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TRU: The Real U

One Woman With Inner Beauty Can Change the World

The Shopping Cart Philosophy – Do I Make the World a Better Place?

The Shopping Cart Philosophy – Do I Make the World a Better Place?

By Erin Price A few months ago, a random stranger said something to my husband that’s never left my mind. After grocery shopping, my husband unloaded his groceries and then walked to the shopping cart stall to put his cart away. He then noticed another shopping cart that was out of place, and put that one away as well. As he was doing so, a man drove by, rolled down his window, and said to him: “There are two kinds of people in this world—those who put their shopping carts away and those who don’t. I’m glad you’re one of the first.” When I heard about the man’s comment, my initial reaction was to laugh. What a strange observation! But the more I think about his comment, the more I wonder about it. I wonder, am I the person who puts shopping carts away, who does my part to do my duty and help those around me? Or am I the person who leaves my shopping cart somewhere else, leaving somebody to clean up after me? In other words, do I make the world around me a better place? Do I lift the people around me? Or do I choose to do nothing to improve the people and things in my stewardship? The man didn’t know my husband very well, but I can confirm that he is indeed the type of person who “puts his shopping cart away.” For example, every time we move, he actually leaves the apartment in better condition than when we moved in. I never knew this was possible. It’s not that I ever tried to leave an apartment in worse condition, but daily living naturally makes its mark. But Kevin actually fixes things in need of repair and deep cleans places that haven’t been cleaned in years. He actively strives to make every place better than he found it. Even if we don’t leave every apartment in better condition, we can still be the type of people who put our grocery carts away. We can do more than just the bare minimum, just to get by. We can work hard to help our family members, to create a good environment in our homes, and to achieve more than is expected of us at our jobs. We can help those around us want to be better and do better because they knew us. I don’t know about you, but next time I’m at the grocery store, I don’t want to get caught leaving my shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot! Share...

Finding Peace in a Violent World

Finding Peace in a Violent World

I’ve been reading the newspaper a lot more than I normally do, which has been both good and bad. While I marvel at all the advances in health and science, I’m saddened by all the hatred and violence that surrounds us. Today I read John 16:33 in the Bible (KJV), which really helped me put some things in perspective. Jesus teaches: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Can you really feel peace and cheer despite the state of the world? Can you really find peace in a violent world? This quote seems to think so:   I love that. Inner peace comes from doing what’s right, and even if the world seems to be falling apart around us, we can still feel peace.   Share...

5 Quick Ways to De-Stress Your Life

5 Quick Ways to De-Stress Your Life

I’ve noticed that I let things pile up. This past week, I got sick. Which annoyed me because I couldn’t get as much done as I’d wanted to. Which gave me time to contemplate how difficult my life had been the past year. Which just made me depressed and more sick. While stressful situations can make us more vulnerable to sickness and depression, there are ways to drive these feelings away. We can’t choose everything that happens to us, but we can choose how we react. Next time a stressful situation hits, de-stress your life in the following ways: 1. Read and listen to inspirational things. When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the last thing you should do is watch a violent movie or read a depressing story. Instead, read books that inspire you (you can take a look at my favorite books here). Listen to TED talks from admirable people accomplishing great things in the world. Believe that there is good in the world. 2. Try stretching. Each morning, pay attention to your body by gently stretching it. One way to do this is through a yoga class. In fact, one study shows that yoga can reduce anxiety in women. Even if you don’t have time for a full exercise session, a few minutes of stretching can still do your body good. 3. Send yourself positive messages. Instead of drowning in negative thinking, focus on the good. Write down: 10 things you’re grateful for 10 people you love 10 things you’re looking forward to in the future You could also try writing down your negative feelings, tying them to a balloon, and literally “letting them go.” 4. Write in a journal. If you have thoughts or feelings you want to let go of, try writing them down in a journal. Talking to a trusted friend can also help you de-stress; after all, it’s good to know someone else cares. 5. Eat healthy food. Junk food and desserts are not going to help you feel good long-term. Instead, enjoy colorful meals that include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein—I, for one, really want to try this recipe for salmon salad.   Have other ideas for coping with stress? Comment below. Share...

When’s the Last Time You Told Your Body You Loved It?

When’s the Last Time You Told Your Body You Loved It?

At the end of a yoga class last night, we were told to simply lie on our mats for a few minutes and relax. This experience allowed me to really focus on my body. For once in a long time, I felt more flexible and strong. I started to send my body positive messages. “I have a strong body.” “I am healthy and energetic.” “I can do anything.” These simple affirmations changed the way I thought about myself, which in turn affected how I presented myself to the world. I didn’t realize how many negative messages I had been sending my body, like, “I look so blah today.” “Why have I gained so much weight lately?” “I can’t do this.” These positive messages also made me reflect on the importance of exercising and eating healthy foods—whether it helps me lose weight or not. Because even if it doesn’t, it helps me feel better overall and helps me accomplish what I want to accomplish. My challenge to you is to start sending your body positive messages. Let those positive messages shape the way you think about yourself. And eat healthy and exercise not because you want to improve the look of your body, but because you love your body and you want to treat it well. Cheers! Share...

Fear and Faith

Fear and Faith

By Erin P. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, but I’ve hesitated to write about it, because I’ve been waiting to have some life-altering experience that would completely change my perspective. And then I could tell all of you how I’ve finally overcome this problem of mine, and this is how it’s done. Not so. There are some burdens you carry throughout life and you slowly learn to shoulder them. And one of my burdens is fear. More specifically, I would pinpoint this fear as a fear of being out of control. I am constantly afraid that something will happen that I will not be able to control, and this causes me continual anxiety. This problem seemed to intensify for me 8 months ago when I got married. Why? Two reasons, I think. 1) I now have someone I care about more than anything or anyone in the world. I don’t want anything to cause him pain. And any pain he experiences is going to affect me. 2) We had a lot of things happen in our family, like death, disease, legal situations, and other things I don’t want to go into. Because of all this, I found myself at certain times living in fear. What if something happens to me? What if something happens to my husband or someone else I love? “Riding” the Fear Because I got in a car accident two years ago, driving has become one of my greatest fears. This fear got the best of me when my husband was out of town. It was the first time we’d been apart since our wedding. I thought I was doing fine, but then I was talking to him on the phone while he was driving (remember my fear of car accidents). Suddenly, the line went dead. And I proceeded to have a nervous breakdown. Of course, my mind immediately jumped to the worst conclusions. A few minutes later, he called me back. Of course, he had been driving through an area with bad service. Duh. I felt so dumb (but also relieved). Choosing Faith Lately, I’ve been trying to shift my perspective. For example, driving is something I have to do every day. So I’m slowly starting to deal with that fear and realizing that yeah, people get in car accidents every day. But chances are, you’re only going to have to deal with a few in your lifetime. So why live in constant fear? Why not enjoy the hundreds of accident-free days you have in life? While I still deal with fearful feelings sometimes, and may deal with them for life, my perspective has changed a little. I’ve learned that you can’t live in constant fear that something will happen outside your control. Yes, things happen outside our control sometimes—that’s part of life. But we don’t have to waste our energy worrying about when they will happen. And when something does happen, I want to be the person who asks not “Why me?” but “What can I learn?” I’m being reminded that God is always in control. If we ask Him for protection while we drive, he really can protect us. If we ask him to comfort us and relieve our fears, He really can do that. And if something happens to us that we think is unfair, we can trust that God knows how to make it right. What a change perspective makes—faith helps me be confident that although sometimes things are outside my control, they’re never outside God’s control. Two people may have the exact same life experiences. One person can choose to live in fear and constantly feel that life is unfair. The other can choose faith and learn to see the beauty in life, to learn that trials—yes, even unfair and unexpected ones—have a purpose. I want to be the one who chooses faith. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting there.   Erin created TRU: The Real U so people could share how their faith helps them become stronger people. If you have a story to share, email her at erin.jones@gmail.com. Share...