Finding God in Emotional Healing

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I believe that God is a god of intention. I believe that He is a God of infinite love. I believe that He wants what is best for all of His children and that He intentionally places people, experiences, and trials in our life so that we can ultimately achieve what is best for us. But because we are human, sometimes our emotions keep us from achieving that. Emotions like fear, self doubt, anxiety, overwhelm, stress, confusion, blame, resentment, etc.

This is why I feel so strongly about emotional wellness. This is why I blog, why I share my experiences, why I read and study so many books and programs and why I choose to live my life the way I do now. Yes, the tools that I use and the advice I share have all played a huge part in my healing. But It is only through the Lord that I have been able to come to this place in my life. It was only through Him that I was guided to learn all of these amazing things in the first place. I asked Him for help. I pleaded with Him to somehow help me uncover the person that I knew was buried under a mountain of emotional traumas. Traumas that can seem so subtle from the outside. But nevertheless, traumas that over time can drag you lower and lower and keep you from feeling true happiness and purpose in your life. Not to mention the physical issues they can cause. (Heart palpitations and chronic fatigue were two of my main physical issues that I never realized were related to my emotional issues)

I wanted something better for myself. I wanted to be a better mother than I felt I was being to my kids. I wanted to be a better wife. I wanted to feel more connected to God and to my true spiritual self that I had once known. I wanted to feel healthy and whole. I wanted to be able to better help family and friends who I love. I wanted to strengthen my relationships. I wanted to be able to love and accept myself not just despite, but BECAUSE of my weaknesses and I wanted to be able to forgive certain people in my life for theirs. I wanted to grow and prove to myself that I could do hard things. And part of that meant re-learning what it truly means to love unconditionally. Something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time because of my emotional struggles. I was ready create something totally different in my life. I was ready to release everything that was holding me back. And I wanted Heavenly Father to show me how to do this.

What came next was a journey of self development and self healing that I truly did not know was possible. I have been guided from one thing to the next. Still, every week I feel is like a new lesson learned, a new experience had, and more inspiration from The Lord comes to me, letting me know to keep going on this path. And because I have chosen to listen, I have had the most incredible experiences of others reaching out to me and telling me that they applied something I shared in conversation or in a blog post or a social media post and they have been amazed, seeing their own healing taking place and their lives starting to change for the better. It’s truly a testimony to me that this type of work on ourselves matters! I know and believe that it is so very important and that God CARES DEEPLY about our emotional wellbeing.

I believe that it is through our own emotional healing and self development that He is able to use us in a more spiritually impactful way. In a way that allows us to recognize and more confidently share our gifts and strengths and knowledge and testimonies with others. To build each other up and help each other grow.

But when we are disconnected from God and from ourselves, or when we consistently feel emotionally stuck, it can become difficult to remember who you truly are, to recognize all the amazing gifts you have to give, and to create something better in your life than what you are currently experiencing…or even to just simply feel happy. Sometimes that’s all we want. I know it because I have lived it. And I promise there is hope and healing waiting for you. Always.

Love, Morgan

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CREATE YOUR LIFE?

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Hey there! It’s good to be back after a couple of weeks! My family and I have some exciting life changes happening but they sure are keeping us busy from week to week. We also had the opportunity to take our kids to the snow in central California before it melted, so we made sure we did that! Best day ever! Why are little kids all dressed up in snow gear so stinking adorable?? Seriously. Anyway, enough rambling. 🙂

So, this blog topic has been on my mind for a while. I often use the hashtag “createyourlife” at the bottom of my Instagram posts. And I often wonder how people interpret that. What does it mean to create your life? Have you ever sincerely asked yourself what you believe about that? Does it mean to “make things happen”? Does it mean to create a plan every day and do your best to stick to it? Does it mean setting goals and actually achieving them? Does it mean believing in something so deeply that you are bound to manifest it?

To me…Yes, I do think it means all of those things. But I think there are also some key parts of creating your life that many of us tend to overlook. And I wish these key parts were taught in school. I truly do. I wonder how much better of a start I would have gotten on my life! But that’s ok 🙂 Maybe someday they will be taught to students. For now, I’m just going to make sure I teach them to my own children once they’re old enough. So, here’s 3 things I believe are essential when it comes to the process of “creating your life”.

  1. CREATE YOUR EMOTIONS. We can do that?? Yes, we can totally do that. That being said, we all have circumstances in life that trigger thoughts and emotions which almost seem to happen without any warning. And it’s incredibly important to recognize, allow and process those emotions. But we also have the power to generate emotions within us by intentionally thinking, meditating or visualizing. We can create emotions on purpose. A simple example is how I feel genuinely sad and get teary eyed by imagining something heartbreaking happening to someone I love. But I can also make myself feel immense joy and excitement by imagining being on vacation in Rome with my husband. So why does this matter in creating your life? Because your emotions are what drive you to take action. They can either inspire you to go and create what you desire, or they can keep you stuck in a negative pattern of fear, doubt, and inaction. I’ve been really practicing generating my desired emotions every day for the past 7 months- the ones I often choose are Love, Gratitude and Confidence. And I can’t even express just how much this simple practice has healed me and has helped change my world for the better. It’s allowed me to create so much good in my life in so many ways.

2. CREATE YOUR STORY. You are not your past. You are not the story that people tell about you. You are not your mistakes, your weaknesses or your failures. You are not the things you constantly doubt about yourself. You are whoever you choose to be and your story is whatever you choose to write moving forward. This doesn’t mean denying your story, but rather “owning your story and writing a brave new ending”… as Brene Brown puts it. And don’t fall into the “but I’ve just always been this way” lie. Just because you’ve always had a short temper, or have always been too reserved to go after your dreams, or have always been an emotional eater (a battle I’ve struggled with my whole life), none of that means that you have to be that person for the rest of your life. You can love yourself despite the struggles you’ve had, and decide right now that you are going to change your story and create a new one moving forward! I know it can be scary to let go of a story that you’ve always told yourself. Your brain will even try to resist you changing at first. But once you get past that first part that feels a little uncomfortable… a whole new world of healing, intuition and possibilities will open up to you! That has been my experience.

3. CREATE YOUR ENDING. You may think this is similar to creating your story but it’s actually quite different. I’ll share a simple example of what I mean by this. Almost 5 years ago my husband unexpectedly lost his job. He job hunted and went to interviews for about 8 months. 8 very stressful months. I was watching him do this and trying to be the support he needed. But instead of just trusting and believing in the ending I wanted, (which was- that he would get a great new job that offered new growth experiences and would be a blessing for our family), I remember getting so hung up on the details of “how” this was going to happen and “who” would be the person or company to hire him. And “when” on earth would this actually happen?? Needless to say, my faith was tested. I caused so much stress and anxiety for myself by obsessing over the details that I truly had no control over. And when the time came that he finally did get hired, it ended up being an amazing opportunity that came with several blessings that were totally not expected and never planned for. It required us to move to Southern California which I also never saw happening nor did I ever want. But it has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. So my point to this is to help you see that all you really need to be focused on is the ending you want. Don’t stress trying to figure out the “how”. Just believe wholeheartedly in whatever you want to manifest. Do your part and The Lord will take care of the details. And often He will give you even more than what you were trying to manifest in the first place.

Love, Morgan

#createyourlife

How Can I Gain and Keep Perspective?

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“Life is ever changing.”
That’s what my family member said to me a couple of weeks ago during a conversation we had about certain life experiences and trials. We were talking about how different life has been since the unexpected passing of someone we love, and yet at the same time how life hasn’t changed at all. That’s sort of the cruel paradox when it comes to tragedy or sudden life change isn’t it? No matter how big or how small the traumatic event, life still goes on. Responsibilities are still there. People still need taken care of. Bills still have to be paid. Problems still need to be solved. Memories still need to be made. Life still has to be lived. And often that’s the last thing we want to do when a special part of our world is suddenly gone or altered in some way .

Of course it doesn’t always happen in the form of death. Sometimes it happens in the form of someone else’s choices turning your world upside down, or watching someone you dearly love get hurt. Sometimes it’s receiving a diagnosis of some sort, losing a job, getting through divorce, or any unexpected events that change the course of your goal or dream. Maybe it’s even a change that you are actually welcoming into your life but you still feel uneasy and scared of the unknown.

Whatever life changing event you’ve experienced (or will experience), it can be extremely difficult (sometimes impossible) to pick yourself up and truly move forward in your life if you do not have perspective. Have you noticed that your brain is very good at worrying, thinking dramatic thoughts and jumping to worst case scenarios? It’s completely natural for the brain to do that because it was designed to protect us and keep us safe. That fight or flight feeling we get comes from our brain’s instinctual reaction to when we feel fear or sense danger… Which is why the brain often reacts that same way when we experience tragedy or sudden life changes. It’s just doing what comes natural to it.

So this is where the power of perspective is INCREDIBLY helpful to us!

I want to share with you 3 QUESTIONS (that I personally use) that can be so useful when you’re trying to gain and keep perspective- especially during the hard times. But also during situations when you’re just trying to help your brain chill out and take a step back to see the bigger picture.

Question #1: What do I have control over right now?

My answers to this are always the same: my thoughts and my actions. I can’t control or change what has happened, I can’t control other people, and I can’t control exactly how things will play out in the future. But I can totally govern my own thoughts and actions moving forward. And I can make sure that they are thoughts and actions that will help me show up in my life as the person I want to be. Decide what your intention is and go from there.

Question #2: What would my future self most likely tell me?

This question is powerful because we often have greater perspective later on down the road when we’re not so caught up in the middle of it. So asking this question helps me remove myself from the situation momentarily and gets me thinking about what my future perspective would be or could be. I’m telling you this is super helpful. Something that I honestly recommend is writing yourself a letter from your future self. I’ve done that numerous times and it’s very powerful. Try it! You just might be surprised at what it can do for you.

Question #3: What do I choose to learn from this experience?

I love this one. When we are going through a difficult situation, we so often hear or think “I’m sure there’s a reason”… or “I’m sure I’m supposed to learn something from this.” And that attitude isn’t a bad one by any means, but I’ve noticed that sometimes it tends to keep us waiting to see what we are “supposed” to learn from it- or it can keep us waiting and looking for the answer to “why” this happened to us. But what if YOU just decide what lesson you are going to learn from this and how you will use it in your life moving forward? What if YOU decide what it will mean for you and your future, instead of waiting to find out what’s supposed to happen next.

That’s the thing about our free agency. God gave us the ability to choose for ourselves and to co-create our lives. And that is true even in times of change, trial, tragedy or confusion. He will never take away our freedom to choose what we do with our lives. And that’s why I love these questions so much. They help me remember that gaining perspective is a choice, moving forward with faith and confidence is a choice. It might not be the easiest choice… but it is most definitely the one that brings the most peace and joy. And allows you to live your life to the fullest… even amidst the trials.

And to quote a friend- “You don’t keep your chin up because you’re trying to put on a good face during a hard time. You do it because you know what’s waiting for you ahead.”

Love, Morgan


How Can Music Influence My Emotional/Mental Wellbeing?

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“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone cant.” -Johnny Depp

I’m sure this quote has been true for most everyone reading this. Music, at one point or another in your life, has probably touched you in a way that only music can. If you’re like me, you love music deeply and use it for all sorts of situations in life. I love listening to music when I clean my house, when I write, when I want to calm my anxiety, when I need to cry, when I want to feel spiritually connected, when I just want to sing, the list goes on and on.

More than anything, music has played a huge role in helping me heal from things in my life. It has been my therapist in a way. A safe haven. At my lowest lows I have turned to music, or reached for my guitar and just let my emotions play through my fingers on the strings. When I experienced my first real heartbreak in college, when I’ve had marriage struggles, when my parents divorced, when my father in law passed away unexpectedly, when my childhood home was sold, when I’ve simply struggled to let go- music has always been there for me.

Did you know that there are actually music therapists? I just recently learned this. They use music to help treat patients with Depression, Alzheimer’s, and Autism, as well as a number of other things. Music has the ability to trigger emotions, thoughts and memories in people. It also has power to help with developmental delays and impaired cognition. It has power to help heal us. Pretty amazing!

Along with music, we can find inspiration in lyrics. Something I have come to realize and appreciate so deeply is the way that lyrics can affect us. Certain lyrics speak straight to my soul in a way that feels like they were written specifically for my life and my experiences. They also have the power to inspire your mind and bring certain thoughts to you that can literally move you to take needed action in your life.

An example of this happening for me was one day when I was listening to Nichole Nordeman. Her song “Every Mile Mattered”. There is a part in it where she says… “It’s history, It don’t define you. You’re free to leave it all behind you. Every tear brought you here, every sorrow gathered. It’s history, and every mile mattered.”

Those words pierced my heart and opened my mind to a new perspective in a split second. I remember stopping the song and actually replaying that part. It helped me be able to see myself and my life in a new way. The thought and realization that I was literally free to leave certain things behind me that I’d been struggling to get past. I didn’t have to let any of it define my life moving forward or take up any more precious space in my mind. The realization that I could be grateful for certain experiences and hardships simply because they brought me here, but I no longer had to carry them with me. It was such a powerful epiphany for me. One of many moments of pure inspiration I’ve had all because of a simple song that spoke to me.

Never underestimate the power of music or the power of lyrics. Let them speak to you and work within you. Use them to enrich your life, to open your mind and to heal your soul. And they will.

Love, Morgan

How Do I Change My Limiting Beliefs?

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Let’s start with the obvious question first… What is a limiting belief? A limiting belief is simply something you believe to be true about yourself, about others, or about the world, that limits you in some way. Limiting beliefs can be toxic. They constrain us. They can make our vibrant spirits seem dim, they can hide beautiful parts of our personality, they can (and typically do) stunt our personal growth, and keep us from taking action on things we feel drawn to do.

So throughout your life, you’ve had experiences that have shaped your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and about the world. Those thoughts and beliefs have likely become engrained in you for so long, to the point that they feel like absolute facts to your brain. Your limiting beliefs usually develop in the past where something either happened to you, or someone said something to you that you interpreted a certain way. You then took it into your subconscious mind, and over time (years for a lot of us), you’ve unconsciously always looked for evidence to prove that belief about yourself to be true.

A simple example- maybe you did poorly in a particular math class one year and your teacher even made some harsh comments to you about it… and then you adopted a belief that you’re really bad at math. When in reality, that’s not the case at all. It’s just a belief that you have nurtured so deeply for so long and so now you’ve got so much evidence to prove it. We’ve all done this in one way or another. We all have limiting beliefs. And ya know what? We can let go of the ones we choose to, at any time we choose to.

So I’m going to share a limiting belief that I struggled with and the process for how I overcame it. This belief I had probably seems trivial or silly, (and I’ll admit it’s not one of the heaviest or most damaging beliefs that I’ve had), but it did GREATLY impact my self-confidence and my mental energy from day to day. And perhaps some of you even have the same one. This was my belief… “I’m really terrible at organizing closets. I hate it. It’s not my strength.”

Silly, right? But sometimes its these silly beliefs that create the bigger problems and chaos in our life. I can’t even tell you how hardcore I believed that I super sucked at organizing closets and it was such an overwhelming task. (Makes me laugh now). But it was to the point that my palms would get sweaty and I’d feel tremendous anxiety over the thought of doing it. This limiting belief led me to have cluttered, disorderly closets for years. And every time I’d walk into or walk by one of them, I could literally feel my mental energy being drained out of me. And I was finally ready to do something about it! So here’s how I learned to let go of that limiting belief that interfered with my life for so long. You can use these 3 simple steps below for any and all limiting beliefs you have, regardless how serious or how trivial.

STEP 1 Become aware of the limiting belief you struggle with regarding yourself or your life. You can do this by thinking of a goal you have or maybe a project you want to complete… no matter how big or small. (So in my case, it was organizing my walk in master closet) Notice the thoughts that come into your mind when you think about that goal or project. What does your brain start telling you? Also, recognize the emotions you feel surrounding your belief. My emotions about organizing my closet were dread, anxiety, and frustration. Which, for years, kept me avoiding the task all together.

STEP 2Be curious and compassionate with yourself. Do not judge yourself for the belief you have. Just get curious about it. Try to be understanding and have compassion for whatever experience you had that caused this belief to develop in the first place. (In other words, don’t tell yourself you’re ridiculous for having that belief). Love yourself through it. And don’t worry if you have a hard time connecting it to a specific past experience. What really matters is that you’re just aware you have the belief and that you’re ready to let it go.

STEP 3–  Choose a new empowering belief and envision it! So what I did in my case was I took my limiting belief and I challenged it with this question: “What if I’m actually great at organizing and it’s totally a strength I have? What if I LOVED organizing my master closet and it was even fun for me?” So that’s the new belief I chose to cultivate: “I’m super good at organizing and I have fun doing it!”

So now the envisioning part… I took this new empowering belief that I chose and I went and stood in my master closet. I closed my eyes and started envisioning. I envisioned myself organizing it and really ENJOYING the process of it all. I envisioned that I was purging and organizing that closet like a freakin pro. I envisioned the details of what the finished product would look like, with labeled bins for accessories, color coordinated shirts, neatly hung blouses, and only having things that actually belonged in the closet, in the closet (#hoarderproblems.) Everything was orderly and it had the most light, refreshing feel to it. I probably spent 3 to 5 minutes envisioning all of this in my mind, and when I opened my eyes- I felt something totally different- I felt excited, I felt motivated! I felt confident in my ability to complete this task from beginning to end and enjoy every bit of it. And ya know what? I totally did! And the finished product was just as I envisioned it. (I’ll do a later post on how and why envisioning works so incredibly well)

I had totally cracked my limiting belief and proved it wrong. So my new, empowering belief fueled my new actions, and my new actions blew me away, and that then solidified the new belief in myself to be true. See how that works?? Goodbye limiting belief! Hello Truth! It was so nice to finally meet you 🙂 I took this new belief and I started applying it to many other areas in my house, and within a month, I was able to have 5 major areas in my home cleaned out and organized. Areas that I had been staring at for years and feeling totally overwhelmed by. The struggle was finally gone. What a liberating and empowering lesson this was for me. And it all started with a choice. And with something as simple as a master closet. Imagine what you could do in the major areas of life!

I’ll leave you with some powerful words from one of my favorite actors, Hugh Jackman… “If you continue to tell yourself the same story, it will continue to be true. But when you change your story, you can change your life.”

Love, Morgan

Finding Balance: Lucky 13!

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Life, in a lot of ways, is about finding balance. A little over a year ago, I was very “off” mentally and emotionally. I was not managing my mind in a conscious or intentional way, and as a result I was totally unaware that my emotional beliefs were so incredibly imbalanced. And I was even more unaware of how much it was affecting so many areas of my life. I was not open to any other perspective except the one I had been living in for so long. I was missing out on so many valuable life lessons because I was too wrapped up in my own emotional struggles. I had beliefs like… “I’m a hot mess and I’ll probably never get it together”, “I’m so emotionally jacked up, something is so wrong with me.”, “Life freakin sucks”, “I’m so angry at this person for their decision”, “I’m not the mom I should be”, and on and on. I believed all of these things. And ya know what? Its normal. It’s the way the human brain works without any help or direction.

I’ve said before that I believe we learn and experience things in life at the time we are meant to. And I got to a point in my life where I just knew it was time. It was time for me to figure things out. It was time to do some soul searching, to heal from past experiences, to understand life on a deeper and more inspired level. Things started really changing for me once I dove into my journey of self-help and life coaching. I’ll be forever grateful for that decision and for the lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had because of it. They have changed so much in my life for the better. So I wanted to share 13 of the most valuable lessons that, once I truly understood, helped me to create more balance in so many areas of my own life. You may have already learned some of these lessons for yourself! And if you have, then just consider these below to be good reminders 🙂

As I wrote these, I started thinking a lot of my teenage and college years for some reason. How much heartache, guilt, and insecurity I probably could have saved myself had I understood these things and applied them at that point in my life. It makes me so grateful for my understanding of them now and that I’ll be able to teach my children these lessons as they grow.


1.YOU CAN/SHOULD ALWAYS VALIDATE YOUR CURRENT THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS, AND AT THE SAME TIME CHOOSE TO WORK ON CULTIVATING THOUGHTS THAT ARE MORE HEALING AND UPLIFTING FOR YOU.

2. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO FEEL IMMENSE GRATITUDE FOR EVERYTHING YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR LIFE, AND AT THE SAME TIME STRIVE FOR MORE. IT IS TOTALLY OK AND EVEN HEALTHY TO WANT. IT’S WHAT KEEPS US CHANGING AND PROGRESSING.

3. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO COMPLETELY LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOURSELF AS YOU ARE, AND AT THE SAME TIME BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE THINGS YOU WANT TO IMPROVE ON. GO FOR IT!!

4. YOU CAN ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU’RE GOING TO ACHIEVE A CERTAIN GOAL, AND AT THE SAME TIME STILL BELIEVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT YOU WILL ACHIEVE IT ANYWAY.

5. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO COMPLETELY FORGIVE SOMEONE, AND ALSO CHOOSE TO CREATE BOUNDARIES TO PROTECT YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE.

6. YOU CAN CRY AND GRIEVE… AND STILL MOVE FORWARD, KNOWING THAT HEALING IS TAKING PLACE LITTLE BY LITTLE.

7. YOU CAN EXPERIENCE LOSS WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF.

8. YOU CAN CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN BAD AT, AND MAKE IT SOMETHING YOU ARE GOOD OR EVEN GREAT AT.

9. YOU CAN TOTALLY FEEL LIKE NOT DOING SOMETHING, AND STILL CHOOSE TO DO IT ANYWAY, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT IS FOR YOUR GOOD AND THE GOOD OF OTHERS.

10. YOU CAN BE A COMPLETE HOT MESS AND AT THE SAME TIME KNOW THAT THE LORD ONLY SEES A WOMAN/MAN OF INFINITE WORTH AND POTENTIAL.

11. YOU CAN WATCH SOMEONE MAKE DECISIONS THAT YOU WOULD NEVER SUPPORT OR AGREE WITH, AND AT THE SAME TIME LOVE THAT PERSON AND ACCEPT WHERE THEY’RE AT IN THEIR JOURNEY.

12. YOU CAN BE REMEMBERED FOR CERTAIN THINGS IN YOUR PAST AND STILL CHOOSE TO NOT LET IT DEFINE YOU OR YOUR FUTURE.

13. YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN PEACE AND HAPPINESS REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN YOUR LIFE.

I invite you to add to this list! What are some of your most valued lessons or beliefs that help you create balance? 🙂 Thank you for always reading.

Love, Morgan

Feel free to follow me on Instagram @kenningtonmorgan 🙂

WAYS TO IMPLEMENT GRATITUDE

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Hey there! So this is part 2 of my previous post that I promised you. :)Hopefully you’ll find something in this post that speaks to you, maybe encourages you to think differently, or simply nudges you in the direction you’ve already felt inspired to go! I love it when that happens. If you’re searching for a way to help manage your stress, frustration, self-esteem, or to just feel happier in general… Gratitude is an amazing gateway.

So how can we practice and implement this beautiful thing called GRATITUDE? When I think of the word gratitude I always think “deep appreciation”… but sometimes it can be hard to know what that looks like. That’s always one of my first thoughts…what does the ACTION look like? Something that I love to do when I want a better understanding of a word is I go to Google. (Can you believe it??) I of course look at the definition, but what I love even more than that are the synonyms. For gratitude, you’ll find synonyms like “recognition and acknowledgement”.

I don’t know about you but those words help me to have a more clear vision in my mind of what gratitude could potentially look like. So I decided I was going to start being more intentional at recognizing and acknowledging specific moments, people, experiences, and blessings that occurred on a day to day basis.

Many people do this through prayer. And I am definitely one of them. It’s something I’ve done my whole life and it’s a powerful practice that I cherish and keeps me feeling connected to God and more grateful in general. But there are 3 additional things I decided to make a part of my life in order to take on a deeper understanding of gratitude…through recognition and acknowledgment. You may already do these 3 things and if you do, you know what a difference they make!

  1. Keep a “Daily Gratitude” journal. I once thought that was just something cute you do when you’re 14. Oh how I wish I would have understood that it’s so much more than that. It’s truly one of the most healthy and inspired practices that we can do throughout our life. I’ve often heard lots of influencers, like Rachel Hollis, who preach it and encourage it but it’s just one of those things you don’t fully understand until you start doing it. At least that’s how it was for me. The way I like to use my journal is I take some time every night, and I write down 10 things that I noticed or experienced that day which I feel grateful for. If you do this every day, you’ll start to see that it keeps your brain aware of the good that’s going on around you. It changes your perception by helping you to constantly look for and recognize meaningful moments, experiences and people. Which is really fun! It can be something as simple as the beautiful weather, running into a friend that day, your child doing something that made you proud, or receiving kind words from a stranger. When you focus on finding things to be grateful for…you will in fact find them. And more than anything… you’ll FEEL it. And that feeling/perspective can help carry you through the hard times as well.

2. Write GRATITUDE notes. I first learned the power of this when I served a mission for my church in Barcelona. I lived there for a year and a half and I would truly love to know just how many gratitude notes and thank you notes my companions and I wrote to each other, and wrote to other people we served or taught in Spain. We wrote them because of what we felt in our hearts and we wanted to express it. It made us happy doing it. I learned that expressing your gratitude helps you just as much as the person receiving it. I’ve tried hard to keep every note and card I’ve ever been given. Because the words on them are powerful and remind me of the importance of expressing our feelings through writing. One of my favorite notes that I still have from one of my mission companions simply says, “Thank you for making my bed for me today. I love you.” I can’t explain exactly why that little note still means so much to me, but it does. So, the next time someone serves you in any way, take the time to write them a Thank You note. Or better yet- make it a habit! I’m working on making it a habit again in my life.

3. Intentional Thoughts of Gratitude! Like other emotions, gratitude is created in our minds. And it can be difficult to feel grateful if we aren’t being conscious of the thoughts going through our heads every day. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s been studied and proven that the thoughts we have actually create our feelings. So if that’s true (and I believe it is) then that means that we can choose to intentionally focus on grateful thoughts and it will literally generate the feeling of gratitude in our bodies! I like to do this the most when I’m in the shower, or driving in my car, or doing dishes, or journaling. Any place where I have some time to be in a more meditative state of mind. It is powerful. It has a way helping me find healing, and happiness. It has a way of opening up my mind to all the things I have to be grateful for… and helps me hold on to the good, to the positive, and to the continual blessings that pour out upon me and my family.

So there ya go! These are the ways I love to practice gratitude in my life. 🙂 I would love to hear some of the ways you try to make gratitude a lifestyle too! And if you haven’t ever tried any intentional gratitude practices before then I encourage you to do it! It will bless your life and enrich your spirit. That I can promise you!

“GRATITUDE CHANGES EVERYTHING”

LOVE, MORGAN

The Power Of Gratitude

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This is a topic that I love and have really gotten passionate about. And honestly, I think that’s because I’ve seen its positive effects so greatly in my life. Mainly in the last couple of years. These effects started happening when I started putting real effort into practicing daily gratitude- not just saying “Thank you” to people, or walking around with a grateful heart. Which I think many of us always try to do those things. But there is something SIGNIFICANTLY different about intentionally practicing gratitude every day, and taking the time to notice and appreciate specific people, moments, experiences, and blessings.

Gratitude truly can be a lifestyle. And ya know that shift in your brain I’ve mentioned before? The shift that so many of us want and need at some point in our life. That shift that takes us from feeling mentally/emotionally bogged down to feeling more liberated and in control of our well-being? Well… practicing gratitude is a VERY powerful way to help create that shift.

Scientific studies have shown that practicing gratitude can actually increase mental strength, improve self-esteem, enhance your empathy, improve sleep and even improve physical health. Tell me that’s not amazing! And that’s just a few of them!

Ya know what else it does? When you get in the habit of focusing on the things you are grateful for every day, you will naturally start to attract MORE good things and experiences into your life!

This really proved to be true for me. Within a week of me intentionally focusing on gratitude, things started happening to me that don’t typically ever happen. Even little things- like the day I was leaving Target and a stranger walked over to me and graciously offered to put my cart away for me. (never happens!) It was quite a walk back to the cart corral too and she had no interest in using the cart herself as she was also leaving. She just saw me and felt the urge to be kind and to serve.

Another day I was getting some services done on my car, and once it was finished, the auto guy came and told me he went ahead and checked something additional that he just felt he should check… and turns out that a part in my A/C system ended up needing to be replaced. It should have been a $50 replacement, but he told me he had already gone ahead and replaced it at no charge. Again, that has never happened to me before.

Or that same week when both my kids were having terrible melt downs inside Smart n Final… and FOUR different people stopped and told me I was doing a great job as a mother and promised me it would get easier. (Typically I would have just gotten dirty looks in a situation like that 😂). And as I was checking out, a sweet man told me to go ahead of him in line even though all of his groceries were already on the belt!

These are just some of the little instances and experiences I’ve had. They’ve been constant. There are many more but I won’t keep going. But I do want to also mention all of the kind smiles from people, the cheerful “hellos, and friendly conversations I started experiencing more of. At least it seemed like they were happening more… But perhaps my brain just noticed them more because I had been focusing so much on being grateful and finding the good in the world. (Your brain does that ya know- it will look for whatever it is you’re focusing on and believing in).

Simply put… Gratitude changes you. It changes your perception, it enhances your desire to connect and live fully, it enriches your life in ways that you may not even expect. It changes the way your mind thinks. It helps you have a positive outlook in situations where most people can only see the negative. It helps you become very aware of your current blessings and very quick to recognize additional ones when they come. Gratitude is an incredibly HEALING emotion to generate within yourself. It has definitely been that for me. And there are a number of ways I like to practice gratitude. Ill do a “part 2” of this blog post and I’ll share them here by Friday! ❤️ They just might be things that you want to implement in your life!

Love, Morgan

9 OF MY FAVORITE INTENTIONAL THOUGHTS

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Hey there! Sorry I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, but I’m relieved to say that I’m “mostly” recovered from the most brutal flu I think I’ve ever had. It was no joke. But it’s made me appreciate my health even more, that’s for sure! I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and that you’re starting 2019 with intentional peace and joy! (See what I did there?) 😉 I’m excited about today’s blog post! It’s fun and positive and one that I think you’ll find useful.

Have you ever seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love?” It’s one of my favorites. Do you remember the scene when Liz was in India and she was going through some mental struggles? She was sitting down having a conversation with her new friend Richard and he gives her this advice:
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

I’ve remembered that quote for years. But it wasn’t until more recently in my life that I started understanding it’s truth and developing this skill for myself. So, I’ve put together a list for you of 9 of my favorite thoughts! Thoughts that I find incredibly useful and empowering. Thoughts that I choose to think on purpose and that give me much better results in my life. Some of these thoughts I learned from life coaches and some I created myself. Feel free to use them in your own life! They just might be game changers for you as they have been for me!

  1. “I CAN MAKE ANYTHING FUN AND WORTHWHILE”: I love thinking this thought always but especially when I’m faced with something that I perhaps don’t naturally feel excited about. Whether it’s helping my kids clean up their messy playroom, or folding laundry, or making slime for the millionth time with my son, etc. Whatever it may be… this thought is a great one for generating more positive emotion around the task!
  2. “MY SPOUSE’S ONLY JOB IS TO BE THERE FOR ME TO LOVE“: When I first learned this powerful thought, it literally saved me and freed me. I remember when I used to think that my husband’s job was to make me feel loved and beautiful. I believed that part of his job was to be whoever I needed him to be, and that also meant he was supposed to meet the majority of my expectations so that I could feel happy and complete. Oh how wrong I was about that. It was such a disempowering and desperate place to live my life from… and quite honestly created A LOT of unnecessary negative emotion. So, you know what I realized? You know who’s job it is to make sure I feel beautiful and loved and happy and complete? MINE. It’s my job. And that is the best news ever… because I realized I don’t have to rely on anything or anyone outside of me to make me feel what I want to feel. I get to be in control of that! And by intentionally thinking and believing the thought that “my husband’s purpose is to be there for ME TO LOVE”, it has allowed me to open up my heart more and to actually experience way more love in my life, more compassion, and more light in our relationship than ever before.
  3. “PEOPLE ARE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN”: I love this thought! Because you know what it does? It keeps me from judging people and helps me feel compassion for others and give them the benefit of the doubt. This is especially a great thought to use when your brain feels “wronged” by someone. Or if someone was maybe rude to you for no reason. Or in any situation where you’re experiencing some negative emotion towards someone and you know that emotion isn’t necessary or helpful to you. Trust me… It feels much better to believe that people are doing the best they can, rather than believing that everyone sucks and you always being offended by others. Whether it’s regarding people your close with or even strangers. Sometimes people’s “best” is actually terrible. And we cannot always know why that is or what they’ve experienced in their life that’s influenced their behavior.
  4. “MY LIFE EXPERIENCE IS EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD BE RIGHT NOW”: Sometimes we go through things that seem unfair or just too hard to bear. Sometimes our trials seem to come at the worst time and they may even last for much longer than we expected. This thought and belief serves me really well especially during those times. It brings me peace and helps me have faith that nothing has gone wrong with my life. I am experiencing exactly what I should be right now and the lessons I’m learning from it are helping me grow and evolve into a better version of myself. The version of myself that God wants me to be and knows I can be.
  5. “MY BODY IS A GIFT AND I LOVE TAKING CARE OF IT”: This thought makes me feel grateful for my body and more motivated to take better care of it. When I intentionally direct my brain to this thought as often as possible, it helps me make better eating choices, drink more water, and actually get excited about exercising! Try it out! See how it makes you feel and what actions it leads you to take 🙂
  6. “MY KIDS ARE CHILDREN OF GOD”: I’ll be the first to say that I get frustrated with my kids. They of course don’t always behave the way I want them to and I have impulsive thoughts like “Why do they act this way” and “They are such terrible listeners” and “Man, they are so difficult today”. Those thoughts turn me into a more frustrated, less loving mother. Those thoughts have led me to act in ways that I’m not proud of. But when I direct my mind every day to the thought “My kids are children of God”, it is amazing the feelings of calm and peace that I get. And in those moments when my brain sees my kids as being difficult, I can think that positive thought and it helps me act differently towards them and show them more love and patience.
  7. “LIKING MYSELF IS MY JOB. NOBODY ELSE’S”: This thought is SUCH a powerful one and it’s truly freeing for someone who tends to be a people pleaser. Or for someone who struggles with caring too much about what others think of them. And to clarify, this thought does not mean to say “I can do and say what I want and I don’t care about anyone else”. It just simply means that you are 100% likeable and worthy no matter what anyone else thinks or says about you. It is not anyone’s responsibility to like you but YOUR OWN. Is it nice when people like you? Sure. But it says nothing less about you if they don’t. To me this thought means that you will always have your back and know how amazing you are… and you don’t need validation from anyone else in order to believe that you ARE amazing. Talk about a sense of freedom!!
  8. “I CAN WANT WITHOUT NEEDING”: As humans, our brains naturally want so many things. They want people to behave a certain way, they want plans to go the way they envisioned, they want us to eat whatever we’re craving, they want to control circumstances, they want our kids to be happy and make good choices, etc. But did you know that you can want all of those things and not NEED any of them to happen in order for you to feel good? I’m serious. You can want your spouse or your kid to change their behavior, but when they don’t, you can still be emotionally ok. You can want your plan to work, but when it doesn’t, you can still be confident and find the silver-lining. You can totally want a circumstance to be different, and still feel at complete peace that it’s not. THAT IS WANTING WITHOUT NEEDING. And it’s a concept that has been life changing for me as I’ve tried to master it. (Believe me, I’m still working on it). As Jody Moore puts it, “When we need something, we are waiting for it to happen before we allow ourselves to feel good. But when we want it without needing it, we allow ourselves to feel good first, which makes it much more likely to happen.” I’m telling you…understanding and practicing this thought has been a game changer for me in my emotional life.
  9. “LOVE WINS”: There is a lot I could say about this thought but I will try to keep it short. Love is the most powerful feeling/emotion in the world. Love for God, love for yourself, love for your family, love for everyone. Love never fails to make you a better person. Real, Christlike love… never worsens a situation or a relationship. It saves people and lifts them up. It changes them and shapes them. I direct my mind to this thought all the time. And I try every day to live my life from the emotion of LOVE. Especially when it’s hard. Because loving when it’s easy doesn’t necessarily help us reach our full potential. But choosing to love when it’s hard… that’s when real miracles happen.

I hope these thoughts find you at a time when you need them. They can be so powerful and can truly create so much good in your life. I promise.

Love, Morgan

The Art of “SELF-LOVE”

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Do you love yourself? Really give it some thought. Do you feel unconditional love for the person in the mirror? Do you feel compassion for all that that person has been through AND embrace all of their flaws? And do you celebrate all of their gifts, talents and accomplishments?

If you do… Keep on keepin on! That’s AWESOME!

But the reality is… many of us don’t. Many of us struggle to feel this kind of love for ourselves. And it’s not always because we don’t want to. Some of us just don’t know how… and some of us have a hard enough time getting past the things we “hate” about ourselves that the thought of “loving” ourselves can sometimes feel like an unrealistic dream.

For me… hate was never really the problem to be honest. For me it was apathy. For years I just felt apathetic towards myself and was completely unaware of how much I was truly neglecting my relationship with ME. My dreams, my goals, my thoughts, my desires, my self awareness. I had just kind of let all of them go on autopilot. I stopped checking in with myself basically. I stopped questioning if I was OK because I was focused so much on my family and other things going on outside of me. I didn’t understand what self-love looked like, nor did I focus on making it a priority. It seemed selfish to me in a way. I even cringe a little as I write that- because that mindset is one that held me back for so long!

I grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and my belief that I am a child of God has always been something I live by and trust in. But at some point in my life I started forgetting that this belief shouldn’t ONLY be a belief. It should also be put into ACTION. An action taken by ME. I say that because for a long time I believed that much of my worthiness and lovability had to come from other people validating it. Like many people, I depended on other’s actions and words to help me feel that love for myself.

I’m so thankful I was wrong about that concept. And I’m even more thankful that I finally REALIZED I was totally wrong about it! I found help and guidance through amazing life coaches and other empowering women who at one point in their lives were in the same place I was mentally and emotionally. Below I’ll share some incredibly useful things that I’ve learned in my journey with Self-Love.

3 THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT SELF LOVE:

  • SELF-LOVE STARTS IN YOUR MIND: Just like most of the things I write about… it’s mental. Your mind holds the key that unlocks this feeling of self-love. I promise.
  • SELF-LOVE IS NOT SELFISH: It’s actually the exact opposite. I have found that when you love yourself you actually think about yourself much less! Because you stop putting so much energy toward worrying about you and your own flaws, and you start being able to put that energy and focus into loving others more.
  • SELF-LOVE MEANS MAKING YOURSELF A PRIORITY: When you make a To Do list of things that HAVE to get taken care of, YOU should be on that list! Whatever it is that your mind, spirt and body need… making it a priority and seeing it as something that’s necessary is key! Otherwise it’s just too easy to push aside.

5 WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-LOVE: (some of the ways I love to do it)

  • POSITIVE THOUGHTS & SELF TALK: Remember how I said it all starts in your mind? It’s because it truly does. The way we THINK about ourselves shows up in the way we treat ourselves (and others)…it also comes out in the things we SAY about ourselves. Choosing to be aware of your thinking is the first step toward changing your thoughts about yourself and redirecting your brain to more love and positivity. I’m telling you this is powerful!
  • MAKE A LIST: Get out your journal or even just a piece of paper! Now, make a list of 50 things you appreciate about yourself. Seriously, do it! It may sound like a lot but I bet you will come up with things more easily than you thought you would. And remember this is YOUR list so it can include whatever you want. It doesn’t just have to be your gifts and talents. I once read a list by a woman who got creative and put all kinds of good things that she appreciates about herself like, “I laugh out loud at movies, I sing in my car, I am not a perfectionist, I know how to love difficult people, I am at peace with my past.” See how she went deeper and didn’t only list surface level stuff? This is such a good exercise for your brain and it’ll actually help you with changing your thought process about yourself!
  • DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE “LITTLE THINGS”: Things like making your bed every day, organizing your master closet, taking a shower and getting dressed every morning, eating well and being active, etc. There was a long period of time where these things didn’t really matter too much to me. I just lived my life day to day not giving any priority to these things, and all the while I had no idea how much it was contributing to the mental clutter inside my mind. Not to mention the feeling of apathy I couldn’t seem to escape. Now I see it so, so clearly. Little things can make a world of difference!
  • MAKE TIME EVERY WEEK FOR YOUR “THERAPY”: Whatever it is! I have several things that I pick between that I feel are therapeutic for me and feed my spirit. Reading is one of them. Painting watercolors is another. Sewing is another. Writing has been a big one for me this year especially. Whatever it is…Set aside time to do it and DO IT! Even if it’s actual therapy you’re needing. Do it! You are worth it. AND by deliberately doing these things every week you are conditioning yourself to believe that you are important. 🙂
  • BUILD YOUR FAITH: Having faith in someone or something means “believing in or trusting in” that person or that thing right? And often it means doing so without any proof. Many of us believe and have faith in God even though we can’t physically see him or even though we weren’t physically there to witness his miracles we read of in the scriptures. You can apply this same faith to the concept that you are a child of God and you are 100% loveable! Whether or not it seems true or evident to you at this point… you can STILL believe in it!

You can believe that you are capable of anything you want to achieve mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Even if you’ve never achieved it before. BELIEVING in yourself even if the proof isn’t there yet. BELIEVING that you can achieve “that goal” even when there’s no evidence yet. BELIEVING that you can love yourself even though you’ve never fully experienced it before. BELIEVING you can heal from whatever it is you might be struggling with in your life right now. BELIEVING in what’s possible for you. That’s part of building your faith. That’s part of Self-Love.

“Learning to love yourself is one of the most important things you will ever do in this life… and one of the most important things you could teach anyone else.” -MK

What are some ways that you practice self-love?

LOVE, MORGAN