Guest Interview: “I believe in the power of a smile”


I am lucky to have met Kate from the Better Blogger Network.  She blogs over at Backbacks and Belly Button Rings, which started as a lifestyle blog about being a girly-girl who can keep up with the boys, and moved beyond that to talking about her outdoors lifestyle, living clean (green/sustainable/organic), motivation, recipes, and such.  She is a senior at a University studying occupational therapy and living with 4 male roommates and one dog (a 95 pound Doberman). Growing up, her dad became paralyzed, and is in a wheelchair. She is also a certified crisis intervention therapist, and has worked with special populations (children of battered women, mentally ill, traumatic brain injury patients, homeless teenagers, disabled athletes, and more) in many different settings (class instruction, crisis therapy, shelters, sports programs).  WHEW.  In her spare time (I’m surprised she even has any!),  I asked her some questions on happiness, fitness, motivation and love — just a few of the themes over here at Crossroads of the Heart.  Read on to learn more about Kate and go over to Backbacks and Belly Button Rings to visit her!
backpacks and belly button rings

Caitlin: How do you obtain happiness in your everyday life?

Kate: In my everyday life, happiness comes from the little things. I love sitting on the front porch with my roommates, my boyfriend, or my dog and drinking coffee (or tea!). I also love getting outside, especially to take part in seasonal activities… cider mill anyone?

C: What is the best relationship advice that you’ve ever received or given?

K: I’ve both received and given this advice, because it’s just that valuable. I believe you must be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else. This also means taking care of yourself before someone else. On airplanes they tell you in case of emergency put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. It’s the same idea. How can you help someone else breathe if you’re suffocating on your own?

My boyfriend says “forgive and forget” …I’m guessing he broke something.

C: What does family mean to you?

K: A family member is someone, biologically related or not, who is always there for you, loves you unconditionally, and encourages you to be your best.

C: How often do you spend time with your family?

K: My parents live two hours away from me, my sister an hour, and most of my extended family even more. I try to see them often, but this usually means once a month, if that. I do talk to my family almost every day, and see my entire extended family (tooons of people!) at least once or twice a year.

C: How has your father’s disability impacted your life?

K: My father was in an accident that left him paralyzed when I was thirteen years old. I grew up knowing what it was like to have a “normal” family, as well as a “special” one. Funny thing is, they really aren’t that different. Sometimes people stare or ask him questions, and he needs help with some things, but he can still kick my butt down a ski hill. Families support each other, and encourage each other to be their best. This hasn’t changed.

C: What is your favorite form of exercise?

K: I like to get outside. Any form of exercise that I can do outside is one of my favorites, but if I had to pick one, I’m going with hiking. Or stand up paddle board yoga… its awesome :)

C: How do you handle all the males in your life?

K: I live with four guys, my boyfriend is at my house constantly (it’s closer to campus than his) and his friends all live nearby. I’m constantly surrounded by guys. One thing I’ve learned is to stand up for yourself (no, just because I’m a girl does not mean I’m making you dinner) but remain approachable. Often times the guys will make jokes toward woman, but they mean no harm. Instead of getting offended, I know that I’ll have an opportunity to prove them wrong. Being with all these crazies (er… guys) has taught me more than I could have imagined. I’ve learned from them to stand up for myself, be confident in my skin and with who I am, to take chances, and to appreciate silliness and flaws.

C: How do you stay motivated to accomplish your goals?

K: I stay motivated because I enjoy the journey. Its easier to reach your goals if you enjoy getting there as well as being there.

C: Why do you write?

K: I think I have something to say, and hope it can teach others something.

C: What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend?

K: I believe in the power of a smile. It can turn your day around, make others happy, and is the best accessory you could have.




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Guest Post: How to Transition to a New City

I met Erin, as with a lot of my blogging friends, through the Better Blogger Network.  I was quickly drawn to her blog – Streetlights to Stars – primarily because of her site’s theme quote “Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people,” which I found was quite beautiful.  I was happy to also read that Erin emanates this positive energy throughout her writing.  Since she recently transitioned back to the U.S. after a year in Honduras, I asked her to share some of her experiences with us.  Here’s Erin….!
streetlights and stars

Hello Caitlin’s friends!

Today she asked me to talk about transition to a new city since I just moved back to the good ol’ U.S of A after spending the last year in Honduras. For this next season of my life I get to live with some of my favorite people and experience a whole new city, working a brand new job and discovering new crazy things about my new self in this new season. Did you count how many times I said the word new? Thought so.Since I’ve already stumbled on some new realizations, I thought I’d throw out a little “phases of transition” theory to you after being in my new place for a couple of weeks now.

My discoveries (and life experiences) are as follows:

Phase One: You’re excited out of your freakin pants to move and start over fresh in a new place. Suddenly all home goods seem absolutely necessary, i.e throwpillows and those irresistable fabric storage buckets at Target, even though you’re a broke homie and really shouldn’t buy anything at all.

Phase Two: You move in, everything is puppies and rainbows, and there’s not a cloud in your emotional sky. You take walks in your new neighborhood, clean like a banchie because you’re unemployed and you’ve got too much time on your hands, get a library card and love that you actually did it, you moved, and nobody is raining on your parade.

Phase Three: Operation get a job starts. Okay, so maybe that should have happened in phase one but it happens. So while all of your gainfully employed friends go to their 8-5 jobs…or should I say 6am-6:30pm jobs you are at a staffing agency stomping around downtown trying to convince someone to pay you for something. {This is the really fun part, guys…}

Phase Four: Things are still fun, still wonderful, but now you have a job and it’s all not so new anymore. Oh, and then comes the realization that sleeping in doesn’t happen and you can’t do anything during the day because you’re sitting at an office {like I am right now…woops!} and suddenly being a grown-up is a bit scary and restraining and disappointing because you aren’t galavanting around in the jungle anymore. {Okay maybe that was just me.}But after all this, you realize you are exactly where you should be and you are home and you are happy. This is life. And I think I’m slowly beginning to find the brilliance in the ordinary and celebrating the little moments that make this whole full-time job thing worth it.

Stop over to my neighborhood and say hi, won’t ya?