Cultivating A Joyful Life | Spending Our Time Wisely

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Spending Our Time Wisely

My favorite time of day is the early evening. That’s when I get to spend time relaxing in my room after eating dinner with my family. Don’t get me wrong; I love eating dinner with everyone, but clean-up takes a while, since there are six people eating, haha! Anyway, once I’ve finished helping in the kitchen and I get to retreat to my room, I enjoy browsing my phone, reading a good book, or working on something on the laptop.

Sometimes, however, these evenings aren’t as productive or enjoyable as I’d like them to be.

It can be hard to relax when there are so many things I’d enjoy doing, to the point where I can’t decide on just one. Switching back and forth between these things works out sometimes, but more often than not, I get much less done than I would have liked, because I did a small amount … of everything.

Do you ever feel like you have too many things filling your free time?

Hey guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. 🙂 I have a post to share with you today that is very relevant to my life, haha! For this part of my Cultivating A Joyful Life series, I will be talking about, as the title suggests, spending our time wisely. We all have hobbies, interests, and activities we love doing, and when we attempt to do too many at once, it can be hard to accomplish what we set out to do.

I have found that dedicating large amounts of time to one thing at a time, instead of dividing an hour or so up among five activities, gets much more done and feels better than the variety. Sometimes, it depends on the day, or the activities themselves, but I’ve noticed how this occurs again and again in many situations for me. Basing what I focus on depending on my mood and inspiration usually helps me, unless I want to accomplish too many tasks at once.

Read More: Cultivating A Joyful Life

How do you regularly spend your free time? Do you feel satisfied with what you’ve done afterward? Or do you feel like me – uncertain if how you’re spending your time is really worth it? I have so many things I love pursuing when I’m able to that I struggle to decide which ones I should do, for how long, and when. Let’s figure out how we can spend our free time wisely in today’s post! Before we go on to the rest of this post, however, I’d like to share how this topic, just like the rest in this series, deeply relates to the garden of our hearts.

To properly care for a garden, whether that’s a real or metaphorical one, you must evenly divide your attention among all of the plants. Some need more care than others, but as a whole, they all require sunlight, good soil, water, and enough individual space to flourish. If, at some point, there are so many plants that the caretaker struggles to evenly care for all the plantlife, it’s quite possible that some will get more than they need, and others will be left behind. Balancing our priorities is a very important aspect of our lives.

Cultivating A Joyful Life |
Spending Our Time Wisely

The funny thing about my hobbies and interests is that at any given time, I am extremely occupied, or very bored. This is because I either have one or two hobbies, or so many that I’ve lost count. I’m quite finicky with hobbies this way, to the point that I have too much time on my hands, or not enough. For the majority of 2017, I have had many pursuits, from language-learning to blogging, to piano-playing to story-writing, and learning to balance these things has taught me a lot.

If you are interested in figuring out how to prioritize more wisely like I am, check out the list below!

1. Write down two lists: one for your hobbies/interests, and another for things required of you. You could include all of the main things, or break them down into sub-categories. For example, if “blogging” was on your interests list, you could also add what that activity consists of, like “writing posts,” “reading posts,” “browsing Reader,” etc.

2. Number the hobbies/interests list by how much those things mean to you right now. I really need to make a list like this, too. Whether you number them in order of your enjoyment of those activities, or by how important they are in the grand scheme of things (i.e. learning Spanish or playing the piano will last longer than a blog post I could work on, lol), it’s totally up to you. 🙂

3. Make sure that you’re completing the things on your important list before moving on to what’s on your interest list. I live by the saying “work before play,” except for in the case of simply needing a mental break. I feel much more relaxed and apt to participate in my favorite activities after I have completed all of the things required of me. At this time in my life, that’s usually schoolwork, helping around the house, and being with my family. While I wouldn’t say that the latter one is ‘required’ of me, it is definitely something essential in my life. 🙂

4. Consider dropping the hobbies that are last to be numbered. There may be a reason they’re not high on your list of favorite things to do. If this is the case, maybe you aren’t as interested in it as you thought you were, or you could simply need a break. Definitely take that into consideration!

5. Work your free time around these lists. I wouldn’t advise practicing this strictly, as that could put unneeded pressure on yourself to spend your time one certain way. However, I know that with writing and numbering my hobbies and interests, and by choosing which I’d prefer to do in what order any given day, it would give me much more peace of mind. It is very satisfying when you know you’re getting things that you love to do done!


Thank you so much for reading, guys! This post has really helped me. I’m working on balancing what hobbies I participate in and when at this time in my life, and this addition to Cultivating A Joyful Life is a reflection of that. I hope you enjoyed it!

Let me know in the comments below:

How do YOU manage your time?

Missions Monday – Part Five | Trusting In The Lord

Missions Monday – Part Five | Trusting In The Lord

Hey guys, and happy Monday! ❤ I hope that your week is getting off to a fantastic start. 🙂 If you live in the US, how was your Thanksgiving break? My family and I had a relaxing weekend at home, which we all enjoyed spending together. ❤ My mom has been out of the hospital for one week now, and she’s on mild bed-rest. Overall, she’s doing much better, and we’re very thankful she’s home! Now, let’s check out today’s post.

I have the next part of my Missions Monday series to share with you! If you’re new to this series, you can read the rest of the posts here. Today, I’ll be talking about trusting in the Lord when it comes to my future in missions. ❤ I hope that you enjoy!


The Easiest Thing

In January of this year – nearly eleven months ago – the Lord revealed to me a specific part of my future. I knew, without doubt, deeply in my heart, that I would serve Him in Guatemala someday.

By someday, I mean just that – I have no date whatsoever; just a knowing that He will get me there when I am meant to be.

This may make my situation look like a hard one to bear. Isn’t it hard not knowing when, how, or even why? I briefly wonder these same things myself. However, as I mentioned in this section of the post, it has turned out to be quite possibly the easiest thing for me to spiritually bear. ❤

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

From the exact moment that I knew Guatemala was in my future, I also knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the situation was safe in His hands. It took some time to get used to, and I still think about it usually at some point every day … but I don’t have to surrender it to Him like I would if it wasn’t already in His controls.

I can’t tell you how much it blesses me to know that He has a plan – I just have to trust Him. That is easy because of the peace He has given me. ❤ Because of this peaceful situation, however, it has gotten me thinking about the faith I exhibit (or don’t) in other areas of my life.

The Struggle Elsewhere

Any time I am met with a new stressful situation, I first initially deal with it. By the end of the day, I have already brought it before the Lord at least once, talking it through and asking that He be with me and my family. It depends on the situation, all involved, the duration and intensity, etc., but a recent example I have is when my mom was in the hospital over last weekend.

My first three responses were to care for the house, watch my little siblings, and trust Him with our lives. It slowly went downhill from there.

You see, when we trust in the Lord, we’re really bringing a situation to Him, trusting that everything will go well because He wants the best for us, and leaving it at that. We are devastated when things go ‘wrong,’ as they often do.

It is extremely discouraging when you pray for something (i.e. my mom to stay at the hospital only one night) and the exact opposite – or worse – happens (i.e. she stayed three). Our faith flies out the window. It deflates. We stop in our tracks. We question Him, read His Word, and wonder where He is.

I remember laying in bed one of those nights and wondering why He would put us through that high-emotional stress situation. I tried to console myself with the knowledge that even when we don’t get what we pray for, He still loves us and has good reasons for allowing trials and hardship … but I still had a hard time holding on. Few other times have I reached such a hard time in my life. However, I must let you know that through all the pain, in the midst of my mistakes and sorrow, He taught me so much.

First, He draws us close when we are hurting. Even when I doubted that the situations that kept unfolding were part of His will for our lives, I continually knew that He was right there, watching over us and keeping us. I just read a verse in Proverbs last week that I hadn’t noticed before, and it ends with this: “…[even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].” (16:33) This floored me because I always find myself wondering if the Lord realizes what I’m going through and how situations are making me feel, which is crazy because He certainly does. However, it’s a beautiful reminder to know for sure that everything we go through, regardless of how ‘accidental’ it seems, is ordained by Him. ❤

Second, our faith does grow when we trust in Him. I just mentioned in a recent post that our trust in Him strengthens when we rest in His will. Here’s an excerpt from that post: “You really don’t know what faith is until all you can do is trust in Him. When everything in your life depends on His will … it’s crazy watching yourself begin to trust in Him more and more. Amidst the chaos, it is an absolutely beautiful thing.”

Looking back, I realize how much I was hurting emotionally at the time of writing that paragraph … but I was still able to praise Him. Yes, struggles are uncomfortable, and can be frightening at times, but with the Lord by our side – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever known.


Thank you so much for reading, guys! I’ve been wanting to write a post like this since around the time my mom got out of the hospital two weekends ago, because I believe that my faith did grow through that hardship, even when I didn’t think it was. ❤

If you are going through something right now that is stressing you out and is increasingly hard to bear, the Lord is there for you. ❤ And if you ever need someone to talk to, my Contact page is always open. (:

Wishing you all a beautiful week!

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Nourishing Our Mental Health

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Nourishing Our Mental Health

We have all had times like this. Life is going pretty well; we’re getting things done, enjoying our time, and just feeling happy overall. We have a nice routine and things to look forward to in the near future. For a while, we might not even realize how easily we have it off, and when we do, we’re extremely thankful and hope that it will last as long as it can.

But then, something changes. Just like every chapter of our life, something either eventually or quickly goes uphill or downhill, and there are times when life hits us extremely hard. Whenever this happens in my life, I become numb to normal routine and ways of feeling, and after a very short time, I struggle to remember the happy ways I used to feel.

How do you feel when life has you down?

Hey guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. ❤ I have a new Cultivating A Joyful Life post to share with you on this fine Wednesday 🙂 I began working on this post this past weekend after my mom got out of the hospital (if you want to read about what happened, visit this post). After a very long week, I was finally beginning to feel normal again, able to think more clearly and regain my normal positivity. Upon looking back at how that whole week made me feel, I decided to make two different lists on nourishing mental health. One list is for when life is good, and the other is for those times when we’re not sure if life will ever be ‘normal’ again.

Related Post: Cultivating A Joyful Life | Accepting Changes of Plan

I decided to make two lists instead of one because it is so important that we mentally care for ourselves, regardless of how we’re feeling. In one aspect, it seems more obvious that mental well-being is more important when we’re down, but this is an essential every day of our lives. I haven’t truly acknowledged this until now.

Would you like to come along on this journey with me? Let’s strive for a greater awareness of how we respond to life and care for ourselves, both when we’re happy, and when we’re sad. The first list is one I will turn to when I feel down emotionally, and the other I wish to bear in mind when life is beautiful. (Although, this journey called life is always beautiful, isn’t it? ❤ )

While writing this post, I began wondering if this topic relates to gardens. At first, I didn’t think it did, but then I realized that it does!

Picture this: if a gardener were to become distracted by a big problem in their life (whether in the garden, or outside of it), the plants he cultivates there would be bound to suffer. In the garden of our hearts, these plants represent all of the aspects that make up our lives – including our mental wellness. Without nourishing our minds, we cannot have a sound life. Let’s keep that in mind as we read the ten tips I have written below. ❤ I hope that this may bless you!

Cultivating A Joyful Life |
Nourishing Our Mental Health

When Life Has You Down

1. Remember the positive aspects of your life. This is a big slip-up of mine; I tend to focus so intently on the problem/s (as do most, if not all, people) that it becomes all that I see. There are SO many blessings still present in our lives when we’re going through something stressful. Even when it’s hard to see it, I know that this practice will be really helpful for me in the future.

2. Do simple, fun activities that you love. When I’m mentally overwhelmed, I appreciate spending the free time I have participating in exactly what I listed: very simple and enjoyable activities, things that I enjoy no matter how I’m feeling. This could be watching a video, playing a card game, going for a walk – something that does not take a lot of thought, but is fun nonetheless.

3. Continue to care for your body. It can be easy to let your normal care routine fall to the back of your mind when you’re preoccupied elsewhere, but I assure you, you will feel much, much better after taking a hot shower, eating a healthy breakfast, doing a yoga lesson – whatever you usually do that makes you feel good physically. One of the most important ways to continue feeling mentally well is to take care of your body.

4. Confide in family and friends. There are few things that help me more than talking about how I’m feeling and what’s on my mind with my family. The support system we have between all of us means that no one is left behind; if one of us is dealing with something, then everyone else becomes involved until that person is well again. It’s beautiful what our families and friends do for one another. ❤ It is especially important when we’re going through something; being there for each other is essential. 🙂

5. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook. Boy, I know that when I’m dealing with a rough time in my life, the last thing I do is expect the best. This is most likely why I find it hard to stay happy when dealing with something negative; if I only expect that everything will go wrong (which it never does, by the way), then I can’t even be joyful when things go right! I’m so worried about possible worst-case scenarios that I ruin my outlook. Practice this the next time you’re going through a rough time in your life. Hoping for the best changes everything. ❤

When Life is Good

1. Be mindful of how you feel and what you do when you’re content. I tend to flounder around during difficult seasons of my life because I forget what daily life was like when I was happy. Our minds usually grab the most negative things to dwell on, which means that when we’re down, remembrance of happier days is not within easy reach. When you’re doing well emotionally, I challenge you to take note of your feelings, responses, and actions – it may really help you when a hard time rolls back around!

2. Cultivate the relationships you have with friends and family. This is a good time to do this, because when we’re happy and mentally well, it is much easier to feel and react the same way to those we love. ❤ Go out of your way to show them kindness, spend extra time having a heartfelt conversation – whatever you feel your could do to make their day.

3. Appreciate the blessings in your life. From good health to stability to beautiful weather, it is all too easy to take things we have for granted. It’s crazy to me how our view of life can change in a matter of minutes when something suddenly alters or goes wrong. Something in our lives we didn’t even realize was a blessing is then out of our reach, and it is then that we can appreciate it. Learning to show gratitude for all things is something I desire to practice more often. (:

4. Work toward bettering your weaknesses. This is not a pursuit we can easily pursue when we’re not feeling well. (Except for in select cases, where the problem actually helps us accomplish this!) When I’m happy, this is much easier for me to focus on, such as being more graceful, forgiving, and kind.

5. Accomplish what makes you happy! To maintain this happiness, checking things off your to-do list and filling your days with enjoyable activities is an essential. ❤


I hope that this post has inspired you guys as much as it has inspired me! Nourishing our mental health is something very important to keep in mind (literally, haha) at all times. Some of the things I’ve listed above are things I myself need to work on. I didn’t share these lists because I’ve already mastered the art of mental care, in case you guys were wondering – I’m right there with you on this walk of life! Let’s practice these good habits together. ❤

Let me know in the comments below:

How do YOU care for your mental health?

I pray that you’re having a good week!

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx