Daily Dose of Inspiration: Discovering What Matters

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Have you ever found yourself deeply involved in a task only to step back and say, “Why does this even matter?”

It seems as though we all come to that point in our lives from time to time.  The truth is, we often find ourselves so deeply involved in routines that we carry out tasks that in the long run, really aren’t that important.  These tasks can rob us from time with family and friends, and in the end even take a piece of our happiness. So what is the solution? Well that is what we are exploring today. Today, let’s talk about discovering what matters.

First, take a look at your day. I mean REALLY take a look at your day. Journal for a day if you need to, writing down your tasks as you complete them. Take special note of any task that takes you more than a few minutes.  When you find those “hot spots” re-evaluate them.  How important are these tasks?  How do they benefit you and your family? How do they make you feel?  At the end of this questioning, you should be able to see how much the task matters.

Let’s look at an example: Suppose after breakfast each day you load the dishwasher. It takes about 5 minutes and you can do it while the kids get dressed.  It helps you keep the area prepped for dinner later, and you feel more organized.  Is it worth taking the time to do this each day? I would venture and say yes.

Example two.  After dinner you fill the sink and prepare to wash dishes.  It will take about 20 minutes.  Your child on the other hand wants to read a book to you or your spouse wants you to sit down with them and talk about your day.  Sure you could read the book or sit down and chill out, but then your dishwater goes cold and you still have a mess on your hands. So what do you do?  These are the situations where you need to ask yourself what matters.  Your children are only young once, your spouse needs some together time.  Reading with your child is valuable and there will come a time (before you are ready) that they won’t want to read to you.  Bonding with your spouse is important. Final ruling?  Set the dish towel down and walk away, fill the sink back up later and start again. Now is a great time to see that taking the time to bond matters more than making sure the dishes get washed at that moment.

Life gets really busy and time passes before we know it.  Trust me, I know this first hand.  My children are now fully grown and I look back and wish that I could experience many things again.  During those years we were so busy trying to work, make it to the after school activities on time, get baths and get to bed at a reasonable hour that we could barely keep up.  Let’s face it, life is intense when you are in the midst of it all!

If I could go back, I would make a conscious effort to set aside time to really be “present in the moment”.  To stop the madness and really focus on those around me.  Although it is impossible to go back and have a re-do, the good news is that we can make those changes starting now.   Putting down the cell phone, laptop or tablet and goofing around with your spouse matters.  Sitting on the porch drinking a cold glass of ice tea and talking about your big dreams or what you would do if you won the lottery matters and might be just what the doctor ordered!

Reconnecting with those we love, listening to their dreams and ideas no matter how goofy or crazy or out of reach they may seem is an amazing way to bond.   A mentor of mine told me many years ago “never tell your children that their grand ideas or crazy dreams are silly our outlandish, what a shame it would be if they believed you.”  How true that is and it goes for all of us, not just children.  Why not dream?  Why not have outlandish crazy ideas of what you might want to do in your life or things you want to experience?  What a shame it would be if you believed that it was silly our outlandish! Dream Big!

So what really matters to you? In a perfect world how would your life look?

When you are in the process of discovering what matters, you may find out a few things.  You may find that eating dinner as a family matters more than what is being served on the plate.  You might find that letting your kids have fun in the mud on a rainy day matters more than the stains they are setting into their clothing that you will have to soak to clean.  You may even discover that you have some crazy dreams that you have tucked away since you were a little kid that some day could become a reality!

At the end of the day, when we are up in years and quietly sitting in our rocker reminiscing about our life, keeping up with the dishes or what is happening on social media will be the last thing on our mind.  The thoughts that will come to mind are the memories that  we made with those we love.  The giggling in the rain, the fun we had singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs with our best friends, the little moments, the big moments, the moments that we thought we wouldn’t make it through but somehow did.  Those are the things that I have discovered really matter.

So how will you find what matters this weekend? When you sit back do you have any fun memories that come to mind that you will cherish when you are old and grey?  Lets talk about it on our Facebook Chat page!

Be inspired today, friends!


Monday Inspiration: 5 Ways to Tap Into Your Creativity

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Did you know that by being creative and engaging in creative activities, you can help release stress and strengthen mental clarity? Creative acts can help you feel more at ease while inspiring you at the same time. Does it get any better than that? If you are not naturally a creative person, you might be wondering how to tap into that part of yourself. The good news is, it is totally possible! Take a look below at 5 ways to tap into YOUR creativity, so you can start living your life to the fullest!

1. Think about when you were young.
Take a minute to think about the activities you enjoyed as a child. Did you paint? Color? Build? Like to sing? Dance? Try to remember these creative acts you enjoyed. If you enjoyed it and it relaxed and refreshed you then, chances are it will do the same now!

2. Don’t equate creativity with being “artsy.”
Not everything has to be “artsy” for it to be a demonstration of creativity. In fact for you it may look more like a simple hands on/construction project. Planning a recipe, building something for your home, or writing a few sentences about your day are all ways to release your creative energy. You can even show creativity by arranging furniture in a room!

3. Seek out the color green.
Many studies have shown that the color green instantly boosts and stimulates the creative juices in your brain. When you feel in a rut and need a little creative inspiration, look a  picture of green landscape or green flowers. They are sure to give your brain the boost it needs.

4. Let go of your fears.
People often equate getting creative with the fear of being judged. Don’t let fear get in your way of getting creative. Whether you want to create something for yourself or others to enjoy, try to let go of the fears of what others will say. How your work makes YOU feel is what is important.

5. Hang out with other “creative” souls.
It is quite beneficial to be around others who inspire you. Do you like to write? Try to spend time with other writers. Do you like to paint? Attend lectures of professional artists. Do you love to get creative in the kitchen? Read the cookbook or memoir of your favorite chef. Let the creativity of others inspire you.

In 2015, try to find a little time each day to get creative. When you do, you will find that you can feel better mentally and emotionally. You will feel inspired, and perhaps even inspired others.

So, how will you tap into your creativity this week? I would love to hear on the Facebook page or Community Chat page!

Be inspired this week, friends.


Monday Inspiration: How to Find Hope During the Rain

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There is the famous saying in life that when it rains, it pours. And if you have ever experienced a rough patch in life, you know this saying to be true. Finding hope when life dumps rain over our heads can be challenging, but the good news it, it isn’t impossible. Below, I want to share some helpful tips on how to find hope during the rain. Finding hope when life storms on us is one of the best ways to see through the dilemma and come out clean on the other side. Here is how to get started.

1. Look at the rain as a challenge, not a roadblock.
When life dumps on you, don’t look at it as a huge boulder standing in your way. Instead, look at it as a challenge, or a puzzle even. Then, decide how you wish to solve this puzzle. By accepting the challenge, you can continue to move forward.  From some of my BIGGEST trials emerged my biggest blessings.  It is amazing how circumstances have a way of bringing us exactly to the place that we are supposed to be without us realizing it at the time.

2. Break down problems piece by piece.
Look at the storms life throws you as drizzles. When you look at problems as small pieces instead of a huge gush, you can find and feel more hope about the future. Break problems down into smaller pieces and knock one issue out a time. You will feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful this way.

3. Be around other hopeful, helpful people.
Don’t be around people who only continue to rain on you after your skies are clear.  When you do this, you throw all of your hard work away.  Instead, be around people who maintain a heart of hope and faith. They are the ones who will help you best weather the storm.  As long as you have HOPE and keep reminding yourself that “this too shall pass” you will find that it is a little easier to endure the trial.  Nothing lasts forever, just do your best to keep hopeful and positive through your trial and it makes it a whole lot easier to get through.

When you give these three tips your consideration, you can best prepare for the storms life throws at you. You can find the hope in the rain, and maybe, you might even see a rainbow!

How do you find hope in the storms of life?
Share your ideas with me on the Facebook or Community Chat page!

Happy Monday, friends!


Monday Inspiration: Tips for Making 2015 YOUR Year

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New Year’s eve is just days away, so, how can you REALLY make 2015 YOUR year? How can you make this year different from all others? How can you make it a successful one? Well I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have a few helpful tips to get you started. Below you will find some helpful tips on how to make 2015 YOUR year, one that is full of purpose and promise. Here is how you can get started!

1. Make it purposeful.
Before setting a zillion resolutions, decide to resolve with purpose. Cut out the fluff and focus on purposeful actions…ones that make a difference to your life and the lives of those around you. Examples could be volunteering more, learning a new skill, or spending times bonding with others. When you live with purpose, life suddenly feels more rewarding.

2. Live without fear.
Now is the time to live without fear. That cooking class you were thinking about taking? Sign up! That friend you have wanted to apologize to? Do it! That paint color you wanted to try or hair cut you have been thinking about it? Now is the time! Live without fear and make 2015 the year you come to life.

3. Try one new thing a week.
Each week, try something new. It doesn’t have to be anything major, you can always start small. Try a new food, a new restaurant, a new lipstick color, etc. Then, work your way up to bigger steps. Try learning a new language, a new skill, or even a new place to visit.

4. Take time for yourself each day.
Devote one hour a day to just yourself and making yourself healthy. Drink water, sip healthy tea, have a healthy snack, do yoga, write, or just chat with a friend. Devote this time to yourself and see how it makes you feel, and thrive!

5. Forgive YOURSELF.
I have a secret to tell you…we all make mistakes! This is the year you get back on the horse and forgive yourself. You will never find people to be kind to you if you can’t be kind to yourself.

So, are you ready to make 2015 your year? Give these tips a try and let’s kick it off together! How will you make 2015 yours? Tell us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page.

Happy New Year, friends!


Monday Inspiration: 5 Things You Must Do This Holiday Season

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The holiday season is wrapping up, and you are most likely double checking your to do list as we speak. You may have read this title and thought, “Oh great, MORE things that I need to do!” Well don’t worry, this list doesn’t include wrapping gifts, hanging lights, or spending one more penny. Instead, read the Monday Inspiration version of 5 Things You Must Do This Holiday season. You will find that once you give these 5 tasks a try, your holiday season may just in fact be complete.

1. Say I am sorry.
Who have you wronged this year? Even the most perfect of people are sometimes found in fault. If you have wronged anyone and owe them an apology, now is the time. Seek the person out via in person, a letter, or even social media if that is the best way for you. You don’t have to give excuses or reasoning, just say it has weighed on your heart to apologize. Then, do it. You will be amazed at the burden this action will list.

2. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
Whether the person comes to you for forgiveness or not, there is something quite cleansing and powerful about giving your forgiveness to someone else. Grant forgiveness for someone and their faults and see how it makes you feel. After all, if you can ask for forgiveness, you can give it.

3. Love.
Take a few days this holiday season to love, and really love someone. Tell someone you love them, show them through kind actions, and be present in their lives. Really think about what love means to you, and then do all you can to put it in action. And by all means, love those who seem to deserve it the least.

4. Laugh.
Crabby shoppers, a lack of parking, cold weather, and empty bank accounts can make quite stern during the holiday season. Don’t forget to take time for laughs. Laugh out loud, tell a joke, watch a funny movie, and let your family and friends see you SMILE! You will be amazed at the effect this has on those around you.

5. Dream.
While you are at it, don’t forget to dream. Dream about big plans in the new year, dream about the money you want to save, dream about the changes you want to make. Day dreaming can actually be quite productive, so dream away.

There you have it, the Monday Inspiration edition of 5 things you must do this holiday season! Which ones are you excited to try? Tell us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page.

Be inspired today, friends!


Monday Inspiration: How to Help the Hurting

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How often have you found yourself face to face with someone who is hurting? Life can be difficult at times, and for some, the pain can keep them from being able to complete day to day tasks. You might have offered your help to someone in a rough spot with the usual, “Let me know if you need anything,” line. But how do you really help someone who is hurting? That is what we are going to explore today.

So how do you help someone who is hurting? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Be present.
Let the person know you are present. You are there. Make a point to send a text or make a phone call to the person. Make a point to drop by and check in on them. Let them know that even though you are busy, you want to make time for them.

2. Help with small tasks.
When someone is going through a rough time, helping with small tasks can make a big impact. Take a load of laundry to wash, empty their dishwasher, or bring over a meal so they don’t have to cook. These small tasks may seem exactly that, small, but to them it will mean the world.

3. Don’t try to compare.
Don’t try to make the person feeling better by comparing their circumstance to something that happened to you. That rarely helps and can actually make them feel worse. Instead, let them know you are listening to their troubles and offer helpful solutions.

4. Don’t judge.
When someone feels judged, they will shut down and turn away from you. Instead of judging, let the person know you are listening with an open mind and that you are not there to render judgement.

5. Follow up.
Even if the person tells you everything is better, always be sure to follow up. Let them know you are present and there to talk to if they need it.

Watching someone you love go through something painful can be trying. Give these helpful hints a try and see how you can help make that time a bit easier for them. Who knows, one day you may need the same from them.

How will you help someone who is hurting this week? Share your ideas with us on the Facebook or Community Chat page.

Be inspired today, friends!


Monday Inspiration: How to Start Saying No

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Why is it that saying “no” is so terribly difficult? We feel an array of feelings when we say no…we feel guilt, anxiety, we feel the need to make excuses. Well today, we are going to talk about how to start saying no. When we say no, we can help free ourselves up from unnecessary life clutter, and help keep our schedules a little less full and overwhelming. With the holidays on our heels, there is no better time than to start saying NO. Here are some tips to get you started.

How to Start Saying NO

1. Practice.
This sounds silly, but take a few minutes to practice saying no. Find a mirror and try some role playing. Pretend that someone has just asked you to pick up their dry cleaning, borrow money, or watch their children. Practice saying no into the mirror. Watch your facial expressions and listen to your tone of voice. Practice, practice, practice.

2. Find a buffer.
You may feel more confident saying no if you have a buffer to go with it. A buffer can be a simple apology after the no, or a stand by reasoning that you can go to. For example, you can say something like “No I am sorry, I have a full plate right now.” This will help buffer the no and make it easier for you.

3. Feel no guilt.
When you say no, you often times fill with guilt and anxiety. It is time to start saying no and not feeling guilt over it. By saying no you are not withdrawing your friendship or love for the person, you are simply saying that you can’t give them what they are asking for at this time.

4. Reap the rewards.
When you say no and avoid taking on extra tasks and jobs, it is important to take a moment and reap the rewards. Start by recognizing the rewards, which can include more time with family, less stress, and less anxiety. Really reflect on how these moments make you feel, so you can remember that when the time to say no pops up again.

Practice, find a buffer, feel no guilt, reap the rewards! When you start saying no, you will in fact find that you can live a fuller, more satisfying life. If you are the constant “go to” person that everyone runs to, now is the time to start implementing this plan and start saying no. How will you start saying no? Tell us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page.

Happy Monday, friends.


Monday Inspiration: How to Simplify This Holiday Season

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It is no secret that the holidays are here, and with them can come a great deal of stress and anxiety. You might have a huge checklist of items you wish to do and accomplish this season, and getting this list tackled can really raise your stress level even more and make you hard on yourself. So how can you simplify the holidays? It is actually quite simple itself! When you figure out how to simplify this holiday season, you can enjoy experiences and family time that is about quality, not quantity. Here is how you can get started!

How to Simplify This Holiday Season: 3 Easy Steps

1. Set your goals, then prioritize them.
Create a list of your goals for the season. These goals may include visiting family, making your own cookies, putting up a tree, getting holiday cards out, etc. Make a list and when you are done, go through and prioritize them. Which ones do you really want to do? Which ones do you feel obligated to do? Which ones could you do without? Number the list in order from most important, to least important.

2. Use your list to arrange your calendar.
Now that you have a list of what you want to accomplish, and it is ordered from most to least importance, you can start scheduling these activities into your schedule. Since you are scheduling using your list, you are able to plan the activities that really mean the most to you. You know that activities that ranked low on your list? Those are the ones you can skip scheduling or use as tentative activities when time allows.

3. Listen to your feelings as well as the feelings of your family.
Be aware of how all of the activities you have planned make you feel and make your family feel. If what you want to accomplish (skiing, caroling, cooking, craft making) isn’t bringing joy to you and the people around you, it isn’t worth cramming into your holiday schedule. Really be aware of what makes you happy as a person and a family. If something doesn’t fit that bill, toss it.

The trick behind simplifying the holiday season is making memories, not checking off lists. Instead of trying to cram tons of activities that you feel obligated to do into your life, choose a few that really are memory makers for you and your family. Those are the ones that really matter, and the rest is just fluff.

Remember, the best times spent with family are often the simplest. Watch a holiday movie, bake some break and bake cookies, or buy some pre assembled craft kits for crafting. Take short cuts wherever you can so more time can be spent together instead of stressing or creating the perfect holiday.

How will you simplify this holiday season? Tell us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page!

Happy Monday, friends!


Monday Inspiration: Finding Happiness During the Holidays

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We are just days away from Thanksgiving, which is the kick off to two back to back holiday celebrations. And while holidays are a time for family and friends, food and festivities, you might feel yourself getting a little blue. This is normal, as the holidays are a time also of stress, ill behaved family members, and added expenses. If you find yourself suffering from a mild case of the holiday blues, give these tips for finding happiness during the holidays a try. The holidays can be stressful, but with just a little help you can find the happiness you deserve.

Here is how you can started:

1. Take away the money element.
Don’t let the lack of expenses keep you from feeling happy during the holiday season. Remind yourself that “things” and “stuff” will never make the season complete or better for you. When you keep this in mind, you will find that you can feel more peaceful and happy.

2. Surround yourself with family.
Now is the time to make amends with family and enjoy the season next to them. Put aside differences and instead take the higher road. Enjoy a meal together, exchange small gifts, or attend a holiday function together. Remember, you never know when your last holiday season will be. Live each one as it is the last and cherish each moment.

3. See the season through a child’s eyes.
Remind yourself what it is that you liked about the holiday season. Try to bring those elements back into the holiday. Bake cookies, make crafts, sing carols, and do some of the other activities that you loved so much as a child.

4. Slow down.
Don’t make a whole list of holiday activities you NEED to do. Instead, think of a few you really want to focus on and make them happen. Slow down and look at the activities as something to enjoy, not something you NEED to check off a list.

5. Be hands on.
Don’t let the commercialism of the season take over. Try crafting a few gifts and decor pieces of your own. You can even make your own greeting cards if you wish. Enjoy the season in a hands on way and see how much happier it can be.

When you give these tips a try, you can enjoy a holiday season that is slower, more peaceful, and an overall more happy one. See how they can make a difference for you.

How will you find happiness in the holiday season? Tell us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page!

Happy Monday, friends.


Monday Inspiration: Why You Should Love Mondays

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The jokes about Mondays being the worst day of the week have been told since the beginning of time. It seems as though Mondays have always had a bad reputation, being associated with another week of hitting the grind. Well today, I am challenging you to look at Mondays in a whole new way. Today, let’s chat about why you should love Mondays, and how it can be your most powerful day of the week. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

5 Reasons Why You Should Love Mondays:

1. You can enjoy a fresh start. Don’t dwell on what happened last week, today is your day to start new. Mondays are a great day to start over and reach for those goals again. If you enjoy regular goal setting, Mondays signal a fresh week and thus a fresh start. So hey it’s Monday, go for it!

2. Monday announces the arrival of a WHOLE WEEK in front of you. While typically this would seem like a burden, think of it as a positive. You have a WHOLE WEEK to spend with your family, to cross off items on your to do list, to plan fun meals, to meet your goals at work, and to make the most of your life. Wow! Doesn’t that seem like a gift? Hello Monday!

3. Mondays can keep us in a routine. Most of us love having a routine, and Mondays can help us establish one. Mondays are the perfect day to do those start of the week tasks like meal planning, coupon cutting, goal setting, etc. Make Monday the day that you revisit your routines that you enjoy.

4. Allow it to become a day of gratitude. Did you wake up this Monday with air in your lungs and a roof over your head? If so, you are already starting the week ahead of the game. Use Mondays as a day to reflect on what you are thankful for and count those blessings. You have made it to the start of another new week. How amazing is that?

5. Designate Mondays as family fun days. Give yourself something to look forward to on Mondays, such as game night with the family, pizza night, or craft night. When you associate it with something positive and fun, you might actually look forward to the weekend ending.

Monday can be a pretty sweet day of the week, worth looking forward to and celebrating. Give these five tips for why you should love Monday a try. We would love to hear how they change your idea of what Mondays are, so share your feedback with us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page.

Happy MONDAY friends!