Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 15

Today I am thankful for the moments when we set aside our differences.

We have so much to learn from each other in our lives. We owe it to each other to tear down our walls and listen more intently.  We have to give more.  We have to love harder.

Relationships are one of the biggest components of life.  They open our minds, comfort us, motivate us and change us.  If we work  harder to be kinder and treat people with ultimate respect we will make life easier for everyone.

I'm sorry to anyone I have hurt. I forgive those who have hurt me.
These are the moments after that - where we have the opportunity to make it right and to treat each other well.

Thank you for all of you out there who are trying.  I know that I am.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 14

Today I am thankful for health and for the awareness to not take it for granted.

I pray for everyone who is struggling with their health right now and I actively try to remember to celebrate my own.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 13

Today I am thankful for days away from the computer.

Hope you all have enjoyed yours as much as I have mine.

xoxoxox. Night.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fifteen days of Thanks - Day 12

Today I am thankful for Serenity and everything the past 7 plus years has brought to my life.
 
Trust. Balance. Tears of Joy. Laughter. Commitment. Meaning. Purpose. Excitement. Family. Renewed Holidays. A Home. And most of all Love.

Through her I know more about life and more about myself. Through her I have seen the best in people.   And, I have seen within myself an unwavering conviction about what truly matters to me.

I love you, Serenity.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 11

Today I'm thankful for the periods of time that cement close friendships.

It's the thing that happens early in life when you see someone every day in school...or later in life at work.  It's getting to live with someone for a year and sharing meals, late nights and early mornings.  It's the people you count on seeing every week at the gym.  The people you are lucky enough to share your path with for a piece of time - long enough to let them inside.

I've always been so thankful for the times that open that gate to long, intimate friendships.
The experiences that make comfortable, lifelong friendships possible. The moments that foreshadow dinners and phone calls reserved for catching up.  The things you look back on and have to connect over and share for the rest of your life.

So...to the faces and heart warming voices that keep showing back up...I'm thankful for you and the road we took to get here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 10

Today I'm thankful for laughter.

It's healing from the inside out.  It's contagious.  It's healthy.  It lets your soul float for a moment.

There's the moments when laughter is inappropriate, like in church, where it elevates to an even higher level and cannot be stopped.  The kind that starts just by looking at someone.  The kind that you have to stand up just to shake it out.

I'm always amazed when I find someone that my sense of  humor is in sync with and we laugh together more than we do anything else.

Or when someone's laugh is so heart warming that I find myself laughing along with them without having any knowledge of why I'm laughing.

Oooh and those moments where I find myself alone, mentally rehashing something that has happened and I start uncontrollably giggling to myself.

Laughter, God it's good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 9


Today I am thankful for changes.  To saying yes to something new or unexpected. To opening my arms to everything that I can.  To bending with the plans. 

Without change there is no forward progress or growth.  I appreciate all that I learn from each new thing that enters my life.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 8

Today I am thankful for Christmas Music.

Bring it on.  Early and often. It warms my soul and melts my heart.  It takes me back home and back to childhood.  It creates snow with no need for a shovel.  It helps me to relive memories and to create them. It tucks me in and brings Santa to my sleep over and over again.

Magic.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 7

Today I am thankful for the support of the people around me.

The decisions that we have to make and the things that we have to do aren't always easy.

We are able to get so much more done when we work together and support one another.


The people that stand by my side make my life easier.  I think smarter. I act more confidently.  I get more done. I push harder when I think I'm ready to give in.  I sleep sounder knowing that I'm not alone.

Today is a big thank you to the people in my life who have my back.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 6

Today I am thankful for family dinners.

Delicious food shared over great conversation and familiar laughter.  The stories told and retold.  Saying yes to second helpings. Glasses of wine. The togetherness that comes not often enough. The way you can't tell it's been weeks.  Ordering exactly what she wants just so that you can share. Remembering the people who are no longer here to join us. Feeling as if they are.

It's the people that know you longest that make the flavor of the food run deep.

Family dinners are one thing I cannot live without.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 5

Today I am thankful for mornings at home.

Waking up slowly. Making breakfast. The unmistakeable sounds of the start of a day. Laughing. Talking. Home-brewed coffee.

Mornings at home give me time to start my day with the people that mean the most to me.  A few extra hours in my pajamas. An energizing start to my day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 4

Today I am thankful for responsibilities. The things I do for others and for myself.

Love. Kids. People. Dogs. Home. My body. My mind. Work. Bills.

Every one of these responsibilities help me to live my life with purpose.  I have reasons to get up and go every morning. I give more to my day.  And I get more out of my day.

Because of the things I've taken responsibility for I live a more fulfilling life.  I recognize that without them I'd be feeling lost and unguided.

Everything that I give myself to gives back to me a meaningful way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 3

Today I am thankful for love. In every form. In every random act of kindness. In every surrender.
In sharing. In giving. In receiving. In glances and gestures. In tears and laughter.

For teaching me to becoming bigger I ever thought I could be.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 2

Today I am thankful for fragility. Fragility of life, moments, relationships, ages, and feelings. The awareness that everything has a beginning and an end helps me to live my life putting love first. It helps me to take moments in more deeply and think through decisions.

I'm not afraid to say I'm sorry or to forgive. I'm not afraid to put myself out there. Rejection doesn't scare me into losing time. I'm not afraid to look back and feel the past. I'm know how to move on and how to hang on for dear life.  I take each moment seriously, but can laugh through most anything.

Fragility helps me to live in the moment and for that I am thankful every day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fifteen Days of Thanks - Day 1

Today I am thankful for family.  For the connections that strengthen with the truth.  For traditions and  memories.  For every call I get that reminds me that we are in this together.  For the times that came before the struggle.  For the hope of even better times to come. For the acceptance.  For the season that brings more time together.  For a place to call home that has nothing to do with four walls.  For the lines on my face that remind me of his.  For the relationships that have nothing to do with bloodlines, but everything to with commitment and family. For time. Years. Faces. Love.

I have been blessed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Needing a new project

With my garden withering back into the soil and Bepurdy365 only one week away from the one year mark, I'm trying to figure out what my next creative endeavor should be. I'd like to actually to bring my writing back over here to Firing Up The Canon.

Now I just have to be open to letting the next when in once it presents itself.

What are you doing to stay creative come fall?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Littlest Things.


I wanted to share a neat little thing, pun intended, with you.

I had a package of sunflower seeds - mixed variety. They were some of the best sprouters out of my whole seed bunch. I cornered my garden with them; however, I had too many to put into the space so I just let about 9 of the continue to thrive in little pots. I had no idea what would happen, but they remained green and healthy in the pots so I just let time pass. Well, now I know what sunflowers do when they aren't given the room to grow six feet tall with a stem circumference of 3 inches. They grow in the space they are given. They flower just the same, only tiny.

Human nature is no different. If we allow ourselves to live to the fullest we will create beauty within whatever space we are given. We won't complain because we aren't the biggest or handed the most - we will thrive fully with what we have.

It's also a great lesson not to give up on the little things. They have the ability to offer brilliance to our life just like the big things. Celebrate the milestones and appreciate everything you have large and small.

Bloom.


Monday, August 2, 2010

BePurdy365


I just wanted to take a quick moment to share the fact that BePurdy 365, the daily photo site that I've been sharing with Courtney since October of last year, is now 10 months old. It's a big commitment to get a photo a day posted, but we've going strong and are still aiming to hit our 365 mark. I love this blog in so many ways. If you haven't checked it out - please do. Let us know what you think!

Thank you for sharing in my life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life in Transition.

A small lilac bush sits at back right corner of my lot.

Some time last year the tree stopped blooming and the life inside of it faded.

Early this April, however, I came into the backyard to find the bush bursting with life. Vibrant orange and pale yellow flowers trailed over the branches. Though it had stopped thriving as what it once was - the bush lent its strength and structure to an incoming vine - the beautiful blossoms and sweet, sweet fragrance of the honey suckle.

A month or so passed and as the honey suckle faded back to a subtle green, a morning glory vine eased its way in and began the process of showing its life over the branches. Mornings burst over the bush in a blueish lavender. All uninterrupted by, but supported by the life below.

I've been observing this transition of life for months. So many lives blossoming then receding over the same set of branches. The ease of exchange. The way it can almost happen before your eyes without you even noticing. The way nature comes in to fill the space to keep life beautiful.

Isn't this what living is all about? Allowing yourself to change over time, to embrace new life, the people that come and go, the situations that present themselves. Moving always - forward.

We all have this wonderful opportunity to open our arms wide during periods transition. To surrender ourselves to the changing the life around us. To make room for new love and situations.

When we don't fight hard against nature we can live fully in our skin.

I'm thankful for the bush that surrendered itself to open my eyes to this. It helps me to realize that there has been value in every stage of my life. Each has enabled me to learn and display critical parts of myself, to give and receive the exact love I needed at that time.

Also feature on Seasoned Eats.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In Pictures.

For every place you cannot be - I'll take you with me in pictures.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On gardening and life.

The things that grow the fastest don’t always produce the best results.

One thing that playing in my garden has made me aware of is the parallel that can be drawn between all forms of life.

At the beginning of my planting experience I had a crop of kale and a crop of spinach that eagerly rose from the soil before anything else. I thought for sure I’d be harvesting plenty from those two crops. I doted on them, bragged on their successes and… just as my other plants were beginning their growth… I ended up having to dump these early risers in the composter. They went to seed too fast and stayed small.

Today I was at lunch with a close friend of mine and through conversation I was able to see how this notion can too be true of relationships. Often things that seem overly fiery at first erupt prematurely and fade away before they ever reach the level of maturity that make them their very best.

It’s the things that take a little more work at the beginning that have the chance to grow completely nurtured and strong. You take more time to commit to them, you give them a constant stream of nurturing over a longer period of time, you celebrate little moments of growth along the way. They require an investment.

Strong and steady.

It’s these things you get the most from. Just like my little tomato seedlings, eggplant and squash plants that took what seemed like so long to stretch their roots into the soil deep enough to wildly inch toward their tops into the sun.

I feel so proud of the time I’ve put into their growth, much the same as I feel about the friendships and connections that have lasted with me over years and years.

These are the places I share most of my heart. The things I trust enough to grown into. All good things start as seedlings with a 50% chance of taking off - it's really a combination of conditions and what you put into them that most determines how they turn out.

You really do reap what you sow - in every area of your life.

What kinds of possibilities are you nurturing?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On the anniversary of loss.

A losing contest entry. A winning lifetime.

This entry because I miss her, her voice, her visits, her sayings - her life.

Oh, Honey
“What do you know that’s new,” my great-grandmother, known affectionately as Honey, inquired as I entered the nursing home for the second night that week. The truth was, not much was “new” in my life since the last time I had seen her. Yet, “nothing” didn’t seem to be an adequate answer. Certainly not the answer to give a 93 year old woman living in a cold cell with ails and hours of loneliness. After all, here in front of me was a woman living with the third stranger she’d have for a roommate; the third stranger, after decades in a house with her daughter, granddaughter, grandson, and eventually even her great-granddaughter. The third stranger, when family is what she needed most. So, in that moment I became grown-up and put her reality before mine. I told Honey the details of my day, which contrary to how I felt, proved interesting to her.

Later that night we sat and laughed about how she came to be known as Honey. As a baby, she’d endearingly beckon me, "Honey, smile. Show your teeth. Honey, walk with me." As I grew up and learned to speak, I mimicked her words and called her "Honey" in return. I wanted to do as she did and say as she said. Much of my childhood is recounted to me in stories of moseying beside her. I’d walk and chant her name, Eleanor, and the brand of her hand cream in sequence. “Porcelana. Eleanor. Porcelana. Eleanor,” my toddler tongue practiced, over and over again.

Time passed and school days replaced my days at Honey’s side. And while I was hitting the books, arthritis was hitting Honey hard in the joints. She became immobilized and spent many years becoming one with the couch. There she found comfort in her favorite views: by day, a three-pane window with a panoramic view of a weeping willow…by night, Wheel-of-Fortune.

It was there, next to her on that couch, where I was truly able to get to know Honey and return the loving attention she gave to me in my youth. We’d spend hours talking about her job at the Cleveland Twist Drill, and how gentlemanly the boys were at the dance hall. Honey was known as the best dancer in town. “People would line up to dance with her,” my grandfather once told me. It was also on that couch where I learned about her marriage and eventual divorce. Listening to the details of her unresolved heartbreak broke my heart. “We never spoke mean to each other, Jamie. Never. I don’t understand,” she’d mourn.

The last exchange I shared with Honey on that couch was in September of 2006. I arrived at her house just in time. “Thank God you are here,” my cousin choked out as she rushed towards the door. Honey’s legs were weaker than ever before and, despite all efforts, they couldn’t get her out of their small bathroom. She was scared and trapped by her own physical weakness. Searching for a solution in earshot of the bathroom door, we discussed calling 911. “I don’t want to go to the hospital, Jamie,” Honey shivered as I poked my head into the bathroom. I knew she didn’t. We all knew she didn’t. She always believed that once she went, she was going there to die. I choked back my tears, tried my best to calm her down and we did eventually get her out of the bathroom. Unfortunately, her struggle didn’t end once we had her safely back on her couch.

Over the course of the week leading up to this bathroom incident my Honey had started to show signs of dementia. She was hallucinating, seeing ants crawling through the living room and getting acquainted with ghosts of her past of as if they had just visited the house. In her intermittent moments of clarity we’d pray that another hallucination wouldn’t steal her from reality. Unfortunately, our prayers went unanswered. The “ants,” once on an occasional tour of duty, were becoming permanent residents. Defeated, we made the call for help. We followed the flashing lights of the ambulance to the hospital. We spent the night inside her room trying to comfort her into understanding: in order to get better, she had to have medical attention. “Help me, Jamie. Take me home,” she’d cry. I was holding in my tears every second of that evening. I couldn’t do what she was pleading. I couldn’t take care of her in the way she wanted. Taking her home wasn’t the grown-up choice.

Honey's hospital stay resulted in a recovery from an infection and an eventual move into a nursing home. She did well with nursing care for almost a year. On rare days during that last year of her life she’d slip back into a dementia-like state and drift into the world of her past. There she’d often “see” her deceased mother standing in front of her. “My mother was here this afternoon. She promised to be back to visit later tonight or tomorrow. I wonder when,” she dreamily pondered. I feared what that visit would mean and always hoped that her mother’s return would be further than a day away. Honey would also take me on long descriptive walks through the streets of her youth: walks canopied with trees, detailed down to their barks, and people she had remembered from the past. I willingly took these adventures with her, trying to soak up whatever details I could from a woman who too soon I would lose.

On June 17th, 2007 it happened. While eating birthday cake for my brother, the phone rang. “The nursing home wants you to call. It doesn’t sound good,” my uncle told Honey’s daughter. Immediately, the phone sunk from her ear and began to dangle, weak in her grip. Rather than calling, we intuitively piled into a chain of cars and made our way to the place we’d have to say goodbye. Before we could get there, Honey passed on. The tears I had choked back on many other occasions in order to be grown-up filled the room in child-like sobs the moment I saw her. She was still. She was quiet. I was not.

I reflect on this day often. The lesson I have learned is this: throughout life we certainly have moments where we grow up, but we are never fully "grown-ups". There will always be moments that leave us vulnerable and affected…as unprepared as our childhood-self experiencing pain for the first time. All we do is the best we can with what we have – and that’s the same thing that we did as children, before life expected us to be grown-up at all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where oh where has the Canon girl gone.


I haven't been over here to write in a while, but that doesn't mean I'm not writing.

If you want to see what I've been up to lately - come visit me at my garden blog.

I'll be back here soon.

:)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Romantic-Laura Marling (Cover)

As many songs as she posts are as many songs as I will post. Amazing Chelsea. Keep singing. If you haven't listened to her, check out her other songs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You reap what you sow.

I've been quiet on this front, but here's why.

I've been putting a little bit more blogging effort into my gardening blog.

My seedlings are planted :)

I'm very excited!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hip Hop A-Hibbity. Hop-to.

What's the best way to deliver Easter Baskets? Hopping of course. It's a little tiring, but what's good for bunny is good for me.



In a Garden! Dig. Dig. Dig.


I'm working on building my first garden in 6 years!

First step. Dig. Dig. Dig.

See my progress!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Reflections from the Back of the Hu(a)rley

Had a great weekend so far. Wanted to share some of the highlights and reflections. Hope you are all enjoying the weather as much as I am.

It's Us!

Self Reflection

The Rearview Road


The House

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I turn to you - and away from my overactive nervous system.

I can write about the lessons I have learned on any given number of things, but there one lesson I struggle to learn no matter how many times I gain experience with it. NERVES.

I do not know how to tell myself rationally that there is a reason to remain calm once I start getting nervous and escalating in a situation. The pain hardly ever parallels the reality.

I cause myself so much grief.

So, in the words of a license plate I failed to take a picture of on the highway yesterday – “I turn 2 U.”

How do you remind yourself not to “sweat the small stuff?”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chelsea Lately - See what this little lady has been up to.

Saw this young lady play her guitar and sing for more than 2 hours last night. Amazing talent. Check out her youtube page for more songs :) And keep checking it - I've put in a long list of requests. No pressure, Chelsea.

(Not my homework, not my problem. Not now. Not never.) PLAY ME SONGS.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What we think, we create.

An ironic, but not surprising thing happened in the last 24 hours. I utilized the last name of an old friend on an ad I was writing and somehow within the same 12 hours (after not having spoken in months) her named popped up in my facebook friend requests.

Yeah, so? I know I like to drag meaning out of things, but there is a reason for that – I usually find some.

It all goes into the theory that you get more of what you focus on. I had thought about my friend – wrote down her name…and then an actual connection was made. No force of hand, no pursuit, it just came.

I think this is an important thing to consider. We get more of what we put our focus and energy on. So if we focus on positive – we find more positive. We focus on negative – we find more negative.

A month ago I was struggling. I was disappointed in the way things were unraveling with a few of my friends and I put so much focus on it that I didn’t realize I was passing up plenty of hours that I could have been focusing on people who were treating me EXACTLY how I wanted to be treated.

Additionally, I kept finding more and more reasons to be disappointed in the way things were going. Why? Because I was so focused on it that I was looking for them.

Had I focused on my unaffected, positive relationships I probably would not have cared at all about the insignificant disappointments that were presenting themselves. I would have realized they didn’t matter all that much at all and remained uninvolved in a negative drama I was feeding into.

I also probably would have been able to move blindly past things that didn’t matter and even just focus on the 98% positive things about the relationships I had been nitpicking.

I wouldn’t have had time to feel hurt over unimportant things because I would have been completely consumed by great ones.

So, be aware of what you are focusing on. It will come to you. It’s inevitable.

So, Live Life and Live it Good.

LiveLyf

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Flip the lip and try again.

It must be the season for new cup releases.

Einstein's is doing something pretty fun with their cup. It's a "flip the lip" contest. After you are done drinking..you unroll the top of the cup (not without effort) and reveal your winnings - or not. I lost, so I don't know what the winner cup says; however, I do think it's a fun concept.

So unroll with me. The vanilla hazelnut coffee there is quite delish.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Who are the people in MY neighborhood?????

Let's play a game, shall we?

We took our first playground walk today in the sunshine and luckily I had my camera. One street south of my house we had a little photo adventure. Now, I want you to be a part of it.

What do you see on these front porches that you might not find in your own neighborhoods?

Enjoy :)




Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The New Caribou


The new caribou coffee cup rocks.

If you've been following my blog at all you probably know that I love my hot morning beverages to come complete with little words of inspiration.

The Caribou Coffee™ cup is now full of them.

Here's what I took in with my caffeine today:

*Be the first to enter and the last to leave the dance floor.
*Indulge in chocolate therapy.
*Plant lots of trees.
*Learn to say thank you in ten languages.
*Dare to Adventure.
*Be the ruler of your own life.
*Savor every sip.
*Marshmallows have no nutritional value, and that's ok.
*Step 1: Rake Leaves. Step 2: Jump.
* You'll only be your current age once.
*Only look back if it makes you smile.
*Donate Blood. You have Plenty.
*Dance in the rain.
*Lighten up.
*Get your hands dirty.
*Don't wait for New Year's to make a resolution.
*Sing out loud.
*Be the first to apologize.
*Spend time with your kids, tomorrow they're a day older.
*Give your change to charity.
*Spin the globe then pack your bags.
*Pour yourself a cup full of karma.
*Have a favorite charity.

Or as Caribou Coffee™ tags itself, "Life is short. Stay awake for it.®

Monday, March 1, 2010

Positive

I haven't done one of these posts in a while, but today I got a little inspiration from the road and I'm posting.

Life is a constant stream of events and those events come with choices. The biggest choice being the one dealing with attitude.

Some things are easy. They go well, lift you ten feet off the ground emotionally and you go through the moment naturally elated.

Other things are a bit more complex. Things don't go the way you wanted them to, they present a set of challenges, or flat out slap you across the face with a completely unexpected/unwanted outcome. Andeven at these times, though less natural, a positive attitude is still possible.

I've been listening to Randy Pausch's book about his Last Lecture and in it he repeats, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."

It's true and representative of a larger notion. There is always a positive to be found. It just requires training your brain to find it - to look for it.

I truly believe that most of the time you'll find whatever you are looking for. So if you focus on bad things you will see only bad, but if you look for the good and keep a positive frame of mind - positive aspects will start coming your way.

Look at "bad" and difficult things in your life and figure out how you can grow from them or how they could later benefit you. Find the experience, the lesson, the unexpected positives.

It's no different than taking a good photo of a scene or an object that a million people would never see beautifully - or would simply walk by and never take a second glance at at all. You've got to frame and reframe until things look the way you want them to.

So, reposition events in your mind until you see what you need to see. Look at them harder. Turn them over. Tilt them. Flip them around.

And, find the positive. (It's always there for the taking!)



Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Morning - yawn, pant, sniff, ruff ruff

Here's the happy clan in the morning. All cozy, snuggled in, bark and whine free for just a couple hours :)
LUKAS - PUKAS


LEIA


GODIVA - DIVA


BAILEI


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dream Resolution

I have a repeating dream. The minute details are different each time, but the basic premise is the same. I’m always enrolled in college. Often I miss one or two classes entirely for a large portion of the semester. In most versions of the dream I walk onto campus and have no idea what my schedule is. Once I look at it I realize that we are halfway through the semester and I haven’t even showed up for one class. I look at syllabuses and see that I’ve missed tests and information. Sometimes I walk into the class for the first time on the day of a test. It's always a scramble, depressing and totally overwhelming.

At some point every time I have this dream I realize I have to drop out and start over and that I wasted tons of money.

Here's what I do know: with me, until I have resolution to my dreams they continue to play out over and over again.. I wonder what this one means.

-------------------------------------------
A sidenote on dreams: Check out addressedtoanonymous.com if you haven’t lately. Some great letters have been posted. I don’t want this dream to die, so if you have something you could write in – a letter you could share…PLEASE DO.

Self Definition

You could define the way you feel about yourself by someone else's opinion of you - but why would you?

When we feel personally attacked in life we have a tendency to forget about human tendencies.

Often times people are reacting to us out of emotion that isn't fully attributed to us.

Little pieces of bad days, past hurts, assumptions, and defenses work their way into every situation and are then projected onto current realities.

Because of this we are often attributed qualities or failures that aren't really our own.

If we change how we feel about ourselves based on every last person's momentary judgments, we are doing ourselves, our esteem, and our self identity a great injustice.

Only you know who you are and what your intentions are.

There are times that you do something forseeing one outcome and getting a completely different one. Other times we completely overlook at potential negative side effect. That is the course of life. Things don't always go as expected.

Go into each thing you do with the best of intention. Be willing to admit when you are wrong or when something goes completely differently then you expected, but don't call everything failure or define yourself about how people feel about you in any one given situation.

And most importantly don't go chasing your self worth around based on what other people think of you. If you do you'll be chasing it around for the rest of you life and constantly neglecting the one person that knows the truth about who you are - YOU.

Do your best. Operate with the best of intention. Be open to explaining yourself when needed. But never let anyone tell you who you are, what you are capable of, or to define your motivation.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inspired Change

I need inspired change.

It’s getting to that point in the winter where I want to crawl out of the dark and cozy hole that I’ve dug myself into, but my body hasn’t fully adopted the potential change. I have good intention and desire to open the world back up to myself, I just haven’t figured out how to emerge – at least not in a healthy way. I’ve figured out how to go out to eat…but unfortunately that is just making the needed change a bit more difficult as I feel like I’m packing on the pounds and making any fitness and financial goals even bigger challenges.

So I’ve decided I need to just make a first step - any first step. Maybe it’s going to the gym tonight. Maybe it’s enrolling for a class. I keep talking about things I want to explore and do and not doing them…and that is making for long periods of time with no change.

I’m giving myself till five p.m. to figure out where I want to start. Where I’m going to take my first step. One thing I do know – it will not be into a restaurant.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Winter's end.

I want to scoop up cups of sunshine and pour them over my skin, splash them across my cheeks.

I want to drink down the yellow and the orange - feel it swell in my joints, course my veins, strengthen my lungs.

I want to blink away the bright of the day and sleep the slumber of summer, sticky with sweat and deep muscular exhaustion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Space

When I was younger I used Lent to make sacrifices of a personal nature, but ones that didn’t really have any true affect on me. I’d give up pop or make a promise not to gripe about something, but to be honest I never really felt a connection to my sacrifice.

Last year I modified my thinking during lent and tried to incorporate elements into my 40 days that would not only benefit me, but others as well.

Example. I gave up online shopping with one exception. If I found something I just “HAD” to purchase I promised myself that I’d give 5 items to goodwill. At the end of the Lent season I was really doing an exact tally, but I do know that six boxes of my things got delivered to the goodwill store near my house and I felt good about what the 40 days had added up to.

This year I’m going to continue to collect things around my home to give to goodwill, but I’m putting a slightly different spin on Lent for myself. I’m going to dedicate the next 40 days to clearing out space in my life in general and focusing more on the moment.

What does this mean? It means no texting while driving. It means no facebook at work before lunch and a maximum of three brief checks per day rather than having it open sporadically all day long. It means writing more in my blog and clearing out my mind. It means space to explore my thoughts again. It means taking some quiet time every day to reflect. And I've just decided that it is also going to mean keeping an active gratitude journal. I am going to list three specific things every day that I can be thankful for – taking time and clearing space to reflect on my days.

Lent isn’t for everyone, but I do think we’d all benefit from taking a little quiet time in our lives - especially away from the constant distraction of technology.

In what ways could you clear space for yourself and change the way you are living?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Negative Emotion. Overruled.


I’m up at all hours thinking. Contemplating life. Finding it takes me an extra 15 minutes to fall back to sleep once I’m awake, because some things are left unsettled in my mind.

During these hours I find myself circling around the concept of perception and attitude.

I’m realizing that we have the ability to paint our individual realities however it is we wish to see them.

We can feel in control, victimized, opportunistic, burned, fortunate or deflated – and I believe that the perspective we have is an absolute choice.

Things happen to all of us. Situations unfold and we react. Some things are solidly sad and unfortunate, but some of us choose to do positive and motivating things with them – and some of us choose the play the role of the affected. We have the absolute ability render ourselves powerless over what has “happened to us”. We can, if we want, forget to take responsibility for the role we play in our outcomes.

I’ve been playing both sides of this coin in some regards, but I will tell you this…as I become aware of the situations during which I’m allowing myself to feel like the affected person – I’m regaining control.

I’m confronting situations that I’m uncomfortable with and being settled by their outcomes – whatever they are. And I mean that.

I realize that I can only be the victim of things I let myself feel the victim of. I instantly regain personal power the moment I confront my demons, communicate honestly, and choose to be okay with any outcome.

I’ve been toting this quote around with me for years and it proves useful on a regular basis, “Let go of what is not for you and you will make room for what is.” I don’t know who wrote it, but it summarizes reality perfectly. If you hang on to anything that doesn’t belong in your life you are blocking potential space for something that would fit.

This statement applies to negative attitudes and emotions as well as people, habits and belief systems. Let go of them and make room for better ones.

Let go of fear and make room for self-empowerment and courage.

Let go of past definitions and notions and let things, relationships and people evolve into their new roles in your life. They are all valuable when they are what they should be.

Let change happen and don’t struggle against it. Embrace now and do it with a positive attitude. It changes everything.

Choose a good attitude or choose to dwell in the bad. You can’t do both.

Hold tight to what is present to you…and let things that have become distant or negative fall to the sides. You don’t need their distraction. It will only hold you back or motivate you for the wrong reasons.

How are you going to live your life? What do you want people to see in you? Do you want attention for the positive or the negative?

Choose and choose wisely.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Live.

A funny thing happens in the delivery room – we are born with instincts and inclinations, things we won’t discover for years.
Then we enter into the world and people start training us to be someone. Some of our instincts and inclinations change before we discover them, but some do not.
So, we become someone raised and developed, but representing a core truth – the little somethings we had before anyone taught us to be anything.

Then somewhere along the way awareness, expectation and judgement slap us in the face.

Unfortunately the end result is that all too often we start thinking we aren’t good enough or need to change because of others’ opinions. We spend too much of our lives trying to condition ourselves out of just being ourselves.

I think that if you find yourself having to conform just to fit into a group or a social setting or a conversation – it might be a better idea to consider changing your present company instead of yourself.

There are so many conditions to this…I’m not telling you to be okay to go about hurting yourself or other people in the name of, “it’s just who I am.” I’m talking about core truths. The things you love. The things you feel.

Be you. You only get once chance to live this life. Live it proudly.

Look for little reflections of yourself in the people you surround yourself with. Complement yourself in your company and in your interests. Don’t let them defeat you.

And help other people do the same.

Life is hard enough without us setting out to push each other down on account of basic differences.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Negative emotions - Cause and Reaction.

Have you ever reacted to something in anger or sadness and then looked back and had to ask yourself why you were even reacting in the first place?

--------------

Before blowing up on someone with an issue or reacting out of pure emotion, try this.

Write down the reason you are reacting and be specific. What set off your emotion. Then go one step further and write down how that kind of emotion feels to you.

Read what you wrote and then walk away from it for 30 minutes. Read it again.

Too often we react out of emotion on the spot and say things we don't mean to say. Not enough thought goes into the reaction.

Putting space between the event and the expression of it is sometimes all it takes for me to gain perspective and communicate more clearly about my feelings.

If I find that I feel foolish reading my own reactions if I can't justify my reaction to anyone outside of the person I'm upset with - I try to set it aside or find a calm way to talk through my feelings.

I've lost too many days and nights of my life to premature reaction to things.

What do you do to dispel negative emotions?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Preferences aren’t Superiorities.

I went into Einstein’s to order my coffee today and something in the voice of the woman ordering behind me made me want to share this thought.

Preferences are merely preferences – not superiorities.

Haven’t you ever noticed that there are certain people who feel like their preferences put them at a higher level than the other people around them? They feel somehow elevated by what they like. As if preferences aren’t just things that we grow to like as individuals, but that somehow we grow to like them because we are better, smarter, or more sophisticated than the people around us.

It’s just not true. What’s best for you isn’t necessarily best for the people around you. No amount of convincing or judging will make it so.

It seems like we as a society would grow closer if we look at differences as leveling agents – positives. We can’t grow if we don’t see and embrace what is different than us.

By nature we will all encounter, try and be exposed to different things that this world has to offer – if we listen to each others' stories and reasons, we grow.

If we use them as ways to judge I think we fail to see the point of living.

Embrace people for who they are. And remember it never hurts to try something a different way, but there is nothing to say that anyone’s way has to be better for you than your own. And in the same, your way is not necessarily what is best for other people.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Remind Me

"Maybe you expected marriage to be perfect - I guess that's where you and I are different. See, I thought it would be all about making mistakes but doing it with someone who's there to remind you what you learned along the way." - Jody Picoult, Handle With Care.