Posts Tagged “positivity”

Out With The Old, In With The New

Out With The Old, In With The New

Pairs Well With… “The doors will be opened to those bold enough to knock.” – Unknown

Out with the old, in with the new.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2017.  For whatever reason, the day after Christmas leaves me a little sad.  It’s likely because the anticipation that the holiday brings subsides and all the shimmer and sparkle is taken down. Once that happens, my mind starts to think about what the fresh start of the new year will bring.  Will it be good?  What will I do?  Will this be my year?  My thoughts dance around the endless possibilities in store for me and the many things I can and want to accomplish in the next 365 days.

As I look back on 2016, I still can’t peg if this was a particularly good or bad year.  It was….different, to say the least.  Lots of emotion, lots of new things, lots of adventure.

I took my first solo trip and, by reader vote, went to Sedona.  It was the best trip ever…

I’d go back in a heartbeat.

…followed by a trip to Alabama a few days later, which ended up being pretty much the worst trip ever.  (But hey, my picture turned out marvelously.)

Carrot cake by the ocean? Well, duh. What else are you going to do in Alabama?

I managed to make some shit…

Bubbly cheese dip?! Yes, please.

…try some shit…

There’s a first for everything, including raw oysters. #neveragain

….and then rant about some shit that gained me national recognition

It’s true.

…and then set a record for most uses of the word “shit” within a blog post.  Just kidding.

I had my first photoshoot and put myself out there in a severely uncomfortable way, but one that got me published…

Somewhere in the middle, I stopped to think about what is and isn’t working for me in my life today, who I want to become and what I want to accomplish.  I guess you could say in some regards it was a record year.

Yet, somehow I feel like I didn’t do enough with myself.  I don’t know what I feel like I was missing, but something.  And I can’t put my finger on it.  It’s something in between feeling like I didn’t challenge myself as much as I could have and didn’t live up to my own expectations. Somewhere in the middle, I think I became complacent.  You certainly wouldn’t guess it from the pictures, that’s for sure, but something inside of me stalled out and became idle.

2016 became a regroup year for me and I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. But next year, I plan to do more: be bolder, live more freely, be less guarded and embrace the unexpected without question.

Because when you do these things, the world becomes your oyster.

Cheers to 2017!

 

Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Pairs Well With… “Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” – Unknown

Thanksgiving is over and the holidays are in full swing.  It’s not long before my favorite Mariah, Kelly and *Nsync holiday tunes are in full rotation, and this house becomes its own little winter wonderland.  Deck the halls.  Hang the friggin’ mistletoe.  Create the “One Take Wonder” 2016 Christmas music video…

Put on that wonderfully ugly holiday attire. And Mom, please make me a batch of those “calories don’t count because they are bite-sized” little spritz cookies I love.  I am grateful for all of the holiday cheer.

Oh, the holidays…how fast they showed up – again!  Where the heck did this year go? (Says everyone.  Every year.)  It’s like we’re surprised that the holidays happen year after year…after year.  None the less, I love looking forward to celebrating old traditions, making new ones and wearing shimmer and sparkle all darn December long.

With a violent clap of thunder (in November? WTF!), I snapped out of my holiday daydreaming and back to reality when the noise caused me to spill my cup of decaf all over myself. This miserable and manic Minneapolis weather encouraged me to think warm and sunny thoughts.  Sitting with my back against my dresser (for no particular reason) in the middle of my room (because it’s where I felt like writing today), I drifted back to where I spent the Christmas last year: Palm Springs.

Somehow, Palm Springs caused me to think about 2016 coming to a close, which led to the biggest lesson I learned this year, and I want to achieve next, as well as the kind of adulting I want (or not want) to do.  All that enriching, useful self-reflection stuff.

Is it just me, or do we all ask ourselves at least one a year, if not more, “What do I want to do with my life?”  I digress.

Where you decide to go next in life depends on where you’ve been, perhaps even what you learned, and how you apply it.  My most substantial lesson this year was how to be resilient: how to bounce back and make the best of a situation when life kicked me down, how to calm the freakouts when life got chaotic, how to let things (and people) not bother me, how to just…be…

…and how to come out on top.

Overcoming, in any regard, takes so much practice.  Maybe it’s more patience than anything else to get to perfection – if there is such a thing.  While certainly not perfected, I’ve most definitely made a progressive start.

Here are five thoughts to get you back on top:

Control what you can.  There are certain things in life we can’t control: other people, weather, traffic, how good pizza tastes – and most of our life.  Let those things go!  Put your energies where they matter: your goals, how you treat people, the lessons you want to learn and keeping a positive mindset.  Someone shared this quote by Erma Bombeck with me last year: “Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.”  True story.

Emphasize the positive.  Some life wins are big, but others small.  Don’t discount them! See the importance in all that surrounds you, and take the time to recognize that small steps in a good direction are still forward progress.  Celebrate the wins and focus on what is going right.  No one likes a Debbie Downer.

Do not dwell.  Sure, life gets us down now and again, but how long are you going to linger in misery?  How long do you want to remain in gloom?  Happiness is a choice, and the choice is up to you!  Take time to mourn, to heal, to process, to regroup. Whatever you do, make sure you have plans to check out of Hotel Misery.  The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. What is waiting on the other side is sure to be much more enchanting.

Do not look back.  You know that voice that creeps in and causes you to look over your shoulder?  Stop right there.  Don’t do it.  Think about the last time someone said to you, “Oh hey! I made significant backward progress today!”  Nope. Never happened.  It’s just not a real thing.  Remember the reason you made your decision in the first place and trust yourself.  You know yourself better than anyone else, and your gut will never steer you wrong.

Make a bold move.  What are you waiting for?  Stirrup pants to come back in style? Good, because fashion reports state that they are making a comeback.  So, moral of the story is, if stirrup pants can make a comeback, SO CAN YOU!  When in doubt, make a snap judgment call based on intuition, and then figure out the rest of the pieces as you move along.  I do this all the time.  Nine times out of ten it all works out like it should. Scary as hell but worth every penny.

What are the best and biggest lessons YOU have learned in 2017?

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

Pairs Well With… “Words.  So powerful.  They can crush a heart, or heal it.  They can shame a soul, or liberate it.  They can shatter dreams, or energize them.  They can obstruct connection, or invite it.  They can create defenses, or melt them.  We have to use words wisely.” – Unknown

In fourth grade, I learned one of the best and most impactful lessons of my life: I learned the power of words and the lasting effects they can have on others.  I learned the difference between right and wrong many years prior, but it was with my teacher’s delicate illustration of how words can weigh on or weigh down a heart that got through to me.

How do you teach a child the impact of words?  

Upon coming back from recess, our class was instructed to rip a piece of paper out of our notebooks and draw a heart on it.  From there, we were told to crinkle up the piece of paper into a ball…

ball-of-paper

…and then open it back up and try to flatten out the wrinkles to the best of our ability.

heart-paper-crinkle

Crinkle and smooth out ten more times, noticing the creases with each round and the texture of the paper.

Our tiny child minds were confused and skeptical about what was happening.  By the end of the tenth round of paper smashing, we were quiet and looking bewildered at one another.  Each of us touched the softened, wrinkled paper, some tracing the heart shape with their pointer finger, and looked to our teacher for answers and insight.

“Take out a brand new sheet of paper and draw a heart on it, but don’t crinkle it,” said my teacher.  Set it next to the wrinkled one and compare the two.

heart-paper-comaprison

What started out as harsh, jagged creases on crisp, solid paper slowly became many thin, but permanent, lines on worn down paper.

“Words are like weapons.  They can hurt, and they can leave permanent scars.  No matter how hard you try, you will never get your wrinkled piece of paper back to its original condition.  It’s impossible.  Those creases symbolize mean and hateful words.  While they can be overcome and forgiven, they may not be forgotten.”

Thinking back, I don’t know that this lesson was part of any school-approved curriculum.  It’s too bad schools don’t teach kindness as a class – they should.  This lesson has stuck with me throughout all these years but holds more relevance than ever today both in what we are teaching today’s children and also in how we carry ourselves.

I still have that piece of paper.  I’ve chosen to keep it as a memory of kindheartedness I suppose.  Maybe, deep down, I knew one day I’d feel compelled to share my fourth-grade kindness lesson.

Our words are our most destructive weapons.  They have the potential to leave scars that can’t be removed and creases on the heart that can’t be ironed out.

We have a choice between hurting with them or healing with them.

We can’t always change minds, but we can change hearts. One at a time, we can.

 heart-paper-crinkle-final

All The Pretty Things

All The Pretty Things

Pairs Well With…”Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds

Unsure about what to write about this week, and perhaps even lacking a bit of inspiration, I decided to take a second and hit pause. There’s a lot going on. I needed to stop and smell the roses.  Literally.  Things are just moving way too fast.

    roses-in-italy

Sometimes, when we move too fast, we miss things, important things and details. Things that we should be noticing.  Things that are right under our noses.

bee-2

In an effort to slow down, I went out shooting photos and took a moment to appreciate the things I love best about fall: the leaves changing color, the crunch of the leaves under my feet and the slight chill in the air that signals its okay to put on my sweats and get ready to hunker down for the winter. 

leaves

It’s funny how sometimes the most ordinary things have such beauty.  I was running hill sprints and noticed these quite pretty heart shaped leaves in my path. Love is in the air!

heart-leaf

So, this week, I give you simplicity and beauty, a moment to reflect, notice and appreciate all that is around you.  Be thankful.

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