Three Main Ingredients for a Great Life!

What are the ingredients for a great life? I have been asking myself this very question for a number of weeks because I do not feel like I am living my “Best Life” right now. I have started a new job, and with that comes a period of adjustment, a period of time where my old “normal”  is gone and I need to find a new, wonderful “normal” again.

ingredients

I think we can all agree that one of the ingredients to living our best life is prioritizing the “most important” people and things. I have been doing pretty well at this the past few weeks with some tweaks here and there, but I have realized it is not enough. I have come to see our “most important” things as the foundation to living our best life. It is essential to build the rest of our life on, but it is not everything.

Next we have the ingredient of what “needs” to get done. This is not always a fun ingredient in life, but the reality is that it exists. John’s and my life were filled will annoyances this past week that “needed” to be dealt with. We received an unexpected medical bill that required some phone calls as well as unplanned check writing. I had a delivery of some liquid laundry soap that decided to break in transit. Is it bad when the box is in a trash bag on your front porch and the bottom feels mushy when you pick it up? In addition to these annoyances, the laundry still needs to get done. We needed to get to the grocery store. Things “need” to get done in our lives, and that is never going to change. What we can do is: recognize it is a part of life, stop fighting the annoyances because they usually win, deal with them as we need to, and try to keep a decent attitude during them. Things will always “need” to be done.

The last ingredient, what I consider the sweet spot, it is when we take time for the things we “want” to do. This is the area I have been lacking in since I have started my new job. I have filled my time with the most important people and things. Check! I have been dealing with what “needs” to be dealt with. Check! But I have not been taking time to do the things that bring added joy to my day. These are the things we feel are selfish because many times they are all about us. Well I am hear to tell you, this is the areas that bring some spice into our lives and is not selfish. I am writing this post on my birthday and even though I have a lot of things that “need” to be done today, I decided to sleep in this morning just because I wanted to. I am going to treat myself to a pedicure here shortly and do a few other things just because I want to. Prioritizing the things we “want” to do is so very important!

We all know that we cannot distill life down to three ingredients, but if we can get these three right with the right attitude, we will be well on our way to living our best life.

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving others and approaching everything else that comes our way with the best attitude we can muster up!

P.S. Below is the link to this month’s “Something To Look Forward To” Calendar! It’s time to start planning some fun stuff for the months to come!

June 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

You Did Great Today!

I spend a lot of time writing about the things we can do to live our best life. Today, I want to remind you, and myself, that we do so much on a daily basis that is great! But sometimes these things are so routine that we forget how important and impactful they are.

wash dishes
I have started to write in a journal every morning. In this particular journal, I write down what I am thankful for. This practice has allowed me to start my day with the attitude of gratitude. In the evening, as I lay in bed and try to settle my mind for a good night’s rest, I think about all that I did during the day, all that I had accomplished. I try to work through my day mentally from start to finish and list out all of the activities including eating breakfast, reading, going to work, eating dinner, washing the dishes, relaxing with my husband, doing my back exercises, getting ready for the next day, and oh yah, I fed my dog a few times in there. My list is generally not all that exciting, but what I have realized is that it is all important stuff, it is all good stuff.

I’m sure your day is filled with similar things. Here are some reminders of why these “normal things” are so important and how they make a difference in our world.

  • It is important for homes to be a sanctuary, a place where we, and those we love, enjoy spending time. Tasks such as doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming the floors can all feel meaningless, but they are all a part of making our homes a wonderful place to be. All that we do around our homes contribute to the lives of those who inhabit it. We want to feel “at home” and all the work we do around the house makes that a reality.
  • We all need energy. The food that we provide for ourselves and those we love contributes to their health and the energy they have to live a great life. This is an area I struggle with because I do not like to cook, but it is vitally important. When I have a day that I feel particularly sluggish, I can usually look at the food I ate, or lack thereof, and understand why I feel the way I do. Feeding ourselves and others can feel tedious at times, but know that all that you do contributes to the health and energy for others to live their best.
  • We need each other. The time we spend driving around from stop to stop is important. The time we spend at our child’s soccer practice is important. The time we spend talking to a dear friend fills our lives with great things. John, Pebbles and I spend at least an hour each night just hanging out watching TV. It is what we do, and it can seem pretty uneventful, but it is important. All of the big and little moments in our lives with those people who are important to us contributes to our best life.
  • You know my blogs are not complete until I remind you how important rest is. The time you and your loved ones take to rest, gives us all a fresh start to a new day. When we get a good nap or good night’s rest we, and our loved ones, have a better capability to handle what comes our way. Our rest gives us more motivation. Rest is a very normal part of our life, but so very important.

If you have taken care of something in your home today, fed yourself or those you care about, spent time with others and went to bed and got some rest, you have accomplished a great deal today. We all need these simple things to live our best life, and you have made them happen! You are needed, valued, significant, appreciated and admired!
Here’s to washing one more dish and knowing it does makes a difference!

There’s No Time For Messing Around

There is simply not enough time in a day or week to do all that we would like to do. Weekends fly by and the evenings after our work day is done feels almost non-existent. How do we get it all done, and more importantly, how do we find peace and joy in this crazy busy life?

whats most important

I start my day at 5:00 am. Sixteen hours later, I can barely keep my eyes open and I conk out by 9:00 pm for the night. I try to fit in a good 8 hours of sleep and get up the next morning to start all over again. I have about three hours each evening during my work week to fit in as much as I can, but I simply cannot fit everything in. For those of you that have children, I do not know how you do it! We all need a few more hours added to each of our days, don’t we?

The question is, would we ever have enough time to fit everything in, or would we simply fill that extra time up too, needing even more? I think the answer is more about choosing to do the best and right things, and choosing not to participate in everything that presents itself to us and our loved ones. Saying “no” to many activities and events and “yes” to the ones that are most important to us. But how do we choose? How do we know what is best and right for us, and what is most important?

One exercise that I have personally utilized and seen other benefit from, is to imagine yourself at the end of your life, at your funeral. You get a chance to walk around unnoticed.

  • First of all, think about who you would like to see at your funeral and write down those people’s names on a sheet of paper. These are the people who are most important to you.
  • Now, go around and listen to the conversations people are having about you. What will people talk about? Will they say you were an amazing parent and spent quality time with those you loved? Will they say you were a kind and giving person who was always trying to build other people up? Or will they say, she really loved to work…we really did not get to see her much. Or will they say that he was just so busy, too bad that kept him away from spending time with those who love him. Answer the question, what do you want to be remembered for?

By going through this exercise, you have identified a few things; who is most important to you and what activities and qualities are most important to you. We can also identify what we do not want to be remembered for.

For me, I want my husband, John, to be at my funeral. I want my family to attend. I want my friends to be at my funeral. I would even love a few mystery people to show up and say that I impacted their life in some special way. I want John to talk about the fact that he was loved and prioritized in my life. I want my family and friends to talk about positive fun times we had together. I want people to remember me as kind, loving and generous. Within the past few years I had an acquaintance, who is now a friend, say that they could tell I had a true north star. Well that north star is my relationship with God. These are the kind of things I want talked about at my funeral. These are the things that define what is important to me.

Once we start to identify what is most important, how then do we apply this to life and the twenty-four hours we have in each day? Before you say yes or no to people and activities that are vying for your time, ask yourself:

  • Does this fall in line with what is most important to me?
  • Will this activity add to or take away from who and what is most important to me?
  • There are always trade-offs. Am I willing to trade my time to engage in this activity? What will I have to give up in order to fit this into my schedule?
  • Remember also, you do not need to give people an answer right then and there, even if they want you to. You are in control. Let them know you have to think about the commitment they are asking for and you will get back with them. You are in control!

We do not need more hours in our day. We need to cut out the less important things and focus in on the most important things. We need to commit to the most important people and activities with all of our heart and energy. And at the end of the day, we need to go to bed knowing we filled our day with the best and right things.
Here’s to saying YES to what is most important and living our twenty-four hours exactly the way we want to!

Be Aware!

Awareness is a starting point for change. Becoming aware of our posture allows us to sit and stand taller reducing back pain. Becoming aware of how our bodies utilize the food we eat allows us to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or feel more energized. Becoming aware of our stress level and how it affects others can help us make adjustments that will benefit us and those we care about.

Doggy Love

This past week I ran around quite a bit more than usual. I accepted a job offer and suddenly found myself having a ton of things to get done before my first day of work. My daily schedule instantly had little routine and with appointments that were changed at the last-minute, my days were packed to the gills. Through all of it I knew there was some elevated stress, but I was doing pretty good, I was handling it. About half way through the week, my dog started to show symptoms of being sick, and within a few days it was apparent that I would have to get her into the vet. They checked her over and did not find anything wrong with her. Then the vet asked me if there are any major changes happening in our lives or our schedule? I shared with her that I would be starting a new job and this week had been unusually busy. She indicated that there was a good possibility that her symptoms could be related to anxiety. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that between the interview prep, interviews, waiting to hear about the job and then the sprint to get ready for starting day, my stress was elevated and this had a negative effect on my sweet dog.

It suddenly dawned on me that we all deal with stressful things on a daily and weekly basis. We deal with them as best we can, but like me, many times we forget to realize that our stress does have an impact on those around us, most importantly, the ones we love.

Becoming aware helped me in three important ways:

  1. My awareness helped me slow down, breath, and intentionally reduce my stress. I was reminded of a book a I read years ago called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff. One of the things I took away from the book was that my “To Do” list will still be here tomorrow. Our chores never end and I needed to remind myself that stressing myself out and trying to get everything done was not good for anyone.
  2. My awareness prompted me to make sure I continued to prioritize those I love. The greatest gift we can give is the gift of our time. I made sure I stopped and distributed as much love as I could. Low and behold, it made me feel much better too!
  3. My awareness reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help. Many times we feel we need to take care of things ourselves, but that is a lie. There are times we simply need help. I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to ask for help.  In order for me to prioritize my most important things, I had to ask for help.

If your stress level is on the high side right now, take a moment to think about how your stress is affecting those you love. Did a late night project keep you from snuggling and tucking your kiddo into bed last night? Did your lack of rest cause you to snap at your spouse or co-worker? Are you always thinking about work, and not asked your loved ones about their day?

Life involves stress, but becoming aware of it, how it impacts our lives, and the lives of others is the first step in making a change for a better future.
Here’s to taking care of ourselves, then passing that onto others!

The Secret to Fitting More In

As we move forward in our baby steps in 2017, what happens when those steps lead us to a big change in our lives that we didn’t expect?  We already have a full and packed life, how is it possible to add more? How is it possible to adjust? How is it possible to make this new, important change a reality in our lives?

wool-knit-knitting-needles-basket-48199

I am asking myself the same question at this very moment in my life. I have shared with all of you that I was not sure where my baby steps are going to lead me this year and, I have found that to be an understatement. As I have taken one step at a time, I have come to the realization that in addition to my Life Coaching and writing, it is time for me to step back out into working full-time outside of my home. I have made this decision for many amazing reasons, and I wish I could share them all with you, but in order to keep this post to a manageable length, I am going to stay focus on the topic at hand. How in the world am I going to do it all? How am I going to fit this new amazing thing into an already full life?

Over the past few weeks since I made the decision to work outside of my home again, I have been asking myself that very question and have started the process of making some adjustments. I hope you will find these beneficial to you if your baby steps have led to what may feel like a new larger than life adventure in your life. Here are some things I have been trying out and working through.

  • I have reconnected with the things that are most important in my life and recommitted myself to those things. There are many “good” things that we can fill our lives with. But what are the BEST things? We only have 24 hours in a day and we need to rest at some point, right? How are we going to spend our time? Above everything else, I want to give my best to those people and things that are most important to me. I want to be intentional about giving them my best and not just my left overs.

An added note; make sure that the new addition or change that you are making in your life falls in line with what is most important to you. When I decided to go back to work full-time outside of my home, I had a number of close friends and accountability partners ask me some really hard questions to make sure I was going back to work for the right reasons. Make sure it lines up with what is most important to you.

  • I have cut out the non-essential things, at least for now. I can always add them back in later. Remember those “good” things I mentioned above? This is the category for them. They are wonderful things, but in order to keep my most important things a priority, I have to cut some of the “good” things. An example of this for me is my formal training for a triathlon. I mentioned in a previous post that I am not going to reach my initial goal for participating in a triathlon, but I still aspire to complete one. I love to bike, I love to swim, and I am trying to learn to love to run, but I cannot prioritize a formal training program at this time. It’s a good thing but not essential right now.
  • I have started to create systems that will help me as more duties are added to my plate. As I get busier and busier, I do not want to allow important things to fall to the wayside. One simple example is I want to make sure that I continue to take my nutrition supplements and not allow that to slip. What I have done, therefore, is utilize a different system/pill organizer so that I can easily bring my supplements with me wherever I go during my busy day. This is one small example, but I have been asking myself what simple systems can I put in place that will help me perform those tasks that are important to me.
  • I am finding ways that I can be more efficient. HUGE CAUTION! Today I am going to share something with you that I have not shared with you before. Articles and books on efficiency and productivity anger me! There! I got that off my chest! Now let me explain. The reason I do not like the subject of being more efficient or more productive is because the goal of most of them is for you to create more “space” in your day so that you can fill it with more stuff/work. Do more, get more done, produce more, go, go, go, never stop! My goal in life, and reason for becoming more efficient, is to add more space in my live for what is most important, for the BEST things. Not for the sake of cramming more in.

With that focus in mind, there are many great resources out there that can help us make simple changes to be more efficient. One little one that I have reinstituted this week is the “one touch” method. The concept is that when we “touch” things multiple times it takes more time. The one area I implement this concept is with snail mail. I used to bring it in the house and lay it down, later I would sort out the junk and put it in the recycle bin, make a pile for things that needed to be shredded and another pile for important mail. Then later I would shred that pile. Then later I would bring the important papers back to my office. Then even later, I would deal with those papers. With the “one touch” method I bring the mail in from the box, immediately throw the junk in the recycle bin, open and shred what needs to be shredded and I walk the important stuff back to my office. It took me a few minutes more, but it is done and I no longer have the looming pile of mail on the counter. These small areas of efficiency will add up and bring more space in our lives for more important things.

  • I have learned to continue to take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and given myself some grace. This past week I have found myself all ramped up trying to do all of the above. I realized I need to chill, do what I can, but at the end of the day realize that my “To Do” list will be there tomorrow and that’s ok. Let’s give ourselves some love and grace knowing we are doing great and amazing things. Tomorrow is another day to live our best again!

I would love to hear how your baby steps are going and where they are taking you this year. Feel free to reply below, we all would love to hear from you!
Here’s to tackling the big changes in our lives with love, grace and yes, even some efficiency!

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!

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!

Two Options for Navigating Obligations and Expectations this Holiday Season

How is everyone doing the day after Thanksgiving? The topic of obligations and expectations may be fresh in your mind. Obligations and expectations during the Holiday Season can be a good thing or a bad thing. There are wonderful events that we feel obligated to attend and there are the not so wonderful events that we feel obligated to attend. The same goes for expectations. Some are healthy, some are not. So how do we navigate these obligations and expectations this Holiday Season so that we can have our best Holiday Season ever?

Mother and daughter baking together

I just recently started reading a book that came highly recommended called Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Through the years, I have worked hard in my life to keep things as simple and as enjoyable as possible. With that in mind, this book looked like it would enhance what I already knew and held dear. I did not pick the book up with the Holiday Season in mind, but I have found the concepts to be very applicable. Here are two options I want us to consider when it comes to obligations and expectations in the next few months. The direction we decide to take will not be cut and dry, but hopefully, we find a middle ground that will help us to focus on the right stuff.

One option is to say yes, yes and yes. So many times it feels easiest to just say yes to everything and everyone who makes a request of us. We certainly feel a sense of reward when we say yes, because everyone is happy with us. But what happens so many times when we say yes to everyone and everything, is we start to fall into a cycle of “I have to”, “It’s all Important”, and “How can I fit it all in?” We take on so much “good stuff” but we find that other areas in our lives start to suffer. We start to feel out of control and unsure of whether the right things are getting done. Especially during the Holidays, we start to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I’ve been there, and I am pretty sure you have too. In fact as I have spent time with wonderful individuals already this month, folks are already feeling the stress as they anticipate the months to come. That is heartbreaking to me. The Holidays were never meant to be miserable. They were meant to be filled with wonder and joy! I want to remind you, as I have to remind myself, that we do have a choice in how we fill our time and energy. There is another option.

The second option is to say yes only to the Best things, and no to the rest. The first thing that comes to my mind when I read that heading, is dealing with the many people who I might have to say “no” to. I almost get a knot in my stomach. Wow! It feels so much better to just say “yes”, at least in the short-term. I need you to trust me on this, choosing the best and saying “no” to the rest is the best thing. The initial interaction of saying “no” might be hard, but it will pay dividends in your life and relationships. Greg McKeown even mentions that in the long run, people respect you more for saying “no” and prioritizing what is most important to you. Choose the few best things over a quantity of good things. Saying yes to the best requires making a choice. It requires discerning what really matters. It requires accepting trade-offs, because there is always a trade-off. When we choose the BEST things we feel in control. We get the right things done. We experience more joy in our life. Isn’t that what we all want?

One strategy I have employed over the years when I am unsure whether I should say “yes” to something or not, is to tell people that I will get back with them with an answer. This creates a time of “pause”, which allows me to ask myself how this fits with what is most important to me. Just recently, a friend of mine was looking for volunteers to help with a fundraiser for a very worthy cause. She was getting desperate, so she sent a plea out to her friends and family to see if anyone could help. When I received the message, I held off for a day or so and asked myself if this fit with what is most important to me. I also thought about how it was going to affect my time with my husband. Once I had thought it through I agreed to help. Yes, I said yes! But I only said yes when I knew I was going to have plenty of time with John the rest of that weekend and that volunteering fell in line with an area of my life that is most important to me. When you receive a request, slow things down, take time to think, and know that your “yes” or your “no” is the right thing…is the BEST thing.

We have SO MANY CHOICES with regard to how we spend our time each day and during the Holidays. It is great to have options, but ultimately we have the power to choose. Let’s try to stay zeroed in on what is most important to us and center our lives and our Holidays around those most important people and things.

Thank you Mr. McKeown for your book Essentialism. A number of the above concepts were pulled from a simple graph he created on page 8 of his book. If you want to live more intentional and focus on the few most important things in your life, this is a great book to add to your Christmas Wish List this year.

Here’s to saying YES to our BEST!

See How Easy You Can Bring the Spice Back Into Your Life

Every day we wake up, work, eat, and go back to bed. I know that is an oversimplification of what our days look like, but it can be pretty regimented at times. What is it that brings spice to our life? I believe it’s people. Even more specifically, the real spice comes from the people in our life that are closest to us, those most important people. I don’t know about you, but it is easy to fall into a day-to-day rut and start to take our most important people for granted. They enrich our lives and we enrich theirs. How can we spice up life and show them how much they mean to us?

Happy loving family

My life is filled with many amazing people. I could not even begin to list them all because, in my absent-mindedness, I would surely leave someone out. Each person in my life holds a very special place in my heart. I am truly thankful for each of them. Just yesterday as I was driving to visit family, I spent some time mentally listing out all of the people that I am thankful for and why. I immediately felt peace and joy in my heart. We are so fortunate to have special people in our lives.

How can we tap back into our most important relationships? How can we show how much we care? Here are a few ideas:

  • Our thoughts become our actions. Spend some time when you are driving or waiting for an appointment to think about all of the people in your life. Think about how special they  are to you, how they contribute to your happiness, and how your life would not be the same without them. These wonderful thoughts will bring joy into your day and it prompts us to take action. I know when I take time to think about how lucky I am to have John, my husband, in my life, I can’t help but want to spend time with him, send him an encouraging text or give him a hug. Take some time today to think about and be grateful for the people in your life.
  • Make it personal. Have you ever come across the perfect gift for someone? Or came up with an idea to surprise someone special to you? Remember the feeling of excitement it built in you? You were so excited to see the joy on their face when they received it. Ask yourself “what is one small thing I can do today to bring a smile to someone I care for?” It might be as simple as buying and giving them their favorite candy bar. It could be sending them a text message telling them how much they mean to you. It could be surprising your child by picking them up from school in person or bringing lunch to your significant other at work. Whatever it is, doing something special for those we care about reminds us of what is most important.
  • Allow for fun. Every relationship looks differently; therefore this looks different for each of the individuals you care for. John and I enjoy spending time together, but many of our hobbies are independent from each other. It is important to enjoy time together, but I also enjoy giving John the freedom to go off and enjoy his hobbies without me. Figure out what that looks like for you, but prioritize fun for those most important to you. Life is too short not to enjoy it!
  • Keep life simple. When I am running around with my head cut off, I do not have time or energy to do any of the above. We all have limits to our time, energy and focus. We can either give those we care for some of our focused time, or we can give them the leftovers. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, I don’t have much leftover. My creativity is used up, my energy is gone and fun is the last thing on my mind. The simpler we keep our lives and schedules, the more energy we have for those most important to us.

Who is most important to you? What would you like to do in the next 24 hours for them? Write yourself a reminder and make it happen. This small act will bring joy to you and those you care about!

Here’s to prioritizing those who are most important in our lives!

What Everybody Ought to Know – We are doing Great!

I spend a lot of time talking about how we can keep moving forward, and it is incredibly important in the pursuit of living our best. Today, I want to stop and remind you that you are wonderful and doing so much in your life that you should be proud of. Many of you are parents who pour love into your children every day. We all work hard at our house to make it a place where we, and our loved ones, can call home. We keep it running smoothly. Many of you work outside of your home meeting deadlines, working with challenging individuals, and providing financially. We volunteer at church, school, take care of loved ones, and continue to take baby steps towards our dreams. We are doing GREAT!

Man a fireworks resized

Just this week a dear friend of mine lovingly suggested that I should recognize all that I do and how far I have come. This same friend is one of the individuals in my life who holds me accountable. As part of our accountability, we keep a log of what we are working on how we want to move forward. It was in these logs where I spent some time reviewing my past year. I found some interesting insights.

  • I realized that over the past year I have had the privilege of spending wonderful times with my parents, who are now in their 80’s. I would not trade that time for anything!
  • I realized last year this time, my husband was changing jobs. There was a lot of uncertainty, and we knew that the year was going to be a year of transition. It has been filled with personal challenges, but we are making it through, and opportunities are unfolding.
  • I have grown leaps and bounds! Things that I used to avoid like the plague, I am moving forward on. I have not let my fears hold me back! For that I am immensely proud!
  • I have stayed steady and strong in the areas that are most important to me. My love for God, myself, and my husband has never been stronger. I have more energy than I have ever had physically because I have stuck with eating well and pushing myself with exercise. I love the people I spend my life with. Strong and steady!

I want you to celebrate what you have accomplished! Will you take time over the next few days to look back over your past year to see how far you have come? If you do not journal, take a look back on your calendar to see what you have accomplished. Look back on all of the pictures you have taken, remembering those important times in your life. You have done and accomplished so much!

You are an amazing person, having an impact on many lives for good. I am proud of you and your heart to live your best! Let’s celebrate what we have accomplished!

Here’s to US and how GREAT WE ARE!

Special note: It is my heart to encourage as many individuals as possible through my blog! If you know someone who could use a little bit of encouragement, would you invite them to subscribe? I would love to send an encouraging post straight to their email inbox each week! – Jen