It’s blog action day and this year’s focus is human rights. There are so many facets to human rights – read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here. I believe the foundation of justice, freedom, peace and respect are essential to all of humanity and every single person on this planet deserve these rights simply because they are people. No one is greater than another, we all need each other to survive and thrive. My heart aches when I think of human trafficking, forced labor, slavery, genocide and all the hate going on throughout the world. Here are some stats:
- Approximately 27 million people are currently enslaved in the human trafficking trade around the world.
- More than 300,000 children under the age of 18 are being exploited as child soldiers in armed conflicts worldwide.
- One billion people in the world do not have access to healthcare.
Some organizations that I support that are fighting for justice:
I just finished reading the biography, Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about a woman working in advertising who takes the opportunity to live in Paris and enjoy the city of light and dark chocolate. What’s not to love about that?
Reading another woman’s journey of finding herself while living abroad made me really think about my journey in life. I have never been a “home-body” and always envisioned myself living abroad, but I obviously have not made that leap yet. in her novel, Thomas says that you have to live a place for a year to feel at home and rooted in your community. I fully agree.
After two years in the Queen City, I definitely have found my niche and feel comfortable in my space. I know my way around Charlotte, and really do love all the different neighborhoods it has to offer. It’s what I call a small-town, big city. It’s big enough to always have things happening, but small enough that once you know your circle of friends, you realize everyone knows the same people.
Anyway, as much as I love Charlotte, I have been having the itch to travel and for adventure once again. With my 25th birthday looming (okay not exactly…it’s in January, but still!), I feel the need to do something big and celebrate!
So some places on my list to go within the U.S. include:
anywhere out west…..
Salt Lake City
This weekend I went shopping (surprise, surprise) and bought some new work out gear to inspire me for my Disney Princess Half-Marathon in February! Several friends and I signed up to complete the magical race once again and I am super excited, especially since I have done the race previously (as seen in the 2011 blog post).
Last week, I learned about some food allergies I have and it has been a big life adjustment for me. And now, I am starting to think about how to eat properly and train for this race. Obviously, I have some time before the pressure is on, but I am attempting to get my body prepared by eating healthfully and right for my body and not over-doing it my work outs.
Now that I have completed 2 half-marathons, I have an idea of what to expect and how my body handles the training. So now it’s time to start adjusting. I am not saying I “failed” in my previous races, but every race is a learning opportunity of things to do better, do less of, or know for next time.
I have also learned about the power of visualizing and speaking positive affirmations to reach your goals, and I want to encorporate that into my workouts. I need to visualize myself completing the race how I want to and speak those goals over myself in order for them to come true. For example, if I had a time goal I would need to visualize myself crossing the finish line, lifting my arms in victory and looking at the time clock with my time goal. Then I would need to speak it over myself that I will complete the Disney Princess Half Marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes and will feel great.
Have you visualized your goals? Do you speak your goals to yourself daily? I challenge you to try it and see how it positively affects your outlook and your results!
At a business meeting, several successful entrepreneurs spoke and gave some great quotes that I wanted to share.
- “The more action you take, the more you believe you can do.” You can build confidence and belief in yourself by taking action. Whether that’s in your profession or while you are developing a hobby, or starting a new workout routine, that is true. Your belief will increase as you do more.
- “Success is never convenient, but always worth it.” Success is not easy, but the reward at the end of the tunnel will make the trials worth it. When you see an Olympic gold medalist, they are happy and will say that all the hours training were worth it, even if that meant sacrificing greatly.
- “Are you going to cop out, drop out or go all out?” You have a choice in what you pursue and how much you will fight for it. You won’t achieve your goals if you cop out or drop out. You have to go all out to win. But, as already talked about in point two, it’s worth it.
My cousin, Molly, got married two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, and I really enjoyed acting as the unofficial official photographer. It was a great glimpse at if I wanted to pursue photography more intensely. I will admit that I use my camera, Canon Rebel T3, still in mostly automatic settings. Here are some of my favorite photos of the weekend celebration:
Wedding and Reception
To see more wedding weekend photos go to www.flickr.com/photos/juliaesmith15
Recently, I was in Greenville and walked through the Artsphere Art Festival. It was an absolute joy seeing other photographer’s work, aerial artists and other craftsmen.
Something about that warm, sunny day really resonated with me and I think I figured it out. As a dancer for 16 years, I grew up loving the performing arts. Going to the ballet and seeing musicals, always made me smile. I could sing every lyric to Wicked before I ever had the chance to see the show.
So…I think the arts festival in Greenville reminded me just how much I love the arts. After graduating from Elon, I have realized how special that community was. Being able to see Broadway-quality performances for free was truly a gift. Now, as a young professional, I have not been able to afford to go to many performances. This art festival in Greenville, reminded me how much can be communicated through art.
That night, my family and I attended the Blue Man Group performance. I would highly recommend it to anyone – filled with lights, music and humor, it was memorable! It amazed me how humorous the whole thing was, even though the guys never spoke a word. You can communicate so many emotions through simple facial expressions and body language.
This month has been insane to put it nicely.
It started with a trip to Orlando, Fl for the Operation Christmas Child Global Connect [Volunteer] Conference with 4 members of the Charlotte area team. It was incredible to meet volunteers from around the country and the globe. One highlight was Louie Giglio, who spoke on Thursday night about how God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
The next weekend, I went to IMPACT in Kentucky with my Amway business partners. What a great experience! We learned about the importance of our American freedom, servant leadership and the importance of building a dream.
Following that, I went to Pittsburgh for my cousin’s bridal shower. Her wedding is in June and I am so excited. My aunt asked me to be the photographer, which I gladly did. I definitely enjoyed taking photos, but trying to find the balance of “being in the moment” while playing photographer for a family event was a little difficult.
Then this past weekend I ran in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington D.C. with my friends Linda, Riley and Maggie. I had been training for about 3 months, but this month was difficult to stay consistent with my traveling. I went into the weekend a little nervous about the actual run, but confident that I had the miles in me. We had a great time at the expo taking photos, making posters and and getting excited. Actual race day was perfect weather – sunny, breezy and slightly warm. This race was Linda and Maggie’s first half-marathon and I’m so happy I could experience it with them.
I finished the race a little slower than I hoped, but I made sure that I enjoyed the race. With the entertainment and 14,000 women surrounding me, it was awesome. I thought of how many stories of overcoming were in my midst. I wish I could have found out more about the ladies with me – like one had a sign on her back that she was a cancer survivor, but also running in memory/honor of dozens of names. This race had 2,300 Team in Training members – including Linda and Maggie, who raised $6 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
With this race under my belt…I’m looking for my next challenge. Until then….