5 Personal Life Values for 2016

This year is going to be an amazing year!!!! You make it what you want it be right!!!? I am not fantastic with big new year’s resolutions so setting values is more my thing. I also prefer doing monthly goals as it is easier for me to stay accountable with shorter period of times.

So this year I have decided to set these values as a foundation for my Personal Development this year. These values will be a base for me to set my goals around.

  1. Nourish and Exercise my Mind – This can be done by reading uplifting and inspiring books. Reading personal development books. I also find that reading scriptures also enlighten my mind and enlarge my understanding.
  2. Act Consciously – Thinking before I do anything. Thinking before I talk. Thinking before I eat and asking myself do I really want it. Being conscious and being purposeful in all my actions.
  3. Simplify – “Less is more” Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and socially clearing out the clutter in your life helps you focus on the real things that matter. e.g having so many outfits means a bigger amount of time to sort through clothing, laundry and space in your house
  4. Listen – actually talking to somebody and listening about what they are saying not just thinking about your response.
  5. Be Present – wherever you are taking in that present moment, not thinking about the past the future just being there and the now!

My mantra for 2016 is as follows:

Faith finds Solutions Doubt finds Problems

 

What are your values or goals for this year? How are you planning on accomplishing them? Let me know in the comments below! Best wishes for the upcoming new year may it be prosperous, productive and fulfilling!


NZ Trip Part 1- Ahokava Wedding

The main reasons why we got to come down to New Zealand this christmas was due to my siblings weddings. They conveniently planned it round the same time so we and other family members didn’t have to make the trip twice in one year. I know they would have preferred to have had it separately so they could actually take time to enjoy the festivities and planning individually but they were extremely kind to do this so we could all be here to enjoy it with them. So in two weeks we had two weddings and the first wedding was my little brothers wedding.

It began at the Hamilton Temple early morning at 9.30am. With little to no sleep for most of the family as there were tonnes of decorations and food preparations the night before then we made the hour and a half drive to the hamilton temple, the rest of the family that couldn’t go in the temple stayed home to finish off the cooking for the reception. Our Temple weddings are slightly different as we get married and sealed in the temple and only those with a temple recommend can go inside. To understand more about our temples click here. Majority of my parents families are not members of our faith and therefore don’t have a recommend therefore were not able to go inside but they have full respect and understanding of this. My brothers wife (Stacey) is a recent convert and  is the only member of her family so she didn’t have anyone in the temple to see her get married which was extremely difficult for her and her family, but it was amazing to see all the support from her family and friends waiting eagerly outside the temple for her.  When we got to the temple my husband and I were told that our recommends had expired a few days before so this was extremely sad for me as I had been anticipating to be present, and we weren’t able to go into witness their ceremony. But we understood that the House of the Lord is a House of Order and we had to accept the rules even though it was a hard pill to swallow.

After the Sealing ceremony in the temple we went to their reception at Buckland’s beach. Had our typical Polynesian style ceremony with tonnes of food and dancing and craziness. Before we knew it the day was over and now this couple have begun their journey together as the new Mr and Mrs Ahokava. Here are a few of my favorite flicks of the day.

Photo Credit: Elder Reed Spencer

 


Untouched by Fire

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While driving through and enjoying beautiful New Zealand country side we received tragic news that my husband’s sister had just had a large house fire in Utah, USA causing their family of 7 to be displaced from their home. In discovering this our thoughts immediately went to their safety, their belongings, to their beautiful house, to their children, and to their emotional state. Feelings of helplessness, sorrow, sadness and empathy overcame us. Our family who are across the other side of the world and we couldn’t be there to give comfort. The most important news was that they were all safe and were lucky to get out of the house before the roof had collapsed in on them.

Once composed Granny suggested that we pull over to the side of the road and say a prayer for them, to help them feel comfort and peace during this difficult time. During her prayer, one thing that was mentioned that stuck with me was that in all bad things that there is always some good that will come of it, and for us to recognize it.

After a couple of hours, and once the fire had been put out they went back inside to see what the damage was and what could be salvaged. There lying in one of the rooms was a Book of mormon left completely untouched by the flames. Also the eldest daughters set of scriptures and a few photos of Christ were left untouched and unharmed by the fire!!!!

For anybody reading this, they may just think this is fake or just a mere coincidence that this book happened to be untouched by the flames.  I too would probably be a skeptic to this story if this wasn’t my family first hand. I don’t know the complete full story, but all I do know is that our life is guided by a loving God who is guiding and protecting us. He also sends us little reminders in mysterious ways that he is there and will never leave us even though it may seem like all hope is gone. Seeing this photo seemed unreal to me that this only happens in movies or other people’s families not my own! I couldn’t help but feel so much love for my Heavenly Father for still giving us a sign that He was still there even though this difficult thing had just happened.

This beautiful house that was once filled with beautiful things, furniture, decor, clothing, accessories, toys, latest gadgets and many more beautiful things.  In an instant was purged of all its earthly possessions, only remains are a Book of Mormon in ashes as a little reminder to us all of the only thing we ever need in this life is a firm testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as our foundation will help us overcome all trials, obstacles and give us purpose in this life.  This beautiful miracle in this unfortunate accident will forever strengthen the testimonies of this family, their community and all the generations that will follow. I believe in a God of miracles. God is Amazing!

If you would like to show your support, their friend has started up a gofundme page here. Every small donation is appreciated! “By small and simple things great things are brought to pass”


Joy of Gratitude – Attribute Series

Joy doesn’t bring Gratitude, Gratitude brings Joy

Gratitude brings self confidence

Gratitude brings contentment

Gratitude decreases materialism

Gratitude improves health and reduces stress

Gratitude strengthens our emotions

Gratitude makes our memories happier

Gratitude is vital for happiness


Dear Journal: 2015 Reflection

As this year is coming to a close, and thanksgiving is coming up, I would be so ungrateful if I did not recognize my many blessings through the year. I thought this would be a perfect time to reflect as december will be just hectic christmas beast mode time. This is by no means to boast because there really is nothing to boast about when all things are given to us from above, and nothing really does belong to us they are all His for His purpose. He is the giver and taker of all, we appreciate them while we have them and also appreciate them when we don’t.

This year has been a very eventful year. Had my first baby at the beginning of the year! YAY! She was born with a bilateral cleft lip which was a complete shocker to us! This was an extremely difficult time for me because I couldn’t help but blame myself. (the hormones didn’t help either) but we managed to get over blaming my bad eating and pregnancy cravings, or random cultural superstitions and loved her like nothing else. After her birth we were blessed with paying $2000 for a little newborn!! (love the healthcare system NOT!) Then to add to that we had more costs for her surgery as well.( fun fun fun) But as I count my many blessings I am so grateful that our insurance was able to help out and she is the sweetest blessing we have received!

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After the baby was born we bought our first house. Had a fair bit of renovation work, painted the entire interior of the house and carpeted the whole house and tiled a few areas. Again I have to count my many blessings with the many people who helped us out with this project, especially my parents spending their entire vacation sanding and painting. With renting out the basement we have had to practice a minimalist style living, and I have also been able to do lots of fun DIY decor with random things around the house. I am also so grateful that we have awesome renters that are way too nice and are so awesome and pay on time!

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A big milestone for me was for the first time in my life since I started working at 15 I did not have a real job of some sort. I was officially a “Stay at Home Mother.” It was extremely difficult for me at first as I considered myself an extremely independent woman! I didn’t have to rely on nobody. Can I just say how much it is a privilege it is to be able to stay home with my little baby and watch her grow every step of the way. We have been so blessed that my husband currently has a job that is able to support us while he is studying full-time and working full-time. My whole life I had joked about being a stay home mum but didn’t actually think it was going to come true. But iI have to say that this opportunity to stay at home may not always present itself so while it is here I will enjoy it and make the most of it.

Personally I knew that I couldn’t just sit and watch movies or YouTube or reality TV shows all day. I also knew that I didn’t want to clean my house all day everyday so I managed to find an outlet to keep me feeling “busy” and somewhat productive. This is what led me to officially starting this blog. I really didn’t have an end goal with the blog as there were so many things I am passionate about. I was also way too scared to start this blog because of what people would think about me!!!!! (Isn’t that sad that we live our lives because of what people think of us.) I knew that my grammar was terrible and I didn’t even know what to write about.I also didn’t want to be “oh another blogger” But eventually I had to overcome all my self-doubt and JUST DO IT! The majority of this year you I have been just playing around with several layouts, several logos as I went through this whole process. (thanks for bearing with me) So that’s why you have probably been seeing so many random things here and there. It was just me trying to figure things out, figure who I was, figuring out my style and where I wanted to go. Eventually I rediscovered my love for topics on self-improvement and self-development. I loved studying why people do the things they do and studying people’s behaviour. I also have had several impressions to focus in on strengthening the family and family psychology.  So after a whole year of just blogging random posts, I have finally come to know my area.I feel that personal growth and family are two I know I need to learn and grow from the most  and I feel like this is where I will thrive the most.

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This past year I have grown a lot in terms of understanding and learning about my personal purpose and vision. I have set goals out financial and time freedom. I have progressed so much more than the first year with my relationship with my husband (but there’s the occasional freak out).  I am always finding ways to improve myself as a teacher, mother and an example to my daughter. I am endeavouring to enjoy quality time with my daughter being present with her just being together without phones, cameras or any technology between us trying to capture each moment. I love being a mother and love my life (cliche I know).

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In a few days I am privileged to visit my family for both my brother and sisters weddings. And baby also gets to have her first christmas with the family in New Zealand. Although our bank account has not increased whatsoever in monetary value this year we have been blessed with way more than we deserve. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who continually watches, protects and blesses us even though we don’t deserve any of it.

So with this reflection of this year there were plenty of both ups and downs. There are still many things I want to work on..  What are some of your reflections of the year behind us? What have you learnt? What do you want to avoid or repeat? Would love to hear your thoughts.

With love

Tracylesieli xo

To be continued: Vision & Goals for the New Year

 


Materialism at its finest!

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I had an interesting conversation with this lady where she shared with me a personal story about her granddaughter; she had found out that her granddaughter had been stealing people’s belongings. Listening to this I would have automatically assumed she was just a naughty child! I would label her as a thief and want to avoid her. But as this grandmother continued her story she went on to say how this grand-daughter had been sexually abused and been moved around from home to home. This changed my outlook on her behaviour. As a result of her unstable upbringing she turned to material possessions for comfort for security because she felt she lacked that kind of love from any physical relationships in her life. I thought this is such a beautiful example that illustrates how much we need real love in our life. This young girl felt she had no other option other to turn to physical things and if she didn’t have it she ended up stealing it. From this story there are so many lessons we can learn but I want to focus on detaching ourselves from Material Possessions.  Many of us haven’t been through this traumatic experience, but we all have experienced something which has made us attach ourselves to physical temporal things, although we may be  surrounded by many loving family members, friends and even our dear animals.

Why are we humans so attached to stuff? Why do we let our possessions define who we are? Why do we let our possessions take over majority of our life? Why do we work the majority of our lifetime to fill our homes and lives with things that diminish in value? Why do we constantly buy things that always need an upgrade the year later?

If we actually take some time to reflect on our life, we may be able to pinpoint a time or a thought process to why we have attached ourselves to physical things. Whether we do it because we had nothing growing up, or we do it because the society we have grown up in or we do it because of security. Once we figure out our root cause we will then be able to slowly detach ourselves from those physical things.

What’s the big deal?

Materialism is a trap that is never ending. It is ongoing and can never suffice. We can go our entire lives trying to accumulate things and things that will never give us true happiness and joy. Why? This is because we are not physical we are spirits in a physical body therefore only that which is spiritual can give us complete joy. Many people only recognize this once they get to the end of the lives, they regret spending the majority of their life on the things that didn’t matter most.

We are a Spiritual being having a Human Experience

Are you focusing on buying a fancy american dream home? Are you focusing on making sure you have the latest model cars or gadgets? Are you focused on looking like you are doing “WELL” on social media? No it’s not bad to enjoy things and have nice things, but what you should always remember is that things won’t give you the joy and happiness you really want. If your goal is to buy a fancy house evaluate it so that your goal is to make beautiful memories with your family in your home.

Create a life of deep experiences, people, family, friends, nature. Develop talents, character as we serve those around us. We need to seek to have spiritual experiences so that our spirits grow and feel a sense of real fulfillment and joy.

What do you do to enrich your spirit?

 


What sign are they wearing?

Last week I was super blessed to be able to attend an all women’s conference with some of the leaders of our church. We were privileged to be trained by the wives of our temple president, mission president, seventy and an apostle. It was such an amazing experience especially to have the opportunity for the spirit to teach us whatever message we needed to hear through these lovely ladies. There were lots of things that stood out to me but one that I would like to touch on today is that of..

What sign are they wearing?

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This is a such wonderful phrase that if we memorize and keep it on hand all the time, it will be able to help us be kind to all those around us, love and be kind to those who may be mean or even attack us.

Take a second to imagine if every single person had a sign hanging from their neck letting people know the trials  they were going through. Would you treat that person a little kinder? Would you let them in front of you in the line? Would you greet them with a smile? Would you let them pull into a carpark you were first to?

” I am going through a divorce”

” I just got diagnosed with cancer”

” I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed”

” I am trying to figure things out as a new mother”

” I am feeling lonely”

” I just lost my job”

” I just got into an accident”

There is nobody on this earth that is living a completely blissful life. We all have our struggles, insecurities, trials and challenges. Some may handle it or hide it better than others. We JUST need to be nicer to EVERYONE because the bottom line is We Don’t KNOW! Treat people as if we can read their sign hanging from their neck. If we make a conscious effort to remember this phrase and come from a place of understanding we ourselves will be able to attain joy beyond measure. Joy that will in turn help us with our own personal challenges.

Happy Friday my lovely friends

 

xo Lesieli


Sleeping Benefits

about-usThe irony in this post is that I am writing this at 1.40am. But don’t worry I always make up my sleeping time because anybody who knows me knows I love my sleep and will make sure I get it. I am also one of those lucky people who gets away with being able to sleep anywhere and everywhere public transports, public parks, airport floors, chairs and anywhere. So the other day I was telling off my mum for not getting enough sleep. Many of us wear not sleeping much like a badge of honor as if this means I am such a hard-worker. But if you are doing this you are being stupid and not being kind to yourself and giving yourself what you need to be at your best self.

 

Improve Cognitive Functions

Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).

“If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice,” says Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”

Allow Creativity

Get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the pen and paper. Sleeping allows your to have the clear mind and focus to perform at your best.  In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well.

You’ll live longer

Studies have found people who routinely sleep for fewer than six hours a night have a higher risk of dying sooner than people of a similar age who sleep for seven or eight hours a night.

Improved Decision Making

We’ve all heard of sleeping on a problem, in the hope that come morning the solution will be clear. Well scientists have found that when you do this your brain still looks for a solution, even when you’re asleep. Even if you don’t wake up with an answer, a good night’s sleep will equip your brain to assess the problem afresh. I also find that if I go to bed mad at my husband I wake up in the morning with a more realistic understanding of the situation and am able to process the situation better.

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There are so many more benefits of sleeping from better skins, to performance in school, work and on the sports field. What are some of the ways you have noticed that a lack of sleep does for you? Or tell us how what benefits more sleep has done for you?

Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

This post was sponsored by Sleepy People. Sleepy People offer a fantastic range of luxury bedding from big name brands including Silentnight and Jeff Banks.  They have many duvets filled with generous layers  of fillings  in either hollow fibre, micro fibre and natural fillings such as duck and goose feathers.  They will ensure you blissful comfort and warmth. To ensure that you are warm and comfy this winter make sure that you check out their wide range of winter duvets
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My Favorite Healthy Snacks plus GIVEAWAY!

I am an all time snacker. I can snack on things and can miss out on meals by just snacking way too much which is not a good thing. So I love snacks and have to have them around the house otherwise I may get a little crazy. Today I have collaborated a few of my favourite snacks when I am trying to be healthy. It’s not always easy because I do have the tendency to want to run to the store and buy a chocolate bar or a packet of cheetos and eat in one whole sitting.

Cheese Sticks – Love this with crackers or pretzels or just on its own.

Granola/ Muesli Bar – Whether its packed with protein or got some chocolate in it, I love granola bars. It usually always satisfies my sweet cravings as well.

Toast with Peanut Butter and Raisins – This is really good if I am feeling pretty hungry. Its like having peanut butter and jelly without all the sugar in the jelly/jam.

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Guacamole – Yum but again with this portion control is hard I just want to eat the entire avocado and salsa with everything.

Kale Chips – This was interesting at first but got use to them. Healthy light and if you have salty cravings this can save you from demolishing potato chips. First time I made these burnt them to smithereens so make sure you follow a good tutorial.

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Fruit and Peanut Butter – Bananas and Apples go very well with peanut butter. These two fruits are our staples in my household because they are the cheapest. Although they aren’t my favorite fruits dipping them in peanut butter make them more a delight. I also love dipping apples in water with essential oils when am I feeling more adventurous.

Nuts – I wish I did this more often, but my budget doesn’t always allow it.I love them but with nuts I too may get a little overboard and eat more than the recommended portion. (not just peanuts!)

Sponsored Post by Eatsie Box where you can subscribe to get a surprise snack delivery every month. You’ll receive between 1.5 and 3 pounds of snacks each month, including full-size, snack-size, and sample-size items, plus a prize at the bottom. You’ll get delicious snacks like jerky, hard candy, popcorn, toffee, cookies, or even a treat for your pup – you decide and we’ll surprise you with stuff we know you’ll love. Head over to their website to see their fun selection. You can also join in on this giveaway TO WIN YOUR OWN BOX of yummy goodies!

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What are your easy healthy snacks that you like to make? Let us know in the comments below!


Hacks for Curly Hair

Hey if you are like me and have uncontrollable curly hair that’s hard to manage this post is just for you.  I tend to wash my hair on a weekly basis, when I tell most people they are like ewww gross. But it’s actually recommended (actually the recommendation is twice a week but I think I can get away with once) I use to straighten my hair all the time especially in high school, because I use to hate my curls but I guess you get to a point when you finally just stop fighting it and embrace it and the sad thing is you tend to only realize this once your curls are pretty much gone. :(

So if you want to revive those curls and save them from utter destruction I have collected a few of my favorites from brick and mirror beauty salon post.  Here I want to you to avoid your curls looking like this polynesian footballer to shakira beautiful natural curls.

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1. If it’s going to rain, don’t wash your hair! Humidity is your worst enemy when it comes to frizz. Avoid it by spritzing a combination of water and leave-in conditioner over your hair instead of washing.

2. Start from your tips when detangling. Brushing from the top down is a common cause of breakage. By starting from the tips, not only is it more gentle on your hair, but it’s a lot easier to get through badly-tangled knots!

3. Minimize brush usage. A wide-tooth comb, or even your fingers, will be a lot more gentle on your curls, meaning less breakage. This will also help you preserve your curls’ natural shape.

4. Have super dry hair? Skip shampoo and wash with conditioner. Do this once or twice a week to help repair and prevent fluffy hair. You should also be using a mask like Alterna’s Bamboo UV+ Rehab Deep Hydration Masque.

5. Comb your hair before stepping out of the shower. Make sure to do it while there’s still conditioner in your hair (be generous with your application). Waiting to comb your hair will only cause frizz. I love this one because it saves me from a sore head later on!

6. Create a cleansing conditioner with one part shampoo and three parts conditioner. Focus this mixture on your roots and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing. This will allow you to wash the oilier parts of your hair without drying them out.

7. Dry with a t-shirt instead of a towel. Towel fibers will be too rough on your strands and promote frizz while a soft t-shirt will be gentle on your hair. Plus, it won’t soak up as much moisture which also helps prevent frizz.

8. Sleep on silk or satin. Doing this will help keep tangles from forming while cotton will leave hair knotted and more prone to breakage.

9. If you plan to let your hair air dry, gather it into a loose bun or ponytail on the top of your head. This will help give your curls more definition while preventing frizz. This works for me all the time, my curls looks so much better if I dry it like this.

10. Condition your hair with coconut oil before washing. This will leave them super soft when you step out of the shower.

11. Leave a little bit of conditioner in your hair. Your tips are the driest part of your hair, so they can really use the moisture!

12. Sleeping with your hair twisted in a loose bun. This will help give you more volume and  control friz and curl once you take your hair out.

13. Limp curls? Combine water with leave-in conditioner and spray it onto the ends of your hair, then style. This is excellent for days when you go without washing.

This post was sponsored by Brick and Mirror salon based in New Jersey. Based on hands on experience they share beauty secrets and tips to help you feel and look your best. They also have a wide selection of high quality salon products to create the perfect look for all occasions that you can purchase on their website. Go check them out and see what goodies you will find.



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