9.19.2015

REFRESH | MIND . BODY . SPIRIT

It's a beautiful, rainy, Saturday morning.  As the slow rain falls to replenish the earth, everything and everyone seems to breathe a sigh of relief as the earth cools from the hot, dry, days of Summer.   

Texas summers can be brutal with several, consecutive days of temperatures in the 100's.  And although I can hear the cute, lovable, Disney character Olaf, singing about his affection for "Sum-meerrr!", I on the other hand, am anxiously awaiting the cool, refreshing days of Fall...



In the same way that rain works to refresh and replenish the earth, we too consistently need those times of refreshing in our mind, body and spirit. 

Like the ground, without consistent times of refreshing, we also become dry and depleted.  

It's easy to notice these characteristics in the ground and plants around us because we've become accustomed to identifying the symptoms of wilting leaves and a brown, patchy lawn.  

When we see the signs of dehydration, we quickly give a dose of fertilizer and several minutes of sprinkler time and feel good that we've done our best to bring them back to life.

Isn't it interesting how the same depleted signs of dehydration in our own lives often go unnoticed until we are feeling overwhelmed, overworked and stressed? 

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why do I feel so tired all of the time?"  I have, and it's generally when I stop paying attention to the signs and symptoms of drought in my own life.

We can become so busy with a calendar full of work and good deeds that we overlook our opportunities to stop and reboot.

Our minds, which are filled nonstop with information overload from the internet, work, news, media, etc., find it hard to download at the end of the day and without that much needed time to decompress, we continue to work even when we're asleep.

The unfortunate thing is that an overworked mind has a direct effect on our bodies and spirit.

If you find yourself feeling depleted, ask yourself, "When was the last time I really stopped to rest, do something fun, or do nothing at all without feeling guilty?

It's interesting that many of us feel guilty about implementing times of restoration in our calendars.  Yes, you can actually schedule time for things you enjoy.  

It's similar to the practice of being on a plane and putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before putting it on the person next to us.  It's when we are replenished that we have the most to give.

You owe it to yourself to enjoy the life you're given and allow time to create lasting memories with family and friends.

Men generally enjoy watching and playing sports, grilling, doing a hobby, reading, working with their hands and being outdoors.

Ladies typically enjoy having lunch with friends, shopping, gardening, spa time, reading, watching a good movie, and spending time with family.

One of the best things that we can incorporate is time in prayer and reflection.  It's in those times that we get direction and wisdom.  It's when we can hear ourselves think and hear God's affirmation that He is with us and that He loves us.

Being connected and replenished spiritually is what gives us the balance, strength and clarity we need in all of the other areas of life. 

If you're used to going nonstop and running on empty, it may be hard to give yourself permission to slow down without feeling guilty.  But you owe it to yourself to give it a try and see what a difference it makes.

The best reward will be the benefit of living a life of balance where you can truly feel refreshed:  mind, body and spirit.

Choose to stop and enjoy the rain!

Questions:
Do you find it hard to incorporate time to stay refreshed?
What are things you'd like to implement in the future? 
What area seems to be the hardest to keep refreshed: Mind, Body or Spirit?

Feel free to leave a comment or share this post with a friend!

9.12.2015

LAUGH OUT LOUD! | The Healing Properties of Laughter

"A funny thing happened the other day!" 

Don't you just love it when a story begins that way?  The storyteller skillfully captures your attention and suddenly, you're on the edge of your seat....



Laughter is contagious.  It's infectious and yet, it can be one of our greatest cures.  

Have you ever noticed that a room can be filled with tension, and someone can say or do something funny that completely changes the mood in the room?  

I recently read a quote that said, "Don't make me laugh, I'm trying to be mad at you!"  I'm smiling right now as I write this because I can remember times when I've said the same thing. 

I can think of occasions when my husband and I have gotten into it over something silly and all of a sudden, one of us starts laughing and before you know it, both of us are laughing as we quickly realize, it's really not that serious.  

I mean, does it really matter if you stir the cream into your coffee and then dip the spoon into the sugar bowl?  ;-)  I can hear some of you saying, "Yes!"  Lol!

Laughter is the thing that reminds us not to take ourselves and life too seriously. 

We all know that laughter feels good, but how does it actually help us?

Humor and laughter boosts our energy, relieves pain, increases our immune system and relieves the damaging effects of stress and conflict.  Nothing works faster to bring our mind and body back into balance.

Laughter is good for your health:
  1. It relaxes the whole body by relieving tension and stress and can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  2. It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies which can improve your resistance to disease.
  3. It triggers the release of endorphins, the bodies natural, feel-good chemical in our brain that promotes an overall sense of well-being.
  4. It protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow which can help protect against heart attack and cardiovascular diseases.

Physical Health Benefits:
Boosts immunity
Lowers stress hormones
Decreases pain
Prevents heart disease
Relaxes your muscles

Mental Health Benefits:
Eases anxiety and fear
Increases joy & enthusiasm for life
Relieves mental stress
Improves mood
Lifts your spirit & faith
Increases confidence

Social Benefits:
Attracts others to us
Strengthens relationships
Helps diffuse conflict
Enhances teamwork
Makes you more attractive

Shared laughter is one of the most effective ways to keep relationships fresh and exciting.  It's great when we can be more spontaneous and let down our defenses.  

Here's a few quotes I like about laughter...

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." - Victor Borge

"Laughing is, and always will be, the best form of therapy." -Dan Voire

"If you laugh a lot, when you get older, your wrinkles will be in the right places." -Unknown

"I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It's probably the most important thing in a person." - Audrey Hepburn

Now I can't leave you hanging.... I want to give you a little something to brighten your day and make you smile.

You'll love these!  And trust me, you won't be able to resist Laughing Out Loud!  LOL!   Enjoy :-)




Thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to write a comment or share this post with someone else.

Resources: Helpguide.org

9.05.2015

WANNA GET AWAY? | How to get away to come back stronger

When was the last time you got away from it all?   No, I mean really got away…. from work responsibilities, email, phone calls, school projects, homework, media, etc. etc.  Chances are, it’s been longer than you think...


My family and I recently took a pause and got away from it all.  We made our travel arrangements, packed our bags and flew west to the beautiful island of Oahu.  For those of you who have been, you know what I mean when I say that there really is no better place to unwind.  The moment we got off the plane, we could feel ourselves decompressing as the warm, tropical breeze and palm trees waved to say, “Aloha!”.

The peaceful, laid-back flow of the island seemed to subtly invite us to slow down and experience life at a more relaxed pace.  Before long, we all realized that the normal pressures and stress of our normal day to day routines was quickly melting away.  We were smiling more, laughing more and taking the time to breathe.  Our mind, body and spirit was being renewed by the natural beauty around us.  

One of our days was spent driving along the coastline on motorbikes.  It was breathtaking to experience the open air of the bike while taking in the beauty of lush, tropical foliage, white sand and sparkling, turquoise water.  I remember saying that God must have taken a little extra time creating Hawaii because it is absolutely gorgeous!

The value of getting away is that you are able to reconnect with who you really are as a person.  You have time to stop “doing” and simply enjoy “being”.  You can unplug from news and media and realize that the world truly is a beautiful place and life is a gift to be opened everyday.

Statistics say that if you live in America, you are less likely to take time away and vacation time is often left unused year after year.  Our culture encourages us to keep going and rest later, but later never comes and we are left with an epidemic of burnout.  

We would be wise to take our cue from many of our European and Caribbean neighbors who incorporate a time of rest into every afternoon.  Shops and businesses close, great food is served and for a couple of hours, in the middle of the day, conversation, connection and rest is valued as an important way of life. 

I always say that if I ran for president, my platform would be a 4-day work week, with a 2-hour siesta each afternoon.  I think I could win! 

A sabbatical or time away is not something that decreases productivity.  On the contrary, it actually increases our productivity by giving us the mental and physical strength needed to return to the work we value with more clarity, focus, energy and creativity.

When we burn the candle at both ends, we may be showing up, but the mental clarity and passion we need to truly excel is diminished the longer we stay plugged in without allowing time to step away.  

We fool ourselves into believing that we are being productive, when in reality, we are running on fumes.

The good news is that with a few simple choices, you too can find yourself on a beach, or enjoying an adventurous getaway!  It’s easier than you think and you owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities.

Here are 5 choices you can make today! Give yourself permission to enjoy some much needed time away:

  1. Take your vacation time.  You’ve earned it and you’re getting paid to take it. 
  2. Make travel arrangements or work with a travel agency.  There are some incredible deals and all-inclusive packages available for resorts and other destinations.
  3. Plan ahead and coordinate the coverage you need at work that will allow you to   disconnect and truly enjoy your time away.  No emails or conference calls allowed.
  4. Create a list of places and things you’d like to see and experience and start checking them off. Make a schedule and timeframe for each. This will give you a goal and something to look forward to.
  5. Remember that getting away will allow you to increase productivity.  You can return refreshed and have the strength and energy to reconnect and focus on the work you love.  

I encourage you to choose the life you want...everyday!  One small choice really can make a big change.

Thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to write a comment or share this post with someone else.

9.02.2015

SHINE YOUR LIGHT | Be the light you were meant to be in the world.




Be the light you were meant to be in the world...
Everyday is a new day to live, hope, believe, trust, learn, love, give and grow.  Shine your light!
Let your light so shine...Matthew 5:16  

9.01.2015

COVER | SEPTEMBER 2015

Here's a look at what's coming this month! 
I invite you to interact, share a comment or share a post with someone else.
  

8.29.2015

VIDEO | Soundtrack

I AM BLOWN AWAY!

It's been one month since I started the blog and what a month it has been!  

Each week, I've been so excited to share the next post and to have the opportunity to connect with you again.  

So many of you have said how much you've enjoyed it and I want to say thank you to each of you for stopping by to read, leave a comment, like a photo or just to say hello.

I am blown away by the interaction, page views and readers from 15 different countries! 



It's been incredible and I'm sending a "BIG SHOUT OUT!" to all my new friends in the:  US, Ireland, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Dubai, The Netherlands, India, Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Mexico, Singapore and South Africa!  

You make my day, everyday and I can't wait to share what I have planned for next month. 

This coming week, I'll be launching a brand new Cover, Theme and Post for September that I've been preparing just for you.  You won't want to miss it!  

Please feel free to comment, share and connect on my other media sites.  You can find me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.  You can also send an email by clicking the contact button on the sidebar.  

I'd love to hear from you!

8.22.2015

KNOW LIMITS | Understanding your limiting beliefs

Do you have any limiting beliefs that tend to hold you back? I know I do.  But what exactly are limiting beliefs and how do we get them?




Limiting beliefs are the thoughts we have about ourselves and others that hinder our progress in work, friendship, love relationships, family dynamics and even our relationship with God.

Have you ever told yourself, "I'm too short, I'm too tall, I'm too skinny, I'm too fat, I don't have enough time, I'll never find a mate, I'm not smart enough, I'll never be successful, I'm too old, I'm too young, I'm not technically savvy, I'll never get the promotion, I don't have enough money, I'll never learn how, does God really love me.....?"

Often, our thoughts can get stuck in certain holding patterns that keep us circling around and around in the same experiences.  

Have you ever found yourself in a situation and asked, "How did I get here again?"  Most likely, it's a limiting belief that brings us back to that same familiar place.

For example, you may have the belief that you're not good with money.  Perhaps you've had an experience in the past where you've had a failed business deal or investment and you lost everything.  Now your credit is less than perfect and you've received a few rejections along the way.

As a result, you've lost the confidence in your ability to make sound financial decisions or the faith that other windows of opportunity will become available.

The truth is that many successful business people have had major setbacks.  The difference is in the way they view the setback.  

Rather than attaching the failed opportunity to themselves as a badge of dishonor, they take it as an opportunity to learn from the experience and make better decisions the next time.  

Failure isn't final.  Failures can be fixed.

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." - Henry Ford

What about in relationships?  We've all felt the sting of hurt, disappointment, rejection and even betrayal or disloyalty.  

Generally, those that are closest to us can hurt us the most because that is where our heartstrings are attached.

A rift in a close relationship can set us off-balance and have us questioning ourselves and the motives of others who come into our lives.  

Many times, misunderstandings, assumptions and distorted perceptions can cause us to believe the worst and lead us to jump to a conclusion that isn't true.

If someone has hurt you in the past, the next time someone does something that you don't understand or gets close to an area that hasn't healed, you can be quick to assume that their motives are wrong and shut them out without giving them the benefit of the doubt or making room for open communication that will lead to a clear understanding.  

Quick assumptions are generally wrong and our limiting beliefs in relationships can cause us to shut down and shut others out in an effort to protect ourselves from being hurt or disappointed again.

But it's good to remember that, "Perception is opinion.  Reality is truth."

When we allow ourselves to heal from past hurts, practice forgiveness and leave room for open communication, the limiting belief that others intend the worst will change and we'll find ourselves mending relationships and believing that we can experience new, more positive and meaningful relationships in the future.

By lifting our thoughts and choosing to use a more positive narrative when we speak about ourselves and others, we can change the limiting beliefs that hold us back.

Here are a few alternatives that will make a big difference:  Instead of saying...            

I'm a failure... 
I wasn't successful this time, but I can make changes and do better the next time!

I don't have time...
I can schedule my time to make room for the things I enjoy!  Everyone has the same 24 hours.

I'm unhealthy...
I can make better choices in rest, eating and exercise that will help me to feel better and to look great!

I'm too old...
I have a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be beneficial to any opportunity that comes my way!

I'm too young...
I have the time and energy to meet new challenges and learn new skills!

Does God love me...
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  - Jeremiah 31:3

Recognizing our limiting beliefs is the first step in creating real change in our perspective about ourselves and others.

By practicing a new narrative, we can become more confident and live in a more positive, productive way.

What are some limiting beliefs that you would like to change or have already changed?  Maybe your experience will encourage someone else.

Feel free to write a comment or share this post with someone else.

Thanks for stopping by!

8.15.2015

DON'T PUSH ME! | Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

Don't be pushed by your problems.
Be led by your dreams. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one likes to be pushed.  Yet everyday, we can find ourselves being pushed to keep a pace that is nothing short of exhausting.  Our to-do list begins with tasks left over from the day before and ends with tasks just begging to be checked off by the time we go to bed.  



Our days can become so repetitious that we fail to notice we’re going through life without really living. 

It’s not on purpose.  It’s not something we’ve planned, but it’s often said, “the squeaky wheel (problems) get’s the most grease or attention.”  

When we’re pushed by our problems, we live in a reactive state, responding to the things that are happening to us, rather than actively creating the things that will work for us and lead us toward a specific goal or dream.

Can you remember a time when you’ve felt pushed to do something that you didn’t want to do? Maybe you were asked to lead a project, give a speech or accept a job you didn’t like just because you needed the money.  How did it make you feel?  Was there a sense of anxiety, fear or resentment?  

Have you ever had a time when the only thing you looked forward to was going back to bed?  If so, it could be an indication that you’re being pushed by your problems instead of being led by your dreams.


| Being led by your dreams is simply listening
to that inner voice that speaks to you. |  

It’s that part of you that is trying to guide you toward the path you were meant to take.  Some may call it conscious, others may call it intuition.  

When we listen to that inner voice, it speaks to us about the person we aspire to be.   We are all given natural abilities that are there to shape us, guide us and provide for us.  

However, when life happens and problems arise, it can shift our focus, sap our creative energy and take us out of the game.  Consequently, we end up using the best part of ourselves to handle life instead of create it and there’s nothing left to invest in areas where we're truly connected.

This can create a cycle I call, “the 9 to 5, just to survive mentality.”  

Now I’m not suggesting that we all have lives that are off track.  In fact, many of us have dreams that we're working toward.  But if there's someone who feels like they’ve gotten on the treadmill and can’t seem to get off,  I'd like you to know that you have choices that can change things for the better.

So, what can we do to live in a more authentic way? I believe balance is the key.

We can’t ignore the responsibilities that need our attention, but we also
shouldn’t ignore the things that give us joy and a sense of connection to the things that we’re passionate about.

Problems are pushy.  They’re constantly crying out, “What about me?  Look at me! Pay attention to me, Me, ME!”  While our dreams tend to be more quiet and consistent.  They say, “Remember when we wanted to do that? Or, wouldn’t it be great if we did this?  Dreams are inclusive and generally come from a place of giving and sharing, while problems selfishly grasp for all of our time and focus.

| Problems are meant to be solved.
Dreams are meant to be lived. |

So what are a few things we can do daily to keep us balanced while we invest in our dreams?

  1. Create a dream sheet or vision board.  Remember, we tend to move in the direction of our focus.
  2. Plan ahead for unexpected problems such as having an emergency fund, back-up child care and medical insurance to help prepare for those rainy days.
  3. Create a workable budget that includes your dreams such as travel, philanthropy, starting a business, etc.  A true plan can turn a wish into a dream.   
  4. If you’ve lost your dream, I encourage you to take some time to dig deep and remember those things that make your heart sing.

It’s never too late and you’re never too young or too old to dream.

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.  A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.  A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.  - Greg S. Reid

8.08.2015

LIFT YOUR THOUGHTS | Creating a new way to think

It is said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.  But what is it about a thought that has the power to propel us forward to our purpose or keep us paralyzed and tied to our past?  Our thoughts are a part of us.  They live with us.  They lead us.  



Experts say that we think between 50,000 - 80,000 thoughts per day.  Wouldn’t it be great if the majority of those thoughts were positive, empowering, creative and supportive?  By choosing to focus on our possibilities instead of our limitations, we create an environment for a more productive and happier life.  

 I like the quote by Mark Twain that says, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”  

Many of the things that we think about ourselves can hinder us because we can be our own worst critic.  

We were created for greatness and each of us has unique talents and abilities that make the world a better place. 

That's why it’s important to remember to lift our thoughts, because we often gravitate toward our point of focus.  For example, if you’re driving a car and take your eyes off of the road to look at something along the way, if you focus on it for too long, the car will begin to move in that direction.  It’s the same way with our thoughts.

Have you ever noticed that there are those who have learned to cultivate a positive attitude and move effortlessly toward their goals, while others tend to struggle to get started, and never seem to get things moving in the right direction?  What is it that makes the two so different?

A glass half-empty is never full, while a glass half-full has room for more.

Without noticing, we can find ourselves embracing limiting thoughts that keep us focused on what we believe we can’t do, rather than what we can.

But what if we flipped the switch and changed the conversation to a more supportive train of thought?

I once heard an illustration about our minds being like Grand Central Station with “trains of thought” constantly traveling in and out.  There are trains that travel into dark tunnels and trains that travel in the direction of light.  We get to choose which ticket we purchase.

Just as Maya Angelou expressed that “words are things," thoughts are also things that manifest in tangible ways.

With a constant stream of media, daily stressors and a lack of rest, it’s possible for our thoughts to become weighed down.  

So what can we do to lift our thoughts and keep us traveling in a more positive direction?  Let’s re-focus to form new habits.

We can choose to:
  1. Embrace the talents and abilities that make us unique and allow ourselves to enjoy our accomplishments. 
  2. Monitor the voice inside our head and not allow negative thoughts to linger.  Take the train in a different direction.  
  3. Get more rest.  You’ll be amazed at how getting 8 hours of sleep consistently will improve your health and overall sense of well-being.  You will feel more capable to handle the stress and challenges of the day.
  4. Turn off the constant stream of media and only read the news that you’re truly interested in.  
  5. Identify the stressors in your life and make the necessary changes that will lighten your load.  
  6. Limit how much you put on your plate.  It’s ok to set boundaries and say no to people and things that weigh you down.
  7. Have fun, be adventurous and enjoy life!  Allow yourself to reconnect with the people and things that make you happy.  

Have dinner with friends, learn to play an instrument, ride a motorcycle, take a class, run a marathon, help a charity, become a mentor, learn a new language, go hiking or plan that trip you’ve always wanted to take.

The list is truly endless… but only you can choose what works for you.


Life is meant to be enjoyed and not just lived.  The good news is that when you learn a new way to think, you can learn a new way to be.

Thanks for stopping by!
Feel free to write a comment or share this post with someone else.