How to Have a Happy (and Healthy) New Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

a lot of people Everyone seems to be making a plan to do or to be better in the New Year. I think that's great, and I think that's something we should do more often than just around January 1st. But since it's on the mind right now anyways, let's go for the obvious- I thought I'd share a few of my ongoing plans to work on my inner peace and overall well-being in 2015.

1. Respect Your Body. As my great-grandfather (pictured above) said, everything in moderation. In this day and age we indulge ourselves just a little too much, I think. So exercise. Drink more water. Drink less alcohol. Eat less processed food, less fried food, less red meat, and more beans and pulses as protein. Eat more greens- start your own garden, if you've got the space. When we put good things into our bodies, we feel good, as well.

2. Respect Yourself. Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy, and mentally, our negative, overly-critical thoughts can wear on our minds and our spirits. So just stop. Stop calling yourself ugly, or fat, or stupid in your head. Talk to yourself {come on, guys- we all do it- we've all got that ongoing dialogue in our heads!} the way you would to any other person. Tell yourself you're worthy daily. Compliment your successes. Assess your mistakes fairly, and promise yourself you'll atone for them and deal with the situation differently next time. Beating yourself up, even about mistakes, is a waste of time and energy.

3. Lighten the Load. Over my 25 years I have accumulated my fair share of stuff- clothes, books, art supplies- I even have my fair share of notes and writings from the 8th grade- no joke. And I don't know about you, but I'm tired of it- it's got to go! So if you haven't used, worn, played with or enjoyed it in over a year- let it go. Donate it. Sell it. Trash it. Real Simple's January editorial has some great tips on ways to tackle the seemingly overwhelming task. You will feel so much better, and your space will look beautifully unencumbered, for what I am betting is the first time in a while.

4. Show Kindness to Others. Even those who are unkind to you. I very often take even the slightest negative comment from another very personally- don't do this. Realize that other people are humans too, with their own set of challenges, burdens and fears. Forgive them their flaws and their  burdens- and when the time comes to forgive yourself, it will make your own crosses easier to bear, too.

So those are my tips. Also on my more concrete list of goals for 2015: Pray more. What are your New Years Plans? How about your resolutions? Do you think I've missed any big points on how to live better?


Music Monday

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Peter comes in tonight and my siblings and I are currently plotting some way to completely humiliate him with our weirdness at the airport. ideas, anyone?

Cover Story

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Since I'm technically on Christmas break and technically have a little bit more free time, I thought it was time to bring back TBT. I feel like I've been listening to a lot of junk food-type music lately {read: Taylor Swift's new album on repeat.}and it's time to get back to that soul food stuff that hits you right in the gut. So here's the story behind All Along the Watchtower:

I've always loved this song. It's kind of got this foreboding feeling you can't quite shake after it's over. Written the year after Dylan was in a motorcycle wreck, it was recorded in the same studio where he created Blonde on Blonde and features on the album John Wesley Harding. In a biblical twist, the lyrics have been linked to Isaiah chapter 21:

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise ye princes and prepare in the shield. / For the Lord hath said unto me: Go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. /And he saw a chariot with a couple of horses, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels, and he harkened diligently with much heed/... and behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. 

 Now, as all good Rock n' Roll nerds know, Jimi Hendrix has covered 3 of Dylan's hits {and possibly a fourth? and a fifth!}. This is my personal favorite. Recorded in London and finished up in NYC, Dave Mason actually ended up playing bass on it. {cool, huh?} It was actually Hendrix's only Billboard top 20 hit, solidifying my belief that Billboard rankings amount to squat.

Dylan's take on the cover:

It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.

and from a separate interview:

I like Jimi Hendrix's record of this and ever since he died I've been doing it that way...Strange how when I sing it, it's a tribute to him in some kind of way.
Pretty moving, when you think about it. I love how covers can evolve beyond the original creator in that way.

And since we've got a new {and probably the only} reader with us,  I'd like to take a minute to introduce my Dad to Meraki and Agape: