Thoughts and Lessons Learned

Staying Present

Sometime last year, my best friend Megan told me about a daily inspirational text service called “Shine Text” that she subscribed to for free. Essentially everyday at whatever time you designate, you get a text with a short motivational message that focuses on one of the focus-areas that you indicated you were interested in when you signed up. It also usually includes a fun image/meme and links to articles and videos that further discuss the topic and provide action steps and advice.

Is it sort of cheesy? Definitely. But I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and with so many negative distractions that most of us have to overcome or try to ignore from day to day, trying to make a habit of reading my Shine Text each day is a goal that really has improved my attitude and mood.

Last month I received the image above and this message below, that has REALLY stuck with me lately:

“Our minds are expert time-travelers; bypassing the present to harp on the past or future 47% of the time… We get so caught up in the shams and delusions of the mind that we miss reality – what is happening now and here.”

The concept on focusing on what’s right in front of us and not dwelling on the past or anticipating what is to come too much, is not new. But lately it is something that I have struggled with a bit, so this Shine Text was perfectly timed.

I’ve always struggled with having too-specific expectations for things to come, and then have to deal with being very disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would. So regardless if the present is still good and positive, I sometimes miss out on appreciating those moments because I am stuck being upset about how it didn’t turn out instead. Another thing is that often, while I am counting down to something that I am looking forward too, I will measure the time based on all of the things both at home and work that have to be done in the meantime. This affects my attitude toward my “present” and belittles other day-to-day moments that deserve their own spotlight. Not that its bad to be excited for something in the future, but this is definitely different then setting a goal or even daydreaming about what we hope for.

I think these are easy patterns to fall into that are sometimes harder to identify. The Shine Text also shared this article, “3 Simple Steps to Stop Mental Time Traveling,” which didn’t necessarily present any groundbreaking advice, but instead broke down the challenge in a practical way that is a great reminder for how to approach each day.

I am a very observant and intuitive person. I know that those are two of my strengths, so I know that I am at my best when I shift my attention to the present moment, whatever that might be.

Being present makes me better appreciate what I have, rather than dwell on what I think I might want. It encourages me to get to the gym and say yes to spontaneous girl’s day trips. It helps me be more intentional with my conversations and commitments, and how I invest in “my people.” It makes me less anxious about what is ahead and better able to go with the flow. And it makes me notice the little moments like a stranger letting me use the last washer in the community laundry room, a new favorite jam or a flirty wink from my boyfriend.

Being present is better.

How do you focus on being more present?

And because this was a more word heavy post, here’s a jam that I have had on repeat lately. This is the slower version, but the upbeat version is great too!

Cheers!

 

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 18

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
JUST KIDS – Mat Kearney

There is a special place in my heart for fellow Oregonian Mat Kearney’s music, and his new album is no except. The song above “Coming Home (Oregon)” is obviously my favorite, after we of course overlook the fact that the music video is a tribute to the Oregon Ducks. I respect his intense passion for a college football team, but does it really have to be THAT team? I feel like am committing a crime for even linking to the video. Also on the album I really like it’s first single “One Black Sheep,” as well as “Air I Breathe” “The Conversation” and “Heartbeat.”

2.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
for KING & COUNTRY

This Christian band was a random find on Spotify last week that I instantly fell in love with. They appear to have been around awhile and are the two brothers of contemporary Christian artist Rebecca St. James. Their music isn’t just uplifting, it is dynamic and great to jam to. “Fix My Eyes,” shared above, is probably my favorite so far, but “Busted Heart” is a close second. I also am really liking “Run Wild” “Light It Up” “Crave” “Fine Fine Life” and “Without You.”

3.Jam I Have on Repeat
Live Forever – The Band Perry

I’m always a sucker for a good anthem song and people, I am obsessed with this song. Then again, I’ve felt that way by every single The Band Perry has put out. I saw them few years ago at Country Stampede in Kansas and I was really impressed by their range of influences and covers they chose to feature alongside their own songs.

4.Favorite Collaboration, Cover, Remix or Mashup
Hey Brother – Dierks Bentley (original by Avicii)

Considering Dierks has a great bluegrass album I’m not surprised he flip a song like this and add his own spin.

5.Favorite Spotify List
“Confidence Boost” by Spotify

A solid mix of mostly songs from the past 5 years or so.

6.#SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Thunder Clatter – Wild Club
Listen HERE

7.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
Kerosene – Miranda Lambert

This song is 11 years old. Just let that sink in for a few moments. I knew from this very first single I was going to be a Miranda fan. At that time I don’t think there were that many new, young strong voices in country music. Don’t get me wrong I LOVED Faith, Martina and Shania, but Miranda had an unique sound and outlaw country attitude. Fast forward to now and I’d say she’s pretty much stayed true to that.

8.Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
 
Listen HERE

I really didn’t like this song at first. Which was a bit disappointing because I hear she was good in Pitch Perfect 2 (which I haven’t gotten around to watching yet) and I still am bitter about her not getting the Oscar at 13 for her role in the remake of the movie True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. ANYWAY. I still wouldn’t say that I particularly like it that much, but dang it, it is really catchy and at some point I found myself not skipping it anymore.

9.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
“Clubbed to Death” – Matrix Theme
Listen HERE

Last Sunday night I watched the 2016 Miss America pageant where Miss Alabama danced for her talent to this song and I freaked out a little. During my freshman year of high school on the dance team, we did a Matrix theme for our state competition performance and this was our opening song. I loved that routine, but our makeup and costumes were pretty intense and any picture proof I have is conveniently not on Facebook or my computer.

10.Work, Work it Out
Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy
 

Umm, let’s be honest. Anything by Fall Out Boy is great to work out to.

11.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
My Heart is Open- Maroon 5 ft. Gwen Stefani
Listen HERE

This song is over a year old now, but it came back up on my playlists today, and is probably one of my FAVORITE collaborations!

12.Guilty Listen of the Week
 
Dirty Work – Austin Mahone

Oh don’t, worry I’m judging myself enough for everyone. #shame

13.Song That I Originally Loved, But Is Now Overplayed
Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
Listen HERE

I was totally on the bandwagon for this song for much longer than I would like to admit, but a few weeks ago I made an effort to go back through and take it off of all of my playlists.

14.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Downtown – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Listen HERE

Nope. I gave it try, and once was enough.

15.Country Pick of the Week
80’s Mercedes – Maren Morris
 
Listen HERE

I’ve been wanting to feature this song for the last two weeks but this girl is so new that hardly any of her music is on YouTube. Except, she’s not new. Apparently she’s been doing the red dirt scene for a few years now and was first noticed for her songwriting (Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson and Last Turn Home – Tim McGraw). But I really like this song so the link above takes you to Spotify. The song has a really “cool” vibe and I’d venture to say that this girl’s sound is similar to Kasey Musgraves, so I’m hoping that we start to hear more from her soon.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session Vol. 17

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Sundown Heaven Town – Tim McGraw

So this album will actually be a year old next week but there have been a number of singles throughout the year that I’ve continued to come back with it. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my around the fact that Tim is now considered one of the old guys in country music. And with the infusion of new and “bro” country, I know sometimes people blame some of the other guys for “selling out” their sound for what’s popular. I always roll my eyes because I think that is somewhat that natural ebb and flow of music and looking back I think people would find many past examples of that. I love this album because it still has that signature Tim McGraw sound, but tries out a few new things. It’s hard to choose but I think the song above is my favorite, but I also love “Shotgun Rider”,Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”  and “Overrated.”

2.Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
Verge – Owl City ft. Aloe Blacc


This is a fun song and an interesting collaboration. I am kind of surprised that I like it though. Back when Owl City first came out with his first single “Fireflies” I was NOT fan. Talk about an overplayed song. I just didn’t get the appeal. One the flip side I loved Aloe Blacc’s first big song “Wake Me Up” that was he featured on with Avicii. I understand though that a lot of people got sick of it.

3.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
Jess Glynne


Her YouTube channel featured this acoustic version, but I think I prefer the original in this case. Anyway, I was planning on using the song as my “Jam I Have on Repeat”, but considering I have also had her song “Hold My Hand” on repeat all summer and I was immediately obsessed with “Rather Be” where she offers guest vocals when it came out late 2013, it is pretty safe to say that she fits better in this category. I love her energy and raspy voice, not to mention she has AWESOME curly red hair.
#Holla
I’m also loving “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” and “My Love” from her debut album.

4. Jam I Have on Repeat
Move On – Clare Dunn


I have no idea who this chick is and to be honest the music video is a bit too much, but I’m not waiting for this song to annoy me because I’ve played it so much. It’s a fun one to get into and I appreciate a solid girl jam.

5. Favorite Cover, Remix or Mashup
Wildfire – Aaron Watson
Listen HERE

It’s not often that I like a cover more than the original, and even though I really like John Mayer’s original version, I think really think it was meant to be a simple country song.

6.Favorite Spotify List
“Wild Country” by Spotify

It just felt like a summer country music week and this playlist was just the ticket.

7. #SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Wings – Birdy
Listen HERE

Apparently, this song is a few years old, but I only recently discovered because of the artist’s work on a soundtrack and her cover of Skinny Love (at age 15!). This girl’s voice and this song in particular both have a beautiful, haunting sound that I love.

8.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
Kings and Queens – 30 Seconds to Mars

I LOVE when you entirely forget about a song and rediscover it on accident. 30 Seconds to Mars has never been a band that I listened to a lot from and 6 years old probably isn’t considered and “oldie,” but obviously it was long for me to forget how much I loved this song when it first came out. It’s definitely going back on my workout and car playlists. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this considering I am outspoken about how much I don’t like long hair on guys… but I think I prefer Jared Leto with long hair, at least over the do he has in the video.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Pumpin Blood – NONONO

This song is kind of random and trippy, but it is a blast to dance and jam to in the car.

10.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson


Can you believe this song is 11 years old?! I had this album and knew every single world to every track. My Dad may or may not have been a Kelly fan too. We’ll go ahead and let him blame it on having two teenage daughters.

11. Work, Work it Out
In My Head – Galantis
Listen HERE

Solid beat for a good run.

12.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
Stuck With Me – Timeflies
Listen HERE

I know they’ve been around for a few years and are one of those success stories of artists/bands who “made it” after working hard to build a following on YouTube, but I’ve never really been a fan. So I was a bit surprised that I kept coming back to this song. It’s simple and sweet.

13. Guilty Listen of the Week
Levels – Nick Jonas
Listen HERE

I’m sorry, but I really couldn’t help it. I have no shame #JoBros4Ever

14.Song That I Originally Loved, But Is Now Overplayed
Worth It – Fifth Harmony
Listen HERE

I DO NOT love this song at all…it actually make my ears bleed, but I know its catchy and its been really popular this summer. But seriously though, when can people be over this song soon please. I also just really wanted to feature this song so I could share this hysterical video of this girl jamming to the song in the car….

15.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber
Listen HERE

I wanted to give the Biebs a chance, but no, just no. Not sure if was him or the freaking metronome sound throughout the whole song that drove me more crazy… and don’t get me started on the music video that I should not have wasted my time on.

16.Country Pick of the Week
Nights on Fire – David Nail
Listen HERE

I’ve continued to wonder over the years why David Nail isn’t more popular. It amazed me when his single “Whatever She’s Got” came out in 2013 and there were still people who thought he was a new act. Country acts tend to be a be dime a dozen from time to time but I’ve always liked this guy’s sound and think more people should check him out!

BONUS: People, it is officially college football season!

It is well known among Kansas State fans and many of our Big 12 opponents that Coach Snyder is very traditional and has been using the same pre-game playlist throughout most of his tenure, with only a few changes. I did Friday Jam Session way back in my old format that I thought I would resurrect. See the original post HERE.

So, what have you been listening to this week?

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 Linking up with these blogs today!
Here, Here, Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

Friday Jam Session

Friday Jam Session: #SoulMusic Vol. 1

This week’s Friday Jam Session, is brought you on a Saturday morning.
..because someone’s Friday ended with an epic five hour nap.
Yeah, I like to live life on the edge.

Anyways, this week’s music is best enjoyed on a quiet, sun-shining morning with a cup of coffee, so as least I’m doing something right. By far my favorite playlist on my iTunes is one that I affectionately refer to as “#SoulMusic.”

I’m a writer and a lover of words, so as a music junkie, I love a set of lyrics that has the power of moving people. Today I’m sharing #SoulMusic that all has a similar sound, but that doesn’t mean that those are the boundaries. On my #SoulMusic playlist I have songs that are happy, sad, inspiring, fast, slow and some that don’t have words. They cover every topic that one can sing about and come from every genre. The one thing that they have in common is that they are songs that move me. My fellow music junkie roommate describe these as “lay-your-head-on-your-computer-speaker-and-be-absorbed-into-the-music” kind of songs.

Yeah, she has an unique way with words.

Stubborn Love by The Lumineers
The Lumineers are one of my newest discoveries and really, their entire album could be considered #SoulMusic. The lead singer has that raw type of voice that convinces you that it only speaks the truth. I particularly love this song not just for its lyrics but because of how the music progresses through the story that it is telling. Plus, the little girl in the video is adorable.

Drops of Jupiter by Train
Either you are laughing at me or raising your eyebrows right now, but either way, most of you can’t help but sing along. And that’s why this song makes the list, because it doesn’t actually make sense. “She acts like summer and walks like rain.” What does that even mean??? All I do know is that this song makes me smile…and that the 90’s were weird. Pat Monahan, you are creepy and your shirt clashes with the rugs that you are standing on, but hey, thanks for this song.

Runaway by Mat Kearney
Mat Kearney has a special place in my iTunes partially because he is a fellow Oregonian, and while I actually have no idea where he gets his inspiration for his music, I like to tell myself that it comes from the same things that I love about our home state. For some reason this one reminds me of my mountains and is one of my all-time favorites to play on long drives.

This is The Thing by Fink
I discovered this song on the “Dear John” movie soundtrack (which is a gem in itself.) It’s the only song that I have ever heard from this artist but it is one that I always put on repeat for two main reasons. First it is one that you could drop the vocals and I would love it just as much. I am a sucker for that guitar. Second, it sounds so personal and a little sad. It’s sort of, as if we are getting an inside peek into someone’s inter-monologue.

Daylight by Maroon 5
This is a little bit different for Maroon 5 and I think it’s beautiful. It’s both happy and sad, and the kind of song that you can determine it’s meaning for yourself. They took two different approaches for the music video. I’m featuring the one I like better and you can find the other one by clicking here. Neither of the videos feature the song in it’s original form, so I definitely recommend looking that up as well.

A few other artists that sound like this that I can always count on for some good #SoulMusic are Phillip Phillips, Lifehouse, Bon Iver, Snow Patrol, Augustana, OneRepublic, NEEDTOBREATHE, Goo Goo Dolls, Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons and The Fray. In a few weeks I’ll feature a Vol. 2 post and share some #SoulMusic with a different sound.

Enjoy!