Trust the Process

 

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

       – Robert Collier

I have big goals this year, and I have to admit: I am struggling with the process—the process of getting this blog off the ground, writing my books, and getting fit.

The process is taking longer than I like.
The process makes me question and doubt.
The process is tempting me to quit.
The process would be so much better if I would just. . .

Appreciate it and enjoy the ride!

 It is an easy thing to be stuck in the process and wallow in self-doubt.

But I know that is NOT YOU, is it?  It is not me either.
We are not quitters.

As Jeff Goins, a best-selling author, speaker, and blogger states in many of his webinars, “It is not a matter of IF; it is a matter of WHEN.”

Our timing will come. We will succeed. Sometimes we just need some reminders of the essential ingredients to success.  For example . . .

Read More

Movies and Scenes that Inspire

movies

It’s been a LOOOONG week and if you’re like me, you want nothing more than to veg on the couch tonight with a good movie.

Looking for a good flick to watch—one that will move you to tears, inspire you, and make you feel uplifted?  Or, how about a good family movie?

The following movies are not New Releases–in fact, you might call some of these ‘classics’. They are, however, ‘feel goods’ and some of my favorites when I need to — well — feel good.

Each of the following movie clips were selected for its pertinent message.  I hope that you will check out the movies (if you haven’t already) or — at the very least — watch the clips below. Enjoy!

Read More

My Bright Light Living A-ha Moment

Bright Light Living is about my a-ha moment. Sometimes you can hear or see something repeatedly, but it just doesn’t register – I mean truly register – until you are ready to receive its true, impactful meaning . . .

I am a middle child who lived a middle-class type of life. My mother raised me to be content and thankful for what I had. As she would say, “There will always be people who have more than you, but there will always be people who have less than you. Be thankful for what you have.”

I took that to heart.

Christmases as a young girl often involved my friends and I going to each other’s houses to inspect Santa’s generosity. We were always excited about the new loot and eager to share each other’s toys. Many times I would hide some of my toys. Not because I didn’t want to share, but because I didn’t want to show off. To me, it seemed as if Santa had favored me more abundantly with gifts and I didn’t want my friends feeling badly.

I hid my gifts. 

I am the middle child surrounded by two brothers. Being the only girl meant that I was different than them—more emotional. They would tell me that I was too sensitive. They would tell me not to be such a girl, to stop crying.

I saw my sensitivity as a downfall.

I was average in a lot of things, but not exceptional in anything. I made the National Honor Society, played sports, was a cheerleader, was in school plays, and had friends. Somehow I always seemed to “make” whatever I tried out for. But, I was never the Most of anything. I was not Valedictorian (or even close), not Most Popular (or even close), not Best Looking (or even close), not a sports MVP (or even close). . .you get it, I was a great all-around (average) person. I took that to heart.

I accepted my average status.

I would be in the company of intellects and feel inferior, remaining quiet because I didn’t feel as if I had anything of value to contribute. I would hear stories of my friends who were making more money or had more prestigious jobs and I would remind myself that I was not in it for the money.

I felt less than.

My parents passed down to me many of their great qualities; I consider myself a good (average) mix of both of them.

My father was an engineer for NASA who received his doctorate from George Washington University. He passed to me his strategic thinking and organizational skills, but unfortunately not his exceptional brain. My mother was a top sales leader in Mary Kay; she is now a well-respected life coach. She exudes positivity and charisma; people are and were always drawn to her. She passed along to me her positivity, creativity, and belief in goodness. If only she passed to me her charisma.

I paled in their shadows.

That is my early story.

We all have one. A story of what shapes our belief systems and perceptions of who we are and what we think the world has to offer. Our early stories are often what sets our perimeters and establishes our limitations—our self-imposed limitations. For me, it was the limitation that I was good enough to feel like a fraud, so therefore I was never great enough. My perimeters dictated that I should always try things, but only with small expectations of success. I expected average success.

“This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine.”

I had two favorite songs from my early Sunday school days. The first: “We Are One in the Spirit” and the second: “This Little Light of Mine.”

Both songs shaped my belief system and influenced who I wanted to be. I wanted to be an example. I believed in being kind to everyone so that they could see God’s love through me. I would let myself shine in that regard. I would shine in goodness  . . . but not greatness.

Fast-forward to a few years ago. . . I was driving to work and “This Little Light of Mine” for some reason popped into my head. I started singing it. I then reached for a notebook given to me by my mother. The book opened up to a poem my mother had placed inside by Marianne Williamson—Our Deepest Fear. I was familiar with the poem, but had not given it the credence it deserved until that morning. That morning, her words touched my heart and resonated with my soul. In a nutshell, her poem tells us not to dim our lights. As she writes, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

It was in that moment – when two reminders of SHINING OUR LIGHT came to me almost simultaneously – that I truly understood. That was my A-ha moment.

God does not want us playing small or average. He wants us to shine bright. He wants us to be confident, full of belief and hope; to live without fear or limitations. He wants us to soar.

Shine Bright

We are not hurting others by being great, wonderful, and fabulous. Instead, we are blessing those around us. It is this light that attracts.

I had not been living the best version of me. I was holding back, allowing childhood perceptions to dim my light.

This A-ha moment – my moment of clarity – adjusted my view of who I was and how I should live my life:

I was someone who was grateful and appreciated the good in things.

I realized that hiding my gifts and talents was not only hindering me but others as well.

My sensitivity is a blessing allowing me to be intuitive, insightful, and compassionate.

I am a risk taker who tries things; someone who has the fortitude to pick myself up and learn from my failures.

I am my own unique person. What I am is enough.

We are all enough. It is up to each of us to believe in and truly take to heart the truth of that statement. Rather than holding ourselves back because we feel inferior, not smart or qualified enough, too loud, too sensitive—too much or not enoughwe must amp up our light rather than dim it.

By shining bright we are blessing the world.

Writing in the Zone

Do you remember when stereograms (like the one above) were really popular?  Stereograms are photos containing hidden 3D images that reveal themselves when the viewer focuses his/her eyes in a certain way.  I remember going to the mall and seeing photos of stereograms like the one above for sale.

I would stare and stare and try to have the hidden, 3D image come forward. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I did, the easier it became. I figured out the technique.

I would have to relax my eyes and almost get into a trance-like state.  Anytime that I tried to force the image to appear, the less likely I was able to see it.  It was a matter truly letting go and relaxing.

Look at the image below and try it for yourself. Do not strain. Do not try to force the image. Relax!

airplane-stereogram

Why am I writing about stereograms? Because it is the best analogy that I can use to describe my writing process. For me, I have to just get into the zone by relaxing my eyes and thought-process. The more I try to force my writing, the less successful I am to have words come.

This relaxation is extremely difficult to do when I am caught up in the hectic schedule of my life.  I am literally a sponge and take in so much from my environment such as frantic and nervous energy. My brain can feel like it’s in overload and if I don’t give myself a chance to decompress, I feel as if I am in a constant nervous state of chaos. And well, you can bet that writing is the last thing that I am able to do.

I write this to emphasize the need to STEP AWAY and FIND TIME TO RELAX with deep breaths that release the stressors of the day.   This is not an easy thing to do when you find time is limited. I am a victim of this. With work, my long commute, the boys’ crazy sports schedules, we are always on the go.

I am having to ask myself: “What can I do differently? How can I fit in this much-needed relaxation?”  Click here to read more on this.

If you are looking to tap into your creativity–whether that is writing, painting, designing, or building something–find time to relax.  Truly LET GO and surrender yourself to what you are trying to create.

Sports players often say that they are “in the zone,” which is another way of describing this creative process.  Create while being in the zone. Let go and allow the momentum to flow.  And it WILL!

Where you able to see the airplane in the stereogram above?  Were you able to relax and not strain your eyes? If so, then practice this technique with your own creative project.

Relax and see your CREATION EMERGE.

 

The Percolation of Creativity: How to Get Creativity to Flow

I feel the words brewing, percolating, bubbling inside my head.  They are there in limbo. Waiting for the muse to take them to their fate.  I am inspired, but only in thought.
In my mind’s eye, I can see a masterpiece, a celebration of creativity.  I feel the way the words touch and move others, if only in my intent.  I long to have the words jump off the pages into the hearts of my readers. I’ve been moved by the works of others; may my words also have that same effect.

The above is an old blog posting, yet I felt compelled to share again. This, to me, is the epitome of the creative process.

My writing comes in spurts–sometimes I can become so engrossed in my writing that time seems to slip away. Other times, writing becomes a chore with each word a struggle.

However, my admiration of others’ creativity is never waning. I admire their ability to CREATE, DO, MAKE MAGIC HAPPEN. Their work seems effortless.

But how?

How do you channel the CONSISTENCY? For me, it is finding the time.

Writing can often be difficult. It requires the right combination of concentration and free-form thinking—the perfect oxymoron.

My best writing seems to come when I PLUNGE IN and JUST WRITE—not worrying about grammar, plausibility, or even what others think. Allowing the words to be dictated by my heart.

But what about other writers?

Read More

Tips for Fitting Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule

Tips For Fitting Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule (1)I will be honest with you, talk of exercise used to make my whole body cringe. Exercise equated to pain, sweating, and reminders of just how out of shape I was. It also reminded me of all the times I started exercising, but then stopped.

My problem was (and still is) finding the TIME to exercise.  I could (but won’t) give you a list of my excuses – and many are legit – of how I am too busy to exercise.  Truth is, there are ways to fit exercise into your hectic life.  You may need to make sacrifices (like sleeping in, my favorite!), but it is so worth it. You will discover a newfound sense of feeling accomplished, motivated, and stronger—physically and mentally!

Here are some tips that can make exercise more feasible: Read More

6 Simple Things that Can Help You Lose Weight

6 Simple Thing That Can Help You Lose WeightWhat does your typical eating day look like? Are you frustrated because you think you are watching what you eat or drink, but your scale and clothes are telling you otherwise?

Tracking calories is not fun, but the process can be so revealing. A typical day of eating (for someone not watching their weight) might consist of scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, cheeseburger and fries for lunch, tacos for dinner, and a bowl of ice cream for dessert. It’s not the healthiest of meals and the calorie count totals more than 1,800 calories. It is easy to rack up the calories without even knowing it. For example, the other day I had an Orange Crush, one of my favorite alcoholic drinks (I do live in Baltimore after all). I was shocked to find that one glass contains 325 calories—two glasses contain 650—half of my daily allotment. Holy cow!

Tracking calories is not all bad. What I learned is that there are simple diet changes that can have surprisingly awesome results. Try any or all of the following and see if your scale becomes your friend. Read More

How to Tap Into Your Creativity

I often say that it is a shame that we have to grow up. Children live and breathe creativity. They play, explore, and are curious about the world. Unfortunately, as we get older life gets hectic and we eventually lose our sense of imagination and innovation. Use these tips to tap into your creativity—trust your crazy ideas and explore them.

how-to-get-back-to-creative

Take a hike through the woods.

Nature has a calming effect that can lower the blood pressure and promote a sense of peace.

Grab crayons or colored pencils and have at it.

Draw and doodle away using adult coloring books such as Adult Coloring Book: Mandalas to awaken your inner child.

Listen to the sound of crashing waves or rain pitter-pattering on the roof.

I am a huge proponent of the Rain-Rain app which provides various relaxing white-noises. Crashing Waves is my favorite. Whenever I need total peace and want to hear the sound of the ocean–since I do not have my dream ocean-front property yet–I listen to this app. It helps calm me and facilitates my writing.

Meditate or, at the very least, take the time to be still.

Listen to your inner voice and follow your heart. You know best what will ignite your creativity; sometimes you just need to slow down enough to listen.

Reflect on your childhood.

What was it that you liked to do or play? Did you pretend to be a detective, put on plays, or perform scientific experiments? As children, we naturally gravitate to the activities that hone our special gifts. Pursue those activities again and see if they still provide pleasure and enjoyment.

Keep a journal.

There are no rules for journaling. Just write. Anything and everything that comes to you–your thoughts, ideas, memories, dreams.

Work at being creative every day.

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more you do, the easier it becomes.

Spend time on Pinterest.

Check out the pins and see what topics interest you. Pinterest is a smorgasbord of creative ideas.

Read a fiction book.

Reading fiction often inspires my own writing.  I want to soak up and learn from these writers—evaluate their writing tone, voice, and style.

Read non-fiction books.

Autobiographies are excellent sources of inspiration. Hearing successful people share how they accomplished their dreams can encourage you to go after your own dreams.  Non-fiction books can also be instructional and can teach you how to accomplish your own goals.

Grab legos, lincoln logs, or blocks and build, build, build.

Sit on the floor with a pile of blocks and create with abandon. This type of playing teaches you how to visualize and follow-through on that vision. It is creativity and goal-achievement at its finest.

Lastly, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to be creative, let-loose, be open, and PLAY!

 

I appreciate your feedback: Please scroll down to the comments bar and give me your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!  Also, I would be grateful if you would click any of the share buttons below and/or follow me on Pinterest. Click here for all my pins.  I am grateful for your support!  Thank you for visiting!

How to Write a Powerful Positive Affirmation

How to Write A Positive Affirmation.png

What You THINK about you BRING about.

Words are powerful. They can hurt. They can heal. This posting is about making our words work for us rather than against us. How many times have you told yourself: “I’m fat” or “I look awful” or even “What was I thinking”?

Let me ask you: WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO SOMEONE ELSE?   Probably not.

So, why would you say that to yourself?!

This blog post is about building ourselves up with Positive Affirmations. Positive Affirmations are conclusive statements written in the PRESENT TENSE. They do not contain words – which seem positive –  such as “I hope to” or “I want to”.  That is too wishful.  Positive affirmations are absolutes. They contain statements such as:

“I AM”

Your positive affirmation should be a statement of what IS happening or what WILL happen, even if it hasn’t happened yet.  Seriously!  Even if it hasn’t happened yet because that is the purpose. Positive affirmations when read and stated out loud send instructions to your brain. What you say to yourself REGISTERS in your brain.  What you say about yourself creates your perception AND your reality. As you work on achieving your goals, use positive affirmations to reinforce the end results that you expect to achieve.

Positive affirmations are about seeing the end/your goal/final outcome.

One common mistake made when writing positive affirmation is the use of negative words. In other words, negative words couched around positive words. For example, do not say something like:  I AM NOT FAT.   Not and Fat are both negatives.  And. . .Umm, that word “fat” — that is what your brain is hearing.  Fat. Fat. Fat.  INSTEAD, change it to: “Skinny” or “Tone” or both.

I am skinny and tone. I look good!

Yep, that’s what you need to be telling yourself.

Make time in your day to read your positive affirmations, especially when working on your individual goals.  It is this affirmation that will help keep you focused.  As funny as that Saturday Night Live skit with Stuart Smalley is (it is one of my favorites!), there is truth. These repeated messages will reinforce what needs to happen in your life.

 

Taking Time to BREATH

walk2On this brisk New Year’s Eve morning (who am I kidding, it’s downright freezing), I thought I would post something I wrote five years ago. . .

One morning (in my attempt to write daily), I decided that I was just going to sit down and write, not worrying about grammar, style, or even subject matter. Without even thinking (it was as if someone was writing FOR ME), I typed the following:

Stop and listen. There is so much to be learned through our observations, meditations, and trusting of our instincts. In the rush, rush of the daily grind, we pass by opportunities. Sometimes they are there in plain sight, but we do not see them because we are moving too fast. Or, we dismiss them because they seem too obvious or simplistic.

 

As you venture out tomorrow, take the time to experience the day for what it is–grand, marvelous, depending on the glasses you choice to use. Slow down and enjoy. Breath in and inhale the briskness of fall. Fill your lungs with optimism, peace, and a moment of surrender. You might be surprised at what comes to you.

This posting inspired me to bundle up (think Ralphie’s little brother in The Christmas Story) and go for a WALK.  Not just any walk, I think I am going to walk with my eyes and heart open. Taking my own advice, I plan to fill my lungs with optimism and breath in the day!

 

Finding Strength to Start Again

I was charging my laptop yesterday when a storm came barreling in—loud bursts of thunder, streaks of lightening, followed by a dramatic downpour of rain. I quickly unplugged my computer to avoid the risk of it being surged.

I had been working on my book at the time and immediately thought “what would happen if I lost my book?” I have an old printed copy whose version is very outdated and other versions of my book have been saved to a cloud, but now that I’m in critical edit mode, keeping my book safe is imperative.

I would be a complete mess if I lost my book—all the hard work I’ve done so far? There are so many twists, turns, and important dialogue that recapturing all of it seems impossible. The thought of it made me want to cry.

Honestly, I don’t know if I could start again.

That was my thinking at 3 p.m. Fast-forward to 4:15 p.m. and I see this:

 

This is historic Ellicott City, 15 minutes from my house. What you are seeing is a flash flood that took place yesterday—a similar flood decimated the same area just two years ago. The flood two years ago caused millions of dollars in damage and cost millions to clean and rebuild the area. Many businesses completely shut down, while others waited out the very lengthy rebuild-process hoping that their businesses could somehow stay afloat while their source of income was non-existent.

My girlfriends and I were there just the night before. We were saying how great it was that historic Ellicott City was able to rebuild. I was especially proud of my friend’s (Dave’s) business, The Wine Bin, whose beautiful store has become a landmark on Main Street. His shop hosts special doggy Yappy (happy) hours and outdoor movie nights; he gives so much of his time, money, and energy to charities and other businesses that people were there to give back. That is not to take away from the devastation and how hard it was for The Wine Bin or any of the restaurants, shops, and bars to re-open.

But Now, AGAIN! How? Why?

I couldn’t sleep last night. The flooding played out in my head repeatedly, along with the memory of Dave having to climb a tree to avoid being washed away or the sheer devastation that resulted. I was mad that better protection barriers were not built. I felt the pain, sadness, and anguish of the current business owners of historic Ellicott City. Again?!

It will take strength, commitment, and fortitude to rebuild–if they decide to rebuild. If so, what protection will these businesses have going forward?

There is one thing that reassures me—and that is the PEOPLE of Ellicott City; they are strong and resilient. They are creative, resourceful, and fighters. They are a community that supports their own and embraces newcomers. They are an inspiration to me! Through their example, I know that I could begin again and THEY WILL TOO (in whatever path they decide to take) because . . .

They are #ECStrong.

If you wish to make a DONATION to the Howard County Community Relief Fund, you can go to the Community Foundation of Howard County’s website at www.cfhoco.org, navigate to the Howard County Community Relief Fund tab, and click “Donate”, or you can mail a check payable to the Community Foundation of Howard County noting “Howard County Community Relief Fund” on the memo line.

Lunch Salads Made in Advance

Making Salads to Go

What should I eat for . . .lunch?

I will be honest: I am not the best at bringing my lunch to work. I should be. It would save me a lot of money, calories, and angst in deciding what to eat each day.

Some weeks I am diligent and bring lunch to work; other weeks not so much.

And this does cause concern because lunch is important to me. By 11 a.m. (actually 10 a.m.), I am already thinking about lunch, trying to ignore the rumbles of my stomach.

What to eat, what to eat, what to eat?

I am trying to eat healthier, which — at lunchtime — is not as easy as it sounds. Salads, for example, are not always easy to come by at work.

There have been a few times when I did prepare a fresh salad the night before. Granted, it was for dinner and the leftovers then became my lunch.

I am realist. I will NOT cut, dice, and prep a salad for myself every morning. I am not that motivated. Produce also goes bad, which poses another challenge.  I need something that will work for me–a lunch that is healthy, economical, won’t go bad, and EASY to prepare. The following is my attempt at doing just that. Read More