Thursday, April 7, 2016

Turn Obstacles in to Opportunities.....

 Change Your Point of View

"Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one sees the stars."- Frederick Langbridge, A Cluster of Quiet Thoughts 

If you’ve placed second in a contest, will you jump for joy and push for better results the next time or will you be discouraged and find an excuse not to join again? 

Life is always filled with choices. We may opt to have a pessimist’s view and live a self-defeated life or we may decide to take the optimist’s route and take a challenging and fulfilling life.

So why nurture an optimist’s point of view? And why now?

Optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to academic, athletic, occupational and political success; to popularity; to good health and even to long life and freedom from trauma.

On the other hand, the rates of depression and pessimism seem to be higher. 

Here’s ideas of optimism in action and why it really pays to be an optimist.

Optimists expect the best

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time which undermine everything they do.

The truth is optimists are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world. What differs is the way they explain their misfortune---it’s the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback.

Optimists tend to focus on and plan for the 'problem' at hand. They use 'positive reinterpretation.' In other words, they most likely reinterpret a negative experience in a way that helps them learn and grow. Such people are unfazed by bad situation, they perceive it is a challenge and try harder.

Optimists won’t say “things will never get better,” “If I failed once, it will happen again” and “If I experience misfortune in one part of my life, then it will happen in my whole life.”

Positive thoughts of optimists also predict better reactions during transitions to new environments, sudden tragedies and unlikely turn of events. If they fall, they will stand up. They see opportunities instead of obstacles. 

People respond positively to optimists

Optimists are proactive and less dependent on others for their happiness. They find no need to control or manipulate people. They usually draw people towards them. Their optimistic view of the world can be contagious and influence those they are with. 

Optimism seems to be a socially desirable trait in all communities. Those who share optimism are generally accepted while those who spread gloom, panic and hysteria are treated unfavorably. 

When the going gets tough, optimists get tougher

Optimists typically maintain higher levels of subjective well-being during times of stress than do people who are less optimistic. Pessimists are likely to react to stressful events by denying that they exist or by avoiding dealing with problems. Pessimists are more likely to quit trying when difficulties arise.

Optimists persevere 

Optimists just don’t give up easily.  They are also known for their patience. Inching their way a step closer to that goal or elusive dream.

Optimists are healthier and live longer

Simple pleasures and a positive outlook can cause a measurable increase in the body's ability to fight disease.

Optimists’ health is unusually good. They age well.  They get to out live those prone to negative thoughts. 

My challenge for you is to be an optimist today!  After today work on being an optimist tomorrow and so on. Think positively towards a more fulfilled life and turn obstacles in to opportunities.

Why not look forward to success in all your endeavors? Why not be resilient? Like everybody else you are bound to hit lows sometimes, but don’t just stay there. Carry yourself out of the mud and improve your chances of getting back on the right track and seeing the stars. I challenge you to inspire others to remove their dark-colored glasses and see life on the bright side.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Don't Miss the Rainbow.....

The goal of my blog is to create a challenge for readers. Challenging readers to look beyond themselves in to self-discovery. Each blog will provide a challenge to dig a little deeper, to push a little further and to boldly make a difference in your own life or in the life of another.
When traveling back from Charlotte NC, my husband and I decided to take a pit stop to Pilot Mountain State Park.  We have seen Pilot Mountain from afar on many trips to the Carolina's but had never stopped to explore.  During this trip, we decided to stop.  Explore.  Enjoy nature.
At the time of our arrival, it was raining.  Low clouds and rain accompanied our trip up to the top of the outlook.  It was two miles of curves and narrow passages.  When we got to the top to the outlook the rain continued.  We like to embrace nature and enjoy experiences so we continued on our journey.  We grabbed an umbrella and continued to hike.  We  walked on slippery rocks and muddy paths up a steep grade in order to reach our destination.  The wind began to carry our umbrella outward as we walked so we closed it and we kept walking.  We talked about how the overlook would not look as pretty because of the cloudy and rainy weather however we continued to walk awaiting our arrival.
Once we reached the overlook, it was very pretty.  The low hanging clouds hovered over the hedges and the landscape looked green in the valley.  The trees below looked so small and the valley looked like a puzzle that you could put together.  The ledge housed trees, flowers, rock and a view where you could see for miles.  The peek of Pilot Mountain which you see from a distance on the highway was now almost within reach.  I couldn't help but consider if the sky was clear and blue, what a breathtaking view it would be and what lovely pictures would be captured.   We continued on our adventure.
The rain subsided while we were standing at the overlook and it was then that I turned and saw a beautiful rainbow stretched out across the sky extending from Pilot Mountain.  The colors were radiant in their red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet array.  At that moment I thought "if we would have decided to change our plans due to the rain, we would have missed this rainbow."  This is what inspired the idea of this blog post.
We hear sayings like "you have to weather the storm," "difficult times makes us stronger," "you have to go through it to get through it," "don't wish for the rain to stop, dance in in."  In this exact moment on the top of the overlook  I thought,  "we would have missed this rainbow if we wouldn't have went through the rain."
How many times do we avoid the rain, the difficulties?  What would have been on the other side of the rain or the pain?  We hear that going through the tough times make us stronger.  Do you believe it?  Are you willing to embrace the rain?
My challenge for you today is to push forward through your rain.  Believe that on the other side is hope and possibly a better outcome.  Embrace it, find peace in it.
On the other side of the rain..... just might be a rainbow.

Getting to the Goal.....

Getting to the goal is sometimes easier said than done.
From a frequent goal setter myself, getting to the goal can sometimes seem impossible. The good news is that by taking small steps toward your goal you WILL see successful outcomes.  I was told by an educator once that we need to do something every 24 hours to get us closer to our goal.  When I looked back on my goals for 2015 I was much more successful than I thought.
Setting goals will give you short-term and long-term motivation and focus.  Settings goals help plan and organize our resources and time so that we can get the best out of life.
Think about your short-term and long-term goals.
By thinking about goals we are making progress.  Just by brainstorming and thinking we can become a step closer to our hopes and dreams.
There is no magic number, there is no magic answer.  Do what works for you.  For those of us who are not as detail-oriented our goals may be more scattered.
For others there may be specific guide lines needed.   I have learned a lot from the idea of the traditional goal setting technique of SMART goal-setting.
S- Specific (or Significant)
M- Measurable (or Meaningful)
A- Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
R- Relevant (or Rewarding)
T- Time-bound (or Trackable)
Some things that work for me include:
Writing and charting my progress. This is a key to successful goal-setting for me.  Even if I making little progress I am still making progress.
Setting clearly defined short-term and long-term goals enabled me to measure progress and achieve personal satisfaction.  My self-confidence and level of competence also improved as I begin to see my capabilities as I achieved my goals.
The basics of goal setting will involve deciding what you really want to do with your personal life and what you need to do to achieve it.  By breaking down goals in to smaller and manageable goals I had a clear written understanding of what I needed to do.

A good way to have a manageable list is to have a daily and weekly set of goals.  By doing this you will be in the position of moving towards you life plan.  Every day will give you the opportunity to fulfill a certain goal.
In 2015 I purchased a datebook that was much more than a datebook.  It was
called "The Inner Guide."  I liked it so much that I bought the same exact one for 2016.
This guide looks at month to month and day to day as a datebook.  It also
has sections to set goals, reflect on progress, and choose our priorities for the month.  The guide gives us a "where I am going" section, lists our top accomplishments and our top challenges.  The guide has a section for a monthly assessment, how we support out mind, body and spirit section and has a section for creative ideas and inspiration.
This book has become my go to for all things goal and inspirational related.
To start achieving your life long goals I challenge you to make a five  year plan. Break that plan down to a one year plan, then a monthly and daily plan.
Remember this is your plan and should work for you.
Get started now.  This time next year you will be glad that you started
your journey today!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Finding Solutions in Silence.....

While working on my new year, new words blog I touched on the idea of finding solutions in silence.  I was reaffirmed in this thought while watching Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday" this week when Dr. Eben Alexander  author of "Proof of Heaven" shared about his experiences of having a near death experience.  From the perspective of this Nero-surgeon, the evidence of Heaven is compelling.  Through his discussions on the show, he shared the idea that we don't have to have a near death experience to obtain closeness with God. He meditates several hours a day.  Through this practice he finds that he can connect to God more in depth.  I believe this is where we can find our spiritual guides, and a "peace that passes all understanding."

I started thinking about this idea and started focusing on the quote that I shared in my first post of 2016.  "Sometimes we find solutions in the silence."  My challenge for you today is to pray and/or meditation.  Find silence in everyday and listen for solutions.

Meditation does not have to be a perfect, ritualistic process.  Before I thought I could meditate properly I thought that I needed to "do it right."  However what I have found is there is not a "right" way to meditate.  Some people meditate for hours and others may close their eyes for a moment.  Some may not close their eyes at all.  Some may follow a particular program, a voice or feeling of light; others may only breathe.  Some people call prayer meditation.  It is all a personal preference.  You will find what works for you.  The most important thing is that you make the effort to do something.  Just begin.

There are so many tools on the internet as well.  I have a smart phone application that reminds me to "be still."  My goal is to practice my meditation process in the mornings.  I like to first read a devotional and then I just sit in silence.  Sometimes my devotional is an article.  Sometimes it is a book, sometimes a poem on the internet and sometimes the New Living Translation bible.  Often times I light a candle which helps me focus on.... nothing (yes nothing).  (Those of you who join me with an un-diagnosed form of Adult Attention Deficit understand).  This often helps clear my mind from the clutter of the day ahead.

 In my experience, this is where God speaks to me the most.  I may get a kindness movement, scripture reference, a confirmation of thought, a word, a direction for my life, an answered question.  I am confident that this small voice within my spirit is the voice of God.  This voice leads me.  Guides me.  Gives me purpose.  Gives me strength to face the day when life seems a little more difficult.

Some times this is not easy.  Sometimes that voice tells me things that are difficult to digest.  Sometimes that voice pushes me out of my comfort zone.  I know that being pushed out of our comfort zone is healthy and ultimately necessary.

The process of meditation (or prayer if that is what you call it), can give us great peace, unconditional love and answers.  Meditation and prayer doesn't change your circumstances always; it changes how you look at those circumstances.

Finding solutions in silence is a gift.  For me a gift through prayer and meditation.  Sometimes I focus on a person that is strong in my spirit.  Sometimes I just see what comes into my conscience.  We grow in silence.  We continue a journey through silence and we find solutions there also.  So as I previously challenged, take time to meditate and/or pray.  Maybe you will find all the answers you are seeking.

"Be still and know that I am God"

Monday, January 4, 2016

My five words for 2016.....

In 2013 I went with one word.  I asked God to give me a word that I would reflect on throughout the year.  The word in 2013 that I was given was TRUST.  Oh how that word was so necessary.  TRUST, the one word that I would need to get me through a great loss.  When my dad passed away in March of 2013, I doubted, I questioned, and in the end,  I trusted.  I trusted that I didn’t have all the answers and I trusted that God works in ways I don’t understand.  I learned that we live in the moment, we keep on keeping on and we TRUST.

In 2014 and 2015 I came up with five words each year and this year is the same.  My words this year are “L” words.  The year prior “R” and the year before that “P.”  I pondered and searched for the right combination of words that I would focus on.  In the two years prior I kept these little words tucked in my mind, etched on a notebook and displayed on my office cork board.  This year will be no exception.

So I present my 2016 words to live by.  I am going to blog more on these words as the year progresses and these words become more relevant and their purpose for 2016 continues to be revealed.


I always thought that listening required another person speaking.  I never thought about the idea of listening to silence.  I am listening to silence now.  In the stillness of life I am challenged to be “held” and to listen.  Sometimes our greatest answers come through silence.  We may have to surrender to silence to find a solution (I think that last sentence will be a blog topic and a quote by me!).  However I also think I need to listen to others.  Accept different perceptions by listening.  I pray that I will get the chance to be the listening ear that another may need.  Do you stop and listen?  At any given time when we stop, close our eyes and listen we can hear so many things.  What we choose to hear is the key.  LISTEN.  Listen without trying to get your own words in.  Listen without expectation.  Listen to your heart and most importantly, listen to the silence and what silence can teach.

The year of 2015 has been somewhat of a trial in my role as a parent.  I am a parent of an adult.  A parent who wishes to be a part of her child’s life but is shut out from the world in which she exists.  A parent who wants nothing more than to be needed.   A parent who has to figure out how to find herself in a life where her child has disconnected from her.   A parent who struggles with lack of contact, no conversation and a child who needs time to figure out who she is.  This parent has to let go in 2016.  I need to let go of the idea that I did something wrong.  I need to let go of the idea that relationship and family means different things to different people.   I need to let go of the idea of what my dad always said was truth “family will always be there.”  I need to let go of the let down, the disappointment and the hurt this situation has caused.  I need to let go of this parental role and look at this relationship differently.

For me, life is about being a knowledge seeker.  When we stop learning, we stop growing.  In 2016 I want to learn new things.  I want to learn something out of my comfort zone.  I want to take dance lessons.  I want to gain insight and understanding.  I want to learn how to let go and how to listen more effectively.  I want new skills, new perspectives and new ways of thinking.  

In 2015 I was able to start fully engaging my dream of facilitating and training on a more consistent basis.  This is an opportunity that I have been seeking for many years.  I have spent countless hours talking to trainers and critically evaluating what I like and don’t like about trainings.  I have been working on figuring out how to get a foot in the door, how to network and how to make money doing what I love, educating adults.  In 2016 I plan to engage even more and obtain training opportunities out-of-state.  I plan to not only continue pursuing this dream but also LAUNCHING my business of being a self-employed training contractor.  I plan to LAUNCH my new book “Comfort in Quarters.”  With continued forward movement and doing something every 24 hours to maintain this goal, 2016 will be the year of my dream LAUNCH.

I want to be LIGHT in the world.  Where many people watch the news and see despair, I choose to see LIGHT and to be LIGHT.  We reflect what we put out into the universe.  If we see despair, we will feel despair.  If we see light, we will be light.  I want to focus on what I see going right in the world.  I want to seek out the good.  I want to share random acts of kindness.  I want to show others what it is like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I want to spread LIGHT where I go.  

With my five words of 2016, I hope to embrace life and find peace.  I want to give grace and receive it.  My hope is that I leave a mark on 2016.   I challenge you to explore words to focus on in 2016.  What are your dreams?  What do you aspire to provide, be, embrace or embark on?  Share with me.  Here is to 2016.  Happiness is a choice.  Choose it!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Year New WORDS.....

Last year I put out a challenge to readers to embrace the idea of having five words to focus on.  These five words were to take the place of writing down resolutions that we likely will not successfully fulfill.  One of the most important things for me this year is to make sure I am always living in the moment.  Along with that I started thinking about what my five words would be and how they would revolve around the idea of "living in the moment."  So with that let me share my words with you.


The first three words came to me rather quickly at the beginning of 2015.  The other two not so quickly.  In fact those words jumped off the pages to me today.   I picked up the book "There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem" by Wayne Dyer at the library on Wednesday.  The word REVERENCE jumped out immediately.  I thought it was interesting that over 10 days prior, I had three "R" words picked out.  I was just waiting for the other two.  God works in amazing ways and gave me reverence and recognition.

This year is going to be a year to RENEW.  I am going to work on renewing my mind, body and spirit.  Starting the year with a new job bring about a sense of renewal.  I have also made efforts to RENEW my body.  I have lost 15 lbs since July.  I am getting the T-25 exercise program and my husband committed to do it with me!  It said on the infomercial that I would have a beach body in 10 weeks lol.  I am not looking much for the beach body but I need a renewed mind, body and spirit.  Also during my last few months at JFS I was completely broken.  This year with a new job and new self-employment opportunities and a renewed sense of purpose, RENEW is a perfect word for 2015.

In 2015 I am going to work on RESISTANCE.  I will focus on myself and know that God gave me this body to care for while I am in it.  I will resist temptation.  I am also stronger in 2015.  In so many ways I am stronger mentally, physically and spiritually.  My efforts to resist will pay off.  Along with this I will work on controlling my immediate gratification through resistance.  RESISTANCE is defined as " the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding." My efforts to resist and withstand will be in my everyday thoughts in 2015.

Because I am always someone who can't say no (which I am working on).  I am going to take opportunities in 2015 to RELAX.   I am going to have days in which I do nothing.  I always think I need to fill every minute of every day with something.  However the act of doing nothing can be so healing.  I am going to stop doing things that I feel pressured to do.  I am gong to breathe.  I am going to RELAX and that my friends is okay.  

REVERENCE is defined in the book “There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem” as "Communing quietly with God."  In the encyclopedia reverence is defined as a humbling of the self in respectful recognition of something perceived to be greater than the self.   Communing with God will be an important part of 2015.  Communing quietly is about having silence to reflect on and about listening to God speak.  

My last word is RECOGNITION.  I am challenged to recognize and enjoy the small things.  I am challenged to recognize that I alone make the choice to be happy.  It is not about my circumstances.  It is about my attitude around those circumstances. We need to stop and recognize and appreciate the simple idea that we have heat in our home on days when it is zero outside.  I have a Geranium that is budding on January 17th….  that is RECOGNITION.  It is possible to see beauty all around us.  We just need to take the time to recognize such beauty.  

My challenge for you is to think about five words that you can focus on in 2015.  

Just to recap mine…  I am challenged and encouraged to take time to RELAX and find inner peace.  I will have RECOGNITION of the beauty all around me.  I will RENEW my mind, body and spirit.  I will RESIST temptation and show REVERENCE by listening to the higher power.  

Let YOUR five words guide your path.  Remember it is your path alone.  Take it to where it may lead and find the joy in the journey.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lessons Learned in 2014.....

As we were driving home from Chicago I starting thinking about 2015 and also what I have learned from 2014.  I was listening to the song “If today was your last day” by Nickelback and I started thinking about regrets, hopes, progress and success in 2014.  Success is defined differently in my eyes right now.  I am starting the new year with a new job opportunity.  That being said, I am making that change because I want to be true to myself.  I want to work for an organization that I believe in and I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

With this blog post I want to share some of the things that I have learned in 2014.  Sometimes we grow through struggle.  The growth is so important however the struggle is less than desirable.  I am a work in progress as I go  through life dealing with disappointment, unfairness and grief.  In the end, I am STRONGER for it.

After 16 years working for an organization that I helped build up, I am saying goodbye.  The mission has changed.  The direction is not the way I believe we should be going and the goals are different. With that and other things in 2014 comes life lessons and many things learned.  

Some things I have learned in 2014.
  1. New opportunities create new excitement and a renewed spirit.
  2. Kindness is not something we should randomly do, it needs to be a lifestyle.
  3. Our health is not promised regardless of how we take care of ourselves.  
  4. Perception is just that and there is more than one side to a story.  Be willing to listen to it.
  5. Know who your “people” are.  Be willing to agree to disagree.
  6. Judge not.
  7. Grief is a process.  Each day can be better than the day before if we allow it.
  8. There is freedom in being transparent.
  9. Less is more.
  10. Your parent can be one of your best friends.
  11. Making memories is all that we have.  Make memories daily.  
  12. Enjoy the simple things.  A sunrise, a cloud, a sleeping child, the warmth of your spouse at your side.
  13. Smile at strangers and make eye contact with those who are broken (that means everyone).
  14. When one person says you are average and 50 think you are great, don’t focus on that one person or obsess over why they would think you were “just” average.
  15. Be better instead of bitter.  Holding on to hurt only hurts yourself.  Let it go.
  16. We can’t worry about what we can’t control.
  17. We can’t control the actions of our adult children but must love them unconditionally.
  17.  Live in the moment.  That is all we have.
  18.  Political agendas and favoritism is always going to overrule hard work and dedication.

I could go on but these are the ones that jumped to my conscience.  So for this blog, I challenge you to think about some things that you have learned in 2014.  Go ahead and get started.  Life is a journey and there is joy in that journey even through our tears.  Here is to new beginnings and new opportunities!  I am going to embrace them how about you?

If today was your last day lyrics

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone un-turned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride
If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?
Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you're never living twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life
What if, what if, if today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?
And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?
If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
'Cause the hands of time are never on your side
If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?
And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love
If today was your last day?