’ve Learned Being 21


As my 22nd birthday approaches with the Sunday sunrise, I figured I should reflect on different experiences, thoughts, and lessons learned during my 21st year while I’m still 21.

 :

1 Potato chips aren’t necessary for life to go on. Tightening my budget means cutting out unnecessary crap, and that has included chips. *sobs* However, I’m learning that while the cravings are tough, life moves on.

2 I learned I have a passion for helping people help themselves. I go over this in depth in this post, but it was amazing to find my personal calling this past year! Knowing what I love to do is so freeing!

3 I can drive a car. I’m still learning, and sometimes it’s still a little scary. but it is possible.

4 Perspective is a curious thing. Everyone’s reality is a little different; its something I’ve pondered throughout the year or observed through interaction. How people see the world, how they see themselves, how they see me. To some people, I am little more than a name. To others, I am their entire world: that’s mind-blowing.

5 I can get an A in math if I WORK for it. Ugh I hate math, but I got an A for it last semester. My best friend was a gracious, incredibly patient tutor (I’m still so sorry I can’t do math in my head, James) and I studied A LOT. Hirasawa and Enya saved my sanity at times too while I did homework. And I got an A!

6 I learned my intelligence wasn’t solely based on my math skills. It turns out there’s a Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and I’m actually incredibly smart in interpersonal, musical, intrapersonal, and linguistic intelligence. Major confidence booster there, lemme tell ya.

Disney Jazz is a wonderful thing. Just ugh. <3<3<3<3<3<3

Mickey Mouse <3:

8 The strangest yet most beautiful souls ride the bus every day. I saw so many different individuals on my bus route. The I-think half intoxicated woman getting home who was so proud of her daughter’s academic accomplishments. The older woman who smelled of buttermints when she walked by. The girl wearing an anime shirt, and the teenager with the Star Wars hoodie. The transgender man, the two elementary aged children, the people lost and finding their way, the people who gave their seats to others. Even the ex-convict who I spent 30 minutes chatting with at my stop. Such an array of souls.

9 Facebook can be enjoyable when you take control of it. I for real learned this, and while it might sound silly, it was very fun making my feed more positive. I took re control of several of my social networks during the last year and it was very freeing.

10 I lost 8 pounds riding my bike to school. At the beginning of the year biking that three-quarters of a mile to my school, it felt like such a long trek. In a couple months, my breathing was better, my endurance stronger, my legs were more powerful. Forced exercise is the best.

11 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This anime is one of the most enjoyable, crazy, hysterical, intense stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and I’m so glad I caught up with the series this past year. Time worth spent lemme tell ya. Also now I have a poster of Joseph Jostar on my wall, handsome devil.😄

12 My self-confidence grew, slowly but surely. I learned I could take public transportation regularly and be ok. I learned I could still fly across the country on my own and be ok. I learned I’m loved exactly as I am and that I should love myself the way I am too. I learned I have incredible strengths worth growing. I learned that hardships are often times neverending but I can survive them bit by bit.

13 Communication is hard but worthwhile. I poured everything I had into communicating consciously and as clearly as I could with my best friend to make our meeting in May a success. The result was a trip I’ll never forget and all that communicating was completely worth it!

14 I won ten dollars from a lottery ticket. That was really fun.😄

15 I need music like I need air. I really came to terms with how influential, necessary, and engaging music is for me. I love exploring music, using it to process my states of emotion, and writing about it. Often times, music is the way I survive: The long waits for the bus or the times when my brain gets so loud that I have pump it through my ears for hours on end outside late into the night. It’s how I bike to school and walk the dogs and wash the dishes. It feels good acknowledging its importance and my own confidence in my taste.

 :

Tomorrow I’m going to the Rainforest Cafe for my birthday lunch and mall shopping, and then hopefully I’ll get to skype with my best friend for the afternoon. Right now, I’m just back from seeing Finding Dory as well! Hopefully, it’ll be a chill, happy birthday!❤

~Jamie

 

How Knowing My Strengths Helped Me Find My Life’s Purpose and Career Path


Last fall semester I took a single college class called Career Exploration for Creative Minds and it completely changed my mindset about myself and my future. Beforehand, I wasn’t sure what career truly called my name or if I even had the potential to pursue one. I was coming out of a dark time in my life and I was feeling so many insecurities.

While I learned SO MUCH that semester, today I want to talk about how I learned my purpose for life; specifically through understanding my natural strengths and how knowing them raised my self-confidence and discovered what I wanted to do with my life

You still have time.:

My professor had the entire class take StrengthsQuest, a very comprehensive online test, which in the end, out of 34 official strengths, would tell you your top five strengths with paragraphs of information about how these natural abilities helped you see the world. I’m going to go over my five now and share about each one so you can follow my final career conclusion!


1 Empathy.
“People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.”

Dr. Brené Brown #empathy:

My biggest strength is empathy. The crazy thing is, while I knew I was a very empathetic person…I’d never considered it a strength before.

Empathy is different than sympathy: feeling sympathy is feeling sorry or pity. Feeling empathy is understanding someone else’s perspective, from their shoes, from their eyes. It means being open to hear someone else’s voice. It doesn’t mean I always agree with them or condone their actions, but I do understand. I can sense their unvoiced concerns; often I can help them put their feelings into words when they previously couldn’t find the right way to express themselves. Empathy is helping people feel valued because they feel heard and understood.

Being empathetic makes me want to help others understand themselves better. I want to help people feel like they can take on their life’s difficulties. I have a way of making utter strangers feel safe enough to talk about their lives to me. I’ve met multiple, talkative people on bus routes who I could just tell: they just need someone to smile at them and be interested in them without any judgment. They just want to be heard. So that’s what I did, and I was always left feeling better afterward.

I knew I was empathetic. But it hit me hard when it came out of as the FIRST result in my test. It is a strength. That blew my mind when I realized that. It means I understand when others might not. I can really help by listening and encouraging when others might lecture and not really hear what a person is trying to say. It strengthens me because it brings me joy to help others feel valued.

2 Adaptability.

“People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.”

just go with the flow:

I’m a very in-the-moment person but I didn’t use to have a word for this. I knew my adaptability is how I survived my parents’ divorce, by quickly being able to adapt to the major life changes that happened. However, I also understood that this strength, living in the moment, means I find joy in so many small things that a lot of people miss because they’re so busy looking at the future. I just live naturally in the present. I can also communicate and adjust to other people easily because I can adapt to the needs in the room. Being adaptable means that I naturally understand that life is ever changing; I might not like change sometimes, but I can respond to it without falling to pieces, generally.

It was very comforting to learn this is an actual strength of mine. I’ve lived with “planners” and “futuristic” people forever, and despite their good intentions, I’ve often felt completely misunderstood by them for being myself; for living and reacting as life happens IN THE NOW. It’s who I am. Both sides have their positives of course, but learning this about myself has made me more confident in how I was made to be.

3 Maximizer.

“People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.”

via @mijnhuisje_ on Instagram http://ift.tt/1Gvy6UO:

Ok, I didn’t understand this one right away. But when I did, I felt like I suddenly understood another side of myself that I didn’t even realize was there before. Ultimately, it means I’m very good at pinpointing the good in anything (people, projects, etc) and then drawing out that good to make it great. Once I understood what this was, I saw this pattern all over my life. It’s my third biggest strength. Ultimately, it is often how I view others too.

Being a Maximizer means I can accept other people just as they are and work with them in that place. I can find what’s special about them that’s different from anyone else. I like to help people feel inspired about those things that make them special. It often helps me find the good in projects too, or how to make decent situations become great situations with a little tweaking. It’s a unique strength, maximizing what’s already good. When I recognized this within myself, on top of Empathy and Adaptability, it really began to show me what I wanted to do with my life.

4 Ideation.

“People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas.They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.”

#quotes #intelligence #imagination The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.:

Oh yes, I knew this about myself, but I’d always seen it as a flaw rather than strength. I love ideas; just sometimes I’m much better at coming up with them then I am with carrying them out. But I’m trying to learn to accept this about myself and that if I work with the right people, others can benefit from my ideas and help me execute them.

Being strong in Ideation means that I’m a creatively minded person who can solve problems, be original, bring fresh ideas to the table; all things which I didn’t realize can often be valued in certain work settings. It means I enjoy discussions with rich vocabularies or complex thoughts. It means I’m a little quirky, but in the right places, it is something sometimes desperately needed. I love coming up with ideas, thinking about ideas, getting the ball rolling in an abstract way; those “what ifs.” I can see and connect things others can’t.

I love embracing that I love ideas, connecting things, creating things, exploring my own smarts. I love owning that part of myself now.

Last but not least: this final strength specifically changed how I saw myself:

5 Positivity.

“People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are gong to do.”

While I’ve seen my positivity and enthusiasm as something that has helped me survive the last several dark years, I’d NEVER. NEVER. NEVER actually considered it to be a strength. Isn’t that sad? I felt SO VALIDATED when I read about how my positivity is one of my greatest strengths in life. A part of myself that seemed taken for granted was suddenly acknowledged as something special; as something I overflow with naturally.

I aspire to be a giver. A giver of love, a giver of good vibes and a giver of strength.:

To be positive is to be enthusiastic about life. It means I find so much joy and goodness in life. It means when people ask me to share my views on things I get very excited to share my enthusiasm. It means I like to make situations more fun. I like to share that I love life: even when life REALLY SUCKS, I know there are still things to enjoy and be happy about. I like bringing that perspective to others who might be too weighed down to be excited about life.

I remember when I saw my test results for the first time. I received the list of 34 strengths with their definitions along with my top five. When I saw that Positivity was amongst those top five, I felt so…. understood. Suddenly, being positive wasn’t just something I happened to be. It happened to be SOMETHING I WAS GOOD AT. That blew me away.

Especially after having gone through such DARK times the past five years: Loosing communities, losing good friendships; my parents’ ugly separation, having to cut my own dad out of my life for being so narcissistic and controlling; feeling frightened, scarred and vulnerable; feeling betrayed by the Church; realizing I lacked a proper education and attending school for a year for my GED to fix it….And yet, I can say through ALL OF THAT I have honestly never stopped enjoying life. Sometimes it was really really hard but somehow, I still found joy in the little things. I was still able to be positive for my mother and sister and brother. I was still able to smile and laugh with my best friend. I was still able to feel and bring joy to others. It was just what I did.

But it took a test for me to realize that that was actually something very special; it wasn’t just a way to survive the dark times. Being positive when others might not be is a God-given strength. Learning that helped me feel so validated.

you learn a lot:

These strengths–being positive, full of ideas, strengthening what’s already good, being adaptable, and being empathetic–have been my weapons without me even realizing it. But now they will continue to be my weapons, sharpened, for the rest of my life.

So, from knowing my strengths, I realized what I want to be.

I want to be life coach. To be a life coach is to be someone’s cheerleader. It is adapting to the different people who come to you, helping them feel understood, helping them identify their own strengths with a unique perspective, equipping them with ideas to improve themselves, and then positively encouraging them on in their journey through life. Being a life coach is being available to help people find their purpose and then encouraging and celebrating with them as they accomplish their dreams and goals for themselves. That is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It will be a long journey to be a real life coach; I want to get a degree in Communication, become a licensed counselor, and gain life experience that I can then bring to the job of being many different individuals’ life coach. It will take a lot of living, personal development of myself, while strengthening my natural communication and humanitarian skills. It means that right now, I can keep being the friend who encourages and is excited for you. It means I keep growing and educating myself while learning what makes people tick. It means I must become a stable person myself so that I can turn around and be a stable person for others.

That is my life’s calling, and I KNOW IT deep down in my heartt. But I only realized it when i discovered what my biggest strengths are and how they made me see the world around me. But having that understanding, that idea of a path to follow, having that confidence in who I am, is now the best feeling in the world. That was the best thing I learned during that fall semester.

"I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say 'because of you, I didn't give up.'":

My final thought for you is this: LEARN WHO YOU ARE. Recognize your weaknesses but FOCUS on your strengths: learn about them, water them, grow confident in your skin and how you tick. These strengths were given to you for a purpose. So when you know who you are and what you’re strongest at, you’ll find you know your life’s purpose too.❤

~Jamie