Monthly Archives: December 2017

2018 Stop/Start Mindset…

A friend and I wander along a frigid pathway into the woods for a stroll among the trees, pondering life, reflecting on a new year, and waiting for our annual ONE WORD to find each of us.  Ideas ebb and flow from the past year and project themselves forward to new goals.  At this stage of life, we discuss how it takes great courage, strong conviction, and a consistent growth mindset to move forward some days while other days simply unfold in miraculous ways.  It also takes the bold ability to STOP doing some things no longer fruitful or in our best interest only to START doing other things in the best way possible.  Here’s just a small sample:

1. STOP telling everyone everything on social media. START leaving some things to chance and imagination.

2. STOP comparing yourself to others and worrying about what others think. START marching to your own drummer and the positive path you create, no matter the path may lead.

3. STOP focusing on self and more on others. START helping others and be nice to everyone because kindness matters.

4. STOP making everything a competition in life. START competing only with your best self.  Make your choices, be accountable, accept responsibility, and deal with the consequences (good and bad) of your choices.

5. STOP being like others. START owning who you are, where you are, and tell YOUR story in a caring manner. There is only one “YOUnique” you…

6. STOP fearing failure; no one has it all figured out because nothing in life is perfect, especially on the first time. Failures bring powerful clarity and change in the most positive way! START embracing failure to find personal success (it’s also a recovery step from perfectionism…and one I struggle to release daily).

Our list goes on, but you get the general idea. So, what’s on your STOP and START list this new year? What is something you will commit to STOP and START each day throughout the year?

May 2018 be filled with magic and dreams and good madness in your life.  May you read great books and kiss someone who thinks you’re the wonderful.  May you create art–write, draw, build, sing, play, and live as only you can!  And I sincerely hope somewhere in the next year, you amaze, bless, and surprise yourself (and others) in the most extraordinary ways! Happy New Year!

Treasured traditions…

Most likely you have a favorite holiday tradition or two…something you treasure each year as the season comes ’round again.  Whether it’s placing a special ornament on the tree, watching a favorite holiday movie together, visiting a certain jolly fellow (in our family, the Northpark Santa IS the real Santa), or doing a familiar holiday activity together, you have a tradition you never want to miss.

My sister and I would always write long, detailed letters to Santa each year; it was our tradition together in fact.  My parents would then take us downtown to Titches (yes, I’m that old), to visit with St. Nick to share our letters.  I would never tell my parents what I wrote even though they would do any number of things to make me “spill it” (Momma always said, “You were stubborn that way…”  Go figure?!).  It took me a while to pin down exactly why they wanted to know this personal information.  Writing our letters was a tradition we shared together.  Today, we still write our shopping lists (using email or text) because great minds think alike and we’ve also been known to buy the same present for a family member.  Talking and planning (along with writing) with my sister are traditions during the holidays and everyday I never want to miss!

So this leads me to a question for you to ponder:  What is your favorite family holiday tradition?  In whatever way you and yours choose to define the holiday season and make seasonal memories, here’s hoping you take time to reflect together on special traditions.  If you don’t have a favorite tradition, here’s hoping you start one as you #SpreadJOY this year!

JOY…a simple three-letter word packing a whopping thirteen Scrabble points!

When was the last time your heart was lifted by a wave of pure JOY…when you felt so excited by an unexpected miracle you couldn’t stop yourself from smiling?  When was the last time in a busy day you found a way to spread JOY to someone else?

It’s no secret one of my all-time my favorite words is JOY.  My family and friends know this only too well.  Momma always told me I came into this world “singing robustly with great JOY” and have actively pursued JOY in simple, everyday ways as a constant quest.

This time of year, we see the word JOY all over the place.  You can find it on cute ornaments, in greeting cards, on wrapping paper, and especially on the smiling young faces of those whose eyes sparkle and marvel at the wonder of the season.

Days may be long, but years a far too short.  So why do we reserve JOY only for special occasions, holidays, or stolen moments?  If we want JOY to be the story of our years, JOY must really be the story of our daily lives.  JOY must be the way we choose and the habits we form as we travel on this journey of life.

JOY surrounds us, but we must actually teach ourselves and others the way to find it and how to share it with others, thus leading me to a couple of challenging seasonal questions for today:  How will you share JOY with those you hold dear during this JOYous season?  How will you convey JOY to others who look to you for guidance in finding it within themselves?

It is my sincere hope you give yourself and others the gift of JOY.  Catch, cultivate, and crave it!  If you make room daily for JOY, you may just find JOY is a strong magnet for more.  Invite just a little into your life and see how quickly a little JOY grows.  May great hope, peace, and love surround you and those you hold dear as you #SpreadJOY!