I Had Seen Beauty

Mental Health

I’ve been MIA in the internet world for a little while now. There’s a lot of things I could easily blame it on, most of which could be summed up with #gradmomlife. In a simple nod to my busyness and supposed productiveness, I could lead you all to believe that that life is busy, yes, but I prioritize effectively so I’ve got it all under control. By morning a student and college instructor, by afternoon, evening and night a wife…

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A Thrill of Hope

Essays Faith

Image provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During what is often professed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” many struggle with exceptional burdens during this holiday season. Loneliness, financial struggles, academic stress, anxiety, depression, and many other emotional and physical difficulties become particularly pronounced with the change of season and the increase in societal expectations. At times it seems the earth rocks with the impact of innumerable tragedies—some striking frighteningly close to home.…

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A Thankful Season

Essays

It started out as a test run. I’ve always been the one to start blasting the Christmas tunes as Halloween night comes to a close or at the first snowfall—whichever comes sooner. But this year, I decided to try holding off a few weeks more, just to see what it tastes like to let fall linger a little longer. To soak in every last leaf and pumpkin before rushing off to sleigh bells and snowmen and all manner of hall…

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The Widow’s Might

Essays

My high school cross country coach once told me, “Your strength is in your strength.” He was, of course, speaking to my physical strength regarding running, but it stuck with me over the years. I’ve liked to think of myself as a strong individual—a pusher-througher, an accomplisher, an overcomer. There are times where that mindset serves me well. But there are also times where it isn’t enough. I recently found myself in what I’ll euphemistically call a bit of a slump.…

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How to Create a Personal Purpose Statement

Experience Design

Purpose and mission statements are widely used in the business world to provide vision to the company as it operates. They explain the why of the organization, and enable leadership to meaningfully assess progress and direction along the way. A purpose statement is a tool that we can, and should, use in our personal lives as well. What is a Purpose Statement? A good purpose statement is concise, inspiring, and all-encompassing. Take, for example, Chick-fil-A’s corporate purpose: “To glorify God by…

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The Power of Subbie

Experience Design

How well do you know your Subbie? You know, your subconscious. Do you guys stay in touch? Maybe work on projects together from time to time? Or have you left him cramped in a tiny corner of your brain, like a genie in a lamp? If it’s been a while since you and your Subbie have spoken, it might be time to reconnect. He just may be itching to get out and work some magic. I first learned about Subbie…

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Finding Meaning through Daily Planning

Experience Design

Want to know a secret to bringing a deep sense of intention and meaning into your every day? I’ll tell you in one word: planning. Before you roll your eyes and dismiss the topic, hear me out. I promise this runs deeper than the one-size-fits-all time-management solutions the internet world so adamantly preaches. And besides, this isn’t really about managing time anyway, it’s about managing expectations. Our sense of satisfaction with anything is determined by whether it falls above, at,…

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On Freedoms and Courage

Essays

My ancestor, William Thorne, who was the first in the family line to come to the United States from England. My family remembers him and his son, William Thorne, Jr., best for their signing the Flushing Remonstrance (pictured) in 1657. Though the document is largely forgotten today, some consider the Flushing Remonstrance to be a precursor to the Bill of Rights, having played an instrumental role in developing religious freedom in the United States. In a highly-concentrated Puritan society, Quakers…

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True Growth is in the Trimming

Essays

I’ve been thinking a lot about growth lately, and how unattainable—or at least, unsustainable—it feels at times. I’ve heard it described as “two steps forward, one step back” and, to be honest, that visual absolutely does not resonate with me. It feels like a waste of energy on something that should be so easy to control. My inner perfectionist scoffs at the image of this cha-cha attempt at progress—always moving, but never moving forward. I’ve been in search of a…

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What is Experience Design? (Part 2)

Experience Design

(To see Part 1 of this series, click here.) In business terms, experience design is an emerging industry that works to optimize the user experience from beginning to end. So an experience designer is someone who uses tools and theories to understand the end user, identify experience checkpoints, brainstorm solutions to problems, and design and evaluate actual experiences. This has obvious applications within the realm of event planning, for example, where the product itself is the customer experience. Think weddings,…

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