The Power of Positive Self-Talk

It’s Thursday again… so I’m back here with another blog post! Thank you to all of you who have been supporting me while I’m learning the art of blogging. Whether it’s a like, comment, or kind word, it means so much to me. With that, let’s dig into this week’s topic.

We have all heard it a hundred times… “Speak kind words.” Our parents explained the importance of using kind language to our friends, teachers, family, and others when we were young. Speaking kindly is a way of life. It makes the people around us feel good, and it makes us happy to know that we’ve brightened someone’s day.

However, there are times when we forget to be kind to ourselves. I’m not talking about splurging and buying yourself a whole new wardrobe or the whole “do a face mask and take a bubble bath” sort of kind. While those things are good, they don’t create a lasting confidence. I’m talking about mental self-talk.

Let me ask you a question: when you are faced with a challenge or situation, what do you think to yourself? Do the words “I’m not equipped for this,” or “I can’t do it” ever cross your mind? If so, you’re not alone. So many of us are our own worst critics, dare I say bullies. We tend to focus on the possible mistakes we could make rather than the benefits.

I remember when I joined my school’s volleyball team my freshman year of high school. I had played volleyball for a few years previously, but had never truly grown in my abilities, so I went into season pretty inexperienced. I remember being so nervous as I stepped foot into the gym. Almost all of the girls had been playing since they were small and they had won the state championship the last three years in a row. So there I stood, a small, terrified freshman beating herself up for every little mistake. “You should be able to do this stuff already, Kennedy. Look how far behind you are!” My mindset was poisonous and unforgiving. I began to feel inadequate.

It wasn’t until I grew a little older that I learned how to have a positive, healthy mindset. My mom would always ask me why I was so hard on myself because I surely didn’t need to be. The truth is, it was my normalcy. I didn’t know that encouraging myself was far better than beating myself up all the time. Once I tried being kind to myself, I was impacted immensely. My confidence began to grow and I was able to make mistakes without feeling defeated. Through that, I became a better player and teammate. If I dropped a pass or missed a serve, instead of ruminating on it, I told myself that I’d get it next time. I even became captain of my JV team the next year!

Letting go of my negative mindset was one of the best things that I could do for myself. Even today, I still have to remind myself to be positive, but it is so much easier than before. There is so much freedom in stepping down from the critic role. I believe and know in my heart that God extends grace to me for mistakes, and that gives me the motivation to do the same for myself. That way, I am able to learn and grow from my mistakes or insecurities, rather than clinging to them. Positive self-talk is so important. If you are struggling with criticizing yourself, I encourage you to counteract that criticism with positivity, and find who you are in the Lord.

Love to all, Kennedy

Say Goodbye to Shame

Is there a mistake in your life that haunts you? Do you frequently wish you could go back in time and change what happened? Or maybe the incident pops into your brain and you’re filled with disgust or grief. If you can relate, you’re not alone.

I want to start this off by saying that no matter what you’ve done, where you’ve come from, or what you think of yourself, you are so valued and loved.

Let’s face it, we’re human and we screw up… a lot. At least I do. I have talked unkindly to people, I’ve told a lie, deliberately disobeyed a superior– the list goes on and on. These are things that I’m certainly not proud of.

Sometimes, I think about the wrong that I’ve done and it makes me feel defeated, undeserving, and unworthy. I begin to dwell on these wrongdoings and meditate on them. “What could I have done differently? If only I didn’t say/do that. I must be a bad person.” Unfortunately, these thoughts have crept their way into my brain more than a handful of times, and after awhile, I start to become deceived by the shadow shame.

The truth is, shame is a tactic used by Satan to make God’s children feel unworthy of grace. Shame is not of God. I read somewhere that God allows us to feel guilty for our wrongdoings, but He never wants us to feel shame. It is simply not of His nature. I view Him as a loving parent, one that corrects, but never belittles or puts down.

God is far bigger than our past failures. In fact, if you’ve received Him into your heart, He doesn’t even think of your former sins! They are cast away and He views you as His most precious gem. How beloved you are! It doesn’t matter what you think of yourself if God sees you as His own. Rest in that today.

In conclusion, your mistakes do not define who you are. They don’t determine your worth or your value. Never let your guilt turn to shame. Messing up is a part of life. All we can do is ask God for guidance and learn from our experiences. God knows that we’re gonna fall short sometimes. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect on our own. Instead, He wants us to live in an open relationship with Him, where we can have vulnerability, honesty, and communication. He wants every part of us… even the messy aspects!

Love, Kennedy

P.S. If you don’t have a relationship with God, I encourage you to get to know Him. Its a lot easier than you’d think. He loves you! If you’d like more information, leave a comment. I’ll gladly answer any questions you have!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go: My Favorite Travel Destinations

Happy Thursday, everybody! I hope you are all doing well and staying busy during yet another week of quarantine. Today, I wanted to take the time to reflect on some good memories and talk about some of my favorite travel destinations. I can’t wait to be able to travel again, but for now, I’ll just write about it.

Disney’s Aulani on the island of Oahu: I traveled to Hawaii back in 2016 with my family for a relaxing, tropical getaway. From the time that I got off the plane and walked into the airport, it felt like paradise. The scenery is much different than my home in the Pacific Northwest. When our cab driver pulled up to the massive Aulani Hotel, I was awestruck by the beauty of it all. We were greeted with purple and white flowered leis, and the lovely architecture of the hotel. The vaulted ceilings were painted with intricate art created by local citizens. After we had gotten settled into our room, we went out for dinner at a restaurant across the street. The Monkey Pod served some of the most delicious dishes and beverages you can think of. Fresh fish, salads, smoothies, etc. They also had live bands that would play during dinner hours, and they played so skillfully and sweetly. This restaurant remained a favorite throughout our trip.

Later on, we were able to scope out the pool/ocean scene. My eyes were filled with beauty when I laid eyes on the first Hawaiian sunset of the trip. The pink and orange hues reflected off the surface of the water beautifully and formed a kaleidoscope of color. The ocean water itself was unlike any that I had ever swam in before. It was so warm and inviting… the perfect spot for a relaxing swim or float. The resort was also adorned with two pools, a lazy river, and a waterslide. One of the pools had an infinity style that overlooked the ocean… BEAUTIFUL!! A favorite activity of mine was lounging by the poolside and eating the most mouth-watering coconut shrimp and sipping the freshest smoothies. I also got to paddle board in the ocean for the first time!

On one of our last nights, my family and I went to a luau where we ate authentic Hawaiian cuisine, were taught how to weave leaves, and watched a fire performance and the hula dancers.

Hawaii was a delightful experience that I will never forget. I cherish all of the memories I got the opportunity to make with my family. I hope to go back someday soon!

Disneyland in Anaheim, California: My family absolutely adores Disney, and we tend to frequent Disneyland often. However, the last trip we took in May of 2019 remains one of the most memorable. It was so fun to see my two year-old brother get to experience the “Happiest Place on Earth” and meet “Bubba” (Mickey) Mouse for the first time.

Instead of staying at one of the Disney hotels, we resided at the Hyatt Regency during our time in California, which was only about a mile or two away from the park. Let me tell you, that hotel was splendid! There was a Starbucks in the lobby, which comes in handy for a quick breakfast before park time. In the opposite tower of the hotel, was a workout room and an activity deck. My younger sister and I had such a good time playing basketball and working out together.

During this trip, we were able to immerse ourselves in all of the remodels that had been recently done to the parks. One of the updates was the new “Pixar Pier,” which is home to the Incredicoaster (formerly California Screamin’). Just when I thought Disney couldn’t get much better, I was informed of Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission Breakout! My heart was heavy to hear that the classic Tower of Terror had been replaced, but honestly, the new ride is so worth it! I also learned they are currently replacing A Bug’s World with the all new Stark Industries area. I cannot wait to see it!

Of course, we enjoyed all of the classic Disney rides as well– Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, Autopia, the Matterhorn, and so many others. Disneyland truly brings back the some of my sweetest memories, and it will always be like a second home.

Seattle, Washington: I’ve been to Seattle quite a few times, and I definitely recommend exploring this city. A particular favorite spot of mine is the Experience Music Project Museum, which is now called Museum of Pop Culture. Unfortunately, I have not been there since the museum was changed, but I would like to! Another great place in the city is the Pike Place Market. No matter who you are, there will be a store that interests you. Right across the street from the market is the very first Starbucks Coffee store. There, they sell one of a kind mugs and cups. If you take a ferry, you can travel to Bainbridge Island in about fifteen minutes. This little island is home to a small community and some delicious restaurants. It is a great place to stay if you want to visit the city without all the hustle and bustle.

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s blog post! I hope to add to this list of travels soon! Keep staying strong through this season of quarantine, and remember that it won’t last forever.

xoxo, Kennedy

My Top Five Favorite Books

Happy Friday, everyone! Congratulations, you made it through another week of quarantine and social distancing. Give yourself a pat on the back because it is not easy work. This week, I wanted to do something a little bit different. My best friend gave me the idea to talk about some of my favorite books! Here’s my list:

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: This is my all-time favorite book. The story may be a bit juvenile, but the morals and themes behind it are meant for every age to enjoy. If you enjoy science-fiction and/or fantasy, this is the book for you! I also love the characters because they are so personable and uniquely created. This is definitely an entertaining read! It will forever have my heart.

2. The Reason: How I Discovered A Life Worth Living by Lacey Sturm: If you enjoy biographies/ Christian testimonies, then this is the book for you! Lacey Sturm was the former singer of the Christian rock band Flyleaf, and she is now singing in her own band alongside her husband. When I first read her story, I was going through a pretty difficult time in life. Her words impacted me greatly and continue to today. This story of death to life and hopelessness to hope is definitely worth reading!

3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green: This YA book is beautifully written, and it was recommended to me by my best friend (the one with awesome taste in literature.) The story features Aza, a teenage girl, with severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, her illness is not her identity because Green portrays her life with the disorder rather than making that her defining quality. The plot actually deals with mystery, romance, and mental health. It is not just a simple “coming of age” book. This story hits really close to home for me because I deal with a lot of OCD tendencies (we can talk more about that in another blog.) Overall, this was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I believe that teens and adults can find enjoyment in it. My words don’t do it justice, so you’ll have to read it for yourself!

4. Save Me From Myself by Brian “Head” Welch: As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am a big metal music fan. One band that I enjoy in particular is Korn. I became interested in the lives and stories of the members as I continued to listen to their songs. They were your typical metal band: lots of parties, drugs, girls, booze, and other rockstar things. However, the lead guitarist, Brian Welch ended up becoming a Christian. He left behind the excessive ways that were beginning to kill him, and pursued Jesus. Later on, he wrote his book, Save Me From Myself, which tells of all the obstacles he overcame to become a better man. Personally, he is a huge role model for me because of his authenticity and heart for God. He left his band for some time, but ended up joining again to spread light to a dark place, and I think that’s so admirable. If you’re looking for a crazy Christian testimony story, this one is it!

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: This is actually a series of books because I couldn’t choose just one! These books are splendidly entertaining because they twist fairytales with action, romance, and adventure. I seriously could not put these down! If you enjoy fantasy or science fiction, these are an absolute must read.

Young, Dumb, and Bloggin’

Happy Thursday y’all! I hope your guys’ week has been productive so far! Here’s a little mid-week pick-me-up.

I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with Khalid’s song Young, Dumb, and Broke. Its catchy, easy to listen to, and it only infiltrated just about every radio station when it came out. It’s preface is mainly about a relationship, but I really enjoy the other topics it talks about.

One of the lyrics says: Yeah, we’re just young, dumb, and broke, but we’ve still got love to give.”

As teenagers or young adults, we’re still trying to find our purpose in life. It can be pretty scary to travel this foreign ground that we call adolescence. We feel like we’re walking through mud to get to the next step in our lives.

The truth of the matter is that we all have purpose… even as young people. We don’t have to do something world-changing to be successful or hold value. Each and every one of us can serve our purpose by simply being the best version of ourselves. I hold the Christian faith, so I’m called to love people and show them God through the way I live my life. That is my main purpose. But maybe you aren’t a Christian. That doesn’t mean you don’t have purpose. Christians and non-Christians can share the common value of living life well and living for something bigger than ourselves.

So take some time today to make someone else’s day better: give them an encouraging word, give them a hug, pay for the person behind you in the coffee line, or simply say “I appreciate you.” Sometimes, living our purpose is not as difficult as we think.

Joy in All Circumstances

Happy Thursday, you guys! I apologize for missing this last week of posting. This quarantine has brought about so many opportunities to do things I don’t normally have the time to do. So… here’s this week’s post!

As we’re all aware, the United States is in quarantine. The restrictions and rules vary from state to state, but we are all experiencing similar things. I know that I have been becoming a little stir crazy staying at home and not having certain freedoms that I normally do. I do happen to be an introvert so social distancing is a little easier for me, but I terribly miss seeing my friends and greeting people without fearing that I’m standing too close.

During these times, it is easy to become discouraged, depressed, irritable, or anxious. The fear of the unknown seems to weigh upon our shoulders and the sadness sets in as we realize that this is our reality at the moment.

“If only I could get out of this house! If I sit here any longer, I might go insane!”

These thoughts have run across my mind during this quarantine more than once. I miss being able to play golf with my team, hang out with my friends, and being able to look forward to prom.

However, I realized these thoughts and longings were keeping me from being joyful! It’s so easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side. As humans, we tend to want what we can’t have.

So, instead of thinking of what I’m lacking at the moment, I choose to focus on what I have gained. I have more time to spend with my family, I can go for walks, create some art, read books, and do other things that I normally wouldn’t have the time for.

Today, I encourage you to look at the bright side of all this madness. Take a look at all of the goodness that this situation can bring, rather than the negativity. Save the depressing, dreariness for the news! All we can do during this time is pray and do what we can to stay healthy and joyful.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Don’t lose hope, lovelies! Joy is attainable, even if it takes a little digging during these times. Stay strong!

-Kennedy

Mo’ Worry, Mo’ Problems

Happy Thursday to all you lovely people! I hope you’re holding up with this quarantine and social distancing! It can definitely be difficult to slow down from normal routine.

It’s true that there is a lot of fear going on in the world. Eager eyes and ears await new news about the coronavirus. Many people are out of jobs and kids are out of school. Whether it is idleness, money, or the virus you’re worried about, there is a solution to take away your uneasiness. DON’T WORRY!

All of those fears I listed are real, but they don’t need to have power or space in your mind. Worrying doesn’t benefit you in any way! In fact, it actually deteriorates your emotions and mental health.

I know what you’re thinking, “How on earth am I just supposed to stop worrying?’”

I know it sounds like incredibly clichè advice, but it is actually exactly what we need during the current situation.

I was nervous to go to the grocery store last night because of all this uncertainty. I desperately wanted to stay home where it’s safe and germ free. My mom looked at me and told me “You’re going. You’ll be fine.” That fear that I had wasn’t doing me any good. In fact, if I gave into it, it would’ve held me back from getting some fresh air and my necessary groceries. I also got some purple hair dye… and who doesn’t want that?!

So while you’re stuck in quarantine, don’t spend your time worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. Instead, pick up a new hobby… or an old one. Read a book, take a walk, play the guitar, learn a new language. Do something that will help you unwind and relax. It is not often that we get to take a pause on our crazy schedules.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety in Him because he cares for you.”

-Kennedy

Get to Know Me!

Welcome to my page!! Since I’m new to the blogging arena, I thought that the perfect way to start out would be to tell you all a little about myself.

My name is Kennedy, but my friends and family call me Kenn. I’m seventeen and currently a high school junior. Basketball and golf are a couple of my hobbies, but I’m pretty green at the two. Nonetheless, I enjoy them, and the physical activity keeps me motivated. Art is another creative outlet that I am passionate about. I believe that people’s artwork can give an in depth view of their personality. Perhaps I’ll share some of my own on here! You’ll probably hear about this often, so I should inform you now that I LOVE CATS! I own two, Niko and Casper, who are both rescues. Dogs are awesome too, obviously. I own two of those as well! (the cute little cocker spaniel in the picture is my dad’s). I can’t imagine my home without those furry little guys. My music taste can be described as that one kid who will eat ANYTHING. I love Punk Rock, K-Pop, Hip-Hop, Metal, Today’s Pop, and many other genres.

I decided to start this blog because writing has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. I’ve always loved listening to stories and have been eager to tell some of my own. I have a heart for people, and I hope that this page will reach whoever needs to hear some uplifting, encouraging words. I came up with the name “Jubilant Joy” because I know how it feels to experience a lack of joy. My goal is to show people that life is good and worth living, no matter the circumstances. I am a Christian believer and am eager to share the love of Christ with everyone. I’ll tell some of my story in upcoming posts!

I hope that this page will be a place in which people can learn, relate, and read for fun. I can’t wait to continue on this platform! Comment any questions or topics you’d like to hear about!

-Kennedy

Here’s to New Adventures!

Hi, everyone! Kennedy is the name and writing is my game. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while now, and I decided to take the plunge today. My goal is to share my experiences with you through this site… high points, low points, dreams, achievements, thoughts, etc. I believe my content will be relatable to people of all age groups and walks of life. Stay tuned!

-Kennedy