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Show Some Love

Our house doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day.  <insert audible gasp>

I believe that love should be shown everyday and when love is on full display everyday we don't need a reminder from chocolatiers and card makers. 

AND just in case you still want a special gift for your special someone remember....

We love others the most when we:

1. Listen

2. Accept

3. Apologize

in no particular order—

Share the love and tag a loved one!

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6 Holiday Gifts that are a Joy to Give and Receive

Do the holidays give you a sense of dread? Do you tense up because of the expense, difficulty of deciding what to buy for so many, or because you’re just so overwhelmed you don’t have the energy to shop? These are just a few things that I heard when discussing gift giving with several women during a recent workshop on how to redefine the holidays. Whether you’re in the last days or just starting your holiday to-do list—Today, all that changes!

Stop whatever you’re doing.  Take a breath....  

Now, imagine for a moment that you’re committed to making a new choice… a new decision about how you approach holiday gift-giving.  Let’s re-label December’s festivities as:  fun, easy, relaxing, peaceful, joyful, comfortable or dare we say, luxurious? Here are a few ideas that will ease your efforts before during and after the holidays.

Six Ideas for Joyful Gift Giving

1.     Christmas ALL YEAR LONG— Kids, friends, and parents can always use a little something to cheer them up.  Why not give a small gift several times throughout the year?

2.     Handwritten note- Text messages, Facebook likes, and emails are nice but a handwritten note is ‘special’.  Take time to write down what you love and appreciate about your special someone. A beautiful blank card or stationary makes it lovely and loving.

3.     Group outing—Siblings, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents can add up to a lot of money and time spent on gifts during the holiday.  Years ago, our family decided to invite our loved ones to a group event that happens within the holiday, but after Christmas. 

Past outings included:

Bowling

Zoo day

Movie

Picnic in the park

Ice skating

4.     Gift card exchange—Collect various gift cards (i.e. Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, Target, H-E-B…) in the same denomination; we load each card with $5.  Place cards in a bag and have participants blindly choose a card.  After all the cards have been picked the fun begins, ...everyone can trade, buy or negotiate for the card or cards that they want most.

5.     Seed packets—Giving herb, veggie, and flower seeds are a fantastic way to ensure that your gift is remembered long after December.  Perhaps the receiver will even think of you when it’s time to harvest?!  (Parsley, anyone?)

6.     Anticipation—Placing a small gift or note in an enveloped marked “do not open until (insert date in the future)” builds excitement long after the holiday has ended.

With a few fresh ideas, a shift in our thinking, and some planning, you can give a gift that is perfect for you and the receiver. Your loved ones will know how much they mean to you through these easy and fun approaches. And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

 

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Ask and Tell: Two Keys to Getting and Doing Everything You Want (and Nothing You Don’t)

Ask for what you want. That's it.

What??? That's it?

Yup, and it’s taken me almost forty years to learn this secret.

Asking for what you want makes you vulnerable, and it is scary (sometimes). For me, the more important the request, the scarier it is to ask. The treasures come when the other person hears you, and one or all the following can occur:

They help you achieve your goal

They save you lots of "in-between" steps

You can learn from another person’s mistakes

They say YES.  On the spot, and you are done.

Asking is easy. It's simple.  It takes practice, and it pays off.

What do you want? 

What are you willing to ask for?

When we ask for what we want, we also need to know three magic words that can transform our lives.
I work every day at saying "no" so that when I say, "yes" it means something.  My "yes" is important to me.  I do this to create space in my schedule so when urgent stuff comes up I am mentally equipped to handle the situation objectively and thoughtfully. It is important to remember why. “Why” should align with our personal vision statement.  If we can wield these words wisely we are on the path to peace of mind.

Being able to say no and yes are integral to our self-care. Here’s another tidbit for you.

We love others the most when we can:

1. Listen

2. Accept

3. Apologize

in no particular order—

Do you have any insights that you would like to share?

What are you not asking for that you know you need right now? Are you saying “yes” when it doesn’t align with your values?

Not sure what you need?  Schedule a time and let's chat, it won't hurt... I promise.

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Four Simple Steps to Create a Personal Statement That Matters

Would a pilot fly the plane without knowing where he’s going?  Do construction workers start building houses with “whatever” is lying around? Did you “wing it” the first time you made biscuits from scratch?  

I certainly hope not.

Creating personal statements allows us to stay on track and put first things first.  

Mission statements, help us say no, or yes, in difficult situations.  

Creating the Personal Statement is a Process. Take your time.  Although some statements are created in a day, unless you have done lots of work beforehand yours will take more time.  

Go easy on yourself and enjoy the process.  

Think about some key questions. Let’s play “get our feelings out on the table.”  We need a place to start.  A brainstorming session, if you will.  Take some time and think about:

·       How do I want to feel?

·       How will I resolve differences?

·       What kind of person do I want to be?

·       What are my roles?

·       What creates happy feelings for me?

·       What creates feelings of unhappiness?

·       What did I enjoy from childhood and want to continue?

·       What are my unique gifts and talents?

·       What do I want to feel at work, home, with my family, or spouse?

Write. Tweak. Dream. Repeat. With an arsenal of ideas swirling, it’s important to get them in one place and start looking for patterns and repetition.  You’ll quickly notice that there’s some consistency in what you desire most out of life. Take time. Write, and put down your findings in any expression that you like; poem, paragraph, acrostic, or bulleted key words.  It really doesn’t matter. Just do it.  What’s most important is that the personal statement lives in your heart and becomes part of your being.  There’ll be many drafts.  I suggest that you write a version, think about it, try it on for size and see how it feels for a few days.  Tweak it.  Dream. Live with the statement for another week.  Repeat until you decide if the statement is something that you believe in and can commit to. 

Make it matter! Now that you’ve gone through the work of creating your mission statement, use it to stay on track.  You can enlist the help of your mission statement when prioritizing obligations, creating your weekly schedule, or when confronted with request from others.

Sharing is caring.  Get crazy.

Need some help reigning in the crazy?

Post your vision statements in the comments, and let’s work on your drafts together.

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Two Three-Letter Words to Rule Your Life

Sometimes, when you least expect it, something extraordinary happens in your life.  It happens when you are not looking for it, when you, in fact, have your eyes resting squarely on another target.  Then, it hits you. And days, weeks, or months later, you wonder how you ever lived without it.

I’m reminded of the day my whole life changed. I was sitting in a hotel ballroom eating a chicken lunch when something momentous happened! I adopted, “Life Rule #1: AND over BUT.”  It was during a presentation by Comedy Sportz Houston on how to increase effective communication in the workplace. Sounds boring but let me tell you it was not! After a brief introduction, we began playing improvisation games.

The game that inspired Life Rule #1 is called "Yes, and.."

“In ‘Yes and’ the players are constantly saying, ‘yes and.’ The mechanism goes something like this. One player may start off with, ‘Your coat is so lovely.’ The response of the other player could be, ‘YES AND I made it for you.’ The other player responds, ‘YES AND I have a thousand dollars for it.’ ‘YES, AND I am going to use that money to make a hundred more coats for you.’ The players must always have the ‘yes and’ at the beginning of their sentence.”

Using AND allows you to remain open to possibilities and ideas. On the other hand, BUT "negates or cancels everything that goes before it. And is generally accepted as a signal that the important part of the sentence is coming up. So, when you use it your listener will give more attention and more weight to what you say after you say “BUT." 

For the same example above with the coat compliment, we can radically change the message with “Yes, but.” The player can say, “Yes, but it’s very itchy,” and the first player might respond: “Yes, but if fits you perfectly.” Then the response could be “Yes, but it belongs to my sister, and I am paranoid I will get it dirty.”

Try rule #1 (AND over BUT) for a week, and tell me what you think. Let’s play! When did you say “yes, and,” or “yes, but,” and what happened?

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Book End Your Days to Never Skip a Shower or Episode of Scandal

No one needs bookends until the day you want to stand books up vertically on an open flat surface. Then, everyone needs bookends. Bookends are not just for our shelves, though, they are also for our lives and can help us give structure to our routines.

I've been playing with bookending my day for almost 6 months and I’ve noticed several positive changes, including regular showering!  Don't pretend that you remember to shower ALL the time. Even when your child was a newborn? Or, when you binge watched Downton Abbey or Scandal?!

Creating my bookends (morning and evening rituals) began simply. I wanted to wake up before my children and have alone time with my husband.  In my house, for this impossible dream to become a reality, it means waking up by 5:30am. Starting my day at 5:30am ensures that I’m awake enough to have a conversation with my husband and beat the kiddos’ 6:20am alarm.  

Not being a natural early riser, I reverse engineered my mornings by going to bed earlier at night. I said "No" to binge watching my tablet in bed and "Yes" to going to sleep.  Quite a few iterations of the "Early to Bed / Early to Rise" game have resulted in bookends for my day.

Rituals that work, for now.  

My before-7-am mornings include:
Exercise
Hydration
Meditation
Conversation (with my guy)

After 9pm evenings are for:
Cleansing
Reading
Meditation (after I watch one last episode of Scandal).

What are your bookends?

How do you begin and end your day?

Share. Comment. Chat with me. I’d love to know what rituals prop up your days. 

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Plan to Put your Superwoman Vision into Action

Extra! Extra! Put your Vision Statement in action!

 

Identify your roles.  You may be a mom, wife, business owner, community leader, roller derby member.  Whatever you are list it.  Some hats you may not put on every day.  List your major roles.

Make your “to be” list. Now that you have your roles think about, what feeling you want to bring to that role?  Make a list of things "to be" in the role.  When thinking about my role as a mother I would like to be unconditionally loving, supportive, encouraging and firm. Resist the urge to do.  To do, is literally a laundry list of chores (necessary, and not exactly fulfilling).

Y’know, stuff like:

Go Grocery Shopping

Purchase Valentines Cards

Buy Pants

Make bank deposit

 

Determine the ONE most important activity you can do in each role. Some roles will have one most important activity for the day, others one activity for the week.  Again, resist.  Only one thing is MOST important.  You are not Superwoman, yet.

Plan time to do the ONE important activity. Pedal to the metal.  Put the one important thing on your schedule, and do it.  Make it a priority and put first things first.

Protect blank space.  You don't need to schedule activities or make plans to feel more important.  You are important, just the way you are.  Don't worry, life will throw you a few minor emergencies.  The blank space is there so you can breathe, and handle the crisis with grace.

Repeat weekly.  We are building a lifestyle.  A lifestyle designed by us, and I am here to help you.  It takes time and practice to build up new muscles.  You can do this!

 

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Top-Notch Apps to Create the Vision Board of Your Dreams

Vison boards are a great tool for staying connected to all the goals, plans, aspirations and dreams you have. My first encounter with vision boarding came during the scrapbook era. Before we all learned to load our photographs into Shutterfly, girlfriends would get together and have scrapbooking parties.  Tables covered with 12X12 paper, binders, glue sticks, die cutters, stamps and wine glasses were the stuff that Friday nights were made of.  A natural progression was to take the focus off the children and family vacations and start to cut out magazines to create our own vision boards. 

I was never very good at arts and crafts, and still can’t cut a straight line with scissors! I found a site to help me create a vision board on the computer.  My first choice was to use Picmonkey but not having flash up to date on my computer forced me to research other options...enter, collage.com.

With collage.com I spent less time and had better results. Simply upload photos into your project, choose a shape, and use the edit tool (if you want).  The collage below took me about 40 minutes.  Most of that time spent finding photos online, on my phone and playing with the shuffle feature on collage.com. 

Floating balloons- remind me to keep things light and fun

Picture of the sky- reminder to keep open space on my calendar, so I can say YES when an opportunity presents itself.

Milestones logo- spend time making this blog useful for the reader

Microphone- focus on public speaking opportunities

She is Quick: This is a picture of an iPad case.  I love that it simply sums up who I strive to be each day.

Quick: I often get bogged down in details, therefore I don’t want to be prone to non-decisiveness. 

Loving the details (this is my super power and kryptonite)

Curious- always willing to learn something new (hello...collage.com)

Playful-for me this is spontaneity. 

Strong- continue to use my body to stay healthy.

Meditation- a driving focus this year is to live lushly.  Abundant, rich, pleasurable, comfortable having plenty of time and enjoying what brings me great sensory pleasures= living lush. (i.e. yoga classes, coffee, tea, exercise, quiet time, and "me time" field trips.)

Less but better- read more about my motto

Decide. commit. succeed. Again, I am a researcher.  Always looking for the best most effective option, which can lead to procrastination and/or analysis paralysis. Decide. Commit. Succeed.

 

Stay on track.

 

Create a board

 

Feel free to share a board that you create, vision boarding tips, or helpful software programs. What works best for you? What do you love most about your board?

 

Make it matter!

 

 

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