The Secret to Bringing Order, Clarity and Calm to Your Life

We are just a few days away from the New Year! With the new year comes the feeling of a fresh start as well as one of my favorite things, getting back into a routine! The Holidays are so much fun, but for me, there is nothing routine about them.

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I love routine and I live my best life when I can work within a routine. Here is what routine provides for me.

  • Routine bring order to my mind and life. When my routine is established, I try to keep the same things on the same days, at the same times, each week. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rules, but the more I can establish this, the more order it brings to my mind and life. You know, I do not even recognize that the feeling of order is there, until I have a week where my routine is completely thrown off. It is then that I realize how clear minded I was with my routine and then I work hard to re-establish it.
  • Routine brings clarity to my mind and life. When I am running around with my head cut off with no routine in sight, it takes all of my mental power to juggle all the balls and try not to drop them. When I am working within my routine, my mind is freed up to think about other important things. It is freed up to give that word of encouragement to someone who needs it. It is freed up to touch base with family and friends that come to my mind. Routine frees my mind up to dream a little and think about great possibilities.
  • Routine brings calm and peace to my mind and life. Think about the past few weeks. Think about the moment that was the most chaotic and had the least amount of routine for you and your loved ones. If you had to rate your level of calm and peace at that moment anywhere from a 1 to 10, how would you rate it? Can I answer .5? Establishing a routine brings a certain calm and peace that we all desire in our lives.

There is one question with regards to routine that I would love to get your feedback on. How do you establish a routine while still being spontaneous in your life? Spontaneity is not a strength of mine, so I would love to hear your thoughts and I know my other reader would too. Just reply below this blog post so everyone can join in.

Routine is a great thing in our lives, and quite frankly, we are the ones to make it happen. Do you realize that you hold the power to establish a routine for you and your loved ones, providing them with much-needed order, clarity and calm?  That is pretty amazing!
Here’s to order, clarity, calm and a fresh start!

Cherish Every Moment

We are smack dab right in the middle of the Holiday Season! Family is starting to come into town, final preparations are being made for all of the yummy meals we are about to partake in, and those last few trips out to the stores are taking place for last-minute gifts and goodies. All of the preparation of the past few months were made so that the next few weeks are the best they can possibly be. Now it’s time to cherish every moment!
cherish-the-moment-croppedLast night I enjoyed an amazing night with friends. We grabbed dinner at a local restaurant, enjoy glorious ribs with all of the fixings, shared stories around the table, then walked to the park next door to enjoy a walk through Christmas Lights Display. One thing made the night magical. That one things was my choice to make it magical.

You see, I can forget to have fun. I can focus in on the large crowd, and the baby screaming. I can focus on the blog post that I need to write the next day. I can focus on how cold I am or allow my mind to get wrapped up on so many things, that I miss the magical moments right in front of me.

This blog post is scheduled for Thursday, December 22nd. The next week and a half are going to be filled with amazing moments. Here are a few things to help us all cherish every moment.

  • Cherishing every moment requires us to take a deep breath and slow down. When we are rushing around with our heads cut off, we will rush right past these special moments. Today, I took a little bit of time to sit in my favorite chair by my Christmas tree with my puppy on my lap. I had a lot to get done, but I took some time for a breather and cherished that sweet moment. Remind yourself in the next few days to take a deep breath, slow down and enjoy!
  • Cherishing every moment requires us to recognize and savor the experience. I remember the exact moment last night that I did things. The group I was with had stopped to get some hot chocolate. I was off to the side waiting for them when I realized how absolutely beautiful the night was. It was around 30 degrees, chilly, but not too cold. The cold air felt refreshing on my face because that was the only skin showing since I tend to bundle up pretty good in the winter. I suddenly got a waft of the small hot chocolate and it brought great memories to my mind. There were people all around waiting in anticipation for a fireworks display that ended up being spectacular. I was thankful I took the time to savor the moment. Regardless of where you are at; in the kitchen cooking, outside shoveling snow, or even in line at the grocery store, find something to savor.
  • Cherishing every moment requires us to stay in the moment. It can be challenging to stay in the moment when we have numerous places to go and many events to attend. I don’t know about you, but my brain is trying to think about all of the things I have to make sure I don’t forget. I have to keep an eye on the clock to make sure I put the potato dish in the oven on time. Then we have to make sure we are out the door no later than ‘rush-o’clock’ to get to the next location for round two, then round three, and then round… well you get the idea. This can be reality, I know. The question is how, then, can we stay in and enjoy every moment. I’m sure there are a lot of tips and tricks that you all may have and if you do, leave them in the comment section to help us all out. What I try to do is utilize some tools. I use lists. They allow me to take all of the things that are in my brain, get them off my brain and onto paper. Then my brain is freed up to enjoy the moment at hand. I also utilize the alarm on my phone. If I know I need to do something at a certain time, Instead of focusing on the clock, I set my alarm and enjoy my moment at hand. When the alarm goes off, I know it’s time for whatever is next. Do whatever you need to do to stay in the moment.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I can’t wait to see pictures of your cherishing moments if you share them on social media! It makes my heart warm just thinking about them.

You have worked so hard for this to be your Best Holiday Season Ever! It’s time to enjoy it! Cherish every moment. You deserve it!

Now, Have The Best Holiday Season and Have a Ton of Fun!

We have the ability to choose if we are going to be happy. Granted, it is much easier at times than others to choose happiness, but we do have the ability to do so. I have to remind myself during the hustle and bustle of the holidays that I have the ability to have fun, and the choice to not have fun, and so do you.

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I am, overall, a pretty serious person. I do have a silly streak, but it does not come out very often. I am okay with that because that is who I am. But I still like to have fun. What I find so often is, I can be in the middle of a very pleasant activity, yet find myself not having fun. My friend, Linda, has helped me with this specifically during bike rides. We would be riding along, chatting, yet my eyes would be focused on the gravel path before me. Now it is important to keep an eye on the path, but what Linda has taught me is to look up, look around, enjoy the day, feel the breeze on our face, check out the birds, the cliffs on the side of the path, and be a little silly every once in a while.

I do have to say too, that because I tend to be on the serious side, it is fun every once in a while to say something that is uncharacteristic for me and shock everyone. I will not go into any detail, but this happened once when we were on a three-day bike ride. It was a very cold night to camp and somehow the disposable hand warmers made it into my undergarments. It was quite a pleasant experience, both the warmth and the good laugh we had.

Remember to have fun in pleasant situations. This almost sounds silly, but let’s all try to slow down, and enjoy being right where we are. Look around and enjoy the Christmas decorations, the sound of music, people, and depending on where you are, either the warm cozy air or the fresh crisp breeze. Let’s remember to just BE, and ENJOY!

Remember our attitude is our choice when we are in unpleasant situations. First of all, it’s wise to eliminate unpleasant situations, especially if we are already tired and irritable. That might not be the time to go out in heavy traffic or do your Christmas shopping. I know, sometimes we do not have a choice about the traffic, but try to set yourself up for success. And yes, there are those events that you will attend that are simply torture (did I say that?). And shopping with the masses is inevitable. Just remember we have a choice whether to have fun or not. Today I was walking on an indoor track after my workout and an older gentleman passed  me (I was tired after my workout, okay?). As he passed by, he made a fun, silly, yet true statement that made me laugh. His silliness and fun was contagious and I really appreciated it. Spreading joy is good medicine for us and those stuck in traffic or in the checkout line with us. Choose Fun!

We are a group of amazing individuals who want to Live Our Best and Give Our Best. We may not know everyone who reads this Blog by name, but we all have one thing in common, we want to continue to grow and live better each day. Living Our Best does take some effort, but it is worth every bit of it and I am so very proud of you for prioritizing it!

Here’s to Being Our Best and Having Fun!

Special Announcement: I am starting to dabble with making short, encouraging videos for you and I threw my first one out on YouTube and social media this week. If you missed it, here it is!

I am practicing up so that I can include some really great videos in your January Goody Bag coming out on Tuesday December 27th. I am going to approach 2017 very different than I did this last year in the hopes of living with more joy. I can’t wait to share more details with you in January!

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN…DON’T DELAY!

I woke up this morning to an email inbox filled with “ACT NOW”, “DON’T MISS OUT”, and “LIMITED TIME OFFER” emails. It did not surprise me since I am writing this post just a few days after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. It dawned on me that the message of “DON’T MISS OUT” can cause havoc in our lives and our Holidays. There are so many fun things to do that come around only one time a year after all, and we suddenly feel the pressure to fit it all in. DON’T DELAY!

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As my business is growing, one of the areas that I am taking time to learn about is how to get my products and services into the hands of wonderful and amazing people like you. Like it or not, this is called “marketing”. As I learn more about the marketing world, one of the strategies it employs is creating a sense of urgency. When companies and organizations create a sense of urgency, we act quicker because we don’t want to miss out. And I hate to tell you, it works.

During the Holidays this sense of urgency is all around us and if we do not recognize it and take control over it, it will control us.

Here are three areas for us to recognize and take control of this Holiday Season.

  • There are many Community Activities that only come around this time of year. Do you feel the urgency to participate in as many as possible? There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying these activities. I hope to get to a few of them myself. Just remember that many of them will be back next year and it is not necessary to overwhelm you and your loved ones schedules with too many activities. You have control.
  • How many sales ads and coupons have you received this Holiday? Do they build a sense of urgency inside of you? I love sales and I love coupons but sometimes I forget how they really impact my life. Yes, they can save me some money, and that is great value in and of itself but, they can also consume a lot of time. When I transitioned to working at home, saving a buck was very important since we had to make ends meet on one income. I would travel to multiple grocery stores to hit the best deals at each one, and yes, I saved some money. What I realized over time was that I was spending a lot more gas money, for one, and a ton of time running in and out of stores. We each have to decide for ourselves what is most important. I simply want to help you see that sales and coupons not only impact your pocket-book, they impact your precious time. Don’t forget, you have control.
  • How many invitations have you received to different events this year? I have not received very many. What I have received is expectations. We are no longer invited to things and no longer given the choice of declining the invitation. In most cases these days, it is communicated that we are expected to attend. I want to remind you that you are invited to attend these events. Yes, there are trade-off to attending or not attending. I simply want to remind you that it is within your control to accept or decline the invitation.

Your choices this Holiday Season will have a huge impact on you and your loved ones. You are their rock and the glue that holds things together. They need you, they value you, and you have so much to contribute to their lives. Accepting and taking control is vital for all of us as we are bombarded with messages of “URGENCY!”

Here’s to taking control of what we can and having our Best Holiday Season Ever!

The Christmas Gift that has the Power to Change our Future for the Better

Thanksgiving is behind us. Christmas trees are up and decorated. Now it is time to get a move on our Christmas shopping. Choosing the perfect gift for those we love can be fun for some of the people on our list but can feel daunting for others. Isn’t it great when we come across that perfect gift for someone? We can hardly wait for them to open it up! I have been given many amazing gifts through the years, including Mr. Microphone as a child, but there is one gift that we can all give this Christmas that is so big and amazing that it can not fit in a box.

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My parents gave me this amazing gift day in and day out as I was growing up, but the gift was always magnified during the Christmas Season. The gift was the gift of serving others. Serving other people is at the core of who my Mom and Dad are. Because of that, they share this gift, to this day, with each of their children, grandchildren, church family members, and community.  They are now in their eighties and their life continues to be filled with serving and giving to others.

Because giving was a big part of my parent’s life, it became a big part of my life too. When my parents went to the local nursing home to brighten the residents’ day, they brought me along. When my youth group was distributing food to those in need, my parents were right there beside us, caring for people. When a family member or friend needed help, my parents would bring me and my siblings along to help them. I now recognize the amazing gift that my parents gave me by doing that. Today I LOVE to do things for other people, and it’s all because of the example my parents set for me.

You have an amazing part to play this Holiday Season! I encourage you, as you write out your gift list, to add one more “gift” to the list for those you love. Try to fit in some way to serve others. As you do, here are three ingredients, that mixed together, will impact lives in a positive way for years to come!

  • Experience it together. My parents had seven children. It would have been much easier for them to go out on their own when it was time to help someone, but they knew how important it was for us to go with them. Serving others along-side my parents taught me how to serve, taught me how to love, taught me to have mercy, and brought amazing joy. Serving together is an amazing gift!
  • Talk about how your acts of kindness make a real difference in real people’s lives. With six siblings, I certainly could not comprehend the feeling of being alone during the Holidays. My parents helped me understand the positive impact we were having when we visited a home-bound elderly women at Christmas. They helped me understand that she had no one in her life to spend time with and how hard that was on her. I also got to see, first hand, the living conditions of people who had nothing. I get emotional when I remember the looks of gratitude on people’s faces when we delivered food for them to eat at Thanksgiving. Helping your loved ones understand the positive impact of their actions is an amazing gift.
  • Recognize that small acts make our world a better place. There is so much that is out of our control when it comes to our world around us, but there is so much that IS within our control. When we teach our loved ones to serve, we give them something they can utilize every minute of every day, 365 days a year. Small acts of service will brighten others day, like smiling when you both reach the checkout line at the same time and allowing them to go ahead of you. Thank you, by the way, to all of the Boy Scouts who spent two weekends of their time coordinating food pickup to help those in need. If every single person on this earth threw a piece of litter on the ground today, think of how messy this world would look. Now think if every single person on this earth served someone else today. Think about how beautiful this world would look. Every small gesture is an amazing gift.

How can you share the amazing gift of serving others this Christmas Season? How can you include those you love? Every small act of service makes our community and world a better place to live.

Here’s to giving the best gifts this Christmas!