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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

FlowersThe first week back to work after a week-long vacation went by rather slowly. I think I am suffering from the onset of spring fever. Thankfully, today begins Daylight Saving Time. For me, the next eight months should feel glorious with the extended daylight in the evenings. I’m hoping this is also the end of my personal “canary in the coal mine.”

In Episode 144 of the Happier in Hollywood podcast, Sarah and Liz reveal their personal “canaries in a coal mine.” Back in the day, coal miners brought caged canaries in the coal mines with them. If the canaries became ill or died, the coal miners knew they should not venture into the coal mine since it was not safe for them. Mercifully, this practice was stopped in the late 20th century. However, today, it is being used as a metaphor for comparing canaries to the warning signs of something stressful or alarming that is amiss. The canary is there to tell you that you need to practice self-care. In Episode 147, Sarah and Liz revisited the subject and shared some of their favorites from listeners. After listening to both episodes and pondering the revelations from Sarah, Liz, and several listeners, it dawned on me that I have my personal “canary in the coal mine.” Drum roll, please! I actually have two canaries, sugar and procrastination. And, they go hand in hand.

Basically, when I am anxious or feeling overwhelmed, instead of taking a walk or productively completing a task or project, I consume a sleeve of cookies while playing Words with Friends or scrolling through Facebook for two hours. And, lately, I find myself doing that more and more, and it only adds to my anxiety. I LIKE being in control, and right now I feel out of control. Instead of being proactive, I self-sabotage myself. I feel like I am in a state of paralysis. So, what am I anxious about these days? What is overwhelming me? I actually have a list.

  •  Taking my acting career to the next level
  •  Sonic and his health issues (perianal fistulas and new thyroid issue)
  •  Finances (cost of Sonic’s impending medical care)
  •  Disarray of the house from remodeling
  •  Barry, Jr. working in Singapore and his time over there being extended
  •  Feeling like I don’t have the time to work on my goals
  •  Feeling like I’m running out of time to reach my goals

Surprisingly, after writing this list down, I’m feeling a little better. Lots better, in fact! Looking over my list, the situations that are overwhelming me right now are temporary, and they are not life-or-death issues. What action steps can I take today to alleviate the anxiety that I’m feeling about each of these items on my list? I can start with taking a deep breath, praying the Serenity Prayer, thinking of five aspects of my life to be grateful for, and releasing my canaries. It is time for me to practice some self-care and take action.

Dear reader, I am grateful for you and the joy you bring to me. Thanks for reading! Do you have a “canary in the coal mine?” What behavior reveals you are more stressed than you realize? Take heart because you can always release your canary once you have identified it and taken the necessary steps to extinguish the stress. Happiness!

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~ Walter Anderson

 

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PuarHappy New Year’s Day, dear readers! 2020 is a new year, and the beginning of a brand new decade. PURPOSEFUL. That is the one-word theme I have chosen for this year. In 2020, I want to have or show determination or resolve, and that is what it means to be purposeful. In addition to improving my health, wealth, home, relationships, and overall well-being, I will also be focusing on my acting. This past year, I took my acting career to the next level, and I want to continue building that momentum.

I recently completed an activity to help me generate my 20 for 2020 list. I thought of 20 ways I want to BE in 2020, and they all line up with the improvements that I want to make in my life.

20 Ways to BE in 2020

  • Creative
  • Kinder
  • Energetic
  • Patient
  • Present
  • Productive
  • Consistent
  • Mindful
  • Impactful
  • Simple
  • Sustainable
  • Focused
  • Flexible
  • Committed
  • Courageous
  • Healthy
  • Calm
  • Successful
  • Prosperous
  • Inspiring

Soon, I will share my 20 for 2020 list. In the meantime, I have to get ready to celebrate New Year’s Day with family and friends. In fact, I have to bake a cake for Son #1 who turned 31 years old this morning. New Year’s Blessings to you, dear readers. Happiness!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

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Dream Socks

New socks that I bought at the Audubon Zoo. DREAM BIG!

2019 is winding down which means it’s time to finish up this year and start thinking about the goals to make for 2020. I plan to choose a new word to guide the year and to create a 20 for 2020 list. Both of these activities make me happy and spur me on to be more productive. However, before I can even think about next year, I have to focus on finishing strong this year. Including today, I only have 17 days left to wrap up the loose ends on my 19 for 2019 list.

On Friday evening, my BFF Shelly and I had dinner with our husbands at Streetside Market in Hammond. It is a neat restaurant where you can experience the culinary delights of different vendors all under one roof. After dinner, Shelly and I waved goodbye to the guys, bought coffee at PJ’s, and headed to New Orleans to see Cher in concert.

CherWOW! Cher is 73 years old and looks fabulous. Her performance was captivating from beginning to end. Her song choices, the elaborate costumes, the artistic dancers, the detailed set design, as well as the talented musicians and backup singers created a fantastic creative execution. Not being a huge Cher fan, I didn’t really know what to expect. Shelly was the only reason that I went to the concert. She wanted to go, so being the awesome friend that I am and my love of concerts, I said yes when she asked if I would go with her. And, I am so happy I said yes because I was blown away not only by Cher’s performance, but also by her story that she shared with the audience. She has given me a boost of inspiration.

In Other News:

  • I bought myself a Cricut Maker Machine for my scrapbooking projects.
  • My hubby and I went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans last weekend, and I finally got to see the baby orangutan Bulan and the new pride of lions (Arnold, Nia, Kali, and Zuri). I also bought myself some inspirational socks.
  • Unfortunately, I have NOT lost any more weight. I still have six pounds left to shed by the end of the month.
  • Andrew finished his first semester finals at SLU on Thursday. I’m eagerly awaiting to hear the final results. He’ll be spending winter break with us starting next week which give me a MASSIVE happiness boost.

Christmas is on the horizon, dear reader, so I will be squeezing all of what that season entails while scrambling to complete several tasks before year end. One Christmas item that I scratched off my list this year was putting up a Christmas tree. Since we have been remodeling rooms and the house is in a slight disarray, I decided to forgo adding more unnecessary stuff to the already existing mishmash. Happiness!

“Everyone’s got to have a dream…It’s not reaching your dreams that count. It’s going toward them.” ~ Cher

 

 

 

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2018Happy New Year’s Day, dear readers! 2018 is a new year, and I am feeling optimistic about it. RE-ENERGIZE. That is the one-word theme I have chosen for this year. Since this is my last year in my 40s, I want to complete this decade of my life on a high note. I have also decided to attempt another happiness project even though I failed miserably last year. It will look a little differently from the one I’ve done in the past; however, the goal is the same…to increase my happiness. I am looking forward to a new year with new possibilities and opportunities. New Year’s Blessings to you, dear readers. Happiness!

If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose?

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

 

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helpTwenty days have passed since I started my year-long journey of RENEWAL. Until today, it has been slow going, uninspiring, and almost coming to a screeching halt. I have not accomplished anything much regarding my health and fitness goals for this month, and I was having a hard time deciding how to write about it. I’m stuck! Then two occurrences took place earlier today that has prompted me to move forward. The first was watching a brief video that popped up in my Facebook news feed, and the second was an unexpected phone call from someone  I adore but had not talked to in quite a while.

This morning, while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came across a short video of an interview between Oprah and spiritual teacher Michael Bernard Beckwith. They were having a discussion about being stuck (coincidence). His recommendation is going beyond your “little mind” to awaken you: prayer, meditation, life visioning. And, the prayer could be as simple as HELP. For him, HELP means Hello Eternal Loving Presence. I like that! That short exchange between Oprah and Beckwith gave me the nudge that I needed to get started with today’s post.

Shortly afterwards, as I sat down to start writing this post, my Uncle Robert called me (coincidence). My Uncle Robert is awesome! He is intelligent, kind, hard-working, inspiring, and entertaining. We talked and laughed for over an hour. By the time our conversation was winding down, I was feeling less stuck and eager to start writing.

So, between the video pep talk and the phone conversation with my uncle, I am taking the first step to getting unstuck. I’m writing about it. The second step is acknowledging the obstacles that are making me stuck, whether they are physical obstacles or mental obstacles.  Then I need to figure out a way to remove those obstacles, shed those limitations, and release whatever it is that is keeping me stuck. My weight is definitely one of the obstacles. And, that dear reader, is one reason why I want to focus on health and fitness first. I truly believe that if I can shed these unwanted pounds, I will be free to work on other areas of my life and increase my happiness and productivity. I may not have reached all of my health and fitness goals these past couple of weeks (no functional exercises; lousy eating habits); however, I am not giving up. In fact, Andrew and I are heading to the gym right after I publish this post. Happiness!

Do you feel stuck? If so, what do you feel is causing you to feel stuck? What is one action step you can take today to get unstuck?

“Getting stuck is reactive, getting unstuck is proactive.” ~ Sherene McHenry 

 

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flowerIt is the first day of Spring, dear reader. What an absolutely gorgeous day! I wish I could have spent the day outside in a hammock reading a book; however, I do not own a hammock, and I spent a good portion of the day working on school stuff. I did sneak a couple of chapters of a zombie book in between reading journals and creating a quiz.

In four days, I will be on spring break along with my family. I cannot wait to have some time away from work. I will try my very best to get everything completed for school by Thursday, so I can have some FUN.

I want to invite you to go on a meditation journey with me for the next 21 days. Oprah is one of my favorite people. She is connected to some of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of today. She is partnering with Deepak Chopra to present a 21-Day Meditation Experience called Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, and Spirit. It starts tomorrow, March 21st. You can register now at http://www.oprah.com/meditation and it is FREE. I have already registered! Once you register, you will receive an email to confirm your registration. Then you will receive a daily email with the link for that day’s meditation. This will be my first meditation experience; however, I can definitely shed some weight in all three areas, and I cannot think of two better people to lead this inspiring encounter. Let me know if you plan to join the meditation experience.

Well, dear reader, it is time for me to bid you adieu. It is Sunday night and The Walking Dead is just around the corner. Have a productive and amazing week. Happiness!

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

 

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I woke up this morning feeling grumpy. The grumpiness was clearly in response to the disappointment I was feeling with myself. I feel stalled in Mission Innovation. Instead of grading an assignment for school, I decided to procrastinate. I worked a good bit on school stuff yesterday and resented the fact that I would have to do it again today. With a cup of coffee in hand, my I-Pad, and a notebook, I took to the front porch to listen to the second session of Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions audio course that I signed up for last month. Tomorrow is the last day of the course, and out of sixteen sessions, I was just listening to the second one. Ironically, in this session, LaPorte talked about embracing easy (quality easy) and addressed procrastination as being easy and that it can be divine. Alleluia! My mood brightened somewhat.

After the session, I went inside to have breakfast and read a reflection a coworker sent out this morning. It began, “TRUST AND THANKFULNESS WILL get you safely through this day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining” (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling). Wow! I decided that instead of starting any school work, I would look at the emails I received all week pertaining to the two Blogging University courses I signed up for last month and have NOT had the time to really participate in. I have been storing the information with the hope that I will be able to do more with them in the next few months. I started reconstructing the ABOUT area of my blog which was one of the topics this week. Then, well, yeah…I did not start working on school stuff. I surfed the web, played some games, and procrastinated some more. I chose “inner rhythms over external pressures” (Danielle LaPorte). Magazine StashI finally dusted in my bedroom, cleaned off surfaces, threw away Andrew’s binder that had been residing under my nightstand for the last two years, and made a plan to sort through the scrapbooking magazines my BFF gave me years ago. I felt like I was on an archaeological dig to find my bedroom. And, I had fun and my grumpiness faded completely away.

Despite the fact that I do not feel that I am making much progress with my audio course or my blogging courses, I am still getting something out of both opportunities. My disappointment comes from having expectations. I need to trust and be thankful. On the other hand, my procrastination paid off today. I have two new goals to complete in the next few weeks: update the ABOUT section of my blog and go through the scrapbooking magazines (59 total). While I did not do any school work, I did make my to-do list for the week.

The weekend is over, dear readers. May you all have a fantastic week. Happiness!

“Make stuff that feels good to make-your way.” ~ Danielle LaPorte

 

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“Instead of focusing on how you got where you are, you’ve got to shift your attention to where you’d rather be.Danielle LaPorte

I guess I had too much time to ruminate since the school year ended in May. It kind of had me in a state of paralysis. Regrets, fears, and failures bubbled up and simmered just at the surface making it difficult to enjoy the present moment.

Like many people, I struggle with the past; it creates a holding pattern for me. I stagnate. Procrastination takes over and before you know it, two weeks have passed and I feel quite guilty for wasting the time focusing on my shortcomings and missed opportunities of my past. And, who the hell cares? According to Danielle Laporte in her blog post on getting unstuck, “Sometimes you can’t see why you were stuck until after you get unstuck. Hindsight and high-sight solves a lot of mysteries. In the mean time, you’ve got a new story to write, and it looks nothing like your past.”

I’d rather be writing, scrapbooking, acting, and organizing my home. I’d rather be in shape, healthy, and running/exercising on a regular basis. I’d rather be spending time with my children, family, and friends.

This week I got back on the bike (don’t own a horse) and started doing things I’ve put on the back burner since I went back to teaching last fall. I’m walking again to get my legs ready for running. I’m writing my first blog post since August. I organized my office/scrapbook room so I can start scrapbooking on a more regular basis. (I’ll blog soon about the convention I attended in June.) I’m signed up for an improv class. I met up with friends for lunch.

School starts in four weeks. I must find balance this year; otherwise, I will get stuck again. I struggle with balancing my job as a teacher with other areas of my life. I do NOT like the way it makes me feel. Currently,  I’m reading One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook. It is teaching me about “living the dash” in a more meaningful way.  The dash represents our life between birth and death. What would you want your dash to say about you?

It feels terrific to be back. I’ve missed blogging. Wishing you, my readers, a wonderful summer. Happiness!

 

“Make the necessary adjustments for your life to become more meaningful.”           ~ Danielle LaPorte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I consider myself a person with a gratitude attitude. Most evenings before going to bed, I write at least five things I am grateful for in my life. I have a dear friend who hires me twice a year (or more if work is available) for freelance work. I make a point of taking her to lunch once or twice during the year to express my gratitude. I’m pretty good at writing thank you notes for gifts I receive from family, friends, and students. And, if my family and I receive excellent service at a restaurant, we make a point to show our gratitude with a great tip and a compliment to the manager about the service. I believe these actions can make an impact…maybe small, maybe big.

Recently, while waiting for my car to be fixed, I thought about extending my gratitude to people who help me in other capacities. Our society tends to focus on complaining more than complimenting. When I taught 2nd grade, I use to tell my students to try to receive compliments rather than complaints. Every time my students received a compliment from me or from another adult, I would write a letter on the board until it spelled out COMPLIMENT. Once the word was complete, my students voted on their reward. It could be an extra 15-minute recess or switching places with another student to sit by a friend for the day.  Even as a teacher, I received more complaints than compliments. The compliments I did receive whether in person or in writing, I cherished because they were rare. In fact, I use to keep happy notes from parents or administration in my desk, so on bad days when things were not going well, I would stop and reread those notes. They provided comfort. I try to write happy notes to my son’s teachers to pay it forward for the ones I received over the years.

Granted, people are paid to provide a service or do a job; however, people like to be acknowledged when they do something well or go above and beyond their normal duties. So, I have decided to express my gratitude to those people who sincerely make an effort to make my life more enjoyable and more manageable.

First, I have to thank YOU, my reader. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I appreciate you allowing me to enter your inbox periodically to share whatever I have to say about my life. You are NOT taken for granted. I consider you a member of my tribe, and I am grateful to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read what I have written. One day, I will figure out another way to express the gratitude I feel towards YOU, my reader. For NOW…Thank You

Next, I will mail out three thank you cards tomorrow morning. One will go to Rae, the service advisor at Toyota. One will go to James, the service tech at Toyota. Both of these gentlemen helped get my car back on the road. I love my little car. It is important to me, as well as my family. It is necessary for me to have it running properly. The last card will go to the owners of an athletic shoe store where I buy running shoes. I have been a customer since I was in high school. The store is about an hour away from where I live, but well worth the drive. The last time I went to the store, they did not have the shoes I needed in my size. First time this ever happened. Henry agreed to order the shoes and mail them to me at no charge. Happiness! 

So, the next time someone does something to make your life a little easier or even a little happier, demonstrate a gratitude attitude. I bet it will bring some positive energy into your life.

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” ~ Randy Pausch

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Reluctantly, I got up this morning. Yes, you heard me correctly… reluctantly. Before getting out of bed, I was having a chat inside my head about pushing off my morning walk until this afternoon. Blah, blah, blah! I know better than anyone in my household that an afternoon walk would not happen. However, after the second time hitting the snooze button and getting snuggly back under the covers, my little guy walks into my bedroom totally dressed for our morning walk and stands at the edge of the bed. He asks me ever so sweetly, “Mom, aren’t you going to get up, so we can go walk?” Thank goodness for my little guy. Andrew is my hero today for making me keep my word. It’s all about accountability. I need to not only do what I say I’m going to do, but I also need to be held accountable.

So, I groggily got up, dressed, and the two of us along with Comet went for our walk. What a wonderful way to start the day! I feel so much better. Now, I have to do another task I told myself I would do…finish clearing school stuff out of my scrapbook room, so I can actually work on my scrapbooks.

“A duty dodged is like a debt unpaid; it is only deferred, and we must come back and settle the account at last.”  ~ Joseph Fort Newton

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