Friday, December 31, 2010

Ah, sweet SUCCESS!

Happy New Year, everyone! And gee, I technically got this edition of the blog in within a month of the last one :-)

As you can see by the title, the word I've chosen is success. I was surprised when I looked back through the blog to see that I hadn't written about success before. I think that's because we are inundated with articles, books, blogs, emails, and TV shows about how we can be "successful" ~ and it gets a bit old, doesn't it?

The problem with all of that is that most of the time, the term "successful" is defined by the world and not by us.

I'm reading a book right now called "Permission to Succeed" and it begins with the author asking his father if it's okay if he is more successful than his dad. Weird question, eh? But as I thought about it, I thought about how many people I meet in my workshops who have never given themselves permission to succeed. And I don't mean permission to earn lots of money, get a big title, big house, big car, big yacht - although I certainly am not against those things :-). But permission to just be who we were meant to be - and to be the best at being that person that we possibly can.

As I looked back over the list of words I've written about, many of them speak to me of "success" in the true sense of the word for me. Determination, listening, encouragement, contentment, simplicity (YES!), patience, appreciation, attitude (with a capital A!), awareness, forgiveness, giving, joy, learning ~ all of those and more spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s for me.

The more of these I have in my life, the more successful I consider myself. A good book in front of the fire, a furry little friend on each side, and a mug of hot cocoa with lots of whipped cream - some days that is the perfect picture of success!

How about you? How do you spell success? And how will you find more of it in 2011?

Happy hunting!



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Growth...I think!

Ahem...(wink, wink)! Aren't you proud of me? Just over 2 weeks and I remembered to post again - that's growth, right??
As you know, I tend to talk about words that keep popping up around me. Growth is the word this week. It's been in what I'm reading, in conversations, in the very few TV shows I name it, it's "growing"! (By the way, the kitten who will soon be growing is no "relation" ~ I just came across this picture and considering Guy's music store full of guitars and my affinity for critters, I decided I liked it!)
What I want you to think about, though, are the areas in your life where you would like to see some growth. Unlike most people, my hubby, bless his heart, is trying to "grow" his weight - argh!! He loses a pound or 2 and I find them!! But it's a constant struggle for him and he has become very aware (there's that word again!) that he needs to be vigilant about it. Just one day of letting his guard down and he drops a couple of pounds. On the opposite end of the scale [get it? :-)], just one day of letting MY guard down and I add a couple pounds. So, let's just agree, that's an area many of us can be more aware of regarding growth.
But what are the other areas in which you'd like to see growth? I was speaking with a client today and found myself getting really excited when we were talking about developing new workshops - I love to learn and GROW that way. It's the reason I am still so passionate about what I do after more than 10 years. I am always growing - sometimes through personal learning on my own, sometimes through ideas from participants in my workshops, sometimes from "constructive criticism" from my participants ~ but always on the lookout for ways to grow. Maybe your job doesn't give you that much excitement...what are other ways you can "grow" on your job? Dealing with people? Making more of an effort to understand "their" side (whoever "their" is)?
"Growing" my writing craft is another area I'd like to work on. Last week, I sold a greeting card I had submitted and it made me realize how much I miss writing for fun. It's on my list...just not a priority at the moment.
Of course, I would like to see my "bank account" grow, but I am finding that I am less focused on acquiring material things - gee, I just have to dust it and take care of it :-), so for me, why get it to begin with?
Others are just the opposite - they have collections they like to "grow," be it Santa Clauses, fishing lures, unicorns, angels, duck decoys, or Hummel figurines. And that's okay, too ~ I love to look at their collections :-). The key is to make sure whatever you are "growing" is bringing you pleasure.
Another area that I like to keep an eye on is my growth as a person - you know, things I kinder than I used to be? Less judgmental? Less likely to "bite back" when someone is rude or just oblivious to how they are treating me? This is probably an area that I will always need to work on. You too?
Let me know how you would like to "grow" in the coming year ~ and I promise, I will do my best to come back and wish you a merry Christmas before it has come and gone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simplicity - again!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
As I come across words I want to share with you, I jot them down on a "master list" of sorts, so I don't forget them. I have quite a long list! So it may seem odd that I am re-visiting a word we discussed almost 7 months ago.

The word "simplicity," though, has popped up in conversation at least 3 times this past week. Each time, I thought, "Oh, I need to talk about that on my blog." But then I would remind myself that I already did :-).
So here we go - we are going to look at it again because, I don't know about you, but I never seem to "arrive" at simplicity. It seems simplicity is about as hard to find as the butterfly in the picture.
As I was thinking about the areas of my life, I realized that I do fairly well simplifying some areas and not so good in others. Overall, I'd say I'm about 75% there this very moment, so there's still lots of room for improvement.
But remember, I always remind you to be aware... I have become very aware of simplifying my work life. I have actually turned down jobs recently that would make my life a madhouse for a period of time (either topics I would need to develop from scratch or dates that would put me in crunch mode), although they would "simplify" my finances by adding to the coffers. I've even turned down work simply because the topic is not one I'm passionate about. I am not effective unless I'm passionate about my topic, so...okay -work life simplified? Check.
As for personal growth, NO WAY :-). I am in the middle of a learning process for myself that won't be over for years, if ever! It will lighten up, I think, and for that I will be grateful. But since I love to learn and grow, this is an area I "allow" to be a little less simplified than I would prefer.
Let's think in terms of relationships...hmmmmmm. Well, I think I have those pretty simplified as well. I could do better at staying in touch with some people I value in my life, but I don't let others "guilt" me into being involved in things that don't bring me joy or let them make me feel bad about what I just don't have time for right now - or have any control over. My husband and I understand each other very well - yep, all the quirks and sometimes-annoying habits we both have. I'm able to speak to my sister nearly every week. Email is my friend in keeping in touch with several friends and family members across the country. I even occasionally remember to pick up the phone and call some of them! So, relationships simplified? Check (pretty much, ha ha).
The next category I'll call "household" - so, NO, that's an area I don't have simplified. Because of my work and other projects I am so deeply involved in, that's an area that slides. I was discussing it with a participant in one of my classes, and we agreed - life is too short to get hung up on household chores. However, there is a BIG opportunity for me to simplify what I live with; things like knick knacks, more clothes (some VERY old!) than I could ever wear, and just plain clutter. That's something I've decided to approach in baby steps. Cleaned out a cluttered drawer? Hurray for me! One notch closer to simplicity. Started a special file folder for some important papers that may have gotten stuck somewhere? Gold star!
I guess what I'm saying is, don't let someone SPOIL your efforts to gain simplicity by telling you that you're not doing it right. Whatever works for you IS RIGHT!!!
And your challenge for the week is to 1) recognize an area you are already doing well with and 2) become AWARE if there is another area in which you could do better - then YOU decide what you'd like to do about it!
Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Well, when they say time flies, you can certainly attest to that by the number of days that have gone by since my last post.

I got a much-needed nudge from a friend today, reminding me that I hadn't posted in ages. I was thinking, "Yeah, it's been a few weeks." Then I looked at the date on my last post and, WHOA! I had no idea it had been that long.

My apologies to those of you who check in to see what I've written. I have some valid reasons - and some not so valid :-)

The bum shoulder I mentioned has been keeping me awake at night, so it's taking all my energy just to keep up with my work. I saw an orthopedic surgeon last week and thankfully, he does not believe it would be helped by surgery. Instead, I got one of the dreaded cortisone shots in preparation for some intense, painful therapy coming up.

Which brings me to my word for the week ... journey. Odd, eh? But aren't we all on a journey of some kind? My husband and I (as well as several friends) are dealing with health journeys right now. A few months ago, my journey was one of saying goodbye to my much-loved Abbydog. I'm in the process of taking an educational journey with some classes, that, while stretching me intellectually, have also stretched me nearly too thin over the past few weeks.

You all know I'm a big believer in balance in our lives, but that's a constant journey too, isn't it? Sometimes I'm able to journey for quite some time "in balance," and sometimes I get thrown off the path for awhile.

Whether your particular journey right now is with health, emotions, career, friends, family, or any number of things, make sure you remind yourself to stay in the moment.

Remember my favorite word - awareness.

If you travel your journey unaware, you'll eventually realize that you missed some pretty special things along the way...

Enjoy your journey, friends!


Saturday, August 14, 2010


Well, whaddaya know?? It's been 3 weeks since my last post and this is one of my favorite things to do! Life has been advancing at lightning speed of late and my blog has been a victim.

The adorable little guy pictured on the blog this week is Bud, my sister's oldest cat. She lost him several weeks ago due to kidney failure. His "given" name ("given" by me when we first foster-sat him for the Humane Society) was "Charles." I told people that we called him that because he wasn't that good-looking, but he was a real prince! And a prince he was - a very special kitty who is sadly missed by his "two-legged" mom...and quite a handsome boy at that.

And so here I am again - determined to get back in the swing of things. I came across a writing "call for submissions" this week and was determined to submit something. I looked through my files for the story I knew fit the category and used my determination to get it turned in before deadline. Not sure that it will be one of the ones chosen, but I was determined not to let the opportunity to do some writing just for fun pass me by. It's been so long since I've been able to really sit and focus on my writing and I miss it. But I'm also determined to not make myself feel guilty over not writing because that takes all the joy out of it.

Hmmmmmm....are we sensing a pattern here?? I recently read a quote (it didn't say who originated it) that said, "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." I would amend that to say "Every accomplishment starts with the determination to do it!!" It's so easy to let ourselves off the hook when we utter, "I'll TRY," isn't it? It's a little tougher to let go of something when we have announced, "I WILL!"

As many of you know, my husband Guy has had some real health challenges the last few years. After-effects are still with us and just this week, I saw a determination in him to overcome one of his biggest hurdles to really enjoying life right now. He has trouble swallowing due to radiation treatments from tongue cancer 3 1/2 years ago. He has been working with a speech pathologist and this week they did another "swallow test." Her comment was that, "Well, you have improved, but not as much as we would like, so I'm going to send you to a doctor at Shands." (Shands is a nearby university-type hospital.) Yesterday, Guy said, "I don't care if the doctor says I am the worst case of dsyphagia (trouble swallowing) he's seen - I know I can deal with this." It was good to see that determination...

I asked the doctor who has been working on my bum shoulder for several weeks what would happen if I quit coming for the therapy. He said something along the lines of, "With your determination, I have no doubt you would keep up with your exercises and it probably wouldn't get any worse." DETERMINATION.

What are you determined to do? Forgive someone? Take up a new hobby? Be kinder to someone? Lose weight? Handle the stress of your job better? Quit worrying over things you can't control? Get your finances in order? Work on a relationship? The list could go on and on, but you get the picture. Unless you are determined, it probably won't happen!

So go and do what you have determined to do...!



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shhhhh - listen...!

Hi all,
First, thank you to Candee, Priti, Deb, and others who sent notes and messages about our dear "Big Dog" - also known as Abby. After more than 2 months, I still look for her nearly every day. I know many of you can relate - my sister just lost her precious "Bud," the oldest of her 3 rescued kitties. It is so hard to go through and yet they bring us such joy while they're here.

Tomorrow I will be talking to some folks about listening. One of the things that I always think of when talking about listening is how fast our minds can "listen" compared to how fast humans talk; we talk at about 125 words a minute and most of us listen about 4 times faster than that. That means that if you are talking to me, about 75% (or more!) of my mind is wandering around wondering what to do with itself!! Most of the time it finds something, too! And that means I'm not listening as well as I could.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God." But isn't that true in other relationships, too? Shouldn't we "be still" when we are supposed to be listening to someone we care about?

I know that for me, when Guy is talking about guitars (which he has done pretty much non-stop since I've met him!), I have a tendency to tune out (OUCH! I hate to admit that!). Sometimes my mind starts planning workshop outlines or deciding what to wear tomorrow or what to fix for dinner. It happens with good friends, too, but probably not nearly as often as with my poor husband. I will tell you, though, that it happens a lot less than it did several years ago because I have become aware of it and determined to do better.

There are many reasons we don't listen well - we may be planning what we are going to say next, we may be thinking about a problem we have or something we're looking forward to, we may even be distracted by smells (think "popping popcorn"), movement, noises, or whatever.'ve heard it before. We have to be AWARE and guard against not listening. That sounds so simple, doesn't it? And it really is if we will just practice it.

Now tell me, have you been listening????


Thursday, July 1, 2010


Hi everyone,

Well, you can certainly tell by the dates on my posts that my life has been a bit hectic of late. Still dealing with the bum shoulder - now have 3 appointments a week trying to avoid surgery! Back still a bit achy and still have the issue with the inside of my mouth and tongue...ARGH!! Guy is still doing his "swallow therapy" with the speech pathologist, numerous other things have been pouncing on my calendar, we still both seem to be missing our dear Abby... and again, y'all know how it goes, I'm sure :-)

Here's what I've noticed though; apparently, others around me have sensed (maybe because of the whining that I have allowed to slip through - sorry!) that things have me a bit on edge right now. So some have taken to "lifting me up" with encouraging words, which is such a kind thing to do. My sister, who has her own daily irritants I'm sure, has been checking on my appointments. Two dear friends, Leslie and Cheryl, have been checking in on me and chewing me out when necessary when I'm too hard on myself(another form of encouragement,right?? LOL!). Guy has noticed that I'm not my normal cheery self (which, admittedly, sometimes drives him nuts!) and has been unusually "aware."

You get the picture - there are people who have taken time from their own troubles and full calendars to help me get my footing again - they have made it a point to encourage me.

So I'm taking a page from their playbooks - I'm going to try to get back on an even keel quickly so that I can once again be an encourager. I now know how it feels to be the recipient of those efforts - and it feels pretty darned good. Now it's time for me to get back on the other side and be the "giver." I can't wait!

How about you? Have you encouraged someone lately? Do it today and let me know how it goes!


Saturday, June 12, 2010


Hi everyone,

I hope somewhere in last week's jam-packed week you found contentment...

Well, they say that confession is good for the soul ~ so I'm going to confess to you today. There were moments last week when I did not feel contentment. It wasn't that I was comparing my home, clothes, finances, or car to anyone else. So comparison really wasn't the issue. It's just that last week, life was ... well, hard. Not as hard as it has been in other times and certainly not as hard as many people have it.

It was just a week of "stuff" ~ Guy having a test done at the hospital and an inconsiderate remark by the technician causing some real depression - for both of us. I'm going to physical therapy twice a week (with the accompanying insurance deductible each visit!) to try to clear up a bum shoulder - and avoid surgery. Some job issues didn't work out the way I had hoped which is not all that unusual since I'm self-employed, just not what I needed last week on top of the other things that were happening. For some reason, I missed Abby (see my post about her from a few weeks ago...) more than ever.

You all (or y'all, as they say here in Florida!) know how it goes. I'm sure you've been there a time or two - and maybe you're even there right now.

But remember a few posts ago when I talked about "moment-by-moment?" Well, that's what I finally remembered toward the end of the week. I had a great time with some folks during an online workshop I conducted on Thursday - and the more I thought about helping some of those people and others I'll help in the future, the better I felt about life in general. The better I felt about life in general, the more I've been able to carry that feeling with me over the last couple of days.

Aha! Confession! I was focusing on me, me, me during the rest of the week, when what I really needed to do was to look around, or at least not look at only me. In this case, I saw that I could help someone else feel better. Granted, a workshop may not seem like a big deal, but since it's what I do for a living and I love it, it helps to know I really do help some people. I carried that feeling back to my "work" when the session was over and somehow it has made a difference. Maybe what really made the difference was that I quit looking only at my circumstances.

I guess what I'm saying is, none of us is perfect in trying to be content, not comparing ourselves to others, living in the moment, or any of the other things we've discussed these past few months. What I have found is that if I confess my feelings to myself and figure out how and why they're happening, I can move forward a little quicker. If I can remember to not focus on me, I can find more contentment... maybe you can too. And of course, as you've heard me say before, it's all about awareness!



Saturday, June 5, 2010


Hi everyone and welcome to my new readers ~ I know Candee Rose, Robin, and Priti are recent additions and some of you who read the blog but don't show up in my "followers" - welcome to all of you!

So how did you do last week pondering what is vital to your soul? I took a step toward taking care of that today when I visited a local nursery that helps support disabled folks in our community ~ and took home several deep pink plants to brighten my patio - and my life! Visually beautiful things seem to be vital to my soul. When I look at a passion flower or a brilliant red cardinal at the bird feeder, I feel at peace. I hope that over the past few days, you too have re-discovered something that does that for you.

Today's word is contentment. When I read about something THREE times in one day, it's a pretty sure indication that I should write about it in the blog :-)

The word "content" or "contentment" really did appear in 3 things I read today, but the phrase that really caught my eye was in Dr. Charles Stanley's monthly publication called In Touch. He made the comment that "comparison steals contentment." WOW! Three little words with a whole lot of meaning...

Maybe you've been there...

...someone else lost the weight and you seemed to have found it ~

=goodbye contentment

...a friend just spent your monthly food budget on a gorgeous new outfit ~

=goodbye contentment

...another friend got a beautiful new car ~ and yours runs on duct tape ~

=goodbye contentment

...the neighbor just remodeled and added that stunning sunroom you've always wanted ~

=goodbye contentment

...her husband just did the sweetest thing for her ~

=goodbye contentment

...he just got to play golf for the 5th time this week ~

=goodbye contentment

...their bank account makes yours look like the change you get at McDonald's ~

=goodbye contentment

...they're on schedule to retire early and you'll be working until you're 112 ~

=goodbye contentment

...she just got a promotion...and you just got laid off ~

=goodbye contentment

We could all add dozens, if not hundreds, of other comparisons to this list and not a one of them will make us feel good about ourselves. Comparison does indeed steal contentment.

So let's look at life from a different lens...

Have a headache today? Find contentment in your general good health...

Wishing you had more money in the bank? Find contentment that you HAVE money in the bank...

Your spouse/significant other takes you for granted? Find contentment in the fact that you are with someone who cares for you, even when they don't show it the way you'd like...

You'd like to have a new outfit that WASN'T on the 80% off rack? Walk into your closet and find contentment in what is hanging there - I'll bet there's plenty...

Can't lose that 10 pounds you've been fighting? Find contentment in being able to enjoy every bite of a delicious meal...

You drool when you see the beautiful new sunroom...or kitchen...or carpet...or anything...she just got? Find contentment in the beautiful blue sky, flowering blossoms, and deep green grass that we all get to share - for free!

You get the idea - STOP comparing anything in your life to someone else's life. It's just too easy to get caught up in it and let our contentment drain away.

Challenge yourself this week to FIND contentment in your circumstances ~ and let me know what you found!



Friday, May 28, 2010


Hi everyone,

Thanks for indulging my sporadic postings the past few weeks. I feel like I can finally get back on track with a weekly posting of "words to live by."

This week's word is "vital." There are probably a dozen definitions depending on the dictionary, but the one that really strikes a chord with me is "tending to renew or refresh the living." Of course, there's the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. But I'm talking something that is vital to your soul.

When I conduct programs on "Returning Balance to Your Life," this is one of the issues we discuss. What in your life is urgent? You know, those pesky cell phones, the email beep, the kids tugging on your sleeve, the spouse wondering when dinner will be ready, the mortgage payment that is due tomorrow - yep, all important things, but maybe not vital to your soul.

When I think of what renews and refreshes me, a couple of things instantly come to mind: my workshops renew and refresh me ~ not the workshops themselves, but the comments I receive from attendees telling me that I have helped them make a change in their lives. The things I learn from researching and continually improving my workshops are vital to me. Quiet time is vital to me.

Let's take people out of the picture for a moment...what is absolutely vital to you? What feeds your soul and makes you feel that all is well with the world? What renews you? What refreshes you? What nurtures that deep place inside that keeps things right in your world?'s the hard question: What have you been doing to make sure the vital things in your life become urgent, demanding immediate attention ~ and what have you been doing to make sure the things we normally say are urgent don't overtake your life??



Thursday, May 13, 2010


Hi all,

Yes, I know my next word was supposed to be "vital." And I know it's been far too long since I posted. The business trip has come and gone, hubby's pulled muscle is better, some doctors' appointments have been checked off and others added, programs are progressing, and life goes on.

But life doesn't always go on, does it? Tuesday, May 11, we lost a member of our family - our beloved Abby, the BEST dog ever. "Sweet spirit" are the words that keep coming to mind as Guy and I reminisce about what a jewel she was - for all 15 years and 9 months of her life. If "dog years" are really accurate, that puts her at about 110 years old and I think she was feeling it the last few days.

Somehow she knew "mommy" was out of town but would be back in time to say goodbye. Somehow she knew that when we picked up her leash Tuesday morning, she should head to the garage door where the car was, rather than to the front door to walk or the back door to go potty. Somehow she knew it was okay to go to the vet this time - there was no trembling as there usually was on the ride there - just riding in the back seat with mom, all windows down and a beautiful breeze filled with wonderful smells. Somehow she knew that she could eat as much of the cantaloupe as she wanted at the vet's office (yes, that was her favorite food and I took a bowl of it along for her). Somehow she knew she could trust our wonderful vet, Dr. Alan, as he gave her a sedative to just relax her. And somehow she knew as we sat stroking her beautiful coat and talking (rather loudly, since she had trouble hearing), that she could not have been more loved over those nearly-sixteen years.

So this post is a tribute to Abby and all the wonderful fur-covered family members many of us have. There will forever be an Abby-shaped hole in my heart.

Goodbye, Big Dog. We will always love you.

Linda (also known as "Abby's mom")
(The picture shows her with the proverbial "lampshade" as she was dealing with itching from an allergy last year, but I wanted you all to see her beautiful face!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Simplicity - right??

Well, I think I lost a week or so in there somewhere! Here it is, 2 weeks after my last post - something I was sure would never happen.

The amusing thing is that I spoke to a client about 10 days ago and she made an innocent statement: "I just want a simple life." I told her she had just given me the word for that week's post - simplicity. Then life happened!

A husband with a pulled muscle in his back, a car that won't quit (Literally! It would NOT turn off!), a puppy who the vet says is probably within days or weeks of leaving us, 2 doctors' appointments for hubby, several new programs to prepare for along with a week-long business trip coming up, new technology equipment in my office (yuk!), and the list goes on - as I know yours does, too. I guess the simplicity gremlins heard what I was going to blog about and decided to make sure that didn't happen!

So I have been reflecting (when I have 37 seconds to do so!) on how I can gain some simplicity in my life again. I'll be honest here - I'm not sure it's going to happen for me in the next 2 or 3 weeks and I have to be willing to admit that without carrying any guilt around about it. I'm pretty sure July will be a little "lighter" for me, but who wants to wait until July???

And yet, if that's what happens, it's what happens. I need to have PATIENCE, the same word I mentioned on my last blog. However, I also need to be AWARE (there's THAT word again) of how full my schedule is right not and not say "yes" to anything that is not vitally important to me. It's so easy to do, isn't it? A friend wants you to stop and have coffee, someone wants you to do "just this one little thing," a spouse asks you to handle a minor errand - and yet, it can all become just too, too much.

So I think the next blog word will be vital - as in, what is the difference between what is vital to you and what's urgent?

A little food for thought - until next time :-) In the meantime, let's all try to have patience - with ourselves AND with others!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Patience, PATIENCE!

Hi everyone,
Here it is Tuesday already! I hope you had a blessed Easter holiday weekend.

Who did you appreciate last week? I got a very sweet note from my sister telling me she appreciates me :-). She already knows I appreciate her. I wrote about her generosity and kindness in a story that got published last year - she's my hero when it comes to helping others...

What did you appreciate this past week? I appreciated a game of Scrabble with my husband on Sunday - and the chance to watch one of my favorite TV shows this weekend - "As Time Goes By." I don't watch TV much, so I "save up" to really enjoy the couple of favorites that I have.

And this week's word is...patience!! Either I am running out of it or people have started a conspiracy to see if they can grab it away from me, ha!

I live in a retirement community - no, of COURSE I'm not old enough, but my husband is :-) Anyway, most of the people here are...retired - surprise, surprise. The thing is, I think many of them really need to go back to work or find something constructive to DO with their time. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that for the past 4 days I have heard the leaf blowers out in surround-sound (front and back!) no less than 4 or 5 hours every single day. The leaves get blown into the street for pick up and as they're being blown, more are falling. So out comes the leaf blower the next morning - and the next - and the next. It can be a very irritating noise, let me assure you. Add to that our regular lawn maintenance crews weed-whacking and mowing and it's a constant drone. And so...I try to be patient.

But then I go to the grocery store that is right out in front of our community - and guess what? They got bored with leaf blowing and now they are standing in the middle of the aisles...picture it: cart, husband, wife - stretched across nearly every aisle of the grocery. No single file here, no siree Bob! And so...I try to be patient.

I recognize that I am blessed to have wonderful neighbors. They happen to like yard work a wee bit more than I do (I still can't understand why they are willing to pay a hefty homeowner's association fee that includes lawn care!) and I need to be more tolerant of that. And so...I try to be patient - at the mailbox, on the street, at the bank - wherever.

My little crippled cat just ate and is sleeping peacefully - until his "brother" starts agitating him. Then they are sparring like middle-weight champions and I have to stop what I'm doing and referee to make sure the crippled guy doesn't get beat up. And so...I try to be patient.

My elderly pup just went out 10 minutes ago - but guess what? She needs to go out again. I stop what I'm doing and take her out, where she - guess what? Stands smelling the wind! And so...I try to be patient.

My husband - well, let's not even go there, LOL. After 31 years, that is one area I HAVE developed SOME patience in!

My question for you is...where and with whom do you need to have more patience? I know people have to be patient with me at times and it's only fair that I return the favor. And, honestly, it's not going to hurt me one bit to be more patient. Actually, I think it will do me a world of good... how about you?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Hi all!'s your attitude been lately? Mine has improved after a stern lecture from! It is so hard to believe that March is almost over and when I think of that, it reminds me that time is flying by. I just don't have any extra to spare to give to a bad attitude :-)

And this week's word is "appreciation." WHAT do you appreciate? This week, I am really appreciating sunshine and a bit of warmth after a long winter. I am appreciating the spikes of a few gladiolas coming out of the ground in my tiny little patio garden. I love seeing that perhaps this colder-than-usual winter did not kill my 3-year-old avocado plant, although it certainly is looking worse for the wear after spending some time in the garage during the last cold spell (probably 10 days longer than it needed to because I forgot it was there!). I appreciate the opportunity to visit with a long-time friend next week. I appreciate the fresh cup of coffee from my Keurig brewer that greets me nearly every morning. I appreciate that my 15 2/3-year-old puppy is still with us, still taking a walk every morning, still following me around from room to room when I'm working in my home office.

Next question... WHO do you appreciate? I got an email from a workshop participant the other day that was signed, "Your faithful fan". I couldn't get the grin off my face all day. That made me feel downright good! And I sent her a note to that effect. I sent another note to a client last week who makes my job so much more fun by being easy to work with. I told my husband I appreciated his cleaning up the dishes after lunch with company on Sunday (no, of COURSE he didn't do it the way I would have, but I still appreciate the effort!!) I tell him often that I appreciate how hard he works at his music store, his personal integrity, and the effort he puts forth teaching classes online. Okay, so I don't appreciate the way he gets lasagna sauce on the fresh dishtowel - or the way he hides the dog's treats in places that leave crumbs :-). Why dwell on that? There is so much more to appreciate than to get upset about...and lasagna sauce washes out and crumbs get swept up...

So I'll ask again - WHAT do you appreciate? Why not stop a minute and just enjoy whatever it is?

WHO do you appreciate? Why not tell them or drop them a note?

And this week, why not look around and see what else - and who else - you can appreciate?

I appreciate EACH of you! Thanks for "listening!"


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright, quoted in Reader's Digest, June 1995

I found the above quote quite amusing :-) In our daily lives, we often soak up the attitude of those around us, particularly when it's negative... OR we allow their behaviors to influence our attitude and almost always toward the negative.

Why is that, do you suppose? I don't know anyone who really WANTS to go around with a negative attitude, although I could name a few who seem on the verge of making that their life's mission. But why is it so much easier to let ourselves drift into a negative mindset ~ or let someone else's sorry behavior make US feel bad? I think when someone else makes us feel bad (and believe me, I have experience in someone making me feel bad!), it's sometimes because of our own feelings about ourselves...Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I think that's sometimes where the anger is coming from - and we CONSENT to let that person anger us ~ which then ruins our attitude for minutes, hours, days...

Life has been hectic in this neck of the woods lately. My attitude isn't always what I would hope it would be.

Last night I got a rude awakening regarding my "sniveling" - an email popped into my inbox late last night from Tim, husband of one of my best friends from high school. I was in her wedding, she called me just after the birth of her twins in 1979 (oh my!), and last night her husband sent me an email to let me know she had had a stroke on March 18 and is still in Ohio State University hospital on a ventilator tube. She's 54, about 5 weeks younger than me. And for all of you reading this in your 20s, 30s, and even 40s, 54 is YOUNG!

I got my attitude adjusted pretty quickly again - that happens when I stop long enough to ponder what people are going through - people I care about.

So the next time your attitude is showing, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you want to give up this moment to a bad attitude. You never get that moment back, you know. So don't let someone else take it away from you - and don't give it away by carrying around a poor attitude.

So...moment by moment this week, be aware of your ATTITUDE ~ and remember that you have a choice!
P. S. Please say a prayer for my friend Debbie and her family, as well as my sister and my husband while you're at it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Moment by Moment

Okay, so this week's title is 3 words

How did you do with awareness this past week? I could have titled this week's session "Awareness-Part 2" since that's what we are going to talk about in a sense.

This is a different kind of awareness, though. This time, I want you to be aware in the moment.

I've had "one of those days" that has stretched into months; you know the kind ~ 3 colds in 4 months, a 7-week backache that has now moved into my shoulder, a refrigerator that is determined to die before I can take advantage of the tax credit, a 15 1/2 years-young puppy that is having some health issues, a hubby that is dealing with his own health issues, a beloved sister who is struggling with health issues, work that either piles up and buries me or becomes a bit scarce and scares me!...and the list goes on. My piddly little problems aren't really all that bad, but sometimes it just adds up, ya know??

So here's what I've decided...I don't like being negative, but I have found myself in that dreadful spot of late. How can I overcome that when I can't change the things that are depressing me?

I decided this past weekend to find "moments." Maybe you have some of those once in awhile... the cat crawls onto the recliner to sleep on my lap (which is decidedly NOT Murphy's style!). It's as if he knows I am sleeping in the recliner because I don't feel quite up to par,and he comforts me with his presence ~ for a moment.

It's that tiny little purple flower that is creeping out from under the fence on the patio that makes me smile ~ for a moment.

It's the "puppy," Abby, coming up and resting her chin on my leg as if to remind me I won't always have her with me, and I cherish that time ~ for a moment.

It's the sound of the Keurig coffeemaker brewing a fresh cup in the morning and those first few warm, delicious, comforting sips that bring a sense of peace ~ for a moment.

It's the little crippled cat playing "hide and seek" with my hand as I lay him on the recliner in front of the window, who makes me laugh out loud from his antics ~ for a moment.

It's a stunning peek of green/orange/yellow light high up in a cloud and miles and miles away from the sun that makes me stop and realize how big the universe really is and how lucky I am to witness something so beautiful and unusual ~ for a moment.

It's the British comedy, "As Time Goes By" on a Saturday evening or "My Three Sons" during the week that gives me a sense of "all is right with the world" ~ for a moment.

So what are your "moments?" Even in the midst of whatever nastiness you are dealing with, I urge you to find some "moments." Sometimes, those moments are the only things that get us through ~ till the next one. Why not take a "moment" and drop me an email this week to let me know where you found one of YOUR moments?

Blessings ~ moment by moment,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be aware, be very aware! :-)

Hi everyone,

How did you do with your "wisdom" last week? I think I did a teensy bit better...maybe this week will move me a little closer to "wise" :-)

This week's word is AWARE. As in, are you aware of how what you say and do affects others?

I was reading an article yesterday about different kinds of leadership. One theory of leadership is that, whether your "title" is leader or not, you are born having certain kinds of leadership qualities and you really can't change that. For instance, I once worked for a fellow who ruled by intimidation - and yes, he "ruled" and yes, he intimidated. I respectfully disagree with the theory that he couldn't change that style. I sincerely believe that what it takes is constant awareness (which sounds pretty easy, but isn't, of course). That awareness could have led him to see how his actions and words DE-motivated his employees, but he chose NOT to be aware. I have to conclude that he didn't CARE how that style affected others.

So what does this have to do with you - and me? Well, I have been on a quest (over the past couple of years, especially) to be aware of my own words and actions and the affect they will have on others. My tongue seems to be in a constant state of "injury" from being bitten so often!! The wounds are a little less frequent as my state of awareness increases, though.

Just think...if you become more aware before you "snap" at a friend - or a child - or a spouse - or the telemarketer - or the clerk at the store - or a boss...won't that make life a bit less stressful? It will if you then consider what you were going to say and deal with the feelings behind those words, rather than just spit them out onto someone without considering how you will make them feel. And here's where maybe that wisdom does come in a bit...I have found that when I let loose with words to make someone else feel bad, I may accomplish that goal momentarily, but the sad part is, I don't usually feel all that much better after having shared my negativity. I still have the negativity, and now they do, too. And it usually doesn't improve my relationship with that person in any way. And I don't know the affect those feelings will have on them in the future. And the feelings that caused me to say those things are still there! And now I'm irritated with myself!

And just ounce of AWARENESS could have prevented all of that! Yes, I would still have the feelings ~ but I have found that dealing with my feelings myself rather than letting them control me and how I interact with others is really paying benefits these days.

See...wisdom does come with age :-) (Of course, sometimes age comes alone...tee hee!)

My challenge to you this week is to become more aware - aware of what you are about to say and to whom you are going to say it...aware of WHY you want to say that...aware of the affect it will have (short-term and long-term) on that person and on your relationship with them...aware of the affect it will have on your feelings about yourself... Just be aware, be very aware!



Monday, March 1, 2010


Hi everyone,
How has your week been? Have you thought about what people are allowed to see in you? Do they see the subtle details, like the blue morpho in last week's picture? Or do they see the brilliant blue that only flashes once in awhile?

Today's word just kept coming to mind. I kept fighting it - honest! - but when my Dove chocolate mentioned it today, I knew it was the word I am supposed to talk about this week.

Wisdom - there are days I think I didn't get my share! One definition that I like in the dictionary says:
ability to discern inner qualities and relationships

We usually think about wisdom connected somehow with the knowledge we have gained over time. But sometimes we can have a great amount of wisdom, by the above definition, and not much knowledge. Of course, the opposite is all too often true - we have a great amount of knowledge and not a whole lot of wisdom! Hmmmmm...I could put names with that last statement ~ but I won't :-)

I think this word is poking at me because I haven't felt very "wise" lately about some decisions. Maybe I needed to see this definition as much as any of you... ability to discern inner qualities and relationships. Now that I see it in print again, I realize that I do pretty well with this - wisdom about others and wisdom about myself especially.

But it's an area that I still need to work on. How about you? Do you need to become wiser about someone's inner qualities or the relationship you have with someone? Forget wisdom about decisions and boring things like that! Let's look at inner qualities (your own and others') and relationships...

Let me know what you learn!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Hi everyone,

Well, I hope you had a chance to think about forgiving - especially yourself - over the past week.

This week, I'd like to switch gears a bit and talk about butterflies. As some of you know, the butterfly is my company logo, along with the motto "Helping You Soar to New Heights."
I visited the Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville yesterday and it was incredible. The variety of these little critters is astounding. Their beauty is breathtaking. In the wild, they live about 11 days - how sad. They live about twice that in the Butterfly Rainforest. But while they're with us, they give great enjoyment to those lucky enough to spend some time with them.
What really fascinated me though, is how they appear from the "outside" compared to the "inside." Can you see the delicate patterns on the outside of the beige/brown butterflies in the picture above? A person could sit and stare at the details for hours. But take a look at the little bright blue guy on the left (and yes, that IS a butterfly just to his left - the one with black wings with white and blue spots). His blue is so pretty he almost looks artificial, doesn't he?
Here's what you need to know...the subtle beige/brown ones are the same kind as the blue one... When they are "closed up," all we see is the subtle beige/brown pattern - nice, but not nearly as striking or memorable as the beautiful blue shades when they choose to "open up."
Isn't that how we are, too? We can be pretty "nice" on the outside, but for many of us, our real beauty is on the inside.
These butterflies are called blue morphos and it's quite a trick to catch them with their wings wide open where you can fully see their beauty.
How about you? Are you "open" enough for others to see your true beauty or is it hard to catch you with your "wings open"?
Whoever said beauty is on the inside must've met a blue morpho...or maybe he just met one of you!
So...this week, open up and let others see your true beauty!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Hi everyone,
So how did it go this week in the "listening" department? Was there someone who needed you to turn on your listening skills? Did you?? This is one skill that I am convinced never gets perfected - by anybody. But hopefully, we can all work on it a bit and improve our communication a bunch!

This week's topic is forgiveness. I kept thinking all week it would be about patience, but I realized that the "patience" word kept coming up in relation to forgiving someone.

Forgiveness can make your life much more peaceful. Maybe it's forgiveness of parents whose guidance didn't really contribute to the "perfect childhood" for you (is there such a thing??). Maybe the forgiveness needs to be given to someone who has hurt you - even if they don't know you need to forgive them - and even if they don't know you have forgiven them!

Maybe your forgiveness needs to be given to a co-worker or a supervisor who just doesn't treat you very well. Or maybe it's a sibling - or a friend - or a casual acquaintance... get the picture? Forgiveness can involve anybody in your life - and they may not even know that they did anything that needs your forgiveness.

Now here's this week's question for pondering ~ Do you need to forgive yourself for anything? I think that's the reason this word came to mind for me. I kept thinking that I needed to be "patient" with myself, but what I really need is to forgive myself for a bad decision in my past that continues to bug me to pieces - it has the potential to steal my joy (remember that term??) when I get too focused on it. It's nothing huge, just one of those things where you can beat yourself up with the "if only" question. I have to consciously stop my mental meanderings and forgive myself whenever it pops up. When I do that, it all seems so silly to begin with, but you know how those minds of ours can work overtime!

For you, maybe it's not about a decision - maybe you have been the one to hurt someone else and now you really can't do anything about it - or can you? You can at least forgive yourself. We all make mistakes - and we all need forgiveness. Sometimes that forgiveness needs to come from someone who can be really tough on us - ourselves.

So...if something is bothering you about something you've done, said, should've done, should've said, or whatever....forgive yourself today....and tomorrow and the next day if necessary until you really believe you are forgiven!


Sunday, February 7, 2010


Hi everyone, and welcome to my new "followers" - including you Amy :-)! I know there are those who have not actually signed up as a "follower" but read the posts, and I want to welcome y'all (I'm in Florida now, you know!) as well...

Well, did you do it? Did you get rid of any "clutter" this past week - physical, mental, emotional, visual, whatever?? I did manage to eliminate a bit last week and will continue to work on that this week. Sometimes it seems I get rid of some and twice that much comes tumbling in. My mind is so much calmer when I can keep the clutter in check - no matter which kind of clutter it is.

Now on to this week's word...communication. I conducted a workshop on that topic this week, then came across 2 articles about it, so...that "communicated" to me that I should talk about communication :-)...

In my workshop this week, we talked about several aspects of communication - communication styles, for instance. Are you auditory, visual, or kinesthetic? If you need directions, can you just listen to someone tell you (auditory), do you need a map (visual - that would be me), or can you remember how to get to a place after only being there once before (kinesthetic - actually doing something)? If you understand these 3 styles, it can help a lot when you are communicating with others. For instance, knowing that I'm visual, if you wanted to explain some numbers to me, drawing a graph or colorful chart would go a long way in helping me "see" what you're talking about. The auditory person, along with actually hearing what you have to say, might also like to hear how you got the numbers and details. The kinesthetic person might be more focused on the feelings connected to the numbers. Let's put it another way - if you are training someone who is auditory, they can often follow your instructions just based on what you say; the visual may need to see a diagram or written instructions; the kinesthetic needs to actually do it to "get it." Most of us are a combination of all 3 and the more even we are in the 3 styles, the easier it is to communicate with others. If we are high in one category, it just means we have to work a little harder to get our point across - if we are even AWARE that there is a difference in our own communication style and that of the person we're talking to.

Studying the communication styles can be really interesting. My favorite part of the communication workshop, though, is the "listening skills" section. I truly believe that if people take that section to heart they can dramatically improve their lives and maybe the life of someone else. It's amazing how I have never had anyone get a perfect score on the listening survey we take in my workshops, and yet most people don't make any effort to improve in that area. It's an area I have worked on for the past several years and I still have a long way to go.

So here's my challenge to you for this week...pick someone you don't normally listen to all that well (admit it, you probably do have someone in your life like that!) The next time they start a conversation, stop what you're doing, make eye contact, and really listen. Listen to what they are NOT saying. "Listen" to what their eyes are saying. Listen as if they matter...because guess what? They DO. And when you don't listen, you're saying they don't.

I don't think that's what you're really trying to communicate, is it?


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Clutter be gone!

Well, how did you do with saying adios to some tolerations this past week? I did indeed come up with a couple more - 3 to be exact - and it feels good. Still have some others hanging around but my awareness is there, so hopefully I'll be able to work on those things over the next few weeks.

And there's that word again - awareness. Are you aware of any clutter in your life? I'm not necessarily talking about physical clutter, although I do occasionally have a sea of that around me when I'm working on several programs at once. So yes, let's try to whittle that down a bit, too. I just finished assembling paperwork for taxes (eeeek!) and that relieved some paper clutter quickly.

But what I'm really talking about is "mental clutter." I have a bit of that happening right now - irritation about a situation I got myself into and now have no control over. It's cluttering my mind and I am working hard to "sweep it out." I've made some progress, but I'm not quite there yet. Frustrated thoughts still "clutter" my thinking now and again...

Even good "clutter" like preparing for upcoming workshops, having a stack of books on topics I really want to read, "things" I would like to do in the next couple of weeks - can cause some stress that we aren't even aware of.

Then there is the clutter of "noise" in life - I read quite some time ago that one of the reasons the "younger generation" seems angry or depressed is because of the constant noise in their lives - and much of that is negative noise...loud music with negative lyrics, negative verbiage on TV and video games... do you need to soften the "noise" in your life?

So maybe for you it's visual clutter, physical clutter, mental clutter, "noise" clutter, or challenge to you this week is to try to reduce some of that clutter (I will never tell you to eliminate it because I don't think that's possible!).

How about it? I will if you will!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Hi everyone,

No, I'm not mumbling what passes for a curse word in some parts of the country :-)

Toleration came to my mind three times this week and I take that as an indication that I'm supposed to write about it...

One of the things I tell participants in my "Returning Balance" workshops is that they should get rid of tolerations - whether that means a committee you're on that you don't enjoy, a squeaky screen door, an acquaintance who just annoys you to pieces, a stack of papers that have been staring you in the face, magazines that are gathering dust, or any other thing you've been "tolerating" for way too long.

My tolerations this week have been about clothes and the vacuum cleaner of all things! You know how it goes: you get something out of the closet to wear and you notice there's a split seam or maybe the elastic is stretched out. But hey, we can get a couple more uses out of these things, right? WRONG! Tolerating this type of thing can cause a nagging irritability that you simply don't need in your life - or at least I don't. So...I threw out the black slacks with the seam I would have to repair and permanent wrinkles that I would have to spend too much time on to even get them presentable, much less looking decent. Then I threw out the knee socks whose elastic apparently melts in Florida heat!

No biggies, those 2. But today, my toleration was a little more costly. I have been fighting my vacuum cleaner for over a year (and it's probably less than 3 years old!). The brush may or may not doesn't clean all that well when it is working...the filter is a real pain to deal with...well, you know how that kind of thing goes. So today, Mr. Vacuum Cleaner went bye-bye. Actually he's not actually gone yet, but his replacement is already on the way! Not to worry, Mr. V. C. is going to a new home and not to the trash heap, which is where I really think he should spend his remaining days, LOL.

Well, you get the picture. Tolerations can cause stress that we don't need - and that we can control. I HATE to throw things away, but I'm getting better at it. It's just not worth that little niggling irritation to keep things that are causing more grief than they are worth.

I have a sneaking suspicion I will find at least a couple more "tolerations" to bid adieu this week. As a matter of fact, that will be my mission and my commitment to you - at least 2 more tolerations are going to disappear from my life by this time next week.

How about you? What are you tolerating? Is it time to let go? You'll be amazed at how good it feels to be rid of them once and for all...


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Happy mid-January to you all!

This week's word may have you wondering why I chose it for a "Words to Live By" post. I was thinking about control the other day when I was adjusting the firmness of my side of the bed. Yes, we bought a "sleep number" bed several weeks ago and it gives me the luxury of adjusting the firmness of the mattress I sleep on.

As I adjusted the sleep number to make my side "softer," I thought how nice it would be to be able to adjust the firmness of our lives the same way. After a week of 2 sick animals, a husband with dental and vision issues, my back pain setting up camp, a couple of jobs cancelled and a couple of new ones added - complete with new preparations - I am yearning to "soften" my life for a bit. It's amazing how much "hardness" can come into our lives in such a short period - and let's face it, most of what happened this week is relatively trivial compared to the tragedy in Haiti, those who got devastating news about their health this week, others who are on the verge of losing their homes, etc.

Believe me, I realize that my week was a "walk in the park" compared to others'. And yet...even though we know with our minds that things aren't nearly as difficult as they could be (and maybe have been in the past), still it can all pile up on us at once and life feels hard.

Here's the deal, though - even though we can't control the hardness of our lives (although we do bring some of it on ourselves sometimes), there are things we can control ~

We can control our thoughts, for instance. Yes, I know, sometimes those negative thoughts attack us like a hungry lion and we may not be able to control the initial "attack." We can control how long we decide to hang out with the lion, though - and we can also control what actions we take as a result of the attack. Will we ferociously fight back (and kick those negative thoughts out)? Or will we let the lion hang around and gnaw on us for awhile?

We can control what we you really have to bite back at someone who took a potshot at you? I find it particularly hard to control a response when someone snipes at me in the name of humor - and others laugh. I'm getting better at it now though and I realize it says something about them that they feel the need to say it - and something about me, if I can't resist biting back.

We can control the people we associate with...sometimes we need to distance ourselves from people who don't make us feel very good about ourselves - or even about the world we live in.

We have some control over our physical well-being. Even if we are facing some challenges, we know what we should be eating and doing to at least keep those challenges in check.

We can control what we put into our minds...I do miss some news once in awhile, but I have found that shutting out much of what the media screams about the loudest (which, you gotta admit is usually the negative stuff and something I can do nothing about) helps me to stay on a positive course.

So, what do you need to gain control over? Your thoughts? Your tongue? The people you spend time with? Your physical well-being? What you are putting into your mind?

Whatever it is, you can do it...but it does take awareness and...focus.

So go ahead - be a control freak! And I mean that in the nicest way :-)


Monday, January 11, 2010

A time for GIVING - wait, isn't Christmas over??

Hi everyone,

I hope you all are keeping warm wherever you are!

The word this week is GIVING - and I am intentionally bringing it to you after Christmas. We all think about giving at Christmas, usually connected with something that costs money.

I want you to think about giving from a different just brighten someone's day.

Maybe you can give a smile to someone who sorely needs one. Years ago, my husband went to the "Big Chicken" in Marietta, GA, near where we lived at the time (the Big Chicken was a historic landmark - really just a fried-chicken joint, but with a huge chicken mounted on the roof; hence, the "Big Chicken" name!). As he was waiting for his order, the counter person said, "I'm not gonna give ya these fries until you smile." He did, she did, and he's never forgotten that - she took the time to "give" him something that day -and it was just a few seconds of human connection.

I was helping Guy in the music store before Christmas. The mother of one of the guitar students came in on a Friday evening and we visited while her daughter was in her 30-minute lesson. I found out that she is originally from Paris, worked for the US Embassy there, and is now widowed - at a relatively young age. I also found out her grandmother used to make "chocolat pastries" (pronounce this shoc-o-lot as she does and it sounds oh, so elegant!) that required hours of preparation but were to die for. The following week, I stopped at Panera and picked up a chocolate pastry (just plain chocolate, not all that elegant, but tasty) and when she came in, I gave it to her. You would have thought I had given her the moon. She ran over to me and gave me a big hug. It was the best $2.00 I've spent in a long time!

So what else can you give? I can't go around handing out $2.00 pastries on a regular basis, but I can often give some of my time. I can give the gift of listening - really listening - to someone. I can give the valuable gift of withholding the negative comment that is on the tip of my tongue (a gift that is sometimes very hard to control!). I can give the gift of understanding... empathy... advice (only if you know it's welcome!), a sincere smile or something that will help them find their own smile that may be in hiding.

What "gifts" are you going to give this year? I'd love to hear from you! And that would be a gift to me :-)


Monday, January 4, 2010

What are you FOCUSING on?

Hi all,

My apologies for a late post this week. Between a pulled muscle in my back and one of the longest colds in recent memory, my FOCUS was not where it needed to be. Although the muscle is still a pain (literally!), the cold is winding down and it's time to get my focus back to where I want it - a positive look at the new year ahead.

It's so easy to get sidetracked from what we should focus on, isn't it? I try to be a very positive person, so I refuse to focus on the news, violence on TV, etc. Yet everyday happenings such as colds, pulled muscles, car repairs, sick loved ones, cranky co-workers, etc., can take our focus off the joy I mentioned in the last couple of blogs. That's natural and we certainly don't need to beat ourselves up over it. I've never known anyone who added joy by beating themselves up for not focusing on it! What we should do, though, is be aware of how long our focus is distracted or distorted.

For fun (and because I love words!), I looked up "focus" - "a center of activity, attraction, or attention." I'm not a big believer in "attracting whatever I think about" when it comes to tangibles like cash (I wish!), a new car, etc. I am convinced, though, that making the negatives in our lives "a center of activity, attraction, or attention" produces more negatives. If I'm in a bad mood and choose to share that with others, guess what happens? All of a sudden, they are in a bad mood too and now I've multiplied the negativity and REALLY made it hard to get my focus (and theirs) back on a positive note.

I even go so far as to suggest to participants in my "Returning Balance" classes that they should hang around with "YouBet" people instead of "YeahBut" people (can't remember where I heard that years ago, but isn't it a jewel??). You know what I mean - you say, "Isn't the weather beautiful?" and they say, "Yeah, but we need rain." You say, "We really need this rain." and they say, "Yeah, but it's been raining too much." Pretty soon, every thought is followed by "yeah, but" instead of "you bet!"

I don't want to discount the fact that some of us have BIG issues that cause us to lose focus - I have certainly been there/done that, especially over the past 5 years, and have the tee shirts to prove it. I just want to encourage you to take a moment and "reset" your focus now and then. Have a great cup of coffee (Keurig coffeemakers are the greatest!). Watch the snow softly fall (and try not to think about the cold that goes with it!). Read a few pages in a book that brings you pleasure. Have one exquisitely delicious piece of chocolate - and enjoy every moment. Pet the cat (if you can!) or hug the dog (or your significant other - or your child - or a friend - or someone who just needs a hug!).

So here's my question for you this week: What do you find yourself focusing on? Do you focus on what brings you joy or do you focus on all the little things that can so easily keep us in a negative mindset? Are you a "yeah, but" person or a "you bet!" person??

In other words, take time today and every single day to focus on what brings you joy...