Rachel Hagstrom

Rachel is a freelance writer and a huge fan of peanut butter, humidity, and driving barefoot. Her favorite pastimes include reading up on aviation disasters to “conquer” her fear of flying and finding hope in the storms of life.

8 Things Moms Should Say to Raise Strong Kids

Say These 8 Phrases to Raise Strong Kids

In their most powerful form, words have the ability to shape one’s character, self-esteem, and relationships. They can impact us for better or worse for the rest of our lives. As moms, our words in particular shape our children, and the longer my motherhood journey continues, the more I discover this to be true. I’ve witnessed the positive impact of my words—evidenced by my girls’ grins, hugs, and outward joy—as well as the pain that my words can illicit, spoken in the moments of impatience or anger. Both can have a lingering effect. If you’re like me and looking to add more life-giving phrases to your everyday vernacular, here are 8 things (outside of “I love you”) you should consider saying to […]

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blond woman creating art on a canvas wondering if it's bad to be selfish

Is It Bad to be Selfish? 4 Reasons the Answer Is No!

I was silent as the impassioned tone on the other end of the phone grew in volume. She named everything that overwhelmed her: the mounting bills and unyielding budget; the long afternoons with the young, napless kids; the at-home job that kept her working until the wee hours of the night; the lack of outside help and health issues creeping in. All of it was taking a massive toll on my friend. That place of feeling pulled, depleted, and drained was one in which I was familiar. While we brainstormed ways she could create more margin in her life, I suggested she devote a few hours each week to exercise at the gym while she took advantage of onsite childcare. “You could

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7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity 2

7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity

Ah, winter. ‘Tis the season for crackling fires, family and friends gathered around the table, and sledding down the snow-covered hillsides. It’s undoubtedly a favorite time of year for many, but the chilly winter months can quickly lose their luster the minute germs make a debut. The influx of coughs, colds, and flus seem heckbent on ruining all the fun. Many pesky illnesses that sprout up during the winter months are viral, which mean antibiotics won’t do the trick. These bugs seem to have no qualms with keeping entire households homebound for weeks; it can take up to two weeks for them to run their course. Prevention is key, so wash those hands frequently and start boosting your immunity by trying these

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A Strong Woman Has These 7 Things on Her Bucket List

A Strong Woman Has These 7 Things on Her Bucket List

If you’re in search of more meaning in life, crossing off a few extra items on your bucket list can be the very thing that sends you on a journey of self-discovery. For some of us, bucket lists contain our longings for far-off adventures and are springboards for our imaginations to roam wild. They spotlight our craving for connection with people and nature; they uncover our inner desire to make our mark in the world. In between their numbered lines dwells a path toward change and a recipe for thriving in our seasons of life. Bucket lists act as the catalyst that propels us forward, both as an instigator and a guide or sherpa in the self-discovery department. Every item on our

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If You Want To Get Healthy Do These 5 Things

If You Want To Get Healthy Do These 5 Things

For a girl whose dietary and lifestyle choices once included generous amounts of Cheez-Its, menthol cigarettes, and energy drinks mixed with vodka, doing a massive overhaul on my (not-so-healthy) habits was overwhelming at first. I’m not going to lie… it was downright hard. I wasn’t sure what foods my body would benefit from, so I tested popular diets and eliminated trigger foods. I wanted to find cost-effective ways to incorporate more organic produce to get healthy. So I found good deals and discounted products I could add to my recipe rotation. I began exercising on a consistent basis, and instead of automatically reaching for my former go-to substances during times of stress, I explored spiritual practices that seemed to calm my mental

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feeling stressed out? 5 tips to stay calm

Feeling Stressed Out? Here Are 5 Tips to Stay Calm

What are the life events that can leave you stressed out or assessing your life as a whole? Presently for me, it’s the milestone birthday quickly headed my way. It has caused me to dwell on the concept of time and the warp speed at which it seems to be running. Based on recent conversations I’ve had with others on the cusp of milestones or new seasons, I know I’m not alone with this realization. It makes no difference if we’re referring to the actual seasons of the year, a particular age, or the seasons by which we categorize our lives (think of labels such as singlehood, parenthood, empty nester, divorce, illness, etc.). A by-product of living in our modern age are seasons that are fluid,

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young girl smiling with hand covering her mouth

The Joy Series: I’m Inspired By My Daughter’s Strength in the Face of Her Autoimmune Disorder

What started as a silly game became a lifeline amid waves of sickness. We stood outside the chapel and waited for the choir to stand up so my daughters could carry candles down the aisle. My 8-year-old approached me, studied my stomach, and planted three kisses on my belly. Our friend Sammy noticed and raised her eyebrows. I knew what she was thinking. ”No, I’m not pregnant,” I smiled.  My daughter motioned for me to bend down so she could whisper in my ear. “Your tummy’s hurting, isn’t it, Mom?” she asked. I nodded.  “I can tell.”  Chronic Battles I battle chronic gastrointestinal disorders with flare-ups that often appear at inopportune times. My family and I are so accustomed to them at

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10 Classic Beauties Full of Grit, Grace and Inspiration

As a devoted fan of black-and-white cinema and 1950s fashion, I relished the moments I spent watching classic films like Sabrina (check out the swoon-worthy outfits Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn) or North by Northwest with my Gram, who never failed to captivate me with stories about the private lives of all the actors. Theses classic beauties inspired me. I’d sing my little heart out with Etta James as she dazzled me with “At Last”—a favorite that still causes goosebumps to rise along my arms—or I would study the prized, yellowed newspapers documenting JFK’s assassination my great-grandma had tucked away in the corner of her closet. I’d stare at the picture of Jackie Kennedy, clothed in black and grief, holding her children’s

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Need to Stop Procrastinating How to Eat Your Frog

Need to Stop Procrastinating? How to Eat Your Frog

Chances are, you probably have a few frogs you need to eat today (or need stop procrastinating). No, I’m not referring to the actual amphibians (though I’m willing to try the supposed delicacy of frog legs) but rather the metaphorical ones that Mark Twain famously referred to when he said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” What are the frogs exactly, you ask? Simply put, the frogs are the things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do. Now, if you are a woman who tends to put off the hard

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Dear Mama, You Need to Break up With These 3 Things

Dear Mama, There’s no doubt about it: motherhood isn’t for sissies. As a mom, you are a leader. An advocate. A nurse. A teacher. A mediator. A friend. A vomit-cleaner, diaper-changer, and so much more. Your job requires a steady arsenal of qualities at your disposal: resiliency; stamina; wisdom; grace; compassion; laughter; and, again, so much more. What you don’t need, though, is that inner lethal voice that criticizes you or downright shames you. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re messing up the little lives in your care or that you’re simply not cut out for the job of motherhood. Sometimes, it whispers quietly, and you briefly forget it even exists. On other days, the bully voice screams louder than

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All the Ways Gratitude Is the Game Changer You Need

All the Ways Gratitude Is the Game Changer You Need

Potentially, summer can be a time to recalibrate after a full school year or seize opportunities for a mid-year inventory on the goals set at the first of the year. For some of us, the slower daily rhythms can allow more space for processing and reflection. Others of us try to find ways to sift through the nuances and recent events of life despite barreling forward with busy schedules. As is typical of life, the harder moments have inched their way into all that’s good and pleasant, asserting their existence—making sure I won’t evade their ability to discourage. The past several years of my life have been a beautiful mess: a co-mingling of blessings and hardship that has often left me feeling

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What Is the Magic of the Snowball Effect

What Is the Magic of the Snowball Effect?

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault Years ago, I was scheduled on a red eye from Hawaii to Houston. Shortly after I sat down in my seat, a middle-aged Japanese woman plopped down in the empty seat to my left. “Hello,” I smiled at her before sliding my headphones over my ears, the universal signal that I wasn’t up for conversing. It was close to midnight, after all. But the woman started engaging with me anyway. Not wanting to be rude, I took my headphones off and answered her questions while our plane barreled down the runway. Pretty soon, we were describing what our days consisted of and

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Discover 5 AA Slogans That Bring Wisdom to Any Woman’s Life

Discover 5 AA Slogans That Bring Wisdom to Any Woman’s Life

My former chosen method of numbing pain included self-medicating with pills and toxic relationships. It’s taken years, open sharing and honest conversations, lots of therapy, and a few rock-bottom moments to set myself on a path of growth and healing. For many people who struggle with addiction, recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have ignited a new way of life, and a newfound sense of identity and purpose. Yet, the programs practices aren’t just life-changing for its members alone—anyone can benefit from the organization’s principles, and steps. Some of the best life practices can be found in the AA slogans. These five AA slogans every woman can incorporate into her daily life! 1. One Day at a Time To take it one

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creating a wellness vision

Why You Need a Wellness Vision and Your Guide to Creating One

I don’t remember any watershed or lightbulb moments that first prompted me to take a more proactive stance on the state of my health and create a wellness vision. However, I do remember what happened when I made the solemn vow to start treating myself with a little more TLC: absolutely nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. Because when I made that pledge to myself, I imagined willpower would be enough to align my actions with my words and that my quest toward greater wellness would unfold in a buttoned-up linear fashion. Sure, it was a bit delusional to think that the process would be seamless and easy. Instead, I did the whole two-steps-forward-four-steps-back dance. (And later learned that all my back peddling, overanalyzing,

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If You're In a Drought, Open Your Umbrella

If You’re In a Drought, Open Your Umbrella

Last summer, my birthday wish was rain. Sixty-seven days had passed without so much as a raindrop, and 47 of those days reached temperatures 100 degrees and up. Each morning, we opened our weather apps and hoped the meteorologists had made a mistake and that maybe, just maybe, showers would fall and refresh the land. But the morning of my birthday showed nothing different. Just clear skies and temps nearing 100, yet again. I stared out my bedroom window, lamenting the shriveled-up tomato plants, squash, and the remaining vegetables I’d intentionally planted into moist soil months prior. My backyard displayed all the visible signs of thirst: My hedges sagged toward the heat-cracked flower beds, and even the cacti, known for their resilience

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To the Mom Lacking Self-Confidence: Do This

To the Mom Lacking Self-Confidence: Do This

To the woman lacking self-confidence, it can appear as though everyone around her is acing life with flying colors. She might tend to second-guess her decisions constantly. She often battles a distorted, negative view of herself. When she becomes a mom, her confidence levels soar one minute and then reach unprecedented lows the next if her self-worth depends on her parenting skills. I know because I am that woman. To All the Women Lacking Self-Confidence I’m probably the least qualified person to dish out advice regarding confidence (see the irony there!). As one all-too-familiar with the aforementioned internal musings and mindsets, my self-confidence has been on shaky grounds for much of my adolescent and adult life. The same nervous way I’d present a

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Want to Change Your Life Start Building Something New

Want to Change Your Life? Start Building Something New

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”—Socrates (a character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman) For the record, the words above weren’t penned by the philosopher Socrates, but rather by a character with the same name in a book I have not yet read. I stopped scrolling when I came across the quote on my Instagram, half-hoped it indeed was passed down by the Greek classic, but regardless, instantly liked it—yet with strings attached. The part of me that rebels against the meaning of the words is the same part of me that finds value in taking an honest inventory of

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